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man wins presidential election; world is shocked May 10, 2007

Posted by sindhub in 2007 french presidential election, careerwomen, class, female politicos, Female Power, female voters, feminism, france, gender, Girl Power, Hillary Clinton, in the news, International, jacques chirac, motherhood, new york times, news stories, nicolas sarkozy, politics, Power, segolene royal.
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As you may know, France’s presidential election took place recently.  In a runoff between rightist Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist Segolene Royal, Sarkozy was chosen to replace Jacques Chirac, 53 to 47 percent.  What’s relevant to ‘girl power’ is that Royal is a woman.  I found this article, “France’s female voters shun Segolene Royal,” which makes the situation sound pretty bad.  But the female vote for Royal wasn’t much different from the overall vote, with a 52 to 48 margin in favor of Sarkozy.  Although Royal focused part of her campaign on appealing specfically to female voters ‘as a mother’ and promising greater equality (only 12% of French lawmakers are female), apparently female voters thought she focused on it too much.  Some of the women interviewed say that they didn’t vote for Royal just because she’s a woman, because they didn’t think she was going to do anything for them or because she didn’t share the same vision for the country that they did.

There are two conflicting ways to look at the situation.  On one hand, isn’t this what we want, for women to be seen as individuals (as ‘human’) and not just as women?  But, do we really want that when it doesn’t work in their favor?  Especially when it might not be working in their favor because the political system is still biased against them?  And it seems that while Royal was criticized for showing too much identification with one demographic, that being women, she’s also criticized for (more…)

Grey’s Spinoff May 9, 2007

Posted by erinsull in bitch, careerwomen, Female Power, Grey's Anatomy, Kate Walsh, women in television.
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I just came across this interesting New York Times article about the new Grey’s Anatomy spin-off centered around Kate Walsh’s character Dr. Addison Montgomery (formally Sheppard as fans of the show are well aware). Being a fan of Grey’s I watched the 2-hour episode, which set up Addison’s new show. At 11 o’clock as the closing credits rolled I had this sense on dissatisfaction and annoyance but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. While Grey’s admittedly has its own issues (the title character Meredith is an extremely polarizing figure) I’d never had this kind of reaction to it. This article summed up a lot of the problems I had with the episode. Addison first appeared on the show at the end of season one as the ex wife of Meredith’s boyfriend, Dr. Sheppard (more commonly known as McDreamy but I can’t deal with that name). She was intimidating, a “coolly amused villainess” who was in town to challenge the show’s frail and often flaky heroine. Addison was sophisticated, beautiful, confident, and on top of all that a world-renowned surgeon. She could have easily been the character everyone loved to hate but the writers made her surprisingly likeable. She was a real woman, who while sometimes exuding perfection, made mistakes and had emotions. At first I commended this change, I liked that she wasn’t a one-note villain but someone who viewers could identify with.

However with recent plot twists Addison has become a shadow of her once intimidating self. As the articles’ author notes “her character evolved into a more likable colleague, but for some reason, that change required her to become dizzier, chattier and very much like the ever confused and self-doubting Meredith — and, of course, Ally McBeal”. She was prompted to leave Seattle Grace after she was scorned by two men (one an intern, another whom she had rejected many times I the past). What does it mean that to make the character more relatable (and thus able to carry her own show) the writers felt they had to make her flakier and far less self assure? The head writer and brains behind Grey’s Anatomy is a woman, did she feel this new Addison was necessary to appeal to a wider audience? I can’t really take her transformation as natural character development for one of the world’s foremost neonatologist. Was the original Addison just too powerful and confident, too much of a “bitch” to make people tune in and care week after week?

The article makes an interesting point about the other women on the show who are supposedly a more empowering portrayal of professionally successful women. It says “on “Grey’s Anatomy” at least two female characters, Christina (Sandra Oh) and Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) have confidence, big egos and an ability to keep their sorrows to themselves most of the time”. They lie in contrast to the women on the spin-off who are “fragile and pitiable” and “prone to public displays of disaffection”. While I agree that it was tough to take watching these professional woman constantly overcome with emotion (mostly at the whim of men) I think it is interesting that the author puts such a high regard on women keeping their emotions to themselves. Is that key for women to exude a sense of power and control? Anyway the article is a really interesting look at the sometimes-disheartening portrayal of women even on “the most bourgeois women’s television shows.”

The fight over the veil May 7, 2007

Posted by Wasik in bodies, careerwomen, controversy, fashion police, Female Power, feminism, ideology, in the news, iran, islam, morality, nationalism, politics, religion, the state, The Terrorist, Uncategorized, women and war.
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[This started out as a comment to sindhub’s post on Women’s Bodies and Ideology, but then quickly became very long so now it is a normal post. But sindhub– thanks for bringing this topic up!]

The debate about traditional islamic dress for women– loosely referred to in Western discourse as ‘the veil’– is probably the most complicated, intricate and endlessly controversial way in which, as you mention, nationalist and religious (though the two are often inextricably tied) movements use women’s bodies to enforce ideology.

In Western media and popular culture, the issue is often presented very one-sidedly, ignoring the nuance involved which has perpetuated this debate for so long. I distinctly remember one episode of “Seventh Heaven” in which taking up the veil was seen as an absolute tragedy to be lamented; throughout the episode, Mrs. Camden was haunted by visions of her daughters veiled and oppressed, and the end of the program featured many of its actors speaking out against the treatment of women in states under sharia law. (more…)

Washington D.C. Madam May 4, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bad girls go..., careerwomen, controversy, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, gender, general considerations, in the news, new york times, news stories, politics, sex sells, sex trade, sexuality.
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I just read this article in the New York Times about Deborah Jeane Palfrey, a “suspected madam” running her business in Washington D.C. I’m not sure how I feel about this just yet, but I thought it was something important we should open up to discussion. More thoughts on this to come later…

Gender Equality in Israel May 1, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bodies, careerwomen, controversy, female executives, female politicos, female soldiers, G.I. Jane, gender, general considerations, Girl Power, in the news, Israel, nationalism, Spain.

I found this article earlier today about the status of gender equality in Israel. I don’t find the statistics surprising, women have been paid (more…)

Cosmo Magazine May 1, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bitch, bodies, careerwomen, competing feminism, controversy, cosmo, general considerations, Girl Power, Helen Gurley Brown.

I had a conversation with a friend recently when I let slip my secret obsession with Cosmo Magazine. Over the next 30 minutes she berated me for buying the “trashy” magazine and wasting my money on nothing but useless information (mostly advice about the body, sex, and relationships for the career woman). On looking back at the conversation I can’t help but feel bothered by such harsh criticism of a magazine I feel deserves much more credit than it currently receives…. (more…)

motherhood trumps all? April 25, 2007

Posted by Wasik in bodies, careerwomen, female bounty hunters, Female Power, gender, motherhood, Sri Lanka conflict, the state, The Terrorist, Uncategorized, women and war.
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Both “The Terrorist” and “The Long Kiss Goodnight” raise the question: when a woman’s kickass body is an essential tool in her job (in the former, because she is a suicide bomber, and the latter because she is a counter-assasination agent for the State Dep’t), is it possible for her to also be a mother?

Female College Graduates and the gender pay gap April 23, 2007

Posted by Liz in careerwomen, gender, the pay gap.

            As a junior who is going to be looking for a real-life job in the not-so-distant future, I was pretty disheartened when I read the article from The Financial Times posted on msnbc.com entitled “Stark Pay Gap for US Women Graduates.” The article discusses a report released last Monday which states that, one year after graduating college, women make 80% of what their male counterparts earn. Ten years after graduating, women will earn 69% of what men earn, according to the report. The study, “Behind the Pay Gap,” used data from the U.S. Department of Education and analyzed 9,000 college graduates from 1992-93 and over 10,000 from 1999-2000. If you want to see the actual report, you have to fill out an online request form.

The 80% statistic is especially alarming given the fact that, right out of college, most men and women should be the least likely to exhibit a gender-induced pay gap. Recent graduates, regardless of gender, all tend to emerge from college with limited work experience, and few to no familial obligations. The discrepancy can be partially attributed to the fact that men are often drawn to majors such as engineering and economics, which tend to have more lucrative post-college employment opportunities, while women tend to choose fields of concentration such as education and psychology which yield lower-paying post-graduation jobs. BUT, “If a woman and a man make the same choices, will they receive the same pay?” the study asks. “The answer is no. “These unexplained gaps are evidence of discrimination, which remains a serious problem for women in the work force.” The study also states that “Women who attended highly selective colleges earn less than men from either highly or moderately selective colleges and about the same as men from minimally selective colleges.”

This morning in Washington, Congress opened a hearing on the issue of the pay gap between men and women. The authors of “Behind the Pay Gap” are testifying before congress in hopes that legislation will be created that could eliminate the gap. Some solutions offered by the study include paid paternity leaves and having universities encourage women to choose majors in engineering and math. It will be interesting to see this story unfold, and if legislative measures will actually be taken to rid America of this archaic form of discrimination.

Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter April 20, 2007

Posted by kelly in careerwomen, female bounty hunters.
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There’s a new show on WE Women’s Entertainment Channel called “Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter.” (more…)

Working Girl Pet Peeves March 7, 2007

Posted by rachaelg in betrayal, careerwomen, deception, Female Power, Power, Working Girl.

1. The response to Mick’s infidelity.  I assumed that when Tess stormed off their relationship was over.  When she sees him again at the party, I applauded her for managing to be so civil, then groaned when they started dancing and it seemed like she was having trouble moving on.  I felt sorry for her.  Then, when he had the nerve to ask her to MARRY HIM after what he did and all she did was say MAYBE?!  I was appalled.  And then his reaction… how did he think he had the right to be so furious?  And HE was the one who walked away.  At least if it had been her, it might have been a symbol of SOME kind of agency, but no, she gets dumped after he cheats on her.  That pissed me off.  Where is the female empowerment?  I wanted Tess to (more…)