Time Magazine Person of the Year: “The Silence Breakers”
I will start the semester off with this developing story, that will likely follow us through the semester. I want to call our attention to some interesting sociological questions:
–Why such a rapid fall from grace (job/career loss, even company bankruptcy) immediately after the reports come out?
–Why is there already a backlash among some women to this “moment” or “reckoning”?
–What are the possibilities of this and barriers to this as a global movement?
–Are all victims being heard? or just those with access to a megaphone?
And… this is an interesting editorial: what about the excuse that men didn’t know what the rules were, or that the rules have suddenly changed?
“Students wrote about them as if they were embarking on a fruitful challenge: maxing out the total credits they could take, being involved in every club, not sleeping. They would reap the rewards of A’s today and impressive resumes later, the health of their bodies not even considered. Several months ago, I was doing the exact same thing.” – Chio in Stop the Glorification of Busy
In this article, Chio looks at the university system as a capitalist machine, forcing students to sacrifice their mental and physical health for the sake of their education all while convincing the world that this is normal, healthy, and desirable behavior. This system tends to be harshest on those who need validation, those who are nearly always structurally disadvantaged and inferior: women and people of color. The university system feeds off of our inferiority complexes and impostor syndromes; we overwork ourselves to make up for it and to be twice as good as the competition.
This is something I’ve definitely struggled with in college to the point that when I quit one of my jobs because I couldn’t handle two jobs and keep up my grades, I felt guilty. I felt like I was lazy and just wasn’t working hard enough. Interesting to compare the current American mindset to the Kung who could work only 23 days to produce 100 days of food. What do you guys think?
– Lindsay Cortright
Here is an article that appeared in Foreign Policy, which sent Twitter, FB, and all forms of social media buzzing: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/23/why_do_they_hate_us?page=0,0 discussing “the real war on women.”
For an example of a response, see http://neocolonialthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/a-response-to-mona-el-tahawy/
This article from the BBC details a the Malaysian Women’s Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s response to a camp that claims to “un-gay” young Muslim boys. She maintains that characterizing these supposedly effeminate teenage boys as gay or transsexual, and then attempting to “correct” their behavior will be detrimental to their mental and emotional health.
Though this is the first time I’ve heard about any Muslim attempts at “curing” perceived homosexuality, it is definitely not the first of its kind, as we have such camps and programs here in the United States, and unfortunately they also exist in Europe (and I’m sure the rest of the world as well).
I’m beginning to think that I need to post more light-hearted and uplifting articles on this blog! But, continuing in my (depressing) habits, here is an article about a pregnant Illinois woman who attempted suicide after her boyfriend and business partner left her after she found out he had another family. Distraught, she drank rat poison in an attempt to end her life, which instead ended the life of her unborn child. So, of course, the state of Illinois has put her in jail.
Aside from her tragic story, what struck me most about this piece is the frequency with which this sort of thing happens. Apparently, “Women have been prosecuted for child abuse or feticide when they miscarry; pregnant women who are addicted to drugs have been charged with trafficking drugs to minors; and pregnant women have been forced to deliver via cesarean section under court order. Some states also require doctors to report if a pregnant woman is taking drugs — a law which sounds reasonable on its face, until you think through the logical outcome: Women who are addicted to drugs just won’t seek medical care, which means they won’t get treatment for their addictions and won’t get basic pre-natal care” (Jill from Feministe).
What it boils down to is: pregnant women are being treated differently by the law than non-pregnant women or men. The author of the article points out, people aren’t prosecuted for attempted suicide, but a woman who tries to kill herself but kills her baby instead is locked up instead of being offered mental health treatment or counseling, forcing yet more trauma upon her without any regard for her well-being. It is obvious that the poor woman in the article has suffered terribly, and wants only to try to rebuild her life, but she is being punished anyway.
Please follow the link below to the entire story.
Anna Julia Cooper Public Intellectuals
In this article, Carolyn M Cusick discusses the role of public intellectuals in society. Especially that of Anna Julia Cooper, a young woman born into slavery and recently appointed as teacher at the renowned M Street High School. Cusick focuses on the exclusion black female academics suffered from their male counterparts, even those who acknowledged the need for equality between the sexes. She speaks of Du Bois, whose printed words recognized the need for gender equality, but rarely acknowledged the work of successful and important women contemporaries. This article does a great job exploring the elitist issues tied in the African American Academic/Intellectualism enlightenment.
This BBC article succinctly sums up the issue of street harassment, a type of harassment that can involve cat-calling, groping, lewd comments, verbal threats/coercion, and may escalate into violence. Every woman I know, including yours truly, has endured frequent street harassment wherever we go, not only while here at East Carolina University. Many men consider “complimenting” (i.e. honking/whistling/hissing at) a strange woman on the street to be fairly routine and flattering to her, but simply do not understand or worse, do not care that their behavior is threatening.
ihollaback.org is a website that encourages women to take pictures of street harassers with their mobile phones, or to act like they are using their phones to report/photograph these men. However, I worry that this act could bring about even more unwanted attention from street harassers, and even result in a violent attack against the woman who attempts to fight back in this manner. What do you think? Do you think that this is an effecting solution to combat street harassment, or do you advocate for the redesign of public transportation centers, as mentioned in the article? What else can be done to fight this blatant and threatening sexism?