What to Give Her, What to Buy for Him!

Gift giving can be tricky. And if you believe in the polarization of gender and biological determinism, be aware that you need to stick to highly feminine and masculine gifts that reinforce the belief in the segregation of women and men.

Red Envelope has a whole section of gifts for her, and for him. Subcategories for women (that are not included in the men’s section and vice versa) consist of “cooking and baking,” “flowers and plants,” and “gardening.” Subcategories for men include “sports” and “electronics and gadgets,” as well as “watches” (there’s a clear distinction between a watch and a piece of jewelry, right?) Some categories are similar, but assumed gender preferences are included. For example, for women there is a section called “for the home,” but for men this similar section is called “home & office.” For women, there is also a section titled “bar & wine”; the same section exists for men, with the addition of cigars. See, this is helpful because we would not want women smoking cigars in their offices and men to dirty their jewelry in the garden.

[Read more...]

The Mother, The Welfare State, and The Others

The welfare state began in Europe in the late 19th century, but reached its climax after World War II. Europe was devastated and needed to be rebuilt, and at the time, the guarantees of social security, employment, and retirement were real human progress. The population had also declined, and in France, a country of pro-natalist tradition, policies that encouraged having children were more of a priority than ever. Financial support for mothers and other family benefits were introduced, and these pro-natalist policies still exist in France today.

Generally motherhood is glorified, to the detriment of women that don’t have children. Glorifying motherhood to this point, and to the point that it can seem to be an obligation, can also be considered in attitudes that victimize women and demonize men. The persistence of beliefs such as women are weaker than men, can put women into defenseless roles that are reinforced by other, equally damaging beliefs, like women are kindness incarnate because they can give birth. Such obstinate views like women are incomplete without kids, or men are always the bad guys, can contribute to a perception that women that make different choices are abnormal or bad, and therefore are easier for society to reject.

[Read more...]

Human Trafficking Report Sheds Light on A Hidden Crime

Guest blogger Darci recently graduated from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration with her Masters in Social Work, and currently works in an anti-trafficking organization in Chicago. She has volunteered, interned, and worked at her campus rape crisis center as well as the rape crisis center serving the Seacoast. Darci is very passionate about women’s issues, ending violence against women, and portraying women with dignity and respect in the media. She blogs at www.iamafeministnowwhat.wordpress.com.

In early August, the Polaris Project released a report ranking the states on their response to human trafficking. This report is similar to the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released by the U.S. government as a tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. Similarly, the Polaris Project’s report on the United States ranked states by tier determined by a point system. The tier descriptions are as follows:

[Read more...]