Daily News and Views

First off, Momgrind has a fantastic list of ten reasons you should stop reading women’s magazines.

Mentoring seems to be coming under review – something I’ve long been interested in because, basically, it’s what men do incredible well formally and informally and it one of the ways women are excluded from power (it’s also classist and racist and heteronormative too which makes it culpable for a whole load of issues). Over here at How2 there is discussion of mentoring for poets but not in much detail and here there is a review of US Sororities as feminist endeavour and a form of mentoring.

Sororities were founded upon feminist ideals and were created to provide a sense of community to women attending mostly all-male universities. Many female role models were sorority sisters: Margaret Chase Smith, a Sigma Kappa, was the first woman to serve in both Houses of Congress. Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was in Chi Omega at the University of Alabama. A sorority makes this huge campus feel smaller and helps create a sense of family.

Not I’m not going to argue for the creation of UK sororities but I do think we need to use our energies to help mentor others – not least because we learn so much in return. I’ve informally mentored women for a long time and found it amazingly enriching. I’m fascinated by the Big Sisters scheme in various countries across the world which was to have been launched in the UK but for which I can’t find more info at the moment, some news stories announcing the launch but otherwise silence. But it strikes me that this is one way to make a big difference. Any other feminist mentor related stuff out there folks?

Fast on the heels of the Turkish rapist let off because of “lack of harm”, now the same has happened in Australia. This time, however, the victim was gang raped by 14 men at gunpoint but according to the defence barrister. Why?

“The Gosling Park incident appears to take place over less than one hour,” he told the court. “There was no significant harm caused to the complainant. No significant physical injury.”

So there you go, women, unless you are beaten to a pulp or dead, it don’t count.

In the UK there is this piece from the Guardian on the routine-ness of sexual bullying in schools and the way that it is predicated on the same thing as domestic violence in adults – a presumption that sometimes violence against partners, and especially male violence against women, is acceptable. Meanwhile for those of us in the Blogosphere, Julie at Alas, a blog has a piece about the victimisation she has received for blogging under her own name which reminded me of the recent piece which I can’t track at the moment on the same by a UK blogger and CiF writer (was it Cath Elliott) – will amend if someone jogs my memory and my ability to track it down!

Further to a number of articles (see here, here, here, here and here) the Independent has an article on what happens when men take their partners surnames on marriage. Kris Myddleton found taking his wife’s surname caused him to lose friends. But obviously we live in a post-feminist era where all people are equally able to make choices.

Duke University has published this piece from the Women’s Liberation Movement on 84 ways that women are dehumanized. Makes for interesting reading.

And whilst we’re on the US, Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died before knowing whether her grandson will be the first black president of the USA. And Women’s E-News is arguing that this election could change the nature of masculinity forever because Obama is really trying to do things differently to the John-Wayne swaggers of both Bush and McCain.

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