Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jennifer Baumgardner speaks on Abortion and Life

I mentioned before how excited I was for Jennifer Baumgardner to arrive in Fargo.

Her event was fabulous and the book, "Abortion and Life" (which I was able to buy even though it hasn't had its 'big release' yet) is wonderful so far.

I did a piece on the event for Planned Parenthood's blog and I even took some videos. So if you're pro-choice, feminist or just a fan of Fargo native, Jennifer Baumgardner, go take a look.

Here's a screenshot just to entice you

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

North Dakota nice

(For back story on this post click here)

There's a common phrase in my part of the world about people being "Minnesota nice." Essentially it means that when Midwesterns are pissed off and angry, they tend to be nice about it-- or at the least passive aggresive about it. Now, I could have been all pissy this morning. But that would just be exhausting and who has the energy for that?

Instead I wrote (what I hope) what a nice letter to Troy from Y94 and I'm pretty pleased with the dialogue we had.

My facebook message:

I was the gal who called in and jokingly referred to herself as the “token angry feminist” this morning.

Did I like today’s radio topic? No. Did that make me hate you as a person? Of course not. Just wanted to throw that out there. I worked in radio for four year and I know getting crabby callers isn't fun. Just to maybe I could explain it better....

When I hear “jokes” about “what girl’s can’t do” I always want to say SOMETHING. In this instance it was all “in good fun” but women tend to hear all too often (in serious conversations) what they aren’t equipped to do --- I was told (quite seriously) while I worked in radio that I probably wouldn't be around for much longer after they updated all the equipment because "girls can't figure out new technology." So you see, it’s not such a unique, fun topic for some of us … I realize other women may not mind, but I just wanted to voice my opinion that, “Hey, do we have to phrase it this way?” Couldn’t the same basic discussion happen differently?

I mean the way it was “Girls can’t do -----“ just leaves you open for A) tired sexist stereotypes—like the random caller who thought the “answer” was “throw a ball” or B) people like me, who just get frustrated by the question in the first place.

Furthermore, just wanted to say that you won’t pacify many feminists with the “what men can’t do” question. I’m a feminist, not a man hater, Troy! :) Please don’t confuse the two.

I don’t have a radio show, so take anything I say with a grain of salt, but I think you’d get way more interesting answers if you’d ask callers about stereotypes re: men and women. Look at common stereotypes in pop culture –like why on sitcoms is the hot wife always married to the neurotic schlubby guy?

Just wanted to say no hard feelings on my part, if you were feeling like an angry feminist was out to get you. That’s just my two cents on the matter. I’m glad you give the listeners as opportunity to contact you and let you know. It sounds like you and Megan are friends so I realize you weren’t being malicious at all --- just a message from a listener out here that I hope next time you change it up a bit. And don’t let anyone be too hard on the guys tomorrow— that’s no fun either.

He responded:

Tobes, believe me I understand your point. If you were in radio for years, I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience with some chauvinist. Let me tell you about a lesson I learned at a radio convention once... a very wise programmer named Tom Joyner gave us a lecture that made the point "Know how to get to your listeners emotions".

In other words, make them mad and they'll call. Make them sad and they'll call. Make them happy and they'll call. We do all of that on any given day, and that's how we're able to get the phones to ring.

That was the purpose of our topic this morning. If you've been in radio then you probably know, Megan and I agreed to do this topic before we went on the show. I didn't just spring it on her. Matter of fact, we had a meeting yesterday and decided on it then. Megan understands I didn't mean anything I said this morning. We are friends.

BTW, we've done the "hot girls dating fat/ugly guys" topic before. You must have missed it.

I understand you have a probelm with our topic this morning. Making some woman mad and gettting them to call was the idea. So I guess we got you huh?

I don't know what you do for a living, but if you'd ever be interested in getting back into radio, we're always looking for interns, and we have a hard time finding ones that are opinionated like yourself.

No hard feelings here either. I just think you were taking our topic a little too seriously. You were the only one who called with a serious objection to the topic. The rest of the women who took issue, called and took a shot at me (in a fun way). Your call on the other hand was a little too serious, so we didn't air it.

Hey, not bad. Not bad at all. I feel like I've been heard and I wasn't called a psycho or a bitch. You know -- that's seriously saying something! Often times when you identify as a feminist and are critical of a man, that's what you get. I appreciate this guy's honesty. Radio is about ratings and we all know they could say far worse or shocking things. Plus, I like to think if I was censored for being too serious, they wouldn't air a caller who was too sexist.

Hopefully, we can all poke a little fun at ourselves and if someone raises a critical question, we can respond graciously.

That's all I ask.

Thanks Troy.

PS: Just an aside--- This is not the first time I've been cranky with local radio stations.

I am not amused, Y94

So I'm listening to local Top 40 radio on the way to work today and the early show, "Morning Playhouse with Troy and Megan" is doing their normal shtick -- only today they're talking about how DJ, Megan tried to back up a trailer and ended up screwing up and scratching her car.

Troy decided that this situation should spur the morning's call-in question.... wait for it...

Call in and tell us what girls can't do!


Now I am well aware that morning shows on the radio aren't typically the place for deep conversation, but why go that route? You're just gonna piss off the intelligent people and make the douchebags out there go "heh heh... girls can't be President, just look at Hillary" - or insert other jerkwad sexist comment.

I was intrigued to see what feedback they'd get so when I got to work, I logged on to streaming radio. Some of the calls went like...

Girl's can't:
-- give directions (to which Megan replied, "Guys ASK for directions?")
-- throw a ball
-- please a gay man (to that Troy replied, "Oh yes they can they just buy 'em a Bette Midler CD and some shoes') -- *sigh*

I struggle with this stuff. I do have a sense of humor. When I'm with my close gay friend, I joke with him that he's hit the gay career jackpot because he buys shoes for a international well-known company. When guys friend want to go see some huge explosion-fest movie, I may throw out a joke like "no thanks, I prefer something intelligent vs. a testosterone carnival!" So am I a hypocrite? I don't think so and I'll tell you why. In the company of people who know me and my politics, I feel I can be self-depricating/tease a bit more. And a big part of that is me trusting that if I ever crossed the line with a friend, they'd tell me. EG: "Okay, no more shoe jokes. I like men but that doesn't mean I qualify for every gay stereotype."

Here's the big difference... if I ever had a radio show, I would not use my time to solicit tired, lame, sexist jokes. That's just me.

My fave was when a woman called in and said, "Wow you guys just pissed off half of Fargo."

Amen. Half or Fargo and probably then some... The sexy boyfriend (tm) doesn't like those conversations any more than I do because he knows inevitably it will turn into a stereotype extravaganza of what MEN can't do (for example: ask for directions).

I decided to give a call in to voice my opinion. Shocking! I got through! So I introduced myself and apologized if I sounded like the token 'angry feminist' but I simply wanted to know why they would choose to bother with that topic. It just leaves them open to sexist comments.

Troy informed me, in a slightly UNamused voice that I needed to (wait for it...) lighten up! Obviously he was just joking and kidding with Megan and girls can obviously back up a truck. OBVIOUSLY... OBVIOUSLY...

I told him, quite pleasantly, that I didn't need to lighten up, after all... this really wasn't going to ruin the rest of my day but I thought they could discuss something more interesting/funny/valid. He informed me that tomorrow they would probably discuss "What men can't do." Oh joy. Well that makes it better.

If you want to give either one a message about a topic they COULD discuss next time -- and please make no mistake, I don't want them receiving hate mail but obviously (OBVIOUSLY) they (more specifically TROY) need some help in coming up with topics...

Troy (via facebook):

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All hail Sarah Haskins

Sarah Haskins often appears on Feminist blogs for her HILARIOUS "target women" comedy bits. Here she is in all her glory. If she's made any other Target Women sketches that I don't have, please leave links in comments.

On "women's work"

and yogurt

and bride shows

and suffrage

and botox

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pardon me while I freak out

RQ, I feel your pain....

I couldn't settle down after watching this netflix movie.

Several times in the documentary people mention how strong women are and how amazing giving birth is.

I've never had children. And now I'm officially to scared to do it naturally OR in a hospital.

See, I've had major abdominal surgery and it sucked hardcore... so c-sections are out. And I think I'm dying when I have the flu, so not sure how my wimpy ass would tackle natural labor pains.

I guess that leaves adoption because I watched those women give birth vaginally and all I could think was, "UMMM, HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In my neck of the woods

I often read blogs and find out about some amazing event or gathering on the East/West Coast. Now there's a feminist, pro-choice event in my neck of the woods.


So, if you are near Fargo, stop by to hear Jennifer Baumgardner, an amazing writer and filmmaker. Catch her at Zandbroz bookstore in downtown Fargo.

This is the new book she is discussing. Looks like fun!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Happy be-lated Independence Day!

Well I'm a little late on this but I wanted to say Happy 4th of July and I hope you all had a good one.

I was lucky that I could spend the holiday with my family. Even though it meant driving 18 hours (round trip) and begging my mother for gas money. Actually, I didn't have to beg too much, she really wanted me to make it -- but I think I may be recruited to help clean the house one of these days. Small price to pay I suppose.

Hanging out with cousins, aunts, uncles and Grandma was a blast. Politics is not on the menu when we get together as a family. Some are conservative Christians and have Focus on the Family magazine in their bathroom (eesh) and others are progressive types. But the nice thing is we can put that aside and enjoy each other's company. I laughed so hard and ate so much good food that it could be criminal.

We also played one disastrous volleyball game where Sexy Boyfriend face planted, my uncle pulled a leg muscle, my cousin cut herself (with her own fingernails) and was bleeding and I took a volleyball in the face AND stepped in dog poop.

NO ONE in our family is coordinated (or lucky) apparently.

I'm late on this but I wanted to share the post I wrote for Planned Parenthood called Happy 4th of July! Keep supporting Reproductive Rights!

I hope whatever you were up to on the 4th of July, you were in good company.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Directing your attention


The article is called: "Destroying Hillary Clinton: How a bitter primary campaign saw the right's discredited smears gleefully revived and reused by the left"

Part II comes out tomorrow.