Slipped through the cracks

Where have all the punk girls gone? Plus: British women ditch their heels, and do Democrats hate strong women?

By Jessica Roy

Published October 23, 2009 11:01PM (EDT)

This week, the themes of gender-bending, motherhood and race reigned supreme. We examined the decision of Moorehouse College to forbid cross-dressing, and debated the implications of a Mississippi school’s refusal to run a senior portrait of a female student in a tuxedo in their yearbook. We took a look at society's impact on parenting methods, and wrote about Republican moms campaigning to legalize marijuana. And we lauded Mattel for creating a new black Barbie while also arguing that the doll is far from perfect; and covered the uproar that occurred at a historically black college when a half-white, half-Southeast Asian woman won the school’s homecoming crown. Given this supply of weighty topics, it’s no surprise several stories slipped through the cracks. Here's your guide to what we missed.

Bloodlusting for Liz Cheney?

Washington Examiner columnist Noemie Emery took issue with some Democrats’ treatment of conservative activist Liz Cheney, arguing that her feminine looks and Republican views rile Democrats to exact vicious verbal attacks on her. As the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, many Democrats are eager to villainize her, but Emery believes that their problems with her extend beyond political ideology; she contends that Democrats are just as afraid of powerful women as their Republican counterparts. “That’s why Liz, and those like her, bring out the witch-hunting bloodlust in liberals,” Emery writes, “why 'gutsy' and 'tough' in a Hillary Clinton become 'savage' and 'rough' in a female conservative. They ought to get over this fear of strong women. It's what they told us to do.”

DNA Profiling Leading To Rape Justice

The New York Times reported on Monday that rape cases that have gone cold are being re-opened and heading to trial due to an innovative prosecution procedure. In order to skirt statute of limitations laws, prosecutors are indicting DNA profiles instead of suspects themselves, so that rapists can no longer go uncharged for their crimes after a certain amount of time has passed. “There is no reason for people to get away with rape because of the statute of limitations,” the paper quotes John Feinblatt, Mayor Bloomberg’s criminal justice coordinator, as saying. “They shouldn’t be able to hide behind it; they shouldn’t be able to race for time and get over the finish line and leave a victim without a case being solved.”

Punk Girls Gone Soft

In a post on British music magazine NME’s website this week, Rae Alexandra wondered what has become of all the fierce, feminist punk girls. Lamenting the fall of 90’s bands like Bikini Kill and Sonic Youth, she cites the rising popularity of soft-core porn sites like Suicide Girls as a defining reason for the degradation of the punk lifestyle. Though acknowledging that there are many reasons for the cultural shifts within the punk movement, Alexandra believes the Suicide Girls are one of the most prominent causes of its transition from outspoken, controversial movement to tattooed aesthetics. “It has fetishized punk rock girls to a degree probably never seen before,” writes Alexandra, “and taken all those bold, young potential musicians, writers and photographers and reduced them to a voiceless sea of breasts and body art.”

High Heels Be Damned

Yesterday in The Guardian, Linda Grant investigated the reasons for the dichotomy between the runway’s penchant for 6-inch heels and the masses’ devotion to flat, comfortable shoes. Despite magazines’ incessant chatter about fashionable but impractical footwear, Grant noticed that most women, regardless age or devotion to trend, are donning flats. It’s a relieving departure from the spiky heels models teeter on, as well as the painful lack of arch support ballet flats provide. The last sentence of her article speaks volumes about many women’s attitudes towards heels: “I like the look of beautiful shoes,” she writes, “but until the manufacturers start including a sedan chair and two attendants with each purchase, I shall wear ugly shoes.”

Jessica Roy

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