Odds and Ends

I don’t follow football, but I did enjoy the way Wonkette operative Eric Pfeiffer put it:

Things just keep getting worse for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens. First, he manages to get booted for the season – something his colleagues accused of murder, drug use and rape have failed to accomplish.

Boy would I be mad if I went to Lynn University (where?) of Boca Raton, Florida. Students there paid their university president more than $5 million last year. Five other university presidents cracked the $1 million mark. Now, university presidents deserve to be paid well — but more than a million dollars? Among doctoral and research universities, NYU’s own John Sexton is the sixth-highest-paid president, bringing in almost $900,000 a year. The average president of a doctoral/research institution makes about half that. Only 14 college/university presidents make more than $800,000 annually. Now, I like Sexton — he did great things for the law school, and I think he’s good for the university — but it does seem funny that he accepts one of the highest salaries of all university presidents, and then digs in his heels when it comes to paying adjunct faculty fairly and recognizing graduate student unions so that they can bargain for better wages and benefits. I’ll also throw it out there that NYU is one of the worst schools in the country when it comes to financial aid, and every year they raise our tution well above the rate of inflation. But hey, as long as Sexton is gettin’ his…

I *heart* Jennifer Baumgardner. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting her last spring, I’ve read all her books, and she is amazing. While I try not to attach myself to a single feminist thinker, I would say that Baumgardner’s version of feminism is the most similar to mine. So check out her latest article, where she takes on Ariel Levy’s “Female Chauvinist Pigs.”

While Dowd’s book has some feminists of my acquaintance furious (“I don’t recognize the world she is describing at all,” a 35-year-old editor at the Washington Post told me), Levy’s is more dangerous. Intentional or not, Levy contributes to that mean finger, pointed only at girls, that says “You think you are being sexy, you think you’re cool and powerful, but you’re not. You’re a slut and people are making fun of you.”

Feminism has given me a powerful lens with which to view the world. What I needed as a young woman, and what I think women need now, are not more critics shaking their fingers, but more models and examples of the free, powerful sexuality that Levy says she advocates.


Read the whole thing.

Posted in Education, Feminism, General | Tagged | 13 Comments

Marriage Equality, For Better or Worse

Won’t allow gender-neutral marriage? Fine, then let’s give everyone committment ceremonies. Good for this Arlington pastor.

Posted in Gender, GLBTQ, Religion | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Carnival of Feminists 3

Is now up. And it’s great, so go check it out!

Posted in Blogging, Feminism | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Frivolity

Probably spelled that wrong. But let me just throw it out there that I’m 95% sure I saw Jessica Cutler of Washintonienne fame on 7th between A and B tonight. Walking alone, without a man accompanying her and/or paying her rent. I could be wrong. But like I said… 95%. Woah.

Posted in Blogging, Celebrity | Tagged | 9 Comments

Yeouch

A quiz to brighten the dullest of days.
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Posted in General | 29 Comments

Equal-Opportunity Crappy Dating Advice

It seems like every feminist blogger has written, at some point, about the crappy dating advice that comes by way of Cosmo and Glamour and whatever other “women’s” publication helps us out by claiming that you too can attract every man you want if you just follow these 10 simple steps. There are a million reasons to be irritated by such advice — it assumes men all think the same way, it assumes all women are only interested in men, it assumes men can basically be tricked into liking a woman if she tosses her head the right way, and it generally encourages women to behave deferentially and to lie about how they really feel. Not good. But via Wonkette, now those “nice guys” who get NewsMax in their email boxes get to deal with the same shit we do. Only with way more unnecessary capitalization, and over-use of the phrase, “Don’t be a WUSSIE!”. Full text after the jump.
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Posted in Gender | Tagged , , | 74 Comments

FDA Bent the Rules on Plan B

How surprising. The GAO report is here (pdf). William Saleton sums it up pretty simply:

A government investigation says the FDA bent its rules to block over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill. The GAO report indicates 1) senior officials decided to reject such sales long before their scientific assessment was finished; 2) in so doing, they overruled the agency’s internal and external science advisers on an over-the-counter sales question for the first time in 10 years; and 3) they justified the rejection by invoking an age distinction they had ignored in previous cases.

But nah, they aren’t playing politics. They’re protecting us.

Posted in Politics, Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Speak Out Against Sauerbrey

Cronyism 2.0. BOPnews has the details.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 1 Comment

Abortion on TV

Thirty-three years ago this week, Bea Arthur as Maude had a fictitious abortion on her show. Now, abortion is as hidden on television as it was before Roe v. Wade.

The word “abortion” isn’t used. Characters who discover they are unintentionally pregnant don’t even consider abortion. Abortion is shamed by its omission, and isn’t considered a valid option for virtuous characters (or even non-virtuous ones, like Gabrielle on Desperate Housewives). Rebecca Raber writes:

Regardless of your personal feelings about abortion, the fact is that millions of women have them. The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates that in 2001 (the last year for which statistics are available) more than 1.3 million pregnancies were terminated in the United States. But where are these women’s stories on television? Where is their voice? The answer is: on premium cable.

Six Feet Under’s Claire had an abortion without regret, headache, or the requisite moral punishment that seems to come with abortion on other shows. Sex & the City’s Carrie and Samantha both say they’ve had abortions, and both make it clear that they have no regrets; when Miranda is unexpectedly pregnant, she considers it as an option. Without being bound to advertisers, channels like HBO can image real-life decisions in a realistic, and more complex, way.

Not surprisingly, the only time abortion makes a regular appearance on the major networks is when it is discussed as an “idea.” The fictional political candidates on shows like The West Wing freely discuss their views (though their recent live presidential debate eschewed the topic altogether since both candidates on this liberal fantasy show are pro-choice). You will be hard-pressed, however, to find an episode where C.J. or one of the president’s daughters admits to actually having an abortion herself. In this way, writers can feel brave for delving into a taboo subject without having to stand behind their political convictions. The implication is that talking about and debating over abortion is OK, having one is not.

This, despite the fact that abortion has been available for more than three decades, and is a choice that millions of women select — or at the very least, that they think about.

Real women have had decades of hard-won reproductive freedom in this country, but their televised doppelg do not have the same options. Why aren’t our real-world choices reflected in our pop culture landscape? If the networks can show violence against women and teen sex and rape (shows like Law and Order: SVU are propagated entirely on those topics), why can’t we see the outcomes of those actions? Abortion is not a dirty word, nor is it simply a political topic. It deserves a place on TV, and not just on C-SPAN.

Read the whole essay.

Posted in Entertainment, Reproductive Rights | Tagged , | 71 Comments

Feminism Killed Natalee Holloway

Is there anything these people can’t blame feminism for?

Because of politically-correct feminist imperatives, girls now know more about sex but less about the opposite sex. There was a time when girls were told that boys were vastly different from them, possessing stronger libidos and bodies. Girls were taught to avoid placing themselves in compromising situations; they were armed with the facts upon which good judgement rested and safety depended.

Now, though, such counsel is sacrilege. Girls’ minds are filled with notions of the sameness of the sexes, with its corollary that they can go where their sisters of yore feared to tread. Why, God forbid that we should tell them that, like it or not, they are the more vulnerable sex, and that this fact of life should inform their thinking.

Not that I’m laboring under the illusion that modern girls are all sugar and spice and everything nice. Owing to feminism, which liberated the fairer sex from common-sense, morality, restraint, and chastity, quasi-harlotry now infects much of contemporary womanhood. A lady close to my heart said it best: “Forty years ago you knew who the bad girls were; now you know who the good girls are.” And now we have a whole generation of girls-gone-wild.

Because knowing about sex and believing that you have the right to go out alone is what’ll rape and/or kill you. Not, you know, actual rapists and murderers.

But equal with feminism is bad parenting — you know, the people who would let their daughters (and it’s just daughers) go on “hedonistic” vacations to Spanish-speaking countries.

Let’s be blunt, one way a daughter could frame this is, “Hey, Mom and Dad, can I go to Cancun for spring break (or to celebrate, or some other occasion)?” But translated that often means, “Hey, Mom and Dad, can I go to Cancun, where I’ll most likely have sex with some libidinous boy you don’t know from Adam – maybe even with lots of boys – drink, smoke, and perhaps even do drugs?” That sounds crazy but is, in essence, accurate. Crazier still is that the parents’ answer is often “yes.”

Now, I’m not a big fan of the entitlement issues that come along with kids who think they “deserve” an exotic vacation for high school graduation or for simply existing. But that aside, at some point parents have to evaluate whether or not they trust their kids, and they have to let their children grow up and make their own decisions. Were I a parent, would I let my 15-year-old go to Aruba alone? Probably not. But do I hope that I’ll know my 18-year-old well enough to be able to reasonably evaluate whether or not they’ll go on a sex-and-drugs spree in a foreign country.

The “girls gone wild” culture is, as far as I can tell, a non-existant part of the majority of young women’s personal experiences, and to be honest I’m sick of every female in my generation being associated with it. Young women are not all running amok flashing our breasts for beads and enticing innocent high school boys into having sex with us. Those of us who do engage in certain behaviors that this author would criticize — sexual performance to please a male audience, etc — do so as a response to a lot of complicated social factors, and it’s over-simplistic to just call those women heathen sluts and assume that their experiences are universal for young women. Hell, I went to Mexico for spring break last year with six other people, and it wasn’t exactly an exercise in unrestrained hedonism — we were in bed by midnight every night, and woke up by 9am (we did drink Pacifico and pina coladas in the pool all day, but that’s about as wild as it got). I’m sure there were plenty of people there who were a lot crazier than we were, and that’s fine — but just because their experience is more visible doesn’t make it more common.

Of course, what no one seems to be pointing out is that, even if we assume that “girls gone wild” are everywhere, it’s men who are videotaping them, encouraging them to behave a certain way, rewarding sexualized and male-pleasing behavior, and making money off of them. Feminism has never said, “You go, girls! Get naked for that guy and let him make millions off your ass!” We just see the dishonesty in slut-shaming and pinning all the blame on women.

Posted in Crime, Feminism, Gender | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Broads Who Blog

SadieMAG has an article about that female blogger thing, which includes a nice little Feministe shout-out, as well as links to some of my favorite blogs (Shakespeare’s Sister, Rox Populi, Suburban Guerrilla, Pandagon, Bitch PhD, Majikthise, Culture Cat, Wonkette). The article is interesting, although I take issue with parts of it. Right-wing blogger Kathy is quoted as saying, apparently about Wonkette, “Any woman blogger on the web can use her sexuality to gain readers. But is that what we want?” I’m not sure if Kathy actually reads Wonkette, but (a) much of the blogging there is done by people other than Ana Marie Cox, and (b) while Wonkette makes sex jokes, it’s usually something crude about ass-fucking, and not at all referencing her own life. She definitely doesn’t do the “I’m hot, read me!” Washingtonienne-style blogging (sidenote: Check out this month’s NY Mag for a strange bit on Jessica Cutler).

That said, I do agree with Lindsay Beyerstein:

Yet mainstream media pundits and academics regularly invite the dirty-writing Wonkette to comment on issues of blogging or blogging ethics. She “was invited to represent not only women but the liberal blogs. That [annoyed] the hell out of everyone,” Beyerstein says.

Wonkette is a DC celebrity/entertainment/political blog, the way Gawker is for NYC. Wonkette is a female who blogs, but doesn’t represent female bloggers as a whole — that’s just not what she’s about (and as far as I can tell, it’s other people who seem eager to paste the Woman Blogger sticker onto her; she doesn’t seem to feed into it herself, beyond her possession of a vagina).

Right Wing Sparkle blogger Kathy pretty much got on my last nerve throughout the entirety of the article, as she fed into every possible stereotype about women bloggers:

“Females certainly have a different voice than men when blogging,” says Kathy. “I think that’s why a lot of the big male bloggers ignore us. Women view politics through the same prism that they view life–one that is colored by emotion.”

And

“I think it’s fairly easy to tell if it is a man or woman blogger. We are different, after all, even in the way we write.”

…right.

On the contrary, I’d be willing to bet that once a blogger identifies herself as female, what she writes is perceived differently — if what would be considered righteous anger in a man is “shrill” when it comes from a woman; arguing pointedly is acceptable when the arguer is male, bitchy when they’re female. I don’t blame bloggers who hide their gender, or who ghost as men. It makes sense.

And like Amanda says in the article, blogging rules — like the rules in politics in general, and in the mainstream media — were made by the boys. A blog that focuses on feminism and reproductive rights is “soft” and silly and too narrow, while one that focuses entirely on the Iraq war is perfectly valid and serious. But I ultimately agree with what she adds here:

…as people become more aware that there’s no enforcement of the rules, there’s less inclination to treat the top bloggers as the ultimate authorities on who counts and who doesn’t. Also, as it is becoming more clear that the very blurring of the personal and political, as well as the political with other interests–the very things that were supposedly “feminine” blogging behaviors and therefore somehow unappealing–are in fact exactly the things that bring people back to their favorite blogs.

Anyway, read the whole article. The quotes from Amanda, Lindsay and Clancy, among others, are really great.

UPDATE: Deanna at Alternet makes the point that the term “woman bloggers” really sucks. Right on.

Posted in Blogging, Feminism, Gender | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

I *Heart* Oprah. And Bras.

No, I really do. And now she celebrates 20 years. I like her because she seems normal; she isn’t conventionally pretty (although I happen to think she’s really gorgeous), she’s outspoken and opinionated, and she seems unafraid to do things her own way. She came up from poverty to become one of the most successful women in the world, and one of the first familiar African-American faces on television. Unlike most other celebrities, she doesn’t take freebies — everything she wears and owns she purchases on her own. And she uses her celebrity status to do a lot of good.
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Posted in Entertainment, Vanity | Tagged | 49 Comments