Abortions could be banned as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant, under a new bill proposed in Arkansas. Keep reading »
In South Florida, one man’s romantic gesture to his wife has turned into a legal battle with the DMV and a moment to reflect on traditional gender roles. Keep reading »
This is disgraceful: a 15-year-old Chicago high school sophomore named Hadiya Pendleton died yesterday in a park where she was murdered as a bystander to gang violence. Less than two weeks prior, Hadiya and her classmates performed in Washington, D.C., for President Obama’s Inauguration ceremony. The Chicago Tribune reports that Hadiya and other students from King College Prep School (one of the top prep schools in the city), were dismissed from class early on Tuesday and so they went to hang out in a park. A gang war broke out and Hadiya, a majorette and volleyball player, was caught in the fray. In addition to her death, a 16-year-old male classmate was also injured and is in serious condition. [Think Progress]
Jon Stewart’s latest crusade: picking apart the right-leaning backlash stemming from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to allow women to serve in combat roles. A former U.S. Marine penned a piece in the Wall Street Journal [second item] fretting that in combat soldiers often have to urinate and defecate in front of each other — often in close proximity to a fellow soldier’s face. Stewart points out: In a war zone, are you really worried about “dying from embarrassment?” Keep reading »
Following a spate of gang rapes in India in the past several months, the Times Of India newspaper is running quarter-page ads imploring men to treat women with respect through the stark statement, “The true test of your manhood is how you treat a woman. All women. Any woman. Every woman.” I’m pleased the newspaper is questioning traditional aspects of toxic masculinity, like “rash driving” and “drunken brawls,” which some men do think defines their manhood. Yet I also think their conclusion about proving your manhood by behaving a certain way (even if it’s the right way) is problematic: “If you do not respect women, you are only half a man.” That’s the flip side of the same thinking that says guys aren’t manly if they don’t want sex all the time. Just like sexist expectations of femininity can imprison women, sexist expectations can imprison men, too. I’m all for eradicating rape culture everywhere. But the answer isn’t to tell men to act like “real men,” it’s to tell them to act like good human beings. [Our Mobile World]
Bottom line: I was a female soldier in the combat zone. So why do I feel so uncomfortable about formalizing women’s placement in combat roles? I did a lot of soul-searching about why this bothered me so much. Ultimately, though, I’ve discovered there’s nothing I should be uncomfortable about.
When I first read that Defense Secretary Panetta had lifted the ban on women in combat roles, I felt queasy. While I left the military for the private sector in late 2011, I spent the first decade of my adult life in the Army, half of it on active duty as a Military Police officer. I have led and served alongside extraordinarily tough and competent leaders, male and female, while deployed in Iraq and in training all over the world. This was personal.
Yet, even as a woman who had been to combat, I couldn’t endorse lifting the ban. The more I examined my prejudices, though, I realize that they were just that — prejudices. Keep reading »