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Showing posts from October, 2017

No Fine Line: How #MeToo Can Open the Way for True Sexual Harassment Reform

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In the wake of revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s pervasive and unrepentant sexual harassment, aggression, and assaults over more than two decades, online social networks started seeing the hashtag #MeToo. Overwhelming numbers of women (and some men) started posting #MeToo, sometimes alone and sometimes with descriptions of some events from their lives. The accounts were all too common to most women. I certainly was not surprised by most narratives because those narratives are entirely consistent with the world I have lived in and experience since at least 11 years of age. #MeToo was used over $1.5 million times. Which begs the question: What do we do with this information?
Well, for starters, we can begin to talk about how common sexual harassment it is, which is an important counterpoint to the other “story” which is that sexual harassment is “women being too sensitive” and that efforts to curtail sexual harassment are nothing more than efforts in “political correctness.” Sexual haras…

The Problem With Ms. Swift : Thank You, and Also, Wait a Minute….

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The Taylor Swift verdict against former radio DJ, David Mueller, for groping her generated significant praise for Ms. Swift. Ms. Swift deserves praise for standing up for herself and demanding justice for being assaulted. She also did so with no financial motive but as a matter of principle. I laud her actions and hope it will encourage other women to come forward too. However, while we can all appreciate Ms. Swift’s actions and the deserved justice she obtained, we must also reflect on the fact that Ms. Swift has been a part of, advanced, and reflected a culture of female subservience which legitimizes victimization of women. Let me unpack this. In my mind, Ms. Swift’s musical work has always been problematic because it was drenched in slut-shaming and romanticized female subservience to men.
Let’s take her song “Love Story” which portrays her as a Juliet and her love interest as a Romeo. In the song, her father tries to keep the lovers apart. Finally, she meets up her “Romeo” on the …

Gender Bias and Productivity: What Female Lawyers Need to Know

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Reprinted with permission from Rocket Matter's "Legal Productivity." Productivity generally means generating something of value. However, in a professional setting, productivity has to generate something of value to you. This should come in the form of accolades, recognition, or higher compensation. Performing tasks that benefit the office but don’t translate to professional advancement for you are, very simply, not productive. Unfortunately, such nonproductive activities are very often delegated to women in law firms as a result of deep-seated biases regarding gender roles. The key is to identify when such biases are at play and avoid them. Here’s how: Don’t Do Secretarial and Paralegal Tasks.
As female attorneys, we are often asked to perform secretarial and paralegal tasks. For instance, recently a partner came into my office and asked me to make his handwritten edits to a brief. He has a computer and, presumably, knows how to use it. He also has a secretary. So while I d…

From Kaepernick to Puerto Rico to Las Vegas, White Privilege Is Alive and Well.

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In a month rocked by NFL protests, a US island ravaged by a natural disaster, deprivation of birth control coverage for millions of women, and the horrifying shooting of over 600 people, the one thing that stood undamaged was white privilege. At every turn, every person was reminded that white male privilege is the only thing doing “just fine” in this country. Further, all of us were reminded that white privilege responds to challenges with three steps: deny, downplay, disparage. Deny there is anything wrong, downplay the extent of the wrong alleged, disparage the accuser.
When Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, he was making a very simple statement: something has to be done about black unarmed men killed by police officers, with no repercussions to the officers. Fact: he is right, something needs to be done. His gesture had nothing to do with the troops, patriotism, or the anthem (really). It was about black America. And that message got hijacked. When NFL playe…