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Phyllis Schafly to get Honorary Doctorate from Wash U?

The intro of the No honorary doctorate for anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly Facebook group:

Wash. U. will honor anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly at commencement. WHAT?

This is the woman who lives the hypocrisy of having a career that takes her around the country lecturing “family values” groups on how women should stay home.

This is the woman who said of husband-wife rape, “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape [sic].”

This is the woman who described sex education classes as “in-home sales parties for abortions.” Do her views fit with the future the men and women of Wash U’s graduating class see for themselves and their peers? Probably not. Then why honor her with them? Wouldn’t having someone like her in the midst of Wash U’s female graduates be incongruous at best, offensive at worst?


When Jessica posted about this on Feministing this morning, she said there were 1100 people in the group; when I joined at 11 a.m., it was up to 1350, and as of 11:15 it’s over 1400. It’s already being discussed broadly (a Google Blog search on phyllis schlafly degree currently has 311 hits); a friend forwarded it to me from the Feminist Daily News Wire, saying “this’ll set the blogosphere on fire,” and I suspect she’s right.

The organizers have clearly thought ahead, labeling this group as a discussion group and setting up another, smaller, action-oriented group. They’ve also got contact information for University officials and the press, and some excellent tips such as (“Wash U Alums: Make it very clear to the administration that not only do you disapprove of their choice of honoree, this choice will lose them your contributions. Money talks.”) They’ve got a very clean website with links to key information, and an email list.

Looks like Wash U’s in for some excitement!


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TSA forces woman to remove nipple rings — with pliers

a bra with a nipple ring, AP photo/Nick UTYes, really; and then defends the “thoroughness of the Officers involved”. Don’t you feel safer now? Our tax dollars at work …

From AP’s coverage of Mandi Hamlin’s press conference:

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin’s chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman she was wearing nipple piercings. The agent called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the jewelry, Hamlin said….

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

“Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her,” said Hamlin’s attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties.

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Insults, “mate retention behavior”, and gender violence

Continuing the theme for the day, I was looking at a couple of abstracts from Christian Jarret’s excellent BPS Research Digest:

  • Why do some men insult their partners? concludes “men who habitually insult their wives or girlfriends do so, somewhat paradoxically, as part of a broader strategy to prevent them from leaving for someone else – what evolutionary psychologists call ‘mate retention'”
  • Does your boyfriend let you out of his sight? suggests that “certain male behaviours tended to be associated with the use of violence against women.” The ones they discussed in the summary are pretty much what you’d expect: “men who were violent toward their partners also tended to use emotional manipulation (e.g. threatening to hurt themselves if their partner left them), to monopolise their partner’s time (e.g. not letting her go out without them), and/or to punish their partner’s infidelity (e.g. by becoming angry when she flirted with anyone else).” By contrast, ‘mate retention behaviors’ such as telling your partner “I love you” and spending lots of money on her* is associated with a lack of violence.

[The mate retention inventory (.doc file) makes interesting reading … too bad there’s nothing in the digest summary about the assocations of “56. Wore my partner’s clothes in front of others”. I’d really like to check out the full paper … alas, at $29.00 for the online copy, it can wait until I get to a library. But I digress.]

Of course, whether or not it’s linked to physical violence, as a mate retention behavior, insulting the other person clearly has the goal and effect of tearing down their self-esteem. So do quite a few others others on the list, such as ’17. Told other men terrible things about my partner so that they wouldn’t like her’ and the first batch of the ones listed above. By contrast things like ’58. Complimented my partner on her appearance’ and the second batch (“I love you/will spend money on you”) show appreciation and are more likely to be done in a way that builds self-esteem. My guess would be that there would be a general correlation between self-esteem-destroying mechanisms and violence … it’d be interesting to see the data. I wonder if the authors would make an anonymized version of their data available?

Anyhow. Two thought-provoking pieces of research, and an interesting synergy. Other thoughts welcome.


* although presumably these results largely generalize in a gender- and orientation-independent way!

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Carnival against sexual violence 36 — and What Men Can Do

16 daysToday’s the last of the 16 days of activism against gender violence and so I wanted to highlight December’s Carnival against sexual violence, hosted by abyss2hope. Categories include legal, media watch, personal stories, raising awareness, research, and my fave solutions, which has a link off to shakesville’s excellent What Men Can Do.

A few especially worth highlighting (all previously from Kevin‘s list on A Call to Men):

1. Acknowledge and understand how sexism, male dominance and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women.

2. Examine and challenge our individual sexism and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive.

3. Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to end violence against women.

4. Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against men’s violence, we are supporting it.

Well said. Actually, they’re all worth highlighting; and worth reading in context, so please do.

Thoughts on these recommendations, the rest of the article, other articles in the Carnival, related topics?


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