Thursday, May 31, 2007

One woman's mistake

Okay. Watch this news story and tell me how you feel...

I feel extremely sorry for this woman but part of me feels like-- where is your anger with your doctor who should have been aware of this condition and helped you? Instead of turning you away and saying "Oh, you're just pregnant."

At no point does she seem outwardly anti-choice to me. Just a woman who had a very much wanted child who felt she had no other choice but to abort... and yet I feel that this story could have been handled a little better to focus on this woman rather than put abortion in such a (seemingly) negative light.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Heart of the Game

People with Netflix accounts, add this one to your queue. Head on over to Amazon and watch the Fishbowl segment to see the preview and (fabulous!) interview.

This movie chronicles the true story of a high school women’s basketball team in the Seattle suburbs. The Roughrides, their coach Bill Resler and specifically, point guard Darnellia Russell. The film is wonderful. I’d recommend it for sports lovers AND feminists but really, anyone could enjoy it because it’s exciting and emotional.

The Amazon clip gives lots of detail, but the basic story follows Darnellia. In her junior year, she becomes pregnant and has a baby girl. She drops out of school for some time and when she returns she is barred from playing (for dropping out). She sticks around to become a fifth year senior but then is barred AGAIN from playing -- this time by the WIAA. Their rationale: You can only play as a fifth year senior if you missed time due to a "hardship.”

Apparently an unexpected teen pregnancy didn’t meet “hardship” criteria. According to the WIAA, “It wasn’t a hardship; she made her own choices.”

Thankfully, Darnellia took the WIAA to court and the decision was overturned (because any sane person can see it doesn’t make any sense to punish women for becoming pregnant when high school aged men face no similar consequences). Darnellia should never have been punished-- she had worked hard to stay in school, raised her grades and would graduate. She had support from her mother and boyfriend of five years. She also had the support of her coach and team.

Before the pregnancy, Darnellia had fistfuls of offers from colleges across the USA. After the birth of her daughter--- NOTHING. She needed to get back into the game in order to have any hopes of scholarship, and therefore college.

Not content to let it go, the WIAA took Darnellia back to court AGAIN. But once again, they were overruled. After this loss, the WIAA threatened to take the matter to court after the season closed, meaning that if they won that battle, every game Darnellia played in will be forfeited.

The team’s response? Screw you, WIAA.

So they played anyway WITH Darnellia.

I won’t ruin the ending but I encourage you all to see it. It's very moving with some fascinating side stories about other women on the team as well as Coach Resler.

Some of the most telling moments in this documentary come when we get to hear clips from a morning radio talk show:

CALLER: I think it sends a horrible message to children that they can just pick whatever course of action they want and not have to worry about the consequences-- cause someone’s gonna step in and fix it for them and I think that’s wrong.

HOST: But isn’t there another dangerous message that’s being sent? If she loses her eligibility and then it’s ‘Hey girls, getting an abortion isn’t gonna affect your life nearly as much as carrying a kid to term’?

CALLER: Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she made a poor decision by keeping the child.

HOST: Right

CALLER: I think her poor decision was made when she chose to have sex while she was in high school


SECOND CALLER: Secondly and most importantly and maybe cause I’m the only woman so far who’s called in—who the hell is taking care of this baby? I don’t understand how a girl can go to school full time, keep up her homework, get ready to go to college, hopefully, take care of a baby - and I think this proves, that she and her family’s priorities are all screwed up.

END RANT FROM ME: Yeah those conservative values are sounding really compassionate aren’t they? PLEASE! Just more reinforcement that pro-life policies are about punishing women for being sluts who have sex. Otherwise wouldn’t they want the young woman to get a shot at a college scholarship? NO. She should have the baby and then hide in shame, giving up all her hobbies and take care of her baby (with no opportunities to better herself in college). Hmmm? Sexism and racism much?

One commenter on IMDB had an excellent point I shall leave you with. People may say, “Of course colleges quit writing her, she had a baby—that’s a huge liability” --- Funny thing--- drug abuse is a huge liability! As is a history of violence against women, and other kinds of trouble with the law, but that doesn't stop colleges from giving scholarships to plenty of top male athletes with these kind of things on their record.

Cindy Sheehan says goodbye

And I will never forgive myself for not supporting her more. She is truly an American hero. The story on CNN and her letter is below:

Monday, May 28th, 2007
"Good Riddance, Attention Whore" Cindy Sheehan

I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground. Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance" are some of the more milder rebukes.

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don't find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don't see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person's heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an "attention whore" then I really need to be committed. I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others. I have spent every available cent I got from the money a "grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey's brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won't work with that group; he won't attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then, our children's children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.

Camp Casey has served its purpose. It's for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too…which makes the property even more valuable.

This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America…you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it.

It's up to you now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

My guilt over Family Guy

I admit it, I watch the show Family Guy. I blame all my guy friends from college. They watched the show and I began to watch right along with them. And I often laughed. I loved Stewie, the infant psychopath who always seemed to deliver monologues inspired by Dr. Evil,

Stewie: Well, Well mother we meet again.
Lois: Stewie I thought I tucked you in an hour ago.
Stewie: Not tightly enough it would seem, and now you contemptible harpy, I shall end your oppressive reign of matriarchal tyranny!

I loved his obsession with broccoli and the evil monkey that occupied Chris' closet. There ARE moments that I see and laugh at (like the clips below):

Family Guy operates on the assumption that you can make a joke out of everything, and therefore you can be offended by nothing. And absolutely nothing is off limits on Family Guy: AIDS, homosexuals, homelessness, pedophiles, handicapped people (either physically or mentally) and jokes about racism. So as a viewer we're never suppossed to be offended because Family Guy doesn't take anything seriously.

Okay fine. I get it. But the more I watch the show, the more uncomfortable I feel about my laughter. So many of the jokes on Family Guy are horribly misogynistic. Take this clip where we're supposed to laugh at Quagmire's "rape machine"

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that every single episode of Family Guy features violence against women, jokes at women's expense or some reinforcement of women's traditional gender roles. Family Guy's favorite joke seems to be mocking feminism in general.

Take the episode, "I am Peter Hear me Roar"-- where you get such quotes like.

Lois: I guarantee you a man made that commercial.
Peter: Of course a man made it. It's a commercial Lois, not a delicious thanksgiving dinner

I always told myself not to make a big deal out of Family Guy. Enjoy it for what its worth and try to ignore the parts that seem in bad taste. But in a recent episode I felt like the show really crossed a line. Watch this clip-- the joke is in the first minute or so... The punch line is "Everyone's getting laid but me." And I was horrified. Family Guy is taking it too far. If you keep watching you'll catch the obligatory joke made about women's professional sports.

More clips that offend.

As you can see, there are plenty of options. And several more that I can't find right now. There are plenty of people who have already criticized Family Guy for these problems. Here and here to start.

I feel like Family Guy has potential to be funny but I think jokes about rape are really out of line and maybe ONE episode without women bashing would be great. It's just getting old.

Film about abortion wins at Cannes

This seems promising

The film, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," is about illegal abortion in communist-era Romania.

Do so hope I can get it through netflix.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Update from Meme Roth

Meme Roth responds to my angry letter and writes:

Thank you for taking the time to write, Ms. XXXXX.

I understand that you are upset. And while I believe my comments can be controversial, I'd also like to be certain it's my comments we're talking about. Also, I do believe it's fair, and even crucial, that we talk about child/teen obesity in this country, regardless if it's taboo to use the word "overweight." For the record... I was invited onto news shows to discuss child obesity and the American Idol show.

I have only ever used the words "tragedy" or "nightmare" to describe America's child obesity epidemic, not a person, and not a performer on American Idol. Nor have I used the word "obese" to describe Jordin Sparks. Nor have I said her size should prevent her from winning. I stand 100% behind only the statements I made, nothing scripted to introduce any interview.

National Action Against Obesity's mandate is to 1) Rid schools of Junk Food; 2) Eliminate "Fake Food" from the food supply that contributes to obesity and disease; 3) Eradicate Secondhand Obesity-- obesity handed down from one generation to the next...or across the culture; Plus) Promote exercise across all ages.

I have said and will continue to say that Jordin Sparks is an amazing talent and effervescent personality. Her extra weight is a reflection of today's society and a culture where many of our children have compromised health due to unhealthful food choices and inactivity.

What seems in comparison to morbid obesity to be "just a little extra weight" does indeed increase our children's odds significantly for diabetes, heart disease, etc...and even more so if someone is Latino, African American, Asian or Native American. We now are seeing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and of course, type II diabetes, in our children at rates like never before.

The context of the comment about Jordin's imminent weight loss was aimed at unhealthful Hollywood handlers.

Hope the holiday wknd is good to you. And thanks again for sharing your viewpoint.



By all means champion exercise and better food options at schools but don't trot out a beautiful young woman like Jordin Sparks and make an "example" out of her. If you need an example, where were you Jerry Falwell died? Didn't he have heart problems? Or is it just easier attacking 17 year old girl? You may have never uttered the words "she is obese" but you insinuated it many times. At one point you said, "She is not the vision of health, she's the vision of unhealth."

You owe this young woman an apology or your cause has lost all credibility.

PS: From what I've read in the comment threads at feministe, this woman had no credibility to start with anyway.... sigh.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fat girls should be raped and NEVER have careers

The news this week is not fat-friendly.

Take this gem where a lawyer claimed that the victim of a gang rape was so fat she would have been "glad of the attention."

I wonder how that works anyway. For every pants size you go up does that mean your enjoyment of rape increases?

The there's this which made me see red. Literally, things were turning red

I agree with one of the video responses to this where a young man says "you say all you see when you look at Jordin is diabetes and heart disease? When I look at you all I see is a bitch!"

I had this to say to Meme Roth. You can contact her at


To: Meme Roth and National Action Against Obesity
I'd like to express my horror and shock at seeing the fox news clip calling Jordin Sparks obese. I commend encouraging people to live healthier lives but what kind of bully are you going on NATIONAL TV and calling a beautiful 17-year-old women fat? You tell viewers not to vote for Jordin because of the childhood obesity epidemic and the message it will send. That doesn't make any kind of sense. No one wants to be fat. Even at a young age, children are aware that it's bad to be fat-- a social taboo. Other kids make fun of them and its hard to find clothes that fit. You must be crazy to think that kids look at full figured people on TV and think "oh that's cool. I guess I can be fat too."

The TRULY crazy part of this argument is that Jordin Sparks it NOT FAT. She is very healthy looking with some beautiful curves. Not every one of us can be thin, blonde white women after all, Meme! Jordin is the picture of physical health, maybe she could lose some weight (how many of us couldn't) but I would argue she doesn't need to. Her body is beautiful-- not obese. The 40 pounds of weight loss you suggested is clearly out of line. Why are you promoting an unhealthy Hollywood stick-figure ideal? THIS is the stuff that is making our young girls sick with anorexia and bulimia.

I think you owe Jordin and her family an apology for trying to humiliate her on national TV to further your witch-hunt cause, "OH LOOK-- a fat person... let's call a press conference!" Yes, people should take care of themselves but by shaming people or insinuating that anyone you deem "overweight" shouldn't --- what--- have singing careers, have jobs, have a happy normal life-- what are you accomplishing? YOU ARE SICK. You make me sick. If you look at someone carrying an extra few pounds and all you see is heart disease and diabetes maybe YOU need therapy. Try looking at the person and minding your own business. Jordin looks great, she does not need your help and she does not need to be your obesity whipping girl.

You have completely devalued what could have been a great cause and I will make sure everyone I know also loathes what you stand for: Sizeism and cruelty.


It sure sucks to be a plus size woman this week

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Love her too

Feministing has the coolest videos. I am stealing....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

He-Man takes a stand

For the love of Pete

I guess it's not rape --- even if someone tricks you into it--- SICK.

News story that may make you sick

Hodge Podge Post

First issue: I love the woman in this video. I want to meet her and hug her.

Second Issue: Jerry Falwell died today. I immediately felt gleeful and then REALLY bad. I mean, that's awful. I admit it. But a commenter on Feministe said it best:

"There are lots of people whose deaths I gladly celebrate. It’s always a little bit like Top Trumps to pull the Hitler card at this point, but what the hell: Hitler’s dead! Isn’t that super? I only wish it had happened sooner.

I’m not saying Falwell = Hitler; clearly not. But equally I don’t see for a moment why anyone should be obliged to come over all sanctimonious piety when a repulsive hatemonger, deep into his dotage, finally buys the farm.

I wouldn’t wish burning in hell on anyone, but I don’t believe in all that jazz anyway, so I might as well wish Teletubbyland on him - which, come to think of it, I shall. Eh-oh, Jerry! Time for Tubby Custard. Furthermore, I wouldn’t wish death on anyone, but we do all get it in the end. Had he been murdered, died in an accident, or perished before his time of some unpleasant disease, I would politely refrain from crowing. But, as it is, natural causes & 70-plus, all that’s happened is that the world suddenly has one fewer oxygen-sucking, hate-breathing asshole.

Any “compassionate liberal” worth his/her sandals would have to have a heart of stone not to fancy a margarita and a foxtrot right now."

Glad to know I'm not alone in the "not-being-sad" department.


Rape jokes are not funny. Rape threats are definitely not funny. And in the wake of the Imus debacle this just further proves my point that slanders against women are simply seen as no big deal within this society. When Mel Gibson flipped his lid everyone was shocked about his anti-Semitic slurs but no one batted an eye that he called a female officer "sugar tits." The Imus scandal mostly fixated on the racial aspect but less on a group of women who had been degraded to "hos."

Now we have radio "personalities" (I use that term loosely) joking about raping Condoleeza Rice, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth. So hilarious I forgot to laugh. I read today that the "shock jocks" (read: assholes) have been suspended for 30 days. So even XM disc jockeys are not immune. But surprise, surprise the comment field on the story is full of people threatening to cancel their satellite radio. Talk of "what about free speech?" abounds.

What the hell?

This isn't like someone was criticizing President Bush and he got yanked from the airwaves. This was a joke about sexual violence! And it isn't like they are being whipped, flogged and thrown in jail (that'd be nice) they are getting a slap on the wrist for their bad judgment call.

I'm so sick of jerkwads (like John Petroski) and so many others hiding behind the "free speech" argument. You can say what you want and write what you want. In this country Fred Phelps can protest at military funerals. It's deplorable but our country has protected free speech, no matter how vile.

But see... the difference is that when you work in media and you make a bad call, judgment wise, and it affects your boss's ratings, you can be fired. It has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with consequences of bad behavior. Ask the Dixie Chicks-- while I found NOTHING wrong with their behavior and to compare their SLIGHT criticism of Bush (when he so rightly deserved it) to two disc jockeys who joke about rape is insane at best, it just goes to show, that when people don't like what you say there can be fallout.

Those guys should be happy they kept their job and people should quit misusing the phrase "free speech." It irks me to no end.