Tuesday, May 15, 2007

News Roundup

Newsweek explores what it means to identify with being female or male in its cover story this week. I will say that while I think it is valuable to show the world that lines should be able to be crossed, there are points in the article that seem to perpetuate the issue. For example, the author talks about what makes things feminine (heels, makeup, dresses), and what makes things masculine (blazer, sneakers, pants), and she says that those who are transgender want to wear a skirt when society tells them to wear slacks (if they are biologically male). Meaning, we are still talking about societal definitions of gender based on material objects such as clothes, shoes and so on. It may have been more educational to talk about how the genderization of materials is the problem in the first place. Maybe labels should not necessarily be placed on a person just because they want to mix things up. Is one transgender -- as the article seems to state -- if one is biologically female, but wishes to dress in a three-piece suit and a Rolex? I feel that if we opened this identity net a bit further to include folks who want to dress and live gender neutral (meaning not attach a gender to materials), the world may better accept those step outside of their molds. It would becoming less of THEM, and more of US.

The United Nations began an anti-discrimination roundtable discussion this week in order to “recommend measures, initiatives and approaches to achieve more complete and consistent application of convention principles at the national level, and thus enhanced enjoyment by women of their rights.”

Women and girls are “disappearing” from the world at an alarming rate – even in an era of “girl power” – the Independent, a UK-based publication, states.

The Contra Costa Times highlights a sociology report about Mommification, which is when employers discriminate against women with children: “Moms were seen as less competent and committed. Moms were half as likely to be hired as childless women or men with or without children. Moms were offered $11,000 less in starting pay than non-moms. And, just for good measure, they were also judged more harshly for tardiness.”

I must say that this burns me up. On the one hand we are discriminated against if we are not being good capitalists and contributing to the work force by having children, and then on the other hand, we can’t get a job if we have children.

Is Google sexist? The report looks at a newly recognized gender-based phenomenon, in which "SHE INVENTS" asks "DID YOU MEAN HE INVENTS" on the site's search engine.