Friday Round Up: Why Are There Y Chromosomes Edition

No, this Friday Round Up isn’t only about the weenier-than-almost-anyone-ever Rep. Anthony Weiner. I start there because how can I not? But we’ll quickly move on to the meta-picture of gender power.

Jessica Wakeman wrote in her excellent personal essay “Flirting Over Social Media Is Micro-Infidelity” for The Frisky:

There was a time when I might have said that flirting over social media, even sending photos, was no big deal and not tantamount to “real” cheating. But having had this experience, I know firsthand the violation of trust and the sting of unfaithfulness feels just the same. It really and truly does. It’s micro-infidelity and it’s completely unacceptable.

IMO it serves her ex-boyfriend right that his misdeeds will live on the internet forever. I am starting to wonder if their prehensile hunter propels men to troll the web, and they get hooked on the chase which in turn changes their brains. Your thoughts?

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Over at RHRealityCheck, Jodi Jacobson points out a difference with a distinction between Weiner and some of his fellow political philanderers:

I really do not care in what sexual practices consenting adults engage or what agreements are forged between two consenting adults, especially if the spouse of a given Twitterer knows about and lives with her/his spouses preferences.
What I do care about is the “holier-than-thou” moralizing in which so many of these philanderers engage, and the fact that they both pretend to be better than the rest of us, and, even worse, to legislate our private lives.

What do you care?
And what should Democratic women in Congress care and do about it?

Does [Sen. Diane Feinstein] think Weiner should resign? “I’m not getting into that,” she demurred.
It was an apt illustration of the bind in which female lawmakers, particularly Democrats, find themselves as Weiner’s tawdry saga unfolds. They represent a party trying to position itself as the best choice for women in the lead-up to the 2012 congressional and presidential elections, yet the most senior among them have not called outright for Weiner’s resignation.

Still, many women are changing things by simply being there. Jill Abramson’s appointment as the new, and first woman, executive editor of the old grey New York Times will, I predict, be more than a statement that the paper was in trouble so they brought in a woman to clean things up. Patricia Sullivan writes for the Women’s Media Center how the new girls’ network played a part in Abramson’s career trajectory.

Joanne Bamberger who writes the political blog, PunditMom and is the author of Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America, reports on progress of a different kind: the language used by the media describing a difference between two women no longer invariably includes the word “catfight.”

And in the most uplifting news this week about how women aren’t taking the men’s s*** any more category, take a look at the video of housekeepers staging a protest as Domnique Strauss-Kahn arrives at the courthouse.

This Round Up has included the bad and the good. This last link contains some of both. In a provocative Washington Post commentary, Jessica Valenti, founder of, and author of “The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women” explains the value of SlutWalks more plausibly than anyone else has for me, though I’m still unconvinced that claiming “slut” as a badge of honor is an effective way to make feminist social change.

It’s a controversial name, which is in part why the organizers picked it. It’s also why many of the SlutWalk protesters are wearing so little (though some are sweatpants-clad, too). Thousands of women — and men — are demonstrating to fight the idea that what women wear, what they drink or how they behave can make them a target for rape. SlutWalks started with a local march organized by five women in Toronto and have gone viral, with events planned in more than 75 cities in countries from the United States and Canada to Sweden and South Africa.

Aside from the question of whether the freedom to drink a lot and wear revealing clothes is a feminist advance, I challenge the contention that “SlutWalks have become the most successful feminist action of the past 20 years.”

It shows a stunning absence of historical knowledge and disrespect for world changing actions women have led, from the Liberian market women who brought down Charles Taylor’s corrupt government to such current movements led by young women such as Hollaback that organizes women to fight street harassment through direct action and is burgeoning in the U.S. and globally.

And second, Valenti’s dismissal of mass shows of political strength such as the 2004 March for Womens’ Lives reveals her own political naivete. If she thinks it made no difference, she should accompany me on speaking engagements where inevitably one of today’s emerging leaders tells me it’s what got them involved in feminist social and political action. And has Valenti overlooked the power of people massed in Tahrir Square?

The SlutWalks highlight a cultural injustice to be sure, but how will this be translated to public policy and the ballot box? Would that making systemic change were as simple as wearing skimpy clothes in public.

Uh,oh does that bring me back full circle to Anthony (D-Stupid) Weiner?

No Comments

  1. Aletha on June 11, 2011 at 1:34 am

    I see it as a sad day when feminists can make the claim that the most effective way to protest rape is to organize SlutWalks. I suppose any action that gets women organized to this extent and attracts this level of attention could be called a major success, but will it make a dent in the incidence of rape? I doubt it. It is said, in politics any kind of publicity is good publicity, but I never agreed with that. In my eyes, SlutWalks dovetails far too closely for comfort with the notion that being a sex object can empower women.

    • Gloria Feldt on June 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      “In my eyes, SlutWalks dovetails far too closely for comfort with the notion that being a sex object can empower women.”

      Great point, Aletha. I feel for young women today who are navigating to find a comfortable place where they can own and enjoy their own sexuality without being disempowered by the many ways the culture conspires to define them as sex objects.

  2. […] Even newer, edgier women’s groups such as Hollaback and Ultraviolet (both of which I admire greatly) operate primarily from a position of reacting to gender based discrimination. Slutwalks, heralded as thenew women’s movement are anything but — protesting but not creating systemic change. […]

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