Women’s History, Gender Issues, Spark Student Journalists

Glenn Ricketts

It’s Women’s History Month, and student editors and columnists have taken note.  Among other themes, they take the measure of women at work, Rush Limbaugh, health care and contraceptives, gender neutral language and depictions of women in popular culture.  A survey of the commentary and analysis follows below.

  1. A writer for The New University at UC/Irvine argues that while it’s indeed Women’s History Month, women’s rights and social status are the targets of a massive assault by political primitives and media personalities. 
  1. It may be Women’s History Month, but a columnist at the Boston University Daily Free Press thinks that the status of women at present is pretty bad, not to say terrible.  That’s also the view of a colleagues at the U of New Mexico’s Daily Lobo, who thinks the controversy over law student Sandra Fluke simply illustrates the depths of misogyny that prevails in the U.S. Apparently not everyone agrees, as the responses to his piece indicate. 
  1. Meantime, a staffer at the University Daily Kansan finds Secretary of State Clinton an exemplar par excellence for aspiring young women, but wonders why the top slots in the workplace are still held largely by men.  Some lively comments follow here also. 
  1. Language and gender issues seem to get recurrent attention, and a columnist at American University’s Eagle explains to readers how they get beyond the “gender binary” that comes with English.  On the same note, a first-year student at Harvard argues why she’s a “freshwoman” rather than a “freshman.” 
  1. A somewhat-chagrined sports editor at the Cal State Chico Orion protests that she’s really not a sexist or giggly groupie.  It’s just possible, she suggests, that coverage on the sports page reflects which teams are hot, not the sex of the players. 
  1. In the view of one writer at the University of South Alabama’s Vanguard, one indication of women’s continuing inferior status, even oppression, lies in the fat that they are excluded from combat roles in the armed forces.  Unfortunately, the retrograde ideas of GOP presidential hope Rick Santorum on this subject still have wide currency, and continue to hold women back. 
  1. Women’s health and reproductive freedom are under sustained attack these days, but a guest columnist for the UW/Madison Daily Cardinal takes heart from a recent municipal initiative in Delaware that exposes the hypocrisy of it all.  Same for a colleague at the ASU State Press, who thinks that men’s reproductive health should be subject to regulation as well as women’s.  Along the similar lines, a colleague at the Georgetown Voice expresses dismay at a proposed Virginia state statute which would limit access to abortions.  The same sentiments are echoed more broadly at the MIT Tech, where a regular writer notes the ominous implications of such pending legislation in numerous other states. 
  1. All of the above is true of course, says a staffer for Eastern Illinois’s Daily Eastern News, but what especially galls her is the degrading and crude portrayal of women in the popular media
  1. On a different note, an avowed feminist at the Vassar College Miscellany News tries to sort out the complexities of a case of domestic violence involving two icons of popular culture.  There’s a number of angles to consider, and it’s not as straightforward as you might think. 
  1. Radio’s Rush Limbaugh continued to get his lumps, and a writer for the UT/Austin Daily Texan notes that he deserved every bit of it.  It’s heartening that so many of his sponsors dropped the show, which indicates the progress toward equality that women have mad.  At the same time, says a colleague for the Syracuse Daily Orange, Limbaugh’s antagonist, Sandra Fluke, really emerges from the whole flap as a clear winner, as do women in general.
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