Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Getting Even

Perhaps it was appropriate that the Mass. State Senate unveiled it’s paid family leave plan yesterday, because it was also “Equal Pay Day.” However, perhaps we should think of paid family leave and equal pay as separate issues because the calculated wage gap in the US, is that women earn about 77 cents to every dollar a man earns, and that is absolutely NOT because they are taking time off work to take care of kids. We need BOTH equal pay and family leave for women to be equal in the work place and to facilitate a healthy balance between work and family.

One of the leaders on this issue is of course another strong Massachusetts woman who recently spoke at a Fletcher event on enlightened power. Former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Evelyn Murphy has been writing books and starting grassroots campaigns called ”wage clubs”
to try to remedy the wage gap, a problem that is not going away anytime soon. One thing she mentioned at the Fletcher event is that if women can learn to talk about sex, they can learn to talk about money. So start keeping track of the men you work with and make sure you aren’t being paid less for the same work.

Surprisingly enough, one of the things women can do for empowerment is to make tons of money. We need more rich women who control companies! Some women feel that being a business woman is not a job that involves integrity and generosity. Women gravitate toward the non-profit sector, and are grossly underrepresented in business schools and top company positions. Perhaps if they took more leadership and didn’t feel guilty about making profits, we would have less corruption and more creative business strategies. The point is, if you are a woman, please, please go get rich.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006



Opt Out Revolution Anti-dote?

Today the President of the Massachusetts State Senate announced a paid family leave plan that is generous by our nation’s standards. Family leave has been a dormant topic in the Mass Statehouse that hasn’t been talked about this much excitement since 2001. California is the only state to have passed any paid family leave plan. So check out today's Globe!

Sen. Pat Jehlen who came for Women's Week has a very active role in this topic, so be sure to stay abreast of this exciting news and see how we can get involved!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Rape laws written in favor of rapists?

Since the Duke lacrosse team’s media attention related to the rape of a woman from a near by school, many of the media coverage has neglected to mention clearly the relevence of the story and violence against women. (Google the story to see the diverse angles different reporters have taken.) This Guardian Article on Catherine Mackinnon is extremely interesting and summarizes some of the theories of the renowned women’s rights lawyer.

It really makes you think about what this lack of coverage indicates in terms of rape laws being written to favor rapists.

Furthermore, I have yet come across an article that makes the connection between this story and the prevalence of rape on all college campuses. We learned at the Take Back the Night forum that in 2004 it was estimated that 93 women at Tufts would be victims of rape or attempted rape. Why is one story getting so much attention when this is an endemic problem for all college campuses? Is this going to make women fear reporting even more than they already do because the events were so scandalized?


Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Joint Meeting With Jewish Women's Collective and TFA

Some things we discussed:

How to get the message out to people who are not already part of the positive gender role movement:

• Start education and advocacy in middle school
• More programming during in the SACK
• Required reading
• Find the victims that men can identify with
• Change the way the mainstream addresses rape issues
• Set examples during freshman orientation
• Storm perspectives/explorations classes
• Come back from school early and go to frat parties with freshman
• Create better alternative to frat parties
• Organized trips to town
• Change drinking culture
• Joint women’s group conversation/party at orientation

Monday, April 10, 2006


Someone has Taken The Night, Please Provide information about possible suspects

We had a record turn out of about 90+ at the Take Back the Night Rally 2006! Special thanks to Elaine Theodore who was an excellent moderator! Also thanks to Peggy Barrett and Sue Gilbert in the Women’s Center, they are always fantastic. TUPD showed their support and we really appreciated it. TFA did a fabulous job at the rally and Essence and the Jackson Jills really made it a special moment on the library roof!

To keep the discussion going, here are the questions we addressed at the forum:

1. How to allocate funds for violence prevention
2. Specific problems that need to be addressed
3. Projects that we’d like to undertake for violence prevention
4. How to get men involved
5. How to get new students involved
6. How to monitor our progress.

We talked a lot about in the SACK, sexuality in college and ways to disseminate information. Tomorrow at 9:15 in the Women’s Center TFA and the Jewish Women’s Collective will be hosting a discussion about the rally.

Take Back the Night TONIGHT

Does anyone see the Irony here?

Sunday, April 02, 2006



So this week we are doing the final preparations for the Take Back the Night Rally, which will be Monday, April 10th. TBTN is a nation wide, yearly tradition and this year’s rally at Tufts is going to be great.

There will be an 8pm open campus forum in Pearson 104, followed by a procession to the library roof. The rally will be at 9pm on the library roof.


Saturday, April 01, 2006


Feminist Blogs

Check out this article from the Guardian!

The third wave - at a computer near you
Feminist blogs are booming. But are they globalising emancipation - or just playthings for the rich and well educated? By Kira Cochrane

Kira Cochrane
Friday March 31, 2006

Young women are apathetic. They're not feminists. They don't call themselves feminists. They don't know what feminism is all about.
"That," says Jessica Valenti, "was all we ever seemed to hear - from colleagues, from the media. And we just thought, who are they talking about? I know young women all over the place who do feminist work. We wanted to show that young feminists aren't crazy or mean, but cool. A lot of feminism has this academic basis that can be very off-putting. And so we thought, let's put something out there that's not dry and academic, but lively and fun."

So Valenti became one of the founders of, a highly popular blog website that attracts 100,000 visitors a month. Each day it features between five and 10 women's stories, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. An article on incoming Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, for example, is followed by a wisecrack on a dubious skin-tightening product called Virgin Cream.

And it's not alone. In the two years since feministing started, there has been an explosion of feminist blogs, including many that have a highly professional edge, and a large, loyal readership. The feminist movement has always produced plenty of meaty writing and lively debate: witness Sylvia Pankhurst's newspaper, the Woman's Dreadnought, in the 1910s, through the pamphleteering of the 1970s second-wave, and the vibrant 'zine culture of the 1990s' "riot grrrl" movement. Prior to the blogosphere though, distribution remained local for all but a few major publications, such as Spare Rib, Ms, or, latterly, Bust and Bitch magazines.

Now though, the third wave (a movement often dismissed as a myth) has gone online. At feminist blogs you can find women writing on a bewildering range of topics, be it the perilously high caesarean rate in India, the dearth of abortion clinics in South Dakota, or the human rights record of the Philippines' president, Gloria Arroyo.

Some of the most popular blogs include Bitch PhD, the F-word, Pandagon, AngryBlackBitch, MindtheGapCardiff and Gendergeek. A recent estimate put the number of feminist blogs at 240,000, but, given that this posited the number of "active" worldwide blogs at 4m (some figures put it as high as 27.2m), and the proportion of women who are self-described feminists at 10% (a British survey this month produced a figure of 29%) the true figure could be much higher.

Comparative levels of computer literacy and interest mean that younger women do dominate. As Valenti says, "There's always been this sense among second-wave feminists that young women just aren't interested. That's never been true though: they just didn't know how to reach us."

There has also typically been a suspicion that if younger women are interested in feminism it's of a specific variety: what's sometimes called "girlie" feminism. The mainstream media tends to highlight young feminists whose outlook is "sexy". Those, for instance, who frame pole dancing as a feminist act.

Go online, though, and you are immediately struck by the huge variety of outlook and opinions. This is most evident at the twice-monthly Carnival of Feminists, set up by British blogger Natalie Bennett, who also runs Philobiblion, a women's history blog. Each carnival (usually on the first and third Wednesday of the month) is hosted by a different blogger, who invites people to contribute articles on current events or a general theme: "radical feminism", for instance, or "1970s feminism and what it means today". The host then chooses the best pieces, putting links to between 50 to 100 articles up on their site and providing a short commentary on each. This effectively creates a major new anthology of feminist thought every two weeks.

"People are always saying the feminist movement is dead, but I've never believed that," says Rebecca Traister, a feature writer for, and one of the founders of Salon's own women's blog, Broadsheet, which launched last year. "What I think is that it's taking a modern, technological form, and that, from now on, feminism will be about a multiplicity of voices, growing louder and louder online."

But is it all just sound and fury? The blogs reflect second-wave ideas of consciousness raising and the personal as political (many women write about their experiences of rape and sexual assault), but there's a question mark over how this feeds into grass-roots activism.

Nina Wakeford, a sociologist at the University of Surrey, is cautious about blogging's influence. "I think the way blogs can provoke debate is useful," she concedes, "but it isn't clear how much they feed into activism. In the past, there was a clear role for women's organisations as regards representations to government, but I'm not sure whether women can affect public policy through blogging. Just who are they representing?"

This last question is interesting. As with second-wave feminism, this online movement is open to the accusation that it simply represents privileged white women. "Blogging is still somewhat limited, of course," says Georgia Gaden, a postgraduate researcher who has studied feminist blogs, "because although we take our access for granted, many women, globally, don't have that luxury."

That said, these blogs do redress the balance by highlighting global stories. And the Carnival of Feminists is trying to reach as many women as possible, with the most recent carnival held on the Indian blog, Indianwriting. "That was our fourth continent," says Bennett, "and I'm looking for an African blogger, so that we can reach our fifth."

The links between feminist blogs and activism are nascent - in January there was a "blog for choice" on abortion, and earlier this month saw mass blogs on street harassment and sexism - but they look set to grow. And for now, the sites provide both an insight into the strength of feeling among young feminists, and a much-needed alternative to mainstream women's magazines. If a young woman asked her about feminism, says Gaden, a blogosphere is the first place she'd direct her to. Traister agrees. "There are so many authentic voices out there that it's really invigorating. It just goes to prove that the internet isn't just for accessing porn!"

In their own words: The best of feminist blogs

Later this month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is inducting Blondie. This makes Debbie Harry - only the 43rd woman out of nearly 500 people total - to be honoured by the rock hall since it opened in 1983. Hmm. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame claims you don't have to have a penis to get in ...
March 14, Ann, Feministing

The Mexican government is taking a stand against the objectification of women by running commercials that star blow-up sex dolls ... Interesting. So do I not like the ads because: 1) President Vicente Fox trivialises the murders of over 400 women in Ciudad Juarez, as well as recently referring to women as "washing machines with two legs", or 2) inflatable sex dolls scare the bejesus out of me?
March 10, Vanessa, Feministing

We should be under no illusion that the sexist attitudes that underpin (gender-based) violence are as deeply entrenched as ever. The radical notion that men should get consent before having sex has elicited a bizarrely hysterical response over at the Daily Mail, a newspaper that has the audacity to accuse feminists of being hypersensitive.
March 8, Emma, Gendergeek

Time magazine reports that colleges across the country are now offering more classes on pornography ... Whether we like it or not, porn is everywhere, so why shouldn't it be probed and questioned and studied? Maybe porn can be just as fun and educational as it is degrading. And by dissecting it in a thoughtful way, we can take back its power.
March 28, Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Broadsheet

Social conservatives are pretty damn wishful ... they are also ethnocentric and culturally homogeneous in their thinking. To assume that having a parent stay at home is universally beneficial is intellectually lazy ... my mother stayed at home. She was also a demented individual.
March 22, AngryBlackBitch