Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Virginia governor allows funding of crisis pregnancy centers  


My heart hurt when I read this. Yet another governor, this time Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, signed a legislation that will allow the sale of "Choose Life" license plates in the state. Now, the main problem is not quite the mere existence of these plates, but the fact that $15 of the $25 fee for the license plates go towards funding so-called "crisis pregnancy centers," or fake clinics that pose as legitimate health centers, but exist solely to perpetuate the anti-choice agenda and deter pregnant women from choosing abortion.

Want to know the scary part? There are only 2,000 clinics in the United States right now that provide abortion services to women. There are around 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers.

If you want to see what the propaganda of a CPC looks like, visit Hopeline's website, specifically the section that provides abortion "information," which is extremely concerned with conveying the "risks" that come with abortion, including the "emotional and psychological impact." Oh, and let's not forget the "spiritual consequences":

People have different understandings of God. Whatever your present beliefs may be, there is a spiritual side to abortion that deserves to be considered. Having an abortion may affect more than just your body and your mind -- it may have an impact on your relationship with God. What is God's desire for you in this situation? How does God see your unborn child? These are important questions to consider.

This is the kind of bullshit information that CPCs shove down the throats of unsuspecting women. My question is: why is it that nearly every abortion clinic in the U.S. is protested by anti-choicers, but we're not protesting these fake clinics nearly as much? I feel like it could make a huge difference to stand outside one and hand out real information to women who are about to enter.

Luckily, the Feminist Majority Foundation is encouraging feminists across the nation to protest their local crisis pregnancy center on April 13th. Organize a protest in your community! And please be sure to not just hold signs and chant, although that can be wonderful, but also have pamphlets with the real information to hand out to women who are considering entering the "clinic." But remember: be respectful when approaching her, and respect her right to have a choice.

Watch this video of a protest being held by University of Oregon students to get ideas:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Various happenings abroad  

In Brazil, debates over abortion are raging. Brazil has more Catholics than any other country and some of the strictest abortion laws in Latin America. Most of the abortions performed there are not legal. Though Brazil has moved in the past two decades from having just one abortion clinic to 55 in the whole country, they are still not enough. Many women have to travel hours to obtain an abortion, and anti-choice advocates are pushing to tighten rules even further. In our fight for reproductive rights, we cannot exclude helping women abroad.

In Cuba, The National Centre for Sex Education launched an anti-homophobia campaign. The opening event of the campaign was a forum and a debate, held at the University of Havana. Other events that will be held include workshops, small group meetings, and talks. Furthermore, on May 16th, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia will be celebrated in Havana. A small step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.

In Spain, the State Network of Feminist Organizations launched a campaign to support the liberalization of abortion laws. Abortion law reform is part of the social change program undertaken by Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Though reformation has earned solid support, thousands of protests have broken out in support of keeping existing abortion laws. This past weekend, thousands of anti-abortion protesters marched in Madrid and Spain.
Sunday, March 29, 2009

For Him Magazine: detrimental to both women and men  

Why do men's magazines insist on giving men a terrible name by acting as if they're all sexist pigs? If I were a (decent) man, I would get really fucking angry at the lack of literature that doesn't encourage me to fuck mad bitches and then throw them in the nearest trash can. Courtesy of For Him Magazine: "5 Valentine's gifts she won't realize are for you."

Girlfriends are not cheap. Research has shown the average relationship will set you back a whopping £1,426 a year. Much of which is made up of garish lingerie, thigh-inflating chocolates and other fluff-addled tat bought in a desperate attempt to encourage fellatio. So it's only fair that you treat yourself once in a while. And if you can do that while making her feel like you're the most thoughtful man in the world, even better. After all, what she doesn't know about won't hurt her. Except, eventually, Chlamydia.

Cute. #3 on the list is a charmer:

Jennifer Ellison's fitness DVD

What? Ex-Brookside Scouser with anti-gravity breasts bounces around in the name of exercise.

She'll think: "How sweet – he really does care about my health and well-being. Where's that Dairy Milk?"

The reality: Jen's impossibly taught frame will inspire her to either A) actually lose some weight or B) call you an insensitive prick and throw it back in your face. So providing you're stocked up on Kleenex, it's win-win.

And #2 is priceless:

Beauty salon vouchers

What? £50 worth of attention from a perma-tanned A-level dropout.

She'll think: "He's so thoughtful. He knows I've been working late recently – a facial is exactly what I need."

The reality: You're six months in and her bush resembles roadkill. Spend the two weeks before her appointment plucking imaginary hairs from your teeth and she'll get the message.

Seriously? I don't know which is the sadder picture that FHM is painting here: that men are self-obsessed, small-brained douchebags who think primarily with their penises, or that women are emotional, oblivious prudes who are only worth your time if they're willing to give you a blowjob.

I'm glad I know better, or else I would find no reason to go on in life.
Saturday, March 28, 2009

The good, the fun, and the sexist  

Good: girls playing sports.

Fun: high school girls volleyball team celebrating the end of their season by wrestling in chocolate syrup.

Sexist: boys volleyball team standing around and cheering while they do it.

More commercials I can't stand: attractive light-skinned moms are always standing by with Neosporin!  

Friday, March 27, 2009

ABC show explores homophobia  

Both Feministing and Womanist Musings posted this, and I thought it was really fascinating. An episode of the ABC show What Would You Do? explored how various people reacted when the producers hired a same-sex couple to go into a sports bar in New Jersey and act affectionately. To "stir the pot," they placed another actor in the bar to make homophobic remarks.

While some people were undoubtedly ignorant assholes, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people who defended the gay couple. I think another interesting experiment would be to place a gay couple and a lesbian couple in similar environments and examine how people react differently to each couple depending on their gender. The same homophobe who said, "That disgusts me" while seeing the gay couple probably would've remarked, "Wow, that's hot" when faced with a lesbian couple.

One gay Muslim man's story of how he came out... at gun point  

There is a really interesting, albeit upsetting, article on Newsweek about a Muslim man,Shariq Mahbub, who grew up in Pakistan hiding his homosexuality. He didn't tell a soul, until one night when he visited a park nearby that was a known cruising spot for gay men. He met a man, who got into Shariq's car, and they drove off.

We arrived at the entrance to a dingy house and entered the driveway. He locked the gate behind us, told me to wait in the car and disappeared into the house. I was sweating profusely now and wondered, "Can I still get out of this situation?" Five minutes later he came out, visibly angry now, sat in the car and pointed a gun at me. He said he was an undercover cop and that inside the house were several men waiting to rape me to teach me a lesson. "What is wrong with people like you?" he yelled maniacally. "You should like girls, or you will be treated like one."

My lust had transformed into immobilizing fear. He told me to drive again, and as we drove around for what seemed like hours, I had a vague sense that I needed to play his game and find a way to survive this ordeal. He demanded that I admit homosexuality was a sin, and I eventually complied. I also promised to meet him at a hotel the following day, where he would tell me how much money he wanted. He warned me that he had my car's license-plate number, and that he'd track me down if I didn't show.

Read the rest of the story here.
Thursday, March 26, 2009

Women's issues on YouTube  

I'm encouraging all of you to check out the very wonderful Project Lifesize channel on YouTube! It consists of a group of fabulous women who provide videos on various topics, and are dedicated to promoting the idea that women of all sizes are beautiful. They like to collaborate with different bloggers, and this week, I had the privilege of giving them a topic suggestion. The topic I gave them was - drumroll - street harassment. So far, they've covered it wonderfully. Here's a sample; this one is done by Meghan:

Be sure to head on over to their YouTube channel to watch the rest of 'em!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fox News anchor compares taxing AIG bonuses to sexual assault  

Gotta love Fox News, and the copious amounts of inappropriate comments that come out of it. Here, Fox Business Network anchor Dagen McDowell makes a case against the tax on AIG bonuses by comparing it to sexual abuse (around 3:45 in the video):


Spanish man gives birth to twins  

25 year-old Ruben Noe Coronado will become the first Spanish man to give birth to twins. He plans to raise the babies with his partner, Esperanza Ruiz, 43. Like Thomas Beatie, Ruben is a transgender man who retained his female reproductive organs, though he plans to undergo a full gender reassignment surgery after the birth of the twins.

More power to Ruben and his partner. Though there are undoubtedly many haters out there, perhaps people like Ruben and Thomas Beatie can help slowly push society in the direction of redefining gender. Unfortunately, some people could use another push, such as whoever was responsible for the inexcusable headline of an article about Ruben on the Daily Mail Online:

Look at the title bar on top. Let's get something straight: Ruben Noe Coronado is a man. Not a "man," a MAN. So fuck you, Daily Mail.

Vermont could be next to legalize same-sex marriage  

Vermont is on its way to approving same-sex marriage. The state currently allows civil unions, but the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill Friday that would allow same-sex marriage instead. The bill will now move to the state Senate, but supporters are concerned that the bill could be veoted by Republican Governor Jim Douglas. A spokesperson told the New York Times:

"Governor Douglas believes that this legislation is a distraction from the important work the legislature should be doing to get our economy back on track."

That sounds like a load of crap to me. Besides, same-sex marriage can only help the economy! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Hollywood's Fempire  

Since seeing the amazingly witty and wonderful Juno, I fell in love with the witty and wonderful screenwriter, Diablo Cody. Diablo, who is completely open about her prior career as a stripper, is beautiful, smart, and hilarious:

A few days ago, the New York Times featured an interesting article about Diablo Cody and her posse of fellow female writers. The four best friends call themselves "The Fempire." The Fempire includes Diablo Cody, who wrote Juno and is currently working on a show with Stephen Spielberg called The United States of Tara, Lorene Scafaria who wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Dana Fox who wrote What Happens in Vegas, and Liz Meriwether, an up-and-coming screenwriter. Together, these talented women take on the male-dominated Hollywood to provide us with smart and funny movies with strong female characters. I thought Juno was the best addition to the woman-centered movies category in a long time. I can't wait to see what else the Fempire brings to Hollywood in the future.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Run for Congo Women  


On April 11th, the very wonderful Women for Women International is hosting their 3rd annual Run for Congo Women in Frederick, Maryland. Please consider signing up! It is a wonderful way to raise funds for women in the Congo who are suffering from devastating conditions. If you can't make it to Maryland, check the website for more upcoming run locations. The Maryland run is only 5K, and you are more than welcome to walk instead. You can also do a lone run, or consider getting creative and raising money by doing other things, such as yoga or dancing, or holding a benefit concert or bake sale. There is no one way to raise funds and awareness.

Bad economy causing women to get naked  

With the economy worsening, many women are turning to desperate measures to make ends meet: taking their clothes off. An article on MSNBC explains that, "The tough job market is prompting a growing number of women across the country to dance in strip clubs, appear in adult movies or pose for magazines like Hustler."

While I believe that a woman should have the choice of whether or not to pursue a career that involves getting naked, it really angers me when people try to argue that strippers and porn stars are only in their professions because they chose it and they enjoy it. Some might, yes, but there are many more who turn to it out of desperation. It's upsetting that these women feel as if their only option is to take off their clothes and be ogled. I was mildly surprised by the quote from an adult film giant, who wants to warn women against rushing into something they might regret:

"Once you decide to be an adult actress, it impacts your relationship with everyone," said Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of adult film giant Vivid Entertainment Group. "Once you make an adult film, it never goes away."

But the stripping industry? Not so much.

"You're seeing a lot more beautiful women who are eligible to do so many other things," said Gus Poulos, general manager of New York City’s Sin City gentleman's club.

Why thank you, Gus, I'm so happy you have faith in "beautiful women." The article also stated, "Some performers said they were initially so nervous that only alcohol could calm their nerves."

That's wonderful. Nervous, desperate women are being fed alcohol to "loosen up" enough to take their clothes off for men. I don't deny that stripping can be empowering for some women, I just cannot stand when people try to deny the "other side" of stripping. A few months ago, I went to my first strip club with some friends out of curiosity. One of my friends, by request of the owner and some customers, was asked to dance. She did, but only took off her top. The owner came over, while she was dancing, and removed her pants for her. Later, when he offered her a job, he was sure to give her a large cup of alcohol to "loosen her up" before she signed her soul over to him. She declined.

If I had things my way, strip clubs wouldn't exist. If I had things partly my way, only strong, independent women who want to feel "empowered" would be stripping, and would know when to tell a man to back the fuck off. But I don't have things my way at all, and so desperate impoverished women are entering strip clubs, and never coming back out.
Saturday, March 21, 2009

Teens in rural America drinking chemicals to induce abortions  

Some teenage girls in rural America are now self-inducing abortions by drinking chemicals that are used to abort livestock. There have been cases documented in at least three rural Wisconsin counties. These chemicals can be effective in terminating a pregnancy in a human, but they can also cause infections, blood loss, and death. Judie Brown, president of the American Life League made this sweeping generalization about pro-choice advocates:

"The culture of death would shed not a tear, of course, but for those of us who struggle to restore moral sanity to America, a report like this sends shivers down our spines."

The culture of death would shed not a tear? What in the hell makes her think that abortion rights advocates don't care about the health of young girls? One would have to be made of stone to not feel some concern that teenagers are literally drinking poison because they feel as if they have no other options. However, Ms. Brown and I have very different takes on the situation. The article on WorldNetDaily.com begins with a quote from her that, at first, seems like it's coming from a pro-choice activist... but the second-half of the quote confirms otherwise:

"What kind of world have we created for these girls that they're drinking poison and risking death in these modern-day back-alley abortions, rather than bear their child in love?"

I'm going to take a wild guess that Ms. Brown believes us family-rejecting anti-child pro-death feminazis have created a world in which the average woman lacks any sense of morality, and therefore would kill her child without thinking twice.

What kind of world do I think has been created? A world in which:

  • Abortion is so stigmatized that young girls are terrified to let even their closest friends know that they are thinking of obtaining one.

  • Abstinence-only education is still being imposed on young minds, despite mounting evidence that proves such programs are a huge failure. These programs cause young people to have no idea how to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancies, let alone what to do should one occur, thus causing them to utterly panic when it happens.

  • Abortion restrictions, such as parental consent laws, cause women to reject the option of obtaining an abortion safely and legally, thereby forcing them to find dangerous and deadly ways of inducing one.

I am just completely perplexed at the backwards logic of the anti-choice movement. How are we, as pro-choice activists, in any way responsible for young women drinking chemicals to abort a pregnancy? If it were up to us, every community would have at least one abortion provider, no restrictions would discourage those who wish to obtain an abortion from getting one, and every woman would have the ability to get an abortion safely, without being alienated by their friends and family. But of course, we're the bad guys. It's not, oh I don't know, the people who impose endless restrictions on abortion, forcing scared young women to find other ways to obtain one, or the people who withhold crucial information about sex and instead impose abstinence, or the people who put extreme amounts of pressure on young people to abstain from sex; a notion that is wildly outdated.

Get with the fucking times.

By the way, for future reference, WorldNetDaily.com, who prides itself on practicing "uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty," is horribly biased. They failed to interview one pro-choice person for this article, and the fact that their website features an enormous advertisement for Ann Coulter's new book is hardly promising. Follow every shot of news from this website with your liberal feminist chaser.
Friday, March 20, 2009

Drink beer and see naked ladies  

I wanted to puke when I saw this.

A new low-carb beer brand in Australia called Skinny Blonde (um?) has given horny beer-lovers an early Christmas present. The bottle features "Daisy the pin-up girl," whose bikini slowly disappears as the beer level inside the bottle lowers. As the charming man drinks more beer and the bottle warms up, the special ink used to draw Daisy's bikini slowly disappears, leaving him with a purdy little lady to look at.

Direct complaints to the assholes who made it.

U.S. will sign pro-gay rights UN declaration  

While G. Dubya refused to sign the UN Declaration on Gay Rights because he's a homophobic moron, the Obama administration announced that it will sign the declaration, which calls for "a universal decriminalization of homosexuality."

The resolution requests "a universal abolition of the so-called 'crime of homosexuality', of all 'sodomy laws', and laws against so-called 'unnatural acts' in all the countries where they still exist.

So far, including the U.S., 67 UN member states have signed the declaration to abolish these discriminatory and highly outdated anti-gay laws.

PBS to air special on women in Afghanistan  


TONIGHT at 7PM ET, the PBS NewsHour will explore the status of women in Afghanistan, and the endless obstacles they face. From an e-mail sent to me by Women for Women International:

  • 85.1% of women have no formal education
  • 74% of girls drop out of school by 5th grade
  • Only 1% of girls in rural communities attends school
  • Nearly 79% of women are illiterate
  • The average salary is just 48 cents a day
  • On average, Afghan women give birth to 7 children
  • 1 out of 8 women die from causes related to pregnancy or child birth

If you can't view it tonight, be sure to check your local listings for other times it may be airing. It should be a really interesting and eye-opening program, so do your best to see it!
Thursday, March 19, 2009

Young girls inclined to blame woman in dating abuse cases  

The Times has an article about the perception many young girls have towards dating violence, using the recent Rihanna/Chris Brown case as an example. This is really heartbreaking. Among the reactions they got from young teenager girls were:

"She probably made him mad for him to react like that."

"She probably feels bad that it was her fault, so she took him back."

Unfortunately, not enough parents and teachers take the time to educate children about domestic violence. Mimi Vald├ęs Ryan, former editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, believes that this behavior stems from the jealousy young fans felt towards Rihanna while she dated Chris Brown. I don't find this explanation adequate at all though. I'm more inclined to believe this analysis:

The girls' willingness to minimize Mr. Brown's alleged behavior also reflects a learned social signal, said Professor Morgan, who teaches African-American studies at Harvard. They've been taught, she said, "What really matters is that we don't destroy boys." Teenage girls think that if they speak out against an abuser, the boy's future will be shattered, she said. "We have to appreciate that this is not simple for them."

From birth, girls are taught the many ways to "please their man." Turning in a boyfriend or husband for abuse is hardly something that fits into Cosmopolitan's "Attract Hot Guys Like Crazy" article.

It is absolutely crucial that we teach our children about domestic violence. It is never too early.

Gym tries to humiliate people into joining  

Check out this purely inexcusable advertising method instilled in the Netherlands by Fitness First, a worldwide chain of gyms.

Yes, that is what appears to be a bus stop, but when one sits down on the bench, one's weight is displayed in enormous red letters for all the world to see. It's really charming. I love that Fitness First wants to humiliate its customers.

I'm all for eliminating the shame that comes with revealing one's weight, and I will gladly wear a t-shirt that screams my weight as a form of feminist protest, but that's not at all what this sad excuse for an advertisement is trying to do. Their intentions are to mortify people into losing weight. And that's really fucking low.

The "new Dora" is revealed  


From Yahoo! News (notice the particularly sexist headline of the article):

Mattel and Nickelodeon both say there are two major misconceptions about the new Dora, which is not replacing the "Dora the Explorer" cartoon, but will be a new interactive doll aimed at 5- to 8-year-olds.

"People care so deeply about this brand and this character," Leigh Anne Brodsky, president of Nickelodeon Viacom Consumer Products, says. "The Dora that we all know and love is not going away."

"I think there was just a misconception in terms of where we were going with this," Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing at Mattel, says. "Pretty much the moms who are petitioning aging Dora up certainly don't understand. ... I think they're going to be pleasantly happy once this is available in October, and once they understand this certainly isn't what they are conjuring up."

Part of the confusion stemmed from the silhouette that was released, which made Dora look more like a Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan than a young girl. For the record, the doll does not wear a short dress, but a tunic and leggings. And while she looks older (she's supposed to be about 10), with longer jewelry and longer hair, she doesn't have makeup and seems pretty much like a 10-year-old girl.

Well, she's not as bad as I thought she would be. Still though, why does she have to lose her androgynous style and become a tween dressed in a pink and purple (oh, that's original) flowered dress and sparkly jewelry, as if being a "tomboy" can only be a phase that all girls "grow out of"? Many girls continue to dress in t-shirts and shorts well into their teen years, and never adopt the "traditional" female style that is so thrust upon them by society.

Why couldn't Dora remain Dora, just aged a few years? How can she go exploring in a dress and ballet flats? Mattel seems to be under the impression that the uproar caused by the new Dora was out of fear that Dora, in her short dress, would influence young girls to become whores. Nu uh. While the "moms" they so ignorantly refer to might feel this way, us feminists are far more upset that this new Dora is sending a message to young girls that you can't be a "lady" while donning a t-shirt and shorts, befriending boys, and spending time exploring and learning, rather than shopping and dating. I don't have a problem with Dora growing up, but why did she have to lose all her character in doing so?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Comprehensive sex ed act introduced  

Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Representative Barbara Lee of California have introduced the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act, which would create a grant program for comprehensive sex education programs. By "comprehensive," they mean the opposite of the teachings of the abstinence clown. The content is supposed to be "age-appropriate," which makes me slightly nervous because our society holds a conservative view of what types of sex education are "appropriate" for what age groups. If I had things my way, we would be teaching about STDs and pregnancy by no later than elementary school.

Still though, I'm happy to see steps taken by our representatives to instill comprehensive sex education in more schools, replacing the ever-failing abstinence-only material. Be sure to contact your representatives and urge them to support REAL. You are more than welcome to copy the e-mail I sent to Steve Israel:

Dear [Representative],

I am writing to urge you to support the Responsible Education About Life Act, introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Barbara Lee. Mounting evidence has proven that abstinence-only education fails to prevent teen pregnancies and lower STD rates. Therefore, it is crucial that schools instill age-appropriate comprehensive sex education programs to provide children and teenagers with the proper resources and information to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and diseases. Supporting the REAL Act is truly the right thing to do when it comes to protecting the children of America.

Thank you very much,
[Your Name]
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quote of the Day: the Pope fails at sex education  


"You can't resolve [the problem of HIV/AIDS] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem." - Pope Benedict XVI

Major fail. From MayoClinic.com:

By blocking the exchange of body fluids that might contain infectious agents, latex condoms provide the best protection available against STDs. Used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective at preventing the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, and at reducing the risk of infection from other STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Please don't rely on the Pope as your source of sex education. Use condoms.
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slam poetry by women  

In my quest to write my very first slam poem, I turned to YouTube videos of various poets performing for inspiration. Since slam poetry is a male-dominated area, I tried to find the few women who made it big. Some of these women are fantastic, and I wanted to share these videos with you. Slam poetry is a wonderful way to send a political message in one of the strongest ways possible.

Here's my favorite, Andrea Gibson (trigger warning for the second video - it's a very intense poem about rape):

This is Vanessa Hidary, the "Hebrew Mamita":

Here's the fabulous Amalia Ortiz, whose poem here covers the same topic as the one I'm working on:

This poem by Sista Queen is another one of my favorites:

And here's a lovely poem to make you smile, by Tamara Blue:

There are so many talented women.
Monday, March 9, 2009

War Zone  

I saw a great documentary today in my Psychology of Women class, called War Zone. Filmmaker Maggie Hadleigh-West ventures onto city streets and waits for men to harass her. The second they do, similar to Holla Back, she turns her camera on them - video camera, that is. She interviews them on why they feel the need to do such a thing, and bombards them with questions until they get increasingly uncomfortable and sometimes hostile. It's really fun to watch, because you know that these scumbags will think twice before they harass another woman again. It's an extremely powerful movie that sheds light on how often street harassment happens, but how little is done about it. Here's the first five minutes of the movie:

If you can, I would highly recommend organizing a screening at your university or in your community.
Sunday, March 8, 2009

International Women's Day 2009  

Just wanted to wish everyone a very happy...

International Women's Day!

Learn more at the official website. Hopefully you're celebrating in a much better way than the Vatican is.

Swimsuits should only be worn by women sizes 0 - 6  

We need about as much confirmation that we live in a society with impossible beauty standards as we do that the sky is blue. Just look at Fox News' particularly tasteful Spring Break Swimsuit Guide: The Best Suits for Every Shape! You hear that? EVERY shape, which they define as apple-shaped, pear-shaped, hourglass-shaped, or pencil-shaped. I'm expecting to see women from size 0 to the plus sizes.

Now, for the curvy hourglass figure, I'm thinking I'll see someone like, you know, Queen Latifah:

However, this is their idea of "hourglass-shaped":

The caption: "this suit would balance out the curves and enhance the shape of an hourglass." Those... are... curves?! I understand there are varying degrees of curviness, but for God's sake, the model representing the curviest body type has thighs that don't even touch.

Oh, and this is great. Here's their horribly distorted idea of "pear-shaped":

Even better is the caption: "The full bottom on this suit would help conceal the flaws of a pear shape." Who says anyone who isn't "pencil-shaped" has "flaws"? And what in the hell kind of society are we imprisoned by when this woman, who looks about a size 6 at the most, is "flawed"?

I wish more people would understand that the average American woman is a size 14.

A little note from me  

Hi readers <3

I just wanted to let you all know that for a little while, my posts might be sparse and the newsletter might not be consistently sent out. This is due to some personal problems I'm having that I need to work through. I will try my best to maintain Appetite For Equal Rights, but in case I fall behind, I just want you lovely readers to know that it isn't because I don't care. I care so much, and I would probably continue updating from my deathbed. Will do my absolute best.

Thanks for sticking with me,
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prop 8 likely to remain in place  

Sadly, MSNBC projects that the California Supreme Court seems likely to uphold Prop 8. There were three hours of oral arguments today, and based on the Court's comments and questions, it doesn't look good. The one upside is that most likely, they won't invalidate the thousands of marriages that were performed between same-sex couples when gay marriage was legalized for just a few short months.

Still though, I'm extremely disappointed. The Court should issue its ruling in 90 days, probably some time in early June.

A Woman's World? Hardly.  

I had seen this several weeks ago, but I completely forgot to post it until I saw this on Feministing. Frito Lay, in an attempt to gain some female customers, has decided to "appeal" to women through these horrible short webisodes. They feature four women - a la Sex and the City - who ache and cry, laugh and talk... of course, it's all about men, shoes, and losing weight. Quite possibly the most offensive and stereotypical thing you will see in long time. Here's the teaser trailer, and you can visit the website to see the rest of the horrific series.

Massachusetts launches GLBT tourism site  

Wow, when Neil Patrick Harris sang, "Every time a gay or lesbian finds love at the parade, there's money to be made!" in Prop 8: The Musical, he wasn't kidding. Massachusetts' tourism office has launched a site aimed at attracting GLBT people. Their front page boasts:

"From mountains to beaches to cosmopolitan city life, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is not just the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage but is also one of the most welcoming. In Massachusetts, there is something for everyone to enjoy."

Good to know they're embracing GLBT people, instead of pretending they're not there. Thumbs up.

Anti-choice Senator tries to cut Title X funds  

What do you do when you have a wonderful program that provides federal funds to preventive healthcare and family planning services? If you're Senator David Vitter, you propose an amendment to drastically cut its funds.

Um, fail. This is awful. According to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards:

"This is the worst possible time for these outrageous attacks. More and more people are losing their jobs and their health insurance — and that means that safety-net providers like Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers are more important than ever. It's unconscionable to try to strip our funding at time when so many people are relying on us — but that's exactly what Sen. Vitter and his allies are trying to do."

Please take a minute to fill out this form on Planned Parenthood's website to tell your Senators to vote NO on this ridiculous amendment.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Glamour has modern celebs portray famous women of the past  

In honor of Women's History Month (woooo!) Glamour put together a photo shoot in which young female celebrities posed as famous historical women.

(Hayden Panettiere as Amelia Earhart)

(Alexis Bledel as Rosie the Riveter)

(Emma Roberts as Audrey Hepburn)

(America Ferrera as Dolores Huerta)

I thought it was pretty great to see all these modern female celebrities portraying the women of the past. They each also said a little something about the woman they were imitating. My only problem with this shoot was that they had all these accomplished and strong women who did these amazing things, and then they had...

Carrie Bradshaw? What? She's not even a real person. And as much of a guilty pleasure Sex and the City is for me, I can't say she's exactly up-to-par with the other women role models on this list.

Dora the Explorer "grows up"  


I am so sad.

Dora the Explorer, the wonderful, bilingual, adventurous positive role model on Nickelodeon is getting a makeover. That's right. This is what our world has come to. According to ParentDish:

The new Dora, who will be revealed in the fall, lives in the big city and goes to middle school. She still solves mysteries but she's abandoned outdoor adventure for shopping, jewelry and fashion.

No. No no no no no. How can they possibly makeover the one rare positive role model for young girls and turn her into some sexualized superficial tween who does nothing but promote negative stereotypes? NOT OKAY. To object to this, please sign this online petition.

Photography as a way to change the world  

As a feminist photographer, I have always strongly believed that photography can act as a form of activism; a way to bring about change, to inform, and to inspire. Recently, I received an e-mail from Catherine Shteynberg, program assistant at the Smithsonian Photography Initiative, informing me of an upcoming exhibit: "click! Photography Changes Everything." This will be an online exhibit of photos and stories that focus on celebrating International Women's Day on March 8th.

Catherine explained, "From how photographs of women played a part in the Women's Rights Movement worldwide to how photography celebrates, captures, or challenges what it means to be a woman, click! wants photographs and stories on everything that has and does shape the female experience."

So, I'm encouraging all of you to consider submitting your photos and stories to help build this wonderful exhibit. You can also be a part of the online exhibit on the Smithsonian Commons that will feature portraits of accomplished women starting March 9th.

I think art is a wonderful way to remedy the under representation of women that plagues U.S. history. Please consider being a part of it.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Daily inspiration for women  

I walked into the public bathroom in my hall to find that some wonderful woman had decided to tape inspirational sayings all around one of the mirrors. Definitely put a smile on my face.

The sayings are: "I can do anything I put my mind to," "I am smart," "I have a voice," "I am funny," and "I am beautiful."

Asian government censors the 'homo-loving' speeches of the Oscars  

During the Oscars, many people got the pleasant experience of hearing both Sean Penn, star of "Milk," and Dustin Lance Black, writer of "Milk," delivering heartfelt speeches that included yearning for equality, regardless of sexual orientation. For millions of people in Asia, Penn and Black didn't even utter the word "gay" in their speeches, thanks to the Asian government's censorship.

While most people saw this:

China's censors purposely mistranslated Penn's speech, so that instead of saying, "You commie, homo-loving sons of guns," he was made out to say, "You really are so generous." The portion of his speech that condemned people who oppose same-sex marriage was translated into simply, "Everyone has equal rights."

And while most people saw this:

Viewers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Taiwan and Thailand saw a heavily censored speech that eliminated all of openly gay Dustin Lance Black's heartfelt talk of longing for equality, urging that gay/lesbian people are, "Beautiful, wonderful creatures of value."

It pains me that talking about equality, respect, and love are considered obscene by Asian censorship standards. Really, what kind of world do we live in?

More famous women are offered money to get naked  

Why is it that every time a "hot" woman becomes a big political or pop culture figure, she's instantly offered money to make a porno or pose nude?

Oh right. Because we live in a sexist patriarchal culture that gets cheap thrills from objectifying women.

The latest female celebrity to be the piece of meat who receives this irresistible offer? Nadya Suleman, "OctoMom." $1 million to make a movie. I can't even think about what that movie would entail. The scary part is that she's so desperate for money, I wouldn't be surprised if she did it. I have no doubts that the porn industry that made the offer, Vivid Entertainment, is consciously exploiting her poverty. Nice.

Obama's newest cabinet pick  

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been nominated by Obama as Health and Human Services Secretary. Her website states:

At the heart of Governor Sebelius' administration is a commitment to growing the Kansas economy and creating jobs; ensuring every Kansas child receives a quality education; protecting Kansas families and communities; improving access to quality, affordable health care; and taking advantage of the state's renewable energy assets. In 2005, Time magazine named her one of the nation's top five governors.

I don't know a whole lot about her, but being named one of the nation's top five governors isn't half-bad. She's also a supporter of abortion rights, which is pissing off anti-choice activists:

A Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights, Sebelius' nomination prompted angry reactions from anti-abortion groups outraged by her ties to Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider in Wichita, Kan. Groups including Operation Rescue and Concerned Women for America vowed to mobilize against her. The American Life League said it was rolling out a "STOP Sebelius" petition and asking other groups to join.

"There is nobody in America in my mind that is more radically sold out to the abortion lobby than Kathleen Sebelius," said Troy Newman, president of Kansas-based Operation Rescue.

It amazes me how abortion rights are brought up nearly every time a vetting process begins. The debate is hotter than ever.

More commercials I can't stand: BK Burger Shots will get you laid  

No need to say much about this one, except that the person who posted this YouTube video wrote, "Finally! The horniest, most boobstatic Burger King ad ever!" Yeah.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rachael Ray objectified by For Him Magazine  

I was thoroughly repulsed by the photo shoot Rachael Ray did for For Him Magazine. I've never particularly been a fan of Rachael Ray, but I had hoped she had just a little more sense than to subject herself to posing in a hyper-sexualized set of photos, in which the food exists only as a fetish. It's offensive and sexist, and I'm thoroughly revolted by both the low standards of the pornographic rag that is For Him Magazine, and by Rachael Ray's choice to allow herself to become a sex object.