Guilt Trip: Why Rising Female Employment Makes Men Feel Sad

A recent edition of “Talk of the Nation” on  NPR had me fuming! The host, Neal Conan, was interviewing Hanna Rosin a regular contributor to the Atlantic and a co-founder of Double X, Slate’s all-female run magazine  about her July article in the Atlantic titled, “The End of Men“. Also a guest was Guy Garcia, CEO of the marketing research firm Mentametrix and author of The Decline of Men (2008). Their discussion focused on the implications of the fact that, since the beginning of the recession female employment has risen along with male unemployment. First, this is not a shocking or new phenomenon but rather a result of gender-based wage inequities that “pay-off” during economic downturns. Second, the language both Rosin and Garcia used assumed certain “facts” about men and women that, I would argue are more socio-cultural constructs than biological imperatives.

Garcia:”…guys are still expected in some way to be the patriarch. They still feel bad if they can’t support a family. And this is a huge change. And I don’t think society has even come close to saying, well, gee, if women are going to take over the roles that men used to have, now guys are free to be flight attendants and nurses and housewives – isn’t that great, guys? Well, you know, most nine out of 10 guys are not so thrilled about that.”

Read the full article here.

– Thea Michailides

Sociological Images: On Satire and The Onion

Sometimes the subversive nature of satire can be a powerful way to help people understand larger insights into society and politics.  But I often struggle—as do many—with determining when satire has gone too far to the point of becoming damaging, offensive, or reinforcing discourses that it fails to critique.

Gwen Sharp sparked a debate last night in her post for Sociological Images, Satirizing the Mexican Drug Cartel:

In The Onion‘s story, “witnesses reported hearing roughly 357 million gunshots, during which time the Mexican populace was caught in the crossfire and killed.” The story is accompanied by the following image, which I’ve put after the jump — it’s of a lot of dead bodies and may be upsetting to some…. Continue reading

This Week: Texas textbooks (again), Masculinity in crisis, & more

Texas Board Approves Warning Textbook Makers Against “Pro-Islamic, Anti-Christian Distortions”

TPM: “One parent said she read through a section of her son’s history book and found four pages on Islam and only one reference to the Bible. Asked by a board member what the section was titled, she replied, ‘Life in the Eastern Hemisphere.'”

Many States In Mexico Crack Down On Abortion

New York Times: “Here in the state of Guanajuato, where Roman Catholic conservatives have controlled government for more than 15 years, it is standard procedure to investigate suspected cases of abortion. But Guanajuato is no anomaly, women’s rights advocates and some health officials say, since a broad move to enforce antiabortion laws has gained momentum in other parts of Mexico.”

Gabourey Sidibe As Mammy

Womanist Musings: “By this standard, by virtue of their weight, any fat Black woman would be understood as a mammy regardless of her political understanding of how race and gender functions to effect her life’s chances.  What we cannot escape, no matter how post racial we claim our society is, are the categories of: mammy, jezebel, and sapphire.  This is not because these categories have any basis in reality, but because Whiteness is pervasive. These simplistic categories are meant to demean and debase Black womanhood.” Continue reading

The NY Times Sunday Book Review: Liesl Schillinger Reviews “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Rebecca Traister

Liesl Schillinger’s review of Big Girls Don’t Cry in Sunday’s NY Times is yet another example of the attention this book have received in recent weeks from various media outlets. I suspect that much of this interest may be due to its somewhat provocative subtitle: The Election That Changed Everything For American Women. Traister uses the 2008 election, and its run-up, as a back-drop for an analysis of two influential (for better or worse) and often controversial women: Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Despite the subtitle Traister seems to conclude that, while much has changed or improved for women in the public/political sphere over the last several decades the tensions and anxieties that have always existed still remain, though they may be subtly disguised by “coded” speech.

On the morning of Aug. 29, 2008, Denver was swarming with journalists covering the Democratic National Convention. Awaking giddy from the euphoria of Barack Obama’s acceptance of his party’s nomination the night before, I turned on CNN to find John McCain announcing he had chosen a woman — an unknown Alaska governor and mother of five — as his running mate: ­Sarah Palin. “Obama’s just won the election,” I called to my still-slumbering companion. Five minutes later, having taken in Palin’s cocky moxie and Wonder Woman veneer, I shouted: “Get up! You’ve got to see this woman. Maybe McCain will win!” Continue reading

The Atlantic: ‘Compassion,’ Ta-Nehisi Coates on Drew Gilpin Faust

I was excited to see that Ta-Nehisi Coates took some room in his column to discuss Drew Gilpin Faust’s Mothers of Invention. Our cohort read this text around this time last year in Lyde Sizer’s Visions and Re/Visions in U.S. Women’s History class, resulting in valuable dialogue. Coates’ full article is available at his column in The Atlantic.

For an African-American like me, the upshot of all this gorgeous writing is bracing–one is forced to behold beauty in those who saw no such beauty in us. Worse, the partisans of Confederate history are quite often necromancers who would defile that beauty with denialism, and Lost Cause hokum. The impulse is toward rage, toward justified fury. The impulse is to view any deft use of the English language, as hypocrisy, as devil-worship concealed beneath garland prose. Continue reading

Upcoming spoken word events at Sarah Lawrence

Open mic and spoken word feature: Sam Teitel
The Teahaus
Workshop at 6

SAM TEITEL is a performance poet out of New England. He has been a member of two national slam teams, Manchester, NH in 2008 and Portland, ME in 2009. In 2010 he returned to Manchester to serve as assistant coach for the 2010 team. He graduated from Hampshire College in 2009 with a thesis called “Poetry. Performance. Punk Rock.” He is currently living in Somerville, MA and acting as a host and a heartbreaker at the Slam Free Or Die reading in Manchester. Continue reading

Jezebel: What’s Next For “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

This is an excerpt of an article written by Irin Carmon posted on Jezebel. You can read the full post at

Photo taken from

Yesterday’s Senate failure on the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal was disappointing, but as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs put it, “I don’t think this is the end.” Oh yeah?

First comes the finger-pointing. The New York Times opined in its news piece that yesterday’s failure was a symptom of “Congress [being] increasingly paralyzed by the partisan fury of the midterm elections,” and the inability to even open debate on a defense bill that would simply open the door to DADT’s repeal was “more a result of a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over legislative process than a straightforward referendum on whether to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers to serve openly.”

On her show yesterday, Rachel Maddow called that a red herring, arguing that Republicans had dragged their feet on the procedural stuff merely to mask their own culture warrior opposition to gays in the military, and that none of their protests held water. (Also, we can blame both Arkansas Senators, nominally Democrats, for voting with the Republicans.) Continue reading