Saudi Arabia is on a roll with this not-treating-women-too-much-like-2nd-class-citizens thing! Earlier this week King Abudllah announced that women could vote and run in elections. Then on Wednesday, a member of his staff told the AP a Saudi woman will be spared a punishment of 10 lashes for flouting the country’s ban on women driving. The woman, Shaima Jastaina, was found guilty of driving without a license (as Saudi Arabia only issues such licenses to men) and sentenced to 10 lashes. Geez Louise, hold onto your testicles, boys, because it is like the office of Ms. magazine over there! Just kidding: the official speaking to the AP declined to elaborate about the amnesty, which may signify the king is trying not to draw attention to it and risking angering Saudis who oppose the expansion of women’s rights. But two grand, pro-women gestures in one week is still something to celebrate. [Al-Jazeera]
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Recently, I wrote a blog post about teaching our girls to be feminists. But I also think boys should be taught what it is to be a feminist. A couple of years ago, I recall a conversation I had with my 13-year-old nephew who is quite intelligent and a bit beyond his years. He was saying that he and his friends had had a discussion about who had it easier, men or women. They decided that women did for various reasons. A huge conversation ensued, as you can imagine, with my nephew, his mother, his grandmother and grandfather, and me. I think decidedly, by the end of the talk, we might have changed his mind! But it was a great moment to have an intelligent discussion about gender and what it means to be male or female in today’s world.
There seems to be a lot more research being done lately about boys and gender stereotyping. Undoubtedly, we need boys who will grow up understanding and appreciating what it means to be female in our society as well as the world-at-large because they will benefit from that awareness and so will everyone else. There are plenty of adult men out there who support women’s rights and work equally as hard to continue to make sure that girls and minorities are at the forefront of the discourse about equal rights. The question is, are we raising boys who are sensitive to inequity, critical thinkers, and culturally aware? Keep reading »
“After decades and decades and decades of feminists burning their bras, saying, ‘Make more money than men, do this, run over men, have sex like a man, tell your man what to do, don’t let them open the door —’ they’re not happy with the product, are ya ladies? A lot of them are older, they’re not married, and they’re not getting you-know-what.”
— This is “Fox News” talking head Andrea Tantaros on a program called “The Five,” explaining that the real reason you should let a man pay for dates is so you don’t become a shriveled-up sexless spinster.
Later in the segment, when another panelist says that some men enjoy treating a woman, Tartaros exclaims, “That’s how men are designed!” Her colleague helpfully chimes in, “Let a man be a man! Don’t turn him into a eunuch! Gee, we don’t need any of them lying around!” Yikes. I feel sorry for any man who dates these women and is forced to act out her gender role fantasies, rather than choosing them for himself. For the record, all the feminists I know are getting plenty of “you-know-what,” regardless of who pays on dates! [Media Matters For America via Feministing] Keep reading »
One of the things that freaks me out the most about having kids someday is letting them choose their gender roles on their own. I am going to make a conscious and concerted effort to let my kids know they are loved and accepted however they choose to express themselves. But I’m also realistic and I know the outside world fits little kids much more neatly into “boy” and “girl” boxes. Just this weekend, I was at a toy store and rolled my eyes to the top of my head at puzzles targeted for girls’ and boys’: the girls’ puzzles were pink and had makeup shapes, while the boys’ puzzles were blue and had truck shapes. God, could it be any more stereotypical? If I’m acting that way now, childless and single, how am I going to be when I have an actual kid whom I am responsible for?
Probably a lot like the blogger at Feminist Breeder (aka Gina Crosley-Corcoran, formerly of the ’90s band Veruca Salt) who is committed to “gender-neutral parenting,” but was given a free vanity from her dad’s girlfriend. Now she’s agonizing about putting this super-uber-girly-feminine piece of furniture in her little daughter’s bedroom. Keep reading »
Gloria Steinem became famous in 1963 when she published an article called “A Bunny’s Tale” in which she went undercover at a Playboy Club to expose the treatment of its waitresses. In the decade-plus to follow, Gloria became one of the most public faces of the burgeoning “second wave” feminist movement. She fought for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, advocated for abortion to be legalized, pushed the mainstream women’s movement to recognize that lesbian rights were an integral part of women’s rights, and of course was the very first editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine. The heyday for the “third wave” feminist battles have arguably passed, but Gloria Steinem is still kickin’ (enough to put Glenn Beck into a fit, shrieking about how the “’60s have passed”). Any young woman or young man who has discovered feminism in the past 50 years will come across something that has Gloria Steinem’s fingerprints on it. Naturally such an icon deserves, at age 77, to be memorialized in her very own documentary. Keep reading »
“At first, it was such a gigantic mistake from a career point of view that I really regretted it. I’d just begun to be taken seriously as a freelance writer, but after the Playboy article, I mostly got requests to go underground in some other semi-sexual way. It was so bad that I returned an advance to turn the Playboy article into a paperback, even though I had to borrow the money. Even now, people ask why I was a Bunny, right-wingers still describe me only as a former Bunny, and you’re still asking me about it — almost a half-century later. But feminism did make me realize that I was glad I did it — because I identified with all the women who ended up an underpaid waitress in too-high heels and a costume that was too tight to breathe in. Most were just trying to make a living and had no other way of doing it. I’d made up a background as a secretary, and the woman who interviewed me asked, ‘Honey, if you can type, why would you want to work here?’ In the sense that we’re all identified too much by our outsides instead of our insides and are mostly in underpaid service jobs, I realized we’re all Bunnies — so yes, I’m glad I did it.”
—Gloria Steinem, 77, reminisces to Maria Shriver in Interview about her famous exposé on the Playboy Bunny Club. In 1963, Steinem went undercover as a Bunny for Show magazine and reported firsthand how the Bunnies were badly treated. (This was during the “Mad Men” era, you have to remember, when job listings were segregated as “Help Wanted: Male” and “Help Wanted: Female.”) The article helped Gloria become a household name and further inspired people to join the women’s movement of the 1960s.
After the jump, Steinem talks about her reputation as the “pretty feminist.” Keep reading »
Betty Ford is not a First Lady most of us think about regularly (unless, I suppose, one is an addict). She lacked the glitz and glamour of Michelle Obama or Jackie O and was not necessarily a powerhouse in the White House like Eleanor Roosevelt. But when Betty Ford died on Friday at age 93, obituaries remembered a women’s rights activist who was uncommonly outspoken for her time and polled more popular than her husband, Gerald Ford. In addition to her foundation of The Betty Ford Clinic, one of the most famous rehab centers in the country, Betty Ford should also be remembered as a Republican “stealth feminist,” blogger Joanne Bamberger at PunditMom wrote.
After the jump, five things to know about Betty Ford, a surprisingly cool First Lady. Keep reading »
It may be awhile before the Internet graces us with new webisodes “Vag Magazine,” about a cabal of feminist hipsters who buy fashion magazine Gemma with proceeds from their Etsy shop and replace it with uber-P.C. mag Vag. The girls — I mean, women — I mean, womyn — are currently filming season two. But fear not, there are still feminists who will tell you how to think: Vag‘s chief scold, Fennel, is sharing her views with the world in a new vlog called “That’s Not Feminist.” You’ll have to watch to find out what’s not feminist this week. Also, it’s sad, but I own that exact same hairband Fennel is wearing. [YouTube] Keep reading »
The hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former chief of the International Monetary Fund, of sexual assault has lied to investigators numerous times about her past and has some dodgy connections to a drug dealer, according to a bombshell New York Times story published last night. The woman’s inconsistencies about her personal life — like telling investigators that she sought asylum in the United States because she was a victim of female genital mutilation in Guinea, which is not what it says in her asylum application — should in no way detract from her accusation that Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in his New York City hotel room and forced her perform oral sex on him. Initial reports of the hotel maid’s behavior after she was allegedly attacked — she was found crying in the hallway by another employee, she vomited, etc. — are common-sense consistent with how someone may act after a sexual assault. But it is all too easy to see how his defense attorneys will spin this: if the alleged victim is not credible about other things, who’s to say she isn’t lying now? Keep reading »
I could not have been more annoyed when Sarah Palin called herself a “feminist.” It wasn’t because I think a hairy-legged, Diva Cup-loving separatist in Berkeley should get to decide what a feminist is. (I am quite sure she would take one look at my mani/pedi and send me back to the gallows for more pubic hair braiding.) No, it pissed me off because, while there are some aspects of Palin’s life that actually are rather feminist—she’s a woman in a traditionally male job, she’s a working mom with a mostly-stay-at-home husband, etc. — she went co-opting the word “feminism” as if its hers and hers alone. As this clip of Palin appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” illustrates, she uses the term “feminist” to suit her needs while at the same time trashing “women’s rights groups … and those [who] do not empower women.” Oh, so now you’re telling us what feminism is, lady who believes abortion should be illegal, gays and lesbians shouldn’t marry, and youngsters should be taught abstinence instead of comprehensive sexual health?
Thankfully, the feminists of America need not worry our pretty little heads about the next arch-conservative swooping in: Michele Bachmann has already come right out to say she is not a feminist. Keep reading »