Archive for the 'Feminism' Category


What this ad is really saying…

*sigh* it never ends

hellooooo, she\'s not even sleeping on the mattress. *tsk*

helloooo, she’s not even sleeping ON the mattress. *tsk* and it’s also nice how the ad is implying some sort of “exoticism” with a questionably latino/african-american man and his Caucasian, long-haired brunette woman.

You can’t see it but it says things like “Give me: Beer, Food, Sex” and “Stop: Nagging, Moaning, Whining”

Commentary: Honey, it’s going to take a lot more than a piece of plastic with some batteries to control me. Or…wait…maybe not…*scandalous!*

While googling this gadget I did find that there is one for men that is equally offensive. Interestingly this version was not stocked in this particular store. Ahhhhh marketing demographics.


What I needed from Hillary…

Tonight marks the first moment where I am seriously considering becoming an Obama supporter. Sure, I looked enviously at my peers who seemed enamored by the boy-wonder and wished, every now and then, to feel the same for HRC. But for the most part, I was ok with the fact that she didn’t really rile me up, she just felt like a good, solid choice.

But something has changed. Hillary, what happened?

What’s with the dirty tactics? The snide remarks? The we’re-really-not-that-different-but-I’m-better-and-besides-it’s-my-turn? I was ok with not being ecstatic or enamored with your campaign, but when I started to get that queasy sinking feeling I had to question things a bit deeper.

When the campaigns first started I was excited about the prospect of a heated battle. And then, I was enraged. I found it infuriating how you were treated differently and unfairly because of your gender. How it was simply a-ok to air a woman calling you a “bitch” (it came from another WOMAN, much to the TV network’s delights!) and to have people completely discount your accomplishments as simply a way to catch up to your hubby. I looked on admiringly and thought about how well you had kept your composure (throughout all of those messes), how you’d raised a successful and confident daughter, and how (I’ll admit it was a bit delightful) men seemed to fear you. I thought, here it is, we are finally ready, we can finally do this. Women deserve this.

But then…

The articles and op-ed pieces trickled in. Obama is the preferred candidate overseas…Obama presents a clear economic plan…Obama has the power to bring people to the polls…and, even as the commentary started pouring in I thought, meh, O-blah-ma.

But dammit I want to feel excited. I want to feel that my interpretation of patriotism is taking hold. I want to feel that something NEW and exciting is happening in our country, that we are getting out of the rut of the same-ol-same-ol. I’m not naive enough to think that Obama is a complete 180, I know better than that. He has, after all, been successful in a very flawed system, no doubt by figuring out how to use that system to his advantage. I needed to see that in you.

And no, I’m not talking about how I needed you to be a more “personable” and “soft” woman. I find it tremendously convoluted that you’ve had to simultaneously denounce your femininity, project your masculinity, embrace your femininity, and deny your masculinity all at once. It’s exhausting to be a powerful woman, clearly. But Hil, I think I wanted you to just come out and say it. I think I wanted you to fearlessly have a heart-to-heart with us, I wanted you to say, “You know what, this is bullshit.” “I’m a woman, a mother, a politician, a wife, a hard-worker, an upper class Manhattanite, and a ball-buster.” “If you elect me, this is what you get.” Hil, I didn’t want to see you revert to the old tactics. Don’t you know? This is a new campaign, a new generation of voters, that stuff just won’t fly.

Of course, I want to honor the hard-working feminist women who came before me, those who worked tirelessly so that I can sit here and freely blog about these topics, advocate for emergency contraception, attend any school I want and, hell, even vote! And I thought to myself, how could I not vote for you? How could I slap my foremothers in the face like that? But you know what? I expect more from our first woman president, perhaps more than I expect from any male president. Maybe that’s not fair, I don’t know. But I want her to be someone I can really be proud of, someone who has put up with years of shit (as I know you have) and says “I’m not gonna play that way.” Someone with the ovaries to really risk it all for what she believes in. Someone who was willing to have faith in a country who, clearly, was not ready for her.

Was that too much to ask?

The reality is that it doesn’t much matter what I think (in terms of votes). My voting days in the primaries are long past, and I get to just watch as things unfold. No matter who wins, I’ll support them. I’m certainly not foolish enough to think that somehow 4 years of McCain is any sort of viable alternative. And the truth is, I’m not sure I’m at a point where I can get ecstatic for Obama (I often felt shamed by the Obamanites and just can’t shake that). I guess I feel left out in the cold. And I’m wondering how many other intelligent, hard-working, loving, emotional, firebrand, battle-axe, what-have-you women are out there feeling the same way…?


(ps. yes, the image is supposed to be ironic, mkay?)

(pps. i’d also like to add that i think it is truly incredible that this election has caused this much strife over who to support. maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad. i don’t know. but in the past it has just felt like we all voted for the least evil and then went about our business. at least this has been exciting. and tremendously thought provoking. that’s what we’ve been waiting for, ya?)


Women’s History Month

…and I haven’t done my part.

But yesterday, while lecturing in class, I asked my students how many knew who Gloria Steinem was. Out of a class of 50 undergrads, 2 raised their hands. In a moment of exasperation I lowered my head and said “this is the disconnect the first wavers are talking about!” — that was met with blank stares. Anyway, while spending a few days lecturing on whether Freud was dead, I found myself walking home and thinking, is feminism dead? Between the recent articles pronouncing the end of women’s studies, and the battle for existing women’s studies departments to retain their autonomy, it seems as though the importance of feminism and women’s studies is being missed. The ironic part of it is that we are also in a historical moment where a woman and black man are the leading candidates for president and it is becoming increasingly clear that gender bias is somehow more tacitly accepted than race bias.

Feminism, and women’s studies, opened the gates for a variety of other disciplines that problematize the myriad of other “-isms” we face: queer studies, race studies, critical theory, and feminist tons of feminist (re)interpretations and (re)presentations of theories and fields conceptuatlized by men/patriarchy (ahem, Freud).

So, I came across this video, posted on’s Broadsheet. It is a new promo video for the Feminist Majority Foundation. I think it’s funny that part of making feminism “ok” or “cool” is to make sure we say that feminists have good sex. But whatever. I suppose we are, after all, a society fairly obsessed with sex, even though we know that feminists have better relationships.

Oh, and this video provides yet another reason for loving Ugly Betty and its cast.

And you know how after a YouTube video plays it always shrinks down and has along the bottom a series of other related videos? Well, I found this next one which was inspiring and led me to the parent site “Antigone Magazine



International Women’s Day

…was yesterday. But you know, I always like belated birthday presents because they sort of extend the holiday a bit, so let’s think of belated blog posts as serving the same purpose.

The following summary is from the official IWD web-page:

2000 – 2007
IWD is now an official holiday in Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

(Sure would be nice to have it as an official holiday in the US)

I don’t have a whole lot to say about IWD, except that I’m glad it exists and look forward to a day when we can simply celebrate women’s achievements rather than hope for more (you know, when all the -ism struggles are out the window). I’m not sure if that’ll happen in my lifetime. But when I feel a bit downtrodden I love to watch this speech by Isabelle Allende (I think I may have posted it before, but I’m not sure, apologies if I did). So, in honor of IWD and women everywhere, enjoy this video (and many others on “Ted”):


Grrrl Rock

“Girls Rock! The movie” was released yesterday. I’m VERY excited about this movie. Reviews have been so-so, but the trailer moved me to tears. And, of course, Carrie from S-K is involved, so I’ve got to see it.

The movie is basically a documentary following the Rock Camp for Girls in the Northwest. A number of other camps exist around the nation and the website has tons more information.
Advanced tix can be purchased on their website:

I love the trailer, and I’m now inspired to name my daughter Palace. Because any girl of mine needs to be fierce indeed!


Quote of the Day: Gee, I never thought of politics like that!

Robin Morgan recently put out a statement in support of Hillary. In it she said the following:

I support her because she’s refreshingly thoughtful, and I’m bloodied from eight years of a jolly “uniter” with ejaculatory politics.

The full text of her statement can be found here.


Blogging for Choice: 35 Years of Roe v. Wade

Roe turned 35 today. Will it make it to 50? 75? I can only hope so. In honor of the 35th anniversary of the decision a number of bloggers joined NARAL’s Blogging for Choice campaign. The assignment was simple: blog about why voting Pro-Choice is important to you.

First of all, I wish that so many things in life were not presented in binary terms. If one is pro-choice then they can’t be pro-life, you’re either with us or against us — you get the idea. It is a classic rhetorical trick and one that was exemplified to a disturbing degree in the last presidential election (Kerry questioned some policies and therefore was a flip-flopper). What I REALLY hate about it is that it forces an often uneducated choice about an issue and doesn’t allow for any sort of reflection or reconsideration of the issues. Critical reflection and the freedom to change one’s mind is integral to civic responsibility, in my opinion. But that’s not the point of this post. The point is to talk about why I’m pro-choice.

The answer is really fairly simple: I believe in having control over your body and what takes place within it. Bottom line.

An entire literature about the experience of embodiment exists, from experiences of performances (acting, singing) to experiences of emotion (happiness, rage), to experiences of disease (cancer, injury), to experiences of body modification (tattooing, piercing). In terms of the former, the occurrences within one’s body are considered paramount to identity. The way we view and understand our bodies is integral and inseparable from how we understand our self and our position in society. When we experience an injury or disease to our body we are often forced to face our own mortality or learn to understand our body and it’s strengths/limitations in new ways. For the latter, body modification has often been seen as a resistance movement or a reclaiming of one’s body against some form of oppression. The power to exert change on the body is perhaps the greatest and most central (in terms of the self) power of all.

Thus, a woman’s power to control what occurs in her body is, to me, central to her own understanding of her self and her way of positioning herself in society. The changes that occur in her body during pregnancy are not fleeting, the emotional experience does not disappear after nine months, the responsibility of a life (if she so chooses) continues indefinitely. For all of these reasons (and many more) it should not be in the power of anyone else to EVER make that decision for her. It is her body, it should be her decision.

In high school government class I remember my instructor saying that so much of our understanding of rights comes down to a simple phrase: “your rights end where mine begin.” I think that applies to this issue. You have the right to free speech, the right to protest against abortion, the right to vote for whichever candidate you want, the right to assemble, etc. But I have the right to make decisions about my body. And your rights (to stop me) end where my right (to retain the power) begin.

That’s my philosophical argument. But I also vote pro-choice because of the following terrifying examples of men who will NEVER understand what it means to be a woman, what it means to run the risk of getting pregnant, what it means to weight career options and timing in terms of having children, what it means to bleed every month. I don’t expect them to TRULY understand, how could they? But I do expect them to trust me, or at least respect me, enough to allow me to retain control over the one thing in life that I can call mine, no matter what: my body.

(Note: All of the clips below can be found on Media Matters, you can also click the image to follow the link to the full story)

Lest I give too much space on my blog to terrifyingly ignorant conservative men, the following images are from one kick-ass woman who understands how women’s bodies are treated in America:

And FINALLY, I’m pro-choice because I’m not naive enough to think that making abortion illegal will actually prevent abortions from occurring. Instead, my fear is that restricting abortion will disproportionately effect young women and women in lower socioeconomic positions who do not have the social supports or social/fiscal capital that will allow them to receive the adequate, informative, and caring attention they need.

Restriction out of fear and ignorance will get us no where and will do more to harm the women who need care the most. Educating young women and men about responsible sexual practices will do far more to prevent unintended pregnancy and ultimately limit the amount of women who must face this difficult decision.

July 2018
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