Friday, September 28, 2007

Alcohol Increases Breast Cancer Risk

A new study shows that drinking any type of alcohol increases a woman's chances of developing breast cancer.

Researchers found no difference in the risk of developing breast cancer among women who drank wine, beer, or liquor. Compared with light drinkers - those who had less than one drink a day - women who had one or two drinks a day increased their risk of developing breast cancer by 10 percent. Women who had more than three drinks a day raised their risk by 30 percent.

More Roles for Women in Mexican Military

While military women in Mexico are still not allowed in combat, they will now be trained to become piolts, engineers, and other careers. I'm anti-war, but I'm more anti-sexism, so I'm glad that women in Mexico's military are getting more opportunities to support their country. At the same time, it's unfortunate that women in the military who are not in combat aren't recognized for their contributions to the military as nurses and doctors.

Women first joined Mexico's armed forces in 1938 as nurses. By 1973, they could become military doctors, and three years later, dentists. Today, women have access to 17 of the military's 39 career schools. And with access has come increased interest: 3,326 women applied for military schooling in 2007-2008, up 61 percent from the year before.

The article fails to mention if the new influx of female recruits will result in more health services for military women and extra protection from sexual harrassment and assault. I'm not even sure if that's as big of an issue in Mexico as it is in the United States. But after reading the following quote, extra protection for women seems needed:

[Agustin Radilla, who oversees military education] said that, so far, the male cadets have welcomed the women into the new schools, and he credits the changes for a "healthy competition" between the sexes.

Should there be any competition between fellow soldiers? After all, they're fighting on the same damn side.

Take Action Friday -- and Good News!

Megan's post yesterday was the 100th of the year and 200th on FTTR. Woo!

Back to business. You might have heard about Verizon not allowing NARAL Pro-Choice America to send text message alerts to activists because their messages are "controversial or unsavory." Well, after over 20,000 complaints to Verizon (including mine) in less than 2 hours, they reversed their policy! See? Taking action does work.

Want more good news? The Senate passed the Matthew Shepard Act (60-39), which extends hate crime laws to include bias crimes based on gender, sexuality, and gender identity. Bush has threatened to veto this legislation calling it "unneccessary." One in 6 hate crimes are motivated by the victim's sexual orientation. What's unneccessary now?

I guess we could call this the Hound Bush Edition of TAF.

Support UN peace-keeping missions to Myanmar and Sudan (especially now).

Tell Bush that children's healthcare is more important than a cigarette tax increase.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Protect Your Valuables, Ladies!

I am so tired of men comparing women's bodies with jewelry or money or cars and whatnot. My vagina is not a fucking car, assholes.

When our houses are burgled, we're hardly more likely than rape victims to see the intruder end up behind bars. So what do we do? We fit locks to our doors and windows. We keep our valuables out of sight.

Why do we still think of rape as a property crime? Yes, a woman's body is her property, but it's not something you can throw in a lock box or something, despite the brilliant suggestion of one Wanda Sykes.

Imagine is someone said that about men's asses. Don't want to get ass-raped, well, you better put a lock on that shit. Keep it out of sight! Don't let anyone know that you have an ass! If people know you have an ass, well, you're gonna get raped and you should have taken more precautions. I mean, people lock up their houses, so you should lock up your asshole, too. Because, you know, you can lock up boy parts.

This is not the 1800s. People really should realize that rape is an ASSAULT. That's why they call it sexual assault, people. It's not a property crime. It's not stealing something from a home. It's assaulting someone. It is violating a person's BODY.

Some of the comments are almost worse.

"Why shouldn't they be advised that to get themselves into a drunken stupor in the company of a frisky male could carry risks?"
Come, come David. It's their right, don't you know. Responsibility is soooo 1950s and misogynist.
Putting different standards on women simply because they have vaginas that men want to put things into without permission of the owner isn't responsibility, at least not on the person who should be held responsible. I'm not one to promote heavy drinking, but if a woman gets drunk, the onus to not be raped is not on her. It never was. Men have the right and the ability to get drunk and go to hotel rooms without the prospect of being raped, so why is it that women have a "responsibility" to adhere to a different standard? Yeah, is it smart? Probably. Is it just? Not at all. Acknowledging one without acknowledging the other is ridiculous, and it IS misogynistic. If men were held more accountable for their actions rather than inhibiting what women are allowed to do without being blamed for being assaulted because of it, perhaps rape as a crime would decrease.

It's just ridiculous. There's nothing responsible about turning rape back into a property crime when it's actually violent assault. And yeah, it is from the fifties to do such a thing. The 1850s.

Comment if you have the patience to deal with these types.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Those Bradys Are a Funny Bunch

I know that the actor who played Mike Brady was a closeted homosexual. I heard a rumor about Florence Henderson and the actor who played Greg Brady dated. But I didn't hear about Marcia and Jan experimenting . . . .

I know this goes under the "who cares" column, but you gotta admit, Keith Olbermann is sexy -- wait, let me try that again.

I know this goes under the "who cares" column, but you gotta admit, that's pretty funny. And Keith Olbermann is sexy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Love, Love, LOVE this commercial!!!!

As someone who was rejected by eHarmony, I was delighted to see advertisements for, a part of that doesn't reject anyone looking for love. One population that serves that eHarmony doesn't is the LGBTQ community, as shown in this commercial (all of their ads are hilarious, so watch them!). But the real great thing about this ad is the message that you can't "cure" homosexuality, no matter how many naked women (or men) you look at. It's just a great change from all the hypermasculine and sexist commercials out there. I just might e-mail their PR department.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Take Action Friday

Sign Amnesty International's petition to end the genocide in Darfur.

Urge your Senators to pass the Matthew Shepard Act.

Tell your Senators to support equal pay.

Support ratification of CEDAW, because women's rights are human rights.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ready for a Woman President?

The Daily Show aired a segment called Ready for a Woman President? with correspondent Samantha Bee a couple days ago. Very funny stuff! Special guests include NOW President Kim Gandy and Kim Cattrall.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

There Was a "Values Voter" Debate Last Night?

Yes, there was. And since bodily integrity and civil rights for homosexuals aren't valuable, this was a Republican debate. The real story according to the mainstream media, however, is the absence of the big names in flip-flopping and bigotry: Giuliani, McCain, Romney, and Fred Thompson. The real story according to me is what was talked about: abortion and homosexuality. Cuz nothing says small government like regulating what goes on in your body and bedroom!

"All seven participants [Huckabee, Brownback, John Cox, Alan Keyes, Paul, Tancredo, and Hunter] said they would work to keep federal funding away from organizations that perform or promote abortions; to revive an attempt to reform Social Security by offering personal retirement accounts; and to oppose a government-run universal health insurance system. They all vowed to increase funding for abstinence education, to veto hate crimes legislation and to oppose embryonic stem cell research. They all agreed multiculturalism 'weakens and divides' the country."

In short, these are the values of the "values voters," the so-called largest voting bloc in the country. Turning women into baby-making slaves is a value. Making it more difficult for retired senior citizens to pay the bills is a value. Making it more difficult for Americans to get healthcare is a value. Lying to teenagers about sex is a value. Hating people for their race, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender and harassing, assaulting, raping, or killing them because of it is a value. Not allowing the United States to research potential cures for the most debilitating diseases is a value. Ethnocentrism is a value.

Those who sponsored the Values Voters Debate has one thing right. Values voters are the largest voting bloc in the country. That's because it's the only voting bloc in the country. Everyone votes on values. I, for example, value human and civil rights, so I will vote for candidates and legislation that support human and civil rights. I value education. That's why I will vote for candidates and legislation that will make our public schools give accurate information to children and encourage them to be creative. And you get the idea. What makes this values voter different from those values voters who held the debate is that I don't believe my values make me superior to everyone else.

Oh, and Mike Huckabee won the debate, apparently.

Saudi Women Lobby for Right to Drive

Women in Saudi Arabia have formed the Committee of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars to lobby for driving rights. The created an online petition to send to King Abdullah. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that has a ban on women drivers, and it seems to be a pretty dividing issue.

"Conservatives, who believe women should be shielded from male strangers, say women in the driver's seat will be free to leave home alone and go when and where they please."

We certainly can't have that, now can we? Critics of the ban say that there's no religious support for not allowing women to drive. The founder of the Committee, Fowziyyah al-Oyouni, says that the electronic petition has many signatures from both women and men.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Apology Issued by Southwest

Long time no blog, I know.

Anyway, it seems that Southwest Airlines has issued an apology to Kyla Ebbert in order to save face. after these fiascos.

Still, I'm not sure I like some of what was said by the company's chief executive.

"We don't have a dress code at Southwest Airlines, and we don't want to put our employees in the position of being the fashion police," he said, "but there's a fine line you walk sometimes in not offending other passengers."
They didn't seem to think hot pants would offend any customers when they advertised them as a means to make money for their company. I guess women choosing to wear revealing clothing as opposed to wearing it because it's part of what they're meant to wear to bring in male customers is what's really offensive.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NJ Supreme Court: Jury's Still Out on When Life Begins

The New Jersey Supreme Court voted unanimously that a doctor has no obligation to tell a woman seeking an abortion that the embryo is an "existing human being."

"On the profound issue of when life begins, this court cannot drive public policy in one particular direction by the engine of the common law when the opposing sides, which represent so many of our citizens, are arrayed along a deep societal and philosophical divide," New Jersey Justice Barry T. Albin wrote for the court.

So basically, people can think what they want. This ruling in essence dropped a lawsuit of a woman whose story is quite convoluted. In 1996 a woman named Rose Acuna went to her doctor at around the 6th or 7th week of her 4th pregnancy. The doctor told her that she needed an abortion because her kidneys were "messing up." She asked if "the baby was already there," and the doctor said not to worry, "it's only blood." The doctor performed the abortion, but she had to go back to the hospital because the abortion was incomplete. One of the nurses told Acuna that the procedure was necessary because the doctor "had left parts of the baby inside of (her)." Acuna took this to mean that she consented to an abortion under false pretenses.

When it comes to arguments between pro-choicers and pro-lifers, I don't even like to call it a battle of semantics. It's really an argument of whether or not we're going to tell women the truth and give women medically accurate information. I have to give Acuna the benefit of the doubt. While I don't know how a woman who has been pregnant four times can not know what pregnancy is, I'm not going to judge her for her ignorance. It could be a product of a bunch of environmental factors. What I do know is that medical professionals have to be medical professionals. If I wanted to know whether there was blood inside me or what pregnancy and babies are, I would have consulted Wikipedia. The doctor should have told Acuna the truth; obviously a pregnancy is more than "just blood." The nurse shouldn't have called parts of the embryo still inside Acuna "the baby." Sometimes I just want to yell this through a megaphone: "Women are not too weak or stupid to handle the truth!"

But my favorite reaction to the ruling . . .

Marie Tasy, executive director of the anti-abortion group New Jersey Right to Life, decried the ruling. "My reaction is that once again the court relies on an outdated schizophrenic mentality to the detriment of women and indulges in semantic gymnastics to avoid the indisputable fact that a child in the womb is a human being," she said.

"Outdated?" She's the one who wants to roll back women's rights. "Schizophrenic?" What can be more "schizophrenic" than pro-lifers who believe abortion is murder but don't know what should happen to the women who get them? "The indisputable fact that a child in the womb is a human being?" Who's "indulging in semantic gymnastics" now?

Senate Votes to Repeal Global Gag Rule

Hooray for Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe! In a 53-43 vote, the Senate overturned the Global Gag Rule, which denies federal aid to foreign countries for abortion and contraception services.

Of course, Bush has promised to veto it because he hates women. He also must not have seen this video.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Conception Day!

"Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you this will mean much less breeding, for me, much much more." Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, episode [AABF18] They Saved Lisa's Brain

A region in Russia is holding a day of conception for the third year in a row in order to reverse Russia's population decline.

Ulyanovsk Gov. Sergei Morozov has decreed Sept. 12 a Day of Conception and is giving couples time off from work to procreate. Couples who give birth nine months later on Russia's national day - June 12 - will receive money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.

More than 500 women signed up for the contest in 2006 - resulting nine months later in 78 babies, or more than triple the region's daily average. So far this year, the region's birth rate is up 4.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

In Ulyanovsk, everyone who has a baby in a local hospital on June 12 gets some kind of prize. The winners of the grand prize - a locally made SUV called a UAZ-Patriot - are couples judged by a committee on criteria such as "respectability" and "commendable parenting."

The Russian government provides subsidies to women who have more than one child at any time of year, so this isn't really much of an attack on family planning (which Russia doesn't seem to care about anyway, since contraception is scarce and they have one of the highest abortion rates in the world). The complete lack of knowledge about pregnancy is what's offensive. Women don't get pregnant the same day they have sex. That takes about a couple of weeks. Furthermore, how many women actually give birth 9 months to the day after becoming pregnant? Probably not that many.

It just makes me want to scream whenever people assume that women are simple.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Take Action Friday -- on Thursday!

I'm doing the TAF post today instead of tomorrow because I'm spending the weekend in Washington, D.C. with my friend. Don't miss me too much!

Show your support for an abortion clinic in Aurora, Illinois that is being seiged by anti-choice activists.

Hurry up and tell your Senators to repeal the Global Gag Rule. They vote today!

Vote for an organization in the Peace Primary and help them win $100,000 to get their message out there during the '08 campaigns.

Demand justice for the Jena 6.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Women Heart Patients May Need Different Care

According to a new study, women with heart problems may be harmed by certain procedures.

A small study of 184 women conducted by Dr. Eva Swahn of the department of cardiology at University Hospital in Linkoping, Sweden, found that women who had major heart operations like a coronary bypass were more likely than men to die.

Last month, the American College of Cardiology revised its treatment guidelines to recommend that doctors should think twice before subjecting women at low risk of heart disease to invasive procedures.

Doctors are not sure what accounts for the discrepancy. But women tend to have smaller hearts and vessels, which could complicate any surgical procedure. For example, when catheters need to be inserted into the artery to take photos of what is happening inside the body, having smaller arteries does not help.

Women also tend to have more side effects from medicines. Hormonal factors could also play a role, though doctors are not exactly sure how female-specific hormones affect the cardiovascular system.

Compounding the problem is the fact that women are usually about a decade older than men by the time they develop heart problems, so other health problems associated with old age could also worsen their chances of surviving heart surgery.

See what happens when "Women should be treated equally" turns into "Women and men are exactly the same in every way"? See what happens when males are considered the norm and what's good for the gander is good for the goose? The geese die. So hopefully some pro-woman cardiologists out there are trying to come up with a way to help women heart patients with effective and safe treatments.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Watch "Made in L.A."

Made in L.A. is a documentary about three immigrant women's struggles as garment workers in Los Angeles. I think the rights of garment workers is a feminist issue in several ways. Obviously, the majority of garment workers all around the world are women. They often work in sweatshops in deplorable conditions all day for little or no pay. Then, the clothing is sold in a variety of stores, from Banana Republic to Wal-Mart. Women and girls are pressured to wear the latest trends, so we rush to the mall to spend $100 on a pair of ultra low-rise jeans that was made by a young woman who can't even read because her parents didn't let her go to school. If we're poor and/or have to by clothes for the whole family, we go to Wal-Mart where the clothes are cheap and the labor is cheaper. Furthermore, women make up the majority of the minimum-wage workforce, and many of these women work as sales associates for trendy clothing stores owned by millionaires. It's hard for women not to endorse sweatshop labor across the world in one way or another.

Made in L.A. premieres on Tuesday, September 4 at 10 p.m. on PBS.