Monday, August 31, 2009

A Woman's World  

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As soon as you get a free minute, check out "A Woman's World" on the New York Times website. It's a gallery of user-submitted photographs "that illustrate the importance of educating girls and empowering women." The photographs are beautiful, and feature women from all around the world. Thank you, Times, for putting this together.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

USA network urges people to 'unite'  

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What does everyone think about the USA network's new campaign, called "Characters Unite"? It urges people to "take the pledge" to combat prejudice and discrimination. I saw an ad for it while watching USA, and it features all different people, including people of color, people with disabilities, and even a same-sex couple speaking out against hatred. I think it's a pretty bold move on USA's part, especially the bit that promotes same-sex marriage. It's also a very well-done commercial.

Visit charactersunite.com to watch the "take the pledge" video and also, if you want, take the pledge yourself.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Court supports firing of woman for pumping breast milk at work  

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LaNisa Allen was terminated from her job after she took "unauthorized" breaks to pump breast milk. As a result, she sued her former employers, claiming that the company violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Unfortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 that she was rightly terminated for taking extra breaks. But in his dissenting opinion, Justice Paul E. Pfeifer wrote:

The appellate court does not explain why Allen's trips to the restroom outside scheduled break times were different from the restroom trips other employees made outside scheduled break times. There is no evidence in the record about any limit on the length of unscheduled restroom breaks and no evidence that employees had to seek permission from a supervisor to take an unscheduled restroom break. There is evidence only that unscheduled bathroom breaks were allowed and that LaNisa Allen was fired for taking them. What made her breaks different?

New mothers simply have to pump breast milk if they choose to breastfeed their newborn(s). If a workplace can allow bathroom and cigarette breaks, they certainly can allow this. Ohio needs to launch the same initiative that Vermont has, which requires workplaces to provide private and comfortable accommodations for new mothers to pump breast milk. It's upsetting that women have to go through an extensive legal process to gain a right they should have in the first place.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New commercial tells parents how to raise their children  

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HOLY CRAP, TRYING TO TALK ABOUT SEX WILL TURN YOUR DAD INTO A MIME!

Thank goodness we don't have to talk about "the parts." I was worried for a minute that I might have to explain to my children what's going on with their bodies, or explain how sex works before I tell them to "wait."

4parents.gov is an appalling website that can basically be summed up in five words: "GET MARRIED OR NO SEX." They have an entire section about loving and accepting your child should s/he turn out to be gay, and then they blatantly exclude same-sex couples by preaching marriage as the best thing since sliced bread. Look at this:

What do you want your son or daughter to know about the benefits of marriage? Talking about the value of marriage now can help your son or daughter make good choices that will impact their future. Make sure you let them know what you want for their future. Marriage can be a positive part of your child's life. Research supports this!

Talk about some of the benefits listed below. Through discussion, you can help them think about their own future.
What are the benefits married people enjoy?

* Live longer.

* Have better physical and emotional health.

* Are happier.

* Earn more.

* Enjoy better sex lives.

* Save more so they have fewer money worries.

Uh. What about the people who are pushed into marriage by their parents, society, and stupid websites like 4parents.gov, and end up unhappy because they simply married for the sake of marrying? Why does it have to be "wait until marriage" to have sex? It is so much more realistic and inclusive to simply promote waiting until someone is ready and has found the right partner.

Then again, I don't want to die young, poor, depressed, and sex-less. Hot damn! I'm gonna go get hitched right now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Violence and hatred at health care town hall meetings  

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I heard about this via The Curvature and it made me sick. It's becoming apparent that these town hall meetings held on health care reform are getting out of hand. Left-wingers are calling for the reform of our deeply flawed system, while right-wingers are resisting changes and fearing steps made towards universal health care.

And now with Senator Kennedy, a huge advocate of health care reform, having passed on, it's no doubt that reform advocates will want to carry on his legacy.

I understand that health care is an issue that many of us take very seriously, but certain actions are inexcusable. For example, at a town hall led by Senator Claire McCaskill, several black women brought a sign in with them, keeping it rolled up until a photographer asked to see it. When one woman unrolled it, a white man jumped up, stormed over to them, and grabbed the poster to rip it up.

The poster was merely a picture of Rosa Parks. The man attempted to rip up a photo of a civil rights pioneer, one glorified by history books for her courageous activism. After this happened, the women were escorted out. Thankfully, the man was eventually arrested on assault charges. You can watch the incident:



Cara at The Curvature commented on this appropriately:


It's worth noting that the man who stole and vandalized the sign was arrested, and the woman who was the victim of this crime was let go. But we've still got police jumping to conclusions about who is to blame, and not instinctively choosing the white guy. And we've also got a mob mentality going on. Most of the audience members who cheered might not have even known what was on the sign. But if they did know what was on it, they cheered destruction of an image of a civil rights hero. And if they didn't, they cheered the destruction of the sign simply based on who the woman holding it was. On what she looked like. Either way, I'm pretty damn sure that's racism, and white entitlement.

These town halls are putting liberals and conservatives together in a confined space where tensions are high, and so people are using these spaces as soapboxes, where they can publicly display racist views or anti-choice sentiments:



Some pretty horrible stuff is going on at these town halls, and it's making me very nervous.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy has died at 77  

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At 77 years-old, the "liberal lion of the Senate" has lost his battle with brain cancer. Ted Kennedy represented the state of Massachusetts, and was the second most senior member of the Senate. His death is an incredible shame, but Sen. Kennedy lived a long life of activism and making the world a better place through politics.

During his lifetime, Kennedy was an advocate for the rights of women, GLBT people, immigrants, minorities, and people with disabilities. As a believer of reproductive justice, he received a 100% pro-choice record from NARAL, and he was key to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and many others. In August, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation's highest civilian honor) by President Obama.

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Senator Kennedy made a surprise appearance (not too long after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor) and delivered a speech to a teary-eyed and welcoming audience.


His seat in the Senate will certainly be an enormous one to fill, and I hope we can properly honor his many achievements.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Play some manly games, dammit!  

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Like to play "girly" games on your iPhone? Well man up, wussy boy! You best be deleting those pussy games ASAP and play some real games (meaning ones with blood and violence) or else you run the risk of being called Susie and other girl names, which is pretty much the worst thing a guy can possibly be called. Wouldn't want anyone thinking you're a woman, would you?!?

Thousands protest against women's rights in Mali  

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In Mali, thousands are protesting against a proposed law that would give women more marriage rights, including granting inheritance rights to children born without married parents, changing the legal age for marriage to 18, and replacing "paternal power" with "parental authority" in family law.

According to protesters, this new law is against Islam and is based on the values of Western civilization. Hadja Sapiato Dembele of the National Union of Muslim Women's Associations told BBC:

We have to stick to the Koran... A man must protect his wife, a wife must obey her husband.

Of course I'm in favor of women having rights that they deserve, but it's an extremely tough situation when religion is involved. About 90% of the Mali population is Muslim, so the chance of this law passing doesn't look too good.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is showing a plus-sized model really 'progressive'?  

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In the latest issue of Glamour magazine, those who turned to page 194 saw this photo:


According to the editor-in-chief of Glamour:

It's a photo that measures all of three by three inches in our September issue, but the letters about it started to flood my inbox literally the day Glamour hit newsstands. (As editor-in-chief, I pay attention to this stuff!) "I am gasping with delight...I love the woman on p 194!" said one...then another, and another, andanotherandanotherandanother. So...who is she? And what on earth is so special about her?

Here's the deal: The picture wasn't of a celebrity. It wasn't of a supermodel. It was of a woman sitting in her underwear with a smile on her face and a belly that looks...wait for it...normal.

Women loved seeing size 12 Lizzi Miller in Glamour because they were finally seeing someone they could relate to - someone who didn't make them feel terrible about themselves because they were reminded that they are just as beautiful.

I'm impressed that Glamour is doing something that is (sadly) so rare in the world of fashion magazines, and it doesn't even stop there. An article entitled "How to Never Have Another Fat Day" seems like it will be filled with shallow tips on how to "dress thin" but is actually a series of photos of a curvy woman over 30 days accompanied with her thoughts about her body over the same time period, showing that her body never changes, but she still experiences her good days and her "fat days." It's meant to show that you don't always have to lose weight to love your body, that perhaps it's more important to think positively.

But despite Glamour's good points, I still see conflicting messages. It took me all of ten seconds to log onto their website and find articles entitled "3 Surprising Fat-Burning Foods" and "9 Things That Might Be Making You Fat" accompanied by photos like these:


...As if they're trying to tell us, "Don't look like this!" Once in awhile, fashion magazines will feature slightly larger models to appease their plus-sized readers and "fight" beauty standards, but what always remains consistent is their hypocrisy. You cannot tell us that big is beautiful while shoving diet tips in our faces. The Bust magazine blog summed it up in an April post: "With a few awesome exceptions, advertising, TV, and the rest of the media is still dominated by impossible-to-attain stick figures." And with fashion magazines making only half-assed attempts to be inclusive of real women, that's how it's going to stay.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Re: Michelle Obama's shorts  

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I'm sorry, I really just need to take a minute to say one thing about people having a conniption over Michelle Obama wearing (HOLY CRAP ARE YOU READY FOR THIS) SHORTS:

WHO THE HELL CARES?!


Give it up, already! The way the media is acting you would think the First Lady stepped off the plane naked for crying out loud. It's hot as hell in Arizona; you would be crazy not to wear shorts. I know people feel the need to put her on a pedestal and expect her to be classy and beautiful and perfect at all times, but not even the striking Michelle Obama can do that. Time to get over it.
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two chicks making out? Man, that's hot!  

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You have to watch this. The wonderful host of CurrentTV's "That's Gay," Bryan Safi, tackles the topic TV show characters "lezzing out"... but only for a couple episodes, because male viewers need to know that the hot female leads haven't gone totally lez. In Bryan's words, "Homosexuality is totally cool when the dudes approve. So if they're getting off, the ladies can get off. It's all for the bro with the boner who's watching."

Hysterical, and so so true.



And here's last week's episode, in which Bryan discusses hidden gay characters in TV commercials:



Bryan is officially my new gay boyfriend.

Abortion restrictions in Oklahoma  

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On Tuesday, an Oklahoma judge overturned a state law requiring women to obtain an ultrasound and a description of the fetus from a doctor before getting an abortion. Unfortunately, just a day later, the OK Attorney General confirmed that the state will file an appeal in an attempt to reinstate these unnecessary regulations. From the Washington Post:

Arizona and Florida require ultrasounds for abortions after the first trimester; Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama mandate ultrasounds for first-trimester abortions. The Guttmacher Institute says that because an ultrasound is not considered medically necessary in the first trimester, when nearly 90 percent of abortions occur, it views such laws as "a veiled attempt to personify the fetus and dissuade a woman from obtaining an abortion."

Once again, the historic Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling is ignored. In 1992, the Supreme Court determined that abortion restrictions are allowed as long as they do not impose an "undue burden" on women, or a "substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion." Requiring an ultrasound and a description of the fetus is not medically necessary in most cases, and therefore these restrictions exist only to dissuade women from having abortions in order to perpetuate the anti-choice agenda.

The intentions of these regulations are clear as day, and I sincerely hope that they continue to be struck down by the state for the sake of Oklahoma women.

Marital rape to be criminalized in Bahamas?  

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In the Bahamas, a person can only accuse a partner of marital rape if they are legally separated or in the process of getting a divorce. I suppose Phyllis Schlafly would fully commend this policy, since she believes that "when you get married you have consented to sex." Rape can happen in any situation and within any relationship, including marriage.

Now, there is a bill in the Bahamian legislature that would fully criminalize marital rape, and not surprisingly, it's drawing controversy. From the Associated Press:

The bill already has caused debate on radio talk shows, with some islanders saying women could file false rape charges as leverage for alimony, child support or custody. Others have said the bill contradicts traditional Christian values.

Wow, people really give women no credit whatsoever. Keep your fingers crossed that this bill passes for the safety of Bahamian women.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Afghan men allowed to starve wives  

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I don't even have words to describe this. Horrific, appalling, disturbing, deplorable. Men in Afghanistan have won the "right" to starve their wives in order to control them and force them to meet their sexual demands:


Bowing to international pressure and unprecedented protests by hundreds of women on the streets of Kabul, the Afghan government promised in April to review a new law imposing severe restrictions on women in Shiite Muslim families.

Last week, though, Human Rights Watch discovered that a revised version of the Shiite Personal Status Law had been quietly put into effect at the end of July — meaning that Shiite men in Afghanistan now have the legal right to starve their wives if their sexual demands are not met and that Shiite women must obtain permission from their husbands to even leave their houses, "except in extreme circumstances."

Many Afghan men fully support this law because they enjoy the ability to exercise control over their wives. In Afghanistan, equality remains a myth.




And sadly, allowing starvation isn't the only thing promised by this new law:

According to Human Rights Watch, the new law also "grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers" and "effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying 'blood money' to a girl who was injured when he raped her."

I don't even know what we can do about this, other than spread the word. I feel really powerless.

Marriott stops blaming rape victim for attack  

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There was a well-deserved backlash after the Marriott claimed a woman who was raped in the hotel parking lot was careless and partly at fault for her attack. But thankfully, the Marriott was rescinded its victim-blaming defense.

Women's advocates said Marriott's handling of the case is every rape victim's nightmare come true — and a major reason why rape remains one of the most underreported crimes, despite changes like shield laws that make a victim's sexual history irrelevant.

"The fear of being blamed for being raped is one of the most common reasons that victims of sexual assault don't come forward," said Nancy Kushins, executive director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services.

Defenses that blame the victim to some extent are not uncommon, as insurance companies try to minimize their losses. But Jim Nugent, chairman of the litigation section of the Connecticut Bar Association, said doing so in this case would be odd, given the especially horrific nature of a rape witnessed by the victim's children.

Good news indeed, but the hotel's lawyers should have never developed this defense in the first place. Victim-blaming is inexcusable.

Target Women: You're Old  

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New "Target Women," and once again, Sarah Haskins does not disappoint.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Corporations ditch Beck after he called Obama a 'racist'  

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Remember when that sorry excuse for a political commentator, Glenn Beck, publicly stated that Obama is a racist who hates white people? If you don't remember, here's the video. Tie your hands behind your back to restrain yourself from punching your computer screen.



But, there is GOOD NEWS! Wal-Mart, CVS, Best Buy, and five other companies have just pulled their advertising from Beck's show after ColorOfChange.org asked people to take action, making a total of twenty advertisers who have ended their support for the Fox host. Sign the petition, and perhaps we can get even more advertisers to ditch the ignoramus. Oh, the power of online activism.

PETA's new deplorable advertisement  

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When I saw this posted in Feministing, I wanted to cry. PETA's at it again with offensive advertising, this time utilizing fat-shaming instead of blatant sexism or racism. Speaking as a woman who isn't a size 2, going to the beach in a bathing suit is already fucking hard enough without having to see this along the way:


Seriously, the woman in that picture doesn't even look that big. What is she, a size 10? 12? According to PETA, however, being larger makes you a whale. And as if the billboard isn't bad enough, just check out this statement from executive VP Tracy Reiman: "Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach."

Why WHY does PETA feel it necessary to be so disgustingly offensive in their advertising? Sending an angry e-mail right now. Take a minute to do the same.
Sunday, August 16, 2009

Racism runs wild  

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Thanks to Womanist Musings I came across these photos from the upcoming issue of Harper's Bazaar that feature supermodel Naomi Campbell.








Let's use a points system to evaluate these:

+100 points for using a woman of color in a photoshoot to counter the societal belief that being white equals being beautiful.

-50,000 points for portraying said woman of color in a racist, idiotic, and fucking offensive manner. It is possible to show a black woman doing something other than wearing animal skins and running wild with cheetahs in Africa. Are you kidding me?

Rachel Maddow kicks ass (again)  

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On Meet the Press, Maddow appeared on a panel with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). And she effectively called Armey out on his bullshit.

Women's boxing added to 2012 Olympics  

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The International Olympic Committee voted yesterday to add women's boxing to the 2012 Olympics in London.


Women's boxing has boomed in Britain since 2005, with the number of registered female fighters rising from 50 to 600, PA reported.

Softball and baseball were considered for inclusion in the 2016 Games along with squash, karate, roller sports, golf and rugby, but the board decided to consider only the last two.

Kick some ass!

Friday, August 14, 2009

5 Reasons We Still Need Feminism  

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Check out "5 Reasons We Still Need Feminism" on the Sirens Magazine website. I could easily write "50 Reasons We Still Need Feminism," but the five reasons they listed were certainly enough, which included the rape crisis and reproductive rights being in jeopardy. But just for some extra material to shove in the faces of folks who claim that feminism is dead and useless, here are my five reasons (in actuality, reproductive justice and the rape crisis would be on this list, but since Sirens already covered it, I'm trying to do something different).

1. Equal Pay Remains a Myth. Although we have laws to protect our right to fair and equal pay, a wage gap still exists. In 2008, women who were full-time wage and salary workers earned about 80 percent of their male counterparts' salaries. And the numbers are even worse for women of color. A core feminist belief (especially within Marxist Feminism) is that women cannot achieve liberation without economic independence. As long as women still continue to struggle with poverty, many have no choice but to depend on men for survival.

2. LGBT People Are Still Being Treated Like a Lesser Species. As long as people still exist who believe that same-sex marriage will lead to the apocalypse and will corrupt our children, gay people will continue to be stepped on by bigoted heterosexuals. Keith Olbermann once asked while addressing same-sex marriage opponents, "What's it to you?" Opponents of equality are selfish and ignorant people who envision a world with legalized gay marriage as a doomed world. To me, the scarier world is one in which over half the population in a state votes in favor of hatred instead of love, churches are performing fake exorcisms on frightened young people, scientific evidence is ignored for the sake of continuing harmful and medieval tactics, and entire groups of people who have done nothing but step into a gay bar are targeted by a terrorist group that wishes to poison them. In comparison to all that, love and acceptance doesn't sound so bad.

3. As High as the Rape and Violence Rates Are Here, Women Are Being Abused Even More Abroad. 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.

4. Racism is Alive and Well. Let's play a game called Don't Jump the Gun, in which we try with all our might to avoid declaring racism "dead" because our country finally allowed a black man into the White House. Because when said black man is still the target of racist attacks, like comparing him to a witch doctor or a "magic negro," or is targeted for an assassination by white supremacists, I think it's safe to say racism is still pretty active. And let's not forget when for the 45340598390534th time a black man was targeted by cops, and our black president defended him, he was ripped a new asshole by right-wingers.

5. Society is Laying Out the Narrowest of Paths for Our Children. Little girls play with dolls, and little boys play with trucks. If the opposite occurs, the little girl is taunted and called a "tomboy," and the little boy is called a "sissy" or a "fag." Shouldn't our children have the right to express who they are and choose what they want to do, as long as they are safe? In a perfect (see: feminist) world perhaps, but in our society, don't even think about it. Most major toy websites still have "boys" and "girls" sections with "gender-appropriate" toys that condition young boys to grow up to love violence and sports, and girls to grow up cooking meals and playing dress-up. A feminist's task is to break down these stereotypes, until finally a young boy can play with a Barbie doll without being teased by classmates and reprimanded by nervous parents who fear the boy will grow up to be (GASP!) a homosexual. Such restrictions harm children in the long run by forcing them to stifle their interests and talents if they do not fit the norm.

What are your reasons?

Listen...  

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Let me clear something up.

When I wrote the post earlier today about why I am choosing to not marry, I did not mean it as a lecture for feminists who do marry. I made a careful point to state in this post that I believe everyone should make the choices that they feel are right for themselves, and for me, marriage is not in my future. For the feminists who want to get married and hold a feminist wedding, more power to you! I will support any woman who believes marriage is the right path for her.

All I was trying to do is offer an alternative viewpoint. Our society makes marriage out to be necessity, and so I think it is crucial for every woman to sit down and truly think deeply about whether or not marriage is right for her. Breaking out of the shackles that society places us in is damn near impossible... but not marrying isn't the only way to do it. The way to break free from the patriarchy is to truly make a choice for ourselves, not for the rest of society. And if you have decided that marriage is the right path for yourself, that's wonderful.

I apologize if I confused or offended anyone. But next time, please ask me for an explanation first before swearing off my blog forever ;)
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marriott Hotel engages in victim-blaming  

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From The Huffington Post:


A Connecticut hotel where a woman was raped at gunpoint in front of her children says the victim was careless and negligent.

The papers filed last month in Superior Court by the Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa say the victim "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities."

Prosecutors say Gary Fricker assaulted the woman in her minivan in the hotel's parking garage in front of her two children, then ages 3 and 5. Fricker is now serving 20 years in prison.

The hotel's lawyers were responding to a lawsuit claiming the hotel failed to prevent the 2006 attack.

The woman's lawyer didn't immediately return a message Thursday.

Because reprimanding a woman for not being "careful enough" is a proper response to a her being raped. Not "the attacker deserves to have his balls removed," not "we're sorry we don't provide more security in parking lots," not any type of sympathy or apology. Just "why weren't you more careful, you dumb bitch?"

Send a fucking e-mail to the fucking Marriott right the fuck now.

Family Guy's 'abortion episode'  

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Remember that episode of "Family Guy" that was banned from the airwaves because it talked about abortion? Now, you can watch clips of the entire "Family Guy" cast performing the episode live. The basic premise of the episode is that Lois decides to become a surrogate mother for an infertile friend of hers. When her friend dies in a car crash, Lois is left to decide what to do with her pregnancy, and Brian suggests getting an abortion. As usual, Brian is the voice of reason, especially when Peter starts spewing anti-choice BS:


Brian
: Peter, it's not a baby... it's a fertilized egg. It's the size of the tip of a pin.

Peter: It's alive, isn't it? To kill any living thing is an abortion. That's what the man I just met outside the clinic told me, and he had a t-shirt on to confirm it.

Brian: Okay, well sperm is alive and every time you masturbate, millions of them die. So is it wrong to kill sperm?

Peter: Yes, yes it is. From now on, no more masturbating in this house!

Because it's "Family Guy," you have to take everything said with a grain of salt. A lot of the material maintains the usual level of offensiveness, but similar to the gay marriage episode of "Family Guy," I think there's a positive message hidden in there somewhere. For example, a graphic scene in which Peter contemplates all the ways in which abortions can be performed is followed by Lois' doctor explaining that abortion is a simple low-risk procedure that should be kept safe and legal.



What does everyone think? (See more clips here)

Why I'm not getting married  

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I remember once in a Women's Studies class of mine, someone commented that not enough feminist bloggers offer criticisms of marriage. If you share this belief, take a peek at a piece written by Renee of Womanist Musings, entitled: A 'feminist wedding' is an oxymoron. With the title alone I agree. I'm someone who refuses to get married... and if my partner can't cope with that, then I'll have to find a new one.

While the very idea of celebrating love in front of close friends and family is one that I applaud, I loathe full-on marriage for the discriminatory and patriarchal institution that it is. I will still campaign for same-sex marriage because I believe that marriage remains a choice for every person, and as long as LGBT people are denied this choice, they can never be anything more than second-class citizens. But for me personally, the most I plan to do is a commitment ceremony. You can celebrate finding your soulmate without becoming a part of an extremely problematic aspect of society. And while I believe "to each her own," I hope I can encourage some feminists to re-think the path that society has laid out in front of them. My own very feminist roommmate admitted that she herself never considered not getting married, nor did she consider abandoning the tradition of the father giving away the bride like a piece of property.

It's tough to break away from what has been implanted in our heads since birth, but hopefully we can encourage each other to seek alternative paths.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stephen Colbert: birth control = heroin  

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Stephen Colbert NAILS a teenage girl for (GASP) taking her birth control pill in school. Perhaps the only way to convey the ridiculousness of this situation is through Colbert's sarcastic and satirical humor.

Dear CVS: stop locking up condoms  

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Amplify has launched a great campaign to get CVS stores to stop locking their condoms behind glass cases. CVS claims to do this to prevent people from stealing condoms, and incidentally condoms are locked up much more often in communities of color than predominantly white communities.

The study looked at stores in Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, New York City and Miami between September 2007 and January 2008. In some cities, the percentage of CVS stores with locked condoms was more than three times higher in communities of color than in areas that are predominately white.

The cities listed also have some of the highest numbers of AIDS cases in the country.

CVS says they lock up condoms "based on whether shoplifting is to such a degree that they're becoming unavailable for customers to purchase." However, competitors Rite Aid and Walgreens both have policies against locking up condoms.

Be sure to sign Amplify's petition to CVS that asks them to unlock condom cases.

APA calls 'BS' on gay-to-straight therapy  

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Google "gay to straight therapy" right now, and you'll see dozens of news articles about the American Psychological Association publicly rejecting any "therapy" that tries to turn gay people straight. This news is coming at a good time, since that horrendous "exorcism" video surfaced a little over a month ago. From Yahoo! News:

In a resolution adopted on a 125-to-4 vote by the APA's governing council, and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the 150,000-member association put itself firmly on record in opposition of so-called "reparative therapy" which seeks to change sexual orientation.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

Though it seems obvious to me that brainwashing people into becoming something that they weren't meant to be will cause negative psychological effects, there is still an entire group of religious fanatics that cling to the idea that this "conversion" therapy is not bullshit. Mind-blowing.

I still think these people will ignore the evidence and continue to subject victims to these traumatizing programs (remember when the APA repudiated Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome? And yet I was handed a pamphlet for it at a CPC last year) but these statements from the APA couldn't hurt. It certainly is damning evidence in favor of conversion therapy being complete and total BS (see: "But I'm a Cheerleader").

If you or someone you know has been a victim of gay-to-straight therapy, you can visit Beyond Ex-Gay for support from a loving and accepting community.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quote of the Day  

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"I was never a feminist because I was never ugly enough for that." - Karl Lagerfeld, said during an interview as Coco Chanel for Bazaar's upcoming issue.

Hey, Gloria Steinem! Terry O'Neill! Jessica Valenti! You're all ugly bitches!

Buffet of the Week: back from Vegas edition  

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I'M BACK! It's been an exciting week in Vegas, filled with winning money in Blackjack, followed by spending said money on $11 drinks. Definitely a successful vacation, but I'm glad to be back. My body couldn't handle another day in Vegas, and I was tired of being handed flyers for female escorts.

So, to catch up on everything I've been missing, and to help myself get back into the real world, here's a special back-from-Vegas edition of Buffet of the Week:

  • Judge Sotomayor has been confirmed in a 68-31 vote! Congratulations to Judge Sotomayor, and let's hope she's as wonderful of a judge as we anticipated.

  • A gay man has recently been released from prison after spending 21 years behind bars for sexual attacks on children that he did not commit.

  • A new report released shows that women's insurance is more adversely affected by the recession.

  • Quakers in the UK have decided to throw all their support behind same-sex marriage.

  • Supermodel Gisele, who has announced that she is pregnant, has appeared in an ad campaign sans baby bulge. Why? Advertisers photoshopped it out.

  • The Women and Work Commission has found that the wage gap in the UK has been increasing.

  • Washington, D.C. schools are planning to offer STD testing to students.

  • Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed asks, "Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?"

Anything else?

Monday, August 3, 2009

No posts for the next week  

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For my birthday last month, my wonderful dad surprised me with a trip to Vegas. So, tomorrow I'm off to Sin City with a few friends to see some shows, consume overpriced drinks, and gamble my money away. Since internet access in the hotel is very pricey, I'm thinking I might have to part with my precious laptop for the duration of the trip. Sigh. This will definitely not be easy, and I'm sorry I have to leave you all with no blog posts. But I'll be back on Monday with plenty of updates, provided jet lag doesn't weigh me down. Will do my best. See you all next week!

Kathy Griffin fights for LGBT rights  

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I love Kathy Griffin. It's undeniably difficult for women comedians to make it in the male-dominated world of comedy, but Kathy is climbing her way to the top. As a 'fag hag' til death, she always begins her stand-up shows by saying, "Where my gays at?!" She has an enormous gay following, and the latest episode of her reality show, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, gave the gays even more of a reason to love her. In the episode, Kathy got in touch with her activist side by lobbying for the rejection of Prop 8. In an interview she did with MatthewShepard.org, Kathy said,

...I know a lot of gay people and I have heard many of their stories, and through them I have met so many more gay people and heard their stories, etc. But one thing that is really important to me and I am proud of is the Prop 8 episode that we are doing on "My Life on the D-List." You know, every year we do kind of a serious episode and it has really turned into a story about oppression and LGBT issues in general and the reason it was so important to me to invoke Matt's story and kinda his participation from heaven.

Kathy goes door-to-door to discuss same-sex marriage with Californians, and the interesting part is that most of them did not have a good response to her question of, "If gay people can get married, how does that affect you?" Most of the opponents responded with, "It doesn't." She got some people to flat-out say that they will reconsider their anti-gay marriage stance. Kathy also rounded up a group of young LGBT people, introduced them to Matthew Shepard's story, and took them to a gay rights rally. Here's a clip from the episode:



I really appreciate Kathy using her popularity and power to spread a pro-gay rights message. You gotta love her.



Sunday, August 2, 2009

New issue of Ms. Magazine out August 4th  

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The Summer 2009 issue of Ms. Magazine will be hitting newsstands on August 4th. There's some great stuff in it, so be sure to pick up a copy. I want to highlight two of my favorite stories you can find in the issue:

1. "A Man Who Trusted Women" by Michele Kort

As I read this tribute to Dr. Tiller, my eyes welled up with tears. Kort profiles Dr. Tiller, from his decision to start providing abortions to his horrible death. He was a man who trusted women to make the right decisions, and his compassion and trust earned him endless hardships. But he stayed strong, because he knew he had thousands more women to help:

The legal battles were exhaustive and expensive for Tiller, although he "held up like a soldier," says Monnat. Nonetheless, his friends worried about him. "The last
time I talked to him," says Susan Hill, "I said, 'Why are you still doing this, George? You certainly don't need to. Why don't you just retire, enjoy life?'

"He said, 'I can't, I can't leave these women. There's no one else for them.'"

Definitely a worthwhile read.


2. "Baghdad Underground" by Anna Badkhen

This is an upsetting, but inspiring, profile of the women in the "Underground Railroad," a small network of shelters, hidden underground mostly in Baghdad, for women who have been raped, battered, forced into prostitution, or have been rejected by their families for "dishonoring" them. The Railroad was started by 35 Iraqi activists who called themselves the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq. So far, the underground shelters have helped thousands of women escape from misogynistic violence and persecution.

It is depressing, to say the least, that these women have been so abused and mistreated that they must hide underground to escape it, but it is wonderful that they have a safe place to go. Things are terrible for women in Iraq, but women always find a way to help each other.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Ms. Magazine come August 4th to read these stories and others!