29 March 2010

You should call it black-span???

Unbelievable. Really, truly, what a fucking jerk. The host was way too nice to him--should have called him out.

27 March 2010

Vintage Franciscan china is sublime . . .

and I'm weirdly obsessed with these beautiful Franciscan china patterns. I don't know why I've got this jones for these particular patterns, but for the last few years I've been slowly collecting various pieces (only when they're reasonably priced) on Etsy and Ebay.

Also, I thought I'd take a needed break from ranting and raving about politics and add a little homage to design.

These patterns are, from top to bottom, Fern Dell, Sycamore, and Moondance. Love these vintage patterns.

26 March 2010

Stupid People Scare Me!

Another astounding video from the smart and sassy folks at New Left Media. If you can bear it, this video is truly worth watching.

23 March 2010

Women Deserve Better Than Feminists For Life

Last night I attended a talk given by Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life. This talk was sponsored by the pro-life student group at Drake. I decided to attend because I was very curious how such a group would present their ideas and ideology. To me, feminist and pro-life don't really go together. I do accept that many feminists disagree about many things, but I also feel very strongly that feminism must accept female autonomy in terms of reproductive rights. That said, I was very disturbed by the group's message last night.

Serrin Foster is a dynamic speaker and very personable. She is also smart, knowledgeable, and seems to care about women. But, and this but is a big one, despite all of the rhetoric of her organization, I have to argue that they don't care about women. They care about birth. And what I mean by that is that they don't really care about preventing unwanted pregnancy, or unplanned pregnancy, or helping women avoid pregnancy--they care about the woman once she is pregnant. Or really, they care about the pregnancy itself.

This organization actually does some really positive things for women. They try to make it possible for women who become pregnant while still in college or grad school to stay in school and complete their educations. They help with housing, childcare, breastfeeding issues, and healthcare. But they also only help a woman who wants to keep or adopt her baby. They are profoundly against abortion--no matter what. So in other words, they care about helping women give birth, and uniquely, they actually give a shit about her life once she gives birth. My objection to all of this is that there is no room in their ideology for anything but reproduction--no abortion, no birth control, no family planning.

When I asked Ms. Foster about if her group helps young women prevent pregnancy by providing sex education and access to contraception, she told me that they only really get involved once the woman is pregnant, partially becasue there is "so much controversy" about the various methods of birth control. This stance tells me that they really don't care about women--they care about the pregnancy. Pro-life? No. Pro-birth is more like it.

I could go on and on about the problems and inconsistencies of this group and their twisted ideology, but I've got real work to do. Some of my work involves helping actual women with all kinds of issues. But I have to mention one thing in particular--I liked Serrin Foster. She was smart and seemed kind. She actually spoke the truth about many things, although she did make a few important factual errors--like saying that any woman can get an abortion any time during a pregnancy, even during the ninth month. This is patently wrong--abortion is illegal in the third trimester. Anyway, when one particularly smug woman in the audience asked a question about women who have abortions cavalierly, Foster backed me up when I argued that this woman was dead wrong.

My other favorite moment was when another woman in the audience made a comment about how birth control messes up a woman's body by subverting a system that is meant for reproduction. Aha! I asked her if she realized that what she was saying was that women should only have heterosexual intercourse in order to reproduce. A bunch of people in the audience spoke up, challenging my interpretation of what the woman meant. So I asked her, are women allowed to have sex for pleasure? She said yes, in marriage. So then I asked, so not outside of marriage? She said, no--that's what the Lord wants.

Once that came out, to me, the real purpose of Feminists For Life and their vision for women was crystal clear. Their mission is an end-run around reproductive rights. Their goal, although not explicitly stated as such, is to convince women that it is not feminist to have an abortion, and that their true purpose on earth is to give birth. In other words, their slogan "women deserve better than abortion" means nothing more than abortion is wrong and women who have an abortion are also wrong. Birth control is wrong. Family planning is wrong.

I wish I had the time to more thoroughly analyze the talk and this group. If you're interested, you can visit their website and read for yourself how they have appropriated the language of feminism to further their decidedly anti-feminist goal of controlling women's bodies.

17 March 2010

Why are we afraid of the word vagina?

Here's a funny advertisement for a new line of period control products. Er, rather, tampons and pads!

Although I like the humor of this ad that really makes fun of our cultural cover-up of bloody menstruation, I wonder why we still can't say vagina on television?

14 March 2010

Headline I'd LOVE to See . . .

I just read a headline about the most recent teacher student sex scandal to hit the news. This incident was especially upsetting because it took place between a teacher and a student at my former middle school (which was called junior high back then) David Starr Jordan Middle School, in Burbank, California. Very sad.

I appreciate very much the headline which reads: Teacher-Student Sex 'Never the Kid's Fault.' Of course that is a laudable and excellent ideology to assert in cases like this. I agree. But what is bugging me is how I have never, ever, read a headline about rape where anyone states a similar sentiment.

I would love to see a headline that read: Rape is Never the Woman's Fault. Or, Rape is Never the Survivor's Fault. Let's work on that, shall we?

We need to work very hard to destroy this hideous rape culture that we tolerate and participate in each and every day.

13 March 2010

Ignorance is not bliss . . .

Well, the State Board of Education in Texas has gone and done something really stupid and willfully wrongheaded. They have decided to revise their curriculum in social studies to more purposefully reflect the conservative, reactionary, and just plain incorrect views of certain members of the Board.

Here are a few of the highlights:

•Religious conservatives on the board killed a proposed standard that would have required high school government students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” That means the board rejected teaching students about the most fundamental constitutional protection for religious freedom in America. (3/11/10)

•Religious conservatives stripped from the high school sociology course a standard having students “differentiate between sex and gender as social constructs and determine how gender and socialization interact.” Board member Barbara Cargill argued that the standard would lead students to learn about “transexuals, transvestites and who knows what else.” She told board members she had conducted a “Google search” to support her argument. Board member Ken Mercer complained that the amendment was about “sex.” The board consulted no sociologists during the debate. (3/11/10)

•Board conservatives succeeded in censoring the word “capitalism” in the standards, requiring that the term for that economic system be called “free enterprise” throughout all social studies courses. Board members such as Terri Leo and Ken Mercer charged that “capitalism” is a negative term used by “liberal professors in academia.” (3/11/10)

•The board removed the concepts of “justice” and “responsibility for the common good” from a list of characteristics of good citizenship for Grades 1-3. (The proposal to remove “equality” failed.) (1/14/10)

I've always tried not to marginalize Texas because both of my parents were born there--but this is not a good sign. If you want to read more about it, there is a good article about this fiasco at the New York Times.

11 March 2010

Husbands and Husbands

Came across this video on FacePage this morning. I have to say it is one of the best things I've seen in a long time. Perhaps there is hope for the world!

05 March 2010

Looks Like Pants!

This cover article in Life & Style magazine deserves some kind of award for ridiculousness and sheer stupidity. Apparently, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) recently got a short haircut and frequently wears pants.

Holy Shit! A little girl is wearing pants! What does it mean?

Well, apparently, to the critical-thinking challenged folks over at Life & Style, this wardrobe and hairstyle choice may be dangerous to little Shiloh. Because, you know, she is wearing pants.

I have some news for you idiots at Life and Style: women have been wearing pants for many years. We also frequently get short haircuts. This is not 1940. Wake up, ya morons! Clothing choices are irrelevant . Haircuts are NOT that important. Gender identity is fluid! Females can wear whatever we want, and cut our hair, and even change our names. The world will not end. We are not "damaged" by this gender liminality.

04 March 2010


I'm not even sure what this is, what it means, what it's from, when it's from, or why I like it. But here it is: your few minutes of joy and silliness.