Patriarchy is Alive and Well

Good news feminists – patriarchy is officially over!  At least that’s what Hanna Rosin argues in her article entitled, The Patriarchy is Dead.  Unfortunately, it seems that the ‘new American matriarchy’ that she describes in this piece is not an accurate description of the average woman’s experience.  By saying that patriarchy is a problem of the past, Rosin is actually hurting the efforts of women who are working to achieve real gender equality.

In my eyes, Hanna Rosin’s denial of the existence of patriarchy proves how essential feminist discussion is.  As I mention in my own feminist manifesto, the sexism that persists today can be difficult to recognize because it’s getting more subtle.  No longer can companies post ‘women need not apply’ on job postings, but women are still passed over for positions because they are perceived as less dedicated to the job or wouldn’t fit into the boy’s club atmosphere.  Growing up in a patriarchal society makes us accept gender roles and expectations as the norm, so feminists need to question those norms to recognize when those gender roles are hurtful to women.

Rosin’s argument seems flawed because she views women’s issues through the lens of her own experience, which I would not say is a reflection of society as a whole.  In this article, she explains how her decision to work fewer hours after having a child was solely motivated by her desire to spend time with her children, not because she was pressured by her husband or because she felt she was fulfilling a duty.  While I am happy that Ms. Rosin was able to make an empowered choice in that moment of her life, this is not the case for all women.  Many women feel pressure from their employers who assume their dedication to their jobs to decrease, while others feel pressure from their families to raise their children a certain way.  Rosin admits that this decision was extremely difficult for her, a complicated and confusing time in her life that led her to sink into a ‘terrible depression’.  Her struggle demonstrates the problem –  achieving a work-life balance is a still a challenge for women, and only for women.  Men are rarely torn between furthering their career and fulfilling familial and societal expectations.  Until women have this same freedom, feminists need to continue talking about it.

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A Female Mayor of Paris – Oui, bien sur!

Photo of Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (left) and Anne Hidalgo (right) - Photo from Jezebel.com

Photo of Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (left) and Anne Hidalgo (right) – Photo from Jezebel.com

For the first time in the city’s 2000 year history, Paris will have a female mayor in 2014! The two most prominent political parties have announced their candidates for the mayoral race, and both parties selected female politicians to represent their parties in this important election. These two women are not only vying for the highly respected position of mayor of Paris, but they are also battling it to for a place in history as the first female mayor of Paris. The significance of this election is not lost on candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who recognizes the profound impact that this election will have on women in french politics.

Being the first female mayor of Paris will be a big symbol and a very positive sign for women who wanted to go into politics but who daren’t go into it in the past. Paris is ready for such a change and I’m sure that France could one day elect a woman as president.

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Thank you, Wendy Davis!

“I’m rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans who are being ignored”

Wendy Davis

In reality, Wendy Davis did much more than that – she stood up for women all across the country and proved that we will not sit idly by while state legislatures take away our constitutional rights. Wendy Davis is a democratic senator who spoke for 10 hours and 45 minutes on Monday to prevent the Texas state legislature from passing SB 537, a bill that would severely restrict abortion access. Her filibuster successfully prevented the legislature from approving the bill before their midnight deadline.

SB 537, if successful, would have severe consequences for women’s reproductive freedom. According to Pro-Choice Texas, this bill would ban all abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy, one of the strictest restrictions in the country. Also, it would require that every abortion care facility comply with the standards of an “ambulatory surgical center”, an expensive requirement that would force all but five abortion clinics in the state of Texas to close. That means that some Texans would have to drive hundreds of miles to get to their nearest provider, a ridiculous and unnecessary burden.

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Inspirational Woman of the Week: Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem 2_0

This week I had the awesome opportunity to hear Gloria Steinem speak at the Spring Gathering for Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. This annual event brought together 500 people spanning four generations to celebrate the work and achievements of Planned Parenthood in the region. It was incredible to see the National Constitution Center full of women and men who are passionate about reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood’s mission. This group included Michelle Sanger, great-granddaughter of Margaret Sanger and Patricia Carbine, one of the founding editors of Ms. Magazine.

Gloria Steinem is a personal inspiration of mine and a role model for every young woman. If your not familiar with her story, Gloria Steinem is a journalist and political activist who became a leading spokesperson for the women’s liberation movement through her coverage of women’s rights issues. She was the founding editor and publisher of Ms. Magazine, a groundbreaking feminist publication that is still popular today. Along with other feminist leaders, she founded the National Women’s Political Caucus in hopes of expanding women’s involvement in politics. Gloria’s activism played an important role in popularizing the second wave of feminism and she has been a force in promoting reproductive rights for American women ever since.

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Gabrielle Reece: “Women Should Be Submissive to Their Husbands”

Gabrielle-Reece-Publicist-195x300

Gabrielle Reece, a professional volleyball player and model, appeared on the Today Show this week to discuss her new book, My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper.  In this book, Reece discusses her marriage to professional surfer Laird Hamilton and explains how they managed to get through the tough times together.  She gives women some interesting marriage advice that I find hard to accept from a modern feminist perspective.  She claims that women should strive to be truly feminine to have a happy marriage, and in her eyes, “true femininity” means being submissive and obedient to your husband. Reece explains:

“To truly be feminine means being soft, receptive, and — look out, here it comes — submissive.  I think the idea of living with a partner is ‘How can I make their life better?” So if I’m the woman and he’s the man, then yes, that’s the dynamic.  I’m willing and I choose to serve my family and my husband because it creates a dynamic where he is then, in fact acting more like a man and masculine and treating me the way I want to be treated.”

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Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

I recently came across a very interesting TED Talk featuring Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook.  If you are not familiar with Sheryl Sandberg, she is an extremely impressive woman.  After earning her M.B.A at Harvard Business School, she went on to work for the World Bank and Google before joining Facebook.  In this speech, Sandberg discusses some of the main points of her new book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead She gives some very useful advice for women trying to have a family without derailing their career.

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Rape Culture in the US Media

The recent events in Steubenville have brought the topic of “rape culture” back into the spotlight.  While I was reading articles about the case, I was truly shocked that the first reaction of the media was to blame the victim and feel sorry for her attackers.  After hearing journalists make excuses for the rapists and lament their bright futures,  I couldn’t help but wonder how victim blaming is so easily accepted and overlooked.  Besides that fact that it is unfair and hurtful to women, it seems demeaning to men as well.  When we make excuses for rapists, we are saying that they cannot be held accountable for their own actions.  By blaming a sexual assault on the victim’s appearance or the fact that they was drinking, we are basically saying that men have no control over their own actions.  By absolving them of all guilt in the situation, you are admitting that violence is inherent in man’s nature and that we cannot reasonably expect anything better.

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