Monday, October 30, 2006
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
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!