Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Feminism! Fox News! Favorite Things!

Coming in at Number 5 after "Blame," Fox News columnist S.E Cupp reveals how "militant feminazis assaulted the dignity of women."

"Feminism" receives this dubious honor because feminists don't like Sarah Palin. We all know the number one rule of feminism: must. vote. for. the. woman. candidate. - even if you disagree with everything on her platform. Solidarity!! S.E. Cupp accuses feminists of believing Sarah Palin is the "wrong kind of woman." But she's wrong. (Quick Google search reveals S.E. Cupp is a woman! Huh, wonder why she goes by her initials? Can't be because women writers don't get paid or respected as much as men... of course not.)

No, it's just that she was the wrong candidate for many women (and men!). But don't worry, Fox gives us other examples that "help solidify the total irrelevance of feminist identity politics."

- There was Nancy Pelosi, at the beginning of the year, suggesting that contraception made for good stimulus.

Haha, contraception. "Stimulus." Get it?! Contraception in the stimulus bill, silly feminism! Oh wait, except that publicly funded family planning clinics that provide contraception prevent 1.4 million unintended pregnancies each year which saves 4.3 BILLION in public funds paid out through Medicaid...maybe it wasn't such a crazy idea after all? Maybe it was actually a GOOD idea? Nah.

- Then there was Senator Barbara Boxer telling a decorated Brigadier General that “ma’am” is now an insult.

True, not Senator Boxer's finest moment. But to be fair, she didn't say "ma'am" was an insult, she just asked to be called "Senator" which is indeed her title. But, I still don't think "ma'am" was inappropriate. But of course, the real lesson we can draw from this exchange is that feminism is totally irrelevant. AND, that SENATOR Boxer is a BITCH.

- David Letterman, the world’s best boss and husband, joked that Sarah Palin’s daughter got knocked up by Alex Rodriguez. (He didn’t make clear which daughter he was talking about – her underage daughter or her barely legal one.)

Second best boss and husband: Mark Sanford. Also, anyone with a brain can figure out he was talking about the daughter who had just recently had a baby. I remember when his apology to Sarah Palin was a big deal. Little did we know that was the warmup apology.

- And Secretary of State Clinton snapped at a Congolese university student for daring to ask her what Bill thought of something.

This one is kinda tricky because the context is missing (shockingly...). In a townhall meeting in Democratic Republic of Congo (an official "Secretary of State" function) Hillary was asked by a student what President Obama would think of a deal that had to do with Chinese financial contracts with Congo, but the translator made a mistake, posing the question as what would Bill Clinton think. Now, she could only answer the question as it was asked to her by the translator and she was rightfully annoyed. She replied:

You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion. I will tell you my opinion; I'm not going to channel my husband.

Yet another example of how Hillary Clinton is a ball busting bitch feminazi... of course she also was there championing the rights of women and solidifying her commitment to improving women's rights worldwide. And she listened to African women tell the stories of their often difficult lives, but you know that didn't really get reported on as much as the fact that Hillary Clinton is a big ol' bitch.

She (S.E. Cupp) signs off with, Forty years after women’s lib and the left is still politicizing reproduction, fretting over titles and putting conservative women down. Stay classy, feminism.

Can't talk about feminism without talking about reproduction I guess. That's fine...I'd argue that it's the right who keeps politicizing reproduction by constantly restricting access to (ironically) both contraception and abortion. Fretting over titles - don't see how it's relevant as the one remark by Senator Boxer hasn't exactly led to a widespread movement of Congresswomen rejecting "ma'am" as a word that indicates respect. And as far as putting conservative women down, seriously? I think Fox has a case of "pot calling the kettle black" (again, SHOCKINGLY!) You just referred to a group of (liberal) women as militant feminazis. And by the way, attacking viewpoints is different than attacking the person. Many many feminists pointed out that Sarah Palin received sexist treatment on the campaign trail as did Hillary Clinton. They did so while disagreeing with Palin's politics. Amazing!

Oh Fox News... YOU stay classy

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want... about some more "girl power?" I get so disappointed when I hear songs by young female artists where the message is "Guy likes me; yay I'm so happy!" "Guy doesn't like me... aww I'm so sad." I'm not trying to dismiss the emotional roller-coaster that is often young love, nor am I trying to reduce feminism to the Spice Girls...but some songs are so annoying that they must be called out.

I've written before about Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You," in which the nauseating message is self explanatory. Today I would like to discuss "According to You" by Orianthi (no idea if that is her real name).

This song was deceptive. It started out with catchy lyrics and beat. The first verse:

According to you
I'm stupid,
I'm useless,
I can't do anything right.
According to you
I'm difficult,
hard to please,
forever changing my mind.
I'm a mess in a dress,
can't show up on time,
even if it would save my life.
According to you. According to you.

:::Cue instrumental break:::

I was sitting in my car after a long day of work. It was the first time I had heard this song... I kinda like it, I thought. This is it! Next verse she is totally gonna rip into this guy. She is gonna say how awesome she is, and if he doesn't see that, then he can suck it!! YES!!

Second verse:

But according to him
I'm beautiful,
he can't get me out of his head.
According to him
I'm funny,
everything he ever wanted.
Everything is opposite,
I don't feel like stopping it,
so baby tell me what I got to lose.
He's into me for everything I'm not,
according to you.

NOOOO!!! I was tricked. This was not the anti Twilight, Spice Girls reincarnate message that I was hoping for. I mean it's cool that she found someone who likes her for her and I guess now she is kinda rubbing it in the first guy's face... but what happens when guy #2 suddenly is "not into her?"

I have no doubt that this girl will soon be very popular and that this song will climb the charts. In the greater scheme of things, it's not the worst song ever. At least she's not saying "oh he's totally right I AM stupid and useless..." I get that. But c'mon, can't a girl get a little zigazig ha every once in awhile?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Adam Lambert...Not Sucking

Don't worry parents, no gay sexy sex dance moves here. Just Adam Lambert being a badass.

Seriously, he's super talented. That is all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I think I really screwed up...

Every other Saturday I work at a resale shop that's owned by the Women's center. They help victims and survivors of family violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual abuse (not exclusively women, but obviously mostly women). I've been volunteering there for about a year, and when I first signed up to volunteer I really wanted to do something where I would be working directly with the women in the shelter. But I realized that with my work being in the middle of Houston and the shelter being not in Houston... I just couldn't make the time commitment. But they said they really needed volunteers at the warehouse (where they take donations and sell household items, furniture etc). So I decided to do that. And the reason I do it every other Saturday is because I don't want it to feel like I have to "work" 6 days a week. I don't want to wake up and think "UGH, I have to go work at the resale shop today." I figured twice a month would be a good amount of time. They have volunteers that work there several days each week, but they are mostly old ladies who don't have jobs.

Anyways, Saturdays are always really busy at the store, and I kinda like working the register when it's busy because it goes by fast and even though you might not think so at first there's a lot of multi-tasking with questions and calls and putting stuff away up front. And I've been told by the manager that most of the other (older) volunteers aren't really comfortable at the register especially when it's really busy, so it works out I guess.

Today we were especially busy in the afternoon and there was a lady at the register who asked me the address of the shelter. Obviously I told her "I can't give it to you." For confidentiality reasons and for the safety of clients who are there, volunteers/staff cannot give out the address. Honestly, I don't even know it and could not have given it to her if I did. She said she had to drop something off there which of course doesn't make sense because we don't take the donations there. Now, because I wasn't thinking and because we were really busy and there were people in line I didn't think to ask "well what do you need to drop off." Then, she tells me "Well I have the address at home but not in my car" which of course is probably a lie and I just told her again "I'm sorry I can't give it to you." I wasn't rude, but I wasn't exactly nice either. I just kinda blew her off so I could get to the next person in line and it just hit me like a ton of bricks when I got home that maybe she was asking for the address because she needed to go there.

I was so caught up with checking people out and packing their stuff and answering questions about if the Christmas ornament is 25 cents or 50 cents that I forgot the reason I volunteer there. The whole reason I volunteer there is so I could help people, even if it's indirectly, and there's a strong possibility that this woman actually needed help and I totally blew it. I just feel like shit. And I know there's nothing I could've done except give her the hotline number, but at least I could've done something. And we do have business cards and brochures are up front with the hotline number, but maybe she didn't see them or maybe she did and she was just embarrassed to take one. I really don't know. But I just can't help but thinking she was looking for help, and I just blew her off. And maybe the place she went home to is not a safe place. I know that it's not my fault, but I still think I really screwed up...I can't really fix it or undo it, but I guess I need to be more conscious of it when when people come into the store and ask about anything directly related to the shelter.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Breaking News: Adam Lambert is GAY

I only caught the last 10 minutes or so of the American Music Awards (AMAs) and apparently I caught the best, or at least most controversial part. No, not Taylor Swift winning a bazillion awards. I'm talking of course about Adam Lambert. Two things were going through my head during his performance. #1. This song kinda sucks. #2. Huh... he's being pretty sexual/risque in this performance.

Now, I didn't think either of these thoughts would make the morning news the next day, but clearly I was wrong. I didn't think Adam Lambert kissing a guy on stage during the performance was a big deal or would make headlines and I certainly didn't think the sexuality he exhibited would make news either. Yes, there was gyrating, yes there was bondage like costumes, yes there was even some sexual "simulation" but you know what, it was nothing I haven't seen before, mostly or almost exclusively by female performers. I am thinking Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Lil Kim, Lady Gaga, etc. If you think about some of the performances done by these ladies in the past, is it really that different in regards to the sexuality displayed in the performance than Adam Lambert's performance at the AMAs?

The firestorm after Adam's performance started almost immediately. He was scheduled to be on Good Morning America the next morning, on ABC, the same network that aired the AMAs, and that appearance was promptly canceled. This gave CBS a chance to book Lambert and get ratings for their morning show since everyone wanted to see Adam talk about his performance. I saw a clip of the interview, and Adam was totally cool about it. He admitted he could see why some people wouldn't like it and said his music and performances are not for everyone. (h/t Broadsheet)

CBS on the other hand, felt the need to "blur" out Adam kissing a guy on stage and then in the same "controversy" clip literally less than 30 seconds later, showed Madonna and Britney kissing at the VMAs completely uncensored, what do you know. When the interviewer set him up for an apology, "don't you think you owe your fans an apology? THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!" Adam politely declined to apologize, and I say good for him. He was performing at a show for an adult audience, it was almost 11:00 at night his time, and other (female) performers had been sexually suggestive and no one seemed to mind.

Even though there was controversy surrounding the infamous Madonna/Britney/Christina kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007, it's still been shown on TV multiple times and half the commentary regarding it was about how "hot" it was. For the most part, the media doesn't seem to have a problem with females being sexually suggestive, and there also doesn't seem to be a problem with two females kissing as long as they actually are NOT GAY. Somehow, I don't think Melissa Etheridge or K.D. Lang kissing a woman on stage would've gotten the reaction that Madonna and Britney got. As long as women are seen as sexually attractive and sexually available (potentially) to men, it's ok for them to be sexual. We (as a society and in the media) actually encourage it. Let's face it, we encourage it a lot. It's practically a REQUIREMENT if you want to be a female pop star.

Pop stars have always been pushing boundaries, and while I don't think it's necessary for every performance to be overtly sexual in the way that Lambert's was, I don't necessarily think it's "inappropriate." It wasn't the "Teen Choice Awards" which incidentally featured teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus pole dancing on top of an ice cream truck. If we want to have a conversation about what is and is not appropriate in regards to sexual performances, maybe we should start with why teenagers are pole dancing at an awards show for children? But, of course, we barely heard a peep about it because fetishizing young female sexuality and having teenagers pole dance on top of ice cream trucks is totally normal and acceptable. But Adam Lambert kissing a guy and gyrating on stage is UNACCEPTABLE. THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanks, Scott Evans!

Actual comment from AJC (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) article

Yes, women have reproductive rights. They have the right to keep their legs together.

Thanks, Scott Evans. Please tell me more about my reproductive rights...

I feel like whenever I talk about this people look at me differently. You know, the "A word", "shmashmortion." I know I'm not the only "pro choice" person out there, but sometimes it feels like it.

So the big issue in the news lately, maybe you've heard of it. It's called the Stupak amendment, and it's part of the healthcare bill that's being voted on. And I've been reading about it for weeks now, and I'm still confused. So I can only imagine how people who might only read one quick article about it might be REALLY confused.

Proponents of it say that it merely reinforces existing law, which is that no governments funds can pay for abortion. Medicaid, S-Chip, plans for federal employees, military, etc, do not cover or pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is endangered. (Also known as the Hyde Amendment) 87% of employer based insurance plans cover abortions. Guttmacher Institute says that 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion by the age of 45. It's one of the most common surgical procedures there is.

Basically what the Stupac amendment is saying is that the government will ban coverage for abortions from all public and private health plans in the "Exchange" that's going to be created (maybe).

To help individuals purchase insurance, the federal government will provide subsidies (in the form of premium credits) to eligible individuals and families with incomes between 150% and 400% above the poverty level.

The House bill also extends premium credits to individuals with employer-sponsored insurance if their share of premiums exceeds 12% of their income, which could make an additional 1 million people eligible for purchasing coverage in the Exchange.
RH Reality Check

You can read two different articles about it, and they will say two different things (either it's not changing existing law, or it's taking away abortion coverage from millions of women who already have it) But my question is, why do you need a new law to say what's already in an existing law?

So my feeling is that the purpose of the amendment is to continue to chip away at women's rights to obtain an abortion by imposing more and more restrictions and making it financially unfeasible to obtain one. So basically the right to an abortion would only extend to women who can pay out of pocket for it.

60 percent of American's don't want federal funds to pay for abortions? Ok, well we should clearly go with the majority... I'm sure that will work out well. I wonder what other legal medical procedures or medications we can vote for doing away with? Contraception will probably be next on list I'm sure. With all the talk about no shmashmortion coverage, no is talking about how no insurers in the plan are required to cover contraception, as most insurers do now

Odd to me that the same politicians who are against abortion aren't fierce advocates for birth control. I never understood that.

Yet despite its widespread use and acceptance, lawmakers don’t see birth control as the fact of life that it is. Even though politicians are—or, at least, presumably were at some point—regular people, they pretend that something most women have used as a matter of course is a moral issue, and a politically radioactive one at that.

You don't get to pick what your tax dollars go to. I don't like funding two wars, but I'm SOL. I don't think I'm a bad person because I support the right to have an abortion pre-viability, and the right to have an abortion post-viability if the woman's life or health is in jeopardy, a law which incidentally has been in place for 36 years and has not been overturned despite multiple Republican administrations being in office during that time.

That doesn't mean I'm "pro abortion" or that I hate babies. Quite the opposite in fact. And people who don't want it to be legal have every right to persuade their legislators to change the law, which is kind of what's happening in a round about way, but I think then that they should also support funding for contraception, and they should also support government funded healthcare for babies that are born and their mothers who need it. They should support prenatal care and delivery and birth control being covered in all health insurance plans. And if we're going to look at it from a cost perspective (and it's always being looked at from a cost perspective) it's a lot cheaper for an insurance plan to cover birth control than it is to cover children for 18 years.

I'd like to thank Scott Evans for informing me of my reproductive rights. I should actually post his comment in its entirely because it was so nice of him to inform women about their rights and choices.

November 20th, 2009
6:53 pm

Um…are women too stupid to know what causes pregnancy or what? Yes, women have reproductive rights. They have the right to keep their legs together. And if they cannot control themselves for whatever reason, then they have choices which are: 1. The choice to keep the baby or 2. The choice to adopt the baby. The unborn are babies and it’s never right to kill a baby.

I'd like to think that most women do in fact know what causes pregnancy, and well actually, I would hope that men would know too. But that doesn't matter because as we all know men have every right to sleep around because they don't have to worry about getting pregnant and if a man does get a woman pregnant, it was her fault for being a slut who couldn't "control herself" and didn't keep her legs together. Thanks, Scott!

Obviously, as Scott Evans informed me of, sometimes women can't "control themselves" and thus get pregnant. Regardless of current law, we now know from Scott Evan's superior commentary that women have TWO choices. I'm going to give Scott the benefit of the doubt here (why, I have no idea) and assume that in Choice #2 he actually meant give the baby up for adoption rather than adopt the baby since women don't technically adopt babies that come out of their vaginas.

I think the original article from the AJC that my "friend" Scott commentated on makes a good point. Women of childbearing age in the US and most middle aged people do not know an America where abortion is illegal.

Because the U.S. Supreme Court granted women the right to control their own reproduction in a 1973 ruling, Roe v Wade, forty-something Americans have no first-hand knowledge of back alley abortions. It’s likely they haven’t even heard second-hand stories of women who died from infections caused by coat-hanger terminations.

I think it's important to remember that women died from unsafe abortion, and women are dying every day in developing countries from unsafe abortion. 70,000 annually And yes, I do want to see the abortion rate reduced and eventually eliminated. But making it illegal and unsafe is not the way to do that. Education and access to contraception (for both men and women) is.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What is Wrong with Conservatives?

Well for one thing, they value "their women" for being hot and wearing Jimmy Choos? I wish I was kidding.

I'm probably going to be late for work because of this... but I couldn't resist. You should read the article in its entirety but I have provided you some commentary on some of the funniest lines.

"Could be our slogan: Come for the culture war ... stay for the chicks."

Because "our chicks" are HAWT! Forget about their individualism or opinions. Well I guess we can feign interest in their opinions as long as they keep wearing those sexy skirts on TV! HAWT.

"The primary reason our womenfolk are at war with the looming spectre of the nanny state is because you can't buy Jimmy Choos in a socialist paradise."

The primary reason that women are not voting for your party is probably because you are referring to them as "womenfolk."

"The only sensible footwear you'll find in a right-wing woman's closet are the Nike cross-trainers that go with her gym membership. Everything else has a three-inch heel. Minimum"

No fatties on the right!! They also apparently check your heel height at the door; hope you like bunions ladies!

"You never hear a right-wing woman break out statistics pointing out that only 25% of elected offices in Canada are held by women, and then whining about it. No. A right-wing woman wants to get elected, she runs for office. If she wins, great. If she loses ... well, there's always more shoe shopping."

If only I could think of a woman on the left who ran for office, I could totally point out how stupid this person sounds.... If only...arg! On the tip of my tongue... Hil....hilarious!! This author is simply hilarious. Women not represented in government in equal numbers?? Meh, we make up for it BECAUSE WE HAVE MORE SHOES. Boo Ya!

"A right-wing woman hits the gym, swings past Sobey's and has dinner on the table by the time you get home ... while her left-wing counterpart is still stuck in traffic listening to Sarah McLachlan on her iPod and feeling morally superior about her carrot choices. And when that plate of food is put in front of you by the right-wing hottie you had the good sense to marry, it will be 100% tofu-free. If you're lucky, she just remembered to buy steak and forgot about the carrot entirely."

She probably also worked before hitting the gym, but having her conservative husband help with dinner is clearly out of the question. She serves her husband, tofu-free dammit!

"They know that the good life costs money ... so they're not sure why the average Canadian is handing -- on average! -- half their income to smarmy government apparatchiks who spend it mostly on stupid crap."

Our women are a genuine asset when they enter politics because they've spent their lives figuring out how to live within their family's means ... while still affording a couple of pairs of those Jimmy Choos."

Smarmy government...BAH!!! Conservative women are so much smarter than me. (and hotter!) And a $400.00 pair of shoes IN NO WAY qualifies as "stupid crap" except in liberal land.

"And in case you're not convinced, to indicate the utter superiority of the right-wing woman over the left-wing variant ... just turn on The View.
The left has Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg.
We've got Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

I don't listen to what any of these women have to say because I don't care. I simply put the TV on mute and watch that sexy Elisabeth Hasselbeck nod vigorously and flip her hair. HAWT

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sexy Clownfish? Seriously?

I like how every Halloween costume imaginable can be made into a "SEXY" Halloween costume. Gone are the days of just being a "sexy kitten" or "sexy nurse." Now, ANYTHING can be sexy simply by hiking up your skirt and opening up your blouse.

Why you can be a sexy border patrol agent! A sexy pirate! A sexy honeybee! A sexy Alice in Wonderland! A sexy clownfish! Yes, a sexy clownfish.

It's a little ridiculous. Whatever happened to a little creativity? Whatever happened to looking sexy without looking ridiculous? Surely, there is some sort of happy medium between being dressed head to toe as "The Bride of Frankenstein" as Lindsay Lohan's character did in Mean Girls (before she knew about "the slut rule"), and the costumes the other girls wore that reflect "the one day a year a girl can dress like a total slut and no one can say anything to her about it."

Last year, one of the most popular Halloween costumes was "Sarah Palin." And while some women I'm sure donned a red, white, and blue bikini and a "Miss Alaska" sash, I thought it would be fun to 1. Not spend a lot of money on a Halloween costume. 2. Actually try to somewhat look like her. 3. Make fun of her a little bit without being too mean (I had to go to a party at my inlaws...)

So what I ended up with was a skirt and suit jacket, my glasses, hair in bun, a small American flag, and a nametag that read HELLO My Name Is "Maverick"

I thought it was a good costume... not saying there's anything wrong with trying to look "sexy" just saying that maybe our definition of sexy is little skewed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leave Meghan Alone!!

For those who may be unfamiliar with Meghan McCain, she is the 24 year old daughter of Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain. She gained notoriety by blogging about her experience on the campaign trail with her dad at her blog, McCain Blogette During the campaign I perused her blog a few times and I found it mildly annoying and not terribly interesting.

What I found to be more interesting was how Meghan was trying to become a young fresh face of the Republican party (which, by the way, they need.) In many ways she has succeeded. She has appeared on the Colbert report and has described herself as "Pro-sex, pro-life, pro-gay marriage." She is also a columnist for The Daily Beast and has written some interesting though certainly not groundbreaking pieces. Confession - I kinda like Meghan McCain. I agree with her on some things, disagree on others, but I admire the way she has taken a stance on issues like gay rights when that's not the popular stance within the party. I'm not saying she should be given a award or anything for tolerating gay people, but she's doing her thing.

By putting herself out there in the public arena and being more or less a political figure, she is definitely opening herself up to criticism. But I think much of it is unwarranted.

The first time I recall Meghan really being "in the news" was for something that had nothing to do with politics at all. Well, maybe a little. It started when Meghan criticized Ann Coulter in one of her articles on the Daily Beast. (another reason why I like Meghan McCain. Seriously that took balls. Ann Coulter is a powerful and detestable figure in the Republican party - IMHO) But instead of responding to Meghan's writing or ideas, conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham mocked her by saying:

Ok, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in the Real World, but then I realized that, well, they don’t like plus-sized models. They only like the women who look a certain way. And on this 50th anniversary of Barbie, I really have something to say.

Cause it's totally cool to not only mock her but also make fun of her weight. Yes, that's what two women who are prominent figures in the media should be discussing.

So that died down, but now McCain finds herself back in the news again. Ever the tweeter (cause that's what the cool kids are doing now!), Meghan recently posted a pic of herself with a book in hand along with the tweet, my "spontaneous" night in is my Andy Warhol biography and takeout....I'm getting old

The reason it made news is because she's wearing a low cut tank top and she's showing a lot of cleavage. (pic is off Twitter but you can see it on the link) Apparently she got a lot of hurtful comments, people calling her a slut etc. because she subsequently posted the following tweets:

so I took a fun picture not thinking anything about what I was wearing but apparently anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut, this is

why I have been considering deleting my twitter account, what once was fun now just seems like a vessel for harassment

when I am alone in my apartment, I wear tank tops and sweat pants, I had no idea this makes me a "slut", I can't even tell you how hurt I am

I do want to apologize to anyone that was offended by my twitpic, I have clearly made a huge mistake and am sorry 2 those that are offended.

My take on this is that it's ridiculous that it's making news. She is a 24 year old woman and she shouldn't have to apologize for a picture she posted on her twitter account.

It's not like she's Miley Cyrus (not saying that Miley Cyrus should or should not have apologized for her racy photos, but I feel there is a different aspect involved when it's a minor, who is a public figure, whose fan base is 5 year olds) In this case though, if you don't like the picture, don't follow her on twitter anymore! For crying out loud. One commenter posted, “You knew you were posting a nearly NSFW [not safe for work] photo, so don’t pretend like you’re surprised at people’s reaction.”

"Not Safe For Work?" Here's an idea, don't be on Twitter at work!! (confession #2, I've been on Twitter at work before. Shh.) But seriously, get over it. She has boobs. Yes, the way the picture was taken it kinda looks like she was trying to show them off, but I honestly don't think she did it for the attention or wanted attention for that. And I also don't think she is obligated to put on a parka if she's posting a picture of herself. Just like we, the public, are not obligated to follow her on Twitter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Actual Conversaton

Greg: I ruined a pair of your socks.
Me: How?
Greg: :::points to feet::: He is wearing my socks.
Me: Geez Greg, do your frickin laundry. What are you gonna wear my underwear when you run out of those?
Greg: I don't know... I'm going commando right now.
Me: You're disgusting.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I thought it was joke! I wrote it down in my diary.

Whenever I hear that someone is attempting to make an argument against women's suffrage (yes I have heard this more than once! I know.) I always think surely they are joking... but no.

This guy John Derbyshire thinks "we would be a better country if women didn't vote." (via Think Progress)

He was on Alan Colme's radio show this morning where he danced around saying that we should repeal women's suffrage, but basically said that women shoudn't have the right to vote, and he "wouldn't lose any sleep" if that were the case.

Two reasons for this, apparently: 1. We got along 130 years just fine without women voting! 2. Women tend to "vote left." Translation: Women are not voting the way I (conservative male) want them to. Therefore, they should not vote.

Oh yeah, he also thinks we should repeal the 1964 Civil Rights Act because you “shouldn’t try to force people to be good.”

Alan Colmes countered with "should we bring back slavery too?" to which Derbyshire responded, "No, I’m in favor of freedom personally." I guess he is only in favor of freedom if you have a penis. Sorry ladies!

Unfortunately this guy is not some random whackjob off the streets. I never heard of him before today, but apparently he's written a few books (his latest which he was promoting on the show - apparently an entire chapter of which is dedicated to ending women's suffrage) and also writes for the National Review.

Well, at least Colmes made him look like an idiot. So much better without Hannity...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Save the Cheerleader. Save the World!

The world appears to be in peril... because cheerleading as we know it may become extinct. Newsweek recently broke a story that the University of Connecticut (a NCAA D1 school) is cutting its cheerleading program and replacing it with a "spirit squad."

At first glance the differences may not be obvious. However, the Hartford Courant has reported that the spirit squad will do away with gymnastics and stunts that the cheerleading program had, and instead will focus on "tailgating areas handing out spirit buttons and other kinds of spirit supplies, and will focus on timeout, sideline and in-the-stand cheers that are fan-interactive." The reason for this, according to the school is that "By changing the style, and not requiring gymnastics experience, we will be able to offer the opportunity to participate to a broader pool of students. Students who did not have a chance to 'cheer' previously, or students who are not gymnasts, can represent their college as 'spirit ambassadors.'"

The problem with this is that college sports, especially at the D1 level, are supposed to be hard. Spots on the team should be reserved only for the very best of athletes, and if you can't cut it you either redshirt a season (you don't participate in games/competition but you practice and travel with the team) or you go to a smaller school where you can cut it. But by keeping their cheerleading program competitive and selective, UConn and other schools would have to recognize cheerleaders as actual athletes.

Now, I used to be on the camp that didn't think cheerleading was a "real" sport because they wore skimpy outfits and didn't get mud on their uniforms like I did playing soccer and running through muddy cross country trails. But, that's stupid. Cheerleaders and Poms required just as much athleticism as any other sports in the school, but weren't actually classified as sports even though they go to competitions all the time.

It's still this way in college, even at the top levels. According to Newsweek, "The National Collegiate Athletic Association doesn't consider cheerleading a member sport, nor does the organization have plans to recognize it in the future. In order for a sport to be recognized under Title IX, the 1972 bill that guaranteed equal funding for men's and women's college athletics, an activity must be primarily competitive."

"Cheerleading doesn't fall under that and it shouldn't," says Jim Lord, executive director of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators. "If we're going to be cheering seven or eight home games for football, and maybe 15 to 20 home games for basketball—and that's just the men's side—then we would have to compete [in cheerleading competitions] at least that many times. That's impossible."

Most clubs and activities don't require practice every day, competitions every weekend plus participation in football and basketball games both home and away, sometimes for both men's and women's teams (yes, women's teams have cheerleaders. Sometimes). So, to replace the cheerleading program with a spirit squad, which according to the school's website, does not require gymnastics, dance, or cheer experience, is pretty insulting to actual cheerleaders who do the backflips and the double back handsprings and condition and lift weights to be able to do the stunts and routines they do.

I don't have anything against spirit squads; I'm all for school spirit, but I don't see why the school can't have both programs. Recognize cheerleading as a sport and let them do their competitions, and maybe have them perform a halftime routine. Then the spirit squad can do their cheers and pass out "spirit buttons" during timeouts and do their thing on the sidelines.

When people participate in sports at the D1 level, they are dedicating their lives to it, at least for while they are in college. Some of the cheerleaders at UConn said they chose the school specifically for its cheerleading program and now it's being dropped. Other schools are also reportedly dropping their programs.

I think part of the reason people don't want to recognize cheerleading as an official sport is the stigma associated with cheerleaders (dumb, bitchy, dumb and bitchy. Oh, and also slutty. Can't forget the slutty.)

When Taylor Swift sings, "She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers" she might as well be singing "She a skanky bitch and I'm super sweet." (you can clearly see this in the music video)

Not to mention that cheerleaders have traditionally been seen as "eye candy" for the male audience at the games. It's just a little disappointing that cheerleading is finally getting *some* respect (ESPN coverage, shows highlighting the hard work and skills it takes to become a cheerleader at all levels, etc.) and yet these girls still aren't considered athletes and the ones with the athleticism are being told they can now pass out spirit buttons (but still wear the skimpy cheerleading outfits - of course).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rep. Jenkins Laughs at Uninsured Single Mother

Representative Lynn "Republicans are struggling to find the 'great white hope'" Jenkins recently laughed at a young single mother who can't afford health insurance for herself or her son and also makes too much to qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP. Er.. maybe not laughed at her per say, just at the idea that government should have anything to do with helping her (even though Medicaid and SCHIP are government programs that Rep. Jenkins apparently thinks should stay in place)

Here is the video and the transcript is below:

Elizabeth Smith: I’m a 27 year-old single mother. I work full-time. I do not have health insurance. My employer does not provide health insurance to me and I cannot afford it privately. Why shouldn’t my government guarantee all of its citizens health care?

Jenkins: Thank you. I’m sorry, maybe you missed my opening remarks, but absolutely. That’s why we have Medicaid in the current system and that’s why under the alternative proposal we have an option for low-to-modest-income people to be able to afford health care and then we’ve got the SCHIP program for children. I think we’ve got all of the bases covered. (uh.. I don't think ya do, otherwise we wouldn't have UNINSURED PEOPLE)

Audience member: She’s not covered under SCHIP!

Jenkins: OK, if you’re not then you’re the perfect example for why we need reform and why we need it now but we have to do it right and if we can do an alternative proposal, as I’m suggesting, give you the money to go buy it in a reformed marketplace where it is affordable, that’s my preference rather than to saddle the nation with yet another government program when they can’t afford the government run programs we have.

Elizabeth Smith: I want an option that I can pay for. I work. I pay my bills. I’m not a burden on the state. I pay my taxes. So why can’t I get an affordable option. Why are you against that?

Jenkins: A government run program (laugh) is going to subsidize not only yours (laugh) but everybody in this room. So I’m not sure what we’re talking about here.

Jenkins: I think it comes down to the whole discussion of…

(crowd interjects, everyone is talking over each other)

Lynn: OK folks. Let’s be respectful. UH-OH (talking over crowd). We’re gonna make time for everybody. We’re gonna all listen to each other respectfully, even if we disagree. I think we can agree we need reforms, again it’s just how we gonna do it. I believe people should be given the opportunity to take care of themselves with an advancebale tax credit to go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance.

~ Regardless of how you feel about offering tax credits as the answer to healthcare reform, I think it's pretty safe to say that a 27 year old single mother who works full time, provides for her son, isn't on welfare or Medicaid or any sort of government program for financial aid, and is actively participating in the democratic process and respectfully making her voice heard is pretty grown up.

This is part of the problem... assuming that people who don't have or can't afford health insurance are just lazy bums who need to get a job, who aren't acting like "grownups," when that quite obviously isn't the case.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Am Now Depressed...

I've never heard of Fay Weldon before tonight, but apparently she was a feminist or maybe was a feminist?? I found this article about her via Broadsheet.

Here is what she has to say on feminism:

As for feminism, Weldon said: 'Life is much better, because you are not dependent on the goodwill of men. But the trouble is, the battle became too fierce, and the whole culture encouraged women to believe that men are stupid, useless creatures who are the enemy.

But then she is quoted as saying, "there are some things that women should simply not try to get men to do - such as make coffee, pick up their socks or clean the loo" (she's British)

So... men are NOT "stupid and useless" but expecting men to do things like make coffee, pick up their socks, or clean a toilet is setting the bar way too high?? My lady brain is confused.

But wait, there's more! She has other gems of wisdom for us ladies.

The thing is, you need to find a man who is cleverer than you, or at least not let him know that you are cleverer than him.

Women want boyfriends to be like their girlfriends, fun to go to the pictures with, but men are not like that. They want sex and they grunt. If you really want a man to be nice to you, never give him a hard time, never talk about emotions and never ask him how he is feeling.

As long as you have a sort of semi-good looking, able-bodied, intelligent man, you should have his baby

*This is by far the funniest quote ever. At first I was going to comment that I felt like I was in the 1950s after reading this article, but after reading that, I now feel like I'm on the Maury Povich show. "You are breathing, have a pulse and you are NOT a deaf one armed mutant... congratulations, you ARE the father!"

So to summarize, find a man smarter than you, but no need for him to be too smart. And by all means, if you yourself are smart, do NOT let on. Men are not stupid and useless but cannot be expected to do menial tasks like cleaning up after themselves. All men want is sex and all they do is grunt. Did I say they are NOT stupid and useless?? Feminism is totally to blame for society thinking that men are stupid and useless. But if you want to find and keep a man, you should set your standards low because men are pretty stupid and useless...I mean, CRAP.

By the way, this woman has been married three times. Interesting.

Talk about mixed messages on how women should act. I think we get enough of the "be sexy but not so sexy people will think you're a slut" and "be smart but not so smart that people will think you're stuck up" and "be driven and ambitious, but not so driven and ambitious that a man will feel threatened by you" messages from society as it is, and now former "feminists" are saying "be independent but not too independent." My lady brain is going to explode! No, but in all seriousness it really just makes me depressed.

Sometimes I think I should stop seeking out this stuff (blogs, articles, etc. related to feminism) I don't really have any super close female friends in my life anymore (that are nearby) and so I mostly hang out with guys, and I get so many comments on how stupid feminism is and how it's just a bunch of girls whining (oh my bad, not just girls, but "ugly girls" or "fatties" or "lesbians") and there's no need for it. It's not like I even talk about it all the time either. I basically roll my eyes at sexist comments and usually only talk about feminism if someone asks me a direct question about it.

But the thing is, the more I read this kind of stuff, the more I realize that there IS a need for feminism. Or you don't even have to call it "feminism" if you don't want to, whatever. Ugh, this post was supposed to be witty and sarcastic, but not I am just depressed. Depressed that this is what women are telling other women they need to do to have a successful relationship. Depressed because I care about it so much, but I'm starting to feel like, what's the point?

The last time I was at this crossroads (either embrace feminism and do my best to become educated about it so I don't sound like an idiot or drop it altogether and never talk about it) I chose the former. But now all of a sudden (and I literally mean all of a sudden) I feel like I'm at this crossroads again and I'm leaning towards the latter. Like, maybe I should just go back to being "normal." But, I don't really know what that is. And, like the blog says, I would just be pretending anyways.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Healthcare is NOT just an issue for Seniors

And young people are definitely NOT AWOL from the "healthcare fight."

This article provides a few anecdotes from young people (18-29) who seem to be disengaged from the debate on healthcare reform, but I have read countless articles and anecdotes from the same age group (and other age groups, including seniors) who desperately want reform. Just because they're not showing up to townhalls with posters of Obama being likened to Hitler does not mean young people aren't engaged.

Yes, young people are generally healthier and thus less likely to need insurance NOW, but they're not stupid, and they can see we're in a system that's broken. We can see that having employer based health insurance no longer makes sense for a global economy where the average person changes careers or jobs 8 times in their lifetime. It's no longer makes sense when close to 40% of small and medium business don't even offer insurance to their employees. It no longer makes sense when employers that DO offer health insurance are pushing the rapidly rising costs of premiums onto employees while actual wages remain stagnant. Young people are just as likely to get laid off from a job (if they can find one after college) and can subsequently lose their employer based health insurance. Also young people in the education field or any field with unions are more likely to be subjected to "last hired, first fired." And if they lose their health insurance, their options are COBRA (which in some cases could cost 1/3rd of their salary which they no longer have) or find individual private insurance.

Other people who have individual private insurance are that 40% of full time workers in small and medium businesses whose employers don't offer health insurance, part time workers (often working mothers or YOUNG PEOPLE in college) and people who are self-employed. THESE people are forced into the individual market where premiums and deductibles are EVEN HIGHER. And if these people have any sort of "prexisting condition" they might be denied coverage altogether. Also, some people get insurance only to have their claim denied because they left something out on their application. And the insurance companies are rewarding their employees for finding errors and denying coverage.

Also, most women who give birth are in their 20s so I'd argue that young women and young families are VERY concerned about healthcare reform considering that an average in hospital delivery with no complications (not including prenatal care) is $7,000.00-$10,000.00. Most people don't have that lying around and thus rely on their health insurance to pay for it. Private insurers won't even cover you if you're pregnant. A pregnant woman is also responsible for prenatal care, which if neglected is "technically a violation of the law (according to family law experts, women could be prosecuted for neglect, though they rarely if ever are)" - see link above. Then of course we have to worry about healthcare costs for the babies once they're actually born, but why would young people care about that??

Young people are also more likely to be on their parent's insurance plan (at least the 18-25 set. Most are kicked off at 23 or if they cease to be a full time student) and with the unemployment rate hovering around 10% (not including part time workers who would like to work full time) and job losses surmounting, this age group knows their parents are susceptible to job loss just like anyone else, and their health insurance is in jeopardy.

1 in 3 20somethings does not have health insurance. Most young people do want to have health insurance, and most know that system we have right now is not working. It's leading Americans into bankruptcy. 62% of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2007 were caused by health problems and 78% of those filers had insurance

The Associated Press is right in that we're not hearing from young people in the media on healthcare reform, but that doesn't mean they don't care. I'd like to see less coverage on people holding up "Obama is a Kenyan Nazi" posters and more coverage on how people of all ages will be affected by reform, and also how the current system is affecting the lives of average Americans.

Don't get me wrong, I think seniors have every right to be concerned about how healthcare reform will affect them. I think it's sad that several media outlets are trying to stop the Democrat's plan for healthcare reform by telling seniors that Obama wants to set up "death panels" and euthanize them, when that has been thoroughly debunked and discredited. (I also find it ironic that most seniors who are protesting a government or public option are on Medicare, a government program).

I am young person (25) and was an Obama supporter after he won his party's nomination. And by "Obama supporter" I do not mean "Obama girl." I actually follow politics and agreed with many of the things he campaigned on, including healthcare reform. So it enrages me to no end to read stuff like this saying that young people are not engaged in healthcare reform. It's hard to always know exactly what's going on, and there's so much politics involved that it takes away from the core reasons why I and many others believe reform is so important and necessary. And, though I'm a self-professed liberal, I honestly do try to listen to both sides and can admit that conservatives do have some legitimate concerns, like for example, making sure that doctors and hospitals get compensated fairly.

However, I have made a personal decision to not listen to any commentator, Republican or Democrat, who says, "we (America) have the best healthcare system in the world." That is simply not true, and to say so is dishonest. The U.S. health care system is ranked 37th in the world by the World Health Organization. We rank 47th in the world for life expectancy. The only thing we rank #1 in is cost. The U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country

Even though I'm irritated at the idea that young people are "AWOL" from the healhcare fight (actually I prefer "push for healthcare reform") I can see why it seems that way. Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote (geared toward young people) is quoted as saying:

What we've learned by working with this generation through polling is that attacks, rather than dialogue, doesn't attract them. Beyond the screaming, there's a tremendous amount of interest and concern among young people. It's just not something you see.

She's exactly right; young people ARE turned off by the screaming, the insulting, and the attacking. They WANT to be involved, and they know that whatever is decided WILL affect them.

How's that for AWOL??

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Beauty and the Beast" - Seriously?

Tomorrow night will be historic for Women's MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and women's sports in general. Female fighters Gina Carano and Christiane Santos will be the main event in a series of fights that will air on Showtime.

Gina Carano has been dubbed "the face of women's MMA" partially because she is one of the best fighters in the world and partially because of her "good looks" that the media likes to focus on. Christiane Santos is just as good of a fighter if not better in some areas, but she is less well known. Partially because she is not an American fighter and partially because she isn't doing Maxim photo shoots like Carano.

A lot of coverage on Carano has to do with how she is a "knockout fighter with knockout looks." I always laugh when I read coverage like this. (WHAT? A woman can be pretty and feminine AND be good at a sport? SHUT UP.)

I do, however, want to give a lot of sportswriters credit because a lot of them covering the event tomorrow night are focusing on the fight, the fighters, the tactics they may use, etc. without bringing looks into the discussion.

But, alas, there is one "special" piece I'd like to discuss, and it comes from none other than Sports Illustrated, perhaps the most well known sports magazine of all time. Here is the title of the article by Ben Fowlkes: "Carano-Santos set for Strikeforce main event on Saturday."
Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

Let's go ahead and admit the obvious: If Strikeforce's main event this Saturday night were a beauty contest instead of an MMA fight, it would be a blowout. With her classic features and girl-next-door charm, it's not surprising that Gina Carano is the one doing magazine layouts while Cris "Cyborg" Santos is more likely to get hired to work security at a beauty pageant than participate in one.

But what should be equally obvious is that good looks have never won a fight. When men compete, never do we even bother talking about it. It's irrelevant, and not terribly interesting.

Yet with Carano and Santos, the 'Beauty and the Beast' comparisons seem unavoidable, and "Cyborg" has had just about enough of it.

Yes, completely unavoidable to refer to two serious female athletes as Beauty and the Beast ...even though though there have been dozens of articles today that have managed to avoid it.

What's funny to me is that he starts off the article by discussing the "attractiveness" (or lack thereof) of the fighters and THEN goes on to say that looks are irrelevant and it's a double standard. (a tiresome one at that!)

The fact that it's even part of the discussion in women's MMA is an obvious double-standard, and a tiresome one.

Then how about you DON'T DISCUSS IT. If Gina Carano wants to pose in Maxim magazine, that's her prerogative, but Sports Illustrated is NOT Maxim. Let Maxim talk about what a "hottie" Gina Carano is, and just talk about the sport.

Apparently that's too much to ask because even after he finally gets around to talking about the actual fight, he still has to bring it back to the looks.

The trouble is, the issue becomes complicated somewhat when Carano is involved. Her fame is inextricably tied to her good looks, despite her undefeated record.

This is true, she should be recognized for her fighting ability and other fighters shouldn't be denied coverage because they don't have Carano's good looks. But it's articles like this that perpetuate the idea that we should watch Gina Carano because she's "a hot fighter", not "a good fighter."

As for Christiane Santos, the author seems to think she is at a disadvantage because of her "beastly" looks.

Santos, whose career hasn't suffered all that much even without Carano's looks, isn't concerned.

SAY WHAT? You mean you can be a successful fighter even without good looks? SHUT UP.

My final bone to pick with the piece is that even though both fighters are mentioned in the headline, only Carano is pictured. Typically, if you're doing a piece on a title fight/main event, BOTH contenders are pictured. But I guess we can't have people looking at a fighter who isn't as pretty as Gina Carano... so if you're wondering what the "beastly" Christiane Santos looks like, here's a picture:

Pretty much looks like an MMA fighter, and a normal woman. Minus the rippin' abs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Change Your Name...Or Else!

Here in America, most women take their husband's last name when they get married. Not a big deal, I took my husband's last name and am fine with it. However, it's an entirely different matter to LEGALLY REQUIRE a woman to change her name, as half of a recent survey panel (815 people) said they would be a-okay with.

Dear Survey Respondents: ARE YOU SERIOUS?

I wonder what they think should be the punishment for a woman keeping her name. I mean it would be breaking the law... so, jail time? A fine until she changes it? A 3 hour wait in the social security office plus hours of hassle changing it on various legal documents? Oh wait, that's the punishment FOR changing it..

Seriously, what if she just doesn't want to change it? What if she wants to hyphenate it? What if she and her husband want to join forces and combine their names into some super cool combination of their names celebrity style?? (i.e. Kimberly BOWARD??) I actually have read of couples doing that, which seems kinda silly, but I don't think they should be put in jail for it.

I can see why it's easier to take one last name. Let's say I went the hyphenated route and then my daughter, since she will be a feminist of course, also wants to hyphenate her name, and then HER kids could have 4 last names... yeah, it could get kinda crazy. Plus it would make tracing family history hard. I get it.

But I also get why a woman would want to keep her given name, especially if she's a professional who has made contacts and relationships over the years, all who know her by a certain name. Or say a woman is famous, maybe she is a writer. If she changed her name, readers might be confused and not buy her books because they see a different name on the cover and don't associate it with her.

There's a whole host of reasons for or against keeping your given name, but it should most definitely be a woman's choice. But according to this survey, half of Americans don't see it that way, which is kinda sad. Also another sad aspect of this article were the reasons people who don't think women should have a choice in the matter gave. The study author was quoted as saying, “Americans don’t want much government intervention in family life, so for 50 percent of Americans to feel this way was interesting." (unless we are talking about teh gays. Then government should totally get involved. Can't have them having families...)

She continues: “They told us that women should lose their own identity when they marry and become a part of the man and his family. This was a reason given by many.”

I don't have a problem with the "becoming a part of my husband's family" part. I feel honored to be part of his family and I love them. But he has also become part of MY family. I do have a serious problem with the "losing your identity" part. I think it's just sad. You don't have to lose your identity when you get married.

This almost makes me want to change my name BACK to Borbely. Unfortunately, I have gotten used to NOT having to spell my last name to people every time I say it. Plus I don't want to have to wait 3 hours at the Social Security office again. But I am still shaking my fist!! (and shaking my head...seriously, LEGAL REQUIREMENT?!) One could only hope that if the people who checked "yes" for "legal requirement" REALLY thought about it, they would realize how dumb that actually would be.

No Government Healthcare! (Except Medicare)

Some guy at a townhall meeting in Missouri: We don't want government involved in our healthcare! PERIOD!

Senator Claire McCaskill (D - Missouri): OK. Please let me see a show of hands of who here in this room has Medicare.

(Almost all hands go up, as it's an older crowd)

Senator Claire McCaskill: OK. Now raise your hand if you have Medicare and you want to get rid of it.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees the irony in the fact that some of the people protesting government becoming more involved in healthcare are also on Medicare, A GOVERNMENT PROGRAM.

I really like Claire McCaskill, and now I like her even more after seeing the way she calmly and respectfully handled herself at this townhall meeting where people were shouting, harassing, insulting, and basically not being constructive at all.

I think she has serious potential to become the first female President. You heard it here first. Claire McCaskill - 2016. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yet Another Reason Why Insurance Companies need to be Kicked out of the Healthcare System

A woman had to search high and low for an individual policy that would provide maternity benefits. And she found one for the bargain price of $500 per month + an additional $126/ month for the maternity benefits, not to mention thousands in copays & deductibles. The policy clearly stated, “For an additional $126 a month, you will receive benefits for covered pre- and post-natal care as well as covered services associated with the delivery.” It did not so clearly state that her benefits were capped at $3000.00 making the "benefits" barely worth the premiums and sticking her with a $22,000 hospital bill.

This seriously makes me ill, and is one of many reasons why I choose to not have children at this time. Yes, I currently have group health insurance, but if I have to take any time off work to you know, be pregnant, I could lose my job as currently in the US employers with less than 50 employees are not required to provide any maternity leave paid or unpaid, meaning I would get my vacation/sick time for the year (15 days) and could lose my job if I took any more time off than that. And subsequently lose my health insurance. If I was pregnant, I would not be able to find coverage in the individual market because my fetus would be considered a "prexisting condition."

A lot of this I already knew and so I'm ranting. But I did learn something new from this article. "A c-section is a pre-existing condition." Awesome, so if I ever do decide to get pregnant and have to have a c-section (which is often REQUIRED by hospitals) and then have to switch insurance for any reason, I should probably not count on that insurance paying for any costs related to baby #2. And I may have trouble finding coverage at all, unless I am sterilized.

This is all starting to sound like a bad science fiction novel to me. Yet another reason why I'm for a single payer system. But that will probably never happen here. If we do get healthcare reform here, it will probably be piecemeal reform that will have "something to please everyone" and we will still have insurance companies screwing people. Anyone who is afraid of a single payer system because it will "ration healthcare", sorry to tell ya, but IT'S ALREADY BEING RATIONED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES.

I have shared these concerns with Greg, who said that if we do ever get pregnant, I should give birth in a bathtub. Awesome. I'm guessing he'd probably feel different if he was the one with the uterus.. but unfortunately that almost seems like a rational option.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Smart Girls Marry Money"

About a month or so ago I saw some reviews on a new book called "Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped Into the Romantic Dream--And How They're Paying For It"

The basic premise seemed to be that women need to think more about their financial security before they get married, not by accumulating wealth themselves but by marrying into money. (Cause if a man has money he'll n-e-e-ever lose it, what with the stock markets and real estate being so stable nowadays)

I remember trying to come up with a coherent response to this premise other than "that's stupid" but ended up forgetting about it. I think what really pissed me off was that I read in several reviews that the authors said something to the effect of "You'll never earn as much as a man, and if you do succeed, you'll regret it. Empowering ourselves economically can undermine our sexual power"

Uh...ok. So basically, women should resign themselves to the fact that women don't make as much as men in the workforce, and feel empowered by being "sexy" and finding a man with a fat wallet, or something.

Thankfully, I read a great article today on MSN money by Liz Pulliam Weston who articulately explains why this idea is utter nonsense.

I really like her (Liz). She writes for MSN money all the time, so if you've ever clicked on an article from the Money section on the MSN homepage, you've probably read something by her before. She's not an uber feminist or anything, though she does throw in a Betty Friedan reference. This article really just breaks the argument down without being condescending (like I normally am)

Ford and Drake explicitly endorse the secret fantasy entertained by too many women: that someone or something will rescue them from having to deal with their own finances.

Then there's the other problem: Gold digging often doesn't work. Daddy Warbucks can die, lose his money or show you the door right before a sunset clause in your prenuptial agreement qualifies you to share in his wealth.

Liz is saying gold digging=bad (and stupid) BUT she also says you also shouldn't necessarily marry a gambling drunk who doesn't care about paying off debt or saving for the future.

Gamblers, addicts and drunks will put you on the fast track to financial misery, but so will someone who won't control his spending, who drags around credit card debt and who refuses to save for the future.

To summarize, it's important for women to not take advantage of men financially (i.e. marrying for money) but also to not be taken advantage of either.

I don't think I will be reading "Smart Girls Marry Money." Sure, it may be "just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man" but what happens when the riches go away?

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to accumulate wealth, give money to charity, send their kids to college, travel, and retire with dignity. But let's face it, no matter how much you plan or dump into your 401K, wealth can be a temporary thing as we have all been made aware in this recent recession. Everyone knows someone who's been affected, if they haven't been affected themselves.

In an economic climate like this, especially when men are losing their jobs at a faster rate than women (because of job losses in traditionally male dominated jobs like construction and manufacturing) it's seems like marrying men for money is not so smart economic advice. So while the authors of this book are worried about undermining their "sexual power" real people are worried about undermining their future due to potential job losses, loss of health insurance, and loss of their home - if they haven't lost these things already.

So, ladies, if you want some smart economic advice, I'd skip Smart Girls Marry Money, and stick to reading Liz's column on MSN Money. :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Searching for Common Ground

Sometimes you read something that just makes you want to bang your head against your computer screen. I just read an article by Steve Waldman, editor of Beliefnet which consisted of an email transcript between Steve and pro-life blogger Jill Stanek.

Steve Waldman is one of many evangelical leaders who are advocating common ground amongst pro-life and pro-choice groups to reduce abortion. His "common ground fantasy" consists of pro-life leaders standing up and declaring, “We will be open to looking at family planning efforts, including contraception, to reduce the number of abortions.” This would be followed by a pro-choicer saying, “We accept that society would be better if there were fewer abortions.” Seems like a reasonable step in the right direction to me.

Jill Stanek, however, is not interested in any common ground and opposes any and all forms of abortion. She also supports making any and all forms of abortion illegal, an important distinction between those who may be personally pro-life but don't think that government should interfere in that decision, or possibly that government should interfere, but only after a certain point or in a certain case (i.e. if the woman is a minor, if the baby is viable, if there are health concerns for the mother and/or baby, etc.)

Tellingly, she is also opposed to any and all forms of contraception, the heart of the discussion in this particular exchange with Waldman. Waldman asks:

Jill, I'm curious about something.... IF family planning could be disentangled from Planned Parenthood funding, would you support it? (By the way, by family planning I mean education and health care that includes abstinence education and birth control education)

Jill responds, No, I would only support abstinence training with perhaps an explanation of the harm of contraceptives - the failure rate, that the pill is composed of artificial female steroids, etc.(Hormonal contraceptives are bad for women.

The failure rate is actually very low, and increases when not used correctly. (an argument for providing information on correct usage) You can also see my post here as to why hormonal contraceptives are not bad for most women. Continuing her response:

We don't have training on how to drink alcohol, which we oppose, but here's how to drink if you must. We don't have training on how to take drugs, which we oppose, but here's how to shoot up if you must.

Steve, comprehensive sex ed has ruled the roost for over 40 years and is an astounding miserable failure. It has only increased the volume of kids having sex, getting abortions, and catching STDs (which are now out of control)

Actually in regards to alcohol, we kind of do. For example, my parents explained to me the dangers of alcohol, but insisted that if I was going to drink I should never under any circumstances get behind the wheel. They didn't leave me ignorant about the dangers of drinking and driving because they didn't want me to drink. In the same way, I don't think we should leave young adults ignorant about the dangers of having unprotected sex because we don't want them to have sex.

In regards to "shooting up drugs" that is illegal and dangerous for people of all ages. Sex, on the other hand, is natural and biological, so I don't think it's a great comparison.

The last point is probably the craziest one. First of all, federal funding has actually been given to abstinence only education over the last 8 years and it is only recently with the new administration that this is beginning to change. Unfortunately, federal funding for abstinence did not reduce the number of teens having sex, and actually increased the teen pregnancy rate after it had previously been on the decline for 14 years.

This does not mean that we need a "contraceptive only" message, but rather that a combined approach would be more effective

In the exchange between Waldman and Stanek, Ms. Stanek states:

The thing for the other side to acknowledge is that all statistics show comprehensive sex ed and "family planning" (widespread contraceptive distribution) have only served to increase illicit sexual activity and its consequences.

Not only is this untrue, but also reinforces the idea of a baby as "punishment" for sexual activity that many conservatives lambasted.

But it gets crazier.

One potential action of hormonal contraceptives is to abort a 5-9 day old preborn baby. And that's all IUDs do - abort.

~ Birth control works in 3 ways:

1. Prevents ovulation (the release of an egg during the monthly cycle) no egg = no baby.
2. Thickens the mucus around the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released
3. Affects the lining of the uterus in a way that prevents fertilized eggs from implanting into the wall of the uterus

In most cases, hormonal birth control simply prevents ovulation. And IUD does not prevent ovulation but prevents fertilization of the egg, and also affects the uterine lining.

The definition of pregnancy accepted by the American Medical Association the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is that pregnancy begins at implantation. Although there has been some debate in some medical journals in regards to that definition, hormonal birth control and IUDs are generally not classified as abortifacients except by few extreme pro-life groups who not only want to eliminate abortion but also contraception, as is made quite clear by Jill's statement next statement here:

Contraceptives are the root of abortion. "Contraceptive" means anti-conception. Contraceptives establish a mindset of hostility toward the blessing of children.

I just don't even know where to start here. Of course children are a blessing, but most women simply don't follow the "Quiverfull" method which forgoes all methods of birth control, including natural family planning, and have as many children as God and her body will allow. (an example would be Michelle Duggar...the 18 and counting Michelle Duggar). It's just not practical. And if we start going the route of classifying birth control as abortion, it's going to have dangerous consequences. People like Jill Stanek want abortion to be illegal. They also think birth control is a form of abortion. Therefore, logic would follow that they want birth control to be illegal.

It just seems like the pro-life movement is stabbing itself in the foot when it has leaders like Jill Stanek who refuse to budge. As I've said before, only those losing appeal for compromise. Winners don't have to and shouldn't. At any rate, pro-lifers never will.

I think they need to realize that even people who are pro-choice want to eliminate the need for abortion. If women and families only got pregnant when they wanted to be, I think everyone on both sides of the debate would rejoice. I certainly would. Unfortunately, this isn't happening as nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.

It seems like the best way to reduce abortion is to reduce unintended pregnancies in the first place. Going on a crusade about birth control is going to alienate most moderates, as most people don't have a problem with birth control and think it is a good way to prevent unintended pregnancy.

I wish that this wasn't even a political issue at all, and that people would simply come together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies through access and education about contraceptives, by making adoption more available, and by providing resources for women who do carry their child to term. (oh yeah and also making it easier to work outside the home and care for a child at the same time - but that's another post). That's my "common ground fantasy."

Monday, June 29, 2009


Apparently in tennis, specifically in the prestigious Wimbledon tournament, certain players get prime court spots, with the most prime being "Centre Court". Who would get the honor of playing on this coveted court...obviously the better players right? Wrong. There are actually several factors, one of which is the attractiveness of the player. Of course, this is only true for women's tennis. Because obviously factoring in a man's "attractiveness" while he was playing a sport would be CRAZY! But yet it's totally cool and normal for players that wear skirts... (which I never really understood)

According to one BBC source:

It's the Wimbledon play committee, not us who decides on the order of play. But obviously it's advantageous to us if there are good-looking women players on Centre Court. No one has heard of many of the women now, so if they are pretty it definitely gives them an edge. Our preference would always be a Brit or a babe as this always delivers high viewing figures. It's not a coincidence that those (on Centre Court) are attractive.

Salon points out that for her Friday match at Wimbledon, ten-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was designated to play conspicuously out of the way, on the tournament's second stage, while 28th seed Sorana Cirstea occupied the prime real estate of Centre Court.

For what it's worth, I think Serena is an attractive woman. Neither Serena nor her (also world recognized tennis player) sister Venus are what you would think of when you think of a "typical" female tennis player, but who the fuck cares? They're ranked #2 & #3 in THE WORLD. And that's all that should matter when it comes to anything tennis related.

I actually watched part of the tournament this Sunday for about 15 minutes with Greg and his dad. Not our normal Sunday activity, (usually golf is on) but it was on and apparently no one could find the remote and/or everyone was too lazy to change the channel (I think I heard "why are we watching tennis" at least 3 times within that 15 minutes). But anyways, one of the Williams sisters was playing, I think it was Venus and both Greg and his dad commented that her opponent "looked like a man." Gee I wonder what court they playing on; they must have been playing in the parking lot what with "ugly" Venus and her "man-looking" opponent! It's just really interesting to me because I don't often (or ever) hear them discuss the attractiveness of the male golfers or football players or baseball players they often watch on TV. Probably because IT DOESN'T MATTER. But flip on a woman playing a sport, and all of sudden it's all about her looks.

I don't mean to pick on my husband or my father-in-law because I love them both and really, they're both pretty progressive guys (lucky for me!) but it is kind of ridiculous. And yeah, I get the "whatever sells/fills the seats" argument. But if that's all that matters, and looks really are that important let's just kick out the "unattractive" players. Or better yet, why play tennis at all? Just take the good looking ones, and put them in bikinis. (or maybe they could play tennis in their bikinis!) That will fill the seats.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Real Men Get F***** Up in Vegas

Andrew Klavan tells us or tells men, rather, how to be a real man. Just like the guys on The Hangover! Before I comment on his article I'd like to preface this post with two things.

1. Yes I did see The Hangover, and I thought it was hilarious. Hilarious in a completely ridiculous and absurd way, but still hilarious.

2. This post may contain some spoilers to "The Hangover."

He starts by pointing out that the roles of men and women in typical "dude" movies like this are pretty narrow, or "squirrelly" as he puts it.

The guys are all children whose manhood consists exclusively in hell-raising. The women are either fun-loving party girls or grim, death-of-pleasure wife/mommies who seem ever ready to take their little menchildren by the ears and force them to wash the dishes while they stand by wagging their fingers.

Yeah... that's about right. "Bitch" or "slut" are usually the two types of women in these kinds of movies. In The Hangover, Rachel Harris plays superbitch to Ed Helms "manchild." Sometimes the "bitch" isn't ALWAYS bitchy but she definitely doesn't want her man to have any fun. All she cares about is responsibilities and bills and lame stuff like that. She is a nag, always complaining about her boyfriend smoking pot all the time and not having a job. (Old School, Knocked Up, Stepbrothers, etc.)

But back to the Hangover, in which we have characters who are the epitome of "real men." A brief character analysis of these "real men."

Doug AKA "The Groom" - Probably the only one that real women would actually want to date if he existed in real life. Typical good-looking guy next door who is also well off as demonstrated by his nice suits. Doug is excited to get married and reluctantly agrees to let his friends take him to Vegas where he thinks he's going to drink a few beers and play some blackjack with his buddies. Incidentally, Doug is both central to the plot and practically nonexistent in the movie. (He is "missing" for most of the movie as his friends wake up not remembering anything and unable to find him.)

Phil AKA "The Bad Boy"
- Schoolteacher by day, menace to society by night. Phil is the instigator, trouble maker, and spender in the movie. (or at least he uses peer pressure to get his friends to pony up - super mature). He does not think twice about stealing a cop car. He preys on his friends weaknesses to get them to do things like spend $4000 a night for a suite in Vegas and marry strippers in the middle of night. But he is, as all bad boys are, oh so dreamy.

Stu AKA "The Nerd" also "The Wuss" - Stu is a nerdy but likable dentist. He lets his fiance ("The Bitch") walk all over him, even though she cheated on him, has to ask permission to do anything and of course has to lie about going to Vegas. He also lets his friends walk all over him, but that is portrayed as super cool because how else would they pay for such a manly penthouse in one of the most expensive hotels in Vegas?!

Alan AKA "The Stupid One" - Alan is Doug's soon to be brother-in-law. He is also borderline mentally retarded. He cannot be trusted to drive a car. His own father admits "there's something wrong with him." He also thinks a good way to bond with his new friends is by slipping ecstasy into their drinks - which turned out to be roofies, or "the date rape drug" - hence the reason why this group of "real men" cannot remember any of the previous night's shenanigans.

Andrew Klavan takes the art reflects life theory and postures that the real reason movies depict men like this is because of evil women who are threatening their masculinity.

More and more often I meet young guys just like this: overgrown kids who are their grim wives’ poodles. They sheepishly talk about getting a “pink pass,” or a “kitchen pass,” before they can leave the house. They can’t do this or that because their wives don’t like it. They “share” household and child-rearing tasks equally - which isn’t really equal at all because they don’t care about a clean house or a well-reared child anywhere near as much as their wives do. In short, each one seems set to spend his life taking orders from a perpetually dissatisfied Mrs. who sounds to me - forgive me but just speaking in all honesty - like a bloody shrike. Who can blame these poor shnooks if they go out and get drunk or laid or just plain divorced?

While there are probably some exceptions, I think most females don't really want to be the keeper of "the kitchen pass" but do expect some respect and courtesy and would simply like to know a general idea of where their significant other is going and when they're going to be back. And they show the same courtesy in return. At least that's how it works at our house. No, I don't need a play by play. But if you're going to Dallas for the weekend, I'd like to know. Obviously I am grim wife! (as all feminists are)

I am perplexed by the notion that sharing household tasks and child-rearing tasks is either impossible or completely emasculating. I can somewhat understand how some men may not care as much about a clean house as the women in their lives (a frequent argument in our house) but any man who does not care as much as his wife does about raising THEIR child (not HER child) is a terrible father and the opposite of what a real man should be.

In Andrew Klavan's world, marriage is designed for men to be "king of the castle"

I’m the old-fashioned King of the Castle type: my wife knew it when she married me, she knows it now, and she knows where the door is if she gets sick of it. And you can curse me or consign me to Feminist Hell or whatever you want to do. But when you’re done, answer me this: why would a man get married under any other circumstances? I’m serious.

:::consigning Andrew to Feminist Hell::: (because feminists are the devil who wish to consign all men to hell unless they agree to be our poodles.)

To be fair, Andrew says he's been married for almost 30 years and his marriage is somuchbetterthanyours because they adhere to traditional gender roles. He even posted a link to a tribute he wrote to her. Aww... Note that this was added as an update, probably in an effort to shrink the amount of hate mail in his inbox (no, none from me).

While Andrew Klavan believes that art is reflecting life in the case of The Hangover, I'm actually going to step out on a limb and give men a lot more credit than he does. I'm going to say that most men are NOT the irresponsible binge-drinking pot-smoking immature losers these "dude movies" portray them to be. Just as most women aren't the shrill, ball-crushing, fun-sucking bitches (or drunken sluts) that these movies portray THEM to be.

I'd love to see comedies where both the men AND women in the movie are complex multifaceted characters and not standard archetypes. And have the movie still be funny. Maybe one day. (I'm sure there are some out there, I just can't think of any at the moment...). I will admit that I laughed so hard I cried at The Hangover. It was without a doubt, a funny movie. But definitely not an accurate portrayal of manhood today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Feminism Meets Father's Day

Tracy Clark-Flory at Broadsheet wrote an article called Feminism Meets Father's Day.

The first half of it talks about a woman whose father didn't respect her a person, or at least respected her less than (in her eyes) her brothers simply because she was born a girl.

In the second half, Tracy talks about her own experience with her father, which is much more positive. She writes, You helped me feel that I was a perfectly OK person -- but, mind you, not a perfect little princess...He didn't try to turn me into a tomboy or a substitute son, he simply celebrated me as a kid.

Thankfully, I identify with Tracy and not at all with the first woman. Yes, I was "Daddy's girl" (and so was my sister) but we weren't "Daddy's princesses." And thank God for that. Sure we were spoiled in some ways (as most middle class children are) but we were also taught to do things for ourselves when at all possible, to be responsible for ourselves, the value of hard work, and especially the value of an education.

Never growing up, not even once, did I feel like my Dad resented the fact that he didn't have a son. I really like what Tracy said about her dad not trying to turn her into a tomboy or substitute son, but simply celebrating her as a kid. My Dad played sports with me and watched me play sports not because he was trying to pretend he had a son but because it was fun and that's what I liked to do. He embraced the things I was good at (soccer and running) and backed off on the things I was terrible at (golf). [I think we went to the driving range one time. And one time only.]

And it was ok to not like sports too as my sister was involved in more "feminine" but equally (if not more) athletic activities like dancing, cheer-leading and ice-skating. And while my Dad didn't exactly participate in dancing or cheer-leading (except when he was being goofy, much to my sister's disdain) he definitely encouraged her too.

It wasn't "you should do this activity because that's what girls do." And it wasn't "you should do this activity because it will make me feel like I have a boy". It was "you should be a kid and whatever activities you want to do, as long as they are productive and not getting you into trouble, are cool with us." (Yes my mom gets props too). As a side note, I think both my parents should get props for being encouraging at our sports/games without being one of those loud obnoxious parents who yells at everyone from the sidelines or installing a "you must win or else attitude" (I had enough of that instinctively anyways.)

Like Tracy, I think father's are very important and definitely relevant to feminism. I'm glad I wasn't treated like a "precious little princess" but also wasn't treated like a "substitute son." (although, funny story, I do remember moving furniture with my dad and my grandma freaking out. "DON'T MAKE HER LIFT THAT! SHE'S NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO HAVE KIDS!!" Well, we shall see...). Anyways, the point is that we were treated, well, like kids. Like, as Tracy said, "perfectly OK people." Not better than or less than what we would've been treated like if we were boys. Cheers to that. And Happy Father's Day.