That Anne-Marie Slaughter article sure kicked up a lot of discussion, didn?t it? I heard about it in advance and knew it would be big, but I had no idea how big. Below, a little roundup of some relevant discussion?and a reason to have hope that your work may not always crush the rest of your life.
First, a personal report. Atlantic editor Scott Stossel tweeted in reply to the title of my piece here yesterday, "Why Does The Atlantic Hate Women?" His answer: We don't. He and I had a brief, if intellectually sophisticated (cough, cough) Twitter exchange. I reproduce it below, stripped of some of the twitty formatting, and with some serial tweets merged:
Stossel: We don't! RT @theprospect: Why does @theatlantic hate women? http://ampro.me/LIBRcz New @ejgraff post
EJG: Then why not run articles that accurately reflect women's lives?
Stossel: But you concede in your piece that Slaughter hits agonizingly close to the bone. And she's for policies that you support.
EJG: Slaughter's piece is good. The framing is horrifying: the title, the picture. And she addresses an idea of feminism that's off. Where is your Rebecca Traister? or Garance (in print)? Or me? Jessica Valenti? Karen Kornbluh? Joan Williams? There are many women with sophisticated insights into our shared problems.
Stossel: I half-concede your point about the framing--but I also submit that far fewer ppl would read it w/out the resonant framing
EJG: @SStossel True, fewer ppl wd read it BUT they wd be left with the right msg. This framing blames feminism, not social structure.
Stossel: @ejgraff We've published a few good pieces by Karen in print
EJG: @SStossel Will go look for Karen's articles. But pls, kill the baby-in-briefcase image. It's just ludicrous.
Of course, Stossel is half-correct about the framing: It got huge attention in part because it speaks to that agonizing feeling that so many women have that, they, personally and individually, are doing it all wrong. I would argue that that feeling itself is structural, a response to the fact that feminism didn?t get far enough?or that over the latter half of the 20th century, the workplace devoured everything else, which is a problem for women, men, children, and (to quote an antiwar poster that was current during my 1960s childhood) all living things. The half-accurate, slightly sensationalized framing is true, of course, of the title my editor gave to my post: Why Does The Atlantic Hate Women? They don't, of course. But the cumulative record of The Atlantic over the past few years?to pay attention to women?s worries but to frame them wrong?has led many women I know to conclude that the magazine is run by men who all have wives at home and don?t understand what all the fuss is about. (My wife wishes I could afford to keep her home. But hey, she married a writer. Her mistake!)
Okay, on to more commentary. The brilliant Rebecca Traister hit the ceiling about the phrase ?having it all,? which she urges us to refrain from ever using again, even in air quotes:
The Atlantic?s current cover story, headlined ?Why Women Still Can?t Have it All,? depicting a toddler in a briefcase clutched by a headless woman in dark hose (whom I can only assume is Diane Keaton from 1987?s ?Baby Boom?) puts me in mind of a modest proposal: Working women should eat their babies, thus simultaneously solving the problem of childcare and what to make for dinner.
No, my proposal is this: We should immediately strike the phrase ?have it all? from the feminist lexicon and never, ever use it again.
Here is what is wrong, what has always been wrong, with equating feminist success with ?having it all?: It?s a misrepresentation of a revolutionary social movement. The notion that female achievement should be measured by women?s ability to ?have it all? recasts a righteous struggle for greater political, economic, social, sexual and political parity as a piggy and acquisitive project.
What she said.
Hanna Rosin pledges never again to lie about what she?s doing when she takes care of her kids, saying, ?After so many decades of mothers working, maybe it?s time to end the collective American fiction that toddlers take themselves to the doctor or that they get sick only on weekends.?
Bryce Covert managed to comment on the piece twice, once at The Nation and once at Forbes (I don?t know how she does it!). Both are worth reading.The Nation article explores the structural discrimination that keeps women from climbing as quickly as men do:
Women have to overachieve just to reach par with men. They are also penalized for having families in ways that men are not? .Yet Slaughter shies away from calling out the political and corporate structures that keep women out. ... As Ilene Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst, previously told me, ?Often women get stuck having to prove themselves over and over again. That?s a block; they?re not going up.?
Meanwhile, her Forbes piece?s title gives away the problem: ?If Women Can't Have It All, Neither Can Men.? (That brought to mind Karen Kornbluh?s article of nearly a decade ago, ?Why Dad Can?t Have It All.? Do you get the feeling that folks are not listening?) At Forbes, Covert delves into this problem:
One of the causes that Slaughter points out is that while family life has been completely revolutionized by women?s entry into the workforce over the past half century, our economy hasn?t done the same. Worse, things are getting harder for those who have commitments outside the office. Mother Jones editors Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery described this phenomenon as the ?Great Speedup?: employees are being asked to work longer and longer hours without getting more pay in return.
That pointed me back to Sara Robinson?s Alternet article, reprinted in Salon, ?Bring back the 40-hour work week: 150 years of research proves that long hours at work kill profits, productivity and employees.? Robinson gives an amazing history of the fight to work only 40 hours, replete with the data that persuaded employers to do it: Working less means you are more productive. And she offers a fascinating exploration of how that gave way to the 24-hour-avaiability expectation for office workers. Imagine working a 40 hour week! I want to cry at the thought of it.
And the New York Times took notice of all the fuss with this round-up by Jodi Kantor, which also includes a look at recent pronouncements by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg about work, life, and women?s ambitions. Here?s my favorite excerpt from Kantor?s article:
For her part, Ms. Sandberg remained silent, declining a request to address the Atlantic article. But Ms. Slaughter said in an interview that the Silicon Valley executive was one of the many readers who e-mailed her as soon as the article came out. Her message: they had to talk more about this, and soon.
Oh yeah, baby. If the A-list power ladies are going to start talking about work-life policies, maybe change really is gonna come.
An innovation in free speech. I know I'd much rather watch advertisements than most 'entertainment' programming.American Idol. Case closed. [...]
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Ignoring the Romney camp's pleas, Florida Gov. Rick Scott goes right back to saying the Florida economy is awesome. [...]
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Top Obama strategist says Romney is running to be "outsourcer-in-chief."[...]
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Interesting that no one calls it "bias" when you're against a Republican presidential candidate.Calling it "bias" suggests that it's a benign characteristic that has no impact on who you are as a person. If someone were a Mormon by birth, and not practicing, then their faith would be benign. But if someone embraces their faith then is it fair to suggest that their faith has no impact on...
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Ah yes... another day, another conservative out there on a wingnut welfare book tour, and as always, Fox News happy to promote them. This week it's Monica Crowley who's been making the rounds on Fox with one show after another allowing her to come on for a little fact-free time to smear President Obama.
Media Matters flagged the clip above here: Fox's Monica Crowley: "Kooks" In Democratic Party Have Taken U.S. "On A Socialist Joyride, Starting With" Obama and linked back to her appearance on Fox & Friends spouting similar nonsense unchallenged.
Apparently she got a little bit of push back over her book's accusations from Bill O'Reilly of all people. Addicting Info has more on that here: We?re All Going To Hell Or To Sweden According To Dr. Monica Crowley:
Fox news might not be fair and balanced, but it is definitely hilarious and unbelievable at times, and once again it has delivered with this latest interview between Dr. Monica Crowley and the Factor?s Bill O?Reilly. Crowley was appearing on the Factor to promote her new book called What the (Bleep) Just Happened? [...]
And in typical conservative fashion, Crowley goes after President Obama just in time for the 2012 elections, and she does it with some very interesting, yet somewhat predictable accusations. She starts by telling O?Reilly the usual, conservative talking points of how Obama?s only mission in life is to destroy the goals and principles that made America so great, as evidenced by her discontent with the spiraling, sixteen-trillion-dollar debt and the high unemployment numbers, which she blames wholly on President Obama?s failed (according to her), economic policies.
But the most interesting tidbit of information that Crowley shared with O?Reilly and the Fox News audience in her hot new book is the startling, new revelation that President Obama is not the person that he says he is?basically an imposter, which is a sentiment that has been echoed before, specifically by people like Donald Trump and his Birther brigade.
So are you ready for this? You might want to sit down. According to Dr. Monica Crowley, President Obama is as close to being a card-carrying Communist as one can be without actually living in China or Russia, and it didn?t stop there. Apparently, President Obama?s father, Barack Obama Sr., was part of a socialist organization in Kenya, and his mother, Ann Dunham, was a regular member of a place described by Crowley as the Little Red Church?red meaning communist red and this was the upbringing to which the young Obama subjected and by which he was indoctrinated.
It could have ended there, but it didn?t, because O?Reilly asked this one fateful question of Crowley, as she was busy spewing her new, communist-Obama plot. O?Reilly asked her to specifically state what President Obama?s communist plot had in mind to turn America into?what country, what place? Crowley then tried to dodge the question with more of her destruction of America by Obama propaganda, but O?Reilly pressed her into a corner and demanded that she name a place that America would be morphed into if Obama the communist could have his way?
And, you are not going to believe what Crowley came up with! After all of her communism talk and communist accusations against President Obama, his mother and his father, Crowley finally looked O?Reilly in the eye and said that the country that Obama the communist is just dying to turn America into is?Sweden! Read on...
And for anyone that doesn't think PBS can be as bad as Fox, this woman is a regular guest on their weekend show, The McLaughlin Group along with her buddy and resident racist in chief, Pat Buchanan. I've really got to wonder if anyone actually buys these books or if they just give them away at Republican political events. I've read lots of stories about right-wing groups buying their books in bulk and giving them away to get their rankings up on the best sellers lists.
Syrian authorities have apologized for shooting down a Turkish military plane earlier today say Turkish news outlets. Turkey’s Hurriyet daily newspaper reports that the plane crashed in the Mediterranean Sea in international waters and the pilots “are in good health.” Eyewitnesses in the northern Syrian town of Latakia told BBC Arabic that Syrian air defenses were seen shooting down an unidentified aircraft. The incident adds to existing tensions between Ankara and Damascus stemming from reports that Syrian rebels are receiving weapons through supply routes on Turkey’s southern border.
Hurriyet now reports Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an as saying, “I cannot say that it was shot down. I can?t say it before obtaining concrete information,” and “I cannot confirm whether they have apologized or on what grounds they did so if they apologized.
In all seven rulings so far this term on cases in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has backed one side or the other, the U.S. Supreme Court has backed the Chamber’s position. Neil Weare, litigation counsel and Supreme Court fellow at the Constitutional Accountability Center notes “This string of seven straight victories brings the Chamber?s overall win/loss rate before the Roberts Court up to 68% (60 of 88 cases).”
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) turned heads in April when he attacked the “African Americans for Obama” group as “worse than sad.” He accused Obama of using “that and to go out and try to create divisiveness or one race against the other.” Today, Mitt Romney announced his Latino outreach group in 15 states, “Juntos con Romney” (“Together with Romney”). ThinkProgress contacted Gingrey’s office to see if he was similarly outraged, but he has yet to respond.
In March, the federal government cut off funds to Texas’ Women’s Health Program because the state chose to exclude abortion providers from the program in violation of federal law. But even without federal funds, which made up 90 percent of the funding, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced the state would fund the Women’s Health Program on its own.
But to pay for the reduced services provided by the program, the governor announced that the state would cut other health services. Perry directed Tom Suehs, executive commissioner of the state’s Health and Human Services department, to cut $40.1 million in department services to make up the missing federal funds.
Cuts will come by reducing dental services, programs for the elderly, and administrative pay. Even with this money freed up, the Women’s Health Program will not be nearly as strong as it was with federal funding.
These cuts come on top of cuts that lawmakers cut $73 million from the state’s family planning services budget in 2011. Even before Texas decided to ban Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program, women’s clinics around the state were already being forced to greatly reduce services or shut their doors entirely.