Category: Feminist Theory

Women’s Intimate Friendships, Forging Feminist Kinship

A recent article in Marie Claire magazine caught my eye. The title asks, “Are girlfriends the new husbands?” As the article explains, young adult women are increasingly turning to best friends for the kind of support that one might expect only from a romantic partner. As they choose to remain single later into life, women’s best friends become intimate partners (though not sexual ones). Cohabitation, “family” vacations, even some type of co-parenting between best friends is becoming more common. I...

Feminism, Family, and Work

This week, Stephanie Coontz contributed an opinion piece to the New York Times in honor of the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique. Coontz’s article, entitled “Why Gender Equality Stalled,” explores some of the structural and economic reasons hindering equality between men and women. The attitudes and beliefs of individuals are not to blame for the stalled gender revolution; instead, Coontz points to a failing economy and inadequate work-family policies as the major obstacles to gender equality. Coontz...

Is Breast Best?

This past September, a new initiative went into effect in NYC. The initiative, called Latch On NYC, is intended to support women’s right to exclusively breastfeed their infants, and to support women in that endeavor. To achieve its goal, the project involves a breastfeeding awareness campaign, and some voluntary limitations on hospitals—specifically, they are to limit new mothers’ access to formula.  The initiative emerges out of an increased understanding of breastfeeding’s benefits to infant health, among other things. Before continuing,...

Feminism and Migration Studies

The relationship between gender and migration is a hot topic in the social sciences and humanities. Increasingly, more books and articles, as well as conferences and working groups of scholars, tackle how gender intersects with migratory processes. For example, I am part of a group of 2011 Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Dissertation Proposal Development fellows, all of whom situate their work in the field of “gender and migration.” The rise of this type of work can be attributed to...

Porn in Public?

Should public spaces, like libraries, ban pornography? This past week, the San Francisco Public Library made it easier for those who want to use the library’s online services to view illicit materials by installing shields on 18 of its public computers at the Civic Center branch. In the tradition of anti-censorship, the librarians refuse to censor websites, including those containing pornographic materials. Yet, they want to address concerns from some of their patrons who were troubled that they might accidentally...

"Real Moms" and Embodied Pregnancy.

Recently, it seems as though every newspaper and headline in the media includes the words,“diet, new regimen, or lose ten pounds instantly.” The amount of media reports can prove to be very confusing, problematic, and undermining of the larger health issues at hand. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report titled “Obesity Trends Among U.S. Adults Between 1985 and 2010,” which offers an interactive map and state-by-state breakdown of obesity rates in the United States. According...

The Attack on Anita Sarkeesian: From Media Analysis to Anti-Feminism and Online Harassment

AUTHOR’S WARNING: This post, and especially the links leading from it, contains images and language that some readers may find offensive or unsettling. Anita Sarkeesian is clever, eloquent, and seemingly fearless, but the recent fame she has achieved is not entirely pleasant. With a B.A. in communications from California State University, Northridge and a Master’s degree in social and political thought from York University, Sarkeesian is thoroughly knowledgeable and aptly qualified for her role as media critic and feminist activist....

Black Feminist Thought: Nearly twenty years on

Current policy that puts black men behind bars keeps black women in confines of their own. According to a recent Economist editorial, “between the ages of 20 and 29, one black man in nine is behind bars. For black women of the same age, the figure is about one in 150.” The author pointed to this statistic to demonstrate the decreasing dating pool for black women who are looking to start a family with black men. As incarceration rates rose...

wikipedia and the gender neutral voice

I recently came across a tool that has been around for a couple of years. GenderAnalyzer claims that it can determine the gender of the author of any text that you point it to. It learns to do this by looking at thousands of blogs and the corresponding gender of the author. Give it a try: genderanalyzer.com As of today, it looks like it has a 63% success rate; not impressive but better than chance. Leaving aside how serious we...

Living in a "Post-Feminist" World

Discourse surrounding feminism, feminist theory, and even Women and Gender Studies departments has grown increasingly skeptical.  Questioning the need for feminism in this “post-feminist” world and citing the high attendance of women in universities, American society seems fixated on closing the door on calls for social justice based on gender.  Two recent new stories however, highlight the decisive need for a reinvigorated gender-based movement.  Gains in college attendance and females entering into all sectors of employment have overshadowed the continued...

A Feminist Critique of Female Fans

by smteixeirapoit In The Washington Post, Jaclyn Friedman wrote an article entitled “He Trashes the Ladies. They Love Him For It.” In this article, Friedman provides a feminist critique of females that endorse Tucker Max. In 2002, Tucker Max started a website detailing his “life as a self-involved, drunken womanizer”. Recently, his New York Times best-selling book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell turned into a movie. In this movie, he argues that “all women are whores” and that...

Is Palin a Feminist Icon?

by P Threlfall The questions raised from the sudden rise of Sarah Palin to political prominence has forced many, who consider themselves feminist, to re-examine the definition of feminist and construct some baseline idea of what constitutes carrying the moniker.  This isn’t a new struggle, but it’s one that has primarily been confined to the halls of Women’s Studies departments and the pages of social journals for many years.  Enter Palin and all bets are off.  Suddenly feminists are forced...