Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The purse: A gender roles enigma

This weekend I went shopping for a new bag, and found exactly what I wanted (an uncommon occurrence at the mall!). Not only that, but it was on sale (70% off)! I almost never shop for bags, and it struck me that I was engaging in one of those stereotypical feminine rituals, and that I had derived a lot of pleasure from it. Which led me to another thought: why don't men get to carry bags over their shoulders?!?

Common arguments for carrying a purse / bag:
  • It's useful - you can carry all your stuff with you without having to sit on it
  • It can be stylish
  • It can be a status symbol
Common arguments against carrying a purse / bag:
  • It's not manly. (See informative beer commercial below)

See! Beer is manly! Purses are not! Why, you ask? Because! Purses sometimes have fringes, or rhinestones, or are made of fancy faux leather - inherently feminine stuff! But wait...

Mark Bittman plans your summer menu for you

Regular readers of the Times will have encountered, from time to time, Mark Bittman's lovely and oh-so-practical 101 lists of easy things to cook.  These lists usually appear in summer, when it's too hot to plan complicated meals, and the produce is too fresh not to use.  Bittman's latest is 101 grilling ideas, a few of which are listed below:
4. Spice-rubbed carrots: Roll peeled carrots in cumin, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Char, then move them away from direct heat and cover the grill until carrots are tender.
21. Waldorf salad revisited, sort of: Grill cut apples until browned but not mushy; grill chunks of Napa or savoy cabbage, also left crisp; grill halved red onion. Chop or shred all together with blue cheese, walnuts and a little yogurt.
37. Moist grilled chicken breast? Yes: Pound chicken breast thin, top with chopped tomato, basil and Parmesan; roll and skewer and grill over not-high heat until just done.
50. Grilled tuna niçoise: Brush tuna with olive oil and grill; keep it rare. (You might grill some new potatoes while you’re at it.) Serve with more olive oil, lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, olives, grilled red onion and parsley. Green beans and hard-cooked eggs are optional. 
70. Grill halved new potatoes or fingerlings (microwave or parboil first for a few minutes to get a head start), red onions and scallions. Chop as necessary and toss with chopped celery, parsley, mustard and cider (or other) vinegar. I make this annually.
84. Actual grilled cheese: Use good bread, good cheese, tomato slices and maybe a little mustard; brush with melted butter or olive oil and grill with a weight on top. 
When I first read these little recipe-lets, I always swear to revisit them and try a few on those what-to-make-for-dinner nights.  However, I inevitably end up just leaving the tab open in my browser for a few weeks, then closing it, then forgetting about the whole affair.  To save you from a similar fate, I've gathered all of Bitman's 101 lists below (all that I could find, anyway) in one easy spot.  My recommendation is to make a Mark Bittman 101 game out of the whole thing.  You could print them out, cut them up (possibly sorted by category), eliminate the ones that don't appeal to you, and then toss them in a jar to be drawn out when you need a dinner idea.  You could do the same thing by simply bookmarking this page, then picking a number between 1 and 101 and making that recipe.  If it's a main, it's what to have for dinner; if it's a side dish or dessert, you can build a meal around it.  Or, if you often end up with leftover ingredients in the house that you don't know what to do with, you could copy-paste all the lists into a single word document, and then Control+F for the ingredient you need to use.  Voila!  The Mark Bittman recipe generator.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feminist bloggers go meta: are we sacrificing truth for righteousness?

Sady Doyle had an interesting piece last week over at Tiger Beatdown where, under the guise of a book review, she manages to make some poignant observations about feminist blogging:
Maybe now is the time to tell you that I’ve been having some serious doubts about my place in Internet Feminism. Not my involvement in Internet; that, no doubt, will go on. Because what else am I going to do with my time? But there are problems, I think, with the terms of the conversation I’ve set up here; there are problems with my own place within that conversation, the person I’ve agreed to be when I talk to you. That outraged, righteous, upright, know-it-all person who has compassion for all the right people and scorn for all the wrong ones, who’s on the right side (your side) of all the issues: I think she’s dangerous, and I think she’s at least partially false. The falseness is the root of the danger; problem with Internet Feminism, or any politics of identity, any system that purports to help you get your life and problems understood better, is when it sets up a too-easy, pre-packaged narrative for your own life. When it gives you the language, the rules for engaging and discussing, but doesn’t help you to look with any greater or more dangerous honesty at what you’re thinking, or how you’re acting, or who you are.

Friday, June 25, 2010

OMG BBQ Chicken Pizza

Based on a Sandra Lee's recipe (

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large boneless,skinless chicken breast
a couple tablespoons pizza sauce
2/3 Cup BBQ sauce ( i never use it all)
flour- for dusting
Pizza dough- I recommend Pillsbury packaged dough
3/4 Cup shredded Gouda
1 cup shredded Mozzarella-I suggest low moisture moz as this pizza gets juicy in the oven
3/4 Cup shredded parmesan
chopped Red Onion- Qty as you desire
Chopped Cilantro- about 3 tablespoons (while optional, this really cuts the bbq flavor down to a nice level)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or as dough directions
1) Cut Chicken into small bite size chuncks]
2) Saute chicken in olive oil until cooked through. Set Aside
3) Roll Pizza dough out on flour dusted surface and transfer to pizza pan with rim (the cheeses and sauce tend to pool at start of baking)
4) Spread thin layer or pizza sauce over pizza dough.
5) Spread BBQ sauce over dough. setting aside 2 tablespoons
6) Sprinkle gouda, mozzarella and parmesan on dough
7) Toss chicken in remainder of BBQ sauce, then distribute over pizza
8) Sprinkle on chopped onion
9) Bake until crust turns slight golden brown & cheese bubbles. Aprox. 20 min
10) Sprinkle with Cilantro

*Also great with bacon or pineapple

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recipe Fridays: Noodle salad with peanut sauce

"Thai" peanut noodle salad
(serves 4 as side or 2 as main course)

Soba noodles (8 oz or so)
1 red pepper
1 carrot
pea pods (2 handfuls)
1 scallion

1/3 cup peanut butter
1 T sesame oil
2 T fish sauce
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
Half-inch piece ginger
Red pepper flakes and agave nectar or sugar to taste

Julienne all vegetables (cut into thin strips--it's time consuming but better this way.  If you have a grater, even better!  This includes scallions and pea pods, cut everything into strips).  Boil soba noodles until al dente, according to package directions.  Blend sauce ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth, adding a little water to thin out if necessary.  Combine noodles, sauce to taste, and vegetables.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.  Serve warm or cold.

If you have a peanut allergy, or just don't like it, Gena of Choosing Raw just put up a version made with only sesame.

Safe and Fun Summer Sun

This past Monday, June 21st, was the summer solstice, which marked the start of summer and is the day each year that has the longest period of daylight. And with the warmer weather and longer days of summer, many of us spend much more time in the sun.

Different cultures and periods in history have had different opinions of tanned skin. But today in the U.S., the majority of people find a suntan to be attractive. But what does tanning actually doing to our skin? We have all learned that a suntan is our body’s attempt to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV radiation. But the key message is that we tan in response to damage, and a tan is just a signal that damage has occurred. Excess exposure to harmful UV lights will age our skin and put us at risk for developing cancer. Yet despite our understanding the risks, we still go in search of the perfect summer tan.

Skin cancer is on the rise, and melanoma has become the most common form of cancer among Americans age 25-29. But it is highly a preventable form of cancer. A major reason the rates are on the rise is the increased popularity of indoor tanning beds. Research has finally confirmed suspicions that indoor tanning increases the risk of developing skin cancer. In fact, indoor tanning almost doubles the risk of melanoma, with risk being directly related to the number of hours spent tanning.

But what about those of us who try to buy products to protect our skin from the harmful UV rays?

Wikileaks, Wired Magazine, and a wayward private: the short story

Have you heard of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo, and Kevin Poulsen?  If not, you've almost surely heard about the leaked video of the Apache helicopter shooting in Iraq, yes?  Ok, so Manning is the army private who supposedly leaked that video, Lamo is the hacker confidant he confessed to, and Poulsen is the journalist Lamo fed the story to after reporting Manning to the feds.  Got that?  Manning: Private.  Lamo: Hacker.  Poulsen: Journalist.  Here goes.

Manning for some reason began chatting with this hacker, Lamo, and admitted to him that he was the leaker of the Apache video, and a bunch of other way confidential stuff.  Lamo immediately started talking to the authorities, got more incriminating information from Manning, and then arranged for his arrest.  Lamo then took the story to Poulsen (journalist), who wrote a long story, credulous of Lamo, about the sting operation and Manning's arrest for the Wired Magazine ThreatLevel blog.  Ok.  Deep breath.  But then, Salon's Glenn Greenwald senses something was fishy about the story as told by Lamo and related by Poulsen and did some digging.  Apparently Lamo and Poulsen go way back, back to when they were both hackers, and have established a tradition of Lamo hacking something, then feeding a story to Poulsen to get publicity.  Moreover, Greenwald found Lamo's claims that Manning found him by twitter-searching "Wikileaks" (and then poured his heart out) to be extremely dubious.  Gawker has a good summary of the Greenwald article, which is long.  The basics are that according to chat transcripts and interviews with Lamo, it appears Lamo misled Manning into thinking he was both a journalist and a cleric, and could therefore offer him protection and anonymity in either capacity.  Then he called the feds.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Juneteenth, and the politics of erasure

This past Saturday was a holiday called Juneteenth, a holiday I hadn't heard of until this year. Juneteenth celebrates union soldiers arriving in Texas to enforce the emancipation proclamation on June 19th, 1865. It has become a celebration of emancipation and African American culture more broadly, and is celebrated all across the United States, Canada, and other areas of the African slave diaspora.

Readers of the feminist blogosphere might not know it was Juneteenth, however, because many bloggers decided to celebrate a different holiday: Helen Keller Mythbusting Day. June 19th is Helen Keller day is Second Life, and since many people with disabilities use Second Life, disabled and disabled ally feminist bloggers thought it would be nice to dovetail with that day and promote a more complete view of Helen Keller's life, namely that she was not simply a pseudo-saint who "overcame" a disability, but rather a person with a disability who was an activist, feminist, and fascinating individual.

It's a good idea, but in promoting this "day" on Juneteenth, without at least at the same time acknowledging the existing Juneteenth celebration, these bloggers sent a message that white readers and white readers with disabilities were a more important audience than black readers (disabled or not). I would have understood the oversight on the basis of not being aware of Juneteenth, as I was not (although one would think a little googling would be in order before declaring it a new holiday), but the woman who planned the event admitted she knew about Juneteenth beforehand, but thought the holidays could "share." Moreover, when confronted with this oversight, most of the bloggers reacted with defensiveness or silence, as opposed to admitting the mistake and acknowledging Juneteenth in their posts or comments on Helen Keller Mythbusting.

Being Jewish, I've dealt with more than my fair share of holiday erasure in my life, and I know how much it stings. These erasures have ranged from school events being scheduled on Yom Kippur, to having school breaks arranged around Christian holidays while I had to get a note to miss school on Jewish holidays, to people celebrating the "holidays" with red and green even when hosting a party during Chanukah (note: fine if your friends do it. Not so cool when your college does it). Each time people say "oh, we were optimizing for the majority of people," or "we can't accommodate everyone," or "it was a simple oversight," when what they mean is "you're not welcome here," or, "we didn't think you were important."

I'm not trying to make the case that events can be arranged around every holiday that people celebrate, or that celebrations can't overlap without eroding the meaning of one another. However, what I am saying is that co-scheduling with holidays without acknowledging it or considering the consequences sends the message that you don't believe the group being excluded to be part of your audience. If that's not the message you want to send, you might want to rethink things.

A little accommodation could range from saying, "We're sorry some people will not be able to attend due to x holiday, and an alternative activity will be scheduled for x date," mentioning the holiday and suggesting a co-celebration with a discussion of each topic, or asking someone, "Will you be able to attend if I plan this for x holiday?" since many holidays don't exclude other celebrations (such as Passover).

Have you experienced holiday erasure? Do you have any thoughts on avoiding while also accommodating the reality that there are only 365 days in the year?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is treating Republican women badly a feminist prerogative?

In a recent piece on Meghan McCain, Jezebel writer Irin unleashes a good deal of snark against the self-proclaimed sex-positive Republican.  I don't think McCain is perfect by any means, and I disagree with a good deal of her policy positions, but I personally think the emergence of a smart, articulate, reasonable young woman in the Republican party is a good thing.  I'd rather have the Republican Party lean more toward McCain's views, who is pro-gay rights, pro-contraception, but anti-choice, than to those pioneered by Karl Rove and carried forward by Sarah Palin.

Irin takes issue with McCain's defense of Republican women Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman,  women who have been treated absurdly by the main-stream media, as I described earlier.  McCain links recent media scrutiny to their Republicanness instead of their femaleness.  If the cause is the former, Irin thinks it's warranted, since these women are standing on the shoulders of a women's rights movement that they did nothing to support.  And then she mentions this:
A more spirited yet reasoned analysis can be found in Joan Indiana Rigdon's column on why, exactly, one might be skeptical of these women and their claims to both represent progress for women and the end of any need for such progress.
She describes how Tennessee Rep. Janis Baird Sontany said at a recent breakfast that when it comes to Republican women, "You have to lift their skirts to find out if they are women. You sure can't find out by how they vote." That elicited a response from Michelle Malkin not unlike Meghan McCain's: "When liberals can't handle GOP women, they infantilize, sexualize, demonize and dehumanize them." [emphasis added]
You know what, Michelle Malkin is right.  And it really pains me to say that.  I wouldn't say "liberals do this," as she did, but I would certainly say it's a behavior I've seen applied to Republican women more than once.  Sontany's comment is completely sexist, not to mention it reeks of transphobia.  I understand the idea, expressed elsewhere in Rigdon's column, that female politicians on either side of the aisle use a passageway paved by feminists, so should be willing to pay a "toll" to maintain that passageway.  Nonetheless, if they choose to support different political viewpoints, my principles of feminism dictate I should support their right to speak these views as equals, free from gendered ad hominem attacks.  If we attack their womanness, using ugly rape metaphors, how can we ever expect to stand on the platform we're mad they're not building?  I choose a different path: to criticize their positions while fighting for their right to express them.

That means you can vote Republican (at the poll or in Congress), and I'll still defend your right to be treated with respect.  Not deference, mind you, but basic human respect.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sexy rape: What Ayn Rand, Michael Winterbottom, and Ang Lee have in common

Atlas Shrugged is at long last being made into a movie, on the cheap and with a largely unknown cast.  As someone who was a big fan of, shall we say, large portions of the book (there are certain parts I think strongly reflect arrogance on Rand's part, and reflect a morality I'm uncomfortable with) in my teen years, I can't help being disappointed that an adaptation once rumored to be starring Angelina Jolie is being set up for mediocrity.  Any fan of Rand knows that mediocrity is the ultimate sin.

But what is the ultimate virtue in her world?  I would say "excellence," but Amanda Hess points out that it's an excellence tinged with an ugly sort of male dominance, one that translated into both Rand's personal life and her works of fiction.  Two pivotal scenes in Ayn Rand's most famous works of fiction revolve around the "sexy rape" of the lead female characters.  In The Fountainhead, it's Howard Roarke's rape of Dominique, with whom the sexual chemistry is so sizzling, he needs to break into her home and take her by force.  From Amanda Hess's transcription:
She tried to tear herself away from him. The effort broke against his arms that had not felt it. Her fists beat against his shoulders, against his face. He moved one hand, took her two wrists and pinned them behind her, under his arm, wrenching her shoulder blades.…She fell back against the dressing table, she stood crouching, her hands clasping the edge behind her, her eyes wide, colorless, shapeless in terror. He was laughing. There was the movement of laughter on his face, but no sound.…Then he approached. He lifted her without effort. She let her teeth sink into his hand and felt blood on the tip of her tongue. He pulled her head back and he forced her mouth open against his.
Of this scene, Rand has said "if it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation," presumably because Dominique had flirted with Roarke beforehand.  A lot.  Rand also wrote in her letters,

Friday, June 18, 2010 goes confusingly anti-immigration, cites racist source

Because femonomics has endorsed the use of previously, and many of our readers and writers are probably users, I felt it was important to bring this to your attention: has recently posted a blatantly anti-immigration infographic on their company blog, citing dubious statistics and one openly racist source.  To recap, Mint is a personal finance site that allows you to track your expenditures and your net worth.  It has absolutely nothing to do with immigration policy, overall fiscal policy, or macroeconomic issues, and has previously been silent on these issues.

Timothy Lee writing for the Atlantic was the first to point out this bizarre turn of events, and helps to debunk some of the statistics cited by Mint, starting with questioning their sources:
The most jarring name on this list is the openly racist The rest of the list is a mix of official government sources, non-profits, and blogs. The sources skew heavily in an anti-immigrant direction, although at least one is a pro-immigrant source ( While none of the other anti-immigrant sources is as offensive as vdare, few (if any) of them could be considered credible sources for statistics about immigration.
Given its sources, it's not surprising that the chart is riddled with implausible statistics. The most obvious whoppers are the claims that "about 43% of all Food Stamps issued in the United States are to illegal aliens," and "about 41% of all unemployment checks issued in the United States are to illegal aliens." Mint doesn't give specific citations, but these claims appear to come from this article at "Charlotte Conservative News," which itself does not cite any sources. Given that the law doesn't allow undocumented immigrants to collect unemployment benefits, this claim doesn't pass the straight face test. As for food stamps, I'm not able to find recent statistics, but a 1995 study found that undocumented immigrants with citizen children received about 2 percent of all food stamp benefits. The population of undocumented immigrants has increased in the last 15 years, but it hasn't increased by a factor of 20.
Another dubious claim is that undocumented immigrants cost Arizona taxpayers $2.7 billion, which would be roughly a quarter of Arizona's $10 billion budget. The post doesn't give a specific citation, so it's hard to fact-check it, but that figure seems implausibly high given that undocumented immigrants constitute less than 10 percent of the population.
The graphic doesn't even pretend to be a balanced look at the immigration debate. It doesn't estimate the amount immigrants pay in taxes. It doesn't discuss the number of businesses started by immigrants or the number of jobs they have created. It doesn't mention the crucial role that immigrants play in our high-tech industries. It doesn't show the ever-escalating costs of enforcing our draconian immigration laws.
Personally, if I can't trust a company to do good research and engage in public policy cautiously, I can't trust it with the logins to all my accounts, which is what a Mint membership usually entails.  Until this is straightened out, Mint users out there might want to consider revoking the company's access to your data.
[via Gawker]
Update: full image below jump, in case Mint takes down the link. 
Update 2: Mint has removed the site and apologized.  Statement from MintLife blog editor Lee Sherman in comments

Recipe Fridays: Vegetable-based pestos

I have actually never been a big fan of pesto sauce, except in limited doses.  I just find it to be...too much.  Too oily, too salty, too flavorful.  As a result, I like it when it's dabbed next to a tomato salad, but not when it's slathered on pasta.  Well, Mark Bittman of the NYTimes has found a solution for that, like he has for so many things: Vegetable-based pesto sauces!  By starting from a base of green vegetables, the pesto gets a lighter taste and texture, and has a rich, creamy vehicle to deliver the spices and oil that make up the entirety of traditional pesto sauces.  Moreover, it means a much healthier sauce, with veggies built in (equals kid-friendly).

Bittman's original recipe was for asparagus pesto, made as follows:
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments
1 clove garlic, or more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil, or more as desired
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
You boil the asparagus just a couple minutes until tender (first break off woody ends), then blend in the food processor with remaining ingredients, saving some of the oil and possibly some asparagus cooking water for the end in case the sauce needs more moisture.  Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper last so you can adjust as needed.

Once you figure out the basic formula--green vegetables, nuts, garlic, oil, seasoning--you can endlessly adapt it.  I made Bittman's asparagus pesto with basil and chives blended in, skipped the Parmesan cheese, and subbed walnuts for pine nuts.  What's amazing about these pestos is the texture: instead of oily and grainy like so many pestos, they're light, creamy, and fluffy.

So far, my favorite variation is one made with broccoli stems (never know what to do with those buggers, eh?) and served over a mixture of farfalle and roasted broccoli and carrots.  I boiled the broccoli stems left over from the broccoli florets (I usually throw these out! Never again), then blended with a half bunch of basil, olive oil, garlic, walnuts, red pepper flakes, a splash of white wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.  The result was so delicious I could have eaten it alone.  But, when you're at that point, it's usually as good idea to add a little more salt to the mix, since it will be spread out over pasta.  This is a wonderful idea for summer pastas that can be eaten lukewarm on the porch.  Let me know if you come up with any other combinations!

Debbe's Chocolate Bars

A family friend, Debbe, always made these for me when I visited home from college, and I've made them to great acclaim for my friends. Be forewarned - this is a large recipe of very rich treats, but they are completely delicious!

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional: I never use them)
1-1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups rice krispies

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa in a separate bowl and add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over cake, return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over the cake. Cool.

For topping, combine chocolate chips, butter, peanut butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until melted and well blended. Remove from heat and add rice krispies, mix and spread over bars. Chill thoroughly before cutting into bars. Keep refrigerated.

Makes 3 dozen.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life Skills: Giving actionable feedback

Giving a colleague, roommate, or partner feedback is difficult. No one likes to be criticized. However, actionable feedback (i.e., constructive criticism or praise, AKA communication) is key to healthy working - and interpersonal - relationships. Here are some tips to delivering feedback in the most painless, useful form.
  1. Begin with the positive. People tend to focus on the negative, especially when they hear it from someone they wish to please, so it's even more important for you to emphasize the positive to avoid your small critique getting blown out of proportion. If people feel too threatened by the feedback they're getting, it's hard for them to absorb it. This is most important when you are just starting to give feedback - eventually you may develop an environment of continuous feedback, and people will welcome any input.
  2. Be specific. Give specific examples of the behavior in question. It may have made a strong impression on you, but the person receiving feedback may not have noticed anything unusual. However, don't let examples distract from your core point--people sometimes respond to examples by giving excuses for that specific instance. You can say, "This is one example that shows the behavior I mentioned, but I've noticed it other times."
  3. Make it actionable - suggest a future course of action.
  4. Remember to give positive feedback as well! If you like what someone is doing, let them know so that they keep doing it.
  5. Forgive and forget. Or as the great Jimmy Buffett would say, "breathe in, breathe out, move on!" This is good advice if you're giving feedback (don't bring up something repeatedly if you've already let the other person know of the issue, unless they don't make an effort to change), but even better if you're getting it! All input is good input, but one person's opinion does not define you.
The classic format for feedback is "When you (specific example of action) it makes me feel (how you feel). In the future, (alternative action)." This is dirt simple, but it works! The format forces you to think of both an example of the behavior and solution, and will signal to the recipient that feedback is coming.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Overcoming useless man syndrome

Mongoose recently wrote about the second shift that women often perform after work hours, taking care of home duties like childcare, cooking, and cleaning.  It's true that while women's hours in the labor force have increased, the decrease in their hours at home have not kept pace--men do spend more on home duties today, but women often do twice as much, even while working the same hours at the office.

So what's going on in our homes?  Is this a sign of male oppression of women continuing in more subtle ways?  Is it old attitudes about who should do the household labor and what kinds of tasks are "manly"?  I think in many cases, these are reasonable explanations.  But for those of us who are dating progressive men who are happy to embrace women's career equality, there might be a more insidious explanation: Women's skills in the workplace now equal or exceed those of their male colleagues in many settings, and yet they still maintain a major skill advantage on the homefront.  Women perform the second shift because we're better at it.  (Note: This is a piece about my experience, and something I have observed in other relationships, but it is far from universal.  There are plenty of non-useless men out there, and I applaud them and their parents.  But for those of us facing useless man syndrome, the existence of theoretically useful males provides little comfort.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet: surprise Senate candidate, wedding weight loss, gay blood ban, and hotness discrimination

So, someone unexpected won the South Carolina Democratic Senate primary, and now everyone is upset, because he probably doesn't have a good shot at beating his Republican opponent and doesn't seem very qualified to be a Senator.  Nonetheless, I'm not so on board with the media and political powers that be running around and calling him mentally impaired just because he's not camera-ready.  Instead of taking credit for their major screw up and apparent unfamiliarity with polling and electoral management, the Democratic Party is calling for this man to step down and casting aspersions about his mental fitness.  He won fair and square and their guy didn't.  So why don't they start pulling him aside for media coaching and setting up a real campaign machine?  And why doesn't the media stop their embarrassing attack on him, and start asking the Democratic Party why they had no idea this fellow had a good chance of winning?  I don't whether to call the media's treatment of this man ableist, or racist, or just plain anti-humanist, but it's making me a little sick.  I'm with this Gawker commenter:
This guy, whether willingly or not, has exposed the pathetic joke that our electoral process is. Maybe he is a soft spoken guy, maybe he is shy, maybe he was not expecting to win and get all this media coverage, maybe he is some average guy that cannot get a job and said, "[F***] it, I'll give this a try," or maybe he does have some problem. I do not know. But the interesting thing in all this, is how the media has been asking him crap questions like:

-Do you have any money?
-Do you do things the way we expect you to, in order to win?
-Do you think you will win?
-Do you have a website with red, white, and blue colors for us to stare at?
-Are you cuckoo? Please answer simply and in 5 seconds because America cannot understand. Also, we will be right back after a word from our sponsors.

And not a single question like:

-What are the issues you hope to take on while in the Senate?
-What is it about those issues that motivated you to run?

The way I see it, you ask stupid questions, you'll get stupid answers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Red carpet wrap-up: The Tony Awards

There was an awards show last night.  And that means dresses! EW has the best and worst, but their tastes seem to run a little contrary to the common thread.  People has good pics, but not enough snark to go with them.  If it's biting criticism you want, TLo has Part 1 and Part 2 of their dress analysis, and, of course, the Fug Girls.  Jez actually goes pretty easy on the locals.

For best-dressed, I vote ScarJo (left), Lea Michelle (but don't tell her, lest she become more insufferable), Dame Helen, and Jessica Hecht.

For those of you interested in the actual ceremony, EW's got the top-ten moments, and a review of Sean Hayes's performance as host.

Partial winners list:
Best Play – Red by John Logan
Best Musical – Memphis
Leading Actor in a Play – Denzel Washington in Fences
Leading Actress in a Play – Viola Davis in Fences
Leading Actor in a Musical – Douglas Hodge in La Cage aux Folles
Leading Actress in a Musical – Catherine Zeta-Jones in A Little Night Music

See the rest here. Crossover film stars won big, with recognition for Denzel Washington, Catherine Zeta Jones, and...Scarlett Johansson now has a Tony award, ladies and gentlemen.

Sweden: What a pro-family society looks like

This week the NYTimes ran a long article about parental, specifically paternal, leave laws in Sweden, and the effects these laws have had on society in the last decade. To many American readers, Sweden will sound almost alien:
The ponytailed center-right finance minister calls himself a feminist, ads for cleaning products rarely feature women as homemakers, and preschools vet books for gender stereotypes in animal characters. For nearly four decades, governments of all political hues have legislated to give women equal rights at work — and men equal rights at home...
“Many men no longer want to be identified just by their jobs,” said Bengt Westerberg, who long opposed quotas but as deputy prime minister phased in a first month of paternity leave in 1995. “Many women now expect their husbands to take at least some time off with the children.”
We're not talking about taking two weeks off here - the vast majority of men in Sweden take their full two months, and many also split some of the combined parental leave (thirteen months between parents) to stay home longer. Can you even imagine this happening in the US? How much would a policy like this change our culture (for the better)?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Your definitive guide to determining if blackface is offensive

 The short answer, of course, is yes.  But since so many people seem not to understand the short answer, I've decided to provide a long one.  The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek.  This is clearly not the definitive guide to whether something is offensive.  If someone finds something offensive that is outside the bounds of this guide, you may disagree with them, but I suggest you listen to them, understand their reasons for being offended or hurt, and then move on with your life.  (That last part is important--If you don't agree, and the opinion with which you don't agree is not oppressive or harmful, think it over, and then walk away.) 

[Image via TLo.  The image depicts a blond, white model in six photographs, dressed up in a different style in each, such as a "naughty secretary" or androgynous businesswoman.  The top-left image depicts the woman in a short black wig and "Asian"-style eye makeup.  The top-right image depicts the woman in an afro wig with her face darkened by makeup.]

The image above comes from a photo shoot Claudia Schiffer did with Karl Lagerfeld.  This photo shoot is an example of both black and yellow-face.  Renee Martin wrote about the offense caused by this image, rightly predicting she would experience resistance from her readership:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recipe Fridays: home-made banana pops

1 cup chocolate chips
3 bananas
1/2 cup cream, milk, or milk substitute

Cut each banana into thirds or quarters.  Stand them up on a cookie-sheet and insert toothpicks into the top of each one.  Place in freezer for 4+ hours.

Line a cookie sheet with foil or wax paper, and grease.  Heat the liquid (I used almond milk) until boiling, remove from heat, and add chocolate chips.  Stir until smooth, then return to low heat if needed until liquid consistency is reached.

Grip each banana piece by toothpick, and swirl in the liquid chocolate, about 3/4 of the way up the banana.  Flipping it upside down, swirl for 30 seconds until the chocolate hardens slightly on the frozen banana.  (At this point, you could dip the bottom in chopped nuts, sprinkles, or coconut.)  Then place on greased cookie sheet, toothpick up.

Repeat with all bananas, then return to freezer until ready to serve.  Serve to neighborhood kids.  By which I mean yourself.

Recipe Fridays: Black Bean and Corn Salad

This salad is a flavorful summer salad that is a great addition to BBQs and fiesta dinner parties. The other great thing about this? The easy preperation!

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernals
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
5-6 green onions, chopped
1 avacado, peeled and chopped
About 1/2 cup cilantro, washed and chopped

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Make the dressing in a small jar or bowl. Shake it to mix all of the ingredients together. Let it sit while you put the salad together in a larger bowl. Once you have combined all the salad ingredients, pour the dressing over; mix well. Serve immediately, or chilled.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Watch out! Two women are running for some kind of elected office!

Hey guys, have you heard about Carly and Meg?  They're like totally the best of friends, and they both used to be tech CEOs, and sometimes they talk about hair.  It's like the girl-power, lady-explosion, sister-tech takeover in Washington!  Errr...California.  Anyway, it's BIG NEWS.  About girly stuff.

Ugh.  It's only June, and we're in for this until November.  As Mongoose just pointed out, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the huge inroads women are making in politics during this primary season.  There's also one big reason not to be, and that's the gushing, cliched media coverage these women have received, especially in the case of Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. 

The news media has officially confirmed to me that there is no way for them to cover women doing things that a lot of men do without falling over in a heap of trite phrases and girl-power cliches.  I am starting to resign myself that every article written about these two politicians will put them together, as though they're in some kind of "Women CEOs run for office" buddy comedy.  Wonkette points out that the media cannot resist comparing "Carly and Meg" to "Barbara and Diane," two women who also once ran for office.  I think we're in for a verrrry long electoral season of wardrobe dissection, dissection of the wardrobe dissection, inside scoops on how close the two candidates really are, interviews with family members about who cooks dinner, comparisons to Sarah Palin, and other things that make me wish California's political goings on could be covered as lightly by the US news media as they cover Britain and other foreign countries.

Women continue to close the gap in politics

Tuesday's primary elections did not bear out the predicted anti-incumbent fervor, but they produced another story: women won some important races, including the Republican primaries for governor and senator from California!

Over at CNN, however, Jennifer Lawless makes a point that I have made before: we are still nowhere near parity in political representation.
Referring to the victories of Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Sharron Angle and Blanche Lincoln, ran the headline, "Women Win Big in Tuesday Primaries." followed suit, flashing across its homepage, "It's Ladies Night at the Ballot Box." The Washington Post ran a story entitled, "Women Triumph in Races Across the Country." And the Daily Beast summarized last evening's events by concluding that "Women Rule Primary Night..."
These women, however, represent only a fraction of the total number of candidates seeking positions of political power. Yet their famous faces tend to obscure, at least in part, women's severe numeric under-representation in U.S. politics, as well as their prospects for major political gains in November.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life skills: Dealing with a customer service issue

When they screw up
  • Be calm, but firm.  This is hard for me when I get frustrated, but pissing off the customer service rep will only hurt you in the end.  If they stick to their script, stick to yours: "This isn't right, and I expect to be compensated/reimbursed/credited."  It never hurts to show your allegiance as a customer, so they know that you're worth pleasing: "I love your company and shop with/do business with you guys all the time, but this left me really disappointed."
  • Don't waste your time with someone who doesn't have the power to give you want you want.  If you don't make progress with the first person you talk to, say "This is a serious issue, I'd rather discuss it with a manager.  Can you transfer me, please?"  You can even call and ask to speak with a manager directly.  You may hold for a few minutes, but it saves you the hassle of telling your story over and over.
  • Remember that it is much cheaper to keep a customer than find a customer.  There is always something they can do.  Insist until you get an outcome that you like.  This website suggests you simply hang up and call again if you're not getting the answer you want.  Fees can always be reversed, items can always be exchanged, and credits or comped items can always be granted.  Don't settle for "there's nothing we can do."  There's always something, so obviously you just haven't found the right solution.  Say: "I understand you may not be able to do [X], but there has to be a way for you to make this situation right.  What's your suggestion for how to fix this problem?"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When restrictive eating becomes disordered eating

I am a believer in healthy eating.  Vegetarian, made-from-scratch, whole grain.  I read labels.  I like things that are "natural."  I munch veggies.  But at the same time, I'm more than happy to engage in the occasional totally non-healthy, non-wholesome meal because, even though it might not have the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals, it feeds some other part of me.  I'm also very skeptical of those that preach or adhere to healthy eating plans that really just translate into dissatisfaction with our natural body shapes.  Just as I'm wary of the potential for exercising for health reasons getting all blurred together with unrealistic appearance expectations and consequently self-hatred, I think there's all too fine a line between what we do for our health and what we do for the girl in the mirror when it comes to eating.

Moreover, even if someone is able to separate out the skinny-craving self (thanks to our society, this being lives in all of us) and really just pursue a restrictive diet for health reasons, I still believe this diet can become unbalanced in a way that is ultimately unhealthful.  What I mean by this, is that if someone is so firm in their adherence to a vegan, raw-food diet, for example, that they can't even have a taste of chocolate cake on their birthday, the negative mental effects (which in turn can affect physical health) might be more detrimental than the trans fats contained in that tiny cake sliver.  Now, this isn't to say we can't have rules.  I, for example, don't eat meat, and this is a hard-and-fast enough rule that I wouldn't try someone else's lamb tikka, no matter how much I wanted it.  But my question is, when do these rules start to harm more than they help?

Gena from Choosing Raw tackles this issue in a recent guest post at Whole Living.  She first discusses the eating disorder orthorexia nervosa, an obsession with healthy food, identified by Steven Bratman, a holistic physician who had suffered himself from a too-rigid diet (from Dr. Bratman's original piece):

Femonomics at the Movies: Splice

The Viewer's Angle

Splice is this year's retelling of Frankenstein, and having read several reviews convincing me it was more indie-art than monster horror, I went out (not on a date - thank goodness!) opening weekend to see it. Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody play Elsa and Clive, a couple of scientists building hybrid animals in the lab using gene splicing (don't think too hard about it) to develop pharmaceuticals. Delphine Chaneac is Dren, the monster, and primarily Elsa's creation.

The movie gets off to a great start. The pacing, the creepiness, the thought-provoking images (Elsa for a moment gets trapped by an artificial womb - I don't know what it means, but it was whoa symbolism). For the first 2/3's of the film, I was engrossed. The relationships between Elsa, Dren, and Clive develop with affection and curiosity, but also undercurrents of angst and repulsion, creating the perfect foreboding tone. The audience is also supposed to feel the moral repulsion Shelley's Frankenstein produced. In Shelley's version, I always felt too sympathetic with the monster to be completely disgusted, but Splice impressively had me nauseated half the film. Not the best feeling in the world, but I'm always excited when a movie can knock me that off-balance. (For another queasy but excellent film see Enduring Love with Daniel Craig.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Breaking Environmental News: Natural Gas Explosiion

A natural gas pipeline exploded in Johnson County, Texas around 2:40 PM. At this point, firefighters are still trying to get the gas line shut off. This accident supports doubts about the safety of natural gas, and in combination with the massive volume of oil polluting the Gulf of Mexico really supports the case for a shift in U.S. energy policy.

Image credit: WFAA-TV

Reflections on Sanjay Gupta’s Toxic America

Image credit: A6U571N

Toxic America.

We use a number of products every day from cleaning supplies to cosmetics. But how often do you think about the effect these chemicals could be having on your health?

We expect that the government regulates consumer products and exposures to ensure safety, but Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s two-night special Toxic America pushes us to question these assumptions. (If you missed it... You can watch replays this week or on

Red carpet wrap-up: From wacky to tacky at the MTV movie awards

 Just to be clear, I mean neither wacky nor tacky as insults.  It just is what it is, folks, and let's not call it something else.

[Image via TLo]

TLo's got your wrap-up, and they really, really do not like anything.  They say Lindsay looks like a porn star.  Given her silver jumpsuit, I would add, "from the seventies."  EW's equally flummoxed, and thinks Shawn White should have worn a shirt.  Personally, I dig Katy Perry's blue wig, and her personal brand of, "When I was a child I dreamed of being a celebrity and doing whatever the eff I wanted," that she seems to bring to the red carpet time in, time out.  Jezebel is all like, we don't even know where to start.  People is nonplussed.  They've seen it all.

But did you guys see Sandy the other night at the Spike awards (vom)?  She has never looked better.  Including in Speed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet: racism, salt, and FGM

Quick hits because I have to go to sleep.

Ohmygod, areyouserious:  School asks artists to "lighten" Latino and Black students' faces in mural, in response to racist complaints and drive-by slurs. 

Bill Easterly notes we don't just produce oil spills, we export them, too.

Many people think the ruling on Miranda Rights saying you have to explicitly invoke your right to remain silent removes protections for people accused of crimes.  I understand why they would say that, but it also seems like it provides an important protection, by making it clear statute that if you say you would like to no longer be questioned, and this is not respected, what you say cannot be used against you.  My legal knowledge comes from episodes of Law and Order, so does anyone know if that was always the case before?  It seems to me not.  This allows suspects to halt questioning both when they ask for a lawyer and when they express their wish to no longer be questioned (and it seems the interpretation could be quite broad, such as someone saying "Leave me alone.  I'm not saying anything.")  More info here.

This is NOT ok.  Helen Thomas says Jews in the occupied territories (or possibly all of Israel?) should go back "home" to Poland and Germany.

Did you read this piece on salt?  Like MSG before it, food manufacturers love to put stuff in our food to cover up how very un-food-like a lot of it is.  I think that if the Cheez-Its don't taste good without three different salt components, maybe you need a new recipe?

The American Academy of Pediatrics proposed, and then shortly reversed their decision, that doctors could offer a "clitoral nick" to persuade parents from going through with full-fledged Female Genital Mutilation.  People are making comparisons to circumcision, and saying if that's ok, this should be, too.  Personally, I think doctors should probably stick with that whole "First, do no harm" thing, but I do think there is somewhat of a conflict here between being anti-cultural imperialism and being pro woman, so I am somewhat more torn than some other feminist bloggers on this issue.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Recipe Fridays: Two never-fail pasta salads to bring to picnics, pot lucks, or dinner in front of the TV

One big dilemma I always run into when trying to plan food for a casual get-together is finding foods that won't taste disgusting once they get cold.  If everyone's going to eat standing around, and some people are going to arrive two hours late, you need room-temperature foods so you can be milling with your guests instead of running into the kitchen trying to heat things up.  The same goes for food to bring to a picnic, where nothing is the temperature you wanted it to be.  You need food that both tastes good at room temperature and is safe without refrigeration.  Enter the mayo-less pasta salad.  Two recipes follow, but the possibilities are endless.

Gemelli with spinach, tomatoes, and feta
1 box Gemelli or other spiral-y pasta
1 box grape tomatoes
1 bag baby spinach
1 block feta cheese
garlic, olive oil, salt, and fresh ground pepper
Boil pasta.  While it cooks, pour spinach leaves into large bowl.  Cut grape tomatoes in half and add to bowl.  When pasta is done, pour on top of spinach and tomatoes, add enough olive oil to coat (about 1/4 cup), and stir.  The hot pasta will wilt the spinach and tomatoes, essentially cooking them.  Crumble the feta or cut into chunks and add to pasta.  Add 1 crushed garlic clove and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir gently, and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Farfalle with broccoli and Parmesan
1 box Farfalle
1 head broccoli
1 box grape tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
garlic, olive oil, salt, and fresh ground pepper
Wash broccoli and cut it into florets.  Lay in a single layer in a baking pan, coat with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put in the oven to roast at 450 for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Boil pasta.  While it cooks, cut grape tomatoes in half and add to bowl.  Combine pasta, tomatoes, and broccoli.  Add Parmesan cheese, 1 crushed garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir gently, and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.  (This would also be good with some roasted carrots)

Decorum: Summer Social Dining Guide

(singing) Summer-Summer-Summertime! The sweltering heat has arrived. That means I can come out of hibernation and assume a less anti-social lifestyle than I enjoy throughout the winter. I don't like the cold, but I do like the lack of awkward moments at the end of dining out with a group of friends where I realize I must now shove out cash to subsidize someone else's five-course meal when I, personally, dined as the fiscally-responsible, underpaid young adult I am. I've got some old-school tips on social dining etiquette that seem to have fallen out of fashion for some reason, but I'm doing my best to bring them back. Some of the tips after the jump will smooth awkward moments, if not prevent them, in restaurants, casual BBQs/potlucks, and formal dinner parties. Dine on, friends, but let's be "socially responsible" diners. Not to mention, let's avoid being talked about by our friends behind our backs (oh, you know you do it!).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My roller-coaster relationship with Nicholas Kristof

If I put up a facebook relationship status about NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof, it would be "It's complicated."  Me and Kristof started out strong, when I was a naive college student-wannabe-journalist, and he was one of the few prominent columnists talking about the BIG issues.  Chief among these big issues was AFRICA, a place we all knew was afflicted with all the world's worst problems.  And Kristof was talking about it.

Now, after working in Africa (specifically: Zambia), getting to know numerous sub-Saharan Africans, and reading countless papers on economic development, I find that talking about it isn't quite enough anymore.  I find myself sympathizing more and more with bloggers like Texas in Africa, who has a special tag for Kristof screw-ups, "The Kristof Strikes Again," and Africa is a Country, who first made me notice Kristof's awkward, me-centric (condescending, privileged, and imperialist might work, too) approach to interactions with Africans.

Still, sometimes I'm elated just to hear him talk about things that deserve ink, such as when he addressed cruel misconceptions about Haitian culture after the devastating earthquake there.  I was entranced to read his essay on women's role in developing country economies, and was willing to forgive him some oversimplifications for the public service of bringing gender to the forefront of Times' readers' minds.  But for every one of those swoony moments, there's a piece like his recent misinformed one on birth control in Africa (where else) that ended with the line, "So she may just keep on producing babies."

Kristof really hit a nerve, though, when he wrote a column about the "ugly secret" of development, that poor people don't spend their money wisely:

Seriously, BP, what the #@!$?

This piece over at the Daily Kos is a must read (laced with profanity, most of it warranted). Apparently there's something called "booming" that's used to stop oil from reaching the shoreline after a spill.  Basically, it's a big plastic barrier (a floaty thing on top with a skirt that goes down into the water) that you string along the ocean a short distance from the shore.  Importantly, it's non-absorptive, it only acts as a barrier.  So, for booming to work, you have to funnel the oil into containment devices and empty them every day.  To funnel the oil toward the containment devices, you have to string the boom in a zig-zag pattern.  Here is an image from a profanity-free version of Booming101 explaining the concept.  I highly recommend you go to the Daily Kos article and get the original profanity-full version.

So that's how booming works.  BUT, all the media knows is that a big bright orange or yellow line of stuff is supposed to stop the oil.  So, stringing a big line of highly visible boom=good, even if it accomplishes nothing.  And so, that's what BP has done.  All along the Gulf.  (These images via the Daily Kos piece.)

Because it doesn't work, and they're not properly anchoring it, here's what's become of their booms:

Yup, that's oil washed ashore, along with the boom that was supposed to stop it.  See any catch basins?  Neither do I.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Supporting the right to choose without denigrating disabled individuals

Earlier, when we talked about Oklahoma's abortion legislation protecting doctors from legal action if they do not correctly report test results to mothers, RecoveringEconomist argued that those who supported the law under the guise that it protected disabled individuals were really misogynists in progressive clothing, since they did not support other measures to protect persons with disabilities.  That said, I've often felt members of the reproductive justice movement are in danger of falling into the same trap, saying there are other ways to protect persons with disabilities without actually doing anything about it.  If we really want to walk the walk, reproductive justice advocates need to both fight against laws restricting women's rights and actively work to strike out ableism and promote equality for persons with disabilities.  This Ain't Livin' has a great piece today on this very topic, arguing that protecting disabled individuals requires more information, not less.  I.e., instead of taking away women's right to make their own medical decisions by withholding test information, doctors should be giving women accurate accounts of a disability's implications and the requirements for raising a child with that disability.
People who receive a fetal diagnosis are provided with plenty of information about what it means for the pregnancy, but not a lot of information about what happens next, other than scaremongering about how much of a hardship it is to care for a disabled child. Lies about children with disabilities breaking up marriages. Horror stories. They are not provided with balanced and supportive information that informs them about how they could care for their child after the birth, the variance involved in diagnoses, the fact that sometimes a fetal diagnosis is wrong, that support is available. Despite best efforts on the part of the disability rights movement, many parents face a fetal diagnosis alone and terrified, and they never even get a chance to meet living people with the same condition; they’re told to terminate, not to research. Doctors tell parents of people like me that termination is the best option.
That’s not making an informed choice. That’s making a choice based on fear and misinformation, and it is wrong. I do not support that, and I do not think that anyone who supports reproductive rights should support that either. This is not decisionmaking, it’s ‘do what you’re told or you’ll get a defective baby.’
She also discusses how people in the reproductive rights movement have often resorted to ableist and hurtful language when discussing this particular law, including implying that being forced to have a "disabled" or "defective" baby is a fate worse than death.  I encourage you to go read the entire piece, and discuss below.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feminist classic on women's household burden: Hochschild's "The Second Shift"

I picked up Arlie Hochschild's The Second Shift this past week on vacation, a book I'd been meaning to read because it was "a classic" but which I also dreaded would be a dry screed on hopeless inequities that didn't really affect me. But I kept picking it up, in every bit of downtime I had, and now I can't stop talking about it with everyone I know. (Unlike The Quants, which I have to finish for my work bookclub next week but can't get into - is that because it's a Man Book?)

Hochschild, a professor at UC Berkeley, first published this book in 1989, after extensive fieldwork interviewing and observing two-career couples in the greater Bay area. She compiled case studies of exemplar families, detailing the breakdown of childcare and housework as well as the relations between the two. Hochschild also documented the participant's family background, feelings and ideology regarding gender roles, and opinions about how work was being divided (which often conflicted with her observations). Her conclusion was that in the vast majority (~80%) of households, women carried a disproportionate share of the load, in essence working a "second shift" after they got home from work. The case studies are presented objectively, but are nevertheless incendiary, both for the story they tell and the clarity they draw to unfair breakdowns of household labor many readers have seen or experienced personally.