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Gender & Sexuality

Gender & Sexuality

What #MeToo Can Teach the Labor Movement

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  • All of it comes down to a disrespect and disregard for women, especially women of color. If we focus on the power analysis, the answer is staring us in the face. There is no time to waste. Everyone has to be all-in for rebuilding unions.
  • Related: How did we let modern slavery become part of our everyday lives?

Jane McAlevey, In These Times 

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Wednesday, December 27, 2018 | My first #MeToo memory is from the kitchen of the Red Eagle Diner on Route 59 in Rockland County, N.Y. I was 16 years old, had moved out of my home, and was financially on my own. The senior waitresses in this classic Greek-owned diner schooled me fast. They explained that my best route to maximum cash was the weekend graveyard shift. “People are hungry and drunk after the bars close, and the tips are great,” one said.

That first waitressing job would be short-lived, because I didn’t heed a crucial warning. Watch out for Christos, a hot-headed cook and relative of the owner. The night I physically rebuffed his obnoxious and forceful groping, it took all the busboys holding him back as he waved a cleaver at me, red-faced and screaming in Greek that he was going to kill me. The other waitress held the door open as I fled to my car and sped off without even getting my last paycheck. I was trembling.

Jane McAlevey is an organizer, author and scholar.

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Related:

How did we let modern slavery become part of our everyday lives? Felicity Lawrence, the Guardian

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  • Society abhors exploitation but we are complicit. The cheap goods and services consumers expect makes exploitation inevitable.
  • Related: Amazon’s Wal-Mart problem: Why low wages, working conditions,  and disdain for culture will hurt us all

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Special Project | The week in patriarchy: International Women's Day was a rare bright spot

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Thousands march at International Women Strike. Photograph: E McGregor / Pacific / Barcroft

It was a reminder that, despite all the horror, there really are so many of us ready to do the work necessary to create change.

Jessica Valenti, the Guardian

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Friday 10 March 2018 | It was International Women’s Day this week, and despite the never-ending stream of bad news, it was heartening to see the day make such an impact in the US. It’s always struck me as a bit sad that IWD is a big deal across the world while only usually marked in America with a White House press release and a few articles compiling feminist quotes.

Maybe it’s Trump, maybe it’s feminism’s meteoric rise in cultural power - but this year was different. Women across the country went on strike against paid and unpaid labor, and women across the world marched against sexism. It was a rare moment of joy that couldn’t even be ruined by Trump tweeting out how much he respected women or the news that he promised not to defund Planned Parenthood so long as they stopped providing abortions.
Hopefully we can hold on to that optimism a little bit longer; we’re going to need it.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2017/10/06/Jessica-Valenti,-R.png?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=13829fb7e57231a014152d1ed499e3c0 Jessica Valenti is a Guardian US columnist and the author of multiple books on feminism, politics and culture, and founder of Feministing.com. Her latest book, Sex Object, was a New York Times bestseller.

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We Are Living Through the Moment When Women Unleash Decades of Pent-Up Anger

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Let’s hope there’s no going back.

Katha Pollitt, the Nation

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January 11, 2018 | Feminism is back, with a vengeance, and you can thank Donald Trump for that. No, seriously. The pussy-grabbing scam artist, ignoramus, and vulgarian with zero government experience, who ran on “Lock her up!” and gold-plated racism, won the White House against a former US senator and secretary of state, a woman with many progressive and pro-woman positions who also happened to be sane and the most qualified candidate in living memory—and, adding insult to injury, who got more votes! It was the loudest wake-up call since alarm clocks were invented. Even plenty of women who didn’t like Hillary Clinton could see the problem with a “Hillary Sucks but Not Like Monica” T-shirt. The Trump campaign was like overhearing your co-workers and finding out that, while they might be polite to your face, they all agreed you were an incompetent moron who was sleeping with the boss—oh, and by the way, there’s blood coming out of your wherever.

https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/kathapollitt_small1.jpg Katha Pollitt is well known for her wit and her keen sense of both the ridiculous and the sublime. Her “Subject to Debate” column, which debuted in 1995 and which the Washington Post called “the best place to go for original thinking on the left,” appears every other week in the Nation; it is frequently reprinted in newspapers across the country.

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Related:

Kick Against the Pricks and Other Unsexy Truths About Sexual Harassment, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest.

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  • Part 1: The Unsexy Truth About Harassment
  • Sexual harassment is often understood, like other forms of gender-based violence, as a violation of consent. It is more than that.
  • Part 2: Kick Against the Pricks
  • Will men ever see women as full-fledged human beings rather than ego salves and receptacles?

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The Misogynist Within

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Donald Trump and Billy Bush on the set of Access Hollywood.

  • Sexual harassment expresses power dynamics from which all men benefit.
  • Related: From the Archives | Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape ~ Susan Brownmiller

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Kai Wright, the Nation

December 28, 2017 | I’m a misogynist. I’m a black man who likes to think of himself as a feminist. I’m a progressive. I’m gay. Hopefully, I’m a relatively decent guy; I certainly mean well. Still, I’m also a misogynist.

How could I not be? I’ve spent my entire life in a society that, by every imaginable measure, devalues and dismisses women. It’s the case for politics: In the nearly 230-year history of the US Senate, we have elected just 50 women to serve; nearly half of that number are in office now. It’s the case for wages: Women still make roughly 80 cents on the dollar that’s paid to men. It’s the case for families: “Single mother” remains a casual, if coded, slur in a great many minds, shorthand for a jezebel who’s damned her offspring by failing to get and keep a man. It’s even the case for our diversions—in sports stadiums and movie theaters and museum galleries and comedy clubs, and on and drearily on it goes.

https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/kaiwright_small2.jpg Kai Wright is editor and host of WNYC's narrative unit, and a columnist for The Nation.

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Related:

From the Archives | Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape ~ Susan Brownmiller, Described in Good Reads 

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"The most comprehensive study of rape ever offered to the public ... . It forces readers to take a fresh look at their own attitudes toward this devastating crime." -Newsweek
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