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

Friday, May 30, 2008

"...because Christ chose only men as his apostles..."

Via Girlistic's Blog, The Feminist Pulse:

MSNBC - Vatican will excommunicate women priests

Obviously, my feminist/atheist brain can't figure out why it's totally cool for religions to blatantly discriminate against women. But, hey. I guess that's just me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Democratic Party Does Not Care About Women

Or, at least, it doesn't if party leaders actually put forth Virginia Senator James Webb as Obama's running mate if Obama ends up with the nomination.

Melissa McEwan:

I cannot begin to express what a terrible, terrible, terrible idea it would be for the Democratic Party to allow Jim Webb onto the national ticket after this primary season, for reasons I'm guessing I don't need to explain. I resent the idea that sticking any old pair of boobs in the veep slot is going to mollify the women who are rightfully angry with the way Clinton has been treated by her own party during this primary (yeah, I'm looking at you, Leahy, just for a start), but I resent even more the notion that it doesn't matter at all. Handing the veep slot to Webb on an Obama ticket would be a huge slap in the face to feminists. I can think of almost nothing that would prevent me from voting for the Democratic ticket this November, but putting Webb's name on it would send me screaming Green without reservation—because it wouldn't just be about Webb; it would be about the Democrats signaling that they just don't give a shit about my vote. (emphasis mine)

Go read Melissa's whole post to find out why Webb is such a bad choice for V.P.

Monday, May 26, 2008

"Banned for Being Too Good"

I had already read about this story, but the blog The Feminist Pulse links to this video about Jamie Nared, the 12-year old basketball player who was told she could no longer play on the boys' team. The ABC News segment showcases compliments from one of her male teammates and well-wishes from her favorite WNBA player. Check it out.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"What's in a Transperson's Name?"

Check out this great post by Monica at TransGriot, in which she discusses the naming process and shares her story of how she chose her name when she transitioned:

If you sat ten different transpeople down and asked them how and why they chose their name, you'd get ten different answers as to how they conducted the thought processes or the myriad reasons that eventually led to their new name. It's why we transpeople go off on the media so much when they disrespect us by putting our new names in quotation marks or parentheses or don't use the proper pronouns in describing us in various news stories.

So what's in a transperson's name? Plenty of hard, solid thinking, blood, toil, drama, sweat, tears, hope, history, roller coaster emotions and prayerful consideration that it will lead to the respect that we demand for ourselves and from others in the world around us.

One more thought on gay marriage:

In somewhat related news, a wonderful man I used to work with lost a long battle with cancer this week, and his obituary was printed today. It said that he was survived by his "long-time friend", when what it really should have said was that he was survived by his partner of nearly forty years. A man with whom he lived and shared his life. A man he possibly would have been married to, if they had had the legal right.

The Elephant in the Room

Ellen gets her chance to confront McCain about gay marriage:

I wish I was better at analyzing body language, but it doesn't take too much scrutiny to notice how he acts awkwardly embarrassed when Ellen brings up the topic and the audience applauds, or how he keeps his head down and refuses to look her in the eyes as he tells her he believes "in the unique status of marriage between man and woman", or the smugness with which he says, "touché" at the end of the video.

This man does not look like a president to me.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who's on First? Yogurt Is!

It doesn't matter how many blogs I see this video posted on. I have to watch it every time. Sometimes twice.

On "Mindful" Eating

Via sweetmachine at Shapely Prose, I bring you a gem from today's Feminist Frustration Files: a delightful mix of sexism and fat-phobia featuring the media's favorite punching bag -- Hillary Rodham Clinton:


So, yeah. The new women's interest section of the Wall Street Journal posts a headline to a par-for-the-course "health" article cautioning women not to overeat, and even though the article doesn't metion senators or presidential candidates in any way, someone decides to slap a random photo of Hills stuffing her face next to it. The implication? HRC is a mindless (a great word to pair with a female presidential candidate, huh?) eater who regularly shovels food into her mouth without thinking about it. She's letting herself go! And you don't want to be like her do you?

sweetmachine put it best:

No woman is immune from public scrutiny of her diet: not even if you are rich, white, able-bodied, post-menopausal, and a US Senator can you avoid being used as a cautionary tale of The Dangers of Women Eating.

Read her whole post and the comments for more on how the whole article (and not just its presentation) is problemetic.

Want to tell the Wall Street Journal what you think of this aspect of their "women's interest" reporting? Do it here.
(I should also give credit for the screenshot above to sweetmachine, since I swiped it from her post.)

UPDATE: If you visit the site, the headline is still there, but the picture is gone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Global Warming? Blame the Fatties.

Another annoying article in which a "study" and its "findings" have nothing to do with science or environmental preservation and everything to do with discrimination against fat people:

Obese and overweight people require more fuel to transport them and the food they eat, and the problem will worsen as the population literally swells in size, a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says.

This adds to food shortages and higher energy prices, the school's researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote in the journal Lancet on Friday.

OMG! I knew those gross fatties were behind global warming! And now we have proof!

In their model, the researchers pegged 40 percent of the global population as obese with a body mass index (BMI) of near 30. Many nations are fast approaching or have surpassed this level, Edwards said.

BMI is a calculation of height to weight, and the normal range is usually considered to be 18 to 25, with more than 25 considered overweight and above 30 obese.

First of all, any study that relies on BMI is highly suspect, considering that the BMI system is total bullshit.

Then there's this:

The researchers found that obese people require 1,680 daily calories to sustain normal energy and another 1,280 calories to maintain daily activities, 18 percent more than someone with a stable BMI.

Because thinner people eat less and are more likely to walk than rely on cars, a slimmer population would lower demand for fuel for transportation and for agriculture, Edwards said.

Seriously? Come on now. If they're really going to try to use the argument that a higher consumption of calories contributes to negative effects on the environment, why not focus on calorie consumption instead of obesity?

Even if you subscribe to their logic that larger physical size necessarily equals higher calorie consumption, there is more to size and calorie consumption than just fat. Tall people require more calories than short people. Large-framed people require more calories than small-framed people. Muscular people require more calories than non-muscular people. The only difference between these factors and fat is that we are given a free pass to hate fat and to judge fat people as much as we want. If one were to try to apply the same prejudices to tall people or to muscular people or to thin people with large apetites or to people with fast metabolisms, everyone would recognize it as completely ridiculous. But when someone comes up with new reasons to hate fat, the media can't wait to report it.

So, thanks to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Reuters, and MSN for choosing to perpetuate discrimination and maintain the status quo.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Romona Moore and Justice for Black Women

Reprinted at the blog Black and Missing but Not Forgotten is the Village Voice story on Romona Moore, the 21-year old African American college student who was kidnapped, raped, tortured, and eventually beaten to death by two men after four days of captivity in a house in her own Brooklyn neighborhood.

This tragedy happened in 2003, and her murderers have since been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole, but this story is back in the news because Romona's mother is pursuing a civil-rights lawsuit against the NYPD for their frequent "practice of not making a prompt investigation of missing-persons claims of African-Americans, while making a prompt investigation for white individuals." Go read the whole story for the context, but I have to issue a big trigger warning due to the description of the abuse Romona underwent.

And for a constant, eye-opening stream of information about the disproportionate number of black women and girls who go missing or are killed in the U.S., add the Black and Missing but Not Forgotten blog to your reading list.

See also: What About Our Daughters

The Hoax

So, this is interesting:

The Hoax:

Despite using protection, my girlfriend has fallen pregnant. We're both only 19 and at the start of our university lives. The cost of raising a child in this world is just too expensive, but we don't want to abort. Adoption is NOT an option. If we can't raise TWO MILLION US DOLLARS by JUNE 30, 2008 - We have no choice but to ABORT our BABY. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Can you HELP?

The Deconstruction of The Hoax:

Recipe for a hoax: Establish a web site announcing that you are going to bring about (or allow) some dire circumstance unless you can raise a specified amount of money by a given deadline. Set up a mechanism on your web site to receive donations from the public (or at least make it appear that you're receiving donations, even if you really aren't). Stand back and watch with amusement as people heap opprobrium on you for daring to consider such a terrible thing, much less crassly tying it to money.

Tobes' Awesome Pro-Choice Analysis of The Hoax:

A real pro-lifer would give some cash, no? I mean, they're willing to tirelessly lobby our legislatures and our courts. They'll picket clinics, patients and even the construction companies who BUILD clinics. They organize Marches for Life in Washington DC and travel the country with gruesome billboards comparing abortion to the Holocaust and slavery -- I mean, wouldn't this be way easier?

They could possibly eliminate abortion if they eliminated factors like poverty. If every pro-lifer pitched in, how many abortions could they stop?* Studies show that one of the main reasons women choose abortion is they can't afford to care for a child.

But I really, sincerely doubt that this couple will make 2 million. In fact, right now they're sitting at just 55 cents. With just over a month to go.

How can this be???

Because anti-choicers are less about saving the innocent unborn and more about finger pointing. Gruesome displays and pickets and restricting women's rights are TONS more fun than opening up your pocketbook and doing something concrete to fix the problem of unplanned pregnancy.

What I predict will happen...

-- Lots of finger pointing--
-- "YOU got into this mess. YOU have to take responsibility."
-- "Abortion is murder. You won't be able to live with yourself if you murder your baby."
-- Somehow this will get blamed on feminists.

Therein lies the brilliance of this hoax. It will essentially reveal that the true "pro-life" goal --- not to help people but to shame them and deny them options. A project like this, where the fetus is essentially in 'pro-life' hands (or pocketbooks), may just make their tiny heads explode.

But just to be clear, this IS clearly some sort of hoax. If you do want to carry a pregnancy to term, you do it-- you find government aid and try and make it work. If you don't want to surrender your life to struggle and aren't invested in bringing a child into the world, you adopt or abort.

And if you want to make 2 million dollars, you create an elaborate hoax that plays heavily on people's emotions.

She's totally right about the finger-pointing and shaming, by the way. Just look at all the comments on their site.

(h/t: Hear Me Roar)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Who's That Hiding in My Fox 5 News Logo?

Dan saw this on Digg yesterday, and it seriously made us laugh for about five minutes straight:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

Somewhere down in our guts we understand that in an oppressive system such as white supremacy, the unearned privileges with which we live are based on the suffering of others. We know that we have things because others don't. We may not want to give voice to that feeling, but it is impossible to ignore completely. And it doesn't feel good, in part because to be fully human is to seek communion with others, not separation from them, and one cannot find that connection under conditions in which unjust power brings unearned privilege. To be fully human is to reject a system that conditions your pleasure on someone else's pain.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Some advice:

It's probably not a good idea to waste your time writing an article in defense of Phyllis Schlafly in which your only argument is that she has had a successful career.
Um, yeah. It's just not a sound defense of her, considering that she spent this entire career trying to keep other women from having careers (or ANY rights at all) of their own.

What are you doing for the Moms in your life?

Sybil Vane at Bitch Ph.D. writes about what Mother's Day really means -- and what it shouldn't mean.  She discusses how giving moms a day-long vacation from domestic labor makes a rather insulting Mother's Day gift, and I especially love how she points out that Mother's Day wasn't started as just another "Hallmark holiday", but that it was recognized as a national holiday due to the work of feminists.  You should read the whole thing, but this part in particular made me choke up:
What I want for Mother's Day is some demonstration that the adult-ish people to whom my mothering matters (which is currently only my husband as our daughter is young) have reflected on what it means to try to mother with intelligence, grace, courage, and kindness in this historical moment. I want a recognition that I am under-served by social and business policies that do not value the work I do as a mother, and that I am under-served by the sentimentalization of motherhood. I want awareness that while the domestic labor I do is unpaid, it is not, de facto, my labor and has very little to do with mothering. I want conscious decisions to value the social and political influence of mothering, and commitments to increasing the visibility of the ways mother's are disenfranchised.

Eat Like a Man!

So, this post from Feminocracy points out yet another annoying advertising campaign in which large-portioned food is marketed only to men. In this case, it's Taco Bell's new large boxed meal:

Here's what one of their marketing guys had to say about it:
“The Big Bell Box will satisfy even the biggest hunger at a great value for your money,” said David Ovens, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell Corp. “By combining some of Taco Bell’s favorite items and packaging them together in a convenient and portable box, we provide even better value for the hungry man.”

The hungry woman, it seems, is out of luck. What messages do this -- and the countless advertising campaigns just like it -- send? I'll list just a few:

a) The invisibility message: Women do not matter and are not worth our advertising time and money.
b) The biological determinism message: Men just naturally have larger appetites than women, so it's only natural that this big meal would be marketed to men.
c) The homophobic/misogynistic message: Real men can pack away large amounts of crappy fast food! And you want to be a real man, don't you? (Not one who's girly.)
d) The beauty standard/body hatred message: Well, we can't very well market this giant meal to women, can we? It might add excess poundage to our property their bodies and reduce their fuckability!
e) The male privilege message: Go ahead, men. Satisfy your hunger. Indulge without fear of judgment. And don't bother thinking about how only you, and not women, are afforded this luxury.

And all that from just a 15 second ad. Fuck you, Taco Bell.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Surviving Democracy

So, zuzu has moved from Feministe to Shakesville, and her first post in her new home made me swoon:
And of course, we also have the problem that all of these calls for Clinton to drop out when she's still winning primaries and the issues of Florida and Michigan are still unresolved (I will have a post on that later, with so many references to actual rules that you'll be begging me to stop with the pedantry already) are simply unprecedented in presidential politics. As Eric Boehlert reminds us, no other second place primary candidate has ever been pressured to get out of the race before he was good and ready to go. Even Gary Hart, who like Clinton was running neck and neck with his opponent all the way to the Convention and forced a decision by the superdelegates, was never pressured to get out for the good of the party.
Oh, and this "She's tearing the party apart! We have to unify!" business from him? If the party could survive the "Acid, Amnesty and Abortion" smear that an "unnamed* Democratic senator" spread against McGovern (with the assistance of Bob Novak, who seems to be catnip for smear merchants) during the 1972 Dem primary, or the BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA Osama bin Laden ad run against Howard Dean by a 527 with lots of ties to his Democratic rivals in 2004, it can survive a little democracy. (emphasis mine)

Because that's what this whole Take Your Boobs and Go Home thing is: an attempt to shut down the democratic process. Why are the Democrats so afraid of democracy?
Two words for zuzu:  THANK.  YOU. 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Linkety Link Link Link: My Best Friend's Blog

Saying that my blogroll needs some updating is a huge understatement. But even though I have been putting off its full revamping, I wanted to go ahead and announce the addition of this link to the brand new blog by my BEST FRIEND 4EVA 4LYFE:

Unapologetically Mundane:
Entirely Unembarrassed to be Fascinated by the Boring

Subscribe to her feed and prepare to fall in love with this girl and the way she writes about all things mundane.

(P.S. Our matchy blog names were pure coincidence, by the way. We didn't plan on it like we did when we bought our matching lobster purses.)