Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC) Wins Award

I know that break has started and everyone has scattered but in the off chance anyone checks the blog over break, The National Museum of Women in the Arts received the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom. I know its a newer museum and thought I would put it on everyone's radar for future historical women adventures.

Here's more information:
New York Times
NMWA Press Release
NMWA's Homepage

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, one of the members of congress who have been working on the Campus Sexual Assault Bill since June, has made a statement in the wake of the online circus surrounding the Rolling Stone article and subsequent retraction about a rape of a U.Va. student, Jackie.

Here's a one-page summary of the bill:

Here's a video of Gillibrand's remarks today (she references the Rolling Stone case at 4:40 and another co-sponsor, Senator McCaskill, talks about it at the beginning):

Monday, December 8, 2014

Research on how to talk about bias

You might be interested in this piece that appeared in yesterday's New York Times, co-written by Sheryl Sandberg, that reviews recent research on effective ways to talk about bias. I found these findings to be interesting and relevant to our discussions.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Working women and freezing eggs

This article I found seems aimed at women like Sheryl Sandberg and her audience in Lean In. Funny enough, I actually know this doctor. I met her through a family friend when I was curious about going pre-med, especially in the realm of women's health, and got to talk to her a bit. What's very intriguing to me is that by the time she was able to actually practice (after undergrad, med school, residency, then more than one fellowship for her specialty in endocrinology), she was in her nearly-mid thirties, a time when women are urged to think about the ticking clock. So she then had to fit having three kids into her busy schedule of running a practice and doing publicity for women's reproductive options on local news and such. Like Sandberg wrote, women are really coming into their careers around the same time that they are told they are running out of time.

This came up in another class of mine (a Russian literature one), and my professor told me that communist Russia actually pushed for women to enter the workforce first, and thus had many women become mothers in their thirties. Nowadays, women typically have children at age 22 (why is not as clear). I would argue that the US would push back the societally constructed age for motherhood to 40 if possible, but 35 poses a biological stop sign. I mentioned (before reading this article), that if it was the norm to freeze eggs, then women would definitely wait until their forties to have children. And now look at what Facebook and Apple are paying for their employees!

It will be interesting to see how reproductive technologies change our norms as we grow older. Will egg freezing become a big thing? Who know?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Does Politics Need Gender Quotas—for Men?

I am anticipating that we will probably be talking about quotas next week, so here's an article from the Atlantic that gives a different spin on it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Maureen Dowd's Original Critique

The article we read about Lean In referred to an op-ed by Maureen Dowd...so I figured I should probably read that. I think the article we read accurately described her issues with Lean In, but I want to dig a little deeper into what the book tries to be and how it is critiqued. I think Dowd's comments are accurate and I appreciate her analysis, but I also feel like she takes the book as a type of manifesto. I don't think we can do that. I think that reading it as a memoir, as Sandberg's experiences and as Sandberg's advice to a very specific group of women is the most valuable way to read it. I'm not saying that's how we should have to read it, but I think discounting on the basis of a failed manifesto means that we avoid some of Sandberg's most influential points and best advice.

Ferguson/past indictment of a female officer

Here's the video I mentioned yesterday in class - it gives a brief summary of Ferguson, background, and why it matters (the mention of the indictment of an officer is at 2:40).

I did very minimal investigation into the case mentioned, and found this report on what happened, and this report that actually has the video from the police car dash cam of the incident.

Turns out that the indictment was because the officer didn't follow proper protocols, and the shooting resulted in an injury, not a death. Nothing of what I've read so far analyzes the issue from a gender perspective, but I'd like to look further.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Talking to young girls about gender

When I was home for Thanksgiving I recorded a talk I gave a few weeks ago to submit for a job application. Given that it is about gender representation in media and young girls as storytellers, I wanted to get one take of me actually giving the speech to a young girl. So, one evening I sat down with my eight-year-old neighbor, Malin. She has two older brothers who she fights endlessly with, loves sports (hockey is her favorite at the moment), and is exceptionally good at math. When I arrived at her house I explained to her what I was trying to do. I let her help me set up the camera, showed her how to change the white balance and let her play with the focus. When we finally sat down I told her briefly about the talk, explaining some concepts and why it was important. Then, I proceeded to give the talk just as I would to an older audience. There is a whole section of the talk about girls seeking out leadership opportunities and I explain that of all the kids who want to be president when they grow up, only 19% of them are girls. I then casually mention that there has never been a girl president. Malin stops me. "Wait, wait, wait," she says, "YOU ARE SAYING THAT THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A GIRL PRESIDENT IN THE WHOLE 100 MILLION YEAR HISTORY OF ALL OF AMERICA?!?!?!?!"

I didn't really know what to say. Nobody had ever stopped me in the middle of my talk before. I tried to explain, "Well, America hasn't been around that long... It's only been a few hundred years... I mean colonial America... Because, yeah, America itself has been around for a long time... And, yeah, no girls presidents. Ever."

The next question I was equally unprepared for: "Why?" she probed.

I responded with "That's just the way it is. But it is going to change soon."

For some reason I didn't feel comfortable explaining to her gender roles and expectations. It became clear to me that she did not see any of that yet in the world. I asked her, "Do you want to be president?"

"Of course!" she responded.

"Good," I told her.

This is why I love young girls (in the totally non-creepy way). Nobody is born into the world with a pre-conceived notion of who or how they are supposed to be. If anything, young girls are in a unique position to critique what society is telling them about who they are supposed to be. I felt guilty even telling Malin all of this because, really, I should have just been encouraging her to do and be anything she wanted instead of telling her about this legacy she had to change in order to achieve her dreams. I finished the talk and had a conversation with her about what she can do to become president one day. I asked her about all the ways she's a leader. I told her to keep developing those skills so that she CAN be president one day. Young girls now are going to grow up to be the next leaders. For some reason, I feel such and obligation to the girls in my life to teach them about the history of women who have fought for them and about how they are so important in this world. But, after this conversation with Malin I felt like I had diminished a part of her--by telling her about this history I had all of the sudden planted this idea in her head that she couldn't do it because nobody had done it before.

Having this conversation with her was a good experience for me. Next time I have the opportunity to have a conversation like this with a young girl, I think it will be important for me to not assume they feel or think a certain way and instead just listen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person

Hey All! I just came across this article called Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person and it covers a lot of interesting topics about the intersectionality of race/gender/sexuality etc. I think these are important things to remember and reflect on, especially in light of all the controversy surrounding Ferguson right now. Also, the author mentions that the work that made him realize his privilege was Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" !!!!

Ferguson and Feminism

As we all face our outrage after the Grand Jury's failure to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson, I invite you all to look at the killing of black youth through a different lens than we perhaps typically do. This article and many others strive to show that this is an issue of reproductive rights, a so called "women's issue". As we have discussions of intersectional feminism, it is important to consider the many perspectives and experiences of different feminist issues. As terrifying as the implications of the Grand Jury's decision yesterday are to me, I will never be able to understand that fear as a black mother, terrified to lose her child to racist, unprovoked, violent attacks. We all deserve to make reproductive choices about having or not having children, but that needs to come with certainty that those children will not be feared and attacked for the color of their skin.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The New York Times article about cooking dads

The New York Times posted a short article about an increasing number of dads who spend a decent amount of time in their kitchen.

Some interesting facts and statements of the article include,

# A study reported that 42% of men and 68% of women spent time cooking on any given day. Although a large gap still exists, it has been shrinking.

# However, a male interviewee also said that people are still surprised to know that he is the primary cook of his family.  

Good for Lego!

Lego Wins Everything

So I'm avoiding writing at least three essays right now and I think I've found the end of the internet. In the process, I found this! I read it out loud to a friend and they asked what year it had happened. The answer? 1974. So hey...good for Lego for promoting gender equality for the last forty years!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Marry someone who will take care of the kids"

An interesting article from Slate that was posted the other day:


In in, women across generations grapple with their role in the professional world and how that fits in with their family/husband's career. The trends of women who are more career-focused is definitely a move away from the suburban housewife problem we saw in Collins' book, and men are increasingly feeling less like their career should take precedence and have more of a role in child-care and housework.

However, there's still a problem with women who are "mommy-tracked" in their jobs by their bosses. In terms of the ERA, could it help these women who seek to have their own career as well as a family at home?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Social Experiment on Domestic Abuse

Article 4 of Redstockings Manifesto, which states that women cannot oppress men, reminded me of a social experiment that I watched a while ago. It was an experiment to find out how differently people would react to a man abusing a woman and a woman abusing a man. At the end of the video, it says something along the lines of "violence goes both ways" and I thought that was particularly eye-opening, as I've only considered it as a one-way thing until now.

Feminism only works when we consider both genders by the same standards, and I think assuming that men wouldn't be oppressed by women ironically reinforces our conditioned thoughts that women are weaker and therefore inferior beings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Civil Rights movie! ... all about MLK

I went to a movie over the weekend, and saw this trailer:

As soon as I realized it was about Civil Rights, I got really excited and hopeful... But then it went on to appear as though the entire movie is about King and his efforts. I really hope I'm wrong. If the trailer is an accurate representation of the movie, then the only thing women do it act as wives, or as participants and supporters of the movement, but most definitely not as organizers. Ugh. Because I couldn't remember anything about marches in Selma, I looked in Freedom's Daughters to see what Olson had to say. The bit on the marches was in a chapter we didn't have to read (ch 20). And, no big surprise here, but women were a huge part of making the marches happen - including Diane Nash! Apparently, Nash and her husband were the ones who told MLK that Selma was a good place, and he eventually agreed. Anyways, here is yet another example of the dominant narrative prevailing in a situation where an amazing story could be told - one that includes everyone who worked to make change (I mean, how interesting would a movie be on the life of Diane Nash?!).

Celebrities as Representatives of the Feminist Movement

Just like Tracy, I like to go on Buzzfeed occassionally and I've been noticing a lot of stuff on Taylor Swift and her 'conversion' to feminism. It's great that there's one more person in the world that advocates for equal gender rights, but I think our focus on celebrities can be somewhat dangerous and misleading. The feminist movement used to be characterized by people like Alice Paul, Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, or Patsy Mink as its key figures/leaders who dedicated their lives to the betterment of women, and I think it's somewhat of a degradation to let singers and actors speak for the movement and its agenda without even fully knowing its history. I am not saying that people who work in the entertainment industry are not respectable; I just don't think they have the expertise to be representatives for such a broad movement. In fact, they do a great disservice to feminism when they are misinformed, as shown in this article. Celebrities like Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga have distanced themselves from the label, stating that they are not 'man-haters'. As people that many young women look up to, these simple characterizations will prove to be a detriment to the advancement of equal gender rights by equating feminism with man-hating.

What do you guys think about celebrities standing in the forefront of the feminist movement? Do you think they can be effective spokespeople?

Friday, November 7, 2014

How Women Use Fashion to Assert their Power

This NYT article was written in response to the recent opening of the "Women Fashion Power" exhibit at the Design Museum in London, and discusses how fashion can be a tool for women, especially those in politics.  It cites examples of powerful women such as Wendy Davis and her Mizuno sneakers, and argues that fashion empowers women rather than belittles them.  The idea that women seem to be criticized more than men for their image is something that we've touched on in class, and is an interesting way in which our society views female politicians differently than male politicians.

Here's a quote from the article:
"Indeed, in a Daily Beast article last year about Ms. Davis and her sneakers, the liberal pundit Sally Kohn wrote that noting what women wear “undercuts the leadership of women and quashes their voice.” It seems to me, however, and this exhibition shows, that the situation is the opposite: What women wear is an embodiment of their voice, and identifying it helps identify their agenda (as it does with men, for that matter). "


If Men In Politics Were Described Like Women In Politics

So when I can't sleep at night, I browse through BuzzFeed. And I stumbled across this. I found it humorous, and reading some of these felt kind of strange, because we don't talk about men in politics this way. So why do we about women?


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Gender Gap in Voting

It is no surprise to anyone, I think, that older (white) men are key to Republican victories. Thinking more about our discussion of the election, this article gives a nice breakdown of both age and gender gaps in voting the other day. I am generally very intrigued by the victory of various female GOP candidates, particularly since we still see women tending to vote for Democrats.

This also makes me curious about how the gender gap may or may not change in the future. We see more general support for "women's issues" from the left, but perhaps increased female GOP representation will cause that to shift and will lead to a decrease in the gender gap. The Republicans know how important older men are to their success, but the party that lacks organization and diverse support is definitely trying to reshape its image and identity, and in turn gain support from a variety of demographics. It may be up to these new female GOP representatives to narrow the gender gap in voting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lena Dunham wants you to vote! (and voting selfies)

As I was looking up women in the midterm election results, I came across this Glamour Magazine article, titled, " Will Women Turn Out to Vote in Tomorrow's Midterm Elections?  Democrats are Counting On It."  The article outlined some of the "women's issues" that we have been discussing in class, and interestingly had its own "Glamour Poll" of whether or not you were going to vote.  Here were the results:
This makes me wonder the reasons why the 8.57% said no!

Also, the article had a link to a video from a partnership of Lena Dunham and Planned Parenthood (link directly to video here).  I thought this was an interesting partnership between Dunham and PP, as Dunham seems to be using her celebrity status to further her political views, and PP is leveraging their partnership with Dunham to get the attention/support of her fans.  

On another note, here's the CNN article titled, "Selfies at the ballot box illegal?"  The article also has the celebrity selfies at the top, just like we talked about in class (look, even Kendall Jenner voted!  If a Kardashian can vote, so can you.)

Some "firsts" for women in Congress

Elsie Stefanik, a 30-year-old Republican from New York, has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Mia Love of Utah has become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.

Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, is the first woman Senator elected from West Virginia.

Joni Ernst, a new Republican Senator, is the first woman elected to either house of Congress from Iowa. She's also the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate.

Mississippi is now the only state to have never elected a female governor or sent a woman to Congress.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Just saw this hilarious satirical "reasons why men shouldn't have the vote" piece why men shouldn't have the vote and thought of womens suffrage

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Judy Harvey Sahak on Going to A Women's College in The 1960s

A few years ago I did an interview with Judy Harvey Sahak about her experience as at a women's college (she's graduated from scripps in 1962) in the 1960s. She echoes a lot of what Collins says in chapter 2 about the pressures young women felt to get married, so I thought it was worth sharing!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Why We Need the Movie "Wild"

I don't know how many of read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed, or seen the trailer for the movie that's going to be released on Dec 5, but, if you haven't, it's the story of a woman who falls apart after the death of her mother, and then eventually recovers by through-hiking a section of the PCT. When I started to read the book, I found myself irritated by Strayed and her melodrama. But as the story continued, I came to recognize and appreciate her growth and healing (her outdoor skills remain questionable though). And when I heard that the book was going to be made into a movie, I eagerly watched the trailer, only to find myself disappointed with the entire story all over again. Until I read this blog post. I follow this blog because the woman who writes it frequently combines an outdoorsy perspective of the world with many of the ideas I often can't seem to reconcile with the things I come across here at school. And with this she does it again. She points out "When was the last time you watched a movie with a female protagonist? Who, instead of being rescued in the end by Prince Charming, pressed through her challenges to learn and maybe overcome? And when was the last time that protagonist worked through her problems by turning toward nature?" Woah. I can't answer any of those questions. And the post also introduced me to the Bechdel Test, "a rubric for measuring gender bias" in works of fiction. So, although I may not agree entirely with the image of women in the outdoors that the movie Wild seems to portray (Reese Witherspoon staggering around in the desert/mountains/snow/forest with her hair in her face), I am trying to appreciate the fact that somebody is creating a movie that is focused on a female protagonist who finds change within herself, with the help of nature.

#WomenRun2014: What’s so scary?

Check out this Halloween-theme graphic from the Center for Women in American Politics.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Michigan Senate Race Ad

In Michigan's U.S. Senate race, where Representative Gary Peters (D) and former Secretary of State of Michigan Terri Lynn Land (R) face each other, liberals have accused Land of opposing equal pay and women's right to choose.

In response, Land released her own ad, denying that she had been launching a war against women.

However, her ad received many negative reviews. Even Fox News commentators agreed that her ad was not effective.

With only five days remaining, a Detroit Free Press poll found Land trailing Peters by 15%.

Here are some other ads of the 2014 Midterm Elections.

Friday, October 24, 2014

In 1938, L.A. woman went to jail for wearing slacks in courtroom

Here's a piece from yesterday's California Retrospective section of the L.A. Times:

In 1938, L.A. woman defied a judge's order and wore slacks in court, earning her a five-day jail sentence.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Ayn Rand

John Oliver did a bit on Ayn Rand a couple of weeks ago called "Ayn Rand - How is she still a thing?", wondering about her popularity. It's not very flattering, but it's also interesting to think about his audience, and how some of the comments made in the piece would resonate with his viewers.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sojourner Truth and Kerry Washington

If there is one woman I could say I look up to the most in the public eye right now it would be Shonda Rhimes. She is single handedly changing television and changing the way we talk and the way we think about women (and PEOPLE for that matter).  Her shows are some of my favorites to watch not only because she has such a distinct writing voice, but also because she creates female characters that are complex and interesting. Admittedly a TV addict, one of my favorite parts of watching a show is becoming invested in the fandom, too. I often find bonus features, cast interviews and behind-the-scenes content to be just interesting as the show itself. Thus, I was on a "Kerry Washington Youtube Binge" the other day when I discovered this video of her reciting the speech, "Ain't I A Woman?" which was originally given by Sojourner Truth at a Women's Rights Convention in 1851. Embarrassingly, I had never heard much of Sojourner Truth before. However, I was so blown away with the speech that I immediately watched it three more times in a row. In this speech she articulates so much of what we have been discussing in class: Who is included in the historical memory of social movements and why? What are the social conditions that determine who is a woman? How do women who are marginalized in ways other than gender face a different reality?

It's interesting to note that Kerry Washington recited this speech as part of a play called Voices of A People's History of the United States.  According to their website, "Voices of A People's History of the United States seeks to bring to light little known voices from US history, including those of women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and laborers... Voices also arranges for readings combining professional actors with students and readings also entirely of students to engage at all levels of the dramatic and educational process, from selecting texts, to interpreting them, to adding new voices to the performances." To me, this kind of project really answers the question we posed in class of how do we work to redress some of the historical memory that has shaped the way we glorify some heroes while silencing other heroes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Brazilian artist Carol Rossetti

A former student sent me a link to the work of Brazilian artist Carol Rossetti, who created a powerful series of illustrations entitled Women. The pictures made me think of the ideas of the modern women's movement, which we'll be discussing in a few weeks.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pride the movie

Just saw the movie "Pride" with my family and would recommend it to anyone with some free time this break. It's set in London in 1984 and is about the relationship between a Gay and Lesbian organization in London and striking miners in a village in Wales. We've discussed the intersection of social movements in class and this film explores the potential that marginalized groups have when they join forces. Plus its based on a true story. What's not to love??

But really it's well cast, uplifting and hilarious. All around an enjoyable film.


Rotten Tomatoes

Gamergate - the Next Culture War

If we look back in history, many of the conflicts have been very social/cultural in nature. And it seems that one of the newest culture wars is taking place in the technological world. Many of you probably heard about Anita Sarkeesian's cancelled talk at Utah State University this past week (if not, info here).

Essentially, women comprise a huge segment of the gaming community and consequently are pointing out the rampant sexism typical in games. And within the past two months, a group called Gamergate has emerged, committed to keeping the sexism alive both in the games and in the real world. This article, The Future of the Culture Wars Is Here, talks all about this group and the momentum they are gaining. While at first glance this may not seem explicitly political, it reflects similar issues that we see when women, or any minority group, begin to become more involved in a typically homogeneous community. There has long been terrible harassment of women on the internet (and in general) for expressing their opinions or for merely existing, and this problem does not seem to be stopping soon. Gamergaters, through threats and slurs, are making sure that women are still being forced to the margins of this community. This is consistent with the political history of the United States, where women are told to know their place and stop speaking out on issues they are told they know nothing about.

Campaign Ads

I've been enjoying watching all of the campaign ads come out this season, and especially seeing how candidates are targeting certain groups. One of my favorites is an ad made by the College Republican National Committee for Rick Scott, who is running for re-election as governor of Florida. The ad attempts to appeal to women by making it like an episode of "Say Yes to the Dress." Of course, Colbert has a pretty funny spin-off of the add.

In addition to appealing to women voters, women candidates are trying to appeal to male voters by seeming tough and less feminine. For example, this ad for Joni Ernst begins by saying that she "grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm." This is the ad that Professor Pitney played at his Ath talk a couple of weeks ago.

I don't mean to bash on Republicans, I'll find some good Democratic ads for my next post!

Congresswoman against Contraception

I attended Susan Wood's Ath talk the other day, and during the question session she mentioned that there are Congresswomen who vote against contraception and women's health reforms. This reminded me of the Women's Anti-Suffragist League back in Anthony and Stanton's time and made me curious as to who these Congresswomen were. I came across articles on Nan Hayworth, a Republican Congresswoman, who ran as a pro-choice candidate in 2010 but later changed her opinions, voting for legislations that limited women's access to contraception/abortion and restricted funding for Planned Parenthood. Even though she supports women's rights, she doesn't think the government should be the one providing this kind of health care. I don't see how you can believe in one without the other. She seems to be afraid that she will lose women's votes if she doesn't say she "supports" their rights, but the legislations she votes and advocates for tell me that she is actually in opposition to them. Even then, I find it quite interesting that there is such a substantial social stigma against women who oppose women's rights that we barely see organized movements equivalent to the Women's Anti-Suffragist League.


The "Makers" documentary series is really great, if anyone is looking for something to watch over break. I've only seen "Women in Hollywood" and "Women in Comedy," but I noticed that they have another episode called "Women in Politics."

Sexual Assault article in The Atlantic: "Did Harvard Go Too Far?"

I am writing my senior thesis on the recently passed California sexual assault legislation (SB967), familiarly known as "yes-means-yes." Seeing as sexual assault is an issue at the forefront of the women's movement today, I've been wanting to post something on it. I was just sent this article and I would encourage anyone interested in sexual assault on college campuses to read it. It provides a summary of recent developments in college sexual assault policy and links to other articles that provide more information (if you're interested in reading more). 


Discourse on the Future of Feminism

I just flew home and my mom had set this article out on my bed. It's a dialogue between two editors at The New Republic Judith Shulevitz and Rebecca Traister about the history of feminism in the United States, the current state of feminism and the direction it is heading. They mention many of the issues we've discussed in class including the ERA (and equal opportunity), Carrie Chapman Catt (and the 19th amendment), and the power of the media in shaping how society views women. They also discuss many issues prevalent to the women's movement today including sexual assault and the role of the internet in feminist discussions.  A little on the long side but a fascinating read. 

[if you couldn't access it above: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119412/feminisms-future-debate]

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hull House closes, will settlement houses fade away?

In 2012 Hull House closed. Jane Adams's vision of the settlement house provided new opportunities for women and gave much needed services to the community. However, the system was heavily reliant on government funding and this proved to be the downfall of the the settlement house in the 21st century. This article discusses the closing of Hull House and the future of settlement houses. I am intrigued with the development of a new type of settlement house that would stay true to Adams's vision but would be more self-sustaining. Thoughts?


Forbes' Most Powerful Women in Politics

Not sure exactly when this was posted on the Forbes website, but it is nonetheless an interesting list that provides insight into who they consider powerful women in world politics. While there are many women on the list who are the President or Prime Minister of their respective countries, some notable American women include Hillary Clinton (#2) and Michelle Obama (#5).

In light of recent discussion on how Eleanor Roosevelt changed the role of being the First Lady, it's fascinating to see how she has affected others. The ways that new First Ladies have taken on their role-- from public presence to their activism-- are all different, but they've all found ways to use their position to enact change


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pointers Eleanor Roosevelt Gave to JFK After His First Televised Debate With Nixon

I think we all enjoyed reading the letters people sent to Eleanor Roosevelt! Here's one that I found that she sent to JFK after his famous debate with Nixon. It's amazing to think about how prominent of a political figure she was and how much people valued her support and input.


Pretty Faces

Not sure if you all have heard anything about it, but there's a new movie in the action sports world that focuses entirely on women in the extreme skiing industry. Being born and raised in Colorado, among very active outdoor communities, movies like this one were a staple of my childhood and adolescence. Except, as I grew older, I started to notice how women were mysteriously absent from so many of them. Regardless of the sport - skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, road biking, climbing, mountaineering, etc - there always seemed to be a single token female or two who totally hung with the guys, yet never had her story told. And then the idea for this movie surfaced, struggled for a while, and finally, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, became a reality. The women behind the  project wanted to give young, aspiring female skiers (but really skiers of any and all ages) something to look up to. The movie's website even includes a nice Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

I have yet to see the movie, but I've heard that every showing yet has been sold out and incredibly well received! Here's the link to the trailer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Midterms are coming up! And republicans have realized that they need to start expanding their base if they want to win, so now they're targeting women... in extremely reductive and sexist ways! like likening picking a candidate to picking a wedding dress. I've atached a link to a daily show segment on this topic with Kristin Schaal (who is consistently hilarious as the "senior women's corespondent"), and would like you to know that the commercials in this segment are in fact real, and not a cruel joke.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apparently I Want to Marry Rich?

Last week we touched upon the fact that at least one member of Congress brings up the ERA each year and, of course, Phyllis Schlafly.

On that note...

At the end, Colbert jokes about women asking for a 25% pay cut. Maybe Satya Nadella (whose "karma" line has his in the news as of late) misread Colbert's sarcasm.

Equal Representation (and the lack thereof)

Nancy Pelosi on Women in Politics

I stumbled across this video of Nancy Pelosi from about a year ago, speaking at the Radcliffe Institute about the state of women in politics, particularly within Congress. If you have 9 minutes to spare, I highly recommend taking the time to watch. Even just the question she is asked at the beginning frames some of the same discussions we have had in class. Pelosi talks about how the work of women such as Stanton and Anthony is still impacting us today, and how we still have work to do to reach the goals of political equality. The simple fact that we celebrate having women comprise 18.5% of Congress - the highest percentage in history - is troubling. Yes, we are making progress and increasing our numbers, but why are things still so unbalanced? In contrast to this, Sweden's incoming Prime Minister recently announced his cabinet, and half of the members are women. If you are interested, you can read about that here: Sweden reveals new 'feminist' cabinet

Saturday, October 11, 2014

First Ladies

Here is and interesting article from TIME titled "From Eleanor to Michelle:The Inside Scoop on First Lady Fashion." I've always found the role of the First Lady interesting, they are so publicized even though it is their husbands who chose the role for them.  I think that the great attention put on First Ladies, and their fashion in particular, draws away from what they should actually be known for. Many people know Nancy Reagan for her red dresses, but do you know that she also started the "Just Say No" campaign?

I'm not going to lie, I love seeing what new J Crew sweater Michelle has, but I think that for these women to have the respect that they deserve there should be a greater emphasis on their work.  Below is a link to"A Brief History of First Ladies and Their Causes."

BNV14 - Denver "Feminism"

These young women explain so well some of the themes we discussed in class the other day in relation to third wave feminism. They highlight how women's movements that include women of color have been happening long before what we consider first wave feminism explaining, "Rosie the Riveter did what women of color had been doing for years." They also explain how the feminist movement means something completely different for women who face other marginalizations. Perhaps the most poignant and important statement they make is that the feminist movement can't be seen in black and white binaries. It needs to include and represent women of many different backgrounds and communities. I highly recommend taking the time to watch their video. They are so articulate and my trying to recap what they says can't begin to touch the surface of what they say.

On a slightly unrelated not, I'm always so impressed with how slam poets can use poetry as such a powerful social critique. These ladies are seriously impressive!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why aren't there more women in politics?


This NBC Colorado news segment notes that this upcoming election could mark the first time that Congress has been only 20% women.  The video cites that since women won the vote in 1920 to today, women still account for half the population, but continue to be extremely underrepresented in politics.  Interestingly, the Colorado State Legislature has the highest percentage of women representatives of any state (way to go, Colorado!).

The segment suggests that the answer to the question, "Why aren't there more women in politics?" has to do with the difficulty of women getting funding for their campaigns, breaking into the ol' boys networks, and the general perception that women aren't cut out for these political roles.

What do you think?  Is it enough that we have a few women in high-power roles in Congress (such as Nancy Pelosi), or do we need more women even if they do serve in less powerful roles?

(P.S.  The article says that our generation is important in making the shift to having more women into politics!)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Women in Business

An interesting article brought to you by the comments of Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, regarding his answer to the question, "what do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers, but not comfortable...with asking for a raise?":

(video and transcript of his response are included in the article)

Although he has since apologized, he praised women who do not ask for raises for their "good karma" and that they have a "superpower"... at a conference that is supposed to celebrate women in computing.

Moderator (and HMC President) Maria Klawe was quick to disagree with Nadella's comment and provided the audience with a much more satisfying answer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Women's Equal Pay in Sports

This was published a while ago, but Julie's presentation about Rose Schneiderman made me think of this interview with the filmmaker of 'Venus Vs,' one of the films in ESPN's series focusing on Title IX and women athletes.  The film talks about women tennis players' fight for equal pay and prize money, started by Billie Jean King (who came to the Ath last year!).  Both Williams and King have been politically active in forwarding women's rights, as well as tearing it up on the court!

Here's the link to the interview: http://leanin.org/discussions/venus-vs-filmmaker-ana-duvernay-on-venus-williams-and-the-fight-for-equal-pay/

If you're interested, here is the link for ESPN's "Nine for IX" series of short films: http://espn.go.com/espnw/w-in-action/nine-for-ix/

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Internet is Full of Wild Things

So I'm sitting in the SCC right now and a little concerned that somebody is going to look over my shoulder at my computer screen because...


Yeah. This still exists.

I couldn't convince myself that it was worth the stares to read through the full website, but a brief glance pointed out a few key points--the ever present fear of miscegenation and the extreme adherence to religion.

I feel at least a little better in that within the first paragraph, the authors use the wrong "there" instead of "their."

Curious about the discussion of immigrants in the first paragraph...if anybody can figure out what's trying to be said, let me know.

Monday, October 6, 2014

ERA Still Needed?

So after class today I thought of this clip from the West Wing and how when I saw this episode it made me question weather or not we still need the ERA. I think it is interesting that almost 100 years later we can still have a discussion that seems to spark interest and have completely different arguments about the same subject. I have never been opposed to the ERA in theory, but I have wondered weather or not women who study the law believe it is necessary or would be redundant as the character Ainsley Hayes describes in this clip.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Beyonce Voters

I'm a little late to the blog game (sorry email troubles) but as I promised here is a link to the Beyonce voters tumblr which was a response by the feminist blogging community to The fox news clip about "single ladies"mooching of the government. I love the use of satire to respond to the ridiculous discrimination against women in our health care system. This blog combines beyonce lyrics (destiny's child included) and photos of prominent political figures and issues. Be sure to scroll all the way through, because the ones at the bottom are hilarious!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

First Woman President = Progressivism?

I came across a petition letter written by Denis Kucinich, a US Congressman, urging South Korea's president Park Geun-hye to commit herself to the democratic values she supposedly espouses. Personally, this really hit home as I've been frustrated by how often people equate the election of a woman president with a country's progressive political development. When women politicians are defined by their gender, there is a great possibility of overlooking their competence as a leader and the political values they stand by. This is evident in the fact that despite Park's failure to distance herself from her legacy as a daughter of the infamous dictator Park Chung-hee, she has garnered substantial support on the grounds that she will advance women's rights and promote feminism in a traditionally conservative country. This feminist rhetoric has distracted many Koreans from Park's repeated equivocation on controversial issues, her failure to demonstrate knowledge of common facts, such as Korea's minimum wage, and most importantly, her general lack of past records on supporting gender equality and empowering social minorities. As Kucinich suggests, a president of a democratic nation should not be judged by their inherent qualities, such as gender or race, but their strong commitment and representation of democratic values.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Jon Stewart pointing out the double standards imposed on women in politics

Here's a segment of The Daily Show from last April highlighting the political stereotypes we discussed on the first day of class, and have touched on since. I mostly enjoyed the variety of clips included contrasting the media reactions to shows of female and male emotion. Many of them use very similar wording to the political cartoon we looked at in class, where women, in this case Hilary Clinton, are described as getting "all misty eyed," being "close to a breakdown," "letting her emotions fall out of her," being "bewildered," "frustrated," and "so angry," while men who show emotion, in this case a variety of political figures, show "courage" and "passion," get "fiery," are "tough," a "straight shooter," "forceful," or "aggressive" (applauded for such behaviors). I don't necessarily agree with all of Jon Stewart's comments, but I do appreciate the attention directed towards the issue!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

John Oliver covers Miss America: how much do they really award in scholarships?

Highlight of this video from John Oliver:
Women's accepted political contributions extend to 20 seconds at the Miss America pageant in which she is asked to "solve ISIS."

This clip, though on the long side, covers the variety of problems with Miss America that are normally not named (like the swimsuit portion): that is, their testimony that they are the largest provider of scholarships for women in the entire world. They "offer" $45 million, but in reality, only $4 million is spent a year (2012). Nevertheless, with just $4 million, they still award the largest amount of scholarships out of any organization, even more than the Jeanette Rankin (i.e. first female congresswoman) Women's Scholarship Fund.

A "contestant" in John Oliver's impromptu pageant referenced Seneca Falls and the first wave of feminism. She said that the fact that she was expected to answer questions in 20 seconds showed how Miss America is nowhere close to becoming a purely academic-minded organization. Women are chosen to receive a scholarship on their bodily appearance, their performing talent, and 20 seconds talking about current affairs. Here are this year's questions:

I really recommend watching John Oliver's whole video on Miss America scholarships:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Women and Petitioning

I came across an article today publicizing results of a historical study. The authors found that in the period of 1833 to 1845, women were gathering 50% more anti-slavery signatures than men in the same areas, with the same petition requests, and at the same time period. A gag rule against any slavery-related petitions was institued by congress in 1836, which seems to have instigated women doubling their efforts in seeking signatures.

"More fascinating still, these women remained active in politics for decades afterwards. A number of them signed the Seneca Falls Declaration in 1848. And for movement leaders active after the Civil War, women were four to five times more likely than men to come to their activism through petitioning. The women who canvassed antislavery petitions were not active in national politics before – many of them were teenagers."

I'm attaching here the link to the article summary in the Washington Post and the original article, published in the American Political Science Review.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Emma Watson's Speech HeforShe: "Men, Gender Equality Is Your Issue Too"

In reading the primary source documents for class, one aspect of the Women's Suffrage Movement that has really stood out to me as ironic is this notion that women really rely on men in order to get the vote. Perhaps more important to their cause than convincing each other of the importance of the women's vote is convincing male voters to vote for suffrage. No matter how well they organize themselves, they ultimately have to find tactics that engage men in their movement.

Emma Watson's speech at the UN to launch the HeforShe campaign has gone viral over the weekend. The HeforShe campaign aims to engage men as advocates for ending gender inequality. For me, the tone of this campaign is so similar to the way suffragists engaged men in the fight for the vote at the turn of the century. And, part of me is really annoyed with that. Part of me feels like we already changed the system, so women should be able to be advocates for themselves. But, at the same time suffragists recognized that they needed to work with in the system in order to change it. And, I really do think that mentality is perhaps the most useful tool towards progress today. Men are an essential aspect to ending gender inequality--they are half of the population. And, just as women have been objectified and stereotyped they've been objectified and stereotyped in different ways. And, a collective movement is required to really address gender inequality globally.

- Laurel

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cosmo Votes

Cosmopolitan recently launched "Cosmo Votes,"a project to discuss issues the magazine sees as important to women and to encourage readers to vote in the 2014 midterm elections. The magazine will cover the races, endorse candidates, and explain the impact of women voters. See this interview with Joanna Cole, Cosmopolitan's editor-in-chief, on "CBS This Morning; this piece, "10 Reasons Young Women Absolutely Need to Vote in the Midterms"; and this collection of Cosmo articles on politics.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

To Hold Senate, Democrats Rely on Single Women

According to this article that appeared in the New York Times in July, unmarried women have emerged as an important voting bloc, although many do not vote in midterm elections.

"Sister Suffragette"

Remember this song from "Mary Poppins"?

Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage

Check out this parody of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," a tribute to Alice Paul and her fellow activists.  You might take a look at the behind-the-scenes video too, since it's quite interesting.

NPR Series "She Votes"

In May, NPR ran a special series called "She Votes" that examined women's influence on politics. Looking ahead to the midterm elections, the pieces considered such topics as why women vote and what draws them to the polls, the challenges female candidates face, and how they govern once elected. You can find the stories here.