Monday Morning Open Thread: Strong Women Are Our Hallmark

And some happy news out of London — from the Guardian, “Michelle Obama gets rock star reception at London O2 interview”:

With homemade signs and spontaneous Mexican waves, it was an audience fit for the most famous musician. Speaking to a 15,000-strong audience of mostly women at the O2 Arena in London, the former first lady Michelle Obama called on those who were unhappy with the Trump White House to “roll up your sleeves”.

She was welcomed on stage at the event on Sunday night – part of an international book tour – with a standing ovation and screams. Asked by the US television host Stephen Colbert how she liked her reception, she said it gave her hope in difficult political times.

“I think it’s a testament to how much we all have in common around the world,” said Obama. “The fact that people are finding themselves in the story of this little girl, Michelle Robinson, on the south side of Chicago … is not a testament to me and my story, but it’s a reminder that we’re OK, folks. We’re going to be OK.”…

“I have to remind people that Barack Obama was elected twice in the United States. That really did happen,” she said. “That wasn’t make-believe. The country actually did accomplish it and half the people who voted in the last election, if they could have, they would have voted for him for a third term.

“We have to remember that what is happening today is true, but what happened before was also true … that should give us some solace at some level.”…

Title inflation and male privilege

This tweet below is a fairly common experience:

I have seen this behavior a lot. Right now, most of the work groups I’m on have a female Ph.D or MD as the primary investigator and team lead. It is not uncommon for them to be referred to as Ms. Doe while all the guys are referred to as Dr. Smith.

I get a massive amount of title inflation. My highest degree of training is a master’s degree and then an ungodly amount of on the job training and exploration. At this point in my life, going back for a doctorate does not make a ton of sense at this time. A doctorate might be something I do once the kids are in college but the current opportunity cost is higher than the benefit.

I talk with the press a lot. I talk with policy analysts frequently. I am a resource for Duke students, staff and faculty to talk about the arcane and obscure aspects of the Affordable Care Act (Silver Loading and Medical Loss Ratios for the win!) and more broadly insurance questions. I get a reasonable number of cold requests depending on the news, policy and semester cycles. /

If I am getting a cold e-mail from someone who is trying to set up a conversation about something I know something about, there is an even chance the greeting is Mr. Anderson. Most of the inaccuracies are for Dr. Anderson or Professor Anderson.

I get a massive amount of title inflation for something that I have not earned. I get that because I’m a white guy who writes with big words and arcane subjects. I benefit from this credential inflation. I always correct as Mr. Anderson whenever I’m referred to as Doctor or Professor as I have not earned those titles, but I don’t know how to change this situation so the table is not as inordinately tilted my way.

Election 2020 Open Thread: Say Goodnight, Joe

Betty Cracker already posted Stacey Abrams’ (extremely polite!) rejection of the Biden camp’s VP offer. Reaction on political twitter has not been favorable for Uncle Joe…

But also, last night:

Yeah, we’ve all gotten smarter since the Clarence Thomas hearings, been a long time, standards were different then, yadda yadda. But the clumsy attempt to co-opt Abrams looks particularly bad, given what Professor Hill says here.

We have a whole bunch of really exciting, vibrant Democratic candidates with excellent ideas and support. Biden’s got top-rank name recognition, and all our warm memories of his service, not least during the Obama years. If he wants to be important (and useful), he’s got a chance to share his expertise with the up & coming crew. And if — as I suspect — he’s looking for an excuse not to run again, well: If his team can’t handle the ‘exploratory’ phase any more deftly than this, does he really want to test them against actual competition?

Question for the lady jackals…

Guys, please feel free to weigh in too (like I could stop you!), but I’m primarily interested in hearing from the women in this community on the following question: How would you feel if the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2020 is a man?

We all want a qualified candidate. We all want someone who can beat Trump. We want a candidate whose ideas appeal to us, someone capable of taking on the herculean task of undoing the damage wrought by the clown in the White House. Blah blah blah.

But I admit I will be disappointed if the party nominates another dude. As an American woman who isn’t a stupid Republican, I feel like we’ve not only waited long enough, we’ve been screwed out of what we rightfully won.

I didn’t always feel this strongly about breaking the glass ceiling. In 2008, I backed Obama over Clinton – a bit too fiercely at times.

I remember arguing with my mom about it, saying stuff like, “I don’t vote based on genitalia,” which in hindsight strikes me as a snotty rejoinder that is almost as clueless and cringey as when people claim, “I don’t see color.” (The fuck you don’t!) Representation matters, damn it.

Mom patiently explained that after two centuries of men running things, it was important to her to see a qualified woman have a shot at the job. She and Hillary Clinton were about the same age, so generational affinity may have played a role too. But my mom said more than once she really wanted to see a woman elected president in her lifetime. Sadly, she didn’t.

Looking back, I don’t think either of us was wrong in 2008. Clinton would have made a fine president, and Obama was a fine president. After the primary, my mom became a fan and voted for Obama twice.

But a dozen years later, having raised a daughter to adulthood myself, having suffered through the nauseating spectacle of the 2016 campaign and borne the daily degradation of a smirking misogynist in the White House for two-plus years, I understand where my mom was coming from a lot better.

What got me thinking about this was a report I read earlier that said Biden is almost certainly going to run, which would make him and Sanders the instant frontrunners. Now, I like Biden, and I know polls this early don’t mean shit. But when I read the sentence, I thought, “Great. Two old white dudes. Fuck that!”

If Biden wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him, obviously. I’ll vote for Bernie in the general if he’s the nominee, and I can’t stand the cantankerous coot. But in the primary, I get to weigh other factors. Femaleness was a factor for me last time, but it’s an even more so in this primary, and no apologies for that.

It’s not the only factor. I’d gladly vote for a good man like Mayor Pete or Beto over a crackpot woman like Tulsi Gabbard. I want a competent person who generally shares my values in the White House, and I want us to win.

But it’s more important to me than ever to break that glass ceiling, especially after looking at that leering orange pustule in the White House for two years. And since we have several capable women in the race who would make a good president, I want one of them to win, damn it.

So yeah, I’ll be disappointed if the Democratic Party nominates a man. Maybe even bitterly so. Representation matters. I’m not saying it’s our turn. But it kinda is. What do you think?

But Seriously… (International Women’s Day)

In 2018, the #MeToo hashtag on sexual harassment was one of the top 10 censored topics on China’s popular messaging app, WeChat, according to the University of Hong Kong’s WeChatscope.

Weibo and WeChat also banned China’s most influential feminist social media account, Feminist Voices. Authorities have closed down prominent women’s rights centres. They have also detained students and recent graduates advocating for #MeToo and workers’ rights.

Just as China’s crackdown on women’s rights activism is growing, the global backlash against feminism is likely to intensify, as misogynistic autocrats have been emboldened everywhere, in part by a US president who openly expresses admiration for “strongman” rulers…

Why are authoritarian rulers so threatened by feminism? The subjugation of women is a common feature in virtually all authoritarian regimes.

Putin signed a law in 2017 that partially decriminalised domestic violence in Russia, making it much more difficult for women to report abuse.

In Hungary, the autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orban has banned gender studies programmes at universities. Putin, Orban and Xi, among others, are fixated on pushing women into more traditional roles in the home and having more babies for the state…

Far too often, women in resistance movements are overlooked by journalists and the narrative revolves around male opposition figures.

Yet more young women in authoritarian states have become fed up with the misogyny in their daily lives, demanding equality, dignity and an end to pervasive gender-based violence.

Young women standing up for their rights pose a growing challenge to male autocrats everywhere – not just in China – which is why authoritarian rulers are so threatened by the prospect of any large-scale women’s movement developing.

Male autocrats see patriarchal authoritarianism as crucial for their political survival, but one of the core demands of feminism – that women should be free to control our own bodies and reproductive lives – is in direct conflict with the coercive, often pronatalist policies of authoritarian states, which see declining birth rates as an existential crisis. And that is exactly what is happening in China…