February 16

Extreme Biology

Saturday’s Big Idea

The Rules of Power

Does America have a culture of rape?

Today's lesson argues that the problematic gender relations and gender norms that foster violence against women are the very same influences that condition jurors, judges, lawmakers and observers to perceive this violence against women as normal.

For instance, consider any situation wherein one person attacks another: as soon as the assailant is identified as male and the victim as female, we are conditioned to normalize the masculine aggression (even as we frown upon it) and identify faults of the woman’s character that may have led her to this fate.

And yet, addressing the issue of gender-differentiated treatment by the law is complicated. We must strike a balance between our obligation to litigate within our far-from-perfect reality and our obligation to foster social progress. When we give priority to the latter, under the pretense that our judicial system can handle these cases in a gender-neutral way, we fail to uphold either of these obligations.

  1. 1 Misogyny and the Law: Confronting...
  2. 2 How Sexual Violence Disempowers W...
  3. 3 Empowering Women: Feminist Activi...
  4. 4 A History of Violence
   
  1. Misogyny and the Law: Confronting America’s Rape Culture

    Misogyny and the Law: Confronting America’s Rape Culture

    Rather than admiring from afar the protesters in India, and congratulating the national leaders who have begun to address sexual violence in the U.S. military, we need to confront the broader problem of misogyny in American legal culture.

    Read More…
  2. How Sexual Violence Disempowers Women and Cripples Society

    How Sexual Violence Disempowers Women and Cripples Society

    In the Congo, widespread rape has created conditions for women where there is “no joy, no love, no concept of what we would think was a dignified life.”

    Read More…
  3. Empowering Women: Feminist Activist Gloria Feldt (taped) LIVE on Big Think

    Empowering Women: Feminist Activist Gloria Feldt (taped) LIVE on Big Think

    Gloria Feldt is the former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power.

    Read More…
  4. A History of Violence

    A History of Violence

    There are circumstances where violence is unavoidable, says author Andre Dubus III, but it always takes a heavy spiritual toll.

    Read More…