American Morning

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August 16th, 2010
12:23 PM ET
April 28th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

In defense of 'dirty girl' culture

Editor's Note: Jaclyn Friedman is the executive director of Women, Action & the Media and a charter member of CounterQuo, a national coalition challenging the way we respond to sexual violence. Her anthology, "Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape," was named one of Publishers' Weekly's Top 100 Books of 2009.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Author Jaclyn Friedman says we should stop worrying about "bad girls" and focus on the men who put them in danger."]

By Jaclyn Friedman, Special to CNN

Last Friday, Carol Costello interviewed me for a story about what she called a "dangerous," "dirty girl" trend, (embodied by pop-star-come-lately Ke$ha) saying it involved girls being "rude, crude, and sometimes very, very drunk," and asking if mothers should worry.

While Carol and I agree about the importance of women's safety, watching the final edit of the piece made me realize how much we disagree about how to get there. Kindly, she's invited me to share my perspectives with you.

Now, I'm no Ke$ha fan. (I just cringed as I typed that ridiculous "$" in her name.) Her lyrics and videos embrace shock value for no reason beyond shock. But pop stars being blandly offensive are nothing new – Elvis was no different. Except for one tiny detail: Elvis was male.

And that's what's really at issue here. Bad boys make us shriek and faint. Bad girls make us worry. Don't they know that acting like that is dangerous?

Of course they do. That's why they're doing it. Know what else? All the girls dancing to their music know it's dangerous, too. That's why they like it.

Young adulthood has long been a time for rebelling against social norms, and that's not likely to change anytime soon. Want to keep girls safe while they figure out where their limits are? Don't ask them to be good girls in order to stay safe, when they can see that no one asks boys to do the same thing. That's not just unfair – it doesn't work.


Filed under: Gut Check • Opinion • Women's Rights
April 23rd, 2010
02:00 PM ET

'The pill' turns 50: Changed women socially, medically

(CNN) – Fifty years ago, a reproductive revolution began when the FDA patented "the pill." The contraceptive has spawned debates about morality, its social effects and its impact on women's health.

It certainly has influenced American history, but by how much? This week's Time magazine cover story about the pill's 50th anniversary examines that question.

Time's executive editor Nancy Gibbs wrote the article and she joined us on Friday's American Morning, along with our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Filed under: Health • Women's Rights
April 7th, 2010
02:22 PM ET

Afghan women: Don't exclude our men

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="World Vision International launched a project in Afghanistan to train midwives to curb the staggering infant mortality rate in the country."]

By Carol Costello, CNN

(CNN) – In a place where women have few rights, it seems improbable women would plead for men's advancement too. But, it's happening in Afghanistan.

Not for the reasons you might think, but because many Afghan women realize without the support of fathers, brothers and uncles, they will remain second-class citizens.

For years, the United States has developed and funded special "women's only" programs to help women start their own small businesses.

And while those efforts have been greatly appreciated, some global women's groups wonder if these programs are as effective as they could be when it comes to achieving equality in a patriarchal society.

More disturbingly, some other women's groups say these efforts, if not done well, may actually endanger women.

"Women are put at greater risk of violence when they must return home to frustrated, unemployed husbands who don't understand why their wives are getting training and credit and they are not," says Ritu Sharma, president of Women Thrive Worldwide.

It's time, says Sharma, to look at helping Afghan women in a more inclusive way – and that means including brothers and husbands – as well as sisters and wives.

"Gender is about looking at the different roles ... that men and women have in their families ... and then designing projects that meet everyone's needs."


Filed under: Afghanistan • Women's Rights
March 12th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Clinton makes women's rights a priority at State Dept.

(CNN) – During the 2008 presidential election campaign, then-Senator Hillary Clinton almost shattered the nation's ultimate glass ceiling. After her defeat, she thanked her supporters for putting 18 million cracks into that ceiling.

Now, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is bringing new power and prestige to her fight for women's rights. Our Jill Dougherty reports on Sec. Clinton's push for women's rights at the State Department.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Women's Rights
March 24th, 2009
12:00 PM ET

Ladies first for pink slips?

CNN's Alina Cho reports on a group of women who claim they were laid off on Wall Street because of their gender.
CNN's Alina Cho reports on a group of women who claim they were laid off on Wall Street because of their gender.

“When I got that tap on the shoulder I just was flabbergasted. I was amazed.”

Brittany Sharpton recalled the day last November when she was laid off from her job as an infrastructure analyst at Citigroup. When the 23 year old joined the investment firm in 2007 she envisioned rising up through the ranks and becoming a senior manager. Instead, she was handed a pink slip. Even more amazing to Sharpton was that every woman in her group was let go.

“There was just absolutely no discretion, no regard not only with performance but keeping a generation of women in the group.”


Filed under: Economy • Women's Rights
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