Thursday, September 29, 2005

more anti-women, anti-VAWA rhetoric

From an angry post about how radical feminists are hijacking the cause of domestic violence prevention, I ended up here, at a site called "Hate Male Post," one of those crazy "men's rights" bloggers.
Normally, I just laugh these fuckers off. Because when they use words like man repellant and seriously post beliefs such as this:
1) Men don't have any rights anymore, and

2) Unfortunately, many, even the majority of rape and assault claims ARE made up, irregardless (sic) of what NOW and the gender-feminists tell us.

it makes me want to either vomit or punch a wall.

But the most recent post on this "men's rights" blog about the problems of the VAWA legislation has a teeny bit of merit (when you ignore the majority of the post, which is so anti-feminist that it gives Jerry Falwell a run for his money).
Mainly, this: that there is, in fact, an undercurrent of domestic and sexual violence against men, especially sexual, that goes almost universally unreported. While it remains that the majority of these men's perpetrators are also men, there are women violators of this as well.
I haven't studied the language of VAWA ad nauseum (or at all, really), but it seems to me that the name of the legislation -- Violence Against Women Act -- implies that it may, in fact, not extend these protections to male victims of domestic violence. In that sense, at least, it is perpetuating the underreporting of these incidents.

These men's rights' groups do have at least some relevance, then, in their pleading for VAWA to be a gender-neutral piece of legislatio. This seems reasonable enough.

So, my question is this:
Can this be done without minimizing the fact that the majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women? Would neutralizing the gendered language in the legislation make it less effective or less of a "feminist issue"?

I have my thoughts, but I'd like to hear others.

and on a positive note....

To end today's blogging session (which has been rather productive - yay!), I'll leave y'all with this:

Two weeks ago, the House passed an amendment to the federal hate crimes legislation (vote: 223-199), which "adds actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability to federal hate crime laws."

And Rep. Tammy Baldwin's response (which almost makes me wish I lived in Wisconsin...almost...) :
“Gays and lesbians should not have to live in fear anywhere in the United States of America,” said Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), one of three openly gay members of Congress and the only lesbian. “Today's vote is significant both substantively and symbolically, reminding us, as Dr. Martin Luther King did, that, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice'.”



Leave it to crazy Republicans to take positive, empowering legislation and make it something for Dems to rally against.

Late last night, Sensenbrenner, (R-WI), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, submitted a "Manager's Amendment" to the bill...essentially taking away protections for equal domestic violence funding to people of color and their commmunities.

Because, you know, those women of color who get the shit beat out of them don't really deserve the kinds of (already limited) resources that us white women get. Obviously.
And besides, if this amendment makes it difficult to get through the house, it's ok, because VAWA's just funding those crazy radical feminists anyway. (note: that link is rather inflammatory and crazy right-wing, so don't click if you're not ok with your heart rate substantially increasing.)
The inevitable has happened: Roberts has been confirmed. by a 78-22 margin. Shit. (At least my senators were on the opposition...)

Now, though, I guess we have to turn our attention to the next candidate. (And given how wrong the blogosphere was about the Roberts nomination, this blogger won't be speculatin' or assuming until the Shrub officially announces whatever he announces.)

(Note: Planned Parenthood is trying to plan a nationwide Rally for Roe on October 3rd, so go here to learn more.)

more on Commander In Chief

Go forth and read Rebecca Traister's account of the NYC screening and the show itself, here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

geena davis for president

So here it is, my reaction to last night's season/series premiere of ABC's Commander In Chief. (The new show about a woman VP-turned-President, played by none other than the fabtacular Geena Davis, for those of you who aren't up on your TV references.)

First, I'll say that it didn't do what I was deathly afraid of it doing....much. While it very much emphasized her role as mother, it didn't make her out to be an uber-maternal figure. They even cast her as up on militaristic strategies, something which I admit, I wasn't expecting. So, her representation as feminine-but-not-too-feminine, and masculine-but-not-too-masculine was pretty acceptable, for an ABC show.
A very, very (positively) surprising aspect was that they didn't masculinize the role of President too much, or the power that the President has. In order to be President, Geena Davis didn't have to give up many of her "feminine wiles," and they didn't dichotomize femininity/passivity and masculinity/power too much. So kudos to ABC for that.

The Hillary references were...interesting. I know they were meant sarcastically, but the degree of sarcasm and the degree of truth weren't very discernible, so the jury's still out on that part.

My biggest problem with the show's portrayal of the dynamics of a female president (that I've hashed out so far, at least), goes along with feministing's criticism:
Why is it that for a woman to be president, a man needs to be feminized?

This happened over and over in the show, when explaining the "duties" that the new Prez's husband would have as First Gentleman (conflated with "First Lady" a couple times). His office was very pink (ew), and the major duty that I saw the former First Lady's chief of staff explaining to him was overseeing the meal preparation and the menu choices -- a very feminized task. While this by itself wouldn't be so much of a problem, the husband acts completley lost and a little disgusted by being "demoted" in such a way. For comedy's sake, they've de-emphasized the domestic role as petty, and ridiculed it as "beneath" this guy's role.

Maybe, just maybe, it'll get better. It's got a good start, at least....

Sunday, September 25, 2005

thank god i'm a new yorker....

I'm very sorry for the rest of you kids, with Senators who lack the balls to vote against the confirmation of John Roberts for Chief Justice.
Because both of my Senators rock enough to oppose the King of Question Aversion

NY Senator 1, Chuck Schumer, is, I admit, kind of an obnoxious asshole. And he's probably only opposing Roberts to try to further his career, and not because of the opinions his constituents (including me) have voiced or his own ideology. But that's ok, because he's casting a "no" vote on Roberts!

NY Senator 2, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who's not nearly as much of an asshole as Schumer, is opposing his confirmation as well.

Even though his nomination is imminent, since almost all Repubs are behind him, and the Dems are too cowardly to filibuster him (like this: "Some lawmakers and legal analysts claimed the three Democrats [on the committee] -- Sens. Patrick Leahy, Russ Feingold and Herbert Kohl -- likely supported Roberts so they would not be cast as obstructionists.") , I've got the good ones.

I *heart* my Senators. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"getting over it"

(Damn you, feminist blogosphere. You are so bad/good for my procrastination habit...)

From Jill at Feministe, I found this article By Antheia at Mad Melancholic Feminista:

"How long did it take you to get over it?"

Really, I'm trying to keep this short so I can get on with my feminist theory reading (because I <3 Angela Davis), so...I won't comment on it other than to say that it hits the nail on the fucking head.
In the words of my dad back in his hippie days...
Right on, man.
Right on.

(Psst. Go. Read it. Now.)

because all women have this choice...*cough cough*

The NY Times just published another "opt-out" revolution piece, saying basically that more women are choosing motherhood over careers.
This article focuses on women in "elite colleges" (Harvard, Yale, and the like...of course not including any women in single-sex institutions that really are quite comparable to these "elite" institutions..I somehow doubt that the majority of students in single-sex colleges would agree with this getting-an-MRS-degree thing...), and how while they're going to college and intending to get "useful" degrees in things like law and such, they "say they will happily play a traditional female role, with motherhood their main commitment."
Think outside the box, kiddles.

One (male) dean at Yale has it right, at least...
"What does concern me," said Peter Salovey, the dean of Yale College, "is that so few students seem to be able to think outside the box; so few students seem to be able to imagine a life for themselves that isn't constructed along traditional gender roles."

I have sooo much more I could say about this, but no time to do so, so instead, I'm going to pimp out other bloggers.
Jessica at feministing
And ms. musings

i <3 the french

So, I'm realllly busy (with feminist theory reading - yay!), but I had to post some things...

First post, because I'm an athlete and I care about these things...

The French Open announced that they will now give equal amounts of prize money to men and women competitors.

In terms of prize money, the U.S. Open and Australian Open had already been paying the men and women equally. With the French Open's new policy, that leaves Wimbledon as the only Grand Slam to pay women less.

Only a matter of time before the good ol' boys club of Wimbledon catches up with the rest of the world.....

Saturday, September 17, 2005

ready to say yet another goodbye to women's repro rights?

Because it looks like we might be even more screwed now.

There're two differing accounts on this though. The first press release said that the FDA's replacement for Susan Wood, who resigned from her position as director of the Office of Women's Health because of the FDA's assholeishness about approving otc emergency contraception, was a man named Norris Alderson.
Why is this disturbing (besides the fact that they're appointing a man as director of women's health)?
Alderson has a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry from the University of Tennessee and graduate degrees from the University of Kentucky. He has worked at the FDA for more than 30 years, more than 20 of which he spent in the agency's Bureau of Veterinary Medicine.

Then, shortly after, the FDA released a second press release naming Theresa Toigo as the Acting Director of the Office for Women's Health. She doesn't seem like as much of a threat to women's reproductive rights as this Alderson character, but I don't know about you...I still refuse to trust any of BushCo's appointments that can have any jurisdiction over what I can do with my body.

Friday, September 16, 2005

yay for massachusetts!

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Legislature easily overrode Governor Mitt Romney's veto of the emergency contraception legislation that came before him last month.

Not being a voting resident of Massachusetts, why would I care about this, you ask?
For a couple reasons. First and foremost, Romney's veto came shortly after "my" governor's (Pataki - NY) veto on very similar legislation regarding EC. The two governors vetoed for similar reasons as well: both are under pressure from "pro-life" constituency to further the "pro-life" agenda; Pataki because the asshole wants to run for prez, and Romney because he claims (unlike every other politician) that he wants to make good on his campaign promises of not changing the state's abortion laws.
Second, I care because now that I'm a student in Massachusetts, I'll no doubt make friends who would need to have access to EC, even if I in my lesbian non-sexedness don't. (That is, if I ever make any straight or boy-loving-bi friends here at Smith, which I have yet to do...)

Senator Pamela P. Resor:
"Not only was his veto irresponsible, his argument was based on weak and misguided information."

Plus, the legislation went one further, and now requires all Massachusetts hospitals to offer EC to rape victims, which will actually only affect the 12 of the 71 state's hospitals that currently do not.

So, today, I give a big ol' high five to the Massachusetts legislature, and hope that the NY legislature follows its lead (even though I haven't heard anything about overriding Patasski's veto from over in the empire state yet...).

because i don't wanna...

Some other bloggers who are covering the Roberts hearings:

bush v choice, with Jessica from feministing

feministing -- roberts + everything else that's going on

Slate has a decent write-up too

Nancy Keenan of NARAL's press release on Roberts' refusal to answer questions

While DailyKos has probably the most extensive coverage of the hearings, I refuse to give them a link, for reasons obvious to anyone who's read the posts about touchy-feely hippies, sanctimonious women's studies types, and idiotic gay rights groups.

I, however, am pretty hopeless about this whole thing. We're probably never going to find out who this guy actually is, and chances are, he's going to get confirmed anyway. I'll be right there when we have to fight for a new Roe v Wade once this one gets almost inevitably overturned, but for now...give others your patronage about Roberts. Because I don't have the heart to do it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

rule the country with an iron...hymen?

I know, I know, it's been forever since I've put anything on here. I've been a bit busy, though, what with starting at Smith last week and trying to force myself to make friends (i.e. not be an antisocial blogger who never leaves her room except for class).

But today, I finally got time to browse through my favourite feminist blogs, and I came across this gem on feministing.

IronHymen, Abstinence-Only Coolness for Girls is selling merchandise with this fabulous logo:

And buttons like this:

I want to think this website is a joke. And I'm almost certain it is. But I'm afraid to assume anything anymore...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

it just keeps getting worse...

Even though Hurricane Katrina was 2 categories lower than expected, the devastation it's caused is literally unbelievable. I could even argue that the damage that Louisiana and Mississippi have endured is worse than 9/11. There's no body count yet, so we have no way of knowing if that's comparable. But the entire city of New Orleans is pretty much gone. 9/11 only destroyed 2 buildings.

The Superdome, where those who couldn't get out of New Orleans are being held, is quickly becoming less of a haven and more of a hell.
There is open violence due to rising tempers because of the undeniable stress of the situation. People have been killed, but there are no numbers because of the violence. The bathrooms are avoided by many, and so there is human waste everywhere. And, what I was afraid of the most (and, of course, have heard next to nothing about on the otherwise decent coverage by the mainstream media): an untold number of rapes have already occurred, and at least one victim was a child. (From the NY Times)
Darcel Monroe, 21, a bakery cashier, stammered hysterically as she recounted seeing two young girls being raped in one of the women's bathrooms. "A lot of people saw it but they were afraid to do anything," she said. "He ran out past all of us."

And to make matters worse, the neo-con wingnuts are blaming the hurricane itself on the "sodomites" and "sinners" of New Orleans:
From WorldNetDaily:
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage in a statement. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that opened its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same."

Not only that, they're now openly degrading the refugees and survivors, saying it's their fault that they've got nothing now, because they "chose" not to get out:
Atrios' coverage of Michael Chertoff on (where else?) Fox News:
"The critical thing was to get people out of there before the disaster," he said on NBC's Today program. "Some people chose not to obey that order. That was a mistake on their part."

Because the plethora of homeless and poverty-stricken people of New Orleans really had a choice. Riight.
Oh, and WND also blames the removal of the 10 Commandments from schools for the current looting in schools.
Obviously, it's not because people are desperate and have no other way to acquire necessary goods. They should of course be waiting for store employees to return to work so that they can legitimately buy said goods with the money that they no longer have, never had, or was stolen from them.

And there's nothing like exploiting the refugees' need for shelter. A lot of the more disgusting ads have been removed, but there are a good number of listings on that both men and women have posted, looking for a "stay and lay" refugee to come live with them. While the legitimate offers of temporary housing in random good samaritans' homes are touching, these are just gross:
For example:
All you Playa Haters Need Not Respond Baby, I'm a humanitarian with a sweet sweet giving soul and you ain't!

Speaking of craigslist offers of housing, perhaps a better option, instead of posting something on the internet where those living in a city under water with no electricity would never be able to read it, would be to contact people who are physically in or near the disaster area. Then, you would not only actually have the possibility of reaching people you might be trying to help, but you lose the sketchy impersonality and danger of offering up free housing on the internet.

It's times like these, though, that I wish I wasn't a poor, broke college student with no skills. Because I have no money to donate, and I have no skills (medical/other) to offer. So all I can do, really, is encourage other, not so broke people with special skills to do what they can.

why i'm going to

the anti-war demonstration in DC in September:

My older brother, Jim, who's been in the Navy for years (he graduated from boot camp in either '92 or '93, I think), is something of a pacifist. He doesn't particularly like war, and would rather avoid it, but being under a commander in chief like le Shrub, he's fully convinced that this bullshit in Iraq is necessary (at least, that's what he tells us. I'm not sure how much he believes it himself though). Not being too keen on killing other people, he entered into medical training in the Navy, and is now a certified EMT and works in the medical aspect of the Navy Reserves. (His idol has been Hawkeye from M.A.S.H. for as long as he can remember.) Since he's not too keen on fighting, he's been in the Reserves since he got in, with one very short-lived stint on Active Duty when recruitment rates were severely low and they needed to put him on AD.

He also has a hero complex. He absolutely loathes seeing his friends on Active Duty with wives and children come home in body bags. Since he has no wife and no children and, therefore, no immediate dependents, he thinks that he should be over there instead of them.
So, he put in his request to be taken off of reserve status and put on Active Duty.

He's been stationed on Coronado Island (outside of San Diego) for over 5 years now. He's being transferred to Austin, Texas in January, where he will undergo more field training before they ship him out to Iraq.

Now, granted, he's a medic, so he won't exactly be on the front lines. But this isn't exactly a conventional war where the fighting is restricted to the front lines. It's not just the soldiers that are ordered to suppress the insurgency that are being killed. Therefore, he is hardly out of danger by being a soldier with a big red cross on his uniform.

So, on September 24, I will be marching against the war, surrounded by other people with loved ones who are in Iraq, on their way to Iraq, or who have come home in body bags.
And then, I'll be participating in the mass civil disobedience action.
Because I'll be damned if I let the Shrub kill my brother.

Will you be there with me?

all i know is that those
who are going to be killed
aren't those who preside
on capitol hill
i told him,
don't fill the front lines
of their war
those assholes aren't worth dying for

(ani d)

bubble of peace

I want to apologize for slacking off on my blogging life.
Things have been mighty crazy lately, and I've been too busy packing my life up into little boxes to pay much attention to the outside world.
But now that I've taken a peek at what's out there, I'm not so sure I want to stop pretending that I can live in a bubble of peace.

I'll be getting back to my socially aware self soon. I promise.