Tag Archives: Sexism

It Was as if They Were Meant to Live on Earth

You can read my post about the murders in Santa Barbara over at Pagan Square.

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Go Buy Your Damn Craft (and craft) Supplies Somewhere Else

HobbyLobbyStowOhio

As we all know, today the Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Hobby Lobby case, which presents the issue of whether a corporation should get away with the claim that its religious beliefs (actually, the purported religious beliefs of the current owners because, pace Mitt Romney and Citizens United, corporations are not people, my friend, and they can’t have religions) are entitled to such deference that the corporation can refuse to provide its employees with health insurance that covers birth control. Or in other words, whether Hobby Lobby’s right to swing its “religious” fist ends where its employee’s vagina begins.

As I’ve noted before, the Supreme Court (in general) chooses, with absolute discretion, which cases it hears. This court didn’t select this case (“grant cert.,” in lawyer-speak) because it wants to defend women’s right to control their own bodies.

Sarah Posner has a good write-up of today’s argument. She observes that:

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, arguing the government’s position, highlighted that if the Court ruled for Hobby Lobby, it would mark the first time a court granted an exemption that “extinguishe[d] the statutorily guaranteed benefits” of someone else: Hobby Lobby’s employees. As Kagan noted, “Congress has made a judgement to provide an entitlement,” in other words, the birth control coverage, “and that entitlement is to women” who are “harmed” if they are denied it. Justice Anthony Kennedy, thought to be the swing vote, asked Clement, “how would you suggest we think about the rights of employees?”, noting that their religious beliefs might not square with those of their employer. But Justice Antonin Scalia questioned whether RFRA was even intended to take into account the interests of third parties at all.
 
It was hard not to sense that somehow, if the coverage had been for something other than contraceptives — say, as Sotomayor pressed several times, vaccinations or blood transfusions — the question of the impact on employees might have been treated differently.

NTodd has more.

And echidne, as usual, speaks truth to power. (She’s as pessimistic as I am.)

Mr. Pierce does grok that it’s always about women’s (at first he tries to make it broader, but then the truth outs) sexuality.

Atrios explains, in his usual succinct style, what it’s really all about.

Literata has a lovely prayer to Columbia and Justica.

We’ll have to wait until early Summer to find out, but I’m less than enthusiastic about our chances, especially given Justice (often the swing vote) Kennedy’s questions. And, Justice Roberts needs to re-ingratiate himself with the wingnuts; this case provides him with a perfect chance.

Picture found here.

Spending Privilege

Sunset at the Capitol Med

I was in a strategy session today with some lawyers, all but one of whom are men. This group knows me, has worked with me for years, and its members, I’m honored to say, have a lot of respect for my work. One of the men was describing another party and said, “They’ve got several in-house women lawyers and she [the lawyer being discussed] is one of them.”

I often let that kind of nonsense pass, especially if I think I’m about to have to spend some of my credibility arguing an unpopular point related to the case or our strategy, but, this time, I didn’t.

I winked, smiled (because we have to go out of our way to show that we’re not “humorless,” and that we’re all good friends here) and said, “Women lawyers. As opposed to the real ones.”

There was some uncomfortable shuffling and joking. The youngest male lawyer went out of his way to jump in and say, “No, he’s just pointing that out to show who he’s discussing,” and I smiled, tapped my pen, and moved on. I’d made my point.

On the way home, my driver pulled up the hill and I saw the setting sun turning Columbia gold atop the Capitol. We drove along the Potomac, turned an orangey-gold by the setting sun, and discussed how lovely this city is. I do feel unbelievably blessed to practice law in this city of Equal Justice Under Law.

I realized that I’ve somehow come to a point in my career where I have a bit of privilege to spend. I don’t mean privilege in the sense of being more privileged than the men with whom I work. I mean privileged in the sense of knowing that I can occasionally stand up for women and not pay too high a price, career-wise. I mean that, while there are clearly limits, I have got a certain amount of lee-way based on the cred that I’ve built up over years and years of doing, well, good law.

I think that, for women my age, it’s important to look for these opportunities. Life, as Sara Teasdale said, has loveliness to sell and I, it turns out, have some privilege to spend. I hope to spend it to good advantage.

Picture found here.

Mansplaining, Pagan Style

mansplainer2

For today’s blog post, we bring you Mansplaining, Pagan-style, with an extra-crunchy dab of “some of my best friends” white, male privilege for good measure.

Turns out that Pagan mansplaining is quite a bit like other kinds of mansplaining. It consists of a “helpful” suggestion (aka known as a threat) that women must adopt the man’s viewpoint (in this case, described as “evolve”) or “perish.”

Who knows what motivated this bout of Pagan mansplaining? The “controversy” being discussed is several years old. But there’s no need to let that come between a privileged white man and his patriarchy-given right to mansplain.

To pre-answer questions:

First, if I have to define what kind of Pagan I am, I say “Witch,” and if I have to say what kind of Witch, I say “mostly Dianic,” but what I really like is something that I once read attributed to Cora Anderson: “I believe in trees and being sensible.”

Second, I wrote about this topic when it was current and indicated that I can see more than one side to this (to coin a phrase) circle. As I said there, I honor Z Budapest as an elder and am grateful for her books and many of her teachings. She, like, well, a whole, whole, whole lot of other people, has also said some things with which I disagree and used some terms that offend me. As she’s gotten older and has come under more strident attacks, she appears to have gotten worse about it.

Which has exactly nothing to do with the right of Pagan groups everywhere to define themselves as they like, to practice as makes them most comfortable, and to evolve their practices as they — not some outsider wading in with his penis and his privilege — see fit.

Mansplaining. It seems to cross religious lines.

Picture found here.

On Using “Witch” as a Slur

I’m a lawyer and I like to think of myself as a reasonably articulate advocate. I cut my milk teeth arguing civil rights. labor policy, and, yes, sexism with my dad, a third-generation Cockney who loved argument more than breath. And I’ve gotten better since then. But I would give my eye teeth, my left arm, and quite a bit more to be able to do what this woman does.

I watch her and I see Athena, the Morrigan, Bridgit, and Boudica manifest large. Drawing down the Moon? Hell, she draws down pantheons.

(Oh, and do NOT call this woman a Witch.)

Brava!

If You Can’t Listen to the Word, You Can’t Legislate About It

Image

Dear Michigan Legislature:

Is ‘vagina’ suitable for use
in a sonnet? I don’t suppose so.
A famous poet told me, ‘Vagina’s ugly.’
Meaning, of course, the sound of it. In poems.
Meanwhile he inserts his penis frequently
into his verse, calling it, seriously, ‘My
Penis’. It is short, I know, and dignified.
I mean of course the sound of it. In poems.
This whole thing is unfortunate, but petty,
like my hangup concerning English Dept memos
headed ‘Mr/Mrs/Miss’ – only a fishbone
In the throat of the revolution –
a waste of brains – to be concerned about
this minor issue of my cunt’s good name.
– Joan Larkin

 

Picture found here

War on Birth Control = War on Women

This is a fascinating discussion of the history of opposition to birth control. Interestingly, it started in reaction the initial move for women’s rights. And that’s something to keep in mind when people try to tell you that it’s really religious and that it really isn’t anti-woman.

hat tip: @sarahposner