Tag Archives: People

Can a man be a feminist? a repost


Some time ago, the Harnisch Foundation awarded AlterNet a grant of $15,000 for our Gender Byline Project if we matched that amount from our readers, especially those who are on Facebook.

support women writers.

The reason for the project: In 2011, male writers still dominate the public discourse and have a much higher percentage of bylines in most corporate magazines online and off, even in progressive media. All of the money in this project would pay for content written by women.

Please help us support women writers.

Just last week, Ms. Magazine started a campaign against the New Yorker after the magazine went two full issues with only two or three contributions by female writers, in a close to 150-page magazine.

It’s not just the New Yorker. January’s issue of Harpers has only three out of 21 stories by women. The Nation’s latest print issue has four and a half female bylines out of 17 articles. The Atlantic did a little better, featuring five and a half female bylines, of 18 total stories.

Clearly, extra effort has to be invested in recruiting, assigning to, and developing emerging women writers, especially in areas where they are most underrepresented, such as politics, economics, and foreign affairs. We want to invest money in doing that. But truth be told, we have had a hard time raising this money. So far, only $4,000.

Please join us — Invest in women writers now.

Some of you, perhaps more our male readers, might wonder why gender byline fairness is important, given all the other challenges we face. It’s a fair question. But this is a personal issue for me and I think it’s extremely important. I want to tell you why.

Can I share a personal story?

I want to tell you a personal story about my growing up. I became a “feminist,” or let’s say I had my “consciousness raised,” as a young child, although I didn’t quite know what that was at the time. I think I was 7.

My female cousin was the same age as I, and almost a sibling since our families spent a lot of time together. As we grew, I started getting messages about how I was supposed to act around her: protect her, open the door for her, walk on the outside closer to the street. And there were other, more subtle messages that made me angry, but I didn’t know why.

As only a child with a fierce, idealistic sense of right and wrong can be, I tried to resist these messages without knowing what was really going on. But not very successfully. What I knew in my heart then was that my cousin was a better student than I, and much more talented as an artist, a dancer, and in other ways. But to people around us, my development – as the boy – seemed to be more important.

This pattern continued through high school and after. My uncle would give my father cigars when I scored touchdowns during high school football games, while my cousin would cheerlead in semi-obscurity. In student government, I was the president and she the secretary. And when my cousin wanted to go to law school, a conspiracy of her parents and her then-boyfriend convinced her not to go at that point, despite the fact that she was a superb student. Eventually her life took a downswing, involving serious struggles, and I can see a line from those first days when we were kids together.

Help us write a different story for women today.

The insight

Over the years it finally dawned on me why I was frustrated. I was being unfairly deprived — deprived of the talents, the ideas, the perspective of half of society. Often it was a point of view I very much wanted. Women’s voices and writing provided a balance to the macho orientation most successful boy students and athletes received when I was growing up in America.

When I came of age in the early ’70s I discovered amazing women writers — authors of sprawling, multi-layered novels like Marge Piercy and Sara Davidson. I was introduced to the work of brilliant thinkers like Dorothy Dinnerstein, Germaine Greer, and Shulamuth Firestone, whose ideas and social critiques made infinite sense to me, more so than many of the male thinkers did at that point.

The good news is, my cousin righted her life and went on to get her PhD. And in my life, I have sought out women writers, hired them, assigned them articles, because much of their writing and ideas have shaped me. They’ve been fundamental to who I am and what I value.

So that is why I think battling the gender byline gap — and it still is severe, we have tons of data to support it — is a key part of every issue we care about, and a lynch pin to our future success in creating the society we want. It’s important for men to get on board, because currently we are being deprived.

If you agree, would you consider making a donation? Help us battle the gender byline gap today.

So I don’t know if men should be called feminists. That’s probably up to women to decide. The important point is that despite the media hype about women out-numbering men in college and grad schools, those with the power and the big salaries in politics, business, and especially the media, are still men. Here’s a reminder if anyone needs one: the U.S. ranks 86th across the globe in the number of female elected officials. Don’t you agree with me that that is pathetic?

Please, men and women, consider investing in our “gender byline gap” project. All of the money will go to women writers. We would really like to free up the matching money sitting in a bank account somewhere and get it into the hands of women writers where it can do some good.

Thank you,

Don Hazen

Executive Editor

AlterNet

P.S. AlterNet is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 100% of your contribution to this effort is tax-deductible.

The law that let her abuser go


By Fallon Williams
Brookline, Massachusetts

Honor Jennifer Martel: Protect Victims of Abuse

27-year-old Jennifer Martel was a caring mom to a little girl. Working her way through college, Jennifer hoped to become an elementary school teacher. Jennifer’s boyfriend had a long history of criminal activity, including domestic violence, yet was released on his own recognizance after smashing Jennifer’s head into a mirror Tuesday, Aug. 13. Just two nights later, he was found covered in blood after stabbing Jennifer to death in the presence of their four-year-old daughter and neighbors.

While Massachusetts is at the forefront of the war against domestic violence, the recent murder of Jennifer Martel highlights a gaping flaw in the current system. Under M.G.L. 276 sec. 58A, offenders can be released on their own recognizance, without any bail set, within 24 hours of an assault. An emergency restraining ordered was issued against Jennifer’s assailant, but since Jennifer did not appear in court the day after she was attacked, her assailant was released without bail on his on recognizance.

When I heard about Jennifer’s murder, I was moved to create this petition. It seems senseless that this beautiful, caring young woman is gone. Something must be done to ensure this never happens again. As a child, I was a victim of domestic violence and witnessed the abuse of my birth-mother as well. Luckily, my father was able to remove me from the situation. Most children are not so lucky.

Females murdered by a current or former partner account for 30% of homicides against women each year. In many instances of intimate partner homicide, domestic violence is a precursor to murder. More often than not, victims of domestic violence do not take action against their abusers for a number of reasons, including fear of retaliation. Known abusers should not be allowed to walk free without bail within 24 hours of a repeat offense. Special concern should be warranted when there is a child in the home, as well.

I am asking for your signature on this petition, in order to prompt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to close the loophole that allows repeat, violent offenders to be released without immediate consequence, putting their victims and the public at risk.

Fatima Goss Graves, National Women’s Law Center


National Women's Law Center - Stop Discounting Women

The data are clear.
Women are still being paid less than men in almost every occupation. And fields dominated by women pay less than fields dominated by men. Here’s the part that really drives me crazy — women are even paid less in jobs that are dominated by women, such as nursing, teaching and waitressing.
Are you fired up?
Take a stand in support of equal pay by sharing this graphic today.

Infographic: Help Wanted - Women are still paid less than men in almost every occupation.

When our supporters share our graphics, it helps educate the public about the wage gap.
Here’s the problem: When women bring home smaller paychecks, families have less to pay for basic necessities. At a time when families are relying increasingly on women’s wages, addressing the wage gap is incredibly important.
But to do this, we need people to know about the wage gap. We have to reach beyond our core group of supporters — so that the broader public joins our efforts to close the wage gap once and for all. That’s why we need your help.
Please join us by sharing this graphic today. It’s one small thing you can do to help.
Thanks again!
Sincerely,
Fatima Goss Graves Fatima Goss Graves Vice President for Education and Employment National Women’s Law Center    

P.S. Want to read more? Check out NWLC’s new report outlining the barriers to achieving fair pay and practical steps to close it. Also check out our new website at mywagegap.org.