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Today’s Lady News: Are “Chinese Mothers” Superior?

  • The Wall Street Journal ran a controversial op-ed by Yale Law professor Amy Chua about “Chinese mothers,” or more broadly, a sub-set of strict parents who expect excellence from their children and force them to both study and rehearse instruments for hours a day. “Chinese parents can get away with things that Western parents can’t. Once when I was young — maybe more than once — when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me ‘garbage’ in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that.” She continues to explain her own parenting style with her two young daughters. It’s though-provoking, to say the least. [Wall Street Journal]
  • A former investment banker told BusinessWeek all about his mail-order bride business called Hand-In-Hand which “pairs” women from Eastern European countries with American men. These ladies are “unspoiled by feminism,” said Joseph Weiner. “You take a beautiful woman from the Czech Republic and you bring her into your home, she does all your cooking and cleaning and ironing.” [NYmag.com]

  • Rebecca Traister of Salon.com — and author of Big Girls Don’t Cry, which was about gender and sexuality in the 2008 election — remarks upon the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona this weekend. [Salon.com]
  • The State Department has decided to keep using the terms “mother” and “father” on overseas birth documentation, rather than gender-neutral terms. [Washington Post]
  • Anti-abortion extremists are freaking out over the abortion rate in New York City. [Jezebel]
  • Tina Tchen has been named Chief of Staff for First Lady Michelle Obama. Prior to joining the Obama campaign in 2008, Tchen was a partner at the prestigious law firm Skadden Arps. [Feminist.org]
  • Why hasn’t Oprah picked a book written by a female author since 2004 (and a book written by a living female author since 2002)? [Inkblot]
  • How many women versus men publish short stories in The New Yorker? The answer may dismay you. [The Millions]
  • Why you need to take all your birth control pills, including the placebos. [Crushable]
  • How to cope if bad body image is affecting your sex life. [Already Pretty]
  • Clothing designer Joan Vass of Elegant Knitwear passed away at age 85. Her clothes were carried by Henri Bendel and were worn by actresses like Candice Bergen on the cover of magazines during the ’80s and ’90s. [New York Times]
  • Actress Margot Stevenson, who starred in movies like “Stage Door” and “You Can’t Take It With You” back in the ’30s, died on January 2 at age 98. [Playbill.com]

INTERNATIONAL

  • UN Women, the newly founded agency that pulled together various United Nations groups dedicated to the empowerment of the world’s women, began functioning as an entity on January 1. [Feminist.org]
  • Salman Taseer, a regional governor in Pakistan and a supporter of women’s rights there, was murdered on January 4. [Feminist.org]
  • An area in Somalia controlled by an Islamist group has banned handshakes between unmarried men and women, as well as walking together or chatting in public. [BBC]
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