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Elitism in the Feminist Movement May 4, 2007

Posted by Melissa in class, college, competing feminism, controversy, ECCSF, Female Power, female relationships, general considerations, Girl Power, Harvard, Higher Education, in the news, Ivy league, Judith Rodin.
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I just read an article that described the recent gathering of female presidents of the top Ivy League universities and their discussion the changing roles of women in education and the administrative side of college politics. The group, including Judith Rodin- the first woman to lead an Ivy institution, stressed that in spite of the progress, there was still a lack of women represented in the faculty and a lack of gay, black, and Hispanics in leadership roles. While nothing in the article really surprised me, I am struck by the elitism inherent in the gathering. Only Ivy league universities were asked to attend this meeting, leaving female leaders at smaller schools and public universities out of the conversation- ergo feeding back into the problem of the lack of socio-economic diversity they also complained about during their conversation. (more…)

opting out April 29, 2007

Posted by sindhub in class, college, feminism, in the news, motherhood, new york times, opting out, stay-at-home moms.
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There was yet another op-ed in the NY Times last week about the recent ‘phenomenon’ of college-educated women with bright career prospects who instead choose to ‘opt out’ and become full-time mothers.  What I thought the author was basically saying was that we need to inspect the current socioeconomic system and why it makes it so hard for motherhood to be compatible with many careers as they’re set up now, as well as why women are still expected to be ‘superwomen’ who go above and beyond what their husbands do.

So I was surprised by the Letters to the Editor in response to this article.  All of them came from women, many from women who opted out of the workforce and chose to stay at home with their children.  I thought some of their letters were just positively dripping with hostility… one of them basically accused the author of being a bad mother because she didn’t stay at home with her kids.  I found it really frustrating that none of them questioned why it was them, the wives and mothers, who stayed at home, and not their husbands.  One letter tried to legitimize the right to ‘choose.’  But I think the idea of choice brings us back to one of the central questions of cultural studies (and of feminist debate): Can you really choose when your options are limited (e.g. their husbands most likely wouldn’t have chosen to stay at home, and also the recent news about the pay gap), even if you don’t realize it?

response to NYT front page April 2, 2007

Posted by Wasik in college, female perfection.
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I found the article on the front page of the NY Times today frustrating (Professor Parham has posted it on the left, if you haven’t seen it). It’s about the pressures facing girls today in a tough high school in Newton, MA. Mainly, the article talks about how the girls feel that they are expected to excel in athletics, extracurriculars, and academics in order to be accepted to an elite college; at the same time, they feel the pressure to be stylish and ‘effortlessly’ look good.

Now, I understand that getting into college is hard. There are more kids (more…)