Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm not being sexist, this is just funny.

At a meeting of infectious disease scientists, the "hand-washing police" announced their survey findings on gender and hygeine...

"One-third of men didn't bother to wash after using the bathroom, compared with 12 percent of women, said the researchers who spy on people in public restrooms."


Friday, September 14, 2007

Well, duh!

This seems like a no-brainer - but then again, have you seen all the surgery shit on TV lately?!

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) announced in the September issue of its medical journal that "vaginal rejuvenation" surgeries are not guaranteed to be safe - or, for that matter, necessary.

"Dr. Abbey Berenson, who helped write the guidelines, said some women may be fooled by deceptive marketing practices into thinking they need the surgery because they are somehow abnormal."

Great. Another body part we "need" to be worried about.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sex, lies and gender roles

Who knew I’d have some serious archives when I just started this thing?! Really, though – today I’m posting this “essay” (sounds academic, eh?) I wrote a year ago after I finished reading Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy. I cleaned it up and made some edits to reflect acquired knowledge…

She addresses what she calls the "raunch culture" of today: Girls Gone Wild, Playboy, strip clubs, the porn industry, etc. and how women are embracing it all. It's more acceptable (and even considered “cool”) for women to go to strips clubs and be into porn. Stripping and posing nude don’t even carry such a stigma anymore. In fact, it's just the opposite - strippers and porn stars have a huge fan base that includes a large number of women. Back in the day, if a celebrity had a sex tape surface, it would destroy their career - now, their popularity increases tenfold (i.e. Paris Hilton). Posing in Playboy used to be something you had to bounce back from - now, it's something stars do to boost their careers.

With all these changes in the acceptability of the sex industry on the female front, one would say, “Hell yeah we are finally sexually liberated!” But Levy says, not so much.

I think what she’s trying to convey is that women simply acting like men in this regard is attempting to spread sexual liberation with the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" mentality – which is self-defeating. And she says that supporting this "raunch culture" is still degrading to women even if the supporter is female. This tells women that they need to be "sexy" (adhering to the examples of the perfectly airbrushed role models), but not necessarily derive any sexual pleasure for themselves. Sex has become commodified; packaged and able to be sold. Now, to be "sexy" there’s a slew of stuff you have to buy and procedures you have to sit through in order to meet the standard. Sex is becoming less about mutual pleasure and more about accumulation. What’s disturbing is her chapter on high school students, who had said in interviews that "putting notches on their belts" is what popularity is built on. Sex isn't a source of enjoyment for them, but almost like shopping for new clothes to look better than their peers. Add to this abstinence-only sex education, which tells hormonal adolescents to "just say no" and leaves out information about contraception, birth control, STDs, pregnancy, abortion and good old fashioned masturbation. School is telling them one thing, yet they step outside into the real world and sex is everywhere.

Prime example – The Fox Network. Studies have shown there to be more sexual content on its prime time programs than any of the other biggies (ABC, NBC, etc.) – yet, they REFUSE to run any commercials for condoms. I don’t think I need to explain the pure stupidity of this.

Now, I've never held a stance strongly for or against porn - it can be a handy-dandy tool (wink, wink) and I always kinda figured if a woman wants to strip, be in porn or pose nude – and that's how she feels powerful – then great for her. If we want to break down archaic gender roles, wouldn't that include women exhibiting characteristics that were traditionally thought of as "male" and claiming them as their own? And if that's the case, then why is it such a negative thing for men to exhibit traditionally "feminine" characteristics?

I’m going to sidetrack here and mention some words of wisdom from’s Jessica Valenti. Her book Full Frontal Feminism addresses this very question: What is the worst thing you can call a man? A woman. Think about it: girl, pussy, sissy, bitch – aside from being called a gay man (fag, homo, etc.), why is being called female an ultimate insult? Please discuss.

I would say we are a hell of a lot more liberated sexually then, say the 1950s – but in 2004, half the country voted to ban gay marriage. That doesn't exactly exude sexual liberation to me.

I think it's important to remember that there are so many ways for one to express themselves sexually and different people find different things sexy and appealing. It's part of who we are; no one had to teach us how to feel. But, what's considered sexy in society is very limited. And where’s the fun in that??

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Toot My Horn Tuesday

Here's a little piece I just did for Planned Parenthood's website for teens,

If for no other reason, at least read it 'cause it's on man-boobs.

Britney's "Bulge"

Ok - I'll be the first to say I'm not a fan of Britney Spears AT all. No one who witnessed her much-anticipated opener for the MTV Video Music Awards can disagree that her performance was fucking terrible.

In the Rules According to Me, recording artists with real tangible talent don't need to lip sync. And maybe I would have even cut Brit some slack if she were putting on some kind of fantabulous dancing extravaganza - but no. She didn't really do much of anything spectacular or sweat-inducing, compared to her previous over-the-top perfomances.

Well, as soon as the celeb news and blogging communities ran out of material to describe her stage presence, the next target was - you guessed it - her weight.

Come the fuck on!! That was actually the one thing about Brit's performance that made me somewhat happy. Ask any normal, everyday woman on the street - Brit is NOT fat - she looks like a real woman now. And, have we miraculously forgotten she's had TWO kids?!

Janice Min, editor of US Weekly, comments:

"In that ensemble, you just can't have an ounce of anything extra. Many women wouldn't eat for days if they were wearing that."

Hmmm. So, if Britney were smarter, she would have skipped a few meals. Darn! (snap)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Next time you fly, remember your frock.

Since when was there a dress code for air travel??

Funny how women are supposed to "look sexy" wearing short skirts and low-cut shirts - yet when we do, we're inappropriate.

Oh, and the kicker - check out Southwest Airlines' ad campaign from 1972...

Those pesky extremists are at it again.

Planned Parenthood of the Chicago Area (PP/CA) plans to open the doors of its shiny new health center in Aurora, Illinois this month. This is fantastic news, since so many women are members of the uninsured club, and rely on Planned Parenthood for essential reproductive health care.

Of course, the creepy anti-choicers aren't so pleased. The Chicago area is home to some of the most extreme weirdos of the pro-life movement. Take Joe Scheidler, who founded the Pro-Life Action League (PLAL) back in 1980. He's been referred to as "the Green Beret of the pro-life movement" by Pat Buchanan, and has said, "You can try for 50 years to do it the nice way, or you can do it next week the nasty way."

The Scheidler family and PLAL are currently staging a "40 Days for Life" vigil outside the new clinic. Basically, they're asking their supporters to keep a presence 24/7 for 40 days. It's supposed to be a peaceful protest, with lots of praying. Participants are also encouraged to fast for the 40 days - because apparently, that's how one gets God's attention.

If starving really gets God's attention, I don't think people in Ethiopia would be so skinny.

In addition, Scheidler's son, Eric, has said in reference to the vigil, "We're going to destroy their building peacefully but aggressively."

Makes me feel all warm inside.

On a more hopeful note, Planned Parenthood is asking supporters to sign this petition and have a ribbon donated to the clinic in your name. It only takes a few seconds, and it shows your support for the women of Aurora.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

If you can't do the time, better have that kid...

Journalist/columnist/novelist and oh-so-fucking-cool Anna Quindlen did a piece for Newsweek last month on how right-wing weirdos want abortion to be illegal...but can't seem to give a straight answer when asked about the appropriate penalty for a woman who has the procedure.

As usual, prayer is the answer for everything... (rolls eyes)

This question has taken on a life of its own, and pro-choice advocates across the country are making it a national conversation. The staff at Allentown Women's Center in Pennsylvania has even made their own YouTube video, putting pressure on presidential candidates who support criminalizing abortion services. Love the sarcasm, ladies!


Happy Birthday, R4R!

I've been kicking around the idea of starting a meaningful, fun, feminist-issues-oriented blog for a while - and here's what I've given birth to.

The idea of writing this first post has been a bit intimidating for me - what pressure to explain the ideas, content, goals, direction and overall essence that is (will be) this blog! I've come to the conclusion that I can't. No, I'm not being lazy, I'm being practical. No one can look at two infants and say, "This one's gonna to be a optometrist and that one's gonna be a mindless coke head." Nope. They will grow and develop into whatever they will eventually be - and that's all I have to say about R4R at this time. Let's see what the future holds...