Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Private health insurers receiving gov't subsidies under ObamaCare • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 22 Nov 2014 12:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTime to Rein in Waste & Fraud: New calls to reform welfare programs • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 22 Nov 2014 12:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow Obsessing About Bad Men Reinforces Their Behavior<p> My second-grade daughter&rsquo;s class recently wrote and read aloud their &ldquo;autobiographies.&rdquo; It was an opportunity for them not only to capture some of the highlights from their young lives, but also to forecast their plans for the future. Unsurprising was the number of girls who wanted to be fashion designers and of boys who wanted to be soccer stars. More striking was that almost every<em>&nbsp;boy</em>&nbsp;in the class described how he would eventually get married and have a family.</p> <p> What prompted so many boys to mention this? It perhaps seems surprising that having a weekly &ldquo;Friday night movie night&rdquo; would be as important a goal as winning the Stanley Cup, as one boy announced he wants. But for this group, that was no surprise at all. All of these children come from homes where marriage&mdash;and siblings&mdash;is seen as a good thing, even as a foundation for a happy life. The room was packed with caring and attentive parents. A family that makes them feel &ldquo;loved and safe,&rdquo; as one little boy put it, is (thankfully) the&nbsp;<em>norm&nbsp;</em>for this group of students.</p> <p> In recent months, there has been a crescendo of anti-male rhetoric that is deeply worrisome. From the hysteria over a &ldquo;rape culture&rdquo; on college campuses, to the #YesAllWomen social media campaign that took off after the horrific Elliott Rodgers shooting spree, to the more recent uproar over &ldquo;street harassment,&rdquo; the narrative is that men are perpetual abusers of women. They badger, sexually assault, and sometimes even kill.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Expectations Become the Norm</strong></span></p> <p> Looking at my three-year old son, I wonder what will happen if he hears this narrative enough. Will he and his peers expect misogyny and violence against women to, in fact,&nbsp;<em>be&nbsp;</em>the norm for boys and men? If people expect boys and men not to be fathers and providers, but instead predators and abusers, will that soon actually become the norm?</p> <p> Political psychologists are particularly interested in the question of&nbsp;<em>normative social behavior&mdash;</em>or behaving in the &ldquo;right&rdquo; way, especially in terms of how it influences voting. In an off-year election, for instance, a campaign doesn&rsquo;t tell a voter they&rsquo;re expecting &ldquo;low voter turnout&rdquo; so it needs people to turn out and vote. If they did that, no one would show up.&nbsp;<em>If no one else is, why should I bother?&nbsp;</em>Instead they talk about how people in your neighborhood are turning out to vote. Some groups go even further, asking voters how they would feel if they publicized their voting record to neighbors. In effect, they rely on social pressure and make voting a &ldquo;normative&rdquo; social behavior to boost turnout. It has a sizeable impact on political participation.</p> <p> Similarly,&nbsp;<a href="">social psychology research</a>&nbsp;has considered how normative social behavior might influence people to be more environmentally conscious about issues like recycling. Researchers have discovered that people don&rsquo;t want to be an outcast&mdash;they want to fit in&mdash;so they &ldquo;will conform to what the others are doing&rdquo; because it&rsquo;s &ldquo;socially acceptable.&rdquo; Motivating people to follow through with recycling can be improved via billboards or flyers that read, &ldquo;Your neighbors are already recycling. Are you?&rdquo; Simply seeing neighbors bring their blue bins to the curb each week creates the impression that this is the social norm, and in time&nbsp;<em>does</em>&nbsp;become customary behavior.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Men Live Up to Others&rsquo; Expectations</strong></span></p> <p> But when it comes to our attitudes toward boys and men in America, this normative social behavior is just the problem. If boys regularly hear about how college men are predators, or that men walking on the street harass women, there is real reason to believe they will begin to think this is the way they&rsquo;re&nbsp;<em>supposed</em>&nbsp;to behave. Videos intended to draw our attention to street harassment or violence against women are less likely to make men reconsider how they treat women and strive to be more respectful; instead, they are more likely to reinforce the idea that misogyny is just the way it is.</p> <p> Certainly there are men who prey on vulnerable women. But at a time when gender roles have evolved, women are equal under the law, and crime rates are way down, abuse of women is usually the exception, not the rule. If we want to create a stronger society. one in which men and women have healthier and happier relationships, perhaps we should start by stopping the anti-men rhetoric.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s time to change the perception of normal social behavior by recognizing all the good men out there: fathers who work hard to provide for their families and help with housework, young men who call a girl up for a date, men who don&rsquo;t pressure a girl to have sex, boys who behave well and don&rsquo;t disrupt class.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s spend&nbsp;<em>less&nbsp;</em>time making everyone aware of how bad some men are, and a lot&nbsp;<em>more</em>&nbsp;time talking about how good a lot of men are. If we create expectations about the positive impact men can (and do) have on society, we might just see more men fulfilling those roles.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is the executive director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum.</em></p> SchaefferMon, 17 Nov 2014 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGovernment Power Grab: White House pushes FCC to regulate the internet • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 15 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBacklash grows in wake of ObamaCare architect admitting American deceit • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 15 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPrivacy Lost? Gov't using towers to gather data from cell phone users • Cavuto SchaefferFri, 14 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBroken Promises: If ObamaCare doesn't help the uninsured, what's the point? • Cavuto SchaefferFri, 14 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe White House playing down Gruber's role in developing healthcare law • Your World SchaefferThu, 13 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Good Wife is All Bad When it Comes to Sexual Assault on College Campuses<p> If you like legal dramas that portray all the glam and fortune of practicing at an elite law firm &ndash; and almost none of the long hours and tedious research &ndash; then you&rsquo;re probably a fan of <em>The Good Wife</em>. I know I am. Or was. Until last night.</p> <p> This week&rsquo;s episode of <em>The Good Wife </em>delves into the politically-charged issue of sexual assault on college campuses. And it did a true disservice not only to the serious issue of rape, but also to women.</p> <p> It goes without saying &ndash; but I&rsquo;ll put it up top lest there is any room for confusion &ndash;rape is a heinous crime, and it&rsquo;s critical that when it occurs perpetrators are brought to justice.&nbsp; But what should also go without saying &ndash; although I fear I need to emphasize this, as well &ndash; is that we want to make sure accused boys and men are given due process.</p> <p> The story begins when Alicia Florrick, the lead character in <em>The Good Wife</em>, is asked to help a young female freshman, who claims a male student raped her, by acting as a silent advocate when she goes before an academic judiciary committee to request expulsion for the accused student.</p> <p> Within minutes Alicia inserts herself into the case, which is a standard &ldquo;he said, she said&rdquo; situation with no physical evidence and a security guard as a witness, who makes it clear the events of the evening were a little unclear. The young woman &ndash; who refused a rape kit or an official police investigation &ndash; certainly has some holes in her story. And the male student &ndash; while he tries to interject throughout the &ldquo;hearing&rdquo; &ndash; never gets to give his side of the story.</p> <p> Viewers quickly learn that this male student was acting within a larger &ldquo;culture&rdquo; of rape on campus, made evident not only by the official &ldquo;red zone&rdquo; &ndash; a time in the first few months of school when young girls are considered particularly vulnerable &ndash; as well as a &ldquo;rape wall,&rdquo; where young women write the names of their attackers. &nbsp;Yet the conservative school that doesn&rsquo;t want to create concerns among new applicants concludes there isn&rsquo;t enough evidence to support an expulsion of the accused student. And Alicia then determines that the college &ndash; not even the accused young man &ndash; has been negligent in allowing this assault to have taken place and takes the college to court.</p> <p> At the heart of it, the episode reveals just how insidious the effort by the White House and their feminist allies has been in suggesting that one-in-five women on college campuses have been sexually assaulted. As I&rsquo;ve <a href="'t">written before</a>, there are many reasons to question this number, not the least being that we could expect to see female students running for the exit doors if there was truly a crime wave of that proportion.</p> <p> The more likely story is that some women &ndash; like some men &ndash; make decisions that they regret.&nbsp; They drink too much and they act too quickly, and in the morning they regret their actions. That&rsquo;s not to say that there aren&rsquo;t some real perpetrators on college campuses who seek out vulnerable women; but it&rsquo;s good to keep the problem in perspective. Exaggerating the statistics and suggesting that colleges have become a haven for sexual assault doesn&rsquo;t actually help women. In fact, it does just the opposite, by reinforcing the idea that women are always a victim with no agency or control and men always a perpetrator.</p> <p> At an event hosted by the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum on this issue last spring, <a href="">Christina Hoff Sommers emphasized that</a>, &ldquo;Inflated statistics lead to ineffective policies. Worse than that, they can breed panic and overreaction. And that is exactly what we have now. . .Like other panics, it&rsquo;s doing little to address a real problem and it&rsquo;s turning ugly.&rdquo;</p> <p> Ugly indeed. As <em>The Good Wife</em> revealed, these college &ldquo;hearings&rdquo; are turning into &ldquo;kangaroo courts,&rdquo; where a young man&rsquo;s life literally rested on some college administrators trying to sort out what may or may not have happened.</p> <p> And how absurd that a university should be in the business of making these judgments, anyway. Again, Sommers drew the analogy, &ldquo;If a woman accused a man of raping her while on a cruise ship, would we suddenly gather all the staff on the ship and try to figure out the crime?&rdquo; Of course not.</p> <p> None of this is an attack on women who have been assaulted or harmed. Like the writers on the show, I too agree that sex must be consensual and that men should never assume anything &ndash; whether she was drinking beer, tequila, or nothing at all. But if we actually want to improve the social scene on college campuses and make life better for women and men, then we should have an honest conversation about what&rsquo;s actually happening. We all want to make sure the problem of sexual violence is defined correctly; but exaggerating statistics and suggesting colleges are turning a blind eye to truly violent behavior simply drives alarmism and does little to help women.</p> <p> What <em>The Good Wife</em> tragically misses is that we all want to encourage a culture of responsibility among both men and women so that we can have a healthier and safer society with happier, more stable relationships for everyone. We want our daughters to make smart choices; and we want our sons to learn good behavior.</p> <p> Too bad the show simply bought into the political playbook.&nbsp;</p> SchaefferWed, 12 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWomen & Midterm Elections; Maternity Leave; Melanne Verveer • To The Contrary SchaefferSat, 8 Nov 2014 17:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew calls to rein in EPA's costly regulations against coal • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 8 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDump the IRS? IRS says half of all taxpayer calls will go unanswered • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 8 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum Voters rejected the vacuous "'War on Women" rhetoric and the progressive, big-government agenda • KLPW Diane Jones Morning Show<p> The audio should play within your browser below. Or you can <a href="">download the file here</a>.</p> <audio controls=""> <source src="" type="audio/mpeg"> Your browser does not support the audio element. </source></audio> SchaefferFri, 7 Nov 2014 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumApple under attack / JCPenny retail backlash / Olive Garden eating spree • Cavuto SchaefferThu, 6 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJack Welch wants Ted Cruz. Does Wall Street want him too? • Cavuto SchaefferThu, 6 Nov 2014 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum