Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Things I Read But Others Already Blogged About:

  • Newsweek does an update on how little has changed for women at the magazine since the infamous 1970 sex discrimination lawsuit. Others wrote about how little racial, ethnic, and economic diversity there still is among women at Newsweek.
  • Jacyln Friedman on online dating: "Well, this is my test: When I look at personal ads, I look at their lists of favorite books, movies, and music, and they have to list women in all of those categories. They don’t have to have a majority of women, but they have to know that women exist in the culture and be fans of some of them. It’s a pretty low bar—or it should be."
  • Naomi Wolf, longtime feminist and activist, goes off the deep end.
  • Over at the Department of Labor, there's a new sheriff in town: Hilda Solis.
  • Lady Gaga really says things like this: “A year from now, I could go away, and people might say, ‘Gosh, what ever happened to that girl who never wore pants?’ But how wonderfully memorable 30 years from now, when they say, ‘Do you remember Gaga and her bubbles?’ Because, for a minute, everybody in that room will forget every sad, painful thing in their lives, and they’ll just live in my bubble world.”

Moms Desire More Work Flexibilty, More Likely to Get Caught In a Scam

The American Prospect has a good piece in their most recent issue on work-from-home scams and how they disproportionately tend to target women who desire flexible working hours:

According to Staffcentrix, a company that investigates some 5,000 leads for such jobs every week, entities looking to make money from mothers themselves vastly outnumber real work opportunities online. For every legitimate work-from-home job advertised on the Web, there are some 57 scams, according to Christine Durst, the co-founder and CEO of Staffcentrix. And that ratio doesn't even include spam. Although one would think the reek of hucksterism would deter most job seekers, a startling array of ads announce these "job opportunities" with capital letters, exclamation points, dollar signs, and even, to convey the life of leisure you're supposed to live once you give them some money, images of palm trees. "Get Paid for Being a Mom!" "Your Own Crafts Business Making Photo Jewelry!" "Mom earns $250 in first week!" Many of the "jobs" involve selling everything from herbal energy drinks to mineral makeup, weight-loss powders, organic beef jerky, and Christian party kits, and often sellers have to purchase this merchandise first.

"The more desperate a demographic is, the more likely they are to be bamboozled by scams," says Durst, who has met dozens of women who have been burned by various scams in their search for part-time work. Staffcentrix contracts with the U.S. Army to help find legitimate part-time and work-at-home jobs for military wives (whose unemployment rate is upward of 20 percent, according to Durst), and many women approach her at workshops with their tales of woe. Many of the scams she hears about are not unlike pyramid schemes: disreputable multilevel-marketing companies that require an endless stream of new members. But in addition to having to recruit new dupes, participants in multilevel-marketing schemes such as Melaleuca, Herbalife, and Mary Kay also sell some sort of product. Hoping to distance themselves from both terms, such companies tend to refer to themselves as "direct sales" and give their recruiters fancy names like "independent beauty consultants," as they're called at Mary Kay, or "home business travel agents," as they're called at the multilevel-marketing company YTB Travel.

The vast majority of the people who get caught up in these schemes are women. (Eighty-eight percent of the people involved in direct sales in 2007 were women, according to the Direct Selling Association.) And despite the big promises, most people, not surprisingly, are more likely to lose money than to get rich. According to the calculations of Jon M. Taylor, adviser to Pyramid Scheme Alert and the author of The Network Marketing Game, only 0.13 percent of all Melaleuca participants earn a profit after their expenses and product purchases are taken into account.
This really points to how unflexible working hours are, despite the fact that many offices are more telecommute friendly than ever. As long as you have access to a computer and the Internet, you should be able to do work from home. Yet few jobs think to advertise this feature when they're attempting to recruit employees.

Furthermore, if men's worktime hours were more flexible, they might be more inclined to help with child care and household chores, instead of insisting that their jobs are too important or inflexible to accommodate help around the house.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Annoying Things Right-Wingers Say: Eric Cantor is the REAL Victim, Not the Uninsured

Normally I let the crap Family Research Council writes in their Washington Update emails slide, but today they said:

In the final hours of the health care debate, much was made over insults which were hurled at those members of Congress responsible for the massive government takeover. There was a clear effort to make the Democratic members, who supported the President's health care takeover, seem like "victims" who were taking principled stances for the people. The media was also quick to report word from Democratic leaders that 10 of their members had been victims of threats and acts of vandalism, which are inappropriate and have no place in civil discourse.

Meanwhile, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his family were the targets of a death threat for which a Philadelphia man was arrested on Monday. While the media reported the threat against Rep. Cantor, they didn't point out that the suspect, Norman Leboon, claimed on his YouTube website that he is the "Messiah" of "gays and lesbians" and asks his homosexual "children" to leave the armed forces so that he might "smite" those remaining. This was not an insignificant omission. There is a clear pattern of intimidation that comes from many homosexual activists.

Translation: Waaaaaaaaaaaaah. Eric Cantor is the real victim here. I can't believe you liberals are focusing on something trivial like people who die for lack of health care when Eric Cantor actually felt unsafe for a few days. And Eric Cantor is definitely the only person who has received death threats. Yep. We're pretty sure. Also, the guy that threatened Eric is gay. Gay! This means gays are bad people. Cry for Eric. He made a sad.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Academic Finds Rapists Are To Blame for Campus Rapes

The title of this post should be obvious, but the way date rape gets reported, the notion that rapists are actually to blame for sexual assault on campus is a fairly novel idea. NPR had a really great story about psychologist David Lisak, who has been making an effort to study not just convicted rapists in prison, but interviewing men who answer yes to the following questions:
"Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated [on alcohol or drugs] to resist your sexual advances?"

Or: "Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn't want to because you used physical force [twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.] if they didn't cooperate?"

Turns out, one in 16 men answered affirmative to these questions.

Lisak's ultimately found that, much as some people love to make boys-will-be-boys excuses, the men that commit date rape on college campuses aren't so different from the convicted rapists in prison. Most of these men don't just rape once. They rape multiple times. The survey shows that men who are repeat rapists -- called "predators" in the story -- account for 9 out of 10 of the rapes on college campuses.

Lisak says these predators don't use knives or guns to rape women; the weapon of choice for these men is alcohol. They find women who seem vulnerable -- usually freshman women who don't yet have a strong social network -- and ply them with alcohol until they're unable to say "no."

The ultimate message is that so much of our public messaging for preventing sexual assault is targeted at protecting women: Don't go out alone. Don't drink too much. Don't dress a certain way. Instead, we should treat finding serial rapists that use alcohol as a weapon to be just as serious as finding ones that use knives and guns.

Cross posted.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Survey on Working Moms

A new survey sponsored by TheBump and ForbesWoman, a site I just recently discovered, has a lot of things in it, but the press release highlights a few things in particular:

- More than a third (35%) of moms who had their first child at 30 to 34 wish they had their child at a younger age, and 57% of moms who had their first child at 35 to 39 wish they had their child at a younger age.

- Fertility is not a top reason when choosing an “ideal” age to have a baby. In fact, financial security and being emotionally “ready” to become parents were the top two reasons.

- 62% of women surveyed feel that motherhood negatively impacts a woman’s career. Yet, working moms didn’t feel as strongly about this when it came to their own career.

- Negative feelings dominate when returning to work post-baby. Top five feelings were guilty, overwhelmed, stressed, sad and anxious

- 59% of working moms no longer cared as much about work post-baby.

I would say that those first two things contradict each other. If you wish you'd had your children younger, but your ideal time to have a baby is largely determined by your financial stability, then you're stuck. I'd also like to know why women feel that motherhood negatively impacts a career. Does that change if the father also makes sacrifices for the children?
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