Roundup: Obama has no love for "Obama Girl"

Plus: Is television empowering Indian women?


Tracy Clark-Flory
August 21, 2007 4:10AM (UTC)

Update: Butt-slapping boys not sex offenders. Remember the two 13-year-olds facing a lifetime labeled as sex offenders for allegedly spanking female classmates and, in one case, touching a girl's breasts? The charges of felony sex abuse facing the boys were reduced to charges of misdemeanor sex abuse. Those charges were ultimately dropped and now they face sexual harassment charges with a maximum penalty of a year in juvie.

Think of the children, Obama Girl! When the Associated Press asked Barack Obama for his thoughts on the YouTube hit "I Got a Crush ... On Obama," the presidential hopeful said: "Sasha [his 6-year-old daughter] asked Mommy about it. She said, 'Daddy already has a wife' or something like that ... I guess it's too much to ask, but you do wish people would think about what impact their actions have on kids and families."

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The revolution will be televised ... in India? Slate sums up the results of a new study finding that the arrival of cable television (namely, soap operas detailing the lives of independent, well-educated urban women) in remote Indian villages has had a positive impact on the way rural women view themselves and women's rights:

After a village got cable, women's preference for male children fell by 12 percentage points. The average number of situations in which women said that wife beating is acceptable fell by about 10 percent. And the authors' composite autonomy index jumped substantially, by an amount equivalent to the attitude difference associated with 5.5 years of additional education. ... [T]he authors also measured the women's average number of births and the likelihood that their children were enrolled in school. When cable came to town, boys' rates of school attendance stayed the same, while girls between the ages of 6 and 10 were 8 percent more likely to go to school. The effects on fertility were even more dramatic: For women under the age of 35, average number of births fell annually by more than half.

Could self-silencing kill you (and your marriage)? Researchers followed 3,682 married men and women for 10 years and found that "women who self-silenced were four times more likely to die than women who expressed themselves freely during marital arguments." They were also at a greater risk for depression and irritable bowel syndrome. However, husbands with wives who came home and moped about their jobs were 2.7 times time more likely to develop heart disease than men with wives who were content with their work. Though the study's lead researcher cautions (so commendably) against drawing conclusions before the findings are backed up by other research.

She heard that hole-in-one! On Sunday, Sheila Drummond is believed to be the first completely blind woman to score a hole-in-one, according to the United States Blind Golfers Association. She said: "They were saying, 'It's a great shot,' and then I heard it hit the pin."

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Here's a charming lead-in to coverage of an Indian sex survey: "Indian men are far smarter than women, at least when it comes to sex," reports the Times of India. Much later in the article, that banter -- inspired by the finding that Indian men are more knowledgeable about safe sex practices -- is followed by mention that, oh, by the way, almost 28 percent of women reported being the victim of marital rape -- that's three times the rate reported by men.


Tracy Clark-Flory

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