Wednesday, August 24, 2005



I really didn't know that people could be this incredibly ignorant/stupid/ill-informed/cold/insensitive.

I guess there's some asshole named Mike Adams, an uber-conservative criminal justice professor (who somehow managed to manipulate his way into getting tenure) at University of North Carolina - Wilmington who's on a warpath to destroy the "diversity movement" on college campuses.
And silly me, I wasn't even aware that diversity was a bad thing.
Not only is he typical Republican in that he's anti-affirmative-action, but he's evidently anti-any kind of diversity at all.

This week, his beef is with transgendered people, namely UNCW's sponsorship of a film showing of Trans Generation, a documentary that follows 4 youths' gender transitions.

The "points" that he intends to bring up when he attends this film (and, I hope, subsequently gets his ass handed to him on a plate when he pisses off every feminist and transperson in the place):

1. I noticed that the Women’s Resource Center is co-sponsoring this program. Is that because they are pleased that two of the students in the film wanted to have surgery in order to become women?

2. Is the Women’s Resource Center offended by the two women who wanted to become men? Will the two new men get their new hoo-hoo dillies from the two new women? How does that work, exactly?

3. When a woman has a hoo-hoo dilly surgically attached, does that not legitimize Freud’s sexist notion of penis envy? Is that something the Women’s Center really wants to touch - figuratively speaking?

4. Is it misogyny that causes a woman to have a sex-change?

5. Is it mister-ogyny that causes a man to have a sex change?

6. In the past, UNC has spent tax-dollars to address the problem of teen self-mutilation. Why is the system now spending tax dollars to encourage self-mutilation in the form of sex-changes? Are we, a) having trouble making up our minds or do we, b) enjoy going in complete circles at tax-payer expense?

7. Most people think of someone who wants to surgically remove his or her sex organs as mentally ill. How did the diversity movement arrive at the conclusion that this is not a sign of mental illness? And how did it become a cause for celebration as we “celebrate sexual diversity” with taxpayer-funded events?

8. The last time I saw a trans-gendered person at a UNCW diversity event, she (formerly he) said (when she was a he) that he was advised by his psychiatrist to move to a cabin in the mountains. The reason was that he (now a she) was so violent and dangerous that he (now she) might hurt someone. But when he became a she by cutting off his hoo-hoo dilly, she became less angry. Does the university support hoo-hoo dilly removal as a form of anger management?

9. Have you ever considered putting a fence around UNCW and hanging up a sign that says “Welcome to the North Carolina State Zoo?”

10. If your answer to number 9 was “yes,” I know some capitalists that could help you out. Together we could sell tickets and erase some of this wasteful government spending.

a) Ok, seriously. "hoo-hoo dilly"? And you're supposed to be a grown man? Honestly, Mike. If this was an attempt at humour...I just pity you.

b) Sex changes as manifestations of self-mutilation? I don't even know how to react to that. Maybe if it made sense, I could dignify it with a response.

c) The rest of it is just stupid, with no basis in that silly little thing called "reality."
Oh, and the "zoo" comment? Is it really possible to be that intolerant and ignorant? I can't even fathom how these people can be so cold and unfeeling. Maybe it's my upbringing as a human being, but it doesn't make sense to me.

I think that the little dedication-type thing at the bottom of the page says a lot, though: "Mike S. Adams got the inspiration for this column from former Senator Jesse Helms."

Jesse over at Pandagon also does a pretty good job of calling this guy's bullshit, so you can just head over there for his commentary.

Shameless Plug, or, the friendly pimping out of lauryn from feministing

Pointing you all in the direction of Lauryn's recent post on feministing.

On August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment was ratified, making Friday the 85th anniversary of women's right to vote. To commemorate the big day, the Library of Congress has created a web-based slideshow of 448 photos documenting the suffrage movement.

The National Woman’s Party, representing the militant wing of the suffrage movement, utilized open public demonstrations to gain popular attention for the right of women to vote in the United States. Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party presents both images that depict this broad range of tactics as well as individual portraits of organization leaders and members. The photographs span from about 1875 to 1938 but largely date between 1913 and 1922. They document the National Woman’s Party’s push for ratification of the 19th Amendment as well as its later campaign for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. This online presentation is a selection of 448 photographs from the approximately 2,650 photographs in the Records of the National Woman’s Party collection, housed in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.

(x-posted on mediagirl)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

anti-war demonstration notice

On Saturday, September 24th, two of the largest, most influential anti-war organizations in the country, United for Peace & Justice and the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, will be holding a joint march/rally in Washington, DC.
The rally will start at 11am on the steps of the Washington Monument, and the march will step off at 12:30pm.

It doesn't end there, though.
UFPJ is planning an entire weekend of anti-war activities, a Peace and Justice Festival:

Events by the day:
Saturday, Sept 24th:
Anti-War March & Rally (UFPJ & ANSWER)
Rally, 11am, Washington Monument
March, 12:30pm

Operation: Ceasefire Free Concert/Music Festival
(Join Operation Ceasefire, a new coalition of concerned musicians, for a massive anti-war concert/rally at the Washington Monument on September 24th. This event will be a centerpiece of what is expected to be 4 days of enormous protests in nation's capital in support of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the quagmire in Iraq. The concert will bring together musical acts such as: Thievery Corporation, punk rock and independent musicians LeTigre, Bouncing Souls, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists; country music artist Steve Earle, rock and soul band the Bellrays; latin musicians Machetres, socially conscious hip-hop groups The Coup and Head-Roc; and even long time activists Wayne Kramer of the MC5, Jello Biafra and Greg Palast will be involved in this event!)
Following the march

Sunday, Sept 25th
Interfaith "Tent Revival" style Service for Peace & Justice
MC'ed by: Danny Glover
6:00pm, Washington Monument Grounds

Also, there will potentially be grassroots training offered on Sunday.

Monday, Sept 26th
Congressional Education Day (aka anti-war lobby day)
(UFPJ is organizing people from all around the country to meet with legislators and their staffs to urge them to stand up against the war. Our goal is to have 600 people meet with 100 Congressional Representatives.)
More information available when you register for the action. See above link for contact info.

Also, a thus-far-undefined mass nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience will occur on Monday.

Monday, August 22, 2005

romeo juliet and juliet

(Globe staff photo, John Tlumacki)

The Boston Globe reported last week that the two famous swans in Boston's Public Garden, named Romeo and Juliet, are in fact both female.

Some fun quotes in response to the news:

"If these two swans are happy together, they shouldn't have to have a guy," said Emma Stokien, a 15-year-old from New York. ''It's good to have the swans as a symbol of the acceptance in Massachusetts."

"I think this proves that there's something in the environment in Massachusetts," Brian Camenker, director of the Article 8 Alliance, a Waltham-based organization fighting same-sex marriage, joked in a telephone interview. ''Maybe it's the water that's causing all this lunacy."

A visitor from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., suggested that the city should try to have one of next year's eggs fertilized so that Romeo and Juliet could become same-sex parents. "I'm sure they'd probably be perfect parents."

"We should still cherish and love our swans, no matter whom they choose to swim with." (Marty Rouse, campaign director of MassEquality)

and again, women's rights in iraq

According to Reuel Marc Gerecht, former Middle Eastern specialist with the CIA, on Meet the Press yesterday, the 21st, women's rights don't really matter anyway:
It certainly seems clear that in protecting the political rights, there's no discussion of women not having the right to vote. I think it's important to remember that in the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

Wait, wait.
You mean, women don't have to have rights in order for it to be considered a democracy?
Silly me, I thought democracy meant this:
1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

But I guess is just plain wrong.

I mean, including women as part of that group we call "people"? That would be like assuming women had as much personhood as men. And that would be just plain silly.
And women as "individual[s] within a community"? Like, giving them as much importance as the male individuals of a community? *gasp* No way!

Women aren't people. Women are second-rate versions of the real "person" - aka men. As long as men have basic democratic rights, that's all that matters. Women come second. Maybe. If they come at all.

now we're going to sic bobbitt on sex offenders?

Steve Pence, Lt. Governor of Kentucky, is suggesting that castration be examined as a possible means of "dealing with" sex offenders.

Not the best solution, there, Stevie.

Pete over at BlueGrassRoots agrees that this is a bad idea. It's nice that liberal boys agree with me in general, but Pete tends to go the way of making light of the majority of sex crimes. He claims that the category of "sex crime" is too broad, and encompasses too many "little things" like pissing in public and copping a feel at a bar/in the workplace. Ok, so maybe taking a leak in public shouldn't be considered a sex crime, but he makes it sound like it should be ok to "mistake a woman's daring glances for an invitation to grab ass." Needless to say, it's not. And, as TravisG points out in the comments, his "boys will be boys" defense is tired and overused, not to mention misogynistic and damaging.

But I digress.

The basic problem here?

Castration will not stop a man from committing some kind of violence against women - or men, for that matter.
Rape crisis centers, women's advocacy centers, and numerous academic studies have asserted time and time again that rape is about power, not sex.
Therefore, rapists (the vast majority of the time) don't rape just to get their jollies or alleviate sexual frustration. They rape to give themselves a sense of control, of power.
Chopping off a guy's dick is not going to change his desire for power or control.
In fact, I would imagine that the involuntary loss of something that itself symbolizes male privilege, and therefore power, would probably exacerbate the problem.

Of course, then there's the problem of assuming that you can castrate all sex offenders, which assumes that all sex offenders are men. Because, you know, women never rape or commit sex crimes. Duh - you need a penis to do that.

women shafted again - who'da thunk it?

I know this may come as a shock to you, but it seems that the American ambassadors overseeing the drafting of the Iraq constitution were being fececious when they claimed that women's rights were important.

Because the U.S. is so hell-bent on getting a constitution -- any constitution, it seems -- drafted and out there so that it looks like we're actually doing some good over there, my fabulous home country has "dropped its opposition to enshrining Islam as Iraq's main source of legislation in a bid to secure agreement on the text of a new constitution by a Monday deadline."

It is hardly my intention to bash Islam as a religion or a guideline for one's personal moral codes. I know, from many lectures from a few Muslim friends, that Islam isn't inherently misogynistic or anti-women's-rights (at least, no more than Christianity or pretty much any other organized monotheistic religion). I cannot, however, advocate constitutional law based on any religion, Islam included.

From the NY Times:
Maintaining secular authority over family matters is especially important to secular Iraqi women, who fear that Islamic judges will take away the rights they now enjoy under Iraqi law.

Religion is fine and dandy for one's own personal life. And it's fine and dandy for a community life, provided that every single person in said community fully believes without dissent in the tenets of the given religion and agrees fully with all the laws.
However, when you put religious moral codes into official nationwide legislation such as a constitution, it becomes a bit of a problem. Religion is personal. Religion is private. No religion has any place in any country's legislation.

And by the, "social mores" can't be used as a replacement word for "religious morals" either.
In the same MSNBC article I linked to above, there's this quote from Salama al-Khafaji, a female Iraqi member of the Shi'ite group, the United Iraqi Alliance who supports Islamic rule and, therefore, restrictions on women's equality in Iraq:
We have a lot of tribal areas where they don't like women having the same rights as men in inheritance. If you put this (in law) you would have a big mess in the country.
Iraqi society does not accept that a woman should be outside the house at night in jobs with night shifts. We've got used to it in hospitals but we reject it in other facilities.

(This woman, I think, is the Iraqi version of Phyllis Schlafly. Scary.)

Evidently, because social mores, or norms, in Iraq are "naturally conservative," it makes it ok to continue such oppression, because obviously, that's what the people want.
And in the Jim Crow era in the South, the social norms of segregation should have been left untouched, since obviously, that's what the people want.

What she's not acknowledging here is that these social norms that keep women in the house, holding only daytime jobs, and coming second in priority after the men in their lives, are dictated by men interpreting Islamic law for their own best interest.
Kind of like the social norms that kept segregation alive and well in the South were dictated by old white men opposed to positive change.

Just because something is socially accepted does not mean that it is right or in the best interest of all involved. A novel idea, I know. But somehow, I don't think I'm the first or only one to acknowledge this.

Pam has this to say about Bush & Co's flip-flopping on the importance of women's rights:
"Women's rights mean less than doing what is right for the long-term health of this country's prospective foundation. This is sickness beyond belief."

Not to mention it's probably a bit rattling to have to rush to finish a relatively important document like a country's constitution with Rumsfeld and ambassador Khalilzad breathing over your shoulder, telling you to hurry up. It's kind of like in high school, when you were the last kid left in the room for finals, and the teacher sits there and stares at you while you frantically scribble illegible paragraphs about the cold war, and feel guilty for making the teacher stay there longer. Except...this is a wee bit more important and further-reaching than your 10th grade history final.

honey, i'm home

Well, I'm back home with my parents for a couple weeks before I head off to Smith for a fresh start, which means that I'm back to internet access and a relatively dependable computer.

Even if it is crappy dial-up internet, which chafes on my patience like an ill-fitted bra chafes on my boobs.

I suppose I'll live, though.


And to start off the string of back-to-blogging posts, I'd like to start with a small sampling of fun terms I've come across in the blogosphere lately.

The following from BAM vagazine:
"Shejaculation (v): the art of female ejaculation."
"Genderalizations (n): Sweeping statements based on gender groups."

A Few Fun Nicknames for Bush:
-(always a classic) Bushie
-The Shrub

Thursday, August 18, 2005


I, and this blog, will be out of commission for a few days.

My computer, which has had almost no problems for a good 2 years, was evidently overdue for some fuckups.

It has developed some kind of epileptic/stroke-like disease that I have no idea how to control, stemming from some kind of problem with the hard drive that it won't explain to me or tell me how to fix.

So, since my access to the internet will be limited to the few times this disease is in remission or I can get to the library, I don't have time to do anything but the absolutely necessary (i.e. email), so blogging will be on hiaitus until I can get home to a more reliable computer.

Monday, August 15, 2005

scary poll

From, as part of their 100 Most Powerful Women report (separate, of course, from their 100 most powerful people, because women are hardly represented on there and, of course, are a 'special case' when it comes to that broad category of people...)

The 100 Most Powerful Women
07.28.05, 6:00 PM ET

In which fields are women held back by their gender?

Politics (32 %)
3923 Vote(s)

Business (21 %)
2616 Vote(s)

It is no longer an issue (15 %)
1835 Vote(s)

Science (8 %)
1030 Vote(s)

Being a woman helps (7 %)
804 Vote(s)

Academics (5 %)
552 Vote(s)

I don't know (3 %)
391 Vote(s)

Medicine (3 %)
351 Vote(s)

Entertainment (2 %)
250 Vote(s)

The media (2 %)
186 Vote(s)

The arts (1 %)
156 Vote(s)

Humanitarian endeavors (1 %)
100 Vote(s)

Total Votes: 12194

Do people really think that "it is no longer an issue"?
It wouldn't be so bad if that choice wasn't the third most popular choice when people take this poll. That many people -- 1,835 people, a scant portion of the population, yes - thinking that the glass ceiling has been permanently shattered is really frightening to me. Plus the 7% who answered that it actually helps - in all areas and fields of profession - to be a woman...Especially when these people who read are exactly the people we need to acknowledge the glass ceiling.....

Not to mention the fact that there isn't even an option on the poll to click "these are all still pretty inhospitable to women" or "duh, you idiots, the glass ceiling exists everywhere" makes it pretty impossible to fully acknowledge the existence of said impedimentary ceiling.

le sigh

I liked this...

found here, via kameron

(And yes, I'm blogging so much today to make up for my non-blogging past few days. I'm alleviating my guilty conscience. Let me be.)

sometimes, "pro-lifers" scare the crap out of me

Like when they want to have a float in a Halloween parade in York, PA entitled "Dr. Butcher's Chop Shop of Choice Cuts", which would feature fetuses and mutilated body parts.

Honestly, guys.
That's just gross.

I mean, I know it's Halloween and all, but.....


(Happy news: one of the biggest sponsors of the parade, which usually gets about 30,000 spectators, has decided to pull its sponsorship because of this intended float, which means the entire parade will probably be nixed. Thus, there'll probably be no scary creepy anti-choicers running around on Halloween with bloody fetuses.)

planned parenthood/naral minnesota both need to grow some eggs

Somehow, I missed this one back at the end of July: a strange, disturbing new law now in effect in Minnesota.

Pro-choicers, for the most part, didn't really make a big fuss about this, since it doesn't directly affect the availability of abortions, but it's mighty screwed up. The Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act was a "top legislative priority" for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a large, very influential anti-abortion group.

The law requires that women undergoing abortions after they're 20 weeks along be offered anesthesia for the fetus:
Directs that prior to performing an abortion on an unborn child who is of 20 weeks gestational age or more, the physician or the physician's agent shall inform the female if an anesthetic would eliminate or alleviate pain to the unborn child caused by the method of abortion.

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota (PPMN) did NOTHING to lobby in opposition to this bill before its passage, even though it very clearly lays the groundwork for more "fetal rights" legislation, which, for the most part, nullifies that silly little thing known as the right to choice.
Sarah Stoesz, pres./CEO of PPMN said she thought opposition should come from Minnesota OB/GYNs, represented by the Minnesota Medical Association, and didn't worry her little Planned Parenthood head about it.

Luckily, the Minnesota Medical Association successfully lobbied against the bill in order to remove the clause that would make not offering this anesthesia to the woman getting the abortion - oh, sorry, to the fetus which no medical research proves can feel pain to be dulled with anesthesia - a felony. Once the felony clause was removed from the legislation, the MMA dropped its opposition, and the bill easily passed.
Now, doctors only face "civil penalties," which means they could get their asses sued if they don't offer the anesthesia.

But then, I can understand why PPMN wouldn't lobby against it. After all, in the entire state of Minnesota, only one Planned Parenthood actually performs abortions, and that clinic only performs them in the first trimester, so the legislation wouldn't affect them directly at all. In fact, most Planned Parenthoods (at least, all the ones that I know about, including every Planned Parenthood in NY state) don't perform abortions past the 13th or 14th week, something that I won't get into right now, but does rather irk me.

However, Planned Parenthood is more than just a family planning clinic organization. They are a political force with political influence and sway.
For them not to do anything about this bill which so blatantly establishes "fetal rights" sends a very dangerous message; that all we care about is access to abortions, and whatever doesn't deal directly with that can slide in favour of the more "important" abortion issues.
What bothers me even more is that NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, an organization which centers on the politics surrounding the abortion debate, didn't oppose it either.

But it's legislation like this that lays the dangerous groundwork on which Roe v. Wade can (and, if Shrub Boy gets his way, will) be overturned, the groundwork that anti-abortion groups are working so hard to make firm.
Because they know that when it comes down to it, that's what they're going to stand on.
And all we'll have left are the remnants of a 1970s-era Supreme Court decision that's falling apart as we try to hide behind it.
We need to not only fortify the base that Roe created, build on it, make it stronger, but also to make sure that their bases don't get built so strong as well.

And letting legislation like this slide is not exactly helping.

no comment necessary

via kameron, who got it via cara

Sunday, August 14, 2005

geena davis for president?

So I'm sitting here, watching abc (I know I know, mainstream media is evil), and there was just a "sneak peek" (basically, just a really long trailer) for that new show with my favourite Geena Davis, Commander in Chief.

It showcased some of the highlights of the show when it deals with the 'problems' of a woman the following:
Pres's Chief of Staff: "This country doesn't need social advancements."
Geena Davis: "You mean, this country doesn't need a woman president."

Main problem with this: Assuming that all women politicians only care about "women's issues" - i.e. domestic and "social advancements," not the "real stuff" like foreign policy, and, you know, bombing little defenseless countries because they "have weapons of mass destruction."

I admit: The premise of this show does have promise. Its intention is, after all, to debunk the fears surrounding the idea of a woman president, something which I'm all for.
But the way it's going about it...not exactly the route I'd take, to say the least.

Considering that they're not at all challenging the idea that a woman is family-oriented first, politician second.
Made abundantly clear by their (over-dramatic)
buzzwords that were flashed on the screen near the end, in this order:



more "progressive" anti-choice rhetoric

Stumbled across this two-faced little piece on, a so-called progressive news site today, entitled "In Praise of Female Sexuality."

As I clicked on it, I was hopeful. 'Yay,' I thought, 'finally, something that's not going to denounce women for being sexual beings.'

And then I read it.

On the surface, Paul Sheehan seems to have decent enough opinions, at least, in regards to sexual freedom. He's all for women being sexual, being free to be sexual, and renouncing all stigma associated with being female and sexually active, even sexually promiscuous.

But really, it's just because Paul here sees women's role purely as the baby-maker.

At first, I thought he was joking, or being sarcastic, and maybe I missed the "jk" hidden in the article, alerting us all to his 'i'm really not sexist' sarcasm. But I didn't find it, and I don't think it exists.

He has occasional, pseudo-redeeming points in his otherwise offensive article, like:
"Our aim should be to have children born into a culture where there is plenty of support for child care in addition to the mother, thus liberating mothers to more fully exploit the possibilities that advanced society can offer them."
Ok, so that's really just about the only good one he's got.

Some priceless gems:
"A woman's body is at its fertility peak between the ages of 17 and 23. So when young women advertise or flaunt their sexuality they are being driven by a force far stronger than the Judeo-Christian ethic. They are driven by the power of peak fertility and a million years of evolutionary biology. Nature has programmed them for pregnancy, genetic diversity and keeping the species going. A big job....These women are just doing their job....

"This is society's real problem. Teenage pregnancy is trivial by comparison to suppressed pregnancy."

As far as I can tell, Paul's being completely serious throughout the whole thing.

Even if you look at this not from a feminist standpoint (which I suck at doing, but try sometimes anyway), "society's problem is suppressed pregnancy"?
Are we on the same planet here? You know, the one that's wayyyy overpopulated and, if anything, needs for people to stop having so many kids and over-repopulating the over-exerted world?

And then, from the feminist perspective...I'd like to think that women have more to do in this life than propagate the species. Yeah, we can do that too. But it's not "our job," because that implies that it's mandatory that we make babies. I'm sorry, Paul, but no kid's coming out of this vagina. Or the vagina of an infertile woman. Or lots of other women's vaginas who simply don't want to do "their job."

How about we focus on reproduction as less of a "job" and more of a choice, please? Thanks.

some (rare) good news

Finally, some good news on the subject of violence against women!

Looks like feminists' constant "bitching" about the fact that we women get beat up way too often really has made a difference.
At least, it has in Britain.

Women are less likely [10% less likely, in fact] to fall victim to murder today than 20 years ago because they are more willing to walk out of violent relationships....
[Danny Dorling, the author of the report and a human geography prof at Sheffield University, states that]“People have both became aware of how dangerous domestic violence is and how fruitless it is to stay in a violent relationship. In addition, women have become economically better off and so, in increasing numbers, they can afford to walk out.”

But (I'm hoping this isn't typical Brit fashion) the news article ends with the uplifting statistic that "the average Briton [regardless of gender] is 176 times more likely to be murdered than to win the lottery with a single ticket." Lovely.

Now I know that the US's murder rates are significantly higher than pretty much any other country anywhere, so I'm sure that our raw numbers are higher than the Brits', but I wondered how much different American statistics regarding the murder rate of women are.

So, I did some googling.

According to COSSA report entitled "Controlling Violence in America," it's not really as cut-and-dry as simple statistics would imply. While the intimate partner homicide rate had declined 39 percent between 1976 and 1998, during which tons of resources became available to victims of domestic violence (overwhelmingly women), more women were killed by their partners in 1996 than in 1976. This may or may not just be because there are more people in the country in '96 as opposed to 20 years earlier.
And then there's the race/class discrepancies.
With respect to AFDC [Aid to Families with Dependent Children], Dugan noted that in areas with higher AFDC benefits fewer black unmarried males, white unmarried males, and black unmarried females were killed. There was no association, she said, between AFDC benefits and unmarried white females. Legal advocacy services, she said, had differing impacts for white and black women. For instance, white married women experienced a decreased homicide rate as legal advocacy services were strengthened, while rates of intimate partner homicide for black women were unaffected by the strength of these services.

So, while we've "come a long way, baby," we've still got a long, long road ahead of us.

All this, and there's grumbling and bitching about passing VAWA.

ovaries = tools of the patriarchy

Fucking ow.

My boobs hurt.

Honestly, god, was it necessary to make women's lives so hellish once a month?
Sometimes I think that our bodies were created to uphold the patriarchy. Because really. Why else give us such a disadvantage?

Maybe some parts of PMS are socially constructed, like mood swings/the stigma of said mood swings, but this? my boobache and my constant headache and my tummy's anger? Not socially constructed or psychosomatic shit.

So, all I have to say is,

Fuck you, ovaries. Fuck you.

(In Twisty Faster fashion, I blame the patriarchy for this.
Or maybe I blame my ovaries for helping perpetuate the patriarchy.
Or whoever created the ovary and implanted two of them in women's bodies.
Whatever. I blame you. All of you. Damn you all.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

700 club: "operation supreme court freedom"

Oh, Pat Robertson, you make me laugh.

"we've committed the month of August to praying for the Supreme Court."

700 Club reporter: "Does his [John Roberts'] position in that case [gay rights pro bono case] translate to a support of gay rights?"
Fred Thompson:"No, not at all...He didn't, of course represent them in court or anything like that."

Oh, and they also tried to discredit NARAL's new ad criticizing John Roberts, saying that it's a "radical left group." "How low will these left groups go?"

Aww, and they're saying that every judicial decision should be based on "hey, this is the word of God, let's follow that."
Because that's ethical and goes with the whole "freedom of religion" thing that our country was founded on.

"If we're committed to hearing from God as a Judeo-Christian country once again."
Wait. When were we a j-c country to begin with?


And then the requisite Muslim-turned-Christian story. They actually said that she found "the real God."
"If my God is real, why am I living like this?"
Nothing like the looking-for-answers-in-an-answerless-faith.
"We are helping Muslims like ____ find who God really is."

And then there's something about ice cream "getting the gospel out." Not just any ice cream, though...gotta be Moose Tracks.
At least this is good for providing some decent entertainment.

What's scary, though, is that some people actually devoutly believe this, and think that Pat Robertson's going to save their soul.

word of advice:

If you're a rape victim, and heading to a hospital to get a rape kit done, do not, I repeat, do NOT go to a Catholic hospital.

I just came across this frightening article on Women's eNews.
Written from the perspective of a husband of a rape counselor, Nevyn O'Kane, gives a chilling account of when he gave his wife a ride to the hospital to counsel a recent rape victim.

Some excerpts from the article:
That's when my wife came out of the treatment area with a look that would've melted stone.

"We might have to give her a ride," she said.

"Sure, how come?" I asked.

"They're now a Catholic hospital."

But one of the most important changes [when a Catholic conglomerate takes over a hospital] is that in cases of sexual assault, emergency contraception, known as Plan B, is typically not given by the hospital.

O'Kane also makes observations on what the family of the rape victim sitting in the waiting room would be going through:
So far, they could've been confronted with the message that their raped friend, sister or daughter would not be given medication to prevent pregnancy, God was behind the assault, and if the outcome was pregnancy, to terminate would be immoral and sinful.

Luckily, this particular instance turned out well, though:
Thankfully, as much as the Catholic hospital system may try to take over, doctors are stubborn. While I was looking up the nearest pharmacy, the on-call doctor, calling the new rules "ridiculous," signed out the restricted medication [emergency contraception] to the annoyance of the charge nurse.

This scares the shit out of me.
What if the rape victim is so severely wounded that she needs to go to the nearest hospital, which happens to be a Catholic one? She'll have no choice but to seek treatment at this hospital, and will be shot down (unless there are decent doctors like the one in this story) if/when she asks for EC. Because you know they're not just going to up and offer her a chance to "kill a child."
And yes, she could conceivably go to Planned Parenthood or a similar place and get it that way, but if she wasn't previously aware of this as an option, she's sure as hell not going to get this information from the Catholic hospital.

Do they really think that carrying a baby borne of a rape is preferable to aborting the pregnancy?
Because if so...
that's pretty fucked up.

don't be silly...women don't like like other women...

I'd love to have the opportunity to vent and critique and bitch about this article in the NY Times today about the new trend of admitting to your "girl crushes."

But unfortunately, Brutal Women beat me to it. And I really can't embellish much on what was said over there.
So go check out her response to it, since I agree emphatically with everything she said.

A little general info about the story though:
Evidently, a "girl crush"
"refers to that fervent infatuation that one heterosexual woman develops for another woman who may seem impossibly sophisticated, gifted, beautiful or accomplished. And while a girl crush is, by its informal definition, not sexual in nature, the feelings that it triggers - excitement, nervousness, a sense of novelty - are very much like those that accompany a new romance."

I'm not going to deny that non-sexual crushes do occur when one woman adores and looks up to another in an extreme way.
But having to qualify this definition of a "girl crush" immediately by denying its potential sexuality just oozes homophobia.
Because, you know, it's just infatuation. Not (shh) "real" attraction. Because, well, that would just be gay.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

damn you, requisite educational experiences...

Why oh why can't I be done with school already?

I want sooooo badly to do this job.

A "gender justice specialist" at the UN, working with women in Afghanistan....soooo perfect...

Now I just need to learn Arabic and I'm all set. Oh, and spend another 4-6 years in school.

shameless plug

for the coolest resource ever. allows you to search for jobs and internships that have to do with activism and feminism and whatnot.

Definitely something I'll be hitting up some years on when I finally get out of school (assuming I ever will...)

staying out of this one

Oh, by the way:

No, I am not going to comment on the bitter war being waged between avid pro-choicers/groups like NARAL and the Democrats who claim to be oh-so-progressive.

See this story on DailyKos if you want to get involved.

I, however, lost faith in both the two-party system and the Democratic party a long, long time ago. The only reason I ever vote for Democrats is not blind devotion to a party that fucks women over time and time again, but because Dems tend to be the lesser of two evils. Note that last part of the sentence: 'of two evils.' Because the Democratic Party is really just as corrupt as the Republican Party, they're just a little bit nicer about it as they're fucking you up the ass.

Dems: "Oh, I'm really sorry, this is just the way it's got to be. Does that hurt? I'm sorry. Here, have a social program that won't do anything for the greater good to help you deal with your immediate pain."

Repubs: "Oh, that hurts? Too bad. Deal with it. You know, in my day, we had to walk uphill to school both ways, and a real American works for his money and you're not patriotic if you complain. etc etc etc."

oh. my. good. lord.

found this via Bitch Ph.D's blog, and...I don't even know how to react to it.

Evidently, some employees of Playtime, an adult toy store in NJ, sent some letters and, um, gifts to some "newly liberated" women over in Iraq.

Excerpts from some of the letters:
Dear Iraqi Woman,

From what I've seen on the news, you and your fellow women have been suppressed for some time, and now that you've been liberated it is our thinking that we should spread love and hope. There's no better way to do that than with vibrators....
I'm also enclosing some Eros lube because it is one of the best lubes I have ever used and I think it will hold up well in the arid desert conditions.

Is this for real? I feel like a vagina's not going to dry up any more in "arid desert conditions" than it is in the New Jersey climate either, for that matter...

I hope that when you use this vibrator you realize that Americans do not hate you or your country.

Yes, please, think of America as you reach orgasm with your new vibrator. Oh, and don't be weirded out or anything by complete strangers sending you sex toys. I know that when I meet someone new who I desperately want not to hate me, I present them with sex toys. Nothing like an orgasm via stranger...

And, of course, some good ol' Iraqi-government bashing/America-as-savior rhetoric just has to be involved...

Soon your precious oil reserves will be plundered, and our country will no longer be important. A local despot will gain power, and the great cycle will continue. Enjoy your vibrator while you can. When my fellow Americans leave your country, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to enjoy it much longer.

And lastly, another example of something I'd never want to read in a letter from some strange woman in some weird country across the ocean:

The Sphincterine wipes will help you keep your anus and vagina minty fresh (I imagine things get a bit musky there in Iraq) and tasting great. The lube is one of the finest in the world and can really help enhance your pleasure.

The vibrator I am enclosing is the same as the model I personally use. It is so soft and bendable and features metal pleasure beads attached to the center shaft so the beads can continue to rotate regardless of how tight you clench! Trust me, it can be one wild ride!

(Not to mention how much I never want my vagina being described as "minty fresh"....)

I wish this was a joke, but I really can't say that it is.....

In other news, tally of annoying stupid children crying loudly in the library right now:
3, and counting.....

Sunday, August 07, 2005

score one for the dissenters

Looks like The Man doesn't always win.

The NCAA announced Friday that they would no longer allow teams to display any sort of paraphernalia - be they uniforms, programs, whatever - of their mascot if their mascot was deemed to be a "hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascot, nickname or imagery."
Unfortunately, they cannot regulate the teams' displays during regular season, so this new rule applies only to the 88 NCAA championships.

Still, though, this is a great victory for Native American activists.

Calling your team the "Savages" or "Redskins" would really be no less offensive than calling them the "Ni--er Boys" or the "Spics." It's a racial slur that's unfortunately been ignored and deemed "part of the culture and tradition" of sports teams for way too long.

Sometimes, the NCAA does do something right. Amazing.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

being genderqueer is anti-Judeo-Christian values? no way!

I was going to write a little bitchfest about Dennis Prager's awful article on about the problem that those with Judeo-Christian "values" have with the "T" part of the LGBQT acronym (T being, of course, transgender and/or transsexual). Talk about why "most" transgendered people DON'T necessarily identify as heterosexual men (no way -- you mean there are actually people who want to be something other than a hetero man?), and why it's really doesn't go against lgbq principles to include the trans kids in our acronym.

But I really don't think I could ever put it any better than Jill over at feministe already did. So go, click on that link, enjoy Jill's commentary, and imagine me nodding emphatically after every few sentences.

female athletes shafted AGAIN

This time, at the annual summer X Games held this year in Los Angeles.

The only events open to women? Wakeboarding and skateboarding.

The organizers of the X Games claim that "female athletes in many extreme-sports categories have not reached a high-enough level to add arenas for women."

Not so true, according to most female athletes participating in extreme sports. They aren't even given the chance to try out, let alone compete.
One of them is Kim Klisak, 24, who founded the Women of Freestyle Web site for female riders in what is known as bicycle motocross--also known as BMX--in which cyclists on 20-inch-wheeled bicycles perform tricks and stunts on flat ground and wooden ramps.

"Seven female BMX riders had a freestyle park demonstration at last year's X Games and ESPN ignored us," said Klisak.

Even the few female participants that compete in the X Games get shafted, with the events scheduled at known low-spectator times of the day, leaving the men's events to occur when the crowd is much larger. Says Mark Sperling of Op Girls Learn to Ride, "Women's divisions are a side show to the men's events."

And still, it doesn't end there. The winners of the female divisions get far less in prize money than their counterparts in the men's events, which, according to organizers, is based on ticket sales. Since obviously nobody wants to watch the women's events (not because they're scheduled at inconvenient times or barely publicized, of course), the women don't deserve as much in prize money. Sounds like perfect logic to me.

These organizers, though, are rife with gender-equity rhetoric:
"Wakeboarding appeals to women because it is a family-oriented sport," said Patrick Wampler, media director at World Sports and Marketing, a Winter Park, Fla., producer of the wakeboarding event for the X Games...referring to the team members needed to run the boat."

Because women base their interest in sports on whether or not it's conducive to "family time." Because all women really care about is their family, not winning some silly prize at some silly world-renowned sporting event.

This all follows, though, with the recent disturbing trend regarding women's sports:
As a share of television air time, women's sports coverage has declined from 8.7 percent in 1999 to 6.3 percent in 2004, according to a July study by the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles. With male competitors getting over 91 percent of the sports coverage last year, men claim 95 percent of ESPN's audience.

And, lastly, I really didn't think people still thought like this:
Many male organizers see the event [moto freestyle] as too dangerous for women. "Women are sensible and, as a husband, I can say that moto freestyle is a quasi-daredevil sport," said Paul Taublieb, president of the Malibu, Calif., Media-X International, Inc., which is organizing the "moto" events at the X Games. "Women are not very high caliber athletes and one mistake can lead to grave consequences."

Really, Paul. I thought we got over this vein of thinking, like, 20 years ago. Not high caliber athletes my ass. I'd like to see you compete in the event of your choice with the top female athlete in said sport. One mistake can lead to grave consequences for male athletes, too, you know. But, oh wait, I forgot -- they're naturally inclined to be better athletes than women, so of course, they wouldn't make a mistake and, I don't know, die, would they? Guess those guys who've had major life-threatening accidents on the dirt moto freestyle courses (or any other extreme sport for that matter) were just flukes, right? Or maybe they were just "girly men."

Friday, August 05, 2005

and now, a happy post

Columbia University announced on Wednesday that they would start a $15 million campaign to diversify their faculty.

Right now, their numbers of women and minority faculty are fairly dismal, but pretty similar to other Ivy League colleges, with women making up only 28% of their 577 faculty members in the arts & sciences, and minorities (men and women) making up only 13%.

In addition to hiring more women and minorities, with a special focus on adding more women faculty to the natural sciences and engineering departments, they will also be improving child care services for faculty members, which is especially a concern for hard-working women professors. (It should also be a concern for male professors, who theoretically should be just as responsible for child care, but that's another topic altogether...)

So, this feminist gives big ol' kudos to Columbia University today, and special kudos to Jean Howard, vice provost for diversity initiatives there, who's only been there for a year and is already making waves.

getting in good with the wingnuts

Well, we all knew it was going to happen, but it is now completely official and final: Pataki vetoed legislation yesterday that would make EC (aka the morning-after pill) available over-the-counter.

I don't really have any more to say about this now than I did before, and I know I should've expected it to happen anyway, but...color me naive, I thought that maybe all the letters from his constituents and the NARAL Pro-Choice NY rally in Albany would've at least made him think twice.

But it does remind me of something that Amber Hollibaugh said when she visited Wells last semester. I can't quote her verbatim, because I didn't write it down or anything, but she said that the vast, vast majority of activism is met with failure. As depressing as that is, a true activist persists through the failures, and eventually - even if it's not in our lifetimes - we'll win the little battles. And it's the little battles that we win that allow us to win the war.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

no way...women can rape other women???

Unfortunately, this story is set in what will soon be my town, Northampton, Massachusetts, and includes a person who just may be a classmate of mine at Smith College.

The rare occasion of the news actually covering same-sex rape/abuse:

Prosecutors have dropped rape charges filed against two women, including a former Smith College student, who were accused of handcuffing and raping another student and slashing her with knives.

Rachel Ann Klobertanz, 23, and Augusta Claire Kendall, 22, both pleaded innocent in January to aggravated rape and assault charges.

Kendall was a student at the elite women's college at the time of her arrest.

The woman who made the accusation lives out of state and would not voluntarily testify, so the judge dismissed the charges on Monday, according to the district attorney's office.

Prosecutors had said the three women met at a downtown Northampton bar on Jan. 14. They went back to Klobertanz and Kendall's apartment, where they drank champagne and engaged in sex that allegedly began as consensual but ended as rape.

What's most disconcerting, though, is my fellow Smithies' reactions to this.
While some are advocating for Augusta Kendall, the former Smith student (would've been '06, therefore a rising senior), to not be re-admitted, there are a number of students who think there shouldn't be a problem with her readmittance, now that the charges have been dropped.

Some disturbing quotes from the jolt (a forum for smithies): (the most disturbing are **'ed):
"give your fellow student benefit of the doubt"
**"If she reapplies to Smith and JB doesn't think she's a risk to anyone by being here (I don't think she is...she wasn't accused of randomly attacking people on the way to class), then she gets to come back"**
"If you know her than you know she is a good person."
"look...for all we know the accuser is lying."

Of course, there were PLENTY of students who have the same viewpoint as me, I'm just showcasing the sad fact that even at a place as liberal and lefter than left as Smith, people have the same destructive opinions as those who make rape and justice for it such a problem in this country.

For one, the whole "she wasn't randomly attacking people" defense is RIDICULOUS. Rape is not just perpetrated by masked strangers in dark alleys. In fact, that's quite the minority of rape cases. MOST rapes are perpetrated by acquaintances, whether it be dates or otherwise. Just because this girl wasn't jumping Smithies on their way to class does not mean she's not a threat. Does that mean that a serial date rapist should be set free on the streets and in the bars of town just because he doesn't jump girls in the street? No. Pretty sure it doesn't.

And MOST destructive is the false accusation assumption. Yes, there's that whole innocent until proven guilty thing, which obviously has its merits as a pretty important basis for our judicial system (as flawed as it may be). But when you start doubting the accuser's report of an already vastly underreported crime, all you do is scar the victims/survivors even deeper.

Further, why don't we see this kind of doubt in other crimes? When a robbery is reported, police and others don't automatically assume that the person is making it up for attention or for revenge. When a house is set on fire, the first assumption is that it was either an accident or someone else's doing, NOT that the victim of the house fire set it hirself. Why is it so different for sexually based offenses? Why are we so loathe to believe that women COULD actually be telling the truth, and why are we so quick to assume that the accuser is lying?

This "victim who cried wolf" shit is seriously getting old.

Oh, and while we're on this story, how about we start paying some attention to domestic violence/same-sex sexual offenses?
Because, guess what kids?
It can, and does, happen.
You don't have to have a penis in order to rape. Get over that ill-conceived perception, and maybe, just maybe, we have a chance in stopping this violence against women (and men) epidemic.

Of course, it doesn't help that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) doesn't include protections for the queer community. Because, after all, that "would just be asking for trouble."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

putting a face on "collateral damage"

(chris hondros/getty images)

Aaand I'm back to my political angry feminazi self.

Judith Coburn at Mother Jones has a fantastic article on how we unceasingly downplay and ignore the massive numbers of dead Iraqis, or "collateral damage." You know, those people across the ocean that we're "liberating."
Because, well, "We don't do body counts." Gen. Tommy Franks

The dead are counted. But they are Americans. The names are named. But they are Americans. The names and numbers of the dead are intoned aloud or their photographs papered on media "walls" and they are always only American.

Publishing or pronouncing the names of the American dead everyday without ever mentioning the names of the Iraqi dead offers a powerful message that only American dying matters.

Of course, I understand why the government doesn't want the Iraqi casualties to be counted or publicized. We're not supposed to humanize "the enemy." You just don't do that in war situations if you want your constituents to support the war effort. (Nevermind that a good portion of America already doesn't support this war.)

It's hardly surprising that the Pentagon is loath to tell us how many innocent Iraqis it has killed. It's a political issue. Early in the war, the Iraqi Health Ministry ordered morgues and hospitals to count the number of war dead and wounded coming in. They reported 1,764 civilians killed in the summer of 2003. But the American occupation's Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) ordered them to stop counting.

There's finally an "official" Iraqi body count, after the US stopped being quite as douche-y, but it's hardly completely accurate:
Iraqi Interior Ministry reports that 8,175 Iraqi civilians and police officers were killed by insurgents from August 2004 through May 31, rate of more than 800 a month; figures do not include Iraqi soldiers or civilians killed during US military operations; The US has avoided Iraqi body count, but estimates of Iraqi dead range from official estimate of 12,000 in June to 100,000 in widely reported study last year.

And yes, there have been some attempts by American journalists and politicians to recognize and honour the Iraqi casualties. But none of these have really had much of an effect, and have hardly caught the mainstream media's attention. CNN and the NY Times and the like consistently - daily, even - report on the number of American dead. But other than a few token stories of Iraqi casualties and body counts, largely ignore the fact that there are people other than Americans dying in the Middle East.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

my new Life Plan

via the (ex) Roommate

I'm too sick and tired of the f-ing Patriarchy to deal with any of the most recent asinine actions of politicians and the like, so instead, I will regale you with my newest Life Plan, as will be undertaken with (ex) Roommate.

After we have acquired our master's and/or ph.d's in some sort of queer/feminist-related field, we will settle down in one of two places, depending on how much we feel like taking on The Patriarchy: either a very scary right-wing town (preferably with a university or college, so that we can take on teaching jobs if necessary/desired) with a plethora of homophobes and anti-feminists (a la Jerry Falwell), or a gay/liberal mecca like Northampton, Massachusetts.

There, we will then purchase a large well-located house, preferably of the Pretty Victorian style, and revamp it into a Queer/Feminist Sanctuary and Refuge to Escape from the Patriarchy.

Things (thus far) that will be included in the Sanctuary:
-a LARGE, comfy library/study, with numerous overstuffed comfy chairs, lots of pillows, big pretty desks, and tons and tons of feminist/women's/queer literature along each and every wall. (Basically, all I need to be happy in life.)
-a queer counseling center, equipped with both counselors/therapists (if in Noho, pulled from recent grads of the Smith School for Social Work) and psychiatrists to dole out meds and/or hormones when necessary. This will be our main source of income, since most of the services will be completely free of charge.
-support groups for numerous things, mostly focused on queer stuff (parents of queers, queer parenting support, coming out, etc)
-(possibly) a domestic violence shelter, especially open to the queer kids who get fucked over by their partner(s).
-educational programs for both queer and feminist causes
-anything else that comes up as potentially useful.

Money issues (i.e. how we'll pay for it, how we'll have any kind of income, etc.) have yet to be decided, but that'll come later. Perhaps we'll have to hire a feminist-inclined econ major or something to handle our finances, since we're both pretty inept at such things.

Also, I will hopefully be involved in some kind of feminist political lobbyist/social change organization which will somehow be worked into the workings of our little Paradise.

And, I get to be in charge of creating the library/study space. This is something that excites me immensely. (What can I say? I'm a shameless women's studies nerd.)

(Hopefully, I'll be less fed up with the Patriarchy tomorrow. Well, maybe not less fed up, but more able to handle its douche-iness. I promise, I won't leave y'all hanging forever.)

Monday, August 01, 2005

i also heart the guerrilla girls like whoa

found this recently, a fabulous newish poster by the Gerrilla Girls:

i heart pro-choice bloggers

Something that should be numero uno on your Things To Check Out Online Today list:

Bushvchoice, the absolutely fabulous blog via NARAL Pro-Choice America, re-launched its newly revamped site today with some wonderful guest bloggers, including Amanda of Pandagon, Bill Scher of LiberalOasis, Ampersand from Alas, A Blog, Dr. B, and Echidne of the Snakes.

So head on over there, read the beautimous blogs, and then head over to the Big Liberal Blogs (i.e. Daily Kos, Eschaton (aka atrios), My DD, The Left Coaster, and Swing State Project to make them pay attention to the women that will be affected by the politics of this Roberts nomination crap.

/end feminist blog gush-fest

Pataki strikes again...

My fabulous governor (who I can be proud to say I never voted for) George Pataki has proved his douchebagness yet again.

He's promised to veto a new bill in the NY legislature that would guarantee EC's (morning-after pill's) over-the-counter availability.

His "logic" behind potential veto?

Kevin C. Quinn, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement that the governor's main objection was that the bill did not include provisions that would prevent minors from having access to the drug.

Because I hate it when those gonna-have-sex-anyway teenage girls can actually prevent those pregnancies that they obviously deserve for having sex in the first place. (please note the sarcasm)

Shitty thing is, Pataki's mostly been on the pro-choicer's side of the abortion debate. But now that the good ol' boy's planning on running for president in '08, he's gotta make good with the pro-lifers that make up so much of the disturbed Republican constituency.

NARAL Pro-Choice NY executive director Kelli Conlin:
"This is about pandering to the right wing of the Republican Party rather than doing what's right for the women of New York."

some rockin' women politicians

that are all the more rockin' because they graduated from women's colleges.

In the Senate:
Hillary Rodham Clinton, NY-D, Wellesley College
Blanche Lincoln, AR-D, Randolph-Macon Women's College
Barbara Mikulski, MD-D, Mt. St. Agnes College (no longer in existence)

And a high five to the states of Washington, Maine and California for having two, therefore, only, female Senators.

In the House:
Nita Lowey, NY-D, Mount Holyoke College
Nancy Pelosi, CA-D, Trinity University (DC) <--house minority leader
Barbara Lee, CA-D, Mills College
Jane Harman, CA-D, Smith College
Rosa DeLauro, CT-D, Marymount College
Nancy Johnson, CT-D, Radcliffe College
Virginia Browne-Waite, FL-R, Russell Sage College
Katherine Harris, FL-R, Agnes Scott College
Betty McCollum, MN-D, College of St. Catherine
Allyson Schwartz, PA-D, Simmons College
Tammy Baldwin, WI-D, Smith College <--and gay!

Shame on these states, for having NO women in either chamber:
Massachusetts (wtf?)
New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina

And one of my favourites of these women: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat in the House who's pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-gun control, and stole my heart when I read that whilst in the Florida Senate she fought to try to make language in the state more gender neutral. Oh yeah, and she shares my birthday (September 27).

Why I Love Hillary Rodham Clinton

She, along with Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Patty Murray (WA), Mary Landrieu (LA), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Maria Cantwell (WA) have vowed that they will actually lay the smack down about abortion during the Roberts confirmation hearing. They'll actually ask the tough questions, and they'll make sure this guy discloses his views on abortion and Roe. Hooray for Senators with balls!

The Fabulous Seven have also set up a website where you, the voting public, can submit questions you'd like Roberts to be asked during the hearing.

Amazing, isn't it, when Senators actually care about the input of their constituents...

Oh yeah, and Hillary's a women's college grad (Wellesley), which makes her all the more fabulous in my book. As is Senator Mikulski (Mt St Agnes of MD, now coed and merged w/ Loyola).

Victim's Survivor's Manifesto

(something I wrote for my feminist theory class last semester (spring '05).
figured i'd post it.)

I write this as a woman, as a feminist, as a women’s studies major, but perhaps most importantly, as a sexual abuse/rape/incest survivor. The word, “survivor,” is in itself a troublesome term - it implies that I’m 100% better, 100% over you, something I’ve only recently come to terms with, but something I may never fully be.

You see, recently, I’ve become angry, but not with just any anger. I’ve become angry with that kind of rage that bubbles up, rage that is not unlike the high-pitched wail of the teakettle signaling the boiling of the water, rage that doesn’t stop at that wail, and forces its way out of the pot, blowing the lid off as it goes. And it’s that kind of rage that needs to be shared, that needs to be reconciled, that needs to be outed. So, here we go:

#1. Your penis does not entitle you to any part of my body; not my breasts, not my mouth, and sure as fuck not my vagina. These parts of my body? They’re mine. Only I can grant access to them, and only I can take that access away. And that goes for all women you might think about victimizing or have already. Every “I” I use in this manifesto applies not only to me and to all victims/survivors, but to all women, everywhere. Men the world over think that because of their status in this patriarchal society, they can lay claim to everything they think they rightfully own, from land to animals to us women. They buy up and conquer any land not otherwise claimed by other men, pen up and cage animals meant to run wild, and marry off and rape women in epidemic numbers. In 2003 alone, there were well over 198,850 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault, NOT including those victims under 12 years of age, or the innumerable amount of rapes that go unreported each year. What these men don’t realize is that someday, these people, that they think they own, will rise up against them in insurmountable numbers. Your penis entitles you to nothing. Least of all, the virginity of a child or access to the woman of your choice. (You only have as much power as I grant you.)

#2. I am more than a sexual object. I have a mind, I have a future, and I have a self that exists entirely outside of, yet intertwined with, my sexual self. You cannot fuck with my sexual self without fucking with the rest of me. You cannot look at me as though I were a piece of meat you were picking out at the deli, because I’m more than that, and I deserve more than that. My cunt, as well, is more than just a receptacle for your pleasure, or a baby-making machine. My cunt is so much more than that. “My cunt a wound that won’t heal.” Except it is healing. And it’s only a part of me now, not the be-all and end-all of my being, as you would have it be. Yes, my body is sexual, and it is sexual outside of the purposes you would have it be used for, but it is so much more than that. When I wear a low-cut top, I’m not asking you to stare at or fondle my breasts. When I wear a short skirt, I’m not asking for rape. I’m a sexual person, but I will not be sexually objectified. (You only have as much power as I grant you.)

#3. Along with that, my body is capable, and deserving, of sexual pleasure. (Please note: What you “gave” me was not pleasure.) It can orgasm. It loves to orgasm. And you no longer have an effect on that. You no longer have any place in my sexual life, because what I had with you was not sexual. What I had with you was a simple exchange of power and control. Come to think of it, it was not so much exchange as surrender. I surrendered my power, my control, because I was afraid. I surrendered because I thought that’s what was supposed to happen. I surrendered because that’s what girls do when boys want something. This goes along with point #1, regarding Penis Entitlement. Boys want, girls give. We’re taught from day one that this is the way the world works, from toys to independence to sex. Little girls give up their toy trucks when little boys come stomping on their play area, reverting back to the little-girl ideals of playing house and dolls. Women give up their independence through marriage or other similar commitments of “love.” And rape victims give up their entitlement to their own sexuality when boys/men demand it of them. This needs to end. In my own life, it ends (or, as it were, starts) here. I’m reclaiming my own sexuality, taking back my stolen innocence. I’m not innocent anymore. But I am sexual again. And my sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with you. (You only have as much power as I grant you.)

#4. I will not be afraid anymore. I am done with the fear of intimacy, the fear of trust, the fear of commitment -- all that shit that you started, I’m ending. Right now. So if you think that you can continue to control me through my fear of you, of sex, of another rape, you’re wrong. Get over yourself. I won’t tailor my every move to what you would have me do anymore. I’m not afraid. I will walk down the street at night, and not be immobilizingly afraid of being victimized again. I will have sex with whomever I wish, whenever I wish, and not be afraid of being close with them. I will masturbate, and not be afraid of feeling sexual in my own right. I will talk to people, confide in them, I will tell them the truth about me, about my past, about my present, and not be afraid of another betrayal. My fear of you, and of rape in general, parallels women’s fear everywhere. Men have so terrorized women through sexual abuse and rape that they fear the streets at night, they fear being out alone, they fear being anything but feminine, and they fear being seen as promiscuous. The simple act of wearing a short skirt is frightening, because you ingrain into our minds that this makes us whores, promiscuous, asking for rape. This is no way for women to live, and no way for me to live. I am done with living this way. We are all done with living this way. (You only have as much power as I grant you.)

#5. My vagina is not at fault for your penis’ intrusion. Nor are my breasts, my eyes, or I, as a woman. There is no such thing as “suggestive eyes” or “she-wanted-it eyes.” Your penis stepped over the line when it entered my vagina, as did the rest of your body. It is not my fault. Let me repeat that. It is not my fault. It is yours. You, as my abuser, as my rapist, bear full responsibility for my rape. I will not deny that you were influenced by certain social conditions, but it was your choice to abide by those social conditions, and your choice to fuck me. Whose fault is it? In the end, that’s not really my decision to make. But I do know one thing: it is not my fault. (You only have as much power as I grant you.)

#6. There is no way to curb this violence against women unless we as women stand up for ourselves. The patriarchal state cannot effectively do this for us, as it is infected and infested with racism, classism, misogyny, and homophobia. Its racism prevents it from helping a woman of color who seeks assistance after a rape, its homophobia prevents it from helping a lesbian who is abused or raped, and its classism downplays the impact of rape on lower- and working-class women. Then, of course, there’s the general misogyny and gender-based bias of the state, which downplays the impact of rape altogether, regardless of how much they claim to substantiate this crime. Consider, for example, the TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s introduction, which declares “sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.” This may be true for individual officers of the law, but the state overall does not consider them “heinous” in the least. Angela Davis was absolutely right when she explained that the criminalization of rape and sexual abuse could not be a solution to the problem. A corrupt, misogynistic state cannot cure an epidemic based on corruption and misogyny. (You only have as much power as I grant you.)

In short, I’m done with your bullshit. I’m moving on. I will not be a victim, and I will not allow you to victimize others. My cunt is my own. I am reclaiming it for myself, for my sexuality, and for my personhood. You only have as much power as I grant you. And I grant you none.