Thursday, March 08, 2007


International Women’s Day & Blog Against Sexism Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Today marks a celebration of women all over the world, but also an acknowledgement that much work remains to be done to achieve gender equality all over the globe.

Here on campus, TFA is kicking off our “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” campaign to ‘raise awareness’ (it sounds like we are a disease) about feminism—what it is, who we are, and what we want. The goal of feminism is quite simple:
Equality for all genders.
I’ll leave you to marinate on that for a while, but we want to make it clear that that our primary goal is achieving equal choice for women across the world, whether that be the choice to work, stay home, be healthy, speak freely, or otherwise.

In addition, you are all invited to our International Women’s Day Celebration, TONIGHT in Sophia Gordon from 5-7 pm. Grace Paley, Deborah Digges, TFA, VOX, the Jackson Jills, and John McDonald will all be there…plus, free food! TFA and other groups will also be tabling today in the campus center from noon to 2 with info, food, stickers and other fun stuff for International Women's Day.

The Tufts Daily's coverage of the "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" campaign can be found here.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Bill O'Reilly: not exactly a feminist.

On February 28th, Bill O'Reilly's radio show, which is played throughout the nation, tackled feminism and equality when he had Lis Wiehl (Author of "The 51% Minority: How Women are Still Not Equal and What You Can Do About it") on his show.

He said that women at ABC and CBS News had received preferential treatment because "[t]hey had a little cabal; and they intimidated the men in the organization and said, 'If you look at me cross-eyed, I'm gonna bring you up to Human Resources and destroy your life.' " He went on to say, "every man in the place was terrified of them." and, "in a lot of places, women have formed cabals to terrorize the men because they take advantage of, 'Oh, we're downtrodden. You're kicking us in the teeth.' "
He's referring here to women's advocacy for rules to put an end to sexual harassment in the workplace.

In 2004, his former producer, Andrea Mackris, brought a lawsuit against him for sexual harassment.

You can listen to the outrageous interview and read the full article here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Vital Women's Heath Office faces huge setback

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Office of Women's Health of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received an unexpected $1.2 million cut to their $4 million dollar budget. The Office was established in 1994 in response to a growing body of scientific evidence that "some sex-based differences in biology warranted special regulatory attention -- and a recognition that other offices within the FDA did not have the time, money or expertise to focus on women's special needs." They were incidentally also instrumental in the approval of Plan B Contraceptives (the Morning After Pill) to be sold to those 18 and older-- a stance in opposition with the views of the current administration and FDA officials. They made clear their disapproval, and in 2005, the former director, Susan Wood, resigned because of the resistance the administration put up despite scientific research that supported the "safety and appropriateness" of Plan B availability.

The $1.2 billion dollar cut will, according to a member of the office, mostly prevent the office from doing further work for the remainder of 2007 due to previous assignment of the remainder of the funds.

Is this the beginning of the end of the office, experts are worried, says the article in the post.

Today, four senators (Hillary Clinton, D-NY, Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, Patty Murray, D-WA, and Olympia Snowe, R-ME), wrote a letter to the Commissioner of the FDA, Andrew von Eschenbach, asking that the budgeting be reconsidered, or at least explained to the senate. "As Congress moves forward with the budget and appropriations process, we will pursue every course to make certain that this funding is restored. We intend to use every tool at our disposal to make sure that the OWH has the resources it needs to safeguard women’s health." In that full text of their letter, they make the connection that a cut to the Office would be an attack on women's HEALTH-- this isn't even necessarily a choice issue.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


VOX's Response to Samelson's Editorial

Andrea Cote wrote a response to the op-ed as well, and it can be found here.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Sex Fair = Rape: Blaming the Victim

Ashley Samelson's viewpoint on the sex fair draws scary, dangerous, and altogether unfounded conclusions about the link between attitudes toward sex and the perpetration of rape.
"Encouraging women to be free and casual with their sex (so long as it's 'safe') sends the message to men that women are available as sexual objects, merely instruments for obtaining meaningless pleasure."
By employing the classic 'blame-the-victim' argument, Samelson is doing more to enable rapists than the sex fair could ever do: she asserts that by claiming their sexuality, women are inviting the sexual approaches of men. In fact, that is exactly the OPPOSITE of the intentions of the sex fair, or of activism for women's rights. By claiming power over their own sexuality, women can also make the assertion that it is theirs to give, however they may choose. Further, the sex fair is intended to appeal to a broad range of college students, drawing them in and then (hopefully!) educating them in a positive way about sex and health. It might not be successful on every count, but the attitudes and images promoted serve both to grab attention and to raise awareness about sexuality--not simply to glorify sex.


Further, I'd like to point out that though Samelson posits herself as concerned about rape and having worked "in the field of rape and domestic violence," she makes no mention of other events put on by groups associated with the sex fair--including especially the Vagina Monologues, a play that has inspired an entire movement organized to combat violence against women. Clearly, though the sex fair is an important part of encouraging dialogue about attitudes toward sex here at Tufts, it is not the only forum for such conversation; the annual Take Back the Night campaign also focuses on decreasing sexual violence against women, as do the Rape Aggression Defense classes offered by the Ex College.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


The Vagina Monologues.. and an unexpected perspective.

In celebration of a job well done on the Vagina Monologues by the 2007 cast here at Tufts, I thought this was an interesting viewpoint on the show. A play which faces criticism (sometimes not undue) from feminists, conservatives, and religious movements alike, Eve Ensler's work has found an unlikely champion in the world of Catholicism (picked up by Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic). Catholic colleges and universities have had an overwhelming and well-organized negative response to the monologues since they began to creep onto religious campuses, but a nun writing under the pseudonym of Sister Mary Eve (a great reference in and of itself to the dichotomy Adrienne Rich calls the mother vs. whore dichotomy, and which Sr. Mary Eve herself mentions) wonders "I wonder if the fully-cassocked seminarians who often participate in these protests understand the pain that many women carry because their sexuality is often denigrated, abused, and defiled? Do they have any sense of the experiences of women that brought the Monologues into existence?....The polarization of the sexes that is so deeply imbedded in Catholic thought needs to be reassessed." She goes on to analyze how christianity could teach women to love and treasure their bodies, but has instead been used to alienate women from them. Sr. Mary Eve, her bio on the page bearing the full text of the article says, is not a member of some new age feminist order of nuns-- she is a member of an order of nuns known for their traditional practices and lifestyle.

If she didn't need to write this article under a pseudonym, I would say this is wonderful proof that faith and feminism don't have to conflict. But kudos, Sr. Mary Eve.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


TMAC "Pizza & Beer" Tonight!

Tonight in Eaton 201 at 7:30pm, the Tufts Mens' Activist Coalition (TMAC) will be screening advertisements aired during the Superbowl and discussing gender steretotypes the ads present to the viewers, as well as the commercials' impact on our perceptions of masculinity and "manliness." As always, men and women are welcome. If you want to check one out beforehand, the Snickers ads can be found here.

TONIGHT. EATON 201. 7:30 pm. "Pizza and Beer: A Closer Look at Masculinity in Advertising"

I was never a Wal-Mart fan to being with, but this just put the icing on the cake

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled that the 2 million women who have filed a class action suit against Wal-Mart indeed do have a case and are headed to court. A group of six women won a similar case against Wal-Mart in 2001, when the judge ruled the the women presented enough evidence to file a class action suit, writing that they presented
"largely uncontested descriptive statistics which show that women working in Wal-Mart stores are paid less than men in every region, that pay disparities exist in most job categories, that the salary gap widens over time even for men and women hired into the same jobs at the same time, that women take longer to enter into management positions, and that the higher one looks in the organization, the lower the percentage of women."
The plantiffs hired Richard Drogin to compile statistics about women working at Wal-Mart, who found:
- the average time between hiring and promotion to assistant manager for women was 4.38 years; for men, 2.86 years
- from date of hire to promotion to manager: women, 10.12 years; men 8.64 years
- salary of female managers: $89, 280
- salary of male managers: $105, 682
- salary difference between hourly male workers and hourly female workers (in comparable positions): 6.7%
Wow. Can't wait to see how Wal-Mart argues this one.