The Conning of the Feminists issue of On The Issue Magazine
Is the ‘F’ word co-opted by conservatives & consumerist media? Where are real icons & core values? On The Issues Magazine, Winter 2011, considers feminist icons, feminist values and feminist cons.


Female Violence in Search of Justice

by Linda Stein

March 9, 2011

Remember Lorena Bobbitt? I asked my partner that question and her response was a devious smile. Why her tinge of pleasure?

The 1993 Bobbitt case brought public attention to the issues of marital rape and domestic violence. Within days after cutting off her batterer-husband's penis (subsequently reattached), feminist groups rallied around Lorena, citing the continuous abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband.

Remember Francine Hughes? She was the battered wife who, in 1977, after 13-and-a-half years of domestic abuse, told her children to put on their coats and sit in the car while …


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Female Violence in Search of Justice
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Feminist, Feminisme, Feministe?: Anti- Patriarchy Is the Key

by Karen Offen

March 4, 2011

In her article Feminism Is as Feminism Does, Merle Hoffman invokes the question that many have been asking for decades: “What is a feminist?” and argues that the word “feminism” itself has been mis-applied by the media. Hoffman insists that upholding “the fundamental right to reproductive freedom and justice” is the baseline for deciding who is a feminist today.

If one looks at feminism historically, however, that baseline leaves out people whom most of us think of as feminists, including Hubertine Auclert, the French woman suffrage advocate who in 1882 pioneered use of the words “féminisme” and “féministe.” By …


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Feminist, Feminisme, Feministe?: Anti- Patriarchy Is the Key
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Films that Inform Our Lives: Maybe Next Year?

by Heather Cowherd

March 1, 2011

In 1995, at the age of ten, I wanted to be like Princess Aurora, Jasmine and Snow White. I even remember having a recurring dream where I imagined I was a princess who was imprisoned in my castle by a fire-breathing dragon. Each day, I would sit and wait for the prince to rescue me from my ivy tower, so we could live Happily Ever After. I thought that was what young women were supposed to do -- take a back seat when danger occurred and applaud the male hero for saving the day. I never considered the possibility that I could just slay the dragon, save myself and be my own hero.

It wasn't until I saw movies like The …


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Films that Inform Our Lives: Maybe Next Year?
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Are Women Missing in Literary Reviews?

by Joan Tobin

February 25, 2011

I began an Open Letter to The New York Times earlier this month with this alarmed question: "Shades of Rip van Winkle. Did Sam Tannenhaus, the editor of the book review, fall asleep in 1963 and wake up just in time to edit Late Style, a review of Lastingness – The Art of Old Age by Nicholas Delbanco, in the January 23, 2011 issue of the review?"

It seems no one at the review noticed that the 28 writers, painters, composers and literary scholars, alive or dead, mentioned in Brooke Allen's review are …


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Are Women Missing in Literary Reviews?
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Academic Feminisms: Gaining or Losing Ground?

by Resa Crane Bizzaro

February 23, 2011

When I first thought about writing this essay, I was a little afraid of what I might say -- and who might read it.

From my perspective as a woman in higher education, I've seen many changes over the years. For instance, since the advent of the feminist movement, many other feminisms have arisen representing those who felt disconnected from the original effort. Courses in Sociolinguistics and Women's Studies have been developed and populated by people who ardently support women's issues and equality. Many women have encouraged and accepted men into the movement, believing that a feminist is "each and every politically and socially conscious woman or man who works for equality within or …


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Academic Feminisms: Gaining or Losing Ground?
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Controlling Women: Reasons to Worry About the Scott Sisters

by Caroline Picker

February 17, 2011

What would you trade for your freedom? Why should you care about the Scott sisters if you care about reproductive health?

Recently, Gladys and Jamie Scott were released from prison after 16 years. Each received a lifetime sentence for allegedly assisting with the theft of $11. The Scotts were released on suspended charges: they will both be on parole for the rest of their lives. As a condition of her release, Gladys is required to donate one of her kidneys to Jamie, who suffers from kidney failure and receives regular dialysis treatment. In her petition for freedom, Gladys voluntarily offered this donation. …


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Controlling Women: Reasons to Worry About the Scott Sisters
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Disappearing the word "rape"

by Stephanie Gilmore

The Super Bowl is over, and although the Pittsburgh Steelers lost a record-setting seventh victory, star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still grabbing a lot of media space with little chance of disappearing.

While sportswriters debated his performance in the big game, that he got there at all was deemed to be "the road to redemption," according to several sportswriters. Just before the season began, Roethlisberger was accused of raping a 20-year-old woman, an accusation that landed him on the sidelines for the first four (originally six) games of the season. Once branded a sexual predator, suspended, and dissed in public, Roethlisberger is now revered as a football hero who may soon become a Hall of Famer.



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Disappearing the word "rape"
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Of Hallie Flanagan and Women Who Won't Be Silent

by Alexis Greene

The American theater director and educator Hallie Flanagan Davis, hero of Ruth Wolff's play Hallie, grew to womanhood during the climactic decades of American feminism's first wave.

But the trajectory of her career evokes women's lives at the onset of feminism's second wave and beyond.

Born in 1890, red-haired Hallie Ferguson spent her first ten years in a South Dakota town, often staging plays in the living room with her brothers and sisters. Then her family moved to Grinnell, Iowa, and in 1911 she graduated from Grinnell College, where she majored in German and philosophy and belonged to the drama club.

Despite that education, she married college flame Murray Flanagan right after …


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Of Hallie Flanagan and Women Who Won't Be Silent

Feminists Lose Ground Working With Social Conservatives On Trafficking

by Melissa Ditmore

Many people are surprised to learn that some contemporary feminists work with Right-wing Christians on the issue of trafficking in persons – actions that sell out the rights of other women, particularly those who freely work in the sex trade.

The term "trafficking" refers to the trade in persons by coercion, force and fraud for labor of all sorts, including in factories, sweat shops, construction, farm and domestic work, as well as for sexual services. But, most often, "trafficking" only conjures up women and girls forced into sexual slavery, and this has drawn some feminists, especially those from the old guard anti-pornography movement, to work hand-in-hand with the Religious Right. Sociologist

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Feminists Lose Ground Working With Social Conservatives On Trafficking

Roe v. Wade 38th Anniversary: A Time for Celebration – and Commitment

by Merle Hoffman

As we celebrate the 38th anniversary on Jan 22nd of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, this day must also signal a commitment to the future – to protect and advance women's reproductive freedom despite the challenges and risks.

This year, 2011, also marks the 40th anniversary of Choices Women's Medical Center, which I founded shortly after New York State legalized abortion in April of 1970. Before there was Roe, there was Choices, and the history of the two are intertwined. I will never forget the first woman who came to Choices. She …


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Roe v. Wade 38th Anniversary: A Time for Celebration – and Commitment

Dangerous Con: How the Right Wing Attracts Women

by Helen Gilbert

The emergence of Sarah Palin and other perky-but-tough "mama grizzlies" is well-calculated. The Right wing is searching for a style that appeals to younger women.

It may seem contradictory that super-conservative misogynists want women on their side. But women are essential to building any movement. They are major opinion shapers and reliable foot-soldiers, if not quite accepted as serious leaders on the far-right team. For precedents, look at the history of the rise of fascism.

Kinder, kirche, küche

The classic work on how women were both targets and agents of the Nazi movement is When Biology Became …


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Dangerous Con: How the Right Wing Attracts Women
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Love and Creative Genius: A Feminist's Most Potent Weapons

by Inga Muscio

Feminism is an expression of oppressed people, but it has, like everything else in America, been commodified. Why ever in a million years would feminism somehow remain the lone bastion of integrity and strength, boiling away, as it is, in a seething 500 year old brew of buying, stealing and selling stew?

The United States of America is a country based on buying, stealing and selling stuff. We became a nation because we did not want to pay taxes to England. We stole Indian land because we did not want to pay folks for what was -- through sense of entitlement and ecclesiastical white supremacist racism -- rightfully ours. We became an economy based on the stolen lives of slavery because we did not want to pay for the labor …


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Love and Creative Genius: A Feminist's Most Potent Weapons

Stop Murder and Violence Against Sex Workers

by Melissa Sontag Broudo and Rachel Grinstein

Within the last month, police discovered four bodies along the Long Island Shore in New York State while searching for a missing sex worker. Media speculation turned immediately to a serial killer targeting sex workers.

Past serial killers have created rare public conversation around violence towards sex workers. Gary Ridgeway – the "Green River killer," who killed 48 women over two decades – said that he "picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they …


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Stop Murder and Violence Against Sex Workers
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