Jailing Girls For Men’s Crimes

Is an underage girl arrested for selling sex a criminal—or a victim of trafficking? Outraged activists want to send such girls to safe harbors, not jail. BY CARRIE BAKER B.W. was 13 years old when she was offered to perform oral sex for $20 on an undercover officer in Texas. The officer arrested her and booked her […]

Women Must Speak Out NOW About Sexual Harassment

Right on the heels of Ginni Thomas’ appalling request of Anita Hill to apologize, Clarence Thomas’ former girlfriend, Lillian McEwen “breaks her 19-year silence” to say that, yes, Clarence Thomas was obsessed with pornography and, yes, Thomas sexually pursued his female subordinates at the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. She also describes his binge drinking and […]

And the Most Sexist Halloween Costume Award Goes to….

It’s almost that time of year again—Halloween!–when corporate America encourages girls and women to celebrate our inner sluts. I took my 11-year-old son to a newly opened “Halloween City” in the small southern town where I live. After wading through all the wonderfully gory zombies, steam- spewing skeletons and catapulting ghouls, we came to the […]

Craiglist Decision Is Good News for Trafficked Girls

Last weekend Craigslist removed its “adult services” category on its U.S. website, sparking a range of reactions from feminists, including anti-trafficking activists, anti-prostitution activists and sex worker rights activists. I’m sympathetic to the concerns being expressed, particularly skepticism about whether this change will really make much of a difference. But in terms of one basic […]

Sex-Trafficked Girls: What’s the Story in N.Y., Mich. and Minn.?

My article “Jailing Girls for Men’s Crimes” in the summer issue of Ms. cited a study revealing that hundreds of girls aged 17 and younger are sold for sex each month in Georgia. Well, the numbers are just in from a study of three other states: New York, Michigan and Minnesota. Sponsored by the Women’s Funding […]

50-feet Tall on the I-75: Talking Back to Billboards

I am a feminist living in the buckle of the Bible Belt (in Georgia) and one of the things that drives me crazy about this place is the billboards. Yesterday I was driving downtown and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the latest billboard: a great big red sign (presumably red for blood) […]

Let’s Not Forget Lower-Court Judicial Nominations

We’ve given considerable attention to the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, as we should. But we should also pay attention to conservative foot-dragging and downright obstructionism on President Obama’s nominations to the lower federal courts. While it’s crucial to have good Supreme Court justices, it’s also essential to have good judges on the […]

What Should We Call Men Who Buy Young Girls for Sex?

An important part of social change is the articulation of grievances, especially the naming of injustices. Feminists have developed many new terms that reflect women’s experience of inequality and abuse. For example, when women started organizing around sexual coercion in the workplace, one of the first things they did was gather in a room and […]

Femicide May Be Grounds for Asylum

Do you remember the core principle that emerged from the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women? Women’s rights are human rights. Hillary Clinton gave her famous speech, we saw it on banners and we heard these words chanted in many languages. On July 12, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco put this […]

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