Saturday, June 30, 2007

Harry Potter and feminism: strange bedfellows?

Like the rest of the world, I am a huge, geeky, mega Harry Potter fan. Love the books, love the movies, just love Harry. Seriously, I find myself depressed because I know I'll never go to Hogwarts or be a witch. It bums me out.

I was actually a latecomer to the series. I remember when the books came out and started to gain popularity. However, I was a high school student and MUCH too cool to read KID'S books about WIZARDS. Then someone gave me book one for Christmas and I was sucked in. No point denying it.

Aside from the fun, magical world created, there is also the pure joy of reading something clearly inspired by a progressive thinker. Author J.K. Rowling writes of the struggle between good wizards and witches and those following Lord Voldermort. Voldermort's followers are obsessed with power, being "pure-blood", as well as race and class issues.

The villains in Rowling's books hate "mudbloods" (those who have parents or relatives outside the wizard world) and half-breeds like Hagrid (whose mother was a giant). They use fear and hate to spread messages of evil. Sadly reflecting reality, they often have positions of power and are aided by copious amounts of money.

In Book 5, "Order of the Phoenix", which is set to come to the big screen in a few weeks, Harry and other good wizards and witches fight against a corrupt Minister of Magic who is in the back pocket of some of the more devious wizards. They also have lost the Daily Prophet, a once respected newspaper-- which now only prints the story after it has been "spun" by people in power. *ahem* Sound familiar?

In "Order of the Phoenix" an eerie exchange between Rita (a reporter) and Harry's friend, Hermoine reveals the depth of corruption going on with the media. Rita admits that the Minister of Magic is controlling what the newspaper prints but adds,

Rita: "Nobody wants to read it. It's against the public mood. People just don't want to believe You-Know-Who is back."
Hermoine: "So the Daily Prophet exists to tell people what they want to hear?"
Rita: "The Prophet exists to sell itself, you silly girl."

Chilling how I can imagine this dialogue happening in any major news room...

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore says:

Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back.

I don't care if she's writing about wizards or not, that is brilliant. And it applies to so many of our global situations today-- not just politically but when you looks at the religious right and their contempt for those they find "outside" of their approved moral sphere. Read: homosexuals, feminists, immigrants (legal or not).

Harry Potter has themes of ending racism, classism & corruption. These are all ideas feminists hold dear-- possibly why I enjoy the books so much.

I never realized (until I was reading this article) just how much feminism has influenced Rowling. When she first became successful in the writing world she could not escape comparison to an older, successful, MALE children's writer:

According to a June 1997 article in an English newspaper, "The Herald":

If there is a downside to Rowling's story, it is the distinct danger she will be called 'The New Roald Dahl,' which would be an albatross around her slender shoulders."

Do we often comment about male author's shoulders? I don't recall...

When she was first published, even her female name was an issue (emphasis mine):

Philosopher's Stone" was released in England during business hours with a tiny first printing. Bloomsbury suggested that Rowling use initials instead of her real name, Joanne, out of fear that boys wouldn't read a book by a woman.

Cause nothing could frighten little boys more than realizing that women have creative minds and are writing some of their favorite books!?

WEIRD. And that was in 1997!!! Reminds me of this unbelievable rejection letter sent by Disney in the 1930s which basically states that women aren't hired by Disney to do drawings-- because-- well-- WOMEN AREN'T CREATIVE, YOU SEE! At least that was in 1938! What was the excuse when it came to Rowling?

I hope boys and girls take notice -- after all, one of the most successful novel franchises in history was created by a young, single mom! Meaning that we can all do great things, regardless of class, gender or life situation-- surely a theme we see reflected in Harry's modest background as well. He was an orphan raised by family determined to hate and abuse him. But rather than becoming bitter and cruel, Harry rose above it. He found friends, worked hard at his education and joined the resistance to Voldermort's cruel plots.

The final book comes out in weeks. I'm praying JOANNE ROWLING --:) gives us a happy ending for our hero.

Extra: below is the aforementioned insulting Disney letter. Click to enlarge.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Baby girls with body image-- HOW CUTE *not*

Good to know we're starting with this stereotypical crap early.

Get it... cause it's for a girl, so it's image/fat obsessed and in pink with glittery, twirly letters.

If I ever have a baby girl, I am not putting her in this. Why can't we have a little WONDER WOMAN onesies for our girls? Why are we making this idea 'cute' when girls younger and younger feel physically inadequate and think they need to diet? I mean seriously-- I just read something yesterday about 8-year-old girls DIETING!!


I know I'm taking this too seriously (I was in a pissy mood when I saw this at Target) but I'm just not amused. No baby BOY onesie said "Does this diaper give me a lopsided bulge?" So why are baby GIRL outfits putting this body image crap out there?

This isn't really anything to freak about I guess-- I just find it stupid. I should start a business for baby feminists where they can buy EMPOWERING onesies -- HA

Sorry for poor pic quality-- they came from my cell phone.

A better alternative...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How naughty

Online Dating

Based on the use of the following words:
• sex (10x)
• porn (7x)
• death (3x)
• vagina (2x)
• dangerous (1x)

Vagina-- what a dirty, dirty word *eye roll*

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Purity Balls -- great for those "touch-feely" dads

I'm stealing this disgusting tidbit from Feministing.

This clip is the creepiest six minutes ever. The dad (who feministing rightly labels "pseudo-incestuous") is obsessed with his daughters purity. And the mom says that women were "created to feel accepted by men."

What a great message for their daughters. Your entire purpose in this world is to stay "pure" (not even kissing before marriage) for your husband. You weren't created to have any autonomy of your own, follow your own dreams and passions, but rather to be completed by a man.

During their purity pledge, the girls promise to offer themselves "as a priceless gift." All while wearing prom dresses and dancing close with their fathers-- who also take them on dates-- ugh.

Part of me looks at this and sees potential. Plently of women I know are unhappy with their relationship with their father. I myself have always wanted to be closer with my dad and was jealous when friends talked about how they were "daddy's girls." I have often jokes that my dad-daughter time ended abruptly the minute I grew boobs and he forgot how to talk to me. *sigh*

However, I don't want a relationship that's based on dad's protection of my precious hymen or my "potential worth" for nameless future husband. I like the idea of father's establishing relationships with daughters, valuing them and wanting the best for them in future relationships. However, this isn't really about a woman, but about a woman's worth as sexually pure.

And Leslee Unruh, I have a question-- What the F*&%^ is up with the bridal gown and suit of armor behind you? Crazy woman! Is this something to do with the pure, princess/white knight fairytale?

Excuse me while I shudder.

Monday, June 18, 2007

911: Media conglomerates are officially brain-dead

Via Planned Parenthood

Today The New York Times reported that FOX and CBS are refusing to air a condom commercial.

How much you wanna bet they'll still have ads for erectile disfunction? IRONY MUCH?

FOX claims, “Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy” (cause preventing pregnancy has nothing to do with health?) CBS simply writes that they “did not find it appropriate” for its network.

Sarcastic comment coming up........You're right promoting healthy sexual relationships, STI & pregnancy prevention is sooo inappropriate. Condoms are yucky! EWWW!

Planned Parenthood is brilliant in pointing out...

In 2005, 70 percent of all television shows and 77 percent of prime-time shows contained sexual content. FOX and CBS shows are no exception. From Temptation Island to Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to The O.C. — a show that broadcasts an average of 6.7 sex scenes an hour — FOX and CBS have taken sex all the way to the bank.

Preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections are top public health priorities. Television networks that pride themselves on public service should take every opportunity to educate the public about safer sex. By rejecting Trojan’s ad, FOX and CBS have made the wrong move for public health.

Make sure that CBS and FOX know that the VAST majority of Americans think this is complete bullshit.

PS: You can watch the rejected commercial here

Friday, June 15, 2007

Marital rape-- it happens-- and it's ugly

Courtesy of Bitch Ph. D. -- possibly the MOST disturbing thing I've seen in weeks. And I see some disturbing shit.

This. story. is. sick.

Summed up:

A man in Ottawa City, Kansas, Weldon Padgett, repeatedly raped his wife. He drugged her red-wine and had sex with her while she was unconscious.

Padgett’s wife said her memory problems began in 2006 and she eventually linked the memory lapses and blackouts to drinks, usually wine, that her husband gave her. She said she would often wake up after drinking the beverages and find evidence that she had had sex, although she didn’t remember. When she confronted her husband with her suspicions, he said he was concerned for her mental health.

Ah nice. Make your wife think she's got mental problems. Fortunately the wife was smart.

Padgett's wife pretended to drink a beverage that she suspected was tampered with and then acted like she passed out. She said her husband then had sex with her, although she had refused to have sex earlier that night.

Another kicker... the bond on this man has been increased 10K because he had the audacity to send her CHILDREN over to give her a "Mother's Day" gift. Guess what it was? A bottle of red wine. Can we say sociopath?

Now after all this you wouldn't think it could get any worse. BUT IT DOES. The online article opened a comment field.

Where gems like this surface:

It sounds to me like this uptight, hands-off, ultra-conservative may have run his name through the mud to ensure she still could have drained him of every penny.

Sounds like she was a very bitter person. If she was so unhappy in the marriage that she wanted no part of sex, they should have divorced when that lightbulb illuminated itself over her head....

Granted, he was wrong to drug her, but she was withholding marital relations. Either way, he was going to get screwed.


Shame on him for being an idiot with drugging her, if he did it. But shame on her for withholding relations and not just asking for a divorce, long before this occurred, so they might both move on.


She should be prosecuted for violating her marriage vows..

There's many, MANY more.

Is it possible to throw up and cry at the same time? Victim blaming has hit an all new low.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

News Flash: Domestic violence is not a feminist conspiracy

There's a growing number of groups who are trying to discredit the serious problem of domestic violence. Theses groups advocate domestic violence fundraising events-- like Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues -- be banned or call for an end to the VAWA. Take a totally "unbiased" site which encourages people to fight against VAWA-- you know the act that helps end domestic violence? A key way to tell this site is chock full of stupidity and misogyny:

These girls were claiming part of the solution was in making new laws. In practice, the only effect of this legislation was to encourage divorce, and broaden the power of government in family relationships.

First of all... GIRLS-- these "girls." Not women. Nice, totally subtle.

Meanwhile, anyone who challenges the laws and the funding in multiple billions of dollars in total for these programs is immediately silenced by the label of sexist, hatemonger, or worse. It has been as if some kind of Inquisition has been established to root out all heretics, where no one dares challenge the word of the feminists, no matter how irrational that word may be.

Yes, because being a feminist is full of so much political power. We're getting our way SO much these days

At no time do you find any kind of counseling or other means of assisting a victim in discovering the cause for her uniquely personal situation. Nor do you find encouragement for working within the family unit in order to address, and perhaps even solve their relationship problems. What you do find, and find repeatedly, is placing of blame on men and the clear advancement of separation.

Indeed. Let's blame those awful feminists. How dare they give women the idea that this isn't their fault, but rather the fault of their abusive batterer who has no self-control and thinks it's ok to hit you. Really. How dare we advocate divorce? Well you know feminists, just a bunch of heartless bitches, right?

Seems like all these "men's sites" like to talk about how men are abused 50% of the time. Now, I admit. Men are abused. But if you check out actual facts. (aside: Never trust a website that refers to professional women as "girls.") you'll see there is a legit reason that Domestic violence messages are primarily targeted at women.

Intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women. In 2001, women accounted for 85 percent of the victims of intimate partner violence (588,490 total) and men accounted for approximately 15 percent of the victims (103,220 total. This stat is from the Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003

Then I see atrocities like this and I just want to shake people and scream -- HELLO.

In case you can't link to the CNN story, a summary:

Meg Lundeen, a Minneapolis woman was brutally attacked by her husband, Randy Aaser, the night of her 30th birthday. The two got in an argument and Randy slit Meg's throat. The cut was so deep that Meg's windpipe & tongue were completely severed.

Doctors reattached her tongue, but it's not clear yet how her ability to speak or taste will be affected.

Aaser has been charged with second-degree attempted murder.

But yeah, let's stop promoting events like Vagina Monologues, let's quit funding VAWA, and above all, quit listening to feminists-- rather, let's try to get Meg and Randy to just "work stuff out".

Oh and there's this. CNN is just bursting today.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Iran believes porn stars should be executed

Yes Really. They just passed the law.

Now I want to be really careful here not to come off as anti-Muslim but this is the sheeyat that really scares me. Yes I'm aware that our own government is heavily influenced by patriarchal Christian values. But to date, I'm not aware of any law being introduced to execute strippers, prostitutes, porn stars or the like. And yet, it's introduced and PASSED in Iran. And where do they draw inspiration from-- oh right, the Quran.

With a 148-5 vote in favor and four abstentions, lawmakers present at the Wednesday session of the 290-seat parliament approved that "producers of pornographic works and main elements in their production are considered corrupter of the world and could be sentenced to punishment as corrupter of the world."

The term, "corrupter of the world" is taken from the Quran, the Muslims' holy book, and ranks among the highest on the scale of an individual's criminal offenses. Under Iran's Islamic Penal Code, it carries a death penalty.

Just frickin' delightful. I wonder if progressive Muslims get as pissed as progressive Christians that their holy book is being used to advocate death.

I'm not a fan of porn. I've seen some-- whatever type you can order in hotel rooms (never roadtrip with college men) and I was grossly unimpressed if not turned-off altogether. But this message is very very dangerous. Displays of sexuality are punishable by death.

Convenient that the "porn" term is not really defined. Would a woman showing shoulders eventually be seen as pornographic? Would a pop star dancing sexily be porn? And yes, I really do think this law will be heavily sided to punish women. That's sort of the name of the game with radical Islam taken to extremes.

Placing so much hatred and fear around the subject of sex just makes me sad on so many levels.

Everyone in Iran better be very careful with their private home video stash.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Big shocker

You Are 100% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Our supreme court is a joke

I frickin' love Dakota Women. I wish I had thought of this post.

I wanted to write about this days ago when the supreme court decision came down, but in a way I was just too depressed.

In case you didn't know-- The Supreme Court ruled against a Goodyear employee, Lily Ledbetter who earned thousands of dollars less than her male counterparts (she was making $45,000 a year, $6,500 less than the lowest-paid male supervisor).

Big shocker. The Justices who voted against this woman were: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia. AKA: Huge male, conservative-type buttholes.

Our ONE woman justice, Ruth Ginsburg said in court Tuesday:
“In our view, this court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.”

Ginsburg also points out the impossible fate this woman faced. She coudl sue early and probably lose, or wait until the evidence is strong enough to win and be told she sued too late.

Debra Friedman, a lawyer with the Cozen O’Connor law firm who represents management, said Ginsburg put her finger on a problem for women and others who are covered by civil rights law. “Pay discrimination is difficult at times to discover until it’s too late,”

An example perfectly illustrated by this case! Because Lily Ledbetter’s pay started out comparable to what men were earning but slipped over time.

The decision “reveals a lack of appreciation for the real-world challenges that women have to face every day in the workplace,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “If employers can keep the discrimination hidden for a period of time, they can continue to discriminate without being held accountable.”

Seriously though, read Dakota Women's take on it. It made my day.