Thursday, October 31, 2013
Prof. Susan Apel from Vermont Law School is guest blogging on Gender and the Law. "Pink No More" is her first post:
Thank God that’s over. October, that is. We are safe for another year from the barrage of pink ribbons on every imaginable product, pink lights on iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and the White House, and endless invitations to run “for the cure.” I, for one, have had it.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The origins of pink ribbons include stories about a humble beginning in the dining room of a well-meaning woman who resisted any corporate ties, to other reports that they were actually created by , pick a corporation—Astra Zenica, Avon, Estee Lauder. At this point, they spell big profits for companies, who plaster them on their products and proclaim their support for “awareness” of breast cancer. According to marketing consultants, consumers like to buy from companies that they believe have the public good at heart.
To be sure, some money, and maybe even substantial money, from pink ribbons and the like has found its way into the fight against breast cancer. But as many opponents of “pinkwashing” state, some of these companies trade in both pink ribbons and products that contain suspected carcinogens. Some companies place caps on the amount of money that they will donate to the cause, regardless of the actual revenue their sales of “pink” products generate. The most damning criticism is that the consumer doesn’t really know where the corporate contributions are going, and whether those recipients are the most effective in finding a cure for this disease.
For it is a cure that is needed, not more awareness. I am not only a breast cancer survivor, I know dozens of women among my family and friends who have survived, are living with, or have died from breast cancer. So does every other woman, and for that matter, every man. The sight of the White House bathed in pink light offers no further education on the subject; moreover, awareness and education are only useful if they lead to something. We know. We are aware. We are aware a thousand times over. We want action. We need a cure.
Wouldn’t it be great if by next October we had better federal regulation of potential carcinogens in our environment? Better health care coverage for detection and treatment of breast cancer (thank you, Obamacare)? More federal monies directed toward research? We could put the pink ribbons aside. October could be, well, just October.
From the NYT:
Gov. Rick Perry, who has said he hopes to make abortion “a thing of the past,” signed the legislation in July.
A federal judge in Texas on Monday blocked an important part of the state’s restrictive new abortion law, which would have required doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
What is the perfect gender topic for today, Halloween? The Salem Witch Trials, of course.
Most of the victims of the trials were women. And most of the accusers. Scholars have talked about the trials as misogyny and at the same time as women's assertion of agency and power. They also suggested the lax evidentiary standards allowed social judgments about women to be determinative of legal guilt.
Carol Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman (1998)
Jane Moriarty, Wonders of the Invisible World: Prosecutorial Syndrome and Profile Evidence in the Salem Witchcraft Trials, 26 Vermont L. Rev. 43 (2001)
Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (2003)
Peter Hoffer, The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (1997)
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
An interesting story from Albania.
In northern Albania, an old tradition is slowly dying out, that of “Sworn Virgins”. These are women who chose to live as men, under an oath of lifelong celibacy, taking on both the freedoms and responsibilities of manhood in a strongly patriarchal society.
Aya Gruber's article NeoFeminism:
Today it is prosaic to say that “feminism is dead.” Far from being moribund, feminist legal theory is breaking from its somewhat dogmatic past and forging ahead with new vigor. Many modern feminist legal scholars seek innovative ways to better the legal, social, and economic status of women while simultaneously questioning some of the more troubling moves of second-wave feminism, such as the tendency to essentialize the woman’s experience, the turn to authoritarian state policies, and the characterization of women as pure objects or agents. These “neofeminists” prioritize women’s issues but maintain a strong commitment to distributive justice and recognize that subordination exists on multiple axes. In defining “neofeminism,” this Article examines how the troubling nature of certain second-wave feminist principles engendered new schools of feminist thought. It then illustrates this process in the domestic violence law reform context. The Article concludes that recognizing a new and vibrant progressive feminism can counter exaggerated claims of feminism’s demise, the belief that feminism has been devastated by postmodern critique, and the appropriation of the feminist label by conservative women’s groups.
The Texas abortion decision may be more a decision that is half empty than half full for those challenging the law. The court upholds restrictions on medication abortions, which are the safest, earliest, and increasingly most prevalent type of procedure. Maybe the court was just deferring to SCOTUS, which has agreed to hear a challenge to the similar Oklahoma law--sort of.
For more, see:
Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, W.D. Texas, Oct. 28, 2013.
New York Times, Judge in Texas Partly Rejects Abortion Law
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, Half Measures
Sunday, October 27, 2013
A survey just published by the management consultancy Bain & Co attempts to find out why – for all the gender-parity programs and other initiatives – it is still so hard for women to break through and to take their places in the nation’s boardrooms.
The report, Gender equality in the UK: The next stage of the journey, identifies three issues that are impeding progress.
Those three issues here.
...died Sunday at age 71.
There was the gender-bending, gender-challenging, gender-ambiguous song that made him famous--"Walk on the Wild Side." It was edgy, and cool, and will always remain so.
But there was also "Coney Island Baby," the tough and tender ballad about betrayal by friends, being gay in the 1970s in NYC, looking for father figures, and male love. The best version of that song appears in Lou's album "Perfect Night in London." I couldn't locate that on Youtube, but I found this.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Iceland Most Advanced in Gender Equality. As measured by employment, education, political participation, and health. What about the rest of the countries?
Germany was the highest-ranked G20 country at 14th, falling by one place from 2012. Britain stayed the same at 18th, Canada moved up a spot to 20th and the United States fell a spot to 23rd. Russia ranked 61st, China 69th and India 101st. The lowest ranking countries were Chad at 134th, Pakistan at 135th and Yemen at 136th
Week after week, as I peruse the court blotters of decided cases on gender, the vast majority are sex discrimination cases in employment. Some are equal pay, some promotion and work conditions, and others are sexual harassment. These cases are still the bread and butter of legal challenges to gender social roles.
This week's pick is Arizona v. ASARCO. The USCOA for the 9th Circuit reduced a jury award of $850,000 initially given to a plaintiff along with $1 in nominal damages. Go here for more on the legal question of awarding punitives with nominal damages.
It's a myth, says US News & World Report essay. The Rape Epidemic Doesn't Actually Exist
Or, says Jezebel since when did the victim's alcohol immunize criminal behavior. Rape Culture is Just Drunk Collge Sluts Lying, Says Major Magazine
See also, of course, Steubenville and Maryville.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
was last week. It was a day to symbolize the problem of girls in the world, especially the developing world. Consider the following:
- "About 16 million adolescent girls give birth every year -- most in low -- and middle income countries. Pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death of 15-19 year-old girls in the developing world."
- "1 in 5 girls in developing countries who enroll in primary school never finish."
- "Less than two cents of every development dollar goes to girls. Roughly 9 out of 10 youth programs are aimed at boys."