Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Book Asserts "Women are superior in most ways that matter now"

Melvin Konner, The End of Male Supremacy, Chronicle of Higher Ed.

Provocative thesis:

Women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future. It is not just a matter of culture or upbringing. It is a matter of chromosomes, genes, hormones, and nerve circuits. It is not mainly because of how experience shapes women, but because of intrinsic differences in the body and the brain.

 

Do these differences account for all the ways women and men differ? No. Are all men one way and all women another? Also no. But none of those considerations seriously impede my argument or deflect its key conclusion: Women are superior in most ways that matter now.

 

And no, I do not mean what was meant by patronizing men who said this in the past — that women are lofty, tender, spiritual creatures. I mean something like the opposite of that. I mean that women are fundamentally pragmatic as well as caring, cooperative as well as competitive, skilled in getting their own egos out of the way, deft in managing people without putting them on the defensive, builders not destroyers. Above all, I mean that women can carry on the business of a complex world in ways that are more focused, efficient, deliberate, and constructive than men’s because women are not frequently distracted by impulses and moods that, sometimes indirectly, lead to sex and violence. Women are more reluctant participants in both. And if they are drawn into wars, these will be wars of necessity, not of choice, founded on rational considerations, not on a clash of egos escalating out of control.

 

Interesting use of Elizabeth Cady Stanton here too.  

This is not a new idea. Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave an address to the National Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C., on January 19, 1869. She said, "The same arguments made in this country for extending suffrage … to white men, native born citizens, without property and education, and to foreigners … and the same used by the great Republican party to enfranchise a million black men in the South, all these arguments we have to-day to offer for woman, and one, in addition, stronger than all besides, the difference in man and woman. Because man and woman are the complement of one another, we need woman’s thought in national affairs to make a safe and stable government."

 

She also said, "When the highest offices in the gift of the people are bought and sold in Wall Street, it is a mere chance who will be our rulers. Whither is a nation tending when brains count for less than bullion, and clowns make laws for queens?" Almost 150 years later, the highest offices are still bought and sold on Wall Street, and clowns make laws for queens. But the latter, at least, is coming to an end.

 

Yet notice: What additional argument for women’s equality is "stronger than all besides"? "The difference in man and woman." Men and women complement each other. After a century and a half of research, Stanton’s argument from difference is stronger than ever, grounded in evolution, brain science, child psychology, and anthropology. And we can take it a step further

I discuss Stanton's feminist theory of difference in the context of parenting and property rights in my forthcoming book. But her feminism was more complex than this one speech suggests.  She believed in equality, difference, as well as radical feminism, as all were part of the web of women's oppression.

April 2, 2015 in Books, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

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.

 What does it say about men and their relationships with other men that sexual aggression is often seen as a way to bond? What does it say about men’s desire to belong that so many guys don’t intervene even if they feel like what’s going on around them is totally wrong? Is the routine sexism we see coming out of many fraternities right now an aberration, or is it just a particularly grotesque expression of how men are taught to feel about and treat women? And if that’s the case, what are we supposed to do about it?
 
And: 
 
I reached out to Michael Kimmel, a professor of sociology at Stonybrook University and one of the nation’s most influential researchers on men and masculinities, to get his perspective on fraternities, male friendship, cultural messaging about “real” men and what it might mean to remake masculinity into something healthier for men and women. Our conversation has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

Read the rest here

March 30, 2015 in Education, Manliness, Masculinities, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Guide to Feminist Pedagogy

Vanderbilt, A Guide to Feminist Pedagogy

Feminist pedagogy is not a toolbox, a collection of strategies, a list of practices, or a specific classroom arrangement.  It is an overarching philosophy—a theory of teaching and learning that integrates feminist values with related theories and research on teaching and learning.

It begins with our beliefs and motivations:  why do we teach? why do students learn? what are the goals of learning? We know that the consequences of our motives for teaching and learning are significant: Keith Trigwell and Mike Prosser have shown that the instructor’s intentions in teaching (“why the person adopts a particular strategy”) have a greater impact on student learning than the instructor’s actual strategies for teaching (“what the person does”) (78). Their research has shown that approaches to teaching that are purposefully focused on the students and aimed at changing conceptual frameworks lead to deeper learning practices than teacher-centered, information-driven approaches (Trigwell 98). The implications are that the instructor’s fundamental beliefs and values about teaching, learning, and knowledge-making matter.

In this guide, we explain some of the fundamental beliefs, values, and intentions behind feminist pedagogy to inform a deliberate application in specific classrooms–any and all classrooms, as feminist pedagogy can inform any disciplinary context. (For a more focused exploration of feminist pedagogy specifically within the women’s studies classroom, see Holly Hassel and Nerissa Nelson’s “A Signature Feminist Pedagogy: Connection and Transformation in Women’s Studies.”)

[H/t Kathy Feltey]

March 28, 2015 in Education, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sweden Introduces Gender-Neutral Pronoun

From the Guardian UK: 

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.

March 25, 2015 in International, LGBT, Manliness, Masculinities, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gender Neutral Shoes

NiK Kacy, luxury footwear designed to fit all genders.'s video poster

 

From HuffPost

As mainstream understandings of bodies and identity evolve and change, it's only fitting that industries, such as fashion, evolve too.

That's the case with NiK Kacy, one of the first luxury footwear brands to describe their product as gender-neutral. At HuffPost Gay Voices we've been documenting the shifting nature of queerness within the fashion world through our series"FABRICATIONS: Emerging Queer Faces of Fashion Design." The NiK Kacy brand is certainly emblematic of this shift and an exciting prospect for bodies existing outside of binary understandings of gender.

NiK Kacy is currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the brand's first line. The Huffington Post chatted with Kacy this week about their vision for this footwear line, as well as its cultural significance.

 

March 4, 2015 in LGBT, Manliness, Masculinities, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 2, 2015

LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM

Wesleyan University has created a special dorm that is meant to house the LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM crowd. From the school website:


     Photo of Open House

Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.

 I must say that I am ambivalent about this.  Is this a good thing for the students in the dorm?  To segregate themselves so completely like this from the rest of the school?  So too I find disturbing the notion that all these quite different groups would naturally share a desire to live together, simply because they are sexually marginalized in society.....

March 2, 2015 in Education, LGBT, Manliness, Masculinities, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Different Hillary Clinton This Time

As she prepares for her presidential bid, Hillary Clinton intends to serve up a different campaign message than last time:

But rather than the assertive feminism associated with her years as first lady, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign message will be subtler. It will involve frequent references to being a mother and grandmother and to how her family has inspired her to embrace policies that she believes would help middle-class families.

As one Democrat close to her put it, voters have learned that she is tough; now she can also present herself as a sensitive candidate capable of nurturing the nation at a difficult time.

 

 

February 25, 2015 in Masculinities, Theory, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Girl, 11, demands DC Comics to feature more female superheroes – so they draw her as one"

Cute story from the Independent UK:

View image on Twitter

 

“Please do something about this, girls read comics too and they care,” the 11-year-old from Champaign, Illinois, added according to NBC’s Today show.

A DC Comics artist drew Rowan as a superhero complete with her blonde bob hairstyle and spectacles with a burgundy and yellow outfit to help her fly over a dandelion field.

Previously, they sent out tweets saying that they’re “working hard to create more superhero fun for girls” but she had said that, even though she appreciated the responses, her quest to see more girl characters was not over.

“It was really, really cool, because they’re so big and important people,” she said of the tweets.

“But I thought ‘I don’t want people to think, “Oh, yeah, OK, they responded to her. Now it’s over.” I want people to keep trying to make this happen, because it’s really important to me.”

Her parents Jim Hansen and Renee Trilling said that Rowan has been aware of gender inequality for years.

View image on Twitter

February 23, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The US Feminist Judgments Project

The US Feminist Judgments Projects Website

What would United States Supreme Court opinions look like–and what would their influence be–if key decisions on gender issues were written with a feminist perspective? The US Feminist Judgments Project seeks to answer these questions by pulling together a group of leading feminist legal scholars in the United States to rewrite, using feminist reasoning, the most significant Supreme Court cases on gender from the 1800s all the way to the present day.

 

Editors Linda Berger (UNLV), Bridget Crawford (Pace) and Kathy Stanchi (Temple), along with an Advisory Panel of diverse and distinguished scholars, targeted 24 influential Supreme Court cases related to gender for feminist revision. Those 24 rewritten opinions, along with introductory commentary explaining the issues and context of the decision, will be published by Cambridge University Press in a volume entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court. You can see the final list of cases, as well as the authors of the rewritten opinions and commentaries, here.

 

The US Feminist Judgments Project was inspired by the successful collection and publication in Britain of Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice, by Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn, and Erika Rackley. This volume, which included feminist versions of twenty-three key British decisions from the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, was published in 2010 to wide acclaim.

 

Like its British counterpart, the US Feminist Judgments Project seeks to illustrate how decision-makers with feminist viewpoints could have arrived at different decisions using different reasoning in critical Supreme Court cases despite the restrictions of stare decisis. The rewritten decisions are framed within the same precedent that bound the Supreme Court at the time of the opinion, but bring to the decision making and the opinion writing a feminist perspective on the facts and the law. The rewritten decisions show not only how feminist theory can apply to real-world judgments, but also the ways that stare decisions can mask the law’s masculine perspective and bias. In this way, the volume will help uncover the manner in which hidden and often-unrecognized gender bias drives the results and the reasoning in much of our jurisprudence.

February 14, 2015 in Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Can Gender Diversity Reduce Corporate Fraud?

This study suggests so.  The abstract available on SSRN: 

We formulate theory on the effect of board of director gender diversity on the broad spectrum of securities fraud and generate three main insights. First, based on ethicality, risk aversion, and diversity, we hypothesize that gender diversity on boards can operate as a significant moderator for the frequency of fraud. Second, we hypothesize that the stock market response to fraud from a more gender-diverse board is significantly less pronounced. Third, we hypothesize that women are more effective in male-dominated industries in reducing both the frequency and severity of fraud. Our first-ever empirical tests, based on data from a large sample of Chinese firms that committed securities fraud, are largely consistent with each of these hypotheses.

 

February 13, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Scholarship, Theory, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

One word gender-neutral pronoun?

From the Guardian UK:

For those now considering commenting to suggest that there’s a perfectly fine existing neutral pronoun – “they” – remember that pronouns must match both gender and number. So in the case of single individuals, it’s grammatically inaccurate.

And for those complaining this is a “PC gone mad” linguistic ambush by the modern trans lobby, this fascinating blog by Dennis Baron charts more than 100 (failed) attempts over 150 years to coin a gender­-neutral singular pronoun. The elusive term – still not agreed upon – has been labelled the ‘hermaphrodite pronoun’, the ‘bi­personal pronoun’ and the ‘unisex pronoun.’

 

 

February 6, 2015 in Theory | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In West Hollywood, Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Gender neutral

From the LA Times: 

A West Hollywood law requiring all single-stall restrooms in businesses and public places to be gender-neutral will go into effect this week.

The law, which will have no impact on multiple-stall restrooms, mandates that any facility designed for use by no more than one person not be restricted to a specific sex or gender identity by signage, design or installation of fixtures.

January 14, 2015 in Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

McJunkin on "Rank Among Equals"

Ben A. McJunkin has recently uploaded on SSRN "Rank Among Equals," which is forthcoming from the Michigan Law Review.  The abstract reads:  

Dignity is on the march. As illustrated by Justice Kennedy’s recent majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, the concept — once seen as exclusive to moral philosophy — has taken on increasing importance in the legal realm, particularly in the recognition of individual human rights. Jeremy Waldron's recent book, Dignity, Rank, and Rights, offers a profound and provocative take on dignity's newfound centrality to law. Waldron contends that dignity currently operates as a universal legal status that entails individual rights. He suggests that this development reflects the gradual democratization of aristocratic privilege — a kind of "leveling up" of humanity.

This Review disentangles and separately examines the two core accounts of dignity in Waldron's work. The first, which purports to identify the nature of contemporary legal dignity as a form of status, appears to be promising step toward better understanding the role dignity plays in law. The second, Waldron's historical account of dignity's development that offers up something like an origin story for our contemporary conceptions, is more troubling. Borrowing from feminist theory and queer theory, as well as from the equality projects to which they are allied, I contend that Waldron's narratives of extending aristocratic privilege threaten to entrench inequality and injustice while limiting the potential for marginalized groups to employ dignity as a deeply remedial legal tool. I urge Waldron to revisit dignity's expressive connection to human worth, which has proven central to dignity-based antidiscrimination and antisubordination projects.

November 5, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

14 Things Feminists Are Tired of Hearing

Here.

November 5, 2014 in Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Is Using "Woman" as an Adjective Demeaning?

From the New Republic....

Political-correctness 101 dictates that we should avoid gendered versions of job titles: We’re meant to use “server” instead of “waitress”, “actor” for women as well as men. (Thank God the nineteenth-century “doctoress” never caught on.) But sometimes, for valid and non-sexist reasons—like talking about the wage gap—writers need to identify a group of professionals by their gender. Writers who are keen not to offend face a conundrum. “Female” seems like a safe descriptor—“female boss,” “female lawyer,” etc.—but some complain it’s too “clinical.” “Lady” has made something of a come-back as a sort of retro descriptor—“Lady journo,” “lady blog”—but sounds condescending outside of a specific, ironic context. In The Guardian last week, sub-editor Maddie York points out that another word is catching on as an adjective: “woman.” According to York, “‘Woman’ and its plural seem to be taking over the role of modifier, so that now, there is no such thing, as far as much of the media is concerned, as a female doctor, a female MP or a female chef. Instead you hear or read about a woman doctor, a woman MP and so on.”

And: 

This is definitely an overstatement, but she has a point: When I started looking for it, I found that the opposite of “male boss” is often not “female boss” but “woman boss.” The BBC contrasts “women managers” with “male” ones.  And the Harvard Business Review says: “Only 16% of Republicans prefer a woman boss … young people (18 to 34) are more likely to want a male boss.”

October 31, 2014 in Theory, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sheley on "Condemned Woman as Historical Relic"

Erin Sheley, GW Law, has uploaded "Doubled Jeopardy: The Condemned Woman as Historical Relic."  It is forthcoming from Law and Literature and its abstract reads: 

This article explores how Sir Walter Scott's fictional condemned women serve as relics through which a history of evolving British legal authority becomes present and legible. It argues that Scott's treatment of gender aestheticizes a particular concept of and reaction to the condemned woman in the context of the common law tradition generally. Using the backdrop of eighteenth century penal practice, it also shows how Scott establishes the female condemned body as an object necessarily fixed in time in order to contemplate legal change through a historically controlled process. The first part of the article considers the late eighteenth century movement to abolish the punishment of burning at the stake for women convicted of treason, and the extent to which competing understandings of chivalry reified an entire history of penal practice into the body of the burned woman. The second part argues that the interrelations between archaic practice and evolved norm which characterize the precedent-based common law system are dramatized in the fixed, idealized bodies of Constance de Beverly and Rebecca of York through which Scott acknowledges the implicit need for legal change over time, while simultaneously legitimizing adherence to a chivalric tradition.

October 17, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sexual Violence During War and Peace

Jelke Boesten, University of Leeds, UK, has recently published Sexual Violence During War and Peace (Palgrave Macmillan).  The abstract reads: 

The idea that rape is widely used as a weapon of war has taken root in international institutions, influencing how post-conflict justice and transitional justice are perceived and pursued. Despite this global attention, there has been no progress eradicating or even mitigating sexual violence in war or in peace and very little progress prosecuting crimes of sexual violence. With particular reference to post-conflict justice, this book asks what sexual violence means from a socio-political perspective and in what ways contemporary "peacetime" violence is linked to wartime rape. Evidence from Peru and the internal armed conflict of 1980-2000 shows that acts of wartime rape are deeply embedded in existing configurations of gender and power and that sexual violence serves not only wartime terror but also peacetime hierarchies.

October 6, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Susan Ayres on Dramatic Narratives

Susan Ayres, Texas A & M Law, has uploaded to SSRN "Using Dramatic Narratives to Teach Domestic Violence."  The abstract reads: 

The 2003 call of the ABA for teachers to incorporate domestic violence into the law school curricula remains gravely important today. Domestic violence intersects many areas — from family law, to torts, to criminal law. Along with sexual assault, it is one of the most difficult subjects to teach. Students, like the general public, find it hard to comprehend why a person batters, or why a victim stays with the batterer. While students may learn about domestic violence from case law and scholarly excerpts, the best lessons may be learned through narratives, which provide a window into the reasons for battering and the multi-faceted reasons a victim stays with a batterer. In this article, I describe a teaching approach that incorporates narratives by the award-winning, multi-racial writer, Ai (1947-2010). This valuable approach offers a picture of domestic violence that is more compelling than that of casebooks or statistics, and provides students — as future lawyers — with the ability to respond to clients experiencing domestic violence with greater empathy and understanding.

October 3, 2014 in Scholarship, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Misogyny at Fox News

From the Guardian UK

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: 

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.

September 25, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Theory, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Emma Watson Speaks to UN on Feminism

Emma Watson quote

 Speaking before the United Nations on feminism, Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) launched the HeforShe campaign encouraging men to support equal gender rights.  Read the full speech to the UN. Some excerpts:

 

This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.

 

I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. 

 

For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”   

 

I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.  When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press.  When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.”  When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.   

 

I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.  Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.  

 

Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?

 

The video is Emma Watson at the UN.

 

 The backlash was swift, as she was threatened with the release of nude photos for speaking out. More here. 

September 23, 2014 in Gender, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)