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.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Tyra Banks, Again.

Tyra Banks might win the award for celebrity most often mentioned on this blog... On her show, Banks confronted the "fat" insults being slung at her recently in the press. Clearly, Tyra is not exactly what anyone in their right mind would call fat. But it's interesting to watch. What do you think?


So we haven't mentioned the A-word in a while...

What's going on with abortion and choice issues? A lot, check it out below.

South Dakota legislators are intent on reversing the good work their constituents did in the last election overturning their state's abortion ban with a couple of proposals. The most media-worthy one is the new statewide ban being proposed; it differs from last years in that it allows exceptions for rape and incest. However, these loopholes come with pretty strict limitations. Ms. Magazine reports:
" In addition to preventing the death of a woman, an abortion may be obtained in cases of rape or incest, but the victim must report the rape to the police within 50 days, the physician must obtain a copy of the report record, and the victim must provide either the name and last known address or a description of the alleged rapist to law enforcement. Furthermore, the physician would be required to take blood samples from the woman and the fetus to be submitted to law enforcement. "

Ms. goes on to mention (conveniently also left out in the local paper) that the bill also outlines why abortion is so wrong-including that "the pregnant mother's relationship with her child is inherently beneficial to the mother" and that "abortion is an unworkable method for a pregnant mother to give up, surrender, or waive her fundamental right to her relationship with her child." (thanks to Think Progress for this lead)

Far less publicized is another restriction proposed by SD Republican legislator, Rep Roger Hunt, which was approved by the state's House Health Committee on Friday to be put before the House. The bill would require doctors to show patients ultrasounds before performing abortions-- if a woman refuses, the doctor must have her sign a statement to go with her medical records.

In Arizona, another proposed bill would make doctors performing abortions collect even more information from women than their age, race, and marital status (as is already required). This bill requires that doctors also record the reason for the abortion, who referred her to the clinic, the weight of the fetus, and other personal information. The bill would also include RU-486 (the abortion pill) and possibly even the morning after pill (which could possibly, under the state's definition of abortion, qualify as one), which would boost the state's abortion count.

BUT Wyoming, on the other hand, rejected a 24-hour waiting period bill. (Check out a copy of the AP article here)

Finally, cites an ABC article and points out the obvious silence in the newly-announced 2008 presidential candidates on the issue of choice. The contentious issue is taking a quiet back seat in an election where democrats are hoping to win the votes of independents and moderates.

And those are the highlights in the word of choice for today.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Molly Ivins

For those of you who haven't heard, Molly Ivins, the wonderful populist journalist, died on Wednesday night in Austin, TX. I grew up reading her columns and admiring both her humor and her intelligence; she will be sorely missed as a voice of passion and a force to be reckoned with. No matter your political views, it is inspiring to see a woman who has made a marked impact on journalism and politics throughout the past 30 years, and who so wholeheartedly fought on paper for everything she believed. Read her last column here.