Cross-promotion of, and occasional expansion/clarification of points from, articles published by Feministe authors in the Guardian‘s Comment Is Free section.
Caperton covered the Elizabeth Smart speech about abstinence already, and my Guardian column this week is on a similar topic: How an emphasis on purity is bad for women, bad for men and bad for rape survivors:...read more
Over at the Guardian, I’m writing about Adria Richards, and how victim-blaming for cyber harassment parallels victim-blaming in rape cases:
Of course it’s possible to disagree with Richards’ actions while still focusing on the real problem: misogyny online and in tech spaces. But it’s really not possible to pontificate at length on what Richards should have done without obscuring the fact that when women speak out, we’re met with rape threats.
A whole lot of people, as it turns out. This week at the Guardian I’m writing about the Commission on the Status of Women, a two-week-long UN conference that wrapped up on Friday and, thankfully, resulted in a signed document pledging action on women’s rights. But in the lead-up to the signing, we saw a variety of actors from all around the world try to impede anti-violence efforts. Who? Russia, Iran, the Vatican, the Muslim Brotherhood and American pro-life groups, among others. They had a variety of objections, but the chief ones were that the proposed CSW document would treat husbands who rape their wives the same way as men who rape strangers, would disallow countries from using the “it’s our culture / religion / tradition” excuse to avoid implementing anti-violence measures, and stated that women have a right to bodily integrity and freedom:...read more
Putting this up on a Friday evening because it’s already causing Outrage on the Guardian, Twitter and my personal Facebook account: Women shouldn’t change their names when they get married....read more
My Guardian column this week is about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In, and how I was prepared to totally hate the message but ended up pretty impressed:...read more
Last night, PBS aired the documentary MAKERS, a truncated history of the women’s movement. It’s streaming here, and is worth a watch — it’s powerful, inspiring and sometimes enraging. It serves as a good reminder of the debt of gratitude that we owe our feminist foremothers. At the end, though, there’s the question of where feminists are today — and there’s nothing about feminism online. I address that issue in the Guardian:...read more
In the Guardian this week I’m writing about how advocates for healthy food and journalists covering addictive junk food should focus on the bad health outcomes of that food instead of body size. I differ with much of the Feministe commentariat on a lot of food issues, especially insofar as I think the government should absolutely incentivize healthy eating and exercise, and I’m fine with limiting sizes of nutritionally useless, almost-entirely-bad-for-you processed items like soda (I’m also fine leveling taxes on products like soda, alcohol, cigarettes, etc). I prefer positive incentives — letting food stamps count double at farmers’ markets, for example — but I’m fine with doing both. That’s because at a basic level, it is the government’s job to promote the public health. How we eat is central to our health. My issue comes in with the obesity justification. Promote everyone’s health, whether we’re fat or thin or somewhere in between — because bad food is damaging to all bodies, not just fat ones. A piece of the column:...read more
My latest column in the Guardian is about the latest move from a group of conservatives to call a truce on gay marriage and get back to blaming single moms and poor people for destroying marriage itself. They say that poor and middle-class people aren’t getting married, and that’s hurting them financially and socially, keeping them poor. I say that working-class and middle-class people are marrying less often precisely because of economic insecurity: Outdated views of men as breadwinners mean that men who aren’t making enough to support a family may be less enthusiastic about marriage; increases in gender equality mean that working women no longer need to get married for social status and may not want to take on a husband who doesn’t pull his own weight inside the home and out; and with divorce being financially ruinous for women in particular, it’s probably a good idea to avoid marriage if you aren’t reasonably sure you’re hitching yourself to a good horse. If conservatives actually care about the things they say are the purpose of marriage — a good environment for children, family stability, accumulation of personal wealth — then they should support policies that directly promote those things instead of claiming marriage is the one and only solution, because it’s clearly not. A taste:...read more
My latest in the Guardian about those Women Today trend pieces, and how courtship hasn’t existed for several decades but dating is perhaps better than ever. A bit:
Change is always scary, and I am sure plenty of commentators throughout history whined that the warmth of fire wasn’t as satisfying as body heat, the flushing toilet less authentic than the chamber pot, the buggy not nearly as charming as the covered wagon. But alas, things change; humanity moves forward and adjusts. Young college students “pinning” their girlfriends in the 1950s was not exactly a centuries-old tradition. A more authentic marriage proposal – being sold into matrimony by your father, and taking few rights with you – is one that I’m sure most women are happy to leave behind.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the United States Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion for American women. I wrote about it in the Guardian, emphasizing the fact that abortion, birth control and bodily autonomy are crucial for women’s survival and our freedom. Without the right to determine the number and spacing of our children, we lose the ability to drive our own lives and to live fully freely, happily and healthily. Outlawing abortion doesn’t decrease the abortion rate; it just drives women to use a more dangerous methods and put their lives and their health at risk. Forty years on, Roe is as important as ever. And American society is, sadly, as misogynist as ever — evidenced by the very fact that abortion is still a fight....read more
Who’s watching? (I am watching from Paris, drinking tea and eating maracrons — it beats the hell out of four years ago when I was watching in freezing cold weather on the mall). What do you think? My thoughts are here, at the Guardian....read more
The Pope met with one of the leaders of the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda, and reportedly gave her a blessing. I write about it in the Guardian, and discuss how the Catholic church uses sexuality to control its followers when it feels its power is threatened:...read more