Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS It's What's for Dinner<p> The Slate blog is featuring an article from Amanda Marcotte called, &ldquo;<a href="">The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner</a>.&rdquo;&nbsp; Yes, ISIS is terrorizing the world, but all Ms. Marcotte can find to write about is how oppressive are those pork chops!&nbsp; (And Jessica Valenti wonders, &ldquo;<a href="">Why aren&rsquo;t tampons free?</a>&rdquo;)</p> <p> Come on, feminists, can&rsquo;t spare any ink for <a href="">Rotherham</a>?</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s a sampling from Amanda Marcotte on home-cooked dinners:</p> <blockquote> <span style="font-size:14px;">Beyond just the time and money constraints, women find that their very own families present a major obstacle to their desire to provide diverse, home-cooked meals. The women interviewed faced not just children but grown adults who are whiny, picky, and ungrateful for their efforts. &ldquo;We rarely observed a meal in which at least one family member didn&rsquo;t complain about the food they were served,&rdquo; the researchers write. Mothers who could afford to do so often wanted to try new recipes and diverse ingredients, but they knew that it would cause their families to reject the meals. &ldquo;Instead, they continued to make what was tried and true, even if they didn&rsquo;t like the food themselves.&rdquo; The saddest part is that picky husbands and boyfriends were just as much, if not more, of a problem than fussy children.</span></blockquote> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Usually I don&rsquo;t respond when I think American feminists have gone too far. I agree with Napoleon that you should never interrupt your enemy when she&rsquo;s making a mistake. Surely rhetoric like this from Marcotte and others only serves to turn many mainstream American women off from the modern-day feminist movement. Plus, often I can just enjoy a response from someone wonderful like IWF&rsquo;s Charlotte Hays, IWF&rsquo;s Julie Gunlock, or the Federalist&rsquo;s Mollie Hemingway (<a href="">who did respond here</a>).</p> <p> To her credit, Marcotte pointed out some real hurdles to cooking dinner, like time and money constraints, which I&rsquo;m sure can affect some families more than others. But the thing I found particularly troubling about Marcotte&rsquo;s piece was in the final paragraph:</p> <blockquote> <span style="font-size:14px;">The researchers quote food writer Mark Bittman, who says that the goal should be &ldquo;to get people to see cooking as a joy rather than a burden.&rdquo; But while cooking &ldquo;is at times joyful,&rdquo; they argue, the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it&nbsp;is&nbsp;a burden. It&#39;s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway. If we want women&mdash;or gosh, men, too&mdash;to see cooking as fun, then these obstacles need to be fixed first. And whatever burden is left needs to be shared.</span></blockquote> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This isn&rsquo;t just about cooking anymore. This reflects an attitude too common in our culture today that, if something is a burden, run from it! Seek only your own pleasure at all costs. Never mind the consequences.</p> <p> Look, I love to watch &ldquo;Chopped,&rdquo; and yesterday I made some banging crab ragoons. Cooking (in my childless home) is more often a joy for me.&nbsp; But I understand that many people just don&rsquo;t like it. But we all make choices to do things we don&rsquo;t like doing: Cleaning my house is a burden. Paying my bills? Oh yeah, burden.&nbsp; Going to work sometimes feels like a burden too.&nbsp; Sometimes our friends and family members create all sorts of burdens for us.&nbsp; And there&rsquo;s no arguing that despite the immeasurable joy that parenthood brings, kids create a burden.&nbsp;</p> <p> But my goodness, my life is not all about me! I&rsquo;m afraid we&rsquo;ve lost sight of the fact that duties, responsibilities, burdens&hellip; all of these restrictions on our freedom and our personal pleasure&hellip; bring deep meaning and reward to our lives. &nbsp;</p> HeathThu, 4 Sep 2014 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumYes Means Yes, But...<p> The state of California is considering a &ldquo;yes means yes&rdquo; law that would require &ldquo;ongoing affirmative consent&rdquo; during sexual encounters. Otherwise, these encounters could be considered sexual assault.</p> <p> This is a misguided attempt to micromanage sex, and an insult to both men and women.&nbsp;The effort to expand the definition of sexual assault stems from the concern that there is a &ldquo;culture of rape&rdquo; on college campuses. Unfortunately, this problem needs more than a legal response. Naturally, if there is a &ldquo;rape culture,&rdquo; it needs a&nbsp;cultural&nbsp;response.</p> <p> Instances of rape are real and horrendous. If a man forces a woman to have sex with him, he is the vilest of criminals and should be sentenced to severe prison time. When a woman goes to law enforcement with an accusation of rape, this should&nbsp;alwaysbe treated with utmost sensitivity and seriousness. Our justice system should weigh the evidence, find a verdict, and follow through accordingly.</p> <p> But the activities in question in California &mdash; the ambiguous &ldquo;Was it assault?&rdquo; cases &mdash; are not so straightforward. Usually a young man and a young woman have put themselves in a compromising situation and have failed to communicate their desires, intents, and limitations to each another. Often, drugs or alcohol are involved. In such cases, a college man might find himself suspended, expelled, or otherwise punished by a college tribunal, even though his intent was never to rape or assault the woman involved.</p> <p> These circumstances suggest that the two parties may not have known each other very well when the sexual activity took place. Ideally, before people become physically involved, they should be having sober and serious conversations about what&rsquo;s okay and what&rsquo;s not okay.</p> <p> Problems, in other words, are much more likely to arise when strangers become sexual partners.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Many would prefer not to acknowledge it, but really &ldquo;rape culture&rdquo; is strongly associated with hookup culture, or a culture that devalues sexual acts. If sex is just another activity people use to get high, by means other than (or in addition to) drugs or alcohol, then they&rsquo;re missing the truly intimate nature of sex. Yes, sex can be fun and can release into our brains and bodies hormones that make us feel good physically. But sex is meant to be so much more than that.</p> <p> Sex creates and maintains a bond between two people, sometimes in a way that transcends our human understanding. Perhaps that&rsquo;s why, in nature, the act can come with serious side effects such as the&nbsp;life-creating condition of pregnancy.</p> <p> If we want young people to avoid putting themselves in situations where they feel pressured into sex, we&rsquo;ve got to change the expectation that sex is ubiquitous on campus and just another way to blow off some steam on a Friday night.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve got to make saying no an acceptable &mdash; and, yes, even&nbsp;respectable&nbsp;&mdash; position for both college women and college men to take. Especially if you are at a frat party with someone you barely know, it&rsquo;s not advisable to bare it all. This not only opens the door to miscommunication or unclear &ldquo;ongoing affirmative consent&rdquo; that might be misread in body language or nonverbal signals, but it degrades an act that&rsquo;s meant to be shared by mates whose intimacy goes far beyond the physical.</p> <p> Of course, many people do not share my view of sex.&nbsp; But we should all be able to agree that if people are adult enough to have sex, they should be adult enough to communicate without government-imposed, DMV-style rules about how one must say &ldquo;yes.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s important to teach our sons and daughters that engaging in sex means making sure &mdash; even if it&rsquo;s uncomfortable &mdash; that the other party is giving consent.&nbsp; The best way to ensure that this is a natural and comfortable conversation is to instill in the next generation a respect for the sexual act as part of a more serious relationship, not an activity to be shared between strangers.</p> <p> Yes means yes, but when it comes to casual &ldquo;hooking up,&rdquo; no is better.</p> HeathThu, 4 Sep 2014 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHacker leaks celebrity photos. Black cloud over the iCloud? • Cavuto HeathTue, 2 Sep 2014 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSeptember stock slump & another plane diverted after reclining seat argument • Cavuto HeathTue, 2 Sep 2014 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat do these Atlantic City casino closings mean for Governor Christie? • Cavuto HeathTue, 2 Sep 2014 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUnder growing threat from ISIS, what is the United States' strategy • Cavuto HeathTue, 2 Sep 2014 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDems' "War on Women" rhetoric perpetuates myth that women are a victim class • The Independents HeathFri, 29 Aug 2014 06:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCelebrating Women's Equality Day<p> In an era where each political party covets women&#39;s votes, it&#39;s hard to imagine a time when women didn&#39;t have the right to vote. Today, August 26, is Women&#39;s Equality Day. It&#39;s a day to commemorate the passage of women&#39;s suffrage.</p> <p> Although the United States ratified the 19th Amendment in 1920 (yes - fewer than 100 years ago!), individual states began allowing women to vote as early as 1869 in Wyoming and Utah.&nbsp;Today women comprise more than half of voters in the United States, and their participation at all levels of government (both as voters and public officials) has grown tremendously. &nbsp;</p> <p> Often the Left uses holidays and commemorations like today to focus on areas where women have not achieved parity with men. But the name of the day is &quot;Women&#39;s Equality Day,&quot; not &quot;Women&#39;s Parity Day.&quot; &nbsp;Today should be a celebration of how far women in America have come in achieving equal rights.</p> <p> Once, women did not have equal voting rights or property rights, and they faced major hurdles in the pursuit of an education or a profession. Today, women make up the majority of students in bachelor&#39;s, master&#39;s and Ph.D. programs. Our culture has come a long way in accepting women in the workplace, and women have reached new heights in nearly every profession or pursuit imaginable. &nbsp;In the <a href="">White House statement</a> about today&#39;s commemoration, the President recognized these important gains, but still&nbsp;<strike>pandered&nbsp;</strike>pondered on the fact that women face &quot;barriers:&quot;</p> <blockquote> <p> But despite these gains, the dreams of too many mothers and daughters continue to be deferred and denied.&nbsp; There is still more work to do and more doors of opportunity to open.&nbsp; When women receive unequal pay or are denied family leave and workplace flexibility, it makes life harder for our mothers and daughters, and it hurts the loved ones they support.&nbsp; These outdated policies and old ways of thinking deprive us of our Nation&#39;s full talents and potential.</p> </blockquote> <p> This is tricky. Of course we may all agree with the President that some women face unique challenges. In an economy that is still struggling to recover, many of the hardships women face are in finding good-paying jobs and making ends meet. These are hardships that many men face as well. And as the President mentioned, workplace flexibility is very beneficial to women.&nbsp;</p> <p> But of course the President and his political allies want to continue to propose legislation that <a href="">overregulates the workplace</a> and <a href="">creates new inflexible and expensive entitlement programs</a> in the name of protecting women. These misguided ideas would backfire on the women they are intended to help.</p> <p> Today should be a day where women of all political stripes come together to celebrate 94 years of voting rights protected by the 19th Amendment. &nbsp;We can recognize that not all women have achieved the American Dream, and that greater economic freedom and economic growth would allow them the chance to do so. But we should also recognize that America is not an inherently sexist or anti-woman culture, and that we have come a long way in achieving equal rights and opportunities for women.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathTue, 26 Aug 2014 16:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDems push anti-Keystone ad & Feds spending $1 million to monitor social media • Cavuto HeathTue, 26 Aug 2014 06:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBuffett financing deal that allows Burger King to avoid paying a lot of taxes • Cavuto HeathTue, 26 Aug 2014 06:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAn Ode to Mo'ne Davis & Questions about Title IX<p> Mo&#39;ne Davis, a 5&#39;4&quot; little league pitcher, has received a lot of attention during this year&#39;s Little League World Series. She throws fastballs in the 70-mph range, hits well and plays solid defense (sometimes at shortstop). She&#39;s also composed and humble in her media interviews. What an impressive young athlete. Her future is bright.</p> <p> When I watch Mo&#39;ne play, I can&#39;t help but think of Title IX, the statute that requires that men and women have equal educational opportunities... even in sports. While the principle behind Title IX is popular and noble, the execution has taken the wrong approach by imposing a de facto quota system on college sports.&nbsp;</p> <p> Mo&#39;ne isn&#39;t the first young woman to play little league ball. Like <a href="">Alicia Hunolt and Victoria Ruelas</a> before her, Mo&#39;ne will have to face difficult decisions as she goes to college, where there are no women&#39;s baseball teams. She could play softball at the collegiate level, or she could do as she says she wants and play college basketball.</p> <p> The data is very clear that Title IX has resulted in more women playing sports. That&#39;s not a bad thing! But the truth is that Title IX&#39;s quota system has had some unintended effects.</p> <p> First of all, quotas aren&#39;t about the spirit of Title IX -- equal opportunity. Quotas are about equal outcomes. As fascinating and talented as Mo&#39;ne is, she is a rarity. Soon she will head to high school where in 2013, only <a href="">1,259 girls played high school baseball compared with 474,791 boys nationwide</a>. &nbsp;That doesn&#39;t mean she shouldn&#39;t have the opportunity to play -- she should. But clearly boys show a greater interest in baseball than girls, and this is true for sports as a whole. And boys are about twice as likely to say that sports are a &quot;<a href="">big part of who they are</a>.&quot; So it shouldn&#39;t be problematic if more boys than girls end up participating in sports. This is largely a reflection of interests, and it isn&#39;t something we should try to &quot;fix&quot; with quotas.</p> <p> Secondly, and perhaps even more unforeseeable, has been the mass takeover of college enrollment by female majorities. Title IX&#39;s quota system requires that athletic participation rates among female and male students reflect the population of the campus as a whole. Now that women account for&nbsp;<a href="">57 percent of college students</a>, this means that colleges need to have a nearly equal percentage of their athletic teams comprised of female athletes to stay in compliance. So now colleges aren&#39;t just trying to make participation in sports 50/50 among women and men, but because there are more women in college, more athletic opportunities are available for women as well. This is unfair to male athletes, and frankly, doesn&#39;t make a lot of sense.</p> <p> The saddest part of any quota system is what is does to the truly deserving: Quotas water down standards of excellence and call into question the credentials of those who seem to benefit from affirmative action. Mo&#39;ne Davis shouldn&#39;t be a statistic. She&#39;s exceptional. She deserves credit for playing on a field full of guys. It&#39;s not a statute that got her to where she is, and it&#39;s not a statute that will be responsible for her future athletic success. It&#39;s her individual hard work and talent -- that&#39;s where the praise belongs.</p> HeathThu, 21 Aug 2014 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBusinesses on the front lines of Ferguson, MO protests • Cavuto HeathWed, 20 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHome Depot & housing market. Tech giants target kids. Atlantic City casino chaos • Cavuto HeathTue, 19 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWorth the cost? Dems push rules requiring calorie labels on vending machines • Cavuto HeathTue, 19 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIf Possible, Avoid Borrowing for College<p> This week, millions of students will return to campus for another year of college. What an exciting (and expensive!) time in life. The average 2014 graduate who took out loans <a href="">owes $33,000</a>; all together debtors nationwide owe <a href="">more than $1 trillion</a>. Recent reports have shown that graduates with college debt are <a href="">sicker, sadder, and face financial troubles</a> like delayed home ownership and even delayed marriage.</p> <p> Even though borrowing for the sake of college is often called &ldquo;good debt,&rdquo; because it&rsquo;s viewed as an investment in human capital, we still ought to apply one of the most fundamental financial principles to paying for college: Avoid debt if you can.</p> <p> As a qualifier, not everyone can.&nbsp; Not all educational borrowing is misguided, and certainly there are situations where students have no better option.&nbsp; But for others, there are ways avoid to taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans. Making financially responsible choices now is much easier than the road of repayment later.</p> <p> Here are some practical tips on how to minimize college borrowing:</p> <p> <strong>Choose a college based on value. </strong>The cost of a degree varies wildly from one campus to another. Some of this is a reflection of the quality of educational opportunities that are available to students, but some of the differences aren&rsquo;t a reflection of true utility (the economic concept of usefulness). &nbsp;Do a careful cost-benefit analysis of college options to get the best bang-for-your-buck.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s valid to ask questions like: What&rsquo;s the average class size? Who are the professors? What is the alumni network like? Will the prestige of this college open doors for me that other colleges couldn&rsquo;t?&nbsp; And it&rsquo;s also important for students to ask: What is all of this worth to my family and me? For some students, this means considering the lower-cost alternatives of online and/or community college courses.</p> <p> <strong>Choose a degree based on value. </strong>Perhaps even more important, students should focus on using their opportunities on campus to prepare for a successful career.</p> <p> Our generation has been spoon-fed the advice to &ldquo;follow our dreams.&rdquo; While this idealistic way of thinking is attractive and at times valuable, it&rsquo;s also important for college students to realistically evaluate where their strengths, talents, and interests intersect with a market demand. There is high market demand for nursing majors, lower market demand for philosophy majors.&nbsp; This isn&rsquo;t to crush anyone&rsquo;s dreams, but earnings and job stability do a lot to improve quality of life, and students should consider these factors in the tradeoffs that different degrees offer.</p> <p> <strong>Consider saving up for college before-the-fact. </strong>&nbsp;On average, earnings are higher for college graduates than those who have yet to enter college, which suggests that getting a degree should be students&rsquo; first priority.&nbsp; But earnings of zero &ndash; as unemployed college graduates have &ndash; are even worse than minimum wage (especially considering the student debt many of these graduates also have to shoulder). The <a href="">Economic Policy Institute reports</a> that 8.5 percent of college grads between the ages of 21 and 24 are currently jobless. High school graduates might consider living at home for an extra year or two and working in entry-level jobs to get some useful job experience and save up for college rather than taking out bigger loans.</p> <p> Heading off to college at age 18 is culturally popular.&nbsp; Also culturally popular, but not nearly as cool, is moving back in with Mom and Dad after college.&nbsp; This is something to think about for high school graduates tempted by student loans.</p> <p> <strong>Consider fast-tracking your degree. </strong>Three years of college is cheaper than four.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s not true for everyone that &ldquo;College is the best years of your life.&rdquo; In fact, if you are really there for the purpose of getting an education (rather than goofing off and having fun), it probably won&rsquo;t be the best years of your life. There&rsquo;s a lot to be said for sharing fun times with dorm mates and joining campus clubs and activities, but if you are studying on borrowed money, time is of the essence.</p> <p> Why not study harder, take on a few extra hours or summer sessions and get out to the real world a year ahead of your peers? This not only means a year of less borrowing, but an added year of earning. &nbsp;Perhaps for you (as for me), the gainful working years after college will be the best years of your life.</p> <p> <strong>Vote for lawmakers who understand and value free-market student lending</strong>. One reason we have so much college debt in the United States is that in 2010, the <a href="">federal government took over the (already flawed and subsidized) student lending industry</a> and removed much of the market forces that kept college loans a reflection of the college market. This was a huge public policy mistake.&nbsp; Students and their families should be free to borrow &ndash; or not borrow &ndash; in a private, competitive college-lending marketplace.</p> <p> Affording college is difficult for many American families. But rather than rush into an extremely costly purchase, families should treat college like any other good. Consumers should evaluate the value of different college institutions and the degrees they offer, and they&rsquo;d do well to avoid as much debt as possible. In the end, even good debt is debt, and we&rsquo;re generally better off without it. &nbsp;</p> HeathFri, 15 Aug 2014 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum