Monday, April 27, 2015
There are some obvious reasons not to be sympathetic to Bruce Jenner's coming out: for one, he lives with the Kardashians; for another, the coming out looks like a publicity ploy by an aging celebrity who had milked everything once of fame for his achievements in an obscure sport called the decathlon.
But then there was the response by his family, which was admirable:
“I am at peace with what he is and what he’s doing,” his mother, Esther Jenner, said in a separately filmed portion of the two-hour segment. “I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce when he reached his goal in 1976, but I’m more proud of him now.” Kim Kardashian tweeted, “Love is the courage to live the truest, best version of yourself. Bruce is love. I love you Bruce. #ProudDaughter.” (Jenner told Sawyer that he first came out to Kim, and that she once walked in on him in a dress.)
Seventeen-year-old Kylie Jenner, Jenner’s youngest child, tweeted, “Understandingly, this has been very hard for me. You will hear what I have to say when I’m ready to but this isn’t about me. I’m so proud of you, Dad. You are so brave. My beautiful Hero.” In this unconditional and unquestioning way, the Kardashian and Jenner clans are defining what it means to be a family today. They may be superficial, but their support for Bruce is notable for its candid demonstration of acceptance.
Friday, April 24, 2015
From Bloomberg Business:
Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers offered to drop its bid for legal costs after defeating Ellen Pao’s gender bias claims if she forgoes an appeal.
The firm filed its $1 million reimbursement request a month after a jury soundly rejected the former Kleiner junior partner’s claims of discrimination and retaliation and demand for $16 million in damages.
“KPCB has offered to waive all legal costs due to the firm should Ellen Pao choose to bring this legal matter to a close,” Christina Lee, a spokeswoman for Kleiner, said in an e-mail. “We believe that women in technology would be best served by having all parties focus on making progress on the issues of gender diversity outside of continued litigation.”
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
As a senior administrator at an all-boys' school in suburban Philadelphia, I spend each day with 1,000 boys, many of whom, by virtue of their gender alone, occupy positions of privilege and power at least one step removed from the important issue of sexual assault. To state the obvious, while it is women who are overwhelmingly the victims of this crime, its prevention is not a women's problem -- and boys' schools have a unique opportunity and responsibility to be part of the solution.
The challenge has been well chronicled: from our earliest days, we boys bask in marinades of hyper-masculine stereotypes. From the sandbox to the locker room to the high school dance to the conference room, we are conditioned to compete: relationships, we learn, are zero sum games to be won. Of course, where there are winners, there are also losers, but it does not pay to consider their fate too carefully. Keep your eyes on the prize. Act hard, and tough; be logical and remote, witty and distant. And then become boyfriends and husbands and fathers... of sons.
But by placing relationships at the center of everything we do, we can break the cycle. Witness the first day of school here: a senior takes a new kindergartner by the hand and walks him to opening assembly. Without thinking, the young boy crawls into his lap, and the young man responds by instinctively wrapping a pair of gangly arms around him. "It's safe here," the arms say. "I've got your back." Or witness the last day of school, some twelve years from now, when that same kindergartner, now a grown man himself, will cry in the arms of a classmate, a teacher, or a coach.
Thus reads the headline from an essay in Salon.
One of the weirder developments of the online publishing era is the way a loose confederation of embittered anti-feminists has formed, across social media and the blogging world, under the banner of “men’s rights activism.” MRA is an attempt to reframe old-fashioned misogyny as if it’s some kind of human rights movement, much like organized racism has periodically tried to reframe itself as a “white pride” movement. MRAs, who spend most of their “activist” energy roaming around the Internet, harassing feminists and pushing misogynist myths about false accusers and gold-diggers, are clearly bad for women. But while they claim to speak for men, their rhetoric is just as bad for men as it is for women.
Here are some of the reasons why.
Or so argues a recent book reviewed in the UK Daily Mail.....
George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne may have all taken the plunge recently — but they are a diminishing band of brothers, for the number of men marrying in the West has plunged in recent decades.
The state of matrimony is not just ailing. It is dying out faster than a mobile phone battery.
According to the Office for National Statistics, marriage in Britain is at its lowest level since 1895. In 2011, there were just 286,634 ceremonies — a 41 per cent free fall from 1972, when 480,285 couples tied the knot.
For an army of women, Mr Right is simply not there, no matter how hard they look for him. And the reason? When it comes to marriage, men are on strike.
Why? Because the rewards are far less than they used to be, while the cost and dangers it presents are far greater.
‘Ultimately, men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,’ says Dr Helen Smith, author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.
‘They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Vox has been releasing a series of results from its poll regarding American attitudes about issues such as sexism and abortion rights. Thursday, German Lopez postedabout one of the poll's more original questions, which is how masculine/feminine you think you are. About 15 percent of respondents said they don't feel particularly masculine or feminine. But here's the result that genuinely surprised me: Men were more likely to reject the term "masculine" than women were to reject the term "feminine." Lopez reports:
Men were more likely to reject traditional notions socially attributed to their gender. Roughly one in five men said they're very masculine, and one in five women identified as very feminine. But 25 percent of men didn't identify as more masculine, while 20 percent of women didn't say they're more feminine.And:
If you check out the chart he provides, you can also see that men were more likely to identify as "feminine" than women were to identify as "masculine."
In terms of gender roles, things seem to be changing more quickly for women than they are for men. We live in an era where even women who reject the label "feminist" still embrace many of feminism's core values, such as getting women into the public sphere and empowering women to take care of themselves. Traditional femininity, is, to be blunt, about being helpless and dependent, and modern American women like to see themselves as strong and capable. But men aren't running away from their traditional roles as fast, and in some cases—like when it comes to being ambitious or being independent—there's no reason for them to do so.
Monday, April 13, 2015
From the Good Men Project:
“He’s killing himself”.
With work. With guilt. With alcohol. We have all described it.
Watched it. Now, in the last decade, men are literally committing suicide. In record numbers. I am tired of it for them. For our culture. For our world. If men could admit more easily that they are depressed. Or ashamed. Addicted. Lonely. Angry.
Or in trouble. Tired of it because it’s so incredibly sad for them. Tired because there are spouses, parents, friends and children who are left behind. Who loved these men. I don’t want to feminize men. I value the differences between men and women. But suicide rates in the US are rising sharply, especially in middle-aged and older men.
This New York Times article suggests that that perhaps baby boomers are facing issues not faced in prior years or have access to more deadly medications.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
From the Men's Style section of the NYT:
John McWhorter, a linguist who teaches at Columbia University, said that some men shy away from emoji because, as he put it, “Women use them more.” That may not continue to be the case, he added.
“Women tend to be more overtly expressive in language,” he said. “But something women start in language has a way of making it to men. Men would benefit from using emoji more.”
Emoji, he said, allow for an expressive, human way of translating the spoken word into text, with the goofy symbols providing a texter or tweeter with the means to convey tone. “There should be male ways to use emoji,” he added.
Monday, April 6, 2015
The Indiana law that ostensibly protects religious rights--while effectually permitting discrimination against gays--has provoked companies like Angie's List to pull out of Indiana.
But you know that the law isn't popular when NASCAR--the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing--is against it, too. Here's the statement by NASCAR:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 31, 2015) -- "NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race." -- NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes
Whither the Indy 500?
The administrator at our children's school recently called our house and asked if she could speak with "Mrs. Diamond." I understood instantly -- she wanted to speak to the mom. But my kids don't have a mom. They have two dads. To her surprise I replied, "This is Mrs. Diamond."
The administrator apologized, explaining that she had recently returned from a leave of absence. But my mind was racing: Why do schools and so many aspects of childcare -- from diaper commercials to changing stations in public restrooms -- focus on moms and exclude dads, gay or not? Even when coordinating things from school parties to carpools, the moms always make the assumption that everyone on the list is a mom. The email chain often begins with "Dear Ladies". When we travel with our kids on a trip, frequently we get asked if we gave the moms a weekend off. Even as women have rapidly moved out of the home and into the workplace, even as our society has increasingly accepted diverse family structures (including two-dad families), and even as more dads are staying home with their children, the perception of mom as sole caregiver has persisted.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is challenging this notion. In recent years, she has pushed to increase women's power in the workplace with her "lean in" mantra. Now she's asking men to join that effort, in a new "Lean in Together" campaign that encourages men not only to advocate for women in the office, but also take on more responsibility at home. I am thrilled that men have been invited to the "lean in" conversation and I share Sandberg's gender equality goal. Her noble aspiration to broaden society's perceptions of what women can accomplish in the workplace is matched by my hope to broaden perceptions of what men do at home. In a Yahoo News interview, Sandberg got it right when she said, "We also haven't supported men as caregivers. ... Women get discriminated against in the office; men get discriminated against when it comes to care."
Friday, April 3, 2015
It seems absurd for a man to be writing on the issue of women and self-esteem, yet the reality is, men do and will continue to play a role in how women see themselves—especially fathers. How we treat our daughters and our partners sets an example for how young ladies grow up thinking it is okay to be treated. As the father of three young women, I think this issue needs to be discussed.
The "Mask You Live In". From HuffPost:
This week I had the great privilege of attending a screening of Jennifer Siebel Newsom's latest film, The Mask You Live In, which embarks on a powerful exploration of the truth and consequences associated with modern masculinity in America. If you are unaware of this remarkable filmmaker, make note, as she is on course to becoming one of the great filmmakers of our time. This film is the second in a trilogy series that Siebel Newsom and her team have embarked upon. Her first film the groundbreaking Missrepresentation, widely acclaimed at Sundance, sparked a global education and empowerment conversation on the impact of pervasive media stereotypes and distorted messaging that negatively impacts the development of girls and young women. Both films are harrowing documentaries that artfully intertwine expert commentary layered with thoughtful images and deeply personal narratives, in what is becoming Siebel Newsom's signature style.
On 23 March, while arguing the case on these pages for a Minister for Men, Tim Samuels apologised for trespassing on feminism’s most hallowed ground and said: “We men have not had to fight tooth and nail for our votes”.
No doubt, everybody would go along with that. Everybody in this country is taught from infancy that the Suffragettes had to wrest votes for women from a brutal male establishment that was protecting the monopoly exercised by all men. My daughters learned that lesson at primary school before they had even been introduced to the cardinal beliefs of the world’s leading religions.
As is so often the case with the feminist catechism however, everybody - including Mr Samuels - is looking at history with one eye. As a matter of fact, men did have to fight before all men could get the vote. And men’s fight was not conducted in debating halls, demonstrations and salons, nor even from the relative safety of the prison cell. Before all British men were allowed to vote, poor young men had to be wounded in millions and to die in hundreds of thousands in a war from which all women were exempted solely by reason of their gender.
Mr Samuels was writing almost exactly on the 99th anniversary of the Military Service Act, under which every British man 18-41 was subject to conscription for the First World War. The actual wording of the Act was that every man of that age was “deemed to have enlisted”.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Prof. Nancy Dowd at the U of Florida had asked me to post this:
The Supreme Court Clinic of the University of Texas School of Law is planning to file an amicus brief in support of a cert petition in a family law/gender discrimination case and is seeking legal scholars to sign onto the brief as amici. The cert petition was filed on behalf of an unwed father who was prevented from objecting to the adoption of his newborn son. The father and the mother of the child were not married. Before the child was born the father filed a petition in state court seeking to establish paternity and also to establish custody, parent time, and child support. He also registered with Utah’s putative father registry with a sworn and notarized form, agreed to a court order of child support, and offered to assist the mother with her pregnancy-related expenses. Due to his lawyer’s oversight, unfortunately, he failed to timely file an affidavit attesting to his ability to provide for the child and setting forth his plans for care of the child, as required by Utah statute. Adoption proceedings were initiated when his son was three days old. When the adoptive parents notified the father of their intent to adopt his son without his consent, the father moved to intervene in the adoption proceeding. The adoptive couple opposed the father’s motion to intervene, based on the father’s failure to file the affidavit attesting to his ability to provide for the child and setting forth a plan for the child’s care. The court held that the father’s failure to file that affidavit left him with no rights at all regarding his three-day old son, and that this default could not be cured by a late filing. Accordingly, the father’s newborn child was placed for adoption over his objections, solely because he failed to file an affidavit, as required by state law, attesting that he was able and willing to take custody of the child and setting forth his plans for care of the child. Utah law requires unwed fathers, but not unwed mothers, to file such an affidavit before they can assert any claim to parental rights. The father challenged the affidavit requirement in state court on federal and state constitutional grounds, claiming that requiring unwed fathers but not unwed mothers to file such an affidavit was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. He also raised a substantive due process challenge to the affidavit requirement. The district court rejected his claims and the Supreme Court of Utah affirmed. On the equal protection claim, the Utah Supreme Court acknowledged that requiring an unwed father, but not an unwed mother, to file an affidavit about future support plans is a sex-based classification triggering intermediate scrutiny, but applied a lower level of scrutiny because it found that the affidavit requirement was not particularly burdensome. Under this lower standard, the court held that the different treatment was constitutional because the affidavit requirement was a way to make unwed fathers demonstrate their commitment to the child’s best interests, while unwed mothers demonstrated such a commitment simply by carrying the child to term. According to the Utah Supreme Court, the affidavit requirement put the parents on “equal footing” regarding a demonstrated commitment to the wellbeing of the child. Professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA has filed a cert petition on behalf of the father, arguing that once an unwed father has made himself known, sought to establish his rights to the child, filed a petition for custody and an agreement to court ordered child support, imposing the additional requirement of an affidavit setting forth a care plan on the father but not the mother is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The University of Texas School of Law’s Supreme Court Clinic plans to file an amicus brief in support of the petition, urging the Court to grant the case. We are seeking family law scholars and gender discrimination law scholars to sign on to the brief as amici, urging the Court to grant cert. Amicus briefs filed at the cert stage are a very important tool for convincing the Court that the issues raised in the case are important and that the case warrants the Court’s attention. Our current plan is to file a brief outlining the demographic trend toward more out-of-wedlock births and thus the importance of the issue of the constitutional standard for gender-based differences in the treatment of unwed fathers and unwed mothers. We will then explain that this case raises two important issues that the Court has left open in its prior equal protection decisions about fathers and mother and that it tried unsuccessfully to resolve in Flores-Villar v. US several years ago. In particular, the case raises the questions of (1) the constitutionality of gender-based distinctions between unmarried mothers and unmarried fathers that do not help clarify paternity and (2) what “substantial connection to the child” means in the context of a newborn baby. More concretely, this case presents the very important issue whether a state can impose on the unmarried father of a newborn baby a burden to prove his willingness and ability to provide for a child even though he has diligently asserted his paternity and sought custody of the child, when it imposes no equivalent burden on the unmarried mother of the child. Finally, we will argue that the gender-based differences in this statutory scheme lack a rational basis because they rely on outmoded and inaccurate stereotypes about mothers and fathers. At this stage, we are looking for signatories to help refine and elaborate on these arguments. The sooner we have involved signatories, the better we can represent their views and promote their interests. The amicus brief is due on April 13, 2015, and the Clinic needs to give notice of its intent to file by this Friday, April 3, 2015 – and needs signatories by then. Anyone interested in being part of this effort can get more information (including an outline of the proposed brief) by emailing Clinic Director Lynn Blais at email@example.com, or calling her at 512-232-1334.
Monday, March 30, 2015
“You hold women in contempt”: Frat culture isn’t an aberration, it’s everything men learn about being a “real man”
...thus reads the headline from Salon:
There are a lot of stories out there right now about frat culture, which is maybe why I find myself circling back to bigger questions about masculinity. Or at least the version of masculinity on display in some of these fraternities.
Read the rest here.
The political arm of the national fraternity system—known as the Fraternity & Sorority Political Action Committee (FratPAC)—is getting involved in the campus rape debate. Sadly, it seems it wants to make it as hard as possible for schools to discipline students who sexually abuse or harass each other. Bloomberg reports:
The groups' political arm plans to bring scores of students to Capitol Hill on April 29 to lobby for a requirement that the criminal justice system resolve cases before universities look into them or hand down punishments, according to an agenda reviewed by Bloomberg News.
"If people commit criminal acts, they should be prosecuted and they should go to jail,” said Michael Greenberg, leader of 241-chapter Sigma Chi, one of many fraternities participating in the legislative push.
The sentiment may sound fair-minded; it's anything but. FratPAC is singling out sexual assault as the only crime it wants universities to handle in this way. Underage drinking, drug dealing, burglary, assault—all of these actions break both school rules and the law, but FratPAC is not asking universities to wait for the criminal courts to adjudicate these crimes before punishing the students for breaking their corresponding school rules. In the situation it's proposing, a school could punish a student for stealing from another student without waiting for the courts to adjudicate the matter; but if a student rapes another student, the school couldn't act.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The biological fathers of children conceived through a sexual assault would lose their parental rights under a proposal reviewed by Nebraska lawmakers.
Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue presented the proposal to the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Garrett says women who are sexually assaulted often feel pressure to terminate their pregnancy or put the child up for adoption to keep their assailant out of their lives.
Garrett says 29 other states have passed laws to end fathers' parental rights in rape cases. Supporters of the bill say 25,000 to 32,000 pregnancies occur because of rapes each year.
Garrett says the bill allows fathers to reclaim parental rights if their convictions are overturned. He says the bill still needs some work, but creates important protections for women.
The bill is LB358
The official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, editors at the Swedish Academy have announced.
“Hen” will be added to “han” (he) and “hon” (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL.
The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender – either because it is unknown, because the person is transgender, or the speaker or writer deems the gender to be superfluous information.
“For those who use the pronoun, it’s obviously a strength that it is now in the dictionary,” one of the editors, Sture Berg, told AFP on Tuesday.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Keith Cunningham-Parmeter (Willamette), (Un)equal Protection: Why Gender Equality Depends on Discrimination, 109 Northwestern Law Review 1 (2015).
From the abstract:
Most accounts of the Supreme Court’s equal protection jurisprudence describe the Court’s firm opposition to sex discrimination. But while the Court famously invalidated several sex-based laws at the end of the twentieth century, it also issued many other, less-celebrated decisions that sanctioned sex-specific classifications in some circumstances. Examining these long-ignored cases that approved of sex discrimination, this Article explains how the Court’s rulings in this area have often rejected the principle of formal equality in favor of broader anti-subordination concerns. Outlining a new model of equal protection that authorizes certain forms of sex discrimination, (Un)Equal Protection advocates for one particular discriminatory policy that could dramatically promote gender equality in the decades to come. Fatherhood bonuses — laws that give families additional parental leave when fathers stay at home with their newborns — have the potential to drastically reorder gendered divisions of labor and expand women’s workplace opportunities. Countries that have experimented with fatherhood bonuses have seen women with children spend more time in paid work, advance in their careers, and earn higher wages. Applying these international models to the American context, this Article explains why fatherhood bonuses would fit comfortably within our constitutional framework, which authorizes discriminatory policies when such policies support women’s public participation. (Un)Equal Protection concludes by proposing a model for fatherhood bonuses in the United States that would encourage more men to perform care work, thereby advancing the goal of gender equality for both sexes.
Monday, March 23, 2015
A Battle Ground Middle School hosted "gender defender" day, but a school district spokesman said the name was misleading. March 19, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KOIN 6) — Thursday was “gender defender” day at a Battle Ground middle school, and some parents weren’t happy about it.
Lorelei Hunsaker, 11, showed up at Chief Umtuch Middle School dressed in protest of gender defender day. She said the day was designated for girls to wear pink and boys to wear blue — and she believes that reinforces outdated stereotypes of what boys and girls should aspire to be when they are older.
“It’s a gender neutral school and it’s pretty good about these things,” Lorelei told KOIN 6 News. “It’s just that this day is sexist and I’m not okay with sexism.”
Lorelei decided against wearing pink or blue, instead she wore dark clothing in protest.
For the 11-year-old’s mother, it goes beyond pink and blue clothes. She is part of a nontraditional family in which she is the main bread winner. Her husband cares for their kids, and gender identification may not fall along traditional lines in their household.
“Why would you even have a gender-oriented event to show school spirit?” Lorelei’s mother, Andrea Isom, asked. “Why does gender matter when it comes to being a good student?”