Category Archives: Gender in the U.S.

Return Of Kings

I’m sure many of you know who Sophia Bush is, the actress that starred as Brooke Davis on the hit show One Tree Hill. Today on Twitter, she posted a link to an article about the Return of Kings. With us having discussed rape in todays class, I felt compelled to share the link with the rest of you.

The Return Of Kings is a community of men who “aim to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men”. You can read their full list of “community beliefs” here.

I personally don’t agree with any of their beliefs, but they have gained a lot of momentum this past year and have set out to recruit even more “masculine men” on February 6, 2016. They have managed to organize 165 meetings in 43 different countries, and are open to requests for hosting in cities not listed. I am aware of a few feminist groups that are planning to show up at the intended meeting locations hoping to bring public awareness to the controversial “pro-rape” and “anti-women” rhetoric. While these beliefs might not be threatening when privately practiced, this group continually publishes their beliefs online in hopes of expanding their followers.

Here is a list of a few posts:

8 Things That Make A Girl Stupid And Useless

Why You Should Avoid Women Who Claim Rape At All Costs

5 Simple Steps For Not Getting Raped

Women Should Not Be Allowed To Vote

I focused more on the group’s beliefs toward women, but the Return Of Kings have equally degrading posts about anything that does not meet their heterosexual male criteria.

Human Trafficking In Our Own Backyard

We all know that human trafficking exists, but we tend to think it’s “over there,” not here in the U.S.  How do you feel about trafficking being a problem in our own backyard?

I just saw this article about Human Trafficking in Charlotte, NC and how it’s becoming an increasingly large problem.  Apparently, as Charlotte puts more and more sports arenas and hotels up – making the city more attractive for visitors – trafficking increases. See the complete story by clicking the link below.

Lest you think that Charlotte is the only place in NC with a problem, the Raleigh area is also a hot spot for human trafficking. And it’s a big issue according to The Salvation Army of Wake County. It runs a program called Project FIGHT (Freeing Individuals Gripped by Human Trafficking).  They’ve seen trafficking cases with women as old as 63 and girls as young as 9.  According to the article below, human trafficking goes on in the Raleigh area (and around the country) right in front of our eyes, but we don’t see it. Is it because we don’t want to?

What has to happen before we have a government crack-down on trafficking here in our state – and in this country?  Why isn’t this issue a HOT TOPIC each night when we turn on our local news? Is it that we believe these women and girls aren’t really enslaved? Can 9 yr old children choose such a life? Does media (and public) silence have to do with the women’s socio-economic status?  Race? Do we believe the women somehow brought this existence on themselves? Why aren’t more women demanding action from our authorities and politicians? I find it incredible that we hear so little about this.

What are your thoughts?

Katie Basile

Target Ditches Gender Labels on Toys

Thomas Hennessey

Target announce that they will no longer gender label their toy sections in their stores.  They also stated that they will no longer use gender signifying colors as a way to designate area through out their stores by gender.  A Target spokesman stated “We tried to look at what makes sense and what doesn’t”, over the past year Target among other stores has gotten backlash from costumers who believe that there is no reason for these labels.  Changes to stores will begin throughout the next few months.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Thomas Hennessey

I am going to both apologize and warn you in advance that this post is not a news article exactly. As some of you may know October is Domestic Violence awareness month in the United States. This awareness month came from a day of solidarity in the early 1980’s, in 1989 congress passed a law designating October to be domestic awareness month. Some cities through out North Carolina have events to raise awareness but as far as I can tell Greenville is not one of those cities.  The city of Greenville is not the only offender in my opinion however, I also investigated ECU news to see if there was any events planned or articles written but I have not found those yet.  Above I have placed the link to President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation on National Domestic Violence awareness month and I have also attached the North Carolina Department of Justice report on domestic violence related homicides in 2013.

Pitt County Announces Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy

Thomas Hennessey

Pitt County law enforcement agencies launching new program to prevent domestic violence

This week Pitt County law enforcement agencies announced a strategy that they believe will decrease domestic violence. The strategy is titled “Legality Assessment Program” or “LAP” and according to the article it is a preventative strike at domestic violence.  The program has created 11 questions that can be used to evaluate a person’s situation. If it is deemed this person is in danger they will be asked to speak with a victim’s advocate.  24/7 access to victim’s advocate is a new concept because previously forced to wait one business day for contacting a victim of domestic violence. This article stresses that this is a preventative measure to cut down on the cases of domestic violence or at least stop some cases in their infancy.

Commentary: Gender Pay Gap persists in 2014

“America’s gender pay gap is at a record low, but hold the celebration”

By: Heidi Hartmann

Summary: In this September 22 commentary published on, Heidi Hartmann the president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research critiques a recent U.S. Census Bureau report regarding the “gender pay gap”. Explaining that the recent findings are “not statistically significant” she offers a variety of measures that can be taken to decrease the pay disparity between men and women and result in the boost of the overall economy, as well as, reduce the number of families that live at or below the current poverty threshold in the United States.

Article Link:

U.S. Census Report:

Pop Star Identifies As Pansexual

Pop star Miley Cyrus recently revealed to several publications that she considers herself to be gender fluid and pansexual, claiming that she doesn’t label herself as neither boy nor girl and doesn’t limit herself to those labels when choosing romantic partners.

Pansexuality is not new, as experts say there have always been people who fall within the realm, but the term is unfamiliar to much of the public.  By opening up about her own intimate choices, Miley has opened the minds of many millennials and drawn the ire of many less open minded individuals.

Either way, she has at least brought awareness to a topic that we’ll certainly become more familiar with in the future.

I “just” wanted to point this out…

As students — many of whom will be scouring the job market for opportunities in the near future — we are often preoccupied with the written and spoken language that we use; not solely for the numerous research papers, essays and presentations we are responsible for producing over the course of our educational careers, but because we are aware of the value judgments people make about our dialect and our prose.

How many of you have dedicated an immense amount of time to making sure the carefully-crafted letters and e-mails you send to peers, colleagues and future employers are “just right” before pressing send? We check and double check spelling and grammar, we make sure we use tone that’s appropriate for the intended recipient, and we fire away. Whether we speak on the phone or in person, we tend to be more careful about the words we use because unlike written language — which we are typically free to edit until we are satisfied with the final result — there’s no “taking back” spoken words (or the inflection behind them) when you’re trying to quickly convey a message or attempting to prove yourself worthy to someone whose approval matters to you. We think about our word choices — some people even code-switch between the dialect they use naturally versus the dialect they use in a professional setting — and hope that we aren’t coming across in a way that misconstrues our intent or puts us at risk of negative evaluation.

However, have you ever considered that even the subtle, seemingly innocent word choices you make may be stripping your words of their full power?  Ellen Leanse thinks so.  In her latest article — It’s time to stop using ‘just’ in your writing and speaking (published today at and in its original version located at — Leanse charges women with using the word ‘just’ as “a ‘permission’ word.”

“The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a “child” word, to riff Transactional Analysis. As such, it put the conversation partner into the “parent” position, granting them more authority and control. And that “just” didn’t make sense. … I began to notice that “just” wasn’t about being polite. It was a subtle message of subordination, of deference. Sometimes it was self-effacing. Sometimes even duplicitous. As I started really listening, I realized that striking it from a phrase almost always clarified and strengthened the message.”

Upon noticing the prevalence of the word “just” in the e-mails sent by women at her company, Leanse decided to conduct an informal experiment in which observers listened to a six-minute conversation between a man and a woman about their respective business startups — each had three minutes to speak — while the observers tallied the amount of times they each used the word “just.”  The man used it once; the woman used it either five or six times.  As Leanse states, this experiment was “not research: it’s a test that likely merits more inquiry.”  Until a formal experiment is conducted, I urge you to inquire within yourselves.

Look through your e-mails and text messages.  How often have you used the word “just” in an attempt to sound friendlier or non-demanding?  You may be unconsciously asking permission for your thoughts and words to be validated by others, which can diminish the impact behind them.  Ladies: it is time to stop diluting our convictions, our lofty goals, and our grandest plans with the constant use of what otherwise would continue to be considered an innocuous four-letter word in a sea of written and spoken communication.  I “just” thought you should be aware of your own authority and the power it holds when you wield it with confidence.  Laura Redman

First-Year Duke Student Porn Star

Here is an article about a blog writer for Duke’s website confronting and interviewing a freshman student who has decided to get into the adult movie industry to pay her tuition:

Personally, I believe that any person should have the right to do what they want to (including prostitution, porn, and other taboo professions) to pay their bills.  I think things like this are liberating as long as they are consensual, and let’s face it, people are going to partake in these sorts professions whether they are legal or not, so why not have a safe and healthy way to do them.  My first question about this subject is, how do the rest of you feel about people who have professions in industries such as these?  And my second is, why do you think that people, such as the blog writer for Duke and their friend who told them about their co-ed feel that just because she is in the industry that they have the right to invade her privacy with out knowing her and assume they could ask her whatever they wanted to?  Like they said in the article, is it simple to look up”how to be a porn star,” so why not just do the same and write their article about students in porn that way?  Do you think she faces this situation every day?  Do you think this would happen if she were a male in the same situation?  Mary Pettengill



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