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

You Want to Kill Bad Guys? Prove That They’re Bad.

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. A friend called me to argue with me about my recoil, saying that surely I had misunderstood. There is a process, my friend argued, a very reasonable one: Administration officials define someone as a terrorist who’s an imminent threat to the U.S., and are reviewed by a Congressional committee. So I went back and checked. That’s not what Holder said. He outlined some possible scenarios that would justify extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens, but he did not limit the President’s power to those scenarios. And he said that the administration would...

Moms Behaving Badly

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. In this case, both parents are women, “law enforcement officers,” according to the AP. In order to have their bond to their child be mutual from the start, one donated her eggs and the other implanted the embryo and bore the child. When they broke up, the birth mom took the child to Australia. The bereft ova-mom hired a private detective and tracked her down. Now they’re in the Florida courts, where the ova-mom is insisting that they were both parents all along. You didn’t, by any chance, think that lesbians are nicer when breaking up than heterosexuals are? Ha! Don’t get me started. If only they could have gotten married! One major reason for marriage is that it...

Be Thankful for No More Lysol!

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. Here’s some more good news: The gender wage gap has closed to its lowest point ever: 82.2 percent. But there’s bad news: That’s only because men’s wages have fallen farther than women’s during the recession—and because so many more women’s wages are already at the legal minimum that they can’t fall as much. Here’s the key paragraph from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research March 2012 report : Both men and women’s real earnings have declined since...

No Contraception? Seriously?

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. Here’s the only thing I have to add.

Separated at Birth?

Is it just me? Something about Ron Paul just reminds me desperately of Dennis Kucinich. That irrepressible grin, the don’t-bother-me-with-the-facts ideas, the feeling that they’re bouncing on the heels behind the podium—anyone agree?