Double Dose: The Value of Maternal Employment, a U.S. Presidential Candidate and Her Breasts, More on Film and the Missing A-Word, and Empowered Women on TV: That's So Hot!

July 23, 2007

Chronic Fatigue No Longer Seen as “Yuppie Flu”: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which in 1999 acknowledged that it had diverted millions of dollars allocated by Congress for chronic fatigue syndrome research to other programs, has released studies that linked the condition to genetic mutations and abnormalities in gene expression involved in key physiological processes,” reports The New York Times. “People with C.F.S. are as sick and as functionally impaired as someone with AIDS, with breast cancer, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,’ said Dr. William Reeves, the lead expert on the illness at the C.D.C., who helped expose the centers’ misuse of chronic fatigue financing.”

What’s a Working Mother Worth?: “What mothers do — and what mothers want — appears to have a limited impact on public values and societal norms. At the very least, the two-fold increase in maternal employment over the last 30 years has yet to result in a dramatic reversal of cultural attitudes that safeguard male privilege in the public and private sphere,” writes Judith Stadtman Tucker, editor of the Mothers Movement Online, in this piece at The American Prospect on attitudes toward the value of maternal employment.

More on Summer Films and the Missing A-Word: Ann Hornaday’s Washington Post story is a late-but-worthy addition to the recent spate of stories about “Waitress” and “Knocked Up.” The omission of abortion as even a discussion point “undermines anyone’s claim that Hollywood has a liberal agenda,” says says New York Press film writer Jennifer Merin, who is also president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists.

Plus: Gloria Steinem: “In Defense of the ‘Chick Flick,'” via AlterNet.

Pro-Choice, Pro-Midwife: “If you care about a ‘woman’s right to choose,’ then you need to know about a little situation ongoing in Missouri,” writes Jennifer Block at the Huffington Post. “Yes, abortion is still legal there. It’s not that situation (not today, anyway). This is about a woman’s right to choose a midwife.”

Woman Sues County Over Giving Birth in Jail: A Seattle-area mentally ill woman who was arrested for trespassing is suing correction officials for not providing medical attention for her pregnancy until after she gave birth in her cell, reports the Seattle-Post Intelligencer.

The incident took place 10 years ago; her lawyer said she has been receiving mental health treatment in the decade since and has “come a long way.” The comments on this story, however, demonstrate that the public understanding still has a long way to go.

Eating Sushi While Pregnant: Writing in The New York Times, Steven A. Shaw, author of “Turning the Tables on Asian Restaurants: The Insider’s Guide to Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean and Southeast Asian Dining,” argues that fears about eating raw fish while pregnant are unfounded.

No Threat Here: “I remember hearing [former GOP Sen. Rick] Santorum ranting about how homosexual marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. I could be wrong, but I think heterosexual marriage is threatened more by heterosexuals. I don’t know why gay marriage challenges my marriage in any way” — Elizabeth Edwards talks with Salon.

Newsflash: Sen. Hillary Clinton Has Breasts: Two of ’em! Thanks, Katha.

India Selects First Female President: Emily Wax writes in the Washington Post that the vote was “seen as a step forward for hundreds of millions of Indian women and girls who face bitter discrimination in everyday life. The position is largely ceremonial. But observers said the selection of Pratibha Patil, 72, in a vote by the national Parliament and state politicians, will widen the role of women in the country’s often male-dominated political scene.”

Patil also gets to be head of her family.

Empowered Female Characters on TV: Add to this round-up of representations of women on television Lisa de Moreas’ hilarious report from the Summer TV Press Tour about feminist-torch bearer Joseph McGinty Nichol. “McG,” as he is known, is behind the reality TV series “Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll” and the new NBC dramedy “Chuck.”

The first comment on the story pretty much sums it up: “[Joseph McGinty Nichol] seems to have just learned to say ’empowered women’ when he’s thinking ‘hot chicks.'”

Me thinks Nichol and restaurant owner Dennis Riese would make a great team.

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