Monday, June 29, 2009

0-LOVE

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.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why Askmen.com Can Shove It

Heard something interesting on the radio today. Shockingly, the people who brought us 6 Ways to Tell Your Girl to Lose Some Weight don't think women can be bosses! I'm actually not angry or even offended by this article because really it's laughable and devoid of any fact whatsoever.

Here are their reasons:

Women can’t control their emotions
All women have Queen Bee syndrome
Business was built by men, for men
Women hold grudges

I have never personally worked in management or been anyone's boss, but I have worked for both male and female bosses and really have no preference. Each manager has their strengths and weaknesses, and amazingly, it's different for each individual. Askmen.com might be surprised to learn that not all women are the same!

In regards to emotions, I will concede that generally speaking women are more emotional than men, but I think that most women in management can put their "emotions" in check and do their job. Except of course during that time of the month when their period tears are devastating everyone around them.

Work isn't like gym class for christ's sake. We don't get "personal days" every month when our "special friend" comes to town. Amazingly, women in management and non-management remain in the workforce without "going crazy" once a month. Of course, women owned businesses do shut down once a month... Give me a break.

Next, someone apparently thinks they're cool because they watched Mean Girls. And we know that all women are really just "mean girls" deep down! Uh, I mean "Queen Bees."

Like that bully from grade school, the Queen Bee has a similar overcompensation problem. If women in positions of power felt they were qualified and competent, would they really need to be such raging bitches? We think not.

That's right ladies, put your management dreams aside. Everyone knows you are a narcissistic raging bitch. My eyes hurt from rolling them so far back into my head.

I think my favorite is "Business was built by men, for men." That's right, it was. And our government was founded by white men and pretty much for white men at that time. So, according to Askmen.com's logic all females and minorities in government should turn in their key cards. That means you, Obama. Great, now we are left with Joe Biden as President, happy now??

Here's some words of wisdom for all us female aspiring managers:

Deals are still done with a handshake over cocktails in a dark lounge -- not really what you’d call feminine. In order for women to compete with any level of competence, they have to adopt masculine qualities. Take a look at the pants suit; seriously, what the hell is that? No one likes the pants suit. You know who wears a pants suit? Hillary Clinton

Hmm, that's interesting because in my organization the top two sales reps are both female. I guess they are masculine because apparently successful and competent = masculine. "Cocktails in a dark lounge" Umm...no. See, the world of business deals has evolved, unlike the asinine author of this article. Note: Women have been wearing pants for a long time. Like, a really long time.

I also really like the jab at Hillary Clinton. As if that's the worst possible person a woman could be. OH NO, NOT HILLARY! No, why encourage women have a successful career and you know, run for President. Women should be posing scantily clad for askmen.com, not working to stop human trafficking.

And finally, we come to "women hold grudges." Uh, I've talked men in the business world who have gotten screwed over by male bosses that had personal grudges against them. That's just stupid. Women don't hold grudges any more than men do. I don't even have a funny quip for this one. It's literally too stupid to insult.

So there you go, Askmen.com can shove it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Letterman vs. Palin

Dave Letterman has unfortunately (or conveniently, depending on how you look at it) found himself in a battle with she who shall not be reckoned with - Ms. Hockey Mom, Sarah Palin.

It all started when Dave said this on his show:

One awkward moment, though, during the game. Maybe you heard about it. Maybe you saw it on one of the highlight reels, one awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game. During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

Dave or whoever wrote the joke apparently thought it was Bristol (the one with the baby) at the game with Sarah Palin, but it turns out is was her 14 year old daughter Willow.

The Palins, both Sarah and her husband Todd were understandably not happy with the remark. So Sarah Palin goes on the Today show accusing him of "joking" about statutory rape and contributing to a culture where people laugh at cheap, misogynistic jokes that lead to the acceptance of abuse of young women.

I agree that the joke was in bad taste, but I think Dave made an honest mistake by thinking he was talking about Bristol when it was really the younger, still a minor, child Willow who was with Sarah Palin. Not that it excuses it, but it does give it a little more context.

First, Dave was definitely not joking about rape and he said as much on his show the other night.

I can't really defend the joke, I agree, unpleasant, ugly, but I would never, never think that it was funny to use a 14-year-old girl as joke like this, for God's sake.

Letterman is a comedian. He makes fun of people in the news. He makes fun of public figures. Whether the Palins like it or not, Bristol is a public figure. She may have unwillingly been thrust into the limelight during the campaign season, but she has quite willingly made herself the new poster girl for abstinence (and also, ironically, teen motherhood). She is an Abstinence Ambassador for the Candies Foundation and made the rounds on morning talk shows and town hall meetings as an advocate for abstinence.

I consider myself a feminist, but I think some people are taking it too far with throwing Letterman under the bus. For crying out loud, lawmakers are calling for CBS to fire Letterman. Seriously, the guy is one of the most beloved talk show hosts of all time. He admitted the joke was in bad taste and said he regretted saying it. He stopped short of apologizing, and perhaps he should apologize. But it should end there.

It's not a liberal vs. conservative thing either. A lot of people are saying "the media would never put up with jokes about Obama's daughters." Probably true, but they are 8 and 10 years old. No one's bringing the Palins' 8 year old daughter, Piper, into it. And as stated before, I don't think he meant to make a tasteless joke about the 14 year old daughter, either.

Many liberal pubs called out the sexism towards Sarah Palin during the campaign (while still vehemently disagreeing with her politics). I even personally called it out . But while I do agree that the joke was inappropriate, I'm just not getting all up into arms about this. This whole back and forth that has gone on needs to end. I think Dave would like it to end, even though it's bringing him ratings. Honestly, this is how I think the "conversation" should've gone down.

Letterman: :::makes inappropriate joke:::
Palin: Hey, I don't appreciate you saying that about my 14 year old daughter.
Letterman: Oh, I was actually talking about your 18 year daughter.
Palin: It's still inappropriate.
Letterman: You're right. I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything by it. It was supposed to be a joke, but I realize it was inappropriate.
Palin: Okay.

THE END.

But I have a feeling this will continue to drag out, and Sarah Palin seems pretty intent on doing so. Honestly, I think she likes the attention. Gotta stay on the people's minds until 2012! Haha, I really hope she is their nominee. Obama wouldn't even have to say anything.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Target Women!

There are actually 3 new Target women segments up, and while I enjoyed both The Cougar and Lady Friends, Story Time wins the best new Target Women award solely for the line, "Milk will also bring sunshine to a land devastated by your period tears."

Enjoy. :P

Monday, June 8, 2009

Where My Girls At?!

I don't know, but I can tell you where they're NOT. They are not in any Pixar or Dreamworks animated films. Well... not as LEAD characters anyways. I don't know why I never noticed this before, but someone did.

I decided I wanted to break it down because I think it has more of an impact when you actually see it as a list, so off we go!

NOTE: This is not to say that these movies don't have some kick-ass female characters (Dori in Finding Nemo, Princess Fiona in Shrek, Eve in WALL-E etc...) BUT the point is that they are usually secondary characters whose female real-life voices get 3rd or 4th billing in the credits.

Pixar

Toy Story - Woody & Buzz Lightyear
A Bug's Life - Flik
Toy Story 2 - Woody & Buzz Lightyear
Monster's Inc. - Sully & Mike Wazowski
Finding Nemo - Nemo & Nemo's dad
The Incredibles - "Mr. Incredible" (and yes Holly Hunter got second billing for "Elastigirl"... but I still wouldn't call her a LEAD character, it mostly revolved around the dad... but still a great movie!)
Cars - Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson)
Ratatouille - Remy the Rat
WALL-E - WALL-E, duh! :)
Up - Carl Fredricksen

Dreamworks

Antz - "Z" (boy)
Shrek - Shrek
Shrek 2 - Shrek
Shark Tale - Oscar
Madagascar - Alex (lion) and Marty (zebra)
Over the Hedge - RJ
Flushed Away - Roddy and Rita (voiced by Kate Winslet, 2nd billing) I haven't seen this one... according to Wikipedia she's pretty central to the plot but Roddy is clearly the main character)
Shrek the 3rd - Shrek
Bee Movie - Barry B. Benson
Kung Fu Panda - Po (voiced by Jack Black)
Madagascar 2 - Alex (lion) and Marty (zebra)
Monsters vs. Aliens - Susan (voiced by Reese Witherspoon), aka Ginormica...OMG I found one, last one on this list... SWEET!

Ok, so I did some research on the last one because I haven't seen the movie and I found out that Ginormica is indeed a female protagonist. Or, as Slate puts it:

Monsters vs. Aliens (DreamWorks Animation) is a film for children with a female lead. She is not the love interest, or the helpmate, or the mom. Nor is she a princess, or princesslike. She does not marry a prince or a prince-manqué. She does not marry at all. She tries to get married, but she is struck by a meteor on her wedding day (typical!), which transforms her into an unmarriageable, world-saving, 49-foot-11-inch superfreak and—thank you, O bountiful movie gods—a Strong Female Protagonist.

However, they are quick to point out...She also happens to be ultra-skinny with big boobs and a pneumatic butt, and sometimes wears a catsuit. Well, you have to start somewhere, I guess.

So c'mon Pixar and Dreamworks! More female protagonists, please! Preferably no princesses. It's been done once or twice, or 87 other times. We know you are more creative that that!!

Sign the petition And, if the studios DO deliver an animated film with a female lead, go see it!! And yes, I will practice what I preach and rent Monsters vs. Aliens. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Because Victims Need to Be Taught a Lesson..

Yes, that's right. Victims need to learn how to not make themselves victims and take full responsibility for being victims of a crime...

I am referring to the recent tragic murder of Irma Rodriguez that I recently heard about via Feministing. The author of the post said that woman was from Chicago. It was only after I clicked on the Sun Times article she was critiquing did I realize the woman was from Oak Forest, my hometown.

And what an article it was. Slain mother's fate could teach victims a lesson. An entire article dedicated to the faults of the victim and basically blaming her for allowing herself to be killed.

Seems like domestic violence has been in the news a lot lately. There has also been a lot of commentary that basically boils down to "well why doesn't she just leave." No one is arguing that women in abusive relationships shouldn't leave the relationship. But I fail to see why, when women are victims are crimes like rape and domestic violence, the burden falls on the woman to not get raped or hit.

The Sun Times author, Mary Mitchell, briefly talks about the alleged murderer, Norberto Rodriguez. She explains that he went to court once and got off.. for attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, armed violence and aggravated battery. And then instead of asking why was he found not guilty, blames Irma for not leaving "when she had the chance."

Seems to me that Irma Rodriguez should have packed up the kids and got away from this man long before the case went to trial. But domestic violence counselors will tell you that it doesn't do any good to tell a woman to leave an abuser. She has to figure that out for herself.

Like too many other abused women, Irma apparently figured it out too late.


Hey Mary, if he was found not guilty by the court, he still has legal rights to see his kids. If she had taken the kids, he probably would've pursued her. He probably would've gotten violent with her then too. Because, apparently, he is a violent person. But why talk about the person who commits the crime when you can talk about the person who "allows" herself to be the victim of a crime!

This article is just shameful in my opinion. Not only does the author imply that it was the victim's responsibility to not be a victim but also implies that she was bad mother for... being a victim, as she states multiple times that "the children will be left orphans."

As is the case with other domestic violence tragedies, the children will be left orphans. These children will need years of counseling to overcome the burden their parents' relationship has put on them.

As if the parents share equal responsibility for the abusive relationship. The children will be left orphans because they had a fucking horrible father who beat his wife and (probably) killed her. Not because Irma Rodriguez was a bad mother.

Enough with the judging and shaming women who are in abusive relationships and who for whatever reason feel trapped in them. Yes, the abuser does hold power over them and yes it is extremely hard to get out. Because a lot of times women DO try to get out. But guess what that does... it makes their abuser EVEN ANGRIER. It INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD OF AN ATTACK. You know why, because abusers don't want their victims to have confidence or power. And when they sense that she is leaning that direction, they get even more violent. I've never been in an abusive relationship but I've learned that from volunteering at a women's center dedicated to helping women leave abusive relationships for good. So just to recap, maybe one of the reasons women find it so hard to leave is because THEY FEAR FOR THEIR SAFETY. And rightfully so.

So let's talk about domestic violence. Let's encourage women to get out of bad relationships and provide resources for them to do so. But PLEASE let's change the national discourse regarding domestic violence and rape from "this is how women can and should avoid being beaten and raped" to "men should not beat and rape women, and when they commit crimes the blame falls on the individual who committed the crime and him alone. He will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." Instead of "victims, here's a lesson you can learn from Irma," how about, "abusers, here's a lesson YOU can learn. Being abusive is WRONG and will not be tolerated under ANY circumstance."

Absolutely outraged is the only way I can describe my feelings right now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

On A Lighter Note...

This is effing hilarious!

Tomorrow is The Pill Kills Day

No, that is not a joke. The American Life League is sponsoring "The Pill Kills" on June 6th. Last year's theme was "how the pill kills babies." This year they are changing their theme, probably because the pill does not in fact kill babies. The pill actually is designed so that if taken properly, you will generally NOT get pregnant. Women take birth control pills to PREVENT pregnancy not to end a pregnancy. Some birth control 101 for you in case you, like The American Life League, were unaware of that fact.

This year's theme is "the pill kills women." According the American Life League:

"Studies show that most women who have died from the use of the pill or other birth control products have died from blood clots, heart attacks, and pulmonary embolisms. As you can see on our side effects link, the pill also causes many other serious problems such as cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, depression and much more."

I think we all know that all prescription drugs have potential side effects, and in some cases can increase the likelihood of more serious illnesses. I'm not going to deny that there are potential side effects to using birth control pills. Trust me I read all about them on the enormous 12 inch by 10 inch insert that came with my first pack in size -2 font. I read the whole thing front and back word for word. I also try to keep up with issues relating to reproductive rights including birth control, so I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable on it (as one should be with any drug they are taking).

The American Life League fails to point out not only that these complications are rare, but also that the risks are much higher for women who smoke and/or are over 35. In fact, it turns out the the risk of death from ANY birth control method is less than the risk of death from childbirth. Number of deaths for 25-29 year old nonsterile women related to oral contraceptives: 1 in 100,000. Number of deaths for 25-29 year old nonsterile women related to giving birth: 9 in 100,000. (according to the insert that I referred to earlier).

Maybe American Life League should have "Childbirth Kills Day." Seriously, people like this piss me off because they are telling women lies like "birth control isn't safe" and some people buy into it instead of checking with their doctor to see if it is a good option for them. Their "talking points" advocate "Natural Family Planning" as a reliable means of birth control. If you think remembering to take a pill every day is hard, try remembering to not have sex on days 8-19 of your cycle...

Also, I would like to point out that there are actually health BENEFITS related to birth control. Women on the pill are less likely to become anemic (I was anemic in college and haven't had any problems with it since then), it REDUCES the risk of ovarian cancer, and REDUCES the risk of ectopic pregnancy. It also helps regulate your periods and in some cases reduces the pain (cramps) associated with it.

Maybe we should have "The Pill Prevents Unwanted Pregnancy Day" or hey, how about "The Pill Prevents Abortion Day." Because you know, a pretty good way to reduce abortions is to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Gosh, I wonder how we could do that?! I'm not saying that birth control pills are great for everyone or that it is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy, but it is right for a lot of people as it is a very poplular method of birth control and also very reliable if used correctly.

Groups like the American Life League are using scare tactics to prevent women from taking control of their reproductive lives. Last year they tried to tell women that using the pill is equivalent to abortion, and this year they are telling women basically that their doctors are lying to them and birth control is not safe at all. It honestly makes me angry because it's going to prevent some women from seeking out factual information and sitting down with their doctors to go over the risks and benefits. And some women are going to get pregnant when they don't want to be. Some women will embrace their pregnancies. And unfortunately, some women will enter into or fall deeper into a cycle of poverty that is hard to get out of. Some women won't be able to work while pregnant. Some women will drop out of college. Some women will also choose to get abortions. Because some nutjobs told them that "The Pill Kills."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Women's Suffrage

There's been so many important events going on in the news lately, and yet I've struggled to come up with an original response to any of it. Sonia Sotomayor becoming the first Hispanic (and third woman) nominated to the Supreme Court, the tragic murder of abortion provider George Tiller, massive healthcare reform being discussed, the never-ending gay marriage battle across various states, the President's speech to the Muslim world today, etc. etc.

I think part of my problem is that I read so many op-eds that I become intimidated and struggle to come up with any unique angle that hasn't already been covered. Not that I'm trying to be a reporter, but I do try to come up with my own thoughts and opinions about a subject and when I blog, I don't just want to post links and say "Look! I agree with this, this and this. And I disagree with this."

So today I'm writing about something that's not really high up on the news radar, but that I think is important. I had a little extra time this morning and flipped around to a couple cable news shows (yes including Fox, although I did yell at the tv a couple times!) and while most of it was dedicated to the speech Obama made in Cairo today, I did hear a small snippet that caught my attention. Somone mentioned that women gained the right to vote 90 years ago today. So today I Googled "women's vote" and "19th amendment" and only a few articles came up. Which is good in a sense because it's no longer news that women have rights.

However, 90 years isn't really that long ago. There are people living today older than that! It's not just about the right to vote. It's about being seen as citizens deserving of equal rights and protection under the law. Women literally were seen as property, transferred from their fathers to their husbands. If a woman left her husband for whatever reason, her children and inheritance belonged to her husband. Even if she was able buy property, that property was not legally hers and she had no rights to it. Women who were put on trial were judged by a jury of all men because women weren't seen to be fit to serve on a jury.

Yes, jury duty sucks and so does dragging your butt out to the polls. And no, your one single vote is not going to decide the election. But there is power in numbers. The women at the Seneca Falls Convention (the convention that launched the women's suffrage movement) proved that, it was proven in November of 2008 when America elected the first African American President, and it was proven numerous times in between.

It's my hope that no one takes voting for granted, but especially women. Also, ladies, if some asshole comes up to you and asks, "Do you think we should end women's suffrage?" for the love of god, say NO! :)