In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Kavanaugh for SCOTUS: So how fucked are we?

Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, and Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to take his place on the Supreme Court. This isn’t a small deal — despite being personally right-leaning, Kennedy has tended to be the moderate swing vote for some of the more contentious cases that have come before the court. (Abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action have all had his signature on them.) In replacing him with Kavanaugh, Trump nails down a solid conservative majority to enshrine his agenda into law and gives us our first-ever Supreme Court Justice Brett. So what does that mean for us?

On incivility: “I work for a lying, bigoted aspiring dictator” isn’t a protected class

Recently, White House mouthpiece Sarah Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, after committing the unforgivable offense of being White House mouthpiece Sarah Sanders. (Did I make that sound sarcastic? Because I meant it sincerely. What Sanders does is unforgivably offensive.) Since Sanders’s Twitter whine (from her official White House Twitter account), of course, much of the conversation has been focused on the topic of manners and civility. And yes, we still have the responsibility to be civil, we have to rise above it all, and yes, that’s true, but seriously, a person can only go high for so long and honestly just fuck it.

How to help with Texas — and what doesn’t help

Watching Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey ravage the western Gulf Coast, with no apparent intention of leaving before the entire region is under water, and feeling helpless? Reasonable. When what people need is to be literally boatlifted from their flooded homes, it’s hard to sit hundreds of miles away and feel like there’s nothing you can do to make anything better. But you can! There are things you can do to help.

Because We Need It: Waiting for Uptown to funk her up

Our world is a disaster, and it’s easy to get the feeling that everything is bad and nothing will ever be okay. But that’s not entirely the case, and I know that because here’s an adorable girl in a car seat, listening to “Uptown Funk” and patiently waiting for the beat to drop.

Trans Day of Remembrance

Today is the Trans Day of Remembrance.

I don’t have much to say, but I thought we should acknowledge the ongoing persecution and murder of trans people, particularly trans women of color.

And, being in the US, I want to acknowledge how dangerous the Trump regime will be to trans people, particularly trans people of color. I didn’t hold with contributing money to the NC GOP when their office was destroyed; that’s sad for them, but they do terrible things, and I won’t support that.

Protections for trans people can and no doubt will suffer huge blows under Trump and Pence. In 2010, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton implemented a policy making it much easier than previously for trans people to obtain passports with their correct gender listed. Previously, a person had to have undergone gender reassignment surgery to make this happen; since 2010, a person needs to have a note from a doctor affirming that they have undergone “clinical treatment for gender transition.” Obviously this is not ideal and still sets up doctors, not accessible to everybody for various reasons, insurance coverage being prime, as gatekeepers, but it is significantly better than what came before. With Pence setting domestic policy, that rule is obviously at risk.

The Republican desire to destroy ACA will also hit trans people, making it more difficult if not downright impossible for many to get access to the medical care. Currently, the ACA bans anti-trans discrimination in health care. That seems unlikely to make the cut under Trump and Pence. And if ACA is repealed altogether, that could leave any number of trans people (I can’t find stats on this) out in the cold, particularly because trans people face such severe discrimination in the workplace that they are more likely to work in industries that do not provide health insurance benefits.

The GOP platform supports electrocuting gay and trans kids to make them straight and cis. It also supports state amendments preventing trans people from using the correct bathrooms. And of course, the rise in hate crimes is not going to exempt trans people.

So on this TDoR, I say we mourn the dead and remember how terrifying what lies ahead is. Mourn the dead, fight like hell for the living, I guess.

Spillover #33

It’s been a while since our 32nd #spillover thread, and as the #USAelection2016 threads are accumulating some intemperance in the comments generally is increasing, so it’s time for a 33rd #spillover thread to help keep people focused on the specific topics being discussed. Some reminders:

1. #spillover is part of our comment moderation system for keeping other threads on-topic by providing a separate constructive space for side-discussions.
2. Commenters are encouraged to respect the topic of each post and cheerfully volunteer to take off-topic side-discussions into #spillover.

Spillover #32

Our 32nd #spillover thread is long overdue. Some reminders:

1. #spillover is part of our comment moderation system for keeping other threads on-topic by providing a separate constructive space for side-discussions.
2. Commenters are encouraged to respect the topic of each post and cheerfully volunteer to take off-topic side-discussions into #spillover.

The Cost of Living

(As a Clash aficionado, this phrase always makes me think of the EP released in 1979. This has nothing to do with the post, but I thought I’d get it out there and out of the way for myself. I enjoy the mental image of Strummer and Paul Simonon giggling about the phrase–apparently how they came to name the EP. This digression is now over.)

You may have seen this study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, finding that women pay extra money for the products marketed to us. This is not exactly a huge surprise to me, but I’m glad to see someone do the legwork to confirm it. We’re charged more for the products we’re asked to buy even leaving out how much extra buying is demanded of women. Even if we just bought one-to-one the same stuff as men bought, we’d have a surcharge. Obviously, some of this can be circumvented: I don’t know a single woman who buys women’s shaving gel rather than men’s, for instance.

And that’s not taking into account all we have to or are manipulated into buying that most men don’t: tampons and pads and panty liners, make-up and nail polish, contraception, hair products, extra clothing (men can wear a suit to a white-collar interview and a suit to a wedding; I need radically different outfits for those two events), jewelry (most men can and will show up to that wedding without any jewelry on).

Here’s an example from my own life (that makes it an upper-middle class example, of course): I start teaching again soon. Because I had my son, I’ve gone up a couple of sizes. I don’t mind; I still think I look good. But it means I own an entire closetful of clothing that doesn’t fit me. And I can’t show up to teach in yoga pants or a pair of jeans. I hadn’t thought about the gendered aspect of the shopping necessitated by this situation until I mentioned it to a male colleague who said “Wow, yeah, I can just slouch on into the classroom in a shirt and jeans. That’s not fair to you!” No, I guess it’s not. (I’m tenured now, I suppose I could slouch on into the classroom in a t-shirt and jeans, but I don’t think I could count on commanding the respect and deference that a male colleague doing the same thing could, given all the work coming out on how sexist student evals are.)

It costs more to be a cis femme woman than it does to be a cis butch man. I wonder how this breaks down in different gender expressions. What’s the price differential of being a butch woman, for instance? What about a femme man? And how does race inflect these differences? And what is the cost of being trans?