equality /

Birth Control Controversy: Can’t We Trust Women to Govern Their Own Bodies?

I’m a big fan of Easy A, the 2010 film starring Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes. It’s a fanciful romp through the halls of America’s high schools where bullying, gossip, and rivalries never end in lethal outcomes and the tormentors take a healthy dose of humility by movie’s end.

Olive, the protagonist, bears the harsh judgment of her peers, especially that of the antagonist, Marianne, a proselytizing Christian who spreads the word about Olive’s fictional tryst. In real life, such rumors would drive most high school girls into an eating disorder or depression, but Olive is very self-aware, the daughter of two actualized and trusting parents who do not require that she stay home, cloistered, even when she begins dressing like Pretty Woman before Richard Gere rescued her from the streets.

On Being a Woman and Winning a Yahoo! Hack Night as a “Demographic Outlier”

Photo credit: Sarah Clatterbuck

I just entered my first hack day a few weeks ago. And, to my surprise and delight, I was selected a winner. For those of you who don’t know, a hack day is where engineers take 24 hours and build their own ideas for products and then the ideas are judged. At Yahoo! We do this twice per year, and the judges are typically a panel of executives and architects.

Organized Sports Teach Women How to Be Strong, How to Fight, and How to Win

When I was a girl, I did not have a full slate of athletic options. In required Physical Education classes, we played Dodge Ball–a heinous form of Gotcha, in my opinion–although, I’ll grant, Vince Vaughn as captain of a dodgeball team softened the punch of this game by taking outcasts and oddballs under his rather large wing. In my experience, Dodge Ball existed because it entertained our teachers. We also played Red Rover, volleyball, half-court basketball, and the one that toughened us the most: field hockey without shin guards.

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr., and Finding Inspiration In Letting Go

I remember the longing to snatch back my baby from the arms of the woman who would care for her while I worked. Unable to catch my breath, I walked out the door to my car and drove without seeing, thinking about my child in the care of strangers. I worked without feeling that day, the better part of me elsewhere in spirit.

As I learned to trust the caregivers and my own child’s delight in the company of others, separating grew easier. Again able to concentrate fully on my work, I turned my attention to my child at the end of the day, enjoying both work and home very much.

We Must Fight Domestic Abuse: The War On Terror Is At Home, Not Abroad

In my previous post, Gender Politics: Coach Paterno of Penn State and Candidate Herman Cain, I lamented the jeopardy in which women greet each day. Many of us are not safe in our own homes or on the streets of our own communities. A recent study has once again proven what we already know. Even as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke against Egyptian violence against women, our own CDC (Center for Disease Control) released the results of a telephone survey about “sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner victimization.” The responses of 16,500 men and women suggest that one in three (or 33%) women and one in four (or 25%) men have experienced violent assault, prolonged threats, and powerlessness.

Paris Hilton: Women Don’t Need a “Jackass Who Pays for Everything” — We Got This

A sentiment often attributed online to Paris Hilton reads: “Every woman should have four pets in her life. A mink in her closet, a jaguar in her garage, a tiger in her bed, and a jackass who pays for everything.” Did the corners of your mouth turn up a bit? So did mine, but upon second thought, I don’t find anything amusing about these words of advice.

Set aside the issues that PETA might bring to bear. Forget the arguable prestige that owning and driving a Jaguar may deliver, and grant that most people, male and female, dream about a little bit of animal in their bed partners.

Religious Freedom and the Bravery of Anne Hutchinson

At Thanksgiving, it is right and proper to consider those Founders who brought us to this place and time in history. Some of them, the Puritans, have been the center of attention in classrooms across the land. Children learn that the Puritans sought freedom from religious intolerance and sailed to this North American continent in order to find it. They struggled and strove, but could not succeed without the aid of America’s first citizens, the Native American tribes. From them and their generosity arose the legend of the First Thanksgiving when European and Native Americans broke bread together.

Another Message to the Modern Woman: Don’t Forget How to Enjoy Your Moments

Two weeks ago, before Herman Cain accused women of being liars, I urged women to learn the language of their ancestors by embracing their heritage as the nurturer in charge of nutrition in their own homes. This week I wish to urge you to stay out of the kitchen. Eat out, let your significant other take charge, and forgive yourself if you do not know how to put a golden, perfectly basted turkey on the table this Thanksgiving. Remember these words: you can have it all, but not necessarily all at the same time.

Gender Politics: Coach Paterno of Penn State and Candidate Herman Cain

I had an essay ready for post, and you’ll still read it—just not today. Driving home after visiting my elderly mother, the audiobook that had kept me company ended. Cast adrift, between clear NPR signals, I surfed the channels, pausing when I heard talk. A man whose voice sounded as if he could be drawing Social Security held forth on the subject of Coach Paterno, still head football coach at Penn State as of this moment.

To Change the Education System, We Need to Strengthen Our Belief in Our Teachers

Select women in the U. S. now “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune” (Hamlet). Daily, in boardrooms and dining halls, living rooms and the halls of government, certain women are under siege, belittled, and scorned. Their meager wages and hopes for a retirement erode as Wall Street plays with pension money, and legislatures, dominated by men, gut the hard-fought right to bargain for good wages and benefits.


Jessica Chan
Jessica Chan
enableher. Editor
Connye Griffin
Connye Griffin
Teacher, Writer, and Editor
Sarah Clatterbuck
Sarah Clatterbuck
Cycling-crazed Techie