With Passover approaching, it’s time to ask the White House: which haggadah will you use? #Obama #MaxwellHouse
Speaking of which, my father had a theory that so many Jews are intellectually limber because they learn Hebrew—an extremely foreign language for English speakers—at such a young age. I wish I could call him up (how stupid he was to die!) and tell him he might be right, according to the neurologists:
You may have already been outraged to hear that Geraldo is blaming the hoodie for Trayvon Martin’s death. Of course he’s wrong. Short skirts don’t rape women; men rape women. Hoodies don’t shoot Skittles-toting teenagers; overzealous neighborhood watch guys shoot teenagers. The blame lies squarely with the rapist or killer, not the victim. And it lies with the racism that keeps getting passed on through our culture, just below the radar. I am regularly appalled when, on family movie night, we watch some children’s movie that friends recommended—and realize that the only African Americans are the bad guys.
Two days ago, I wrote about Trayvon Martin’s killing and my fears for my own little guy. I’ve been reading about it obsessively, as I suspect many people have been. Adam Weinstein’s explainer at Mother Jones has my go-to stop for the latest developments. Sally Kohn has a good summary of the implicit bias research here.
You’ve been reading me go on and on. Now you get to see for yourself exactly how much fun I have talking about the contraception wars, et al. Sarah Posner had me on her Bloggingheads.tv show, which was posted last night. This particular excerpt starts close to the end, but if you want more of our chat, go ahead and start it at the beginning.
Oh, and if you want to bring me to speak at your campus, church, or other forum, lemme know!
Richard Kim at The Nation has the smartest take on the conviction that I’ve seen, combing carefully through the evidence and thinking about the conclusions. Please do pop over and read it (and then come back here, of course!). Some excerpts:
In September 2010, Rutgers student Dharun Ravi used a webcam to spy on his roommate having sex with another man (he didn’t tape him or broadcast him; he just took a few quick peeps and tweeted about it, according to in-depth reporting by Ian Parker at The New Yorker). Three weeks later, that roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped off a bridge to his death. On Friday, a New Jersey jury convicted Ravi of 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. Some of the charges carry possible sentences of ten years in prison. Because Ravi was born in India and arrived in the United States at the age of two, he could also be deported to a country he scarcely knows.
Tigger and Eeyore are battling it out inside me this week. I can’t tell whether to be depressed over what Maureen Dowd calls “the attempt by Republican men to wrestle American women back into chastity belts” or invigorated by the myriad ways women are chronicling it and fighting back. Are women really gonna get dragged back to the scarlet-letter era—why not just repeal the 19th amendment!—or is all this going to set off a revitalized third feminist wave?
Eeyore: In a surreal move, the Arizona Legislature’s Senate Judiciary committee has introduced a bill that would:
I’ve listened to many women’s stories of childhood sexual abuse. I don’t know why they choose me as their confidante—it’s not my story—but once they start talking, I feel an obligation to listen. And so I cried with recognition, last month, when I read a story that Barry Bearak in The New York Times wrote about Quanitta Underwood, a young woman who’s hoping to represent the U.S. in Olympic boxing—because I have heard precisely this story, more than once. Bearak captures the experiences of Quanitta and her older sister as they tried to cope with their father’s regular forays into their bedroom:
Lately, I’ve been very Eeyore-ish about women’s lives. There’s plenty of reason for that. Ruth Rosen nicely lays out the backlash against women’s reproductive lives in her article about the current counter-reformation, as she puts it, against women’s bodily autonomy. Of course, any attempt to roll back women’s reproductive rights is an attack on women’s economic independence, since women can only control their educational and financial lives if they can control their fertility.
Last week, I took a break from my regularly scheduled gender beat to be grieved, as a citizen, about the Obama administration’s newly announced policy that asserted, as Charlie Savage reported in the New York Times:
… that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens if officials deem them to be operational leaders of Al Qaeda who are planning attacks on the United States and if capturing them alive is not feasible.
I hate these stories. A couple in love decides to start a family. They do. Their bond cracks under the strain of parenting (parents, y’all know exactly what I’m talking about). As they break up, instead of putting the child’s well-being first, one of them tries to keep the other one entirely out of their child’s life.
Some good news and some bad news for your International Women’s Day. The good news: you no longer use Lysol as your spermicidal douche. I mentioned that Lysol was once marketed as a Plan B earlier this week in my post about Rush’s extremely odd way of seeing women’s lives. In the ‘great minds think alike’ category, Mother Jones has taken that farther, offering you a social history slide show of the actual Lysol ads that upped women’s anxieties about their marriages and offered to increase marital intimacy—and led to poisonings and death.
The amazing Ann Friedman has put together a must-see online narrative about the contraceptive flap. Looking at it’ll take you about five minutes, and it will make your (international women’s) day. I promise.
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).