Friday, November 17, 2006


gGood news & bad news (from france)

Hello TFA,
This is Melanie, TFA's biggest groupie, and I've snuck into the blog from Palaiseau, France to give you some good news and some bad news:
Bad news first. Check out this Washington Post article with terrifying news that you all might know about already:

Now for some good news from France, where one of the biggest runners for the 2007 Presidential election is...a woman! But it gets better: she is also a feminist, and yes, she actually uses the f-word. She's the candidate for the PS (Socialiast Party, which translates roughly to the Democrats...don't be scared by the term Socialist), and her name is Ségoline Royal.
Ms. Magazine is doing a piece on her one of these days, so keep your eyes peeled.
So, there you go. Hope all is well, TFAers, keep up the good work!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Some interesting statistics

I was fooling around with old Gallup polls today, and I came across some interesting statistics from survey data.
How much of an impact you think the Women's Rights Movement has had on our nation's policies -- a great deal, a moderate amount, a slight amount or none at all? (2000)
  • A great deal (41.68%)
  • A moderate amount (39.72%)
  • A slight amount (13.46%)
  • None at all (4.27%)
  • Don't know/refused (0.87%)
There are many social movements that try to have an impact on policy-making in our nation. Regardless of how much impact, if any, the Women's Rights Movement has had, please tell me if you personally agree or disagree with its goals. (2000)
  • Strongly agree (45.38%)
  • Somewhat agree (40.07%)
  • Somewhat disagree (8.73%)
  • Strongly disagree (4.24%)
Do you consider yourself a feminist, or not? (2001 - asked to a national sample of adults)
  • Yes, a feminist (24.97%)
  • No (69.65%)
  • Don't know (5.07%)
  • Refused (0.30%)
Do you consider yourself a feminist, or not? (1999/1992 asked to women)
  • Yes (26.09% / 32.53%)
  • No (66.60% / 60.66%)
  • Sometimes/depends (4.54% / not an answer option)
  • Don't know/refused (2.77% / 6.81%)
Do you consider yourself to be a STRONG feminist, a feminist, not a feminist, or an ANTI-feminist? (1986, asked to women)
  • Strong feminist (10.25%)
  • Feminist (45.58)
  • Not a feminist (27.65)
  • Anti-feminist (3.96)
  • CAN'T SAY (12.55)
The percentage of people who self-identify as feminist seems to be falling. Why is this? Are there fewer feminists around or do people not see the need to quanitify themselves as 'feminist'? Is the definition of the word unclear? It's interesting that 95% of people believe that the women's movement has impacted our nation's policies. Further, 85% of people agree with the goals of the women's movement...yet just below 25% consider themselves feminists. Are 'feminists' seen as separate from the women's movement? To me they are one and the same.


Friday, November 10, 2006


Female Soldiers

Does seeking equality mean that if we ever have a draft, women should be conscripted alongside men? Currently, there are 362,000 women in the U.S. armed forces (15% of our active duty force and almost 25% of reserves). Women are allowed to serve in almost all roles of the armed forces, with the exception of submarines; additionally, they are kept from serving in units that have an especially high likelihood of direct contact (on the ground weaponfire, etc.) with an enemy. More generally, they can serve in about 95% of all military positions and have achieve a relatively large proportion of high level military offices.
There are so many contexts in which to consider the question of female soldiers: historical, cultural, practical...In the most practical sense, the fact that we need women to reproduce our population could be an argument for not conscripting women. Beyond that, what can you say?
In Israel, women are conscripted to the military alongside men, although restrictions similar to the U.S. apply there as well (no submarines, combat is voluntary).

Source: Women in the military — international


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The Morning After

So, we've got some victories and some losses on our hands...but a huge congratulations to Nancy Pelosi, who is set to become the First female Speaker of the House thanks to the Democrats' big wins in Congress last night. A great thing to celebrate, yet also a stark reminder that women have a long way to go in establishing a presence in U.S. politics.
Sadly, ballot measures to ban same-sex marriage passed in several states (Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin), which means our work is cut out for us. Why is gay marriage a feminist issue? Feminism promotes the rights of all women—lesbian, heterosexual, mothers, daughters, transgendered people, bisexual—and banning gay marriage denies women with same-sex partners the rights that we give (without a second though, I might add) to women with opposite sex partners. Where's the logic? Further, domestic partnership might be a first step (thanks, New Jersey) but separate but equal is NOT EQUAL.
More victories: Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
...and a few losses for women everywhere: Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and the fact that George Bush is, unfortunately, still president.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006



We forgot to remind everyone, but since you're all politically active, great people, we know that you VOTED today. Needless to say, people across the world have struggled for the right to vote in 'democracies' everywhere, and women are no exception. In honor of election day, a few thoughts...

The text of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
The right of citizens in the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

SO MANY WOMEN fought long, hard battles for our right to vote in the United States. We should take advantage of that right--which some would call a DUTY--and vote what you believe in today. In a country of big money and tough politics, its one of our last chances to have a voice. [If that sounded a) like a lecture, or b) like a pep talk, it was supposed to.]

If you need more reasons to believe that women—especially young women (hey, that's us!)—have a voice, check out this article. In 2004, 18-24 year old women outvoted men by SIX percentage points (50% to 44%)...but c'mon women, we can do better than 50% turnout!


What's been on our minds lately...

What's a feminist movie?
Experiencing otherness.
Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood
Third trimester abortions are rare.
What is feminism? How do YOU define it?
Boys on the Side
Identity politics
Descriptive representation...what does it matter?
When will the day come that a women's issue is a people's issue?
Phillips Academy's 'Gender Center'
feeling distanced from abortion

GUILT from not posting on the blog!!
The blog is about to be back in action. Get psyched.