Wednesday: bad news dump.

2 November 2011

Fact is, I’m in a cranky mood. The NY Times has a piece that claims “Progress for Women, But a Long Way to Go” — about the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report — but I had to read halfway down the page before I learned anything about that progress. One of the contributors to the report explains in the most tepid way, “We are seeing progress in education and health, but we’re not seeing much progress on the economic and political side, which is a big concern.” Woohoo! Let’s write a headline that leads with PROGRESS!

Then there are the reports that sexual assaults on women at various Occupy! protests are not being reported to the police. “We handle it internally,” says one Occupy! leader. Because we wouldn’t want those upset women’s selfishness to ruin the protest?

Shorter University in Georgia demands that all its employees officially reject homosexuality.

And then there’s Herman Cain’s sexual harassment case in the very midst of the 20-year anniversary of the Anita Hill allegations against Clarence Thomas. Don’t even get me started on the many ways these two cases are different — just because Cain and Thomas are both black men does not make the cases similar in the least — but the shoulder-shrugging about why it should matter sure looks similar. “I guess this proves Herman Cain is more like an actual politician than most of us realized,” writes one online commentator. [Feminéma hits head against wall.]

Twenty years since Anita Hill. Twenty years. “Progress” is not the word to explains what’s happened in the meantime.

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10 Responses to “Wednesday: bad news dump.”

  1. servetus Says:

    + personhood referendum or whatever in MS.

  2. Spanish Prof Says:

    I’ll comment more later. Few things: the link to the OWS article takes me to a spam advertising website.

    Re Shorter University: I’m not surprised. I know somebody (a religious but liberal person) who works for a similar institution. He was told when hired that being seen in a bar drinking (and it’s a really small place, so there are probably 3 bars in town at most) was ground for dismissal. Even hiring a nanny for the kids is a ptoblem: he and his wife have to hide the beer in the fridge. They went there because it was the only place that actually offered a spousal hire ( she is on the same field). But it sounds like a nightmare. Even worse, they are splitting but they can’t tell anybody because they would both be denied tenure. So they keep living together. It sound awful.

    • Didion Says:

      Hmm… the OWS article should link to a Daily Caller piece. However, I’m growing increasingly skeptical of the coverage by sites like the DC, which leans to the right — right-leaning journalists have leapt all over this story. I’m sorry to see that more feminists aren’t weighing in — which makes me wonder whether the reports have been exaggerated by the right to discredit OWS, or whether OWS is trying to sweep it under a rug.

      • Spanish Prof Says:

        I can’t see the piece, so I won’t comment on specifics. If it’s about Baltimore, it was disproved as a “draft” that never got approved by the “general assembly”, or however they call it. On the other hand, it doesn’t surprise me. If you read some of the comments on the progressive blogs threads when it first came out, it wad clear that for many male commenters not involving the police was more important than creating a safe space for women. I’ve also heard of a rape in Cleveland, and again the knee-jerk reaction of male commenters in progressive blogs was to call the story a lie (which it could be, but I’ll certainly appreciate a debate on how to prevent sexual violence in a space that by its own nature is susceptible to it).

      • servetus Says:

        I hate to say this, but one unavoidably thinks of Kwame Ture, or more recently, the unwillingness of some at the start to even contemplate that the assault charges on Julian Assange were credible. Incredibly discouraging.

      • Didion Says:

        Yes. Being a good lefty has never seemed to prevent some men from being sexist douchebags if not sexual harassers. And, when challenged on that issue, from becoming defensive assholes who deny that violence against women is the “important” issue at hand.

  3. Spanish Prof Says:

    ” “We are seeing progress in education and health, but we’re not seeing much progress on the economic and political side, which is a big concern.” Woohoo! Let’s write a headline that leads with PROGRESS!”

    As somebody from a Third World Country (although one with better indicators than others), I will say that in many countries the situation was so abysmal 20 years ago, that progress in women access to education and health is a great leap forward.
    In Argentina is weird: there has been a quota law for the past decade and a half and there has been a great advance on the political side (not just Cristina Kirchner getting re-elected), but that hasn’t translated into the economic and business side. The top posts at most corporations are still in men hands.

    • Didion Says:

      Oh dear, I certainly don’t mean to belittle progress of any kind. I was responding to the contrast between the headline’s lead with “Progress” and the far more distressed tone of the speaker’s comment.

      And I agree with you about Kirchner — and hell, in various other countries (Le Pen in France, Bachmann & Palin in the US) we see women rise to power not because of feminism but because of their embrace of right-wing principles that often include anti-feminism.

      The NYT article doesn’t go into this, but if you consider the gender gap in wealth, the story is far more dire. If women in the US earn 78% of what men earn, they possess only 36% of the wealth that men own. And that’s just the US.


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