Temple University Board of Trustees Fails Miserably in Gender Equality

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Patrick O’Connor has lately been a man under fire. The vice-chairman of the Philadelphia-based, 22-city law firm Cozen O’Connor, is also the chairman of the board of trustees at Temple University. And Temple’s board had, in recent weeks, come under extreme pressure to sever its ties with longtime trustee and face-of-Temple Bill Cosby, until Cosby resigned last week. So it’s understandable that O’Connor was a bit gruff when we got him on the phone the other day. Read more »

HollabackPHILLY Splits From National Organization

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Due to differences over the “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” video, the Philadelphia branch of anti-street harassment organization Hollaback! — HollabackPHILLY — has split from the national organization.

While wildly popular, the “10 Hours” video was criticized for primarily featuring black and Latino catcallers. Hollaback chapters operate independently; the Philadelphia chapter did not have any input on the video.

HollabackPHILLY says it went to the national organization with concerns about the video, “they were not addressed sufficiently enough for us to continue the affiliation.”

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Oh, Won’t Somebody Think of the Rapists?

Robert R. Jennings. Photo | Lincoln University

Robert R. Jennings. Photo | Lincoln University

Last week I wrote about street harassment and why women worry, with particular attention to the threat of the unknown and unfamiliar: the strange men that encroach upon a woman’s personal space in public, the terrifying possibilities that wait in dark patches of sidewalk and around the bend of a street corner. But there is something more pervasive that also causes concern: rape culture.

“We have, we had, on this campus last semester three cases of young women who after having done whatever they did with young men,” said Lincoln University president Robert R. Jennings in remarks to an all-women’s convocation in September. “And then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.'”

If you weren’t sure what rape culture was before, you should be now: Jennings’ attitude embodies it perfectly. Read more »

Now That Amy Schumer Can Say Pussy on Comedy Central …

shutterstock_84519679-AMY-SCHUMER-400There’s no elegant way to say this, so I’m going to let Jessi Klein do the honors.

We can say pussy now!” the head writer and executive producer of Inside Amy Schumer announced over the weekend during a panel discussion for the New York Comedy Festival. “Can we talk about that? It was a great moment in U.S. history.”

Obviously, she was being funny here, but the crowd certainly approved. And while it won’t go down in any history books, the show’s fight to say the word “pussy” on Comedy Central did get quite the round of Internet applause and a firm endorsement from Lady Twitter.

As you probably know if you’ve spent more than a half hour watching Comedy Central, they drop the word “dick” pretty liberally for comedic effect. And this didn’t seem right to Schumer and her team, who — in addition to being advocates for equality and free speech and other noble notions — didn’t want to interrupt a sketch about meerkat pussies with a clunky “bleep.”

Read more »

Feminism Isn’t Dead. It’s Just Confused.

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For as much as I enjoy dropping the F-word proper (and I do — no one has ever accused me of being a lady), I have to admit that the other F-word — feminism — has been giving me trouble.

In an article titled “Is Feminism Dead?” for Philadelphia magazine’s Conversation Issue, Sandy Hingston recently sat down with two Philadelphia millennials to gauge how they felt about the word.

The answer, of course, is no – feminism is not dead. Beyonce does not stand in front of banners bearing dead words, or even sickly words. But is feminism confused? Judging from Hingston’s enlightening conversation — as well as pretty much every smart, reasoned discussion on the topic that invites a diverse group of women — feminism is having something of an identity crisis in 2014.

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5 New York Subway Pick-Up Tips That Will Never Work on SEPTA

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I can’t imagine what drove Brian Robinson to look for dates on the subway. In the age of Tinder and Match.com — when anything from a hook-up to a minivan is a click away — he prefers to meet women on New York’s subway.

In an aggressively weird profile in the New York Post, Robinson claims to have gone out with “about 500” women thanks to his “smooth” pick-up lines (which, in reality, seem to be plucked from Saved by the Bell drafts). He’s writing an advice book, How to Meet Women on the Subway, despite the fact that most reactions The Post witnessed during a ride-along were somewhere between almost pleasant and politely annoyed — although he did walk away with at least one business card.

Salon is not amused, and neither is Hollaback!, a nonprofit that works to end street harassment. I can see why, as Robinson — who mostly seems like a harmless nerd — comes off a little predatory when he says things like, “There’s always beautiful women down there — tons.”

But I live in Philadelphia, where I don’t have the luxury of being outraged by the Brian Robinsons of the world.

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Women-Only Coworking Space The Hive Is a Great Idea

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Like a lot of people who freelance, I’m writing this post from my couch. My company for the morning? A clearly annoyed cat, a news anchor who has no business looking so perky, and a not-so-modest amount of toast crumbs.

Right about now, The Hive is looking like a wonderful idea.

Opening this fall in Old City, The Hive is a coworking space that follows in the footsteps of Indie Hall and Seed Philly (among others — plenty of us are getting sick of the crumby couch). This time around, however, it’s girls-only: billing itself as a “chic coworking space for the self-made female entrepreneur to learn, network and thrive,” this gorgeous 900-square-foot office is strictly for “queen bees.”

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Solomon Jones’ Quaint Views on Women, Men

solomonjones-400x400When this old world starts getting me down and people are just too much for me to face (doo-doo, doo-doo), I like to open the pages of the Daily News and find me some Solomon Jones. If you don’t know Mr. Jones, he is, as the Daily News describes him, the author of 10 books, the married father of three, and a parenting columnist. I can understand why he became a parenting columnist. On a planet that so often seems to be spinning too quickly, Mr. Jones is a calming influence, an anodyne presence, an antidote to the harsh rush of reality. Mr. Jones’s world is more akin to Mayberry or, perhaps, the land of the Lockhorns than the present day. One of his role models, after all, is Mr. Wilson, Dennis the Menace’s curmudgeonly neighbor from back when TV, and so much else, was black and white.

Consider, if you will, the piece he wrote not long ago (he has a weekly column at the DN) on the TV show Marriage Boot Camp. It was a small, gem-like riff  on how real life is much more fraught with hazards than any “reality TV” show could ever be:

On each of these occasions, marriage boot camp is in full swing. Someone’s going to start yelling, trash cans are going to start rattling and one of you is going to have to drop and give your spouse 20. You’ll have to give them 20 seconds to hand over the ice cream. You’ll have to give them 20 sentences of dialogue during the NFC Championship game. You’ll have to give them 20 minutes of affection when you’re exhausted. That’s marriage boot camp, my friends. It’s on every day at my house, and it’s probably on at your house, too.

Because, seriously, fellas, don’t you just hate it when your wife wants to talk to you during the big game? Don’t you detest it when you’re tired and she wants to cuddle? Women — so unreasonable and demanding, amirite? I can just hear those trash cans rattling! Read more »

The Problem With SlutWalk’s New Name

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As a woman pushing 30, I’ve been called a slut more times than I care to think about.

Most women have. Cruelly by partners. Casually by gossips. Playfully by friends. Randomly by strangers.

I’m not sensitive to many words, but this one has always bothered me, has always lingered in the air a couple extra seconds. Drop the dreaded “C word” on me and I won’t blink, but “slut” — a tidy little package of judgment, shame and manipulation — has always felt unusually heavy.

When SlutWalk Philadelphia debuted in 2011, I didn’t necessarily like the name. It made me, like a lot of people, uncomfortable at first — and it should have. Like the word, the SlutWalk has pretty uncomfortable origins: A protest march that eventually went global, it began in Toronto after a police officer advised women to “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Instead, women decided to take a little stroll together in fishnets.

I have no real interest in “reclaiming” the word – you can keep this one, among others. But if it’s going to be used against us, I’m personally in favor of harnessing its power to call noisy, unladylike attention to the idea that what we wear somehow determines that it’s OK to harass us.

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Is This the NFL’s Next Commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

It seems clear that Roger Goodell is finished as commissioner of the NFL.

His silence on the arrests of NFL players Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer has been deafening. The man Time once dubbed “The Enforcer” is persona non grata since his fumbling of the Ray Rice case.

The public relations impotency of the once-heralded Goodell has forced owners to do something they hate to do – talk to the fans about team problems. That’s what the commissioner is supposed to be for. He is a useful mouthpiece when things are bad.

The NFL investigation of the Ray Rice debacle is a formality. Roger Goodell will be fired or he will resign, not because he didn’t take domestic abuse seriously, but because he hurt the NFL brand and almost cost the league billions in endorsements.

So who is in line to replace Goodell when he is kicked to the curb?

Read more »

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