Friday, October 17, 2014
Like every other matriculating student at Wellesley, which is just west of Boston, Timothy Boatwright was raised a girl and checked “female” when he applied. Though he had told his high-school friends that he was transgender, he did not reveal that on his application, in part because his mother helped him with it, and he didn’t want her to know. Besides, he told me, “it seemed awkward to write an application essay for a women’s college on why you were not a woman.” Like many trans students, he chose a women’s college because it seemed safer physically and psychologically.
Last spring, as a sophomore, Timothy decided to run for a seat on the student-government cabinet, the highest position that an openly trans student had ever sought at Wellesley. The post he sought was multicultural affairs coordinator, or “MAC,” responsible for promoting “a culture of diversity” among students and staff and faculty members. Along with Timothy, three women of color indicated their intent to run for the seat. But when they dropped out for various unrelated reasons before the race really began, he was alone on the ballot. An anonymous lobbying effort began on Facebook, pushing students to vote “abstain.” Enough “abstains” would deny Timothy the minimum number of votes Wellesley required, forcing a new election for the seat and providing an opportunity for other candidates to come forward. The “Campaign to Abstain” argument was simple: Of all the people at a multiethnic women’s college who could hold the school’s “diversity” seat, the least fitting one was a white man.
Monday, October 13, 2014
From the New Republic:
“I see the Syrian revolution as not only a popular revolution of the people but also as a revolution of the woman, therefore I see myself as part of the revolution,” said Jazera, 21. “The woman has been suppressed for more than 50,000 years and now we have the possibility of having our own will, our own power and our own personality.”
Jazera, like thousands of other women in Rojava, the Kurdish region of Syria, is a member of the women’s wing of the People’s Protection Unit (YPG)—an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkish-Kurdish guerrilla group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union because of its three-decade insurgency against NATO ally Turkey.
Of the 40,000–50,000 Kurdish troops in Syria, 35 percent are women, according to YPG spokesman Redur Khalil. Most women are not married, he added, but said there had been exceptional circumstances in which even mothers had joined the women's wing, known as YPJ.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Thus reads an interesting blog post from the Good Men Project. An excerpt:
Last night I was searching the Internet for a video on “women abusing men” to run here on The Good Men Project. Not only were there just a few actual hits, most of which I’d already seen, but I also found that most of the results that did come up were for men abusing women. Even though I typed “men” first, Google found more results for the reversed phrase, indicating the huge imbalance of available online material. And yet, recent statistics confirm that men represent approximately 40% of the victims in cases of abuse.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
We all know this. These days, men often hug other men; even guys who aren't really friends will do this. The Bro Hug, it has come to be known. It has, arguably, overtaken handshakes.
Commentary from the NYT:
[One theory for the B.H.] comes from Mark McCormack, a British sociologist, who has suggested that our increased hugginess is attributable to declining homophobia. In March, Dr. McCormack and his colleague Eric Anderson published in the journal Men and Masculinities a study of 40 college-age male heterosexual British athletes. Ninety-three percent of the young men said that, more than mere hugging, they had spooned or cuddled with a male friend.
One of the study’s participants said of his male friend, Connor: “I happily rest my head on Connor’s shoulder when lying on the couch or hold him in bed. We have a bromance where we are very comfortable around each other.”
That the decreased stigma about being gay may inspire people to be more physically affectionate — particularly heterosexual male athletes, a demographic not known for being cuddlesome — is a lovely thing. As are wanted hugs. But the ripple effect of this new liberation may sometimes prove unmooring.
I suspect there is something deeply regional and class-based about the Bro Hug.....
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Presenters on US cable channel Fox News cracked a series of sexist jokes after reporting that a female pilot from the UAE had taken part in a bombing mission of Isis targets in Syria, describing her as “boobs on the ground”.
One presenter, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tried to pay tribute to Major Mariam al-Mansouri, 35, one of four UAE fighter pilots to take part in the operation. “Hey, Isis, you were bombed by a woman,” she said. “Very exciting, a woman doing this … I hope that hurt extra bad because in some Arab countries women can’t even drive.”
She continued: “Major Mariam al-Mansouri is who did this. Remarkable, very excited. I wish it was an American pilot. I’ll take a woman doing this any day to them.”
But after the segment, co-host Greg Gutfeld interrupted Guilfoyle, mocking the pilot. “The problem is after she bombed it she couldn’t park it,” he said. Another presenter, Eric Bolling, joined in, asking: “Would that be considered boobs on the ground or no?” The conversation between panellists, which was broadcast on Wednesday, was part of discussion show The Five on Fox News.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
In the NYT. An exceprt:
I was engulfed in an irrepressible rage. Everything in me was churning and pumping and boiling. All reason and restraint were lost to it. I was about to do something I wouldn’t be able to undo. Bullets and blood and death. I gave myself over to the idea.
The scene from the night when I was 7 years old kept replaying in my mind: waking up to him pushed up behind me, his arms locked around me, my underwear down around my thighs. The weight of the guilt and grieving that followed. The years of the bullying designed to keep me from telling — and the years of questioning my role in his betrayal.
I jumped in the car, grabbed the gun from under the car seat. It was a .22 with a long black barrel and a wooden grip, the gun my mother had insisted I take with me to college, “just in case.”
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A story by Michael Cassidiy, Boston College Law, from WBUR (the Boston NPR station). The introduction:
The current spotlight on campus sexual assault will no doubt raise awareness among college students of their legal rights and obligations. One hopes that it will also hold universities accountable for the social cultures they tolerate, if not create, on their own campuses. But difficult conversations about sexual responsibility need to be raised well before our children head off to college. As a law professor who has taught rape for more than a decade, and as a father of teenage boys, I believe that if we want to change behavior, we need to train young men to recognize sexual assault when it occurs and to internalize norms against it. Our conversations about rape need to start in our homes, at our dining room tables.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
As former social chair of the Sigma Chi fraternity at Harvard University, Malik Gill wants to appear especially welcoming to girls who come to the house for parties.
Yet, Gill, who starts his junior year in a few weeks, says he won’t be offering a female classmate a beer.
“I don’t want to look like a predator,” the 20-year-old economics major said. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Ben McJunkin has uploaded "Deconstructingn Rape by Fraud," in the Columbia J. of Gender and Law. The abstract reads:
In this Article, I critically examine the role of normative masculinity in determining the shape and scope of the criminal law doctrine of rape by fraud, which purports to criminalize sexual intercourse procured through certain material deceptions. In application, the rape by fraud doctrine is exceedingly narrow — deceptively induced sexual intercourse is rarely criminalized as rape, despite deception’s profound impact on the voluntariness of sexual consent. As the Article explains, the rape by fraud doctrine is thus in tension with the prevailing view that rape law principally protects a thick norm of individual sexual autonomy. Despite this tension, the narrowness of the rape by fraud doctrine is frequently defended, often by those who are most committed to individual autonomy elsewhere in rape law.
Through an analysis of court decisions and academic commentary, I demonstrate that those defenses largely rest on appeals to a romanticized ideal of the practice of seduction. I illuminate the link between seduction and a prevailing ideology of normative masculinity that allocates social status for men on the basis of demonstrations of sexual conquest. That ideology perpetuates narratives in which women, through their capacity to grant or withhold consent, hold power over men when pursued as objects for sex. Indeed, within this account, the transgression of women’s power is what makes sexual conquest worthy of masculine status. Deceptions used to procure sex are criminalized only in exceptional cases where the narratives of interpersonal power break down. Thus, the rape by fraud doctrine can be seen as codifying existing limits on masculine status transfer. Ultimately, I argue that understanding the rape by fraud doctrine in terms of normative masculinity exposes an important continuity between contemporary rape law and rape law historically, in which rape was a crime against men’s property interest in women.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
....as many as a third of all women serving in the military are raped by fellow soldiers during their tours of duty, compounding whatever traumas they may have experienced in combat.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Walk into a bookstore, browse Amazon cookbook category listings, and you’ll find various genres of cookbooks.....But absent is a category for women, revealing the assumption that unmarked cookbooks are for women.
There is a lot of gendered discourse we can examine in books like cookbooks for men. The titles themselves are loaded with stereotypes: “Man Meets Stove: A Cookbook for Men Who’ve Never Cooked Anything without a Microwave,” “Men’s Health Muscle Chow: More than 150 Meals to Feed Your Muscles and Fuel Your Workouts,” and “Eat like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man will Ever Need.”
Thursday, July 3, 2014
The statistics provided by the World Health Organization paints a picture of male tragedy that rarely makes the news. Men die at a younger age than do women; more men die from violence than do women.
What to make of the reasons for this, I suspect, is complicated.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Such was the way with both Jimmy Connors and Andy Murray, both Wimbledon winners, when they were young (according to Connors, one of the reasons that he hit the ball like a woman--meaning, relying more on guile and inflection, than pure strength--was because that was how his mom taught him, and he never quite adopted a more "masculine" approach). Murray, the defending Wimbledon male champ, now has a female coach:
Murray had already changed the pretournament narrative, taking on Amélie Mauresmo, a former Wimbledon champion, as his new coach.
Mauresmo is not the first woman to coach on the men’s tour. Several male players, Jimmy Connors included, have been mentored by their mothers. Billie Jean King assisted the American Tim Mayotte in the early 1990s.
Not everyone approves of Murray's decision:
No less a British women’s icon than Virginia Wade, the 1977 Wimbledon champion and a longtime commentator, told reporters regarding Murray’s decision to hire Mauresmo: “I thought they were all fooling around; I think again he’s maybe trying to mess with everybody. She was a great player; she’s a great person. I think she was a little fragile mentally, because she had the capabilities of beating everybody.”
Wade added, “You like to try to get behind people’s thinking, but I can’t really with this one.”
Friday, June 20, 2014
An Illinois man, who was training to become a special agent with the FBI, sued the FBI for gender discrimination after failing the physical fitness portion of the special agent test. Women taking the test were required to complete 14 pushups while men were required to do 30. The agent who sued only did 29 and was denied special agent status. He was told he could take another position within the agency, resign, or be fired.
He chose to take the alternate position within the FBI, working in Chicago as an analyst. A few years later, he sued, looking to regain agent status. He claimed he was essentially fired based because of the discriminatory physical fitness test. Apparently, he had done really well in all other aspects of his training and was well respected among others in the program. That one push up kept him from the career he wanted.
The Federal judge agreed with the man, ruling that the fitness test violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The judge did say that his ruling does not mean that standards can’t ever differ based on sex. Many agree that the physiological differences between men and women should be taken into consideration, and many times they are, without violating the Civil Rights Act.
What makes different standards legal is when they have a rational basis. The trainee claimed that the difference (in push ups required) was arbitrary and not based on actual data. He also claims that a fellow trainee, a woman, was allowed a second try at her push-up test and he was not. I couldn’t find an explanation as to why he couldn’t eek out one more pushup. 30 doesn’t seem like a crazy hard number, but what do I know.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Kimberly Joy-Lockely at Mississippi Law has uploaded "How Gender Bias Negatively Affects Soldiers with PTSD." Its abstract reads:
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) is charged with caring for our nation’s veterans, but their procedures allow for a gender bias that is causing countless veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) to remain without adequate help. Though women have been involved in every military conflict in the United States, women continue to be treated differently than men. Women were not granted official military status until 1949, but they currently make up the fastest growing portion of the veteran population. The impending lift of the ban on women in combat will likely only increase women’s involvement in the military, so their disparate treatment must be dealt with quickly to avoid an increase in an already prevalent problem.
The VA only currently recognizes two types of PTSD: Military Sexual Trauma-related PTSD (MST) and Combat-related PTSD. MST complaints increased 46% from 2012 to 2013. An estimated 26,000 men and women experienced MST in 2011, but only 3,300 of those victims filed reports. Increased numbers of women are seeing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 15% of active duty soldiers are females. Because of the gender bias in the military sexual trauma reporting process and the VA in-processing, the already over-burdened VA system has become even more inefficient and female and male veterans alike are the ones harmed.
Various failures on the VA’s part account for veterans’ difficulties in obtaining earned and promised benefits. For example, the two types of PTSD have different burden of proof structures, and the interviewers who determine whether or not a veteran gets benefits have an extreme gender bias. Even worse, the VA did not offer mental healthcare services to women until 1988, and the VA currently only has four facilities dedicated to women’s care.
Men are expected to be “stronger” than to have psychological or emotional issues and women who are already often perceived as “weaker” do not wish to add to that perception by admitting any struggles. Each sex fears retribution, loss of promotion, loss of opportunity to re-enlist, and loss of the respect of their superiors and/or peers. Though Congress has recently attempted a weak solution, it is quite simply not even close to being enough to close the gender gap. This paper proposes a three-tiered solution focusing on enhancing reporting schemes within the military and the relationship between the military and the VA, restructuring the PTSD intake within the VA, and adopting a common sense approach to VA benefits.
Part I of this paper will discuss the history of women in the military, the history of PTSD, and gender bias’ role in PTSD; part II of this paper will discuss and analyze the military’s, Congress’, and the VA’s failures in consistently and adequately serving soldiers and veterans with PTSD. Part III of this paper will discuss ways in which the military and VA can improve including recent Congressional steps that have attempted to do so.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
In Tragedy Highlights Holes in Supervised Visits System, Prof. Jamie Abrams (Louisville), last month's guest blogger, applies masculinity theory to the context of a father's supervised visits in a child custody in Kentucky.
Other states wrestle with it, too, said Jamie Abrams, an assistant professor of law at the University of Louisville, who thinks this case could be a prime example in an emerging school of thought — that actions by the court can play a part in an individual's lashing out in what is known as a "hypermasculine" act of violence.
"Courts are good at assessing risk of child abuse or domestic abuse, but these types of incidents are different: They are retaliatory of the loss of their parenting rights," she said. "The more rights that are taken away from (noncustodial parents), the more intense and angered they are. It's a very dangerous situation.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
From the Guardian UK:
'When I saw a girl in the street, I would tease her and pass nasty comments," says 17-year-old Jetmir Fejzullahu. "What I learned was that it doesn't make you attractive and interesting, but the opposite." Sitting in a bare school hall with graffiti scrawled across the walls, Jetmir is one of several teenagers discussing what they have learned from a special project about gender inequality and sexual violence in Kosovo.
Care International launched the Young Men Initiative (YMI) in 2007 with local partners in Kosovo, where an estimated 20,000 women were raped during the war. It is one of 22 countries worldwide where the UK-based charity focuses on sexual violence.
A study by the Kosovo Women's Network in 2008, almost a decade after the war, found that 43% of the population had experienced domestic violence, and that violence against women and children is largely under-reported. "For most people," John Crownover, programme adviser for the initiative, says, "violence is not seen as a violation of women's rights but as normal interaction between men and women."
Crownover explains why they set up in Kosovo: "Young people growing up in the aftermath of the conflict were faced with the rise of xenophobia, nationalism and gender inequalities. For boys, particularly in working-class neighbourhoods, many of the so-called successful men they saw were either 'hyper masculine' or linked to criminal activities. We're trying to shift attitudes that can lead to sexual and other types of interpersonal violence."
NFL teams shoulder most of the blame for players' injuries and sports journalists can shift football cultural norms toward valuing players who put their health first. These are the key findings of a new study that examined health and safety issues in sports. "As sports journalists take more of an advocacy role and support athletes who make their health a priority, attitudes towards injuries and the players who sustain them may gradually begin to change," one co-author said.
These are the key findings of a new study authored by Clemson University researchers Jimmy Sanderson and Melinda Weathers that examined health and safety issues in sports. It was published in the journal Communication & Sport.
"Media coverage of players who decide to sit out or play through an injury may impact players' future decision-making as well as fans' attitudes towards these players," said Sanderson.
"Sitting out during an injury is often viewed as weak and lacking the requisite toughness demanded by football, whereas playing through an injury is often viewed as the action of a warrior who embodies the ethos of sport," Weathers stated.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
More from this month's guest blogger, Professor Jamie Abrams from the University of Louisville School of Law. Her scholarly interests include integrating masculinities theory in feminist law reforms such as military integration and domestic violence; examining the tort complexities governing standards of care in childbirth; gendered conceptualizations of citizenship; and legal education pedagogy.
The latest mass shooting in Isla Vista, California adds to a troublesome lineage of mass shootings by male shooters in the United States. The New York Times covers the issue of gendered violence at Campus Killings Set Off Anguished Conversation. The article highlights how the killings have “set off a raw, anguished conversation about the ways women are perceived sexually and the violence against them that has reverberated around the country.” The NYT coverage reveals how both feminism and masculinities are needed to address the gendered complexities of violence.
The Good Men Project reveals the masculinities underpinnings of mass shootings here. I have written about these issues in The Collateral Consequences of Masculinizing Violence, in which I considered the masculinity underpinnings of a similar mass shooting of women at a Pennsylvania fitness club by George Sodini in 2009 to raise questions about the masculinization of violence in legal frameworks. The pressures to conform to dominant masculinities can lead some men to hyper-masculine expressions of violence. Those hyper-masculine expressions can often follow a direct challenge to an individual’s dominant conception of masculinity, such as the loss of a job or rejection by women. Lisa Hickey of the Good Men Project, a project I was first introduced to by the Gender and the Law Blog last year, adds this additional lens of masculinities to the many other social frames to be considered in connection with mass shootings, such as access to mental health services, gun control, and violence against women.