How Russian Trolls Helped Keep the Women’s March Out of Lock Step – The New York Times

“Linda Sarsour awoke on Jan. 23, 2017, logged onto the internet, and felt sick.

The weekend before, she had stood in Washington at the head of the Women’s March, a mobilization against President Donald J. Trump that surpassed all expectations. Crowds had begun forming before dawn, and by the time she climbed up onto the stage, they extended farther than the eye could see.

More than four million people around the United States had taken part, experts later estimated, placing it among the largest single-day protests in the nation’s history.

But then something shifted, seemingly overnight. What she saw on Twitter that Monday was a torrent of focused grievance that targeted her. In 15 years as an activist, largely advocating for the rights of Muslims, she had faced pushback, but this was of a different magnitude. A question began to form in her mind: Do they really hate me that much?

That morning, there were things going on that Ms. Sarsour could not imagine.

More than 4,000 miles away, organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March. At desks in bland offices in St. Petersburg, using models derived from advertising and public relations, copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans.

They posted as Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners. But one message performed better with audiences than any other.

It singled out an element of the Women’s March that might, at first, have seemed like a detail: Among its four co-chairs was Ms. Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist whose hijab marked her as an observant Muslim.”

After Roe’s End, Women Surged in Signing Up to Vote in Some States – The New York Times

“In the week after the court’s decision, more than 70 percent of newly registered voters in Kansas were women, according to an analysis of the state’s registered voter list. An unusually high level of new female registrants persisted all the way until the Kansas primary this month, when a strong Democratic turnout helped defeat a referendum that would have effectively ended abortion rights in the state.

The Kansas figures are the most pronounced example of a broader increase in registration among women since the Dobbs decision, according to an Upshot analysis of 10 states with available voter registration data. On average in the month after Dobbs, 55 percent of newly registered voters in those states were women, according to the analysis, up from just under 50 percent before the decision was leaked in early May.

The increase varied greatly across the 10 states — Kansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, Alabama, New Mexico and Maine — with some states showing a pronounced surge in the share of new registrants who were women and others showing little change at all.

The total number of women registering to vote in those states rose by about 35 percent after the decision, compared with the month before the leak. Men had an uptick of 9 percent.”

Maia Szalavitz | The War on Drugs Has a Warning for Post-Roe Ameriarca – The New w

Ms. Szalavitz is a contributing Opinion writer. She covers addiction and public policy.

“With the fall of Roe v. Wade, physicians across the country are struggling to balance the conflicting imperatives of their calling to care with their institutional duty to avoid legal liability, all to the detriment of their patients.

Medicine is hard to govern with the blunt instrument of criminal law. Human biological processes, including pregnancy, are enormously variable. In many cases, determining the precise moment when someone’s life or health is so threatened that abortion would be legal under a particular law is not an ethically answerable scientific question. And so doctors turn to lawyers, often with no medical experience, to protect themselves from prison.

Under Roe, most obstetricians and gynecologists didn’t face this level of legal peril. But this isn’t the first time America has criminalized aspects of medicine. Physicians who prescribe controlled substances like opioids carry a similar burden. They can face decades in prison if prosecutors target them for overprescribing. Although there are cases of bad actors who prescribed opioids for profit, even legitimate physicians may fear being targeted by law enforcement, and research shows that the threat of legal action has a broad chilling effect on the way doctors provide care. The war on drugs shows that when medicine is criminalized and politicized, harm to patients and doctors increases, while the activities that the laws are intended to curb continue or even increase.”

Molly Worthen | 400 Years Ago, They Would Be Witches. Today, They Can Be Your Coach. – The New York Times

Dr. Worthen is a historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who writes frequently about America’s religious culture.

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“Erica Carrico suspects that if she’d lived 400 years ago, she would have been accused of witchcraft. “Women who were healers, who were connected to the moon cycle and nature, they were considered witches,” she told me. “I love following the moon. I feel divinely guided by my intuition. I’ve done the new moon and the full moon ceremony. I’ve practiced with crystals quite a bit and sage, sweat lodges. I’ve done so many things, just trying to find my way, what feels right.”

Ms. Carrico is “all about the woo,” as her website puts it, but she also trains women to be hard-driving entrepreneurs. She is a spiritual coach, a relatively new occupation that is dominated by women and appears to be growing, although hard numbers are elusive (to further confuse things, some practitioners refer to themselves as business coaches, albeit ones with a generous helping of New Age ritual on the side). At a time when more and more Americans call themselves spiritual but not religious, these coaches give us a glimpse of the allure and the hazards of 21st-century D.I.Y. religion.

Spiritual coaches are a new chapter in the long history of female religious entrepreneurship in America — a tradition that runs from Boston in the 1630s, when Anne Hutchinson’s packed religious meetings outraged Puritan ministers, to today’s evangelical conference circuit, dominated by demure yet forceful female evangelists who are not ordained but whose books and podcasts constitute major media empires. By blending eclectic religious practices with the gospel of entrepreneurship, spiritual coaches pitch their clients (who, like the coaches, are mostly women) the things that religion has always promised. They offer a path to meaning in the midst of suffering and tools to recover a sense of agency in a world that flings us around by our heels.

If we are tempted to dismiss their taste for crystals and energy healing as New Age flimflam, it’s partly because they face up to something that many modern Westerners struggle to admit: Neither total submission to a traditional religious institution nor atheistic materialism feels right. We kind of do want the universe to hold our hand — without bossing us around too much.”

Erika Lust’s Alternative Porn Vision – The New York Times

“BARCELONA, Spain — When Billie Eilish called pornography “a disgrace” in a recent radio interview, the quote made headlines. The Grammy-winning musician said she had started watching at around age 11, to learn how to have sex, and that she was now angry about the way she felt porn misrepresented women.

When people talk about pornography, they’re often referring, like Eilish, to its commercial, heterosexual variety, which is what most of the free porn online tends to be. On those sites, you’d be forgiven for thinking it all looks the same. But depending on the sexual politics and vision of its creator, porn can look wildly different.

Take, for example, the work of the Swedish filmmaker Erika Lust. She has built her production company, Erika Lust Films, into an art-house pornography behemoth by offering something outside the porn mainstream. Most viewers watch Lust’s stylish, highly produced films by subscribing to her websites, where she also distributes videos by other like-minded directors. But her own films have also been screened in regular movie theaters in Berlin, London, Paris, Los Angeles and New York.”

Opinion | Where the Pro-Choice Movement Went Wrong – The New York Times

” . . .  Chief among those mistakes was the relative neglect of grass-roots groups in states where the battle over abortion access has been quietly waged for half a century. A key turning point came in 1992, when the Supreme Court overhauled Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, allowing states to restrict abortion before viability as long as they didn’t impose an “undue burden” on those seeking such care. This opened the door to states chipping away at abortion access through incremental restrictions — a trend that accelerated after the 2010 midterm elections, when a Tea Party-backed wave swept state legislatures.

The Casey decision “could have been, and probably should have been, a moment where abortion-rights organizations funneled attention and resources toward local and state-level organizations,” said Meaghan Winter, author of “All Politics Is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States.” National groups, Ms. Winter said, should have been thinking “in terms of both changing the culture, and building clinics, doing whatever it took on a logistical level to provide access, and thinking about creative ways to build electoral power.”

That didn’t happen — at least not to the extent that it should have.

Instead, Ms. Winter writes, national abortion-rights groups and the progressive movement at large have tended to focus on federal policy and elections and on defending access through federal courts, while neglecting many fights at the state level. While big-name organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have long maintained a presence in states including Texas, those state groups operate independently and must raise much of their own money.

That often puts groups in conservative states at a disadvantage. For example, the Texas A.C.L.U. — which has the job of opposing attacks on the rights of transgender students and immigrants as well as efforts to roll back abortion access and voting rights — had a budget of about $5 million in 2018, similar to that of its counterpart in the much smaller state of Massachusetts.

Investing in states matters because states are often laboratories for a movement’s boldest ideas — like S.B. 8, with its unusual enforcement mechanism that’s made it extremely difficult for abortion providers to fight it in court.”

Intersectionality, explained: meet Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term – Vox

“There may not be a word in American conservatism more hated right now than “intersectionality.” On the right, intersectionality is seen as “the new caste system” placing nonwhite, non-heterosexual people on top.

To many conservatives, intersectionality means “because you’re a minority, you get special standards, special treatment in the eyes of some.” It “promotes solipsism at the personal level and division at the social level.” It represents a form of feminism that “puts a label on you. It tells you how oppressed you are. It tells you what you’re allowed to say, what you’re allowed to think.” Intersectionality is thus “really dangerous” or a “conspiracy theory of victimization.”

This is a highly unusual level of disdain for a word that until several years ago was a legal term in relative obscurity outside academic circles. It was coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap. “Intersectionality” has, in a sense, gone viral over the past half-decade, resulting in a backlash from the right.”

Source: Intersectionality, explained: meet Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term – Vox

Josephine Bennett: Hartford’s City Mother | Connecticut History | a CTHumanities Project

By Steve Thornton

“The history of the early Connecticut women’s movement is not complete without the story of militant suffragist, feminist, anti-imperialist, and labor pioneer Josephine Day Bennett (1880-1961). Bennett played a leading role in the federal passage of the 19th Amendment which guaranteed voting rights for women. As an organizer, speaker, and prison inmate (five days in a Washington, D.C. jail), Bennett shed her family’s class privilege and became a model of tireless advocacy.

Working for Women’s Suffrage

Bennett’s suffragist activity centered on transitioning Connecticut’s women’s movement “from philosophical to political work.” She placed special emphasis on recruiting working women and African Americans, as well as forging links with other social movements. Her first public speaking engagement was at the State Capitol on April 5, 1911, where she shared the stage with Dr. Anna Shaw, president of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA).”

Source: Josephine Bennett: Hartford’s City Mother | Connecticut History | a CTHumanities Project

Gail Collins | What Makes Cuomo So Grabby? – The New York Times

” . . . He’s buried under these sexual harassment charges and nobody is defending him. Well, virtually nobody. Rudy Giuliani says driving Cuomo out of office would be “unjust, dangerous and entirely un-American.” People, do you think this is because:

A) Giuliani just wants to see Cuomo suffer through a long, painful impeachment.

B) Giuliani made the remark at a party after several tumblers of scotch.

C) Giuliani thinks it’ll help his son Andrew’s chances to be governor.

Yeah, yeah, it’s A. Well, very possibly all three. But short of Rudy, Cuomo does seem to need all the help he can get. He’s been trying to defend himself by showing pictures where he’s kissing and hugging lots of people who seem perfectly happy with the attention. Of course, some are elderly fans who were standing in line waiting for it. Others, like, say, Al Gore, seem … not transported.” . . .

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Gail Collins. My lady and I are used to your writing being magnificent and funny, and this was fun to read aloud. We especially liked, “And then there’s the non-grabby Cuomo, who looks almost as bad in the James report. Some women said his “flirtatious behavior” was problematic, but still “a better alternative to the otherwise tense, stressful and ‘toxic’ experience in the Executive Chamber.” Don’t think it’s possible to defend yourself against charges of unwanted grabbing by proving your targets were even more traumatized when you screamed at them.”

Jill Filipovic | Women Are Having Fewer Babies Because They Have More Choices – The New York Times

Ms. Filipovic is a journalist and lawyer whose work focuses on gender and politics. She is the author of “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind” and “The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.”

“American women are having fewer children and having them later than ever before — a demographic shift being met with significant consternation from the left and right alike.

For conservatives, the fact that more women are putting off parenthood or forgoing it entirely is evidence of a dangerous decline in traditional family values. In this framing, women have been manipulated into putting their educational and professional aspirations ahead of motherhood, contributing to a broader cultural breakdown.

Liberals make the (better) case that birth declines are clearly tied to policy, with potential mothers deterred by the lack of affordable child care and the absence of universal health care, adequate paid parental leave and other basic support systems. Couple that with skyrocketing housing prices, high rates of student loan debt and stagnant wages and it’s no surprise that so many women say: “Children? In this economy?” “

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

Lovely essay, but also disappointing. We now have 7,7 billion humans, up from 2 billion in 1930. We are destroying the planet with pollution and over consumption. We face climate change, and rapid species extintion, so remarkable, that the scientist say we are living through the 6th extinction. It breaks my heart to realize that most Americans are ignorant of these threats and atrocities. Some women, but not enough, are having fewer children, because they are aware of these grave and serious problems.

David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net. He is currently writing a book about his concert on climate change and the sixth extinction.