What Women Really Think

April 1 2014 5:28 PM

Feminism Means Men Will Have Less Power. Deal With It, Heritage Foundation.

Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation held a panel in honor of Women’s History Month called “Evaluating Feminism, Its Failures, and Its Future.” At the front of the room, a slate of female conservative journalists and activists evaluated feminism, and concluded that it has not been so good for women. Not good at all. “Millions of women have taken feminist advice,” conservative columnist Mona Charen lamented. “And it’s led to unparalleled misery.”

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April 1 2014 3:18 PM

Harvard Student Writes About Being Sexually Assaulted, Then Ignored by Administrators

The Harvard Crimson published an anonymous, first-person account of sexual assault and its aftermath on Monday. The letter, from the alleged victim, opens, “Dear Harvard: You Win.” What has Harvard won? After nine months of resisting this student’s pleas for action, validation, and empathy in the wake of what she says was sexual assault, one of the best schools in the world has won her surrender. She’ll stop requesting that her alleged assailant be moved to a different dorm. She’ll stop sending emails to “my resident dean, to my House Master, to my Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment tutors, to counselors from the Office of Sexual Assault Prevent and Response, to my attorney.” She will dutifully swallow the pills her doctors have prescribed to combat the depression and anxiety disorders she’s developed, move away from her “blockmates and favorite tutors” to a new residence, and allow campus life to resume as normal for everyone but her.

In her words, this is what the letter writer says happened in 2013 (since the report is anonymous, we’re unable to verify it, and Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response did not return my request for comment):

April 1 2014 2:49 PM

Is This Catholic Hospital in Oklahoma Trying to Prevent Women From Getting Birth Control?

Are the majority of gynecological patients in the small city of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, about to be cut off from access to prescription contraception? That seems to be the conclusion of the local newspaper, the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, which reported on Friday that, according to off-the-record sources, at a Wednesday meeting management at the Jane Phillips Medical Center told doctors affiliated with the hospital that they could no longer prescribe birth control. There is only one OB-GYN in town who does not work with the hospital.

April 1 2014 1:50 PM

Meet the Anti-Vaccination Pediatrician Catering to California’s Rich, New Age-y Parents

Demographic research into parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their children demonstrates that they're not only wealthier and more privileged than average, but they also happen to have more kids. You don't need a degree in economics to understand, therefore, that there are benefits to being a pediatrician willing to shun scientific evidence in favor of pandering to the new age-y pretensions of a wealthy and fecund anti-vaccination clientele. Speaking of: Kiera Butler of Mother Jones went to Marin County, California, an affluent area where, according to Butler, "skipping immunizations is far from unusual among parents," where kindergartners have "one of the nation's lowest vaccination rates," and "the county also has the second-highest rate of pertussis (whooping cough) in California." There, Butler interviewed Dr. Stacia Kenet Lansman of Pediatric Alternatives, a name that seems designed to let parents know that all sorts of anti-vaccination paranoia will be indulged, so come on in.

April 1 2014 11:13 AM

More Useless Career Advice from Successful Women

The new issue of Adweek, the “women’s issue,” features a super fierce photo of Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles on its cover, and touts a “candid conversation” with Coles and four other female leaders in media and advertising inside. Adweek’s Lisa Granatstein promises that the conversation with Coles, Morning Joe cohost Mika Brzezinski, digital marking CEO Sarah Hofstetter, and advertising execs Nadja Bellan-White and Nancy Reyes, will “shed some light on the state of women” in media.

Unfortunately, I read the whole thing and learned almost nothing about anything, and definitely nothing about the unique struggles of women in media. Everyone agrees that things need to change to get more women in leadership roles, blah blah blah, but no one offers any suggestions on how to do that, other than to be an “equal opportunity manager” when it comes to men and women needing time for their out-of-office lives, and to tell women not to quit their jobs when they have kids if they want to be CEO. Oh, and there’s the standard “love what you do,” “listen to your heart,” and “Don’t forget to get married and have kids if that’s something you want” advice.

Here’s Brzezinski, who said that in the TV news business, the problem isn’t that women aren’t being given a shot; it’s that they’re being promoted too early because of their looks:

April 1 2014 10:33 AM

Talking With 13-Year-Old Leggings Activist Sophie Hasty

Last month, middle-school girls in Evanston, Ill. rebelled against their school dress code by showing up to class wearing leggings en mass. Administrators at Haven Middle School say that girls in leggings are "distracting to boys"; girls counter that they simply want to attend class in the comfort that leggings provide, and don't deserve to be penalized for how boys respond. I talked to Sophie Hasty, 13, one of the leaders of the protest, about the agony of getting "dress-coded" at school, the political power of Instagram, and the benefits of leggings.

Slate: When did you start to notice that the dress code was a problem?

Sophie Hasty: Last year, I never really paid attention to the dress code. But this year, teachers started to get stricter about it and giving stupid reasons for it. The reason was basically: “Boys.” It’s a lot like saying that if guys do something to harass us, it’s our fault for that. We’re the ones being punished for what guys do. My friends and I got mad about it, and we would talk about it often earlier in the year, but we didn’t think we could really do anything about it.

Slate: How did the campaign start?

Hasty:  First, my friends and I just talked about everyone wearing leggings on a day of school—everyone in the [seventh] grade wearing leggings—but we didn’t know if it was actually going to work. Then, we saw people a grade above us starting to post all of these Instagram things and Facebook things about starting a campaign, so we joined on, and other people in the school got on board. All of a sudden there were posters and a petition sent around.

Slate: What does it feel like to be dress-coded?

March 31 2014 5:15 PM

New York Times Story on Two Lady Chefs Is a Love Letter to Female Mentors

The March 28 New York Times Magazine has a joint profile of celebrity lady chefs Barbara Lynch and Kristen Kish, deliciously titled “A Woman’s Place Is Running the Kitchen.” It traces the intertwined careers of these two woman, one of whom owns seven feted restaurants, a catering company, a multi-million dollar hospitality business, and many cooking awards; the other of whom was crowned Top Chef in 2012 and recently left the Italian-French glamor hub Menton, where she oversaw  the kitchen, to start her own restaurant. The piece is great, training the media telescope on female culinary superstars in a constellation that skews male. It is a morsel of an answer to the Time “Gods of Food” cover story that completely ignored woman chefs. Responding to that ruckus, my colleague Laura Anderson wrote, “Journalists and their subjects are symbiotic. Journalists offer a platform for those they choose to cover, and they can boost the careers of those who grace their pages.” So, on one level, the New York Times piece is about equalizing the playing field for chefs who don’t fit the hyper-macho image people still project into professional kitchens.


It is also a story about mentorship. First the bad: Todd English, who employed Barbara Lynch at Olives until she defected to a competitor, allegedly stormed around the kitchen hurling objects at his quavering underlings. When Lynch quit, she says he threw a Coke bottle at her head. She also says he baptized her in spaghetti alle vongole veraci because she’d lost an earring in the sauce. But, in terms of mentors, also the good: The piece’s backbone is the supportive relationship between Lynch and Kish, who came under the older woman’s tutelage when she became a line cook at Stir in Boston. Kish “attended Le Cordon Blue, in Chicago, but found no mentors there,” writes the Times’ Marnie Hanel. She rambled through kitchens “where she was often the only woman” before landing at Lynch’s center of operations. Lynch, shy about her own camera presence, still wanted to raise the profile of that rare creature: the female chef. “It’s about the next generation. We need more women in this business,” she told Hanel. So she urged the telegenic Kish, a former model, and her colleague Stephanie Cmar to try their luck on Top Chef. (The two friends have matching spoon tattoos, and Kish says they bonded over “boob sweat.”)


March 31 2014 4:14 PM

DuPont Heir Got Probation for Raping His Daughter. Because He Wouldn't "Fare Well" in Prison?

What is wrong with Delaware Judge Jan Jurden, who gave a DuPont heir, Robert H. Richards IV, probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter?* In her mind-boggling order suspending Richards’ eight-year prison sentence, Jurden gave one rationale that should launch a tidal wave of hate mail: Richards “will not fare well” in prison. To ask the obvious, so what?

It’s also part of a disturbing pattern of late in which judges treat sexual assault crimes as worthy only of a slap on the wrist. There’s the case of Austin Smith Clem, an Alabama man who was convicted of raping his neighbor when she was 14 and 18. Judge James Woodroof suspended Clem’s 40-year prison sentence in full, sending him to a community corrections program instead. When the state appeals court ordered a resentencing, Woodroof doubled down, still refusing to send Clem to prison and even reducing his suspended sentence. And in Montana last August, Judge G. Todd Baugh suspended all but 30 days of a 15-year prison sentence for Stacey Dean Rambold, a former teacher convicted of having sex with one of his students, who was 14 at the time and committed suicide two years later. Rambold walked away with this light punishment even though he’d already violated the rules of a sex-offender treatment program not to have unsupervised contact with children (by having visits with minors who were his relatives). Baugh had the gall to say in court that the teenage student was “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher was, and “older than her chronological age.” After a petition circulated for his removal, he apologized for his remarks but defended the sentence he gave.

March 31 2014 3:02 PM

Another Reason Not to Go to Jared: Female Employees Say They're Paid Less Than Men

In the ubiquitous television commercials for Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, women erupt with joy and gratitude whenever they come into contact with one of the company’s diamond rings. The rewards are less sparkling for the women who actually sell Jared’s wares at retail outlets across America, according to a class action lawsuit filed today against Sterling Jewelers, which owns 1,400 jewelry stores across the United States, including the mammoth chains Jared and Kay Jewelers. The suit alleges that Sterling has systematically discriminated against female employees by paying them less than men, denying them promotions, and in some cases, failing to appropriately respond to complaints of persistent sexual harassment. As one former Sterling saleswoman told the New York Times, she thought she was working in “the business of romance,” but later discovered that it was just another “old boys’ club."

March 31 2014 10:52 AM

"I'm Very Happy About Jared Leto": Inside the World of Male Longhairs

Men with flowing tresses have been in the news lately, between Jared Leto’s Oscar win and Jon Snow’s GQ cover. Additionally, we have been told of the rise of the man bun and the dandy flop. But little is known about the long-hair community, a vibrant online network of men “with hair long enough to fall upon the shoulders.” Longhairs have great tips on how to keep your locks healthy, but they also deal with bias and abuse as they test the edges of traditional gender roles. I spoke with Jason Bartlett, a moderator of a pioneer long-hair website, about dating, religion, and finding his own mane’s “terminal length.”

Slate: I didn’t know there was a long-hair community before finding the Men’s Long Hair Hyperboard.

Jason Bartlett: Yes, it’s a real community. I mean, if I’m out at a concert and I see another longhair, we give each other a little head nod. The site itself started in 1996, and now we link to a lot of long-hair groups geared toward both men and women.