Weekly Feminist Reader

On feminism and Sex and the City. (via Broadsheet)
Serving sushi on naked women is a high-end food trend in the U.S. now, too? (Ok, and serving some on naked men, too. Still.)
Illinois considers putting known domestic abusers on a GPS tracking system.
Some female superdelegates who support Obama have had their sisterhood called into question.
The SAFER blog has a thought-provoking post on drinking and consent.
Unmarried women earn only 56 cents for every dollar a married man earns (PDF).
LiP magazine on Obama and white voters: “But this is where things become considerably more complicated; the point at which one is forced to determine what, exactly, his success means (and doesn’t mean) when it comes to the state of race, race relations, and racism in the United States. And it is at this point that so-called mainstream commentary has, once again, dropped the ball.”
Fewer med schools are training future doctors in how to perform abortions.
Pro-choice women turned out before the Lithuanian Parliament to protest the proposed abortion ban.
How race, class, and other factors influence quality of life for aging Americans.
A group called the Internet Sexuality Information Services is holding a contest for the best underwear design that promotes STD awareness. Oh lord…
The sexist coverage we’ve come to expect from articles about Hillary Clinton is now showing up in articles about Chelsea Clinton.
Iraqi refugees forced to turn to prostitution.
Are black women always the “mean girls” on “reality” TV?
Much more after the jump…


A male student at Colorado College responded to a campus feminist newsletter by creating a newsletter “which provided tips on chainsaw etiquette, detailed a sexual position from Men’s Health magazine and provided trivia about a sniper rifle — what Robinson called information for the stereotypical macho man.”
Speaking of public pervs, an Italian man has been sentenced to jail time for staring creepily at a woman on a train.
Two radio shock-jocks in Alaska were suspended after airing slurs about a Native woman. Eh, they’ll probably be back on the air in a few weeks…
Police in Kyrgyzstan raided a LGBT “safe space.”
Why calling Barack Obama an “elitist” is a loaded, racist term.
Our Bodies, Our Blog has a great list of questions to ask before participating in a breast cancer fundraiser.
Spain has just appointed the first woman to run its armed forces. Of course, Dana Perino would consider her unfit for the job because of her gender-related inability to learn about missile defense and stuff.
This article about Aboriginal girls being given contraception implants makes me really uneasy, given the history of forcible sterilization of women of color, low-income women, and immigrant women.
An important post on the State Department’s facilitation of the enslavement of domestic workers. (Yes, that’s right. enslavement.)
Muslimah Media Watch on stereotypes of Latina Muslims.
On Indian women being targets of acid attacks.
Gay couples face significant barriers not just to getting married, but also divorced.
A Saudi women’s basketball team plays hard, despite the country’s ban on women’s participation in sports.
Tax Day inspires a call for marriage equity.
Is Katie Couric on the way out?
Jill on the totally appalling outcome of the “DC Madam” trial.
Kathy G pens an ode to feminist punk rocker Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex.
The 57th Carnival of Feminists!
Actions and Events
Let Women Ski Jump in 2010
Ask your Senators to support the United Nations Population Fund Restoration Act of 2008, which would “distribute medical equipment, establish maternal health services, distribute contraceptives, and promote the abandonment of female genital mutilation and child marriage worldwide
What else have you been reading this week?

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65 Comments

  1. A male
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    “Because initially he claimed to be a supporter of feminism. When it became apparent he was a fuck they ditched him.”
    I can see what he wrote in later decades. What made him a fuck back then?
    “Why? You dont like him do you?”
    No, I disagree with the vast majority of MRA views.

  2. AlaraJRogers
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the pay gap:
    This study is useless. It did not control for age or the presence of children.
    An unmarried woman with children is going to make less than a married woman with children because of factors like setup costs (the cost to get your kid into daycare, so that you can start looking for work, is a startup cost that a person who does not have a partner who works and can cover it might not be able to pay) and the opportunity cost (you cannot get a job that is both a stable long-term job *and* requires working long hours on occasion if you don’t have someone else who can cover for you.) However, an unmarried woman without children would be much more flexible about what jobs she can accept and how many hours she can work than a married woman *with* children.
    My understanding previously was that the entire wage gap is largely explained by motherhood — mothers suffer a huge penalty simply for being mothers. When you control for age, length of time in job, type of job, and other such factors, what’s left is a small wage gap that seems to be related to traditional sexism — a difference of about 6% between men and women who are both childless — and then a gigantic difference between women who are mothers and men who are fathers. Simply put, being a father seems to increase a man’s income, being a mother vastly decreases a woman’s. We don’t know whether fathers make more money because they fight harder for it, if men are less likely to become fathers if they are underpaid, or if companies are more likely to pay fathers well to try to keep them, but it does appear that fatherhood is correlated with a benefit. Motherhood, however, is a gigantic negative.
    So I’m not buying this study without looking at te breakdowns. Without any further analysis, for instance, this could be explained by age, because unmarried people tend to be younger than married people — and there are indirect sexism effects such as “female ghetto” pay scales that apply to an entire profession dominated by women whether or not the worker is a man, such as social work or nursing, which brings down women on average.
    ANyone know where these guys got their data, that further analysis can be done?

  3. Posted April 21, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Alara, you are at least somewhat correct, IIRC. You’re also missing two of the other significant wage gap issues, which are profession and specialty (as a subset of profession.) E.g., primary care docs, who have a shorter residency and fewer on call hours, tend to make less than many surgeons.
    In many cases, specialty is at least somewhat linked to availability, the M.D. example being on point. In law, for example, many of the top earners are litigators, who need to be able to accommodate an unpredictable schedule which can include insanely long hours and who have near-zero tolerance for out-of-work “distractions,” a.k.a “life” (which is one reason why I’m not a litigator.)
    And from what I’ve read, the wage gap can be significantly reduced by the use of proper controls.
    However….
    The fact that those issues above are relevant does not make them fair, or a nonissue; nor does it take them out of feminist analysis. It merely changes the question.
    So instead of asking “why is there a wage gap” you might end up asking “given that pregnancy and recovery produce (in most women) no more than three months of partial or complete inability to work, and given that three months is pretty goddamn minimal, why on earth can’t we figure out a way to help people be litigators and heart surgeons?” It’s not as if birth turns people into idiots any more than does a 3 month vacation in Bali.
    Or we might ask “if this is all based on limited availability, why do women always get stuck being the ‘available person?”
    So it’s still a feminist issue, even if it’s a different issue.

  4. ShifterCat
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Re body sushi:
    Prior to this, the only times I had heard of nyotaimori was in the context of private business lunches in Japan, reinforcing the “boys’ club” mentality as Stanna mentioned.
    However, having read the article, I have to agree with Jeff: “this particular restaurant is to be commended for taking something deeply sexist and transforming it into something broadly gender-equal.” An even ratio of male to female “human trays” and guests, rules enforcing strict professional boundaries between servers and guests, and elaborate compensation for the servers, who are clearly not being coerced… this all seems to me to be presenting the “human sushi trays” as art objects rather than sexual objects.

  5. Mina
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    “‘Is that any reason to deny contraception to someone else who *does* want it?’
    “Define ‘want’ when we know such as “sterilization abuse” exists.”
    You know, wanting contraception as in wanting to have more protected from unwanted contraception.
    As for the 12-year-old who accepted the implant offer, I wouldn’t be surprised if she also chose abstinence and wants a back-up method too.
    “And you wonder why people question the motives of those who ‘offer’ the ‘choice’ of contraception to underprivileged women?”
    The article mentioned the offer of something more-privileged girls already have being extended to underprivileged girls as well so that they too can choose to postpone childbearing until they are women.
    If *that* is your idea of genocidal eugenics, then I wouldn’t be surprised if you also arrange (in the name of saving your race) for your daughter to give birth ASAP instead of letting her have a choice…
    “Sanger would approve (if not direct the program herself). So would modern racists.”
    If no imperialists jumped off a cliff, would you jump?

  6. Mina
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Oops, typos. That should have been “You know, wanting contraception as in wanting to have more *protection* from unwanted *conception*.” Sorry about that!

  7. pull_rank
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    “Define ‘want’ when we know such as “sterilization abuse” exists.”
    So certain groups should be denied contraception because they don’t realize they’re being abused? That’s not paternalistic or anything…

  8. Posted April 21, 2008 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    ninapendamaishi, i don’t like to participate in arguments with sarcastic overtures and snarky tones. it’s too confusing and too condescending.

    HAH! You haven’t been on the internet very long have you?

  9. addedreality
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    I think the thing that pissed me off about the sushi is how the author of the article made such a big deal about the men doing it:
    Half the models were men. “It’s only fair for the ladies,” Pham said.
    One of these brave studs was Colin Jaworski, 23, of Brooklyn Park.
    First off, this comment assumes that either the women attending are heterosexual and would be interested in eating off of nude men, or it assumes that it’s degrading to women and it will even it out if both women and men are degraded.
    Secondly, serving as a platter is portrayed as not a big deal for either the man or the woman that they interviewed:
    And she enjoyed every minute of this. “You only live once,” she said
    “It’s not a big deal,” he said. “Although, I’ve never had anybody eat off me before.”
    However, the article presents women and men serving as platters in a distincly different way. Colin was a “brave stud” to perform such a task. Ali had nerves “forged in steel.” I tried to make a more black and white analogy for Ali having to steel herself in order to do this, whereas Colin was a stud for doing it, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that. The portrayal isn’t completely dichotomous regarding these two workers, but it is definitely gendered.
    In our culture, it is much less socially acceptable for a man to display his nude body than it is for a woman.

  10. A male
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    “If *that* is your idea of genocidal eugenics,”
    You really see no problem with Sanger’s philosophy? Calling a broad segment of society “unfit,” a burden on the rest of the nation, they or their uncontrolled breeding the greatest problem facing society, and better off never being born (including the already living)? Open admiration for pre-WWII Germany’s program of forced sterilization? Contraception and forced sterilization her only solutions for society’s ills? You can read the alleged original sources yourself, at her collected works online. That she wished to serve her country or improve the situation of women *expected* to produce offspring is not in question.
    “then I wouldn’t be surprised if you also arrange (in the name of saving your race) for your daughter to give birth ASAP instead of letting her have a choice…”
    In the name of “saving my race” I would promote its language or culture, to anyone willing to share in it, not deliberately spread DNA.
    I fail to see how my questioning Sanger’s classist, ablist, elitist agenda which includes eliminating the “unfit” at the source (by forced sterilization according to the German model, if necessary, if promotion of contraception and voluntary sterilization were not enough (she explicitly already realized they were not enough), to eliminate society’s “burden” in a single generation), and breeding more of the “fit” (why did she not promote contraception for “fit” people as well, in the name of reproductive freedoms or reducing the overpopulation she saw?); makes me anti-choice, which is what you seem to believe.
    I wonder if Sanger would have considered Middle Eastern immigrants to be members of the “fit” or “unfit” 70 years ago. What do you think? I can imagine what she would have thought of hundreds of thousands of Asians dressed in “pajamas” and living in wooden and corrugated roof shacks, picking pineapples and cutting sugar cane for 25 cents per day, and steadily reproducing or coming off a boat, in a time leading up to war with Japan.
    “So certain groups should be denied contraception because they don’t realize they’re being abused? That’s not paternalistic or anything…”
    Given their history, why is questioning the privileged promoting contraception to the underprivileged, or people of color, in apparent continuation of Sanger’s philosophy, equivalent to denying anyone contraception? Who says the underprivileged or people of color are unaware of their position or alleged abuse? It is they who point out the situation.
    No. I am questioning Sanger’s focus on eliminating those she deemed unfit, by preventing them from having children. Not promoting reproductive freedoms (i.e. children if the “unfit” wanted them, or calling for contraception for the “fit”) or other social programs which could have improved society (or the lot of a certain segment). Preventing people from having children, by forced sterilization, if necessary, and being an unapologetic eugenicist who promoted pre-WWII Germany’s methods.
    It was Sanger who was being “paternalistic” by determining who was worthy to reproduce or even to exist. I am not talking about individual reproductive freedoms (which she was also not promoting, unless it meant no children of the “unfit” and greater numbers of the “fit”). Sanger was talking about an entire class of people (the underprivileged), and other entire groups of people (such as those with physically deformity or mental disability), whom she deemed “unfit” with a broad brush, and their elimination. Not by bringing them up. By not allowing them to reproduce any further.

  11. Mina
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    “‘If *that* is your idea of genocidal eugenics,’
    “You really see no problem with Sanger’s philosophy?”
    I *do* see a problem with part of Sanger’s philosophy. I *don’t* see that problem with letting kids (and not just rich white ones!) try to postpone parenthood until adulthood, and at the same time you sure seem to see that problem with it.
    “‘then I wouldn’t be surprised if you also arrange (in the name of saving your race) for your daughter to give birth ASAP instead of letting her have a choice…’
    “In the name of ‘saving my race’ I would promote its language or culture, to anyone willing to share in it, not deliberately spread DNA.”
    That’s cool, and I’m glad for your daughter. :)
    Meanwhile, why call it eugenics when an Aboriginal girl speaks her languages, practices her cultures’ customs, and deliberately doesn’t spread her DNA as soon as possible?
    “I fail to see how my questioning Sanger’s classist, ablist, elitist agenda…makes me anti-choice, which is what you seem to believe.”
    Questioning actual eugenic agendas doesn’t seem to be anti-choice. Meanwhile, accusing reproductive freedom of being eugenic when the freedom’s not limited to rich whites really does seem to be anti-choice.
    “I wonder if Sanger would have considered Middle Eastern immigrants to be members of the ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’ 70 years ago. What do you think?”
    Whether or not she did, I still sure won’t call the present-day doctor, pharmacists, and insurers who prescribe, dispense, and help fund my birth control pills (which I take to control PCOS symptoms but do still reduce the odds of my demographic groups’ populations increasing if I ever get to choose sex and/or ever get raped) genocidal eugenicists. ;D
    “‘So certain groups should be denied contraception because they don’t realize they’re being abused? That’s not paternalistic or anything…’
    “Who says the underprivileged or people of color are unaware of their position or alleged abuse?”
    Those who don’t believe the ones who say they *do* want contraception, that’s who.

  12. Mina
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    BTW, all those fertile guys who slowed down my population’s growth by not asking me for sex or raping me between menarche and going on the pill? I won’t call them genocidal eugenicists for it either. ;D

  13. A male
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    “I *don’t* see that problem with letting kids (and not just rich white ones!) try to postpone parenthood until adulthood, and at the same time you sure seem to see that problem with it.”
    Sanger was not talking about the young (read her articles and speeches yourself – perform a search on the term “unfit”),
    http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/
    she was ranting about the poor, and numerous other groups with alleged health conditions SHE labeled “unfit,” their children or [increasing] numbers a menace, THE greatest problem to society by her reckoning, a societal and financial burden (billions a year), and people UNWORTHY to breed. SHE did not want them to have a choice. Why are you not getting this?
    You are conveniently avoiding the question of whether or not Sanger would have considered immigrants of your culture in the US in her time, to be “fit” or “unfit.” If Sanger had her way, there likely would not have been Asians, as they were primarily agricultural workers not well assimilated into US culture, and relatively poor at the time. White racists certainly believed there were too many – they tried to prevent more from entering the country in Sanger’s time (1924).
    “Meanwhile, accusing reproductive freedom of being eugenic when the freedom’s not limited to rich whites really does seem to be anti-choice.”
    Sanger’s aim to eliminate the “unfit” by forced sterilization (either sex) if necessary, citing its legality in numerous states in the US, or per the German model, is not promoting reproductive freedoms. Sanger explicitly aligned HERSELF with eugenics and improving the race. It is not a simple claim of her detractors or anti-choicers. Please read what Sanger wrote or said of the “unfit,” whichever group she applied it to at the time.

  14. GopherII
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    “What made him a fuck back then?”
    It wasnt just his his views in the coming decades, but before and during his joint with NOW. He used the prestige NOW gave him, to bring forth his real views about women. He used his former engagement with NOW as a way of trying to add legitimacy to his perspectives. He even advocated incest in a 1977 Penthouse interview. He felt it was feminists distortion that gave incest a bad name, but that it wasnt inherently wrong.
    http://www.thelizlibrary.org/fathers/farrell.htm

  15. Mina
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    For the record, I don’t knowe the girls who chose the implants, but I know each one is an individual with her own hopes and fears. It makes no sense to assume that all of them dream of bravely facing the challenges of traditional or single young motherhood but fear burdening white taxpayers with a baby. For all I know, one dreams of becoming Prime Minister of Australia and fears burdening herself with a baby while trying to complete school, another dreams of settling down in her 20s to raise a child with a partner she loves and fears being forced to bear some rapist’s child before she finds that partner, and so on. That’s why *both* support for teen raising children *and* support for teens trying to avoid motherhood (and support for teens doing both, such as a 16-year-old trying to raise her first child and not get pregnant again before graduation) are important!
    “‘I *don’t* see that problem with letting kids (and not just rich white ones!) try to postpone parenthood until adulthood, and at the same time you sure seem to see that problem with it.’
    “Sanger was not talking about the young (read her articles and speeches yourself – perform a search on the term ‘unfit’),”
    The program in the article *is* talking about the young, and some people complain about it in the name of disliking someone else’s program.
    “You are conveniently avoiding the question of whether or not Sanger would have considered immigrants of your culture in the US in her time, to be ‘fit’ or ‘unfit.’”
    I already answered that question. Maybe Sanger would have considered my ethnicity “unfit,” and if she would then that’s still no reason to accuse the people who help me avoid childbirth of her eugenics agenda. :) Likewise, some other bigots out there seem to think my ethnicity is “fit” enough to outbreed the Jews and that’s still no reason to accuse the people who helped my mother give birth of *that* eugenics agenda.
    Remember, we don’t need to ignore forced childbirth in order to condemn forced childlessness. Countless underprivileged women and girls have been oppressed by white slaveholders, nonwhite extended-family patriarchs, more rapists of all colors, tyrants outlawing abortions, unaffordable prices of contraception, lack of non-sex work chances to earn a living, etc. forcing them to have even more children than they wanted. Liberation from that oppression is great! :) My heart doesn’t bleed for those oppressors just because some other oppressors hated them. ;)

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