Putting My Feminism To Shame

Check out this interview with badass Bahraini feminist Ghada Jamshir:

Interviewer: “Some people say that Ghada Jamshir is a Sunni, and that this is why she is leading the battle against [mut’ah] marriages, which are authorized by religious law among the Shi’ites.”

Ghada Jamshir: “Authorized by religious law?!”

Interviewer: “Among the Shiites, yes.”

Ghada Jamshir: “Does the Islamic Shari’a authorize mut’ah marriages? Does the Islamic Shari’a authorize mut’ah according to the following classification: ‘Pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs.’ They have: ‘Pleasure from sexual touching,’ ‘pleasure from sexual contact with her breasts.’ ‘Pleasure from a little girl.’ Do you know what ‘pleasure from a little girl’ means? It means that they derive sexual pleasure from a girl aged two, three, or four.”

Interviewer: “Let’s not go into details…”

Ghada Jamshir: “Let me tell you what ‘pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs’ means…”

Interviewer: “Don’t give me the details…”

Jamshir presses on about this endorsement of child abuse — offending the interviewer’s delicate sensibilities, the poor flower — and blows off those who question her religious convictions due to her feminist activism. Let no one tell you that Muslims cannot be feminists and that the women of the Middle East are helpless. Up against mind-boggling barriers, yes, but not helpless.

You can theoretically view a clip of this interview here (requires IE) but I can’t get it to open.

via Protein Wisdom

Posted in Feminism, Religion | Tagged | 12 Comments

The Boyfriend Tortures The Kitties

Ryan seeks alternative resources for love and affection.

Fat Molester

Lay off the belly.

Sweet Love

I really like this, but I can’t express this with my face.

Posted in General | Tagged | 1 Comment

Friday Random Ten – The B-Sides Edition

1) The Meteors – Psycho For Your Love
2) Morphine – Sheila
3) Edith Frost – Playmate (If you don’t have anything from this artist, go out and get yourself a CD immediately. Frost is awesomeness squared.)
4) Don Lennon – Gay Fun
5) Micky Amelyne – Look
6) Bonnie “Prince” Billy – That’s Pep! (Devo cover)
7) Those Legendary Shack Shakers – Tickle Yore Innards
8) Local H – Toxic (Britney Spears cover which, surprisingly, doesn’t suck)
9) Donovan – Hurdy Gurdy Man
10) David Bowie – Queen Bitch

Bonus Track: Richard Hell and The Voidoids – Blank Generation

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Random, Incomplete Thoughts on Family, Expectations, and Education

I’ve never been one to put artificial emphasis on degrees. To me, “education” is largely created around our interest in and engagement with ideas, whether we are autodidacts or rely on the institutional process.

Several years ago, when I was pregnant, staying with my sister, trying to avoid the drama of my hometown, she asked me what I wanted to do with myself in the future. “I don’t know,” I told her. “I’m just interested in ideas.”

“You’ll grow out of that,” she said. “I did.”

I don’t care what she says. Our family is one interested in ideas, debate, and involvement. We aren’t a model family, we aren’t a perfect family, but I’m proud of us. And we’re damned interested in ideas.


I had my official graduation party tonight with the family at my favorite local restaurant in town. Two things were on my mind as we chatted about friends, family, and education over good food and lots of wine: achievement levels for teen moms and my family’s rather common generational relationship to the academic process.

Earlier this week, my sister alerted me to a recent profile in the Detroit Free Press by Desiree Cooper about a former teen mom who recently graduated with her master’s degree. One quote in particular stood out to me (emphasis mine):

Last Saturday, Johnson defied the naysayers and graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in social work. Next month, she begins a job working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

But her successes are still bittersweet.

“People say I should be proud because of what I’ve accomplished as a teenaged mom,” Johnson said last week. “It’s so hard to live with everyone else’s low expectations.”

Finally graduating after six years of work has been a bittersweet experience. On one hand I know that I should be proud that I have finally achieved this long term goal, while on the other hand I hear how amazing it is that I’ve made it to and through college considering the life I live — after all, only around 1.5% of teen moms end up with a college degree by the age of thirty. But Ms. Cooper highlighted one thing in particular that has always irked me, the low expectations we have for teen moms. This sentiment also echoes so many of the low expectations we have for other social classes.

Between railing about the failures of modern marriage and the unfortunate rates of teen pregnancies, the graduation rates of white men and black women, the education rates between the poor and the rich, it seems we forget that real people live among the statistics that we so often cite. I remember when I decided to keep my pregnancy with E, people of all walks of life felt free to tell me how I was ruining my life, my son’s life. I toyed with the idea of giving E up for adoption when he was born, knowing that the chances of me being able to make us a comfortable life without leaning heavily on my parents was slim. I tried for a relationship with Ethan’s dad, a relationship that would eventually end amicably, but not without much strife. I worried. I prayed. I looked for God, for anything that would give me direction.

In the end I found books. I decided to give up some of my financial and emotional autonomy to aim for the optimistic hope that I had the guts to do it, to raise my son, to get a degree, to achieve real autonomy despite the odds. I chose college.

I’m getting to that autonomy, not there yet, but I’m getting there. Nonetheless, I find myself fighting against the stupid social restrictions placed on us for me having the gall to have a son without being married. Screwed if you do (have the baby and do your best regardless) and screwed if you don’t (have the baby and do your best regardless).

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Posted in Education, Vanity | Tagged , | 68 Comments

We *Heart* White Christians

And we demonstrate it by hating everyone else.

Example A: Dumb Jews who don’t blindly worship Evangelical Christians for generously allowing them a place in this Christian nation. Plus Jewish Democrats would vote for Hitler, and we’re one holiday tree away from living in Soviet Russia.

Example B: Ann Coulter on Kwanzaa. Yeah, you already know it’s gonna be bad. But did you know that giving black children fake African names is what made all black people criminals (“That was a big help to the black community: How many boys named “Jamal” currently sit on death row?”)? Also, Kwanzaa is for Commies: “Kwanzaa itself is a lunatic blend of schmaltzy ’60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. Indeed, the seven “principles” of Kwanzaa praise collectivism in every possible arena of life — economics, work, personality, even litter removal. (“Kuumba: Everyone should strive to improve the community and make it more beautiful.”)” Improve the community? Make it more beautiful? Now that is just sick.

Example C: Mike Adams loves Minutemen, and kickin’ him some Mexican ass. Or, having his friend — who he only cares about in a totally heterosexual way — kick some Mexican ass.

Posted in Race & Ethnicity | 5 Comments

“I Want Abortion to End”

So says an anti-choice activist in South Dakota, where there is one abortion clinic which offers procedures one day a week, using doctors who fly in from Minnesota. Read the whole article. So what’s the solution? Allow states to cut Medicaid spending on contraception and family planning services (because that will decrease the abortion rate). Allow pharmacists to refuse to fill women’s prescriptions for contraceptives. Make safe, legal abortion more difficult to access.

Will that be what ends abortion? I’d love to hear someone try and defend this.

On a bit of a tangent (because I haven’t had much time to blog lately, so I might as well cram a lot into this post, right?), I watched a documentary the other night on TLC on an Egyptian baby born with two heads, and it reminded me of this conversation from a while back. The gist of the documentary was that the baby was born perfectly normal — except that at the top of its head, there was another head attached. The second head only had a neck, no body, and it used the other baby’s body for all of its basic life functions. But it had its own brain. It cried on its own, moved its own mouth, and blinked its eyes. It was, without a doubt, a separate being — except that it was a parasitic head, unable to survive without the other head and body it was attached to. What did the doctors do? They detached it, without a second ethical thought. It died, there was no question of that. But was it “killing a baby”? Was there a better or more ethical option?

Throughout that thread, there were the usual questions of whether a fetus is part of the woman’s body, it’s own separate entity with individual rights, or something in between. I happen to think that it’s something in between. But what this documentary made clear is that there is no moral or ethical responsibility for one being to allow another to live off of it. Is a parasitic head exactly the same thing as pregnancy? Of course not, and I’m not arguing that they’re perfectly parallel. And it feels a little morbid or strange, even comparing a baby born with two heads to an unwanted pregnancy. But the ethical issues of detaching this being that has no chance of survival without the body its attached to are certainly similar. Even if we argue that fetuses are entirely separate beings, why should women be required to carry those beings to term, and to allow them to live off of their bodies without their consent? How would this be considered fair, ethical or moral in any other area of medicine or law?

On a completely different note, check out this article on the dangerous choices facing pregnant Iraqi women.

Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , | 40 Comments


1. I have my first real job interview tomorrow. I want this position so badly that I

2. hacked off my hair to make it look more professional. I like it, which is a good thing considering that I hate

3. going to a hair stylist with whom I have no previous relationship, and this one was so timid I thought I’d walk out of there looking like

4. Meg Ryan. I don’t like “cute.” I try to avoid “cute” with all I can muster, and unfortunately, damn near everything I do with myself ends up getting labeled “cute” instead of something more adult.

5. Thanks to my nephew I have had this stuck in my head for two whole days, and have refashioned it to sing to the cats and torture my poor boyfriend. Thankfully, E loves it.

Non-fluff blogging to resume sometime this century.

Wish me luck.

Posted in Vanity | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

The Greatest Christmas Present EVER


One Noah Feldman mirror, hand-made by my dear friend Rebe. Isn’t it glorious? Adorable puppy pictures below the fold, because I’m still not prepared for any blogging of substance.

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Posted in Holidays & Celebrations, Vanity | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments


Except for a few choice moments, it was yet another disappointing Christmas here. Nonetheless, I made sure that my spawn made out like a bandit.

Every shred of Christmas shopping that didn’t consist of homemade presents was done on eBay. Thank you, thank you, to everyone who contributed to the Feed/Clothe/Provide Xmas For Lauren and Ethan Fund, as it was you folks that ensured we not only paid bills this December, but also had a decent Christmas. I bought every Christmas present at prices so sinfully low that I was able to give Ethan the first decent load of cool gifts since we were part of a two income household.

I think the best part of the day was coming home, setting up his (slightly used) GameCube and playing (a lightly used) Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life, and exploring this actually pretty new world that is crazily cute, and bonding over naming our digital cow Moo and our digital dog Kitty.

Roxanne sent a book for E, a complete collection of the Curious George books in hardback, that Ethan read enrapt as though it was the Bible on Easter Sunday. All reader gifts were given to Ethan from Santa, made all the more convincing because it’s obvious that Santa would use the same wrapping paper for each gift, even if this paper looks suspiciously like the stuff used at Amazon.com.

Mostly, it’s a good thing Dr. B slowly convinced me that video gaming is not the devil’s handiwork. It only took three (very resistant) years.

The simple things, man.

Posted in Holidays & Celebrations, Vanity | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Christmas Dog Blogging

In my absense, little Ferris has gotten a litte fat — and he wasn’t particularly small-boned to begin with. Check out this beast, here with my sister:


And here, not being particularly cute, but I think he’s trying:


More to come later, if he cooperates and acts as adorable as he’s capable of being.

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Christmas Day Meme

Jill beat me to it, but since this was passed to me as well, I put my answers below the fold. I’ve already had two shots of a really nice blue agave tequila before noon, so be kind to my typos.

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Posted in General | 13 Comments

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday this week. I got what I wanted for Xmas, world peace.


Posted in Holidays & Celebrations | 7 Comments