Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sexual Harassment - More Than Unwanted Sexual Advances

For ten hours, actress Shoshana Roberts walked the streets of Manhattan with microphones in her hands recording the comments made to her by men she didn't know. In front of her was filmer Rob Bliss who was outfitted a backpack with a hidden camera.

Men approached, leered at, and trailed Roberts, sometimes for minutes at a time, as they seemed to believe that women's bodies should be accessible to them on command.

The ever present threat of sexual harassment is real for women, no matter where we go. Sexual harassment and disrespectful, dangerous views of men toward women are not a case of "isolated incidences." Every women knows that, so we must be on guard 24/7.


World Gender Equality Rankings for 2014

The annual report from the World Economic Forum shows us that the Nordic countries with working social democracies fare best when it comes to lives for women, and the worst countries are homes of political instability and conflict with large rural populations and traditional cultures.

Countries are scored on a range of criteria: women's health indicators, their political empowerment, their participation in their country's economy and their right to education.

Even though there are great differences between top and bottom countries, such as Iceland and Sweden on the top, and Pakistan and Yemen on the bottom, no country has fully closed the gender gap. Wage inequities persist virtually everywhere.

The United States ranked 20th, behind Nicaragua and Rwanda, two among the nineteen who do a better job.


Friday, October 24, 2014

For Real – A Major Man in US Sports Fired for Making a Sexist Comment?

Is it possible that a major player in men's sports could lose his job for making a sexist remark?

Today, men's Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) president Ted Bishop was removed from office by his board of directors for "insensitive gender-based statements." In trying to insult English golfer Ian Poulter, he called him a "lil girl." 

We remember the time when making sexist comments made a sports figure a "man," and now look at this. Will other men follow suit, and think about their sexist comments? 

Harriet sat in as a spectator on the case of the PGA versus Casey Martin, when the PGA was fighting the successful efforts of Martin to use a motorized cart in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. Has the PGA come a long way, or are they nervous about the fact that participation in golf is declining, and they don't want to turn half of the population of potential players against them?


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Women - Redefine the Box the Gender Hierarchy Defines

In any hierarchy, people in lower groups are given conditions which they are supposed to follow to keep them in their lower positions. With women, much of the conditioning centers around body issues, that women aren't beautiful just the way they are. Women are supposed to understand their inferior place on the gender hierarchy by changing their real selves with make-up, unhealthy weight bodies, shaving, being in a subservient relationship with men, taking responsibility for sexual assault, and accepting that their role in life is to have children in a traditional marriage, etc.

Brazilian illustrator Carol Rossetti has created a series of supportive illustrations to help motivate women in their struggles against gender prejudices and discrimination. She recognizes that every day, females around the world hear rude and abusive words directed their way.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sports are Only for Males, You Say

Back when Harriet used to coach children's sports, it was common for the sports clothing and equipment to be located only in the boys section of the store. Girls were given the message loudly and clearly that they weren't real athletes, and that boys were the only ones who were. Even though Harriet protested, stores didn't care.

Once Harriet went into a Pearl izumi store and noticed that all the bike jerseys for young people were labeled "boys" with no thought to label them "youth." Again, girls aren't supposed to ride bikes, only boys.

Now we see that life has not changed, at least at Dick's Sporting Goods. Twelve-year-old McKenna Peterson noticed that the store shut out female basketball player from its catalogs, and wrote the company a letter about it. Dick's hasn't responded.

The article also calls out Men's Health for its sexist evaluation of women and sports.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Men Portrayed in Commercials Like Women

Role reversals are a very informative way to see hierarchies.

In the video listed below, the submissive role of women in commercials, as well as the violence depicted toward them by men, is clearly shown in real advertising.

Then, the same commercials are shown with women in men's roles, and men in women's roles. As with any hierarchy, when we replace the bottom group with a top group, and move the bottom group to the top, the situation that before seemed "normal" now looks ridiculous.

See for yourself, compliments of students from Canada.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Seattle Replaces "Columbus Day" with "Indigenous People's Day"

Men like Christopher Columbus certainly got away with using violence to build hierarchies, killing and raping native people. But with hierarchies falling, their exploits are no longer universally admired.

Today the city council of Seattle unanimously decided to declare the traditional "Columbus Day" holiday as "Indigenous Peoples' Day" in the city, honoring the people who have contributed much of their rich history to the area. People worked for the name change because they say Columbus was responsible for genocide.

Also, last Wednesday, the Seattle School Board voted unanimously for schools to observe "Indigenous Peoples' Day" on the same day as the federal holiday of "Columbus Day." The resolution, in part,  “recognizes the fact that Seattle is built upon the homelands and villages of the Indigenous Peoples of this region, without whom the building of the City would not have been possible.” Also, the board “has a responsibility to oppose the systematic racism towards Indigenous people in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education and social crises.”