So, at what cost, “Leaning in?” In the name of pursuing women’s equality, are we essentially pursuing the end of any cogent attempt to bring the world of work in line with the idea of life itself? Are we, by embracing rather than rejecting out of hand her opinions as a prescription for all but a tiny minority of women, embracing that life is work? And rejecting the idea that the purpose is work is to allow us to life?
There is a reason that the Sheryl Sandberg’s of the world don’t talk about the true cost of “leaning in”: her prescriptions would be dismissed out of hand for all but the tiny minority of professional women who can afford to pay it. (Sheryl Sandberg has been asked what type of help she gets, and has steadfastly declined to say. But if it took the CEO of Yahoo, Melissa Mayer, putting a nursery in her office to keep at the top of her game, that should give you some idea. Of course, this is the same woman who eliminated working offsite for everyone else.) More significantly, the dirty secret of that cost is this: for the Sheryl Sandberg’s and Melissa Mayers to succeed as businesswomen, other lower status women are required to prop them up—in the shadows, unseen, low-educated, low-paid, low-status. Unrespected.
Where is Sheryl’s discussion of the heroism of the women (OK so I don’t know that it’s all women, but considering that 94% of all child care workers are women, a little overinclusively is not unfair). Where is her credibility on the question of what it will take those who haven’t had her luck “making it” to succeed when she’s a billionaire yet the nonprofit she founded and serves as Chairwoman of the Board for is recruiting unpaid interns to promote your concept/brand telling women to “be at the table”, “speak up”, and “seize power.”
Lots of questions.
Thus, while I appreciate Sandberg having re-articulated the obvious (that the work world sucks for women, and that sexism continues to limit our success to far below what our talents would suggest), I would have preferred the national platform discussion created by Lean In to have focused on this type of prescription for women’s professional equality:Rather than working harder to succeed at someone else’s game it may be time to work smarter and succeed on our own terms. And Sandberg may be of some help. A big part of her approach to business involves understanding the playing field and reworking it your advantage. As the saying goes, you have to know the rules well to break them effectively.
** note: as usual, my film reviews are just my collected thoughts. don’t expect Roger Ebert here (read: I swear a lot)…just sayin’ **
So, I went to an advanced screening of this film tonight. It was sponsored by Political Research Associates and shown at the SAIC. I can’t remember how I found out about it…twitter, I suppose…but I’m glad that I did go. There was a panel discussion afterward as well.
There were some snacks and chatting beforehand, but I had a bout of social awkwardness and ate cookies off to the side and tooled around on tumblr, etc.
The film is a documentary about how US evangelicals are shaping anti-gay hate in Uganda. The film covers several aspects of the bill before the Ugandan parliament.
Rev Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma - he works at the PRA as their religion & sexuality researcher. His report on the US evangelicals in Uganda and other African nations was part of what informed the makers of this film. He is interviewed throughout the film discussing how he went undercover to Uganda to see what was/is happening. For this, he is now living in the US, unable to safely live in Uganda. So, the events leading up to and through all of this as seen by him are one measure that the filmmakers used to illustrate the issue.
The next perspective to cover the issue, involves following an evangelical ministry based in Kansas City, MO called IHOP (no…not the pancake house, but just about as full of junk calories. And honestly, all I know about KC, MO is a football team, steaks and that my grandfather is buried there.). The filmmakers follow a group of IHOP’s spiritual flapjacks from KC to Uganda.
These motherfuckers are scarier than American Horror Story. It’s basically Jesus Camp, where they openly boast about their war for Jesus. Members of the ministry use military terms right and left with glee and the occasional “but we’re not using bullets but we’re using Bibles instead” does not hide the military design and worldview of IHOP.
The serving staff of IHOP are: Lou Engle, Jesse and Rachelle Digges - a husband / wife combo of white christians living in Uganda, the assorted Ugandan ministers and volunteers and Rev. Jo Anna Watson, a freakish white woman missionary that so bubbled with smug, pious self-aggrandizement that she should be the poster person for the ‘white savior industrial complex’.
These prayer servers take to a van and go around spreading the word of Jeebus to people that didn’t ask for it. They stop at a road stand for peddlers and from the comfort of their van, they start trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. (now, what could possibly go wrong there?) They then go to some small village where the residents are sitting in the hot shade and listening through interpreters. I know that if I was sitting in blazing heat, maybe needing food or work - the sight of a bunch of white teens talking about Jesus and putting their hands all over me would just make my day :-/. The whole thing reeked of predators and exploitation. The onset of my gag reflex was made easier by my election to skip everything except some pita during the mixer before the film.
I mean, watching these mostly white christians just run roughshod across the landscape of Uganda was physically revolting. Conceit, ignorance, vanity, grandiosity and summer joy ride for a bunch of Jesus toting twentysomething zealots was embarrassing and repulsive. But Rev. Watson is like Nurse Ratched level of skin-crawlingly frightening.
The film also interviews Pastor Robert Kayanja, the leader of a Ugandan megachurch that rakes in megabank from US evangelicals. The guy lives in a mansion that Michael Jordan would feel comfortable in. The film shows him eating with his family from some huge buffet in a designer kitchen. He goes to the ‘fridge and he’s got some dude wearing white house servant clothes opening the refrigerator for him. The film said something about him being one of the five richest people in Uganda. I believe it.
The events leading up to the ‘kill the gays’ bill include video of Scott Lively and Pastor Martin Ssempe preaching hatred of gays in front of politicians to get the bill written and laid before the legislature. Dr. Kaoma describes Scott Lively as a “nothing back home in the US” but given all sorts of credibility in Uganda because he is white and comes from the US, where the money comes from. He even got to preach this directly in the parliament. Pastor Ssempe goes off on a tirade about the evils of being gay, complete with a slide show of leather clad gay men eating ass.
The film also interviews Bishop Christopher Senyonjo. He has been stripped of his church because he openly supports LGBTQI persons as living human beings. He and his family have made considerable sacrifices because he has made this choice. He’s about as decent a person as you’ll ever meet.
The issue is not resolved and the film does not try to suggest that it is. One clear dynamic illustrated by the film is how life in country on the other side of the planet is shaped by the flow of US money from evangelicals and taxpayer funded initiatives like PEPFAR & USAID. This is the elephant in the room: the US is not only fucking with Uganda by sending gay-hating ministers, but our government agencies are playing an enormous role in shaping who is in power and who is targeted for death by neglect or bullets.
Speaking in the panel afterward:
Victor Mukasa - co-founder of SMUG. Victor asked the audience what are we going to do to stop our own bad actors? He discussed post-colonial realities and overlapping interests of politics, culture. He also described that the very poor are targeted by these missionaries and hate spewers who are told that their children are being recruited by gays? Looking at how those people might feel when offered the worldview of these missionaries: ’who wouldn’t want to protect their children?’ ’who wouldn’t want to stop being poor?’
Jane Fleishman - a citizen turned activst upon learning that Scott Lively is working in her city…3 doors down from her own office. She talked about not expelling him to some other community but rather working with groups that are already active to confront him, mitigate his damage and bring him to account for his actions. Scott Lively is currently on trial in US courts for his genocidal actions in Uganda.
Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma - Notes that the anti-gay topic comes up when governments lose legitimacy. He suggests that when we see the anti-gay rhetoric come up in a country, look at what’s going on in the news of that country to see what they are trying to distract or garner support to undo. For example, getting the support of the church by publicly advancing their moral crusade. He also noted that he believes we make a mistake by surrendering the bible to the right. They expect the Koran & atheism, but not to be challenged for ownership of the bible. Faith does not need to be abandoned to hatred and can be a powerful tool to mitigate hate groups, he contends. - I find myself both agreeing with Dr. Kaom and distrusting that the inevitable end of religion is fundamentalism…worshiping ignorance…logic based on illogic and my disagreement that morality is externally driven / divinely bestowed via faith.
So, what do I think? I think that colonialism is alive and well and living in the US. I think that when we use the term “cultural wars” we are really talking about racism and military-corporate-capitalist-colonialism. What I see in Uganda & other African nations that these US evangelicals are going to harvest the poor. The idea that white christians can view the entire continent of Africa as a resource of souls to send their missionary bible soldiers into is little different than invading with an army to steal land & resources.
I think that it’s conceited and oppressive to declare Africa needs to be saved and that we Americans, especially the white christian Americans - have any right in declaring what a continent of people need…not because it’s what they say but because it’s what we say, what we want to believe…to make ourselves feel better / holy / good / worthy of heaven.
I think that if anyone living in the US wants to ‘help’ people in Africa, we can start by asking people in Africa if they want anything and then give that to them. At the very least, we could stop sucking money off the continent. In addition to PEPFAR & USAID, the IMF and World Bank are instruments of colonialism. I liken this current version of colonialism to outsourcing. Invasion and occupation are expensive and labor intensive, so we outsource the management of empire to the local residents and keep the money flowing out of Africa. We don’t need to commit US (white) bodies to the ground when the locals have a big enough piece of the action to be the 5th richest man in Uganda.
I’m willing to bet that African nations and people could solve a lot more of their problems for themselves with less debt and bullets from the US & other nations.
Us white people love to quote a black or brown man with some flowery words about rainbows or something in order to put a gloss on our dominionist world view. To toe the line, I’ll add Bishop Desmond Tutu’s comment to close:
"When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land."
Two articles in the latest edition of the Guttmacher Policy Review, a peer-reviewed publication of the Guttmacher Institute, conclude the Hyde and Helms Amendments that restrict abortion funding inside and outside the United States hurt women in several ways. The authors argue that those amendments should be be done away with. But, until that can be achieved, they write, partial measures could be taken now that don’t require congressional action, which is, for the time being, simply not going to happen.
The Hyde Amendment bars federal funding for abortions except in the case of rape, incest and when a woman’s life is at risk. Since it was first implemented in 1977—it is an appropriations bill “rider” that must be renewed each year—poor women have been the victims of those restrictions. Seventeen states—four voluntarily and 13 by court order—use their own revenues to fund all or most medically necessary abortions by individuals covered by Medicaid. The 1973 Helms Amendment bars payment for “abortion as a method of family planning” in U.S. foreign assistance programs.
The Hyde Amendment opened the door for additional provisions that hurt women who are dependent on the government for their health insurance or health care. These include federal employees, military personnel, federal prison inmates, poor residents of the District of Columbia and tribally enrolled American Indians covered by the Indian Health Service.
In the GPR article Insurance Coverage of Abortion: Beyond the Exceptions For Life Endangerment, Rape and Incest, Heather D. Boonstra wrote:The poorest and most vulnerable women are usually hit hardest, leaving some of them unable to obtain a safe and legal abortion. This can have dire consequences for women and their families—for instance, forcing them to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or, as is the case in many developing countries, compelling them to seek a clandestine abortion that can result in serious injury or death. […]Sneha Barot wrote in Abortion Restrictions in U.S. Foreign Aid: The History and Harms of the Helms Amendment:
Restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion fall hardest on poor women, who are already disadvantaged in a host of other ways, including in their access to the information and services necessary to prevent unplanned pregnancy in the first place. Compared with higher income women, poor women are five times as likely to have an unintended pregnancy, five times as likely to have an abortion and six times as likely to have an unplanned birth.21,22 Moreover, abortion has become increasingly concentrated among poor women: In 2008, 42% of women obtaining abortions had incomes below 100% of the poverty level—a large increase from 27% in 2000.Another overarching impact of funding restrictions is that they single out and stigmatize abortion care. This stigma has a chilling effect, often leading various actors—from administrators to health service providers on the ground—to shy away even from abortion-related activities that are clearly permissible under these restrictions.
There is a new report about transgender people in the workplace. A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers (pdf) paints a extremely bleak picture.
The report is a product of the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Center for American Progress, who partnered with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Out & Equal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), and Freedom to Work.The basic American bargain is that those who work hard and meet their responsibilities should be able to get ahead. It is an agreement that workers will be judged and rewarded based on their contributions and capabilities—no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they are from. This basic bargain is not just an idea—it is embedded in laws that promote equal access to jobs and that protect workers from unfair practices.Unfortunately those laws do not adequately protect transgender workers. Even though 77% of voters claim they support protecting transgender people from employment discrimination, there is no federal law which provides explicit protection for transgender workers on the basis of our gender identity or expression. Only 17 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington) and the District Columbia offer such employment protections. Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Wisconsin are conspicuous by their absence.
Even if transgender workers do find employment, we may discover that we receive unequal healthcare benefits to those of our coworkers. The message is that we are not due equal compensation and that our health does not matter.
Dr. Melissa Ditmore is one of the sex workers’ rights movement’s most cherished academics. For twelve years, she has worked as a freelance research consultant, with an impressive list of clients that includes AIDS Fonds Netherland, UNAIDS, The Sex Workers’ Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, and The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP). Her work has focused not only on sex workers’ rights, but also those of similarly marginalized groups like migrant workers and drug users. She edited the groundbreaking anthology Sex Work Matters and the history Prostitution and Sex Work, headed seminal research like the Sex Workers’ Project’s “Behind Closed Doors,” and she’s written regular pro-sex workers’ rights pieces for RH Reality Check and The Guardian. The project she’s most known for, though, is the gargantuan effort that produced Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work, a two volume labor of love that has already become a movement classic since its publication in 2006.
Dwayne Jones, a Montego Bay teenager was shot and chopped to death at a party. The incident happened after the killers were told the teen was a male dressed as a woman. Dwayne’s murder was the most recent in a series of homophobic killings in Jamaica where Christian churches have joined together to fight the removal of legal penalties for men who love each other and to march to condemn LGBT people.
On July 19th 2013, at an anti-gay march organized by the Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations, protesters are recorded on Youtube expressing the desire to kill homosexuals. Danilo and Metelus, Port-au-Prince beauticians, were attacked by marchers, Haitian police report, because they were perceived as homosexual. Prior to the protests, Haitian NGOs warned about violence and asked “What mistakes have we not committed in the name of religion, what infamous wars have we not provoked in the name of [the] religious?”
In March 2012 in Belize, Caleb Orozco, an activist who sued to end the criminalization of same-sex intimacy, was injured by attackers. This month evangelical Christians protested his lawsuit, carrying makeshift coffins and effigies of people being hung.
In March 2011, a picture of a gay Trinidad and Tobago teen who had been slapped, planassed, beaten and rolled down a hill by relatives because of his gender expression appeared in the paper. In May 2013, the Gender Minister Marlene Coudray said protections for LGBT young people against such abuse would be removed from the national gender policy to appease conservative religious groups.
The Haitian government, in a thoughtful reply to the Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations march violence, said:
“The country is in effect at a stage where it needs the energies of all its citizens to undertake great and true battles: the battle against extreme poverty, against illiteracy, against hunger and malnutrition, against ignorance and intolerance. In such a context, tolerance, being a necessary virtue for the establishment of a just and democratic society, becomes a patriotic duty to the extent that a society that is not just cannot progress, and there can be no justice without tolerance.”
What is Coyote?
Coyote was founded in 1973 to work for the repeal of the prostitution laws and an end to the stigma associated with sex work. In addition to engaging in public education regarding a wide range of issues related to prostitution, COYOTE has provided crisis counseling, support groups, and referrals to legal and other service providers to thousands of prostitutes, mostly women. COYOTE members have also testified at government hearings, served as expert witnesses in trials, helped police with investigations of crimes against prostitutes, and provided sensitivity training to government and private non-profit agencies that provide services to prostitutes.
For more information, read our article What is Coyote?
What is Coyote RI?
Coyote RI is a New England-based group founded by Bella Robinson and based on Coyote core principles.
Coyote RI mission statement
Indoor sex work was decriminalized in Rhode Island in 1979 due to Margo St.James filing a class action suit to challenge the states prostitution laws and the case was dismissed after a federal judge revised Rhode Island prostitution laws. However in 2009 Rhode Island voted back in to criminalize all prostitution, so we call back into action Coyote Rhode Island (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics).
While we oppose society’s Moral Witch Hunt against us and laws that criminalize us, we are aware that sex workers must live in the real world. At it’s best, that world disrespects and ostracizes us; at it’s worst, it seeks to exploit and even harm us.
The Rhode Island chapter of Coyote is here to offer a safe harbor from that world.
We believe adult providers can make the best choices for themselves without interference from law enforcement on the one hand nor do-gooders who want to “help” us against our will on the other hand.
If you need resources and support you will find that here. If you choose to leave this business, we seek to provide you information on the best resources that can assist you transition to another lifestyle. We respect each provider’s right to choose for herself.
We vehemently oppose all forms of human trafficking and child prostitution. The victims of these crimes deserve our compassion and support; those who exploit others in such a manner deserve severe punishment.
We advocate for laws that make sense to protect our youth rather than continuing the Moral Witch Hunt against consenting adults.
Our goal is to reducing harm by education and decriminalizing indoor consensual sex work between consenting adults.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry has ordered P Club owner Chris Penner to pay $400,000 in damages after denying service to trans patrons.
Asha Kowtal: Yes, yes. When I visited Dharmapuri and (tried to) understand the whole issue over there. One is that, yes this (was triggered by the) case of inter-caste marriage, but otherwise if you see the whole situation there (in Dharmapuri), there also seems to be something else. There is something else which was underlying that kind of violence. It was definitely, very much well-planned, in advance. This could not have happened just like that.
Kuffir: Sivakami is saying that the petrol was bought in advance, the trucks were engaged a month in advance..
Asha Kowtal: Yes, yes. So all this was a well-planned thing; also the way in which they had attacked: first, they had come and looted, the first batch. After that, the second one was destroying the property, destroying the sources of livelihood. And if you see that, that this colony there – they’re really, economically very well developed, being close to Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore. In fact the janata houses, which they had brought down and constructed very good houses for themselves. They all are into running small businesses, working in Bangalore and Coimbatore and Chennai. They have really economically moved much ahead. In fact, the local dominant caste people are not so well off than these communities.
So even when we were speaking to all of them, they also said that maybe (inter-caste marriage) is one of the reasons but more than that they were not able to digest the fact thatwe (the Dalits) are not taking money from them on credit, we’re not going to their fields for work so they are not really able to digest this. But of course this now being used by Ramadoss and others who are making hate speeches.
Kuffir: The undercurrent was there earlier and they were only justifying it (through the inter-caste marriage) later.
Asha Kowtal: Yes, and he was making use of it for himself.
Last week, Ellins said, the New Mexico Supreme Court declined to issue a ruling sought by attorneys for same-gender couples seeking marriage licenses from the county clerks in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. Instead, the Supreme Court sent these matters back to the lower courts for an initial review on the merits."That means it could be many months or years before the matter is resolved," Ellins said. "In the meantime, I am mindful that I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the State of New Mexico as Doña Ana County Clerk. I am an attorney, and I have read the AG’s opinion, and I find it to be sound. After careful review of New Mexico’s laws it is clear that the state’s marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Doña Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry.”
Sara Khan from the Muslim women’s rights group Inspire says: “The glass ceiling is incredibly low for Muslim women. The Muslim women I work with say that they don’t understand why they aren’t given the same chances as other women. They question whether it’s their name or the way they dress.”
I think we’ve discovered that men who hate women or female-bodied female-assigned at at birth (edited, see comments) people will tend to use any premise to engage in their hating-of-women activities. This may not be news to you. And that if some guy looks at a girl in a mega translucent maxi-dress, or at a person who has had an abortion, and either a) does not respect that specific female-bodied human, because he thinks that that behaviour is not respectable, or, b) does not respect women in general, because women in general might engage in those un-respectable activities, then the answer to this is not that women (or anyone) should stop wearing fashion-forward summer styles, nor that they should stop availing themselves of the necessary medical care appropriate to their needs. The answer is that this guy should stop being a fucking misogynist. Duh.
So when you’re like, “in a society where sex work happens, men can’t respect women, and sex work thus entrenches gender inequality, and therefore we should strive for a society with no sex work” (ha ha I’ve just noticed how this line of thought perfectly encapsulates the adage ‘be the change you want to see in the world’: *wants no more sex work* *ignores all the sex workers*), you are saying that this one form of misogyny (not respecting sex workers because we sell sex; not respecting women in general because some women are sex workers), is inevitable, understandable, and unavoidable, and thus the way we should tackle this form of misogyny is by changing womens’ behaviour (both individually, and as a society), in order to ‘avoid‘ it.
That’s super fucked up.