If you blinked and missed it, Tuesday (August 26) was Women’s Equality Day, celebrating the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment which granted women* the right to vote. (*white women — others came later.)
Granted, 94 years is sort of a weird number; I’m expecting a lot more fanfare in 2020 for the centennial (assuming the Republicans haven’t repealed it by then). Quite a few good articles marked the occasion, however:
Forbes had a short piece on Why Women’s Equality Day Matters — and the only article on the subject I found that was written by a man.
In Burlington NJ, the director of the Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC), which works with women in transition due to spousal death, divorce or disability, had some reflections on gender equity.
Kentucky’s Secretary of State (and hopefully next Senator), Alison Lundergan Grimes, shares her thoughts on the occasion including the inspiration of those who have gone before like former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (who has endorsed Grimes in her Senate race), while acknowledging that far more must be done.
Illinois State Representative Deb Conroy says it’s time for Illinois to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Daily Beast suggests the ERA go one step further by adding “and gender” to the simple sentence “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”, to protect not just cis women but transgender women (and men) as well.
HuffPo has a list of 8 things women couldn’t do on the first Women’s Equality Day in 1971…and 6 they still can’t. I remember the hassle my mother went through in 1970 to get credit in her own name after my father died; her long time bank, Bank of America, cancelled her BankAmericard even though she had been working for 5 years and had received steady raises and promotions all the way to full-time employment during that time, so she pulled all her money out of the bank and went elsewhere. Some I’d forgotten though.
On Twitter, there’s been much talk of “white feminism” and how many movements seem to be dominated by white women with agendas that have little to do with the needs of women of color. So a Philadelphia writer went into the neighborhoods of West Philly and asked black women for their thoughts on Women’s Equality Day and gender equity.
In the words of the old cigarette ad: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” And more for just having our own cancer sticks to kill us. But as we’re reminded every day, for every positive step we make, there are plenty of people out there who want nothing more than to force us 10 feet (or 10 years) back.
More notes below the Twisted Cheeto:
Fun and (Video) Games
In light of recent studies that have revealed that adult women now significantly outnumber teenage boys in gamer demographics (though you also have an argument over what constitutes a “gamer”), attention once again turns to the depiction of women in popular video games.
Anita Sarkeesian is a polarizing figure; some regard her as a heroine, others a man-hating Luddite, still others a con artist. But regardless of anyone’s views of her and her work, she and her family should not be subjected to death threats as Drewid covered in his diary this week.
Her current two part video series, Women as Background Decoration, depicts the classic tropes used by video game designers and can be viewed here:
I won’t embed them because there are some pretty graphic images; TRIGGER WARNING!
Boing Boing summed it up quite well: How games’ lazy storytelling uses rape and violence against women as wallpaper. Instead of trying to do something creative and think out of the box, game designers fall back on the old stereotypes thinking that’s what the players want. So it’s up to video game players to vote with their wallets; maybe if sales figures start to lag for the next game that only features women as either sexpots or corpses, they’ll find enough change in their sofa cushions to buy a clue.
The gaming community is beginning to fight back against the idiots in this piece, while another writer has written some tips for fighting online misogyny. Some of these tips can also be used with regards to other forms of bigotry, such as homophobia and racism.
It’s not limited to shoot-em-up games either; EA Sports was called out this week for playing up the stereotypical “puck bunny”, women who go to hockey games just to ogle the players and who know nothing about the sport, in their latest iteration of their NHL franchise, NHL 15. (From what I saw of the game during a broadcast from a German gaming convention, it’s got me thinking of picking up a game console for the first time since Super Nintendo was a thing.) And I think I’ve found an new favorite hockey blog.
On a fun tangent, an artist took to task Marvel’s depiction of their new Spiderwoman as a sexpot and gave some examples of what she should really look like. Marvel might want to consider giving the artist a contract.
Oh, and this is from earlier this month but FARK.com has added misogyny to their list of things to watch out for in the comments sections. Good.
California strikes a blow in favor of abortion coverage against a couple of Catholic-affiliated universities and their insurers. (Add that to weather and my San Francisco Giants as reasons I love my home state — now if we could just get some more rain this winter…)
I wasn’t able to open the source link on this so can’t track back the veracity, but a woman has been ordered by the court to re-pay $50,000 in child support and may lose custody of her two children to her ex-husband…because she had an abortion.
A new report ranks the best and worst states for gender equity; for example, Arizona (!) and California have the smallest pay gaps between men and women, while Louisiana and Wyoming have the largest.
On the International Beat
Norway’s attempt to break the “glass ceiling” by mandating a quota on boards of publicly traded companies has met with mixed results.
While women are making strides in political representation in Latin America, they’re losing ground in other areas.