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.