March 30, 2009
Day 1: Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys
Monday, March 30, 2009
Greetings from Brazil. I am in Rio de Janeiro for the first ever Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality. This gathering of more than 400 men and women activists, researchers, policymakers, UN officials and young people from 71 countries around the world marks another historic occasion in our movement. As organizers and participants of this conference begin to gather today, I am re-connecting with dear colleagues and fellow activists from all over the world.
The Symposium is being organized by MenEngage, a global alliance of NGOs and UN agencies that began in 2004, with the goal of working in partnership to promote the engagement of men and boys in achieving gender equality, promoting health and reducing violence at the global level. The MenEngage Alliance has convened international meetings and regional consultations, and promoted the formation of MenEngage networks at the national level. Steering and Advisory Committee members of MenEngage include Promundo (Brazil) EngenderHealth, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Family Violence Prevention Fund, International Center for Research on Women, WHO, UNFPA, UNDP, Sonke Gender Justice Project (South Africa), Save the Children-Sweden, Sahoyog (India), the White Ribbon Campaign, Men for Gender Equality (Sweden) and Men's Resources International.
The steering committee of MenEngage met today. There were reports about projects, programs and activities that are now happening on every continent and many, many countries. The issue of male involvement is being actively addressed in rural communities such as in Cambodia, and India, and championed by major international agencies and United Nations organizations. It is very humbling to see how far this field has come, and fascinating to watch the whirlwind of networking and organizing that continues to build a sense of a movement.
At tonight's opening session the Symposium will be officially launched. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be welcoming participants via a taped message.
September 02, 2008
A Crisis of Gender Violence
Video: Stephen Lewis | A Crisis of Gender Violence
07.21.2008 | 21:46 minutes
Synopsis:A forceful and moving indictment of violence against women. Former U.N. Ambassador Stephen Lewis delivers a rallying cry to stop the systemic use of rape and abuse against girls and women across the globe.
Bio: Stephen Lewis is a U.S. based Co-Director of AIDS-Free World, an advocacy organization that works to promote more urgent and more effective responses to HIV/AIDS. Amongst several senior UN roles that spanned more than two decades, Lewis has served as the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations. He holds 28 honorary degrees from Canadian universities and is a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest honor for lifetime achievement. In 2007, the Kingdom of Lesotho invested Lewis as Knight Commander of the Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe, the country's highest honor. Lewis is currently a Professor in Global Health at McMaster University, serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and chairs the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Canada.
March 06, 2008
International Women's Day
Saturday, March 8 is International Women's Day, a day of global celebration for the political, social, and economic achievements of women. But women's achievements are constrained every day by violence, which is suffered daily by girls and women all over the world.
In fact, every day a war is being waged against women and girls, taking millions of lives and causing terrible suffering. Violence against women -- whether abuse by spouses or partners in the home, rape as a weapon during wartime, dowry deaths, or "honor killings" -- claims one of every three women or girls in the world as victims.
Their suffering is a leading contributor to poverty, preventing women from taking full advantage of economic and educational opportunities that would help create better lives for themselves and their families.
Now, the United States is poised to make a difference to end this epidemic of violence. Members of Congress from both parties have introduced legislation that will use the power of U.S. diplomacy and international aid to address physical and sexual violence against women and girls overseas.
The International Violence Against Women Act will provide $1 billion over five years in U.S. foreign assistance for long-term prevention, programs to change public attitudes and social norms and legal and health reforms, and economic development for women -- all intended to end violence against women worldwide.
On International Women's Day on Saturday, let's all contact our representative and senators to ask them to support this groundbreaking legislation. For more information visit the Family Violence Prevention Fund online, Amnesty International or Women Thrive Worldwide.
January 17, 2008
The 11th AWID International Forum on Women's Rights and Development
The Power of Movements
November 14-17, 2008
Cape Town, South Africa
We invite you to contribute to this urgent discussion by submitting a proposal to organize a session at the 11th AWID Forum: The Power of Movements.
Submit your proposal online at www.awid.org/forum08.
Deadline: January 28, 2008
Contact us for more info or printable application at
email@example.com or +1 416 594 3773.
The struggle for women's rights faces formidable obstacles.
Recent years have witnessed a marked increase in the fragmentation of movements, as well as decreased investment by funding agencies in movement-oriented as opposed to project-oriented work. These trends have resulted in weakened women's movements in many parts of the world at a time when the challenges faced by women grow ever larger and more difficult.
The issues we need to resolve are complex and multi-faceted: How do we build movements that allow us to be strong but flexible, diverse without being fragmented, adaptable without compromising our core values, strategic without being expedient? What kind of collective power is possible in the 21st century, what types of mobilizations work - and in what contexts? What are the contradictions we need to confront in our movements in order to move forward? How do we build solidarity across different movements? And what is the cost of simply letting things drift along the present path?
From November 14-18, 2008, up to 1,500 women's rights activists from around the world will gather in Cape Town, South Africa to discuss the issue of building stronger women's movements globally.
September 10, 2007
Married Couples Split Housework Less Evenly than Cohabitating Couples
via Feminist Daily News Wire
September 4, 2007
A new study reveals a considerable difference in how cohabitating couples and married couples divide housework responsibilities. The international study, conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University and George Mason University and published in the September edition of the Journal of Family Issues, finds that cohabitating couples tend to split household chores more equitably than married couples. Even though the study did not track cohabitating couples who made the transition to married life, the results suggest that "marriage alters the division of labor in a household," even when both people in a marriage express egalitarian attitudes towards women and men, according to a press release from North Carolina State University.
Within marriages, the study finds that women do about twice as much housework as men, even after adjusting for employment status and other factors. While men living with their partners do more housework than married men, women still shoulder the burden of household chores.
Researchers in the study suggest that traditional views around marriage could affect how men and women divide domestic responsibilities. A couple living together may feel "a little more free to divide the housework the way they want to divide it, rather than the way society expects them to divide it," said Dr. Theodore Greenstein, one of the study's authors. As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, told USA Today, "Cohabiting couples see themselves in more of a 'you do your part and I'll do mine' roommate relationship."
Media Resources: Journal of Family Issues 9/07; North Carolina State News Services 8/30/07; USA Today 8/30/07
September 05, 2007
Women's Equality, Men's Liberation
A version of this editorial originally appeared as "Men Also Share Fruits of Women's Equality Day" in the online publication WomensEnews (www.womensenews.org).
On August 26, 1920, 72 years after the struggle had begun, women in the U.S. had at last won the right to vote. Eight days earlier, suffragist (Anita) Lili Pollitzer, a 25 year-old activist, had successfully persuaded Tennessee state legislator Harry T. Burn, 24, to cast the deciding vote. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally the law of the land and the nation's 26 million voting-age women were at last enfranchised. Woman Suffrage Day (now named Women's Equality Day), beyond commemorating the date women succeeded in getting the right to vote, also symbolizes women's ongoing quest for equality. While acknowledging that pivotal anniversary, the day can be more than only a celebration for women. It affords men a chance to learn from women's struggle for independence valuable tools we can apply to our own liberation.
If we're willing to honestly examine our long held fear of powerful women--and the false notion that we lose some of our power as women gain more of theirs -- there's much for men to learn from Women's Equality Day. Not the least of which is a direction for leading rewarding lives, including understanding our inner world more profoundly.
In this arena, women have long led the way. If that's a problem for some of us guys, well, it's time for us to get over it. Healthy leadership knows no gender.
Four decades ago, when women began renewing their demand for self-determination and freedom across the board--including the ongoing process of examining all female roles in society--they uncovered a silver lining of independence from which men can benefit too.
But first we have to unflinchingly examine our fears. Many of us have felt confused, unsure, angry and threatened by the gains women have made. In some households, being supplanted as top wage earner has triggered men's insecurity; in others, it's been women returning to school to finish a long-delayed degree. Some men feel they're paying a steep price for sharing power: not just losing control but also self-respect.
What a set up. For healthy men, sharing power can have such a healing, eye-opening upside: offering us an opportunity to lighten the load of responsibility so many of us still feel we have to carry.
Danger lurks, though. Many unhealthy men, too shut down to examine their own lives, may cross the line, exhibiting controlling, even abusive behaviors. These behaviors must be confronted.
Some believe the advances women have made--increased job and career opportunities, improved wages, better child care--have come at men's expense, as if freedom and independence were finite: "If she has it, then I've lost it," the thinking goes. Truth is, liberation is like love: there's an infinite supply.
Instead of men feeling resentful about the gains women have made, we might study women's accomplishments and apply what we learn to our own lives.
For instance, many women have been public about their struggle to balance the world of work and career with that of relationship and child rearing. The public conversation about the "mommy track" may be a difficult one for women, but it reminds women they are not alone.
Sadly, men wrestling with those same issues usually do so in private, too often silent and isolated. In groups I've facilitated and with individual men I've counseled, I've heard the same refrain: "I was always too ashamed to talk about it."
Unsympathetic supervisors have frowned upon, or have been outright hostile to, men who tried to organize their work schedule in order to make the game, the recital, the doctor's appointment. As a result, many spoke about the despair they felt, the lack of support. Some described developing physical conditions that seemed to develop out of their inner condition: high blood pressure, depression, even suicidal thinking.
For many men, the idea that sharing with others the stresses they were carrying could actually play a crucial role in shifting their experience had never occurred to them.
The world inhabited by my three daughters--29, 26, and 22--and son, 19, has been informed by the struggle for equality women have been waging since before they were born. They've all benefited greatly from their mothers' many acts fierce acts of independence. That one daughter is in Tibet right now working on a film about Buddhist nuns, that another just completed an emergency medical technician certification training in Montana, and that the third is in North Carolina beginning a nurse practitioner graduate program speaks volumes about what women can achieve.
Does their younger brother, a college sophomore, feel undermined by their stepping into the big, wide world, arms flung open, reaching for the sky? Hardly. He's inspired. Just as I am. He knows there is room for him to think big, too. He freely acknowledges how their many trips, when he was in elementary, middle school and high school to Asia, the Middle East, and Central and Latin America, emboldened him to begin his own international travels.
Like many men, I've backed away from admitting the fear and vulnerability I've sometimes felt navigating my life. Long before I began finding strength and hope, wisdom and love, friendship and healing, in the company of men, I found it with women: women in the anti-war movement in Washington, D.C., in the late '60s; strong leaders in the anti-nuke movement in the '70s, proponents of feminist political art in the '80s. Their uncompromising honesty all contributed significantly to my learning how to open up to myself.
I didn't have the language for it at the time but women were modeling a kind of courage I was hungry for, going for a full life without limits.
Men Join the Celebration
It's fitting that men join a celebration of the 19th Amendment that the suffragist movement left to the world 87 years ago.
While we're celebrating, let's include a generous dollop of hope for what's possible for our sons, too.
So thank you, sisters, for being unwilling to accept the restricted lives society imposed on you for so long. Thank you for setting no limits for who you could become. Thank you for articulating the link between the civil rights and the women's rights movements. Thank you for expanding that link to include so many other vital causes, from gay and transgender rights to environmental justice and immigrant solidarity; to name just a few. Thank you for your leadership in the anti-war movement, then and now. You are an inspiration.
As important as Women's Equality Day is in marking what women have accomplished, there is still a long way to go.
Yet as a powerful symbol for men to consider, it raises a question: Can men commit to appreciating women's lives and women's leadership on more than just this one day? Absent our fears, jealousies and unfulfilled longings for connection, can we unabashedly commemorate this holiday and, in the process, open to our own possibility, our own questions?
I hope so. For those of us who can, we will be well on our way to celebrating our own Independence Day.
For more information:
Rob Okun is Executive Director of the Men's Resource Center for Change and Editor of Voice Male. He can be reached at (413) 253-9887 Ext. 20 or by e-mail.
September 27, 2006
Men Have to Take Responsibility
An interview with Gísli Hrafn of the Feminist Association of Iceland
From THE REYKJAVÍK GRAPEVINE
Issue 11 on Friday, July 28, 2006
by Steinunn Jakobsdóttir
By emphasising the role men play in rape crimes in society, the NEI campaign points its finger at men as assailants. Now, for the third year in a row, the campaign is kicking off before the Verslunarmannahelgin weekend, the busiest travel weekend of the year, when thousands of locals get together to party at various locations across the country. The Grapevine talked to Gísli Hrafn, a member of the Feminist Association of Iceland and one of the organisers of the NEI campaign. Gísli and fellow associates, who all work pro bono, will not be partying this weekend but instead travelling to the Westman Islands to discuss rape, hand out badges and Frisbees with the slogan “Men Say No to Rape” and try to do all they can to prevent a weekend, which is supposed to be fun and entertaining for all festival-goers, from devastating the nation’s youths.
Usually the female has been the centre of rape discussions, but in your NEI campaign you only focus on men.
– Yes, above all we try to reach men because in almost all cases, men are the rapists. Rapes have for far too long been labelled as a woman’s problem but our stand on the issue is that if it is a gender problem, then it is above all a man’s concern, because they are the assailants. By putting the focus on men we are trying to make them feel responsible and getting them to work together to decrease these sex crimes. By pointing out that even though they are not necessarily the rapists themselves, if they witness a friend assaulting a woman and just sit by and watch instead of preventing it from happening, as has been the case more than once, they are just as guilty.
When did you start fighting this issue?
– Our first campaign was during Verslunarmannahelgin in the year 2003. Then we emphasised the fact that rapists are usually someone the victim knows, a friend or an acquaintance. The stereotypical picture people have had of rape is that the assault happens when someone attacks a random victim out on the street, with a knife even. The fact is though that in most cases the attacker knows the victim.
An even more stereotypical idea the public has had in our society is that in many cases the victim is somehow to blame for the assault. We have heard claims like: “She was too drunk,” “she dressed provocatively” or “hey, she was kissing him earlier the evening,” as though that should be an excuse for rape. Those issues don’t have anything to do with it and can’t be used to defend the crime. When talking about any other offences, like say if your car gets stolen, people don’t ask how you were dressed, what you were doing yesterday or if you are a bad driver, because that has nothing to do with the crime committed. By placing emphasis on how ridiculous it is to justify rape by blaming the victim we wanted to bring the reality out to the public and try to change the view.
How exactly do you do that?
– We have handed out badges and Frisbees and sold t-shirts with our logo on them in front of liquor stores and the public transportation stops like BSÍ and Reykjavík Airport. In the meantime we use the opportunity to talk to the men we meet and discuss these matters, which we find is the most important part. If we can get men of all ages to talk together and try to delete these stereotyped ideas from the public awareness we hope people realise how wrong these claims are.
This year you will not only be based in the city, but also go to Þjóðhátíð in the Westman Islands.
– Yes, we will go to the Westman Islands, hand out badges and make conversation like before. We chose to go during Verslunarmannahelgin because at that time, a lot of people come together for the outdoor festivals held all around the country and it is a sad fact that many assaults happen at that time. It will be my first time in the Westman Islands during the festival, but I remember when I lived in Denmark I went to the Roskilde festival a couple of times where 100,000 people were camping together to enjoy the outdoor concerts. One time, there was a reported rape and the Danish society went crazy. In the media there were even talks about cancelling the festival the year after.
The attitude in Iceland is totally different. The same summer I went to Iceland and after Verslunarmannahelgin the discussion in the media was that unusually few rapes had occurred, as only two or three were reported after the weekend. That is so typical of how the society accepts this issue. This we want to change. Unfortunately, we can’t visit all the festivals this time, but by going to the Westman Islands, which is the biggest outdoor festival of them all, we will try to make the men attending the festival aware of the issue.
How effective do you think campaigns like these are in reality?
– Well, we don’t think we can stop rapes from happening altogether, but we know these campaigns have been quite successful in changing the attitude towards the victim. Publicity campaigns like ours have to be done over and over again though because studies have shown they only work for a short period of time. The public has to be reminded on a regular basis, and we will try to do our best in doing so in the future.
August 21, 2006
South Africa: Women Celebrate Historic Women's March
Via Feminist Daily News Wire
August 15, 2006
South Africa: Women Celebrate Historic Women's March
In celebration of Women's Day, thousands of South African women re-enacted an historic march through South Africa's capital, Pretoria, on Wednesday. In addition to honoring the 20,000 women who marched against apartheid laws 50 years ago, the march was held in protest of South Africa’s high rate of domestic violence, reports BBC News.
Today in South Africa, women comprise a third of the parliamentarians and 43 percent of the President’s cabinet, and they have made limited gains in the corporate world, according to IRIN News. In spite of advances in gender equality in the past 50 years, South Africa still has high levels of violence against women and one of the highest rates of rape in the world, reports IRIN News.
South African President Thabo Mbeki spoke at the march, saying, “…[W]e must uphold the perspective that none of us is free unless the women of our country are free — free from race and gender discrimination, free from poverty and loss of human dignity, and free from fear and violence,” Business Day reports.
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August 15, 2006
Study Shows Men Still Shirk Household Duties
Via Feminist Daily News Wire
August 7, 2006
Women still do 63 percent of the household work, according to data released late last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While women dedicate an average of almost 16 hours per week to household tasks such as cleaning and preparing food, men’s contributions add up to less than ten hours weekly. The data comes from a survey of 13,000 American men and women over the age of 15, who quantified time spent on various activities over an average day – the 24 hours preceding the interview.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has conducted the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) annually for the past three years, and its statistics show men’s and women’s time spent on housework have fluctuated very little over this period. Similar studies administered periodically since 1968 by The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research illuminate longer-term time use trends. Their findings show a dramatic increase in men’s contribution to housework from 1968 to 1985, from 4.4 weekly hours to 10.2, with women’s time allotment declining more than 50 percent over the same period, from 31.9 hours down to 20.4.
Since 1985, however, progress toward gender equality in domestic work has stalled, according to the time use studies, which show a 20-year plateau that continues with the recent ATUS findings. University of Maryland sociologists Suzanne Bianchi, John Robinson, and Melissa Milkie analyze this trend in their new book Changing Rhythms of Family Life, published this month. They note that although men’s contribution to household work has not changed significantly in years, both men and women have steadily increased time taking care of children.
July 17, 2006
Taliban Attacks on Afghan Girls' Schools Increase
Daily News Wire
July 12, 2006
Taliban Attacks on Afghan Girls' Schools Increase
Taliban militia bombings, burnings of girls' schools, and the killing of teachers are increasing at an alarming rate as the Taliban resurgence continues to gain strength. Ahmed Rashid, a well known author and expert on the Taliban recently wrote in the Washington Post that "...every single day somewhere in Afghanistan a girls' school is burned down or a female teacher killed by the Taliban." Under the Taliban regime, education for Afghan women and girls was banned. Attacks on girls' schools began immediately following the reopening of the schools by the new Afghan government in 2002, but the current situation has reached crisis proportions undermining the rights that Afghan women and girls were just beginning to enjoy.
TAKE ACTION! Urge your senators and representatives to co-sponsor "The Afghan Women's Empowerment Act of 2006"
June 29, 2006
Carnival of Feminists
The Carnival of Feminists is a great resource. It is one-stop shopping for a series of posts at other sites focused around particular topics - a kind of virtual conversation. Come one, come all to the Carnival...
via Bitch Lab - The 17th Carnival of Feminists
June 07, 2006
Patriarchy Hurts Men, Too?
Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I have not been near a computer for the last thirty-six hours.
Below is a great post that will make you think differently about those spam emails that men tend to get. Penis enlargements? Last longer? Are these messages that are both patriarchal and hurtful to men at the same time? Think about it...
Also, starting tonight, we will feature a series of posts that will be exciting to feature on this site. Check it out...
via Feministe - What Was That About Patriarchy Hurting Men, Too?
May 31, 2006
Feminism And Last Names
What I really appreciate about Hugo Schwyzer's blog, as I've mentioned before, is his desire to be fully transparent as a pro-feminist male. He is willing to put his thoughts and experiences out in a public forum and allow others to applaud him, argue with him - and most importantly - allow him to re-think something and potentially change his mind. In my view, that alone (being willing to take a point-of-view and then publicly step-back from it) makes him stand apart from the stereotypical man.
The posts below are about the practice of last names in marriage. A seemingly small issue in the world of feminism. But it is really a huge statement - full of power and meaning. As "hypen-aters", my wife and I put a lot of time and thinking into what we would do with our last names. Personally, I liked the idea of altering both of our names when entering into our marriage - while at the same time keeping our original "identities". Hugo has a different take on this practice. And, if you read the posts and the comments, received some very negative feedback. I post this, less for the content about names, but more for an example of a man living a pro-feminist live and sharing the ins-and-outs of it. It is why I frequently link to Mr. Schwyzer's blog.
via Hugo Schwyzer - Hugo's Feminist Credentials Get Pulled: A Lengthy Post on Feminism and Last Names
via Hugo Schwyzer - "I'm Disappointed in you, Hugo: More Navel Gazing
May 26, 2006
Pro-Feminist Men = Men Haters?
I know a number of men who have taken women's studies classes and have had to endure lots of questions from male friends. I have never taken a women's studies class. But I did endure a situation after leaving a Take Back The Night rally about a decade ago. I was walking alone not-too-far from the rally and a carload of young men drove by. They whipped a bottle at me, which missed, and yelled out "faggot". I was startled and a bit scared, obviously, at almost having a bottle smash into my head. And I was disturbed by the obvious homophobia. But I was blown-away at the idea that these guys were most likely trying to assault me because I was attending a rally that was about keeping women safe. Such transparent misogyny.
The post below reflects a bit on this phenomenon.
via Real Men Are Not - “You took women studies 200? It’s not just a bunch of angry lesbian man-haters is it?!”
April 10, 2006
Can Men Be Called Feminists?
There has been a discussion going on in the blogoshpere about men being called feminists. Are men who believe in feminist principals feminist or pro-feminists? Or can they use the term at all? Chris over at Creek Running North speaks to this when he writes:
I read Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua’s This Bridge Called My Back the year it was published, and found it invaluable in understanding a part of American culture I had until then missed. Were I to call myself a Chicana as a result of my poltical support, I would be laughed out of the planning meeting. I have been marching in Pride Parades for a quarter century, and had mainly gay friends in college for a decade before that. Even with broadening definition of the term, calling myself a “Queer activist” would almost certainly raise eyebrows. I cut my political eyeteeth working on the defense of the Attica prison riot defendants. That does not make me a Black Power activist.
My goal is to be the best ally to feminists I can be, in the political realm and in the much more difficult personal realm.
But I cannot call myself a feminist: the label is not mine to claim.
Ampersand at Alas, A Blog, has a thoughtful overview and a response to this discussion.
via Alas, A Blog - Should Men Be Called Feminists?
March 15, 2006
How To Be A Nice Guy
Another of my favorite bloggers - Andrea over at Official Shrub - has a great piece for men who want to learn to accept their privilege and how to be an ally to women. Clear and articulate.
via Official Shrub - How To Be A Real Nice Guy
March 03, 2006
Feminism and HBO
I haven't had time to read the pieces on this site, yet, but below is a link to a series of articles that take a feminist look at HBO television series. There are interesting-sounding articles such as: The Ghost of Gary Cooper: Masculinity, Homosocial Bonding and The Sopranos; by Katherine Hyunmi Lee, Claire on the Couch: Discourses of Female Subjectivity, Desire, and Teenage Angst in Six Feet Under; by Janet McCabe, and Fabulousness as Fetish: Queer Politics in Sex and the City; by Cristy Turner.
via S and F Online - Feminist Television Studies: The Case of HBO
March 01, 2006
Feminist-Men And Their Place in Feminism
I believe a great question that men can ask themselves, is the one posed on the website below - "Is there a place for feminist-men in Feminism? I also believe there is a place. I think that this blog and the organizations that support it: Men's Resources International and the Men's Resource Center for Change (and affiliated organizations around the world) are testimony to the place for men in Feminism. Below is a post about a man considering this question and then a response on another weblog from a feminist-woman.
via Mind on Fire - Is There A Place For Feminist-Men in Feminism?
via Self-Portrait As - Is Feminism A Women-Only Movement?
February 23, 2006
On Walking A Woman After Dark
Below is a great piece about the implications of the "simple" act of a man walking a woman after dark. It's one of those acts that even some "pro-feminist" men will still offer to women, without thinking how it may be perpetuating sexism. Some good thoughts...
via Happy Feminist - On Turning Into A Pumpkin After Dark
February 20, 2006
An Open Letter To All The Liberal Straight Men
The open letter below at the blog Definition is as good a response to those men who identify as pro-feminist (or however they may define their understanding of sexism), and who don't take that definition any deeper than just saying, "yep, women are oppressed." Whether you agree or not - good food for thought.
February 15, 2006
What Does It Mean To Be A Sex Positive Feminist
In the world of Feminism, the issue of pornography often gets broken down into two simplistic camps: anti-porn feminists and sex-positive feminists. As usual, when breaking down something as complicated as pornography and feminism into two extreme philosophies, you miss most people's true opinions. Andrea at Official Shrub, does a fine job of describing her own perspective on being sex-positive and, thus, helps to illuminate the diversity of opinions on this topic.
via Official Shrub - Sex Positive Does Not Mean Misogyny-Friendly
February 06, 2006
Betty Friedan Passes
On Saturday, Feminist leader Betty Friedan died. She was the author of the ground-breaking book The Feminine Mystique. She was also the founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), convener of the National Women's Political Caucus and a leader in the efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
UPDATE: an overview of the complex work of Betty Friedan - places she stepped things forward, places she fell short. Via Hugo Schwyzer - A Brief Reflection on Betty Friedan
January 17, 2006
Why I Am A Feminist
Two of the contributors to the blog Lawyers, Guns and Money have answered the question - why are you a feminist? What I appreciate about their responses is that they are based on personal reasons - mostly reflections on how patriarchy affected their families. It reminds that, while political motivation is a strong motivator, it is often personal experience that drives people to fight oppression.
January 16, 2006
Gains For Women's Right Around The World - 2005
From the weblog Feministing, a glass-half-full look at political gains women made around the world in 2005 (go to the site to find links to news sources):
Liberia elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, making her the first female president in Africa.
68 Afghan women won seats in the 249-member legislature.
Angela Merkel became Germany's first female chancellor.
Two women in Saudi Arabia's were elected to the chamber of commerce board, making them the country’s first female elected officials.
The Japanese government is submitting a bill to parliament this month that will allow women to ascend the throne.
The number of female members of parliament worldwide reached an all-time high of 6,960 (16.1 percent).
via Feministing - Half Empty, My Ass
December 22, 2005
New Translation of a Feminist Classic
In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote the The Second Sex. It is considered a classic of feminism. The article below explores the possible mistranslations that may have impacted a great deal of the English versions. It also asks the question - even with a new translation, is this book still relevant today?
via New York Times (free registration required) - ESSAY: Lost in Translation
December 12, 2005
The Real Hot 100
Hugo's blog pointed out this interesting Feminist take on "hot" women, turning the concept on its ear. Here's the website's description:
The REAL hot 100 are young women who are smart, savvy, and actively trying to make the world a better place. They contradict the popular notion that sex appeal is all young women have to offer. The REAL hot 100 also highlights the important -- but often overlooked -- work young women are doing.Hugo also pointed out that Men Stopping Violence has been running an internet campaign intent on highlighting men who use "strength" differently than the usual ways. I posted on this last week.
November 11, 2005
Judge Alito and FMLA
A quick post for Veteran's Day. Here is an interesting post at the blog of Angry Bear about Supreme Court nominee Judge Alito and his take on the Family and Medical Leave Act. Not only does it reveal more of Alito's take on women's rights but, as Angry Bear points out, it helps break down the stereotype that only conservative are for familly values.
via Angry Bear Family Values
October 31, 2005
Gender Politics - The Effects of Feminism
There is an interesting article in yesterday's New York Times Magazine - Maureen Dowd examines the current role of feminism in women's lives. She does a great job of looking at the gains and losses and confusion as feminism has moved from Gloria Steinham to Carrie Bradshaw:
Maybe we should have known that the story of women's progress would be more of a zigzag than a superhighway, that the triumph of feminism would last a nanosecond while the backlash lasted 40 years.
Despite the best efforts of philosophers, politicians, historians, novelists, screenwriters, linguists, therapists, anthropologists and facilitators, men and women are still in a muddle in the boardroom, the bedroom and the Situation Room.
A good read - and left me thinking that there is now a place for an examination of the effects of feminism on men's roles: from Bogart to Rambo to Bono, perhaps.
via New York Times (free registration required) - What's A Modern Girl To Do?
October 28, 2005
Overview Of Men's Rights Movement
Over at the weblog, Pandagon, Amanda has written a very thorough overview of the men's rights movement. Well, worth checking out. It's important, I think, to have some understanding of those you disagree with.
via Pandagon - Overview of Anti-Feminist/Men's Rights Movement
October 27, 2005
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with a woman named Imelda Marrufo Nava. She is the general coordinator of the Juvenile Citizenship Program of CASA (Juvenile Counseling Center)in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She is visiting universities and social service agencies in the eastern U.S. through the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program to learn more about their programs around youth and women.
While we were talking, she mentioned that the area she lives in has a history of women "disappearing" - well over 350 in the last ten years - and that is not all that is reported. Some are found murdered, some are never found. She called this "femicide", and expressed frustration that it was not adequately being addressed.
I was surprised (and not surprised at the same time) that I had never heard about this. I decided to do a little internet research to learn more. Most of what I found was in Spanish (which I can not read). But I did manage to find one piece about it (one piece!!). Here it is below - for your knowledge and information:
via Crime Library - Body Count
October 05, 2005
What is porn? What is erotica? Is it possible to have pro-feminist porn? Well, one highly-touted site called Suicide Girls was supposed to be one. The website features non-traditional looking woman who sport tattoos and piercings. The Suicide Girls reported that it was female friendly and gave the models input into their photo-sets as well as gave them space to compose on-line journals so you are able to hear their thoughts as well as see them in the nude. The "porn site a pro-feminist could love" attracted lots of women and men who felt more comfortable posing and viewing a website that supported a "pro-woman" ideal.
Well, apparently this ideal is not at work at Suicide Girls. Upwards of thirty models have recently left the site and have been causing an uproar in the blogging/internet community. They claim that the models have been paid poorly and treated poorly. Claims of sexual harassment have been made. And, it turns out that the owner of the website is a man and it is connected with Playboy - not a company known for its pro-feminist ideals.
Pro-feminist porn - a possibility? In this case, apparently not. Below is an overview of the issue and a blog from one of the models who left Suicide Girls.
September 28, 2005
Women's Human Rights During A Crisis
Add to the list of those harshly effected by Hurricane Katrina - women. Not only were there numerous reported rapes in the aftermath of this disaster, but apparently in the case of any disaster more women than men are killed (which was the case in the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia). Is this evidence of human rights violations? Let the debate begin...
August 23, 2005
One thing I often lament about living in a liberal community is the opportunity to communicate with those on the more conservative end of the scale. I have sought out and had some opportunities to have some thought-provoking conversations with folks on the right. Usually, though, what I've heard from the right are simple, easily-thrown-about quotes: homosexuality is "bad" because the bible says so; to speak against the war is tantamount to treason; etc. Of course, I have also had conversations with folks on the left who spit out nice bits of quotes, but don't seem to have thought about them very deeply and appear to be parroting what they've heard from friends.
This is a long intro to an entry in the blog of gender studies professor Hugo Schwyzer. He is not, as far as I can tell, a conversative. But, he is pro-life...as well as pro-feminist. And, what he gives in this entry is a well-considered and intelligent piece on reconciling the two. His main point is that, at its core, the issue of abortion is also a man's issue.
Read the entry: Feminists for Life, men and abortion
August 12, 2005
Feminist - Can Men Be One?
A female feminist activist in South Asia offers an answer to the question of men as feminist? Do you want to end all forms of oppression, including sexism? She says, join us...
Article: via xyonline - Can Men Be The Allies of Feminism?