"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Times' Campaign Commentary

I should be sick of Op Eds full of attempts at witty comments about the presidential candidates and their campaigns, but I can't help that I really enjoyed this one by Gail Collins from todays New York Times:

Hillary could start by purging her campaign of the lingering sense that the presidency is her due and anyone who stands in her way is a particularly mean chauvinist. You cannot run a campaign with the slogan: "Vote for Hillary - Think of All She's Been Through."

And while it seems unlikely, Barack might consider admitting once in a while that it's possible for a person to reach for a greater tomorrow while voting for somebody else.

"It's about the past versus the future," he said yesterday, railing at some people (no names were mentioned, but we're really running out of alternatives) who are willing to settle for small change, who "look backwards and try to build a bridge back to the 20th century."

See, that is the sort of thing that makes Hillary voters depressed. Everybody wants to be a change agent. But Barack is making Clintonites feel like an elderly aunt who won't let the kids play their newfangled music in the talent show.


Read the whole thing.  It made me chuckle. (But then again, I'm a total nerd.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Friendly Letters

Newsflash.  NOW does not, has never and will never represent the views of all feminists.  It is not the prophetic voice of capital "F" Feminism.  There is no such thing as a monolithic, capital "F" feminism.  While you may sincerely think you are exposing some dark underbelly of feminism as an institution by calling bullshit on New York NOW for this press release, you are late to the party.  New York NOW  has already been criticized for it by - you guessed it - other feminists (see here, here, here, and here).  Now, STFU. 
Dear Marcia Pappas,
You are entitled to your personal opinion.  But please remember that with your title of president of NY NOW comes great responsibility.  As the leader of a chapter of the world's most well-known mainstream feminism organization, your opinions may very likely be mistaken for the feelings of all feminists or even all women.  I hope that you will take this responsibility into consideration the next time you are tempted issue a rage-filled press release attacking someone for choosing to endorse a different candidate than you.  The word "women" represents a whole hell of a lot of people.  I only ask that you take a little more care before deciding that you can determine for all of us whether or not we have really "just experienced the ultimate betrayal".  Or maybe take some lessons from Kim Gandy on how to be a little more diplomatic.  Now, STFU.

Thanks, fat fu!

I have to admit that I was a little troubled by Lily-Rygh Glen's article on the Fat Acceptance movement from the latest issue of Bitch magazine. (I'd link to it if it was online, but I'll instead recommend subscribing to Bitch, since it's an all-around kickass mag.) I even entertained the notion of writing my own critique of it, but since I'm merely a novice lurker on Fat Acceptance/Size Acceptance blogs and not an articulate card-carrying member of the movement, I decided instead to sit back and wait for someone more apt to do it for me.

And now, the wait is over. Meowser at the blog fat fu beautifully puts those uneasy feelings I had about the article into words.

I remember reading the article thinking how I can be completely open-minded to someone's criticism of the movement, but as Glen described her rejection from FA/SA forums, I couldn't help but think about how opposite her experience was from the way issues of weight-loss and eating disorders are discussed on the blogs I read. The movement she described sounded nothing like the one I have so far encountered. So it bothered me that the average Bitch reader who may have never had any experience with (or even heard of) Fat Acceptance may come away from reading this article with a negative view of it. Especially since this article is the first one about FA I have seen in Bitch magazine since I became a subscriber about two years ago. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I just don't remember ever reading anything about it in the magazine before.)

Anyway, I hope that Bitch gives someone who has had a more positive experience with FA a chance to respond in the next issue. If you agree, feel free to let Bitch know at

Bitch Magazine
4930 NE 29th Ave.
Portland, OR 97211

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Five Hundred Fifty

"...five hundred and fifty pieces of legislation since 1995 to erode the protections of Roe."
- Nancy Keenan (head of NARAL) on the RH Reality Check Podcast
Listen to the whole interview, and learn why it is so important to vote pro-choice.

Why I Vote Pro-Choice

Blog for Choice Day

A few months ago, a friend and I were at lunch when the discussion turned to the topic of unexpected pregnancy. We were talking about whether our outlooks on it have changed since we were high school and college students. It was interesting to think about how being older, more financially stable (if only slightly), and in committed relationships changed our perception of whether or not abortion was an option we would consider if we were suddenly faced with a difficult choice.

My friend's response was that, although she certainly would have strongly considered an abortion if she had become pregnant as a student, she no longer saw it as an option for her now that she is in more of a position to make room in her life to have and raise a child. The way she saw it, despite the surprise and possible poor timing, it is much more likely that she would accept it and proceed with starting a family. "You?" she asked.

I could tell that my response surprised her. Or maybe it was just the adamant tone with which I asserted that there was no way I would ever go through with a pregnancy unless I felt absolutely ready to give birth, raise a child, and to take on the gigantic, colossal - almost unfathomable - responsibility of being a mother. I told her that it wouldn't matter if I was happily married. It wouldn't matter if I was filthy rich and knew I would never have a problem providing for a child. It's MY life, MY body, MY choice.

The subject changed naturally, and I barely even noticed her reaction to what I had said, but my friend called me later that evening and had this to say:

"I just wanted to apologize for how I acted at lunch today. If I seemed surprised at what you said, it's because I was. But that's your view and I completely respect it. And I want to make sure that you know that if you were ever in that position, you would have my full support and friendship, no matter what. You're right. You are the only one who can make that choice for yourself."

I have to tell you, I was totally touched. I really hadn't given our conversation that much thought, and I really hadn't been concerned about my friend's reaction. I knew from previous conversations about reproductive issues that she is staunchly pro-choice and that she's the type of person I would feel like I could count on if I was ever in a tough situation. But, even so, it felt really good to hear that. Really good. It made me want to call up every single girl and woman I love and tell them I fully support them in the personal decisions they are making and will make about their bodies.

But, as women, we unfortunately have a lot more to worry about than whether or not our close friends will support our decisions. We need to fight vehemently to make sure that every woman - regardless of age, race, class, sexuality, size, or ability -- has both the LEGAL RIGHT and ACCESS to a full array of reproductive choices including abortion. We need to not only recognize the importance of Roe v. Wade and the right to choice as it appears on paper, but to never give up fighting for all women to actually have access to the choices the law is supposed to guarantee. Access that women can afford. Access that is recognized by insurance companies. Access without age limits and parental notifications. Access without waiting periods. Access without mandatory counseling. Access that doesn't involve having to find transportation to another city or state. Access without protesters attacking clinics, threatening doctors and patients, or keeping clinics from being built in the first place. Access without limitations on the types of procedures medical professionals are allowed to provide. Access that never compromises the health and well-being of women.

The 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade is certainly something to celebrate. But we still have a long way to go.

Mainstream Media Recognizes the Fatosphere!

Not crazy about the title, but I thought the article was great.  And go, Kate Harding!
Today's NYT:
I saw this before looking at my blog reader today, so I haven't seen what everyone else is saying about it, but I may be reporting back with a roundup. 
This puts me in a good mood.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The day my blog reader supplied me with all the ingredients necessary for a miserable tension headache

What is with the sharp rise in complete and utter lunacy being published on the Internets (and some of it in print!) in such a short amount of time?!

New York Times: Last Year's Role Model (via Shakesville)

Daily Mail: I'm a FEMALE chauvanist - and proud of it (via The Curvature)

Reasononline: The Coming American Matriarchy

Mens' News Daily: Is Hillary Clinton a Closet Sexist?

Read these if you haven't yet reached your threshold for ignorant drivel today.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How did they fit so much condescension into one little word?

Why does the New York Times disregard us so?
Perceived.  PERCEIVED!!!?!  I'm so thankful that Melissa already said what needed to be said about this, because I think I'm too pissed off to tackle it.. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

In which Kate Harding makes ME get all teary-eyed. (You know. Just like Hillary.)

In her latest post at Shapely Prose and Shakesville, the amazing Kate Harding beautifully articulates what I have been feeling ever since Hillary announced her candidacy.

"Which brings me to the other reason - quite honestly, the main reason - I've kept quiet about my love for Hillary: it's a terribly unfashionable thing to admit around the liberal blogosphere. She's the most conservative candidate! She sucks up to corporations! We don't vote with our vaginas! It's insulting to assume women will vote for her just because she's a woman! All true, don't get me wrong. And yet, I've still always kind of wanted to vote for her.

"And that's mostly because she's a woman. And so am I.

"As Jeff said, it is indeed identity politics - but it's not necessarily misguided. The sexist shitstorm that's been raging around Hillary for the last week (let alone the last year, the last 15 years) just reinforces what I've felt in my gut all along: electing a woman president would be a radical, transgressive, transformative act, even if she's a relatively conservative candidate. Watching the stunned looks on the pundits' faces last night, hearing all the, "My god! How could we have gotten it so wrong?"s, was like Christmas for me, quite frankly. A good 20 percent of me would like to see Hillary get the nomination solely for the pleasure of watching Tweety lose his goddamned mind. No loftier reason than that."

Word to that.  It was her closing that really made my eyes well up, though (emphasis mine):

"I haven't yet decided if I think that's Hillary, out of the top three. But it damn well might be. And if she gets the nomination - whether I vote for her in the primary or not - I can tell you right now, my overemotional, girly ass is going to blub when I cast a vote for the first woman president. Because, even if it's not the thing that matters most to me in this election, you'd better believe it fucking matters.

"It matters like whoa."


I'm totally not ashamed to say I'm glad she won in New Hampshire.  It's history in the making.

Also, I think I'm in good company when I say Maureen Dowd should STFU.