The XX Factor

A Thanksgiving Guide to Talking to Your Relatives About Women’s Issues in the News

Be prepared.  

Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Affirmative consent, Bill Cosby, feminism—when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, women’s-issues-in-the-news are bound to be on the table. Here’s a guide to talking about some of the stickier gender issues that might come up this holiday season to help get you through.  

Bill Cosby rape accusations

“If all this happened so long ago, why is it only coming out now?” 

Actually, several of these accusations have been out for many years. A comedian named Hannibal Buress recently made pointed jokes about how Cosby is a hypocrite because he lectures everyone else on family values while all these women are accusing him, credibly, of rape, which led to the old accusations bubbling up in the news again, which led to other women coming forward, because there is safety in numbers.


Who is Hannibal Buress?

After dinner, let’s watch Broad City on Hulu and I’ll show you. 

All these women are just out for attention and money!

Hmm. Many of the accusers have never sued Cosby and 13 of them actually offered to testify for one woman who did sue, even though there was no financial gain possible in testifying for someone else.  


What’s all this about some scientist’s shirt on TV?

[Pulls out phone] Matt Taylor of the Rosetta Project wore this shirt during a TV interview. Some people noted that, with so few women in science and engineering fields, perhaps that was not the most appropriate shirt for the male scientist in the spotlight to wear at that time.


Feminists! They can’t even let guys wear cool shirts!

The day women can go to work dressed like the women on Taylor’s shirt is the day I’ll be cool with that shirt! [Ed note: Don’t worry, no one will know you cribbed that line from the blogger Heina Dadabhoy.]

I’d be fine with the girls at my office dressing like the girls on that shirt.

Yep, good point.

Campus rape  


What is this “yes means yes” business? Students now have to get consent to kiss each other?

Well, Uncle Fred, the affirmative consent law in California defines consent as verbal or non-verbal. I don’t really see the problem in policies that say you should only kiss people who want you to kiss them. It’s the same idea as only going into someone’s house only if they invite you in.


Why don’t the girls just go to the police? Why does the university have anything to do with investigating and punishing a crime like rape?

In a lot of cases, girls do go to the police. Just like with underage drinking or drug dealing, just because it’s a crime doesn’t mean that the school can’t also decide if they want to kick you out for doing it.



It sure seems like women have a lot of power these days! 

Then why are all the moms and aunts in the kitchen right now while you’re watching football on the couch? But seriously: Women still only make 78 cents to a man’s dollar and hold fewer than a quarter of seats in Congress.

I hear Time is going to ban the word “feminist.”

No. Time does not have the power to ban words. Time is terrible, and thought it would get a lot of traffic by taking a swipe at how trendy feminism has become. Then a lot of people made fun of them.

Blah blah blah political correctness run amuck blah blah blah country is going to hell

Pass the stuffing, please!

Heina Dadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy