September 22, 2004

Half The Population, A Quarter The Respect

Advertisers have a wake-up call:

..."Women are simply not buying the message we have to sell," said Linda Wolf, the chief executive officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide, the Publicis Groupe (PUB: down $0.96 to $27.99, Research, Estimates) unit that conducted the survey.

In a sharp critique of her industry, Wolf said that the very ads that are aimed at women too often leave them feeling objectified, debased or demoralized -- "the beer-babe-and-bimbo, male-targeted ads that offend women from around the world."

Wolf said the perception seems pervasive. She cited other published data showing that 65 percent of women between the ages of 35 and 40 found advertising aimed at women to be patronizing. Fifty-percent of them found these ads to be "old-fashioned."

Of more than 400 award-winning ads produced since 1990 that were analyzed by Leo Burnett, less than 10 were clearly directed at female consumers. ...

And they say only the government wastes money on studies whose answers are so obvious it hurts. Apparently not.

Ampersand talks about alienating women from politics, and has a good roundup of other posts talking about the issue. The highlight is a post from TAPped that indicates negative advertising is a GOP strategy to drive single women, who strongly dislike it, away from politics and voting.

Feministing notes the alarming increase in sexual violence as a weapon of war. One of the funniest things about human society is our tendency to think that we in our modern era have outgrown all the foibles of our predecessors, and are making Great Progress. But no, not much more advanced than in the days when hordes were fashionable.

But some progress does come in fits and starts. In Iran, a woman whose husband beat her every day petitioned in court to be beaten only once a week. The court demanded that the man stop beating her altogether. Ideally, he'd be in jail, but it isn't all that long since it was legal to beat up your spouse here in the U.S. Nonetheless, Iran's new hardline parliament (thank you, Bush administration, for undercutting Khatami) is working to push back women's rights reforms made under the Reformist parliament.

Algeria will be going ahead on women's rights reform. The hotly contested change in the law would prevent men from divorcing their wives for no reason, institute alimony, curtail polygamy, and allow women to marry without the permission of a male relative.

Human rights groups say that women in Afghanistan aren't much better off than they were 3 years ago. The article says that increased incidence of sexual assault and a poor security situation has made school or work difficult for women. Next time someone suggests that a woman was 'asking' to be assaulted because of how she was dressed, remember that it happens to women wearing burqas.

And finally, if you should happen to be reading a blog and its male author wonders where all the female bloggers are, point them to What She Said. Morgaine has an impressive list, and is posting an ongoing series of interviews with female bloggers.

Update: A wag in the comments has stated that it's never been legal to beat your wife in the U.S. A person might be forgiven for confusing what was previously a complete lack of prosecution for being legal. However, I present this Yale Law Journal article, which I think entitles me to not have to ask anyone's forgiveness. From the introduction:

Reva B. Siegel, "'The Rule of Love': Wife Beating as Prerogative and Privacy," Yale Law Journal, 106 (June 1996), pp. 2117-2207.

The Anglo-American common law originally provided that a husband, as master of his household, could subject his wife to corporal punishment or "chastisement" so long as he did not inflict permanent injury upon her.[1] During the nineteenth century, an era of feminist agitation for reform of marriage law, authorities in England and the United States declared that a husband no longer had the right to chastise his wife.[2] Yet, for a century after courts repudiated the right of chastisement, the American legal system continued to treat wife beating differently from other cases of assault and battery. While authorities denied that a husband had the right to beat his wife, they intervened only intermittently in cases of marital violence: Men who assaulted their wives were often granted formal and informal immunities from prosecution, in order to protect the privacy of the family and to promote "domestic harmony."[3] In the late 1970s, the feminist movement began to challenge the concept of family privacy that shielded wife abuse, and since then, it has secured many reforms designed to protect women from marital violence.[4] Yet violence in the household persists. The U.S. Surgeon General recently found that "battering of women by husbands, ex-husbands or lovers "[is] the single largest cause of injury to women in the United States.'"[5] "Thirty-one percent of all women murdered in America are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands, or lovers."[6]

...Parts I-III of this Article illustrate that as the nineteenth-century feminist movement protested a husband's marital prerogatives, the movement helped bring about the repudiation of chastisement doctrine; but, in so doing, the movement also precipitated changes in the regulation of marital violence that "modernized" this body of status law. A survey of criminal and tort law regulating marital violence during the Reconstruction Era reveals that the American legal system did not simply internalize norms of sex equality espoused by feminist critics of the chastisement prerogative; instead, during the Reconstruction Era, chastisement law was supplanted by a new body of marital violence policies that were premised on a variety of gender-, race-, and class-based assumptions. This new body of common law differed from chastisement doctrine, both in rule structure and rhetoric. Judges no longer insisted that a husband had the legal prerogative to beat his wife; instead, they often asserted that the legal system should not interfere in cases of wife beating, in order to protect the privacy of the marriage relationship and to promote domestic harmony. Judges most often invoked considerations of marital privacy when contemplating the prosecution of middle- and upper-class men for wife beating. Thus, as I show, the body of formal and informal immunity rules that sprang up in criminal and tort law during the Reconstruction Era was both gender- and class-salient: It functioned to preserve authority relations between husband and wife, and among men of different social classes as well.[8] ...

You've got to love the phrase "formal and informal immunities from prosecution." You've also got to love trolls silly enough to come up with a claim that I was able to repudiate with a find on a single Google search, and within the first page of results, too. Or maybe, considering the subject matter, you don't have to love them at all, at all.

And while we're still on the subject of people who don't mean well by women in general, the Pinko Feminist Hellcat talks about the results of medical conscience clauses in reproductive healthcare:

...And if that isn't enough, the conscience clause is harming and traumatizing women who miscarry. Thanks to their oh-so-righteous indignation on behalf of fetuses, or their fear of getting shot, or the lack of training (pick one or more), fewer and fewer doctors know how to do a dilation and evacuation (D&E), the procedure used after a miscarriage or after a fetus dies in the womb between 13 and 19 weeks of gestation. Well, it used to be a common procedure--it was safe. D & E's cut down on the chance of the woman developing infections that required an IV of antibiotics, sustaining organ injuries requiring surgery, or cervical laceration requiring surgery and hospital readmission.

It's safer than the alternative which is to induce birth to get the dead fetus out--which can take several days. Oh, that sounds healthy. And I'm sure that someone who was looking forward to having a baby would just love to go through labor to birth a dead fetus. I'm sure she'd really appreciate the potential organ damage and cervical lacerations. I'm sure the possibility of going septic after a miscarriage is no big deal to her. ...

If this is all the thanks women get for risking their lives in pregnancy, no wonder birth rates go down when we get better footing in society.

Posted by natasha at September 22, 2004 03:40 PM | Community | Technorati links |

It's never been legal to beat your wife in the US Natasha. Quit making stuff up. Quit this whiney-assed feminist lying.

Talk about patronising women. Ha.

Posted by: Good Grief at September 22, 2004 09:57 PM