Gender & Sexuality

Christie Blusters His Way Through CPAC Appearance

Christie’s bluster has some appeal, but there’s only so long that he can use it to avoid owning up to some of his massive leadership failures.

(Photo: C-SPAN)
(Photo: C-SPAN) N ew Jersey Governor Chris Christie wasn’t going to let something like record-low approval ratings get him down as he took the stage Thursday afternoon at CPAC’s annual gathering in National Harbor, Maryland. Exuding that Sopranos-style confidence that’s earned him notoriety, Christie, sitting on the CPAC stage for an interview with conservative radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham, dismissed the idea that, compared to other potential presidential candidates in the crowded Republican field, he’s not well-positioned to run for president. (A January survey conducted by Bloomberg Politics and the Des Moines Register showed Christie was the first choice candidate among just 4 percent of Iowa Republican caucus-goers .) Asked by Ingraham if such numbers disturb him, Christie retorted, “Uh, is the election next week?” He continued: “I’m not worried about what polls say 21 months before [the election],” going on to point out that he won gubernatorial races twice in a blue state...

CPAC: Is Carly Fiorina the GOP's Anti-Hillary?

Will the former CEO be the designated nemesis to the presumed Democratic presidential candidate? The optics couldn't be better.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images) Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, speaks at CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 26, 2015. C arly Fiorina is almost certainly running for president. At first glance, Fiorina doesn’t seem like much of a 2016 presidential contender. Despite that, organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference gave her a desirable speaking slot on February 26, the conference's opening day—just after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and before right-wing favorite Ted Cruz. If elected, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard would not only be the first woman president; she’d be the first not to have held an elected post. She lost her only political race—by double digits—to incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer in a 2010 U.S. Senate race. Her only other politics foray was as a surrogate for John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008. In a series of faux pas, she embarrassed the Republican nominee . As the first female CEO...

Anti-Choice Activists Dishonor Black History, Co-Opting Language of #BlackLivesMatter

But do they join the protests around the country calling for an end to police brutality? Not so much.

(AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Chris Pietsch)
(AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Chris Pietsch) Alveda King (center), niece of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., joined about 75 others in an anti-abortion prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood office in Glenwood, Oregon, Monday, February 4, 2013. King has traded on the name of her famous uncle to become a leader in the right-wing anti-abortion movement. F or decades, a great debate has raged in this country between those who believe in the human right to a safe and legal abortion and those who call themselves “pro-life” and consider abortion to be morally wrong. The anti-choice community has always used shaming tactics. Whether touting faulty and confusing statistics or showing, to women entering reproductive health clinics around the country, gruesome photo-shopped images of what they say are aborted fetuses, anti-choice activists have relied on strategies designed to inspire fear and shame in the women they target—essentially, anyone considering getting an abortion. In recent...

Trans Women Are Not a Threat to the Mission of Women's Colleges, But Certain Feminists Are

Vestiges of second-wave transphobia live in arguments against inclusion of all women.

(Photo: Meagan via Flickr)
(Photo: Meagan via Flickr) 2011 May Day Celebration at Bryn Mawr College. T he new New Republic is here. After a purge and exodus, the venerable institution purchased by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is back with a thoughtful piece by Monica Potts, initially published under the misleading title, “ Trans Activism is Threatening Women’s Colleges’ Mission: Campus fights to erase references to women are indistinguishable from old-school misogyny .” (After ferocious pushback on Twitter and elsewhere, the piece was renamed: “Why Women's Colleges Still Matter in the Age of Transactivism.”) Other than the grammatically incorrect use of “transgendered” (Chris, have your editors use the GLAAD manual , please) this piece is spot-on—except not in the way the author intends. A little history beyond that related by Potts would include the fact since the turn of the century, trans men have begun transitioning at women’s colleges. Seen as havens where women are safe from male violence, the number...

What Women Need

Can women translate symbolic victories into durable progress on multiple fronts, from financial status to physical safety?

(Oxford University Press)
This book review is from the Fall 2014 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here. What Women Want: An Agenda for the Women's Movement By Deborah L. Rhode 256 pp. Oxford University Press $29.95 I n 2012, the young singer Taylor Swift was asked if she was a feminist. “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls,” she responded. “I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.” Two years later, in an interview with The Guardian , Swift recanted: “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men.” Swift wasn’t wrong that feminism is stigmatized, but by pop-culture standards, her turnaround came late. Another superstar, Beyoncé, had long since gone from hedging on feminism to embracing it. At roughly the...

McMorris-Rodgers and Anti-Choice Marchers All For 'Life' Until It's Born

She's all for the fetus, until it's born and needs health insurance. Or anything.

(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
E very January 22, anti-choice activists travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March for Life. It’s their way of marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade , the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states. The signs carried by the marchers always declare their love of babies and their desire to protect families. Their end goal, however, is to eliminate abortion nationwide; the organizers have also recently taken on the false and scientifically incorrect idea that oral contraceptives are actually abortifacients. Science be damned, the march is usually attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country—including a congressional delegation. This year, U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, a Republican from Washington State, together with Representatives Dan Lipinski, Democrat of Illinois; and Chris Smith, the New Jersey Republican, will be represent Congress at the march. U.S. Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina,...

Gertner Responds to Brodsky on University Rules for Campus Sexual Assault Justice

The author took issue in the Prospect with Harvard's new guidelines for disciplinary proceedings in campus rape cases. Alexandra Brodsky offered an opposing view on our website. 

(Photo/Omer Kabir via Flickr)
On January 21, we published Alexandra Brodsky's article, Fair Process, Not Criminal Process, Is the Right Way to Address Campus Sexual Assault , which included criticism of the point of view taken by Nancy Gertner in her longform essay, Sex, Lies and Justice , which appears in the Winter 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Herewith, Gertner's response to Brodsky. I applaud Alexandra Brodsky’s very thoughtful piece, although her account of my perspective is skewed. I did not suggest that campus investigations of accusations of sexual assault “look like trials,” that they be the functional equivalent of a criminal trial model. And I surely agree that procedural protections run along a sliding scale: The more serious the stakes, the harder we make it to prove a case. My point was that with the Harvard proposals [for procedures adjudicating sexual assault on campus], those “protections” slid all the way to the proverbial star chamber—an administrative proceeding, within a single...

Fair Process, Not Criminal Process, Is the Right Way to Address Campus Sexual Assault

School investigations don’t look like trials because they aren’t supposed to.

(Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA) (Sipa via AP Images)
(Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA) (Sipa via AP Images) The Clothesline Project, pictured at Washington State University' s Glenn Terrell Mall, in Pullman Washington, on October 14, 2014, during the 'Week Without Violence', is a visual display of shirts bearing witness to sexual violence, child abuse, bigotry, family violence and racism, with each shirt representing the personal experience of a survivor or someone who cares for a survivor. WSU was among 55 schools that were investigated earlier in the year for sexual violence and the handling of assault reports. According to the university, ten forcible sex offenses were reported on campus in 2013, six in 2012 and eight in 2011. The White House has cited that one in five female college students are sexually assaulted. This article references and responds, in part, to Nancy Gertner's article, " Sex, Lies and Justice ," from the Winter 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Gertner responds to Brodsky, here . I n just a few...

Scalise Scandal Rooted in Secret Societies' Hold on Paths to Power -- Through Violence

From campus rape to the House whip's 'need' to address white supremacists, it's starkly clear that American roots of gender, race and sexual violence run deep. So what are we going to do about it?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) In this November 18, 2014, file photo, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, right, with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, left, and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, following a House GOP caucus meeting. Scalise acknowledged that he once addressed a gathering of white supremacists. Scalise served in the Louisiana Legislature when he appeared at a 2002 convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), which was founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Scalise is the third-highest ranked House Republican. There’s a direct connection between white male secret societies and group violence that roots gendered racism and raced sexism into our nation’s core. As the campus rape crisis, the Senate's CIA torture report , #blacklivesmatter movement and mainstream political acceptance of white supremacist ideology...

Torn Between Two Presidents

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In the 2008 primary campaign, there was a moment when Democrats began to debate Bill Clinton's legacy. At one point, Barack Obama seemed to minimize the significance of the Clinton presidency when he said, "Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not." Hillary Clinton and her supporters reacted with horror, accusing Obama of thinking more highly of a conservative icon than a successful Democratic president (though that of course wasn't his point). In the end, that internal discussion—just how good a president was Bill Clinton?—never proceeded too far. But with Hillary Clinton still the prohibitive favorite to be the 2016 Democratic nominee, we could well have the full debate we never quite got in 2008, and in the context of the Obama presidency now entering its final phase. Hillary Clinton, it is said, has to distance herself from her former boss to convince voters that her presidency would be more than a...

Report: Bob Jones University Responded to Rape Claims with Woeful Ignorance of the Law, Often Blaming Victims

GRACE's investigation is a major new contribution to the current debate on campus rape.

(Photo/John Foxe)
(Photo/John Foxe) The fountain at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. W ith multiple publications still gleefully dissecting the failures of a recent Rolling Stone exposé on campus rape, granting rape skeptics an unusually warm national spotlight, a new report from an unlikely corner of American culture confirms just how real the problems with reporting sex abuse in American higher education can be. On Thursday, the Christian nonprofit ministry GRACE (an acronym for Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) released its long-awaited report on the mishandling of sex abuse allegations at Bob Jones University, the South Carolina school that for most of a century has served as the flagship institution of fundamentalist Christianity in the United States. The report is at once a grim autopsy detailing just how badly college administrators botched the handling of sexual abuse and rape claims, and also an example of surprising transparency from one of the most...

We Can't Forget: Black Women Are Targeted, Too

"It’s not just the brothers dying; I’m at risk too," Joanne says. "I could be the next person.”

(Photo/Kristen Doerer)
(Photo/Kristen Doerer) After talking with a protester who came to commemorate the lives of black women killed and beaten by police and the justice system, the author ponders a new hashtag: #BlackWomensLivesMatter. Here, a scene from the Washington, D.C., protests set off by a Staten Island jury's failure to indict white New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. We’ve been walking for about two hours now. We’re following the protests, Nathalie Baptiste and I, and we’ve finally made it to 14 th Street Bridge—Well not quite, we’re right before the bridge, at one of the busiest intersections. A black man has been leading the way, microphone in hand, shouting chants like “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, these killer cops have got to go.” We circle around the intersection. Protesters raise their hands, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” they yell. Police cars surround us, their lights flashing. Horns blare as...

To Save the Right to Choose Nationwide, Reproductive Justice Advocates Need a Southern Strategy

A new amendment to Tennessee's Constitution lays a framework for ending abortion rights. If allowed to stand, women and girls in poor communities will suffer the most. 

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Signs outside a polling place support different opinions on an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee. The amendment would expand the power of legislators to pass more abortion regulations. T his past Election Day, the people of Tennessee awoke to a state in which the right to an abortion is no longer secure. Amendment 1 to the state constitution could mean that politicians soon vote to take away the right within the state. The passage of Amendment 1 gives politicians far-reaching power to restrict many forms of birth control and abortion. Most ominously, if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned, the passage of Amendment 1 lays the groundwork to eliminate all abortion access in Tennessee. In the run-up to the election, anti-choice politicians in the state masked their strategy to eliminate abortion access by framing their position as an issue of free speech, saying the voters had been silenced by a decision by...

Cosby and Ferguson: Why Addressing Gender Violence and Racial Violence Is Not Either/Or Option

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Young women attend a candlelight vigil for victims of gun violence Friday, October 10, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. I 've never understood the "one or the other" mentality. Being a mother, I am in an ever present state of multi-tasking. So when a male acquaintance said that the Cosby scandal was a a distraction from the grand jury decision regarding Ferguson, I inquired, "How?" He asserted that if the lead news story becomes Cosby, then Ferguson and the protests in response to the police violence there become a footnote to the issue of racial violence in the town. He took the view that I've seen from a lot of men lately, which is that it is horrible "if" these alleged sexual assaults occurred, but we need to "wait until all of the evidence comes out" for us to fully understand what happened with these women and Bill Cosby. This is my issue: If you find it necessary to take a "wait and see" approach to the outcome of the allegations mounting against Bill...

We Let Bill Cosby Into Our Homes, So He Owes Us an Explanation

America's once-favorite TV dad needs to take his own advice.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Entertainer and former classmate Bill Cosby speaks during a public memorial service for Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at Temple University in Philadelphia. W hile the natural inclination is to separate Bill Cosby’s television character from his real life persona, the show we remember so fondly was not called The Huxtable Show . It was The Cosby Show . We did not really welcome Heathcliff into our homes. We welcomed Bill. It is Cosby, the accused serial rapist of 15 women from whom we await an explanation. He has the time: His planned NBC project was just pulled in the face of these resurfaced allegations. He won’t be cashing any residual checks from shows streamed on Netflix because like any contagion, everything Cosby is associated with is now contaminated. This reckoning particularly stings because of Cosby’s decades-long campaign of respectability politics within the black community. For years he has offered a socially...

Pages