Friday, July 27, 2007

Quick Update

I added a few links recently on the side over there. I added actress Emma Watson's new official website. She plays Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, and I think she deserves to be named a Righteous Babe. I also added the blogs of a couple of friends, The Sweetest Bolshevist by Anna and La Oscuridad Necesaria by Diana.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First Indian Woman President Sworn In

Pratibha Patil was sworn in as India's first woman president today. Women's empowerment and ending female feticide are among her platforms. Patil says, "Empowerment of women is particularly important to me as I believe this leads to the empowerment of the nation."

Right on. Patil, however, does have her critics. Many Indian women believe she is more of a symbol than someone who can promote radical change in Indian society, and she has also been criticised for calling Indian women to stop wearing head scarves. Particularly, Madhu Kishwar, editor of the feminist magazine Manushi, says, "I have always believed that it's not everything to just have sari-wearing creatures in politics. It's more important that politics stands for and enables honest, upright people to survive.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My First* Feminist Memory

*Note: The following story is, chronologically, my second feminist memory. However, the first one isn't as, say, third-wave appropriate as my second feminist memory.

When I heard Barack Obama's comments about age-appropriate sex education for children in Kindergarten, I was reminded of my Kindergarten days. Obama believes that 5-year-olds should be taught what is a good touch and what is a bad touch in order to protect them from pedophiles. At first I thought, How could this still be an issue? I learned about good touch/bad touch in 1989. Are we going backwards? Then I thought back to that day when I learned the difference between good touches and bad touches. I learned that a touch between the legs or the bottom is a bad touch for both boys and girls, and a touch on the chest is a bad touch for girls. My 5-year-old brain started working. I thought, That's unfair. Why are there more bad places to touch on a girl than on a boy? Why do I have to worry more about being badly touched than my boy classmates?

Of course, now I know it's because even 5-year-old girls are sexy to someone, even though they're flat-chested. Pedophiles see a little girl's chest as breasts, even before girls know that breasts are found to be sexy. I don't think it's the same with reproductive organs of both sexes. With the number of times I see toddlers walking around the mall with their hands down their pants, kids find out that their, shall I say, nether regions, are very fun way before they realize that those same body parts are sexy. At 5 years old, I had a hard time believing that any part of my body would turn someone else on, but I couldn't help but think, What's so great about my upper body?

Then I thought of something extremely disturbing. I started thinking more about pornography, particularly the women in pornographic movies. If today's pornography is any indication of what's in the fantasy of the typical heterosexual male, guys like hairless females with gigantic boobs who sound more like they're confused or being hurt during sex than actually enjoying it. Basically, the only thing pubescent about these women are their (surgically?) enlarged breasts. Everything else is reminiscent of a much earlier stage of physical and emotional development. *shudder*

If you were wondering, I have to think back to when I was 4 to recall my first feminist memory. I was graduating from pre-school, and we were all preparing for our graduation ceremony. We all stood in a line and said our names and what we wanted to be when we grew up. I thought this was completely stupid, because I had no idea what I wanted to be. I ended up copying off the girl next to me, who wanted to be a teacher. This plan could have gone much worse if I standed next to this one girl, who incidentally, was a few persons before me. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she proudly declared, "I want to be a mommy!" My eyes were about to roll right out of my head. I thought, "No, stupid. What do you want to do for your job? 'Mommy' isn't a job. Any lady can do that." At the graduation ceremony, I was dubbed "Quietest." I guess it was best that I didn't say most of my thoughts when I was 4.

Hillary. Clinton. Has. BREASTS!

You don't say! Unfortunately, someone did say. Robin Givhan from the Washington Post's Arts & Leisure section thought it was appropriate to make a news story out of Senator Clinton's cleavage.

She was wearing a rose-colored blazer over a black top. The neckline sat low on her chest and had a subtle V-shape. The cleavage registered after only a quick glance. No scrunch-faced scrutiny was necessary. There wasn't an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable.

Well, yes. Cleavage is an undeniable fact of life for many women. Not the woman currently typing this entry, but it is for many women. Later, Givhan goes from being overly dramatic about a little bosom to downright disgusted.

The cleavage, however, is an exceptional kind of flourish. After all, it's not a matter of what she's wearing but rather what's being revealed. It's tempting to say that the cleavage stirs the same kind of discomfort that might be churned up after spotting Rudy Giuliani with his shirt unbuttoned just a smidge too far. No one wants to see that. But really, it was more like catching a man with his fly unzipped. Just look away!

Bad, boobies, bad! Don't you go peaking out of Mommy's brasserie! You get back in there right now or I just might have to bind you girls down! And if Givhan can't write a piece about Clinton's breasts and also feel discomfort and have the urge to "just look away." Well, obviously she can, but not without looking stupid.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This Is Why I Hate Catchy Little Lists

Stereotypes and sexist "advice" abound in this article by Yahoo! Personals author Evan Marc Katz.

Here's 11 responses to 11 Things Women Don't Know About Men (Plus one thing they probably do know, but won't admit):

1. Getting angry at us for not reading your mind is like getting angry at yourself for not being able to fly. It's not just futile, it's physically impossible.
Apparently, this is only a female problem. I'm sure no domestic abuse victims have ever been the victim of their partner's rage just because they didn't know they were "supposed" to do something said partner never told them about.

2. Yes, we do think Jessica Alba is hot. Sometimes we're even dumb enough to admit it.
Do I really even need to touch this one? My boyfriend doesn't think Jessica Alba's hot. Guess he's not a man.

3. Don't ask us to understand your shoe fetish. Asking us to respect it is even sort of pushing it.
But definitely respect my right to ogle hawt gurls in magazines!!!

4. You do look good without makeup, just not as good as you look with it.
This one is one of my favorites on the list. You're pretty without make-up, but you'd look more like Jessica Alba with it on, so put it on or you won't be quite as fuckable.

5. Ever notice how we don't fight with our male friends? That's why we get so frustrated when we fight with you.
This one I just don't get. So would he rather date one of his male friends that he doesn't fight with? Or does he not think that relationships involve fighting? And why does he think that men don't ever fight amongst each other?

6. You care what you're wearing infinitely more than we do. In fact, if you're naked when you open the front door, you won't hear an argument from us.
Aside from the "Heheh, boobs" portrayal of men here, we also have the lovely "Women put beauty standards on themselves with absolutely no help from men whatsoever" argument. Great.

7. You don't like to get hit on in public, you don't want to date online and you don't want to be set up on blind dates. Tell us if sending messenger pigeons is an appropriate way of courting. Because if it is, we're all over it.
This is by far my favorite. Don't like being hit on? Well how in the hell am I supposed to get a date? It's like harassing women is the only way this guy knows how to talk to women. Awesome.

8. There should a statute of limitations on stupid things that we said that can come back to haunt us. I propose 24 hours.
So if I said you have Dumbo flaps yesterday, forget about it and fuck me today.

9. Cooking dinner for a man is like buying flowers for a woman, except it takes a lot more time, effort and thought for you to do it. Thanks. We appreciate it.
This is a close second for my favorite sexist remark on this list. "We'll do nice things for you sometimes, you know, buying you a pretty flower or something, but when you do nice things for us, it should be unpaid domestic work that we admit is harder than what we did for you. Thanks in advance". Why not just say "I'm an entitled bastard now fix me a turkey pot pie"?

10. We actually like your girly pet-names for us, but please, not in front of the guys!
Anything but GIRLYNESS!

11. Just because we like looking at the women in Maxim doesn't mean we want to actually converse with the women in Maxim. Not for long, anyway.
Conversing with them might give them a little personhood, and that's a no-no for consumable objects.

12. Your nice guy friends are the most reliable source for telling you if your new boyfriend's a jerk. And he probably is. (By the way, you might want to consider marrying that nice guy who's giving you advice about the jerk.)
Give the Nice Guy(tm) that you're friends with the pussy he deserves because your boyfriend is an out-of-the-closet asshole. Women just can't win on this list.

So there you have it ladies. That's what you get for dating advice. Lesbianism keeps lookin' better and better.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Talk About Missing the Point

On last night's Colbert Report, there was a story about Johnna Mink, a pole dancing instructor. Now, I don't believe that pole dancing is anti-feminist. I think pole dancing can be a great form of exercise and a way to be more in tune to how our beautiful bodies work and move. It's a way to be sensual for our own good and not for the pleasure of someone else (anyone who pole dances for fun want to contribute to Then I Guess I'm Selfish?). What's anti-feminist about pole dancing is the response it gets from our patriarchal society, that women who pole dance are poor, dirty, slutty, and troubled. Labelling pole dancing as the ulitmate feminist expression before our adolescent society matures makes people say this kind of crap:

"When I think of feminism, I think of hairy, butch, nasty lesbians . . . . I think it's great that people think that pole dancing is feminist, because it doesn't make us look like pigs for watching."

In other words, he's glad that pole dancing can be seen as feminist, because then he can still watch naked ladies while labelling the women who fight for gender equity as hairy, butch, nasty lesbians. Point: Missed.

But this is what made me die a little inside:

"I think some of the things that classic feminists fought for would be like women's right to vote, equal pay rights . . . . Pole dancing is better than classical feminism in every way possible."

So, if this woman had to choose between having the right to vote and having the right to pole dance, she'd choose pole dancing. Great.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chatty Cathy, We Hardly Knew Yee

A new study published in Science shows that men and women say about the same amount of words a day. Now how about that?

Friday, July 13, 2007

And So Ends the Stupidest News Story Ever

Miss New Jersey Amy Polumbo keeps her crown despite photos that are supposed to be too sexy. Well, they weren't too sexy for the Today Show. In response to being blackmailed, she released the photos to show that they were not so bad. Here's the video of her explaining the, I guess, more embarrassing photos to Matt Lauer. (The video is on that page.)

Now, on to what pisses me off about this whole thing. Some of those photos are completely innocuous. They show her kissing a boy and dressed in little costumes, like a ballerina and Cinderella with a pouty expression. Goodness! I mean, did she ever just for one second think about the children? Someone tell me how skipping around on Halloween in a pretty costume is more demeaning or less lady-like than, oh, I don't know, prancing on stage in a bikini and high heels on television in front of a live audience? If there's anything that can be learned from the adorable film Little Miss Sunshine, it's that the pageant crowd believes there's a proper way to turn women and girls into little sex objects (and it's not by shaking your groove thing to Rick James, believe it or not).

Oh, and another thing. If her friend didn't make fun of the size of her breasts, maybe she wouldn't have had to emphasize them with those little pumpkins. Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Which Stock To Invest in: Microsoft or Planned Parenthood?

Well, new TRAP laws have surfaced in Missouri and were just signed into law by Governor Matt Blunt.

Apparently, Matt Blunt thinks that providing abortions and sex-education is a million-dollar business, which would explain why so many people choose to provide abortions, and that Planned Parenthood is a multi-million dollar corporation just waiting to prey on newly broken hymens.

Missouri Right to Life, which backed the measure, argued that groups like Planned Parenthood have a conflict of interest in supplying sex education materials because they could make money if female students go to their clinics. Blunt echoed that concern, saying sales of material to public schools were a "significant source of revenue" for the group.
Here that? Planned Parenthood is so happy to rake in the dough by putting themselves out of business.

The Republican governor said he has no qualms if the stricter state oversight causes hardships for abortion clinics.
Well that's a surprise. Why doesn't he just come out and say "The plan here is to make sure abortion clinics can't maintain themselves, that way women won't be able to escape their due punishment when they think they can fuck freely". I mean, he's not even really trying to put a "It's for the good of the aborting sluts, er, ladies" spin on it. Check this out:

Blunt proclaimed the law "one of the strongest pieces of pro-life legislation in Missouri history" as he spoke from a cross-shaped lectern during a signing ceremony in the sanctuary of Concord Baptist Church.
Holy shit. Why doesn't he just go out there and throw ketchup-covered dolls at women just like the rest of them?

So great. Separation of church and state remains unseen and poor women now have more roadblocks to not being government mandated incubators. Hooray.

In other news, here's a pretty retro article title: Schools grapple with how to integrate. What year is it, again?

Uhhhhhh . . . .

No, that's not the sound of my irritable bowels. It's the sound of me contemplating this ad for Metamucil that can only be described as . . . sexy, I guess? Now, I'm not saying this commercial is sexist, although there's no doubt in my mind that men wouldn't be caught dead parading around in cute outfits telling their macho bretheren to "gussy up their insides", neither in private nor on television. But the whole thing strikes me as very odd. I mean, the group home where I work keeps a fresh stock of this kind of stuff to counteract the loose stool side effect common in many psychotropic drugs. I'd like to see a few of them in a Metamucil ad!

Monday, July 02, 2007

There's Not Even Anyone To Say "Told Ya So" To.

Bush has commuted Scooter Libby's sentence, of course. Is anyone shocked?

You know, because 30 months in jail was "just too harsh" for outing a CIA agent. She WAS female, you know.

But never fear!

Bush said his action still "leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby."
Yes, pocket change and a good wag of the finger with one hand and a pat on the ass with another is definitely harsh, Mr Bush.