What We Missed

Anna Holmes on why there is a crisis for girls in science.

Feeling inspired by the murder of Troy Davis to work against the death penalty? Sign this petition to abolish capital punishment in Pennsylvania. Also, if you want to support organizing in the South, consider donating to Project South. We need major interventions to stop the school to prison pipeline for people of color, and we need major organizing to do it.

Melissa Harris-Perry on why white liberals are abandoning Obama.

Monica Potts at The American Prospect asks: How can a woman be an avatar for an evangelical movement that argues that women must obey men?

Melissa Gira Grant questions the rhetoric of the anti-sex work movement.

I’m speaking at a NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon gala next weekend in Portland about my work as an abortion doula. If you’re in the area, check it out.

Update: Today also marks Celebrate Bisexuality Day/Bi Invisibility Day.

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11 Comments

  1. Posted September 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Just a note: when I attempted to sign the petition regarding the death penalty in PA, it told me the action was not available in my zip code. It might only be signable by residents of Pennsylvania itself? I’m not sure.

  2. Posted September 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid I don’t follow Ms. Harris-Perry’s logic. My dissatisfaction with Barack Obama has absolutely nothing to do with the color of his skin. I am unhappy with his leadership style, but never felt that he needed to be the supposed redeemer of all African-Americans.

    Regardless of what statistic one cherry picks, he hasn’t been all that effective in my mind. What is not stated here is that Obama remains popular among other African-Americans, but that is hardly surprising. He is a symbol of the possibilities for them and also a historical landmark.

  3. Posted September 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Harris-Perry’s article seems very unconvincing to me. I would have said that reasons I hear from liberals who claim they are discontented with Obama are a) the economy remains in recession or near-recession after a stimulus that many (but not the President) called too small at the time did, in fact, prove too small and b) Obama has built up an appearance of capitulation and acceptance of Republican framing and values, never making the kinds of moral stands that liberals are hoping to see.

    Given that, as I understand it, current prevailing economic conditions are the single largest single factor correlating with incumbent presidents’ re-election chances, I think Ms. Harris-Perry has a lot of arguing to do before she can say that the 1996 and 2012 presidential elections should be considered exact or even close parallels except for the incumbent candidate’s race.

  4. Posted September 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    September 23 is Celebrate Bisexuality Day/Bi Visibility Day. Yahoo News even mentioned it. Feministing – nothing. If it was L, G, T, immigration celebration, fat acceptance, or any other day there would have been an acknowledgement.

    • Posted September 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Apologies lilia, it didn’t come across my radar. I will add a link about it to the WWM.

    • Posted September 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Oh the irony. And that’s the reality of our situation.

  5. Posted September 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Potts seems to misunderstand the point: per that particular brand of evangelical Christianity, Bachmann should submit to her husband — not men in general. Similarly, women are not generally obliged to obey the nearest man. And even Bachmann seems to have a slightly more liberal understanding of her role than some of her sisters. York’s question was a fair one (i.e. are we really just electing Mr. B?), but I don’t see where the confusion is on Potts’ part. Usually, complementarian (as opposed to egalitarian) Christians believe women should not be senior pastors (some believe women should not speak from the pulpit at all) and that the husband is the head of the household. I’m not a complementarian at all, but I’m friends with a number of people in these sorts of relationships and they’re simply not the paterfamilias nonsense that you might see in other subordinate-woman situations.

  6. Posted September 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I find Melissa Harris-Perry’s argument a bit flawed. I agree that part of it is probably racism, but there’s more to it than that. I find the Clinton/Obama comparisons to be problematic. It’s important to remember how often the media has accredited Obama’s win to young people who were most likely voting for a president for the first time. That demographic caught on to the hope and change message of his campaign, and they were eager to get out of the Bush years. There was a lot of idealism. I know the feeling firsthand, since I was still in high school at the time.

    That demographic probably isn’t going to remember a whole lot about the Clinton administration, because they were still kids at the time. They can’t exactly be expected in general to list the types of comparisons that she was listing. For me, I only remember things being better in the Clinton years than the Bush years, and not a lot of specifics. I had plenty of time to become frustrated at Bush and all the terrible things that were going on and felt a great need for change. That idealism sort of went away after Obama took office. I wouldn’t say that I abandoned Obama though, I’m not happy with everything he does, but over all I think he’s a pretty good president and I plan to vote for him in 2012. But I think I’ll go into it with more realistic expectations.

  7. Posted September 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    As somebody who’s been in the computer science field for decades, I’m not sure that the parity issue is something so easily understand as Ms. Holmes seems to think. When I started in the field, females were in short supply, but nobody really cared much. Now they are in short supply and a lot of people care – but in the between, there was a time when I saw plenty of women in the field. In fact, what I find particularly remarkable is how the women programmers have disappeared.

    I’ve heard plenty of guesses, including the “well, we’re not encouraging girls” one. It might be interesting to find the women who were programmers early in their careers and have since chosen to move on.

  8. Posted September 27, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I feel that Melissa G. Grant misses the point entirely…I’m involved in domestic anti-sex-trafficking work, and it is just that. Anti-sex-trafficking, not anti sex-work. Yes, an adult woman has the right to engage in any type of work that she see fit, but a child who is drugged, raped, and brainwashed and forced into “sex work” deserves to be rescued. I’m disappointed that more feminists are becoming dismissive of anti-trafficking efforts, and are refusing to listen to us.

    Their opposition always begins with some discussion of how statistics are difficult to obtain, blah blah blah. Additionally, Ashton Kutcher is made into some anti-sex worker advocate, when clearly his work and message are about freeing CHILDREN. His campaign states that “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls,” not “Real Men Don’t Buy Women.” That would be completely different, and due rightful criticism. Furthermore, referring to sex work as slavery, when the “sex worker” is a child is an accurate description. An exploited and abused child is a victim, and there are far too many victims such as this, in America and beyond.

    Stating that 13 is the average age of entry into the American commercial sex trade is often dismissed, but I cannot understand why. This is not saying that the median age of prostitutes is 13, but they begin working at 13. Obviously 13 year olds are children, so this is a substantial problem! If the median age was 20 and that 20 year old made his/her own choice, I guarantee our movement wouldn’t exist.

    Feminist criticism of this sort is frustrating to me, because intelligent women are able to accomplish significant change in society and we need feminists to be involved. We are fighting for child sex slaves, not against adult sex workers. The rhetoric of our movement demonstrates this clearly, but far too many writers like Grant dismiss this and focus on their own agenda. Please stop, come and join us.
    I don’t understand how any adult sex worker or ally cannot be horrified that someone else is denied the privilege of choice and empowerment.

    • Posted September 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      J,

      The reason I — and many other sex worker rights’ advocates — are reluctant to join the anti-trafficking movement is beyond the scope of my article at The Guardian. One huge reason was addressed in that piece: the shaming and blaming language adopted by advocates who claim their goal is to end violence and dehumanization. Another equally huge reason is that many of the policy interventions anti-trafficking advocates are advancing expose sex workers to more violence (from police, from social service providers, and others who are supposed to support us). So it’s both rhetoric and tactics.

      These issues are not monolithic, and there’s as much room for us to support one another — and there are anti-trafficking organizations that are incredibly supportive and inclusive of sex workers’ rights — the Freedom Network in the United States, as well as the internationally-focused Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women. My concern is how the anti-trafficking and anti-violence movements are becoming anti-sex work, and the damaging outcome that has for the rights and well-being of sex workers, people profiled as sex workers, young people in the sex trade, and people who have been trafficked

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