Christmas Gifts


One of the many Christmas Trees in Madrid

One of the many Christmas Trees in Madrid

I am currently living child-free, but I like doting on my nieces and nephews… which means I want to buy them presents but have few ideas about what kiddos actually like to receive as presents. This year I spent some time researching gifts that were more interesting that a toy car or a Bratz doll. Here are a few resources I found to help in my search for presents that encourage kids to think:

A Mighty Girl: A Might Girl is an awesome site devoted to “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls,” and they have this super helpful Holiday Gift Guide that groups gift ideas by age. I can’t even tell you how helpful that is to someone who doesn’t know if 7 year olds play with blocks. They also have book series listed, and a search by character feature which is helpful if you know your little friend is obsessed with, say, Dora.

FatBrainToys:  This site sells educational toys that, no joke, I would like to play with. (I mean, have you seen Squigz?) You can also shop by age, which is helpful as I explained above. The categories and some of the ads are gendered, but don’t let that deter you from buying a “boy” toy for a girl, or vice versa! I looked through the age categories in both sections to find some cool treasures like ShapeOmetry, a game that sneakily teaches you quantitative skills.

You can also check out this Squidoo article on gifts for gifted kids available through amazon.

Most of all, remember that it’s not the end of the world if your little female friend  really wants a toy kitchen, or your little male friend wants to GI blow stuff up. You can use your time to engage kids in conversation about their toys, why they picked the ones they did, and what they think about them. Use the toy kitchen to teach your little friend about being a chef, and the GI joe to teach your little friend about how the government matters. You can also engage their older siblings by talking to them about why their sister or brother plays with certain toys.

And above all, remember what matters most is the gift of your time, energy, and love.



Posted on: December 13th, 2013 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

F&F is back!

Hola Feminists,

I’m back to blogging! I know you’ve been terribly sad   fine without my incisive societal critiques, but the good news is we’re moving back to the U.S. and I will be able to bring you timely content once again!

I’ve been living in Madrid, Spain, teaching at a diverse university with students from all over the world, traveling with my partner, and taking lots of photos. It’s been a wonderful experience, but I am also excited to get back to the U.S. and  burritos. And my friends and family of course. But man, burritos…

I will be posting on the usual topics, this time from California instead of Texas, though Texas will continue to be a focus area for me.  So sit back, relax, and get ready to smash some patriarchy with me again!

If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to, check out the Media & Society blog I’ve been running for my classes. The student postings are fascinating :)

Posted on: December 13th, 2013 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

This is what a FACE looks like: A campaign

Hillary Clinton is amazing, and yet she makes the news because she didn’t wear makeup. This is outrageous. Jezebel has a good response to all the media attention Clinton received for HAVING A FACE. I, for one, am sick of feeling like I have to wear makeup to leave the house. I actually enjoy putting makeup on for special occasions  and one of my favorite things about date night is spending time choosing my eye shadow color. But what about when I’m headed to class, the post office, or grocery shopping? I wear makeup because I feel social pressure to do so. You Thiwould be hard pressed to find a photo of me without makeup. I know this isn’t true of all women, I have a lot of friends who wear very little makeup. Maybe it’s because I grew up in So Cal, but I  have never  been that brave.

However, not wearing makeup should NOT be NEWS. It’s like the patriarchy coming to life and saying “listen little lady, if you aren’t pretty, no one cares what you have to say!”  We get the same message all the time about weight. (Be skinny or shut up! Be skinny or no one will take you seriously!) And one of the most frustrating things is thinking about how much money I spend on makeup. During my lifetime so far, I have spent thousands of dollars on makeup. Ugh.

I’ve reached my limit. I’m sick of this. And you know what happens when I’m pissed— I take action.

On Friday May 18th and Saturday May 19th let’s all change our profile photos on facebook/twitter/blogs to pictures without makeup. I am going to have to take one in order to do this, (and a little bit it horrifies me) but I don’t care. I’m tired of pretending that the way I look is what’s most important to me every day. I am so much more than my Mac ProWear NW 20.  I encourage you to do the same. Then send me your photo to fairandfeminist (at) and I will post all of our amazing, beautiful faces on here for everyone to see! (Don’t worry, I won’t post your name) Also, let me know if you get any interesting reactions to the photos.


Let me know in the comments if you’re participating! And for good measure, here’s my makeup-less face:



Posted on: May 10th, 2012 by Fair and Feminist 17 Comments

Quick hit: Support Choice in Texas!

Choice rights are under attack all around the US, and especially here in Texas. Here are three ways you can get involved:


1) If you live in Bryan/College Station Texas area, please consider volunteering as an escort at the clinic. 40 Days of Harassment is a protest that happens twice a year in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic. Anti-choicers sign up for shifts to harass women, men, and children–anyone entering the clinic for ANY reason AT ALL. As an escort, you provide a friendly, supportive face to the clients. It’s not only extremely important work, it’s also extremely rewarding. Email Brandi.Taylor (at) to sign up.

2)Planned Parenthood in Austin was recently stripped of its funding. The clinic is unable to provide valuable services to the community. Donate here  to Stand with Planned Parenthood and help the thousands of clients that need your support.

3) It’s late notice, but I just found out about NARAL TX Celebration of Choice this evening in Austin, TX. Come out, have a cocktail, and chat with like-minded individuals. The tickets are $55 or $25 for students, and the funds support the important political advocacy that NARAL undertakes on our behalf. If you make it, be sure to come say hi to me!

Posted on: September 21st, 2011 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

Wal-Mart v Dukes: Wal-Mart declared Too Big to Discriminate

What’s going on with the Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart v Dukes?

The Supreme Court decided today that Wal-Mart is Too Big To Discriminate. I previously wrote about the Wal-Mart v Dukes case, but I’ll summarize: The case was originally brought by 6 female employees 10 years ago, and today the Supreme Court has decided not IF the women were discriminated against, but rather IF the women can proceed with the lawsuit as a class-action suit (representing multiple people).

As NWLC‘s Fatima Goss Graves remarked on a  conference call, what’s at stake here isn’t if these women were discriminated against–it’s “whether and how people can challenge broad-scale discrimination practices.”  This isn’t just about sexism–it’s about discrimination of all kinds. Wal-mart pointed to hid behind a corporate anti-discrimination policy to evade responsibility for its employees’ discriminatory practices.

As we know, organizations themselves are gendered and raced, which means that discrimination is embedded in and created by the structures, practices, communicative acts, people, and artifacts of an organization. Sexism and racism are systemic, structural problems, not (solely) the result of individual biases. But Wal-Mart argued that they as a corporation couldn’t be held responsible for the fact that individual managers refused to promote women, made sexist remarks, and paid them less. In reality, the corporate suits of Wal-Mart designed the system that resulted in discrimination, and, it seems, did not respond to internal allegations of discrimination.

Wait–Wal-Mart has the same right to free speech as a person, but can’t be held accountable for its actions because it’s not a person, it’s a super huge company? It’s ludicrous that hundreds of employees were discriminated against and Wal-Mart won’t be held responsible because it is a BIG company.

Class Action–who cares?

NWLC’s Fatima Goss Graves, VP for Education and Employment, explained why class actions status is so important in discrimination lawsuits. First, class action suits about pay are important because women rarely know how much money they make compared to men. Many companies even have policies against discussing pay, and can retaliate against employees who do so. Class action lawsuits “lift the veil by subjecting an employer’s practices to judicial scrutiny.” As a class, the women of Wal-Mart would be able to gather information to see if there is a “systemic pay disparity,” she noted.

Second, class action lawsuits make it easier for employees to come forward without fear of retribution or public scrutiny. Third, class action status makes it financially possible for those making lower wages to bring a lawsuit. Attorney fees and time away from work are prohibitive  for many working class people, thus justice is de-facto denied unless they can be part of a class action.

*It’s important to note that the merits of the case itself have not yet been heard–even after 10 years of fighting.*

So, what now?

The fight itself is not over. These women have options and thankfully, the courage, to continue to go after Wal-Mart.  But a message has been sent–if your corporation can hide discrimination within discreet practices, then you won’t be held accountable for it.

Read the NWLC’s statement.  Rally in solidarity with the women of Wal-Mart in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Rally at the Supreme Court. Urge your congressional representatives to support paycheck fairness. Also, donate to Emily’s List.

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

Sexism in the Texas Legislature

Not that this is really a surprise based on the insanely anti-woman bills passed there, but the TX state legislature has a serious problem with women. The Texas Tribune reports “The lower chamber erupted into a gender war of sorts this afternoon, with Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, angrily accusing a special interest group of sexism and using exploitative images, and Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, suggesting that some lawmakers have pornography visible on the House floor.”

Thompson gave a speech of personal privilege attacking the authors of the flier about HB 2093 that explicitly pictures a child breastfeeding with the words “Don’t expand the Nanny State” printed in large black letters over the photo. Thompson seems pretty calm at first, but erupts into loud indignation when she declares that “We get elected just like you do!”

Representative Alvarado spoke up along with a coalition of women “Behind me, there’s a bipartisan group of women…this piece of propaganda is a below the belt  political tactic. We have had almost 50+ amendments and or bills that have come across the floor this session that I think have demeaned women, but this one takes us to an all-time low.”

It’s doesn’t take a genius (or even a feminist) to notice that the TX legislature is anti-woman in the laws it passes– but Rick Perry’s recent priorities should clear things up.

This kind of overt sexist attack is, like they said, a new time low. It’s not a surprise that a misogynist climate permeates the TX leg, but it’s a shock that the woman-haters would be so blatant.

Watch this video, and please remember the insulting actions of the Texas Civil Justice League the next time you vote, donate, or volunteer. The Texas leg is an old boys club who has been caught hiding the “no girls allowed” sign behind its back.

Check out Thompson here:

Posted on: May 27th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

Abortion Sonogram Bill close to becoming law in Texas

The anti-abortion sonogram bill is becoming law in Texas. According to the Tribune:

“As currently written, HB 15 would require a woman to receive a sonogram and listen to a description of the fetus. The woman could choose or refuse to view images and hear the heartbeat of the fetus….Women 100 miles or more from the nearest licensed abortion provider, or who live in counties with populations under 60,000, only have to wait two hours, rather than 24 hours, after the sonogram to have an abortion. Victims of rape or incest are now excepted from the law.”

This is another instance of the government butting into women’s private lives, and insulting them in the process. This bill is an affront to women’s intellect everywhere, as it is based on the assumption that if a woman *really* knew what it meant to be pregnant, she would not have an abortion. Good thing the law was written and passed by a bunch of men, who obviously have the inside track on being pregnant. This bill is a slap in the face– a reminder of the time when women weren’t allowed in classrooms or voting booths because of their uteri. This bill envisions that a woman goes to a clinic to get an abortion without understanding what she’s doing– so it must be explained to her, and then it mandates time for her to “think.”

I’m wondering when the TX house will create legislation that mandates men to “think” before doing, oh, anything.


I’m sure women across the state will be crying out: “Oh my gosh my ladybrain! It makes it SO HARD to think! Thank goodness I had extra time to consider the decision!”

Donate to protect abortion rights here or here.


Posted on: May 4th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist 2 Comments

Life News!

Read all about it! Guess who’s engaged, moving, dissertating, finding a job, and graduating all within the next year?!?! Your favorite feminist, obvs!


So seriously though, things are pretty crazy with all the upcoming changes–all though they are all welcomed! I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to keep your head up when so much stress swirls around you, and I have a few thoughts.

First, some people are not going to get how stressed you are. I have had conversations with people where they compared my getting my PhD to them planning a wedding (before we were engaged). Now that we are also planning a wedding, I can attest for CERTAIN that writing a dissertation is NOTHING like planning a wedding, and WAY HARDER. So if you’re at that point where you’re about to pull your hair out, trust a few people close to you with your stress, let them comfort you, and don’t worry about everyone else’s input.

Second, put out the closest fire first. It’s really tempting for me to spend endless time online trying to find a new place to live, or pick wedding part attire, but what I actually need to do the most to help with the wedding and move is to ignore those things entirely, and work on my dissertation. I am incredibly concerned about where I will live, work, and trade vows with my partner, but I have to accept the fear, and go back to work. The best thing I can do for my future, including my marriage, is to finish the diss.

Third, get over the guilt. This might speak to a lot more graduate students than anything, but in times of serious changes and serious stress, you hang out less with people. You can’t make it to your friend’s play. You miss a phone date. You forget to send a birthday card. Again, your good friends (and family) will understand, and everyone else can just get over it. I love hanging out with friends, but I love having a place to live more, and finishing what I came here to do more, and making time to acknowledge the changes in my suddenly more serious relationship more. It’s not that friends don’t matter–its that your priorities sometimes shift for a while, and sometimes forever. This is why I don’t give friends with kids a hard time about hanging out; I have no idea what that life is like. So people are doing the best they can, and when you’re stressed, don’t make it worse by feeling guilty that you’re not out at the bars with the other grad students like you used to be. You can be there again someday, and make the bartender call you doctor (though you probably will have to tip well for that).

Fourth and final, find a mantra. For me, when I am stressed, I make a list of the things I know. For example, when stressed about the dissertation: “I know I love my topic. I know I am a good writer. I know this will get done. I know my advisor will help me stay on track. I know this will one day be over.” Or, about the wedding: “I know I love my partner. I know I love his family. I know my family is happy about our relationship. I know my friends are happy for us.” Sometimes the list is shorter, e.g. “I know we can find a place to live, even if it isn’t perfect.” But for me, this activity helps. I catch my breathe and count the things I know.

Anyway I’ll be back soon with come current event-y stuff, but I wanted to process these events with you, my dear 5 readers.





Posted on: April 27th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist 8 Comments

Blog for Fair Pay

Today is the NWLC‘s and MomsRising Blog for Fair Pay day! Huzzah. I love opportunities to remind everyone that the pay gap exists. It seems to me, there can be exactly two positions on this issue: either you don’t believe the pay gap exists, or you are outraged by it. This is an issue that has no middle ground–and one that you should remember every trip to the ballot box. More on that in a second. But seriously, if you deny the pay gap, you are just like a climate change denier (science is dumb!) only you’re a math denier (math is made up!). Analysis after analysis has proven that women make less than men in the U.S. across the board. And that doesn’t make any sense. So why is this STILL an issue?

I believe that we need an aggressive campaign to remind people that the ballot box has a direct tie to women’s pay checks. How, you ask? Well let me ‘splain.

You vote for a politician–>he (so far) gets elected president–>he chooses Supreme Court judges–>they rule on pay gap issues

You vote for a politician–>she serves in the house–>she decides whether to approve the nominations for the Supreme Court–>they rule on pay gap issues

You vote for a politician–>he serves in congress–>he decides to vote for or against the Paycheck Fairness Act

Let’s start a battle between pay gap deniers and pay gap activists–you should easily fit into one camp or the other. This applies whether you are female/male/cis/trans– because the gap in pay affects every family in America. There is a problem with every family in America’s income–somewhere a woman is contributing, and she’s getting stiffed. Worse in a bad economy, and worse if she’s not white.

A colleague recently bemoaned the fair pay fight with a comment about “middle class white women complaining again.” You’re damn right I’m complaining–because I have the privilege to complain, to raise my voice, to cause a fuss about this issue. The same gendered pay gap exists in board rooms and at WalMart. And those of us who can take time off work to write a blog, letter, or opinion piece about the pay gap must do so. We owe it to our sisters, as well as our daughters. So which are you–a pay gap denier or an outraged pay gap activist?

Helpful links:

Ask your congressional member to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The New York Times reviews the gender pay gap by industry

Check out this awesome vid from NWLC:

And, for a laugh-sigh…

Posted on: April 12th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

Texas Budget and Universities

The Texas Tribune does everyone a solid and provides a copy of the House Amendments to the Texas Budget  in electronic, searchable form. It reveals some interesting (crazy?) stuff. As highlighted by Equality Texas

“Check out page 240: FLOOR AMENDMENT BY: Christian

An institution of higher education shall use an amount of appropriated funds to support a family and traditional values center for students that is not less than any amount used to support a gender and sexuality center for students focused on gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning, or other gender identity issues.”

Yes because, as we know, Texas is short on “family and traditional values” and overrun with GLBT services. What the heck?


Oh, and there’s this case of extreme university meddling from p. 245

“Using funds appropriated by this Act, not later than August 1, 2012, each public institution of higher education receiving appropriations under this Act shall submit to the Higher Education Coordinating Board a study of the costs of making available online four of the institution’s most popular degree plans, as determined by the institution. Each institution’s reported cost study must include the methodology used for the cost study and an explanation for each expense listed in the study. The coordinating board shall use new and existing data, including performance measures, ongoing research studies, and survey data, to evaluate probable student outcomes for online degree plans identified by the institutions. The coordinating board shall: analyze and compare all reported cost studies under this section and corresponding student outcomes to determine the most efficient and effective of the proposed online degree plans among those institutions generally; and (2) notify each institution of its conclusions.”

So, we have to study the possibilities of offering our 4 most popular degrees online for the purpose of offering entire online degrees a la University of Phoenix? I wasn’t able to find a TAMU source, but according to one website, the most popular majors at TAMU are:

·  Business/Marketing: 19%

·  Engineering: 13%

·  Agriculture: 11%

·  Interdisciplinary Studies: 9%

So, they want us to train Ag students without having them interact with animals, business students without evaluating presentations, engineering students without working in a lab, and interdisciplinary students without observing them in any setting?

Seriously TX leg, What about having a (generally really old) college degree qualifies you to decide how universities are run? These are amendments in the BUDGET, mind you.  This only serves to remind the citizens of Texas that their legislature is working overtime to butt into university business where it DOES NOT BELONG.  Not creating jobs, not funding health care, not even living out the “small government” promises made to the constituents.  I’m sure we will have more comments on this as well all sort through the huge document, but you can follow the action here.


Posted on: March 31st, 2011 by Fair and Feminist No Comments