Friday, December 4, 2009

The Value of Trig

Nope, this is not a post about math. I’m referring, of course, to Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome son – the “symbol” of her pro-life sentiment, making her the mascot for the anti-abortion movement. Hey, if Sun-Maid is updating their look, the crazies might as well do the same.

I find the Right’s take on this mother-son relationship fascinating. Palin happily parades Trig around like a prop, while at the same time throwing around tough Alaskan talk about the press invading her family’s privacy (a la Bristol and Levi). Yet, her supporters applaud this use of her disabled child. Trig was pretty much fresh from the womb when Palin began her campaign for VP - I don’t remember hearing any remarks from conservatives about the fact that she wasn’t at home being a “good little mother/wife/woman” and breastfeeding all day. Because, after all, that’s what women who love the babies do. Why, only selfish, liberal elite women keep their careers while they nurse! Nope, jet-setting around the country for her political career with newborn in tow was A-OK.

The fact that Trig is special-needs is also a great defense for any unfavorable comments that come Palin’s way. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List (an org that supports anti-abortion candidates), explains the “real” reason the pro-choice community ain’t too cool with the former governor:

“She had the audacity in the eyes of the abortion rights world to actually have this child and then has the audacity to bring him along with her and feature him as a centrally valued person in their family.”

Christian conservatives Gary Bauer and Dan Allot add to this nonsense on

“Mother and son have become objects of the left’s unrelenting scorn” and of hatred reflecting “a broader societal bias against disability.”

WTF?! So, let me get this straight: not only does the pro-choice community hate babies, but we also hate people with disabilities??? What a crock of shit. When I read these quotes, I can’t get over how ridiculous they are – more so, how ridiculous the people are who actually believe them.

Now, for the truth: it doesn’t bother us whatsoever that Sarah Palin decided to carry her special-needs child to term. More power to her. She had a choice and she chose motherhood. She was fortunate enough to HAVE a god damn choice. That’s what the pro-choice movement is about. Not about killing babies, not about ridding the world of the disabled. What we DO NOT appreciate are those who poo-poo others for making different choices. Bearing children is extremely personal and people’s situations affect it greatly. I mean, really – Sarah Palin will never meet me. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume she doesn’t lie awake at night thinking about me, my interests, what I do for fun, what I want for my future, what kind of underwear I buy, how often I change my tampon, etc. Why the hell should she and her cronies care about the choices I make for my own body? It all comes down to the old bumper sticker that will always ring true: “Don’t Like Abortion? Don’t Have One.”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Squabble in the Sisterhood

I’ve been a loyal fan of BUST Magazine ever since I discovered it in my college women’s center. It was love at first sight, and I never looked back (only back issues).

I’ve also been a fan of Jessica Valenti and her contributions to feminist culture. I own two of her books, read her rants on feministing religiously and wish I could be her every day of my fucking mediocre life.

But on this November Friday, I opened my BUSTLine Weekly e-mail to find – say it isn’t so! – Ms. Valenti has, for lack of a better term, poo-pooed BUST as a feminist publication!

In her [condensed and edited] interview for the New York Times, Deborah Solomon asks Valenti about other feminist publications, to which she responds:

“Bust used to be a feminist magazine, but now it’s more crafty and about making things out of yarn. I’m not a D.I.Y. feminist. I once tried knitting a scarf but threw it away after 15 minutes.”

Note to self: yarn = not feminist. Wow. I wonder if Jessica knew that many of her fans and readers are also BUSTies. Sure, BUST offers a lot of D.I.Y. projects, but how does that make it any less feminist? Let’s not forget that the D.I.Y. movement was (and still is) strong because of empowered women. What could be more empowering than creating your own shit, I ask you? Perhaps I’m biased because I’m crafty. Although, I will admit, I also tried knitting a few years ago, but quickly lost interest.

I still adore BUST.

Valenti posted an apology in the comments of the BUST article. A student of journalism, I understand how interviews can get nipped and tucked until they hardly resemble the conversation you had – but still, there’s no denying that quote and the feelings it elicits in the BUSTies who read it. Why is it that we as feminists can never seem to move past this “I’m-more-feminist-than-thou” attitude? I’m really sick of people propagating their narrow-minded views of what’s feminist and what’s “not”. I understand that women, as a whole, are extremely different. We come from different regions of the country/planet, different religions/spiritualities; race and class still play a role in each of our worldviews. What makes feminism so amazing is that it has so many different facets – yet, that very fact can also be a curse when we don’t respect other women’s interpretations. We lose sight of the focus and the big picture of the movement; why we’re uniting in the first place. Instead, people want to call attention to irrelevant crap.

What upsets me is the hypocrisy behind the quote. Valenti, feministing, as well as all this other 3rd/4th-wave-feminist-new-media-lit have been criticized as “not feminist enough,” “too girlie” or “too fun” by staunch 2nd wavers. Valenti pretty much made a name for herself by preaching that feminism doesn’t have to come out of a can. Now, the tables are turned, and Valenti is trivializing a magazine that has introduced many to the cause, and kept us here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Skirting the issue

People never cease to amaze me with asinine comments.

I heard a real gem yesterday. Being Halloween and all, of course the topic of scantily-costumed women was brought up, and how this leads to sexual harassment. Out of the mouth of one of my fellow females came this:

“If they would put some pants on, then they wouldn’t get harassed."

Ah yes, of course! Why didn’t I think of that?! If we just covered our legs and vaginas in a layer of denim, we could, like, tewtally eliminate rape and sexual harassment! What a novel idea!

My head could not take the pressure caused by the utter shock, confusion and anger that was mixing around like beer before liquor. This is why I carry a knife, so I can stab at my temple repeatedly when I hear things like this.

Seriously though, not only was this the DUMBEST thing I’ve heard since George W. Bush last spoke publicly, but it was highly insulting and a real slap in the face to any woman who has been through sexual harassment or assault.

Brush it off, honey, you asked for it.

Clothing – or lack thereof – is in no way a justification for harassment, assault or rape. Period. End of fucking story. It’s just another sneaky way of putting the blame on women. What about the perpetrators?? We’re taught that men’s “urges” are “inevitable,” “unstoppable” – one look at a naked kneecap, and they’re ready to roll. No turning back. Ya shouldn’t have worn XYZ if ya didn’t want to do me. But, anyone who’s not completely dense knows this is a crock of shit. Why? Because if all men’s libidos were uncontrollable, then all men would be rapists – and they’re not. And rape has little to do with being horny and a lot to do with power. So, why aren’t men more insulted by being categorized as savage beasts void of self-control and humanity? Those who are (and I do know they’re out there) need to stand up and say so, if they aren’t already.

So, no – it’s really NOT all about the pants. I know this for a fact because one night a few years ago, I was walking from my car to my apartment sporting jeans, sneakers, a hoodie, sans makeup – and I was STILL greeted by men in a passing car screaming some mumbo jumbo about my “pussy.”


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Might Last A Day; Mine Is Forever

As I was itching for some riot grrrl tunes the other day, I rediscovered my extensive Hole collection (oh yeah – even My Body The Hand Grenade, a collection of demos, b-sides and live tracks). It brought me back to those days in junior high/high school – being a relatively “good girl,” but deep down, harboring a wild/curious streak just deep enough to make complete conformity seem like a death sentence. I had friends, but never felt like I fit in anywhere. I got good grades, but wasn’t booky enough to be a nerd. I liked heavier music, but wasn’t hard enough to be a punk. Wasn’t athletic by any stretch of the imagination, so that left out sports. And I loathed the cheerleaders.

I was just me. I didn’t have a label, although I secretly wished I did. I thought it would somehow make understanding and describing myself easier.

I developed a hardcore girl crush on Courtney Love as I wore out my cassette of Live Through This. I loaned it to my friend Jenna on the bus and she was instantly a convert. I remember her going on some philosophical discourse about how Courtney’s problems are so much bigger than ours. As hip as my mother was, she couldn’t understand my fascination. When she saw Courtney, she saw some white trash hellion dressed like a two-bit whore who was never taught how to cross her legs. She wondered where she went wrong with her parenting that her 13 year-old daughter would gravitate toward this kind of lunatic.

I was too young to know how to explain it at the time, but to me, Courtney was the poster girl for angry young women who were fed up and wanted more. To me, she was the goddess who threw up her finger at what females were “supposed” to be. She wasn’t the perfect, cookie-cutter poptart that most little girls grow up idolizing. Her hair was a mess. Her makeup was smeared. Her clothes resembled gems from the local Salvation Army and didn’t always fit in the right places. She was crass, full of rage, and obscene. She battled inner demons, addictions and roller coaster relationships. Oh, and on top of all that, she could shred guitar with the best of the boys – and probably scare the hell out of them.

After the circus that was Kurt’s death, it wasn’t very cool to be a Courtney fan. Of course, being a loudmouth bitch made her an easy target for blame. But over a decade later, I’ve still stayed true. Approaching age 27, I can still put on some Hole and I’m instantly connected to my inner hellion. The relatively “good girl” who plays by the rules, but still has that wild streak deep enough to make conventional adult life look like a death sentence. The girl who’s still fed up with the status quo and is still butting heads with what she’s “supposed to be” in this world that doesn’t always feel like hers. She’s ready to throw up her fingers.

*In no way am I ignoring the other riot grrrl goddesses that made angsty chicks like me feel like we had a voice – Joan Jett, Kathleen Hanna, Donita Sparks, Allison Wolfe, to name a few. Their contributions to feminism and music can never be replicated.*

Overall, I admired Courtney because she just didn’t give a fuck. She did and said everything I was too scared to. While I’m not as shy as I used to be, I definitely haven’t reached a level of outspokenness yet. But when I finally do – look the fuck out, world.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Beach Blanket Burger Bingo Bullshit.

First there was Paris. Then there was Padma. Now, it's Audrina - and I've officially had enough.

I'm referring of course to the ads for Carl's Jr. – sexifying gargantuan, artery-clogging hamburgers that in no way, shape or form have anything to do with scantily clad women.

Who are you trying to fool? Like ANYone believes that:

a) Eating this shit will turn one's body into the white, privileged, American ideal of "beauty"
b) These over-paid celebs actually eat said shit

The most insulting part? CJ's catchphrase: "More Than Just A Piece Of Meat."

Um, yeah....there's truth in that, but CJ's has it ass-backwards. Apparently, the burgers get more respect than women.

On the flipside, one can argue that everyone has their price. We can safely assume none of these women were forced at economic gunpoint to whore themselves out to a fast food chain. Sexism survives if we let it. As long as degrading advertisements like this one rake in the big $$$, corporations will continue utilizing the T&A to ensure you keep exposing your wallet.

Check out another angle on this ad from Amoral Fixation.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oh. My. God.

Apparently, we can all be our own personal baby killer!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tragic News for the Pro-Choice Community - Dr. Tiller Killed

Dr. George Tiller, longtime abortion provider and a hero among pro-choice activists, was shot and killed in the lobby of his church in Wichita, Kansas this morning.

Tiller was one of very few physicians who provided late-term abortions for women who had nowhere else to turn - where their health, life and well-being were on the line and continuously ignored. His clinic, Women's Health Care Services, revolutionized pregnancy termination by recognizing women's varying needs of coping. Tiller offered funeral services for patients, sometimes including baptism, cremation and burial. He understood that abortion is not a cookie cutter issue for women - all women are not the same; therefore their situations, feelings, and decision processes are of course as different as they are. As opposed to treating patients like cattle, Tiller and his staff recognized the personal and tailored women's experiences to be as positive as possible based on their needs. Sometimes, an abortion does not end when the patient leaves the clinic - emotional health is just as important as physical health.

The crazy fucks of Operation Rescue issued a statement on their website:

"Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."

OH REALLY??? The organization's founder, Randall Terry, as been arrested numerous times - the first, for chaining himself to a sink in a clinic procedure room back in 1986. He was recently taken into custody for trespassing on Notre Dame University property, protesting President Obama's scheduled May 17th commencement speech. Pushing blood-covered baby dolls in carriages just screams peaceful to me....

Terry issued his own statement regarding Tiller's death:

"George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name, murder."

The so-called "pro-life" movement in this country has become a cesspool of hypocrites - denouncing abortion as nothing but murder...yet justifying the killing of abortion providers as the means to an end. On one hand, we have finally have support back in the White House...but it comes at a price. When the extremists are not in power, they will find a way for their voices to be heard...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No more happy horseshit for Bristol Palin.

So, finally Sarah Palin can admit that teen pregnancy ain't all fun 'n' games.

"When Bristol and Levi first told us the shocking news that she was pregnant, to be honest, we all at first looked at the situation with some fear and a bit of despair," Palin said in a statement following the birth of - eh em - Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on December 27th.

Despair, huh? Aw, but I thought all pregnancies were God's little sprinkling of happy holy fairy dust gifts........or something........?

And abortion would be like - I don't know - returning that gift grandma got you that you reeeeeally don't want, but it's rude to take it back, so you wear it or have it out when she's around so she doesn't get insulted.

Anyway, even mama Bristol is speaking out against her own situation. "Teenagers need to prevent pregnancy to begin with - this isn't ideal," she said. She also shared that she's putting off her own personal plans in order to be there for her son. I give her props for that.

Reality will probably set in quickly, now that baby daddy Levi Johnston has just quit his Alaskan oil field job - amid concerns that he is a high school dropout.

And he got hired how????