Sexism at The Nation

Why did I have to go and read The Nation in the midst of my vacation? Because I’m a sucker for punishment, that’s why.

The magazine decided that yet another uninformed piece on the idiots from the Pussy Riot band was in order. The article contains the following egregious statement : “Even though two of the women are mothers of small children, they are being held in detention.”

Words fail me to describe the anger I feel when a supposedly progressive periodical exhibits the rampant sexism of presenting women who have children (and who have not been deterred from criminal behavior by that fact, mind you) as more valuable than women with no children and men.

10 thoughts on “Sexism at The Nation

  1. Also, if the Pussy Riot people didn’t worry about their offspring I don’t see why anyone else should. And it’s also quite brazen of the Nation writer to expect us to join in on the manipulating of these children as objects.


  2. I have never seen a plea to free men because they are fathers. It would be just as funny as the sentence you quoted, Clarissa.
    I mean, really. When you willingly break the law you should be prepared to face the consequences (if you can dish it out then you can take it).


    1. Why don’t we just let everybody who is a parent out of jail. And then maybe grandparents as well. And siblings. And aunts and uncles. Wewill really unburden our penitentiary system this way!


      1. That would be great ! I mean, think about how doing that would improve our safety ! Our lives would be so much more exciting 😉
        And think about how much money every state would save this way, hehe.


    2. I have never seen a plea to free men because they are fathers.
      Oh but if that did happen you would surely hear about it. And it would be held up as male privilege as well. I wonder if this is female privilege.


      1. Of course, it is. This is a perfect example of why we should stop discussing male privilege and start discussing how the patriarchy rewards traditional gender roles.


  3. Ok, very briefly, (I’m neck deep in revision and have no intention of tracking down the nation article because from the excerpt, it would likely be bad for my already all too high blood pressure!), being a parent/carer is a matter for consideration when sentencing in the UK. It is NOT a plea against conviction but magistrates and judges may take it into account when considering sentencing for an offence which carries custodial or non-custodial penalties – it is of course irrelevant when considering those sentences which are automatic custody. The reason it’s considered is that with a low level offender, taking the parent into custody is frequently very much more expensive and produces a greater bill on state resources, not to mention the human rights impact upon the children, who are the innocent parties in this. For a sentence which might be very short, say three weeks if in custody, there are massive costs to social services in relation to taking care of the children, and pilot studies have shown that those costs continue to mount up even post the parental release. It is not a get out of jail free card (as the Daily Fail would have it) nor is it liberal wishy washy sympathy – it’s a very pragmatic cost-benefit analysis.


    1. I don’t see why social services have to get involved at all here. These children have fathers and, I’m sure, a host of other relatives, too. These are not poor single mothers who stole a loaf of bread to avoid starving. These are women who live very comfortably and are now improving their earning potential with a lot of free PR. The idea that the children will suffer horribly if they are deprived of the company of such mothers and stay with their fathers instead is incomprehensible to me.


      1. In the specific instance, I’m sure you’re right (and I’m still not going to read the stupid article!). For some reason I had the impression from your post that you thought it shouldn’t ever be considered at all and I wanted to explain how it works in practice. Incidentally, where it’s raised for consideration in this country, it is just for consideration. The probation service will do what’s called a pre-sentence report, which is used to confirm/reject what ever the defendant has raised in terms of pleadings regarding disposition.

        And contrary to what Danny thinks above, men can and do raise it and it will be considered. For instance, last time I was at the mags, I sat in on a case where an ankle tag, alcohol rehab, a fine and a curfew were imposed rather than a custodial sentence due to the male defendant being the sole carer for his elderly father. Another involved a separated father who was supporting his disabled ex and three kids; he was tagged, so that he wouldn’t lose his job,and required to complete an unpaid work programme. A third involved a female defendant who was given custody despite being a lone parent, due to breach of a previous suspended sentence.
        I suspect it does, to some extent tend to be more likely to be held a relevant consideration for female defendants than male; but there are more lone female parents without support networks than there are male. That gender bias isn’t something that can be fixed on the sentencing end though – the root cause needs addressing.


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