This time, a tax conference with 14 “featured participants.” Number of women? One.
Did noone at Florida State look at this list of speakers and think, “Gee, maybe such an imbalanced list doesn’t present the school in the best light?” Probably not. After all, the school used this marketing material advertising their Crim Law program last year.
My Pace Law School colleague Gary Munneke died unexpectedly over the Thanksgiving holiday. Here is an excerpt from the Law School’s announcement:
Professor Munneke was a prolific speaker and writer, authoring law review and journal articles as well as chapters and entire books on professional identity and choices and the legal profession. His most recent works included The Essential Formbook: Comprehensive Management Tools for Lawyers, Volume IV (2004), Law Practice Management in a Nutshell (2d ed. 2003) and Nonlegal Careers: In the Private Sector, Fifth Edition, ABA Career Series (2007 edition with Willliam D. Henslee and Ellen Wayne).
“Gary was a mentor and an inspiration. He seemed to be involved in every aspect of the legal profession and legal education, touching so many lives professionally and personally,” recalls Rachel Littman, Pace Law School Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development who worked with Professor Munneke on the 2011 NYSBA Task Force on the Legal Profession. “He will really be missed.”
Gary was well known for his work on committees of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. He also was a member of the Feminist Law Professors blogroll. On at least two occasions, Gary fielded a less-than-happy phone call from a disgruntled bar colleague who didn’t like something on this blog…usually a post by me (such as this one) critical of some activity of the organized bar. Gary’s reports of these phone calls were the starting points for some of the most wide-ranging, funny, realistic, engaged conversations I have had over the years with colleagues. Gary truly believed that all work of the legal profession — from the organization of the ABA to the professional habits of the solo practitioner to the writing of the law professor blogger — could be improved through civil discourse. He encouraged my blogging, and if he didn’t agree with some things I said, he wasn’t afraid to state his views. He always did so in the kindest and most engaged way, though. In talking to Gary, I always felt he heard me, that he considered my views and that we walked away from any conversation better for having had it. That’s not to say Gary suffered fools; his polite remarks in faculty meetings sometimes were followed up with a good eye roll in private.
I will miss my colleague Gary Munneke very much.
May his memory be a blessing.
From the FLP mailbox:
The Seventh Annual Feminist Theory Workshop
March 22/23rd 2013
The Seventh Annual Feminist Theory Workshop offers a unique opportunity for scholars to engage in sustained dialogue about feminist theory as a scholarly domain of inquiry. The “workshop” approach of this conference requires active participation of both presenters and attendees.
This year’s keynote speakers are:
- Elizabeth Grosz, Jean Fox O’Barr Women’s Studies Professor in Trinity
College of Arts and Sciencesat Duke University
- Martin F. Manalansan IV, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian
American Studies at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- José Esteban Muñoz, Professor of Performance Studies at Tisch School of the
Arts, New York University
- Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at
Free registration is here.
The guy who has been the voice and puppeteer for Elmo, Kevin Clash, resigned yesterday from Sesame Workshop on account of recent accusations that he had sex with under age boys. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn’t – we don’t know yet. But Sesame Workshop wanted him out as we head into the holiday shopping
The New York Times contacted me today for a comment in connection with Clash’s resignation and the lawsuit that was filed today by Cecil Singleton, a man who is now 24 years old claiming that Clash had sex with him when we was 15 years old, demanding $5 million in damages.
Here’s what I told the Times:
While I can’t speculate as to the merits of this new lawsuit, that will be left to the judicial process, I am concerned about Kevin Clash’s resignation today. I assume that he stepped down in response to pressure from Sesame Workshop that felt that it could no longer tolerate the association of it’s corporate brand with notions of homosexuality, sexuality, or illegal sexuality. I mention all three because I wonder if the “scandal” that threatened Clash’s employment would have been any less troubling for Sesame Workshop if the terms circulating onTwitter had been “Elmo” and “sex,” or “Elmo” and “gay,” instead of “Elmo” and “under-age-sex”.
Just as I thought it shocking that David Petraeus was driven from public service on account of “marital infidelity” rather than the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the U.S. government in the Petraeus-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the expansion of the CIA’s Predator campaign in Yemen, or his role behind a recent push to expand the agency’s drone flee, (see my recent piece on this issue), so too I worry that Clash is the most recent victim of what we call in my world a “sex panic.”
At precisely the moment when gay people’s right to marry seems to be reaching a positive tipping point, sexuality is being driven back into the closet as something shameful and incompatible with honor (in the case of Petraeus) or decency (as in the case of Clash). Clash has not been convicted of a crime, but merely accused of one in a completely unsubstantiated, vague complaint. As you note below, this smacks of a shake down. But what is telling is Sesame Workshop’s quick overreation, not waiting for any credible evidence of wrongdoing to be presented before making it clear to Clash that the voice of Elmo cannot be associated with sex, legal or otherwise.
To my mind, of equal concern is the other aspect of this issue that stems from a moral sense that sexuality of any kind poses a threat to childhood (in the form of Elmo and other Sesame Workshop characters). Recall the panic when it was implied years ago that Bert and Ernie were gay, or that the Teletubbies were as well. Any implication that children or child-like characters had a sexuality was to be immediately disavowed. It does children a disservice to construe sexuality as something that can only hurt them and from which they must be protected, rather than acknowledging that children are sexual beings whether we like it or not, as sexuality is a natural part of human and child development. In the name of protecting them from adult predators, so many children, particularly gay children, learn almost nothing about healthy sexuality and are left to figure it out on their own – a predicament that often exposes them to additional risks they could have avoided had they received adequate and age-appropriate sexual education as children.
Here’s what they published:
Elmo Puppeteer Resigns After Fresh AllegationBy ELIZABETH JENSEN and BRIAN STELTER
5:11 p.m. | Updated Kevin Clash, the longtime voice and puppeteer behind “Sesame Street’s” Elmo character, resigned on Tuesday after a new allegation was made that he had underage sexual relationships.
Announcing the decision with what he called a “very heavy heart,” Mr. Clash said in a statement, “Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work ‘Sesame Street’ is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”
His statement came at around the same time that a lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York accusing him of “sexual activity” with a 15-year-old. The accuser, Cecil Singleton, is now 24. The suit said that Mr. Singleton “did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012.” It sought $5 million in damages.
Mr. Clash had no comment on the lawsuit. He was first accused last week of sexual improprieties by a man who later recanted and said they had an “adult consensual relationship.” That man has remained anonymous and has not filed a suit.
While Mr. Clash’s departure on Tuesday put some distance between the sex allegations and the iconic children’s character, the claims may affect the “Sesame Street” brand in ways that remain to be seen.
Hasbro, the main toy licensee for “Sesame Street” products, said in a statement Tuesday, “We are confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ and that ‘Sesame Street’ toys will continue to delight children for years to come.” Macy’s, in a statement, said the episode would have no bearing on “Sesame Street’s” presence in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade later in the week.
Jim Silver, editor in chief of Time to Play, a Web site that follows the toy and licensing business, estimated Hasbro’s wholesale sales of “Sesame Street” branded toys to be about $75 million annually. Elmo-related products account for 50 to 75 percent of that figure, he said, depending on the year.
Before Mr. Clash resigned, Mr. Silver said he was estimating that Elmo-related toy sales would be down perhaps 10 percent because of the stories about Mr. Clash’s personal life. But with the resignation, he said, the total impact will probably be less than that. This fall, Hasbro’s Playskool brand introduced “Playskool Sesame Street LOL Elmo,” a new version of 1996’s “Tickle Me Elmo,” with a suggested $40 retail price tag.
“People are making the separation that this is about Kevin Clash, this is not about Elmo,” he said. “The more people make the separation, the less effect on sales.”
Mr. Clash took a leave of absence last week to defend himself when the first accuser received attention from the gossip Web site TMZ. Production of “Sesame Street” will be unaffected by his absence, in part because Mr. Clash had been helping to identify other puppeteers who could play Elmo.
Still, his name has been synonymous with Elmo for more than 20 years, and especially so since his star turn in a documentary, “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” last year. The complaints this month contributed to what Sesame Workshop, the producer of “Sesame Street,” on Tuesday called a distraction.
“None of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization,” the organization said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from ‘Sesame Street.’”
The statement concluded, “This is a sad day for ‘Sesame Street.’ ” The organization declined interview requests.
After the resignation announcement, there were unanswered questions about whether Mr. Clash was forced out by the organization (whose publicists announced his departure an hour before his own personal publicist did).
Katherine Franke, a professor of law and the director of the center for gender and sexuality law at Columbia University, said she worried that Mr. Clash was “the most recent victim of what we call in my world a ‘sex panic.’ ” She named a second recent example, David Petraeus, who admitted having an extramarital affair and resigned as the C.I.A. director earlier this month.
“At precisely the moment when gay people’s right to marry seems to be reaching a positive tipping point, sexuality is being driven back into the closet as something shameful and incompatible with honor (in the case of Petraeus) or decency (as in the case of Clash),” Ms. Franke said in an e-mail message. Mr. Clash, she added, “has not been convicted of a crime, but merely accused of one in a completely unsubstantiated, vague complaint.”
I’m already getting really ugly hate mail. Used to be that when I wrote about gay rights the hate mail swamped my Inbox. Now it happens when I write about sex. Many of the critics say I’m defending the likes of Jerry Sandusky (Ann Althouse reposted my Elmo quote on her blog and that’s been the spirit of many of the hostile comments). Seems it’s too hard for many readers to see a difference between a defense of sex and a defense of sexual exploitation.
Sex is getting such a bad rap these days. Just as feminists have found it challenging to Theorize Yes to sex, seems the larger public has as well. Sure, there is dangerous, exploitative, predatory, violent sex. But not all of it is. When someone is accused of having (or liking) non-normative sex, let’s wait a moment before we conclude that the moment calls for pitchforks and stockades. Sex, and life, are so much more complicated.
Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School
Cross-posted from the Gender & Sexuality Law Blog
According to the Inside the Law School Scam blog, “Clearly, the fact that law schools have produced an enormous oversupply of people with law degrees over the course of the last generation has an extremely significant gender component.”
And the alleged oversupply of law students is totally the fault of us dumb broads. NB: If you decide to read the post, it is probably best to avoid the comments, in case that needs pointing out.
This essay is really good! Below is an excerpt.
Women’s Emotions are “Emotions,” Men’s Emotions are “How People Talk”
A long time ago, in Bullish: What Egg Donation Taught Me About Being a Dude, I quoted Ben Barres, Chair of the Neurobiology department at Stanford, and also a transsexual man:
“It is just patently absurd to say women are more emotional than men. Men commit 25 times the murders; it’s shocking what the numbers are. And if anyone ever sees a woman with road rage, they should write it up and send it to a medical journal.”
What I want to talk about is how emotional outbursts typically more associated with men (shouting, expressing anger openly) are given a pass in public discourse in a way that emotional outbursts typically more associated with women (crying, “getting upset”) are stigmatized.
I wish to dispel the notion that women are “more emotional.” I don’t think we are. I think that the emotions women stereotypically express are what men call “emotions,” and the emotions that men typically express are somehow considered by men to be something else.
This is incorrect. Anger? EMOTION. Hate? EMOTION. Resorting to violence? EMOTIONAL OUTBURST. An irrational need to be correct when all the evidence is against you? Pretty sure that’s an emotion. Resorting to shouting really loudly when you don’t like the other person’s point of view? That’s called “being too emotional to engage in a rational discussion.”
Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions. A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse. …
Commenting on the Petraeus case, Katherine Franke posted here about the status of adultery as a crime in 27 jurisdictions. Today I stumbled across an article by Lance McMillian (Atlanta’s John Marshall), Adultery as Tort, 95 N.C. L. Rev. 1987 (2012). Here is the abstract:
North Carolina is one of the last remaining states to recognize tort claims arising from adultery. Ignoring criticism of this position, the appellate courts of the state have consistently and steadfastly refused to abandon adultery-based actions, despite many high-profile opportunities to do so. Traditional torts such as alienation of affections and criminal conversation thus retain their viability. Not everyone is pleased with North Carolina’s isolation in this regard. Attempts in the North Carolina legislature to repeal these perceived legal relics have increasingly gained traction in recent years. With the future of these torts in North Carolina in doubt, the time is ripe to assess whether any compelling reasons exist to preserve them.
In this vein, this Article offers a countercultural defense of North Carolina’s continuing embrace of adultery as tort. First, as the ongoing debate over gay marriage demonstrates, citizens of all political stripes look to government to validate marriage as an institution. Gay marriage advocates see state licensing as an essential step in elevating the status of same-sex couples. Gay marriage opponents, on the other hand, look to the state as the decisive authority for protecting the traditional view of marriage as being between one man and one woman. But if the state is the proper vehicle for legitimizing the marriage bond, as all sides seem to agree, then it follows that the state should have a prominent role in protecting that bond. Second, the tort system presently offers robust protection to victims injured when their business or contractual relationships suffer sabotage from third-party tortious interference. Marriage, as a relationship of demonstrably greater importance, deserves the same level of legal respect. Third, through loss of consortium claims, the law already offers strong protection of the marital bed against intrusions by third-party tortfeasors. The ubiquity of loss of consortium claims shows both tort law’s desire to protect marriage from the actions of third parties and its willingness to intrude into the most private of personal details to effectuate this desire.
By contrasting adultery as tort with these other areas of legal interest, I hope to demonstrate that adultery-based torts are not as far out of the legal mainstream as is commonly assumed, perhaps paving the way for a wider acceptance of claims such as alienation of affections once again.
The full article is available here.
From Palgrave, this new book by Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas (Religion, Goucher College): Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant. Here’s is the publisher’s description:
There is a problem in the black church. It is a problem with black bodies and a blues problem. This book addresses these problems head-on. It proclaims that as long as the black church cannot be a home for certain bodies, such as LGBT bodies, then it has forsaken its very black faith identity. The black church must find a way back to itself. Kelly Brown Douglas argues that the way back is through the blues.
A sample chapter is available for download here.
From the FLP mailbox, this CFP:
To reflect on the influence and legacy of Barbara Grier (1933-2011), The Journal of Lesbian Studies will be devoting a thematic journal issue to the topic.
2011 witnessed the passing of Barbara Grier, an icon in lesbian literary history and feminist publishing. From her “Lesbiana” column in Daughters of Bilitis’ magazine The Ladder, to three editions of The Lesbian in Literature (1967, 1975, 1985), to her role as publisher of the Naiad Press
from 1973-2003, Barbara Grier introduced hundreds of new lesbian books to readers and kept several lesbian classics on the literary horizon.
The Journal of Lesbian Studies is an interdisciplinary journal, thus, multi and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. We welcome proposals on the intersections of lesbian literary history, the lesbian feminist movement, feminist presses, and/or lesbian feminist publishing, including the work of Naiad Press authors. Proposals that discuss or contextualize the significance of Grier’s work or influence are especially welcome.
Please direct inquiries or submit a proposal of no more than 500 words with
a brief CV to guest editor Danielle DeMuth at firstname.lastname@example.org by December
20, 2012. Please put “JLS Special Issue” in the subject line.
Authors will be contacted in early January regarding their proposals. Final
essays of approximately 5000-7500 words will be due April 1, 2013.
From the FLP mailbox:
Call for Symposium Papers
Gender Matters: Women, Social Policy and the 2012 Election
April 2, 2013 at American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC
The American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law and Women and the Law Program invite papers for a symposium on gender, social policy and the election of 2012. The organizers welcome papers that explore how current or proposed social polices affect the lives of women and their families, and/or that analyze what role, if any, rhetoric about those polices may have played in the recent election. Abstracts from professors or practitioners (sorry, no student pieces) addressing gender and health care, labor and employment, taxation, fiscal policy and social welfare or other relevant social policy are due by midnight January 7, 2013. Papers selected will be presented at a symposium on April 2, 2013 at American University Washington College of Law, and strongly considered for publication. To read the full Call for Papers and to submit an abstract online, please visit the symposium website. Please contact the organizers at email@example.com with any questions.
Georgia NeSmith is an independent writer and editor who has a great website over at Matrix Editorial Services (here). In revving up to return to writing after a few weeks off, I stumbled upon upon her advice for “Writing the Introduction.” Her advice is specifically geared toward dissertation writers, but I found much that is applicable to writers of law review articles, too. Here is an excerpt from her post:
The first draft of most dissertations seems to be very similar: the student is trying to demonstrate competence in all the major literature in any way remotely connected to his or her study. This is not only unnecessary, it is annoying for the average reader.
The Introduction or introductory chapter is often rambling and extensive, leaving the reader who is interested in the actual subject of the research feeling very frustrated. Get to the point! one wants to shout. * * *
The introduction to a dissertation must do the following, and the following ALONE:
- It identifies, locates, and justifies your study within your field. It demonstrates that your study attends to something entirely new, never examined before in the field.
- It states the specific problem that your study is to address, a problem not heretofore addressed by previous studies
- It states the research questions to be addressed by your specific study
- It states the methods to be used
- And finally, it outlines the chapters to come.
The introduction answers the following questions:
- What is the problem? Why do I study this issue? Why should it be solved?
- Who will benefit the most from this piece of writing? What is the contribution?
- What is my purpose?
- What are my methods?
- What can the reader expect in the subsequent chapters? * * *
The introductory chapter of a dissertation is much like that first paragraph in the old “five paragraph theme”: essentially, you tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em. The big difference is that you must also demonstrate that the study about to be read is unique and makes a major contribution to the field in which it is located.
The full post is here.
As many now know, CIA Director and retired four-star Army General David Petraeus has resigned his post at the CIA on account of newly emerging information that he had what the media calls an “extra-marital” affair with Paula Broadwell, who is also married. Broadwell is the author of the flattering Petraeus biography All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.
Others have pointed out the irony that Petraeus’ career ended in humiliation on account of adultery, not the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the U.S. government in the Petraeus-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the expansion of the CIA’s Predator campaign in Yemen, or his role behind a recent push to expand the agency’s drone fleet. He played a key role in decisions to carry out controversial strikes, including the Predator attacks last year that killed two U.S. citizens: the alleged al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son. The Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit charging senior CIA and military officials, including Petraeus, with violating the Constitution and international law when they authorized and directed drone strikes that resulted in these deaths as part of a broader practice of extrajudicial “targeted killing” by the United States outside the context of armed conflict.
But no, it was adultery that brought down Petraeus. Other facts will no doubt emerge in the coming days that may implicate additional c0mplications connected to his affair with Paula Broadwell, and/or with Broadwell’s behavior toward others, but the official story of his resignation, acknowledged by the Obama administration, was that his “marital infidelity” was what rendered him no longer fit to serve as the country’s top spy.
Gay men and lesbians were vulnerable to this kind of take down from public service until recently on the theory that illegal and shameful behavior such as being gay or having an extra marital affair could render you susceptible to blackmail, thus jeopardizing national security.
What a moment this is that on the heels of having won enormous victories in electing openly gay candidates such as Tammy Baldwin and securing marriage rights for same sex couples in four more states, marriage remains an institution whose mores, morals, and social standing can bring down someone as powerful as David Petraeus when he violates them. It seems that we live in a time when it’s safer to be gay than to be an adulterer.
Yet gay people continue to clamor to be included in the venerated institution of marriage so that we, just like straight people, can get in trouble, lose our jobs and be publicly ridiculed when we have sex with someone who isn’t our spouse.
Oh, and just as a reminder, adultery remains a crime in 27 states including the states that Petreaus claims as his residence: New Hampshire and Virginia. And of perhaps greater importance, the Uniform Code of Military Justice treats adultery very seriously: Adultery is punishable under Article 134, with a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.
And lest we forget, the military is an institution gay people have been clamoring to get into as well, rendering us subject to its morality code a few short years after we escaped the surveillance of civilian sodomy laws in the Lawrence v. Texas case.
Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School
Cross-posted from the Gender & Sexuality Law Blog
Seriously, check out his column The Siren and The Spook (below is an excerpt):
… Broadwell has just 13 percent body fat, according to a recent measurement. Did you know that? Did you need to? It came up nonetheless. And like so much else about her — her long-ago coronation as homecoming queen, her six-minute mile — it was presented not merely as a matter of accomplishment, but as something a bit titillating, perhaps a part of the trap she laid.
There are bigger issues here. There are questions of real consequence, such as why the F.B.I. got so thoroughly involved in what has been vaguely described as a case of e-mail harassment, whether the bureau waited too long to tell lawmakers and White House officials about the investigation, and how much classified information Broadwell, by dint of her relationship with Petraeus, was privy to. The answers matter.
Her “expressive green eyes” (The Daily Beast) and “tight shirts” and “form-fitting clothes” (The Washington Post) don’t. And the anecdotes and chatter that implicitly or explicitly wonder at the spidery wiles she must have used to throw the mighty man off his path are laughably ignorant of history, which suggests that mighty men are all too ready to tumble, loins first. Wiles factor less into the equation than proximity. …
“On Having Fun & Raising Hell” – Symposium honoring the work of Professor Ann Scales on Saturday, March 30, 2013 at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Keynote Speakers: Kathryn Abrams, UC Berkeley Law School & Katherine Franke, Columbia School of Law
For more information, please contact Stefanie Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.871.6076. Registration information coming in December.
* “Have fun. Raise hell. Question everything. Celebrate difference.” – Ann Scales
From Equality Now:
The Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has just returned from a business trip to Britain, where she met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. In Liberia, more than 58% of women have undergone emale genital mutilation (FGM), where the Sande secret society promotes and carries it out without hindrance. This is in spite of President Sirleaf’s pledge to make women’s rights a national priority.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, although FGM was banned in 2006, 2010 legislation [No. 1636/MENKES/PER /XI/2010 regarding “Female Circumcision”] has taken a huge step backwards by permitting it, as long as it is performed by medical professionals. According to a 2003 study surveying girls aged 15-18 in six provinces in Indonesia, 86-100% had been subjected to some form of FGM, which commonly involved cutting into or injuring the clitoris.
The World Health Organisation, of which Indonesia is a member, has stated that FGM refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons and that “under no circumstances should FGM be performed by health professionals or in health establishments”. Some proponents argue that the forms of FGM which are carried out in Indonesia are less invasive than in parts of Africa. However, irrespective of the extent of the procedure, FGM reflects a deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination and violence against women and girls. Moreover, it promotes the stereotype that there is something inherently wrong with the female body, which needs to be altered.
Further evidence is also emerging in post-Mubarack Egypt, where a new draft constitution has been heavily criticised for failing to protect women’s rights, that some social conservatives are considering a similar approach to Indonesia. In a recent F1000 research publication, Dr. Mohamed Kandil from Egypt suggests that “the procedure [clitoridectomy] should be offered to parents who insist on it; otherwise, they will do it illegally”. This absolutely ignores current knowledge of the reproductive, sexual and psychological health risks and complications associated with FGM. Dr. Kandil also conveniently disregards the Hippocratic Oath, which he has taken as a trained medical doctor and which specifically requires him to keep his patients safe from harm and injustice. Furthermore, he omits any reference to the fact that the previous ban on medicalised FGM in Egypt was due in most part to the death of a twelve year old girl in 2007, following an FGM procedure performed by a trained medical professional. The medicalisation of FGM does not work on any level – apart from providing financial benefit to those who perform this dangerous and unnecessary procedure.
Some of those in favour of FGM argue too that it is a cultural or religious requirement, although no reference to this can be found in any major religious text. Any attempts by politicians to gain votes from religious and cultural traditionalists by turning a blind eye to FGM are unacceptable. Similarly, medical professionals who encourage this form of child abuse directly contradict their core responsibility to protect rather than harm their patients and should be struck off the medical register. As minors, those who undergo FGM should not be expected to defend themselves, particularly as some, including Indonesian girls, are less than six weeks old when the procedure is carried out. Like all victims of child abuse, they look towards both political leaders and medical professionals for help and support, as opposed to putting them at further risk of harm.
However, moves are being made in the right direction in some African countries. Encouraged by UK and international support, the new Somali constitution includes a ban on all forms of “female circumcision”. The global effort to stop FGM has also taken a critical step forward at this year’s United Nations General Assembly with the official presentation by the Group of African States of a draft resolution to intensify global efforts to eliminate the practice. This significant development has created a scenario whereby the human rights of women and girls are being brought centre-stage at last and African governments should be commended for their leadership on this issue at the UN. …
See this, excerpt below:
Katrina Shealy upended Lexington County politics Tuesday, ousting legendary state Sen. Jake Knotts to become the only woman in the state Senate.
Shealy’s win was remarkable in that she beat Knotts in a district that the Republican incumbent drew for himself. Shealy also won despite getting tossed off the Republican primary ballot, along with about 200 other candidates, for not filing the proper paperwork.
But Shealy fought her way back into the general election as a petition candidate. Still, her victory was a long shot, given that she had to overcome the deluge of straight-Republican Party ticket voting that occurs in each presidential election year.
The state Republican Party suspended its rules so it could endorse Shealy – an unprecedented move, especially against a sitting Republican. And a political action committee affiliated with GOP Gov. Nikki Haley poured money into the race for Shealy to defeat Knotts, a Haley critic and opponent.
Knotts, while beloved by many for his constituent services, was unable to overcome several high-profile stumbles, including a fine by the Senate Ethics Commission for violating state ethics laws and referring to Haley, then a candidate for governor, as a “rag head.”
Attempts to reach Knotts and Shealy were unsuccessful Tuesday night. However, Knotts was the only incumbent state senator who appeared headed to defeat.
Here. Below is one of the featured postcards.
Surely there is a better way to describe swing states than “It’s like being the prettiest girl at the dance.”
From the FLP mailbox:
Applications are now available for Summer 2013 Research Fellowships at The Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston. Fellowships are open to academic scholars, independent researchers, and graduate students. The Library’s collections, centered on the papers of Mary Baker Eddy and records documenting the history of Christian Science, offer scholars countless opportunities for original research. A select list of such resources includes: Mary Baker Eddy’s scrapbooks and copybooks; household account ledgers and receipts; a fully-indexed file of newspapers clippings that date to the late nineteenth century; Eddy’s sermons and lectures; an extensive historic photograph collection; architectural records; early histories of branch Churches of Christ, Scientist; and Eddy’s voluminous correspondence and manuscript material, which offer opportunities for new analyses of her life and ideas. Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) authored a groundbreaking book on science, theology, and healing titled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, a publishing society, and The Christian Science Monitor. Previous fellowship topics have included: Mary Baker Eddy and Bronson Alcott; demographic survey of early Christian Science church members; military ministry; material culture and memory; church architecture and feminine sacred space; Christian Science and divine healing. Stipend provided. Application and supporting materials must be postmarked by February 4, 2013. For further information about the Library’s holdings and the fellowship program, including the application and instructions, please go to http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/research/visit/fellowships or contact 617-450-7316, email@example.com.
The ABA Journal reported here on the University of Miami School of Law’s new African Probate & Policy Initiative. Here’s an excerpt:
If a Tanzanian man dies without a will, his property goes to his family of origin. If he was married, his widow often receives nothing from the estate. In fact, a Tanzanian woman is more likely to receive property if she divorces than if her husband dies intestate.
Gretchen Bellamy, director of international public interest programs at the University of Miami School of Law, saw this disparity as a profound human rights problem. So the former Peace Corps volunteer launched the African Probate & Policy Initiative and took four law students to Tanzania this summer to draft wills for marginalized populations there.
Bellamy and her crew partnered with the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association to help navigate the country’s highly complex legal system, which combines elements of common law, customary law and Shariah. Not surprisingly, they encountered skepticism from many Tanzanians because some in that culture believe that writing a will is “calling your death.” Since even well-educated Tanzanian women often aren’t listed on car leases or property deeds, Bellamy quickly determined that both men and women needed educating about the importance of wills.
After three weeks of class time in Miami, Bellamy and the students made their way through the cities of Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha and Zanzibar over a four-week period during which they educated couples and wrote wills. Her initial goal was to have each student draft a will, but together they logged more than 300 pro bono hours drafting 103 wills. “It’s a wonderful success story,” Bellamy says. “I realized I’m on to something.”
The full story is available here.
From the FLP mailbox:
COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS – SUSAN CURRIER VISITING PROFESSORSHIP – Full-time, non-renewable, one-quarter appointment as a visiting Associate or Full Professor (Lecturer classification) at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California. Position will have an official start date of September 16, 2013, will conclude on December 14, 2013, and can accommodate applicants on semester or quarter schedules.
The Susan Currier Visiting Professorship for Teaching Excellence is a residential teaching professorship that recognizes superior teaching in the liberal arts, emphasizing (where possible) the intersection between gender/women’s issues and global justice/humanitarian concerns. The goal of the Susan Currier Visiting Professorship is to bring an associate or full professor with a distinguished record of teaching excellence to Cal Poly to share her/his expertise and passion for teaching, social justice, and the liberal arts.
The Currier Visiting Professorship entails a two-course teaching assignment, as well as assigned time for service to the university.
Service includes presentation of the annual Susan Currier Memorial Lecture (a major university-wide presentation on a topic appropriate to the visitor’s field) and other to-be-determined activities promoting excellence in teaching (e.g., participation in the Cal Poly Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology). The professorship also provides a residential stipend of up to $10,000, and funds for reimbursed travel expenses for one trip to and from the location of the home institution in accordance with university travel reimbursement guidelines. Salary is commensurate with qualifications, expertise and experience.
The Currier Professorship will be housed in one of the following departments: Art and Design, Communication Studies, English, Ethnic Studies, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music, Philosophy, Theatre and Dance, or Women’s and Gender Studies. Ph.D. or other appropriate terminal degree is required in one of the fields of study traditionally associated with the liberal arts. Distinguished record of teaching excellence in a disciplinary or interdisciplinary field related to one or more of the departments listed above.
To apply, please visit WWW.CALPOLYJOBS.ORG, complete a required online faculty application, and apply to Requisition #102688. Attach to the online application a letter of interest, curriculum vita, teaching philosophy (1 page maximum), and a brief descriptive listing of possible courses (2 page maximum). Please see online instructions for where to mail official transcripts of highest degree earned and three current letters of recommendation that address your achievements in teaching as well as your work in an (inter) disciplinary field related to one or more of the departments above.
Questions may be directed to the Cal Poly Women’s and Gender Studies Department (805) 756-1525. REVIEW BEGIN DATE: January 6, 2013. Cal Poly is strongly committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and nominations of all qualified individuals. EEO.
I just attended the Social Justice Feminism conference sponsored by the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and inspired by Verna Williams’s and Kristen Kalsem’s Social Justice Feminism, which appeared in 2010 in the UCLA Women’s Law Journal. Hearty thanks to the conference sponsors for putting together such an inspiring program, continuing the conversation begun as part of the New Women’s Movement Initiative.
The conference was terrific—thought-provoking, energizing—but also unsettling. As after any good conference, I left with more questions than answers. From Patricia Hill Collins asking what it means to really study and promote intersectionality, to Dorothy Q. Thomas questioning whether one can be both a feminist and a patriot, to Linda Burnham and Barbara Phillips wondering how we as social justice feminists might make our projects relevant to the real people whose interests we hope to serve, a theme throughout the three days was how difficult it is to bridge the divide between the “academy” and the “community.”
The conference did offer inspiration in this regard. Tracy Thomas’s identification of conservatives’ historical revision of the life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ann Cammett’s re-imagination of criminal and family law outside the paradigms of Welfare Queen and Deadbeat Dad, and Johanna Bond’s challenging of the “false promise” of gender mainstreaming all suggest that a tentative first step toward praxis might be reclaiming jurisdiction over powerful ideals like justice, patriotism, and truth.
My own presentation, with criminologist Tyler Wall from Eastern Kentucky University, suggested we might use Avery Gordon’s approach and explore the raced, classed, and gendered assumptions inherent in dominant narratives as hauntings—ghostly matters—which are deliberately or tacitly obscured in and by the dominant discourse.
The most valuable aspect of the conference was beginning to tap into the wealth of ideas that can emerge when we take time to explore interconnections among feminists from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives. Now, to put those ideas into practice….
(The text and links below are from here)
The Global Gender Gap Report, introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, provides a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities around the world. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparison across regions and income groups and over time.
The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them. The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2012 emphasizes persisting gender gap divides across and within regions. Based on the seven years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, it finds that the majority of countries covered have made slow progress on closing gender gaps.
This year’s findings show that Iceland tops the overall rankings in The Global Gender Gap Index for the fourth consecutive year. Finland ranks in second position, overtaking Norway (third). Sweden remains in fourth position. Northern European countries dominate the top 10 with Ireland in the fifth position, Denmark (seventh) and Switzerland (10th). New Zealand (sixth), Philippines (eighth) and Nicaragua (ninth) complete the top 10.
The index continues to track the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its national competitiveness. Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women.
Download full report (PDF)
Country Highlights (PDF)
Global Gender Gap Index Data Analyser
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Judge as Judicial Midwife?: Justice on Botswana’s High Court Strikes Down Customary Law Rule Banning Female Inheritance
Recently, a justice on Botswana’s high court struck down a Ngwaketse Customary Law rule precluding women from inheriting family homes, finding that it contravened the right to equality principle enshrined in Botswana’s constitution. Perhaps as interesting as the justice’s conclusion is the language that he used. According to Justice Dingake, “it is time for Botswana judges to assume the role of the ‘judicial midwives’ to assist in the birth of a new world struggling to be born – a world of equality between men and women as envisioned by the Botswana Constitution.”
“This court believes that it is its function to treat the Constitution as a living organism and to constantly sharpen it to address contemporary challenges,” said Dingake. He is of the view that it is the function of judges to keep the law alive and to make it progressive without being inhibited by those aspects of culture that are no longer relevant, to find every conceivable way of avoiding narrowness that would spell injustice.
Justice Dingake’s idea of judge as “judicial midwife” is an interesting spin on the traditional concept of judge as “judicial activist.” Advocates of strict constructionism or judicial passivism, of course, use the term judicial activist derisively to criticize judges acting as legislators. But the term judicial midwife seems to convey that the judge is instead giving life to something nascent in the Constitution but not fully expressed. The United States analogue is Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), with the Supreme Court famously finding “that the right of marital privacy is protected, as being within the protected penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights….”
The term “judicial midwife” was actually specifically used by David J. Garrow in tribute to Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., in which he referred to him “as the essential judicial midwife for what became the Southern black freedom struggle’s most famous protest.” It was also used by Justice Scalia in Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165 (1989), in criticizing the majority’s conclusion that a “district court can use its compulsory process to assist counsel for the plaintiff in locating nonparties to the litigation who may have similar claims, and in obtaining their consent to his prosecution of those claims.” Scalia did not see in any law any “implied authorization for courts to undertake the unheard-of role of midwifing those actions.”
From Inside Higher Ed (here), this article about a U Chicago professor who took to Facebook to diss the appearances of his female colleagues:
Pity the attendees at last week’s annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience who thought they needed to focus on their papers and the research breakthroughs being discussed. It turns out they were also being judged — at least by one prominent scientist — on their looks. At least the female attendees were.
The scientist was Dario Maestripieri, a professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology and neurobiology at the University of Chicago. He posted the following reflection about the meeting on his Facebook page:
“My impression of the Conference of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. There are thousands of people at the conference and an unusually high concentration of unattractive women. The super model types are completely absent. What is going on? Are unattractive women particularly attracted to neuroscience? Are beautiful women particularly uninterested in the brain? No offense to anyone..”
Maestripieri posted the comment on what he may have presumed was a somewhat private portion of his Facebook page. But at least one of his Facebook friends didn’t see the humor, and the post spread on Twitter and elsewhere. And the “no offense to anyone” conclusion of the post doesn’t seem to have prevented considerable offense.
The reaction has been intense online, with people tweeting comments like “Looks like Dario Maestripieri thought the #SFN conference was Paris Fashion Week” and others posting his e-mail account and or critiquing his looks.
Within the women-in-science blogosphere, many have been writing that Maestripieri’s Facebook post provides evidence of the kinds of attitudes they have long experienced, but that many men doubt.
The more things change…
According to CNN “New research suggests that hormones may influence female voting choices differently, depending on whether a woman is single or in a committed relationship.”
Below is a sample paragraph to warn you what you are in for if you decide to read this article. No, as far as I can tell it is not intentionally satirical, which is what I was initially hoping,
The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers’ overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.
“Scholarly Publishing’s Gender Gap: Women cluster in certain fields, according to a study of millions of journal articles, while men get more credit”
… First they created an algorithm to label the millions of JSTOR papers by field and subfield. Then the trick was to figure out whether an author was male or female. The lab consulted data on birth names collected by the Social Security Administration. If a name was used at least 95 percent of the time for a female, they coded it female, and the same for a male. If use of the name was more ambiguous, they threw the paper out.
Of the eight million articles the group started with, it ended up analyzing two million—written by 2.7 million scholars—whose author composition was similar to the whole. Roughly half were published between 1665 and 1989, and the other half between 1990 and 2010. Included in the database are papers in the hard sciences, the social sciences, law, history, philosophy, and education. Missing from the JSTOR data are articles in engineering, English, foreign languages, and physics.
The data show that over the entire 345 years, 22 percent of all authors were female. (Even though few papers in the JSTOR archive originated in the first 100 years, the researchers still felt that examining the entire data set was worthwhile.) The data also show that women were slightly less likely than that to be first author: About 19 percent of first authors in the study were female. Women were more likely to appear as third, fourth, or fifth authors.
According to the data in just the most recent time period, it is clear that the proportion of female authors over all is rising. From 1990 to 2010, the percentage of female authors went up to 27 percent. In 2010 alone, the last year for which full figures are available, the proportion had inched up to 30 percent. “The results show us what a lot of people have been saying and many of my female colleagues have been feeling,” says Ms. Jacquet. “Things are getting better for women in academia.”
Women still are not publishing, though, in the same proportion as they are present in academe as professors. The same year that the share of female authors in the study reached 30 percent, women made up 42 percent of all full-time professors in academe and about 34 percent of all those at the most senior levels of associate and full professor, according to the American Association of University Professors.
As the proportion of female authors over all has grown, the biologists’ study found, so has the percentage of women as first authors. In fact, by 2010 about the same proportion of women were first authors as were authors in general—about 30 percent.
But those gains have not been mirrored in the last-author position, which is of particular importance in the biological sciences. According to the data, in 2010 only about 23 percent of last authors over all were female. In molecular and cell biology, women represented almost 30 percent of authorships from 1990 to 2010, but only 16.5 percent of last authors. And over that same time period in ecology and evolution, women represented nearly 23 percent of authors but only 18.5 percent of last authors. …
An excerpt just won’t do this article justice. Read the entire piece here.
Subtitled: “An epidemic of high-profile trolling is a testament to how pathological misogyny is — and how early it begins,” you can read the entire piece by Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.
…. And if you require any further proof, read Soraya Chemaly’s nausea-inducing Huffington Post piece on “The 12-Year-Old Slut Meme and Facebook’s Misogyny Problem.” In it, she takes on Facebook’s famously blind eye to pages that intimidate and exploit underage girls, notably the “12-Year-Old Slut Memes” page that’s so chock-full of hilarity about pubes and virginity that it gives new meaning to the word “gag.” It’s the brainchild of two self-described 19-year-old males, and to get a sense of the tone, consider a post from last month declaring “Fuck all you people that had a cry and reported us because we put your slutty fucking photos up, got fucking banned from facebook for a while you cunts, had to make a new account. If you post slutty fucking shit on facebook expect your photo to end up on here, then tagged in, then ripped to shreds by 120 thousand people. Chaos will continue. Go die.” There you go, girls. Doesn’t get clearer than “go die.”
What is it about young girls that’s so incendiary? That could make “Jailbait” for a time the second most popular search on Reddit, that would ever put the words “12-year-old” and “slut” together? This BS – this dehumanizing crap – can’t just be chalked up to the inherent budding attractiveness of youth and freshness. This goes way, way beyond that particular can of worms. I think it has a whole lot to do with just how deeply engrained the hatred of women is in our culture.
It’s not a coincidence that it’s right around the age of 12 that a girl begins to come to an understanding of her potential for power. Not just her sexual power. But her intellectual and physical mettle as well. She’s still very much a child – a child in need of support and protection – but early adolescence is the beginning of a girl coming into her own as an independent person. With a brain and a body she’s going to control. How terrifying that is for the hateful, misogynistic jerks of the world. (And I’m not letting sabotaging, self-hating females off the hook here for their bullying and divisiveness either; they’re a huge part of the problem too.) They pick on girls because it’s easier than dealing with adult women; that’s how weak they are.
I look at my own 12-year-old daughter and I see so much possibility in her. So much strength and wisdom and beauty. And some days, I feel like apologizing to her for everything on the Internet that doesn’t involve tiny pigs. I wish I could write off the likes of Michael Brutsch as one isolated, disturbed individual. And he’s exceptional; a king among trolls, to be sure. But he exists because there is a strong and vocal community of little creeps who are simultaneously aroused and hateful and scared to death of everything that a young girl represents. Who look at her and feel so bad about their own pathetic selves they want nothing more than to tear her down and make her feel ever worse about herself. My dear daughter, I am so sorry these morons are out there, and that you and your friends are in their cross hairs. That they don’t see you as a person but a threat. …
Over the last six months there have been a number of disturbing studies and reports issued documenting that women are losing ground in our strides towards equality in the legal profession.
The National Law Journal reported this past week about the declining number of women law students who serve as editor-in-chief of the flagship law reviews at ABA-accredited law schools. The report, which can be accessed here, followed up on an initial Gender Diversity Report by Ms. JD and was conducted in collaboration with New York Law School.
The Women on Law Review report is distressing – the number of women editors in chief in 2011-2012 was 28.6%, down 5% from the last study for the period of 2008-2010. Researchers are now asking, with the widening gap in gender equity on law review leadership, how this correlates to the low numbers of women on the state and federal benches. In fact the Center for Women on Government and Civil Society released a report earlier this year (here) which notes that women occupy only 27.1% of seat on the bench (and this is a slight increase of .5% over last year).
This month the ABA Journal reports (here) that a lack of growth opportunities for women in law firms may be responsible for the decrease in enrollment of female students in law schools. The article recounts how in 1993 women accounted for 50% of entering law students, and two decades later the number is down to a national average of 46.8%, but it is as low as 40% at some schools.
In September of this year, the ABA Commission on Women in Legal Profession released their annual, “A Current Glance at Women in the Law,” which confirms the low percentages of women in positions of leadership within all categories of the profession.
What is even more distressing is Catalyst’s July 2012 data on Women in the Law in the U.S. which reveals significant gender gaps and posits that given the (slow) rate of change, it will take more than a woman lawyer’s lifetime to achieve equality.
We don’t have more than a lifetime to wait, and we need to wake up before the work of those who came before us is unraveled even more.
NYT article by that title here. Below is an excerpt:
The biggest gender gap to date in the exit polls came in 2000, when Al Gore won by 11 points among women, but George W. Bush won by 9 points among men — a 20-point difference. The numbers this year look very close to that.
Since the first presidential debate in Denver, there have been 10 high-quality national polls that reported a breakout of results between men and women. (I define a “high-quality” poll as one that used live telephone interviews, and which called both landlines and cellphones. These polls will collect the most representative samples and should provide for the most reliable benchmarks of demographic trends.)
The results in the polls were varied, with the gender gap ranging from 33 points (in a Zogby telephone poll for the Washington Times) to just 8 (in polls by Pew Research and by The Washington Post). On average, however, there was an 18-point gender gap, with Mr. Obama leading by an average of 9 points among women but trailing by 9 points among men.
Nice feminist analysis of problematic aspects of this article here.
Caroline Mala Corbin (Miami) has posted to SSRN her essay The Contraception Mandate, Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol. 106, Forthcoming. Here is the abstract:
Under the new health care regime, health insurance plans must cover contraception. While religious employers are exempt from this requirement, religiously affiliated employers are not. Several have sued, claiming that the “contraception mandate” violates the Free Exercise Clause, the Free Speech Clause, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This essay explains why the contraception mandate violates none of them.
The full essay is available here.
Nancy Rapoport explains why it is a great opportunity here.
Or, consider this opening:
That is a question asked in this column that also serves as its title, which is a teaser for a book by the same name:
Not too many people talk about the absence of women at the very top. That’s partly because, in a fight that’s been going on since the famous debates between Lenin and Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai, the left has a history of bullying women who dare to talk about gender at the apex of power. Doing so has been framed as a selfish concern of upper-class women, who are urged to focus their attention on the more deserving problems of their sisters at the bottom. As for the right, it has historically preferred to avoid discussion of gender and class altogether.
But the absence of women in the plutocracy is an important part of the culture of the 1 percent and a crucial way the very rich differ from everyone else. It is a powerful force in the workplace, where most plutocrats have no female peers. And it shapes their personal lives as well. The year 2009 was a watershed for the American workplace—it was the first time since data was collected that women outnumbered men on the country’s payrolls. In 2010, about four in 10 working wives were the chief breadwinners for their families.
The plutocracy, by contrast, still lives in the Mad Men era, and family life becomes more patriarchal the richer you get. In 2005, just over a quarter of taxpayers in the top 0.1 percent had a working spouse. For the 1 percent, the figure was higher, at 38 percent, but significantly lower than in the country as a whole.
Here. Below in an excerpt:
There’s also this: lately, magazines have been telling me there’s something wrong with feminism or women trying to achieve a work/life balance or just women in general. The Atlantic has led the way in these lamentations. In the aforementioned June 2012 article, Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation, wrote a searing polemic about “1 percent wives,” who are hurting feminism and the progress of women by choosing to stay at home rather than enter the workplace. Wurtzel begins the essay provocatively:
“When my mind gets stuck on everything that is wrong with feminism, it brings out the nineteenth century poet in me: Let me count the ways. Most of all, feminism is pretty much a nice girl who really, really wants so badly to be liked by everybody—ladies who lunch, men who hate women, all the morons who demand choice and don’t understand responsibility—that it has become the easy lay of social movements.”
There are problems with feminism, you see. Wurtzel says so, and she is vigorous in defending her position. Wurtzel goes on to state there is only one kind of equality, economic equality, and until women recognize that and enter the workforce en masse, feminists, and wealthy feminists in particular, will continue to fail. They will continue to be bad feminists, falling short of essential ideals of this movement.
The very next issue of the Atlantic included Anne-Marie Slaughter writing 12,000 words about the struggles of powerful, successful women to “have it all.” She was speaking to a small, elite group of women—wealthy women with very successful careers—while ignoring the millions of women who don’t have the privilege of, as Slaughter did, leaving a high-powered position at the State Department to spend more time with her sons. Many women who work do so because they have to. Working has little to do with having it all and much more to do with having food on the table.
Slaughter wrote, “I’d been the woman congratulating herself on her unswerving commitment to the feminist cause, chatting smugly with her dwindling number of college or law-school friends who had reached and maintained their place on the highest rungs of their profession. I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in.”
The thing is, I am not at all sure that feminism has ever suggested women can have it all. This notion of being able to have it all is always misattributed to feminism when really it’s human nature to want it all.
Alas, poor feminism. So much responsibility keeps getting piled on the shoulders of a movement whose primary purpose is to achieve equality, in all realms, between men and women. I keep reading these articles and getting angry and tired because these articles tell me that there’s no way for women to ever get it right. These articles make it seem like there is, in fact, a right way to be a woman and a wrong way to be a woman. And the standard appears to be ever changing and unachievable.
Jennifer Bennett was beaten, choked, and raped by Thomas Bray at his condo. (Here is the Today Show video on her story) Upon returning to her home, “[s]he stood at the entrance to her bathroom for 15 minutes, fighting the urge to scrub her body clean.”
“I had a decision to make: ‘Do I take a shower?'” Bennett recalled. “I stared at my shower. And I decided not to do it.”
Bennett decided against the shower, instead subjecting herself to a rape exam at the St. Charles Medical Center and questioning by police.
Later, Bennett faced another choice, an unprecedented choice for a crime victim in Oregon: whether to turn over her Google searches from the days before and after her rape. The judge ordered her to comply with a subpoena requiring her to disclose her searches. She refused. The judge then refused to enforce the subpoena. Eventually, Bray was convicted.
According to Bennett, by refusing to comply with the subpoena, she was making a stand on behalf of not only herself but all future rape victims. But will such stands be recognized in a world in which we increasingly live our lives online?
That is the title of this awesome post at Salon. Below is an excerpt:
Samantha Geimer was 13 years old when she had her fateful encounter with Polanski in 1977. The California age of consent at the time was 16. We could stop right there and say this therefore is not a “teen sex” story; this is a story with an absence of consent, and we could wrap it for the day and be done with this ridiculous, tawdry, false narrative. But let’s press on.
Let’s note that according to the grand jury testimony, Geimer wasn’t some coy Lolita in all of this, looking to hang Polanski out to dry on the age technicality. Go read the police officer’s account of the vaginal and anal slides taken of Geimer, the narcotics analyst’s description of the Quaaludes found at the scene, read about the semen on her clothes. Read her account of how Polanski took topless photos of her. Gave her Champagne. Split a Quaalude with her. Read how she said, “I was ready to cry … I was going, ‘No. Come on. Stop it.’ But I was afraid.” Read how she says he had intercourse with her, demanding to know if she was on the pill, and how when she said she wasn’t, he told her, “Oh, I won’t come inside you then,” and then he sodomized her. Read how, when asked in her testimony if she “resisted,” the then-13-year-old replied, “A little bit, but not really because … because I was afraid of him.” And then when you’re finished taking all of that in, I’ll come back and remind you that the man pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor. He pleaded guilty. Now, who’d like to go back and take a crack at rewriting some headlines?
“Despite a cease-and-desist letter, Shautsova surmised that Primal Ventures, the host of escortsexguide.com, would not delete the [false] profile because it makes money whenever someone clicks on it.”
That is a sentence pulled from this article, which tells yet another story of someone using the internet to inflict misery on a former romantic partner.
A classic that is still relevant and hilarious (and maybe NSFW depending on your employer’s views about cussing):
For some feminist commentary on this phenomenon go here.
Some of the parallels with the United States are stunning. This NYT article provides an overview of “a growing trend in Chinese universities in which women increasingly must score higher than men to get in and face unofficial but widespread gender quotas that favor men.”
Go to this post at The Consumerist to read a post that begins:
I always loved Disney villain Ursula, the portly six-legged sea-witch who swaps the Litte Mermaid’s tail for a pair of legs in return for her lovely singing voice. And you’d think that dressing up as Ursula, or as the inevitable “sexy” Halloween version of Ursula, would be an option for women who are actually shaped like the character. Nope, not so fast!