Monday, March 31, 2008

"The Greatest Silence"  

Last Friday, I made a post about the terrible rape crisis that is currently happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Wonderfully enough, on Tuesday, April 8th at 10PM, HBO will be airing "The Greatest Silence," a documentary about the daily suffering that women in the Congo have to undergo in being victims of rape and torture. It's great that this significant issue is finally getting the coverage it deserves. It's so important to raise awareness about this so that we can do everything in our power to stop it.
Additonally, Enough (a project to end genocide) is teaming up with HBO to organize screenings all over the country. You can visit their website for more information about how to host your own screening of "The Greatest Silence." I'm going to hold a viewing at my college in hopes that it will open people's eyes. Be sure to catch the documentary on HBO if you can't host your own screening!

Yahoo launches "woman-friendly" site  

"Shine" is a new site that has been launched by Yahoo to bring women information about parenting, sex and love, healthy living, food, career and money, entertainment, fashion, beauty, home life, and astrology. After exploring Shine for a little while, I did notice some positive aspects of it; promoting healthy living, exposing sexism and beauty pressures in our society, conducting interviews with famous women. Not so bad.

Well, despite these hits, Shine is certainly not without its misses. One article that caught my eye was entitled "Jessica Alba: What was she thinking...?" It features a photo of the pregnant Jessica Alba at the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards, sporting a beautiful green dress and holding a Nickelodeon award. The author of this article made a list of "thoughts" going through Alba's head, the last one being, "It's one thing to be a blimp, but do I actually have to hold one?"

Calling a pregnant woman a blimp. Nice. Please join the handful of other wonderful people who have left angry comments and voice your opinions on promoting these negative ideas on a supposed "woman-friendly" website.

Another aspect of Shine that I found particularly unacceptable is the fact that they bashed Maxim for their "Unsexiest Women" list, and commended The Phoenix for doing the same for males. I think that if Shine wants to survive as a website, exhibiting hypocrisy is a step in the wrong direction. I decided to take a look at this 100 Unsexiest Men list on The Phoenix. It is, to say the least, more than insulting.

The introduction to the list tries to outright abolish any concerns the reader might have of the list perpetuating shallow beauty pressures.

We’re not talking about mere un-handsomeness or bodily imperfection here. We’re not talking about bad-hair days or bad breath. No, compared with the characters we’re about to unleash on you, your average lump (or indeed, your average male Phoenix staffer) is a walking Michelangelo masterpiece. These are, for the most part, men whose behavior is so wretched, whose character is so flawed, that it transcends traditional definitions of attractiveness.

Now, it would have been wonderful if they had decided to stick to this an-ugly-personality-is-more-important-than-an-ugly-face mentality, but this is far from the case. I'll admit: on some parts of the list, they did employ this belief, such as when they bashed Mike Huckabee for equating homosexuality with bestiality, and reproached John Gibson for mocking Heath Ledger shortly after his death. But other parts of this list, like Yahoo's Shine, are dripping with hypocrisy. Tell me where the "unattractive personality" comes into play during their description of ESPN correspondant Tony Kornheiser:

"ESPN homunculus looks like a cocktail frank wetted and then dipped in an ice-cream-topping jar of pubes."

Or during their sexist attacks of Bruce Jenner:

"This one-time Olympian-decathlete gold medalist now sports a glistening, feminine visage that's made him the poster lady for bad plastic surgery. Put that on your Wheaties box."

Or maybe their unshallow mentality is to be found in them referring to both "Project Runway" star Christian Siriano and magic guru Criss Angel as a "trannies." Classy.

What about their articulate description of comedian Jeff Foxworthy?

"Smarter than a fifth grader? Nope. Uglier than Chewbacca? Uh, yup."

I particularly enjoyed them stating that Yahoo's Jerry Yang should "get his wang run over by a Communist tank."

Bottom line: this list is no better than Maxim's. And although this list may not be all bad, I don't agree with commending it. If you feel this way as well, please take some time to send feedback to

As for Shine? Well, I'm still deciding whether or not it truly is a "positive" site for women. The jury's still out.
Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ty Girlz: teaching gender stereotypes to children  

Has anyone ever heard of "Ty Girlz"? They were introduced to the market about a year ago, but I wasn't aware that they existed until recently. Made by the same company that makes Beanie Babies, Ty Girlz are stylish female dolls that come with codes to allow children to access a Ty Girlz website. The slogan for Ty Girlz is, "It's a Girlz World!" Not so bad, right? I thought so too until I explored exactly what this "Girlz World" entails.

Putting aside the fact that this website sports more glitter and pink sparkles than I have ever seen in my life, the Girlz World features four main activities that its inhabitants can partake in: games, chatting, decorating a house, and shopping. There is no option to sell products - only to buy them. In fact, there are absolutely no career opportunities in Girlz World. There are also no schools. Just a mall. You have the option to eat meals in between shopping sprees; the tour guide in Girlz World proudly states, "Remember: the healthier foods you eat, the more energy you'll have for fun things, like shopping!"

As for the games? One particular game that caught my eye was entitled "Makeup Mishap!" Other games involved playing dress-up and helping a girl get ready for a "big date."

Now, they do allow you to travel to other countries in "Girlz World," but once in these countries, you don't have the option to sightsee or take pictures. What do you do? You shop.

The dolls themselves are not much better. Their names are: Bubbly Britney, Totally Trish, Supercool Serena, Lucky Lindsay, Cute Candy, Pretty Patti, Classy Carla, Jammin' Jenna, Sizzlin' Sue, Dazzlin' Destiny, Lovely Lola, Punky Penny, Rockin' Ruby, Sassy Star, Cutie Cathy, Happy Hillary, Precious Paris, and Sweet Sammi.

What about a Brainy Betty? Or an Independent Isabel? Artistic Amy? Career-Woman Carrie?

They have short descriptions for all the dolls on the website. Out of 18 doll descriptions, only two mentioned school or work. But all 18 of them provided a description of the outfits the dolls wear. A sample:

"Lovely Lola is here to show you that blondes really do have more fun! She's decked out in a fluffy pink jacket with a white belly shirt undernearth, and we can't forget to mention her pink leggings and matching high heels!"

I wish more people would understand that this is why people think boys and girls are inherently different. The "differences" between men and women don't lie in genes - they come from gender stereotypes being pounded into the heads of children. From this Girlz World where shopping is a full-time job, to the fake tool kits and monster trucks that are marketed to little boys. Of course females are going to grow up to love shopping, and males are going to grow up to learn how to fix leaky sinks. It's all they know. Do we really want to teach our daughters this?

Sean Connery on slapping women  

This video is quite old, but I highly doubt that Connery's ideals have changed much since then.

Oh, I see! So it's only okay to slap women when they deserve it because they're just not listening to you. And just as long as it's never with a closed fist, it's completely justified. Well, thank you, Sean Connery, for using your power and influence to promote violence towards women.

(Special thanks to Jennifer for showing me this).
Saturday, March 29, 2008

Buffet of the Week  

There are so many stories I come across in the news that deserve attention that I can't possibly make individual posts about them all. So, here is a list of small samplings (a buffet, if you will) of recent events and news stories. Follow the links to read more, should something spark your interest. Enjoy and look for more "buffets" in the future.

  • Following up with my last post, the Transportation Security Administration responded to Mandi Hamlin's complaint about being forced to remove her nipple rings to board a plane.
  • Larry King was a gay eight-grader who was shot in the head because others did not like him wearing makeup and jewelry to school. His murder is prompting gay activists to call for better education about exercising respect and tolerance towards GLBT people.
  • Efforts have begun in Zimbabwe to increase female political involvement.
  • A frightening statistic: in Nigeria, 61% of new HIV/AIDS infections are found in women.
  • Muslim leaders are speaking out against the practice of forced marriage.
  • Rikki Rockett, drummer in the band Poison, has been accused of rape.
  • In India, a woman was accused of being a "witch" and was consequently tied to a tree and beaten by an angry mob.
  • A string of purse snatchings have been underway in California. The offenders are clearly targeting Asian women.
  • A new natural form of birth control has emerged that is receiving praise from both women and men.
  • Top ten craziest things John McCain has said while you weren't watching.
  • Chelsea Clinton states that she believes her mother would make a better president than her father.
  • Castro's daughter is promoting the acceptance of gay rights in Cuba.

Feel free to comment with your stories :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Woman forced to remove nipple rings before boarding plane  

I'm all for good solid airport security as a means to keep our nation safe, but this just goes way too far. Can someone explain to me why I have personally talked to people who were able to board planes with small pocketknives and lighters, but this woman is forced to remove her nipple rings? Mandi Hamlin was going through airport security, when a handheld metal detector started beeping in front of her chest. Mandi explained to security agents that she had both her nipples pierced, but they refused to let her board the flight. She got so desperate that she actually offered to show her nipple rings to a female agent, but they still refused. Mandi was not allowed to board the flight until she went behind a curtain to remove her nipple rings.

Crying, she removed the first one, a barbell, but had a difficult time with the second one, a ring. She told the agents. Their solution? They gave her a pair of pliers to pull out her nipple ring. Ouch. To top off Mandi's wonderful day: while taking out her nipple rings, she overheard security agents snickering about what happened to her. Mandi has now hired prominent feminist lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing Mandi in her attempts to receive an apology from the security agents and to have their civil rights office perform an investigation. The agency maintains that they performed the security check properly, but I don't know how that's possible when there were so many other options they could have explored before choosing so quickly to humiliate this woman. See the video below for more information, as well as Mandi performing a demonstration on a dummy of how she had to remove her piercings.

Rape epidemic in Congo  

This will most likely ruin your day. But it involves an extremely serious and important issue that we all need to understand. The Democratic Republic of Congo, for those of you who don't know, is currently involved in a civil war that is resulting in the devastation of its people. An unfortunate result of this war is an unstoppable rape crisis. Rebels are using rape as a tactic of war - a way to humiliate their enemies and exceed power over them. Since fighting broke out in 1998, hundreds of thousands of females have been brutally raped, most suffering irrevocable emotional and physical damage. From a terribly shocking article in Guardian Weekly:

"This is her, the rape victim." I raise my eyes and look at a Congolese woman in her 40s who is breastfeeding. Marie-Honorine, my colleague from the International Rescue Committee, a specialist in working with survivors of sexual violence, points to the Bambi-eyed 14-month-old girl at the woman’s breast and says: "No, that is the victim."

Three months ago she was raped, the mother tells us. Her small uterus was destroyed. She has undergone several operations, but is not yet "repaired."

Raped at fourteen months old. This isn't a rare occurrence. Every day, the bodies of women and girls are being ravaged. Many are left pregnant, or infected with HIV. Some women are shot in the genitals, resulting in serious damage that very few hospitals are equipped to repair. Some women are raped while pregnant, some are forced to become sex slaves. Several women have watched their family members get shot right in front of them for refusing succumb to the rebels' sexual demands. Moreover, many women refuse to tell anyone that they have been raped because of the negative social stigma surrounding it.

It's an appalling situation. I'm currently sponsoring a woman in the Republic of Congo through Women for Women International. Her name is Lucie, she's 18-years-old and has four children depending on her. She can't afford to send her children to school, and her home has no electricity or running water. The hardships these women undergo are endless. If you want to help, please visit Women for Women to look into donating money or sponsoring a woman in a war-devastated country. You can also visit the International Rescue Committee website to learn more about the situation in Congo, as well as find out ways you can help. Please do what you can.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sister Appreciation  

The main point of Appetite for Equal Rights is to keep all of you informed on current happenings that affect women and equality. However, once in awhile, I think it's necessary to stop and take a look back to appreciate all the women that have done amazing things, and are still doing amazing things, to benefit the world. Today in my Women, Performance, and Social Change class, we discussed two fantastic women whom I think deserve recognition, just so you all can realize how awesome they are.

The first woman is film director Julie Dash. With the release of her film, Daughters of the Dust, she was the first African American woman to have a full-length general theatrical release in the U.S. This film was also named a National Treasure; an honor that only about 400 other films share. She also directed another award-winning film, The Rosa Parks Story, among others. She uses her movies to communicate important messages about race, and about cultures that are often underrepresented. You can learn more about Julie Dash, as well as find out about her current projects, at her website.

The second woman is comedian and actress Margaret Cho. Through her comedy, as well as her book, "I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight," she utilizes the tool of story-telling to tackle issues such as race and body image. Most of her stories come from her days of starring in a sitcom in the 90s, entitled All-American Girl. She was a victim of severe pressure, both from her network, who told her to lose weight, which ultimately led to an eating disorder, and from her viewers, who either loved her or thought she was a disgrace to the Korean community. Despite all this, she pulled through and now she calls the shots in her career. Aside from being one of the most talented comedians I have ever seen, she is also an avid supporter of equality and respect for women and GLBT people. She embraces a type of feminism that does not put her in a specific box, but rather allows her to define her own kind of feminist theory. There's Liberal Feminism, Radical Feminism, Socialist Feminism, Post-Modernist Feminism, and then... there's Cho Feminism. She doesn't do what she thinks a feminist should do - but rather throws out ideas of what it means to be "PC" and finds her own ways to fight for equality and justice. Rock on, Margaret Cho.

Anyone else want to offer information on fabulous women (or men) who are under appreciated?

Another woman saved from death by stoning  

In Iran, if a woman committs adultery, she could be sentenced to be stoned to death. For those of you who don't know, stoning involves a group of people literally throwing stones at someone until they die. It's inhumane. Luckily, a group of activists have organized the Stop Stoning Forever campaign, which has successfully saved six people from death by stoning since 2006. Recently, Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, a woman convicted of adultery, was released from prison and saved from being stoned to death by this wonderful organization. The leader of the campaign commented:

"It was a rare ruling… I cannot tell how the commission came up with this decision… But you cannot deny the role of public opinion and domestic and international pressures."

If you would like to help deem stoning as an unacceptable form of punishment, click here to sign a petition, sponsored by Stop Stoning Forever.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fox News again confirms that they have zero credibility  

I found an extremely charming video from the very lovely and informative (sarcasm intended) Fox News. The video is about a recent photo that surfaced showing a pregnant man. Apparently, this is a transgendered man who received top surgery to remove the breasts, and got testosterone injections, but still has a uterus, and thus got pregnant. No one is too sure if this is real or not, but regardless of whether or not it's real, Fox News seriously needs to filter out the abundance of ignorance its correspondents display. In this video, top ignoramus Greg Gutfeld leads a rousing and extremely intelligent discussion regarding gender. Some notable quotes:

"How can a transgendered man expect us to treat him like a man if he's pregnant? You can't have your cake and eat it too."

"Why can't people choose a side and stick to it? Gender isn't a buffet lunch at Red Lobster."

And, there you have it. The complicated processes and struggles that transgendered people go through cleverly reduced to food metaphors. Thank you for clearing it up, Greg Gutfeld.

Greg also consulted with a guest on the show, a woman who I believe is named Janine. Greg asked her, "This person has no right to call himself a man, right?"

Janine replied that this person is definitely a woman, and she offered some of her expertise on the situation:

"If you're transgendered, that means your gender - your genitals - are trans."

Hmm. I'm going to take a wild guess that these people do not know the first thing about being transgendered. Someone desperately needs to give these clueless idiots a crash-course in the difference between "sex" and "gender." Listen up, children, because I'm only going to say this once: your gender does not have to match your genitals! Gender is what a person identifies as. Sorry Janine, but this man is, in fact, a man, because it is what he identifies himself as, and we should stop trying to impose our rigid gender stereotypes on him.

If anyone wants to send a corrective e-mail to Mr. and Ms. Close-Minded, you can send it to

Activists push to ban affirmative action  

Opponents of affirmative action are pushing to ban the practice in five states, initially inspired by citizens voting to cut affirmative action in Michigan. Advocates are hunting for signatures in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, while supporters of affirmative action are increasing efforts to keep the ban from passing. Ward Connerly is the nation's most prominent opponent of affirmative action:

Connerly contends that the success of Obama and Clinton shows that preferences are no longer necessary "to compensate for, quote, institutional racism and institutional sexism."

First of all, I find it incredibly shocking that Connerly is a black man and such an avid opposer of the advancement of his own people. Second of all, using Obama and Clinton as examples as to why there is "no more need to compensate for racism and sexism" is ridiculous. Yes, it's fantastic that our Democratic candidate is either going to be a black man or a woman, but you cannot honestly say that because of this, our work is done. Political candidates are no indication of the lack of minorities in universities OR the number of minorities being rejected from certain occupations. Just because we have a black man and a woman in the political spotlight does not mean that our problems are over!

If ANYTHING, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska need affirmative action desperately. Let's take a look at a few statistics, shall we?

Anyone see a problem here? I do.

People need to understand that affirmative action isn't about discrimination. It's about offering people the chances and opportunities that they deserve, but because racism is so ingrained in our society, they are often denied. It's an attempt to fix all the ways our country has fucked up in the past and it's a chance for us to be better than our ancestors. Why is this such a terrible thing?

To learn more about affirmative action, as well as learn about ways to get involved, visit

(Article excerpt from the Washington Post. Statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics).
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This is what a feminist looks like!  

Just found this great video put together by the Feminist Majority Foundation :)

V to the Tenth!  

As part of Take Action Tuesday, I want to tell you all about an amazing event. It does require money for airfare, so if you can't afford it, that's completely understandable. But if you can... I would highly recommend going. On Saturday, April 12th, in New Orleans, Louisiana, V-Day will be staging a huge event, including international performances of The Vagina Monologues, musical performances, and celebrity guests, such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson, Julia Stiles, Rosario Dawson, Faith Hill, Jessica Alba, and Salma Hayek. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to enjoy a spectacular show and meet activists from all over the globe. Tickets start at $25. Visit the V to the Tenth website to find out more information.

For those of you who can't get out to New Orleans, visit here to look up a local V-Day event. The Vagina Monologues is a wonderful show and a great way to raise money for stopping violence against women and other important causes. So, get involved!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Difficulties of being in an interracial relationship  

In this article, Heather Wood ponders interracial relationships, and to what degree people accept them today. She admits that we are improving, with the amount of interracial couples in the U.S. increasing from .07% in 1960 to 7% today, but she maintains that there is still too much social stigma around partners of different races.

Bob Jones University in South Carolina only dropped its ban on interracial dating in 2000; a year later 40 percent of voters objected when Alabama became the last state to remove a ban on interracial marriages from its constitution. So, yes, we've still got some work to do.

I agree. To me, just the fact that people still use the phrase "jungle fever" shows that we still have some work to do. People are too quick to settle - just because things have improved and people are more accepting than they were 40 years ago doesn't mean that we can sit back and say that our work is done. Heather Wood also talks about the lack of racially-mixed couples in mainstream movies and TV shows. Very true. No one can seriously argue that there isn't a lack of interracial couples in Hollywood. And on many films and shows that do feature interracial couples, the plot is often entirely about the repercussions of being in a "mixed" relationship.

However, many people maintain that race is only such a big issue because we make it a big issue. At the end of her piece, Wood explores some of these alternative views. Author Carine Fabius claims:

"The reason so many find it so hard to be in interracial relationships is because, in my opinion, there is still entirely too much emphasis on and preoccupation with race. Obviously, racism still exists, but everything isn't about race -- unless we continue to make it so."


It's never too late  

Woman has first art show at the age of 101.

I love when people inspire me to believe that it's never too late to make the most of your life.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Women forced into prostitution as a result of War in Iraq  

This is a horrific consequence of the War in Iraq that many people are not aware of. It has been estimated that as many as 50,000 women and girls, some as young as 13, turned to prostitution after fleeing to Syria due to Bush's invasion of Iraq. From

Facing starvation, as many as 50,000 women and girls have been forced into prostitution in Syria alone, according to Hana Ibrahim of the Women's Will Association.

"70 percent to 80 percent of the girls working this business in Damascus today are Iraqis," 23 year-old Abeer told the New York Times. "The rents here in Syria are too expensive for their families. If they go back to Iraq they'll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available."

Disgusting. I can't imagine the Bush administration giving two shits about this, however.

If you want to learn more about human trafficking, as well as find out ways to get involved to help put an end to it, you can visit the Global Fund for Women.
Saturday, March 22, 2008

Boys jump on the beauty bandwagon  

Andrea Bartz has written an interesting opinion piece, providing insight into the subject of men wearing makeup. She makes some great points, concluding:

And if feminism is really about equality, we can't hold certain lifestyle choices sacred to only our gender. Remember when men got all up in arms about women trading skirts for pants? Wearing makeup is a choice, sort of like working full-time or carrying a purse or watching pro-wrestling.

Exactly right. Feminism is about equality - and why shouldn't that extend to males? I think men have every right to wear makeup. Why should it be that society only allows females to cover up blemishes and highlight their cheekbones? If a man wants to wear makeup, he should wear it proudly, and I think he should be able to sport some CoverGirl (CoverBoy?) without people attacking his masculinity.

I have to wonder, however, if society accepting men wearing makeup is actually a positive thing. Because if there does come a day when a male can proudly display eyeliner without being called a goth or a metrosexual, men will also be exposed to all the beauty pressures and expectations that women currently suffer under. On one hand, it would allow males to finally fully understand how women feel in being constantly bombarded with images of "beauty," but on the other hand... if standards of beauty eventually extend to males, wouldn't that be a step backwards for us? Don't we aim to eliminate all these pressures, rather than subject more people to them? It's a tough subject. What do you all think?

Mentally disabled woman tortured incessantly  

This makes me sick.
Friday, March 21, 2008

Woman is the driving force behind protests in Egypt  

And so we add another brave and strong female to our "bad ass women" category.

In Egypt, Dr. Mona Mina has created quite a stir by organizing the group Doctors Without Rights. The underpaid doctors participated in a major protest, holding signs that said, "Two-hundred-and-thirty pounds a month is not enough to feed our families." Mina also called for a two-hour strike in hospitals across the county, but the nervous government, led by Hosni Mubarak, declared strikes illegal. From BBC:

After the stand-in ends, I ask her: "So, has the government won?" She looks at me as if I have just said something quite silly, shakes her head defiantly and says: "Look. They won the battle. The war goes on. We are not giving up."

In a country where women are not always encouraged to be independent and out-spoken, Dr. Mina has stood up for her rights and beliefs, and has inspired others to do the same as well.

The world's "unsexiest" woman...?  

Normally I try to keep "celebrity gossip" out of this blog, but I think this covers an important issue and is worthy of talking about. I found a video on about Sarah Jessica Parker's reaction to Maxim magazine (a magazine known for always promoting positive images of women, riiiiight?) naming her the world's unsexiest woman. Watch the video and take note of her (really great) response. Also, MAJOR respect points to Jennifer Love Hewitt for her positive comments on being deemed "unsexy" by the media.

Ugh. Just ugh. Excuse me, but WHO is Maxim magazine to tell her that she isn't sexy? Sarah's sexuality belongs to her, and no one else. She shouldn't have to worry about other people attacking it. I know that she's a celebrity and she's in the limelight and blah blah blah, but it still makes me sick that a magazine can try and take a major part of being a woman - her sexuality - and turn it into a mockery, making it an example of "what not to look like" for younger girls who look up to celebrities. And take a look at Jennifer Love Hewitt's case. She was wearing a bikini with a tiny bit of cellulite - something that an overwhelming majority of real women possess - and suddenly the media is calling her a fat pig. What kind of message does this send to younger girls? A terrible one.

Do me a favor, ladies. Please don't take all those celebrity gossip magazines seriously. I promise you that most people will not judge you like that. In the real world, you will not be rejected and deemed "unsexy" because you have a hint of cellulite. Your sexuality is yours, and no one else can take it away from you.
Thursday, March 20, 2008

British soldier has gender re-assignment surgery  

This is a video interview with a former British soldier who decided to receive gender re-assignment surgery to become a woman. I think it's great that this story is getting coverage because it can help everyone better understand people who are transgendered. However, I hope that one day, a person changing their gender won't be so shocking that it deserves a spot on the news.

Pakistan elects FIRST female speaker!  

Fahmida Mirza has become the first female to be elected speaker in Pakistan's parliament. The speaker's duties include overseeing the workings of the parliament, and deciding which debates and motions are allowed. Mirza, also a businesswoman and a medical doctor, has been elected to parliament three times.

She stated, "I am sure that we will be able to face these challenges with the support of parliamentarians, our people and Pakistani media."

Excellent :)

California adopts proper sex education  

Props to California, who adopted new health education standards that allow students to properly learn about STDs, birth control, rape/sexual assault, and how to use condoms, as well as other important information pertaining to drugs, alcohol, nutrition, exercise, and environmental health. Abstinence-only education has been banned - an important step to allow teenagers to receive the sex education they need and deserve.

Conservative organizations are upset over the new policy, thinking that it is providing too much information too soon. I'm not sure what world they are living in - but in the one that I'm inhabiting, I see kids having sex younger and younger, and not having a clue as to what they're doing. For organizations that are so concerned with "protecting the children," they seem to be failing miserably. Because comprehensive sex education is necessary to protect the children.

The Campaign for Children and Families is a major Conservative organization that opposes the new health education standards in California. You can visit their website to learn more about them, as well as send them a message to explain why sex education must be made accessible to young teens.

More information and full story here.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Free emergency contraception!  

Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic is being super awesome and giving away free emergency contraception pills all day Monday, March 24th. So, if you live in New York, you can receive FREE EC at any one of their clinics in: Amagansett, Huntington, Patchogue, Riverhead, Smithtown, West Islip, Spring Valley, Mt. Kisco, Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains, Yonkers, and Brewster. For exact addresses and clinic hours, click here.

Horton hears... anti-abortionists?  

"A person's a person no matter how small!"

This phrase is not only the famous line from the new Dr. Seuss movie "Horton Hears a Who," but has become the slogan of avid anti-abortionists. During the premiere of the movie, a pack of anti-abortion activists began yelling this phrase, attempting to perpetuate their point that abortion should be banned. The representative of the legal interests of Dr. Seuss requested they stop, but Colorado for Equal Rights, an anti-abortion group, still plans to stand in front of Denver theaters when the movie opens to collect signatures to support legally defining embryos as people.

Using a children's movie to advance your own political
agenda? Wonderful. My advice: keep your legal interests out of movie theaters - it is both unethical and inconsiderate to throw your beliefs in other people's faces. I don't feel this way solely because I disagree with their political agenda; it's more the means they are using to achieve it. There are numerous alternative ways to get your point across; utilizing a phrase from a children's movie is unnecessarily manipulative.

If you want to let your voice be heard, click here to send a letter to Colorado for Equal Rights. I would advise staying away from the abortion debate, and steering more towards disagreeing with their methods. They may or may not hear us out, but it's worth a shot either way.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Take Action Tuesday  

I'm going to try something here. I want to make sure that this blog is not only for bitching about the problems in the world, but also exists to help spread the word about little actions you can take to help women, and other minorities. I know it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you can do to help. Not everyone can become a women's rights pioneer and organize protests in front of the White House. So, I'm presenting Take Action Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I will post something you can do - an event to attend, a letter to send, a message to get out - to make the world a better place for us. I'll try to make sure it requires little or no money, because I understand that not everyone has endless dough to give away. What I post on Tuesdays may seem small, but trust me, all our efforts will add up and we will make a difference. I promise. Besides, it couldn't help to try, right?

For today's Take Action Tuesday, I'm going to link you to a page on NARAL Pro-Choice America. On it, there's a form you can fill out to send to your representatives to urge them to push for more affordable birth control. There has been a large increase in the price of birth control prescriptions, which makes it difficult for low-income women to obtain it. As we know, birth control is crucial to keep our women and children healthy and safe, so it's absolutely necessary that women be able to afford it. If you agree, click here, and take two minutes to fill out the form. Thanks, everyone :)

Sexist video day!  

While surfing YouTube, I came across a particularly appalling video for the song "A Little Too Late" by Toby Keith, in which he appears to be some sort of crazed maniac, and a huge fan of violence against women. I'm aware that usually the artist doesn't have much say in his/her music videos, as a director is hired to put them together, but come on, Toby Keith. How could you think this was okay?

This prompted me to search for "sexist videos" on YouTube and I came across a lovely vintage Folgers ad that promotes the duty of every housewife to make a perfect cup of coffee for her deserving husband. All I can say is: as cool as the 50s can be, I'm so grateful I didn't have to live during them.

And just to avoid being a downer, here's a really funny commercial that I love. Hope it puts a smile on your face.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Civil unions are not equal to marriage  

The New York Times printed a nice long article today about same-sex couples insisting that civil unions aren't enough because they don't provide the same benefits and social acceptance as marriage. Gee, ya think?

Though such arrangements were created, often under court mandate, with a promise of treating same-sex couples the same as opposite-sex couples, many gays and lesbians say they have not delivered and can never do so because separate institutions are inherently unequal. Many also resent being denied use of the word marriage, which they say carries intangible benefits, prestige and status.

I can't believe that people can be so naive as to think that civil unions are fair. Newsflash: there is no such thing as "separate but equal." A few upsetting examples are given in this article, including one about a woman who was in a civil union giving birth in the hospital. A nurse asked her if she was single, married, widowed, or divored. When the woman said she was in a civil union, the nurse checked "single." Another couple in a civil union told a story about how an airport refused to process them as one household, and sent them back to customs to be processed separately.

Civil unions just aren't enough. They downplay the relationship of a same-sex couple, and they force same-sex couples into inferiority. It's as if others are not taking their relationship seriously. LGBT people should not be made into second-class citizens. Refusing them the ability to be legally married is discrimination. Plain and simple. Said one man:

"Being in a civil union is not the same as married. If it was, they would call it marriage. I don't know anybody who would give up their marriage for a civil union."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Anxiety from being weighed causing health problems?  


I came across a really interesting article in Science Daily that explores the health risks that public weighing may be causing in women. Some are speculating that because being weighed in a doctor's office can be embarassing for many women, they are skipping necessary visits to the doctor and therefore are increasing the possibility of having health complications.

Study participants rated discomfort levels over a variety of weight related scenarios. The more dissatisfied a female was with her weight, the greater the discomfort she experienced when being weighed. But even the very concept of weight, tested by assigning some participants to wear a badge bearing the single word, "Weight," caused elevated levels of discomfort because it drew unwanted attention to what is considered an unflattering personal attribute for women.

I suppose it is possible that some women are avoiding the doctor because of embarassment. It's interesting to explore the health risks caused by weighing-in, but I think more important is to study the emotional effects of forcing women to step on the scale. I had a friend who developed a minor eating disorder because her doctor told her she was too heavy (since when is 135 pounds "too heavy"?) Additionally, there's the appalling fact that schools are requiring students to be weighed in gym classes. All four years of high school, I was forced to take a body fat test in my gym class. It was humiliating, and of course I was completely happy with my body until I saw that stupid little number. Actually, maybe it wasn't so much the number itself, but all the girls comparing their body fat percentages to each other after the test was over. I think someone needs to look into changing that policy.


Gay Episcopal bishop rejected by own community  

It really shows that we have advanced as a society when we can have an openly gay Bishop. Contrastingly, it really shows how close-minded of a society we can be when said Bishop is reduced to a limited role simply because of his sexuality. Bishop V. Gene Robinson was told that he could not fully participate in the once-a-decade gathering in England, the Lambeth Conference. He could only "be present" and participate in one high-profile event, such as a press conference. Robinson's comments:

"I am dismayed and sickhearted that we can't sit around a table, as brothers and sisters in Christ, and study Scripture together," he said. "It makes me wonder, if we can't sit around a table and study the Bible together, what kind of Communion do we have and what are we trying to save?"

That's a great point. You have to wonder... how much do your "brothers and sisters in Christ" really mean when they're ready to reject you for who you are? And moreover, how in ANY way would Robinson's sexuality affect his ability to pray and dedicate himself to his religion? Consider this: it doesn't!

The spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, didn't invite Robinson to Lambeth, partly to appease theological conservatives, who believe the Bible bars gay relationships. Some had threatened to boycott the meeting if he attended.

Boycotts?!? This makes me so sad. It's not only an issue of these conservatives rejecting him because he's gay, but also the fact that they cannot put aside their differences for the sake of Robinson's feelings and their religious community. If only.

Full story here.
Saturday, March 15, 2008

You get 'em, granny!  

"Great-Grandmother Uses Gasoline to Fight Off Purse Snatcher"

Two words: Bad. Ass.

Police fail to make rounds - rape goes undetected  

I'm really glad this story is getting media coverage. Because there are way too many people who claim that it is a woman's responsibility to protect herself from rape, but no one concentrates on the responsibility of law officers.

On March 6, a woman was returning from her job at a homeless shelter, when she was suddenly attacked in her housing project in Brooklyn. The man threatened her with a knife and forced sex on her. Here's the kicker: this woman might have been saved if the two rookie police officers who were supposed to be doing rounds at that time actually performed their duties instead of lying and saying they did. From the New York Times:

In investigating the rape, detectives from the housing bureau spoke to two officers who said they were doing “vertical patrols,” walking up and down the stairwells of the building, at the time of the attack and had marked it in their memo books. But investigators who reviewed the videotaped images found no evidence of the officers’ being there.

As a result, the officers, whose names were not released, were placed on modified assignment on Thursday and stripped of their guns and badges, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.

I hope these officers feel like shit for not being there when they were needed the most. I'm going to take a wild guess in saying that this was not solely prompted by laziness, but also by a prejudiced notion that somehow, people living in housing projects in Brooklyn deserve less protection than others. Thank God these officers were caught and punished. I don't want any other cops thinking that they can get away with this. You choose to be a cop to protect people... so do it.
Friday, March 14, 2008

The media loves a good "slut"  

Eliot Spitzer should be immensely relieved. Because the lovely and talented "reporters" that have decided to take his sex scandal and milk it for all its worth are not focusing one bit on shaming him. Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure all of you have noticed that information about and pictures of the woman Spitzer slept with are being littered all over the news. And frankly, I'm really fucking sick of it. No one has interviewed her, and no one has credible information regarding her... except what they have lifted off of her Myspace page and what they have heard from "sources." Numerous "journalists" have been picking her life apart, dissecting it and analyzing it until there's nothing left. The New York Post managed to get ahold of topless pictures of her and, demonstrating their taste and decency, have published them. Is this seriously what journalists are focusing on? Also in the New York Post was a column by Andrea Peyser entitled "BOO-HO! DON'T SHED ANY TEARS FOR THIS BUSTY BRAT."


This issue is really bringing to light how many people lack journalistic integrity. Peyser writes:
Now, we are getting a clearer picture of this young lady of the evening, the last in a line of babes and C-cups for whom the governor of the state of New York threw away his career, risked his health and maimed his marriage in search of what his madam ominously called "basic" sex. In the version she's putting out, young Ms. Dupre is the victim.
First of all: NO, we are not getting a "clearer picture" of her. We are getting bits and pieces of information from every possible source except from the woman herself. Second: "in the version she is putting out"? In order for her to "put out" anything, she needs to actually be involved in this investigation of her life. If anyone is "putting out" information, it's the media - reporters like you, Ms. Peyser.

Two alternate pictures are emerging of Ashley. In one, she's a survivor - of abuse, homelessness and drug abuse. This, of course, was before Ashley was nearly forced against her will to command $1,000 an hour to escort rich men from their clothes.

In another version, she's a spoiled brat whose stepdad bought her a Porsche that she wrecked. So she ran away from home at 17. For this, Eliot Spitzer lost everything. Ashley and Eliot deserve each other. One is mentally challenged by accident of birth. The other is that way by choice.

I would like to know where Peyser found the grounds to call this woman "mentally challenged." I would also like to know what kind of evidence she has to back up her claims - having never even met Ashley before. The media is filled with pettiness, but this is by far the worst I've seen. Can't there be some decent journalists out there that are above all this bullshit?

If you agree with me, you can see the whole story here, along with Peyser's e-mail address. Let her know how you feel. The best part of the New York Post is that they have a discussion board to provide a platform for hundreds of people to call Ashley a "slut" and a "whore."

Some people might argue that in sleeping with the governor of New York, she had to have known that there was a risk she would be exposed. But it was discovered that Spitzer went by a fake name, and she didn't recognize his face. It wasn't until their last encounter that she knew he was the governor. So many people (see: Andrea Peyser) are unnecessarily disgusted with her, when in reality, we should be disgusted with Spitzer, who was not only risking his own reputation, but the reputation and privacy of another person.

But no magazine or newspaper wants to focus on that. Because topless pictures sell more magazines.

Sexual harassment in the military  

Unfortunately, women have to worry about being sexually harassed almost everywhere they go... even in the military. A new study conducted by the Pentagon shows that 1/3 of women in the military have experienced sexual harassment.

The cases involved members of the military who were either victims or accused of the assaults. The military counts rape, nonconsensual sodomy, indecent assault and attempts to commit any of those as sexual assault.

According to the documents, 1,516 reports involved the Army; 565 for the Air Force; 394 for the Navy; and 213 for the Marines. The active duty Army, by far the largest service with about 518,000 soldiers, also saw the highest rate of reported sexual assaults.

It really upsets me that this is going on. To me, it shows that many men are still not taking women in the military seriously. These women enlist to serve their country - not to be treated like a piece of meat. When people argue against women being in the military, often they will reason that the presence of women might "distract" the men from their duties. It is clear that this isn't too far from the truth, but why should it then be the woman's responsibility to back off? Women shouldn't be kept out of the military because some men can't keep their hands to themselves.

Additionally, sexual harassment in the military is not just happening to women. 6% of men also reported being harassed, although it is unclear if the majority of the offenders were male or female. But these statistics still show that sexual harassment in the military is a major problem that is not getting nearly enough attention. I'm worried about women being discouraged from enlisting in the military because of potential harassment. It's tough enough being a woman in a male-dominated association without having to deal with being violated.

What can be done about this though? What kind of steps can be taken to prevent it? Better education? Stricter policies? It's hard to say. I think in the end, it's attitudes towards women that need to be reformed. Unfortunately, that's by far the hardest thing to change.
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Taking a picture up a girl's skirt is NOT a crime?  

In a Target store in Oklahoma, a 16-year-old girl was shopping. Unbeknownst to her, a 34-year-old peeping tom was using this opportunity to slip his camera under her skirt and snap pictures. The man was caught, but ultimately, was not found guilty in a court. Why? Because the girl was not in a "private" place.

Ferrante, now 34, was charged under a "Peeping Tom" statute that requires the victim to be "in a place where there is a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy." Testimony indicated he followed the girl, knelt down behind her and placed the camera under her skirt. In January 2007, Tulsa County District Judge Tom Gillert ordered Ferrante's felony charge dismissed. That was based upon a determination that "the person photographed was not in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy," according to the appellate ruling issued last week.

Excuse me, but shouldn't a girl expect men to stay out of her skirt in ANY place, regardless of whether or not it's "private"? This man would have been convicted only if he snapped a picture of her in a bedroom or a bathroom, but sticking a camera up a girl's skirt is perfectly fine in the middle of a Target. Sigh.

Full story here.

Celebrating Women's History Month!  


On a more optimistic note, I stumbled across this nice little tribute page for Women's History Month put together on They have lists of "famous firsts" by women, 18 women who have changed the world, and 10 women you have never heard of but are worth learning about. Of course, they also have a list of "cringe-worthy" women, which wasn't particularly necessary, but Ann Coulter is on it, which makes it almost worthwhile.

It's a nice, easy way to brush up on your women's history, while appreciating all the amazing ladies that made this world that much better to live in.

A warped definition of rape  

Sorry for starting the day off with a depressing story, but I think this is important to be aware of. Yesterday, the New York Times posted an article about a rape that occurred in Montclair, New Jersey. Three young boys sexually attacked a 16-year-old girl - who is suspected to be mentally disabled. They raped her with a broomstick and forced her to perform sexual acts on them. Today, the NY Times reported new findings in the case - apparently, when the rape was happening, the house was filled with a dozen young people.

Jason Josaphat, 17, a student at Montclair High, said he had spoken to a friend who was at the house that day. The friend was watching television while one or more boys were with the girl in a bedroom, he said, and the friend told Mr. Josaphat that he had heard a girl screaming.

Seriously, if you hear a girl screaming while she's alone in a room with a couple of boys... check and see what it is. Common sense. Another aspect of this story that deeply saddened me was something the grandmother of one of the boys involved in the rape said:

She said the girl was a friend of Mr. Roberts's and had been at the house many times. And she defended her grandson. "It’s not a rape," she said. "They didn't force her to come over."

She cannot possibly be serious. How does the fact that the girl willingly went over to the house make it NOT a rape? Was she supposed to know that she was going to be sexually assaulted? She knew the boys, and perhaps she knew that there would be a lot of people there, and therefore thought she would be safe. It doesn't matter that they didn't "force" her to come over... they still forced her to perform sexual acts on them and they still forced a broomstick inside of her. Sorry, grandma, but your grandson is a genuine rapist.

Full story here.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Newsletter Archive  


Gee, maybe telling them to not have sex isn't working...  

Ugh ugh ugh. It blows my mind that people can still advocate for abstinence-only education when studies like this prove that it does not work. This new study shows that 26% of American female teens have at least one STD.

Some doctors said the numbers might reflect the downside of both abstinence-only sex education and teens' own sense of invulnerability. Because some sexually transmitted infections can cause infertility and cancer, U.S. health officials called for better screening, vaccination and prevention.

Only about half of the teens in the study acknowledged having sex. Some teens define sex as only intercourse, yet other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some diseases.

Do you see why abstinence-only education is so dangerous? Teens still think that oral sex isn't real sex! In reality, there are dangerous STDs that can be spread through oral sex alone. We can't assume that kids will wait until marriage to have sex, and we can't assume that parents will talk to their kids about these issues. Proper sex education is necessary in schools! It's okay to teach about abstinence, but for God's sake, teach kids how to use a condom as well!

If you feel the same way, you can visit this site to send a letter to your Senators, asking them to oppose giving abstinence-only education more funding.

I mean, wow, I learned about STDs in 7th grade. If I wasn't forced to take Health, I have no idea where I would have gotten my information.

New ways to sort out "unfit" mothers  

A new study indicates that women who have poor relationships with their parents may grow up to be pessimistic and nervous mothers. Today, the New York Times printed a questionable article entitled, "Mad At Your Parents? Motherhood May Be Rocky." Their claim is this:

The study suggested that women who felt their childhood relationships with their parents were characterized by “rejection and unresolved conflicts” were likely to view children as more demanding compared to women with happier childhoods. Women with childhood conflict also may become stricter parents. Women who clashed with their parents were also more likely to indicate they would set a lot boundaries for their children than other women in the study.

The article went on to quote a researcher, who believes this information can be beneficial in the future:

Such an evaluation will enable early identification of women who are concerned they will have difficulty contending with parental roles and offer them tools that will help them adapt better to the transition to motherhood.

First, I need to state that this study was only done with 160 women, so it is hardly an indication of every woman's feelings. Second... "concerned they will have difficulty contending with parental roles"? I'm sorry, but don't ALL new mothers experience that? I would be nervous as hell if I were about to give birth to a child that will depend on me for the next eighteen years. I don't think it has to do entirely with a woman's relationship with her parents. My mother didn't have a great relationship with her father, and she turned out to be a wonderful mother who was far from strict. And third... why is there not a study done about new fathers and their adjustment to parental roles? I should think men have just as much of a difficult time dealing with being a father as a woman does being a mother.


Full article here.

Women conquering the business world  

There has been a significant rise in the amount of businesses that are owned by women.

According to the Center for Women's Business Research, as of 2006, there were 7.7 million firms either owned by women, or in which women held the majority share. They account for 29.7 percent of all businesses in the U.S., a rise of 42.3 percent since 1997. Not only are such businesses good for women, they're good for the economy, generating 1.1 trillion in annual sales and employing 7.2 million people nationwide.
Wow, that's fantastic. I really respect someone who can open up their own business. My first job was working in this shop in my town that was owned by a woman named Sarah. Her shop was small, but she has managed to keep it open since the 80s. Props to the women who can kick ass in the business world, and thanks to them for helping the economy (God knows we need it).

Full article here.

There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.
- Florynce Kennedy

And so it begins...  

Hey everyone.

I say "everyone" like there's people actually reading this, but in reality, I just started, so the only people that will read this right now are probably my close friends... and they'll only read it because I'll make them.

But, for those few of you that might stumble across this, welcome! Please stay!

I plan to post in here as much as I can. I want to spread the word about any stories/events I might find regarding women, feminism, or equal rights. I know that usually it can be pretty hard to find stories on those topics; you kind of have to dig through news websites and blogs to get to them. So, here I am to do all the digging for you - to compile key stories I find to spread awareness and inspire you to be active in the struggle for equality.

Please leave your comments and your input. I don't mind some debate, in fact I quite like it, but please be courteous to each other. No personal attacks, no hate speech, etc.

Well, I guess that's it. You can check my profile if you want to know more about who the hell this random person is who decided to start this thing. You can e-mail me if you want to give me some feedback as well. Enjoy!

About Appetite for Equal Rights  

My name is Amy, and I created Appetite for Equal Rights in March 2008 as a way to counter the lack of coverage of feminist issues provided by mainstream media. When I refer to feminism, I'm not just talking about women-specific issues. To me, feminism has grown and changed so much throughout the years and I'm proud to say that we've gotten to a point where it encompasses a wide array of social issues that affect everyone. Therefore, I write about any and all issues I see as relevant to today's feminism: LGBTQ rights, people of color and racism, men's issues, poverty, immigration reform, animal rights, etc. Though there are negative aspects of blogging, I think that blogs can ultimately make up for what major news stations and websites lack.

I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you're either a loyal reader or a potential reader... which means I love you. My readers mean the world to me, so never hesitate to comment on what I write to provide your two cents, and please contact me with any questions or concerns.

How do I contact you?
The best way to contact me is through e-mail:

How do I get my blog featured on your blogroll?
If you have a feminist blog that you want featured on my blogroll, feel free to e-mail me. Be sure to provide a link to your blog, and a few words on what you feel your blog brings to feminism. Remember that I can't put every blog on the blogroll lest it get unbearably long, so I can't accept every submission. But keep in mind that this doesn't mean your blog isn't important. Every feminist blog brings something special to the blogosphere.

What constitutes appropriate and inappropriate comments?
I encourage you to comment on a post I make if you have something to say. If you disagree with me then feel free to say so! I do love me some debate, but please be respectful. Meaning no childish name-calling, hate speech, racial slurs, personal threats, etc. I'll clarify.
Appropriate comment: "Personally, I have to disagree with you. I tend to believe that affirmative action is a form of reverse racism because it can cause employers and college admissions boards to disregard a perfectly qualified candidate simply because they happen to have not be born a person of color. To me, that seems unfair."
Inappropriate comment: "You are so stupid. I can't even believe the shit you are saying, you dumb cunt. Why don't you go buy yourself some tampons and shut up?!?"
See the difference? I reserve the right to delete any comments that fall into the latter category.

Can I write for Appetite for Equal Rights?
As of now, I'm the only writer. However, if you have something worthwhile to say, you can send me your ideas and I might use it for a post! If you're interested in writing your own post, I would love to have you write a guest post. Contact me with the words "guest post" in the subject of the e-mail, and we'll chat.

Can I advertise on your blog?

I'm open to accepting advertisements for blogs, websites, organizations, companies, etc., provided they don't counteract my beliefs. For example, don't even bother asking to advertise if you're selling weight loss products. If you're unsure whether or not your request is appropriate, e-mail me anyway. The cost of advertising will depend on the size, placement, and duration of the ad. We can discuss it and negotiate.

Can I e-mail you just to say hi?
Yes please. Just no "send this to 10 people or you will die at midnight" chain letters or e-mails about penis enlargement. Unless it's somehow relevant to feminism.

Can I get another feminist lolcat?
Why, YES you can!