Friday, May 30, 2008

Tv host fired for speaking out against O'Reilly

Via Shakesville

*CN8 host Barry Nolan has been fired for speaking against Bill O'Reilly receiving an award from the Boston chapter of National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences..."The idea of honoring someone who does their job with constant factual errors, name-calling, and mangling of the truth ... It's ridiculous," said Nolan.

He was warned by his bosses at CN8 to pipe down, but at the May 10 dinner honoring O'Reilly, Nolan handed out a six-page document listing some of O'Reilly's wackier errors, utterances, and information about the talk-show host's sexual harassment settlement ... He was immediately suspended without pay for two weeks and then fired over the phone Tuesday*

I think that's some serious BS. How about you?

You can write here to express your disgust.

I said:

I am very disappointed to learn that Barry Nolan was terminated for bringing up the history of Bill O'Reilly's abuse of his position within the media.

Politics aside, Bill O'Reilly is not a face for journalism. He has a well-known and documented history of factual errors in his "news" broadcasts, errors which have largely gone uncorrected.

O’Reilly has a well known history of abusing guests and as we recently learned (thanks to resurrected video footage from his years at ‘Inside Edition’)-- he has no problem abusing production staff as well. Then again, most people already knew O’Reilly didn’t treat co-workers with basic dignity. Just ask Andrea Mackris, who settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with O'Reilly.

Nolan did the real job of standing up and reporting on truth. Your organization looks foolish for punishing him for it.

Feel free to copy and paste if you want to send something but aren't sure what to say. More great ideas in the comments section at Shakesville.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

3 things

#1 ... MSN asks...

Which new tough guy can take the title?


Does no one remember Sigourney Weaver's Ripley (from Alien) or Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy (or frankly ANY of the women on that show)? There are kick ass WOMEN action heroes and there should be more. Try stepping outside of the box, Hollywood. SERIOUSLY. If all you can do is recycle Indiana Jones, Rambo and 007 then I give up hope.*

#2 ... Then I saw this bumper sticker at my local mall today...

...and my head exploded.

What could make this day worse?

#3 ... How about nothing but spam e-mail and crummy forwards.

However, one of my forwards had a feminist bent. So I'm passing it on:

A preacher's wife was expecting a baby so he went before the congregation and asked for a raise. After much discussion, they passed a rule that whenever the preacher's family expanded, so would his paycheck.

After 6 children, this started to get expensive and the congregation decided to hold another meeting to discuss the preacher's salary.

There was much yelling and bickering about how much the clergyman's additional children were costing the church. Finally, the Preacher got up and spoke to the crowd, "Children are a gift from God," he said.

Silence fell on the congregation.

In the back pew, a little old lady stood up and in her frail voice said, "Rain is also a gift from God, but when we get too much of it, we wear rubbers."

*Well sort of, you know how I feel about Indiana Jones. He was my first real crush. Please, Hollywood, don't ruin it for me in this 4th movie.

Cindy McCain vamps in Vogue

Don't blame me, it's Cnn's headline.

I saw this video today at work and threw up a little in my mouth.

In the video, the anchor narrates: *emphasis mine*

Ooh la la! Cindy McCain in Vogue magazine looks spectacular lounging at her seaside condo sans John McCain. Feet bare, wearing size zero jeans, she projects an image quite unlike the Cindy McCain we see on the campaign trail.
The video talks about her "usual campaign image" of clapping and smiling next to her husband and then juxtaposes the image with Glenn Close in the Stepford Wives.

But Gloria Roemer, a republican consultant, chuckles and says, "Well you know there's that old saying, "Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful" and that may apply here because she is very attractive. She can't help it."

The anchor agreed Mrs. McCain wasn’t perfect and proceed to point out that Cindy McCain suffered a stroke years ago, donates time and money to charities and is also wealthy and won't release her tax records.

According to CNN, not releasing your tax records makes you too unlike the "little people." Naturally the solution to getting in touch with that demographic is to schedule a fancy photo shoot with Vogue wearing jeans -- because "jeans are as all American as apple pie."


I don't know where to start.

Who wrote this tripe? Why do I need to know Cindy McCain's size of jeans? What does this say about her character or her marriage or her husband's campaign? WHO CARES?

This is the exact same sexist crap they pull on Hillary! Right down to the Glenn Close comparison I might add. Sure 'Stepford Wives ' is a nicer image than 'Fatal Attraction Glenn Close' but it's still comparing a high profile woman to ... basically a crazy person.

How can you run a story this stupid and then have a "Who us? The media....Sexist?! Never!!" attitude?

Why is Hillary painted as a bitch and why do her pantsuits matter so much? Why is Cindy McCain "vamping" and not just posing? Why does her pant size matter? Why are we analyzing a potential first lady's attractiveness and whether or not we "hate her" for being "too beautiful."

Why are we discussing her beauty at all and making it sound all catty and gross?

In the year 2008 when have our first serious female presidentail canidate (and she's still seriously in this race), why are we STILL making this a beauty pageant contest where we simultaneously hold up candidates wives for ridicule and worship.

Cindy McCain is a wealthy snobby bitch... but oh look how pretty and thin.... and ooh she wears jeans... but pity the poor thing, she had a stroke.

No. No. NO!

It's sick. And it's all part of the same patriarchal BS that's been circling Clinton (of course she's been hit much harder because she's more of a clear threat -- actually RUNNING for the job and all).

But the line that took my breath away was when CNN quoted a Washington Post article about Michelle Obama's Vogue picture where she's wearing a black dress and pearl earrings. “It's as if she's saying, 'I’m not some scary other, I am Camelot with a tan.'”

Seriously? Camelot with a tan? Yeah and Hillary is just Bill with a vagina.

God sexism pisses me off. Even if I don't like the McCain family at all, this video was disturbing as hell.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It's a frustrating Wednesday so far. Thank God for this bit of humor.

"You can't even get it right after five takes, why would I agree to do it live!?"

Bill O'Reilly exposed as the pig he is -- the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can you tell I'm into You Tube today?

Bad Questions to Ask a Transsexual:

This is a pretty sweet video. My fave line.

When soemone says, "I've seen Silence of the Lambs and I don't want a transsexual teaching my children"

she answers with

Well I've seen American Psycho and I dont' want a straight yuppie teaching mine.

Brilliant point!

Guilty Pleasure

I know it's not an intellectual show or anything, but I have weak spot for ANTM *otherwise known as America's Next Top Model* I've watched every episode this season and last night was the finale.

So last night after TEN (10!!) cycles a "full-figured" girl finally took home the prize.



I must be mental.

I joined my company's softball team and it's actually been a ton of fun. However, I am not/nor have I ever been an athlete. Last night we played two games in a row and today I am moving like a robot. I know I've worked muscles that I've previously left alone and I think my body is protesting. Like, "Whatever bitch, you can TRY and get up that flight of stairs... maybe if you hadn't SPRINTED out of nowhere last night!"

What? Don't tell me I'm the only one that has conversations with my body.

Well today I was still in a sports mood so I had to watch a "League of Their Own." I frickin love that movie. It's just fun and full of important messages about women and feminism. I love this scene where the managers unveil the skirt-uniform expecting support and the athletes are pissed. Geena Davis' line is the best "SHORT!? I'm gonna have to squat in that thing!"

It reminded me of an amazing post I read awhile back on Echidne of the Snakes that talked about sexism in sports and how we STILL have a long way to go. It's a quick read. Make sure you head that way.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Good lord Yes

I love youtube. There are some great contributors out there. Like this guy.

Not so much at the beginning but the truth of the matter is-- if Obama is gonna do this, he needs to court Hillary supporters. Because some of them are pretty pissed off.

And I really, really, REALLY don't want McCain in '08.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bloggers ask for 2 million or woman gets abortion

Did someone say .... HOAX???

From the terrifying abortion countdown clock ("oh my god, cut the blue wire! No the red!") to the story which sounds remarkably like an e-mail forward I've gotten ("I'm the Prince of Nigeria and I would love to wire you money!") this screams HOAX. This reminds me of the Yale student who claimed she induced abortions for art -- of course, eventually we learned this was a brilliant way to shine the light on anti-choice logic (or lack thereof).

The blog's description

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

The hoaxer makes a valid point:

The cost of living is prohibitive, rental properties are too expensive and the cost of raising a baby is just insane, even with the government's baby bonus. We want to try and raise the child together but can’t afford to move out of home and away from our families. We come from pretty traditional ethnic families who sure as hell won't let us stay at home and raise a child.
Hmmmm, what to do?

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

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

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

How can this be???

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

What I predict will happen...

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

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

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

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

* Some might argue "What are pro-choicers doing to reduce the abortion rate, why are you putting it all on 'pro-life' people?"

Funny you should ask. Pro-choice people are progressives who fight for universal healthcare, better minimum wage, paid maternity leave, affordable childcare and they are also the same people that fight for accurate sex education and available contraception.

So yeah, we're doing 80 BILLION times more than any anti-choicer EVER did to reduce abortions.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Beyond Rape: A Survivor's Journey

I spent over an hour today reading the installments of this story. It was well worth it. Check out the video but also make sure to read this amazing story.

Part I - Telling the Story I Tried to Forget

Part II - One search ends, another begins

Part III - The privileged and the cursed

Part IV - Partners in crime, allies in courage

Part V - Talking to the dead, taking back my life


Beyond Rape: a survivor's journey

via Feministing's fabulous "Weekly Feminist Reader"

In case there was EVER any doubt

*update -- video SHOULD play now

Bill O'Reilly was/is an asshole.

Yikes. That's how he treated people at work. How is he behind closed doors?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Steve the Penguin

One of the coolest things that has happened to me recently is Mahlena-Rae Johnson, blogger extraordinaire of Steve the Penguin, asked me to review her book.

Um. Holy. Crap. Yes!

“Steve the Penguin” is the perfect novel to take to the beach, the park or on a plane ride this summer. At 189 pages, it’s a quick and easy read.

The story follows 20-something Bianca Reagan, a character who's truly living the new adult experience, working an assistant desk job but wanting a meaningful career and desiring a decent boyfriend but finding lackluster potential mates. It speaks to that time of life when you want desperately to find your place in the world and the comical journey that it takes getting there.

Johnson is in her element when she tackles the issues facing young women-- friendships, body image, men and the nerve-wracking hell that is high school reunion time. This book's greatest strength is its well-written characters and relationships, in particular female friendships.

For instance-- Liesl (Bianca’s friend since college) has seriously poor taste in men. When the inevitable fight erupts over Liesl’s mentally ill, estranged husband, the discussion was so raw and painful that I actually felt my heart racing. How many of us have been in that horrible situation (rock and a hard place anyone?) where one of our dearest girlfriends is dating a tool and there’s nothing we can say about it?

Readers follow Bianca from her LA office to her St. Thomas home where we meet her quirky family and see just how far Bianca's come since high school. She quickly feels less like a fictional character and more like a girl I’d love to hang with at the bar. I personally think Bianca and I would have a blast bitching about jobs, men and bad TV.

If you’re a fan of fast-paced, witty dialogue ala Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then Mahlena-Rae Johnson’s style is up your alley. Pop culture references pepper the pages and inject an even more ‘real’ edge to Bianca’s world.

The best part of “Steve the Penguin” is that there’s more to come (the next book is titled "Hot Penguin Action"!). Bianca Reagan is definitely a character I’d stick with through the years. I say we follow her to her 50 year reunion!

* On a side note, thank you to Mahlena-Rae for this wonderful opportunity and making me feel so special and honored. I’ve never reviewed a book before! Also thanks for giving a blogger like me hope that there’s life (and possibly even a career!) out there beyond cyberspace if we’re willing to do the work!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Abstinence the Condom


Hooray for the Midwest Teen Sex Show

Candies campaign: Serious or sinister?

Part of me slacking at work includes visits to

Today his entire backdrop is advertising the Candies Foundation, a celebrity-heavy campaign to reduce the rates of teen pregnancy. (pictured below, the background)

Since I'm actually at work and should be working not blogging, I didn't have time to look too much into this but I was intrigued. Some things gave me hope. For instance their 'Frequently Asked Questions' page read (*emphasis mine*):

Unplanned pregnancy is at the root of a number of important public health and social challenges ....... Another major consequence of high rates of unplanned pregnancy is, of course, high levels of abortion. Although there are many deeply felt and strongly held opinions nationwide about the proper place of abortion in American life, all would prefer that fewer women be faced with difficult decisions brought on by unplanned pregnancy.

Cool, I can get behind that. I want less women backed into the tough decision of abortion/adoption/keeping an unplanned pregnancy.

But other things are not sitting so right with me. Take for example the site's tagline: "Vow Not Now" --- have we learned NOTHING from no-good abstinence-only programs?? Those virginity pledges weren't so effective.

Then there was this PSA with Jenny McCarthy.

I'm not loving the implied message here that sex equals baby. Actually it's sex without protection or failed protection which equals possible conception which THEN equals baby. It would have made much more sense for McCarthy to hand the guy some rubbers and hand the girl the pill. Although that doesn't sit right with me either.

That's the problem with teen sex, it doesn't break down into tidy little 30 second PSAs. It's full of emotions, hormones, choices and consequences (emotional and physical).

But the overall tone still bugged me, especially with the girl being handed the baby and the boy running out (even though that can be quite true as well). As a matter of fact, NONE of the Candies PSAs sat right with me. I thought most were a throwback to the posters I remember from my high school health days-- which I also thought were offensive (I remember one in particular with a sad looking girl with a HUGE pregnant stomach-- the text read: "You thought acne was embarassing"--- charming, huh?).

Then I saw that the website for Candie's foundation has a tab called "Be Sexy tees" and I thought-- what a mind-boggle, teens are wearing sexy tees but they're supposed to abstain/be afraid of sex?

The tee they are selling is this number:

Practically a page out of the ol' abstinence only playbook. I can't help but read a subtext here that says, "Sexy girls wait and slutty whores don't."

Not sure how I feel about this Candies Foundation yet.

American Idol gets me teary

So after this, I'm totally 100% in Syesha camp. I don't really watch the show all that regularly but this girl had me crying when she sang Sam Cooke's "A change is gonna come" -- A song rooted in the era of the civil rights and women's movment. I'd say Syesha did that song proud and I'm even more happy she shared its true meaning with the audience.

I was born by the river in a little tent
And just like that river I've been running ever since
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
Cos I don't know what's out there beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

And then I go to see my brother
And I ask him to help me please
And he just winds up knockin' me
Back down on my knees

There were times when I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Website compares bad movies to being "bound, gagged and raped"

Yeah I don't really care for this.

So I e-mailed the site creator:
To whom it may concern:

I have no issue with your website. However I'd like to raise serious objection with the tagline.

"Don't let your favorite video game franchise be bound, gagged and raped."

Please do not use the horrible and all-too-prevalent crime of rape to make a point about video games being made into movies. You're smart enough to set up a website, I trust that you'll be smart enough to come up with a less-hurtful quip.

If you'll permit me, here's quote from a feminist blogger on the subject that may explain better:

"Rape jokes normalize and effectively minimize the severity of rape and thusly perpetuate the rape culture. And I'm bothered by the thought of a woman who's recently been raped, who's just experienced what may be the worst thing that will ever happen to her, and turns on the telly to watch her favorite comedian and have a much-needed laugh—only to hear him using that horrible, life-changing thing as the butt of a joke."

Please consider changing your website banner.



If you feel like letting them know you are also not a fan of rape humor, the e-mail is:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Birth Control Pill Kills Babies!

Read more at Feministing

Read more at Pandagon

You Tube Fun and More Miley Cyrus Rants

I always thought Youtube was just a place to get some funny, meaningless videos --- like animal bloopers or something--- but now I've discovered the world of vlogging. And I love, love, love it. I owe this mainly to Feministing's channel (which by the way is awesome!)

One of my favorite finds is Thom Simonson. His videos slant progressive, sarcastic and funny -- all of which I enjoy. Some of my faves have been: "Open Letter to John McCain," "By the balls," & "My life in 6 words." He also does vlogs called "One Fellow's Opinion" and has some doozies there as well, check out "Whores" and "Real Women have Nipples" for some interesting perspectives.

I don't always agree 100% with everything this guy says or does, but he's a thoughtful speaker and funny so I recommend him to anyone who enjoys you-tubing.

Recently, Thom took on the Miley Cyrus debacle and I thought he hit the nail on the head again.

I've been thinking a lot about this issue since my initial post and I'm still mad about how this whole thing is shaking out.

People are SOOOOO upset because Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana looks sexual in this picture. And yeah, the fact that she's 15 and posed like this is crazy messed up (that's a whole 'nother can of worms) but what those people fail to see is that young women are exploited daily (Hello Texas Polygamy ranch where 3 out of 5 teen girls HAVE BEEN or are CURRENTLY pregnant!!!)

I'm so sick of the virgin/whore dichotomy that Disney helps propagate. The Hannah Montana TV show is scrubbed clean of any of the real issues facing teen girls today. Most girls Miley's age are struggling with wanting to look sexually attractive, being interested in sex, being aware that their bodies are no longer child-like etc.

Disney wants to walk this perfect little line where their young female stars are perfectly packaged and consumed. Just a hint of mid-drift baring and just enough PG flirting to get by unnoticed. Look at what Disney has churned out: Spears (both Britney and Jamie), Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Hudgens, Christina Aguilera and now Miley Cyrus.

All those girls started out "clean." But even in the days of "Hit me baby one more time" and "Genie in a bottle" sex was ALWAYS part of the equation. And sex always will be. Here's the rub... you can only walk that perfect line for so long and then it's a long fall from the 'perfect virginal, beloved superstar' to where Lohan, Spears (x2) and Hudgens are all now. Sure they're careers are still trucking along, but the media has made them pay a price.

How many young Disney girls have made apologies recently? Spears for teenage pregnancy, Hudgens for the nude photo scandal and now Cyrus... I'm sure there's more I'm ignoring. All these young women are cash cows for Disney just as long as they conform to a strict standard of 'just sexual enough but not too sexual' merry-go-round game.

Maybe I don't get it because I've never watched Hannah Montana and I don't have young kids of my own and therefore have no need for child-friendly entertainment but the hypocrisy here is just overwhelming. Slate tackles the issue well... *emphasis mine*

The entire show is a canny celebration of pop culture masquerading as a story about hope and family life. What's most interesting about the scandal that erupted last week is that it's an example of the real dilemmas a 15-year-old celebrity has to navigate—one that will never make it into the plot lines of Hannah Montana. The squeaky-clean teen image that everyone keeps talking about was precisely that: an image created, managed, and assiduously maintained by Miley and her parents, at great cost to the product herself.

PS: If anyone has other you tube channels or vloggers you'd recommend, let me know in comments.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Very cool country star

I've always had a soft spot for Gretchen Wilson, a grammy winner and country superstar (her hits include "Redneck Woman," "I don't feel like loving you today" and "When I think about Cheatin." - She's a standout in an industry that wants its women soft, feminine and Fatih Hill-like *(not that Faith isn't good too) -- she has a real, raw talent and a Tammy Wynette quality in her honest songs.

Now I like her even more.

At 34 years old, she passed her GED exam and will finally get a high school diploma. Wilson dropped out in 9th grade (in her home state of Tennesse 20% of H.S. students never graduate).

Wilson said she did it for her 7-year-old daughter because:

"I certainly don't want her to think you can be this successful without an education."

VERY cool.

That battleground of women's bodies

On April 29, Michelle Behles of Garrison, North Dakota was sentenced to five years in prison. Following time served, she will be placed on probation for an additional five years.

Michelle's crime? The death of her 'unborn child.'

In September 2007, Behles was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. She had overdosed on prescription medications and her fetus, more than 29 weeks along at the time, did not survive. Along with drug charges (her prescriptions were obtained using a fake name), Behles also plead guilty to "endangering a child or vulnerable adult."

Behles' attorney, Tom Glass attempted to have that charge dismissed because ND law does not consider a fetus to be a child. State's Attorney Ladd Erickson argued that:

A child is defined by North Dakota law as "an individual who is under 18 years of age." And unborn children are not excluded from that definition.

The judge agreed but Behles may still appeal the verdict to the ND Supreme Court.

The idea that women can be held criminally responsible for harm to a fetus is troublesome. We know that drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy carries significant risk factors. However, granting a fetus full personhood will have great implications on how we treat women.

Anti-choicers argue that life begins the moment sperm and egg meet. Anti-choicers also argue that taking the pill could result in a fertilized egg being shed during menstruation. Ergo, women lose prescription contraception. By lowering women's status to "incubator for the unborn" we give up the right to say what happens to our bodies. Can a woman have any say over her body if the fetus is considered its own person? Consider legislation in Oklahoma....

Feministe reports that new laws force pregnant women seeking abortion to undergo ultrasound. Forcing a medical procedure on an un-consenting woman sends a disturbing message.

The law states that either an abdominal or vaginal ultrasound, whichever gives the best image of the fetus, must be done. Neither the patient nor the doctor can decide which type of ultrasound to use, and the patient cannot opt out of the ultrasound and still have the procedure. In effect, then, the legislature has mandated that a woman have an instrument placed in her vagina for no medical benefit. The law makes no exception for victims of rape and incest.

If the patient can't decide, and the doctor can't decide, then …. WHO DECIDES? Who decides what happens to women's bodies? Blogger, Jill Filipovic points out that ultrasounds are expensive and will therefore further hinder women seeking abortion but more importantly…

Nobody should be forced to undergo a medical procedure against their will. Nobody should have to undergo an invasive, expensive, non-consensual and wholly unnecessary procedure as a prerequisite for another procedure. No right-thinking person should promote a law that requires doctors to penetrate a woman's vagina with a medical instrument against her will

Being pro-choice means recognizing that our body is our own. How long until these concepts are carried to their logical conclusion? Should all women of child-bearing age be given pre-natal vitamins? Will the police show up to investigate every miscarriage? Will pregnant women be sent home from work for the health of the 'unborn'?

I'm going to start looking in the mirror every morning and pointing out body parts. Eyes—mine. Hands- mine. Lips—mine. Breasts—mine. Uterus—mine. It's all my body. It's not here for anyone else to touch, force open, force me to do… force me to bring life- nothing should be done against my will. I will not be forced.

No woman should be forced.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I Do - but I have a really good excuse

A commentary on marriage and feminism
by guest blogger Adrienne

Recently, I became engaged. After a life time of basically eschewing marriage and four years of blatantly telling my partner that I was not interested in creating a legal union with him, he proposed to me on a snowy March morning and I accepted, cried, giggled, and put my arms around the man who I am hoping will be the only man that I ever accept a proposal from.

I've never thought very highly of marriage—even as a young girl, before I could have really considered myself a feminist—I didn't really think it was that good of an idea. That is probably due, at least in part, to the volatile example that I had from my own parents, who have been married for 30 years and love/hate each other fiercely, every day that I've known them. Once, when my partner and I were fighting, my dad gave him this advice: "Here is how I've stayed married for 30 years. When she tells you to get the hell out, don't."

It isn't really that I had any thoughts that I would be single for my entire life. I thought that eventually, at some point, I would probably settle down in a monogamous relationship with someone—it just so happens that my partner turned out to be a man, I think to a lot of people's surprise and maybe a little bit my own—which is one reason that I never thought I'd be getting married. As someone who identifies strongly with the LGBT community, I didn't want to participate or patronize an industry that is exclusive to heteros. Although, I did giggle at the very non-PC comment made by Dolly Parton, who said that we should legalize gay marriage so that they can go through hell along with the rest of us.

Likewise, I don't really understand what a wedding is for. The image of the triumphant bride and the defeated groom doesn't do anything for me.

Like, "Whee—lookit! Trapped him!" While the groom shuffles his feet nervously and goes out binge drinking with his buddies 'ONE LAST TIME' (as if after we get married I am going to lock him up in our basement) and asking strippers for marital advice. How could I possibly funnel all my energy and excitement into the ultimate goal of, as an ex-virgin, wearing a white dress, surrounded by my ladies-in-waiting, all giggly and holding their overpriced calla lilies to symbolize virtue while I get married to the man I've been living with—in open sin—off and on for the last four years? What is there to look for post-wedding? Then I can funnel all my energy into being a brood mare and putting my career aspirations on hold in order to push out babies? Crude, maybe, but come on. The minute we step off the plane from the honeymoon everyone's going to be asking when we're having babies. Not bloody soon.

And, ergo—what is a MARRIAGE for? At times I find myself staring down the next 50 years of my life, living up to expectations of what a 'wife' is supposed to do, like have dinner ready at 6 and drive the kids to and from soccer practice and help them with their homework while Hubby watches sport center in the next room, being blamed for any inadequacies in my children or husband's appearance, grooming, and nutrition—I've even seen women blame each other for how RUDE their husband is-- constantly explaining that yes, I am married, and yes, I kept my maiden name, yes my husband is okay with that and no, I didn't really have to convince him.

Not to mention the guilty pleasure of NOT and daring other feminists to try to vote me off the island (which WILL happen once I'm married, for some).

Sometimes I feel like feminism is just an endless pissing contest—who can outdo the others dedication to 'the cause.' By getting married, what am I saying to 'the movement'? Am I setting back years of women's lib by wanting to be pampered for a day and spending an obscene amount of money on it? Am I setting it back any more than I do accidentally every other day of my life, but randomly doing or not doing things that I don't see as being significant until I find out later that, indeed, they were? Yuck. The only problem with feminism is feminists. Sometimes it seems like no matter what I do I'm setting back the movement in some way.

So now why, after all that, have I decided to go ahead and get married?

Well… I guess I don't really have one good excuse, I have a lot of bad ones that I

can hold up to make at least a flimsy one.
My partner really wanted to. He felt that it was important for financial reasons and that it would streamline the process of buying cars, buying houses, getting loans, etc. If something should happen to him, or me, where would death benefits end up if we don't have any kids? I get way better health insurance at my job than he does, but I can't put him on mine until we're married. Guiltily, we both knew that our parents—and more so, our respective grandparents to whom we are both very close—wanted us to. The general feeling about marriage is one of security and (iffy) permanence.

But, mostly, it was important to him that our children have the security of knowing that their parents fell in love with each other and married for love, and that children came later. He felt that if we didn't get married, our kids might always wonder if we were going to break up. My dad, always with his wit and wisdom, agreed, saying that if they hadn't been married, it would have been much easier to break up. A divorce—even though it is getting easier and easier these days to obtain—is so much messier than two cohabitants just walking away from each other.

And, at the end of the day, I found my soul mate. I don't feel like I need to marry him, or like he will leave me if I don't, or that I will be viewed as a loose woman if I don't. I don't feel like marrying him is going to set me up to be on easy street, or that marrying him will mean that something about my status in this world will dramatically change (in fact, we're still planning on splitting our house with roommates until we have kids. Pays the mortgage MUCH easier).

I decided to look at the wedding and marriage more as a party, and less as a ceremony, more as my partner and I wanting our friends and family to be a part of our journey and to know that they are part of our relationship and part of the reason that we love each other. We don't want to be the focus at our wedding, we want it to be a communal gathering of people that are important to us so that we can all meet and hang out. We want the 'marriage' to be more a statement of commitment than a legal bonding union—which we know is just semantics, but it changed how I viewed the wedding and marriage.

I admit, I am incredibly lucky to have a partner who I truly feel that if I had held out and said that we were never getting married, would have gone on cohabitating with me until the end of our days. And I'm even more lucky that he could care less about what traditions we choose to uphold at our ceremony, and/or marriage.

As I've said on numerous occasions, feminism is all about choices. CHOICE is the ultimate trump card to be used in every discussion of feminism: I do-because I can. I live in a time and place where, because of the movement, I can choose to get married or not too, I can choose to have children and have them keep my name or take his, he can take my name if he wants to. It isn't setting back the movement if I feel, truly, in the bottom of my heart that it is MY choice.

Friday, May 02, 2008

How interesting

Shakesville already covered this-- and they covered it well.

But now the video is out....

Audience member: Is it true that you called your wife a cunt?

McCain: Now, now. You don't want to...Um, you know that's the great thing about town hall meetings, sir, but we really don't, there's people here who don't respect that kind of language. So I'll move on to the next questioner in the back.

How interesting that McCain dismisses this question because of the "offensive language." THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!!! People KNOW that 'cunt' is a very offensive word -- that's why someone is asking WHY you would use it to refer to your wife?

Crazy weird how McCain never said, "I wouldn't use that word to talk about my wife." He's more offended that someone said the word 'cunt' in his presence than the idea that he may have said it to his wife... Lovely.

And as a Shakesville blogger pointed out-- it's all the more hypocritical from McCain considering the little chuckle he had when a supporter of his called Hillary Clinton a bitch.

Atta girl!

I originally saw this on Elizabitchez and also here-- a blog post rightly labeled ,"THIS is how you take on Faux news".

For a condensed video

I am so proud of Hillary Clinton here. This is the Clinton I saw in North Dakota, a poised and powerful speaker. Anyone who can handle Bill O'Reilly with this much grace deserves some major props.

She didn't take the bait when he tried to tell her how unlikeable she was, how her health plan would certainly fail, and she didn't even get mad when he suggested that the Clinton family money was all Bill's and she was trying to take it away. I also thought she responded very professionally to the Rev. Wright controversy.

I see that some sites are taking Clinton to task for making the joke about "rich people, God bless us," as if she's being arrogant. It should be quite obvious she was mocking Bill O'Reilly for his anxiety that his 'hard-earned' (HA!) money might go to some drunk bum.

This is the woman I'm proud to support. She's not perfect but she has great ideas and a lot of experience. If this is how she handles asshats like O'Reilly, I feel 100% confident in having her as my President.

Totally unrelated but amazing article-- check this out.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The definition of 'unfair'

The mayor of Santiago, Chile, Gonzalo Navarrete, has a great plan.

He's handing out free Viagra to men.


Mayor Navarrete said it's because "an active sexuality improves the overall quality of life."

Over 1,500 men are eligible to receive up to four pills each month. They just have to be at least 60, registered with the health service and have a doctor certify that they do suffer from erectile dysfunction and that their condition would not put them in danger of suffering cardio-respiratory side effects.

How about that? Sexuality improves the overall quality of life and we should support that! But apprently, only when this sexuality improves the life of MEN.

Women-- not so much.

Anna, blogger at Planned Parenthood, tells of how Chile just passed a law that makes it illegal for clinics to hand out free morning after pills.

The court case was prompted by 36 conservative Chilean lawmakers who banded together in 2006 to protest ... the use of emergency contraception ...on the grounds that the morning-after pill constituted an abortive medication. The Constitutional Court, consisting of eight men and one woman, upheld the lawmakers' complaints, voting 5 to 4 to ban the morning-after pill from being freely distributed at public clinics. The Court announced its belief that emergency contraception violates the Chilean Constitution's affirmation of a "right to life.

Charming, ain't it?

I guess sexuality is only safe in the hands of men.