Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eve Ensler on our "inner girl"  

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Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues) gave a speech on TED.com about "embracing your inner girl." What does everyone think?

PETA's newest ad campaign  

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There's really nothing like the unnecessary sexualizing of women politicians to even further hinder our ability to be taken seriously in the political world, as well as our plights to decrease our society's objectification of women. As always, PETA continues to set feminism back and sink to the lowest of the low when it comes to advertising methods. You never disappoint, PETA.

Friday, January 22, 2010

McCain women speak for marriage equality  

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It's been widely known that Meghan McCain, John McCain's outspoken daughter, is a proud supporter of same-sex marriage. She even posed in an advertisement for the "NO H8" campaign against Prop 8 in California.



And nowwww... Cindy McCain, John McCain's wife, has decided to pose for the campaign as well.



I'm very surprised that Cindy so publicly supports marriage equality. The NO H8 Campaign website posted the images and announced that Cindy and Meghan are "redefining Republican." Despite my disagreement with many of their political views and my dislike for John McCain, I really respect their willingness to go against the grain by speaking in favor of a political view that is so unpopular within the Republican party (and with John McCain himself).

I think this is an important step in the right direction, to where eventually LGBTQ rights won't be a political debate, but a given. If two of the country's most well-known Republicans can recognize that denying rights to same-sex couples is a form of hatred and discrimination, surely others can as well.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sex ed, 1950s-style  

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I stumbled across a Top 10 Most Bizarre Sex Ed Videos list at Ranker.com, and wow. Compared to some of these creepy and outdated videos from 50 or so years ago, even abstinence-only education doesn't seem that bad.

My favorite was the video that tried to educate children on "the homosexual," usually an older mentally disturbed man who picks up little boys in his car and drives them to motels to force sex on them. It warns the viewer: "One never knows when the homosexual is about. He may appear normal." Shudder.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."  

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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I've compiled a list of my favorite quotes said by Dr. King. Enjoy, and take today to remind yourself of the messages Dr. King's words sent, and also to think about what you can do to continue his work.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
-Strength To Love, 1963.

Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten....America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness--justice.
-Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
-Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1964.

A good many observers have remarked that if equality could come at once the Negro would not be ready for it. I submit that the white American is even more unprepared.
-Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
-Strength To Love, 1963.

Tweet/post your favorite MLK quotes.
Friday, January 15, 2010

Why more women aren't gamers  

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Saw this very cute and very interesting video over at Sociological Images, and I was enthralled throughout the whole thing. As a girl who grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat on Sega Genesis, begging my father to buy me a Gameboy to be able to play Super Mario Brothers on the go, and now obsessively trying to get the high score on Wii tennis, I can't help but be interested in why women seem to feel left out from the video game world. Daniel Floyd makes some really great points, calling the video game industry a "Boys' Club" and arguing that the sexualization of female video game characters might turn women (and certainly feminists) off from video games completely. I especially love what he says towards the end:

Perhaps the ideal solution would be to just stop drawing gender lines completely. It may be that when we stop thinking so much about "games for men" versus "games for women" and just make games for people, things will start to improve. Yes, certain kinds of products and imagery appeal to men while other kinds appeal to women, and there's nothing wrong with that, but you have to wonder if all this boundary drawing around women and games has just kept them out, rather than invited them in.

New law requires women to name baby, paint nursery before getting abortion  

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Relax, it's just The Onion. Saw this on Feministing and laughed my ass off. It just illustrates the sheer ridiculousness of "prior to an abortion, a woman must do this" laws, and exposes the fact that these laws exist solely to deter women from choosing abortion.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to help (and not help) quake victims in Haiti  

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I'm sure most of you have heard about the enormous earthquake that struck Haiti two days ago, causing an estimated 50,000 deaths. I was horrified to hear about this, but I have faith that people will band together to dedicate time and money to aid those affected in Haiti. I've already seen efforts in the past two days, ranging from friends posting links to donation pages on Facebook to pop-ups on the corner of the TV screen on VH1 urging people to donate through a text message fund.

But televangelist Pat Robertson and ignoramus Rush Limbaugh were nice enough to give us comprehensive lessons on how not to help those struggling to put their lives back together in Haiti. Here's Keith Olbermann's fantastic response to their heartlessness:



Let's try looking at some better ways to help that don't involve accusing Haitians of making a pact with the devil or of being communists who brought poverty upon themselves.

Real Ways to Help:
  • The Red Cross announced that you can text "Haiti" to 90999 to send $10 to the Red Cross' quake relief fund (the $10 will be added to your next cell phone bill). Or you can donate to the Red Cross online.

  • You can also donate to UNICEF, NetHope, or World Vision International.

  • Use your blogs, Facebooks, Twitters, text messages, and so on to spread the word about Haiti's need for our help. Stay on top of the news to remain updated on the situation, since it is constantly changing. Today, for example, MSNBC reported that the chaos that has broken out since the quake is making it extremely difficult for relief workers to get aid to victims.

  • Also use social networking sites and word-of-mouth to publicly denounce the horrific responses by people such as Robertson and Limbaugh. Use Keith Olbermann's words if you need to, since he usually says it better than anyone ;)

I send my utmost support and compassion to those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, and I hope each day those in Haiti make more progress towards a recovery.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thoughts on sex dolls and robots  

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Today is brought to you by the letter "C" for CREEPY.

We, unfortunately, know that people who crave sex on demand without strings attached can purchase sex dolls, ranging from your everyday "blow up" doll found in sex shops for $19.95 to high-end models, in which you can customize every aspect of your doll, right down to her pubic hair.

Going even further... a New Jersey company has created the world's first "sex robot," a scantily clad rubber woman named Roxxxy whose mouth stays permanently open and can not only satisfy her owner's sexual needs, but their needs for pillow talk as well.

"Sex only goes so far – then you want to be able to talk to the person," said Douglas Hines, founder of the company that created the robot.

She comes with a variety of prerecorded phrases ("I love holding hands with you," for example) but you can also (brace yourself) connect her to a laptop so she can download updates from the internet to expand her vocabulary and, ahem, capabilities.

Owners can also select different personalities for Roxxxy, from "Wild Wendy" to "Frigid Farrah." GAH.

My main problem with sex dolls that are carefully crafted to emulate women is that it reinforces the idea that women should adopt a passive role during sex - a role that involves becoming a mere hole to be penetrated. Additionally, I speculate that men are attracted to sex dolls because it allows them to have some form of "sex" without the work - without the talking, the seducing, the awkward goodbye afterwards - but the fact is that sex shouldn't come without all those things. Sex involves communicating with another person, whether you wish to see this as a positive or negative aspect. If we start manufacturing sex dolls whose jobs are to shut up and be penetrated, how will men who purchase these dolls behave when it comes time to actually have sex with a real person? It's provocative to suggest that sex dolls can lead to real women being raped, but... I think it can. And more commonly, it can lead to general mistreatment of women: the whole "shut up and get in the sack" mentality that stems from the good ol' patriarchy.

Now, some might argue that this new "sex robot" comes with a personality and a voice, thereby debunking all I've said above. My response is that I see no good coming from this. It's one thing to get sexual satisfaction from a sex toy, but to get emotional satisfaction as well? Isn't this just removing us even further from reality?

Hines said he was inspired to create the robot after a friend died in the 9/11 attacks, and he began to think about preserving his friend's personality for his grieving loved ones to enjoy.

All of this just sounds delusional to me. There is no way a robot can be a healthy and satisfactory substitution for genuine human interaction and love. To replace a partner or a friend with a rubber doll and a voice box is to hold onto something that isn't real. I think that by unveiling this "sex robot," Roxxxy's creators are headed down a dangerous path.
Monday, January 11, 2010

Harry Reid's racial remarks  

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What are everyone's thoughts on this Harry Reid controversy? For those of you who don't know, a new book revealed that Reid, leader of the Senate Democrats, made "racist" comments towards Barack Obama, calling him a "light-skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Reid issued an apology, and President Obama has accepted it. Prominent Democrats, as well as the nation's first black attorney, have defended Reid. Republicans are calling Democrats hypocrites, accusing them of applying a double-standard by calling out others on racism, but not their own. They are also calling for Reid's resignation. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement that Reid should step down, calling his comments "embarrassing and racially insensitive."

Except, um, remember when the GOP and conservative activists were constantly guilty of distributing horrific materials attacking Obama for his race?

Methinks the Republicans aren't criticizing Democrats because they are genuinely offended by Reid's racist comments and by racism in general, but because they are using this as an opportunity to call us hypocrites.

Also, blogger Brian Montopoli of CBSNews.com made a good point. Look carefully at what Reid said. Reid didn't seem to be criticizing Obama, but instead describing how certain aspects of himself will work in his favor for election. Montopoli wrote:

On NBC's "Today" show Monday, Matt Lauer asked PBS' Gwen Ifill this question: "Isn't Harry Reid implying that a dark-skinned African American who speaks in a way that some would consider more stereotypical would not be electable?"

Ifill's response? Well, yes. Because it's true.


While Reid could have done a much better job structuring his comments, I don't find what he said racist. I find it true. The fact that Obama isn't very dark-skinned and speaks in a manner that Americans don't associate with the stereotypical person of color helped him win. We have said it time and time again: Obama's victory was a step in the right direction, but racism continues to plague America. Obama was an "acceptable" African-American, just like there are "acceptable" queer figures and "acceptable" feminists (see: Sarah Palin).

It is immoral to condone offensive remarks simply because they were made by an ally instead of an enemy, and I do think we should urge Reid to better exercise sensitivity and morality in the future, but asking him to step down as Majority leader? That is far too extreme.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Obama appoints transgender woman to commerce post  

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Obama has made yet another move to demonstrate his desire for equality, and I cannot wait to hear what Rush Limbaugh has to say on this. President Obama appointed Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman, to be the Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department. In a statement, Simpson said:

I'm truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me. As one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others.

Wow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Say it with me now: rape is not something to joke about. EVER.  

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The folks in charge of the casting of the newest Real World season, set in Washington, D.C., picked a real winner when they cast Andrew Woods. Since I'm a Real World junkie, I was excited to watch the recently aired pilot episode of D.C., only to discover that I'm repeatedly going to have to throw objects at my television every time he talks. I said, "Uh oh, I'm going to have problems with this guy" when he admitted that he got fired from a newspaper for "trying to offend women and lesbians and stuff like that." Don't be fooled: this Real World cartoonist is by no means similar to the lovable and adorable cartoonist cast in Real World: San Francisco, Judd Winick.

The Sexist published some of Andrew Woods' cartoons, and they're horrifying, to say the least. Woods is clearly a fan of rape jokes.

Text: Seducing women doesn't have to be some expensive ordeal, just funnel some cheap vodka into half a bottle of sparkling cider... as long as it looks like champagne, she'll drink it!


The above entry and the post I linked to on The Sexist aren't meant to be celebrity gossip. It's important to publish Woods' illustrations as a reminder that joking about rape makes you an insensitive asshole. Maybe (and by "maybe" I mean "undoubtedly") Andrew can't understand the reality of rape because his chances of actually being raped or sexually assaulted are significantly lower than they are for a woman, but his ignorance is no defense.

I suppose people like Andrew Woods are willing to sink to the lowest of the low for a cheap laugh, but the rest of us have something that these soulless morons lack: morale.