Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

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) gmail.com 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

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

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

Sphere of Influence

Earlier today, I posted an FB status that has reflected my mood this week: “I’m worried about the people of Japan, the women of America, + the people of Libya.” Even though it’s Spring Break, and the boyfriend and I took a little trip out of town, we couldn’t help but saturate ourselves with news about Japan, Libya, and the GOP’s attack on women.  I’ve spent all week taking turns shaking my head (and fists!) at each of these news lines, feeling disappointed, distraught, and helpless.

Not a great feeling for an activist, right? I find anger to be much more empowering than sadness, but this week I just couldn’t convince myself that I could make any impact on these crises. Sure, I educate the people around me, volunteer escort at Planned Parenthood,  try to teach my students critical thinking skills, and give small amounts of money to the Red Cross, but I can’t possibly do anything to help the solve the huge problems on my mind. The problems are so huge, the obstacles so complicated, the solutions ambiguous–and I am drained.

I’d like to think we all feel this way sometimes as activists. We forget that our contributions to society (and the Red Cross!) actually do matter, even if they pale in comparison to The Problems. Sometimes I feel this way about blogging–what’s the point of WRITING about things when I should just get out there and try to DO something? I downplay, and end up downtrodden.

Apathy about world events just isn’t a state for me–I’ve tried it, even with a bottle of my favorite wine, I can’t swallow it. I am a compassionate person who is constantly concerned about current events.

On our wine tour this week through the beautiful Hill Country of Texas, we chatted with another couple. After learning about my thesis topic (anti-Human trafficking organization) and dissertation topic (Organization that works with abused and neglected children), I recited the joke I always tell to make my interlocutor more comfortable — “I guess I really like to be depressed!” “No,” she responded, shaking her head, “It takes a special person to do that, a special person.”

I had never thought of it that way before.

I work and write and agitate about tough topics because I CAN’T BELIEVE I live in a world where children are ABUSED and people are SOLD. Like I really can’t friggin’ believe it, and I refuse to accept it. It’s a compulsion– I didn’t choose this topic, these voices chose me. A professor once told me that we research that which we don’t understand, and in my case I think it’s true.

All of this is to say, that sometimes I need someone to pull me out of my “desperation place”– or that place where I believe the lie that I can’t do anything to help. This time it was another professor who commented on my status:

“Although I agree that all these folks are in sad straights, I try to keep this in mind: “Worry is energy that pretends to be useful.” Instead, I think about what I can do within my sphere of influence, and then spend my energy likewise.”

I love the idea of examining what I can do within my sphere, and acting accordingly. I don’t get held accountable to how much good  Rachel Maddow/MotherJones/NOW does, because I don’t have their spheres. I have this one, where I can stand outside Planned Parenthood and smile at protesters, where I can include a bunch of feminist writings in the classes I teach, and where I can blog about the issues that I care about, even if only a few people are reading.

So here’s to letting ourselves be disappointed, but always finding a hand to pull us up.

The question becomes, what can you do this week in your sphere?

 

Posted on: March 19th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

Announcing: I Stand with Planned Parenthood Blog Carnival*

So even in my 3rd day of flu-ridden feverish body, I am so ticked off  by the House (Federal) (and the Texas Senate’s actions) that I’ve decided we have to do something about it. To catch you up (just in case) The U.S. House of Representatives has just voted to “bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care.” This means that funds that go to Planned Parenthood for non-abortion services are being cut. As in, “I don’t like that your restaurant serves alcohol, so I’m refusing to supply food to it anymore. I don’t want anyone to have alcohol.” Replace “alcohol” with “legal medical procedure” and “food” with “badly needed funds that support healthcare” and that’s basically what’s happening.

Oh and by the way,the GOP has decided it wants to fund contraception for horses, but not for women. Nope, this is not a joke.

We knew this was coming from the GOP, but we did NOT know it was going to be this bad. At least I didn’t. And now, I’m pissed. So here’s what we’ll do….

Next Friday, Fair and Feminist will host an “I STAND WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD” blog carnival. If you’d like to participate, leave a comment with your name (or screen name) and blog name. Then, download the badge at the bottom of this post.* Finally, on Friday the 25th, blog on the following prompt:

“I Stand with Planned Parenthood because…”

Be sure to tag your post with “I stand with PP.” Of course, as always, you don’t have to directly respond to that prompt. I’m happy to read anything that supports Planned Parenthood and the right to the legal medical procedure known as abortion. I will post updates throughout the day next Friday. Please get the word out about this blog carnival to as many people as you know, and if you are willing to accept guest posts from people who don’t have a blog, leave that in the comments as well. Let’s stand up for Planned Parenthood, and for the right of every woman to decide what goes on in her uterus.

OH and RIGHT NOW, go sign this petition. Thanks!

*This is NOT sponsored by Planned Parenthood, and if anyone from PP objects to me using the PP logo for this carnival, email me at fairandfeminist (at) gmail.com  and I’ll make something else ASAP.

Posted on: February 18th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist 46 Comments

Coffee Talk

Me: I haven’t blogged in so long. I feel like a failed feminist.

Sam: You’re not a failed feminist, you’re a BUSY feminist.

————————–

As often happens at the start of the semester, I’ve been really busy–ack! I missed my blogaversary, and blog for chocie day! I will write those posts, just late. Consider it a refusal to support the oppressive masculinist calendar institution, or something.

So, let’s catch up :) Last week on the anniversary of Roe v Wade, I was invited to speak at a Coffee Talk panel with a bunch of other academics on “gender, sexism, sex differences, and feminism” in downtown Bryan. It was awesome, I loved being able to say Feminist out loud in public!  In addition to dispelling some common myths about feminism, I provided the audience with a reading list in case they wanted to dabble in feminism. I myself largely came to feminism through reading, so I compiled a short list of resources. This is by NO MEANS comprehensive, but it IS a list of some of the first and most influential works I read about feminism. Here ’tis:

Reading List

Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting Any Easier–And How We Can Make Real Progress For Ourselves and Our Daughters by Representative Carolyn Maloney

Yes means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman & Jessica Valenti

Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis

The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti

Manifesta by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards

Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation by Barbara Findlen (ed)

To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism by Rebecca Walker (ed)

Men and Feminism: Seal Studies by Shira Tarrant

Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

What books influenced you?

Posted on: January 30th, 2011 by Fair and Feminist No Comments

Announcing “THIS IS WHAT A YOUNG FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” Blog Carnival

Last night at dinner, I asked my partner to create a badge for a blog carnival on young feminists.

“Let me start from the beginning,” I said, “So Gail Collins and Stacy Schiff from the New York Times declared that young feminists don’t exist–”

“–Wait, I think you already told me about this, it sounds familiar…”

“No, it happened again.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Gail Collins: Every time I go on a speaking tour I get questions from sad middle-aged women who want to know why their daughters all insist they aren’t feminists. They might be planning to devote their lives to healing fistula victims in Somalia, but they won’t let anyone call them feminists because they think it means being anti-man, or wearing unattractive shoes.”

“Stacy Schiff: Partly the word has been deliberately sullied, like “liberal” and “progressive.” It spells man-hating, militant, and, especially, no Manolos. If it makes you feel better, I just texted my 17-year-old to ask if she considered herself a feminist. “If by feminism, you mean equality,” she answers, “then yes.” It’s not a word that appeals, because her generation thinks the work has been done. They’ve been reading articles about the End of Men. Somehow the news that men who work full-time make on average 23 percent more than women do seems to have escaped them.”

Wow, thanks for talking to young feminists telling us about some women you met and one 17 year old who SAID SHE WAS A FEMINIST when texted by her mom, as evidence for your claims. As an ardent fair pay activist, I find that last line extremely frustrating.

Moreover,  this isn’t the first time that young feminists have been erased by the media and/or our sisters in the movement. Remember in April when Newsweek and Nancy Keenan declared that young women aren’t interested in protecting reproductive rights?

It’s really upsetting to be an activist who devotes significant time and energy to feminist causes, and then be told that young feminists do not exist. Like I previously wrote, it raises questions for me about what kinds of contributions are considered valuable by older feminists. I hate feeling  erased, especially when it is at the hands of other people who are supposedly committed to empowering people.

It’s not just in the media–in my gender and women’s studies graduate courses, I encountered ZERO professors who discussed third wave feminism, let alone espoused it. When I brought it up in class, I was told by several professors that they either didn’t believe in third wave feminism, didn’t understand it, or thought it was bullshit.

The reality is there ARE young feminists all across the world doing really valuable work for the movement. My fellow young feminists inspire me, challenge me, and support me.

So, I’m inviting you to participate in the first “THIS IS WHAT A YOUNG FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” blog carnival next Friday, August 27th. To participate, leave a comment below with the name and URL for your blog. Then download the badge below and put it on your blog to show that you are participating. I will update the list of participating blogs every couple of days, and post the final list Friday morning.

**A note about participation as related to age: Personally, I am totally comfortable with people outside of the “young” demographic participating in the carnival. You may take time to reflect on your own take on the issue, share about your life when you were a young feminist, or offer ways we can move forward to a meaningful dialogue.

Posted on: August 20th, 2010 by Fair and Feminist 72 Comments

Boobquake

So, Boobquake is happening today, according to the news and my facebook feed. I’ve been trying to avoid a post about it, but now it seems impossible.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who has avoided press coverage of it, I suggest you check out the blog that started it all, linked up top. To sum it up, in response to crazy comments about women’s immodest dress causing earthquakes, Jen McCreight declared that today, April 26th, is Boobquake. Boobquake is a day in which everyone should dress slutty so that when there is no earthquake and we can prove that dude wrong! Because crazy people are totally open to logic. Logic that bounces.

As for Jen McCreight herself, I don’t think she had bad intentions. I think she is what she says– a person making a snarky post who was shoved into media spotlight via the internets. She says: “I just want to apologize if this comes off as demeaning toward women. To be honest , it started as silly joke that I hurriedly fired off since I was about to miss the beginning of House. I never thought it would get the attention it did. If I would have known, I would have spent more time being careful about my wording.”

From reading her blog, she seems like just the kind of awesome person I’d like to be friends with. Still, as a cultural critic, I’d like to comment on the event and its implications. So, I dig her, and I still wanna analyze the event, okay crazy people who think women can’t disagree without hating on each other? Ok.

For the record, I don’t have a problem with cleavage. But here’s the thing–isn’t this event just reifying the very issue that it’s trying to satirize? Or, more clearly, by being frustrated that we are hypersexualized and blamed for natural disasters and responding with an act that re-locates women in the sexual realm aren’t we saying “yeah, you’re right, I am sexy but oggle away, there won’t be earthquakes! TOLD YA!” Isn’t this act of resistance still using the oppressor’s language?

I don’t know for sure, I do know that boobquake is going to be co-opted by the oggling eyes of the media’s male gaze. I also know that it is really hard for feminists to get a voice in the media, yet this has been picked up by major networks and news sources. You know why? Because sex sells. So do political displays that affirm that a woman’s claim to power is based on her body. If a woman gets power by being desirable, and what’s desirable is decided by another institution (the media, hetero dudes, etc), women do not have power.

I’m also struck by the double standard of boob acceptability. We can all show off our boobs for this–when it’s sexy–but not if oh, say, you’re breastfeeding. There’s nothing sexy about breastfeeding so please ladies, put those away. THAT is indecent. It’s also rather anti-trans, as it is another example of how one body part comes to represent what is female.

Finally, my real issue as an anti-human trafficking, anti-rape, prochoice, activist is this: boobquake calls on women to use their bodies to speak up about an issue. I can’t remember the last time my boobs had something interesting to say– but everyday I read stories about the millions of women around the planet who are seen as nothing but bodies.

I am not a body–I am a person. I am not a statistic, a number, a pair of tits–I am a person. And ladies who boobquaked today, you have a voice that is just as important as your body. You have a mind, a spirit, and a body that can do amazing things beyond turning people’s heads. I am all about using your body to protest– but I am not into your hypersexualized body BEING the protest. There’s too many ways for it to be co-opted by those who want your silence.

I just want to add that this is a really complicated, complex discussion. Is boobquake interesting? yes. Is it subversive? I don’t think so, as it is occurring in spaces where it is “desired” that you show off your female body for consumption. Is it feminist? Who’s to say–nobody owns feminism. But this is one pair of boobs [attached to a body who cares a lot about women's issues] you won’t be seeing today.

I can’t help but wonder if today had been “cover up your entire body quake”– hide women’s skin and see if there AREN’T natural disasters–if it would have been as popular. I suppose we will never know.

PS one of my favorite anti-trafficking orgs

Posted on: April 26th, 2010 by Fair and Feminist 2 Comments

Newsweek and Young Feminists aftermath

Jezebel picked up my blog for this new cool syndication thing they’re doing. Tre cool!

Tons of other feminists responded to the Newsweek article:

Elise Higgins at RH Reality Check

Sarah M. at Safer Campus

Steph at The Abortion Gang

Tatiana Mckinney at RH Reality Check

Jen at Where the revolution’s gonna begin

Erin Matson at Say it, Sister

Rev.Debra Haffner at Sexuality and Religion

Jessica Wakeman at the Frisky

Rebecca Traister at Salon

Female Persuasion

Jessica Valenti at feministing

Also,

Nancy Keenan from NARAL responds to the response of pissed off Young Feminists.

Newsweek blogs a “follow up”

And finally, there’s some interesting convos going on in Jezebel comments on my blog and the original post there.

I’ll have a response to NARAL and the Newsweek follow up this evening. If I left you off the list of responders please give a shout in comments!

Shelly

Posted on: April 21st, 2010 by Fair and Feminist No Comments