The Joe Biden Moment: How Social Movements Can Capitalize on the Problems of Political Parties — Wicked Problems, Wicked Solutions

So far, the response has been mixed. Some Democrats have urged the party to come down “hard” on Biden, noting that this is the only way to get him to change his behavior. Others argue downplay Biden as “touchy-feely” and argue that Democrats should be careful and not take the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace “too far.” At the time of this writing, women’s rights groups have largely been silent on Biden’s behavior. However, it would not be surprising if some groups, particularly those lacking strong relationship with the Democratic Party machine, used Biden as a rally point to build their supporter base and fill their coffers in the near future.

via The Joe Biden Moment: How Social Movements Can Capitalize on the Problems of Political Parties — Wicked Problems, Wicked Solutions

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Sex and Love in the Digital Age — Wicked Problems, Wicked Solutions

The point here is that while America may be caught in a sex recession, there is reason to believe that digital technologies also deepen our connections – and we simply have not observed and named the phenomena yet. In a time where gender and gender relations are in flux, it is reasonable to expect that how we connect and relate to one another is shifting as well.

via Sex and Love in the Digital Age — Wicked Problems, Wicked Solutions

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There’s More to Women’s Political Participation than Voting

Check out my post for undergraduates on women’s political participation in the U.S. here on the Wicked Problems, Wicked Solutions blog.


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Constructing Narratives about the Political Fortunes of Women in 2018

Check out my post on the Mobilizing Ideas blog.

Mobilizing Ideas

By Deana A. Rohlinger, Ph.D.

Journalists and data junkies alike are gleefully dissecting the gender gap and what it potentially means for the mid-term elections generally and the political fortunes of women specifically. Number-cruncher extraordinaire, FiveThirtyEight, labelled the 2018 midterm election as “potentially record-breaking,” noting that women are poised to gain 100 Congressional seats this year. If they win, there will be 100 women in the House, and 24 in the Senate come January 2019.

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From the Washington Post.

Let’s put this figure into context. According to the Washington Post, there are 1,977 women in power across governorships, congressional seats, and state legislative seats. This means that 2,006 more women would need to win races for them to reach equal representation in political offices. There’s a long way to go before we see anything close to gender parity in American politics.

If we recognize that this yawning gender gap…

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Teacher Strikes: Why Now?

In February 2018, 34,000 West Virginia teachers went on strike and shut down every school in the state. The strike lasted nine days and ended when Governor Jim Justice committed to veto all the anti-union legislation and gave teachers a 5% pay raise. The governor also agreed that teachers could form a health care task force to help manage the costs of benefits. The West Virginia strike was just the beginning. Teachers are striking in Oklahoma and Kentucky – and Arizona teachers may join them on the picket line. On April 11, 2018, Arizona teachers staged a statewide “walk-in” before school demanding higher pay and more funding for public education.

Why are teachers striking now?

There are several reasons. First, the competition for funds is fierce and public school teachers are tired of dealing with the financial pinch in the classroom. That’s right. The wave of strikes is about more than teacher pay. Teachers are pushing back against dilapidated schools, outdated teaching materials, and four-day weeks – all of which are a result of reduced funds flowing into public schools.

Continue reading here.

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Galentine’s Day: What It Tells Us About Our Changing Society

This post first appeared on

Every February 13, my ladyfriends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas. – Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation


Galentine’s Day began as a fictional celebration in the popular sitcom, Parks and Recreation. In it, Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) celebrates the women in her life on February 13th with waffles and fizzy, alcoholic drinks. This “holiday,” however, quickly found feet in the real world. Female friends began sending one another messages on the 13th and sharing party ideas on Pinterest. February 13th, once commonly referred to as “Mistress Day” (the day married men celebrate with their mistresses), was reclaimed and rebranded.

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So why does Galentine’s Day matter? Because what we choose to celebrate tells us a lot about American society and how it’s changing. Here’s what Galentine’s Day tells us:

  • The importance of friendship in our society continues to grow. This makes a lot of sense. As the structure of families have continued to change (including an increase in the geographic distance among children, grandchildren and siblings), Americans have become more reliant on their friendship networks for emotional and physical support. This shift is evident not just in Galentine’s Day, but also the now popular Friendsgiving.


  • Women are rewriting gender scripts that cast females as constant competitors for, among other things, male attention. Girls are taught to be nice and to be good friends. They also learn that friendship has limits, and that they ultimately might be competitors for men, power, or occupational success. While Galentine’s Day doesn’t mean that competition – or its nasty side effects – are completely gone. It does offer a girls an alternative narrative; one that focuses on women’s empowerment and community.


  • Women are drawing on these communities to change popular understandings of appropriate male-female relationships. It is not a coincidence that the #MeToo hashtag found its feet during a political moment where women (globally) have been pushing back against a culture that trivializes sexual assault and abuse. Likewise, it is not a fluke that a record number of women are running for political office – everything from school board to Senate – in 2018. Women like Kelly Smith, who is running for county commission in Florida, see Galentine’s Day as a celebration of women’s solidarity, as an opportunity to “protest with love,” and a chance to turn the tide in women’s political favor.

Whether or not Galentine’s Day has staying power remains to be seen. In the end, it doesn’t matter much. Social change is already happening.

The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet. – Adrienne Rich

rohlinger pic2 Deana A. Rohlinger is a professor of Sociology. She studies social movements, mass media, and American politics. 

The featured image is from




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The Take A Knee Movement: A Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

Originally posted on the Wicked Problems, Wicked Solutions blog.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from Birmingham jail).

Today, we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his life in the fight against injustice. He, along with thousands of other Americans, used peaceful protest and civil disobedience in an effort to secure African-American’s equal access to the vote, education, work, transportation, and housing.

Dr. King may be gone, but the fight for equality rages on. In the 21st century, advocates of social justice fight against institutional racism, which refers to institutional practices that negatively affect a group of people based on their race or ethnicity. In the last several years, we have seen Americans push back against institutional racism in our criminal justice system.

Consider the following tables from Slate, which highlight racial inequalities in the American criminal justice system.

African-Americans are 3x as likely to have their cars searched by police.



Continue reading here.

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