Forbes "100 Websites by Women" - erasure of non-white, cisgendered, able-bodied women.


On June 23, Forbes released a list of the "Top 100 Websites for Women".  Of the 100 websites, only one is authored by a woman of color. The list is overwhelmingly white and privileged, disregarding a number of helpful sites for a diverse array of women.

As Renee and the commenters to her post point out - only 1 site by a woman of color - Bizzie Mommy (and only two more if you count sites with multiple authors, some of which are diverse) was included in Forbes' list of 100.

Renee's post and the comments are creating a list of sites that should have been included, to supplement Forbes' list and give you a more inclusive look into relevant women created and run sites!  

A list of all the sites they mentioned as of this moment, as well as 2 of my own suggestions at the end, provides over 40 websites Forbes could have considered, including: 

Consider tweeting them (@ForbesWoman) a link to this blog and asking why they labeled a list "Top Websites for Women" but ignored websites relevant to non-white, cisgendered, able-bodied women, effectively erasing these women as irrelevant. Moments after reading Renee's post, Forbes re-tweeted their list of "Top 100 Websites for Women" -

and I was sure to respond, questioning its exclusivity. We'll see if they respond!

I will most certainly be tweeting this blog to them next!

Attempted Rape Law - "honest" (but unreasonable) belief she consented = not guilty. *TRIGGER WARNING*


In taking a practice multiple choice test for the bar exam, I came across yet another entirely frustrating question about rape law that I yet again got wrong because I'm obviously biased.

Trigger warning is for the following hypo - mild, but still recounts an attempted rape.

A defendant was charged with attempted rape of a victim. The crime allegedly occurred at a party at the defendant's home. During the party, the defendant invited the victim into his bedroom to show her his tattoos. When she entered his bedroom, the defendant ripped off her blouse and threw her onto his bed. He then jumped on the victim and tried to pull off her skirt. When the victim began to scream, some of the guests rushed into the bedroom and pulled the defendant off the victim. At trial, the defendant testified that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with the victim but he believed that she was consenting. The defendant further testified that he had consumed a pint of whiskey earlier in the evening and was intoxicated at the time the incident occurred.

If the jury believes that the victim did not consent but also believes that the defendant, in his intoxicated state, honestly believes that she was consenting, the defendant should be found:

  1. guilty, because consent is determined by the objective manifestations of the victim and not the subjective beliefs of the defendant.
  2. guilty, because voluntary intoxication is no defense.
  3. not guilty, because he honestly believed that she was consenting.
  4. not guilty because his belief that she was consenting was reasonable.

The correct answer is (3), not guilty because he honestly believed that she was consenting. The part that really grates on me is the fact that his honest belief need not be reasonable in order to serve as a full and complete defense for his actions. I understand that the penalty for an attempted and failed action should be lesser (albeit by varying degrees to fit the crime) than the successful attempt - but this still really irritates me. His "honest" belief was 100% unreasonable, and yet, since it was honest, he's not guilty of attempted rape (but probably still guilty of a battery or assault charge).

The justification for the answer:
"Voluntary intoxication may be a valid defense for a specific intent crime if it negates the requisite mental state. Attempt is a specific intent crime. Choice (3) is correct because if the jury believes that the defendant thought the victim consented, then they cannot find that he had the requisite mens rea. Choice (2) is wrong because it is a true statement of law for general intent crimes, but not specific intent. If the defendant were charged with the crime of rape, then choice (2) would be correct because intoxication is not a valid defense for the "general-intent" crime of rape. Choice (1) is wrong because defendant's guilt of the attempt crime does turn on his subjective belief. Choice (4) is incorrect because reasonableness is irrelevant here."

Female sports announcers on the sidelines rarely invited to the Commentators' Box

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After Game 7 of the NBA finals ended in a Lakers win last night, a woman approached Kobe Bryant with a microphone, and I was pleasantly surprised to see her.  It also got me to thinking, how many women are actually sportscasters? Are women ever sports commentators?  The answer is that less than a handful of women have been play by play commentators for big ticket male sporting events (which are the marker here, since women's sports got a whopping 1.6% of televised sports airtime last year according to a USC study of News and Highlights shows from 1989-2009).

Men alone fill the commentator box for every past Superbowl, the leading roles announcing the NCAA basketball Final Four, the Masters golf championship, the World Series, the NBA championships, and NASCAR races. During the Olympics last summer, NBC had only one female play-by-play announcer (Andrea Joyce), and she covered rhythmic gymnastics, a sport in which men do not compete.

Less than a handful of women have made their way into the booth for play by play commentary of men's sports:
  1. In 2000, Pam Ward announced three college games for ESPN and now announces Big Ten games.
  2. Doris Burke has announced men's and women's basketball games for ESPN.
  3. Beth Mowins has announced women's basketball games for ESPN.
  4. Gayle Sierens called a Chiefs-Seahawks game for NBC at the end of the 1987 season, but declined NBC's offers to announce others.  No other women have been made such offers since.
    Upsetting enough, these women sportscasters, while opening doors for women in the field, have been largely relegated to sideline reporting, leaving the play by play reporting for the men.  The box for commentators is largely reserved for men - because men know more about sports, women are annoying, women's vocal inflection make them inadequate ...  These all sound like they apply to a number of male commentators as well, besides the "women's voices are annoying" argument, which doesn't even warrant a response.

    I can say that at least one of the commentators for Game 7 of the NBA finals last night fit into some of those categories.  I can't tell who was talking (only commentator I would recognize is the late Chick Hearn), but the commentators were Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy.  And the commentary was of about this general quality:
    "That wasn't a foul . . . was that a foul?"  
    The other two commentators continue to talk, we see the replay, the referee calls the foul, and the guy is back to say "It was a foul..." in a confused tone of voice.
    It was not very deep commentary, beyond announcing and confirming his own confusion on what it is to play basketball.  Also, early in the game he discussed how this was shaping up to be one of the most poorly played games, then later said this was the "best we'd ever see the Lakers play".  While the Lakers defense may have been up to par, Bryant, Gasol and Artest had some pretty low shooting percentages (somewhere around 25%) - hardly "the best" any of us have ever seen the team play.  

    If the content of the comments are potentially awful regardless of the commentator's gender - I'd love to watch more of these games with a woman's voice commenting in the background!  

    While women are invisible on the commentating stage, women make up a large number of sports fans and viewers, a large enough number that corporations are targeting at least some of their advertisements directly at women.  Last years numbers from She-conomy:
    • 47.2 % of major league soccer fans are women, 
    • 46.5% of MLB fans are women
    • 43.2% of NFL fans are women
    • 40.8% of fans at NHL games are women
    • 37% of NBA fans are women
    • Women comprise about one-third (34%) of the adult audience for ESPN sport event programs

    As such a large portion of the audience, we should hear about the sports from a woman's mouth and perspective, and as such a large percentage of viewers we should be able to exert pressure on the networks to make it happen!  If you hear a female commentator you like, write your network and thank them!  Better yet, even if you don't, write the networks and request more female commentators!

    A few of the female sportscasters, commentators and analysts who've forged a path in sports journalism:
    1. Gayle Gardner - ESPN 
    2. Andrea Kremer - ESPN
    3. Robin Roberts - ESPN, ABC
    4. Leslie Visser - CBS, ESPN, ABC
    5. Hannah Storm - NBC, CNN
    6. Linda Cohn - ESPN
    7. Helene Elliot
    8. Nancy Lieberman, ESPN
    9. Lisa Salters, ESPN, ABC
    10. Pam Oliver, ESPN, Fox, TNT
    11. Suzy Kolber, ESPN, Fox Sports
    12. Lisa Leslie, ESPN, ABC7
    13. Michele Tafoya, CBS, ESPN, ABC
    14. Lindsay Czarniak, NBC, TNT
    15. Amy Taylor, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
    16. Jacki Oatley, BBC Sport
    17. Clare Balding, BBC Sport
    18. Sue Barker, BBC Sport
    19. Gabby Logan, Sky Sports, BBC Sport, BBC Radio
    20. Tracy Austin, USA Network, BBC
    21. Mary Carillo, USA Network, ESPN, PBS, CBS, HBO, NBC, Bravo 

    Wikipedia Page on Women Sports Announcers (109 women):

    Update: Kolakowski Finished First and prepares for Runoff Election and other women/LGBT wins


    Transgender judicial candidate Victoria Kolakowski came in first in her historic bid for a seat on the Alameda County Superior Court in Tuesday's primary. She now advances to a fall runoff election and is one step closer to being the first out transgender person elected as a trial court judge in the country's history.

    In similar news, other women, openly LGBT and pro-LGBT candidates won their elections.

    • Out lesbian Linda Colfax won her bid for her seat on San Francisco County's Superior Court.
    • Openly gay Michael Nava forced Judge Richard Ulmer into a runoff race this fall for his seat. 
    • Senator Blanche Lincoln won a runoff against Lietuenant Governor Bill hall for the Arkansas Democratic Senate nomination.  
    • eBay CEO Meg Whitman beat Steve Poisner for the California Republican Nomination for Governor candidate to campaign against CA Attorney Jerry Brown for the spot during November elections.
    • Carly Fiorina, ex-CEO of Hewlett-Packard, won the Republican Nomination to campaign against incumbent Barbara Boxer for the US Senate seat.  
    • Nikki Haley fell just short of 50 percent in the race for South Carolina Governor, against three more experienced (male) politicians.  She faces a June 22 Runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett.
    • Assemblywoman Sharron Angle bested Sue Lowden for the GOP Senate race to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada in November.
    • California Rep. Jane Harman (Democrat) maintained her early lead and beat out peace activist Marcy Winograd.
    • Betsy Butler (Equality California Institute Board Member) won the Democratic bid for CA State Assembly
    • Mike Gatto overcame an ad attacking his support for same sex marriage to also win a bid for California State Assembly.
    • Karen Bass (Former Assembly Speaker in CA) won over 85% of the votes in her bid to succeed Rep. Diane Watson in the 33rd Congressional District.
    • Holly Mitchell won over 43% of the vote to fill Bass' CA State Assembly seat vacated in the 47th District.  She'll be on the ballot in November with Republican Lady Cage and Libertarian Sean P. McGrary.
    Looking forward to the campaigning for the November 2010 elections!

    Victoria Kolakowski - Potential First Trans Woman in Trial Court position in US


    "When Bay Area attorney Victoria Kolakowski applied to take the bar exam in Louisiana in the late 1980s, her initial application was rejected on the basis that she was "not of sound mind."
    Victoria Kolakowski is an out lesbian, transgendered woman who has been practicing law for over 20 years. If she is chosen over her to opponents, Kolakowski would be the first openly LGBT person elected countywide and the first transgender trial court judge in the United States.  According to the Victory Fund, there is a total of 12 elected and appointed openly transgender public officials in the United States.  And, while much higher, still a small number of openly lesbian elected and appointed public officials at 243.

    Kolakowski is currently an Administrative Law Judge for Alameda County, a position she's held since January 2007.  She's been an attorney since the 80s, and has a long history working on behalf of LGBT civil rights.  She's a founding member and officer of Equality California, and a board member of San Francisco's Transgender Law Center.  While judicial elections and appointments should have nothing to do with politics - her campaign is historic and worthy of attention.  

    While her judicial run is historic, it may be encumbered by the recent attacks on her allegedly illegal use of RoboCall messages to reach out to voters.  Robocalls (recorded messages made by machines to mass amounts of phone numbers) are illegal in California, and have been for years.  While the law is difficult to (and thus rarely) enforce, Thomas Hawk has taken a very active interest in enlisting assistance in bringing her down for being "unethical" and has enlisted The National Political Do Not Call Registry, as well as contacted various public officials and her two opponents to inform them of her use of these robocalls.

    Kolakowski's response to the complaints was that her calls are placed from a phone number in Colorado, so they are not governed by the California law.  She then emphasizes the information-spreading merits of these sorts of calls.  Her open admission to circumventing law (especially one her position as Administrative Law Judge directly reviews) may prove to effectively stall her campaign's momentum if people like Hawk are able to gain more momentum in their attack.  However, her "circumvention" of the law is neither illegal nor unethical.  California's Public Utilities Code only covers California Public Utilities; one clause even uses the phrase "in this state" (2872(c)).  Thus, it has no legal bearing outside the state of California.

    If you are interested in learning more about her campaign, or volunteering to support her campaign, click the links!  The current election (to fill a vacant seat) is this Tuesday, June 8 2010, and the general election is November 2, 2010.