Saturday, January 30, 2010

Feminism and the culture of marriage

It seems women who are more successful relative to their husbands have happier marriages.

This is according to some new research - the New York Times article is also interesting - which I've been periodically thinking about ever since feministe linked to it a few days ago. My first thought was, naturally, "well, of course that's true. Successful women are more likely to be happy."

Now, this in itself is very important. An enormous number of people are quite terrified at the prospect of women being the primary earners in a household - they insist that chaos and broken families are the inevitable result. These results make them look positively foolish.

It's even more important than that, though. For years, we've been insisting that society would be a better place with more equality and power for women. But not everyone agrees with that. I can't count the number of times that I've tried to explain why feminism is still important (Women can vote and own property now, can't they? What else do we need?) to someone, only to be told in no uncertain terms that it only benefited women, that families (i.e. men) were being made miserable by feminist actions. One answer to this, of course, is that it's hardly fair for men to achieve their happiness at the expense of women, but research like this essentially bypasses the question.

If successful women actually improve families and marriages, that strikes at the central argument of those who insist the opposite. The so-called 'decline of the family' is one of the most pervasive bogey-persons today; it seems to be being systematically dismantled (other recent research about the effectiveness of homosexual parents comes to mind). Feminism is finally changing, not just laws and regulations, but the culture itself. This is a very, very good thing.

Which is not to say we're anywhere near finished - just look at the tagline of the LA Times take on a study about the increase in women who earn more than their husbands (22% to be specific). 'Researchers say marriage may be a path to economic stability for men.' It's still all about teh mens for so many (and the article was apparently written by a woman!).

We just need to go further. Real cultural change is the answer.

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Friday, January 29, 2010 with wings

Hire a woman or two for your marketing team, Apple; they might have been able to foresee this problem:
Apple has generated a lot of chatter with its new iPad tablet. But it may not be quite the conversation it wanted.

Many women are saying the name evokes awkward associations with feminine hygiene products. People from Boston to Ireland are complaining that “iPad,” in their regional brogue, sounds almost indistinguishable from “iPod,” Apple’s music player.


In the hours after the iPad announcement on Wednesday, “iTampon” became one of the most popular trending topics on Twitter.
Indeed. No way anyone would have guessed this might happen.

Via the NY Times.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

You're never getting that station wagon back, Obama

This isn't strictly feminist, but it's political and too damn true not to share (specifically starting around the 1 minute mark). The idea that Obama needs to drift further to the center/right is just asinine.

"Dude, where's your car?"

"I gave the Republicans the keys."


"They said they'd be nice to me if I did."

"You're never getting that station wagon back, man."

"So giving them my house keys was a bad idea, too?"


Yeah. Something like that.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A few thoughts on Haiti

The disaster in Haiti (as seen by those in the rest of the world, of course) is winding down. The government is giving up on searching and moving toward rebuilding. The media frenzy is nearly over - no headlines, few articles on the front pages of websites and papers. Even more - people aren't talking much about Haiti any more, and although I don't know, I imagine donations are on their way down, too.

I could say that in reality, the disaster is far from over, that we still need to support Haitians, etc. And it would be true - at least to a point.

But in all honesty, Haiti will be okay - as much as it can be. The damage is already done. Hundreds of thousands are dead, and the country destroyed. The humanitarian groups are finally in place, and all the rich foreign governments are involved. The disaster relief machinery is in place, it's all downhill (or is that uphill?) from here.

And it's too late to really do anything, because this disaster wasn't really caused by the earthquake.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It had a terrible infrastructure. The government was inefficient, corrupt, had no resources, and was completely incapable of dealing with a disaster. And on and on it goes.

Haiti needed 'disaster relief' long before the earthquake. And if something had been done, the effect of the quake would have been much, much reduced.

That's how it always happens, though. A part of the world, a people group, some other division has a problem. It could be poverty, potential war or genocide, or just simple racism, sexism, classism. Something happens, the conditions finally become intolerable, and then people (hopefully) do something. If it's obvious enough (earthquake, hurricane), we do quite a lot. If it's more subtle, we don't do as much.

Regardless, by that point all that can be done is clean up. That's the real disaster.

Something needs to be done before the earthquakes, not after.

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