Have you ever read a comment board discussion about women and wanted to bang your head? You’re not alone. Rekha Basu, a columnist for the Des Moines Register, has written an excellent piece about the sexist backlash online in which she questions why there’s so much vitriol directed at women — and she invites readers to respond:

[T]he anti-Clinton tirades are only a small piece of the sexist backlash on the Web. Any story or column about gender inequality or efforts to correct it usually brings on charges of male bashing, or of some hidden Register agenda to promote women at the expense of men. A story about Register publisher Mary Stier leaving to form a media company aimed at women drew postings about a Register feminist bias and even one reference to bra burning.

Stories about women crime victims bring out a rash of victim-blaming comments. A recent piece I wrote about a woman whose deceptive husband has been charged with murder provoked a caustic, “Quick, somebody get this woman sterilized before she reproduces any further.”

What’s driving this? Are angry white men growing in number or just getting more vocal, now that they can do it anonymously?

Duke University on Monday named Harvard researcher Nancy C. Andrews as the first woman to lead its medical school, reports the AP. Andrews, 48, is the only woman permanently at the helm of one of the nation’s top 10 medical schools.

“The fact that in 2007 there are still firsts for what women can do in medicine says something about how difficult it can be. I hope this does not seem so unusual a few years from now,” said Andrews, who most recently was dean for basic sciences and graduate studies at Harvard Medical School.

Aretha Franklin, attending the U.S. Open tribute to tennis great Althea Gibson (more here and here) on Monday night, wowed reporters with her knowledge of tennis. Kathleen McElroy writes:

She spoke of the courage of athletes who participated in the civil rights movement, and the bond that athletes and entertainers share of being stars and of being “queasy” before going before a stadium of spectators. Earlier in the day during his news conference, Roger Federer admitted that he’d never heard of Althea Gibson. When Miss Franklin was asked how African-American achievements could become as global as she is, so that budding Roger Federers in Switzerland and other lands will know of them, she replied curtly, “Make a hit record.”

The new “Bionic Woman” and its reflection of cultural shifts was discussed during NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Monday. Guests included Susan Douglas, author of “Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media,” who discussed the television series — then and now.

“Ever since the landmark Women’s Health Initiative study found that hormone therapy could be harmful, a dizzying array of new low-dose treatment options have been offered to counter the symptoms of menopause,” reports The New York Times.

“There are a trillion products out there,” said Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale. “You can take that low dose many different ways, and ultimately it boils down to personal preferences.”

Dr. Minkin said she was not surprised that patients were confused, adding, “So am I.'” […]

Dozens of products on the market offer different dosages and delivery methods. A complete list compiled by the North American Menopause Society is at www.menopause.org/edumaterials/hormoneprimer.htm. […]

Even women who plan to stop taking hormones after a few years may be in a quandary. The symptoms often resume when medication stops, said Dr. Wulf Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. “That’s the Catch-22,” he said. “And that’s when the so-called short term therapy becomes long-term therapy.”

Read WVFC’s Ask Dr. Pat column for questions and answers about menopause and hormone therapy.


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  • Katie August 28, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for bringing up that article about the backlash against women online. Anyone who thinks that feminism doesn’t matter anymore — or even that we are simply “progressing” as a culture — needs to understand the deep-rooted misogyny that exists and persists in America.