Revolution by Lawsuit

On this blog and in my own life, I've heard myriad stories of employer discrimination against moms, almost-moms and dads. A woman fired while she was pregnant because her employer assumed she wouldn't return from maternity leave. Another who returned to find her responsibilities drastically reduced. A senior executive transferred to a job that required extensive travel and evening entertaining -- after she had given birth to three children in three years. A man ridiculed for taking paternity leave. I have my own stories, too.

None of us filed lawsuits. We were afraid of ruining our reputations or wasting our time within a system that seemed unfair or uncaring about our determination to be good employees and good parents.

Now, one woman has convinced me we all should have been braver.

Joan Williams was the subject of last Sunday's New York Times Magazine's article Family Leave Values. Williams, a legendary figure within the world of gender discrimination, is a professor at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, a Harvard Law School graduate, and a mother. She is the founder of The Center for WorkLife Law -- a nonprofit information resource and advocacy group for employees, employers, journalists and academics that operates a hot line (800-981-9495) for employees exploring filing a discrimination claim. Williams approaches anti-discrimination lawsuits as a last resort to complete an unfinished feminist revolution.

Those of us who thought we'd been discriminated against but didn't take action were not alone, according to the article.

"Lawsuits claiming workplace discrimination because of family-care giving obligations were rare -- in part because...employers could often get away with it. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees workers some unpaid time off in the event of a serious health problem, after the birth of a child or to care for a sick family member, but the law's scope is limited...And no federal antidiscrimination statute exists that explicitly protects family caregivers in the workplace."

But listen to what has changed, in part because of Joan Williams as well as other women (and a few men) who protested.

Since the mid-1990s, more than 1,150 state and federal discrimination lawsuits have been filed -- a 300 percent increase. Some have invoked the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, others Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Plaintiffs have ranged from elite professionals to store clerks to at least one state trooper, a Maryland man who became the first person to win a sex-discrimination suit filed under FMLA when he was denied paternity leave.

In Joan Williams' book Unbending Gender, she argued that "suing your employer is not the ideal mechanism of social change." But she amended that sentiment in the Times article. "[Lawsuits] are the worst possible vehicle for social change," she said. "except for nothing, and that's where we are right now."

Looking back, I understand my -- and other women's -- fears. I wish I had been gutsier. All of us who can protest should -- in whatever way we can -- when we see discrimination. So bravo to those of you who have filed discrimination lawsuits. And to those of you wondering whether you should -- give Joan Williams a call.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 1, 2007; 7:15 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
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My understanding is that FLMA only requires larger employers (50+ employees) to hold a job at the same salary level, not the same job. Still trying to find the citation, but my impression is that most Americans (around 85%) work for a company with 15 or fewer employees, and are not covered by FLMA.

Also, the cost of starting a lawsuit are daunting. If you can find a contingency lawyer, the corporation still has deeper pockets to provide for its defense.

Plus, there is the stigma of being labeled a troublemaker for both the current and future employers.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | August 1, 2007 7:31 AM

plus the employee must have been at the firm for at least a year, and the company must have had 50 employees for 20 weeks. So seasonal companies, (thinking of summer vacation resorts, Christmas shops, agriculture) are also exempt.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | August 1, 2007 7:44 AM

yes, that's right. 50 or more employees is the threshold for FMLA to kick in. also you must have worked fulltime for the company for 12 months before qualifying for leave.

the laws clearly favor employers. most employees have an "at will" agreement, which means they can be fired or quit for any reason at any time. this makes most lawyers extremely reluctant to take on any discrimination suits.

also true that lawsuits are costly, upsetting, frustrating and lengthy. for all parties.

all of this makes me have even more respect for joan williams and others who speak out. one person really can make a difference, as she has shown.

read the nytimes article! it's terrific.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 1, 2007 7:51 AM

Bravo to those of you who filed or have filed "legitimate" discrimination. Boo to those of you who file spiteful, illegitimate lawsuits because you don't get what you want.

Posted by: happydad | August 1, 2007 7:57 AM

Unfortunatly, in our capitolist society, lawsuits are the defacto preferred method of change, including social and safety. As an individual, its a royal PITA, but US society is extreamly reactionary - things don't change until the powers that be see that people are hurting. And the quickest way for the powers to see the pain is through a lawsuit. I don't like, but I see the good that lawsuits can do.

And no, I'm not a lawyer. No where close. I don't even have lawyer friends.

~RubyTue (aka Ruby and sometime RT, but mostly just a lurker)

Posted by: rubytuesday | August 1, 2007 8:16 AM

OK, I'll probably get slammed for this, but while I sympathize with most of what was said in this article (and, I am a working mom that has dealt with this myself in the past), I am also an employer. If I had a senior executive working for me that had three children in three years (and, I am assuming, took maternity leave with each of them), I would then expect her to step up to the plate a little bit for her job. Yes, I'll keep her job open, but when she comes back, I'm going to expect her to do whatever I need her to do. I don't see how it is discrimination to expect employees to adapt to changes in job descriptions.

Posted by: jjtwo | August 1, 2007 8:49 AM

If I had a senior executive working for me that had three children in three years (and, I am assuming, took maternity leave with each of them), I would then expect her to step up to the plate a little bit for her job. Yes, I'll keep her job open, but when she comes back, I'm going to expect her to do whatever I need her to do. I don't see how it is discrimination to expect employees to adapt to changes in job descriptions.

Posted by: jjtwo | August 1, 2007 08:49 AM

In the situation described, you have no idea what is really going on. Does the employer really need this employee to do this job or is it punishment or forcing them out? You don't know if this woman spent years living for the job and is rushing to get some kids before her childbearing years are over. It may be that her having 3 kids in 3 years is hard on her workplace. But she may have been giving it all to the job previously while others were taking care of their family life. You don't know from the minimal description. Does past performance count for nothing if a woman dares to have children? I'm continually mystified by this idea that the job should be the end-all, be-all, most important thing a person does and for which they are supposed to sacrifice everything else. So this woman was put into a different job with decidedly unfamily-friendly responsibilities. You just wonder why. It may not have been so simple as "the job needed her to do whatever the job needed her to do."

Posted by: rockvillemom | August 1, 2007 9:11 AM

What's the point of "forcing" a mother of three to "step up to the plate" and make her accept a job with lots of travel and evening time? She's likely to resent it, might simply be unable to do it because it clashes with her home responsibilities - so she won't be good at it, and that's not in the employer's interest.

No, we shouldn't all have to accomodate parents at all cost - but it makes economic sense to "give parents what they want" somewhat. It keeps them happy, it keeps them productive - good things for the company.

Generally, in my experience (I'm a part-time working mother), employers (mine and my friends') have not been the "monsters" as described on this blog sometimes at all. I've had some fantastically understanding bosses, and so have my working-mother friends.

Posted by: Bibo | August 1, 2007 9:14 AM

I largely agree with jjtwo. While people shouldn't be forced to accept truly unfair discrimination for normal life events like childbirth, employment is indeed a 2 way agreement, at least as I see it. Employers owe good employees some flexibility when these times arise but employees also owe a good amount of flexibility in return and should not expect their employers to simply absorb all of the difficulties that may arise.

This kind of thing also goes hand in hand with the differences in pay between men and women. I have heard recent arguments to suggest that this gap can mostly be attributed to the far greater amount of flexible hours, time off for child birth and child rearing, and other benefits employers offer that women are much more likely to use than men. If a more egalitarian scale was enforced, pay disparities might shrink but it would likely be at the expense of the very kind of flexibility and benefits currently enjoyed. I don't mean to sound like a free-markets-are-the-best-no-matter-what type but I do think its important for people to see these things as a give and take to be worked through rather than a constant "victim" vs. the machine conflict. Its precisely that perpetual victim mentality that gives way to reactionary, uncompromising, and entrenched employer perogatives that this article rightly decries.

Posted by: nitrojunkie_20723 | August 1, 2007 9:15 AM

Sometimes speaking out can take other forms besides a lawsuit. When my director told me, a week before my due date, that he didn't have me "in the budget" even through my maternity leave, I was floored. Luckily I worked out another position to come back to before I left.
I went to HR afterward to let them know that they needed to implement training and other checks/balances so that this wouldn't happen to other individuals.

Posted by: library | August 1, 2007 9:16 AM

I think that it's easy to look back 5 years later and say "gee, I wish that I had done this or that". Just like most former business owners would do after they have run their companies into the ground. If it was a really great idea, a lot more people would have done it...and this probably wouldn't be so much of an issue. Face it, you have to be personable with an employer, he or she is your boss and they are not only someone you want to try to be friends with, but you have to be professional with them too. Suing them is just not a great idea, you know that one way or another that will come back to haunt you. Like any professional relationship, once the sheen is off the gown, it's better to just get a new gown. If you can't politely and firmly make a legitimate case to your employer that you deserve X, Y, or Z, and get it, then why would you want to work for this person? Not to be a free-market capitalist, but you're better-off testing the job market. And that is why a lot of women have workplace rights now that they would not have enjoyed 50 years ago...and literally, are you somehow less of an employee now that you have a child?. The market has forced employers to grant these "rights" to working women and men too, in the case of paternity leave. Ok maybe the law has had an effect, too, but still. If employers had to worry about lawsuits behind the hiring of female employees, how many female employees would be hired? You would have major class-actions lawsuits based on gender discrimination when it comes to hiring, but still...that would be a real concern for employers and they would work hard to not hire women at all.

I guess that it is like any battle over anything. You don't really want to have to resort to violence, but ultimately, if no one dies or even gets hurt, then no one is worried about getting into a fight. Sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. People have to be willing to make those sacrifices to keep what they have, or it will be taken away. But fighting in court is not the only answer, by far. Being willling to change jobs helps a *lot*.

Posted by: oreilly1 | August 1, 2007 9:23 AM

Lawsuits draw attention to issues and then policies start to change as a real fear of bottom line cash pain hits management. A big judgment is scarier and easier to calculate than the loss of a long time employee and recruitment and retraining of a replacement as well as the cost of disruption to those around them. As an attorney I know that illegitimate lawsuits don't get that far, but the business world seems to think that judges have no sense. Believe me, the worst cases are thrown out quickly in most jurisdictions. If you want to talk about a brave female plaintiff filing a discrimination lawsuit,look at this recent case by a still employed general counsel at General Electric. Now this is cojones. http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1184663192606

Posted by: AttyMom | August 1, 2007 9:30 AM

JJTwo -- the case i cited involved a mom who had worked at the company for a decade and had produced stellar sales and managerial results. she had three kids quickly in her late 30s. she was doing a very good job in her position and was transferred to a job with travel and client entertaining in order to force her to resign -- or to punish her for having three kids right in a row. i believe her case was actionable. instead she quit. the company lost a fine employee and she lost a job she loved and was good at. bad result all around.

happydad - do you actually know of any parental discrimination lawsuits that were actually frivolous? or are you just venting?

Posted by: leslie4 | August 1, 2007 9:37 AM

It is so sad Leslie that you chose to censor comments by requiring people to log in to this site (let me guess, you will pass the buck and say it was not your decision; that merely shows how unimportant you are). I hope you see now how few people actually care about the drivel that you write. Please, WaPo, see how useless this blog is and fire Leslie. NOW!!!! Leslie, you should be ashamed of yourself. Go raise your children. Maybe you might be better at that than writing this pathetic blog.

Posted by: bababooey6 | August 1, 2007 9:54 AM

leslie - I'm not disagreeing with what you said, I'm just pointing out that there may be another side to this story. I have an employee that I hired when she was pregnant with her first child. When I hired her, we talked about her plans for a family. She told me that because she was in her mid-thirties, she was planning on having at least two and maybe three children pretty quickly. We talked about her expectations for maternity leave (for her first it was unpaid), where she wanted to go in her career and how she could ensure that all of her time off would not affect her future with our company. We laid all of this out up front, and because of that, she is a very happy and very productive employee (she is also one of our most senior and best paid employees).

This is what is missing in how things like pregnancy and family leave are handled. Too many employees "spring" the news of a pregnancy on an employer and the employer is expected to be fair and accomodate the employer's requirements. As an employer, I would love to see employees make a point to discuss things like this up front and work as a team with the employer to make sure that everyone is happy. Maybe if the person you wrote about had done that, she would have had a happier ending.

Posted by: jjtwo | August 1, 2007 9:55 AM

Ruth Marcus: I know you are a reasonable, left-of-center member of the editorial board. Use whatever influence you have to put an end to Leslie's useless blog. Please. She ran out of ideas weeks ago. This should have been a once-a-week endeavor. She clearly wanted more money and insisted on an everyday blog. WE ARE ALL TIRED OF HER. Listen to your readers. Please, WaPo. Leslie must go.

Posted by: bababooey6 | August 1, 2007 10:01 AM

fr jjtwo:

>....When I hired her, we talked about her plans for a family...<

As far as I know, to ask a female applicant if she is planning on starting a family is ILLEGAL.

Posted by: alex51 | August 1, 2007 10:08 AM

to g_dekok - we talked about it after she accepted the position. gee, you'd think I'd get a little credit for hiring a pregnant person...

Posted by: jjtwo | August 1, 2007 10:09 AM

jjtwo,

That's an interesting point. But I don't know that I would want to invite my employer into a discussion of my fertility and family planning. My mother always told me not to tell everybody all my business. Part of the point being, many times if you tell someone too much personal information, they'll just use it against you.

Posted by: rockvillemom | August 1, 2007 10:11 AM

Ah, the irony, bababooey. On the one hand, you equate requiring registration with censorship, then you are able -- Lord only knows how -- to overcome this burden, but, on the other hand, you use this forum to launch a personal attack on Leslie and request that the Post shut down the entire forum.

many of us are tired of your lame, off-topic domination of this blog for your own purposes. The Internet's a big place. If you have a personal vendetta against Leslie and the topics discussed here, what say you explore other blogs and sites that are more to your liking. Take your alter-ego abu along for the ride.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 1, 2007 10:11 AM

bababooey6-
Put your money where your mouth is. If you don't like the blog, don't read it. Don't post to it. Find something else to do. Some of us enjoy it. Nobody is forcing you to be here.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2007 10:13 AM

jjtwo,

I think you do get brownie points for hiring a pregnant person. And if it was obvious then I can certainly see why she would discuss how her maternity leave wouldn't adversely affect the company. But I don't know that she should feel compelled to discuss her big picture family planning.

Posted by: rockvillemom | August 1, 2007 10:14 AM

rockvillemom - it is a sticky kind of thing - I agree that some things are better kept private, and certainly many employers don't foster the kind of relationship with employees that would facilitate these conversations. On the other hand, I'd hate to be the boss and have one employee who, like clockwork, popped in once a year and said "surprise! I'm pregnant!". What would you expect me to think? I'm not going to be thrilled by it, so wouldn't the fair thing be to try to work with me to make it go more smoothly?

Posted by: jjtwo | August 1, 2007 10:18 AM

Eleven years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I was a project manager at a nonprofit in DC. I was due in May 1996 and in October 2005 the company went through a restructure. Each employee was individually summoned to the conference room to hear their fate: if your position had been eliminated you were offered either severance or a different position (you could decline the different position and choose the severance if you didn't want to be demoted) or you were told your position would maintain intact. I was told that my position was to remain the same. The VP of my department was fired, and a new VP was hired. The first day the new VP reported to work I was moved out of my office and into a secretary cubicle and I became the de facto secretary to the VP. I went from a managerial position to literally fetching lunch and placing calls for the VP.

I complained, saying I should have been offered the choice of either accepting the demotion or taking the severance package, but they insisted that my position was still intact because my title didn't change. It was like some sort of alternate reality the way they continued to deny anything had changed even as I sat in a secretary cubicle and did menial tasks all day long.

When I went on maternity leave, I did file a claim with the EEOC and won the case. I was given, I believe, $2,000 and the promise that they would try to find a part-time position for me or at least allow me to do freelance projects. But just because the judge dictated the terms didn't mean that they complied--every time I would call about part-time jobs or even full-time jobs that I was fully qualified for, they would blow me off. It was very clear that I had been labeled "trouble" and they would never work with me again.

In the end, it was satisfying to have not just let it slide and to have stuck up for myself, but it also labeled me as a pariah and, given the tightly-knit association community in the DC area, may have had lasting negative effects on my career--it certainly prevented me from being able to return to my former position at my former place of employment even though I had unique knowledge and experience specific to that field and position.

Posted by: maggielmcg | August 1, 2007 10:20 AM

Eleven years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I was a project manager at a nonprofit in DC. I was due in May 1996 and in October 2005 the company went through a restructure. Each employee was individually summoned to the conference room to hear their fate: if your position had been eliminated you were offered either severance or a different position (you could decline the different position and choose the severance if you didn't want to be demoted) or you were told your position would maintain intact. I was told that my position was to remain the same. The VP of my department was fired, and a new VP was hired. The first day the new VP reported to work I was moved out of my office and into a secretary cubicle and I became the de facto secretary to the VP. I went from a managerial position to literally fetching lunch and placing calls for the VP.

I complained, saying I should have been offered the choice of either accepting the demotion or taking the severance package, but they insisted that my position was still intact because my title didn't change. It was like some sort of alternate reality the way they continued to deny anything had changed even as I sat in a secretary cubicle and did menial tasks all day long.

When I went on maternity leave, I did file a claim with the EEOC and won the case. I was given, I believe, $2,000 and the promise that they would try to find a part-time position for me or at least allow me to do freelance projects. But just because the judge dictated the terms didn't mean that they complied--every time I would call about part-time jobs or even full-time jobs that I was fully qualified for, they would blow me off. It was very clear that I had been labeled "trouble" and they would never work with me again.

In the end, it was satisfying to have not just let it slide and to have stuck up for myself, but it also labeled me as a pariah and, given the tightly-knit association community in the DC area, may have had lasting negative effects on my career--it certainly prevented me from being able to return to my former position at my former place of employment even though I had unique knowledge and experience specific to that field and position.

Posted by: maggielmcg | August 1, 2007 10:20 AM

"Put your money where your mouth is. If you don't like the blog, don't read it. Don't post to it. Find something else to do. Some of us enjoy it. Nobody is forcing you to be here."

Right back at you Emily. If you don't like my comments, don't read them. And certainly don't respond to them. Response only encourages me!!! It's called the beauty of a free market. And yes, I should be allowed to express my dislike of Leslie's writing. The WaPo doesn't have to listen. They should decide for themselves if what I say is true and whether or not my views are in the majority. They should be allowed to decide if they would profit more from eliminating this blog or allowing it to continue. But I don't see the harm in making sure they see my point of view alongside the point of view of you and others who enjoy Leslie.

Posted by: bababooey6 | August 1, 2007 10:40 AM

_OFF TOPIC TO MONA_

I'm still catching up on yesterday's comments. Mona, glad to hear they are well. For outdoor cats, the first time they go out in a new neighborhood, you put butter on their paws. They will walk away, leaving a trail for them to follow home (unless they are total fatties--then they'll just sit there and lick their paws).

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 10:41 AM

So let's try something on-topic then. What would you do in the following situation? You are faced with the prospect of hiring one of two candidates. They are both equally qualified in virtually every way. Except for one thing. Candidate 1 says that she is willing to work 40 hours a week, with occassional overtime as warranted. She also agrees that two weeks of vacation and five sick days a year is acceptable. Candidate 2 says that after he is hired, he plans on working hard for a few months, and then taking a 9-month vacation. After the 9-month vacation, he only wants to work 4 hours a week for the following two months and he's not sure when he will return to a full schedule. Who would you hire? And if you did not hire Candidate 2 because of his vacation plans, should he be allowed to sue? (I know this is not a perfect analogy as many of you will point out, but it's not bad.)

Posted by: bababooey6 | August 1, 2007 10:59 AM

In light of today's experience, it's hard to understand what the Post thought it was accomplishing by requiring registration and sign-in. The determined, regular trolls who have a history of disruptive postings are not inconvenienced -- as we see today, they simply sign in and resume disruptive posting.

On the other hand, the sign-in requirement likely will discourage occasional readers who want to contribute a substantive comment, if they don't visit the site enough to make sign-in worth their time. I'm concerned that this blog is going to be subjected to the same trollery, just among a narrower group of responsible commenters.

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 1, 2007 11:03 AM

My question today is, what is there to discuss about todays topic? Usually Leslie ends the blog with a few questions (usually cleverly worded to incite some demographic), but today it ends with "call Joan..". It just seems like an invitation to whine. What does this have to do with balance? Seems like today is just a call out to feminism.

I would also like to apologize for some of my behavior yesterday, I should have just ignored the baiting.

If anybody cares, I used to be devils advocate.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 11:19 AM

Dave - you're correct. there's nothing to discuss. I disagree with your characteriziation of this column, though, as a call-out to feminism. It's a call-out to trial lawyers and those who believe that, on balance (pun intended), lawsuits solve more problems than they create. That's not a feminist viewpoint. It's a left-wing, possibly naive, courts-are-the-solution viewpoint.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | August 1, 2007 11:24 AM

ehhhh...I prefer to lobby for congressional action. Keep the lawyers out of it. They're greedy and undeserving. I should know - I'm an attorney.

Posted by: cordelia525 | August 1, 2007 11:28 AM

It's a call-out to trial lawyers and those who believe that, on balance (pun intended), lawsuits solve more problems than they create.

Are you baiting me?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 11:29 AM

Baiting you, pATRICK? No. I express my opinion and expect that others do the same.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | August 1, 2007 11:35 AM

It's a call-out to trial lawyers and those who believe that, on balance (pun intended), lawsuits solve more problems than they create. That's not a feminist viewpoint. It's a left-wing, possibly naive, courts-are-the-solution viewpoint.

Is this your opinion?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 11:37 AM

«So bravo to those of you who have filed discrimination lawsuits. And to those of you wondering whether you should -- give Joan Williams a call.»

«By Leslie Morgan Steiner | August 1, 2007; 7:15 AM ET »

A «Lawsuit Revolution», why have it? Americans, we have high ideals, Scouts are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent, 12 points. Employers and employees, if they acted towards each other like Scouts, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, then lawsuits, they would not be necessary, because we would all get along. Bottom-line-is-all-that-counts greed and prejudice and pressure-rush-hurry, bosses mistreat employees even though employees are human just as bosses are. Lawsuits, they are one way to make Americans live up to their high ideals. A pity, that all of Joan Williams's lawsuits were necessary.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 1, 2007 11:46 AM

Dave - you're correct. there's nothing to discuss. I disagree with your characteriziation of this column, though, as a call-out to feminism. It's a call-out to trial lawyers and those who believe that, on balance (pun intended), lawsuits solve more problems than they create. That's not a feminist viewpoint. It's a left-wing, possibly naive, courts-are-the-solution viewpoint.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | August 1, 2007 11:24 AM

Maybe it is a call out to feminist trial lawyers? ;)

Maybe it is a stretch to call it just a call out to feminism, but to me there is often little difference between a feminist and a "left-wing, possibly naive, courts-are-the-solution" type person. The second group is significanltly larger then the first but, the first is definitely a subset of the second.

Regarding discrimination lawsuits in the workplace, if you only thought, not knew, you were discriminated against, it was probably wise not to bring the suit to court. If you were unable to cinvince yourself, it would be very difficult to convince a neutral third party.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 11:55 AM

Yes, pATRICK.

I applaud those who are able to get just recompense for violations of the law, and there are many who deserve it. I also consider today's column an incomplete discussion because it ignores the impact a pending lawsuit can have on a family already struggling with balance. If, however, filing a lawsuit renders you essentially unemployable or unemployable in your field, consider the cost in time and mental energy in determining whether that's the right call for your family.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | August 1, 2007 11:55 AM

MN, I tend to agree with your characterization of the lawsuit as problem sovler viewpoint. And yes, I am a trial lawyer (though a gruding one who is trying to find her way out). I don't think that all lawsuits intended to force some kind of social change lack merit - they have a place in our system. But I think that place is a lot smaller than most of my peers, LOL.

Daves000, did you also used to post as Dave S. sometimes?

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 11:58 AM

If anybody cares, I used to be devils advocate.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 11:19 AM

I have usually found you to be pretty level headed in your postings.If I knew it was you, i would not have gone after your A$$. So I apologize too.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 11:59 AM

"but to me there is often little difference between a feminist and a "left-wing, possibly naive, courts-are-the-solution" type person. The second group is significanltly larger then the first but, the first is definitely a subset of the second"

Really? I think there are a lot of feminists who do not embrace the "courts are the solution" viewpoint. There's overlap, but I don't think either is a subset of the other. But then it could just be that everyone has a different definition of feminist these days ;).

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 12:03 PM

Daves000, did you also used to post as Dave S. sometimes?

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 11:58 AM

Yup.

I also used to post anon sometimes on viewpoints even I didn't feel comfortable owning. (I never trolled though)

-------------------------------

So I apologize too.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 11:59 AM

Accepted, really sorry about the lynching comment, it was really a low blow.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 12:05 PM

"but to me there is often little difference between a feminist and a "left-wing, possibly naive, courts-are-the-solution" type person. The second group is significanltly larger then the first but, the first is definitely a subset of the second"

Really? I think there are a lot of feminists who do not embrace the "courts are the solution" viewpoint. There's overlap, but I don't think either is a subset of the other. But then it could just be that everyone has a different definition of feminist these days ;).

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 12:03 PM

I agree with you (I think I misused the word subset), it could be that the vocal feminists (the ones I notice) are the ones that call for lawsuits, i.e Leslie.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 12:10 PM

DaveS, I do think that is true re vocal feminists. I think the same goes with a lot of social movements.

As I recall some of the earliest successful sex discrimination cases involved male plaintiffs, on the theory that courts would be more sympathetic to a claim of sex discrimination by a man than a woman - I think a man who was not allowed to enroll in nursing school? Does that ring a bell with anyone else?

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 12:20 PM

pATRICK, Dave

Take you PDA elsewhere, get a room!

Posted by: anonthistime | August 1, 2007 12:27 PM

Does anyone have the stats on how many women DO go back to full-time work after childbirth? I don't want to make assumptions, but it seems to me that every time a woman I know gets pregnant, she's always asked by at least a few people, "are you going back to work?" (Unless, of course, she is in a blue-collar job and/or a single parent, in which case returning to the workforce is probably necessary.) The response is usually a grudging "yes," but there is an undertone of unwillingness. The last response I heard to this questions was, "well, (husband) said I have to work at least part-time, so I might as well go back full-time." I realize this is purely anecdotal, but if the proportion of women returning to full-time work is below 50%, isn't it fair to assume that employee X won't be coming back to her old job?

Of course, that doesn't mean it's fair to fire a woman based on that assumption. Whatever happened to honest, candid conversation? Or is an employer not permitted to ask a woman her plans before she goes on maternity leave?

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 1, 2007 12:31 PM

daves000 wrote "it could be that the vocal feminists (the ones I notice) are the ones that [sic] call for lawsuits"

You don't noticed the vast majority of feminists who just live day to day and try to work through petitions, lobbying, and striving to be good role models. I would encourage you not to characterize all feminists in the same manner as those you see in the media.

I tend to agree that there's not much to say about this. In our society, we can still be punished for speaking out against what's wrong. The people who can afford this type of lawsuit are the ones who already have the money, who have years of professional experience to fall back on, and who have plenty of pull in their field. Most of the people being discriminated against couldn't afford the lawyer and time off work and potential black balling.

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 12:32 PM

"(unless they are total fatties--then they'll just sit there and lick their paws)."

Well...that sort of thing is how Big Cat got big! Haha, just kidding. They're not allowed human food...if they were, Little Cat would be big. She loves human food. Big Cat loves cat food. They don't get butter on their paws, but that is a good idea!

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 1, 2007 12:36 PM

Today's topic is really lame. I don't even need to be jumped!

Posted by: nonamehere | August 1, 2007 12:41 PM

You don't noticed the vast majority of feminists who just live day to day and try to work through petitions, lobbying, and striving to be good role models. I would encourage you not to characterize all feminists in the same manner as those you see in the media.

-Meesh

I do notice them, but, while most feminists may not go out of their way to inspire lawsuits, they tend not to disown those that do. I honestly don't think that this is a mischaracterisation.

Remember, to a lot of feminist, I am the enemy.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 12:48 PM

Hey, Mona, how's that California weather? Hope it's nice there.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 12:51 PM

Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 12:53 PM

"while most feminists may not go out of their way to inspire lawsuits, they tend not to disown those that do."

I'm not quite sure what this means. I've met a few feminists who I'd like to disown, but I'm not sure how. It's not like I can take away their card and cut it up. Suffice to say, we usually don't condemn each other publicly (that would not be good for the movement), but we certainly don't all agree on the right path to equality.

"Remember, to a lot of feminist, I am the enemy."

Why? Do you subjugate women?

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 12:57 PM

This is not a perfect analogy, there's probably no such thing, but it's not bad. Suppose you are interviewing two equally-qualified applicants. One says she is willing to work 40-hour weeks, with occasional overtime as warranted. She also agrees with your company's policy of two weeks of vacation and eight sick days a year. The second applicant promises to work hard for a few months, but then insists he wants nine months of vacation (he's willing to take it unpaid), followed by three months in which he works only four hours a day, three days a week. And then after that, he's not quite sure when he can return to full time but he promises he will try. Who do you hire? And if you hire the first candidate, does the second candidate have the right to sue?

Posted by: bababooey6 | August 1, 2007 1:00 PM


Why? Do you subjugate women?

sub·ju·gate /ˈsʌbdʒəˌgeɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[suhb-juh-geyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
-verb (used with object), -gat·ed, -gat·ing. 1. to bring under complete control or subjection; conquer; master.
2. to make submissive or subservient; enslave.

Dave, if you ever figure out how to do this, let us know. No one who has ever lived has even come close. LOL

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 1:07 PM

Here's a simple test for readers to determine whether they approve or disapprove of what "feminists" might consider discrimination: Would you consider it discrimination if YOUR daughter (or sister, wife, mother or other female relative or friend) was the one being treated that way in the workplace (or school, the courts, or wherever)? Most men (and women) want to see the women they know get a fair deal in life and work.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 1:08 PM

I have to agree that this topic isn't all that great. So what -- Leslie had a dud. It can happen to anyone. In the past couple of weeks, Leslie has posted several blog columns that were interesting and could have provoked thoughtful conversations -- and, unfortunately, that's when the dementor trolls came and sucked the joy out of the blog.
(if you couldn't tell, I've made it through the first three HP books this week).

Posted by: educmom615 | August 1, 2007 1:09 PM

Subjugate women? I can't even get my four year old daughter to stay in her bed at night. LOL

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 1:10 PM

pATRICK, The Taliban and the Saudis, to name but a few, have done pretty effective jobs of subjugating women as a class -- not the sort of treatment of women of which you'd approve, right? I'd also add those freebirthing women cited in yesterday's paper who've been suckered into thinking they're not real women if they accept medical care or supervision while giving birth.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 1:13 PM

pATRICK, I'm glad to know there's no subjugation of women in your house.

Considering what catlady so eloquently wrote, if you want your daughter to succeed without unjust impediments in school and work and other endeavors, you are a feminist! Welcome to the club.

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 1:19 PM

I'd also add those freebirthing women cited in yesterday's paper who've been suckered into thinking they're not real women if they accept medical care or supervision while giving birth.


No kidding, sucker is the right word. Why would anyone do that, would you have major surgery and just "suck it up"?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 1:21 PM

Suffice to say, we usually don't condemn each other publicly (that would not be good for the movement), but we certainly don't all agree on the right path to equality.

-Meesh

This is what I meant. It is possible to condemn the method without condemning the person.

I would also say you don't all agree on the definition of equality.

--------------------
"Remember, to a lot of feminist, I am the enemy."

Why? Do you subjugate women?

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 12:57 PM

By definition. Men are the opressors, I am a man, therefore I am an opressor.

This is one of the problems I encounter when having a discussion about feminism. Every feminist has their own ideas of what it means, so much so that the only common factor is advocating for women. So when I have a discussion, the feminist is working with her own belief system, while I am trying to figure out which parts of the doctrine they believe and which parts they don't.

I beleive in equality. While feminism claims to be for equality for all (some of it anyways), in my opinion it has become a movement dedicated only to equality for women. I am sure your experience has been different, but that doesn't make mine invalid.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 1:22 PM

Considering what catlady so eloquently wrote, if you want your daughter to succeed without unjust impediments in school and work and other endeavors, you are a feminist! Welcome to the club.

Hmm, that was a good one.I guess as you have described it, everyone could be a feminist. By the way my daughter decided she was tired of me tying her shoes so she does it herself now. The unsinkable Molly Brown. I live in fear of her teenage years.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 1:26 PM

Here's a simple test for readers to determine whether they approve or disapprove of what "feminists" might consider discrimination: Would you consider it discrimination if YOUR daughter (or sister, wife, mother or other female relative or friend) was the one being treated that way in the workplace (or school, the courts, or wherever)? Most men (and women) want to see the women they know get a fair deal in life and work.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 01:08 PM

If you believe in equality, you would want the same for your son. Why is it assumed that the only people with discrimination issues are women? This goes directly to the point I made above about feminism being about equality for women.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 1:27 PM

I made above about feminism being about equality for women.

that's the rub, what is equality for some is special privilege for others. A good case is customs. A man who expects his date to pay is a loser, even if the woman makes more money. Women want equality on their terms, that is the rub.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 1:30 PM

daves000, would you intervene if you felt your daughter was suffering discriminatorily second-class treatment (compared to boys) at school?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 1:30 PM

Why is it assumed that the only people with discrimination issues are women? This goes directly to the point I made above about feminism being about equality for women.

discriminatory treatment against women is discrimination, discriminatory treatment against males is "diversity".

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 1:33 PM

daves000, would you intervene if you felt your daughter was suffering discriminatorily second-class treatment (compared to boys) at school?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 01:30 PM

Of course I would.

If you had a son that felt he was suffering discriminatorily second class treatment (compared to girls), would you beleive him? If so, would you act?

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 1:49 PM

Could you cite some actual examples of current discriminatorily second-class treatment against boys at school? Nowadays boys can take Home Ec, right?

Because I was a girl, I was forbidden to take mechanical drawing (because boys needed the course if they wanted to go to engineering school someday, which I was told a girl could never do, so she'd just be taking a classroom slot away from a boy).

Nor could I be in our school's jazz band (even though I was the best pianist applying, because I was informed that being a jazz instrumentalist was unfeminine, and girls could only be vocalists).

Before Title IX all this treatment was considered socially acceptable and perfectly legal and, sad to say, my mother refused to back me up against the school administration both times, so against such insuperable odds I lost both battles.

Fortunately, I believe times have changed since then WRT female students taking mechanical drawing or playing in school jazz bands. I also imagine that every parent reading this blog would nowadays fight for their daughters' rights to take such classes in the face of a denial based on gender rather than ability.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 2:15 PM

WE ARE ALL TIRED OF HER. Listen to your readers. Please, WaPo. Leslie must go.

Posted by: bababooey6

Speak for yourself, as I disagree. One person, one vote.

Posted by: lundgrend | August 1, 2007 2:15 PM

discriminatory treatment against women is discrimination, discriminatory treatment against males is "diversity".

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 01:33 PM
~~~~~~

You know, it's just amazing.... Minorities are the folks scapegoated and generalized as having a sense of entitlement or rabble rousing or hard to control or whatever.

Yet, for the second time in as many days, I feel compelled to respond unprovoked attacks on diversity (whether of gender, race or culture). It is unfortunate that some folks in even this generally enlightened group can have a tough time keeping open minds.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | August 1, 2007 2:21 PM

"Men are the opressors, I am a man, therefore I am an opressor"

Wrong. The oppressors are people who support oppression in this patriarchal society. Some men do not support it; some women do. Men are not the enemy.

"If you believe in equality, you would want the same for your son"

Of course we want the same treatment for our sons. Lucky for us, men already have preferential treatment. The problem is that the son is getting special treatment that the daughter is not. It's stupid to advocate for equality on behalf of a group that's already getting preferential treatment.


"the point I made above about feminism being about equality for women"

Actually, your point is invalid. If it's only equality for women, then what is it the measure? With whom are we striving to be equal? If men are out of the picture, we're already getting treatment equal to other women. The goal is to receive the same treatment as men. Men already have preferential treatment. The goal is equal treatment for everyone.

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 2:22 PM

To ProudPapa15: It's been observed that when a runner has been held back behind the starting gate, the foot-race is unequal.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 2:24 PM

Proud Papa,

Hear! Hear! Please consider the source, though. One or two voices, however loud, and however relentlessly it pounds away, don't speak for Ms. Steiner's entire 5th grade class.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | August 1, 2007 2:26 PM

"discriminatory treatment against women is discrimination, discriminatory treatment against males is "diversity"."

Only when men see equal treatment of women as discrimination against men. For some men, a woman having a SAH husband, for example, is somehow seen as that woman subjugating her husband. For others, women rising in power in the workplace is seen as their taking these positions of power away from men, hence, they are discriminating against men. Women working in government and perhaps focusing on long neglected family issues can also be seen as discrimination against men.

When men have had the upper hand for centuries, of course some of them (not all) will be threatened by equality and see it as discriminatory against them, when in reality, it simply equalizes the balance of power. This is also true, as Proud Papa said, for other relationships in our society, where minorities are striving to gain equal treatment from groups that have formerly had a preponderance of power.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2007 2:29 PM

Yet, for the second time in as many days, I feel compelled to respond unprovoked attacks on diversity (whether of gender, race or culture). It is unfortunate that some folks in even this generally enlightened group can have a tough time keeping open minds.

Sorry, but that's what it is. Its a spoils system. Whether it's against white males, minorities or women, special different rules are NOT diversity, they are discriminatory, no matter the intent when someone is treated differently it is not right.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 2:30 PM

Meesh, your 2:20 post is superb. I can't come close to topping this response.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | August 1, 2007 2:31 PM

I'm old enough to remember when a considerable number of whites in this country viewed racial integration of our schools as a take-away for white students.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 2:32 PM

Proud Papa,

Hear! Hear! Please consider the source, though. One or two voices, however loud, and however relentlessly it pounds away, don't speak for Ms. Steiner's entire 5th grade class.

Have you turned into MS. Liberal these days or are you deathly afraid of offending minorities? They do speak though for millions of americans who are sick of people trying to enshrine special treatment for certain citizens.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 2:33 PM

OT
Mona,
Just catching up from yesterday. I'm glad you made it to California and assume your law school finances all worked out. Congrats. Hope all goes well for you, both academically and personally. I am doing just fine these days, thankfully, nothing to report (except that the baby is a girl--you may have heard already).

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2007 2:42 PM

Is anyone else have intermittent problems posting here this afternoon?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 2:44 PM

I just posted something OT to Mona that disappeared.

OT to Mona - Congrats on getting out California. Good luck to you. All is well with me. Baby is a girl (in case you had not heard already).

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2007 2:46 PM

Proud Papa and Meesh - right on! This is also partly a problem of someone defining the people they disagree with. No matter how many times the women on this blog say that they have no problem paying for their own meals, having a SAH husband, etc etc there will always be those who say "no woman wants this." Apparently to them we are figments of our own imaginations.

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 2:50 PM

Men are the opressors, I am a man, therefore I am an opressor"

Wrong. The oppressors are people who support oppression in this patriarchal society. Some men do not support it; some women do. Men are not the enemy.

-Meesh

According to you, according to many other feminists you are the one who is wrong. Nice of you to totally invalidate my perception of my own reality. You would make a good oppressor. ;)

-------

"If you believe in equality, you would want the same for your son"

Of course we want the same treatment for our sons. Lucky for us, men already have preferential treatment. The problem is that the son is getting special treatment that the daughter is not. It's stupid to advocate for equality on behalf of a group that's already getting preferential treatment.

-Meesh

Again you have no idea whether someones son is expereincing discrimination because under your definition it is not possible for him to. If you start your statement with the assumption that men get special treatment, you have already determined the outcome.


"the point I made above about feminism being about equality for women"

Actually, your point is invalid. If it's only equality for women, then what is it the measure? With whom are we striving to be equal? If men are out of the picture, we're already getting treatment equal to other women. The goal is to receive the same treatment as men. Men already have preferential treatment. The goal is equal treatment for everyone.


Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 02:22 PM


For your information men get treated like crap in certain segments of this society. So if your goal is to be treated like men, you have set your sights way too low.

You do know that you just made my point for me. Your entire post defends the fact that there are no cases of discrimination for men that are as bad those for women. Therefore men require no one to advocate for their equality. Therefore feminism is about equality for women.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 2:54 PM

there will always be those who say "no woman wants this." Apparently to them we are figments of our own imaginations.

Yes, because all of our "experiences" and dealings with women are" figments" of our imaginations. I have said this before, you people are talking in a house of mirrors, you can't possibly accept that there are people who have no intention of paying for their own meal, men and women who would ever consider being a SAHD. ETC.
BTW, well done Dave.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 2:56 PM

daves000 wrote: "For your information men get treated like crap in certain segments of this society."

Would you please cite current examples in schools or the workplace?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 2:57 PM

daves000 wrote: "For your information men get treated like crap in certain segments of this society."

Would you please cite current examples in schools or the workplace?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 02:57 PM

Not worth the effort, it won't change your mind.

But what is the current male to female ratio in college attendance?

Of all the workplace deaths, what percentage are women?

Of all the custodial parents, how many are fathers?

The world is far more than school and work.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 3:07 PM

dave, what I really hate is special interest groups that try to invalidate any criticism of their position by claims of "well you are too involved in a patriarchal society to see the true picture" or something along those lines. It's sooo arrogant and self serving.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 3:07 PM

"If you start your statement with the assumption that men get special treatment..."

Well, that is a major tenant of feminism, so, guilty as charged. If that's the point you want to argue, I can't make you believe it.

"Your entire post defends the fact that there are no cases of discrimination for men that are as bad those for women"

That's actually not true. I can recognize that men are often discriminated against by law enforcement officials and in family courts, to name two examples. My arguement is within the realms where women are actually discriminated against (school, work, etc.), not in ones where they are not. Makes sense, right?

Where men are discriminated against, a movement is needed! I think there is a group advocating for men in family courts. Feel free to join!

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 3:09 PM

daves000 wrote: "Not worth the effort, won't change your mind."

Would you accept someone's point if that were their response to your request for examples?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:10 PM

"If you start your statement with the assumption that men get special treatment..."

Well, that is a major tenant of feminism, so, guilty as charged. If that's the point you want to argue, I can't make you believe it.

"Your entire post defends the fact that there are no cases of discrimination for men that are as bad those for women"

That's actually not true. I can recognize that men are often discriminated against by law enforcement officials and in family courts, to name two examples. My arguement is within the realms where women are actually discriminated against (school, work, etc.), not in ones where they are not. Makes sense, right?

Where men are discriminated against, a movement is needed! I think there is a group advocating for men in family courts. Feel free to join!

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 3:10 PM

Oops, I knew that would happen... sorry for the double post.

pATRICK wrote "well you are too involved in a patriarchal society to see the true picture"

you took the words right out of my mouth :)

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 3:11 PM

For mehitabel:

This isn't an example of a workplace or school, but my brother works shiftwork and lives in the DC metro area. Based on his work schedule he is home several days a week and tried to take his daughter to several daytime only child/parent activities that are sponsored through their HOA and was told several times that these events are geared only toward mothers and their children. The organizers of the different events all said that when the women get together they want to be able to freely talk about female issues and wouldn't feel comfortable if a dad is there. How is that not discriminatory?

Posted by: blueskies2 | August 1, 2007 3:13 PM

To blueskies2: Where is this?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:15 PM

dave, what I really hate is special interest groups that try to invalidate any criticism of their position by claims of "well you are too involved in a patriarchal society to see the true picture" or something along those lines. It's sooo arrogant and self serving.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 03:07 PM

See, in some cases they are right, but what they often fail to realize is that is entirely possible for some one to be so wedded to the dogma that they are the ones who fail to see the true picture.

There are usually three sides to every story; yours, mine and the truth. What I have found is everyone (myself included) beleive, they are speaking the truth when they are actually speaking their side of the story. What I try to do to avoid this is to try to put myself in the other persons shoes and think through it. I wish more people would do the same.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 3:19 PM

In the DC metro area.

Posted by: blueskies2 | August 1, 2007 3:20 PM

Where specifically in the DC Metro area?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:22 PM

"Of all the workplace deaths, what percentage are women?"

Is that really discrimination against men, or simply a reflection of the fact that men take on more dangerous jobs (which often also pay more money -- like contruction work, for example). It is hard to get killed in the pink collar office and retail jobs that many women take, but I am not sure that is so much a factor of discrimination as it is simply the nature of the job.

But what is the current male to female ratio in college attendance?

Perhaps women are exceeding males in terms of college attendance, but is that necessarily translating into higher earning power for women? Many men, instead of going to college, opt to pursue careers in the trades, which happen to be male dominated (like plumbing, electrical work, construction and contracting, etc) and can make very good money from these endeavors without the need for a college degree.

Can you explain how men are discriminated against in the examples you provided. I am interested in your thoughts, if you care enough to elucidate them.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2007 3:23 PM

I never understood what was wrong with the older original goal of feminism which as I understand it from my history student days is equal protection under the law. I don't think there are many people who could disagree with that. However a lot of the modern feminism stuff seems to revolve around social engineering with little concern for the laws of unintended consequences as well as a lot of psychological mumbo jumbo or "studies" that rely either on what tend to amount to pop culture/traditional stereotypes or ambiguous statistics. Just my two cents.

Posted by: nitrojunkie_20723 | August 1, 2007 3:26 PM

I'm not sure what difference it makes but it is a large community in MD off I-270.

Posted by: blueskies2 | August 1, 2007 3:27 PM

Where specifically in the DC Metro area?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 03:22 PM

What difference does it make? He gave you an example.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 3:29 PM

It can make a difference in terms of applicable jurisdictional law.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:31 PM

Daves000 I'm actually a woman :) It just ruffles my feathers when men try to step outside of traditional gender roles and get bashed for doing so. He wants his daughter to interact with other kids in the community - but now he takes her playgroups he has to pay for so he can ensure he can participate.

Posted by: blueskies2 | August 1, 2007 3:34 PM

daves000, I hear you at 3:19. However, I will freely admit that I could never understand how a racial minority is discriminated against. Even if I put myself in his or her shoes, I could never know that experience. That's why I don't flat out dismiss their arguement. Who am I to tell them what they experience?

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 3:37 PM

What is going on? Is this the pATRICK blog?

Posted by: spike | August 1, 2007 3:45 PM

daves000, I hear you at 3:19. However, I will freely admit that I could never understand how a racial minority is discriminated against. Even if I put myself in his or her shoes, I could never know that experience. That's why I don't flat out dismiss their arguement. Who am I to tell them what they experience?

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 03:37 PM

Yet you do that to me, because I am a man. Think about it.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 3:45 PM

daves000, I hear you at 3:19. However, I will freely admit that I could never understand how a racial minority is discriminated against. Even if I put myself in his or her shoes, I could never know that experience. That's why I don't flat out dismiss their arguement. Who am I to tell them what they experience?

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 03:37 PM

------------

Thats the typical postmodernist type argument that I think there is too much of in these sort of debates simply because it sets such a subjective standard. Obviously there have been and continue to be issues between the genders and races. However just because someone "experiences" something emotionally doesn't make it real or entitle them to anything. People report to experience all sorts of things, particularly when it comes to emotionally charged that cannot be independently verified. That doesn't make this experience meaningless per se but it also doesn't make the alleged "Opressor" culpable. Just because someone feels oppressed doesn't mean they have been and particularly it doesn't mean that they are entitled to legal damages.

Posted by: nitrojunkie_20723 | August 1, 2007 3:46 PM

should be emotionally charged subjects.

Posted by: nitrojunkie_20723 | August 1, 2007 3:47 PM

Yeah, that's "argument"

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 3:47 PM

daves000, it wasn't so long ago that boys received more advantages than girls in school. To wit:

I was denied permission to take mechanical drawing in junior high (they said it was because boys needed the course if they wanted to go to engineering school someday, which I was told a girl could never do, so she'd just be taking a classroom spot away from a boy).

Nor could I join our high school jazz band (although I was the best pianist applying, because I was informed that being a jazz instrumentalist was unfeminine).

This sort of treatment was considered socially acceptable and pre-Title 9 was perfectly legal and, sad to say, my mother refused to back me up against the school administration both times, so against such insuperable odds I lost both battles. Fortunately, I believe times have changed since then. I also imagine every parent reading this blog would fight for their daughters' rights to take such classes in the face of a denial based on gender rather than ability.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:50 PM

"Yet you do that to me, because I am a man. Think about it."

Dude, I already gave examples of how men experience discrimination. I've acknowledged that. You've obviously stopped listening.

With that, I'm off. It's quittn' time.

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 3:51 PM

daves000, it wasn't so long ago that boys received more advantages than girls in school.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:52 PM

daves000, for example:

I was denied permission to join our high school jazz band (although I was the best pianist applying, because I was informed that being a jazz instrumentalist was unfeminine).

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:54 PM

Can you explain how men are discriminated against in the examples you provided. I am interested in your thoughts, if you care enough to elucidate them.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2007 03:23 PM

I have tried to respond three times to this post. (the first one was really good too)

I would love to have that conversation, but unfortunately, I have a meeting now.

Maybe another day?

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 3:54 PM

daves000s, another example:

I was denied permission to take mechanical drawing in junior high (they said it was because boys needed the course if they wanted to go to engineering school someday, which I was told a girl could never do, so she'd just be taking a classroom spot away from a boy).

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:55 PM

What is going on? Is this the pATRICK blog?


Actually, it's MEESH'S blog, i rent it out for parties and small dinners.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 3:55 PM

"Yet you do that to me, because I am a man. Think about it."

Dude, I already gave examples of how men experience discrimination. I've acknowledged that. You've obviously stopped listening.

With that, I'm off. It's quittn' time.

Posted by: Meesh | August 1, 2007 03:51 PM

In your second post, (I did read it and appreciate it), but your first response to me was exactly what you said you couldn't do for a minority.

Now I will be late for my meeting.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 3:57 PM

To daves000:

Before Title 9 this sort of treatment was considered socially acceptable and was perfectly legal and, sad to say, my mother refused to back me up against the school administration both times, so against such insuperable odds I lost both challenges. Fortunately, times have changed since then. I also imagine every parent reading this blog would defend for their daughters' rights to take such classes in the face of a denial based on gender rather than ability.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 3:59 PM

have a nice evening!

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 3:59 PM

pATRICK

"What is going on? Is this the pATRICK blog?"


"Actually, it's MEESH'S blog, i rent it out for parties and small dinners."


Can't you find a cheap hotel for your lunch hour quickies?

Posted by: spike | August 1, 2007 4:00 PM

No, daves000, if you're late for your meeting it's your own responsibility. Scapegoating others for your own failings is a bogus argument.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 4:00 PM

To daves000:

Fortunately, times have changed since then. I also imagine every parent reading this blog would defend for their daughters' rights to take such classes in the face of a denial based on gender rather than ability.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 4:02 PM

pATRICK,

I am not going to engage in a discussion on a topic of this importance with someone who is insulting me. Proud Papa is thoughtful and reasonable. He expressed an opinion with which I very much agree. Characterize yourself as you will.

Posted by: MN | August 1, 2007 4:03 PM

Sorry to have had to divide my post into three parts, but WaPo's blog board software seems to be having difficulties this afternoon, and kept eating the post in its entirety :-( Hey, WaPo, fix your computers!

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 4:04 PM

I was denied permission to take mechanical drawing in junior high (they said it was because boys needed the course if they wanted to go to engineering school someday, which I was told a girl could never do, so she'd just be taking a classroom spot away from a boy).

Posted by: mehitabel

Did they let men take home ec?

I know the world has changed drastically since I was in junior high *** years ago.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 4:04 PM

Folks: A couple of you have e-mailed today to note that your comments haven't been making it live to On Balance. We are looking into the issue and working on correcting it. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by: onbalance | August 1, 2007 4:04 PM

Patience, hell! You're supposed to be professionals at one of the nation's leading newspapers, so get it right.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 4:06 PM

Actually, my father's high school offered home ec for boys, which he took. He was an excellent home cook.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 4:07 PM

Proud Papa is thoughtful and reasonable.

Well that is YOUR opinion

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 4:08 PM

To daves000: Back in the bad old days, in 8th grade the boys in my junior high all took shop while the girls all took home ec. Mechanical drawing was a 9th grade elective, so not a comparator for home ec.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 4:10 PM

what a relief to have a real discussion.

jjtwo -- i don't know any employees who "spring it" on their employers that they arer pregnant. many wait as long as possible for personal reasons -- to make sure the pregnancy is viable or because they are private by nature. and some worry about their jobs because not so long ago (1950s) women were forced to quit their jobs when they were pregnant. discrimination exists so naturally some women want to avoid exposing themselves to it! the solution is to eliminate discrimination against pregnant women and moms.

something i didn't cite in my entry but is detailed in the nyt article is cornell's study that shows in dollar terms how serious discrimination is against moms. fathers, single men, and single women are all offered higher salaires for the same jobs.

don't blame women here.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 1, 2007 4:14 PM

Proud Papa is thoughtful and reasonable.

Well that is YOUR opinion

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2007 04:08 PM

That's the point, pATRICK. It's my opinion.

Posted by: MN | August 1, 2007 4:20 PM

"you can't possibly accept that there are people who have no intention of paying for their own meal"

Yes, I do and I have. Unlike you, I do not think that all women are the same or that all men are the same. That's your tired shtick.

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 4:46 PM

Technology update: Posting comments should be working properly now and we are currently restoring comments that did not make it live on the site.

Posted by: onbalance | August 1, 2007 4:55 PM

No, daves000, if you're late for your meeting it's your own responsibility. Scapegoating others for your own failings is a bogus argument.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 04:00 PM

I just meant I will not be here to discuss this anymore (since I will be in the meeting not at my PC). I have no idea what you are talking about regarding scapegoating and bogus arguments.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 5:42 PM

What I meant was that you wouldn't have been late for your meeting if you hadn't felt compelled to keep Meesh from having the last word -- as though it were somehow Meesh's fault that you were going to be late.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 5:56 PM

What I meant was that you wouldn't have been late for your meeting if you hadn't felt compelled to keep Meesh from having the last word -- as though it were somehow Meesh's fault that you were going to be late.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 05:56 PM

What a strange inerpretation that is.

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 6:02 PM

Nothing strange about interpreting two statements you made back-to-back as being connected.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 6:12 PM

From the NY Times today:

"New studies have found that people tidy up more thoroughly when there's a faint tang of cleaning liquid in the air; they become more competitive if there's a briefcase in sight, or more cooperative if they glimpse words like "dependable" and "support" -- all without being aware of the change, or what prompted it....[I]t's a demonstration of how everyday sights, smells and sounds can selectively activate goals or motives that people already have."

Makes me wonder how much of the behavior on this board is stimulated by similarly weird and unknown cues...

Here's the link to the article -
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/31/health/psychology/31subl.html?em&ex=1186113600&en=8624aae3fea5a2f0&ei=5087%0A

Posted by: LizaBean | August 1, 2007 6:14 PM

Nothing strange about interpreting two statements you made back-to-back as being connected.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 06:12 PM

They were connected, but you implied motive to me as "compelled to not let Meesh have the last word" (you basically assumed I was an A$$). I posted just to let Meesh know the I hadn't stopped listening and appreciated her comments, not to get the last word (which she could easily have had after I left).

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 6:19 PM

In a separate post, so you don't misinterpret again, I am not ignoring your response, I am leaving for the day.
(yes, I am being an A$$ now) ;)

Posted by: daves000 | August 1, 2007 6:22 PM

The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 6:22 PM

Emily, I did hear that you were having a girl. Congrats! I hope you get this message even though it's a bit late out there. Please keep us all updated on your progress!

Yes, things are fine out here. I got my finances all figured out, and law school orientation starts in two weeks. I received my first case packet, and although it's a bit early, I'm excited and will probably read it within the next few days. I visited campus yesterday and was impressed by its beauty. The cats did fine on the plane and seem happy in the new apartment. I only have Net service at BF's house for now, so I may not pop in till the end of the week. So till then, good luck to you and scarry, happy week to everyone, and I'll talk to you soon! :-)

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 1, 2007 7:34 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day!
(No Additional Comment Necessary Division)

Patience, hell! You're supposed to be professionals at one of the nation's leading newspapers, so get it right.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 1, 2007 04:06 PM

Posted by: Fred | August 2, 2007 10:36 AM

Fantastic topic, especially with the growing legions of ex-professionals turned work-at-home Moms out there, who may be somewhat concerned about returning to the workplace in this climate....

Kelly
The Dulles South Mom-Force

Posted by: enmkmm | August 3, 2007 9:01 AM

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