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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #250 on: May 24, 2009, 12:18:16 PM »

"Emphasizing discursive power and the ambiguity of gender, third-wave theory usually incorporates elements of queer theory, transgender politics and a rejection of the gender binary, anti-racism and women-of-color consciousness, womanism, post-colonial theory, critical theory, postmodernism, transnationalism, ecofeminism, libertarian feminism, and new feminist theory."

Well, that went right over my head with nary a look back , , ,  cheesy cheesy cheesy
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G M
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« Reply #251 on: May 24, 2009, 04:27:58 PM »

Crafty,

Thats the expansion of the leftist academic holy trinity of race, class and gender.
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G M
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« Reply #252 on: May 24, 2009, 04:57:03 PM »

Rachel,

Notice how Fatemeh Fakhraie glosses over the brutal oppression of women across the muslim world then plays the "colonialism" card. Colonialism can, and was/is a force for good in some cases, especially for women. Part of the impact the Brits had on India was putting an end to "Suttee", where the living wife was thrown onto the deceased husband's funeral pyre. The Brits started hanging those responsible.

Western influence, along with many christian missionaries helped end foot binding in China. Tragic? No.

Slavery and then Jim Crow laws were part of the southern culture. Military and legal "imperialism" was used to end those things. So how would ending the sharia based oppression of women in "dar al islam" be different?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #253 on: May 27, 2009, 04:38:39 AM »

"It bears emphasis . . . that our role is limited to interpreting and applying the principles and rules embodied in the California Constitution, setting aside our own personal beliefs and values." That sigh of judicial restraint was actually issued by the California Supreme Court, which yesterday upheld Proposition 8, last year's ballot initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage in the state.

The gay rights lobby is apoplectic, though we suspect the decision will eventually be seen as a victory for gay rights -- precisely because it respected the ordinary rhythms of democratic debate. That wasn't the case in 2008, when the same court created a right to gay marriage by reading it into the state constitution. Yet when moral and social disputes are "settled" by the judiciary, they inevitably become even more divisive than before, inspire a political backlash and in any case are denied the durability that comes from popular consent.

Gay activists appealed Prop. 8 on the arcane grounds that it was a "revision" to the state constitution requiring a two-thirds vote, not a constitutional amendment requiring the 52% majority it received. The good news is that they can still achieve their goals the old-fashioned way: by changing the laws through politics. (Alas, that is not now the case with abortion.) Next year's election will almost certainly see another ballot initiative to overturn Prop. 8. If California voters don't have a change of heart, gays will have to live with the compromises of democratic life -- which in most places means the legal benefits of marriage in all but name.

The California Supreme Court's bow to the ballot box still preserves the 18,000 gay marriages that were recognized before Prop. 8 passed. Meanwhile, states across the country are experimenting with civil unions and same-sex marriage, even if the latter has so far only emerged from a single legislature: Vermont's.

As this democratic evolution continues, a growing question is whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- which says that states need not adhere to same-sex marriage laws in other states -- violates the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit clause. This issue is probably headed to the Supreme Court, and it would not be to anyone's advantage if gay marriage were imposed by judicial fiat.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #254 on: May 27, 2009, 09:26:13 AM »

What’s the difference?
Same-sex marriage does make a difference to wider society, especially when the force of the state is behind it.
"What difference,” goes the refrain from same-sex marriage supporters, “ does the marriage of two men or two women make in your life or your marriage?”
Well truth be told, very little because I am Roman Catholic. My marriage is a sacramental union; a union blessed in God’s eyes. The state has very little to do with it and a wedding between two men or two women is as valid in my eyes as a quickie wedding between two drunks at a Vegas love chapel; which means not at all.

Yet something tells me that answer would not satisfy homosexual activists pushing for same-sex marriage, because despite the cry of live and let live, the modus operandi appears to be, live like I say or feel the power of the state.

Earlier this week legislators in New Hampshire rejected a second attempt to pass a bill legalising same-sex marriage, not because the bill did not exempt religious groups from having to join in the celebration of gay marriage, but because it did. Radical supporters of the push for gay marriage joined with opponents to kill off amendments aimed at protecting religious freedom.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives had earlier passed a bill aimed at making same-sex marriage legal. Democratic Governor John Lynch said he would veto any bill that did not include additional protections for religious groups, their employees, and the services they offered, from having to perform, promote, or participate in same-sex weddings.

The New York Times reports on the actions of Republican Steve Vaillancourt, a homosexual member of the House, “During the floor debate on the amendment, Representative Steve Vaillancourt, a Republican who voted for the [original] same-sex marriage bill, accused Mr. Lynch of using bullying tactics, a House spokeswoman said. Mr. Vaillancourt then voted against the proposed changes.”

Vaillancourt is quoted by The Nashua Telegraph as saying, "This bill enshrines homophobia in statute, and I won't ever support something that does that.''

Vaillancourt wants anyone not okay with gay marriage to be out of the marriage business, it has already happened elsewhere. In Canada, private individuals who were licensed by the government to perform civil weddings were forced to hand in their marriage commissioner licenses if they would not perform same-sex weddings. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order, was taken to a human rights commission for backing out of renting their hall for a lesbian wedding reception. The Knights say they didn’t know the wedding was for a lesbian couple and once they realized that fact, they returned the deposit and tried to help the ladies find a new venue. Unfortunately for the Knights, British Coloumbia, the province where the stand off took place, declared the Knights in violation of B.C.’s human rights code and fined the group.

It is situations like this that New Hampshire Governor John Lynch is trying to avoid and it is situations like this that gay activists like Rep. Vaillancourt want to provoke; he wants to ensure that Knights of Columbus halls in New Hampshire are open to him and his friends so they can celebrate their weddings in grand Catholic style.

Live and let live sounds nice; too bad it’s not true.

Meanwhile in Britain, the Labour government, not happy with having forced Catholic adoption agencies out of business (agencies which were running long before government became involved in the game), is now set to force churches to hire homosexuals, trans-gendered or anyone else feeling grieved by having those moralistic bastards in the church tut-tut their “lifestyle”.

According to The Daily Telegraph, deputy equality minister Maria Eagle broke the news to churches at a conference on religious matters, well, it was a religious conference in the extremely progressive “accept my sexuality” sort of religious sense. Speaking at the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia and Human Rights conference in London, the minister said, “The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between. While the state would not intervene in narrowly ritual or doctrinal matters within faith groups, these communities cannot claim that everything they run is outside the scope of anti-discrimination law.”

Not content to simply foist her view of equality and human rights upon churches through the blunt instruments of the state, Ms. Eagle is also seeking members of what I am sure she would regard as “homophobic” and “transphobic” churches to speak out against discrimination against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Trans-gendered) community. "Members of faith groups have a role in making the argument in their own communities for greater LGBT acceptance,” she says. “But in the meantime the state has a duty to protect people from unfair treatment."

So you can hire your homophobic priest or imam but if your organ master makes Liberace look like a country club Republican or your cantor wants to celebrate his sexuality in drag, you’ll have to take it or face charges.

Live and let live, huh?

I truly believe that when it comes to basic requirements of life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is right regarding homosexuals, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

Is refusing to hire an active homosexual, engaged to his boyfriend Bill, to act as youth group leader for the local Catholic parish a form of “just discrimination?” You’d better believe it! While the activists in Ms. Eagle’s office obviously can’t wait to work for sub-par wages in the parish office in Lutton, something tells me they won’t be hiring Cardinal Arizne to work as co-ordinator for the next conference on Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia and Human Rights. Something also tells me that if a faithful Muslim was to apply for a job with the local branch of the Rainbow Coalition, his application would get lost in the files. This kind of discrimination is likely perfectly fine with Ms. Eagle.

What’s a traditional religious person to do? I don’t think recoiling into religious seclusion is an option, especially not for Christians called to live out a public witness. The idea that faith can be private and kept to the home just does not wash for Christians who are called to have their faith touch all aspects of their life. As the late Richard John Neuhaus wrote in his book The Naked Public Square, “Christ is Lord of all or he is Lord not at all.” Asking someone to act one way in public and another in private is asking them to lead contradictory and disjointed lives. Isn’t that what homosexual activists, until recently at least, had been saying they were fighting for, the ability to be themselves? Now they want us to be them as well.

Patrick Thompson teaches and writes near Buffalo, New York.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #255 on: June 03, 2009, 10:31:51 PM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5433917/Catholic-charities-breaking-law-on-homosexual-adoption.html

Catholic charities breaking law on homosexual adoption

Catholic charities who discriminate against homosexual couples who want to adopt children are breaking the law, the Charity Tribunal has ruled.

Published: 7:56AM BST 03 Jun 2009

Adoption: Catholic Care might face discrimination claims by same-sex couples it has turned away in the past.

The tribunal ruled that a "heterosexuals only" policy in the adoption field of the Catholic Church in England and Wales would fall foul of the ban on discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation brought in two years ago. The Tribunal's ruling leaves leading charity Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) facing a deep religious impasse and creates a fundamental conflict between the tenets of the Catholic Church and the law of the land.

If the charity now sticks to Church policy and continues to follow its "heterosexuals only" policy it could lose its charity status and public funding...

And more ...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...gay-staff.html

Law 'will force churches to employ gay staff'

Churches will be banned from turning down gay job applicants on the grounds of their sexuality under new anti-discrimination laws, a Government minister said.


And more ...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/5032...uble-room.html

Homosexual couple sue Christian hotel owners for refusing them a double room

A homosexual couple are suing the Christian owners of a seaside hotel for sexual discrimination after they were refused a double bedroom.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #256 on: June 06, 2009, 08:26:43 AM »

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Uniting American Families Act, which, according to The New York Times, "would allow American citizens and legal immigrants to seek residency in the United States for their same-sex partners, just as spouses now petition for foreign-born husbands and wives." Also this week, President Obama signed a proclamation officially declaring June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month." One part of the proclamation stood out to us: "LGBT Americans ... have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic." It's also true that they have played a major role in spreading the HIV pandemic.
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G M
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« Reply #257 on: June 30, 2009, 10:49:22 PM »

June 29, 2009
Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship

By CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS

"Harder to kill than a vampire." That is what the sociologist Joel Best calls a bad statistic. But, as I have discovered over the years, among false statistics the hardest of all to slay are those promoted by feminist professors. Consider what happened recently when I sent an e-mail message to the Berkeley law professor Nancy K.D. Lemon pointing out that the highly praised textbook that she edited, Domestic Violence Law (second edition, Thomson/West, 2005), contained errors.

Her reply began:

"I appreciate and share your concern for veracity in all of our scholarship. However, I would expect a colleague who is genuinely concerned about such matters to contact me directly and give me a chance to respond before launching a public attack on me and my work, and then contacting me after the fact."

I confess: I had indeed publicly criticized Lemon's book, in campus lectures and in a post on FeministLawProfessors.com. I had always thought that that was the usual practice of intellectual argument. Disagreement is aired, error corrected, truth affirmed. Indeed, I was moved to write to her because of the deep consternation of law students who had attended my lectures: If authoritative textbooks contain errors, how are students to know whether they are being educated or indoctrinated? Lemon's book has been in law-school classrooms for years.

One reason that feminist scholarship contains hard-to-kill falsehoods is that reasonable, evidence-backed criticism is regarded as a personal attack.

Lemon's Domestic Violence Law is organized as a conventional law-school casebook — a collection of judicial opinions, statutes, and articles selected, edited, and commented upon by the author. The first selection, written by Cheryl Ward Smith (no institutional affiliation is given), offers students a historical perspective on domestic-violence law. According to Ward:

"The history of women's abuse began over 2,700 years ago in the year 753 BC. It was during the reign of Romulus of Rome that wife abuse was accepted and condoned under the Laws of Chastisement. ... The laws permitted a man to beat his wife with a rod or switch so long as its circumference was no greater than the girth of the base of the man's right thumb. The law became commonly know as 'The Rule of Thumb.' These laws established a tradition which was perpetuated in English Common Law in most of Europe."

Where to begin? How about with the fact that Romulus of Rome never existed. He is a figure in Roman mythology — the son of Mars, nursed by a wolf. Problem 2: The phrase "rule of thumb" did not originate with any law about wife beating, nor has anyone ever been able to locate any such law. It is now widely regarded as a myth, even among feminist professors.

A few pages later, in a selection by Joan Zorza, a domestic-violence expert, students read, "The March of Dimes found that women battered during pregnancy have more than twice the rate of miscarriages and give birth to more babies with more defects than women who may suffer from any immunizable illness or disease." Not true. When I recently read Zorza's assertion to Richard P. Leavitt, director of science information at the March of Dimes, he replied, "That is a total error on the part of the author. There was no such study." The myth started in the early 1990s, he explained, and resurfaces every few years.

Zorza also informs readers that "between 20 and 35 percent of women seeking medical care in emergency rooms in America are there because of domestic violence." Studies by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, indicate that the figure is closer to 1 percent.

Few students would guess that the Lemon book is anything less than reliable. The University of California at Berkeley's online faculty profile of Lemon hails it as the "premiere" text of the genre. It is part of a leading casebook series, published by Thomson/West, whose board of academic advisers, prominently listed next to the title page, includes many eminent law professors.

I mentioned these problems in my message to Lemon. She replied:

"I have looked into your assertions and requested documentation from Joan Zorza regarding the March of Dimes study and the statistics on battered women in emergency rooms. She provided both of these promptly."

If that's the case, Zorza and Lemon might share their documentation with Leavitt, of the March of Dimes, who is emphatic that it does not exist. They might also contact the Centers for Disease Control statistician Janey Hsiao, who wrote to me that "among ED [Emergency Department] visits made by females, the percent of having physical abuse by spouse or partner is 0.02 percent in 2003 and 0.01 percent in 2005."

Here is what Lemon says about Cheryl Ward Smith's essay on Romulus and the rule of thumb:

"I made a few minor editorial changes in the Smith piece so that it is more accurate. However, overall it appeared to be correct."

A few minor editorial changes? Students deserve better. So do women victimized by violence.

Feminist misinformation is pervasive. In their eye-opening book, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies (Lexington Books, 2003), the professors Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge describe the "sea of propaganda" that overwhelms the contemporary feminist classroom. The formidable Christine Rosen (formerly Stolba), in her 2002 report on the five leading women's-studies textbooks, found them rife with falsehoods, half-truths, and "deliberately misleading sisterly sophistries." Are there serious scholars in women's studies? Yes, of course. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, an anthropologist at the University of California at Davis; Janet Zollinger Giele, a sociologist at Brandeis; and Anne Mellor, a literary scholar at UCLA, to name just three, are models of academic excellence and integrity. But they are the exception. Lemon's book typifies the departmental mind-set.

Consider The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (2008), by the feminist scholar Joni Seager, chair of the Hunter College geography department. Now in its fourth edition, Seager's atlas was named "reference book of the year" by the American Library Association when it was published. "Nobody should be without this book," says the feminist icon Gloria Steinem. "A wealth of fascinating information," enthuses The Washington Post. Fascinating, maybe. But the information is misleading and, at least in one instance, flat-out false.

One color-coded map illustrates how women are kept "in their place" by restrictions on their mobility, dress, and behavior. Somehow the United States comes out looking as bad in this respect as Somalia, Uganda, Yemen, Niger, and Libya. All are coded with the same shade of green to indicate places where "patriarchal assumptions" operate in "potent combination with fundamentalist religious interpretations." Seager's logic? She notes that in parts of Uganda, a man can claim an unmarried woman as his wife by raping her. The United States gets the same low rating on Seager's charts because, she notes, "State legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001." Never mind that the Ugandan practice is barbaric, that U.S. abortion law is exceptionally liberal among the nations of the world, and that the activism and controversy surrounding the issue of abortion in the United States is a sign of a vigorous free democracy working out its disagreements.

On another map, the United States gets the same rating for domestic violence as Uganda and Haiti. Seager backs up that verdict with that erroneous and ubiquitous emergency-room factoid: "22 percent-35 percent of women who visit a hospital emergency room do so because of domestic violence."

The critical work of 21st-century feminism will be to help women in the developing world, especially in Muslim societies, in their struggle for basic rights. False depictions of the United States as an oppressive "patriarchy" are a ludicrous distraction. If American women are as oppressed as Ugandan women, then American feminists would be right to focus on their domestic travails and let the Ugandan women fend for themselves.

All books have mistakes, so why pick on the feminists? My complaint with feminist research is not so much that the authors make mistakes; it is that the mistakes are impervious to reasoned criticism. They do not get corrected. The authors are passionately committed to the proposition that American women are oppressed and under siege. The scholars seize and hold on for dear life to any piece of data that appears to corroborate their dire worldview. At the same time, any critic who attempts to correct the false assumptions is dismissed as a backlasher and an anti-feminist crank.

Why should it matter if a large number of professors think and say a lot of foolish and intemperate things? Here are three reasons to be concerned:

1) False assertions, hyperbole, and crying wolf undermine the credibility and effectiveness of feminism. The United States, and the world, would greatly benefit from an intellectually responsible, reality-based women's movement.

2) Over the years, the feminist fictions have made their way into public policy. They travel from the women's-studies textbooks to women's advocacy groups and then into news stories. Soon after, they are cited by concerned political leaders. President Obama recently issued an executive order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls. As he explained, "The purpose of this council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy." He and Congress are also poised to use the celebrated Title IX gender-equity law to counter discrimination not only in college athletics but also in college math and science programs, where, it is alleged, women face a "chilly climate." The president and members of Congress can cite decades of women's-studies scholarship that presents women as the have-nots of our society. Never mind that this is largely no longer true. Nearly every fact that could be marshaled to justify the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls or the new focus of Title IX application was shaped by scholarly merchants of hype like Professors Lemon and Seager.

3) Finally, as a philosophy professor of almost 20 years, and as someone who respects rationality, objective scholarship, and intellectual integrity, I find it altogether unacceptable for distinguished university professors and prestigious publishers to disseminate falsehoods. It is offensive in itself, even without considering the harmful consequences. Obduracy in the face of reasonable criticism may be inevitable in some realms, such as partisan politics, but in academe it is an abuse of the privileges of professorship.

"Thug," "parasite," "dangerous," a "female impersonator" — those are some of the labels applied to me when I exposed specious feminist statistics in my 1994 book Who Stole Feminism? (Come to think of it, none of my critics contacted me directly with their concerns before launching their public attacks.) According to Susan Friedman, of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, "Sommers' diachronic discourse is easily unveiled as synchronic discourse in drag. ... She practices ... metonymic historiography." That one hurt! But my views, as well as my metonymic historiography, are always open to correction. So I'll continue to follow the work of the academic feminists — to criticize it when it is wrong, and to learn from it when it is right.

Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of Who Stole Feminism? (Simon & Schuster, 1994) and The War Against Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2000), and editor of The Science on Women and Science, forthcoming from the AEI Press.

http://chronicle.com
Section: The Chronicle Review
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #258 on: July 09, 2009, 02:42:39 PM »

Gender equity at close quarters

By mixing women and men on board, isn’t the navy asking for trouble?
It was a shock-horror story for a slow Sunday night, but the news of a sexual scandal on board an Australian Navy ship has drawn comment from the country’s Prime Minister and his deputy, serving to highlight problems surrounding women’s role in the military.

HMAS Success has a mixed crew, in line with a gender equity policy that has counterparts in the defence establishment of many countries. This mixing of men and women is supposed to be a great thing for them and for the military. Women who hanker after risk and adventure can fulfil their desires while putting their special talents at the service of their country.

But some of the men on board Success have grown ho-hum about the privilege of having women around and the opportunities for sex that it presents, so four of them devised a betting game in which they competed to see who could have sex with the most women crewmates. They kept a written record and there were extra points for taking advantage of female officers and lesbians.

Since an Australian television channel broke the story on Sunday, the Defence Department has confirmed that four men were sent home in May from Singapore, where the ship was stationed, and that a formal inquiry is under way. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called the allegations “disturbing” and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has indicated she wants a full investigation.

Ms Gillard said that both the government and the nation had been saying for a long time that women should be able to join the army, the navy or air force. "We don't want to see anything that precludes women from having a good career in our armed forces if that is what they choose to do with their lives.”

According to Defence, the allegations came to light during “an equity and diversity health check” when women “raised a number of concerns”. If the details of the “game” are true, it showed utter contempt for the women being targeted, if not the whole female complement of the ship. Dismissal would be too good for these men; a spell in the stocks would be an appropriately shaming punishment.

But, what then? Is it a question of replacing a few bad eggs, drilling the others on the sexual harassment policy, upping the penalties -- that sort of thing? Or is there something fundamentally wrong with the military’s experiment with sexual integration?

Sexual harassment and assault have become a huge issue in the United States forces. According to an AP report last year, 15 per cent of women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have sought help from a Department of Veteran Affairs facility have screened positive for military sexual trauma, and the VA has at least 16 inpatient wards specialising in treating of such women.

Military sexual trauma means that while they were on active duty they were sexually assaulted, raped, or were sexually harassed, receiving repeated unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature. One woman, who now advocates with government on this issue, described how she was harassed while sharing a house with about 20 men while on service at an outpost in Iraq, and was traumatised by it.

One woman with 20 men? Doesn’t that illustrate how crazy this policy can get? Of course, she should have been safe with 120 men, especially men serving in what has traditionally been an honourable occupation, based on the ideal of defending what is right.

But there are strong forces working against the honour code. Military men come from the same cultural environment as other men (and women) -- one in which sex is debased to the level of personal recreation and public entertainment. Casual and short-term relationships are taken for granted, pornography is defended (by women as well as men) and consent is the only recognised rule.

It appears to be the only rule in the forces as well. There is nothing to suggest that the Australian sailors are being investigated simply for having sex with women crew members -- although US Defence surveys show that women marines are more likely than other servicewomen to experience unwanted sexual touching. Rather, the issue seems to be that the women felt demeaned when they discovered that they were the objects of a cynical game in which dollar amounts were placed on their heads and they would be material for bragging among the men.

Did the men know that their nasty little game would not only be offensive to the women -- they simply must have known that -- but would constitute a formal offence, sexual harassment, presumably? Maybe not.

If that is the case, the sexual equality policy means the authorities have put themselves in the ridiculous position of having to define a whole range of offensive sexual behaviour and/or arbitrate all the disputes that arise from the casual sex it allows to go on in its ranks. He will call it a game; she will call it harassment and an attack on her dignity. Or he will call it “having sex” and she will call it rape. And there will have to be an inquiry to sort it out. And then more time and resources may have to be spent on punitive measures, re-education and compensation.

Worse than that, in view of the fact that some personnel are married and some become pregnant, the institutions responsible for defending the homeland help to undermine the nation’s homes and families by condoning extra-marital affairs and unwed motherhood.

It is this high level stupidity, more than the low-level brutishness of the sailors in question in this particular dispute that makes one worry about the calibre of the forces and their defence readiness.

There is a place for women in a nation’s defence system, but it is not in close quarters with men on a ship. Nor is it in mixed quarters at the front line of battle. If that is what Ms Gillard and others of her persuasion mean by “a good career in the armed forces” they really are talking through their hats.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.
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« Reply #259 on: July 22, 2009, 08:56:37 AM »

July 22, 2009
Are Men Obsolete?

By Robin of Berkeley
When I snapped out of my left wing trance last year, I was lost in space.  I had no conservative friends and was clueless about web sites and books.

I had heard something vaguely about Talk Radio.  So I scanned my AM dial and found Michael Savage.  (It took several months, and a chat with a rather bemused new friend, before I even realized there were other hosts as well.)

Being a lifelong liberal, I'd never heard anybody like Savage in my life.  He yelled;  he called people "vermin."  He was unbridled masculinity, not the touchy feeling kind I was used to.  And he totally accepted himself:  his moods, passion, temper.

But what shocked me the most was his saying that men have become "feminized."  I'd never been so offended.  "Well, what's wrong with men being more feminine?"  I shouted back at my radio.  "Is there something wrong with femininity?"   Men being way more in touch with their yin and less with their yang sounded good to me.

I hadn't exactly been a big fan of masculinity.  Like any good feminist,  ranting and raving about men were two of my favorite pastimes.   Men frightened me.  Testosterone fueled types like Michael Savage scared the bejeezus out of me.  I had good reasons, of course, given episodes of harassment and abuse.

I couldn't tune Savage out because he was the only game in town (or so I thought).   Also, he was spot on about Obama, and his show was a rich tapestry of politics, philosophy, history, and religion.  So I stayed glued. 

What a difference a year makes.  Now I see Savage as a seer warning us of the dangers we were in for if men went the way of the dinosaur.   I had thought taming men's animal nature was a win-win for everybody.  Now I realize it was tampering with Mother Nature.

And I have to wonder whether the feminization of men has been an unforeseen result of liberalism or some twisted scheme hatched by the left.  In some ways, it feels paranoid to even go there, like I've watched too many sci fi flicks.  But at the same time if Professor Bill Ayers and his ilk could plot infiltrating the schools with all things Marxist, why stop there?  Why not engineer a designer man who would go along with the liberal flow?

Step one:  loosen men up through psychotherapy where they can get in touch with their inner child.   Have them exchange their arms for drums that they can pound in the woods with groups of brothers.  Teach them to reject logic and lead with their emotions.

Idolize gayness, because after all, aren't gay men just XY versions of the superior women?  Degrade anything masculine.   Marginalize and vilify the macho types like Savage, by banning him from the U.K. 

Hike up the costs of SUV's and trucks, and squeeze men into deracinated cars like the Prius (notice how prissy even the name sounds?) Even better, herd them to work in buses and trains to save the planet (and control them).

Ask the question, as Maureen Dowd did in her bestselling book, "Are Men Necessary?"  Answer in the negative by glorifying single mothers and supporting sperm donors.  Why bother with a bossy husband when the government can put moms on the dole?  And anyway, with gayness being the next big craze, there may be fewer straight men out there.

On the horizon:  making the notion of gender arbitrary anyway.  Allow people free and easy access to sex change operations (I'll bet good money they will be readily available under ObamaCare.) 

Allow children to choose their own sex.  (By the way, the fad is already in vogue and called "gender neutrality."   Parents don't inform their child of his or her or its gender and let the little mutant choose one.)

Even better, have your child be Bob one day and Becky the next, another hot trend called "gender fluid."  It's already happening at a few San Francisco Bay Area schools, where bathrooms are unisex and children get to alter their gender as the mood strikes them.

The piece de resistance of feminization:  wreck the economy.  If you want to cripple men, rob them of their life spring: their ability to provide for their family.  No worries:  the government will step in as a worthy substitute. 

And the final stroke of genius:  disempower the true symbols of masculinity:  the military, police, and intelligence officers.  Investigate them, sue them, protest them with riots in the street.  Make them feel intimidated about doing their jobs.   Require them to attend plenty of sensitivity workshops. 

So, after decades of my going along like an automaton with the liberal program, I finally got it.   As people like Savage have warned us about for years, tampering with gender is a disaster.  And not just for men. 

Because society shrinks when we are forced to give up who we are, and we become shells of ourselves when we're robbed of our birthright:  dignity, freedom, individuality.  We become cloned people, with this part and that part, never discovering who we are.

We become what the Tibetans call "hungry ghosts:"  tormented beings looking all over for happiness but never finding it because we've forgotten the only place it lives -- in our spirit, which is connected to forces Beyond.   We lose forever the knowledge of our true nature that we first glimpsed when we were knee high.

Because the fact is that humans cannot, should not, fool with Mo Nature, shouldn't take nature in our hands and play God.  To do so can unleash madness and danger as we know from every horror movie. 

Because while we've been engineering a kinder, gentler man, much of the world has been doing the opposite.  Countries like Iran and North Korea have been building nuclear weapons and poisoning their young men with hatred of the U.S.  They have been making their men stronger, meaner, and better armed.

Liberals:  be honest with yourselves.  In the end, if the worst case scenario happens (God forbid) and we are attacked, who will you run to?  Will you scream out for the Green Czar? 

No;  all of us, liberals and leftists, conservatives and feminists, we will go where we have always gone from the beginning of time;  we will search desperately for the big, strong men to protect us, the ones who have always had the guts, the courage, and yes the cojones, to put their lives and limbs on the line. 

The question is:  by then, how many will be left?

A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a recovering liberal and psychotherapist in Berkeley.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/07/are_men_obsolete.html at July 22, 2009 - 09:54:39 AM EDT
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rachelg
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« Reply #260 on: August 14, 2009, 10:23:58 PM »

The title is slightly false. I found the comments on learned helplessness fascinating .


http://www.doublex.com/section/life/how-i-learned-stop-being-girl-and-use-power-tool?page=0,2

For decades, owing to an incident in early childhood, I’ve been mildly ashamed of my interest in power tools. At my public elementary school in Dallas in the early 1970s, we had a class for art, my favorite subject. Although the class was co-ed, boys and girls were separated into different tracks. Boys got to work at a large jig saw table—the kind found in the “shop” classes of old—and cut balsa wood and build things. They got to wear cool plastic goggles. The saw was satisfyingly loud and dangerous. I wanted to build things, too. But in the early days of Title IX in Texas, girls weren’t supposed to enjoy such boyish pursuits. I was supposed to want to sit quietly and paint pretty bowls of fruit. But I didn’t want a still life.

So, I complained. Indeed, I recall making quite an unladylike stink about the whole thing. Until, one afternoon, the teacher grudgingly relented. She did this by halting the entire class and having everyone stand around in a circle and stare and gawk as I, freak of nature, fumbled (as the teacher refused to help) with the wood. The boys laughed. The girly-girls giggled. My face burned bright red. Needless to say, I learned my lesson. My career in woodworking was sawed short.

Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered had I, at the same time, been learning how to sew or cook. I loved any activity involving my hands. But the problem was, I wasn’t learning any traditional, female skills, either. The women of my generation came of age betwixt and between: at just the point where home economics had been discontinued in most schools, and mothers, even in conservative Dallas, were beginning to lay down their darning needles and wooden spoons, but before they had begun to make real inroads into traditional male pastimes and professions. My parents stressed a knowledge-based education. I studied hard, went to college, and fell in love with the poet Auden. But as Auden once wrote [2]: “Poetry makes nothing happen.”

I existed in a kind of practical No-Man’s Land between the sexes. Needless to say, I didn’t inhabit a conventional man’s role, but around the house in early adulthood, I often felt like I wasn’t much of a woman, either. I think the women of my generation purposely embraced a kind of learned helplessness. In my 20s, I recall how several female friends (all aspiring writers) confided they didn’t even know how to type. “Don’t become good at anything you don’t want to do,” one advised. In the early years of feminism, being incompetent became a way to avoid being typecast, as, say, a candidate for the typing pool. If you couldn’t cook or sew, no one could insist you be the stay-at-home spouse. There were, obviously, drawbacks to such liberation.

My sense of uselessness came to a head in the days immediately after 9/11. I lived in New York, and like so many of my compatriots, was desperate to help my beloved, grief-stricken city. On the Wednesday after the attacks, I managed to assist at the skating rink at Chelsea Piers, where I helped to set up a triage center for the wounded we imagined, in our awful naiveté, would soon be arriving. But my labors amounted to little more than ferrying around boxes of donations in anguished anticipation. So, I went to the Javits Center, where volunteers were signing up for longer terms of duty. There were welders and contractors and doctors and nurses and line-order cooks. As I went from table to table, I realized, with awful chagrin, that as a former English major, I didn’t have a single concrete skill to offer in an emergency, besides, maybe, reading a poem at Ground Zero (which no one wanted me to do). I finally found a table that had to do with psychological counseling, and told the woman manning it that I’d taught public school for several years. "Do you have an actual degree in child psychology?" she asked. No, I had to admit. She patted me on the back gently: "Sorry, honey, we're looking for professionals."

Motherhood only deepened my sense that something was amiss. Barbara Ehrenreich has noted [3] that one problem facing the modern mother is what to do with young kids underfoot. In the olden days, children followed their mothers around the house and learned real skills as their mothers worked. “The industrial revolution,” she writes, “removed productive work from the home.” Ehrenreich isn’t calling for a return of informal child labor. But short of teaching children how to send a text message, what expertise can the modern information worker readily share with her children? And in truth, I like the kinds of chores I’m supposed to disdain as a professional mother with ambitions. I enjoy making my daughter’s Halloween costume each year. I love to paint the house.

So, dear reader, I bought a power drill. For months I admittedly couldn’t figure out why it took so damn long to drill a hole. The bit would rotate for five minutes at full speed, my arm aching from the vibrations, and there wouldn’t even be a dent in the drywall. (Turns out I’d accidentally flipped the switch that causes the bit to rotate counter clockwise, for winding out screws). So, let’s just say there was some trial and error. The men in my life, most of them self-described “intellectuals,” viewed these labors with bemused detachment and were typically short on pointers. Yet every time I started a project, I had this odd self-confidence, often absent in other areas of my life, that if I just kept at it, I’d figure it out. And the funny thing was, I usually did. What Matthew Crawford has written about motorcycle repair in his Shop Class as SoulCraft [4]was true for me, too: I found the work particularly satisfying, intellectually. I was problem solving, and because the problems were concrete, success was immediate and palpable. The physical world delivered clear, unambiguous directions in a way that, say, my boss, who seemed forever uncertain of what he expected of me and my stories, never did.

It’s also true what they say about necessity being the mother (or at least the feminist sister) of invention. What drove me on, over time, was bad real estate (which I suspect may also be why D.I.Y. has flourished, oddly enough, in Brooklyn; during the boom years, people were trying to figure out creative ways to deal with bathtubs in their kitchens). My apartment in New York, while not quite that bad, was tiny by most Americans’ standards (roughly 600 square feet)—especially after my daughter’s birth forced the family bed into the living room. But by this point, I had become pretty adept with the drill. I could punch in a row of screws, in a few milliseconds, like a seasoned pro on a construction site. I was still too timid to take on a handheld rotary saw. But I found a lumber shop on the Upper West Side [5] that would cut wood to specification. With the shop’s help, and while five months’ pregnant, I enlarged the opening of a large closet—knocking out the dry wall, rebuilding the wood door frame, complete with molding—so as to accommodate a crib. I even hung the folding doors myself. Inspired by sites like apartmenttherapy.com [6] and Ikeahacker.blogspot.com [7], I became adept at repurposing used furnishings for my own devices. Why not just hire someone, friends would ask. Money was an issue. But the truth is, I loved the process: the problem solving, the setbacks, the eureka moments, the sense of self-reliance and accomplishment that comes from doing it yourself (even before D.I.Y became a hipster term).

So, this is where I proselytize about my newfound religion. As women, of course, we can’t do it all. Few can simultaneously be hard-charging CEOs and mothers and as adept at sewing and cooking as we are at carpentry and car repair. But as our lives become ever more abstract and floating in cyberspace, I think we women lose our sense of mastery over the physical world at our peril. For one, such mastery is genuinely useful—for us and our children—and not just during the occasional national emergency. (Do we really want to raise a generation who can’t so much as sew on a button or change a flat tire?) But in a far more profound sense, it is an essential part of what makes us human. What differentiates us from the rest of the species isn’t just our minds, but also our tools, our clothes, and, perhaps most importantly, as the Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham has recently argued [8], our cooking.

That’s not to say that every woman should take up her grandmother’s canning. But if we are going to give up such traditional competencies, then we should at least replace them with a few, less traditional, hands-on skills. Many men get to have jobs and families and still enjoy that makeshift shop in the garage, where they can lose themselves in a function and share their expertise with their kids. Whether knitting or wielding a welding torch, women should insist on no less. A thumb, after all, is a terrible thing to waste.



It's a small point... okay, it isn't small.
By: Murasaki | Thu, 08/13/2009 - 14:58

This whole article was satisfying, but what resonated for me the most was the brief aside concerning "learned helplessness," a phenomenon that's angered me about my generation more than anything.

In all the various jobs I've had doing some form of psychotherapy or casework, I've often build up an impressive amount of mission creep in my job description. This is thanks in large part to an upbringing that really didn't encourage or discourage any particular skills (except for my mother's unsuccessful attempts, for some inexplicable reason, to discourage me from learning to cook as well as she), but just as significantly a self-instilled willingness to see any practical skill in any sphere as useful and to cultivate it for my own enhanced self-reliance.

So, while I may have been the child mental health specialist in one job, I also kept the LAN up and running and swapped out the hardware on everyone's PCs when we could miraculously afford an update. I'm a trauma therapist in my current position, but I also reseat and flush the exhaust of the big standing air conditioner when it shuts down and pick open the file room lock for everyone when the only person in the building with the key is out sick. I was once a family case manager for the city, but spent hours of 'counseling' time teaching mothers hoping to enter the workforce how to format their paragraphs and use proper grammar in their resumes, and how to read a bus and subway map to get to prospective interviews. As Jacqueline Carey said, "all knowledge is worth having," period, end of story.

This was all brought into very sharp focus just a few weeks ago, when our office had finally gotten a pair of much-needed large bookshelves that, as you might expect, arrived unassembled. I volunteered to save our very spendthrifty agency the money of hiring a handyman for a second day by putting together one myself. As I worked, the other women I share the office with mutely peered over my shoulder. One remarked, "I used to be interested in building stuff like Rebecca but when I got older I realized it was easier to have a man do it for you."

Yes, this is an office of women dedicated to serving victims of violent and sexual crimes, most of whom are women. You know, women that are supposedly educated on the psychological and practical dangers of things like dependence and male dominance. Things like that.

There are aspects of the feminist backlash that are so brazenly, obviously self-destructive that it boggles my mind. I'm not afraid of being unpopular, rude, or accused of being judgmental, so I'll get straight to my thesis: forget the arguments of 'choice' feminism. People of any gender that actively avoid improving themselves in realistic, attainable ways to allow themselves to shift responsibility to others aren't externally disempowered, oppressed or choosing some different-but-valid path. They're lazy.


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G M
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« Reply #261 on: August 15, 2009, 08:48:58 AM »

Ironic to think of all the blue state women that loudly proclaim how they don't need men while clamoring for government to act as their supper-daddy while many conservative red state women actually have tangible skills and independent lives and yet are sneered at by blue state feminists. See Sarah Palin as a perfect example.
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rachelg
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« Reply #262 on: August 15, 2009, 09:24:25 AM »

The article was written by a blue state feminist complaining about her red state upbringing in Texas .  In general women 30 and younger don't cook it has nothing to do with a red state blue state thing.  I have friends who grew up on farms who's husbands do the cooking.  I have not interest in discussing Palin but  there are women with large families and very practical skills who I admire greatly.  For example the  local Chabad Rebbetzin ( Rabbi's wife) regularly  has Shabbos dinners  for 30 plus without getting an accurate count beforehand while juggling a house full of kids and providing spiritual leadership  and counseling for the community . Interesting enough she never really learned to cook either growing up. She had a lot of sisters who handled that. She is a great cook now but she said it required a lot of prayer when she was learning  grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #263 on: August 15, 2009, 09:33:18 AM »

Well, I'm real glad my wife is a great cook , , , and she handles technology for us and the reality side of the DB business and is very active in our children's school (e.g. teaches "Hands on Art", for the Health program etc)

While people certainly are free to come up with whatever arrangements make most sense for them, I suspect that absent PC pressures most of the time the woman will be more home family oriented and the man more go out and bring home the bacon.  IMHO in general when the more this paradigm is deviated from, the lower the birth rate; this creates a situation of contracting populations.
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G M
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« Reply #264 on: August 15, 2009, 10:47:30 AM »

Rachel,

Why wouldn't you want to discuss the high tech lynching of an uppity female that we saw last year? Why does the feminist mainstream celebrate the choice to abort but not allow a woman to chose to define her politics outside of leftism?
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« Reply #265 on: August 15, 2009, 11:12:45 AM »

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/2009/06/11/why-the-left-ridicules-women/

Why the left ridicules women

Too many American liberals cannot handle a strong, good-looking, intelligent, independent woman who disagrees with them — and so they make the crude, cruel and sexist remarks — including those about raping them or their 14-year-old daughters.

 

From left, the women are Katharine Harris, Carrie Prejean, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Michele Bachmann.

These five women are are not the only ones that American liberals ridicule without fear. They are like little boys who cannot handle a strong woman. These women dare challenge them intellectually, and so we get crude counterattacks.

So-called feminists stand on the sidelines like so many Silda Spitzers or Elizabeth Edwardses or Hillary Clintons, standing by their menfolk while the boys treat women like dirt. Heck, Mrs. Edwards even served as her husband’s attack dog against any critic — even as she knew he was sleeping with his mistress of many years.

Consider the lack of any reaction by the left to David Letterman’s crude remark that Gov. Palin is buying make-up for that “slutty flight attendant look” insulted not just her but every woman. How could any woman respect such a man?

And yet the left said nothing.

The next night, Letterman hid behind joking to fantasize about the statutory rape of Palin’s 14-year-old daughter. His later “apology” only underscored his perversion:

“We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news. These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No.”

Then this jerk had the nerve to invite Palin on his show, as if nothing was wrong.

Excuse me, he fantasized Alex Rodriguez knocking up Palin’s 14-year-old daughter when Palin and the girl went to a ballgame.

A new low was hit in America.

Letterman will get away with it because liberal misogyny is OK in America. It has the Seal of Approval of the National Organization For Women.

Hey, support abortion and NOW and its pseudo feminists will let you get away with murder.

[UPDATE: I was wrong. After I wrote this, NOW placed Letterman in its media Hall of Shame. I apologize. My analysis of this development is here.]

It is crude and it is wrong. But then, so were American  newspaper editors for making Tina Fey their “entertainer of the year” for cruelly mocking Palin last year.

Small wonder Fey gets along so well with co-star Alec Baldwin, whose crude voice-mail to his 13-year-old daughter should have made him unemployable for life. But he supports abortion, so OK. The girl had it coming.

Perez Hilton calling Carrie Prejean the C-word and the B-word. Liberals said nothing.

Then there is the Playboy online article on 10 conservative women the author would like to rape. To its credit, Playboy deleted the online article. But if you want to see a perverted liberal mind, read it here.

This is what happens when you do not look at people as individuals, but rather as members of a group. Many liberals think all women must act a certain way, otherwise they are deviants and therefore, targets. The same with black people. This is why Clarence Thomas and Michael Steele face racism that is not visited upon the president.

Believe it or not, this post was triggered by Republican Congresswoman Bachmann’s declaration that the American economy is the Titanic. She made a good point, so good that it showed why liberals mock her. The truth is, they cannot handle a strong, independent woman. Watching her speak, I realized just what is wrong with the people who mock her: They cannot handle it. The video.

UPDATE: Linked by Glenn Reynolds. And linked by Michelle Malkin.

Oh and follow my adventures on Twitter.

UPDATE II: The Palins to Letterman: No way are we going on your misogynist show. Their spokeswoman said: “The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.”

UPDATE III: Dice Clay was run out of town on a liberal rail for saying similar things.

UPDATE IV: Chris Muir draws and quarters “Dice Clay” Letterman in a cartoon.
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rachelg
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« Reply #266 on: August 16, 2009, 09:34:48 AM »

Marc,

One of things  that I thought was interesting  about the article was  the point that refusing to learn how to cook and refusing to learn how to change a tire are two sides of the same coin. It is the same weakness just using a different excuse.

Everyone has a right  to make  their own deals in  relationships  and marriage should be 100/100 not 50/50, As long as it just as social acceptable( imo it is not now) for a man to stay home it doesn't bother me if many more woman want to handle the bulk of the childcare and many more men want to handle the bulk of the earning.


However  today most families have two spouses working full time.  If both spouses are working,  men should be helping with the domestic chores . I think they are which is why the men are  cooking. I also really grateful my husband  is a good cook.


I also think it makes a healthier society for men to have a closer relationship with their kids then they did historically.  I have an uncle who never changed any of his five kids diapers but has changed his grandkids diapers. His grandkids have a much  closer emotional relationship  with him than his kids.

We have discussed this before but while  think it is great that  there are more women in the workforce . I believe women returning to work  and family size shrinking   was cause by mostly by  economic reasons not feminist ones.   Also, why is it valuable that something is evolutionary successful anyway?.

 



GM,

Why are you asking why I dislike Sarah Palin?   You already know the answer.

There were  sexist attacks on Sarah Palin  and other conservatives some of it done by feminists who did not live up to their ideals  . She and other conservatives  were   correctly also defended by  feminists http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/09/sarah-palin-sexism-watch-6.html

There is also a reason that feminism is a separate movement from the rest of the left. Both the left and right have been sexist.  All women conservative, liberal, and  non political should should be defended from sexist attacks.
 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 09:53:32 AM by Rachel » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #267 on: August 16, 2009, 11:20:12 PM »

Rachel to GM: "Why are you asking why I dislike Sarah Palin?   You already know the answer."

A little cryptic for any newcomer.  Unless it was the wardrobe issue I think it means Sarah Palin (outrageously) believes human life begins at conception.  That supercedes Palin's support for Israel, disregards a fact Rachel posted that Jewish Law forbids the 98% of American abortions that are done for reasons of convenience, and brushes off Crafty's point that the issue constitutionally belongs with the states.
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rachelg
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« Reply #268 on: September 04, 2009, 11:51:24 PM »


Doug,
Sorry for the long delay
I wasn't so much going for cryptic as obnoxious. I'm sorry if you or anyone else was  looking for something with more depth.  Marc at one point told me I could discuss whatever I wanted and not participate in conversations I didn't want to. I'm taking him at his word.It is highly probable I will never again discuss abortion on this forum. Sarah Palin is a slightly different issue  I believe her actions speak for themselves and if you disagree that is fine.    As for the new visitors to the forum it is probably good for them to know I have a habit of exiting conversations just  when things get interesting.

Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 03:30 PDT
Feminists face off over the veil
http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/09/05/veil_debate/index.html


Pull up a chair and grab some popcorn, because there's another battle royal raging over the veil. In one corner, we have Naomi Wolf, third-wave feminist heavyweight and author of "The Beauty Myth," defending Muslim garb. In the other, we have Phyllis Chesler, second-waver and author of "The Death of Feminism," attacking both the veil and Wolf for daring to defend it.

    "I do not mean to dismiss the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women. Choice is everything"

The first shot was fired with the Sydney Morning Herald's publication of an article by Wolf headlined "Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality." She recounts her travels in Morocco, Jordan and Egypt, and the time she spent with women in "typical Muslim households." She observes, "It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling -- toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home." There was "demureness and propriety" outside of the home, "but inside, women were as interested in allure, seduction and pleasure as women anywhere in the world."

Then, Wolf turns to the inevitable comparison with Western styles of dress. Many of the Muslim women she spoke with said that revealing get-ups cause men to stare at and objectify them. Wearing a headscarf or chador, however, leads people to "relate to me as an individual, not an object," they told her. When Wolf went to the local bazaar wearing a shalwar kameez and a headscarf, which hid her womanly curves and wild hair, she "felt a novel sense of calm and serenity" and even, "in certain ways, free."

She ends the essay, however, with a colossal caveat:

    I do not mean to dismiss the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women. Choice is everything. But Westerners should recognise that when a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression. And, more importantly, when you choose your own miniskirt and halter top -- in a Western culture in which women are not so free to age, to be respected as mothers, workers or spiritual beings, and to disregard Madison Avenue -- it's worth thinking in a more nuanced way about what female freedom really means.

Wolf isn't defending forced veiling or even the veil itself. She's arguing in defense of women's individual experiences of veiling. Much like any decent anthropology 101 professor, Wolf is trying to force a shift in the perspective of her Western readers so that we might seriously consider the possibility that some Muslim women truly and legitimately see dressing scantily in public as repressive and experience covering up outside of their home as freeing. Let's not forget whom we're talking about here: Wolf penned "The Beauty Myth," a book that indicts all of the culturally specific ways that women's bodies are controlled and manipulated in the West.

Chesler is horrified by Wolf's argument and doesn't pull any punches in a blog response titled "The Burqa: Ultimate Feminist Choice?" It bears the taunting subhead: "Naomi Wolf Discovers That Shrouds Are Sexy." Chesler hyperbolizes Wolf's argument, suggesting that she sees women in chadors as "feminist ninja warriors" and "believes that the marital sex is hotter when women 'cover' and reveal their faces and bodies only to their husbands."

She goes on to contend that "most Muslim girls and women are not given a choice about wearing the chador, burqa, abaya, niqab, jilbab, or hijab (headscarf), and those who resist are beaten, threatened with death, arrested, caned or lashed, jailed, or honor murdered by their own families" and asks whether Wolf is so "thoroughly unfamiliar with the news coming out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan on these very subjects." (Never mind that Wolf is talking specifically about the experiences of women she encountered in Morocco, Jordan and Egypt, as well as those of women in France and Britain, where there is great political resistance to Muslim dress.) This caused Wolf to e-mail Chesler to ask that she correct "terrible inaccuracies" in the post. Chesler hit back, posting Wolf's e-mail along with a hostile response; yesterday, she posted a related item with the subhead, "The Hundred Year War Begins."

It's hardly the beginning, though. This feminist debate is long under way. The cultural relativists are firmly rooted on one side; the absolutists are on the other. We can agree on some common ground: It's appropriate, as Chesler suggests, to talk about, and fight against, the ways that the veil is used to control women.
(This article has been shortened )

I find this  article really interesting because modesty is something I  have mixed feelings about it. Judaism especially orthodox Judaism values it highly and I get the point but  I would certainly never take part in something that wouldn't let me wear jeans and thinks novel reading is bad.   


I do l believe that  in a healthy marriage partners should  have secrets that they only tell each other.  For both there should be aspects of your personality and parts of body that you are only sharing with each other.


 A women who did not touch men other than her husband or family members  talked about the first time she held her husband's hand as being incredibly  erotic.   I do clearly remember  the first time  I held my husband's hand  but since I  regularly shake hands and hug my male friends and acquaintances it probable didn't quite have the same zing. I definitively think having  the freedom to have male friends is worth it though.


Modesty often is only mentioned in relation to girls or woman and  the idea is clearly used to control woman


I don't see my self as a moral relativist or an absolutist.   I believe the veiling your hair could or could not be a healthy choice (assuming they have a choice) for a woman.   I don't believe the burqa or the total elimination of a public  persona for woman ever could be a health choice . 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #269 on: September 05, 2009, 11:03:05 AM »

"Marc at one point told me I could discuss whatever I wanted and not participate in conversations I didn't want to. I'm taking him at his word"

Absolutely!
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« Reply #270 on: September 06, 2009, 06:06:12 PM »

"Marc at one point told me I could discuss whatever I wanted and not participate in conversations I didn't want to. I'm taking him at his word"

Absolutely!

In other words, pin Rachel on a topic and she disappears in a puff of smoke.  evil
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #271 on: September 06, 2009, 06:56:31 PM »

Woof GM:

Rachel consistently brings excellent contributions to this forum, often from different perspectives than our usual ones.  The relentness nature of martian discourse is not where most venusians prefer to invest their energies.  She's a woman. That's the way it works  cheesy We're glad to have her here.

TAC!
Marc
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« Reply #272 on: September 07, 2009, 01:38:41 AM »

- Chesler Chronicles - http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler -

The Burqa: Ultimate Feminist Choice?

Posted By Phyllis Chesler On August 31, 2009 @ 8:10 am In Uncategorized | 214 Comments

Naomi Wolf Discovers That Shrouds Are Sexy

Women in chadors are really feminist ninja warriors. Rather than allow themselves to be gawked at by male strangers, they choose to defeat the “male gaze” by hiding from it in plain view.

But don’t you worry: Beneath that chador, abaya, burqa, or veil, there is a sexy courtesan wearing “Victoria Secret, elegant fashion, and skin care lotion,” just waiting for her husband to come home for a night of wild and sensuous marital lovemaking.

Obviously, these are not my ideas. I am quoting from a piece by Naomi Wolf [1] that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago. Yes, Wolf is the bubbly, feminist author who once advised Vice President Al “The Climate” Gore on what colors he should wear while campaigning and who is or was friendly with Gore’s daughter. Full disclosure: I have casually known Wolf and her parents for more than a quarter-century.

Wolf recently traveled to Morocco, Jordan, and Eygpt, where she found the women “as interested in allure, seduction, and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.” Whew! What a relief. She writes:

“Many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf. On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualizing Western gaze. … Many women said something like this: …’how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected.’ This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognizably Western feminist set of feelings.”

Really? If so, I’m the Queen of England.

Now that Wolf is no longer the doe-eyed ingenue of yesteryear, she sees the advantage of not being on view at all times. A Westerner, “playing” Muslim-dress up, Wolf claims that hiding in plain view gave her “a novel sense of calm and serenity. I felt, yes, in certain ways, free.” In addition, Wolf believes that the marital sex is hotter when women “cover” and reveal their faces and bodies only to their husbands.

Marabel Morgan lives! In the mid-1970s, Morgan advised wives to greet their husbands at the door wearing sexy clothing and/or transparent saran wrap with only themselves underneath. Her book, Total Woman, sold more than ten million copies. According to Morgan, a Christian, “It’s only when a woman surrenders her life to her husband, reveres and worships him and is willing to serve him, that she becomes really beautiful to him.”

Well, what can I say? Here’s a few things.

Most Muslim girls and women are not given a choice about wearing the chador, burqa, abaya, niqab, jilbab, or hijab (headscarf), and those who resist are beaten, threatened with death, arrested, caned or lashed, jailed, or honor murdered by their own families. Is Wolfe thoroughly unfamiliar with the news coming out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan on these very subjects? Has she forgotten the tragic, fiery deaths of those schoolgirls in Saudi Arabia who, in trying to flee their burning schoolhouse, were improperly veiled and who were beaten back by the all-powerful Saudi Morality Police?

Most Muslim girls and women are impoverished and wear rags, not expensive Western clothing beneath their coverings. Only the pampered, super-controlled, often isolated, and uber-materialistic daughters of wealth, mainly in the Gulf states, but also among the ruling classes in the Islamic world, match Wolf’s portrait of well kept courtesan-wives.

Being veiled and obedient does not save a Muslim girl or woman from being incested, battered, stalked, gang-raped, or maritally raped nor does it stop her husband from taking multiple wives and girlfriends or from frequenting brothels. A fully “covered” girl-child, anywhere between the ages of 10-15, may still be forced into an arranged marriage, perhaps with her first cousin, perhaps with a man old enough to be her grandfather, and she is not allowed to leave him, not even if he beats her black and blue every single day.

Wolf claims that she donned a “shalwar kameez and a headscarf” for a trip to the bazaar. I suggest that Wolf understand that the shalwar kameez and headscarf that she playfully wore in Morocco are not the problem.

I wonder how Wolf would feel if she’d donned a burqa, chador (full body bags) or niqab (face mask) for that same trip; how well she would do in an isolation chamber that effectively blocked her five senses and made it difficult, if not impossible, for her to communicate with others?

And, by the way, the eerie effect, ultimately, of shrouded women is that they become invisible. They cease to exist. They are literally ghosts.

Wolf presents the West as anti-woman because it treats women as sex objects. Am I happy about pornography and prostitution in the West? Hell no and, unlike Wolf, I’ve fought against them–but to portray these vices as a “Western” evil, and one that the Islamic world opposes, is sheer madness.

It is well known that the Arabs and Muslims kept and still keep sex slaves–they are very involved in the global trafficking in girls and women and frequent prostitutes on every continent. You will find pornography magazines in every princely tent–those for boys as well as for girls. I am told that the Saudis fly in fresh planeloads of Parisian prostitutes every week. Perhaps they veil them before they conduct their all-night and all-day orgies. Or, perhaps they view them as natural, “infidel” prey.

Let me suggest that Wolf read a book that is coming out in September, written by a Christian-American woman, Mary Laurel Ross, whose American Air Force husband trained the Saudi Air Force. It is called Veiled Honor and is a timely, comprehensive, “nuanced” (Wolf calls for “nuance” in our understanding of “female freedom”) account of her approximately fifteen year sojourn in Saudi Arabia. I would also suggest that Wolf read the works of Ayaan Hirsi Ali [2] (Infidel) and Nonie Darwish [3] (Cruel and Usual Punishment) for starters.

Then again, I suspect that Wolf is not necessarily looking for any “nuanced” truths about “female freedom” but is, rather, fishing for Saudi gold and positioning herself within the Democratic Party. After all, what she has written in this brief article supports President Obama’s position vis a vis the Muslim world.


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Article printed from Chesler Chronicles: http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler/2009/08/31/the-burqa-the-ultimate-feminist-choice/

URLs in this post:

[1] Naomi Wolf: http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/behind-the-veil-lives-a-thriving-muslim-sexuality/2008/08/29/1219516734637.html

[2] Ayaan Hirsi Ali: http://www.amazon.com/Infidel-Ayaan-Hirsi-Ali/dp/0743289692/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251730420&sr=8-1

[3] Nonie Darwish: http://www.amazon.com/Cruel-Usual-Punishment-Terrifying-Implications/dp/1595551611/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251730466&sr=1-1

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G M
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« Reply #273 on: September 07, 2009, 05:04:12 AM »

http://www.phyllis-chesler.com/books/the-death-of-feminism

The Death of Feminism.
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rachelg
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« Reply #274 on: September 07, 2009, 09:44:30 AM »

Marc,
Thank your for the kind words. I really appreciate it. I find  your posts and other others on this forum valuable  to me even when I don't agree with them.  You have done a really great job of  creating  a place where people of different belief systems can interact .   I really enjoy the ability to have  my own tiny soap box when I want it. 

 GM certainly has a right to think what he wants. I don't personally agree with his interpretation but he does have evidence to support his position.   Your interpretation of my behavior doesn't entirely make sense to me either.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #275 on: September 07, 2009, 02:30:11 PM »

It was an effort at humor, apparently unsuccessful cheesy
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« Reply #276 on: September 07, 2009, 05:24:46 PM »

Honor killing spreads when those whose who practice it emigrate to Western countries

The Muslim Wolf at Feminism’s Door

By Daniel Greenfield  Sunday, September 6, 2009

More than 5,000 women are victims of honor killings each year. Most of those women are Muslim, and while most of them are killed in Muslim countries—more and more of them are being killed in Europe, Canada and America. A 2007 study by Dr. Amin Muhammad and Dr. Sujay Patel in Canada’s Memorial Hospital observed that honor killing spreads when those whose who practice it emigrate to Western countries.

Honor killings however are only the final act in the drama of a Muslim woman’s life. Before that she is expected to walk behind a man, to be a second class citizen, to cover herself as much as possible in order to deflect male desire and to take the blame for the sexual intentions that men have toward her. She knows that if she fails to deflect male desire, she may suffer a variety of penalties from imprisonment to death. In countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran, those penalties are imposed by courts. In countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan, they are imposed by rough tribal justice. In the West, where there is no Islamic court system or tribal courts, they are imposed by the family.

The burka, the chador, the hijab or any of the other covering garments are assigned to Muslim women to “protect” them from men, and to protect men from them. These garments are meant to cover their “Awrah”, which in Arabic means nakedness, fault or defect. While for a Muslim man “Awrah” is only the swimsuit region, a Muslim woman is entirely “Awrah”.

Al-Qadhi Ibn-Al-Arabi Maliki states: “And all of a woman is ‘awrah; her body, her voice, and it is not permissible for her to uncover that unless out of necessity, or need such as witnessing in court, or a disease that is affecting her body…” [Ahkam Al Quran 3/1579]

Imam Al-Qurtubi stated went even further stating; “It is forbidden for a woman to speak when non-related men are present and it is forbidden for men to hear the voice of a non-mahram woman as long as there is no need for that.”


What that means is that all of a woman is “a zone of shame” and obscene. Even the sound of her voice is a form of “nakedness” or “lewdness”. Various Muslim authorities claim that this applies to even a woman’s fingernails and eyes. A woman who fails to dress this way is behaving obscenely and is open to being assaulted, as the Koranic verse which orders Muslim women to cover themselves makes clear.

“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested.” -Al-Ahzab:59 (Qur’an)

The key word here of course is “that they shall be known as such and not molested”. Conversely the failure to fully cover up (a covering that Mohammed demonstrated by cloaking himself and leaving only one eye uncovered in order to see) leaves them open to being molested under the code of “she was asking for it.”

In the wake of the brutal Sydney gang rapes in which the perpetrators told the victims and exchanged messages among themselves making it clear that the attacks were motivated by the girls being Australian and Christian, Australia’s top Muslim cleric, the infamous Sheikh Hilaly delivered a sermon stating;

“When it comes to rape, it’s 90 percent the woman’s responsibility. Why? Because a woman owns the weapon of seduction. It’s she who takes off her clothes, shortens them, flirts, puts on make-up and powder and takes to the streets, God protect us, dallying. It’s she who shortens, raises and lowers. Then, it’s a look, a smile, a conversation, a greeting, a talk, a date, a meeting, a crime, then Long Bay jail. Then you get a judge, who has no mercy, and he gives you 65 years.”

“But when it comes to this disaster, who started it? In his literature, writer al-Rafee says, if I came across a rape crime, I would discipline the man and order that the woman be jailed for life. Why would you do this, Rafee? He said because if she had not left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn’t have snatched it.


The “uncovered meat” were girls as young as 14, whom the attackers brutalized for hours. Their crime was that they were meat, and they had left themselves uncovered by failing to wear Chadours or Hijabs to prevent themselves from being “molested”.

This is the Muslim wolf that now stands growling outside the feminist door. The wolf dictates that women in any country with a sizable Muslim population have two choices, to cover up or be assaulted. By covering up the woman accepts her inferiority to the male. Refusing to do that could get her raped or killed. There is no third option within Islam. In Iraq, in Kashmir, in Pakistan; women have had acid thrown in their faces for not wearing the appropriate Muslim garb.

But why speak of countries under medieval Islamic laws, when you can speak of the “Free West”. A French survey found that 77 percent of the women who wear Hijabs did so because of threats by Islamist groups. 77 percent. France. We are not speaking about some backward little Third World nation where the tribal elders decide what goes. We are speaking of Paris, the glittering city of lights, the capital of art and music. The birthplace of Republican Europe.

This is what Hijab feminism looks like in France,

More often the girls were under orders from their fathers and uncles and brothers, and even their male classmates. For the boys, transforming a bluejeaned teen-age sister into a docile and observant “Muslim” virgin was a rite de passage into authority, the fast track to becoming a man, and more important, a Muslim man…. it was also a license for violence.

Girls who did not conform were excoriated, or chased, or beaten by fanatical young men meting out “Islamic justice.” Sometimes the girls were gang-raped. In 2002, an unveiled Muslim girl in the cite of Vitry-sur-Seine was burned alive by a boy she turned down.

Jane Kramer, Taking the Veil, New Yorker


Despite that 77 percent number, American feminists insist on fighting for “the right” of Muslim women in France and America to wear the veil. They might as well be fighting for the right of women to be barefoot and pregnant, since they are one and the same.

Much as they might eagerly parrot the propaganda of the Muslim Student Association, itself an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, regarding the veil being liberating, the veil is a statement of female submission and degradation. There is nothing feminist about being inferior. The hijab is part of a larger agenda to force Muslims in the West, and even non-Muslims to live under Islamic law. A law which states that women are inferior to men.


In the process apologists for Islam like Karen Armstrong or Noah Feldman misrepresent key Arabic words, for example defining “Awrah” as beauty, or “Zina” as meaning only adultery, or seizing on whatever property Sharia law allowed women to hold as feminist, while completely ignoring the larger issue that women were considered inferior by Mohammed and his men, and are considered inferior under Islamic law today. Not simply in theory, but in fact. A fact that expresses itself in the rapes, beatings and murders of women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, by Muslim men on a regular basis.

Rather than confront the threat to women posed by Islamic law, feminist authors like Naomi Wolf are instead claiming that the wolf is really a misunderstood poodle. They have tried to transform the Hijab into a statement of Muslim feminism, while completing ignoring the fact that the Hijab only exists because Islamic law views all of a woman as obscene and treats the woman’s presence in the public sphere as a source of Fitna and Zina, Discord and Immorality, that incites men to do immoral things, including rape her. Under Islam the woman is a threat to men that can only be rendered safe for men by fully covering her up and keeping her apart from men as much as possible.

Unfortunately Naomi Wolf, like most modern liberal feminists had no interest in defending those women

What does Naomi Wolf think is an urgent issue? Based on her blog, it isn’t women, but Muslim men. Specifically defending the sort of Muslim men who kill women who don’t wear the veil. Wolf’s blog is filled with posts fulminating against Guantanamo Bay and the plight of the Taliban and assorted other Islamists imprisoned there. The same men who if given a chance would have a knife to her neck in minutes.

This spring in Pakistan’s Sindh province alone, 40 honor killings took place. One woman took refuge in a police station, only to be handed over to her brother who killed her. A 14 year old girl was burned to death. Two women had acid poured on them after being raped. Two women had their noses chopped off for violating family honor. The Sindh province had been overrun by the Taliban.

Rather than writing about any of these women, Naomi Wolf instead wrote demanding to know “What Happened to Mohamed al-Hanashi?” Her article describes Mohamed al-Hanashi as “a young man” who could shed light on many crimes. Not the crimes of Islamist terrorists, but the crimes of the US in detaining in Islamist terrorists. At no point in time throughout the article does Naomi Wolf mention that Mohamed al-Hanashi was a member of the Taliban. The same Taliban which mandated complete covering for women, forbade women to be treated by male doctors or to get an education.

In April 2009, Sitara Achakzai, a leading women’s rights activist in Afghanistan, was murdered by the Taliban because she supported rights for women. 3 days later, Naomi Wolf did not write about her. Instead she wrote an article claiming that the American people had “blood on their hands” over Gitmo and demanded that we hold Nuremberg Trials to determine who gave the order to “torture” captured Al Queda and Taliban terrorists in order to gain information about future attacks against America.

Unfortunately Naomi Wolf, like most modern liberal feminists had no interest in defending those women, only in defending their abusers. While women were being murdered by the Taliban, she sweated blood and tears to defend members of the Taliban. Finally in August, Naomi Wolf went to a Muslim country, put on a headscarf and described how it made her feel free. That seems like a reasonable preparation for the sort of environment that Naomi Wolf and much of the feminist movement are helping to create for women in the West.


In 1984 the Party’s slogan is “Slavery is Freedom.” The political use of such an idea is that it is easier to enslave people, if they believe that being enslaved makes them free. It is why every one party Communist dictatorship made sure to call themselves a “Democratic People’s Republic”. It is why the Muslim Brotherhood fronts understand that it will be easier to sell Westerners on subjugation to Islam, if they believe that this subjugation makes them free.

For almost a decade, Wolf and those like her, have been assailing the brave men and women who helped liberate women from the Taliban… while fighting for the Taliban. In the name of freedom of course. The freedom of those who shot up girls’ schools, who threw teachers down staircases and beat women in the streets. Now the Muslim wolf has its snout thrust into half of Europe, into Australia, Canada and America. The honor killings continue to rise. Bodies continue to show up in hospitals and morgues. The bodies of the victims of Islam.


Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and freelance commentator. “Daniel comments on political affairs with a special focus on the War on Terror and the rising threat to Western Civilization. He maintains a blog at Sultanknish.blogspot.com.

Daniel can be reached at: sultanknish@yahoo.com



Printed from: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/14454
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rachelg
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« Reply #277 on: September 07, 2009, 08:15:01 PM »

I don't see France being a great example because France has surrendered years ago and  doesn't t protect it citizens period from Muslim thugs period .  Jewish students have been forced  to leave certain public schools because they were at risk and the principal told the parents I can't protect your child.

France should police those who commit violet crimes.


I  regularly see woman in grocery stores and on the train with their hair covered and there have not been any Muslim honor killings in the area.  I have also not heard of any rapes for woman not wearing the veil though that could be unreported. 

Are you against all religious  head coverings for woman or just the Muslim veil? Is an Orthodox Jewish  woman wearing a wig just as  repressed?   Is a hat okay but wigs aren't ?    I don't think wearing a veil or a wig is particularly  feminist but I see freedom of religion or  even freedom to make unhealthy choices as very important.Obviously feminism and religion or freedom and religion do not always coincide.


I do actually think that Islam is worse than Judaism because of how aggressive it is. Muslims don't just want to wear the veil themselves they want   wear all woman to wear  it as well,  Christianity though to a much much lesser degree also shares the fault with Islam of my way being the only right way,  Also historically Christianity converted with the sword.  Religion and Exteminism can go together easily but  I don't believe all Muslims are extremists. 


Obviously honor kipping and rape are bad but can't you prosecute  harshly  honor killings and rapes and still let woman  veil their hair

Isn't it possible to believe religious freedom is okay but religious coercion is not.

Are you saying the veil is like marijuana a gateway drug?

All good vacations must come to an end and it is likely I won't have time to post anything i write myself until this weekend.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #278 on: September 07, 2009, 08:34:55 PM »

I'm just posting a piece that caught my eye. I am agnostic leaning toward atheistic and find most outward religious manifestations silly, but if folks need to dress a certain way to please their imaginary omnipotent friend, that's fine by me as long as I'm allowed to shake my head. Do note that a lot of the young ladies I see being dropped off at the college where I work arrive in burkhas, then appear in regular college kid garb, and then re-don the burkha for the ride home. Can't help but assume those young ladies would skip the quick change if there wasn't a pressing reason for doing so.
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« Reply #279 on: September 07, 2009, 09:24:30 PM »



I do actually think that Islam is worse than Judaism because of how aggressive it is. Muslims don't just want to wear the veil themselves they want   wear all woman to wear  it as well,  Christianity though to a much much lesser degree also shares the fault with Islam of my way being the only right way,  Also historically Christianity converted with the sword.  Religion and Exteminism can go together easily but  I don't believe all Muslims are extremists. 

**Not every muslim is a jihadist, but every jihadist is a muslim. When christians converted by the sword, it was in violation with of core christian concepts, when muslims convert by the sword, it is in keeping with core islamic concepts.**

Obviously honor kipping and rape are bad but can't you prosecute  harshly  honor killings and rapes and still let woman  veil their hair

Isn't it possible to believe religious freedom is okay but religious coercion is not.

Are you saying the veil is like marijuana a gateway drug?

All good vacations must come to an end and it is likely I won't have time to post anything i write myself until this weekend.
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« Reply #280 on: September 07, 2009, 10:12:19 PM »

How to Defeat the Left
 By: David Horowitz
NewsReal | Friday, September 04, 2009



Visit NewsReal

I’ve been following the Newsreal debate between Phyllis Chesler and Jamie Glazov on the one hand and Naomi Wolf, who thinks America, the most “liberated” country on the face of the earth by any — any — progressive standard (treatment of minorities, of women, of the poor, freedom of the individual), is a proto-fascist state and needs a revolution, while the Islamo-fascist enemy, the greatest oppressor of women and minorities ever, needs a wrist slap. Wolf’s moral blindness is just a one minor instance of the general moral vacuity of progressives which for a hundred years has put them on the side of the totalitarian enemies of freedom and inspired their assault against the West.


This led Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and former chief of Israel’s Defense Forces, to describe the left as a “virus.” Actually, as Aaron Shuster pointed out in an email which I am about to cite, one could also say the left is in the grips of a virus — a virus that attacks its brain cells and makes it incapable of ingesting real world facts and consequently of arriving at reasonable judgments.

Radical feminism is one form of the virus. It is an ideology grown out of Marxism whose enemy is the freedom of the individual from collective control, and the freedom of society from the totalitarian state. That is why radical feminists are incapable of seeing the anti-feminist monster in Islam: because Islam is now the center of the revolt against the feminists’ real enemy, which is us.

The progressive virus is a religious virus. Political radicalism is an expression of the inability of human beings to live without meaning; it is the replacement of the hope for a divine redemption in a redemption by political activists, which inevitably leads to a totalitarian state.

The consequences of infection by the virus are described in my email from Shuster, who quotes writer Mladen Andrijasevic:
“The virus totally blocks the person from the ability to access, let alone comprehend, any facts and evidence that contradict his or her beliefs. Mountains of data have zero effect on already established views, simply because the person flatly rejects considering reading anything that would go against their ‘truth’. The person is terrified to look beyond his established viewpoint. They behave like the Church at the times of Galileo. They refuse to look through the telescope. For instance, during the past eight years, on numerous occasions, I have recommended to my left-wing friends several books on Islam by Ibn Warraq, Ibn Ishaq, Robert Spencer and others. Many borrowed the books, but they were never read. The power of the virus was stronger. The results of my eight-year effort were meager. Two people have read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”
The strength of the virus derives from the meaning it supplies to meaningless lives, and the consequent good feelings — intoxicated feelings of virtue and self-righteousness — experienced by the devoted. Here Shuster quotes Melanie Phillips:
“A vital part of leftist thinking is the assumption that to be on the left is the only sensible/decent/principled position to hold and therefore cannot ever be wrong; and that is because to differ from the left is to be of ‘the right’, and the right is irredeemably evil. (The idea that to be opposed to the left is not necessarily to be on ‘the right’ or indeed to take any position other than to oppose ideology and its brutal effects is something that the left simply cannot get its head round). And so the true nightmare is that if ‘the right’ turns out to be actually right on anything and the left to be wrong, by accepting this fact the left-winger will by his own definition turn into an evil right-winger. His entire moral and political identity will crumble and he will grow horns and a tail. So to prevent any possibility of this catastrophe occurring, the opponent has to be eliminated.”
This why the only argument that leftists have in their public encounters with others is not an argument at all but an indictment: racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe. In the religion of leftists — in the fevered universe of the virus — the world is an endless plain of battle in which forces of Good (leftists) are ranged against the forces of Evil (the rest of us). At stake is the redemption of the world — or as the environmental totalitarians like to put it, the survival of the planet. No wonder they are deaf to any fact or argument that would bring them back to earth.
 
The only way to defeat the left — and I have failed in twenty years of arguing this to persuade conservatives  — is to turn the table around and attack their moral self-image. Leftists are in fact the enemies and oppressors of women, children, gays, minorities and the poor, and conservatives should never confront them without reminding them of this fact. If Naomi Wolf and her radical friends had their way, America would be disarmed and radical Islam would be triumphant and women would be back in the Middle Ages, and the rest of us along with them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.
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« Reply #281 on: September 25, 2009, 07:01:00 PM »

The insanity of same-sex parenting
David van Gend | 14 September 2009

I was at Pizza Hut with my three primary-age sons just after an Australian children's program, Play School, aired its lesbian "two mothers" episode. My youngest son asked very seriously, "Daddy, can two boys marry?" and the middle son stepped in, "No, but two girls can marry. They were talking about it at school".

I do not like strangers messing with the minds of my children. I object to anybody inserting disturbing notions into their sanely happy understanding of marriage and family.

Yet the disturbance is becoming all-pervasive, with an Australian Senate enquiry into the Greens-sponsored Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009, and the launch this week of a national television campaign for gay marriage. From the commanding heights of culture come strange decrees that two women, or two men, are just as good as a mother and father when it comes to raising a child. Who are these surreal city-dwellers, so out of touch with nature?

In the northern state of Queensland it was Premier Anna Bligh who announced last month that two men will be allowed to get a baby of their own by surrogacy. In Western Australia two homosexual men have already been given a child by adoption. In the southern state of Victoria two women are allowed to obtain a child using a stranger’s sperm, and be named as that child’s "two parents" on the birth certificate.

Think from the child’s perspective. A little girl should not have to look up and see two erotically involved men posing as her "parents". No matter how competent and caring a lesbian partner may be, she can never be a Dad to a young boy. Little children must not be subjected, by the law of the land, to a prolonged and uncontrolled experiment on their emotional development.

Anger with such governmental child abuse is entirely consistent with neighbourly friendliness to those fellow citizens afflicted with same-sex attraction. All privacy and respect is to be given to adults who have to live with this profoundly complex condition, but no little child is to be made to participate in their affliction.

A baby needs the love of both her mother and her father! How can anyone with normal experience of life question that? Certainly there are tragedies of a parent’s death or desertion which destroy the foundation of many a child’s world -- but that is a tragedy nobody would ever wish upon a child. Yet here the state deliberately inflicts this tragedy upon an innocent baby by decreeing that he or she will enter the world without even the possibility of both a Mum and a Dad.

No politicians have the authority to so violate the primal needs of a child or mess with the deep sanity of nature.

In such a debate, evidence from social science has only a secondary role. Certainly the best-designed studies confirm the obvious -- that a child does best in every respect when raised by his or her own parents, or in the nearest equivalent context of an adopting mother and father. In the light of this research, the American College of Pediatricians in 2004 concludes: "The environment in which children are reared is absolutely critical to their development. Given the current body of research, the American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation. This position is rooted in the best available science."

However, nobody needs to resort to "the best available science" to defend the obvious insight that a little child needs both a mother and a father. The judgment of anyone who cannot see this as a self-evident fact of life, as the most commonsense and necessary condition of a child’s wellbeing, is suspect.

As for political strategy, pro-family activists sometimes forget that defending marriage is meaningless if they cannot defend the right of a child to a natural upbringing. If homosexual adults are disallowed from calling their union "marriage" but are still allowed to obtain children by artificial means, then marriage is a dead word.

That is because marriage is primarily a license to form a family, not merely a license for sexual relations. As atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in Marriage and Morals (1929): "It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution." Homosexual acts cannot create children; therefore the State has no interest in regulating homosexual relationships.

The legal institution of marriage buttresses a biological phenomenon for the sake of social stability. It is society’s way of binding a feral-by-nature male to his mate and his child, in order that a child can benefit from the complementary nurture of both a mother and father.

As David Blankenhorn wrote in The Future of Marriage (2007): "Marriage is fundamentally about the needs of children… Redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples would eliminate entirely in law, and weaken still further in culture, the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child."

Nothing less is at stake than that an innocent child, first opening her eyes in this world, should see the faces of those two people, her own mother and father, who together gave her life, not the faces of two men who will be her technologically-contrived, State-decreed "parents".

Time is running out to restrain the social vandals who write laws in our land. As Blankenhorn warned: "Once this proposed reform (of gay marriage) became law, even to say the words out loud in public -- ‘Every child needs a father and a mother’ -- would probably be viewed as explicitly divisive and discriminatory, possibly even as hate speech."

For the sake of all children yet to be born we must despise threats of "hate speech" and say out loud that every child needs the love of a father and a mother.

Dr David van Gend is a family doctor in Toowoomba, Australia.
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Freki
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« Reply #282 on: September 27, 2009, 08:39:55 AM »

That is one of the best arguments I have heard against gay marriage.  He puts the emphasis right where it belongs, the root of our society, children.
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G M
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« Reply #283 on: September 27, 2009, 08:51:56 AM »

I doubt many here that would want the power of the state used to interfere in the intimate affairs of consenting adults, just that we would avoid having the homosexual political agenda forced on us by the power of the state as well.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #284 on: September 27, 2009, 08:57:22 AM »

Exactly.
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rachelg
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« Reply #285 on: November 03, 2009, 09:15:46 PM »

http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/feature/2009/11/02/kristof_fistula/index.html

To print this page, select "Print" from the File menu of your browser
Women with fistula: "The lepers of the 21st century"
Millions of women worldwide suffer from incontinence, infection and resulting stigma that a $300 surgery could fix

Kate Harding

Nov. 02, 2009 |

Among the many dangers, miseries and horrors experienced by millions of women worldwide and highlighted in Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's new book, "Half the Sky," obstetric fistulas -- small tears between the bladder and vagina or rectum and vagina, most often created during childbirth, leaving the woman incontinent -- are one of the few problems with an obvious solution. They're also one of the most invisible problems to those of us who live in wealthy countries where giving birth has become a much safer process, and fistula repair is easily accessed when necessary. But the 3 million to 4 million women living with untreated fistulas worldwide, wrote Kristof in the New York Times this weekend, are "the lepers of the 21st century." A woman with the condition "stinks. She becomes a pariah. She is typically abandoned by her husband and forced to live by herself on the edge of her village. She is scorned, bewildered, humiliated and desolate, often feeling cursed by God."

In a 2006 essay for Salon, American writer Abby Frucht described the experience of living with a fistula for five months between the hysterectomy that caused it (the doctor accidentally cut a hole between her bladder and vagina during surgery) and the time when she was healed enough to go in for the repair. Frucht availed herself of the accessible  luxuries of a developed country -- adult disposable diapers, catheters, doctors who knew what to do about the infections fistula typically causes. And still, her description of how this tiny hole came to restrict her movements, affect her relationships, ruin her possessions, and routinely frustrate and humiliate her is shocking. "There's no sense rushing [to the toilet], no sense in toilets at all," she writes. "There's only this upended pitcher that I struggle to maintain is ordinary." Having some control over the time and place of elimination, something most of us take for granted, begins to look like a priceless gift. After she gets soaked in urine while shopping for a new coat, Frucht says, "The girls at the counter wrinkle their noses, stifle their horror. I imagine them making their casual way to a bathroom, relieving themselves. I imagine them wiping, drying themselves. Every woman I see, I think of this."

Frucht had to live that way for five months, with the support of a loving boyfriend who, in response to her fear that she'd be incontinent forever, said, "If there's nothing they can do about it, we'll live with it, Hon." Dr. Lewis Wall, an OB-GYN at Washington University in St. Louis, told Kristof, "In Liberia, I saw a woman who had developed a fistula 35 years earlier. It turned out to be a tiny injury; it took 20 minutes to repair it. For want of a 20-minute operation, this woman had lived in a pool of urine for 35 years." Of that surgery, which costs about $300, he says, "this is life-transforming for everybody who gets it done. It's astonishing. You take a human being who has been in the abyss of despair and -- boom! -- you have a transformed woman. She has her life back."

Since 1995, when he founded the Worldwide Fistula Fund, Lewis "has been campaigning tirelessly year after year to build a fistula hospital in West Africa." Finally, one is going to be built -- next to a leprosy hospital -- in Niger, with the aim not only of repairing fistulas but "organiz[ing] outreach efforts to promote maternal health and reduce deaths in childbirth. It will also undertake education and microfinance efforts to empower women more broadly." Lewis has a plan to build 40 such hospitals in developing countries, with the goal of eradicating fistula across the globe, at a cost of $1.5 billion, which he hopes Congress will approve as an American foreign aid program. Says Kristof, "I can't imagine a better use of foreign assistance dollars -- or better symbolism than having the most powerful nation on earth reach out to help the most stigmatized, suffering people on the planet."

To create the will to help those people, though, more of us will have to acknowledge that the problem exists and overcome our squeamishness enough to think and talk about it, to imagine "suffering constant infection and dripping urine, or feces, wherever [you] roam," as Frucht put it. We'll have to imagine what it's like to be shunned by your family and community for an injury that could be repaired with a short, $300 operation -- but never will be if you don't live in an area with a hospital equipped to do it. Kristof and WuDunn have brought attention to a long list of agonies and atrocities faced by women around the world, which, taken together, are so overwhelming it's hard to know where to begin addressing them. But here is one that actually has a clear solution that would immeasurably improve millions of lives. 

-- Kate Harding

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G M
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« Reply #286 on: November 03, 2009, 09:56:00 PM »

Wow. I had no idea.  shocked
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #287 on: November 04, 2009, 06:18:00 PM »

Me neither. cry
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G M
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« Reply #288 on: November 04, 2009, 06:58:22 PM »

Of course, the best chance most women in the 3rd world have of getting treatment for this will be from those icky christian missionaries or US military personnel.
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rachelg
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« Reply #289 on: November 04, 2009, 08:34:29 PM »

Here is an non-profit that helps

http://www.fistulafoundation.org/
November 1, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist
New Life for the Pariahs
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/opinion/01kristof.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

Perhaps the most wretched people on this planet are those suffering obstetric fistulas.

This is a childbirth injury, often suffered by a teenager in Africa or Asia whose pelvis is not fully grown. She suffers obstructed labor, has no access to a C-section, and endures internal injuries that leave her incontinent — steadily trickling urine and sometimes feces through her vagina.

She stinks. She becomes a pariah. She is typically abandoned by her husband and forced to live by herself on the edge of her village. She is scorned, bewildered, humiliated and desolate, often feeling cursed by God.

I’ve met many of these women — or, often, girls of 13, 14, 15 — in half a dozen countries, for there are three million or four million of them around the world. They are the lepers of the 21st century.

Just about the happiest thing that can happen to such a woman is an encounter with Dr. Lewis Wall, an ob-gyn at Washington University in St. Louis. A quiet, self-effacing but relentless man of 59, Dr. Wall has devoted his life to helping these most voiceless of the voiceless, promoting the $300 surgeries that repair fistulas and typically return the patients to full health.

“There’s no more rewarding experience for a surgeon than a successful fistula repair,” Dr. Wall reflected. “There are a lot of operations you do that solve a problem — I can take out a uterus that has a tumor in it. But this is life-transforming for everybody who gets it done. It’s astonishing. You take a human being who has been in the abyss of despair and — boom! — you have a transformed woman. She has her life back.”

“In Liberia, I saw a woman who had developed a fistula 35 years earlier. It turned out to be a tiny injury; it took 20 minutes to repair it. For want of a 20-minute operation, this woman had lived in a pool of urine for 35 years.”

Dr. Wall started out as an anthropologist working in West Africa, and he speaks Hausa, an African language. But he concluded that the world needed doctors more than it needed anthropologists, so at age 27 he went to medical school.

He has had a dazzling career as an academic, writing several books and scores of journal articles, but his passion has been ending the scourge of fistulas. In 1995, he founded the Worldwide Fistula Fund, and he has been campaigning tirelessly year after year to build a fistula hospital in West Africa. That has been his life, his dream.

Now it is a reality.

The West African country of Niger recently approved Dr. Wall’s plan for a fistula hospital, affiliated with an existing leprosy hospital run by SIM, a Christian missionary organization. Eventually, when $850,000 in fund-raising is complete, a new 40-bed fistula hospital, modeled on the extremely successful Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital of Ethiopia, will rise on vacant ground next to the leprosy hospital. (For information on how to help, please visit my blog, nytimes.com/ontheground.)

For the time being, an existing operating theater in the leprosy hospital has been renovated for fistula repairs. Dr. Wall has already shipped a container of medical supplies to Niger, and he expects to go with a team to conduct the first fistula repairs there in December.

The day the final approval came through, Dr. Wall sent me an elated e-mail message with the news. “There are tears in my eyes,” he wrote.

Aside from repairing fistulas, the hospital will also organize outreach efforts to promote maternal health and reduce deaths in childbirth. It will also undertake education and microfinance efforts to empower women more broadly.

It could be just the beginning. The new hospital is part of a grand vision to eradicate fistulas worldwide by building 40 such hospitals in the world’s poorest countries. The plan, drawn up by Dr. Wall, would cost $1.5 billion over 12 years and operate as an American foreign aid program.

I can’t imagine a better use of foreign assistance dollars — or better symbolism than having the most powerful nation on earth reach out to help the most stigmatized, suffering people on the planet. The proposal for the global plan is circulating in Congress, the State Department and the White House, as well as among religious and aid organizations that are lining up to back it. President Obama hasn’t signaled a position yet, but I hope he will seize upon it.

The new fistula hospital in Niger is a tribute to the heroic doggedness of Dr. Wall, and with luck it will be replicated in many other countries. Anybody who has seen a fistula patient after surgery — a teenager’s shy, radiant smile at something so simple as being able to control her wastes — can’t conceive of a better investment.

I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #290 on: December 28, 2009, 10:01:53 AM »

Frankly, a lot of this PC by Pravda on the Hudson, apparently the first of a series, strikes me as PC drivel.  Liberals and women are shocked! absolutely schocked! to discover that men in combat zones makes "inappropriate passes", stalk, intimidate, and worse. 

Maybe the traditional Army knew something when the idea of putting women into combat zones first arose?!?   

I've never served and stand ready to be educated by those who have, but to me even the sub-title of the series "a trust betrayed" bespeaks an appeal to "damsel in distress" archetypes.

=========================

Women at Arms
A Peril in War Zones: Sexual Abuse by Fellow G.I.’s

By STEVEN LEE MYERS
Published: December 27, 2009
BAGHDAD — Capt. Margaret H. White began a relationship with a warrant officer while both were training to be deployed to Iraq. By the time they arrived this year at Camp Taji, north of here, she felt what she called “creepy vibes” and tried to break it off.

Specialist Erica A. Beck, a mechanic and gunner who served in in Iraq, recalled a sexual proposition she called “inappropriate.” She did not report it, she said, because she feared that her commanders would have reacted harshly — toward her.

Women at Arms
A Trust Betrayed



In the claustrophobic confines of a combat post, it was not easy to do. He left notes on the door to her quarters, alternately pleading and menacing. He forced her to have sex, she said. He asked her to marry him, though he was already married. He waited for her outside the women’s latrines or her quarters, once for three hours.

“It got to the point that I felt safer outside the wire,” Captain White said, referring to operations that take soldiers off their heavily fortified bases, “than I did taking a shower.”

Her ordeal ended with the military equivalent of a restraining order and charges of stalking against the officer. It is one case that highlights the new and often messy reality the military has had to face as men and women serve side by side in combat zones more than ever before.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault, which the military now defines broadly to include not only rape but also crimes like groping and stalking, continue to afflict the ranks, and by some measures are rising. While tens of thousands of women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, often in combat, often with distinction, the integration of men and women in places like Camp Taji has forced to the surface issues that commanders rarely, if ever confronted before.

The military — belatedly, critics say — has radically changed the way it handles sexual abuse in particular, expanding access to treatment and toughening rules for prosecution. In the hardships of war, though, the effects of the changes remain unclear.

The strains of combat, close quarters in remote locations, tension and even boredom can create the conditions for abuse, even as they hinder medical care for victims and legal proceedings against those who attack them.

Captain White said she had feared coming forward, despite having become increasingly despondent and suffered panic attacks, because she was wary of she-said-he-said recriminations that would reverberate through the tightknit military world and disrupt the mission. Despite the military’s stated “zero tolerance” for abuse or harassment, she had no confidence her case would be taken seriously and so tried to cope on her own, Captain White said.

A Pentagon-appointed task force, in a report released this month, pointedly criticized the military’s efforts to prevent sexual abuse, citing the “unique stresses” of deployments in places like Camp Taji. “Some military personnel indicated that predators may believe they will not be held accountable for their misconduct during deployment because commanders’ focus on the mission overshadows other concerns,” the report said.

That, among other reasons, is why sexual assault and harassment go unreported far more often than not. “You’re in the middle of a war zone,” Captain White said, reflecting a fear many military women describe of being seen, somehow, as harming the mission.

“So it’s kind of like that one little thing is nothing compared with ‘There is an I.E.D. that went off in this convoy today and three people were injured,’ ” she said, referring to an improvised explosive device.

Common Fears

By the Pentagon’s own estimate, as few as 10 percent of sexual assaults are reported, far lower than the percentage reported in the civilian world. Specialist Erica A. Beck, a mechanic and gunner who served in Diyala Province in Iraq this summer, recalled a sexual proposition she called “inappropriate” during her first tour in the country in 2006-7. “Not necessarily being vulgar, but he, you know, was asking for favors,” she said.

She did not report it, she said, because she feared that her commanders would have reacted harshly — toward her.

“It was harassment,” she said. “And because it was a warrant officer, I didn’t say anything. I was just a private.”

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Page 2 of 4)



Her fears were common, according to soldiers and advocates who remain skeptical of the military’s efforts to address abuse. A report last year by the Government Accountability Office concluded that victims were reluctant to report attacks “for a variety of reasons, including the belief that nothing would be done or that reporting an incident would negatively impact their careers.”


When Sgt. Tracey R. Phillips told a superior about an unwanted sexual advance from a private the night their unit arrived in Iraq in May, the accusations unleashed a flurry of charges and countercharges, an initial investigation of her on charges of adultery, a crime in the military justice system, and, according to her account, violations by her commanders of the new procedures meant to ease reporting of abuse.

In the end, she was kicked out of Iraq and the Army itself, while the private remained on duty here.

The military disputed her account but declined to state the reasons for sending her out of Iraq. Her paperwork showed that she received an honorable discharge, though with “serious misconduct” cited as the reason. The so-called misconduct, she said, stemmed from the Army’s allegation that she had had an inappropriate relationship with the private she accused. She denied that.

“If I would have never, ever, ever said anything, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” she said in an interview at her parents’ home near San Antonio. “I’d still be in Iraq.”

At bases around Iraq, many said that acceptance and respect for women in uniform were now more common than the opposite. In part, they said, that reflects a sweeping change in military culture that has accompanied the rise of women through the ranks and into more positions once reserved for men.

“It’s not tolerated — it’s just not,” said Lt. Brenda L. Beegle, a married military police officer, referring to sexual harassment and abuse.

In an interview at Liberty Base, near Baghdad’s airport, she said: “Everyone has heard stories about bad things that have happened. I’ve never had an issue.”

Although exact comparisons to the civilian world are difficult because of different methods of defining and reporting abuse, Pentagon officials and some experts say that the incidence of abuse in the military appears to be no higher than in society generally, and might be lower. It appears to be even lower in combat operations than at bases in the United States, because of stricter discipline and scrutiny during deployments, as well as restrictions on alcohol, which is often a factor in assaults, for example, on college campuses.

Complaints Increase

The number of complaints, though, is rising. Across the military, there were 2,908 reported cases of sexual abuse involving service members as victims or assailants, in the fiscal year that ended in September 2008, the last year for which the Pentagon made numbers available. That was an 8 percent increase from the previous year, when there were 2,688.

In the turbulent regions from Egypt to Afghanistan where most American combat troops are now deployed, the increase in reported cases was even sharper: 251 cases, compared with 174 the year before, a 44 percent increase. The number in Iraq rose to 143, from 112 the year before. Everyone agrees that those represent only a fraction of the instances of assault, let alone harassment.

“A woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat from California, said at a Congressional hearing this year, repeating an assertion she has made a refrain in a campaign of hers to force the military to do more to address abuses.

At least 10 percent of the victims in the last year were men, a reality that the Pentagon’s task force said the armed services had done practically nothing to address in terms of counseling, treatment and prosecution. Men are considered even less likely to report attacks, officials said, because of the stigma, and fears that their own sexual orientation would be questioned. In the majority of the reported cases, the attacker was male.

Senior Pentagon officials argued that the increase in reports did not necessarily signify a higher number of attacks. Rather, they said, there is now a greater awareness as well as an improved command climate, encouraging more victims to come forward.

“We believe the increase in the number of reported cases means the department is capturing a greater proportion of the cases that occurred during the year, which is good news,” said the Pentagon’s senior official overseeing abuse policies, Kaye Whitley.

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The military can no more eradicate sexual abuse than can society in general, but soldiers, officers and experts acknowledge that it is particularly harmful when soldiers are in combat zones, affecting not only the victims but also, as the military relies more than ever on women when the nation goes to war, the mission.

“For the military the potential costs are even higher as it can also negatively impact mission readiness,” the Pentagon’s annual report on sexual abuse said, referring to sexual violence. “Service members risk their lives for one another and bear the responsibility of keeping fellow service members out of harm’s way. Sexual assault in the military breaks this bond.”

Even investigations into accusations, which are often difficult to prove, can disrupt operations. In Sergeant Phillips’s case, she was relieved of her duties leading a squad of soldiers refueling emergency rescue helicopters and other aircraft at Camp Kalsu, south of Baghdad.

Cases like hers suggest that the vagaries of sex and sexual abuse, especially in combat zones, continue to vex commanders on the ground, despite the transformation of the military’s policies.

The majority of sexual abuse allegations end with no prosecution at all. Of 2,171 suspects of investigations that were completed during the fiscal year that ended in September 2008, only 317 faced a court-martial. Another 515 faced administrative punishments or discharges. Nearly half of the completed investigations lacked evidence or were “unsubstantiated or unfounded.”

The Pentagon, facing criticism, maintains that it has transformed the way it handles sexual abuse. In the wake of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as highly publicized cases and revelations of rampant abuse at the Air Force Academy in 2003, the Pentagon created a single agency to oversee the issue and rewrote the rules of reporting, treatment and prosecution. Beginning in October 2007, the Uniform Code of Military Justice expanded the provision that once covered rape — Article 120 — to include other offenses, like indecent exposure and stalking.

The Army, which has provided the bulk of the forces in Iraq, has increased the number of investigators and lawyers trained to investigate accusations. Most bases now have kits to collect forensic evidence in rape cases, which was not the case immediately after the invasion in 2003.

Larger field hospitals in Balad and Mosul now have the same type of sexual assault nurse examiners widely used in the civilian world, as well as a dozen other examiners who are not nurses but are trained to conduct forensic examinations.

The military has set up a system of confidential advisers women can turn to who are outside the usual chain of command — an avenue Sergeant Phillips said she had been denied.

If they want to, the women can now seek medical treatment and counseling without setting off a criminal investigation. And all the services have started educational programs to address aspects of a hierarchical warrior culture that some say contributes to hostility toward women. Posters for the campaign blanket bulletin boards in offices, chow halls and recreational buildings on bases across Iraq.

The military’s efforts, however well intentioned, are often undermined by commanders who are skeptical or even conflicted, suspicious of accusations and fearful that reports of abuse reflect badly on their commands. The Pentagon task force also reported that victims of assault did not come forward because they might “have engaged in misconduct for which they could be disciplined, such as under-age drinking, fraternization or adultery.”

Marti Ribeiro, then an Air Force sergeant, said she was raped by another soldier after she stepped away from a guard post in Afghanistan in 2006 to smoke a cigarette, a story first recounted in “The Lonely Soldier,” a book by Helen Benedictabout women who served in Iraq and elsewhere. When she went to the abuse coordinator, she was threatened with prosecution for having left her weapon and her post.

“I didn’t get any help at all, let alone compassion,” said Ms. Ribeiro, who has since retired and joined the Service Women’s Action Network, a new advocacy organization devoted to shaping the Pentagon’s policy.

The hardships of combat operations often compound the anguish of victims and complicate investigations, as well as counseling and treatment. The Government Accountability Office suggested that the “unique living and social circumstances” of combat posts heightened the risk for assault. Both the G.A.O. and the Pentagon’s task force found that, despite the Pentagon’s policy, remote bases did not have adequate medical and mental health services for victims. The task force also found that abuse coordinators and victim advocates were often ill trained or absent.

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Page 4 of 4)



As a result, victims often suffer the consequences alone, working in the heat and dust, living in trailers surrounded by gravel and concrete blast walls, with nowhere private to retreat to. In Captain White’s case, she had to work and live beside the man who assaulted and stalked her until their deployment ended in August and they both went home.



“You’re in such a fishbowl,” she said. “You can’t really get away from someone. You see him in the chow hall. You see him in the gym.”

The Danger Nearby

Captain White’s case is typical of many here, according to military lawyers and experts, in that she knew the man she said assaulted her, circumstances that complicated the investigation and prosecution.

She had dated the warrant officer when they arrived in Fort Dix, N.J., for predeployment training with the 56th Stryker Combat Team. The newly revised article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice says that “a current or previous dating relationship by itself” does not constitute consent.

Once at Camp Taji, a sprawling base just north of Baghdad, she grew troubled by his behavior. He cajoled her with presents and sent her e-mail messages. She said that for fear of running into him, she stopped drinking water after 7 p.m. so she would not have to go to the latrine at night alone.

She never came forward herself. Her case came to light only when military prosecutors questioned her about another investigation involving the warrant officer. He was ultimately charged with 19 offenses, said Lt. Col. Philip J. Smith, a spokesman for the division that oversaw operations in central Iraq. The charges included seven counts of fraternization and two of adultery, interfering with an investigation and, in Captain White’s case, stalking.

After their deployment ended in September, the officer pleaded guilty and resigned from the Army in lieu of prosecution, Colonel Smith said.

Captain White said that she was satisfied with the legal outcome of her case, though her account of it highlighted the emotional strains that sexual abuse causes.

“I’m not saying that I handled it the best way,” she said in an interview after her own retirement from the Army, “but I handled it at the time and in the situation what I thought was the best way, which was just to keep my head down, keep going — which was kind of an Army thing to say: Drive on.”
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rachelg
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« Reply #291 on: January 17, 2010, 09:50:09 AM »


I don't  agree with everything in this article but I found it fascinating and I think most women and many  men who don't self promote should read it. The comment section is excellent.    I would say that part of the solution to woman not knowing how to sell themselves is education and mentoring.   There is swearing in the article.

A Rant About Women
http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2010/01/a-rant-about-women/comment-page-2/#comments

So I get email from a good former student, applying for a job and asking for a recommendation. “Sure”, I say, “Tell me what you think I should say.” I then get a draft letter back in which the student has described their work and fitness for the job in terms so superlative it would make an Assistant Brand Manager blush.

So I write my letter, looking over the student’s self-assessment and toning it down so that it sounds like it’s coming from a person and not a PR department, and send it off. And then, as I get over my annoyance, I realize that, by overstating their abilities, the student has probably gotten the best letter out of me they could have gotten.

Now, can you guess the gender of the student involved?

Of course you can. My home, the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, is fairly gender-balanced, and I’ve taught about as many women as men over the last decade. In theory, the gender of my former student should be a coin-toss. In practice, I might as well have given him the pseudonym Moustache McMasculine for all the mystery there was. And I’ve grown increasingly worried that most of the women in the department, past or present, simply couldn’t write a letter like that.

This worry isn’t about psychology; I’m not concerned that women don’t engage in enough building of self-confidence or self-esteem. I’m worried about something much simpler: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.

Remember David Hampton, the con artist immortalized in “Six Degrees of Separation”, who pretended he was Sydney Poitier’s son? He lied his way into restaurants and clubs, managed to borrow money, and crashed in celebrity guest rooms. He didn’t miss the fact that he was taking a risk, or that he might suffer. He just didn’t care.

It’s not that women will be better off being con artists; a lot of con artists aren’t better off being con artists either. It’s just that until women have role models who are willing to risk incarceration to get ahead, they’ll miss out on channelling smaller amounts of self-promoting con artistry to get what they want, and if they can’t do that, they’ll get less of what they want than they want.

There is no upper limit to the risks men are willing to take in order to succeed, and if there is an upper limit for women, they will succeed less. They will also end up in jail less, but I don’t think we get the rewards without the risks.

* * *
When I was 19 and three days into my freshman year, I went to see Bill Warfel, the head of grad theater design (my chosen profession, back in the day), to ask if I could enroll in a design course. He asked me two questions. The first was “How’s your drawing?” Not so good, I replied. (I could barely draw in those days.) “OK, how’s your drafting?” I realized this was it. I could either go for a set design or lighting design course, and since I couldn’t draw or draft well, I couldn’t take either.

“My drafting’s fine”, I said.

That’s the kind of behavior I mean. I sat in the office of someone I admired and feared, someone who was the gatekeeper for something I wanted, and I lied to his face. We talked some more and then he said “Ok, you can take my class.” And I ran to the local art supply place and bought a drafting board, since I had to start practicing.

That got me in the door. I learned to draft, Bill became my teacher and mentor, and four years later I moved to New York and started doing my own design work. I can’t say my ability to earn a living in that fickle profession was because of my behavior in Bill’s office, but I can say it was because I was willing to do that kind of thing. The difference between me and David Hampton isn’t that he’s a con artist and I’m not; the difference is that I only told lies I could live up to, and I knew when to stop. That’s not a different type of behavior, it’s just a different amount.

And it looks to me like women in general, and the women whose educations I am responsible for in particular, are often lousy at those kinds of behaviors, even when the situation calls for it. They aren’t just bad at behaving like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks. They are bad at behaving like self-promoting narcissists, anti-social obsessives, or pompous blowhards, even a little bit, even temporarily, even when it would be in their best interests to do so. Whatever bad things you can say about those behaviors, you can’t say they are underrepresented among people who have changed the world.

Now this is asking women to behave more like men, but so what? We ask people to cross gender lines all the time. We’re in the middle of a generations-long project to encourage men to be better listeners and more sensitive partners, to take more account of others’ feelings and to let out our own feelings more. Similarly, I see colleges spending time and effort teaching women strategies for self-defense, including direct physical aggression. I sometimes wonder what would happen, though, if my college spent as much effort teaching women self-advancement as self-defense.

* * *
Some of the reason these strategies succeed is because we live in a world where women are discriminated against. However, even in an ideal future, self-promotion will be a skill that produces disproportionate rewards, and if skill at self-promotion remains disproportionately male, those rewards will as well. This isn’t because of oppression, it’s because of freedom.

Citizens of the developed world have an unprecedented amount of freedom to choose how we live, which means we experience life as a giant distributed discovery problem: What should I do? Where should I work? Who should I spend my time with? In most cases, there is no right answer, just tradeoffs. Many of these tradeoffs happen in the market; for everything from what you should eat to where you should live, there is a menu of options, and between your preferences and your budget, you’ll make a choice.

Some markets, though, are two-sided — while you are weighing your options, those options are also weighing you. People fortunate enough to have those options quickly discover that it’s not enough to decide you want to go to Swarthmore, or get money out of Kleiner Perkins. Those institutions must also decide if they will have you.

Some of the most important opportunities we have are in two-sided markets: education and employment, contracts and loans, grants and prizes. And the institutions that offer these opportunities operate in an environment where accurate information is hard to come by. One of their main sources of judgment is asking the candidate directly: Tell us why we should admit you. Tell us why we should hire you. Tell us why we should give you a grant. Tell us why we should promote you.

In these circumstances, people who don’t raise their hands don’t get called on, and people who raise their hands timidly get called on less. Some of this is because assertive people get noticed more easily, but some of it is because raising your hand is itself a high-cost signal that you are willing to risk public failure in order to try something.

That in turn correlates with many of the skills the candidate will need to actually do the work — to recruit colleagues and raise money, to motivate participants and convince skeptics, to persevere in the face of both obstacles and ridicule. Institutions assessing the fitness of candidates, in other words, often select self-promoters because self-promotion is tied to other characteristics needed for success.

It’s tempting to imagine that women could be forceful and self-confident without being arrogant or jerky, but that’s a false hope, because it’s other people who get to decide when they think you’re a jerk, and trying to stay under that threshold means giving those people veto power over your actions. To put yourself forward as someone good enough to do interesting things is, by definition, to expose yourself to all kinds of negative judgments, and as far as I can tell, the fact that other people get to decide what they think of your behavior leaves only two strategies for not suffering from those judgments: not doing anything, or not caring about the reaction.

* * *
Not caring works surprisingly well. Another of my great former students, now a peer and a friend, saw a request from a magazine reporter doing a tech story and looking for examples. My friend, who’d previously been too quiet about her work, decided to write the reporter and say “My work is awesome. You should write about it.”

The reporter looked at her work and wrote back saying “Your work is indeed awesome, and I will write about it. I also have to tell you you are the only woman who suggested her own work. Men do that all the time, but women wait for someone else to recommend them.” My friend stopped waiting, and now her work is getting the attention it deserves.

If you walked into my department at NYU, you wouldn’t say “Oh my, look how much more talented the men are than the women.” The level and variety of creative energy in the place is still breathtaking to me, and it’s not divided by gender. However, you would be justified in saying “I bet that the students who get famous five years from now will include more men than women”, because that’s what happens, year after year. My friend talking to the reporter remains the sad exception.

Part of this sorting out of careers is sexism, but part of it is that men are just better at being arrogant, and less concerned about people thinking we’re stupid (often correctly, it should be noted) for trying things we’re not qualified for.

Now I don’t know what to do about this problem. (The essence of a rant, in fact, is that the ranter has no idea how to fix the thing being ranted about.) What I do know is this: it would be good if more women see interesting opportunities that they might not be qualified for, opportunities which they might in fact fuck up if they try to take them on, and then try to take them on. It would be good if more women got in the habit of raising their hands and saying “I can do that. Sign me up. My work is awesome,” no matter how many people that behavior upsets.
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« Reply #292 on: January 17, 2010, 06:16:33 PM »

http://reason.com/blog/2010/01/17/shirky-women-need-to-strap-on
Reason Magazine


Shirky: Women Need to Strap On Some Balls

Tim Cavanaugh | January 17, 2010

World's Most Magnificent Supergenius Clay Shirky can extrapolate Women's Problems from a single data point: an overly pushy male grad student who bullied Shirky into giving him a better recommendation than he deserved. From this experience, Shirky propounds a General Theory of Maleness that is (we're happy to report) fully adaptable to the female subset of maleness:

The difference between me and [Six Degrees of Separation-inspiring con artist] David Hampton isn’t that he’s a con artist and I’m not; the difference is that I only told lies I could live up to, and I knew when to stop. That’s not a different type of behavior, it’s just a different amount.

And it looks to me like women in general, and the women whose educations I am responsible for in particular, are often lousy at those kinds of behaviors, even when the situation calls for it. They aren’t just bad at behaving like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks. They are bad at behaving like self-promoting narcissists, anti-social obsessives, or pompous blowhards, even a little bit, even temporarily, even when it would be in their best interests to do so. Whatever bad things you can say about those behaviors, you can’t say they are underrepresented among people who have changed the world.

Now this is asking women to behave more like men, but so what? We ask people to cross gender lines all the time. We’re in the middle of a generations-long project to encourage men to be better listeners and more sensitive partners, to take more account of others’ feelings and to let out our own feelings more. Similarly, I see colleges spending time and effort teaching women strategies for self-defense, including direct physical aggression. I sometimes wonder what would happen, though, if my college spent as much effort teaching women self-advancement as self-defense.


Fun, fun, fun -- and remember, it's daddy who takes the T-Bird away. I'm too much of a sniveling gamma/epsilon male to draw a conclusion as beefy as Shirky's, but I am surprised to see what levels of subordination some professional women remain willing to accept, at least in traditional office environments. But I would emphasize the some back there, and in fact the biggest self-promoter I ever met was a female of the opposite sex. Maybe things are different at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, but I'm not sure how representative of the private sector ITPANYU is.

Before addressing the issue of what women don't want, I note that narcissism has never in my experience added to the magnificence of any project, nor has self-aggrandizement created any wealth, nor has self-advancement achieved anything other than capturing a bigger share of an existing pie for the self-promoter. It may be true that these qualities are well represented among world changers, whoever they are. And I presume the majority of world changers have been men up to this point. But we don't have a counterhistory wherein some effort to protect equal rights for women has been in place since ancient Greek civilization (or I should say: the matriarchal civilization that the Greeks stole everything from!). So I'm not sure we should complain that the workforce might be seeing comparatively fewer of these male virtues in the future, or expect that the world will be changing any more slowly as a result.

As to whether women need to be more pushy, less pushy, or just right, I believe this falls into Cavanaugh's General Theory of 33.3. About a third of women are Daddy's Girls; another third are dominant, secure, self-confident, nasty, violent, selfish, independent, proud, thrill-seeking, free-wheeling, arrogant females; and the rest don't care enough to have an opinion. These percentages vary with events and movements, but regress to stability. There are mirror categories for men, and for the most part members of each group mate and procreate with members of their corresponding categories.

The recession has revealed more brittleness in the job market for men than for women. In school, girls are outperforming boys at rates that alarm the squares. Women's relative financial attainment continues to grow at a rate remarkable for an economy as advanced and sclerotic as America's. So I'm not sure we have a problem, other than the ancient problem that men continue to give women something they don't need: advice.
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rachelg
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« Reply #293 on: March 04, 2010, 07:00:09 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/opinion/04kristof.html?em

 Divorced Before Puberty
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: March 3, 2010
It’s hard to imagine that there have been many younger divorcées — or braver ones — than a pint-size third grader named Nujood Ali.  Nujood is a Yemeni girl, and it’s no coincidence that Yemen abounds both in child brides and in terrorists (and now, thanks to Nujood, children who have been divorced). Societies that repress women tend to be prone to violence.

For Nujood, the nightmare began at age 10 when her family told her that she would be marrying a deliveryman in his 30s. Although Nujood’s mother was unhappy, she did not protest. “In our country it’s the men who give the orders, and the women who follow them,” Nujood writes in a powerful new autobiography just published in the United States this week, “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.”

Her new husband forced her to drop out of school (she was in the second grade) because a married woman shouldn’t be a student. At her wedding, Nujood sat in the corner, her face swollen from crying.

Nujood’s father asked the husband not to touch her until a year after she had had her first menstrual period. But as soon as they were married, she writes, her husband forced himself on her.

He soon began to beat her as well, the memoir says, and her new mother-in-law offered no sympathy. “Hit her even harder,” the mother-in-law would tell her son.

Nujood had heard that judges could grant divorces, so one day she sneaked away, jumped into a taxi and asked to go to the courthouse.

“I want to talk to the judge,” the book quotes Nujood as forlornly telling a woman in the courthouse.

“Which judge are you looking for?”

“I just want to speak to a judge, that’s all.”

“But there are lots of judges in this courthouse.”

“Take me to a judge — it doesn’t matter which one!”

When she finally encountered a judge, Nujood declared firmly: “I want a divorce!”

Yemeni journalists turned Nujood into a cause célèbre, and she eventually won her divorce. The publicity inspired others, including an 8-year-old Saudi girl married to a man in his 50s, to seek annulments and divorces.

As a pioneer, Nujood came to the United States and was honored in 2008 as one of Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year.” Indeed, Nujood is probably the only third grader whom Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described as “one of the greatest women I have ever seen.”

Nujood’s memoir spent five weeks as the No. 1 best-seller in France. It is being published in 18 other languages, including her own native language of Arabic.

I asked Nujood, now 12, what she thought of her life as a best-selling author. She said the foreign editions didn’t matter much to her, but she was looking forward to seeing it in Arabic. Since her divorce, she has returned to school and to her own family, which she is supporting with her book royalties.

At first, Nujood’s brothers criticized her for shaming the family. But now that Nujood is the main breadwinner, everybody sees things a bit differently. “They’re very nice to her now,” said Khadija al-Salami, a filmmaker who mentors Nujood and who translated for me. “They treat her like a queen.”

Yemen is one of my favorite countries, with glorious architecture and enormously hospitable people. Yet Yemen appears to be a time bomb. It is a hothouse for Al Qaeda and also faces an on-and-off war in the north and a secessionist movement in the south. It’s no coincidence that Yemen is also ranked dead last in the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index.

There are a couple of reasons countries that marginalize women often end up unstable.

First, those countries usually have very high birth rates, and that means a youth bulge in the population. One of the factors that most correlates to social conflict is the proportion of young men ages 15 to 24.

Second, those countries also tend to practice polygamy and have higher death rates for girls. That means fewer marriageable women — and more frustrated bachelors to be recruited by extremists.

So educating Nujood and giving her a chance to become a lawyer — her dream — isn’t just a matter of fairness. It’s also a way to help tame the entire country.

Consider Bangladesh. After it split off from Pakistan, Bangladesh began to educate girls in a way that Pakistan has never done. The educated women staffed an emerging garment industry and civil society, and those educated women are one reason Bangladesh is today far more stable than Pakistan.

The United States last month announced $150 million in military assistance for Yemen to fight extremists. In contrast, it costs just $50 to send a girl to public school for a year — and little girls like Nujood may prove more effective than missiles at defeating terrorists.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #294 on: March 05, 2010, 09:58:54 AM »

Which is why little girls in Afpakia going to school and their teachers are often killed or have acid thrown in their faces.  For the fcukers who do this, they need to be militarily assisted into meeting their 72 virgins and people need to see that this is what happens to such fcukers.
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rachelg
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« Reply #295 on: March 14, 2010, 11:27:26 AM »

March 14, 2010
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Driving Miss Saudi
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/opinion/14dowd.html?pagewanted=print
By MAUREEN DOWD
In other capitals of the world, it would not have been an extraordinary scene.

An opening at a hot new art gallery with men and women mingling and enjoying themselves.

But in this case, part of the frisson was nerves. Would the marauding religious police see unmarried — and some uncovered — women talking freely with men in the merry crowd of 600 and stage a raid?

It was an unlikely moment, SoHo comes to Saudi Arabia — the first mixed exhibition anyone can remember in Riyadh, the stultifying capital of a country that bans any exhibition of skin, fun or romance.

But the most astonishing part was that the Islamic purity enforcers failed to show up at Art Pure.

“I was worried, but the religious police just sort of disappeared,” recalled Mounira Ajlani, the mother of Noura Bouzo, a 27-year-old artist featured at the exhibition who painted the saucy “Saudi Bling.” “It was very relaxed, very normal. Everyone was saying, ‘Are we in Saudi Arabia?’ ”

Sarah, a young Saudi professional who was at the gallery that night, agreed: “It was remarkable. You saw women covered from head to toe. You saw women uncovered. You saw men of all different classes come, and they were extremely comfortable, and everyone looked at the art and left.”

Progress is measured by a sundial in this stunted desert kingdom. Sarah dryly refers to it as “Saudi time.”

As women nudge their way into the work force, they are still hampered by archaic tribal rules and patriarchal religious ones.

An American Muslim working here says there are hard adjustments, like hearing men use the occasional epithet “Dog” to address her, and not being able to leave the airport coming home from a business trip because she has no husband or male relative to pick her up.

She had to secure a letter from her employer stating that she could leave the airport on her own. When she wanted to buy a car, she had to use the subterfuge of having a male friend buy it for her, and even then, she can’t drive it except in one of the exclusive compounds with looser rules.

A recent article in The Arab News headlined “Working Mothers in a Double Bind” showed the growing pains of Saudi suffragettes. It told of a woman who secretly hired a cook to deliver meals and assuage her husband’s demand for home-cooked dinners. When her husband caught her, he divorced her — and Saudi divorces are easy as long as you’re male.

“He forgot his promises and left me just because of food,” said the woman, Huda.

Saudi Arabia is in the throes of differentiating between cultural customs for women — like wearing the abaya, not driving and not mixing with men — and actual dictates of the Koran. Many Saudis stressed that their mothers didn’t wear head scarves.

“Personally, I push the envelope,” Sarah said. “I don’t cover my hair.” If she is approached by the mutawa — the religious police — she’s willing to back chat.

“So if a guy is yelling at me, telling me to cover my hair, there’s something we say in Arabic that means, ‘You really shouldn’t be looking in the first place,’ ” she said. “And actually, Islam argues that men should keep their gaze down. So you can argue back to the mutawa, if you know how to do it properly.”

Sarah and others I talked to in the privileged, educated set preferred not to use their full names. Free speech can be costly. “You can’t push the envelope too much or you start alienating a part of our society,” Sarah concedes, “because a part of our society is very conservative, and you have to respect that.”

It is feminism played in adagio. Young women talk about wanting abayas in pastels or made of yoga materials, being able to go out with a group of male and female friends to chic restaurants, and being able to score visas for visiting pals.

“We’re allowed to invite friends now, which is a big thing,” Sarah said. “We’re at the stage where you still have to pull some strings, but in four or five years ...”

Her friend Reema said that Americans are sometimes shocked to see Saudi women and realize “we’re not cowering, we’re actually quite professional. Are there issues here? Absolutely. There isn’t a place in the world that doesn’t have issues.

“I’d like to live in a Saudi where the woman that chooses to cover from top-to-bottom is equally as respected as the woman who chooses not to cover her face, and people from the West can accept that it is a lifestyle choice, inasmuch as wearing a miniskirt or a long, flowing dress is a choice. I find a lot of people minimize the women’s cause in Saudi by how we dress, and that is actually offensive.”
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rachelg
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« Reply #296 on: April 06, 2010, 09:57:52 PM »

What drives female suicide bombers?
It's not just ideology that motivates women terrorists, a new book finds. It's physical, sexual and mental abuse

http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/2010/04/05/female_suicide_bombers_open2010/index.html
BY JUDY MANDELBAUM
This post originally appeared on Judy Mandelbaum's Open Salon blog.

AP
Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, one of the March 29 Moscow subway suicide bombers.
This news story practically wrote itself. Within less than an hour on March 29, two Islamist suicide bombers struck the Moscow subway, blowing themselves to bits and taking 40 commuters with them. Their motive: Revenge for Russia's oppression of their Muslim brethren in the Caucasus. Clearly they were driven not only by hatred but also by ambition, machismo, testosterone, and the dream of 72 virgins in paradise, right? Except that this time the killers were two young women, one of whom – a Chechen widow called Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova – was only 17 years old. The pair has since joined the swelling ranks of female suicide bombers in Palestine, Iraq and now Chechnya. How does this phenomenon fit the alleged Muslim stereotype of women as subordinate, veil-wearing, second-class citizens? A new book promises to shed light on a troubling – and accelerating – trend.

Israeli scholar Dr. Anat Berko has been studying female suicide bombers for years. A former lieutenant colonel in the IDF, she holds a PhD in criminology from Bar-Ilan University and is a research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. Her family is of Iraqi origin and she not only speaks fluent Arabic but is intimately acquainted with the Arab and Muslim outlook on life. Her new book, "Isha Ptzatza" ("The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers"), will be published next week in Hebrew by Yedioth Books. She based it on hours of interviews with would-be suicide bombers held in Israeli prisons as well as on a close biographical analysis of Palestinian women who succeeded in their objective of killing as many enemy civilians as possible.

Berko's study, which is previewed in today's Haaretz, paints a disturbing tableau of the inner world of female suicide bombers, the vast majority of whom "were exploited by the terrorist organizations, by close friends or even by their own families, and were pushed into carrying out terrorist attacks." It appears that women's motives for such attacks are rooted less in ideology than in histories of physical, mental, and sexual abuse within their own families. Their motives rarely involve free will, but rather blackmail or the hope of redemption for sexual indiscretions through violence and self-sacrifice.

Berko cites the case of Palestine's first female suicide bomber, medic Wafa Idris, who blew herself up in downtown Jerusalem in January 2002, killing an 81-year-old Israeli man and injuring 100 bystanders. Berko focuses her attention on Idris's recent divorce: Her husband had divorced her after a miscarriage leaving her unable to conceive a child and married another woman, with whom he proceeded to father two children. Her spectacular suicide "redeemed" her from this perceived disgrace and inspired nine successful imitators during the Second Intifada. In Berko's view, female suicide bombings have as much to do with a sort of proactive "honor killing" as they do with classic (and stereotypical) "Islam vs. the West" terrorism.

But once captured and forced to justify their actions, these bombers consistently cite ideological motives. "n prison, since they are now part of a group, these women are expected to rewrite their personal stories and to reconstruct them as acts of heroism on behalf of the Palestinian homeland," Berko writes. "Yet, there is almost always a complex family history involved. For instance, a divorced woman is in a very weak position in Palestinian society, and it is thus easy to recruit her. Many of these women have an absent father -- that is, the father is either chronically ill, dead or has other wives. One of the terrorists told me that, given her father's absence, she needed a man to defend her; in return for his protection, she assisted him in his terrorist work."

While female bombers cannot expect a reward as such, Paradise does have its consolations. Once there, some of them expect to be restored to youth and to become virgins once more with a free choice of husbands. "One of the women I interviewed told me that women do not menstruate in heaven," Berko writes. "The men always claim that they will father children in heaven but the women say that in heaven, they will not have to pray for children and will not have to give birth."

Berko has been covering this ground for years. Her dissertation, published in English in 2007 as "The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers," uses case studies and exhaustive interviews to show how suicide bombers are recruited as "smart bombs" – as "a tactic of war" – by ruthless operators who pull their strings from the shadows. This earlier book also examines female bombers and contains a number of surprises. For example, far from being a "weaker sex," women who have committed themselves to carrying out suicide attacks can be even more ruthless than men. "While men consistently emphasize that they wish to spare women and children, female assassins focus specifically on these groups. It is an emotional rationale: if I can't have children, the Jews shouldn't have any either."

Shortly after Wafa Idris's 2002 attack, the Egyptian Islamist weekly Al-Sha'ab proclaimed: "It is a woman who teaches you today a lesson in heroism, who teaches you the meaning of Jihad, and the way to die a martyr's death ... with her thin, meager and weak body ... It is a woman who blew herself up, and with her exploded all the myths about woman's weakness, submissiveness, and enslavement." But sadly for Palestinian women, not even suicide bombing can elevate their status in this profoundly sexist society. Not only prison but death itself is regarded as a scandal. "Sheikh Muhammad Abu Tir, a leading member of Hamas in the West Bank, told me explicitly that his organization strongly opposed women's participation in terrorist activities," Berko writes. "He said that he would never allow his daughter to carry out a terrorist attack. One reason is a religious one -- the lack of modesty. Female terrorists disguise themselves as Israeli women and sometimes wear revealing clothes; in the eyes of Hamas members, their innocence is thereby compromised."

One male suicide bomber Berko interviewed in prison told her that "he was very angry with his sister who had tried to carry out a suicide bombing after she got a divorce. 'A woman must not expose her body,' he argued. 'When a woman blows herself up, not all the parts of her body become tiny bits of flesh.'"

Berko concludes: "Even after they have died, these women do not have full rights to their own body."
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Rarick
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« Reply #297 on: April 07, 2010, 07:48:07 AM »

Yep, the Shia and other reactionary Muslim sects are as bad/ worse that Christian fundamentalists in this regard.  The mindset in both cases is just plain Medieval and totally unenlightened.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #298 on: May 14, 2010, 07:35:00 AM »

Britain on top in casual sex league
From The Sunday Times
November 30, 2008

BRITISH men and women are now the most promiscuous of any big western industrial nation, researchers have found.

In an international index measuring one-night stands, total numbers of partners and attitudes to casual sex, Britain comes out ahead of Australia, the US, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

The researchers behind the study say high scores such as Britain’s may be linked to the way society is increasingly willing to accept sexual promiscuity among women as well as men. They also believe that, among certain age groups and at certain times, men and women are equally liberal.

The researchers say that cultural developments have meant women are now as able to engage in no-strings sex as men. “Historically we have repressed women’s short-term mating and there are all sorts of double standards out there where men’s short-term mating was sort of acceptable but women’s wasn’t,” said David Schmitt, a professor of psychology at Bradley University, Illinois, who oversaw the research.

The study was conducted by asking more than 14,000 people in 48 countries to fill in anonymous questionnaires. Respondents were asked about numbers of partners and one-night stands, and their attitudes were assessed by asking them how many people they expected to sleep with over the next five years and how comfortable they were with the idea of casual sex.

The results were combined into an index of so-called “sociosexuality”, the term used by evolutionary psychologists as a measure of how sexually liberal people are in thought and behavior. Most individuals scored between 4 and 65.

The country with the highest rating was Finland, with an average of 51. Taiwan came lowest, with 19.

Britain scored 40, placing it 11th overall, behind countries such as Latvia, Croatia and Slovenia - but it was highest among the major western industrial nations. The first tranche of research was published in 2005 but analyses have continued and Schmitt described the latest in this week’s edition of New Scientist.

Britain’s ranking was ascribed to factors such as the decline of religious scruples about extramarital sex, the growth of equal pay and equal rights for women and a highly sexualised popular culture.

Schmitt says the ratio of men to women is one of the factors that determine a country’s ranking.  The high scores in many Baltic and eastern European states might be linked, Schmitt said, to the fact that women outnumber men and so are under more pressure to conform to what men want in order to find a mate. In Asian countries, by contrast, men tend to outnumber women slightly, so it is men who have to conform.

Schmitt’s findings are reinforced by earlier research showing that the British are more likely than other nationalities to have “stolen” other people’s lovers. A third of British men are in relationships with women they have poached from other long-term relationships, he found.  Among British women, 28% have apparently poached their other halves rather than formed relationships with single men. Only 17% of men in America had poached their girlfriends. In France only 10% of both men and women were poachers. In Germany the figures were 17% of men and 14% of women.

Schmitt said that in more liberal countries such as Britain women may even be becoming more promiscuous than men. Such trends are typified by the television series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, in which Billie Piper played a middle-class prostitute who relished her numerous sexual encounters.

One of the most intriguing ideas emerging from Schmitt’s and others’ work is that when women are at their most fertile they become even more willing than men to consider one-night stands.

There are, however, still key differences in the behaviour of men and women, especially regarding the ages at which they are most sexually liberated. Schmitt found that men tended to have the most partners, and to think most about acquiring new ones, when in their twenties. Women’s promiscuity and lustful thoughts tended to peak in their thirties.

PROMISCUITY RANKINGS OF MAJOR COUNTRIES*
*OECD countries with populations over 10m Source: David Schmitt, Bradley University

1 United Kingdom
2 Germany
3 Netherlands
4 Czech Republic
5 Australia
6 USA
7 France
8 Turkey
9 Mexico
10 Canada
11 Italy
12 Poland
13 Spain
14 Greece
15 Portugal
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« Reply #299 on: May 15, 2010, 09:47:27 AM »

Prisoners of the pill
Carolyn Moynihan | 14 May 2010




Mother’s Day in the United States (and some other countries) had an ironic twist to it this year: the powers that be chose to observe May 9 as the fiftieth anniversary of the public debut of the contraceptive pill, the twentieth century’s chief weapon against motherhood as a serious vocation.

Articles marking the occasion have been largely celebratory in tone, reminding women that their lives have been powerfully transformed -- for the better -- by the pill. We have been liberated from biology to extend our education, engage in paid work, carve out public careers and achieve financial independence. Hooray.

True, there has been the odd complaint about this wonder drug. “I hate the pill,” declares Geraldine Sealey at Salon. “Hormonal contraception, which covers birth control pills and nearly every other highly effective method on the market, murders my libido.” Still, she can’t stop herself patting contraceptive pioneers such as Margaret Sanger on the back.

The Wall Street Journal wonders why, at this late stage of the game, almost half of US pregnancies -- about 3.1 million a year -- are unintended. It turns out that a lot of people who are having sex but don’t want a baby are not responsible enough to use contraception. How surprising. Then there are all the women who miss taking their pill -- so many that Princeton’s birth control expert James Trussell says we should forget the pill and steer women towards long-acting contraceptives such as implants and IUDs. (Women may be liberated, you see, but they can be, er, not smart.)

Fail-safe birth control is not the only thing the era of the pill has not delivered. Elaine Tyler May, author of a new book on the pill, admits that ending poverty, curing divorce and eliminating unwed pregnancies were “promises the pill could never keep”. Indeed, all those things have flourished during the past 50 years and societies have stopped even trying to encourage marriage and discourage divorce. Poverty is the only thing that has not been rationalised, but then its link with contraceptive culture is not even recognised.

Still, we are meant to rejoice that women have the world at their feet, because, even if their contraceptive device or their willpower fails, there is always abortion to ensure that they can keep their job, if not their husband. All in all, then, women should be happier than they were when their energies were largely consumed by looking after a husband and three or four kids.

Declining female happiness


Are they? No. Much quoted research by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania shows that there has been a marked decline in women’s happiness in the industrialised countries over the past 35 years. In an article last year they wrote:

The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging—one with higher subjective well-being for men.

Stevenson and Wolfers stress the power of this decline by equating it to the misery resulting from an 8.5 per cent rise in unemployment, or to having missed out entirely on the gains from economic growth since the 1970s.

A paradox? A mere coincidence that female happiness has been eroded at same time as the pill was bringing liberation? Denver economist Timothy Reichert does not think so. In a recent article in First Things (“Bitter Pill”, April, 2010) he says that, contrary to the rhetoric of the sexual revolution, contraception is deeply sexist in nature. It has shifted wealth and power away from women, and away from their childrearing years when they need it most. It has also, for that reason, made children on the whole worse off.

Reichert arrives at these conclusions by doing a market analysis of sexual relationships under the influence of what is still known as “efficient contraception”. To my mind, he makes a highly plausible case.

How women lose: a market analysis


Fifty years ago, he argues, there was a single “mating market”, populated by men and women in roughly equal numbers and who paired off in marriage. By lowering the cost of premarital and extramarital sex (pregnancy, shotgun marriage) contraception allowed a separate sex market (apart from prostitution) to form. That would not have affected either sex adversely if the numbers of men and women in both markets remained roughly equal, but of course, they did not.

Because of limits to their fertility, women have to move out of the sex market and into the marriage market earlier than men. This makes them relatively scarce in the former and abundant in the latter, able to negotiate better “deals” in the first but worse deals in the second where there is a scarcity of marriageable men.

(As an aside, this dilemma puts me in mind of Lori Gottlieb’s much-bruited willingness to give up the quest for romantic love in her forties and “settle” for a husband who will put out the garbage bin and fix the leaky taps. )

Under these conditions, says Reichert, men take more and more of the “gains from trade” and women take fewer and fewer. He comments:

This produces a redistribution of bargaining power and, ultimately, of welfare from the later childrearing phases of a woman’s lifetime toward the earlier, and in my view less important, phases. This redistribution has some very concrete, very undesirable consequences for women—and for the children that they bear.

What are these consequences? Reichert points out four.

More divorce. Striking “bad deals” in an imbalanced marriage market makes divorce more likely. Reduced commitment creates a “demand” for divorce even before the marriage begins (pre-nups). At the social level women allow the stigma of divorce to erode and they support no-fault

divorce laws. They compensate for these trends by developing relatively more market earning power, and invest less in family relationships, the moral formation of their children, and community activism. In doing so, they become more like men, and the couples become less interesting to one another. “Sameness begets ennui, which begets divorce.”

Inflation of household costs. As wealthier two-earner households bid up the price of homes, more women are forced into the labour market. With this comes a redistribution of welfare from younger to older generations, and from a family’s younger, child-rearing years to its later childless years (when they could sell the $500,000 house). This redistribution “rests largely on the backs of the women in the labour force who support the higher housing cost and, ultimately, on the children who otherwise would have had the benefit of their mothers’ time.” And perhaps another sibling.

Infidelity. This increases because the cost -- detection -- is lowered. The sex market provides the opportunity, and here married (successful, older) men are more attractive to younger women, than older women are to younger men. This, again, is to the detriment of women.

Abortion. Before the pill the cost of an unwanted pregnancy was often borne by the man in the form of a shotgun wedding. Now it is borne by the woman: contraception is her business and so, therefore, is the unintended pregnancy. If she keeps the baby she forfeits opportunities in the labour market; if she has an abortion (which around one million women in the US do each year) she usually pays the money cost and always the emotional costs.

To repeat Reichert’s conclusion:

Contraception has resulted in an enormous redistribution of welfare from women to men, as well as an intertemporal redistribution of welfare from a typical woman’s later, childrearing years to her earlier years.

Further, given that women’s welfare largely determines the welfare of children, this redistribution has in part been “funded” by a loss of welfare from children. In other words, the worse off are women, the worse off are the children they support. On net, women and children are the big losers in the contraceptive society.

And this fits with the Stevenson and Wolfers finding of declining happiness among women.

The big question is, then, why do they put up with it?

The prisoner's dilemma


Reichert explains it as a “prisoner’s dilemma” -- a concept from game theory. This posits a situation where all parties have choice between cooperation and non-cooperation, and where all would be better off if they chose cooperation. However, because the parties cannot effectively coordinate and enforce cooperation, all choose the best individual choice, which is non-cooperation.

Applying this to young women in a contraceptive culture Reichert suggests that those who don’t enter the sex market miss out on the “higher prices” paid there (presumably he means things like more attention from men, more likelihood of a partner, a sense of wellbeing and a “good” image) but they also remain at a disadvantage in the over-subscribed marriage market. Their “optimal decision” therefore is to “to enter the sex market and remain there for as long as possible, despite the fact that the new equilibrium may be worse, over the total life cycle, for women.”

Only very powerful social mores or laws can break prisoner’s dilemmas like this, and laws we are surely not going to get. Reichert, a Catholic, sees the church’s moral authority in this area being woefully under-utilised and calls for a movement of “new feminism”. But while the beginnings of such a movement can certainly be found in the Catholic Church and other religious groups, there seems to be no corresponding secular insight into the role of contraception in female misery.

In a piece in The Atlantic magazine this week Caitlin Flanagan, an enfant terrible of contemporary feminism, bewails the hook-up culture that girls reluctantly endure while they hope, like girls in every other era, for a real boyfriend and romance. She then talks about her mother and other “forward-looking” older women who helped Planned Parenthood promote birth control to teenage girls 20-something years ago.

As progressive as they were, says Flanagan, they would have been horrified by hooking up: "all of them, to a woman, believed in the Boyfriend Story. This set wasn’t in the business of providing girls and young women the necessary information and services to allow boys and men to use and discard them sexually."

Oh, but they were. That is exactly what they were doing, albeit unwittingly. And that is what continues to draw girls into the prisoner’s dilemma at ever younger ages. When are people like Flanagan going to stop groping around this elephant and take their blindfolds off?

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.
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