Yes, it’s true, Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Act passed in 1963. So why is it that, in its recent “Status of Women in the States” report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, our state earned a C+ in the category of Employment and Earnings? Why is it that the median annual earnings of men in 2013 were $12,000 higher than those of women? Why do women in Pennsylvania earn only 76 cents for every dollar a man earns? Why is it that I have to wait till I’m 103 before I live in a state where men and women get equal pay?
The problem, of course, is that most women don’t know they’re being paid less, and no one can sue for an affront they don’t know exists. If they do find out, their colleagues can get into trouble for violating corporate policies around wage secrecy, and they can be threatened with retaliation. And wage discrepancies can be justified by any number of criteria because the current Equal Pay Act’s standards are vague.
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Psychiatrist Julie Holland wrote in the New York Times this weekend about adjudicating the female mood, which ever since the publication of the feminist classic The Yellow Wallpaper, a book chronicling the imprisonment of a “hysterical” woman, has been the subject of peculiar debate. When a woman is moody, does it mean she’s crazy? Or is she simply experiencing hormonal or emotional differences that serve her evolutionary purpose?
Thankfully, as of 2015, we’ve come to a consensus closer to the latter point of view, at least scientifically. This is chronicled in Holland’s cheekily titled book, Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy.
But colloquially and in everyday life, the “psycho” bitch who won’t stop calling after a breakup, the crazy girlfriend who’s super jealous, the chick who’s a nightmare when she’s PMS-ing — these tropes are all too common. Read more »
My hot yoga class gets hot. As in, really hot. When I ring out my mat out after class, best-case scenario is that all of the sweat belongs to me, not Mr. Natural Deodorant in the back row.
I wear as little clothing as possible and do, admittedly, get a bit jealous when the men in class pop their shirts off. But I had never actually considered joining them — unlike the woman in my class this past weekend.
About halfway through the opening sequences she peeled off her tank top off and finished the class bare-chested. Read more »
Patricia Arquette accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for Boyhood at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
It was tempting to cheer Patricia Arquette on during her now-infamous Oscar acceptance speech on Sunday night.
“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” said the actress, who won for her role in Boyhood. “It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Meryl stood up. JLo stood up. These are women I very much want to stand up with.
But even as it still hung fresh in the air, even before we had time to parse the language, something was strange about that statement. Arquette seemed to leave out an awful lot of women who perhaps need more help asserting their rights than millionaire movie stars.
And if there was any doubt about the inclusivity — or lack thereof — of Arquette’s statement, she sealed the deal backstage. Read more »
When I was 8, I had a habit of chewing gum at school, even though it wasn’t allowed. My preferred brand was Bubble-Yum, which was rumored to be filled with spider eggs, but was the most plush, pillowy, bubble-friendly gum imaginable. I may have been picked last for every team, but I could blow better bigger bubbles than anyone I knew. It was the closest I got to athletic success.
I was sent to the principal’s office a number of times for my gum-chewing. This was in 1976 at a school founded by a progressive, idealistic group of parents who would absolutely have considered themselves in tune with the most liberal social movements, feminism among them. Yet the principal told me that the reason my affront was so grave was that chewing gum was “unladylike.” She said, “Don’t you want to be a lady, Elizabeth?”
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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 »
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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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 »
There’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.”
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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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