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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Before I Go: Blogroll Revision

I wanted to announce that a complete overhaul of my blogroll is at the top of my to-do list for when I get back next week. I'll be adding lots of links to blogs and sites I read faithfully but never took the time to list here, and I'll update links that have moved and remove the broken links and otherwise defunct sites. The reason I'm announcing this is to give you, the readers (both commenters and lurkers), a chance to let me know if you have a blog to which I should be linking. This is also your opportunity to tell me to keep your link there if you have a site that's already on the blogroll but hasn't been updated in a long time.

Just leave a comment to this post, including your link(s), or e-mail me at trrrracey(at)gmail(dot)com.


Tomorrow morning, I'm boarding a plane to NYC to visit my best friend, so I'll be away from the computer for an entire week.

When I come back, I'll be sure to tell you all about my first visit to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where I will have the pleasure of gazing upon Judy Chicago's famous piece The Dinner Party.

An Actual Slippery Slope

Bitch Ph.D has an excellent post today on why criminalizing pregnant women for drug or alcohol use is both dangerous and unfair:

Sure, most educated middle-class white women will figure, "oh, those laws don't apply to *me*," and they'll go on to get good prenatal care, and their pregnancies will turn out fine (not least because, contrary to popular scare tactics, drinking or smoking or even drug use during pregnancy does not actually guarantee problems--the placenta is a marvelously protective organ, and most pregnancies where women drink or smoke or use drugs turn out fine). But also because we tend to assume--rightly--that we aren't the target of this kind of shit, and that if we accidentally get caught up in it, well, we can hire lawyers and explain ourselves and judges and juries will listen to us.

But educated middle-class white women aren't the only ones who have babies. Even though, if the statistics for pregnant women reflect those of other populations (and why wouldn't they?), whites are *more* likely to use illegal drugs than any other group except Native Americans. And, of course, the presumption that this kind of prosecution won't affect us is a direct rebuttal of the idea that we are all equal under the law--and sooner or later, some average white middle-class college graduate good mom is going to find herself in jail, like poor women before her, because she was unlucky enough to have a problem with her pregnancy.

And in the meantime, women who don't assume that discriminatory laws don't apply to them--mostly poor women of all races--will be faced with that choice: could I be fucking pregnant? And if I am, do I dare go see a doctor or am I going to get my ass arrested by doing that? And if you're poor and marginalized already, and you have a drug problem, and you lack health care, and god knows what other already-existing barriers to finding a doctor you're dealing with, that threat is probably enough to keep you putting off making that appointment. I know it would me. And then, if problems develop, you're fucked.

Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Classic Carlin

This clip has been making the rounds on feminist and pro-choice blogs over the last couple of days, and rightfully so. It's just too good not to post:

Factual, fearless, and fucking hilarious. He sure will be missed.

What Muffin Top?

If you're going to Photoshop a woman to make her skinnier, don't forget to unnaturally manipulate her shadow as well:



(From Feminist Philosophers, via my favorite new diversion, the Photoshop Disasters blog.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Note to MSN: Sexist Titles Ruin Articles


Nobody likes to polarize the sexes more than the fluffy "news" features at msn.com (as seen here and here), so leave it to them to dumb-ify an otherwise interesting article about health problems that are more likely to affect women than men by slapping it with this title: Men: The Stronger Sex?

Need I even explain why it's condescendingly sexist to lightheartedly imply that the reason more women than men are plagued with issues like eating disorders and depression is that we're just weaker than men are?


Exciting DVD Release of the Week:


I'm not usually a buy-it-the-day-it-comes-out kinda of girl, but this movie made me cry BOTH times I saw it in the theater. The only disappointing thing is the relative lack of special features. I was looking forward to commentary and full versions of "sweded" films. Maybe in a later edition.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Equal Pay Act!

I found out, thanks to an e-mail announcement from the National Women's Law Center, that today is the 45th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.

From today's post from at the organization's blog:
Forty-five years ago today, the Equal Pay Act made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform equal work.

You might think that 45 years would be enough time for a law to have lived up to its potential. But the wage gap persists — women still make, on average, only 77 cents on every dollar earned by men, and women of color fare even worse.

So what’s the problem? Some, like USA Today, would have you believe that the wage gap has little to do with continuing discrimination against women and much to do with the choices that women make, the education they have received, the fact that they don’t become entrepreneurs. That conclusion disregards the studies that have found that significant portions of the wage gap cannot, in fact, be explained by any factor other than discrimination. [Link leads to a PDF.]

Read the rest of their post, and go here for information on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which may get a second chance in the U.S. senate after failing by 60 votes the first time around:

If you live in one of the following states, at least one of your Senators voted against the bill: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. Please e-mail that Senator now.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Zohan: Reviewed

I have to admit that I've always been a fan of Adam Sandler, from his SNL days to Billy Madison to Punch Drunk Love. (I acknowledge that there's plenty to criticize about the sexist treatment of women and lack of good female characters in most of his comedy, but it's hard to retroactively dismiss movies I loved when I was a teenager with only a budding feminist consciousness.) Still, he's put out some things I didn't really enjoy (Little Nicky, anyone?), and I haven't seen everything he's been in, but his newest release, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, just looks tragically bad. Luckily, Zeynab at Muslimah Media Watch saw the movie so I don't have to. Check out her review for a critique of the sexism and rampant Muslim/middle eastern stereotyping in the flick.

Friday, June 6, 2008

To Mourn or Not to Mourn: A Sequential (sort of*) Roundup

There's some tension going on right now on these internets, and I don't really know what to say about it, because I'm busy trying to process it.

I don't know what to say, mostly because I totally identified with and appreciated Melissa's post about taking some time to mourn the loss of HRC's historic candidacy, but also because when I read BlackAmazon's response and Brownfemipower's critique, I realized they had a point. Melissa posted this to try to clear some things up, but it didn't go over quite so well, and then Octogalore spoke up in defense of the sense of loss Melissa was talking about.

I'm sure this isn't the end of it. Some want to mourn while others are playing tiny violins. I'm going to watch it continue to unfold.

[*Update: As Octogalore notes in the comments section, the links above are not sequential based on when they were posted. They are, however, listed in the order in which I read them, which is why I chose to present them in this way. I'm sorry if that caused any confusion, and thanks to Octogalore for pointing it out.]

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Another reason I love my boyfriend:

Me: There's an article in the new issue of Bitch subtitled, "Why Tina Fey is the best thing to happen to women in TV comedy".

Dan: She's the best thing to happen in TV comedy, period.

Read This Book!

This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor, by Susan Wicklund:

I made friends with a man who often flew on the same commuter flight as I did to Appleton every Tuesday. Sometimes we sat together, but our conversations always centered on his life, his work, his family, not on mine. I would always hang back when we got to Appleton, taking extra time to gather my things so I would be the last one off the plane and the other passengers wouldn't see the circus created by the protesters when I entered the airport.

I sat near him one of the first times I wore a disguise. It was a hideous costume - brightly beaded jean jacket, an auburn wig, polyester pants, and a big purse. I hated the deceit, the fact that I was going to these extremes to avoid the harrassment. And now it meant I couldn't sit and have a pleasant conversation with a friend.

He didn't recognize me, and at the airport in Appleton I walked out with all the other passengers. The protesters never suspected. I walked right past as they craned their necks, searching the small group of passengers. That anonymity was the only thing that made the demeaning effort worth it.

A day later, on the return flights, I sat across the narrow aisle from my friend, undisguised. I had the unmistakable jean jacket folded carefully in my lap so that only the denim showed. We talked as usual, but at one point I dropped something and in bending over, the jacket fell open into the aisle. His eyes moved to the gaudy coat, back to my face.

"That was you," he said finally. "That was you yesterday. What the hell is going on? Who are you anyway? What's the gig? Are you running drugs or something?" He was really angry with me.

I didn't want to explain. The airplane was my place of refuge and anonymity. What would he think? But he kept interrogating me, unrelenting.

"No, no, it's nothing like drugs. It's much simpler. No. It's much more complicated. I'm a doctor. I do abortions. Every week I fly here to work in a clinic. There are people who try to stop me from doing my work. People who harrass me. Haven't you ever seen the protesters at the airport? They are waiting for me. I have had to resort to disguises because I can't stand them in my face anymore."

It all came out at once, in one big gushing confession. We talked the rest of the flight. I told him about my work, my ridiculous schedule, how I got started, the people at the clinics, the confrontations that had become such a torment.

After that, whenever we flew together, he waited for me as I got off the plane; with his arm tightly wrapped around my shoulders, we barreled through the protesters together. He made sure I was safely in a taxi before heading his own way.

For the first time I understood that I had potential allies as well as enemies.

I continued to use whatever means I had to get into the clinics. Disguises, riding in the trunk of a car, sometimes arriving at five in the morning and sleeping in the clinic until the rest of the staff arrived. It was exhausting and frustrating. It felt as if I had stooped to lies and subterfuge. I didn't want to interact on their terms, sink to their level.

It was the patients that kept me going. Their situations, their needs, their genuine thanks and relief. Without knowing it, they were the ones doing the comforting. They were helping me through situations I could never have imagined. (p. 57-59)

I had already been already planning to post this when I noticed that the New York Times has an article today featuring testimony from a Pre-Roe gynecologist who witnessed first hand the danger and tragedy that accompanied unsafe, illegal abortions. (Anyone who thinks that this won't once again become the norm if Roe v. Wade is overturned is delusional.)