Monday, December 25, 2006

Politically Correct?

You hear so many people (most of them conservatives) bitching about how we are too politically correct these days. Waaaaa waaa.

Read this story about the most shocking conservative statements of 2006 and you'll see these people clearly have no problem saying hateful, stupid things without any factual backing or really-- any point.

Pretty sure some of these people are going straight to hell for their cruelty.

My personal fave is Rush Limbaugh going on about the obesity crisis-- blaming it on democrats, liberals and welfare.... um, Rush, looked in a mirror lately?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sexism and conservatives

One reason I am so bitterly angry towards conservatives is that they are so un-ashamedly sexist. But in all fairness, we have a lot of conservative women to blame for this. Take the ladies at the Eagle Forum who have this to say about honorable women serving in our military,

"Pregnancy and sea time are incompatible. If women become pregnant, they must eventually depart the ship.... Could you imagine a monthly pregnancy screening for women assigned to submarines? Close quarters with mixed crews produce romantic relationships. Our culture has given up on sexual purity, so why do we expect people will magically become `professional' and abstinent once they are recruited? Shipboard romances affect good order and discipline and ruin marriages. The Navy discriminates against obesity, illness, disability, age, and yes, sex. The military's mission is to effectively fight wars, not be an equal opportunity employer pandering to every special interest group. Should we make submarines handicapped accessible?"

Wow, forced pregnancy screenings and comparing military women to whores who bust up the good, honest marriages of all the male navy officers. PLUS comparing women to people with a handicap? Gee whiz. What a fabulous article.

Or the musings of Ann Coulter:

"I think women should be armed but should not be allowed to vote. The problem with women voting is that, you know, women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it. And when they take these polls, it's always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care."

How silly, spending money on taking care of children and education? Good to know Miss Coulter is pro-life until your kid comes out of the womb, then that sucker is on its own. And it's so nice that she's still for that quaint little idea of women being so silly about money. We should go back to the good old days when father knows best gave the little woman some money for groceries and went out and voted for her!

Well women promoting sexism hit a new low in this piece:

Mary Grabar writes "The Girls on the View"

"After watching The View and following the inane statements made on the program, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really is true what Aristotle, Saint Paul, and John Milton said: Women, without male guidance, are illogical, frivolous, and incapable of making any decisions beyond what to make for dinner."

Yes, judge ALL women EVERYWHERE by four or five talk show hosts. Let's make assumptions on all black people based on Oprah. Or wait, let's judge all Muslims based on Osama bin Laden... oh wait, Ann Coulter already does that ("Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity, as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of 'Kill everyone who doesn't smell bad and answer to the name Muhammad'.")

Mary Grabar goes on to say...

"This was the danger of giving women the vote. The danger to conservatives (and the survival of this country) is the voting bloc of single women, i.e., those who lack the guidance of a man in the form of a husband or intellectual mentor."

I don't think I even need to justify this sort of stupidity. Let's make a blanket statement and back it up with no evidence. Men = smart, rational thinking. Women = silly, unreasonable and needing men to guide them. Brilliant.

Grabar goes on to make fun of women on the View for having cleavage (she compares them to prostitutes), makes fun of stay at home moms and male college English professors who teach female authors and "sit down to pee." Ahhh, such mature dialogue.

Grabar talks about how she hates hanging out with women because they just want to squeal and talk about frivolous things-- unlike men:

"Men, on the other hand, are quite capable of holding forth intelligently among themselves, as commentators have done through the years. You don’t have men squealing “Oh, I love your tie!” as they set to embark on a discussion about the future of free world."

Another statement that is based on stereotype, not fact. Grabar is merely recycling years of misogynist rhetoric "Women are silly, they can't hold real discussions or vote or do anything without a man." There's no proof for this, especially considering many studies show that men and women score equally on logic tests and women are kicking men's butts as far as furthering their education. 58% of college students in America are WOMEN.

I'm not trying to argue that women are smarter or better. I think these arguments are a waste of time. But it is important to remember these facts when you start to hear the mindless drivel conservatives are spouting.

Grabar is 100% hypocrite because halfway through the article she talks about some idiotic personality test which proves she's not the typical, stupid, squealing female.

"No I’m not a typical woman. I read philosophy. I hate to shop. I don’t care what I’m wearing. Nothing in my house is coordinated."

Yes, cause all females like to shop and only care about their home decorations and clothes --- and they NEVER read philosophy!

Gee Mary, maybe women aren't dumb, you're just an uppity bitch with a superiority complex. I too find the View impossible to watch, but I wouldn't presume to judge the value of all women based on four celebrities on a talk show, aimed at bringing in viewers not making huge, profound intellectual statements.

The most troubling thoughts come in the comment sections in these articles. All the conservative men who share these beliefs about women being silly, child-like and in need of men to guide them, finally feel comfortable expressing their views-- because, after all, a woman said it first.

The biggest irony is that both conservative men and women argue that a women's place is in the home taking care of the children. What does it say that you trust the most important job -- bringing up the future generation--to people you don't trust to make adult, intelligent decisions.

Their argument makes no freakin' sense!

Update at 3:30-- read this also for more great insight... Damn Feministe, they always say it better :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reality Check Time

Man, I wish President Bush read the news from time to time...

A new study explains how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time. Interviews were conducted with more than 38,000 people -- about 33,000 of them women -- in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey of Family Growth. The finding: 95 percent of Americans had premarital sex!

Shocker? Not really. We know that humans are sexual beings and that people are curious and experience dramatic hormone changes as young adults. What's more, people wait longer to get married, instead choosing to perhaps have long term, live-in relationships. Plus-- sex isn't exactly an "unfun" activity.

This study is exciting because it proves that all those loudmouth conservatives don't know what the deuce they're talking about when they wax idiotic about the "chaste days of the past generation."

"The study found women virtually as likely as men to engage in premarital sex, even those born decades ago. Among women born between 1950 and 1978, at least 91 percent had had premarital sex by age 30, he said, while among those born in the 1940s, 88 percent had done so by age 44."

These findings only serve to deepen my frustration because when has clear reasoning ever worked with our current administration? Um never... like appointing Dr. Eric Keroack to oversee all family planning funds. This man said contraception was "DEMEANING" to women. Um, earth to Keroack-- 95% of American women use contraception at some point during their reproductive years.

Clearly this type of leadership is not interested in facts, just promoting more and more crap to satisfy the crazy religious right movement.

People have sex before they're married. So let's stop wasting HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars telling them not to, and start giving them information to keep them safer!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


"If you take out uncovered meat and the cats come and eat it, whose fault is it-- the cats or the uncovered meat?"

-Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, a Muslim cleric in Australia, on female rape victims who do not wear traditional Islamic clothing. (He has since apologized for the remark).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Duke Lacrosse

I read the news last night. And an "anonymous" (who else?) was all too giddy to point it out this morning as well.

Duke lacrosse players have been cleared of DNA charges. While semen was found on the victim, it did not match any of the lacrosse players. This is surely the beginning of the end of this case. What was already an uphill battle: Word of two minority women (who were of course, "hos" because they made their money stripping) against TEAM FULL of prestigious college athletes. It was already a he-said/she-said situation. Now that the scientific evidence sides with the men, the victim has nothing left.

What's more, the statement is questionable since the woman said she had not had sex with another man. But can you blame her? Everyone was already labeling her a whore.

It looks very likely that this attack did not happen, or if an attack was made, we have not gotten the correct details. However, if "anonymous" was trying to make me feel guilty for supporting this woman in her accusation, he'll never get that out of me.

The job of an advocate is simple. When a woman says she was raped the first thing you do is believe her. Bringing forward a rape accusation is a very difficult thing to do. People are going to put you through a battery of questions and an embarrassing physical exam. It's reliving a humiliation and violation and going through shame and guilt while people try and poke holes in your story. Police officers, they have things to look for when questioning a victim. Does her story line up, make sense, is their evidence etc. It's not like any Jane Doe can bring rape allegation on any guy she wants--- a common misconception that many people hold.

There was physical evidence that a crime occurred in the Duke case. Scratch marks, bruising etc. I do not feel guilty for standing up for a woman who was outnumbered & would not have been able to defend herself. I frankly am still not 100% convinced a crime did not occur. The accuser may have been mistaken; her attackers could have been wearing condoms. While the DNA evidence is a good indicator that a crime did not occur, I know based on stats, false rape accusations are very rare.

Whatever the outcome, no one came out of this any "luckier." Not the woman, not the players, (certainly not the coach who had to resign) nor the community. What it did bring to light was the difficulty in proving rape and the underlining dangerous misogyny in many male "team-think" situations. For proof, find the e-mail sent by Duke lacrosse player, Ryan McFadyen:

I’ve decided to have some strippers over… all are welcome. However there will be no nudity. I plan on killing the bitches as soon as they walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex.

Maybe this entire situation will cause some men to think twice before hiring women to work as sex objects/entertainment. Maybe they will learn that joking about cutting a woman's skin off is not light-hearted banter.

Hopefully this won't become another stat that "anonymous" folks try and throw in my face when I talk about the prevelance of rape. Because even if this was a 100% false statement by a malicious woman seeking money... it doesn’t change the facts. Rape is a huge problem, not just in America, but around the world. And the vast majority of women's statements are true---- even though some anonymous folks might try and make you believe differently.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Fox News, you're just a whore

Last night I was (stupidly) watching FOX news. They were covering the story out of Ipswich, England where five women (all supposedly prostitutes) have turned up dead near a creek. Chillingly, these five women have all been murdered within 10 days, causing some in England to dub the culprit the "ripper." Clearly, things are not safe for women, especially sex workers, until this murderer is found.

What really pissed me off was that in the 5+ minutes that Fox covered this story, they REFUSED to call these women anything but "prostitutes." At one point the anchor even said "hookers" -- gee, why not "hos" while you're at it?

I told myself they were just focusing on the women's profession since it was clearly a factor in the killer choosing his victims. But today on, I read their story which was much more friendly in language:

-- "who is behind the suspected killings of five women -- all believed to be prostitutes"
-- "Police do not expect to identify the two unidentified women on Wednesday"
-- "The other three victims have been identified as Gemma Adams, 25; Tania Nicol, 19 and Anneli Alderton, 24"
-- "We know that they're all young females, probably all prostitutes"

While this story clearly identified that it was suspected all these women were prostitutes, it still managed to refer to them as "women" and "victims" from time to time. Rather than stubbornly painting them as anti-human, sex objects as Fox News did in their broadcast.

But what else can you expect from Fox-- they're a bunch of republican hookers if you ask me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why pro-choice and Christian do not contradict

I haven't been to a church service in ages. I went every Wednesday this past summer -- an amazing track record for me, but it didn't hurt that I lived next door to a church. Now that school has started, I mostly attend for holidays or weddings etc. I am going through this whole period in life where I feel strongly against organized religion and in particular my branch of the church. I haven't seen my church make enough of a stand on important social issues and its been too frustrating for me. I'm young and too impatient to watch change come about slowly.

I still feel like I'm continuing a relationship with God but I kind of need to do it on my own for awhile. Anyway, I spend a lot of time praying while I walk to class. Today I thanked God for giving us a medically safe abortion procedure. Wacky huh? But I just realized lately how much of a gift it is for some women. To have a safe, clean and trustworthy environment go to when they need to terminate a pregnancy.

On my campus, I have organized a few pro-choice events. Now I am becoming known as a public figure who supports choice. Consequently, women, some who I've never met before, are approaching me. Some face to face, some through e-mail but all tellling me their story. Their courage is inspiring. And I thank God that they choose to share with me.

Today a girl came up to me and thanked me on behalf of her mother who had been raped 20 some years ago and had to obtain an abortion. Then the girl thanked me again because she herself was in the position of an unwanted pregnancy and was seeking abortion.

One woman told me she had been medically sterilized only to become one of the tiny statistics of women who still become pregnant.

They have thanked our campus group for being vocal in supporting choice because it gives them hope, or shows them that there are people who understand.

It is a blessing that women in our society are (currently) guaranteed a safe way out. I will protect that right until my dying breath because now I know.... even more than I did before... that this right is essential for every woman.

Before I heard that stat that 'one in three' women will get an abortion in her lifetime. I could never believe it. Now I do and all I can do is pray to God in thankfullness that our science has given women options. And also pray that people continue to speak out and protect these essential freedoms.

Wonder what the church would think of that prayer? Ha!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Very troubling

This story is so chilling

An excellent example of how domestic violence can sometimes be incited by women against men. It's uncomfortable to acknowledge but it does happen.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sorry, but this made me smile

Woman Sentenced for Condom Explosives
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — A former strip club waitress was sentenced Wednesday to five years of supervised release after she pleaded guilty to mailing threatening letters and flammable material, including condoms filled with a potentially explosive mixture, court documents said.

The documents said Kimberly Lynn Dasilva, 49, of Hull, mailed the condoms to a television station, strip clubs where she had worked and other places, saying she was tired of being mistreated by men. In May, she pleaded guilty to mailing threatening communications and a violation of injurious articles as nonmailable.

U.S. District Judge George O'Toole sentenced Dasilva to the supervised release with conditions, including not contacting victims, receiving mental health counseling and treatment, performing 500 hours of community service and refraining from alcohol.

None of the condoms exploded. Dasilva told investigators she did not think they would explode.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

And another thing...

Everyone is talking about the Michael Richards freak-out. And it's no wonder. If you saw his racist freak out at the laugh factory, you might be left wondering, as I was, "What the hell."

Watching the video, I actually moaned in agony for Richards. It was just brutal to watch. It was as if he had gone completely mad and as he came back to reality, you could feel the horror in his voice. While I condemn the words he used, I have found myself respecting his apologies. He never blamed his racist speech on alcohol or drugs (which surprised me since he came off seriously whacked out) and he is making a real effort to start a dialogue, for example speaking on Jesse Jackson's radio show.

Richard's freak out, reminded me of the Mel Gibson's anti-Jew tirade, and it made me really start thinking about these celebrities with racist meltdowns. We give them a lot of press time because A) it's scandalous and B) It involves celebrities. Yet, I often find myself thinking-- would anyone give a second thought if a male celebrity went on a rampage insulting women?

For example, ---- If Michael Richards screamed into the audience "shut up ***" insert horrible word here "Bitch," "cunt" etc. Would we still be talking about it? Would he have to apologize on Leno, Letterman or whatever?

Think about it. In his arrest Mel Gibson also harassed a female police officer calling her "sugar tits." Hardly any press people reported on this and if they did, it was only in passing.

I certainly am not suggesting that slandering Jewish people or black people is any light matter. I'm glad the public is holding Michael Richards and Mel Gibson accountable and forcing them to accept some responsibility. However, I just wonder... would a vicious attack on women get similarly shunned by the public or would we shrug and just accept it as another example of woman-bashing?

Plan B anger

A quick thought while I sit in class today. I'm just cranky.

True, it's a major victory that Plan B is now avaliable over the counter (as it should have been years ago, before it was blocked by anti-choice zealots). But why the age limit? Women under 18 still need a prescription.

WHY? We know it's a safe drug to take over the counter!

No man ever has to flash an ID card when he wants to buy condoms. But a girl under 18 needs to go have an appointment and possibly beg to get E.C.? There's no good reason except we want to monitor these young girls and make it more difficult and possibly let them know (yet again) that we don't trust their decisions.

Lame. So very, very lame.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Uphill both ways...

Today I read this blog entry from Biting Beaver (BB), a new blog I've been visiting. BB is sad because we lost another feminist blogger. I think she's talking about "Molly saves the Day" -- it was one of my fave blogs but has recently disappeared. In a way it's not surprising. BB commented (and she is right), being a radical feminist blogger is sort of like volunteering to run into a brick wall over and over again.

Originally this blog was part of a bigger one-- one that encompassed my life with photos, personal stories. Once these comments started, I painstakingly moved all the posts away to a "safe" place. I didn't want the people who sent vile, threatening comments to see my face or the face of my friends. It's tiring to be so afraid and to come up against the same stupid arguments over and over again.

Well....I had a major lesson in patience when I organized a pro-choice rally on my college campus last week-- a day before critical midterm elections (including the S.D. ban on abortion) we were out in the cold from 8-5:30 holding signs, giving out information and proudly standing by our signs proclaiming messages of prevention/contraception and keeping abortion legal. To my delight, our response was 90% positive to 10% negative. Only one person aggressively attacked us and verbally taunted us about killing babies. But the kind of ignorance is easy to roll your eyes at. There I am...

Sometimes I think pro-life people are just lazy. Seriously. Hear me out. Of course, if you never heard of abortion before, and someone explained it to you-- it would sound like "pro-life" would be the way to go. Hell, even the name insinuates you should get on board-- I mean, what is the alternative? PRO DEATH? Abortion is a very seductive issue, really. Standing up for the rights of innocent, beautiful babies or stand up for the rights of a fully grown woman who's had sex. It's much easier to get behind a silent sonogram photo and talk about "innocence" etc. It's harder to defend an adult woman who's going to have flaws.

That's why so often we pro-choice people talk about the rape victim, the incest victim etc. And they are sooo important to remember, don't get me wrong. But there's a danger in all this. Because I believe, as do many others, that South Dakota's abortion ban was voted down because no one wanted to force pregnancy on a molestation/rape victim. But women who get pregnant from ol' fashioned regular sex... I guess since they weren't forced, they deserve to be punished with pregnancy.

And we have a lot to fear. Articles in South Dakota newspapers show that the S.D. legislature is already planning the second round attack on abortion. This time they may write a law with exceptions for victims. This will be a harder battle because most of the time, pro-choice people have trot out their own "innocent" cast to compete with babies. ---- "You may have pictures of happy babies, but I can show you a woman's bruises!"

And I can't stress enough how I don't mean to belittle a woman's situation as a victim. However we REALLY have to stand up for women who weren't "victimized." Because society is likely to feel more comfortable judging them. Calling them a "whore" and saying "you made your bed now lie in it." Every woman deserves bodily autonomy and no third party should make decisions for her just because their bloated, religious, arrogant ego tells them that they are better equipped (sorry, that's the bitter in me).

It's harder to defend women who aren't:
-- ready for kids
-- willing to mother kids
-- able to support children

It's easy to talk about victims, but what about defending a 21 year old woman who just broke up with her boyfriend and doesn't want to be a single parent? What about a women suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse? Could you defend a prostitute seeking an abortion? Would you defend a married woman who simply said, "I have all the kids I want."?

Maybe you're pro-choice but some of these "what-ifs" are making you recoil in horror. Well, get used to it. You have to be prepared to defend everybody. Women shouldn't be required to prove their victimhood to access legal, safe procedures. Yes, it's harder, and yes it's an uphill battle but it's the right thing to do. Just like we can't let the jerks get us down. Keep bloggin and singing the feminist tune. You won't be singing alone.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Watch this-- if you can handle it...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Naughty Nurse

I agree that the costumes are misogynistic but not sure how I feel about the bigger controversy. I mean if we start fighting these battles are we gonna spend all our time picketing Playboy and Halloween costume outlets too?

Maybe I'm wrong....Any thoughts?

Video clip

Monday, October 30, 2006


... thy name is Rush Limbaugh.

I don't care how you feel about stem cell reserach but Rush's response to Michael J. Fox's ad was that he was "shameful" and "off his meds." You can see clips of Rush's shameful behavior as part of this larger You Tube broadcast which also offers helpful humorous commentary-- I say helpful because it takes some of that boiling anger you're feeling and changes it into laughter-- thereby making it less likely that you'll go out and smoosh Rush Limbaugh's face in.

Maybe I'm being too hard on him, after all, Rush would know better than anybody what it's like to be off meds-- albeit illegal prescription drugs but whatever.

Check out this article to read Michael J. Fox's mature and dignified response.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Click to enlarge

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

And I'm validated again

Well it took a few weeks and a man had to say it, but a prominent newspaper (perhaps you've heard of them), the New York Times published this opinion-ed piece today. Frankly I was surprised at how many similarities this story had to my original post about this issue. But as you would expect from the Times, this guy did say it better. Here's the article....

Why aren't we Shocked?
By Bob Herbert

In the recent shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania and a large public high school in Colorado, the killers went out of their way to separate the girls from the boys, and then deliberately attacked only the girls.

Ten girls were shot and five killed at the Amish school. One girl was killed and a number of others were molested in the Colorado attack.

In the widespread coverage that followed these crimes, very little was made of the fact that only girls were targeted. Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.

None of that occurred because these were just girls, and we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. Stories about the rape, murder and mutilation of women and girls are staples of the news, as familiar to us as weather forecasts. The startling aspect of the Pennsylvania attack was that this terrible thing happened at a school in Amish country, not that it happened to girls.

The disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous treatment of women is so pervasive and so mainstream that it has just about lost its ability to shock. Guys at sporting events and other public venues have shown no qualms about raising an insistent chant to nearby women to show their breasts.

An ad for a major long-distance telephone carrier shows three apparently naked women holding a billing statement from a competitor. The text asks, “When was the last time you got screwed?”

An ad for Clinique moisturizing lotion shows a woman’s face with the lotion spattered across it to simulate the climactic shot of a porn video.

We have a problem. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed on women every day, and there is no escaping the fact that in the most sensational stories, large segments of the population are titillated by that violence. We’ve been watching the sexualized image of the murdered 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey for 10 years. JonBenet is dead. Her mother is dead. And we’re still watching the video of this poor child prancing in lipstick and high heels.

What have we learned since then? That there’s big money to be made from thongs, spandex tops and sexy makeovers for little girls. In a misogynistic culture, it’s never too early to drill into the minds of girls that what really matters is their appearance and their ability to please men sexually.

A girl or woman is sexually assaulted every couple of minutes or so in the U.S. The number of seriously battered wives and girlfriends is far beyond the ability of any agency to count. We’re all implicated in this carnage because the relentless violence against women and girls is linked at its core to the wider society’s casual willingness to dehumanize women and girls, to see them first and foremost as sexual vessels — objects — and never, ever as the equals of men.

“Once you dehumanize somebody, everything is possible,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the women’s advocacy group Equality Now.

That was never clearer than in some of the extreme forms of pornography that have spread like nuclear waste across mainstream America. Forget the embarrassed, inhibited raincoat crowd of the old days. Now Mr. Solid Citizen can come home, log on to this $7 billion mega-industry and get his kicks watching real women being beaten and sexually assaulted on Web sites with names like “Ravished Bride” and “Rough Sex — Where Whores Get Owned.”

Then, of course, there’s gangsta rap, and the video games where the players themselves get to maul and molest women, the rise of pimp culture (the Academy Award-winning song this year was “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”), and on and on.

You’re deluded if you think this is all about fun and games. It’s all part of a devastating continuum of misogyny that at its farthest extreme touches down in places like the one-room Amish schoolhouse in normally quiet Nickel Mines, Pa.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Your dog is gay....

Sorry, the pic might be in bad taste, but so cute! On to the serious story...

Isn't it interesting that more big news stations haven't picked this up?

And yet not that surprising. This isn't the first time studies like this have come out. I've seen at least 3 other specials on this same thing. Two on National Geographic and one on Animal Planet! Are we really that shocked to learn that animals have exhibited homosexual behaviors?

Not really. One of the museum directors said, "The sexual urge is strong in all animals. ... It's a part of life, it's fun to have sex,"

The exhibit documents gay or lesbian behavior among giraffes, penguins, parrots, beetles, whales and dozens of other creatures. In fact homosexuality has been observed in more than 1,500 animal species, and is well documented for 500 of them.

And perhaps the coolest part of the story, one that seems to suggest that bonding of same sex animals may be more than just sex.....

One exhibit shows two stuffed female swans on a nest -- birds sometimes raise young in homosexual couples, either after a female has forsaken a male mate or donated an egg to a pair of males. (!!!!)

For some of you out there who might try and claim this is some liberal special interest study, I would encourage you to look at the classics. Even Greek philosopher Aristotle noted apparent homosexual behavior among hyenas 2,300 years ago!!

The article also talks about Bonobos, a type of chimpanzee. They have sex with either males or females, apparently as part of social bonding. Every single Bonobos chimpanzee is bisexual!

Not surprisingly Religious whackjobs have come out of the woodwork, saying that this study should "burn in hell"
Hmmmm, not much of a counter argument is it? Can we say DESPERATE?

Thanks for Feministe for giving me a link to this

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pro-lifers hate women

Maybe they don't realize it, but they do. And it's funny because there are plenty of pro-life women out there. I can only assume they are kidding themselves about the reality of abortion. Perhaps they've never had to make the difficult abortion decision or they've never had a girlfriend who was courageous enough to share her story. They clearly have never had to deal with a daughter, sister or friend in a position of an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy.

This post is about what's going on in South Dakota. I have been visiting the "letter to the editor" sections of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and the Rapid City Journal. This is how I know that pro-life = punishing women.

The letters coming in asking for support of Measure 6 (which would ban abortion in all cases, even rape, incest and health risks to the mother) never talk about women, unless condemning them.

They refuse to acknowledge that women are not built for the sole purpose of incubating a fetus. Hypocrisy practically drips from the pages. One writer, Jaye Grant said that in 1983 the man she was seeing “insisted” on her having an abortion. She now regrets the decision, calling it murder. While she may regret her decision, she still had the opportunity to make one!! Just because she has guilt over her choice does not mean she can make choices for other women. Unfortunately I know several women who have needed abortions *I say unfortunately because while I am pro-choice, I am not pro-abortion*. None of my girlfriends ever mentioned remorse, merely relief at being relieved of an unwanted burden.

I know my own mother would need an abortion now if she became pregnant. She is in her mid 50s, and suffers from diabetes and heart problems. Pregnancy would be extremely dangerous for her and the fetus! But under South Dakota's law, the government not her physician would make the decision, possibly condemning her to death. In fact, this S.D. law could very well be a death sentence. If a pregnant woman found she had cancer, she could not obtain lifesaving radiation because it would endanger the fetus, AND she would be denied an abortion. Sick.

Women have been getting abortions for thousands of years and for varying reasons. Making this medical procedure illegal will only drive women to dangerous situations. Pregnancy is a private matter and medical procedure between a woman and her doctor, and if she chooses, a faith tradition. Not your faith tradition—hers--- if she has one.

More to the point… A woman is more than a fetus (see above graphic, if you need help with this difficult concept). The fetus has a potential to become human. A woman IS human. What’s next, shall we not save women from ectopic pregnancies since those fertilized eggs could technically be considered life? Don't laugh. This is normal procedure in countries like El Salvador, where abortions have been criminalized. If a woman has a fertilized egg in her fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy) doctors do not remove it. Even though these eggs are not viable (as they can not grow or develop) and will only result in serious medical complications for women.

If you want further evidence that restricting abortion is really about punishing women then look no further than South Dakota’s own statistics. The child poverty rates are high, teacher salaries are low, and state-employed social workers are laid off to save money. If S.D. government cares so much about “life” perhaps they’d work harder at fixing these problems and spend less time telling a woman what she can and can’t do with her own body.

This is nothing new. The same people who want to repeal Roe and take back choice also want to deny women contraception, block the HPV vaccine and deny sex education for teens.


Because sluts should be punished. Women with a litter of kids will be too busy for college, education, work outside the home and therefore any progress. Barefoot and pregnant = good. Choice and options are bad.

You want furthe proof?
(click to enlarge this helpful chart. If that doesn't work, you can find it at this blog)

I think it would be great if we lived in a world without abortion. It's a stressful decision for women and I acknowledge that it can be psychologically debilitating. But choice must not be taken away. There are thousands of women's stories that illustrate this point. And I'm not just talking about victims of incest and rape. Of course, if you ask SD State senator, Bill Napoli, a "real rape victim" is pretty rare.

Napoli's infamous quote: "A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."

Access to abortions should not be contingent on a third party’s moral judgment. Especially a third party misogynist butthole like Bill Napoli.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Get a load of this


I first became aware of this when I read a post on another feminist site.

The video clip above is all about a professor of psyschology, Phil Rushton trying to prove that men are smarter than women... based on SAT scores. SAT scores that are more than 15 years old, mind you. It's pointed out in another blog, that these SAT test scores that Mr. Rushton used are much different from our SAT's of today. In fact, the SAT had an overhaul in 1994 because it was biased in favor of white men (analogy questions included things like "oarsman:regatta" -- something white upper-class men, on average, were more likely to know culturally than women, lower-class students, or minorities). Interesting thought: Why wouldn't Mr. Rushton use more recent SAT scores?

Could it be that women have been making amazing strides in testing in the last 15 years?

If you watch the CNN film clip, you'll see that other scientists find that there really is no evidence from brain scans that men could be "smarter" than women. Also many people pointed out that this study seems awfully biased.

This goes back to the same discussion I had in my Chauvinism Abounds post. Why would you bother conducting a study about who is smarter-- men vs. women? Doesn't that already show you have a vested interest in proving that one sex is smarter than another? Why would you do a study trying to find if women cheat more if they work outside the home, unless you think women working is a bad idea?

And I keep coming back to this tired argument but really-- wouldn't there be general public outrage if someone conducted a study trying to prove that white poeple are smarter than black people?

I think the debate about intelligence in women vs. men is pointless. What defines intelligence anyway? Why can't we just look at our society and see that every person is an inidividual and we can't make huge sweeping generalizations on intelligence based on skin color or what's between our legs.

I have a feeling Mr. Rushton never intended to find that women were smarter than men. He had an agenda from the get go. Like I said, why else would you spend time studying it? Aren't there other issues that deserve more time?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dear Patriarchy,

Thank you for always being there to make sure I know my place. I'm always surprised how you can be everywhere at once. Doesn't it make you tired? Seeking me out to hush me up? Why am I not entitled to my opinion? Am I not allowed to feel violated? Bull. I am allowed to look at events and take them personally. When a man enters a building and kills women at gunpoint, I look at that from a woman's perspective-- so sue me! I know I am not alone. I am not alone. Why can't you see I'm not alone? I AM NOT ALONE! Yet you try and make me alone. You try and make me wrong. Make me crazy. I'm a hippie. I make it all about women. You have facts and I just have feminism. Right?


Stop trying to make me small. Stop coming at me everywhere. You're on the news. You're in my classrooms. You're in my oval office making laws about my uterus and what I can do with it. You're in the words of friends, questioning, mocking. LEAVE ME ALONE. I am me. I need a space to write my feelings, my questions. My mind is so full of anger. But I don't want to be that woman that says "I hate men." I don't but I am tired of comments I can't publish, threatening me. Talking about how they'll take my life. "Make me shut my cunt mouth."

I'm tired of defending my opinions to "you" because you think you know more. Because it's never about an honest discussion-- it's about you teaching me a lesson. You don't read my thoughts assuming that you could learn something about me, about women's issues. You go in with a pre-conceived notion of what I am, what I know, how I'm WRONG. I don't want to defend myself to you, on any level.

Tonight I "took back the night." And I took back myself. I threw away the doubt you put in my mind. I let myself believe I really was blowing things out of proportion. But surrounded by all these other women and their stories, I am reminded that I am not alone in recognizing the full circle of women's issues. There is plenty in our society that is connected. Women's issues are human issues. The same violence that injures our mothers, daughters, wives... affects men, our friends, brothers, sons and fathers. I do seek a better world for all. I don't draw attention to issues to say "look at the big bad men vs. the innocent, good women" --- I say LOOK AT THIS. IT'S HURTING US ALL.

You can't try and convince me that our society has an healthy relationship with women. Not by a long shot. I worked in the shelters. I hear the same jokes at the bar that you do. I see the same behaviors. I hear my girlfriends talk. I compiled the statistics about sexual assault and D.V. myself. In my home state the numbers are climbing not falling.

I am entitled to my views and I don't want to continue explaining why you are wrong. I realize that sounds arrogant. But I don't care. Certain things are that black and white. Other things aren't. Our society is abusing women and putting them down. Our society still struggles with classism, heterosexism and racism-- this also relates to sexism against women.

This doesn't mean that if you're a straight, white, Christian male, you're my enemy (quite the contrary seeing as how I'm friends with a lot of people who fit that description) but I ask that you acknowledge that our country's current atmosphere does not marginalize you or trample your civil liberties too often-- at least not based on your religion, sex, orientation or race. Bearing that in mind, please stop trying to "teach me" how the world really works. I live in the world and I'm aware. Believe me. Painfully aware.

This letter demands no reply or apology. It simply is and must be said.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hooray for ND senators

I happily applaud the decision of my state senators to oppose the "Child Protection Custody Act."

This would have made it mandatory for minors to obtain parental permission before seeking an abortion.

If you need a dramatic example of why the Child Custody Act will do more harm than good, look no further than the story of Becky Bell.

Becky was just 17 years old and a junior in high school when she found out she was pregnant. She went to a local women’s clinic but they told her she must have parental consent to obtain her legal abortion. Ashamed and afraid of letting her parents down, Becky turned to a back-alley abortion. She died September 16, 1988.

Tragically some pro-life people have tried to hijack Becky's story, claiming she died of a drug ovedose of from other complications. But it's not true, Becky died as a result of dirty instruments being used during a back-alley abortion. Others claim Becky could have just as easily died having a legal abortion. Also false. Medical abortions, when performed correctly by real doctors, are a less dangerous procedure than childbirth!

I think we could all agree that a young girl would benefit from adult guidance when it comes to difficult decisions like abortion. But we have to acknowledge that her family could be abusive, or it could be that a family member caused the pregnancy. Girls living in extremely rigid homes may even face violent retaliation for having sex before they were married.

Truth be told, a teenage girl who can go to her parents and talk to them about abortion, probably will. She will want their support and will need them for monetary assistance, abortions range from $300-$500.

I have several friends who have needed abortions. Some could have gone to their parents and others never in a million years would have done so. Luckily these girls were over 18 but I shudder to think what they might have turned to if they were minors.

Karen Bell, mother of Becky Bell, had an interesting viewpoint which she shared in a 1991 “60-minutes” interview. "Two years ago I would have been totally for the parental consent law, but not now. ... Mothers and fathers have both come up and said, 'Well, we just know that our daughters would come to us, we know it.' And I said, 'And I knew Becky would come to me.' And look where she is."

Clinics that provide abortions also provide counseling and ask several questions prior to the procedure to make sure women are not being coerced into the procedure and it is something that they themselves want. Young girls won’t be alone in their decision to seek an abortion, unless we give them no where else to turn.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Anger on many issues

Lately I've been overwhelmed by the lack of discussion on certain obvious topics.

Imagine. A person comes into a school and orders all the white kids out of the room. Then he proceeds to torture, demean, molest all the minority children in the class. Wouldn't this spark and outcry in the public. Wouldn't news people be asking even demanding "Why is this happening?" "Why is racism still so prevalent and violent?" "What is going on?" Maybe I'm wrong, but I imagine this would come up.

But when this same situation happened with young girls being separated from boys... I didn't hear much about sexism, hatred of women or "why would someone choose to be violent toward women and not men" etc --- Just now I see that another school in Pennsylvania has been attacked. It appears that boys were freed and girls held hostage and eventually shot execution style. This just days after the Colorado shooting wear the shooter molested girls and shot and killed one of them. I have been watching the news and reading newspapers closely and haven't seen any commentary asking questions about why these people are lashing out against female students exclusively. Granted this Pennsylvania case is too new to have details yet but has anyone else noticed the lack of discussion? Doesn't this seem like an important thing to address? If you know of newspaper articles, television segments or anything that has specifically addressed this issue, please let me know where I can find it.

But I just keep wondering-- why is no one talking about this?? Do we not see the pattern?

On a totally unrelated note... I recently attended a Muslim prayer service as a visitor. I am currently studying the religion of Islam and wanted to observe a religious ceremony. It was beautiful and very helpful in my understanding. However, I was disturbed that no women were there. A female Muslim friend informed me that women either pray at home or in another room. She said she preferred it that way. Which is fine for her.... but what if I wanted to be Muslim? I think I'd like to pray as part of the large group, not sequestered like an outsider. I bet a few other Muslim women agree with me.

I just don't get it.

I don't pretend to know enough about Islam yet and I certainly am not calling for reform... a Muslim should do that or someone much more informed than I... however just to share my personal opinion... I thought this was so unfair.

Muslim views would never ask an Asian Muslim to pray in a different room than an Arab Muslim or white and black Muslims to be separated. Why should women be in another space? Because there's something different between our legs?? I understand this isn't how a Muslim may see this but if I were a woman in the Islamic faith tradition, I would really question this practice of keeping the sexes spiritually separated.

And on ANOTHER note-- this story just serves as another PAINFUL example that people should never say "why doesn't a battered woman just leave her abuser?" Well because you're at grave risk. As evidence by this story that tells of a woman who was murdered WHILE HIDING IN A WOMAN'S SHELTER.

Sad sad sad. Violence against women everywhere and I feel like everyone would rather talk about Nicole Richie's weight problem. WAKE UP!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I hate being right

I always felt Iraq was a huge mistake but reading the news lately, I'm see more and more that unfortunately, I will NOT be proven wrong.

It's when I read stories like this that I become truly incensed

President Bush and Co. are going to go down in history as the worst leadership this country has ever experienced. I don't care what you think of me for saying that. I have family leaving to fight in Iraq right now, so don't even dream of saying I don't support the troops. Baloney. I support my ass off for the troops. That's what terrifies me, Bush is evil, and he's responsible for the troops.

9/11 was five years ago and if anything our country's future is more dire than ever. Iraq is on the verge of civil war according to the U.N. (and also according to several of our own top military leaders), we've lost huge chunks of Afghanistan to Taliban rule which has come back with a vengeance. AND we have impending crisis' to deal with in Iran and other middle eastern areas.

And where have our tax dollars gone? Well if you read the highlighted story above, you already know. Our great American nation, boasting of superior morals (America Good, terrorists evil-doers) has been sending suspected terrorists out of our country on jets to be tortured in the comfort of a third world country not bound by our inconvenient American laws that people have a right to a fair trial and counsel.

"A Muslim Canadian citizen, Maher Arar was detained in the U.S. in New York on Sept. 26, 2002. He was held for questioning for 12 days, then flown by jet to Jordan and driven to Syria. He was beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan -- where he never has been -- and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months before he was released, the Canadian inquiry commission found."

Sick thing is, our government is basically acting like, "Hey whoops, sorry buddy, guess you slipped through the system." Arar filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court, but the case was dismissed by a judge citing "national security" issues.

Oh. My. God. I feel violently ill and embarrassed to be an American. And I shouldn't be!! The majority of citizens in this great country have been lied to. We are proud that we live in a country of democracy, we say let freedom ring. Our soldiers have been fighting on the front lines because they want to help free oppressed people. They're willing to die so that the world is safer for everyone. And yet, this whole time, our leaders are no better than Saddam. Worse when you think about. Saddam was a bastard, but at least he put it right out there that he was torturing and killing people. Our leaders are cowards. They put people on planes and send them to Syria. That way we can torture them without feeling quite so bad. It's doesnt' mean that we use torture if we do it in another country, right? Torturing doesn't count in Syria.

Currently a senior at my college, I'm taking a class on Islam. It's been very informative and a helpful religion to understand in this day in age. On September 11, our professor had us all stop and simply discuss the anniversary. One girl in my class was in school in Switzerland at the time, she said the next day kids at her school basically said, "Well America deserved it."

That thought made me ill. How could anyone say that innocent people deserved this? That any country deserved this?

Because America has a disgusting, dark underbelly that hides from us. We're fighting a war that we claim is about freeing the oppressed but we're doing nothing to help the teachers in Afghanistan who are murdered every day because they dare to teach women. Think people! If our motives were about ending oppression and saving the world, our asses would be in Darfur right now.

Our loved ones are in harms way because of a lie and our embarrassing government is responsible for the destruction of Iraq. To be sure it was "f-ed" up to begin with but at least it was a secular state. Now, it'll likely fall to the hands of extreme, radical Islam. Women, in other words are likely screwed. I don't say that as a diss on normal Islam, but take a look at radical, violent, distorted Islam had done to women under the Taliban.

President Bush DARED to use his September 11th address to try and pep us up for this war. He dared to use that solemn day to try and win support for this botch job of monumental proportions. Meanwhile Cheney was sweating up a storm everywhere claiming that anyone who questions the president or the war would help our enemies. BULLSHIT DICK. You help our enemies. You help bring more terrorists to the fold. All they have to do to recruit is go out and say, "Look what America has done! They are an evil western empire! They started a war, they took our Muslim brothers and sisters and tortured them. Evil infidels."

And I'm sorry, if Bush is going to fly people off and torture them for months on end, then he is an infidel!! This isn't a radical thought. It fits our country's definition. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation says that "Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

By the way, if my friends find that CIA agents have dragged me off for "questioning," call Syria. That might be where I'll be.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chauvinism abounds

I was flipping channels the other night when I landed on Scarborough Country on MSNBC. I am not a fan of Joe Scarborough, but this particular show made me sit up and take notice. The title of the story read "Career Women Make Bad Wives?" (--click to watch the chauvinism ensue).

I was transfixed for the 6 minute segment. I looked around. No I had not been transported in time. It WAS 2006. But it sounded like the 1950's. This topic came up because Forbes magazine ran an article written by Michael Noer that stated,

"Recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it."


There is so much wrong I don't know where to begin. Host Joe Scarborough brought on relationship coach April Beyer, Rabbi Shmuley (of TLC's "Shalom in the Home") and Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of "Mommy Wars" to discuss if career women did in fact, make bad wives.

Leslie Morgan Steiner, helpfully pointed out that the Forbes comment was completely without merit since there was no study to back it up. It was written to attack women who step outside the traditional role associated with "wife" and "mother." Notice how the quote turns women who seek a career into cheaters, and bad mothers. It's just lazy misogyny.

This flies in the face of common sense. Women today don't work because they want an opportunity to get away from the kids (who they apparently hate) and find someone to have an affair with, women work because the economy demands two-income households for most middle-class families. 70 percent of women who have children under 18, HAVE to work to help support the family. Moreover, women can desire a career, and this doesn't make them a slut or bad mother. It just means they feel they have something talent-wise to offer the world, and they want an outlet to express it.

Rabbi Shmuley's comments distressed me as well. He felt that families need to spend more time with their children, connecting, showing love and keeping the romance of marriage alive. Well yes, that's fine and true. But why does that responsibility fall entirely on women?

Why isn't there a 6 minute program on Scarborough Country about how career men are destroying the home? Do you think Forbes would ever print this:

"Career men tend to assume that their office hours exempt them from family housework and chores. They help out less and spend no time nurturing their children. Men with careers are less likely to be interested in their partner's daily activities and therefore are bad communicators."

The presumption that career women make "bad wives" is an interesting one. What makes a "good wife?" Should she always have dinner on the table at 6 pm sharp? Should she never be wearing sweatpants? Always have a patient, kind word for the children? Never "nag" anyone to do housework? And above all, be ready to give a blowjob at a minute's notice?

Cause if that's the "good wife" American men desire, then no wonder career women are failing. If women are working 8 hours a day, just like their husbands, they're bound to get a little snappy when they come home and have to cook, clean, do laundry and put all the romance into the marriage as Rabbi Schumley insinuates.

There is nothing wrong with staying at home and raising a family. For either gender. But relationship "coach," April Beyer also upset me when she said, "There's not a woman alive who'd say, 'I'd rather be at work than in the arms of the man I love or at home on the couch with my children.'"

Sure every person wants a break from work but no one seems to question that it's "natural" for men to work. Isn't it funny that you've heard people say, "men have to get out of the house or they'd go crazy." But it's assumed that women naturally want to be in the home (where they belong, of course). I love my family but I also love my time alone working on furthering my education and career. Women deserve "me time"! They deserve the right to their own goals autonomous of family and husband.

The Forbes article is inexcusable but giving it airtime and actually posing a serious discussion on "career women as bad wives" is just ridiculous.

On a funny note...Turns out there's an entire award designated to modern day chauvinism.

I was not aware of this until recently, but the "Ernie's" are given out to showcase the worst in sexist behavior. The ceremony takes place in Australia but recently made headlines here in the U.S. for awarding Tom Cruise an Ernie for his comment, "I've got Katie tucked away so no one will get to us until my child is born ... [Katie's] life from now on was going to be about being a mother. I'm not giving her the chance to turn into another Nicole."


This year marked the 14th anual Ernies Awards. There is even an award for a woman -- for the remark least helpful to the sisterhood. For example, Australian journalist Bettina Arndt was awarded for her comment that "well educated women don't always make the best mothers."

Other winners this year:

In the judicial category, lawyer Chrisovalantis Papadopoulos won the Ernie for saying a rape was only brief and "at the very bottom of the scale of seriousness," while the political prize went to Australia's Bill Heffernan who criticized his opponent, Labor MP Julia Gillard, for remaining unmarried and childless. "Anyone who chooses to deliberately remain barren ... they've got no idea what life's about," he said.

For more on the Ernies...

Friday, August 25, 2006

August 26th

Do not let August 26th pass unnoticed

In 1971, Untied States congress made August 26 “Women’s Equality Day.” It celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Suffragists were not “given” the right to vote but rather won it. Their battle began back in 1848 with Susan B. Anthony and ended in 1920, after suffragists were wrongly imprisoned, beaten and tortured. We owe it to the memory of these brave women to never stop fighting for equality.

Consider women’s healthcare today. I had a harsh awakening as a 22-year-old woman when I realized my health insurance would gladly cover Viagra, but would not under ANY circumstances cover contraception in ANY plan they offered.

Money is the major barrier to contraception access. If a woman’s childbearing age is on average 15-44 and the average cost of contraception can run $360 a year – then you do the math. Women in my age group currently spend 68 percent MORE on health care than men because of reproductive health-related costs.

Where is our equality?

Meanwhile pharmacists are refusing to fill legal prescriptions for Plan B Emergency Contraception and birth control because they claim it conflicts with their moral beliefs. These are legal drugs that are vital to the basic health care of women. Restricting access is an outright act of gender discrimination and it can lead to unintended pregnancies.

Where is our equality?

Health insurers continue to ignore basic fact, that covering contraception saves them money! The average cost for one pregnancy is $10,000. One year of birth control just doesn’t compare.

Twenty-three states have issued laws that require full contraceptive equality. We could make it 50… if we don’t forget we have the right to equality.

For more information visit

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

America the beautiful?

Last night I watched the movie "Why We Fight" by Eugene Jarecki. It's a great documentary because it saturates the viewer with facts and asks questions, more than makes assumptions. If you hated "Fahrenheit 9/11," this is much more your speed. I personally believe that peace is a feminist issue, so watching a film that asks that essential question, "Why do we fight?" was great and had me gasping out loud at certain points. For example, when Jarecki talked about the fall of Rome and compared its rise and fall to the current state of the United States, I got chills!

What Jarecki shows through his documentary is that the Bush administration's approach to Iraq and foreign policy isn't a brand new concept, but rather a path that our country has been on since World War II.

In his farewell address, Eisenhower warned America to beware the "military industrial complex." Our American way of life is so heavily dominated by military supremacy. We have troops deployed and in permanent bases in hundreds of countries around the world. I realized in watching "Why We Fight" that America has had her fingers in many foreign policy blunders, Iraq merely being the latest.

In one part of the documentary, Jarecki takes us to the morgue in Iraq where he runs through his book documenting the bodies that came in after the U.S. began air strikes. 90-percent of the deceased were civilian!!! As the Iraqi man ran his finger down the book, my heart was breaking, "Housewife, housewife, female student, soldier, child, child, housewife, student, soldier, child"-- on and on. Then we learn that of the first 50 "precision, "smart bomb" air-strikes" NONE hit their designated target!

Our federal budget for defense is more than all our other budgets PUT TOGETHER. Makes you stop and think. This documentary is chock full of information and was significant for me on many levels-- as an American and as an advocate for peace. I think everyone, regardless of political leaning or their opinion on Iraq, will learn something from this film.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

We cannot forget Afghanistan

Every single day, somewhere in Afghanistan, a girls' school is burned down or a female teacher killed by the Taliban.

Makes you feel awkward about skipping classes, doesn't it?

If you recall, the treatment of Afghan women and girls was one of the reasons our government advocated going to Afghanistan. Under Taliban rule, women and girls were not allowed to seek education or employment. They weren't even allowed to be outside without a male relative escorting them.

After the Taliban was overthrown, schools were opened immediately by the new Afghan government in 2002. Some 34% of girls were estimated to be going to school and well over 50% in the major cities of Kabul and Herat.

Now unfortunately, the Taliban is fighting back. Bomb threats and violent attacks have kept most girls home and many schools have closed. Nearly one-third of all districts have no schools for girls.

Violence has hit an all time high and yet our government says nothing about the dire situation plaguing women and girls.

You can help give these women a proper voice. Support the Afghan Women's Empowerment Act.

The bill, which was introduced in each house of Congress by Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Carolyn Maloney, authorizes the President to appropriate $10 million each year for three years for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Also $5 million each year for the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs, and $30 million each year to be used by Afghan women-led NGOs to provide adult literacy, technical training, health care, education, and other critically needed services to women and girls throughout Afghanistan.

Urge your elected officials NOT to turn their back on the women in Afghanistan!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

An Education for Me

I recently attended a national conference where I learned how to form public awareness campaigns and educate communities about domestic violence and sexual assault.

While there I had some big awakenings:

#1 Anger is unhelpful.

I mean, of course this makes sense. If I ever train a group of health care professionals, clergy or police officers, I would never come across like I do on this blog. This blog is a place for me to vent my anger and say what I'm really thinking. I don't worry about coming off as bitter or even offensive, I just write what I feel.

I have always assumed that this blog can be just that for me because it's not a publication or any public p.s.a. Now however, I'm worried. I realize how much anger can turn people off and how it can shut the door on any helpful dialogue. I don't speak for all feminists, I really only speak for me at the moment. I don't think I will be able to get rid of my anger, and I shouldn't have to. I enjoy my anonymity and I utilize this site to vent. So please know, I speak only for me and I'm sorry about the anger. But sometimes I just need to fume.

#2 Oppression is everything

Sexual assault and domestic violence has everything to do with society as a whole. I saw a PSA created by another campaign that showed a beautiful rural farm scene with the narrator saying, "Jim's neighbors helped him last year when he hurt his back. They helped him with the chores and farm work, and even helped him beat his wife, because they knew Jim was hitting her and did nothing to help. It's hard to know what to do. Call us and we can help."

Imagine, an ad not directed at abused women telling them what to do... but rather targeting neighbors, friends and community members for ignoring the problem.

I mean, people will call the police department if their neighbor's dog is barking too loudly, but how many people pick up a phone if they suspect their neighbor is beating their spouse?

#3 It's not because men are "violent"

Men don't beat women because they are violent. Men beat because they have been taught that women are objects or property. And by that logic, you can "use," "control," and "beat" what you own. We teach our society a hierarchy of oppression. That's why there is such a tiny minority of situations in which women beat their male partners. However, when you look at stats of child abuse, we see that it is evenly split, women and men are equally likely to abuse children because in the hierarchy of oppression children are controlled by both parents equally.

So in essence, violence has less to do with a particular gender being bad but has everything to do with the way we devalue groups of people based on our power and control over them. This can also be seen in history-- the Holocaust was possible because Jewish people were objectified, devalued and considered sub-human.

#4 Victim blaming is not a myth

People (mean people) want to act like women have it so easy now. Like all a woman has to do is accuse a man of abuse or rape and she's gonna get all this sympathy and win her case easily. Um-- yeah NO! Look at court stats or work at a women's shelter for a week. Or-- simply listen to the way people STILL talk. For example:

On rape victims:

What you hear:

What was she doing walking alone that late at night?
Why did she get so drunk at that party?
She was flirting with a ton of guys, wasn't she?
Well what did she expect wearing that?

What you should hear:

What gave him the right to sexually assault her?

On victims of domestic violence:

What you Hear:

Why did she marry a wife beater?
Can she quit complaining and move out?
She keeps going back to him?
What did she say to provoke him?
She was drinking too, right?

What you should hear:

Why does he beat his wife?

This happens because we put all the blame on women. Of course, it's important to help women leave abusive situations but do we ever stop and think, "Does this makes sense that SHE should have to leave her home? Why doesn't he leave?" And we teach girls to never walk alone at night, always keep an eye on your drink etc. But do we really teach young men to respect women and not use a state of intoxication as an excuse for rape? Because we are so focused on teaching women what "not to do," when a woman is abused or raped... we often feel it is somehow her fault, after all-- -We taught her what not to do, so she must have done something wrong. But remember only rapists can 100% prevent rape, and only the abusers can stop abuse.

Every time I attend conferences like this last one, I get a renewed surge of hope as I see how many people are dedicated in the fight to end oppression and violence. But today, as I was surfing the internet, I was also reminded of what we have left to fight.

I found t-shirts on a men's website emblazoned with these messages:

"Women are Property, Put em Where They Belong: on Their Knees, Barefoot, Spanked, and Pregnant!"

"Repeal the 19th amendment! Anti-Women Voting, Women should be Seen not Heard!"

"Repent Being Feminists! Your Children Need You at Home and the Sex is Better When Women Obey Their Husbands."

We still have these ideas to combat, so keep up the good fight and if that means you need to open a blog and god forbid, "bitch" a little. I understand, believe me!!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A movie feminists might NOT love

Keep in mind, to be fair, I have not seen this movie. However, based on the preview, I sincerely doubt I'll see it.

First of all, off the top of my head I can't think of any recent movies that are that flattering when it comes to the idea of female superheros. Charlies's Angels seemed nothing but an excuse for three hot women to dance around in various male-fantasy outfits. Now comes this one where a superwoman uses her various powers to strangle her ex, throw live sharks into his room and blast a hole in his ceiling.

She has the power to fly, carry a car and survive just about anything and yet losing a boyfriend is just the worst thing ever!! Judging by the preivew only, she seems completely neurotic, prone to breaking down into crying fits and losing it. Now if there's one thing I don't find funny in the slighest, it's relationship violence, and I'm sorry, the mere fact that it's woman to man, doesn't make a difference. At one point in the movie, Uma Thurman leans in to her boyfriend Owen Wilson and says, "I always knew you'd come back to me, that's why I didn't kill you." Har har.

Take for example this plot description:

When Matt Saunders meets Jenny Johnson, he thinks he's found the perfect girl. However, he decides to break things off with her when she becomes too needy, controlling, and jealous. Jenny doesn't take it well and decides to get back at him by using her superpowers. When, Matt and his co-worker, Hannah start to have a romance with each other it sends Jenny over the edge.

That's supposed to be funny? When people leave violent situations and are stalked and threatened... I don't laugh. Becoming jealous of an old lover's new romance and then taking violent action, is also not so funny. It's annoying that they bill this as some kind of super woman type flick.

A really compelling movie would be a woman with superpowers and a relationship with an average Joe... see if those two could make it without jealousy or life differences getting in the way. Then we'd have a plot that wouldn't force Uma to play this needy, jealous, pyscho.

But to be totally fair. I probably can't judge it until I see it-- if I ever do. Judging by another review, I'd say I won't have to.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

More TV and films for feminists

Veronica Mars- Another TV show I love. Strong, funny, intelligent female lead who works as a private investigator with her father. She is confident and centered in her values. A great role model for young women watching the series, Veronica is a take-no-prisoners, fearless woman. Fave scene: Veronica walks up behind two boys who are making fun of an intoxicated girl at a party and says, “It's all fun and games till one of you gets my foot up your ass.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer- I’ve actually composed an entire blog post to this show alone. Its strong female and male leads all embody feminism. Plus the show is funny, poignant, touching and gives us a lot of great life lessons regarding sexism, racism and the metaphoric good vs. evil battle. Fave scene: way too many to pick from-- seriously. Check out the other post but if I had to choose...ugh... it's impossible. Maybe I'd choose the episode "Once More with Feeling" just because it stands out so much as different-- it's the musical episode. But if you don't believe a show called Buffy could have an impact on feminism, check out the many academic books and college level courses some universities offer JUST on this show... one of my fave books, "Sex And The Slayer: A Gender Studies Primer For The Buffy Fan."

Sex and the City – at times, I’ll watch an episode and roll my eyes at the over-the-top bed hopping and promiscuity, especially from character, Samantha. But overall these women are strong, independent and yes, flawed—it only makes them more human. They forge strong female bonds of friendship and are there for each other in times of serious turbulence, failed relationships, marriages, infertility, miscarriage, unplanned pregnancy, heartbreak, death etc. I admire all of them, even Samantha. Fave scene: Unfair. Can’t choose. I’ll be lame and say the last scene of the finale when all the girls are walking downtown Manhattan together.

Saved –This movie is a must-see; it’s a great comedy with interesting religious commentary and feminist musings. The plot involves a cast of teenagers attending a Evangelical Christian School. There, Pastor Skip backflips onto the pep rally stage shouting, “Are we down with G-O-D? Let's get our Christ on! Let's kick it Jesus-style!" Yikes.

Main character Mary has the perfect life as one of the more popular girls at school. She has the perfect friends and the perfect Christian boyfriend, Dean. Except her friends turn out to be vapid and her boyfriend turns out to be gay. Mary is convinced she can help Dean be born again, trying everything to turn him straight, eventually offering her virginity to “save” him. Problem is, Dean’s gay porn stash is discovered and his parents cart him away to hospital for drug users, gays and unwed mothers *what a nice combo, huh?*

Mary, ends up pregnant. She discovers this not due to any help from her high school sex ed which showed pictures of human bodies sans private parts and only included the lesson “wait for marriage” but thanks to a show on TV about a woman who thought she was pregnant (due to a lack of her period) but ended up finding out it was cancer. Next scene you see Mary riding home with a pregnancy test chanting in fear, “Please let it be cancer” --alas, she is pregnant and forced to reevaluate her Christian morals and friends.

The outcasts from school take her in after figuring out her secret. A great line in the movie are where two kids are talking about Mary.
“There's only one reason Christian girls comes down to the Planned Parenthood.” ”She's planting a pipe bomb?”
“Okay, two reasons.”

Mary eventually comes to a new realization about sexuality and Christianity. This transformation is best exemplified when one of her former "friends" tries to “help” her:

Hilary Faye: Mary, turn away from Satan. Jesus, he loves you.
Mary: You don't know the first thing about love.
Hilary Faye: [throws a Bible at Mary] I am FILLED with Christ's love! You are just jealous of my success in the Lord.
Mary: [Mary holds up the Bible] This is not a weapon! You idiot.

A long description… can you tell I love the movie?

North Country – “What are you supposed to do when the ones with all the power are hurting those with none? Well for starters, you stand up. Stand up and tell the truth. You stand up for your friends. You stand up even when you're all alone. You stand up.”

A great movie to watch if you want to understand the history of sexual harassment in our country. Based on real events, this movie makes you so thankful that women and some men stood up back in the day against what was wrong. It was true that women living in the iron range and working in the mines were brutally harassed. Women were grabbed, groped, attacked, bullied, cornered and asked to “service” their male coworkers and much worse. Plus all the women applying for a job were forced to undergo a gynecological exam to prove they were not pregnant! Yikes. Charlize Theron gives a powerhouse performance even though at times, it seems that the director may be trying to hard to “move” us.

Any woman who complained of her treatment was threatened with losing her job, but the main character goes ahead and takes the company to court anyway. There is a fantastic courtroom scene where other female co-workers stand up in solidarity behind her. Some of the women standing in the courtroom are not actors, but real plaintiffs from the real courtroom drama that unfolded years before! Chills!

Little Women— Also a great book for feminists. Another tear-jerker and perhaps smacks a bit of the smaltzy-ness of Anne of Green Gables but again… I love it. Marmee (the mother played by Susan Sarandon) brings up her four girls to be strong, and take pride in their worth as human beings, not simply as women. I remember at a young age, watching this movie with my mother. There is a scene where two men sit next door watching the March women and one asks, “What do those girls do over there all day?” The answer, “Over the mysteries of female life there is drawn a veil, best left undisturbed.” My mom scoffed. I remember thinking then, how stupid it was that men made us out to be these incomprehensible creatures. Which, by the way, I still hear in many movies and in stand up comedian routines… like women are so tough to figure out. Really women on a general level want respect, as equals. They don’t want to be treated like second class citizens. As Jo says, “I find it poor logic to say that women should vote because they are good. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are men, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.” And Marmee teaches her daughters, to never think of themselves as mere objects of physical beauty for men; they are strong, not weak. “Feminine weaknesses and fainting spells are the direct result of our confining young girls to the house, bent over their needlework, and restrictive corsets.” Go Marmee!

The Buccaneers—“Can a woman never be free?” laments character Laura Testvalley in this BBC adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel. Laura works as a governess in the St. George home helping raise young Nan. Through Laura, Nan and her sister Virginia secure marriages to wealthy English landowners. The plot is much too complex to explain. It’s a 2 part miniseries running 212 minutes long but it’s well worth the time and it will keep you engaged. The four main characters are young American women who marry English Lords and Dukes and find that their lives as kept wives in oppressive English society are not what they had imagined. “They told us it all ended at the church door and we would live happily ever after!” one woman sobs.

The main story revolves around Nan and her daring escape from an abusive husband. Nan is aided by her governess, Laura in leaving her marriage for the love of her life, Guy Thwaite. But what happens along the way is a truly shocking revelation of what life was like for women and men in that type of society --when marriage was a business arrangement at best and at worst a living hell. At one point Nan’s husband Julius comes to London, under orders from his mother to, “Bring Nan back home by force if necessary.” When Nan asks Julius why he doesn’t do this, he breaks down screaming, “Because I’m not a monster!” Heartbreaking.

Movies for feminists

I haven’t posted in so long. I guess I’ve needed a break from the anger. So, for a change of pace... here's something fun. I’ve started to think about movies that I’ve watched through the years that have helped me understand my feelings on feminism. Some funny, some serious but all great films.

This post is going to be a series. I have other movies and TV shows I’d like to add but here they are for now… these movies are great for men and women who enjoy great cinema and embrace feminist values.

Iron Jawed Angels- Best movie ever. It should be required to watch in high school classrooms. My high school history teacher told me that women were “given” the vote in 1920. What a load of hooey! Watch this movie and you’ll see just how hard women like Alice Paul had to fight for women to vote. Being wrongfully imprisoned and tortured for starters… This movie is very informative, very entertaining and very moving!!! Fave scene: The suffrage parade where a woman on a horse leads groups of women, some in cap and gown, some in their country’s traditional dress down the streets of D.C. with Lauren Hill music playing… I get goosebumps every time.

A League of Their Own – Strong, athletic, competitive, beautiful, muscular, raw… FEMALE athletes in the 1940s. A funny story more about the relationship these women form as teammates, and most importantly the two sisters who are the focus of the story. But if you watch closely, you’ll also get the message of female independence, a desire to be seen not as different, or less worthy but seen as equal. Fave Scene: There’s a very well done scene where a young black woman throws a baseball so hard it actually hurts the catcher’s hand. You see the looks of amazement from all the women on the team (all of whom are white) and you realize that these women have once again been awakened to prejudice.

Legally blonde- Beautiful, perfect sorority girl has guy. Loses guy. Decides to get guy back. Learns in the process that she is smarter, cooler than doofus guy ever was. Girl becomes secure, powerful lawyer even though she is (gasp) blonde, beautiful and ultra perky. Who knew? Fave scene: A mean girl tricks Elle (Reese Witherspoon) into showing up at a party in costume. When she makes fun of her look Elle bites back, “You look great too. Except when I dress up as a frigid bitch, I try not to look so constipated.”

Anne of Green Gables – I don’t care if anyone makes fun of me for loving this schmaltz-fest... I love this movie and it is good! Anne was my hero growing up. She was strong and very smart. And even though it bothered some of the other boys that she was different, strong and smart, she didn’t care. Anne was never afraid to go her own way as an independent woman, turning down marriage proposals to pursue a career and a life in a bigger city. Although, when the time comes, she’s not afraid to do what’s right for her... return home and marry her childhood love. Fave scene: When Gilbert “rescues” Anne from the water, she doesn’t let him off the hook, “The fact that you rescued me, unnecessarily, hardly wipes out past wrongs.”

Vera Drake— Set in 1950’s England; Vera is a selfless woman who is completely devoted to her working class family. She is a caregiver to everyone in her life, new neighbors, sick friends and her elderly mother. She also secretly visits women and helps induce miscarriages. In 1950’s England abortion was legal but very expensive. Vera provided a safe method for “girls who need help.” She doesn’t even take money for it. Vera always treats these women with a smile and kind words. When she is found out and brought to trial we see just how this affects her family. When she is in prison, she meets other women jailed for providing illegal abortions but realizes that the fight must continue or more women will die. Favorite scene: Her family sits talking about abortions. A friend of the family says thoughtfully, “Me mum brought up six of us in two rooms. If you can't feed 'em, you can't love 'em, now can you?”

Real Women Have Curves—Ana is a first generation Mexican-American teenager on the verge of becoming a woman. She lives in Los Angeles. After she graduates high school, she is offered a scholarship to Columbia University but her traditional parents disapprove of her moving away and leaving their family. Her mother wants her to help at her sister’s sewing factory which is little better than a sweatshop making dresses that wouldn’t fit one woman in Ana’s family. Through that experience, Ana learns a lot about the “values” of corporate America. Her mother is always harping on her to lose weight so she can get a husband but Ana teaches her family that her real qualities are in her wit, education and truly, she is beautiful. Fave scene: When Ana gets all the women at work to strip down to their underwear in the hot sewing factory and celebrate their curves.

Westward the women—An old 1950’s Cowboys and Indians movie with a twist. Back in the day where the west meant “Texas,” men settling out in California needed wives. They sent a wagon train to bring women from the East to live with them and marry. Over one hundred women go on a wagon train journey through desert, Rocky Mountains and some Indian attacks. It's old, so not entirely politically correct, especially when it comes to portraying Native Americans. However, I love how the women in the movie transform from society gals in New York to hardened pioneer women that can survive just about anything. A great idea for a movie today would be what happened after the women arrived… interesting, maybe I could write a script. Hollywood anyone?