If she’s wearing a dress, how can you NOT sext the intern?

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We hardly need more examples that victim-blaming is alive and well, but the world keeps giving them to us.  After two Missouri lawmakers were forced to resign over sexual harassment allegations, some of their colleagues leapt to the eminently reasonable conclusion that none of this would have happened if those harlot interns hadn’t been dressed so provocatively:  Continue reading “If she’s wearing a dress, how can you NOT sext the intern?”

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Tell us what the rules for women are, so we can break them

It’s hard for women to do anything right if you want to measure by the constraints that society puts on our behavior.  Jay Smooth put out this great sarcastic video rant that sums this up well following the debate around the hacking of celebrities’ private photos. You should watch the whole thing, but here’s a snippet:

There’s a lot of stuff in the news about women, how women are treated, right now. And I want to contribute and be a part of the conversation, but I’m having trouble keeping track. Does anyone have a complete, up-to-date list everything women are supposed to do and not do so that they qualify for having their humanity respected? Like, ok, I know that if women want to feel safe in public, they’re supposed to “not dress a certain way” and then if they don’t dress a certain way and they still get harassed and assaulted all the time, there are other things that they’re doing or not doing to earn a right to safety, but what are those other things? I’m having trouble keeping track.

Continue reading “Tell us what the rules for women are, so we can break them”

Weekend reading

insanely sexist vintage airline ad
insanely sexist vintage airline ad via @DanielDKraus

A photo essay captures North Carolina’s Moral Mondays movement, fighting for progressive change against an aggressive right wing legislature.

As I get ready to head back to Capitol Hill this week, this explains why I’ll be seeing mostly men there until 2121.

The Central Park Five have settled their civil rights lawsuit against New York City for $40 million. You can watch a moving documentary about their horrifying ordeal here.

Advice for the media on how to cover Hillary Clinton without being sexist.

What the US men’s soccer team would look like without immigration.

Angela Davis talks to the LA Times about returning to UCLA decades after she was fired from there, prison abolition, capitalism and more.

A study shows that judges with daughters are more likely to rule in favor of women’s rights.

When an hour of wages won’t even buy you a loaf of bread

Through high school and college I waited tables at a handful of places, mostly chain restaurants in areas where there weren’t many other sit-down restaurant options. While I was lucky enough to be a student only working for spending money, that wasn’t the majority of the people I worked with. Most were women for whom waitressing was their main source of income. Or women like my mom, a single mother recently graduated after returning to college and supplementing her income to support the family, who waited tables at the same restaurant as me at the same time (yes, when you’re a teenager you find it annoying to have your mom on your case about cleaning at home and at work).

Opponents of minimum wage increases portray this underpaid workforce as plucky kids earning some pocket money and working their way up the chain. It wasn’t true when I was waiting tables, and it’s not true now. And making a living on the minimum wage is even more precarious when you work for tips. It’s mind-boggling that more than a decade after I stopped waiting tables, most servers are still making the same $2.13 per hour:

“When you earn a wage of $2 or $5, you don’t actually earn a wage at all. Your wage is so low it goes entirely to taxes and you get a pay stub that says ‘This is not a paycheck’. It says ‘$0’. And you live off of your tips,” explains Jayaraman. Restaurant workers are also required by law to claim their tips as income. The tax on their combined income – hourly wage plus tips – is considerably more than what they would pay on their hourly pay.

Relying mostly on tips for one’s income is not just an issue of income instability, but also that of job insecurity that comes with having a seasonal job. “When you live off of tips, your rent and your bills don’t go up and down, but your income does. It varies day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year,” says Jayaraman. “You don’t actually have an income. In fact, you are interviewing for your job every time a new customer sits down.”

Saru Jayaraman of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United points out that 70% of tipped workers are women, and work at place like Applebee’s, The Olive Garden and Red Lobster. I did a brief stint at an Applebee’s in college, and in addition to a stifling amount of corporate lessons and paperwork, we were given a small number of tables to tend to so their customers would get good service–but we missed out on a high enough volume to make good money. I had the luxury of leaving if it was slow or passing off a table if I wanted to leave and hang out with friends, but a lot of the people I worked with took every customer they could get to supplement the meager hourly wage.

ROC United has a petition you can sign here to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage for all workers, including tipped servers.