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

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Make EC Available to All Women!

I just signed a petition urging the FDA to make emergency contraception available to all women! Help me make this a reality. Go here - http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/youth/advocacy/yan/ec/petition.asp - to sign it too. It only takes a minute!

Debunking Meritocracy

If you only read one thing today, read this:

Playing at Poverty, via Resist Racism

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Women as Property and Trans Hate, Esquire Style

Nine times out of ten, when I open my Internet browser at work with the intention of moving right on to my blog reader, I end up being sucked into the headlines I see on msn.com (the default homepage). The gendered "advice" articles that come from magazines like Marie Claire and Esquire are especially enticing. I know they're going to be ridiculous, but my curiosity always gets the better of me. The one I couldn't help clicking on today was titled:

For Guys: When It's Okay Not to Pay

Although I wasn't expecting any sort of serious commentary on the patriarchal (and misogynist) custom of chivalry, I really wasn't prepared for how offended I would be at their suggestions. Here's Esquire's list of times "when it's okay not to pay" (I've bolded the two that really pissed me off):

On your birthday or any other day celebrating you.

For a wedding gift for one of her friends, or the expenses accrued during said wedding.

If her father is at the table.

When you are too ill to physically lift your wallet.

When she orders the $600 La Mondotte Saint Emilion while you're in the john.

If, between the primi and the secondi, she reveals that she was once a man.

If you traveled more than six hours via Greyhound to see her.

When she absolutely insists.

Okay, now let's just talk about these for a minute. "If her father is at the table." Seriously?! If this doesn't demonstrate what's fucked up about "chivalry" in heteronormative dating, I don't know what else could. It sends the clear message to men that the reason they're expected to pay for their dates is because women are property. That, during dating, women are out "on loan" from their rightful owners (their Daddies), until ownership can be transferred to them upon marriage.

As maddening as the notion of this little "agreement" is, however, it is even more offensive to find out what makes it null and void. There is, of course, no expectation for a man to pay for a woman if she "reveals that she was once a man." I barely even have words for this. I'm sure that whomever wrote this thought they were being really funny, but it makes me absolutely livid. It feeds right into the rampant -- and frighteningly socially acceptable -- ideology that transsexual individuals are somehow deserving of scorn, abuse, and even murder just for existing.

Fuck you, Esquire.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"Someone Missing"

A Wall Street Journal article discusses the white male vote in blue collar Ohio. Here are the highlights (all emphasis is mine):

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- In a Democratic presidential nomination race that pits a black man against a woman, the victor may well be determined by white men.


As the Democratic primary race intensifies, some of these white men are finding it hard to identify with the remaining two candidates, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

"It seems like someone else should be there," says Dan Leihgeber, a smelter in a steel plant here, who is supporting Sen. Clinton. "It's like there's someone missing."


"I don't think the country is ready for a woman president yet," says Duane Tkac, a burly vocational instructor at a prison here and a member of the local branch of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union. "The country is in too much turmoil. I don't think she can handle the pressure, the terrorists." He plans to vote for Sen. Obama.

Don Pompelia, retired from the Air Force, supports Sen. Clinton. "I'm hoping Hillary gets the nomination. But if she doesn't, I'm not voting for that guy. I'm going Republican," he booms as he picks up his morning coffee at McDonald's. "There are going to be a lot of people crossing over to the Republicans because he's black."


"For a lot of blue-collar guys over 40, Hillary Clinton is a poster child for everything about the women's movement that they don't like -- their wife going back to work, their daughters rebelling, the rise of women in the workplace," says Gerald Austin, an Ohio political strategist.

Mr. Leihgeber, the steelworker, says he supports Sen. Clinton for her experience and positions. He carries a book bag to work every day with his lunch and a newspaper inside and a Clinton button pinned to the outside. Some days, he says, he turns the bag around so the Clinton button doesn't show; he says he doesn't like dealing with his co-workers' derogatory comments. Mr. Leihgeber says he wouldn't be heckled so much for an Obama pin.


Across town, 14 steelworkers brought together to talk about the election say they predominantly supported Sen. John Edwards before he dropped out of the race. Now 13 of them say they are leaning toward Sen. Clinton. They praise her experience and toughness in withstanding the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Former President Bill Clinton remains enormously popular here, with many blue-collar men saying that they like the fact that he would be in the White House as well.

"I think she has the right person in the bedroom with her," says Joe Marion, who works at the local prison.


"I think if we nominate one of these two, we are talking about McCain as president," says Bob Rodkey, a firefighter who doesn't like either candidate but plans to vote for Sen. Clinton in the primary. "I talk to a lot of my Democratic friends and they are going to cross over in November or not vote at all. We don't have a viable candidate. Neither of them is one of us."

Mr. Rodkey says he will vote for a Democrat in the fall. He plans to urge his friends to do the same. "Hopefully they will listen to the message, and not who's delivering it," he says.

So what I'm understanding from all of this is that these particular white men just don't feel like the democratic candidates in this election represent them. All I have to say to them is this: BOO FUCKING HOO. After 43 consecutive white male presidents, is it that much of a thorn in their sides to have to accept the possibilty that a woman or a person of color is capable of running the country? It would be one thing if they had any argument about the candidates' views not matching their own, but it's blatantly obvious that this is not what they mean when they note that "there's someone missing".

(I should note that as an Ohioan, I had sort of an angry knee-jerk reaction to this article for making us look like a state full of backward sexist and racist neanderthals. But despite my defensiveness, I have to admit that these portrayals are not inaccurate. Although there are plenty of intelligent, informed, non-bigots in working-class Ohio, I constantly encounter men -- and even some women -- who fit the descriptions above.)


"Like them or not, now Danish speed limits are rarely ignored, and impossible to miss."
Click to watch a video about how Denmark is using "bikini bandits" (who are oddly bikini-less) on street corners to get drivers to obey speed limits. 
(Probably not safe to view at work.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Stereotypes Happen



Sunday, February 10, 2008

Misogyny at Unbelievably low prices!

A small sampling of the wide array of products available from Cafepress:




I can just hear the denfenders of such apparel now, with such cases as:

"They're not anti-woman, they're just anti-Hillary!"

Uh-huh. Because the last time I checked, calling a woman a bitch, ordering her to do your domestic labor, and reducing her to body parts are about as sexist as you can get. No matter who she is.

Friday, February 8, 2008

On voting with your vagina:

"I mean, if my vagina actually had an opinion, I can pretty much guarantee you it would be pro-Obama. My vagina doesn't care much for Clinton, frankly, but if Obama were single, my vagina might very well take an interest in politics. As it is, my support for Hillary is certainly coming from some other part of my body. And smart money's on the mushy grey stuff between my ears."
--Kate Harding

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I am so pissed off by this.

Apparently, refusing to give us our birth control is not the only thing we have to fear from  pharmacists. This is fucked up beyond belief:
"Police charged pharmacist Nicholas Creanza with rape after he allegedly lured the women into the back room of his Springfield pharmacy and gave them exams. Because the women consented to the exams, even though they were being deceived, by law it could not be considered rape, Hampden County prosecutors said in dropping the charges."
Even if rape laws in Massachusetts are so archaic as to not understand rapes are not always necessarily commited by physical force, isn't there some other law under which this guy can be prosecuted?  Like, shouldn't it be illegal to impersonate a doctor and perform intensely private "exams" on people (gynecological or otherwise)?!! 

Happy National Girls and Women in Sports Day!

For your enjoyment:
Awesome NGWSD poster (PDF) 

Monday, February 4, 2008

Something to watch on SuperTuesdayEve:

Voices Across America: Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, Hillary will host an unprecedented national town hall and answer questions from voters at events in 22 cities throughout America. Voters will join the conversation by attending events and watching and listening to the town hall live on Hallmark Channel, XM Satellite Radio and hillaryclinton.com. Emmy award-winning journalist Carole Simpson will join Hillary at the anchor event in New York and moderate the town hall.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Everyone Loves a Generational Catfight

So, I see today on Feministing that they got some press in the New York Times.
And then I click on the link and read the article, and I can't believe that all they had to say about it was to give a "shout out" to Jessica for getting her picture in the paper.
So while I'm mentally forming my blog post about how conflicted I feel about the article (how great it is that the feminist movement is getting attention but how annoying it is that feminists can't seem to avoid being positioned in a generational catfight), I come across Amanda's post about the whole thing, in which she says exactly what I wanted to, and much better than I ever could.
Thanks, Amanda.
I was going to put some quotes in here, but the whole thing is too good.  Just go read it.

Breaking the Ultimate (Groundhog) Glass Ceiling


Everyone forget about the historic possibility of the first female U.S. president for just a minute. There's an important struggle going on in Massachusetts to break a different glass ceiling:

Ms. G (that's short for Groundhog), a 4-year-old woodchuck from the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Drumlin Farm, has been nominated to be the state's first official groundhog. If approved by the Legislature this year, she would be the first female groundhog in the country to hold such a title.

That's right! The nation's first female Groundhog Day groundhog. What historic news!

While some say the political climate seems right for a female woodchuck, there is a natural reason that the shadow-seeing had traditionally been left up to the males. Male woodchucks are the early risers of winter, driven out of hibernation by their desire to mate. Females, on the other hand, hang around their dens and wait for gentlemen callers.

But times may have changed.

"Don't you think the nation is ready for an official female groundhog?" said Jan Kruse, an Audubon spokeswoman.

Found by a family when she was a pup, apparently abandoned, Ms. G oversees Groundhog Day festivities at Drumlin Farm, where a grass-roots campaign is underway for statewide recognition; more than 220 people have signed a petition on the website massaudubon.org supporting her appointment.

Hear that? So, despite outdated assumptions based on biological determinism, we've progressed to the point where girls are allowed into the ultimate boys' club of weather forecasting! (And I love that she goes by Ms. OMG so cute.)