Advice is being solicited here. Do consider offering ideas.
Hobby Lobby Hypocrisy? June 30, 2014
from Mother Jones:
When Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans, Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, the company’s owners argued, forced them to violate their religious beliefs. But while it was suing the government, Hobby Lobby spent millions of dollars on an employee retirement plan that invested in the manufacturers of the same contraceptive products the firm’s owners cite in their lawsuit.
Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).
Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have stock holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.
Women of Colour Urge Inclusion in “My Brother’s Keeper” June 17, 2014
Read the letter here. (Thanks, K!)
While we applaud the efforts on the part of the White House, private philanthropy, social justice organizations and others to move beyond colorblind approaches to race-specific problems, we are profoundly troubled about the exclusion of women and girls of color from this critical undertaking. The need to acknowledge the crisis facing boys should not come at the expense of addressing the stunted opportunities for girls who live in the same households, suffer in the same schools, and struggle to overcome a common history of limited opportunities caused by various forms of discrimination.
We simply cannot agree that the effects of these conditions on women and girls should pale to the point of invisibility, and are of such little significance that they warrant zero attention in the messaging, research and resourcing of this unprecedented Initiative. When we acknowledge that both our boys and girls struggle against the odds to succeed, and we dream about how, working together, we can develop transformative measures to help them realize their highest aspirations, we cannot rest easy on the notion that the girls must wait until another train comes for them. Not only is there no exceedingly persuasive reason not to include them, the price of such exclusion is too high and will hurt our communities and country for many generations to come.
Jenn Neilson writes:
My name is Jenn, and I’m a former academic with a PhD in philosophy from UT Austin (2011). I’ve moved on from academia to my next project, but I thought that you might be interested in a post about it for the Feminist Philosophers blog.
I’m starting a kids’ clothing company called Jill and Jack Kids to challenge gender stereotypes and inspire the next generation of leaders to think beyond pink and blue. We’re launching our new line of kids’ clothes that go beyond pink and blue on Kickstarter from May 19th – June 6th, 2014. We’re starting with t-shirts in sizes 2-8, with 4 designs that change the messages we’re sending to kids, and our products are eco-friendly, socially responsible (no sweatshops!) and made in Canada with US-sourced materials.
As she explains:
Of course it’s great that we’re starting to see skill-building toys being marketed to girls, as well as boys (Goldieblox being the prime example). But this is really only a tiny part of the change that we need to make in kids’ environments to stop reinforcing the outdated gender stereotypes that limit their opportunities in life. If we want kids to want to engage in play that develops new skills, they have to see that kind of play as acceptable for kids like them. This will be easier with some kids than others, but how easily it comes depends both on the examples and influences that they see around them, and on their sense of self–their sense of how they’re supposed to behave, what sort of interests are seen as acceptable for them to have, and what options are open to them. A child’s sense of self is shaped by a combination of his or her own personality, along with a wide range of social factors. To change the environment that kids grow up in enough to stop reinforcing outdated gender stereotypes, we’re going to have to do a lot more than market skill-building toys to kids who are already independent enough, who already have a strong enough sense of self, to be interested in them. If we want to see the level of real, widespread change that stands a chance of eradicating gender inequality as we know it, then we have to start earlier. We have surround kids with influences that will help them to develop a strong and resilient sense of self, so that they will be secure enough to choose toys and clothes and books and movies based on their true interests, instead of choosing according to what society expects of them.
So how do we do that? We start by changing the messages that kids receive from role models in books, on TV and in movies–ending the era of the traditional Disney princess, where adventure, curiosity and personal strength are reserved for boys. But that’s not enough. If we want to change the messages we’re sending to kids, we need to recognize the communicative power of the things that are closest to them–the very clothes we dress them in. Gender conventions in children’s clothing reinforce the idea that building, discovery and active play are for boys, and that girls should be concerned with home life and aesthetic appeal. The bows and ruffles and hearts and frills teach girls about the importance of looking pretty, and the dark colors, truck and sports motifs show boys that they’re destined for competition and adventure. We should strive to make our children’s worlds reflect our hopes for a future where men and women are treated with equal respect, and have equal access to and responsibility for all aspects of life. Only our own choices as consumers and business-owners can make that change happen.
Check out her website here!
Good news, bad news June 10, 2014
The bad news is that the Washington Post has been up to some sexist shenanigans. The good news is, it’s under fire for doing so. Read about it here.
University of Texas tells women what to wear June 4, 2014
A reader spotted this sign up at the University of Texas School of Nursing in Austin.
Our reader said the signs popped up this week. “Revealing clothing MUST NOT be worn while in the School of Nursing Building. It distracts from the learning environment.”
“It distracts from the learning environment.” Oh, OK. For a second there I thought we were only teaching young girls in elementary, middle and high school that their bodies are nothing but shameful sin receptacles which must be covered up and hidden at all times from men who absolutely cannot control themselves at the slightest hint of a woman’s skin. Good to see that this outdated sexist bullshit is being instilled in college students in a professional training program, too!
Stop taxing periods. Period. May 21, 2014
A new petition demands that the United Kingdom stop taxing women’s sanitary napkins and tampons as luxuries. According to the petition, men’s razors are not taxable whilst women’s sanitary products are because it is a woman’s choice whether or not to use the latter. Hmm… Perhaps it’s time that British women gather en masse whilst choosing not to use such products and descend on Parliament to protest the tax, perhaps sitting on some posh parliamentary cushions while they’re at it.
…or maybe just sign the petition. Here it is.
(H/t to CA for sharing the petition and to MS for the unorthodox protest suggestion.)
GENDER EQUALITY NOW!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 – 2:15pm to 7:00pm
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Help us to change the gender politics of UK universities! Come along and listen to and debate
proposals from 4 leading humanities academics, who want to make universities a fairer place for all.
We’ll then break out into workshop sessions to design a manifesto for gender equality in the academy
– and launch it with a reception.
2.15-3.15 manifesto presentations by Edith Hall (KCL), Rebecca Reilly-Cooper (Warwick), Francesca
Stavrakopoulou (Exeter), Patricia Skinner (Swansea)
3.15-4.00 roundtable discussion
4.20-5.00 breakout groups
5.00-6.00 presentations and general discussions
6.00-7.00 Reception and unveiling!
Attendance is free, but please sign up here:
Theme: Women and the Humanities
Contact name: Tim Whitmarsh
Contact email: email@example.com
Audience: Open to all
Your chance to Kickstart some feminist theatre May 7, 2014
What a neat idea! Travesti is a new play that takes verbatim women’s “stories about unruly body hair, being groped on public transport, and experiences of sexual violence” and puts them in the mouths of an all-male cast. Here’s what its creators have to say about it:
By putting these stories in men’s mouths, we wanted to highlight the absurdities of typically ‘female’ behaviours – why are women expected to wear make up and men aren’t? Why are we expected to shave our body hair and men aren’t? Why are we expected to consider our safety at night in ways that men don’t have to? Happily, as a result, it also opens up interesting discussion about the social roles enforced on men, for example how male rape is something that is not discussed in the same way as female rape. Our intention was to make a feminist theatre piece that looks like the women we know: intelligent, playful, funny and sexy.
Want to help Travesti get to the Edinburgh Festival? Here’s their Kickstarter page.