Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year 2009 in Feminist Review  

It's that time again. Another year is almost over, marked by the holiday I have such a love-hate relationship with, New Year's Eve. I love the Twilight Zone marathon and the cocktails, but I hate the pressure put on every breathing person to find someone to kiss at midnight... which this year, will most likely be my dog.

But New Year's is more than just getting drunk off champagne, it's also a time to look back. So let's put our feminist goggles on, and take a peek at the best and worst times had by feminists 'round the world.

2009's Most Deplorable Anti-Feminist Happenings

Let's start with the bad, just to get it out of the way.

Bush Senior publicly told a story about his encounter with an ugly angry feminist. His words: "I saw one of the ugliest and angriest women I have ever seen in my entire life... And she charged my car with a sign... and came up right next to the window: 'Stay out of my womb!' No problem, buddy." You are an ass, sir.

PETA continued to offend with their racist, sexist, and fat-shaming advertisements. More to come in 2010 for sure.

Protesters at the "tea party" rallies showed little class in displaying signs that compared Obama to Hitler and slave-owners.

iPhone applications made me angry. Want to objectify and offend women? There's an app for that!

The media so ignorantly mocked Mexicans for "spreading" the Swine flu.

I lost all faith in humanity when right-wingers attacked Sonia Sotomayor, accusing her of being a "reverse" racist, a Latino KKK member, and was only appointed by Obama because she's a woman, and no other reason.

Obama-hating activists and politicians found it hilarious to attack our president with racist "jokes."

Small-brained assholes criticized people like Sonia Sotomayor and Regina Benjamin for being TOO FAT to do their jobs. Methinks said assholes need professional help ASAP.

Magazines continued to photoshop and airbrush the hell out of models to give young women even more impossible standards to live up to.

Glenn Beck still won't shut up, even after receiving an enormous backlash for calling Obama racist towards white people.

Adults acted like children at the town hall health care debate meetings, where a white man ripped up a photo of Rosa Parks that several black women had brought in. Stay classy.

After a story broke about a black student beating up a white student on a school bus, Rush Limbaugh played the poor oppressed white man card.

And thanks to Senator Stupak and his anti-choice allies, our reproductive rights came under serious attacks during the health care reform debacle.

2009's Notable Activism

Maria Vieira showed immense courage by taking the story of her rape public to show the importance of doing something if you witness a sexual assault.

After word circled the blogsophere about the highly offensive "Tranny Alert" website, activists sent in angry e-mails, which led to the eventual shutting down of the website.

A website called Beautiful Just the Way You Are encouraged people who are sick of seeing beauty-obsessed magazine covers to, ahem, cover the covers with a positive message.

Former president Jimmy Carter, in a bold move, publicly left his church because he was fed up with religious sexism.

The "BMI Project" was put together at Shapely Prose, consisting of photos that illustrate how ridiculous and inaccurate so-called "BMI calculators" are.

Ms. Magazine highlighted the amazing plights of women in Iraq trying to escape violence.

Bryan Safi released several more installments of That's Gay, where he mocked the homophobic and heterosexist nature of our culture.

The New York Times put together a collection of reader-submitted photos that illustrated the importance of educating and empowering girls and women around the world.

Feminist organizations and individuals rallied together to send a message to Ralph Lauren: keep your photoshop off our bodies.

The activism that many say has revitalized the pro-choice movement: reproductive justice advocates fought against anti-choice politicians who sought to eliminate health insurance coverage for abortions. The fight will undoubtedly continue into 2010 and beyond.

2009's Notable Women

Diablo Cody and the rest of the "fempire" made news with their lovable movies and willingness to take on the male-dominated Hollywood.

Alysa Stanton became the first black woman rabbi.

Kathy Griffin rules for not only proving that women make great comedians, but also for fighting for queer rights.

Rachel Maddow kicked ass on MSNBC, giving queer activists a voice in mainstream media.

Women senators (e.g. Debbie Stabenow and Barbara Boxer) reminded their anti-feminist colleagues that women's health care matters too.

Caster Semenya wow'ed the world with her amazing athletic abilities, and perhaps even more miraculous, dealt with all the crap the public gave her regarding what her "real gender" is.

Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, helped get a hate crime bill passed in the Senate.

Michelle Obama went above and beyond her first lady role by handling the nonsense the media gave her about her clothing with class, and doing great things for women everywhere, like working with breast cancer awareness.

Sarah Haskins continued to give us hilarious and extremely true installments of Target Women.

Sonia Sotomayor made it through the tough confirmation process and the bullshit thrown at her by her opponents to become our newest Supreme Court judge, making history in more ways that one.

2009's Losses

Some of those who left us this year. May their messages of equality and their fight for women's rights live on and continue to inspire us all.

Dr. George Tiller, long-time abortion provider and champion of reproductive justice.

Senator Ted Kennedy, the "liberal lion of the Senate."

Marilyn French, feminist activists and author of The Women's Room.

Eve Sedgwick, feminist scholar, author, and queer theorist.

Nan Robertson, journalist and author of "The Girls in the Balcony," about workplace equality.

Alice Rossi, sociologist and one of the founders of the National Organization for Women.

I definitely missed some events and people, so please comment with your notable happenings of 2009. I hope all of you had a wonderful year, and I wish you health and happiness in 2010.
Saturday, December 26, 2009

Buffet of the Week  

I hope everyone had/is having a fabulous holiday! I haven't been able to write a post in a few days because of the festivities, but here's what's been going on:

  • With more and more people becoming aware of the fact that abstinence-only programs do not work, supporters of the no-sex-until-marriage curriculum in schools are looking for its revival in the health care bill.

  • Both pro-choice and anti-choice activists are displeased with the final Senate version of the health care bill.

  • Sarah Thomas has become the first woman ever to referee a college football bowl game.

  • Mexico City has legalized adoption and marriage rights for same-sex couples.

  • Jill of I Blame the Patriarchy wrote a post yesterday about an anti-feminist blog run by a husband and wife team, called The Art of Manliness. Eesh.

  • Cara of Feministe sheds light on the sexual trafficking of Native American women.

  • Check out Racialicious for commentary on the new Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog.

  • It isn't just the painful phrase "no homo!" that is becoming prominent in pop culture, but its counterpart "no lesbo!" as well. Commence banging head against wall.
Monday, December 21, 2009

Cynthia Nixon's pro-choice activism  


I love me some Cynthia Nixon. She is a talented actress (who is smokin' hot) and 100% open about her sexuality. What I didn't know is that she's also a vocal pro-choice activist. An article today on CNN called her the "abortion debate's new voice." They also interviewed her, where she discussed her pro-choice views, and how abortion has been portrayed on "Sex and the City."

CNN: "Sex and the City" did the now-famous episode where your character, Miranda Hobbes, chose to have an abortion only to change her mind at the last minute. Was there a message in that episode? What was it?

Nixon: The message was choice. Miranda is a fighter. If she had to fight to get to that abortion, if there were forces working against her, she would have fought and fought and fought to get there and she might not have stopped to think, "What do I really want in this situation?"

But she was able to sit there in that doctor's office, about to go have an abortion with the support of her friends, and think to herself, "You know, I don't think this is what I want to do." This should be all about choice. We should not be pushing women to have children they don't want or can't care for.

As a celebrity, it's really risky to take a public stance on such a controversial issue because she could plausibly lose some anti-choice fans, but this doesn't seem to phase her much. I appreciate her willingness to put her neck on the line for a good cause and to use her power and publicity to do some good in the world.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Men creating their own "Vagina Monologues"  

I noticed a recent post in The Sexist about an all-male production in Washington, D.C. called "Deez Nuts" that basically markets itself as The Vagina Monologues for men.

Creating male Vagina Monologues-esque shows is nothing new. I'm all for people discussing sexuality (especially in public!) but the fact that "Deez Nuts" calls itself "an all male spin to The Vagina Monologues" rubs me the wrong way. It seems that this productions and other ones like it are created not to provide men with an outlet to discuss their sexuality, but to counter an all-women production that they feel excluded from. Patriarchy promotes the idea that whatever women have, men need to have too (well, at least whatever makes women feel empowered and liberated).

The problem is that men don't need a theatrical production to discuss their sexuality because men are allowed to discuss sex damn near whenever and wherever they please... women, however, are looked at as loud-mouthed sluts if they do the same. That's why there was a need for The Vagina Monologues to be created. But methinks "Deez Nuts" and all similar productions were created not from men expressing a need to talk about their sexuality, but from the mentality of: "Hey, where's our play? Where's our movement? What about the menz?!?!" My guess is that "Deez Nuts" wouldn't exist if The Vagina Monologues wasn't created first.

I just want to put it out there that there are some things that women can have that men can't. For hundreds of years, men have been receiving rights and privileges that were denied to women. I think men can handle not having their own Penis Monologues.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sen. Boxer dislikes double standards  

THANK YOU, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), for calling out the fact that women's access to health care and reproductive services is constantly under attack, yet the medicines (i.e. Viagra) and procedures that men use are not put in this same political position. Double standards. Story of our lives, ain't it? IMO, it all goes back to society trying to control a woman's sexuality. Why are birth control rights threatened incessantly, yet condoms seem almost impervious to the same assaults? Because men are allowed to be sexually free, and we're not.

Take a moment to contact Senator Boxer and thank her for her wise words. It's not easy being a feminist in Washington.
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Disney parody video pokes fun at Jews  

I saw this on Huffington Post, and it made me think. It's a parody video that basically shows Disney filmmakers constructing a movie about the first "Jewish American Princess," entitled Rachel and the Dragon.

I'll admit: this made me laugh a bit. But I was upset and offended more than I was amused. In my first Women's Studies class ever, we discussed the "JAP" stereotype and how harmful it is, and it was the first time I had looked at Jew jokes as anything other than innocent fun. As a Jewish woman, you would think I would have realized that earlier, but I was a naive teenager at the time. Jews are an oppressed people, and no matter how much time passes and how much things improve for Jewish people around the world, we will always have that history of being oppressed, harassed, and stereotyped. Because of that, you don't make jokes like this. You just don't.

My roommate also pointed out that if this same video had been made based on stereotypes surrounding people of color, it would never be posted by Huffington and tweeted and retweeted by people who find it hilarious. Why is this?

But most of all, what disturbed me was the fake movie poster they made for Rachel and the Dragon. The "JAP" portrayed on the poster is extremely stereotypical: wild brown hair, too much makeup, large nose, cell phone, irritated expression. And what this portrayal instantly reminded me of was the anti-semitic posters the Nazis once distributed as propaganda:

I realize that the whole Rachel and the Dragon parody isn't anywhere near the hatred popularized during the Holocaust, but stereotypes and seemingly "harmless" jokes are what fuel that hatred. You cannot tell me that Bill O'Reilly calling Dr. George Tiller (may he rest in peace) "Tiller the Baby Killer" didn't have some effect on his eventual death.

I just ask that people think before they make these jokes or laugh at them. They are more harmful than we think.
Friday, December 11, 2009

Sotomayor makes history (again)  

As feminists, we know that language is important. Telling our friends to use "she or he" instead of simply "he," "you all" instead of "you guys," or "people of color" instead of "colored people," is a seemingly small, but vital, part of being an activist.

This is why I was so pleased to hear that Justice Sotomayor made history when she became the first Supreme Court justice to use the term "undocumented immigrant," rather than the standard "illegal immigrant," used by many other justices in the past.

Using the term "illegal" pins the immigrants who come here looking for work and a better life as criminals, which is wrong. I was very happy that Sotomayor made that crucial change.
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Burqa Barbie  


In Italy, you can find "Burqa Barbies" on display at an exhibit, being auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Italian branch of Save the Children.

Barbara Kay of the National Post, who asked, "Why is the world's favorite fashion doll wearing a symbol of oppression?" wrote:

I have seen some pretty tawdry advertising campaigns in my time, but I must say this one takes the cake for insensitivity. What's next in dolls that are "important for girls" to play with? "Illiterate Barbie"? "Forced-Marriage Barbie"?

I understand Kay's concerns, but I have a problem with this article. By saying the above statement, Kay is equating the burqa with women being denied access to education and being forced into marriage. However, burqa Barbie does not come with a scroll inscribed with the Taliban edicts; there are no indications that this burqa-wearing Barbie is oppressed in any way, other than, as Kay observes, the cloth covering her from head-to-toe.

In the article, "Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?" Lila Abu-Lughod points out that the Taliban did not invent the burqa. She explains, "The Pashtun are one of the several ethnic groups in Afhganistan and the burqa was one of many forms of covering in the subcontinent and Southwest Asia that has developed as a convention for symbolizing women's modesty or respectability." Abu-Lughod also cites anthropologist Hanna Papanek, who in 1982 wrote that many saw the burqa as liberating because it allowed women to move about in public, while still respecting the moral requirements of separating women from unrelated men.

When the Taliban was overthrown, though some women did discard their burqas (those who felt safe enough to do so), many continued to wear it. As Westerners who have been taught by the media and by people such as Kay that the burqa is an oppressive and horrific invention, it's hard for us to understand why a woman would choose to wear one. But even with the Taliban gone, why would a woman suddenly choose to discard what she might see as a symbol of respectability and liberation?

My bottom line: the reasoning behind a woman's choice to wear a burqa is complex. We cannot reduce the burqa to a mere "symbol of oppression." To many, it is a marker of their culture. And as people who didn't grow up in Middle Eastern culture, it is impossible for us to fully understand it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rachel Maddow interviews gay conversion 'therapist'  

Watch Rachel Maddow take on one of those "gay people can become straight with therapy!" nuts. It's awesome.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Senate REJECTS restrictions on abortion coverage  


In a 54 to 45 vote, the Senate has rejected the anti-choice effort to eliminate insurance coverage for abortions.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said the legislation is about access to health care, and not abortion.

I'm extremely relieved that the Senate had some sense, but the Senate bill that was created still specifies that abortion coverage can only be paid for with private dollars (not public dollars - e.g. Medicaid), a restriction put in place by the Hyde amendment in 1976. Visit to send a message to the House, Senate, and President Obama, urging the repeal of the Hyde amendment.

But still, definitely a pleasing victory for all supporters of reproductive justice. To everyone who did their part to stop the elimination of insurance coverage for abortions, congrats!
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Feminist Holiday Gift Guide  

If you're gift-giving this holiday season, here's your Feminist Gift Guide to go by. Use it to find the perfect present for the feminist(s) in your life, or put what you like on your wishlist for you to enjoy. Feel free to comment with any other feminist gift suggestions!

For the feminist newbie:

  • Newbies can learn about everything from patriarchy to Alice Walker in Cathia Jenainati's book Introducing Feminism. The perfect introduction for any person interested in joining the movement!

  • The Black Feminist Reader will introduce them to writings by bell hooks, Angela Davis, Toni Morrison, and many more.

  • Queer Studies: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Anthology can give them a crash course in queer studies.

  • Help any new feminist learn about the modern feminist movement by getting them a subscription to the cutting-edge Bitch magazine.
  • And now that they're feminists, it's time to shout it from the rooftops. Give the feminist n00bz in your life "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" gear from, or a poster of the classic feminist icon, Rosie the Riveter.

For the sexually empowered:

For the vagina-lover:

For the bookworm:

For the movie/TV show addict:

  • Teeth (an ordinary girl learns she has a toothed vagina that is not afraid to bite anyone who mistreats it)

  • Iron Jawed Angels (follow Alice Paul and Lucy Burns as they fight for votes for women)

  • Daughters of Afghanistan (a documentary about women in Afghanistan struggling to put their lives back together after the removal of the Taliban)

  • Death Proof (bad ass women get sweet revenge)

  • Sugar Rush (a hilarious British TV series about a 15 year-old lesbian in love with her best friend)
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Keep abortion covered by insurance!  

I don't know about you, but I'm incredibly freaked out about the assault on abortion coverage, carried out by anti-choice politicians through health care reform. The Hyde amendment has been in place for 33 years, which bans public funds being used for abortion, but Bart Stupak and his anti-choice allies not only want to keep the Hyde amendment in place, but also eliminate private insurance coverage for abortions, a service that 85% of insurance companies offer now.

Yesterday, I campaigned on my campus with Tiffany Card to get signatures on an anti-Stupak petition. Here are some actions you can take:

  • Learn about the situation.

  • Check out upcoming rallies and protests in various states.

  • Visit the Planned Parenthood action center to contact your senators.

  • Sign the petition on CREDO Action, and they will send a coat hanger to the 20 formerly pro-choice senators who voted in favor of Stupak.

  • Or follow in the footsteps of the Clinic Escort and purchase miniature coathangers yourself to mail to the "pro-choice" senators or Democratic representatives who voted for no abortion coverage.

  • Sign the online petition at

  • Download Planned Parenthood's petition, print it out, and collect signatures in your community.

  • Join the Stupak REVOLT group on Facebook.

  • Tweet, post, e-mail, and flyer! Get the word out. Many people are not aware of the situation, but are willing to take action once they learn about it.

Porn doesn't affect how men view women... says 20 dudes  

There's no other way to introduce this story than Tracy Clark-Flory's (of way:

It's official: Pornography doesn't affect men's view of women. This breaking news comes by way of 20 young men who ... just say so, OK? Stop asking so many questions, gosh!

Basically, a researcher in Montreal conducted a study, funded by the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence Against Women, on how pornography shapes how men view women. The researcher determined that since less than two dozen 20-something hetereosexual guys say that "they don't want their partner to look like a porn star," porn has absolutely no affect whatsoever on how the rest of the male population views women!

Wow. Wow. The researcher, Simon Louis Lajeunesse, even says:

If pornography had the impact that many claim it has, you would just have to show heterosexual films to a homosexual to change his sexual orientation.

Wait a minute. Last I checked, sexual orientation was something that we can't change, and ideas/beliefs/perceptions are things that we... can change... right? So, wait, why are we comparing them? Oh right, because this study is crap. I'm glad Tracy Clark-Flory points this out.

I don't doubt that most young men do not want their partner to look like a porn star and that X-rated flicks can be part of an innocuous -- and even healthy -- private fantasy life. It's just -- this isn't science. You don't determine the impact of porn by merely asking a small sampling of typical dudes whether it changed their view of women. If it's all they have known (since the age of 10 for most of the study participants), how the heck are they supposed to evaluate how it changed their view of women?

Not buying it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Same-sex marriage in NY: not quite yet  

New York State Senate Votes Down Gay Marriage Bill.

My heart just broke.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day 2009  


There are approximately 33.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

If that number scares you... it should. It should scare you into ensuring that you get an HIV test regularly if you are at risk, and that you and your partner get tested before becoming sexually active. If you are unsure whether or not you are at risk for HIV/AIDS, information on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website can help. And you can visit to find a place nearby that can test you. Remember, getting tested for HIV/AIDS is scary and nervewracking, but the earlier the disease is caught the sooner treatment can begin.

In addition to getting tested, you can get active for World AIDS Day. Learn about the harms of abstinence-only education, and how it is a strong cause of high STD and teen pregnancy rates. Also, check out the "Do Something" section on the World AIDS Day website to read about the many things you can do to spread awareness.

But World AIDS Day isn't just about getting tested and being an activist... it is also about supporting our loved ones who may be living with HIV/AIDS. It is important to remember that it is unhelpful and incorrect to dismiss someone living with the disease as careless or ignorant because they contracted it. People get HIV/AIDS for a wide array of complex reasons... and yes, some do contract the disease because of a mistake like not wearing a condom, but that doesn't mean they don't still deserve our support and love.

What are you doing in honor of World AIDS Day?
Monday, November 30, 2009

Anti-feminists are still telling lies  

If you need your daily dose of disgust, head on over to Men's News Daily to check out Paul Elam's charming article, "The Myth of Women's Oppression." In it, he so ignorantly compares women's oppression to the oppression faced by people of color, deducting that since women were never lynched or made into actual slaves on plantations, clearly our lives are a walk in the park.

Women were never oppressed to begin with. Not even close.

I’m no historian, but I did attend some history classes before I finished middle school. So, by the time I was 13, I knew what oppression was. And lucky for me I was 13 in a time when people still knew what it wasn’t.

Oppression has some pretty obvious tell tale signs. Like torture and death; like bullwhips and chains; gas chambers and death camps. Oppression is a roadmap of scars on the back of a field hand that was purchased at an auction. It is the rope that gets strung over a tree branch in broad daylight and used to choke the life out of someone convicted of being the wrong color.

Getting through the rest of this steaming pile of garbage was a task for me, as my stomach began churning and I thought I was going to vomit all over Paul Elan's sickening words.

Go post your comments and tell Pauly that he needs to actually meet a feminist before publicly trashing them. My comment went something like:

Are you serious? You base "oppression" solely off of whether or not someone was PHYSICALLY abused? You have an extremely warped view of oppression.

But if we want to go by your definition, let's look at the grossly high rape statistics. Yes yes, men are raped too, but not nearly as often as women are. Why is this? Because of deeply embedded stereotypes that women are weak playthings to be used and abused.

And let's pan out a bit and look at women globally. If you are a woman in the Middle East or in Africa, you have a shitload to worry about. Perhaps you were forced to live underground after surviving a rape because your family was so ashamed of you that they kicked you out, or maybe you have no choice but to undergo genital cutting, in which your clitoris is cut or removed or your entire vagina is sewn shut to ensure that you do not experience any type of sexual pleasure until you are forced into marriage. Or maybe you live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where you constantly have to worry about you or your daughters or your sisters or your friends being raped endlessly and left with unwanted pregnancies, STDs, or a torn vagina. For these women, I'd say feminism is pretty damn important.

And as far as the "the older rules for men" go... do you honestly believe that all men follow these "rules"? Touch her in the wrong way and you're a dead man? That's a nice rosy picture... but let's get back to reality.

You have such an incorrect view of what feminism is. Methinks you have never experienced an ounce of oppression in your lifetime, unless you count the big bad feminists stomping all over poor little you.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CPCs to be regulated in Baltimore  

Crisis pregnancy centers, establishments that pose as clinics out to help pregnant women but in actuality are run by anti-choice staff, are prevalent across the country. Unfortunately, CPCs have a tendency to avoid revealing the fact that they exist to deter women from having abortions, and most are not obligated by law to do so.

HOWEVERRRR... Baltimore has now become the first city in the country to regulate their CPCs. The Limited Service Pregnancy Center Disclaimers Bill passed by a 12-3 vote in the Baltimore City Council and will now move to the the desk of Mayor Sheila Dixon, who is expected to sign it. The bill will require crisis pregnancy centers to post signs disclosing that they do not offer referrals for or information about abortion and contraception.

Seriously, why isn't this mandated everywhere? There are about 4,000 CPCs nationwide... four thousand establishments set up to deceive pregnant women. We only need to read stories from real women who have visited CPCs to know how awful they are:

I had a surgical abortion in April. When I discovered I was pregnant, I visited a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). When I walked in, I was greeted warmly. They gave me a free ultrasound and seemed sweet and supportive. Then came the counseling session, during which I asked to be excused several times, and was told each time it was mandatory since they had given me an ultrasound for free. When I informed them of my decision to have an abortion, I was forced to watch a graphic video. I was suffering from morning sickness and I had to run out to vomit several times. They told me these were the consequences of sin. They warned me my fiance would never be able to look at me as anything other than the woman who killed his first child. I'll never forget the way I felt leaving the Crisis Pregnancy Center that day.

Read more about CPCs on the National Abortion Federation's website. And if there is one in your town, make a shitload of noise about it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  


Monday, November 23, 2009

Not even equality in the after-life  

Governor Carcieri, of Rhode Island, has decided that "domestic partners" can't be buried next to each other, i.e. same-sex couples.

"This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue," said Carcieri.

Are you serious?
Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Hanger Project  


Amplify has created what they have called The Hanger Project, made to spread awareness about the restrictions anti-choice legislators are trying to put on abortion through the health care reform bill.

Join The Hanger Project, and learn about how you can help fight against politicians in Washington attempting to take away our legal right to have an abortion. Download and print the Hanger Project's awesome flyers and hang them on wire hangers around your town or on your campus. I think we could get many more people to join our fight, but first we need to educate them on what is happening. Awareness is key.
Friday, November 20, 2009

Transgender Day of Rememberance 09'  

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day dedicated to remembering those who have been killed by transphobic murderers. The very first TDOR was held on November 28th, 1998 to honor Rita Hester, a transwoman who was murdered.

You can visit the TDOR website to view a list of the countless people who were known to have been killed by anti-transgender discrimination and hatred this year. You can also find an event near you if you would like to do something to honor this day... maybe attend a candlelight vigil or a meeting to discuss trans rights.

But you can also engage in small personal actions if you cannot attend an event, whether it be bringing up trans issues with people you know, or creating a pro-transgender Facebook status or Twitter update. What is everyone doing to honor those who have been killed by hatred?
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Update on abortion coverage ban  

Here's the deal.

The Senate healthcare bill that was revealed yesterday does not include the Stupak language in it, thankfully.

However, the bill does include the long-standing Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal dollars from being used for abortions. Also, the Senate now has the ability to bring the bill they have passed to the floor for debate, during which they can add amendments, so we still need to call our senators and voice our opposition to Stupak's amendment to ensure that similar anti-choice language isn't introduced when the bill hits the Senate floor. Senator Hatch, for example, has said that he will introduce a similar bill. So, our reproductive rights are still very much in jeopardy.

PUSH your senators to support a woman's right to have at least her private insurance cover an abortion. It's so important.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Protest the Stupak amendment!  

Important information: Planned Parenthood has organized a National Day of Action to protest the unacceptable Stupak amendment. This day of action is:

Wednesday, December 2nd.

You can join the anti-Stupak rally in Washington, D.C., or organize your own event in your community or on your campus. Our feminist group is going to set up a table on my campus to have people sign a petition and learn about how harmful this amendment is. What is everyone else doing?
Friday, November 13, 2009

Women: you are NEVER safe  

A great new "Target Women" is up, and I'm so happy that my Sarah covered this topic, since these Broadview Security commercials have been seriously freaking me out lately. Every single one is the same: an unsuspecting attractive woman has her house broken into by an angry man, said angry man runs away when the alarm goes off, and a hunky Broadview Security man calls the woman and comes to her rescue. Don't burglaries happen to all different people, not just attractive white women...?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Update on same-sex marriage in NY  


As some of you might have heard, rumors were flying that the state senate was supposed to vote yesterday on whether or not to consider legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. As a proud New Yorker, I was hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the senate got caught up with budget-related issues and didn't get to vote on the marriage bill.

But, according to Governor Paterson, the bill should be voted on by the end of the year. So, if you're a New Yorker, please please visit the Human Rights Campaign's website to send a message to our senators and encourage them to vote in favor of same-sex marriage in New York!

Feminists against the Stupak amendment  

If you were as devastated as I was about the passing of the Stupak Amendment, you might feel a little better when reading the Feminist Majority Foundation's press release about what happens now:

The fight is far from over. Many pro choice legislators and groups, who were reluctantly willing to compromise on the Capps amendment included in the Act, are now determined to strip the Stupak amendment from the Act before it is finally approved by Congress and signed by the president.

President Obama IS against the Stupak amendment, so please send a letter to him on Planned Parenthood's website urging him to take action to get rid of this horrific law. We really cannot stand for this.

Feminism and poker  

If you're a card-playing feminist, shoot on over to Lady Junkie's feminist poker blog. Start by reading some lovely interviews Lady Junkie conducted recently with feminist bloggers, including yours truly, and Julie Zeilinger of The FBomb.

As someone who was taught how to play poker by her father when she was ten years-old, I really enjoyed doing this interview. More power to any women poker players who are kicking ass in the male-dominated game.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

White people 'saving' people of color in films  

This is a trailer for a new movie coming out, called "The Blind Side."

This is a concept that has been covered by quite a few films: the privileged white person coming in and fixing the lives of Black and Hispanic kids. It's been seen in both "Dangerous Minds" and "Freedom Writers" and has been parodied in "High School High" (whether it was parodied tastefully or not is another story).

What does everyone think of Hollywood's obsession with these types of movies? Are they positive and inspirational, or stereotypical and offensive? I think it's an interesting and important debate to have, especially since it seems like these kinds of films aren't dying out anytime soon. Gimme your two cents.
Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health care reform bill disappointing, to say the least  

As most of you probably heard, the health care reform bill that passed Saturday night was anything but woman-friendly. Thanks to the Stupak amendment, our reproductive health care access has been severely limited.

I'm too upset and worked up to write much more, but head over to Planned Parenthood's action website to read more and send a letter to President Obama.

It's really time to take back control over our bodies. We deserve reproductive health services, and these services are necessities, not luxuries.
Saturday, November 7, 2009

Advancements in women's rights in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia  


Two positive pieces of news regarding women's rights in the Middle East:

In Pakistan, the National Assembly passed a law increasing the penalty for sexual harassment. It now must be passed in the senate, but let's keep our fingers crossed. If passed, the law would increase the penalty for sexual harassment from one year to three years in prison and would add a fine of up to 500,000 Pakistani rupees (6,000 American dollars).

In Saudi Arabia, women's rights activists are launching a "Black Ribbon Campaign" to demand women's rights in the country. Activists are asking those who support women's rights to wear a black ribbon or bracelet. The campaign has three goals: "that Saudi women be allowed to represent themselves in official and government agencies without a male guardian; that Saudi women be treated as citizens equal to Saudi men; and that Saudi women be allowed to enjoy rights and privileges that are currently restricted including the rights to travel, work, study, inherit, gain custody of children, marry, divorce, drive cars."
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maine repeals same-sex marriage law  

Yesterday, in a move that resembled the famous Prop 8 debate in California, voters in Maine decided to repeal the state's new law that allowed same-sex marriage.

I was horrified when I heard this. It's to the point where I'm so hesitant to celebrate any small victories or any states gained or rights earned because part of me knows that there is a good chance that someone will take it away from us.

A friend of mine who was particularly upset about this said, "We're supposed to be moving forwards, not backwards." Unfortunately, the process of gaining equality is a painstakingly slow one. While we are pushing forwards, there will always be people trying to shove us backwards. We have so many battles to fight.

The only comfort I can take is in the fact that I know we are the ones who are right in this situation. I know that technically, opinions can't be wrong, which is true... but this is so much more than just, "I have this opinion, and you have your opinion." Opponents of same-sex marriage promote hatred, close-mindedness, and discrimination. That is wrong. And I believe that eventually, though it might take some time, justice will prevail. I have enough faith in this country to know that one day, the good, the just, and the right side will triumph.

Until then, hang in there, my loves <3
Thursday, October 29, 2009

I love Le Tigre  


I can't believe I've never gotten into Le Tigre before. Sure, I've heard of them, but I never appreciated their awesome-ness. While searching for music to play on my feminist radio show (listen online tonight at 8:30PM EST), I thought, "Hmm. You know, I bet I would like Le Tigre."

Scratch that, I love Le Tigre.

One of the founding members of Le Tigre is Kathleen Hanna, who used to be in Bikini Kill, one of the pioneer bands of the Riot Grrrl movement in the 90s, the famous underground feminist punk movement that is argued to have kicked off the third wave of feminism.

Le Tigre, with its dance-punk style and political lyrics and activist members, is one bad ass feminist band. Unfortunately, their best songs contain tons of cursing, so I can't play my favorites on my radio show. But here are some lyrics of theirs, from the song "FYR" off their album Feminist Sweepstakes:

Ten short years of progressive change,
Fifty fucking years of calling us names.
Can we trade title nine for an end to hate crime?
RU-486 if we suck your fucking dick?
One step forward, five steps back.
One cool record in the year of rock-rap.
Yeah, we got all the power getting stabbed in the shower.
And we got equal rights on ladies night.
Feminists, we're calling you.
Please report to the front desk.
Let's name this phenomenon.
It's too dumb to bring us down.
F.Y.R. Fifty years of ridicule.
F.Y.R take another picture.
Mrs. Doubtfire on mother's day.
On-the-job stalker for equal pay.
Toss us a few new AIDS drugs as national healthcare bites the dust.
While you were on vacation black people didn't get reparations.
You know these days no one's exploited.
Sorry dude can't hear you with my head in the toilet.

And this is "Deceptacon," definitely one of their most danceable songs.

Love them. Now.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Onlookers did nothing while teenager was raped  

This is horrifying.

In California, a 15-year-old girl was beaten and gang-raped outside her high school homecoming dance for two hours on Friday night.

According to police, there were as many as a dozen people watching this happen... and instead of calling the police, they laughed, took pictures, and joined in.

Honestly, what kind of sick person do you have to be to watch something like this happen and not do a damn thing about it?

Thankfully, police were finally called after a female student overhead people talking about the rape. Police found the teenage girl semi-conscious near a picnic table, and now the survivor is in the hospital with injuries, though none are life-threatening. Two suspects were taken into custody, but as many as five other men are said to have attacked her.

What an utter nightmare. In combating rape and sexual assault, we tend to forget to educate people not only against sexually assaulting other people and against walking alone at night, but also to educate anyone who might witness a crime like this to call 911 immediately.

This is no excuse for witnessing something like this and doing nothing but laugh and snap photos. I sincerely hope the police not only prosecute the rapist assholes, but also the people who did nothing.

Colbert smokes same-sex marriage opponents  

Once again, Stephen Colbert exposes the pure stupidity that forms the foundation for the anti-gay marriage movement. Love it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Buffet of the Week  

  • Check out The New York Times' "Women at Arms" series, which "explores how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have profoundly redefined the role of women in the military."

  • In the Philippines, where abortion is illegal and 70% of the population cannot afford birth control, reproductive rights advocates are pushing for legislation that would require the government to provide free or low-cost reproductive services. However, these efforts are meeting harsh resistance.

  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Wednesday restoring the $16.3 million in funds for domestic violence shelters that he originally cut from the state's budget in July.

  • In Saudi Arabia, a female journalist has been sentenced to 60 lashes for being involved with a TV show that discussed sex.

  • The US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight held a hearing Wednesday to examine the violence perpetuated against women in foreign countries. Our goal is achieve re-introduction of the International Violence Against Women Act.

  • Personhood Nevada filed a ballot initiative in the state to pass a law that would define a fetus as a human being. If passed, this law would threaten abortion rights, as well as IUDs, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research.

  • An article on warns that certain menopause remedies that are becoming popular, such as hormone therapies, may contain dangerous side-effects.

  • With the Barbie doll losing popularity, Mattel is giving her a makeover in hopes to revive the historic toy. It's pretty horrific... let the short short dresses and copious amounts of makeup speak for themselves.

  • Michelle Obama has been active recently in Breast Cancer awareness.
Friday, October 23, 2009

The Business of Being Born  

I watched a GREAT documentary with some of my feminist friends last night: "The Business of Being Born." It's a film about how in the U.S., women are often pressured to partake in the typical hospital birth, rather than explore their other options, such as a home birth. Hospitals are a business, and the scary part is that doctors will try to rush births in order to clear more beds and keep women moving in and out, even if it means giving them harmful medication.

There are some really beautiful home birth scenes in this movie. The interesting part is that the women who give birth at home or in water hardly scream, and the baby that comes out hardly cries. The environment carries so much less stress than hospitals do. I highly recommend seeing this movie... you will develop such a deep appreciation for the birthing process.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hate crimes bill passes Senate  

A bill aimed at fighting hate crimes against LGBTQ people, entitled the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act, named after two young men who lost their lives to hate crimes eleven years ago, has passed the Senate! All that's left is for Obama to sign, which we can surely count on him to do.

It's great to hear that this passed, especially after the recent hate crime against Jack Price, which I wrote about.

Visit the Human Rights Campaign's action center to send the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. a thank you note.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fox 'News' loves to distort facts  


Why I love Huffington Post: they do things like compile a list of "The Ten Most Egregious Fox News Distortions."

Aww, only ten?

Among those on the list: taking Obama's and Biden's quotes out of context, calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist, giving seemingly endless coverage to the tea party protests and hardly any to the March for Equality, and the "terrorist fist jab" shared by Barack and Michelle Obama (seriously... is this news?)

I can't imagine why anyone would see Fox News as a credible news source.
Monday, October 19, 2009

Women are the majority of the U.S. workforce  

For the first time in history - and herstory - women have become the majority of paid U.S. workers. The recently released Shriver Report: A Women's Nation Changes Everything determined that women are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in 63.3% of American families. During the second wave of feminism - in 1967 - women made up only one-third of all workers.

It is amazing that we've come so far. I truly think that economic independence and access to the workforce is crucial to achieving equality for women. But we need to keep in mind that discrimination still persists, and women, especially women of color, are often denied top positions and fair pay.

In light of such a historic/herstoric event, Ms. magazine has put together an article, called "Paycheck Feminism," outlining five things we need to achieve next.
Saturday, October 17, 2009

National Women's History Museum Act  

Currently, some wonderful folks over at the Women's History Museum are working hard to get a bill passed to establish a museum of women's history (ahem... herstory) near the National Mall in Washington D.C. The act has just been passed in the House, and now it's time to get it passed in the Senate!

Be sure to contact your senators and urge them to pass this bill, so that we can "recognize women's successes, build on their accomplishments and empower future generations."

Size four model fired for being 'too fat'  

As if we needed another reason to hate Ralph Lauren, it has now come out that the model they were caught photoshopping to look emaciated and distorted has been fired. Why did they fire her? Because at 5'10 and 120 pounds, she was too fat.

TOO FAT?! She's a size FOUR!

I hate the fashion industry. Hate it.
Friday, October 16, 2009

LA judge denies interracial couple a marriage license  

I just have a question: WHAT YEAR IS THIS?

Because clearly it must be 1960. Surely it isn't 2009 because I thought we left this bullshit in the past.

The racist judge, Keith Bardwell, said he denied the interracial couple a marriage license out of concern for the children:

There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage. I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it.

And of course, like many prejudiced bigoted jerks who know they're about to be crucified by the public for their hateful views, Bardwell tried to pull the old "I'm not racist, I totes have black friends!" card.

I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way. I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.

Omigosh... you let black people use your bathroom?! How kind! What a saint you are, Judge Bardwell! And look at you, refusing marriage licenses to protect children. How noble. Nevermind that you're making assumptions based on outdated views and treating interracial couples like they're sub-human.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jon Stewart calls out lack of coverage for gay rights march  

Once again, my lover, Jon Stewart, calls mainstream media out on their bullshit. In this episode: Fox News gives more coverage to an empty sidewalk than the Equality March.

Gay man in Queens brutally beaten  

A horrifying video has been released showing surveillance footage of a 49 year-old gay man, Jack Price, being brutally beaten by two men who yelled anti-gay slurs. Price was attacked in Queens, right after he left a deli near his home. This news coverage shows clips of the surveillance video but I want to stress a MAJOR WARNING before you watch this; it is very disturbing.

Price suffered a broken jaw, fractured ribs, a lacerated spleen, and the collapse of both of his lungs. Police have two suspects in custody.

In light of this event, why not contact your representatives and urge them to support hate crime legislation? Also, the Human Rights Campaign is attempting to raise $200,000 to pass gay rights bills, including hate crime laws. And if you can, consider donating to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in honor of Jack Price.

And let's hope and pray for Jack's speedy recovery.
Monday, October 12, 2009

Reconsider Columbus Day  

This video seems to be making its rounds in the blogosphere on what has been deemed as "Columbus Day," a day to honor a man who deserves no honoring.

It is time to reconsider Columbus Day.

Teachers who are struggling with how to address Columbus Day in the classroom can order a guide from Or, if you're simply a concerned citizen who is sick of being forced to celebrate a man who committed heinous crimes, you can sign this online petition calling for a holiday to honor Native Americans instead of Columbus. You can also sign the petition calling for the abandonment of plans to build a Columbus monument in Puerto Rico.
Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Coming Out Day '09  


Happy Coming Out Day!

I wish I could be in D.C. for the National Equality March. Anyone who went: tell me your experiences! The Huffington Post also covered the march and has some great photos from it.

It's important to remember that Coming Out Day is a day not only for LGBTQ people, but for straight allies as well. "Coming out" does not necessarily mean admitting you are queer, although it's wonderful if you found the strength in you to come out in that way today, but also coming out against homophobia.

The Human Rights Campaign has great guides for anyone struggling with coming out. Or, if you're a straight ally who wants to help support your LGBTQ friends, you can check out GLAAD's ally resources.

Obama's speech on gay rights  



Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ralph Lauren apologizes for ultra-thin model  

(Left: the photoshopped image. Right: the real model)

Well, Ralph Lauren has finally apologized after getting caught photoshopping one of their models to look like she belongs on the cover of a pamphlet on anorexia. A spokesperson said:

For over 42 years, we have built a brand based on quality and integrity.

After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman's body.

We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.

My beef with Ralph Lauren remains: why did you photoshop an already extremely thin model to be even thinner in the first place??

They owned up to poor photoshopping, but not to contributing to the poor body image of young girls everywhere who aspire to a misleading image of "beauty."

We're not cool, Ralph Lauren.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize  



Cupcakes for Life!  


Found this via Feministing, and it's just too great to not share. In case you were wondering how to make anti-choice cupcakes, "Cupcakes for Life" has got your back.

There's even a National Pro-Life Cupcake Day, which incidentally, is today! Hoooooray!

My favorite part is the saying at the top of the website, which looks like some horrendous pro-life joke: "What is worse than being in third grade and not having anyone celebrate your birthday? Not being allowed to be born!"

Granted, those cupcakes do look delicious.