Sunday, January 27, 2013

Links of Note

Four and a half weeks into the new year, we've clearly skipped over some major happenings. Rather than trying to catch up on political buffoonery and Hillary Clinton's awesomeness, I'm going to share a list of some interesting links.

First up, Slate has an article about Google's maternity leave and how the company increased it to 5 months paid leave, a measure that saved costs on training new employees by encouraging mothers to stay on at the company, while also increasing employee happiness. As the article points out, not all employers face the types of decisions Google does, so their policies won't work in every case. But it stands to reason that if increased maternity leave is helping out one business, there are probably similar businesses that would also see less turnover and increased job satisfaction in female employees if they followed suit.

Next up a fun article about the history of high heels - and why men originated and then abandoned the fashion. That's right, men wore high heels long before women did. This is why feminists insist on distinguishing between biological sex and the cultural expectations that become associated with sex (a category which feminists call 'gender'). Because even basic ideas like lace, tights, and high heels looking feminine are based in culture, not biology.

Also, the UK apparently has a bill on same-sex marriage that will be voted on in February.

This week we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which coincided with President Obama's inauguration. Racialicious has some interesting commentary on the inauguration, as well as a response to the efforts of some gun lobbyists to claim MLK as posthumous support for their cause. 

And, if you're interested in Mormon discussions, Margaret Young wrote an article on Patheos that discusses Joseph Smith's stance on slavery and race, as well as how Brigham Young's very different stand took things in the church down a different path. Those unfamiliar with Mormon history often think that Brigham Young was the founding prophet, since he led the early church to Utah. In reality, the founding (restoring, we would say at church) prophet was Joseph Smith. While Smith's stance on slavery changed throughout his lifetime, his views appear to have evolved to a very progressive stance by the time he was martyred.

James Goldberg has also written some recent posts attempting to examine gender in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (official name for the Mormon Church) in a new paradigm. In his first post, James discussed the kinds of close relationships boys, girls, women, and men are able to develop within and between groups. In a follow-up post, he responded to some of the comments on the first post, with recommendations for ways that local congregations can make positive changes toward greater gender equality.

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