Taking on TED

There’s a really interesting debate going on right now between the wonderful Jessica Valenti, the TED conference people, and the internet.

Valenti asked TED why they’ve never done a talk on abortion, and got a response saying, “We tend to focus on wider issues of justice, inequality and human rights. Abortion is more of a topical issue that we wouldn’t take a position on, any more than we’d take a position on a state tax bill.”

Got that? According to TED, abortion has nothing to do with justice, equality, or human rights.

The Kiddie Wage Gap

We all (hopefully) know that women earn less than men for doing equivalent work. (There are debates about how much less, but that’s a digression.)

But did you know the same goes for little kids?

As this excellent article explains, numerous studies have shown that:

  1. Little girls spend an average of two more hours per week doing chores than little boys do; little boys spend those two hours playing.
  2. In households where children are financially compensated for doing chores, little girls are paid less than little boys, and traditionally female chores are given lower monetary value than traditionally male chores.
  3. 75% of little girls are expected to complete housework chores, versus 65% of little boys.

Compounding the issue, as traditionally female chores tend to take place inside home (like folding and dishwashing) whereas traditionally male chores take place outside the home (like mowing the lawn and taking out the trash,) work done by women is often unseen, and consequently undervalued.

Those disparities carry into adulthood all over the world.

WAM! Ladydinner

Remember Women, Action & the Media, the organization working with Facebook to change their approach to misogynistic hate speech?

Well last night, I attended WAM! Los Angeles‘s ‘Ladydinnner’, and had a ball. SO many badass women (and 1 kickass man.) Filmmakers, tv writers, journalists, organizers, activists, an editor from Ms. Magazine, the creators of The Big Feminist BUT comic book… And Mexican food. Just fantastic.

If you’re so inclined, check out their shiny new site and get involved in a branch near you (or start one!)

Sandra Fluke, here I come!

In a few hours, I’m heading to my first official feminist event… A fundraiser for Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP), honoring Sandra Fluke and Frances Kissling, retired President of Catholics for Choice.

I can’t think of a better week to gather and honor those who are leading the fight for reproductive rights. I’ll take lots of pictures and bring back a full report!

(In the meantime, check out WRRAP and the great work they do!)

 

Kickstarter Apologizes

Kickstarter has apologized, explained their thinking, pledged to change some policies, and is donating $25k to RAINN.

The core of their defense-with-apology is that they’ve never acted quickly to remove a project so close to funding. But the question they don’t answer is what it would take to get them to do so. I suspect if the project was revealed to advocate violence against people of a particular religion, race, or sexual orientation, they would have taken it down; But we’ll never know.

As with Facebook, only time will tell whether this indicates substantive or superficial change. The larger point is that institutional sexism isn’t getting a cultural pass anymore, and if you get caught, you’re not getting out of it.

At the Movies, the Women are Gone

Also… GREAT piece about the total absence of women’s voices in the current slate of mainstream movies. 

It’s easy to feel powerless to change something like this, but here are a few things every one of us can do:

– Start applying The Bechdel Test to all of the entertainment you consume; Movies, television, books, video games, etc. Make it a regular part of how you think about entertainment.

– When you talk to friends and family about the latest movie/tv show you’ve seen, book you’ve read, game you’ve played, etc., include your observations of how women were represented and portrayed.

– When you hear about a movie/tv show/book/video game/etc. that was created/led by a woman, tells women’s stories, etc., support it.

(Right now, check and see if The East is playing anywhere near you. The writer/creator is a woman named Brit Marling, it features excellent female actors like Ellen Page and patricia Clarkson in leading roles, and gets a gold Bechdel star.)