Quick Hit: The Stupidity of Stupak

November 9, 2009

Note: I have no idea when I last posted, nor when I’ll get the chance to again. Turns out I haven’t abandoned you all after all.

It’s all over the feminist blogosphere, and until I get the chance to clear my head (read: the PTSD-induced reactions subside and I can feel safe leaving my house again), here are a couple of You Must Read takedowns of what I like to call the “Throw the (Poor! Middle Class!) Women (of Color)! Under The Bus” Amendment to the “Health Care Not-Really-For-All” Bill.

Pilgrim Soul @ The Pursuit of Harpyness: You Can Put Down Your Champagne Now (a quick overview)

Cynematic @ MOMocrats: The Stu-Pitts of Congress, and Women’s Healthcare From the Waist Up (in depth discussion, with estimated effects if the bill passes)

Meteor Blades @ DailyKOS: 64 Democrats on the Wrong Side of Stupak-Pitts (a list of all Dems who voted for the amendment; a list with demographics and website links is here.)

I’m cutting this off here, sans commentary, because I literally feel like my head is going to explode with rage because YET AGAIN women are the first to vote for Democrats and the last people Dems in office give a shit about.

Advertisements

Late term abortion provider shot to death in KS

May 31, 2009

Okay, folks, this is merely a preliminary to something I will blog more extensively on when I have slightly more material to work with.

As it is, Dr. George Tiller was shot to death in the lobby of a church today on his way to worship.

He was the only late-term abortion provider in the state of Kansas, and probably for a radius of a couple hundred miles. I understand that many women came from surrounding states for Dr. Tiller’s services, and that both Dr. Tiller and his clinic were persecuted for providing these health care services to women. They were taken to court numerous times, and Dr. Tiller was just cleared two months ago of the 19 misdemeanor charges most recently brought against him.

Dr. Tiller had been shot and injured once before for providing abortion services.

And yet, no one gets shot in the U.S. for refusing women birth control. No one.

RIP, Dr. Tiller. I hope there is someone as courageous as you to fill your shoes, for the sake of all women in the American Midwest.


The Little Brown Dress Project, and a desire to re-think my life

April 25, 2009

I came across this website a while ago and it’s been hanging out in the back of my mind ever since.

From the site:

So, here’s the deal – I made this dress and I wore it every day for a year. I made one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days.

From the FAQ:

Did I look crazy? Most people in my professional circle didn’t even notice that I was always wearing the same dress day after day — my take on that is that we’re all too busy with our *own* appearance, family, work, etc. to keep a tally on everyone else’s wardrobe rotations!

I want to do this, or something like it. I want to stop caring about my clothes.

I never wore make-up in the first place, and I hated shaving so much that stopping was easy for me, and I started needing to walk more so giving up high heels felt totally reasonable, but I just can’t let go of my stylish clothes.

Every summer when the weather gets warm, I get rid of all the clothes from the previous summer that I don’t really care for anymore, and go shopping for a new wardrobe. I spend probably $200 to $300 per store, and while I only really go to a handful of stores, it probably totals more than $1000 dollars. And then I do it again when the winter comes.

I called off the make-up, the shaving, and the heels because I knew the patriarchy wanted me to go along with them. I knew that they were designed to hobble me, physically and financially, to distract my energy and thought, to make it harder for me to get stuff done. And I love being able to just wake up, brush my teeth, and get on with my day in the mornings. I love that showers are nothing but relaxing, and that my skin is no longer dry and irritated all the time. I love being able to run when I want to, being able to stand for hours without my feet hurting.

And I bet you that I would adore being able to just get dressed in the morning, to quit it with the half-hour “does this skirt work with these tights?” brain-drain that occupies a surprising amount of my mental power each day. I’d love it if, when I feel a money-pinch, I had those thousands of dollars in cash, or at least in material goods that were worth something. Because lemme tell ya, there is no way to get your money back out of a well-stocked wardrobe; since I’m buying stylish woman-clothes, it all falls apart by the end of the season, and the few bits that survive have lost all their value now that they are used and outdated.

So, I want to make a radical change. Every now and then I fantasize about filling my wardrobe with fourteen identical outfits like in the cartoons (fourteen because I hate laundry), or maybe composing seven ideal outfits, one for each day of the week, so that I can look great without ever having to think about it, or even, when I’m feeling my most radical, just making myself a single brown dress.

I think it would be a hard transition for me. I am very stylish, and very femme, and I’m vaguely proud of the fact that I always look classy in button-downs and pearls, and don’t even own sweatpants. It’s a performance for me (as my gender always is, really), but because I’ve chosen to perform it, it’s important to me that I perform it well. It’s just…well, as Alex Martin says at Little Brown Dress, “let’s stop agreeing that the best way for women (in particular) to “express themselves” is by purchasing new wardrobe items and putting together daily outfits.”

I don’t have to play this game. I can channel this energy and money into performing something else at the top of my ability, and no matter what it is it’s almost guaranteed to be more worthwhile than my pursuit of fashion. I want to find out who that person would be, what I would do with myself; I want to see what I would accomplish.

I just don’t know how to get there yet.


Blogaround: The Transphobia Brouhaha

April 17, 2009

I’ve been reading a lot about the problems with blogging feminists and transphobia/transmisogyny lately, and while there is a post percolating in my head, I thought I’d catch you all up with what I’d encountered on the subject:

The Feministing/Feministe Boycott
[1] Men in Women’s Bathrooms: Is Your State Next?: the Focus on the Family transphobia post with errant comment thread on Feministing*
[2] By Any Other Name: transmisogyny post with errant comment thread at Feministe
[3] Bathroom panic, it’s totally feminist: Queen Emily’s response to errant comments on Feministing.
[4] Very Necessary: Voz Latina’s call for a boycott of Feministe/Feministing.
[5] It’s Always About The Cis Women: Lucy’s post about both Feministing and Feministe.
[6] On Cis Supremacy, Feminism and Feministe: Cara’s response to all of this on Feministe.

The Dust-Up at Bitch, Ph.D.
[1] Teabag Me: the original post at Bitch, Ph.D.
[2] Ann Coulter Really Is A —-**, People: the response at Bitch, Ph.D.

Related to all the above
[1] Coordinating Body and Mind: Transphobia and Feminism: Miriam Heddy

Unrelated in theme, but good thoughts anyway
[1] The Art of the Apology

I have a few nebulous thoughts about all this, although I’m processing them (and checking my privilege several times over) before I get too long winded. I can, however, jot down a few things already:

  • Using misogynist language to insult anyone is never okay.
  • No one is perfectly feminist.
  • We live in a patriarchy, and it can poison all our interactions.

This post may be updated with new links, as I find them. I’ll note the last update of the post, thus:

Links last updated 7:03 EDT 4/17/2009.


*Which I apparently missed the first time. I have read the post but not slogged through the comments yet. Much work to be done before I can post on this.

** Yes, I censored this. It’s a triggering word for some folks. I’m still not 100% inured, myself.


Excuses, excuses

April 9, 2009

I haz them.

You know that series I was talking about, the one on bullshit femininity/masculinity? The one that was going to start with a post I’d written notes for, but had temporarily lost the notes? Well, I found them, and I started writing.

This isn’t a blog post; it’s more like a paper. It’s getting really long, and I’m not even through the first card yet (there are four).

So, in the interim, I thought I’d leave you with this bit of childhood nothingness that has everything to do with the concept of gender in the patriarchy:

Discuss.

What are little boys made of?
I’ll tell you what little boys are made of.
Sticks* and snails and puppy dog tails:
That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
I’ll tell you what little girls are made of.
Sugar and spice and everything nice:
That’s what little girls are made of.

* This is how I learned it. The original line is apparently “snips and snails and puppy dog tails”.


The “feminism Google Alert” blogaround!

April 5, 2009

To provide myself with ample blog fodder, I maintain a google alert for the word “feminism,” but I’ve been putting off, y’know, actually blogging any of it. So! I present to you: posts about feminism!

First, the angry-making category (also known as the Darth Vader NOOOOs):

Anyone for a pink fairy cake? Be a goddess but don’t quit your day job.

Then a couple of weeks ago The Courier-Mail declared the rise of the young domestic goddess. “Housewives are back and baking, reclaiming the kitchen and returning to the ways of their grandmothers before them,” the paper, unencumbered by statistics, reported.

Ha! This looks like a good start! (emphasis mine). One of the things that really stood out to be in Faludi’s Backlash was the prevalence of articles reporting on “trends” that were, in fact, not trends at all, but wishful thinking. No surprise that it’s happening again! But wait… what’s this? An endorsement of this “trend”?

…I am glad we are moving beyond the drudgery mantra, where you are letting the sisterhood down if you speak about housework without using the word mindless and moaning about wet towels left on the floor. Was there ever anything modern and revolutionary about women volunteering to be martyrs then complaining endlessly about it?

Geez, misrepresentation, much?

In an article provocatively entitled “Women’s Liberation Through Housework”, Rena Corey wrote about how, growing up in the 1970s, she learned to view women who cared about housework with condescension. “A lot of girls in my generation took to heart this message of liberation from the perceived drudgery of housework and grew up to have careers that our mothers never even dreamed of. But apparently, even with the monetary and psychic rewards of paying jobs, we still yearn for that cozy, clean nest,” she wrote.

NOOOO! (Emphasis mine, again.) I promise you guys, I have absolutely no yearning to clean my kitchen.

Rethinking Feminism.

Rarely a good thing in a mainstream newspaper, but let’s see how it goes.

Media assault on feminism has now a reached a record “high”…

Yes…

…sadly those who support the movement have been caught up in their own web to take notice.

…NO!

Feminists chose their battle with haste. They jumped into the abortion debate with so much passion that other important issues were completely neglected. Work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, violence against women-issues of importance to today’s women do not seem to be a priority. As a result, young women do not see the feminist movement as something for them to be part of. They see it as a fistfight between the pro-choice and pro-life groups. In short, religious right has a serious advantage.

NOOOOO! Seriously, what the hell? Feminists don’t blog about work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, or violence against women? Who the hell has this reporter been talking to?

The no-casual-sex challenge: would you do it?

Yet despite how much feminism hoopla exists around the subject, and no matter how many times we are told that women needn’t be afraid of putting themselves out there if the chemistry is right, the lighting is good and he paid for her dinner (even if it is the first date, the first encounter or with a complete stranger), there are unfortunately some grave emotional consequences …

This is all thanks to a magical (yet detrimental) little hormone that gets released into our bodies when women do indeed do the dirty with a bloke that she mightn’t even have feelings for until the fateful night. It’s called oxytocin – otherwise known as “the cuddle hormone”. The way it works is this: even if she’s not that into him to begin with, she’ll inevitably start to have strong sentimental feelings towards the bloke she’s just bonked thanks to the surge of hormones racing in her blood and affecting her brain.

As former groupie Dawn Eden wrote in the Times Online while expounding on the subject: “Women are built for bonding. We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.”

I would rant about this, if only I could stop projectile-vomiting. At least it’s horrific from start to finish– no awkward questions about how to categorize it! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been overwhelmed by the oxytocin released when I was messing around with Mr. Experiment With Bisexuality and I guess I have to go ask him to marry me now, or something. My “cuddle hormones” demand it.

——

Some in-between articles:

1960s pioneer Steinem: Every woman stands for feminist movement.

Don’t call her an icon of feminism or the instantly recognizable face of women’s liberation. Don’t even call her Ms. Steinem. Just call her Gloria.

Can you think of anything less feminist than insisting that Gloria Steinem be referred to be first name only, rather than by Ms. Steinem, the title she specifically invented so that women could be addressed respectfully? Augh! The article isn’t the worst of the lot, at least, since much of it is simply quotes from Ms. Steinem; those are good. Everything else, not so much.

Common Cents: Chivalry? A sandwich isn’t going to make itself.

Whenever the demon of nostalgia rears its nauseating head, it’s only a matter of time before someone points out “chivalry is dead.”

The next time this happens, stop whatever you’re doing, look them in the eye and say “good riddance.”

Traditional wisdom tells us to not speak ill of the deceased, but traditional wisdom is exactly what I’m speaking ill of.

Yeah! I like this guy! He’s a good ally!

Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I’ll play the doorstop.

If anyone — regardless of sex — carries something heavy, I might take a second out of my day to help.

Some doors are more easily opened from one direction or another, and I might give a well-timed nudge when a stranger is on the wrong end of hydraulics.

To be clear, I do these things, not because I have to, but because I want to.

Yeah! Chivalry sucks, but basic politeness is fine.

And occasionally if I’m on my way to class — and an especially good-looking female follows — I’ll snap the door shut behind me and sing, “fatty, fatty, two by four, can’t get through the schoolhouse door.”

Not because I have to, but because I want to.

Huh? What? I’m actually sincerely baffled here. How does that make any sense?

Gentlemen, the next time you sense a girl wants you to take the check, lean back in your seat and pre-emptively thank her for treating you.

Have fun with it.

Wait a second… are you a jerk after all?

I don’t have time to split ponytails over which side of the sidewalk to walk on. If we go out to dinner, we’re splitting the bill.

If that makes me less attractive, then those unique, entitled snowflakes can all run back to their fathers.

The world has changed.

Adapt, or worthy males will select someone else.

It’s only natural.

Oh. Huh. You are a jerk after all. How disappointing.

Is Rihanna a product of feminism, or a victim of it?

This is a bad question to be asking. I am not sanguine.

Some critics don’t blame Brown, or Rihanna, but the culture of feminism. “We’ve so confused ourselves that now many teenagers in Boston are excusing Chris Brown. Why wouldn’t they?” writes National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez. “He and Rihanna are equal, and we expect no more from men — in fact, we’ve conditioned a generation or two now to expect less.”

Is Rihanna the product of feminism, or a victim of it? RedBlueAmerica columnists Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk weigh in.

Bluuurgh. How is it possible that “men and women are equal” but “we expect less from men”?! Doublethink FTW! But let’s check out those two columnists:

Clearly, something is wrong with the culture when young people say that the young woman had it coming. There can be no doubt, however, that feminism’s futile effort to deny the differences between the sexes has had consequences.

Among those consequences is the widely accepted belief that girls can and should be a sexually aggressive (i.e. promiscuous) as boys. Another is the popular idea, born out by a national illegitimacy rate approaching 40 percent, that fathers aren’t necessary. Yet another is the trend among a subset of women to leave their husbands for other women.

I AM THROWING UP IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOW, OH MY GOD.

Why is this article in the “in-between” section rather than the “angry-making” section? Well, it’s because our second columnist is a lot less of a raging douchebag than the first:

I don’t know why those Boston teens blame Rihanna for her beating. I know they’re wrong. And I know that feminists — informed by feminism — are the first to say so.

…Feminism showed us the beginning of a way out. It insisted that abuse victims not be blamed for violence done to them. It insisted that “no means no.” It insisted that a woman doesn’t give up her rights to safety and dignity once she signs a marriage license. And it insisted, most importantly, that women are not secondary, inferior beings. That last assertion, in particular, seems an obvious truth — and yet it has set off two generations of howling outrage from those who see the empowerment of women as the neutering of men. That anger, in turn, has been channeled into a bizarre effort to blame all of society’s ills on feminism.

I’m glad they included this dissenting view in the post itself, because otherwise I’m not sure I could have survived all the concentrated assholamine. (Check that link out too, by the way; it goes to I Blame the Patriarchy, an excellent antidote to antifeminism.)

——

Then, some stuff by actual feminists! So we can end on a positive note. 🙂

Forget feminism, films are still a male domain.

It has always been an unwritten rule in the film industry, both in Mumbai and the South, that when it came to the box office it was only the hero who mattered. If the film was a hit, none of the credit went to the heroine. While the actor dominated the film, actresses were expected to be content with a role that comprised of six to seven scenes with a few songs thrown in. To add insult to misery, heroines were also handicapped with a short career, — they had a career span of five to eight years when they could enjoy being at the top of their game — after which it was presumed they were over the hill, or were married with children. Of course, none of this applied to our heroes who, despite being married and having children —or for that matter — being on the wrong side of 40, continued to enjoy a career which spanned 20 to 30 years.

It’s fascinating (if sad) to get a take on the Indian film industry, and to see that Hollywood actually compares favorably some places. Feminism! We need you!

Islamic feminists distinguish Islam from Muslims.

Anyone attempting to take stock of the position of women in the Muslim world cannot help but be confused. One finds stories in the media all the time about injustices committed against Muslim women, such as “honour” killings, child marriages and discriminatory legal judgments in matters of divorce, custody and inheritance.

On the other hand, one also comes across stories about the remarkable strides made by Muslim women in education, career development and political activism in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Morocco and Turkey.

How can we make sense of such a dichotomous picture?

The answer is simple: by distinguishing the religion of Islam from the Muslims who practice it.

Those who study the Qur’an know that Islam elevated the rights of women beyond anything known in the pre-Islamic world. In fact, in the seventh century Muslim women were granted rights not granted to European women until the 19th century, such as property ownership, inheritance and divorce.

That said, Muslims who codified the Qur’an and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) into Islamic law did not succeed in expunging the patriarchy of the pre-Islamic world from their practices.

This distinction between the faith and the various manifestations of its practice is a subtle but extremely important one.

This is one of the more serious posts I’m linking to today. Read it. It’s good.

Grrl Style: Feminism — JK!

I have to confess, when I saw only the first line of this in my RSS reader, I was sure it would enrage me. Rarely am I so happy to be wrong.

I am so over feminism. I mean, honestly, who was I kidding with all that “women and men are equals” bullshit?

Thankfully, I’ve finally come out of my bra-burnin’ college phase and into a new realization: that women are, in fact, the weaker sex.

I have no idea who this gal is, but I love her.

History is the proof: Out of all of the United States presidents, how many have been women? None. Coincidence? I think not.

Girls are simply too fucking crazy and hormonal even to vote, let alone govern. To quote the great Brooke Hogan ruminating on Hillary Clinton’s ludicrous presidential campaign, “I think it’s kinda crazy that a woman is running, because I think that women deal with a lot of emotions and menopause and PMS and stuff.

“Like, I’m so moody all the time, I know I couldn’t be able to run a country, ’cause I’d be crying one day and yelling at people the next day, ya know?”

Hey! Whiny privileged college dudes! This is what satire looks like!

——

So there we have it! Two thousand, three hundred and eighty-three words on THE STATE OF FEMINISM TODAY. Wasn’t it a fun ride?

I only made it through, like, a third of the posts I planned to look at it, but whatever! Plenty of time to come back for seconds tomorrow!

If you’ve got any more links, leave ’em in the comments!


Quick Hit: What this femininity/masculinity thing is all about

March 18, 2009

Courtesy of Twisty Faster.

Masculinity is what phallotarians do to keep women feminized. Femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.

In case you’re wondering what all I have been / will be going on about, it’s this. See also why feminists get angry at you when you tell them “it’s not a big deal”.