Watch the Makers Documentary Online!

A while ago I complained about a TV series that seemed to be glorifying a bunch of rich white men as the people who made America.

And a short while ago Fem Phil posted about the PBS documentary, Makers: Women Who Make America.

In case anyone missed it on TV, you can watch the whole thing (yup all 3 hours) here or here.  (The first link doesn’t contain commercials, as far as I can tell.  Apologies if the video doesn’t work everywhere. I tried searching Youtube as well but couldn’t find another version.)

And if anyone ever followed Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy, she is still occasionally throwing out a blame or two, in between blogging about the various ailments her horses suffer from. She points out some irony regarding the commercials for the documentary:

“Despite the title, during the station break a voiceover described the doc’s subject as “women who ‘helped’ shape America.” Women are helpers, yo, just in case this film causes you to forget that for a moment.”

And in classic Twisy fashion, she helpfully suggests,

Here, Voiceover, let me “help” you kiss my entire ass.

(If it’s not obvious, I miss IBTP.)

I haven’t watched the documentary yet, but I’m hoping it’s good.  Twisty links to a few articles on it in her post.  And Chris Hayes talked about it some on his Feb 9th show–you know, the one where he devoted the WHOLE TWO HOURS to the women’s movement (both local and global, past and present.) The show, while containing a few awkward kumbaya moments, had some of the best dialogue I’ve seen about how to address the women’s movement without slipping into American-centric white middle class feminism. (If you can watch MSNBC shows, you can watch it here by hovering over “recent shows” on the left and finding Feb. 9th.)


Melissa Harris-Perry (left) and Sarita Gupta (right) on Up with Chris Hayes

Police pressure to drop rape charges

in order to improve conviction stats.

Rape victims were pressured to withdraw their allegations by a specialist Metropolitan police unit as officers tried to gerrymander their performance statistics, the report found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the Sapphire unit at Southwark had failed victims. Women reporting rapes and sexual assaults were encouraged to withdraw their allegations, it said.

The watchdog said its investigation followed cases in 2008, when the Southwark Sapphire unit was performing poorly and under pressure to improve.

The report found women were questioned repeatedly by a detective about whether they had consented to sex. They were encouraged to withdraw their complaints, which boosted the unit’s sanctioned detection rate.

The rape allegations were not recorded by police.


Thanks, Mr Jender!



Misogyny (et al.) at the Oscars

NSFW: expletives

A row of Oscar awards

“This wasn’t an awards ceremony so much as a black-tie celebration of the straight white male gaze.”

An article by Margaret Lyons at has been making the rounds on the internet: “Why Seth MacFarlane’s Misogyny Matter.
(MacFarlane is the creator of Family Guy, and hosted the Oscars this year.)

Lyons does a nice job of summing up experiences that are all too common for many of us but haven’t sunk in to our cultures at large:

“Yes, I can take a joke. I can take a bunch! A thousand, 10,000, maybe even more! But after 30 or so years, this stuff doesn’t feel like joking. It’s dehumanizing and humiliating, and as if every single one of those jokes is an ostensibly gentler way of saying, “I don’t think you belong here.” All those little instances add up, grain of sand by grain of sand until I’m stranded in a desert of every “tits or GTFO” joke I’ve ever tried to ignore.”

Lindy West at also posted an article about MacFarlane, coining the term “sexism fatigue.”  (I wouldn’t be surprised if another term for this already exists in the academic literature.  And if it doesn’t, it should.)

Sexism Fatigue: When Seth MacFarlane Is a Complete Ass and You Don’t Even Notice

“Seth MacFarlane will go on the television and make a joke about George Clooney having sex with a 9-year-old girl who is sitting right there, and your first reaction will be, “Well. At least he didn’t literally say she should get raped. Pass the cheese.”

That’s bad. A famous man making sexist jokes on a primetime awards show watched by millions of people is so banal and status-quo in our culture, that to me—a woman professionally committed to detecting and calling bullshit on sexism—it just feels like a drop in the bucket.”

West also coins another phrase in her article:

“Fuck the bucket.  If I’m not fatigued, I’m not caring enough. So fuck that stupid bucket.”

I hope there’s an equivalent term for this in the academic literature, too.

Women making America

The PBS program, “Makers: Women who make American,” shows tonight both on TV and through webcasting:


MAKERS is a landmark digital and broadcast initiative from AOL and PBS showcasing compelling stories from women of today and tomorrow. A 3-hour documentary “MAKERS: Women Who Make America.”will premiere on February 26, 2013 8pm ET.
Visit the Makers: Women Who Make America website

Judging by the preview below, there’s lots to like and to dislike about the program. Among other things, it features US women of the last 50-70 years who largely are very visible in the media. And some of the faces are clearly remade according to what one would think are sexist demands. It does also have a good number of black women, it seemed to me, and some I knew were media people, but I wash’t as familiar with black faces as white.Not a good thing, I’d say, which is one reason why the central division APA had a lot of sessions on concerns that included blacks.

So be prepared to find some of it irritating, but also full of recollections of events that impact us still today.

CEU policy: gender equity at events

At FP, we are always happy to hear when someone takes steps to reflect on whether an academic event is attentive to gender equity.  So we would have marveled at the goodness of Central European University’s splendid policy statement [pdf] on gender equity at academic events and summer schools in any case.  But we get downright tickled when we get to the eighth point in the document, and see the statement, “Event organizers are encouraged to consult appropriate sources for advice on how to achieve gender balance at academic events,” followed by a link to our site, then a link to a Q&A about the Commitment signed by multiple scholars last year.  Neat!

More forced ultrasound measures

This time in Indiana, with double the ultrasounds. 

“The bill, approved by the state Senate Health and Provider Services Committee on Wednesday, would require clinics to conduct trans-vaginal ultrasounds on women both before and after dispensing the abortion-inducing drug known as RU-486.”

Oh, and the “argument” against medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasounds being too invasive? Sue Swayze, the legislative director of Indiana Right to Life, had this to say:

“I got pregnant vaginally.  Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me.  So I find that argument a little ridiculous.”

I take it the natural reductio to this argument is obvious.