In NY Magazine's cover story that went viral this week, author and acclaimed journalist Rebecca Traister discusses the expanding options for women in America, declining marriage rates, and what these trends mean for the upcoming election. She points out that, in 2009, for the first time in American history, single women outnumbered married women, and that today, only approximately 20 percent of Americans 18-29 are married compared to around 60 percent in 1960. But, women aren't avoiding marriage for political reasons and many would actually like to marry, she asserts: "Today's women are, for the most part, not abstaining from or delaying marriage to prove a point about equality. They are doing it because they have internalized assumptions that just a half-century ago would have seemed radical: that it's okay for them not to be married; that they are whole people able to live full professional, economic, social, sexual, and parental lives on their own if they don't happen to meet a person to whom they want to legally bind themselves." She credits the shift toward more progressive policies - like pay equity, paid family leave, lowered college costs, and higher minimum wage – to the "practicalities of female life independent of marriage" even though mainstream Democratic candidates once thought of these issues as too risky to champion.
There have been many responses to Traister's piece and reviews of her upcoming book, All The Single Ladies. One review, from Julia Klein at The Chicago Tribune, notes that while Traister champions women as the agents of social age, "Deliberately missing, though, are the voices of men, to the book's detriment. It may not be possible to understand completely what today's single women are up against without listening to those male voices: anxiety-ridden, change-resistant, frustrated, but also, in some cases, struggling, sympathetic and brave." Additionally, while Traister defends hookup college on college campuses, Klein continues, she never points out that hookup culture results from women outnumbering men on those campuses. Regardless, she concludes – women will definitely make a huge impact on the upcoming election and the future of marriage.
Last Friday, a judge ruled on Kesha's ongoing court case against her former producer Dr. Luke, who denies her accusations of physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse, Time reports. The ruling means that Kesha is denied freedom from her contract with Sony, which commits the star to making six more albums with the company that has ties to her alleged sexual assailant. After the ruling, hashtag #FreeKesha went viral accompanying an outpour of support from music artists and Hollywood stars, including Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, and Adele. Many have commented on the persistence of victim-blaming and public shaming associated with rape cases, and how this very public ruling will deter sexual abuse victims from speaking out. "We are seeing the automatic privilege of a man's word implicitly being taken as more important and trustworthy than a woman's," Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, wrote in a Time op-ed. "And we wonder why so few women come forward. It's a wonder that any do at all," she concludes.
An advertisement for laundry detergent went viral this week when Lean In founder Sheryl Sandberg posted it to her Facebook wall, remarking on its powerful message of gender equality. The ad for P&G's Ariel brand comes from BBDO India and shows a father sitting silently at a table, watching his adult daughter juggle household chores, a phone conversation, and the care of her young child. Meanwhile, the daughter's husband sits on the couch watching TV; a voiceover reads out her father's observations. "Sorry on behalf of every dad who set the wrong example," he says, along with a promise to help his wife with more household chores. The ad ends by asking, "Why is laundry only a mother's job? Dads #ShareTheLoad." As Sandberg has noted in the past, research shows that when men and women share household work equally, divorce rates are lower, conflicts are fewer, and each partner is happier, Refinery29 reports. See Sandberg's full post and watch the powerful video here.
In Bill and Melinda Gates' annual letter that outlines their goals for the year ahead, Melinda admitted that one of her goals is to have more time, Vogue reports. Time, she shares, is a luxury that many women around the world lack, noting that women do the majority of housework and childcare, a disproportionate amount of unpaid work compared to men. On average, women do more than 4 hours of unpaid work a day, while men spend less than half of that time on housework or childcare. This lack of time equates to less education, less money, and less fitness for women, she explains. This is especially true in underdeveloped countries, and the effects are just as impactful as the gender wage gap, she claims. Watch her explain the "time poverty" crisis in the video below.
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