Kurt Cobain would have been 46 today. Do you remember where you were when you found out he’d killed himself? I was in high school art class, likely making some awful riot grrl-inspired art. I liked Nirvana, but at that point considered myself a little too cool to get super into them. They were soooo commercial, after all. And I fancied myself some kind of indie rock/riot grrl/zine-writing nightmare.
But fan or not, for those of us that exist in that murky era — not Generation X and not Generation Y — Cobain is and always will be a powerful arbiter of youthful dissent.
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Duke University has suffered some blows over the years as an academically prestigious school with a bad rep towards women. There was the infamous Duke lacrosse rape accusation of 2006 (which was later found to be false) and more recently, embarrassing fratboy shenanigans. Finally, some really positive news: Duke Women’s Center has created a program during the spring semester called Write(H)ers, which will train 23 students on how to be feminist bloggers. Keep reading »
Magazines seem to love writing about women’s choices, particularly if they can inspire readers to conclude that we’re making the wrong ones. Just before the new year, a much-talked about New Republic cover story focused on women and men becoming parents at an older age. The piece was written by an author who is herself an older mother and was concerned about a steady increase in birth defects and autism in recent years, although it’s been difficult so far to prove a direct correlation. Meanwhile, one of Boston Magazine’s cover stories that same month was about a growing breed of women who believed that it’s okay to have an “occasional” drink while pregnant. Yes, that was the language — “occasional” 00 yet the subject was so provocative that it warranted top billing. Let’s not forget the May Time cover of the woman breastfeeding her three-year-old son (she didn’t appear to be drinking wine at the time). Soon after came the story in The Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter that blared: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” (The Atlantic has published at least three stories since 1995 about women facing diminishing marriage and pregnancy prospects if they wait; one of the most famous such pieces, “Marry Him,” from 2008, urged women to settle for “Mr. Good Enough” rather than waiting to have babies.)
It isn’t these stories themselves that are frustrating as much as the fact that they appear to blame women for waiting to have children – as if it’s impossible to fathom that they didn’t find decent or willing men to date at the right time. Some of the stories blame the feminist movement, as if having more freedom is simply so confounding to women that they just can’t figure out what to do with themselves. There’s a wide swath of people in this country who appear to resent the idea of women having leeway in making life choices, and hope we’ll get our comeuppance if we don’t marry the first person who holds a door for us. Keep reading »
Yesterday afternoon, two Democratic politicians introduced the Ruth Moore Act, a bill to support former service members who survived sexual assault in the military. Veterans Affairs has long rejected disability claims of military sexual trauma (MST) for troops who were raped by colleagues and now need assistance. According to the Service Women’s Action Network, only one in three claims of PTSD from MST were approved by the VA between 2008 to 2010, presumably because the threshold was too high for these survivors to been seen as eligible. Keep reading »