Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Preference for Boys Can Leave Men Screwed in the Future

Not screwed in the literal sense. Screwed in the complete opposite of literal sense.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a study about the population imbalance of boys and girls in Vietnam. Like in other Asian countries such as China and India, girls are much less valued than boys. Feminists know that discrimination against females begins before birth -- when families find out that they're going to have a girl, abortion frequently follows. The situation in Vietnam has gotten to the point where only 100 girls are born to every 110 boys. That hardly seems like much of a disparity at all. However . . . .

It estimated Asia was short 163 million females in 2005 when compared to overall population balances of men and women elsewhere in the world.

Over time, the difference becomes huge. Furthermore, the shortage of women can result in human trafficking from other countries, a way of importing wives to make up for the disparity. The men who are too poor to buy a wife? They're screwed (again, not literally).

UNFPA suggets that Vietnam and countries with similar population problems should work to spread messages of gender equality through media and policy and to provide girls with equal access to education in order to help them overcome social barriers. Not only that, someone has to do something about these family planning manuals (see pg. 12 of the UNFPA report). One manual suggests that couples eat more salt, fish, potatoes, and meat three months before getting pregnant in order to have a boy. Yes . . . .

What the Hell, University of Maryland?

So maybe this story just pissed me off because the Feminist Student Alliance at my own university was unable to even put on a Clothesline Project because we're cursed this semester, but even so, this is still some shit.

Apparently, the University of Maryland thinks its more important to protect its athletes from the (non-legal, even) accusations of its female students who have been raped by them.

Yes, they are concerned about lawsuits, but they just got into a lawsuit by making the decision they did. They also have got a bunch of protests and unhappy students because of it as well.

And of course, with any sort of support for women who have been sexually assaulted in this culture, you've got idiot rape apologists who want to demean the survivors.

With so much controversy around this year's project, it was not a surprise that an act of vandalism took place. Someone defaced one of the banned t-shirts by writing on it: "Being inappropriate doesn't equal with rape Idiot."

"I can't believe someone would do that," said Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) Campus Outreach Coordinator Michelle Spradling.

Apparently, someone had a guilty conscience.

The Clothesline Project takes place on campuses around the country to promote awareness about violence against women. The University of Maryland-College Park has held a Clothesline Project for the past seventeen years. This is the first year that any t-shirts have been banned. The Baltimore Sun reported the speculation of some students that the university took action this year because a shirt which named a prominent former athlete was displayed at last semester's event.
That last line pisses me of so much. So because the guy that was named was a prominent athlete, and thus probably brought the school lots of money and attention, his victim was silenced. Her freedom of speech and ability to speak out about her experiences was muffled because her rapist is a privileged athlete and thus well-liked and well-protected by the school.

Ay yi yi, this is why I don't understand why more people don't think we live in a rape culture.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Feminist Weekly Standard

I won't take credit for that title. It's all Dan Abrams.

Conservative rag The Weekly Standard has nothing better to get outraged about than Laura Bush wearing a scarf covering her hair while touring the Middle East talking about breast cancer. Laura Bush was on FOX News Sunday where she discussed the complete non-issue with Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: Of course, Mrs. Bush, with a higher profile almost inevitably comes criticism. And some conservatives in this country are upset with you — and we have a picture up there on the screen...

BUSH: Oh, you've got to be kidding.

WALLACE: ... for putting on a scarf given to you...

BUSH: Oh, really?

WALLACE: ... by a Saudi doctor. And let me put up a blast, if you will, from The Weekly Standard. "That she would oblige her hosts by wearing a shmata," which is Yiddish for a scarf, "on her head is a tacit endorsement of Islam's subjugation of women."

BUSH: Well, I did not see it that way at all. In fact, I'd had the meeting with them totally uncovered. I mean, you saw other photographs, obviously.


BUSH: And they saw this as giving me a gift from their culture. And it was the scarf with the pink ribbons and the pink edging on it, the breast cancer scarf, that I put on.

You go, Laura Bush. Head coverings aren't exclusive to Islam, by the way. It's in 1 Corinthians, people! Of course, the religious texts are safe to be interpreted by anyone in our free society. Not so much in Saudi Arabia. Or is it . . . .

BUSH: [T]hese women do not see covering as some sort of subjugation of women, this group of women that I was with. That's their culture. That's their tradition. That's a religious choice of theirs.

Really? Because Amnesty International seems to think Saudi women have to dress a certain way or else they'll be thrown in jail. I think Laura Bush was reading the same polls General Wesley Clark read.

What's been keeping me from FTTR?

I know it's been a while since I last posted. But I have something now! I've been writing a research paper for my Comp 2 class, and now it is finished. So I have a little free time between projects now! And midterms week is over! Hooray!

So, since I didn't have time to blog because of this paper, I figure I'll take the time to post the content of such paper here now.

“The 'Global Gag Rule': The Exportation of American Hypocrisy And Its Effects On Women's Health in the Developing World”

Imagine that you are a young woman in Kenya. You have recently been married and have had a child. However, your child is HIV positive, just as you are. Not only did you not have the information and technology to prevent your own HIV infection, but you also lacked the resources necessary to prevent your pregnancy and the subsequent transfer of your disease to your child. Since you live in a rural area, it is hard to obtain condoms and other methods of preventing pregnancy and HIV because of the long distance to the nearest town. Other women in your community have also fallen victim to similar situations; some have numerous children because they cannot prevent themselves from becoming pregnant, and the rate of HIV infection in your community is startlingly high. Some women have died or been injured by clandestine abortions. There are clinics that try to help the women in your community, however, they lack the funding necessary to be truly effective in extinguishing such conditions. This lack of funding, and thus the wretched conditions under which you live, can partly be blamed on an American law commonly called The Global Gag Rule.

The Global Gag Rule has been in existence since the Reagan era. Basically, it was set-up as an add-on to the U.S. Hyde Amendment, which is legislation designed to make sure tax dollars don't go to the funding of abortions by excluding it from the list of services provided by Medicaid (“Public Funding. . .”). However, the Global Gag Rule was meant for more than just the U.S. Its reach spans all across the globe. In short, it denies funds to any non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support abortion becoming legal in the country they serve, perform abortions (legal or illegal), and/or refer women to clinics that perform abortions. It is also the reason why the situation described above is still a common one in the developing world. It is legislation that is motivated not only by the desire not to fund overseas abortions, but also to stop abortion from happening at all. Support for the Global Gag Rule can be prompted by a desire to stop abortion in general, in all countries, or just as a means of protecting the health of the women who would get them in conditions that would be unsafe whether the procedure is legal or not. The problem with The Global Gag Rule is that it doesn't accomplish either of those goals; no matter how well-intentioned it may be, it is simply legislation that is ineffective, and at very high costs.

In addition to the health risks caused by The Global Gag Rule, it is very hypocritical in nature. The hypocrisy of this type of legislation is apparent in the fact that Planned Parenthood, an American institution that provides abortion counseling, abortion services, etc. gains almost a third of it's funds from the U.S. Government (Johnsen). So, essentially, the Global Gag Rule doesn't even match up with what goes on in the country of it's origin. Even the law that it was based on, the Hyde Amendment, does not deny funding to organizations that simply mention abortion as an option; the Global Gag Rule on the other hand, does.

For example, the Global Gag Rule even denies funding to organizations that oppose abortion. Hilary Fyfe is the chair of the Family Life Movement of Zambia (Loder). Her organization opposes abortion, and yet they are also denied funding by the Global Gag Rule (Loder). Her organization simply mentions that unsafe abortions are a possible consequence of unprotected sex, and due to this bit of information that she gives to young Zambian adults, her organization lost $30,000 (Loder). Her organization does not provide abortions, and in fact is against them, so a global extension of the Hyde Amendment should not apply to her group. However, the Family Life Movement of Zambia is still denied $30,000 dollars of aid that could go to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STDs, or even unwanted pregnancies and abortions. However, in the U.S., Planned Parenthood, an organization that talks about, funds, advocates for, and performs abortions still obtains funds from the government. Such events just show how the Global Gag Rule does not conform to the standards of its country of origin.

There is also a tremendous effect on the quality of life of the women who are dependent on the clinics that the Global Gag Rule denies funding to. Most of the NGOs that are now denied funding under the rule provided more than the services that caused them to be defunded in the first place. Many provide(d) information and resources used to prevent HIV infections. However, due to lack of funding, many have closed down, leaving people (women especially) in other countries, especially in African countries, susceptible to an increased rate of HIV infection. This increase in HIV infection is spurred by a lack of access to latex condoms, something African NGOs used to provide free of cost to the young and the poor (Loder).

This issue is a large blemish on the face of globalization as a concept. It is very harmful legislation and shows much more concern for ideology rather than actual utilitarian benefits. It also doesn't comply with American values and laws. Not only that, it's a prime candidate for becoming the poster child for those who would argue that attempts at globalization are a way for more powerful countries to force their values on others. The rule of not giving funds to NGOs that even support the legality of abortion stifles the voice of democracy and social change (even if it's not a change Americans want to see) in the countries we claim to be helping. It could be said that such legislation serves to stifle the culture and beliefs of different societies, essentially exporting the beliefs of a certain group of American officials and citizens. This legislation doesn't even really give the countries it affects a choice, either. It simply denies funds without taking their voice into account. Certainly this doesn't comply with America's image of itself: the bringer of democracy and freedom of speech to developing and supposedly oppressed countries.

The exportation of these ideologies often costs the lives of people in developing countries. Women are affected by this issue on a larger scale, however, due to the nature of illegal (or even legal) abortion in “third-world” countries, and the fact that women are infected with HIV at a higher rate (Scherrer). In one year, 70,000 women worldwide will die from an illegal abortion (“Abortion Rates. . .”). With the money that would have been given to some of the NGOs that are now underfunded, those women may have had a better chance of surviving whether what they did was right or wrong.

Officials often point out that funds would not be denied to NGOs worldwide if they would choose to comply with the policy (Loder). They mention that the amount of funds distributed to USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) has not been reduced (Loder). However, they have been allocated to groups who do not mention abortion at all. This is not conducive to reproductive and sexual counseling, as it makes no mention of the possible consequences of unprotected sex, or even failed contraception. While it is true that the Global Gag Rule contains some exceptions for rape, incest, and health, it still takes away money from organizations that even mention abortion at all. So young girls and women who are raped still don't really have any resources to turn to. And of course they didn't have any hope of being able to use contraceptives during the attack, therefore the blackballing of organizations that even mention abortion as a possibility, or even mention the consequences of the process, hurts rape victims the most. In countries where it's a commonly held belief that raping a virgin cures HIV/AIDS, this could definitely lead to more girls seeking out illegal abortion services if they are not given truthful and comprehensive counseling on their other options, or on the possibly fatal consequences of illegal abortion. They would also need better access to HIV/AIDS resources, but of course the Global Gag Rule denies funding to many organizations that would provide such material.

It may seem as though this issue relies heavily on whether or not abortion is morally right or wrong. However, that is simply not the case. The issue of the Global Gag Rule merely has to do with the safety and health of women in developing countries. It is absolutely true that whether abortion is mentioned, advocated, legal, illegal, or never talked about at all, women will seek it out as an option. So why deny funding to organizations that are simply trying to do their best to inform women of ALL of their options, even if they are not advocating for abortion as one of them? All that leads to is more organizations that provide much needed contraception and HIV/AIDS prevention shutting down, losing staff, and losing supplies and resources. Whether abortion is right or wrong, the Global Gag Rule does not help to stop women from obtaining them. It only hurts the organizations that are trying to better women's health in the developing world, and is also hypocritical in that it imposes restrictions on organizations and women in the developing world that are not present in American society. That is why it should be abolished and replaced with a policy that directs America government funds to any NGOs that are trying to help women's health care in other countries whether they mention, support, or perform abortions or not. Women's lives depend on it.


"Abortion rates same whether legal or not." Oct 11, 2007. 14 Oct 2007 .

Johnsen, Jennifer. "Planned Parenthood Annual Report 2005-2006." 2007. Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 27 Oct 2007 .

Loder, Asjylyn Loder. "Report: Global Gag Rule Spurring Deaths, Disease." Women's E-news. 09/25/03. 14 Oct 2007 .

"Public Funding for Abortion." 7/21/2004. ACLU. 14 Oct 2007 .

Scherrer, Paul. "UN report on AIDS paints a picture of devastation—Part 1." World Socialist Web Site. 17 July 2000. 14 Oct 2007 .

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This Week in Bill Maher

Is this going to be a weekly thing, me posting about bullshit that happens on Real Time with Bill Maher? This entire segment was a disaster. I don't consider myself an uptight person. I mean, I joke about shit all the time, but it's not funny when you turn oppression into a joke. It's also a good idea to put guests on your show who know what the fuck they're talking about. Let's get to that first.

Andrew Sullivan was on Real Time on Friday night and the panel got to talking about Laura Bush's recent trips to the United Arab Emirates to meet with two breast cancer suvivors and increase awareness about breast cancer in the region. Breast cancer is very seldom checked for, diagnosed, or treated in the Arab world for several reasons. One is that Muslim women can't expose their breasts to a man who isn't her husband, and there aren't very many women doctors in Arab countries. Andrew Sullivan surely didn't think of that before he said this:

What I find amazing is that she's going there to talk about breast cancer! She's talking to women covered [from] head to toe as if breast cancer is their fundamental issue! It's like going to antebellum South and saying that the big problem with Blacks in slavery is that they have sickle cell anemia!

As you can hear in the video, throughout Sullivan's exclmations Bill Maher is trying to shut him up for half a second to explain why breast cancer is a fundamental issue, which he eventually got to do later. Women in that part of the world aren't getting diagnosed and treated for breast cancer for the same reason they're wearing burqas. Then General Wesley Clark had to chime in.

I don't find any fault in Laura Bush talking to the women in burqas. Those women over there, the majority of those women, they've done opinion polling many times, and basically those women like that society . . . . Aren't we the people who say that we oughta respect people despite their differences? Don't we believe that people have the right to choose the way live?

Because in countries where "the women in burqas" can't vote or drive cars or leave their houses without their husbands are going to tell a pollster (most likely a man) that they don't like their oppressive society.Yes, I'm going to believe that. That's basically the point Bill Maher said in response. That's nice. Good job, Bill.

Oh, I almost forgot what Bill said right after that.

We should talk to people in burqas, And luckily, we have some today because -- You're in for a treat. We have been chosen here at Real Time to host the 5th Annual Fall Fundamentalist Fashion Show, and you are gonna love this. Can we have our first model, please?

Then Bill went on to describe the outfits of several women wearing the same black burqa. Lovely. Let the victims be the butt of the jokes and let the men who established and enforced that oppressive society get off free.

Dress it up for midday prayers or dress it down for midnight stonings this one says My mullah brings all the boys to the yard . . . It's first class clothing for second-class citizens . . . .


Gay Men Get Paid Less Than Straight Men

A new study shows that men in same-sex cohabitating couples get paid 23% less than married men. Well, that's not fair. What else isn't fair is how the researchers completely neglect the gender wage gap.

Lesbians are not discriminated against when compared with heterosexual women, the US study found. The report's authors conclude that while negative attitudes toward lesbians could affect them, lesbians may benefit from the perception that they are more career-focused and less likely to leave the labour market to raise children than heterosexual women.

Not so! First of all, women in general, gay or straight, already earn 23% less than White men, and the wage gap increases for most women of color. Furthermore, unmarried women make about 56% of what married men make. And lesbians can't get married in this country, so they make up a part of the unmarried female population. So while it doesn't look like sexual orientation accounts for wage discrimination against women, women in general are still getting a raw deal, and gay men aren't getting any more discriminated against than all women.


There are these websites that raise money for different causes every time you visit their websites. My friend just sent me one for breast cancer. You just click on the big pink icon, and a sponser donates a free mammogram. Pretty cool, huh? Put it in your favorites so you can click every day. There are other causes you can help on the same site. Happy clicking!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


This isn't exactly feminist news, but it is fucking hilarious.

Some weird Republican think tank called Family Security Matters released the 10 most dangerous organizations in America. This outta be good, right?, particularly since not only do they sell T-shirts for dogs, said dog is on their homepage next to the words "Get your FSM Gear." I can only assume that is so because only a dog would wear their merch. Here's the list. I can't post the original since all off FSM's links seem to be broken (I guess not enough dogs bought their T-shirts to keep the site maintained), so this is from Crooks and Liars.

10. Think Progress. A blog. A blog is the 10th most dangerous "organization" in all the land. I find it dangerous to our nation's credibility that six people who run a blog can seriously be considered the 10th most dangerous organization in the country. Oh, that's right. We have no credibility.

9. Muslim Student Association. Think of your campus' Black Student Union except for Muslims. And with their guiding principles of sincerity, knowledge, humility, truthfullness, moderation, tolerance, forgiveness, patience, and gratitude, I can clearly see how anyone would be shaking in their boots.

8. CodePINK. Now I'm not big on interruptions and disruptions of press conferences or presidential inaugrations, but we're in a time of war -- anything goes! Needless to say, a group of women who believe in American children getting healthcare before Iraqi children getting their heads blown out of their asses in an airstrike can't be that dangerous.

7. American Civil Liberties Union. It's dangerous to have an advocate when someone has or is trying to infringe upon your civil rights! The 7th most dangerous thing in the country! Sure FSM is on the radio airwaves, the blogosphere, and on the streets -- but they can't stand civil liberties! Be damned with the civil liberties!

6. Family Research Council. Okay, so they got one thing right.

5. Center for American Progress. The organization where you can find the blog that is also the 10th most dangerous organization in the country.

4. League of the South. Hey! They got two things right!

3. Democracy in Action. Boooo! But MoveOn couldn't beat . . . .

2. Universities and colleges! The thousands of institutions of higher learning in the United States are tied for second for Most Dangerous Organization in America. But of course. Possibly finding out that what comes out of FSM is utter bullshit is dangerous . . . for FSM.

And the Number One Most Dangerous Organization in America is . . . .

The Ku Klux Klan! No, no, no. Think more objectively!

Feminists to the Rescue! Ha! I wish! No, it's . . . .

Media Matters for America! Rush Limbaugh and the hacks over at FOX News aren't dangerous, but the organization that accurately quotes them, dangerous!

*sigh* That did amazing things to my funny bone. Unprecedented things.

UPDATE: Family Security Matter's site has loaded, and here's the original list and the reasoning behind each choice. Yay for calling League of the South sexist and racist. Boo for believing in anything the Family Research Council does.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

U.N. Decries Violence Against Women and Girls

Violence against women as a tool of oppression is used every single day all around the world. While I want the media to let the people know about these disgusting acts, I'm disappointed when there's a news story about it. It sends the message that it only happens when someone reports it. But I shouldn't be so picky.

This is one of the best things I've read all day:

"Impunity for perpetrators and insufficient response to the needs of survivors are morally reprehensible and unacceptable," [Assistant Secretary-General Rachel Mayanja, the secretary-general's special adviser on gender issues] said. "Sexual violence in conflict, particularly rape, should be named for what it is: not a private act or the unfortunate misbehavior of a renegade soldier, but aggression, torture, war crime and genocide."

See that, people? Not just a few bad apples.The U.N. also stressed the importance of women in the whole peace-making process, as they are underrepresented.

Judge Southwick Confirmed

The Senate confirmed Judge Leslie H. Southwick to the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals, which deals with cases in Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. Nine Democrats and Independent Joe "I'll Caucus with the Dems" Liebermann didn't think his beliefs that homosexuality is a choice and that White workers can use racial epithets towards Black wokers would keep him from making objective decisions. And with Trent Lott on your side, how can you possibly believe otherwise?

The Politics of Crying

USA Today published a story about crying and gender stereotypes. At the risk of sounding like a blubbering fool, it made me want to cry a bit.

In a recently published study at Penn State, researchers sought to explore differing perceptions of crying in men and women, presenting their 284 subjects with a series of hypothetical vignettes.

What they found is that reactions depended on the type of crying, and who was doing it. A moist eye was viewed much more positively than open crying, and males got the most positive responses.

"Women are not making it up when they say they're damned if they do, damned if they don't," said Stephanie Shields, the psychology professor who conducted the study. "If you don't express any emotion, you're seen as not human, like Mr. Spock on Star Trek," she said. "But too much crying, or the wrong kind, and you're labeled as overemotional, out of control, and possibly irrational."

I just loved that "damned if they do, damned if they don't" line. That's the exact phrase that I used in my Social Inequality class a couple years back when we were asked what "oppression" means. So, yeah, we're are not making it up when we say we're oppressed.

The article also mentions a story that went completely under my radar. Suzyn Waldman, who does commentating for the Yankees on the radio, was ripped a new asshole after she cried on the air after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs this season. As a huge baseball fan (of that other New York team at which I'm still a little angry), I can empathize with Waldman. Everyone knew that manager Joe Torre was going to get sacked or offered a truly insulting deal that nobody could accept while still keeping their dignity, as the case may be, and so the end to the Yankees postseason was also the end of the 12-year Torre era. Hell, I cried when the Mets fired Bobby Valentine in 2002, and I wasn't even sure if I could get through the next morning's class without shedding a few tears over it. And the tears shed by Torre and the Yankees for the past 12 years after all their postseason wins could keep Yankee Stadium green for a year. But it was Waldman who got ripped a new asshole (as someone once eloquently put it). Why? Not because sports is a silly reason to cry over. No, it's because Waldman's a woman.

The conclusion of the article talks about what I wanted to post about for days but couldn't find the video for it, as it was most likely lost in the ejection of 9/11 conspiracy theorists: Bill Maher's disgusting comments about the whole Ellen Degeneres/Iggy the dog fiasco.

At this moment when the entire nation is saying 'Hmm, can we have a woman president? Maybe they're too emotional,' I don't think this is helping. If I was a woman, I would be embarrassed right now. I would be embarrassed for all womankind.

Is the entire nation saying that? Because I thought Clinton was leading every candidate in the polls. Anywho, I HATE it when the actions of one individual are somehow indicative of everyone from whatever arbitrary group you want to make look bad (after all, he didn't say he'd be embarrassed for all blonde-kind or gay-kind for that matter). It's as if people attempt not to make a sexist comment by feeling bad for all women when one woman fucks up, especially when the fuck up is a woman being empathetic while the camera's rolling. The truth is, the unfavorable behavior of one woman wouldn't reflect poorly on all women if women weren't already negatively stereotyped. If Bill Maher went on a killing spree, there wouldn't be some dramatic paradigm shift where the majority would exclaim, "White dudes are apeshit, and this is proof! They want to murder us all!!!! They're killing machines!!!!" Of course that doesn't happen, because this logic only serves the purpose to further oppress the oppressed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Someone Stop This Crazy Lady!

This crazy woman and recent Worst Person in the World nominee named Susan Orr was just appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs. The thing is, she opposes birth control. She worked at the reactionary Family Research Council. She believes that providing contraception is part of "the culture of death." Told you she was crazy. She doesn't need Senate confirmation, but you can still send a message to President Bush and tell him that you oppose this appointment.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Maine Middle School Will Dispense Birth Control Pills

King Middle School in Portland Maine will dispense birth control pills and patches in addition to the condoms they've been providing at the school's health center. I'm all for it. However, the article doesn't say if the students will get some sort of talk from the physician about how birth control works and the fact that they don't protect against STDs and all that jazz. I trust that middle schoolers would know to get contraception if they're going to have sex, but I don't think they're going to know how to use it effectively on their own (that's probably true for most people). I saw this story on the 12 o'clock local news on CBS2. What followed the story was pretty funny.

Dana Tyler: These are young kids we're talking about. And a lot of parents are wondering are there any health concerns here especially when it comes to birth control pills.

Jim Rosenfield: Aside from the moral questions, what about health concerns? Dr. Holly Phillips joining us now with some answers. Holly?

Dr. Phillips: Well, those are some legitimate questions. These are young children. But at this time, birth control, especially long-term oral contraception, is considered safe for the vast majority of women. And it's the most effective from of contraception other than abstinence. In terms of risk, many women ask about breast cancer, but any possible link is still quite controversial. And if you have a family history of any cancer, you should talk to your doctor before starting the pill. Blood clots are a risk for certain women, especially smokers. And finally, the biggest health risk for young girls is that the pill doesn't protect against any sexually transmitted diseases. So that's really one of the main concerns, especially since this group is so young.

Rosenfield: Im just wondering does this move by the school board encourage, send a message to young girls "Okay! It's okay to have sex"?

Phillips: Okay. From a medical perspective, we have to say no. There's some really good research that shows girls are less likely to ask for contraception if they need parental consent, but they're not less likely to have sex. So we certainly don't want to encourage them, but if they're going to do it, we should protect them.

Ding! But why, oh why, is there always one word missing when talking about any kind of birth control? No, it's not kumquat. Well, actually, kumquats are usually missing in a discussion about contraception, but that's not the word I'm thinking of in this case. The word is "boy!" Jim Rosenfield and a lot of other douche nozzles are worried that if girls get birth control pills, the girls will get the message that it's okay for girls to have sex (oh, we wouldn't want that message to get around too damn quick, would we?!). Who are these girls going to have sex with after getting birth control? Themselves? Some may argue that since it's the girls that will be taking the contraception, we don't have to talk about the boys. But contraception prevents pregnancy, and who gets girls pregnant? Boys! Don't you think that if all the boys find out that the girls are getting birth control pills, one of the most effective ways of preventing pregnancies, the boys are gonna be like "Score!"? I think so. They're gonna be like "Double score!" Secondly, I'm tired of people saying that 11- and 12-years-old is too young to have sex when talking about giving minors birth control. That's an opinion, an opinion I hold, at least from a social standpoint, but it doesn't progress the discussion about birth control. The point isn't that they're too young to have sex. The point is that they're old enough to get pregnant and get girls pregnant. And isn't that what contraception is all about?

Sam Brownback to Drop Out of Presidential Race

Yay! Here's what McCain had to say about it:

"I'll miss him in this debate . . . . He's a voice for the pro-life movement and community in America."

If by pro-life you mean forcing rape victims to remain pregnant because they don't fall under the category of "innocent . . . ."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Reason to Love Keith Olbermann

This story starts with Bethany Wilkerson, a two-year-old who appeared in a pro-SCHIP ad by True Majority Action. See, Bethany's parents make a combined $34,000 a year. Bethany was diagnosed with a serious heart condition when she was 3 months old. Her parents can't afford health insurance, and SCHIP paid for Bethany's life-saving surgery. Yay for SCHIP, right? Not according to Mark Hemingway of the National Review Online:

"While the debate around the Frost family at least initially centered around their relative wealth, the issue really at hand is one of bad behavior . . . . On the conference call, Dara admitted to me that she and Brian had been talking about having children since before they were married. She further admitted that after they were married she voluntarily left a job at a country club that had good health insurance, because the situation was “unmanageable.” From there she took a job at a restaurant with no health insurance, and the couple went on to have a baby anyway, presuming that others would pay for it and certainly long before they knew their daughter would have a heart defect that probably cost the gross national product of Burkina Faso . . . . I think it’s rude to accept huge amounts of public assistance and then express gratitude by asking taxpayers to extend a Children’s health program to cover college-age kids who come from households making more than $80,000 a year. Which brings us to another salient point — Bethany Wilkerson is healthy. She is covered by existing programs and has already received the much of the medical care she needs."

Did you take that all in? I'm not even going to get into one of the inconsistencies of his argument -- if a life-saving procedure costs the GNP of Burkina Faso, wouldn't it cost more than $80,000? I think it would. Or that Bethany is healthy but only has received much of the medical care she needs (or did she receive the medical care she needs. Looks like Hemingway changed his mind in the middle of typing that sentence but forgot to go back and correct it). Or that Mrs. Wilkerson voluntary left her unmanageable job. The bigger inconsistency is the fact that Hemingway calls the Wilkersons irresponsible for having a baby, while the right-wing fringe uses that exact reasoning for being anti-choice. Which brings me to another reason to love Keith Olbermann. From Tuesday night's show:

Keith Olbermann: Why does a group of people proclaiming themselves to be pro-life see no barrier to preserving the life of fetuses or Terri Schiavo, but when it's actual people who are already up and running, kids like Bethany and Graeme Frost, they literally want them -- in Graeme Frost's case somebody called for a public hanging -- and this little girl's case, the argument was that they didn't have sufficient medial insurance so she should never have been conceived. Is there any straight line in there?

What a great question. That's what I'd like to know. Watch the video if you want the answer given by Paul Krugman of The New York Times (at around the 3:30 mark).

Emasculated? Nope, Just Plain Misogynistic

Apparently, journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis hurt Page Six's pride when she said that their writers are emasculated. I wouldn't call a career in celebrity gossip emasculating. Shallow, but no emasculating. This was Page Six's retort:

"As for us being 'emasculated,' Grigoriadis ignores that fact that half the Page Six staff is female. The male half might take her someplace private and disprove her theory, but we don't like a woman with a mustache."

Did the goons at Page Six just openly threat someone with gang rape? I think so. Then it's a good thing she has that mustache.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Above is the trailer for Jamie Babbitt's new film, Itty Bitty Titty Committee. Watch it. This movie is amazing. It's serious and funny and, at times, truly analytical. Plus it's got a killer soundtrack. Yay, Le Tigre!

Anyway, this movie is great. It's about an 18-year-old Latina lesbian (Anna) who works at a plastic surgeon's office. She just got rejected twice, first by her school of choice and then by her girlfriend dumping her. So she meets this one girl, Sadie, who invites her to join her radical feminist group, Clits in Action. And, well, hilarity happens from there.

This movie is great because it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's got a lot of awesome feminist content, a great cast, and a good story. Also, I love the fact that the movie isn't about Anna's coming out as a lesbian as a lot of films are. She finds herself, not her lesbianism. None of the movie is focused on the fact that its main character is a lesbian. It's just treated as a "Yeah, of course, why not?" sort of thing. That was one of the coolest things about it, I thought.

Anyway, check out the trailer and this review for more info.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blaming Women's Lib for Black Single Mothers

This was really rich. Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint went on Meet the Press this morning to discuss their new book, Come On, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors.

TIM RUSSERT: What happened within the black community that we got to a point, since 1950, where 70 percent of the children are born with single parents? What happened?

DR. POUSSAINT: Well, I think all kinds of things. Some of it has to do with the fact that things changed for women with the women’s liberation movement. In the past, there was a stigma if you had—a big stigma if you had a child out of wedlock. That’s not true anymore for, for white women or black women. So a lot of the black women do not feel compelled to get married. And then the other issue is the availability of black men and whether they’re eligible to be married. You have so many black men incarcerated, so many black men unemployed, underemployed. In colleges now, black women outnumber black men two to one. And so the chances of hooking up in a marital relationship in the way our society works is more difficult. So I think that’s changed as well.

I find this just hilarious. First of all, feminism wasn't always exactly Black-friendly. The women's suffrage movement was more accurately the White women's suffrage movement -- Susan B. Anthony didn't want to go overboard with the equality. And Betty Friedan's discovery of the feminine mystique, a discovery that may very well be one of the greatest achievements of feminism, didn't apply to lower-class women of color who couldn't afford to stay home. Black women were left out of the women's movement, and some still feel that way.

Furthermore, did Dr. Poussaint imply that there's no stigma to having a child out of wedlock anymore? That's news to me! Single motherhood is still a stigma. This especially applies to women of color, since every little socially unacceptable thing that a brown woman does is attributed to her skin color. If a Black woman is strolling a child in the mall, you don't even have to check her left ring finger to see if she's married -- she's just another Black welfare 'ho draining the system. White women might get similar crap, but people usually give them the benefit of the doubt -- maybe she's a divorcee.

He is right about the women's movement letting us know that we don't have to get married. And we certainly don't have to marry the -- how did Dr. Poussaint put it? -- "incacerated, unemployed, and underemployed" dudes. But it seems like he believes this is a bad thing.

But what was that about Black men and women in college? According to him, because there are twice as many Black women as Black men in college, these women just won't be able to find a mate. Maybe, just maybe, women, even Black women, can marry whoever the fuck they want. Maybe Black women can marry, for example, a Hispanic guy. Maybe the Hispanic guy is in BSU. Maybe the Hispanic guy is President of BSU. Now how 'bout that. Perhaps such a phenomenon completely blows Dr. Poussaint's mind.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cool Blog

"I Am Emily X: The True-Life Diary of a Frontline Planned Parenthood Worker and Activist"

A Planned Parenthood worker is blogging for choice during some pro-life thing called "40 Days for Life" (not any woman's life, obviously). She's collecting donations for every anti-choice activist outside her Planned Parenthood clinic. She's already raised over $1,000. You go, girl! Great name, by the way.

Bush Administration Funds Homophobia in Uganda.

This is truly horrifying.

"As Ugandan officials and the Ugandan media intensify attacks on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, the US government should condemn these threats, and clarify that it does not support using its HIV/AIDS funding to promote homophobia, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to US officials.

“'When the US funds abstinence-only programs in Uganda, it tells people that LGBT people’s sexualities are dangerous and must be denied,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Supporting prejudice with cash is an approach with deadly consequences for all.'

"An August 16 press conference by a coalition of LGBT groups in Uganda that launched a campaign called “Let Us Live in Peace,” has led to a month-long backlash in the country. Most recently, on September 9, the tabloid paper Red Pepper published a list of first names, workplaces and other identifying information of 39 alleged homosexuals, all men. Headlined “Homo Terror,” the article promised to “name and shame top gays in the city.”

I don't think the Bush Administration purposely gives abstinence-only funding to poor countries to knowingly discriminate against gays. I think the Bush Administration are ignorant of this phenomenon -- Can George W. Bush locate Uganda on a map? It's pretty clear the homophobia that is in abstinence-only education in this country, but we're free to believe whatever we want despite what we learn in school. I don't think most people, especially middle school students, are stupid enough to believe that homosexuality is wrong because their teachers of all people tell them that. Obviously, that's not the same in Uganda. However bad the social climate is for homosexuals in the United States, it obviously pales in comparison to what's happening in Uganda. But that doesn't mean that homophobia can't get worse in the United States, especially when you create an safe environment for it. And I honestly don't think that the Bush Administration realizes how bad homophobia can get when you let it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Legal or Illegal, Abortion Rates Are the Same

According to a new study by members of the Guttmacher Institute and World Health Organization, abortion rates are the same whether or not the procedure is legal.

"In a study examining abortion trends from 1995 to 2003, experts also found that abortion rates are virtually equal in rich and poor countries, and that half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe."

"Abortion accounts for 13 percent of maternal mortality worldwide. About 70,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions. An additional 5 million women suffer permanent or temporary injury."

"Unsafe abortions" were defined as "those performed either by people lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimum medical standards."

Couldn't find any official pro-life opinion on this study.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Women Activists Beaten, Tortured in Zimbabwe

Activists from the organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) released a preliminary report of the violence they experience by the police.

"The women endured various forms of torture, including beatings with a variety of instruments ... baton sticks, booted feet, wooden planks, being slapped, and falanga (beatings on the bottom of the feet)," Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) said in a report.

"The forced removal of underwear when in custody is recorded separately as it implies threatened sexual violence," said WOZA.

"Other forms of degrading and humiliating treatment the women suffered included being forced to kneel or crouch for prolonged periods and being insulted and threatened by police.

"Some of the women are subjected to cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment together with their children, as the police do not separate the mothers and their children when they suffer this treatment," it said.

WOZA hasn't posted the report on its website. I'll post the link when they do.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Have to Talk About This

I wasn't going to talk about the new advertisement promoting abstinence until marriage by the Bush Administration. I saw the video this morning on Feministing, and it sounded stupid then. But when I heard it on The Rachael Maddow Show this evening on my way home from class, it sounded even stupider. Here's the text:

We gotta talk.
Talk to me about sex.
'Cuz my friends do.
It's all over the Internet.
Now, it's your turn.
Tell me what you want from me.
An education.
A family.
Tell me you want me to wait --
To have SEX.
I may roll my eyes.
Act all bored.
But I'll hear you.
[voice over] Tell your kids you want them to WAIT TIL THEIR MARRIED to have sex. Tell them early and often, and they're more likely to have success.
Come on, Dad!
Speak up, Mom!
You can do it!

I assume the "tell them early and often" part was only said by a disemobided voice because it's wrong to put lies in the mouths of children -- Abstinence-only education is ineffective. Honestly, this wouldn't be a bad ad if "married" was replaced with "ready." I firmly believe in sex education early and often as much as the next person, but it has to be accurate. But, hey. Accuracy isn't exactly the Bush Administration's specialty.

But my favorite line by far is "It's all over the Internet." How about "It's all up in my pants." Sex is biological. It's natural. It's not something that people learn. It's something that people do. What does the Bush Administration think people did back in cavemen days to procreate? That is, where does Bush think Jenna and Barbara came from? The Internet?

Monday, October 08, 2007


Not just any validation. It's validation from a conservative. I'm sure all of you read my post about the Values Voter debate when I said that everyone is a values voter -- It just might not be your values that I'm voting for. Well, George Will said the following on This Week with George Stephanopoulos yesterday.

"Social conservatives should grow up. If they want to rally around somebody, why don't they try that? Huckabee needs support right now. If the social conservatives are half as important as they think they are, they would rally around one of these people. . . . But there's a vanity in this group right now. They call themselves "the values voters." I have news for them: 100% of the electorate are values voters. They vote [based on] their values. And this kind of semantic imperialism that they have where they say 'We vote values.' Everyone else votes what?"

Now I'm not going to get into who copied whom and whatnot. The only thing that matters is that it was said . . . twice!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

LOL! That Way You Can, Lyke, Pretend You're Still Extracting Free Labor From Women, Lawlz

Heh heh. Because, you know, what else are moms for but washing your dirty underwear?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Funny Sarah Silverman Program Videos

I missed the season premiere of The Sarah Silverman Program last night because I thought it was on tonight. Didn't the first season air on Thursday nights? Anyway, it was about Sarah getting caught up in a pro-life organization, Operation Baby Justice, because she took their "killing babies is wrong" rhetoric literally. It begins with Sarah helping with getting ready for a protest outside the clinic. Then, Sarah realizes that Operation Baby Justice is planning to blow up the clinic. It ends with Sarah aborting an arrowhead from her friend's ass. Funny. Stuff.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bush Vetoes SCHIP Bill

George W. Bush has vetoed 4 bills in his 6 years in office. The latest is for SCHIP, a bill that would have given healthcare to about 10 million children from families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get good insurance, because he believes it is "a step towards federalization of healthcare." As you might remember, two of the veotes were to expand stem-cell research, because it "would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others."

But vetoing a bill that would insure millions of American children wouldn't be supporting the taking of an innocent human life, if any of those children were to die because they had no healthcare benefits. Right . . . .

In other news, up is down, left is right, and women have equal pay.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bill Maher Has to Stop

I don't know if it's silly of me to expect a man who's dated Ann Coulter to know anything about women, but I do know that it's standard to treat your guests with respect. On September 28, Bill Maher interviewed Maria Bartiromo from the Wall Street Journal Report. Here's the first thing he said to her:

"May I say, just to begin with, I love watching you. And one of these days I'm going to turn the sound on."

Tee-fuckin'-hee! She's just too pretty to be listened to, even if your livelihood depends on her expertise. Oh, but he's joking, right? He doesn't do this kind of shit on his show all the time, especially not in the same segment.

"To me, the stock market is like a woman. It goes off on the slightest thing. It's very emotional, doesn't seem to be logical. Am I wrong about that?"

Yes and no. The stock market is more like Bill O'Reilly, but for the same reasons Maher suggests.

Monday, October 01, 2007

ENDA to Exclude the Transgender Community

Still don't think there's a huge element of sexism in homophobia? The Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA, H.R. 2015) was supposed to protect workers from being (not) hired/fired based on sexuality and gender identity. But because House Democrats believe that H.R. 2015 won't get enough votes, they will vote on H.R. 3685, which does not provide protection for the transgendered.

Of course, I believe that the original draft of ENDA should be passed. However, if I were a Representative, I don't know how I'd vote. Actually, I do know how I'd vote, and either way, I would be put on trial. I would not vote Nay simply out of principle. I don't think it's a good idea to hinder great progress because my ideal for a discrimination-free society isn't going as quickly as I'd like. I'd rather vote Yay on the watered-down version and give protection to homosexuals than vote Nay until the more inclusive version was up for a vote, which could be never, and be responsible for not giving protection to anyone. But either way, it would look like I'm discriminating against somebody. During my few minutes on the floor, I would talk about this APA article and hope to convince a few.

If you don't find your Representatives name on the list of co-sponsers for H.R. 2015, give them a call or send them an e-mail telling them to at least support H.R. 3685.

Not Until I See Synchronized Puking, Thanks.

Seems like David didn't realize he had a uterus.

There is one phrase that bothers me beyond anything else. It is more than a pet peeve. I seriously cannot stand it when people utter the words. . ."We're pregnant".

Who is this "we" that people who use this phase speak of?

Take this thread on The-N, for example.

I expressed my displeasure with the phrases "she's having my baby" and "We're pregnant", and chaos strikes.

Check out this quote:

No, what's silly is the fact that you seem to have some sort of burning hatred for the male sex. Every little thing that someone has to say about this subject is automatically incorrect to you because you're too stubborn to take down your walls and accept someone else's opinion for once.
That was in response to this statement by me:

Saying "Hey, don't take credit for what I'm going through that you're not" isn't dismissing him. It's just saying "Hey, don't take credit for what I'm going through that you're not. I mean, you did a good job with that ejaculation thing and all, but you're not pregnant now."

Sperm makes a zygote. A woman makes the kid. Getting her pickles and ice cream at 3 in the morning doesn't mean he's pregnant. Sorry. He's doing just that: Sticking around. You don't have to attribute something that he's not going through to him just because of that. That's silly.

So, in conclusion, because I don't think that men get pregnant, I hate men. Or, perhaps it's my unwillingness to attribute pregnancies that men don't go through to men that makes it obvious that I hate men. I'm not sure which option it is. All I know is that men do to get pregnant, and as such, they don't get to take the credit for pregnancies that women go through. Saying things like "We're pregnant" and "she's having my baby" erase the fact that women contribute much more to the process of reproduction than men do. "She's carrying my baby" is just downright unnecessary possessiveness. It unnerves me that some of the girls on that thread thought it was "sweet". "We're pregnant" bothers me even more than that because it's a more subtle sort of sexism. I know that it's supposed to imply that the man is staying with the woman, but I don't understand why one needs to attribute the actual pregnancy to him in order to do that. Can't you just say "I'm pregnant (or my significant other is pregnant) and my male significant other is staying with me (or I'm staying with my significant other)"?

I'm sorry, but "we're pregnant" won't stop bothering me until men are puking up their breakfasts and squeezing bowling balls through straws alongside the women who are ACTUALLY pregnant. If that means I hate men, well, I hate men quite a bit.