Feminism

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thirdspace 4.1

The new issue of thirdspace has just come out. The TOC:

editorial

(Third)Waving not Drowning - Jenéa Tallentire & Kim Snowden

articles

Techno-Maternity: Rethinking the Possibilities of Reproductive Technologies
- Nadia Mahjouri

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Textual Bodies and the Rhetoric of Gender in Nineteenth-Century Critical Discourse
- Elizabeth Johnston

Veils, Poems, Guns, and Martyrs: Four Themes of Muslim Women’s Experiences in Shirin Neshat’s Photographic Work
- Nina Cichocki

Gendered Home and Space for the Diaspora: Gish Jen’s Typical American
- Lan Dong

essay

Why I Don’t Do Wine and Cheese: The Price of Admission for the Bi-Racial Subject in the Academy - Heather Tirado Gilligan

Mom’s the Word: Musings on Being Childless - Amy Leask

resources

A 12-Step Guide to Research and Writing: One Essay at a Time - Candis Steenbergen & Robyn Diner

Shameless Friend-Promotion

Cristina Hanganu-Bresch is brilliant, and I want the world to know it. This post will embarrass her, but I don't care. You should all read all the essays posted on her research page, which include:

Oh, and I forgot her preliminary exams. Read those as well. That is all.

Lawrence Summers Mini-Portal

You've all read the stories -- 14 January, 17 January, 18 January, 19 January (and another 19 January, Chronicle subscribers only) -- and responses by P.Z. Myers, Prof. B, Michael Bérubé, and others (including hundreds of people at Slashdot). I have nothing to add except the following observation, which others might have made already, but not to my knowledge: Isn't it interesting to consider BioDeterminismGate along with this story and this one?

Ack just saying.

Empty Nests, and Hearts

Today's Yesterday's NYT has an article that's sure to generate some discussion on feminist blogs: The lead of Empty Nests, and Hearts reports that "[o]ver the past 30 years, the fraction of women over 40 who have no children has nearly doubled, to about a fifth. According to the Gallup Organization, 70 percent of these women regret that they have no kids." The article goes on to critique the lack of flexibility in our workforce for what makes sense for women, so that women don't have to a.) not have children at all for the sake of their careers or b.) face the probability that their careers will enter a state of arrested development (they'll either be on the backburner, because there's only so much time and energy in one day/one person, or jettisoned completely for several years, and who knows if by the end of that period the opportunities will still be there?).

This problem has been discussed extensively in books, in the Chronicle, on Invisible Adjunct, Misbehaving, and many other places. I'm also reminded of (haunted by?) a post by Halley Suitt in which she writes, "And what about babies? I had one -- when I was 39 and had been in software and information services sales for a long time. If I had to do it over again. I'd have more babies earlier."

Sigh. Anyone got any new ideas for large-scale reform? If so, please share 'em; if not, feel free to lament here.

Musings on Grey

Krista and Lauren point to a thoughtful post by Ayelet Waldman in response to Frances Kissling's essay Is There Life After Roe: How to Think About the Fetus. They both quote this passage:

To be relevant to the contemporary world, to be valid, the pro-choice movement must listen to pregnant women. We must listen to the woman and value her words. A woman who is unwillingly pregnant, whose pregnancy at, say, 10 weeks, is nothing more than a source of desperation, of misery, knows one truth and we must respect it and honor it. A pregnant woman whose 4 month-old fetus has Down’s Syndrome knows another truth, and we must respect that, too. A pregnant woman whose batterer kicks her in the stomach, trying to end her baby's life, knows another truth. Respecting the truths of these pregnant women allows us to deal in shades of grey, to liberate ourselves from the straitjacket of the black and white.

I agree, but these insights raise questions -- no answers here, just questions -- that I'd like to explore. Reading this post reminded me of the debates over Laci and Connor's law; pro-choice feminists struggled with whether or not to support it. Connor Peterson was a wanted child whose death was against his mother's will, and many pro-choice feminists wanted to support the law wholeheartedly, without apologies or qualms, because of that distinction, but were worried that doing so was an admission of the personhood of a fetus, a step back in the fight for reproductive rights. I think this dilemma is another illustration of a truth.

I wonder how shades-of-grey pro-choice rhetoric will look. I wonder if the "moral elite" will see "shades of grey" as some kind of admission of guilt. Waldman says of her second-trimester abortion: "I also believe that to end a pregnancy like mine is to kill a fetus. Kill. I use that word very consciously and specifically." Maybe I've been reading too much Lakoff, but when I saw this, I thought, "pro-life frame." But her feelings toward this fetus were, and still are, very nuanced, a complexity of multiple-truths moral thought of which most pregnant women are capable. She does think of aborting in this case as killing, but chose to have the abortion for several personal reasons. Her decision was "based on [her] own and [her] family’s needs and limitations." She writes, "I did not want to raise a genetically compromised child. I did not want my children to have to contend with the massive diversion of parental attention, and the consequences of being compelled to care for their brother after I died."

*The* Link Portal on Gender in the Blogosphere

As I'm in the midst of writing a dissertation which is a feminist rhetorical analysis of gender and blogging practices, I've been assembling all the links I can find on the debates about gender in the blogosphere. Given the recent discussion at Crooked Timber and Laura's request for a list of posts, I thought I'd share these links. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I'll continue to add to it. You're welcome to do so too.

August 2002

Doc Searls (22 August)
Shelley Powers (22 August)
Dorothea Salo (#1) (25 August)
Doc Searls (27 August)
Jonathon Delacour (27 August)
Doc Searls (28 August)
Jonathon Delacour (28 August)
Mike Golby (28 August)
Dorothea Salo (#2) (28 August)
Dorothea Salo (#3) (28 August)
Shelley Powers (#2) (30 August)

September 2002

Up Yours (7 September)
Megan McArdle (8 September)
N.Z. Bear (8 September)
Natalie Solent (8 September)
Balloon Juice (9 September)
cut on the bias (9 September)
Jim Miller (9 September)
Just One Minute (9 September)
Alas, a Blog (9 September)
Gene Expression (9 September)
Letter from Gotham (#1) (9 September)
Improved Clinch (9 September)
Letter from Gotham (#2) (9 September)
No Watermelons Allowed (#1) (9 September)
No Watermelons Allowed (#2) (9 September)
Homeobox (9 September)
Meryl Yourish (9 September, #1)
Meryl Yourish (9 September, #2)
Meryl Yourish (9 September, #3)
Poet and Peasant (10 September)
Up Yours (18 September)
InstaPundit (18 September)

November 2002

Liz Lawley (27 November)
Mike Golby (29 November)

December 2002

Shelley Powers (7 December)
Shelley Powers (8 December)

January 2003

Shelley Powers (9 January)

April 2003

Liz Lawley (6 April)

May 2003

Darren Rowse (28 May)
NZ Bear (30 May)

June 2003

Liz Lawley (21 June)

July 2003

Raymond Yee (16 July)
Meryl Yourish (21 July)

September 2003

Liz Lawley (21 September)

October 2003

Halley Suitt (24 October)
Liz at Misbehaving (24 October)

November 2003

danah at Misbehaving (11 November)
Shelley Powers (18 November)
Jill at Misbehaving (21 November)

December 2003

Shelley Powers (2 December)

January 2004

danah boyd (5 January)
danah at Misbehaving (5 January)
danah at Misbehaving (7 January)
Liz at Misbehaving (18 January)

March 2004

Pandagon (8 March)
CJR Daily (8 March)
Pandagon (9 March)
Daily KOS (9 March)
Suburban Guerrilla (9 March)
Respectful of Otters (9 March)
Daniel Drezner (11 March)
Amanda Butler (11 March)
Megan McArdle (11 March)
Apt. 11D (12 March)
Radio Free Blogistan (14 March)
Trish Wilson (19 March)
David Fono (31 March)

April 2004

Shelley Powers (2 April)
Liz at Misbehaving (5 April)
A Small Victory (12 April)
Right Wing News (12 April)
Ilyka Damen (18 April)
Right Wing News (22 April)
Right Wing News (29 April)

May 2004

Matthew Yglesias (27 May)
Daniel Drezner (May 31)

June 2004

Trish Wilson (at Feministe) (1 June)
Trish Wilson (1 June)
Matthew Yglesias (1 June)
Daniel Drezner (2 June)
Feministe (2 June)
Shelley Powers (2 June)
Rox Populi (2 June)
Kevin Drum (2 June)
Dave Weinberger (3 June)
Pinko Feminist Hellcat (3 June)
Feministe (4 June)
Pete at The Power of Many (4 June)
danah at Misbehaving (8 June)
Shelley Powers (21 June)

August 2004

Shelley Powers (16 August)
Matt Stoller (27 August)
Amanda at Mouse Words (30 August)
Wicked Muse (30 August)
Utopian Hell (30 August)
Feministe (30 August)
Trish Wilson (31 August)
XX (31 August)
Pinko Feminist Hellcat (31 August)
Shelley Powers (31 August)

September 2004

Rad Geek (1 September)
Shelley Powers (21 September)

October 2004

Shelley Powers (11 October)
Fiona at Misbehaving (14 October)
Gina at Misbehaving (20 October)

November 2004

Andrea Buchanan, guest blogging at Buzz, Balls & Hype (21 November)
Half Changed World (26 November)

December 2004

Kieran Healy (17 December)
David Adesnik (17 December)
Tongue But No Door (18 December)
Joe Gandelman (18 December)
The Little Professor (18 December)
Geeky Mom (18 December)
Thanks for Not Being a Zombie (19 December)
Bitch. Ph.D. (19 December, #1)
Bitch. Ph.D. (19 December, #2)
Loaded Mouth (19 December)
Professional Lurker (22 December)
Utopian Hell (24 December)

January 2005

Flea (9 January)

February 2005

Trish Wilson (18 February)
Pinko Feminist Hellcat (18 February)
Kevin Drum (20 February)
The Sideshow (20 February)
Rox Populi at The American Street (20 February)
Ayn Clouter at The American Street (20 February)
James Joyner at Outside the Beltway (20 February)
La Shawn Barber (20 February)
Meryl Yourish (21 February)
Feministe (21 February)
Trish Wilson (21 February)
Sisu (21 February)
Polipundit (21 February)
Kesher Talk (21 February)
Conglomerate (21 February)
Ann Althouse (21 February)
Long Story, Short Pier (21 February)
Brutal Women (21 February)
Random Thoughts (21 February)
What She Said! (21 February)
Dummocrats (21 February)
Elayne Riggs (21 February)
Echidne of the Snakes (21 February)
Meryl Yourish (22 February)
Kevin Drum (22 February)
WILLisms (22 February)
Feministe 22 February)
Loaded Mouth (22 February)
Bitch. Ph.D. (22 February)
Ilyka Damen (22 February)
Julie Saltman (22 February)
Feministing (22 February)
Unfogged (22 February, #1)
Unfogged (22 February, #2)
Majikthise (22 February)
Right Wing News (22 February)
Least-Loved Bedtime Stories (22 February)
Meryl Yourish (23 February)
Citizen's Rent (23 February)
Ann Althouse (23 February)
Plum Crazy (23 February)
Fiat Lux (23 February)
Media Girl (23 February)
PZ Myers (23 February)
Ann Althouse (24 February)

March 2005

Cake Eater Chronicles (3 March)
Shelley Powers (7 March)
Michelle Malkin (14 March)

I know there are many, MANY more links I'm missing right now (including anything that might have been said during calendar year 2003), and this is just a start. Comment away!

Sexist Responses to "Grading System Gets an F"

Much has been said about Ailee Slater's article in the Oregon Daily Emerald, including thoughtful comments on Dennis Jerz's weblog and Kairosnews. A generous, sympathetic reading of the column might emphasize Slater's obvious alienation from the university and interpret her virulence in that context. She is clearly troubled by the grading system, which exacerbates an already stressful environment that ranks and disciplines minds rather than nurturing them. She writes, for example:

perhaps a decrease of focus on grades will actually lead to more fair admission policies. Time not spent calculating grades could be used by teachers to write recommendations for the students who have truly shown the ability to work hard and be motivated to educate themselves.

That being said, she foregrounds the university-as-corporation, student-as-customer model ("If I'm paying someone to do my housekeeping, I'll be the one to tell the receiver of my hard-earned money exactly how well they did. Shouldn't it be the same with education?"), which hurts her ethos, and even worse, she comes across as being oblivious to and dismissive of considerable issues of privilege and access that affect student performance (my emphasis):

Students who work hardest would be surrounded by similarly ambitious and intelligent peers; as for teachers, their time could be spent concentrating on exceptional students who want to learn, rather than wasting resources grading the sub-par work of students who didn't care enough to do a good job in the first place.

I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, but: Some students are much more well-prepared for college than others. Students whose parents can afford, for example, music lessons, summer enrichment day camps, tutors, book-of-the-month clubs, private schools, computers, the internet, etc. and who have the leisure time necessary to take children to museums, to read to them, and to help with homework (which implies that the parents would need the necessary education to provide such help, which implies that they would likely have had access to similar resources) are better prepared for college, and their performance is more likely to be interpreted as "exceptional." I object to Slater's argument for those two reasons.

Now, I've been looking at the comment forum at the Oregon Daily Emerald, and one poster mentioned that Slater was getting ripped apart at Fark. I've only occasionally visited over there, and the times I have, I've enjoyed all the PhotoShopping fun. However, this time, I was troubled by some of the comments I read. I don't mean to single out Drew Curtis by any means; these comments could have been left in any forum, unfortunately. I've seen this before; one example that comes to mind is the comments at the ESPN.com forums when Linda Bensel-Meyers openly criticized the University of Tennessee's athletic program and the tutoring the athletes were receiving, claiming they weren't getting a proper education and that, basically, they were being treated like pieces of meat, a means to an end (revenue from ticket sales). "I bet she weighs at least two hundred and fifty pounds," one poster at ESPN.com said about Bensel-Meyers. These are only some of the comments about Slater:

"She was not accepted at the University of I'd Hit It.

/admissions officer"

"I was really hoping it would be one of the much cuter girls I met... I'll ask if they know this one. The creature that wrote this is pretty scary, not to mention inept."

"Please, this was my excuse in high school. College is the big leagues, biatch, come up with something better.

Also, we regret to inform this biatch that she was not accepted into U of I'd Hit It West, as well."

"I thought unattractive female college newspaper columnists only wrote about their sex lives. What gives?"

"That's OK, there's dozens of boobie bars that will be waiting for her after she drops out."

"From her pic, can we guess that she is not sleeping for her "A"s?"

"This chick redefines the meaning of fugly."

"Look at her face right now

What's that in her mouth?

Is it a big wad of gizz?

Yeah, i think so too."

Would comments about Slater's appearance and speculation about her sexual practices have been made had she been a man? Maybe, but I've seen them repeatedly over the years in reference to women (and yeah, I know I've only provided one other example, but perhaps others will point to more). Am I being a strident, knee-jerk feminist? It certainly wouldn't be the first time, probably not the last either. Should I just lighten up? Seriously, I really want to know.

Feministblogs.org

Feministblogs.org is an aggregate of weblogs about feminist and politics from a feminist perspective. Check it out! So far, the contributors (not including myself) are:

Here's how to get your feed in there. I forgot to tell Rad Geek, who started this project, that he could just use my category-specific feeds for feminism and politics, but I can do that now, I guess. :)

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