E.J. Graff

E.J. Graff writes on social-justice and human-rights issues, particularly discrimination and violence against women and children; marriage and family policy; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives. She is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and the author of What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution (Beacon Press, 1999, 2004).

Recent Articles

In Praise of Hash

Last year in a New Yorker blog item, Susan Orleans explored some of the joys of the #hashtag, that funny and versatile little Twitter symbol, which can help you track public discussion of a subject—or make fun of yourself and others. Over the weekend, I was at the Online News Association’s annual conference, #ONA11, where some discussed the philosophical gap between what the old guard believes to be objective and proper journalistic behavior (just the facts, ma’am) and what the newer journos believe to be permissible room for attitude -- attitude that can help build audience. I must be immature for my age, because my heart is with the latter. I nodded (and tweeted) as one panelist said that he wouldn’t be able to survive his job “if I couldn’t snark all day on Twitter.” Why yes, that’s a good thing. Yesterday Ben Zimmer told us in a wonderful little piece in yesterday’s Boston Globe that the Twitter #hashtag has resurrected irony, self-deprecation, and verbal playfulness in public...

Dick Cheney Takes a Trip

Attention Glenn Greenwald , Dahlia Lithwick , Chris Hayes , and others who've been banging this drum: Human Rights Watch (HRW) is asking Canada to bring criminal charges against Dick Cheney, who's visiting there today, for "overwhelming evidence of torture by the Bush administration, including at least two cases involving Canadian citizens." HRW cannot genuinely expect Canada to risk a diplomatic breach of such enormity with the United States -- especially not after years of South Park urging us to invade our northern neighbor. But the call is getting some play in Canada, and at least keeps alive the outrage toward the man perhaps most responsible for undermining the rule of law in this country after 9/11, thereby abrogating the U.S.'s commitment to the Geneva Conventions and undermining our moral authority worldwide. For many of us, the idea of holding Cheney and crew responsible for what they did in our name seems an impossible dream. But is it? My hope was on Spain to bring charges...

Friday's Three Cents

Linda Greenhouse, formerly The New York Times ' Supreme Court reporter and now teaching at Yale Law School, tapped on the Commonwealth of Virginia's shoulder and reminds it that the civil war is over. Looking at the state laws and lawsuits launched in reaction to the new federal health-care statute, she writes: Although the courts that have struck down the law have glossed over the point -- oddly enough, given that conservative judges are usually obsessively attentive to the doctrines of standing, ripeness, and other barriers to entry to federal court - the state plaintiffs can't meet the basic requirement of standing: a concrete, immediate "injury in fact," caused by the action that is being complained about. The individual mandate, as such, imposes no obligation on the states. ... Greenhouse moves on to quote the Fourth Circuit panel that scoffed at Virginia's challenge to the health-care law, saying in part: "A state possesses no legitimate interest in protecting its citizens from...

Adoption Is Not a Solution for Poor Children

Dr. Jane Aronson is a beloved and dedicated figure in the world of international adoption. It's a big deal when she weighs in, which she did this week in response to recent coverage of adoption fraud like the exposes in The New York Times about China's system along with extensive coverage by the Los Angeles Times , The Washington Post , ABC, and other weighty news outfits. (I've reported extensively on the underlying systemic issues; you can find my work and related resources here .) Here's what matters most: Aronson told the adoption lobby that adoption is not the solution for the world's needy children. She asks : Why did we create such a marvelous bureaucracy to improve international adoption practices and not pour some of that money into the welfare of mothers in these countries? Substitute "families" for "mothers" -- some of those children are living with grandmothers, sisters, or cousins -- and that's the right question. Although UNICEF is often quoted as saying that there are...

Very Bunny

Warning: This post includes two very bad jokes, one of which I'll dispose of right up front. When my wife walked into my study to find me looking at scantily clad Playboy bunnies on the Internet, I did in fact tell her that I was going to watch NBC's latest show, The Playboy Club for the articles -- at least for this one. She refused to watch with me because she didn't think she could handle the attitudes toward women. I loved, and she disliked, the first season of Mad Men because of its painfully accurate portrayal of systemic misogyny in the 1960s. The thing about Mad Men is that even though you know how the larger story turns out -- hang on there, feminism is coming! -- and even though the show winks regularly at the future (they smoked when pregnant!), watching it offers insight into the agonies of the time. Seeing the submissive wives, patronizing male doctors, and smart women fighting back sexual harassers as they endure their secretarial jobs isn't quite as shocking as watching...

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