Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cesar Chavez Day 2009

Sorry to have been away for so long. For the past few weeks, I've been touring around the country, talking about Cesar Chavez.

Today is Chavez's 82nd birthday. Check here to see if there are any events near you celebrating his life and work.

If you are in Detroit today, come see me at the University of Detroit-Mercy!

Que viva La Causa!

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

CEDAW Update for International Women's Day: Will this be the Year?

Nancy Pelosi has urged passage of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in the U.S. Senate as soon as possible. CEDAW was drafted almost thirty years ago but the U.S. has never signed on. It joins an exclusive club of about 8 nations, including notorious human rights violators, such as Sudan, Somalia, and Iran, in avoiding the treaty.

Even though the Senate is Democrat controlled and Obama favors the treaty, it looks like it will be a hard fight toward ratification. Conservatives argue that ratification means the U.S. will give up national sovereignty and be forced to recognize a right to abortion and legalized prostitution. They are unlikely to vote for ratification without provisos that exempt the U.S. from certain portions of the treaty. These exemptions anger liberals who may not want to vote for a watered down CEDAW.

Here is a list of the Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee. You can contact them with the following talking points and urge passage of CEDAW:

I urge you to support the Treaty for the Rights of Women and work toward full Senate ratification.

The Treaty for the Rights of Women addresses basic human rights of women. It can be an effective tool in reducing violence and discrimination against women and girls, ensuring girls and women receive the same access as boys and men to education and health care, and securing basic legal recourse to women and girls against violations and abuses of their human rights.

As the leading superpower, U.S. ratification would lend weight to the Treaty and provide valuable support to women seeking reforms in countries around the world. Without the United States as a party to the Treaty, repressive governments can easily discount the Treaty?s provisions.

The United States played an important role in drafting this Treaty, which 185 nations have ratified. But our country is now 1 of 8 that have yet to ratify the Treaty, alongside Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

(Cross Posted at the OSU Philosophy Department's Ideas Matter 2009 Blog)

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dolores Huerta Becomes a Cultural Icon (Finally!)

Glamour magazine recently did a photo layout of young actresses and singers portraying "women in history" (even though some of the women depicted are cultural icons or fictional characters and not actual persons).

But among them was America Ferrera (of Ugly Betty fame) as Dolores Huerta, co founder (with Cesar Chavez) of the United Farm Workers union.

Its about time this woman got the icon status she deserves.

I recently was excited to get a copy of the A Dolores Huerta Reader by Mario Garcia. Hopefully, this work can start to attract scholarly attention to Huerta's role as a nonviolent activist in U.S. history.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Are Romantic Comedies Dangerous to Our Emotional Life?

According to a new study, this woman might be one of the most dangerous people in the world:

Researchers have found that people who are fans of romantic-comedies, such as Sleepless in Seattle, tend to hold attitudes about relationships that likely to lead to disfunctionality because they are so unrealistic. For instance, "rom-com" fans are more likely to believe that 'sex should always be perfect', and that people should hold out for 'soul mates' who will understand their needs without ever having to ask or be told about them.

This genre of films is also commonly referred to as "chick-flicks", suggesting that they appeal to young women in particular. There is a quite a bit of feminist research on how certain kinds of media, such as Disney films, present damaging ideals of femininity to young girls. Are romantic comedies similarly damaging by perpetuating warped notions of relationship and emotional expression?

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