Weekly Feminist Reader

Is Mattel’s new black Barbie more “authentic”?
There’s a pay gap in the White House between men and women — as Matt points out, it’s unfortunately a reflection of the wider world that women disproportionately hold lower-level jobs, but shouldn’t these numbers look better considering over half of Democrats are women?
Kate Harding on today’s NYT Magazine cover story about one man’s lifelong struggle with bulimia.
Former GE CEO Jack Welch sez moms who take time off will never become CEOs. This quote is pretty astounding: “There’s no such thing as work-life balance.There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.”
On Obama’s speech to the NAACP and the “personal responsibility” narrative.
Bitch has a guide to the recent trend of gendered band names.
Pam Spaulding has a nice tribute to Walter Cronkite.
On the Sotomayor hearings and the myth that all people of color are “biased,” while white people are “neutral.”
TransGriot on how the experience of transitioning differs depending on your location.
Sociological Images has an interesting discussion of a video game in which the characters are all girls with disabilities.
Does living with a roommate of a different race really change college students’ views?
On the pressing need to reform the detention industry.
A woman who gave birth to twins three years ago has died, at age 69. BeckySharper refutes the idea that this means we should deny reproductive rights to older women.
Nelson Mandela turned 91 yesterday.
More than Americans’ short attention spans are to blame for the Iran story slipping out of the headlines.
Call for papers: for a new anthology on mothering and hip-hop culture.
Sponsor Cara or Frau Sally Benz in the 2009 Blogathon!
What have you been reading/writing this week?

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33 Comments

  1. lyndorr
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    “Does living with a roommate of a different race really change college students’ views?”
    I have a friend who may be living with three Chinese students and I will answer, I hope it does.

  2. bifemmefatale
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Two great posts that go great together:
    Shakesville: Lessons From the Rape Culture
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/07/lessons-from-rape-culture.html
    (triggery but really good, including the comments)
    and
    The Opposite Of Rape Is Not Consent, The Opposite of Rape Is Enthusiasm
    http://hugoschwyzer.net/2008/06/15/the-opposite-of-rape-is-not-consent-the-opposite-of-rape-is-enthusiasm-a-revised-and-expanded-post/
    (great post from a man raised by a feminist mom; ties in nicely with prof. Foxy’s post too.)

  3. RMJ
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    This week at Deeply Problematic was a little slow because I had family in town, but I managed to squeeze out the following:
    Sorority Life on Facebook and the construction of female friendships, on an application/game that pits women against women in the spirit of materialism
    Site Recommendation: Womanist Musings, a recommendation of Renee Martin’s site and recounting its influence on my feminism
    Michael Jackson, in further review, reconsidering my earlier harsh words on Jackson immediately after his death (since you really need to read more about MJ)
    Kim Kardashian assures America that diamonds in Botswana are just dandy, responding to Kardashian’s sponsored claim that DeBeers diamonds are awesome and totes ethical.
    In response to Bitch’s discussion of racist Ms. cover.
    Since this was a slow week, I also posted lots of pictures of my kitties August and Thurgood as Concentrated Cute filler.

  4. Qwerty
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    While older women should certainly be allowed to do what they wish, the article lies by omitting the plethora of documented health risks involved in giving birth at an older age, to both the mother and child.
    The occurrence of chromosomal irregularities increases exponentially after age 30, and so does the risk of premature births. The chance of Down Syndome for a birth over age 39 is 5%, where for someone in their 20′s the risk is less than a tenth of a percent.
    The article goes on to mock people who are concerned about the possible risks for the child “what about teh babeez”, and i wonder if the author would sing the same tune if she had been born with, lets say, Down Syndrome, which would have almost certainly avoided if her mother gave birth at an earlier age.

  5. Allison
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Tina Brown and Hillary Clinton’s Burqa: New article on GlobalComment critiques Tina Brown’s offensive, hyperbolic use of burqa to describe Hillary Clinton’s “invisible” status, as well as Brown’s insistence that Clinton is supposedly playing the role of Obama’s “other wife.”

  6. Renee
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    In Search Of Western Eyes: Looking at the ways in which Asian women internalize Whiteness as a beauty standard and the ways in which minimizing the race conversation to the Black/White binary is harmful.
    Homelessness Under Neon Lights Of Vegas: Looking at the ways in which the homeless are ignored to promote tourism.
    Food, Class and Need: When we talk about privilege it often involves race, gender, or ability but how often do we engage in serious conversations about class and food? We all must eat to survive and yet food is something that is not a part of our daily image conversations beyond mentions of new recipes.
    Giving Birth Without An Epidural: Looking at the way women are shamed for choosing medical intervention.

  7. Gnatalby
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I wrote about the 10 things I love about the new series 10 things I hate about you (feminism! rock band!) and the 4 Things I hate (Stereotypes about feminism! Bathroom panic! Lionizing of Nice Guys and Racism yet to come!)
    And my co-blogger wrote about the confusing messages about teen sexuality on the bizarre series Secret Life of the American Teenager.

  8. JetGirl70
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    One woman’s quest to overcome the math that plagued her in her school years: http://onefemalegaze.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/mathochism-it-begins/

  9. Tenya
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Wow. The Shakesville post was just amazingly sad and powerful. Thank you for linking.

  10. MzBitca
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  11. Posted July 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Politicians have pissed me off this week. I’ve written
    A response to Charles Grassley’s comments about getting a job with the government to get health insurance.
    A reality check to Tom Coburn
    A call for assistance to a breast cancer patient who was fired from her job for being an atheist.
    And in honor of the new Harry Potter movie a short piece about Maggie Smith, what a Dame.

  12. delilahfantastic
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  13. argon
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I can’t say that I am entirely unsympathetic to the quote by Jack Welch. He is certainly a man who sacrificed family life for his career. In any high-powered field you can name, a person who ignores their family and works 80 hour weeks will generally get ahead farther and faster than someone who works 40 hours and takes frequent family leave, all else being equal.
    Of course he fails to acknowledge the extra pressure women face to work part-time and/or take time off for their families, in order to be “good mothers,” and he fails to acknowledge that it is more acceptable for he himself to forsake his family since he is male. But the kernal of truth stands: you often must choose between career and family and you often can’t reach CEO/partner/Senator/etc without sacrificing family time.
    Is this fair? No. Is this right? Probably not. Is this reality? Yes, and we do young women a disservice if we try to shield them from this reality.

  14. Posted July 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m totally frustrated trying to get these HTML tags to work, so here are my post descriptions with urls posted underneath. Sorry!!
    Over at Planning the Day…
    (planningtheday.wordpress.com)
    I wondered about my immediate “Republicans suck!” reaction to a Pew Institute study about partisan opinions on the government’s responsibility to help the poor.
    planningtheday.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/government-responsibility-to-help-the-poor/
    Thanks for putting up with my lack of tech savvy!
    -Meg
    Nicholas Kristof’s column got me thinking about what kind of lifestyle sacrifices are necessary if we say we want to commit our lives to the pursuit of justice.
    planningtheday.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/nicholas-kristof-youve-almost-redeemed-yourself
    I unpacked a few of the most common responses I receive when people find out I’m moving to Cambodia, the biases they reveal, and why they are so frustrating. First up: “You’re such a good person!”
    planningtheday/2009/07/14/“you’re-such-a-good-person”-and-other-things-not-to-say-to-someone-who-does-humanitarian-work/
    Michael Steele says that he hasn’t experienced any racism as RNC chair. I’m not buying it.
    planningtheday.wordpress.com//2009/07/16/racism-in-the-republican-party/
    My insurance company told me that not wanting to get pregnant is a pre-existing condition. Therefore, they don’t have to cover my birth control, but my rates are still higher because I could potentially get pregnant. Awesome.
    planningtheday.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/no-win-situation/
    Thanks for putting up with my lack of tech savvy!

  15. Posted July 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    India’s Decriminalization of Sodomy to be Challenged about the Delhi High Court overturning a law which previously banned homosexual sex between consenting adults.
    Two articles about women’s health in Kenya in Obama’s Kenyan Women and Kenya: Now or Never.
    An article about seventeenth-century artist and rape survivor, Artemisia Gentileschi.
    Power, sexism, and family in Rod Lurie’s newest film, Nothing but the Truth.
    A new computer game based off of the children’s story Little Red Ridng Hood called “The Path,” with themes of girls’ sexuality and innocence.

  16. anjali_k
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    While I do agree that the chances of there being birth defects greatly increase as the woman gets older…you have to remember that most women probably know this considering we’re constantly told that our eggs are dying by the minute. And there IS still a chance of having a perfectly healthy baby. My mom had her first child (my bro) when she was 37 and had me when she was 39…and me and my brother were born with no abnormalities.
    Even if the child has Down Syndrome, or anything else…it’s still up to the mother whether or not she’s still willing to have the baby. Some people have babies with Down Syndrome and find raising them just as rewarding and fulfilling as raising a healthy child…and others choose not to have them…either way, it’s the mother’s choice.
    And can I just point out how insensitive I find this last thing you said:
    “i wonder if the author would sing the same tune if she had been born with, lets say, Down Syndrome, which would have almost certainly avoided if her mother gave birth at an earlier age”
    It’s NOT the woman’s fault that her baby has Down Syndrome. It’s a random chance. Yea the chances increase to 5%…but still…there’s a 95% chance of having a healthy child! Either way…you have no way of knowing which egg is gonna be fertilized.

  17. Zailyn
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    and i wonder if the author would sing the same tune if she had been born with, lets say, Down Syndrome, which would have almost certainly avoided if her mother gave birth at an earlier age.
    Can you please not make assumptions about what people with Down’s think about their life? This is way too reminiscent of people robbing PWD of their voices in order to speak “for” them, often in order to talk about their lives as being a terrible tragedy. I don’t know much about Down’s, but this reminds me quite strongly of tactics that have been used against autistic people and it is distinctly unpleasant.

  18. becca
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I think the thing about Jack Welsh’s speech that is relevent are the follow up thoughts. He’s not saying women shouldn’t be CEO’s. What he’s saying is that the only people that make it to the top are ones that don’t interrupt their careers. There are two work-life answers to this problem: 1. make sure men take equal time off as women to raise children (never happen, men get equal time off in my office, but on average stay home one week for leave compared to months for women). this still doesn’t completely level the playing field among childless. 2. (and I think this is better) Encourage women not to leave work when they have children. This can be done by social policy that makes it easier for women to work and raise children – better/cheaper day care, flexible hours for both parents, etc. I know from my own work experience that people can be highly successful at work and devoted mommy’s and daddy’s at the same time. However, people who choose to leave work completely and for years to devote 100% to children should not be put on equal footing with those who did not in the path to promotion.
    Jack admits that there are plenty of talented women who make good CEO’s. And its a shame that they are being lost to the “mommy-track”. A few changes could make it a lot easier to both be a parent and a career success. Men have been fathers and CEO’s for ever.

  19. EKSwitaj
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    My experience is that it can.

  20. EKSwitaj
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I will also be participating in Blogathon.
    A review of Evie Shockley’s “quiet as it’s kept”, a feminist love poem.
    Read My Aspie Mind, a reinterpretation of a study that expands on the Sally-Anne False Belief Test.
    A weekend prompt for the writers reading.

  21. Posted July 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the link to the article about interracial roommates! I responded right away, because I’m a white recent college-grad, and I lived with three women of color in my years at college. Reflecting on our living situations made me examine my own privilege.

  22. JetGirl70
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Appetite is a feminist issue, with a hat tip to Electrickoolaid, who wrote an intriguing post that involved that issue a month ago, along with comments from the always insightful Feministing Community:
    http://www.sirensmag.com

  23. Feminist Review
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    From Bitch Blogs this week…
    Ms. Magazine Offends with Summer Cover, Did Ms. learn nothing from the National Review debacle?
    Changing Beauty Standards with a Scalpel, Empowerment through repulsion? Or brilliantly contrived self-transformation?
    Six Questions for Writer and Activist Staceyann Chin, pretty self-explanatory title
    Know Your Hipster Gendered Band Names!, these days, bands named Women, or Girls, which turn out to be more like dudes and bros

  24. Feminist Review
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    Who’s Afraid of Kathy Acker? contains interviews with well known icons like Kathleen Hanna and Semiotext(e) publisher Sylvere Lotringer, yet also features young female students who all give different interpretations on Acker’s work and influence on their writing. There are also, of course, family members, ex-lovers, friends, and peers who all give insight into the life, work, and early death of Kathy Acker, who died in 1997 from breast cancer.
    Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up For – From Asparagus Omelets to Pumpkin Pancakes: In a first read through, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook Vegan Brunch is nearly perfect. There are large color pictures for almost every recipe, which is an amateur chef must. There are clear and accessible ingredients, measurements, and instructions. Moskowitz even includes a shopping list for your vegan pantry and tips for serving a fabulous and delicious brunch. I would make the clichéd request for a spiral bound copy, so I’m not propping it open with a can of corn.
    Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire: Incredible. Insightful. Inspiring. These are the words I use to describe Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire, the pivotal textbook on the growing politics of Asian American women. Essays embrace wide-ranging issues that include domestic violence, health, exploitation in the global trade, the role of spirituality, and punk-rock culture—all in the light of organizing and activism.

  25. Trouble
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Having a child with Down’s Syndrome: Still not a tragedy.

  26. Trouble
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    A child with a disability isn’t the opposite of a perfectly healthy child. Having Down’s Syndrome, or Marfan’s Syndrome, or Autism, or allergies to peanuts, or whatever, doesn’t make one unhealthy.

  27. bifemmefatale
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    As people noted when the story first broke, a 67 year old woman is using donor eggs, so the risk of chromosomal abnormalities really does not apply.

  28. anjali_k
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, I shouldn’t have used that wording. I was trying to distinguish between embryos with and without chromosomal abnormalities.

  29. Posted July 20, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The last paragraph of your comment is extremely judgemental, and smacks of the attitude that women who wait and plan their children around their lives are selfish, and that everything that doesn’t go perfectly in their kids’ lives is their fault.
    I refuse to even attempt to get pregnant until I am 30. I don’t have the resources to be a parent before then. If my child is born with a disability, I’m a bad mother for waiting, regardless of the fact that it could in fact be faulty sperm. If I have a kid in my 20′s, I may have a child without disabilities (though, I could still have a child with them), but I’d be a bad mother for not having enough money to feed and clothe my kid. Thanks for heaping on more guilt. I don’t get that from our culture enough as it is.

  30. femme.
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    A Point About Cis is an excellent post, I wish I could print out enough copies to hand out to everyone I know.

  31. femme.
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Public Enemies: Race and male aggression. Trigger warning and some spoilers. Very good review that talks about the film’s active reinforcement of a variety of gender norms and racial assumptions.
    Changing Beauty Standards with a Scalpel. I didn’t necessarily agree with this artist’s actions, but I thought it was interesting.
    Ellen Page and company “Whip It!” real good in the film’s first trailer. I can’t get enough of AfterEllen.com, or Ellen Page.
    I love Weekly Feminist Reader, so many good blogs and articles. :)

  32. TeenMommy
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for posting a link to the article on giving birth without an epidural. I’ve certainly experienced a bit of shaming for choosing to have an epidural during my labor. Some moms I know try to make it sound as though I and women who choose to have epidurals were weak and selfish. I find a lot of the interest in natural childbirth has nothing to do with actually believing it’s healthier and everything to do with wanting to test oneself. It’s often masochistic. They want the pain so they can feel like they’ve been strong enough.

  33. FilthyGrandeur
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for liking and linking my review. i appreciate it!

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