UNIT: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: Health and Human Safety
Issue: Is Access to Birth Control a Basic Human Right?
YES: B. Jessie Hill, from “Law Review Symposium 2010: Reproductive Rights, Human Rights, and the Human Right to Health,” Case Western Reserve Law Review, 2010
NO: Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, from “Reproductive Choices and Informed Consent: Fetal Interests, Women’s Identity, and Relational Autonomy,” American Journal of Law & Medicine, 2011
B. Jessie Hill, a professor and associate director of the Center for Social Justice at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, links reproductive rights and the right to health to make a case for the human dignity of women within the context of health and reproductive rights. Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, an associate professor of law at University of Dayton School of Law, elaborates on the concept of informed consent as a key component in healthcare decision making that expands the discourse to include both the interests of the woman and the fetus.
Issue: Should the Federal Government Adopt a New Legal Definition of Rape?
YES: Dan M. Kahan, from “Culture, Cognition, and Consent: Who Perceives What, and Why, in Acquaintance-Rape Cases,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 2010)
NO: Jennifer L. Broach and Patricia A. Petretic, from “Beyond Traditional Definitions of Assault: Expanding Our Focus to Include Sexually Coercive Experiences,” Journal of Family Violence, 2006
Dan M. Kahan examines cultural constructions of sexual consent and how society understands determines social interaction and has legal implications in rape cases. Jennifer L. Broach and Patricia A. Petretic examine social norms that govern sexual consent based on the premise that unwanted sexual contact is not always nonconsensual given unwritten behavior contracts and established sexual scripts between potential partners.
Issue: Are Women More at Risk for Crimes Using Digital Technology?
YES: Danielle Keats Citron, from “Law’s Expressive Value in Combating Cyber Gender Harassment,” Michigan Law Review, 2009
NO: Rebecca Eckler, from “Finding Out What Men Are Up To: Some Women Pride Themselves on Their Cyber-Sleuth Skills,” Macleans, 2009
Professor of law at University of Maryland Law School, Danielle Keats Citron argues that women face higher rates of gender-based cyber harassment and it creates a gender divide online where women are disenfranchised from full participation. Rebecca Eckler asserts that women are equal opportunity offenders in the realm of digital crime and that women have used online tactics to harass men in increasingly greater numbers.
Unit: Women’s Health, Women’s Bodies: Contested Terrain
Issue: Is Access to Abortion a Class Issue?
YES: Karen Weingarten, from “The Inadvertent Alliance of Anthony Comstock and Margaret Sanger: Abortion, Freedom, and Class in Modern America,” Feminist Formations, 2012
NO: Laura S. Hussey, from “Welfare Generosity, Abortion Access, and Abortion Rates: A Comparison of State Policy Tools,” Social Science Quarterly, 2010
Professor Karen Weingarten of Queens College examines the parallel ideologies of Anthony Comstock and Margaret Sanger to illustrate how the public discourse over abortion has an underlying class component. Her article explores how class and privilege play a role in the framing of the abortion debate and in determining the general exercise of reproductive rights across the social spectrum. Professor Laura S. Hussey of the University of Maryland analyzes how welfare policy relates to abortion access and abortion rates across states. Her article foreshadows and frames the congressional policy debates over Medicaid and tax-funded abortion access that would galvanize the political discourse regarding women, reproductive rights, and healthcare in the months preceding the 2012 presidential election.
Unit: Women in the Workplace: She Works Hard for the Money
Issue: Should Women Serve in Military Combat Positions?
YES: Krystyna M. Cloutier, from “Marching Toward War: Reconnoitering the Use of All Female Platoons,” Connecticut Law Review, 2008
NO: George Neumayr, from “Your Mother’s Army,” The American Spectator, 2005
Krystyna M. Cloutier, writing for the Connecticut Law Review, examines arguments centering on mounting pressure for the military to adopt gender-neutral policies that will allow women to serve in forward combat positions. George Neumayr, executive editor of The American Spectator, examines the feminization of the military that began during the administration of former President Bill Clinton and continued to expand during the Bush years.
Issue: Can Sex Work be Empowering?
YES: Peter A. Newman, from “Reflections on Sonagachi: An Empowerment-Based HIV-Preventive Intervention for Female Sex Workers in West Bengal, India,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, 2003
NO: Jeffery P. Dennis, from “Women Are Victims, Men Make Choices: The Invisibility of Men and Boys in the Global Sex Trade,” Gender Issues, 2008
Peter Newman examines sex work and the issue of empowerment within a framework of workers’ rights. Newman discusses how female sex workers’ autonomy and individual agency are impacted by the implementation of a harm reduction strategy aimed at giving women tools to first safeguard their health and ultimately to make personal choices as conscious actors engaging in a self-determinative process. Jeffery Dennis examines the double standard of current research on the global sex trade. In his article, Dennis notes that language denoting male and female sex workers differs by gender and that men seem to be the invisible laborers in the sex work industry.
Issue: Have Working Women Destroyed the American Family?
YES: Siwei Liu and Kathryn Hynes, from “Are Difficulties Balancing Work and Family Associated with Subsequent Fertility?” Family Relations, 2012
NO: Caryn E. Medved and William K. Rawlins, from “At-Home Fathers and Breadwinning Mothers: Variations in Constructing Work and Family Lives,” Women and Language, 2011
Siwei Liu and Kathryn Hynes suggest that American women make life choices that favor higher education and competitive careers at the expense of fertility, resulting in smaller families. Caryn E. Medved and William K. Rawlins suggest that changing social norms about gender roles have increased the acceptance of at-home fathers and breadwinning mothers, allowing men and women to pursue life choices that provide for greater flexible family structure.
Issue: Are Lower Fertility Rates Responsible for Economic Downturns?
YES: Tom Bethell, from “Population, Economy, and God,” The American Spectator, 2009
NO: Oded Galor and Andrew Mountford, from “Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence,” Review of Economic Studies, 2008
Tom Bethell, senior editor of The American Spectator, examines low birth rates in nations with high GDP per capita. In his analysis, he discusses why the nation’s most able to afford larger families actually have fewer children per family than those who live in less wealthy countries. Oded Galor and Andrew Mountford argue that lower fertility rates result in the development of a highly specialized and skilled labor force.
Unit: Gender Equity: Still Unequal After All These Years
Issue: Should “Trans” Women Benefit from Gender Equity Policies?
YES: Laurel Anderson, from “Punishing the Innocent: How the Classification of Male-to-Female Transgender Individuals in Immigration Detention Constitutes Illegal Punishment Under the Fifth Amendment,” Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, 2010
NO: Stephanie Bloyd, from “‘Bathroom Bill’ Sparks Accessibility Debate,” Club Industry, 2009
Laurel Anderson examines the gap in the justice system’s current policies relative to the concerns of the transgender community. She suggests that the detention policies currently in place provide insufficient protection to female detainees and place the safety of “trans” women in particular in jeopardy. Stephanie Bloyd examines bathroom parity and accessibility within the framework of gender equity relative to the experiences of transgender men and women.
Issue: Should Title IX be Repealed?
YES: Victoria Langton, from “Stop the Bleeding: Title IX and the Disappearance of Men’s Collegiate Athletic Teams,” Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 2009
NO: Charles L. Kennedy, from “A New Frontier for Women’s Sports (Beyond Title IX),” Gender Issues, 2010
Victoria Langton examines the impact of Title IX on men’s collegiate sports in the context of diminished opportunities for male athletes. Charles L. Kennedy discusses the effectiveness of Title IX as a civil rights initiative and the challenges female athletes still face due to inconsistent enforcement of the legislation’s equity provisions.
Issue: Do We Need the Equal Rights Amendment?
YES: Katha Pollitt, from “ERA: Once More Unto the Breach?” The Nation, 2013
NO: Donald T. Critchlow and Cynthia L. Stachecki, from “The Equal Rights Amendment Reconsidered: Politics, Policy, and Social Mobilization in a Democracy,” Journal of Policy History, 2008
Katha Pollitt examines how the changing cultural and social landscape of American culture should lead to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She argues that the objections to the ERA long upheld by the opposition are no longer relevant in modern society. Donald T. Critchlow and Cynthia L. Stachecki examine the political factors that hampered the Equal Rights Amendment ratification process. They argue that the legacy of the ERA, despite the lingering death of the actual legislation, was the spark that provided for the political mobilization of women.
Unit: Feminism in the 21st Century: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby
Issue: Can a Woman with Conservative Political Views Be a Feminist?
YES: Christina Hoff Sommers, from “Feminism and Freedom,” The American Spectator, 2008
NO: Jessica Valenti, from “Who Stole Feminism?” The Nation, 2010
Christina Hoff Sommers, in “Feminism and Freedom,” makes an argument for a broader representation and a redefinition of feminism that diverges from what she characterizes as a revisionist and radical feminist agenda. Jessica Valenti, in “Who Stole Feminism?” makes an argument against what she frames as a co-optation and re-branding of feminism by conservative women.
Issue: Can Women be Misogynistic?
YES: Christine Stansell, from “All Fired Up: Women, Feminism, and Misogyny in the Democratic Primaries,” Dissent, 2008
NO: Dawn M. Szymanski, et al., from “Internalized Misogyny as a Moderator of the Link between Sexist Events and Women’s Psychological Distress,” Sex Roles, 2009
Christine Stansell, in “All Fired Up: Women, Feminism, and Misogyny in the Democratic Primaries,” examines the sexism manifested by media pundits and the reaction of women voters during the Democratic primaries leading up to Barack Obama’s selection as that party’s presidential nominee. Dawn M. Szymanski et al., in “Internalized Misogyny as a Moderator of the Link Between Sexist Events and Women’s Psychological Distress,” examine the socialization and subsequent behaviors of women who experience sexism over the life course.
Issue: Do Women Support the Advancement of Other Women?
YES: Julianne Malveaux, from “Nurturer or Queen Bee?” Black Issues in Higher Education, 2005
NO: Jacqui Poltera, from “Women and the Ethos of Philosophy: Shedding Light on Mentoring and Competition,” Hypatia, 2011
Julianne Malveaux, in “Nurturer or Queen Bee?” examines the issue of what she terms “sister-hating” between black women in the workplace. Jacqui Poltera, in “Women and the Ethos of Philosophy: Shedding Light on Mentoring and Competition,” examines the issue of how and when women discriminate against other women.
Unit: Double Standards: The Intersection of Sex, Gender, and Culture
Issue: Is There Still a Double Standard of Sexuality for Women and Girls?
YES: Michael J. Marks and R. Chris Fraley, from “The Sexual Double Standard: Fact or Fiction?” Sex Roles, 2005
NO: Gail Collins, from “The Decline of the Double Standard,” in When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, Little, Brown, and Company, 2009
Michael J. Marks and R. Chris Fraley, in “The Sexual Double Standard: Fact or Fiction?” address contemporary cultural beliefs about the sexual double standard. Gail Collins, in the chapter titled “The Decline of the Double Standard” from her 2009 book When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present discusses how cultural beliefs regarding expectations for women’s sexual behaviors have evolved since the 1960s.
Issue: Should the Word Slut Be Redefined?
YES: Laurie Penny, from “Let’s Get Those Sluts Walking,” New Statesman, 2011
NO: Feona Attwood, from “Sluts and Riot Grrrls: Female Identity and Sexual Agency,” Journal of Gender Studies, 2007
Laurie Penny, in “Let’s Get Those Sluts Walking,” examines the underlying issues behind the SlutWalk movement and the implications for women and their sexuality. Feona Attwood, in “Sluts and Riot Grrrls: Female Identity and Sexual Agency,” advocates for a reclamation rather than a redefinition of the word slut.
Issue: Are Women “Hard-Wired” to Be Society’s Nurturers?
YES: Andrea L. Meltzer and James K. McNulty, from “Contrast Effects of Stereotypes: ‘Nurturing’ Male Professors Are Evaluated More Positively Than ‘Nurturing’ Female Professors,” Journal of Men’s Studies, 2011
NO: Jennifer Senior, from “Nurturer-in-Chief: Advice for Hillary Clinton from the Former Prime Minister of Pakistan,” New York, 2007
Andrea L. Meltzer and James K. McNulty, in “Contrast Effects of Stereotypes: ‘Nurturing’ Male Professors Are Evaluated More Positively Than ‘Nurturing’ Female Professors,” examine the gender stereotypes that contribute to how people form perceptions and influence expectations. Jennifer Senior, in “Nurturer-in-Chief: Advice for Hillary Clinton from the Former Prime Minister of Pakistan,” examines how deeply rooted cultural expectations for gender behavior have real implications for how men and women act in everyday life.
Unit: Women as Objects: Subject to the Male Gaze
Issue: Is Pornography for Men Different than Pornography for Women?
YES: Chyng Sun, et al., from “A Comparison of Male and Female Directors in Popular Pornography: What Happens When Women Are at the Helm?” Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2008
NO: Jennifer L. Petersen and Janet Shibley Hyde, from “Gender Differences in Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors: A Review of Meta-Analytic Results and Large Datasets,” Journal of Sex Research, 2011
In “A Comparison of Male and Female Directors in Popular Pornography: What Happens When Women Are at the Helm?” Chyng Sun et al. suggest that women pornography directors vary the narrative to portray women as sexual agents rather than solely as sexual objects. In “Gender Differences in Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors: A Review of Meta-Analytic Results and Large Datasets,” Jennifer L. Petersen and Janet Shibley Hyde examine the role of socialization in reifying gender norms and how cultural influences obscure gender similarities in sexuality.