Federal Judges Strikes Age Restrictions for Plan B Over the Counter

Judge Korman stated in his opinion that the FDA’s refusal to lift restrictions was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.” “More than 12 years have passed since the citizen petition was filed and 8 years since this lawsuit commenced,” the judge wrote. “The F.D.A. has engaged in intolerable delays in processing the petition. Indeed, it could accurately be described as an administrative agency filibuster.”

Would I be correct in assuming that children of any age can go into a store and buy, say, Ibuprofen over the counter? If so, this seems like a big "duh".

Three Girls, Aged 5, 9, and 11, Raped and Murdered in India

The three girls, who lived with their mother in Lakhni village in Maharashtra state, disappeared on 14 February, on their way home from school. Their widowed mother is a poor labourer, and when the grandfather went to the police to report their disappearance there was no attempt to search for them.

The police found the bodies of the three girls in an old well two days later, and recorded the deaths as “accidental”. But it was only after people from the village blocked a national highway on Wednesday in protest against the police inaction that the state home minister finally took notice.

A few protests over a single gang rape aren’t going to change centuries of patriarchy for India; they’d better be in it for the long haul.

Let's Not Panic Over Women With More Education Having Fewer Kids

Philip Cohen feeds my voracious appetite for data with a series of charts showing that educated women are actually having more children than they used to, while less-educated women are having fewer. Here’s why this matters:

The general relationship between the number of children women have and their relative status in society is clear: Fewer children means higher status. And the relationship is reciprocal: Higher status for women also leads to lower fertility.

Further, the relationship appears at both the individual level and the societal level. Countries with lower fertility levels have, on average, less gender inequality in the realms of education, income, political and social power.

If you like to make decisions or form opinions based on numbers, you really must read this.

Hasbro Announces Gender-Neutral Easy Bake Oven

Remember the girl who petitioned Hasbro to stop making unnecessarily gendered Easy Bake Ovens? Looks like she succeeded:

Hasbro invited McKenna and her family to its Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters to meet with its Easy-Bake team, during which she was shown a prototype of an Easy-Bake oven in black, silver and blue.

Hasbro has been working on the new color scheme and design for about 18 months, said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer.

McKenna said the company is doing everything McKenna asked, including putting boys in the ads.

Hurray for Feminism!

Suzanne Venker Wants a Truce

The author of Fox News’ terrible “War on Men” piece wants you all to know that she didn’t really mean to be gender-essentialist. Her new article, “Let’s Call a Truce in the War on Men” (title case added, because—despite my maleness—I am not some kind of barbarian) clarifies what she was really trying to say:

Here’s what we know: Females, in general, are nurturing and relational beings. They like to gather and nest and take care of people. They like to commiserate with other females—a lot. That’s why girls can talk for hours on end. It’s why more women stay home with their children than men. It’s why the teaching and caregiving professions are still heavily female. Not every single woman in the world falls into this category, but that doesn’t make the generalization any less true.

Males, on the other hand—in general—are loners. They’re content to mill about in their man caves. They like to hunt. They like to build things and kill things. If you don’t have a son, this may sound strange. But again, that doesn’t make it untrue—nor does the fact that not every single man in the world is like this. Men also take pride in caring for their families. They can’t carry babies or nurse them, but they can provide for them. So let them.

See? Not gender essentialism at all.

Venker also wants to be sure you realize she was not telling all you ladies you have to stay home cooking and cleaning and cranking out babies; she just thinks you should de-emphasize career a little.

Just because you make your own money doesn’t mean your guy can’t pay the bill. Just because you value independence doesn’t mean you can’t take your husband’s last name. Just because you can do the same job a man can do doesn’t mean you need to let him know it.

Surrendering to your femininity means many things. It means letting your man be the man despite the fact that you’ve proved you’re his equal. It means recognizing the fact that you may very well want to stay home with your babies—and that that’s normal. It means if you do work outside the home, you don’t use your work to play tit-for-tat in your marriage.

So in this case, de-emphasizing your career just means pretending you don’t have one even though you do. Also, consider not having one but staying home and having babies instead.

Insidiously, those last couple paragraphs from Venker’s piece contain a number of quasi-truths. You shouldn’t necessarily be the one writing the checks to the utility company. You shouldn’t feel compelled to keep your last name if you get married. You shouldn’t rub it in if you have a better job or make more money than your boyfriend or husband. You shouldn’t feel compelled to keep working full-time if you would really rather have children and stay home with them. And you certainly shouldn’t foster a domestic relationship where you keep score against each other to see who wins the game of doing the most to keep the machine running.

Of course, Venker is actually implying that you should change your name, overtly or implicitly lie to your man about your career success to make him feel more “manly”, let him manage all the money, quit work or work less after you have children, and expect that if you do keep working your husband will not lift a finger to do any of that pesky “woman’s work” so you won’t turn into a crazy person.

I’d be much more cranky about this whole thing if it weren’t for one important realization:

The one calling for a truce is usually the one who’s losing.

They're Mostly Not Strangers

Mary-Rose MacColl tries to emphasize consent and appropriate touch over “stranger danger” when she teaches her son about sexual abuse:

We embarked on what has been an ongoing conversation with our son about his body, privacy and sexual abuse. He’s now ten. We’ve moved on to sexuality, pornography and other issues he will need to negotiate in the world he inherits. At first, my rule was going to be, ‘old enough to ask, old enough to know’, but now I see the folly of that. Until I started the conversation, he didn’t ask, but once I started, and he saw me as a non-judgemental and reliable source, the questions came pouring out. They pour out still.

One of my greatest fears about becoming a parent is that my children may see me as too much of an authority figure to come to me with their scary problems and questions.

Man Up the Easy Bake Oven

Eighth-grader McKenna Pope wanted to buy her 4-year-old brother an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas, because he loves to make cookies. But she found that Easy-Bake Ovens featuring exclusively girls in their advertising and come only in pink and purple:

“I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work… I want my brother to know that it’s not ‘wrong’ for him to want to be a chef.”

Pope started a petition on to persuade Hasbro to make a non-gendered version of the product. I signed it. If you’re on the fence about signing it, first watch the adorable video she made of her brother mixing cookie dough.

Teenage Girl Beheaded in Afghanistan By Would-Be Suitors

Her father thought she was too young to get married, so he turned down their marriage proposal.

The victim, named as Gisa, was decapitated with a knife in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province on Tuesday, local police said. She is believed to be around 15-years-old.

A police spokesman said two men, named as Sadeq and Massoud, had been arrested following the teenage girl’s murder.

At least an arrest has been made. Read the full article for plenty of additional information not only about this particular case but about the ongoing oppression of women in Afghanistan.

Merry Gender-Neutral Christmas!

To combat gender stereotyping of children, catalog publisher Top Toy has gender-swapped their newest Swedish publication, showing girls playing with guns and boys playing with dolls:

“With the new gender thinking, there is nothing that is right or wrong. It’s not a boy or a girl thing, it’s a toy for children,” Top Toy director of sales Jan Nyberg told TT news agency.

Personally, I enjoyed playing with my friend’s Barbies when I was little, but I think my mom objected to them on the grounds of crass commercialism and reinforcing negative body image.