Aside

I use this blog as a thinking space; it’s not polished/organized, and that’s on purpose. You’ll find entries that relate to my interdisciplinary interests (see word cloud in sidebar). While I will be excited for comments here and in other venues, lurkers are very welcome.

Women and the Ways We Work

A very smart and accomplished East Carolina alumna, Lindsay Saunders, has featured me on her blog–check it out!

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http://lindsayksaunders.com/women-the-ways-we-work-erin-frost-feminist-academy/?utm_content=bufferba2bd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear

The title hashtag became popular recently to the point that this Huffington Post article was published Thursday: Christian Women on Twitter Unload About Misogyny in the Church. I’m going to encourage you to go visit Twitter and read the tweets attached to this hashtag directly, though, rather than visiting the article. More on that shortly.

So, here’s the background. Christian author Sarah Bessey started the hashtag to make apparent male privilege in  Christian circles. Good for her! I went to church last week for the first time in many years and it was lovely, but I know from experience that this is an important conversation and I’m really happy that Twitter has taken it up. Some of the tweets from Christian male allies are especially encouraging!

One thing bugs me. (Okay, two things. The “only” in the hashtag bugs me, too, since male privilege/aggression in religious contexts is common.) This is a paragraph from the Huffington Post article:

Bessey acknowledged she couldn’t vouch that every single tweet reflected things the women have actually heard, verbatim. But she noted, “For my own contributions: each statement was said to me, about me, in front of me.”

WHY??!!

Can we please, please believe women when they tell us about their experiences instead of trying to derail the conversation and make it about whether women are credible sources or not? There are so few places where you’d see a statement like this about any news story regarding men’s lives. Instead of leaping immediately to questioning the validity of women’s lived experiences,  listen to what they have to say. This is a good first step and it’s so easy. Just. Listen.

Gender Bias in Academe

This is such an important resource:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/03/08/gender-bias-in-academe-an-annotated-bibliography/

A Day Without (Some) Women

I participated in the Day Without A Woman by virtue of being in recovery from a medical procedure. That said, I would have participated wholeheartedly had I been well.

Since I spent the day on the couch, I had lots of time to read a variety of opinions about Day Without A Woman. They seemed to fall into three camps: 1) People who support DWAW; 2) People who support feminism/women/equal rights but think DWAW is elitist and therefore suspect; and 3) People who don’t support DWAW. As someone who falls firmly into the first category, this post will address the latter two positions.

For those who support DWAW but think it’s elitist, the main critique seems to be that this was a movement of privileged women. Some women can’t take paid days off work. They can’t outsource the kids for the day. They don’t have partners who will make sure the family gets fed without them. They risk their jobs if they call in sick. And I agree. THIS IS THE POINT. A day without women’s work is completely unfeasible–and the organizers of the event knew and acknowledged this. If even a small percentage of people noticed that the country would come to a grinding halt if all women actually refused to engage in labor for a day, then this was a win. If even a small percentage of people were made aware that some (many) women don’t have the resources to not work for a day, then this was a win. And, yeah, I think that those women with the resources to participate helped make this reality more clear, more tangible for those who hadn’t given it much thought. Having privilege and using it for good is nothing to be ashamed of. So to allegations that this was an elitist movement, fine. But it was a movement. It was ACTION. And the action was intended to help all women, not just those with the resources to be active.

Most of those who vocally didn’t support DWAW seemed to be of the opinion that gender equality has been achieved. (These, I might add, are the people that the folks in group #2 should be talking with about elitism.) I am happy for people who believe we have achieved gender equality. Their lives must be pretty good. I would also encourage them to look to the experiences of the many, many people telling them (with mountains of evidence at their backs) that this is not true for all or even most women. Since this movement focused on economy, I’ll note here that women in this country still make less than men for the same work, on average. How much less depends on the study–they range from women making 66% to 82% of what men make for the same work, varying significantly depending on ethnicity, age, ability, etc. Keep in mind that these numbers are adjusted for things like FMLA leave. Not adjusting for FMLA would alter these numbers further to women’s detriment, since women are primarily responsible for child and elder care as well and they, for the most part, accept this hit to their economic well-being as a matter of course. Of course, it’s hard to talk about this problem with anyone in power since women are perceived as dominating the conversation (and thus get shouted down) if they speak upwards of 30% of the time. Thus, a day of inaction is a pretty powerful way to make a point.

Want more? Here’s one of the best pieces I’ve found on DWAW:

http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/3/8/14850984/day-without-a-woman-strike-privilege-solidarity-international-womens-day

 

 

Women’s March

I attended the Women’s March in Raleigh on Saturday. It was an incredibly positive experience. The streets were full of people marching for equality. I have more to say, but just pictures for now.

Women’s hearts

Carrie Fisher’s recent death has caused a lot of discussion about feminism, science fiction, role modeling, mental illness, and more. One thing that has been mostly left out is heart health. Since Fisher died of a heart attack, this should seem odd.

But it’s actually not unusual at all. We tend only to talk about certain parts of women’s health.

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An article from Next Avenue about Fisher’s death prominently featured the following quote from  Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, a cardiologist and founder of the Women’s Health Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn: “Many women, because of the focus on reproductive health, on breast health, on breast cancer, they think that’s their biggest risk, and that is their main focus on health prevention.”

Read the full article here

Actually, heart disease is widely cited as the leading cause of death among women. While Fisher’s significant weight loss for her role in The Force Awakens may well have contributed to the heart attack she suffered, her age and gender put her at risk regardless. The CDC further explicates: “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among Hispanic women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For American Indian or Alaska Native and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer.” (CDC source page)

Since clinical trials have focused on male bodies for decades and data reporting from clinical trials remains undifferentiated by gender (see Alana Baker’s smart work for more), women are incredibly vulnerable to a variety of health risks. A colleague and I are at work now on a chapter that shows just how much of work on women’s health is actually only about reproductive health–and it’s a LOT. (Thus far, we’re finding that about 75% of work on women’s health is about reproduction.)

So, as we’re remembering Carrie Fisher and all the important work she did in a variety of arenas, let’s also talk about women’s hearts.

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Rolling Stone on Fisher quotes

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