Posts tagged ‘sexism’

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

Adrienne Rich’s essay constitutes a powerful challenge to some of our least examined sexual assumptions. Rich turns all the familiar arguments on their heads: If the first erotic bond is to the mother, she asks, could not the “natural” sexual orientation of both men and women be toward women?

Rich’s radical questioning has been a major intellectual force in the general feminist reorientation to sexual matters in recent years, and her conception of a “lesbian continuum” sparked especially intense debate. Does lesbianism incorporate all support systems and intense interactions among women, or is it a specifically erotic choice? What is gained and what is lost with the second, narrower definition? Rich’s assumptions also usefully raise the more general theoretical question: Is adult sexuality so closely associated with the infant bond that genuinely satisfying sex relations are likely to be structured primarily around nurturance?


Bystander Intervention Training Tonight

Today is the Diversity Interest Group and Women’s Center’s second Bystander Intervention Event from 5:30 – 7:00pm in LSII 291. In these dialogue and practice-based sessions, participants will look how to intervene in situations that perpetuate oppression and inequality. In each session they will explore a different position in instances of oppression and develop strategies for intervention from each position.  This week they will focus on developing intervention strategies when we are the targets of oppression and injustice.

There will be one more bystander intervention event on Monday, April 9th at 5:30pm.

This event is co-sponsored by the Diversity Interest Group and The Women’s Center. Please email Lissa Lim (llim [at] with any questions you may have.

Being a pill about the pill? Santorum vs US views

(Source: Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most Americans don’t share Rick Santorum’s absolutist take on abortion. He’s out of step on women in combat. He questions the values of the two-thirds of mothers who work. He’s even troubled by something as commonplace as birth control — for married couples.

Even among a Republican presidential field eager to please religious conservatives, Santorum’s ideas stand out.

A Catholic father of seven whose kids are home-schooled, Santorum may seem to wear his conservatism as comfortably as his sweater vests. But he’s walked a careful path, keeping the more provocative opinions that helped sink his re-election to the Senate in 2006 mostly out of his presidential campaign.

That is until he leaped to the top of the polls, alongside Mitt Romney.

Now Santorum’s record on social issues is getting a closer look. On several matters, he’s outside the Republican mainstream. And if he becomes the GOP nominee, some of his ideas would probably be surprising, even puzzling, to general election voters.


Writing for a Sexist World

(Source: Patheos)

Dear Jana and Lauren,

Thank you, Jana, for starting this conversation about whether writers, who are women and who are feminist, have a responsibility to write overtly feminist books—and thank you, Lauren, for pointing out that simply being a woman who writes, especially a woman who writes about religion, is in and of itself a feminist act.

I am working now on an article for the Harvard Divinity Bulletin about how women’s memoirs are received and reviewed, and during my research, I read Francine Prose’s “Scent of a Woman’s Ink” in Harpers, which was written in 1998 but is, unfortunately, still relevant. She’s asking questions that, I think, are driving the conversation we are having here: What is a “woman writer”—and does that question make sense at all?

Prose quotes Norman Mailer’s Advertisements for Myself (originally published in 1959) at length, and I will share a small sample here:

I have a terrible confession to make—I have nothing to say about any of the talented women who write today. Out of what is no doubt a fault of mine, I do not seem able to read them. Indeed I doubt there will be a really exciting woman writer until the first whore becomes a call girl and tells her tale.

And Mailer goes on from there, describing the “sniffs” he gets from “the ink of women”—sniffs that smell to him like “old hat,” sniff that are “dykily psychotic,” “crippled,” “creepish, “frigid,” and “stillborn.” Mailer ends his rant with this little gem: “a good writer can do without everything but the remnant of his balls.”

Good to know.


Sexism: This Is What The GOP’s Contraception Mandate Hearing Looks Like

(Source: The New Civil Rights Movement)

Right this second, Republican Darrell Issa is (of course!) holding a hearing on President Obama and Secretary Sebelius’ mandate that required all employers — even religious-based organizations running businesses — to provide contraception services for free.


PETA: Enough with the sex and the vegetables and the “shock tactics” already! WE GET IT.

(Source: BitchMedia)

PETA has a long history of using over-the-top sexual imagery and shock tactics to get attention. Hell, they’re even launching a porn site. (Yes, it’s real. No, it doesn’t make any sense and I can’t fathom who would visit the site either.) I’m no expert, but when your animal rights organization launches a for-profit pornography website, I think you might be doing it wrong.

PETA isn’t content to restrict its sex-sells messaging to the porn site, either. The latest campaign features a woman walking down the street in her bra and underwear in a neck brace, a result of rough (like, put your head through the wall and land you in a neck brace rough) sex with her newly vegan boyfriend. Is this a PSA for sexual assault? No. It’s PETA’s attempt to shock us into adopting a vegan diet (or making our partners eat vegan, thus giving them the skills to leave us neck-braced and dazed enough that we forget to wear clothes to the grocery store). Because PETA thinks we should want sex to end in a neck brace, I guess?


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