E.J. Graff

E.J. Graff writes on social-justice and human-rights issues, particularly discrimination and violence against women and children; marriage and family policy; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives. She is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and the author of What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution (Beacon Press, 1999, 2004).

Recent Articles

Maybe, Just Maybe, America's Best Days Aren't Over

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I've been feeling pretty lousy about it. Like Rick Perlstein , I have felt pretty Eeyore-ish about the United States for about a decade. Osama won , I wrote last spring, with a jujitsu move that had the U.S. overreacting and morally bankrupting ourselves. But, instead, should I feel fine? This weekend, two chance encounters opened a window onto my gloom. One was Adam Gopnik's excellent book essay in this week's edition of The New Yorker . He provides an overview of the "decline and fall of civilization" genre of nonfiction, using several new books as a kick-off point. Somehow, reading this persuaded me that perhaps the U.S. isn't on the inexorable road to collapse. Please read it, if only for his takedown of Tom Friedman or his explanation that: Americans are perfectly willing to sacrifice their comforts for their ideological convictions. We don't have a better infrastructure or decent elementary education exactly because many people are...

To Anti-Choice Zealots, Abortion and Contraception Are the Same Thing

You may not have noticed, but if you ever use birth control you are a "battering ram" for a dangerously pagan society. The reproductive rights folks have long warned that the most profoundly committed "pro-life" advocates actually want to end legal contraception, rolling us back to the pre-Margaret Sanger days when selling condoms through the mail could land you in federal prison. That's true of the Catholic Church, of course, whose philosophy of sex grows from Augustine's belief that its only justification is making babies; sexual pleasure is a distraction from God. But Jeffrey T. Kuhner of the Edmund Burke Institute this summer made it clear that opposing abortion and contraception are the same thing: [L]iberals want to create a world without God and sexual permissiveness is their battering ram. Promoting widespread contraception is essential to forging a pagan society based on consequence-free sex. ... Contraception violates the natural moral order. It decouples sexual intercourse...

The "Mancession" Will End. Will the "Woman-cession"?

Before I get cranky, let me be sentimental: I loved Obama's speech last night. It was big. It was bold. It was inspiring. Here's the part I loved most: Where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn't had that chance? How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result? No single individual...

Where Are All the Techie Ladies?

As you probably know by now, there was a high-profile female firing this week. Nicholas Thompson at The New Yorker says Carol Bartz lost her Yahoo leadership fair and square, but adds a a wickedly smart sentence about how women are faring in high tech: Carol Bartz of Yahoo was fired on Tuesday, which means there are now officially no female C.E.O.s of major technology companies. The number of male A-listers in Silicon Valley who attended Montessori schools (Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon) is four times higher than the total number of female A-listers (Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook). That's good news for the boys in our local public Montessori school, but less well for women in the workplace.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Between Labor Day, Perry v. Romney, and Obama's speech tonight, this week we're all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Kate Dailey at the BBC News Magazine is right there with us, taking note of Jill Abramson's historic first day as executive editor of the New York Times. Dailey asks : What jobs still haven't been filled by women? Check out her list, which includes Secretary-General of the UN, Navy SEAL, governor of 23 U.S. states, and -- well, take a wild guess about which developed country is nearly the last to have a female chief executive.