Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taking a look at the WWE divas

This post is also featured at Kick-out!! Wrestling. Be sure to check it out there and see the discussion. Thanks to Razor for allowing me to guest post on his great site!

A little background is necessary here: I didn't use to watch WWE programs. Ever. I've had a vague knowledge of high-profile wrestlers in the past (Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, The Rock, Randy Savage, etc.) and that's about it. Then, a little over two years ago, I started dating someone who happens to be a big WWE fan. Happily, we're still together, and as a result, I've been watching WWE for most of two years now. (I am an excellent girlfriend.)

Since I've been watching WWE, it's had its ups and downs, but overall it is pretty entertaining. I don't watch all four shows every week, but I do usually see at least two of them (Raw and Smackdown). One thing that has disappointed me nearly ever week since I've been watching, however, is the WWE Divas. (For those who don't watch, the Divas are the women's division of WWE. And yes, they really are called the Divas. That alone speaks volumes about their role in the company, if you ask me.)

The biggest disappointment is the lack of talent. Yes, there are a few Divas who actually can wrestle -- Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Natalya, perhaps Gail Kim -- and it's my understanding there have been others in the past who could as well. But if you compare the Divas division to the men in WWE, the overall drop in wrestling talent is severe. We all know there are women out there who can wrestle, WWE-style, but for some reason* those women aren't in WWE. Instead we get a few with talent, and some who have potential to be decent, and others who, so far, are just painful and/or boring to watch. When you put a good Diva in the ring with one who isn't, it's obvious, and dangerous.

If Divas matches are known as "bathroom breaks" at live tapings, that's a problem. If we are fast-forwarding through half the Divas' matches, that's a problem. On last Friday's Smackdown, there wasn't any Divas match -- we saw Eve and Natalya for a minute, ringside, and that was it. No Divas match, and I doubt anyone really cared. The match between Mickie James and Rosa Mendes on Raw this past Monday was awful. There's room in WWE for a good, exciting women's division, but what WWE is presenting right now isn't it.

I almost hate to do it, but I have to talk about their looks. There's nothing wrong with how the Divas look, per se, but it is a lot of saline/silicone, hair extensions, fake eyelashes and push-up bras to take in at once. And by "a lot," I mean nearly every single Diva is sporting multiple "fake" or "enhanced" parts. So much so that I have wondered, out loud, how much of that is the Divas' choices, and how much is "encouraged," because it sure is a big coincidence.

Let's be honest, most of them look fake -- and how can they not, with all that going on? Their outfits leave very little to the imagination, and I think when you put it all together, it can be hard to take them seriously, even if you try. I have a hard time looking past all this stuff when they're wrestling to even notice if the match is any good -- and I'm a woman. No doubt many men see them as eye-candy and nothing more, and while I don't think that's right, I can hardly blame those men at this point. That's how the Divas are usually presented: not as serious wrestlers, but as serious eye candy. Thin, long hair, big boobs, lots of makeup, scraps of clothes, who sometimes wrestle each other. In the recent past, they have literally been reduced to being bikini models and Santa's "helpers" on the show. (And worse, I'm sure, but again, I've only been watching for two years.) They have "relationships" with the male wrestlers that get more air time than their matches do. The ringside announcers (all men) constantly talk about their looks and about how they "want" the Divas. WWE's Web site is full of photo galleries of the Divas posing in bathing suits or other tiny clothes. There's a new gallery daily, in fact. The emphasis on their looks far outweighs any emphasis on their talent, with perhaps Beth Phoenix being the exception. Beth Phoenix, however, is the only Diva who has what I would call serious muscles, so she probably falls outside "the look."

*Is this the reason we don't see more talented women in WWE? They don't have "the look"? My guess is yes, that's exactly why. And that's a shame. Hasn't the novelty of the current Divas' look worn off enough by now that WWE can bring in women whose talent trumps their looks? I'm not saying every Diva has to be an ugly ass-kicking bitch ... but wouldn't it be more fun if one or two more were at least able to kick some ass? It's hard to watch women who are so thin wrestle and not think "Um, hello, I could beat her."

I'm also having a hard time coming up with any Diva whose on-air personality isn't presented as ditzy or bitchy, sometimes both. There's nothing of substance presented in their personalities, despite the "smart, sexy and powerful" tagline that is used to describe them. Smart? Where? And why aren't any of them smart? Their feuds are often reduced to fighting over guys, if they have any feud storyline at all. Why?

There's this line that WWE seems to be walking with the Divas these days -- they have to be pretty, and they have to wrestle. In that order. It's time to either raise the bar, or drop the division. Either get to the point where most of the women aren't just watchable, but actually good, or have the women actually be "just" eye candy. This current incarnation of the division isn't working. WWE, after all, is about wrestling and entertainment. The Divas' looks might "entertain" some people for some amount of time, but after that ... what?

Note: I had pictures of Divas in this post, but have since removed them as Google image searches for WWE Divas have taken over my site. FFS.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Let's talk Equal Rights Amendment

Just got done reading this article on Huffington Post by Kamala Lopez, "Could Micheal Moore know why women are unhappy?" The author brings up the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment -- first introduced in 1923 -- still hasn't been passed, and why it should be.

The amendment simply says:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

That's it. It has been the same since 1923, and has been introduced to Congress every single year since. (Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced it this year.) It passed Congress in 1972, but it had to be ratified by 38 states by 1982; only 35 states did so. These states have not ratified it:











North Carolina


South Carolina


One question: Why not?

As Lopez says:
Simply put -- are women, should women be equal or not? Not implicitly equal. Not equal in New York state but not so much in Georgia. Not equal in every area as compared to men. Just equal, plain and simple? If the answer is simply yes, then why oh why is passing this amendment such a big deal? If the answer is no, women are somehow less equal than every other group protected by the US Constitution - let's just get that out there on the table. I would very much like to see which of our Senators and members of Congress are willing to stand up and make that statement to the one hundred and fifty two million of us of the "gentler" sex.
I'm with her on that.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (9/27)

Pro-choice activists square off against anti-choice activists in 2007.

  • I'm glad I'm not the only one to pick up on the irony of tea party-goers holding up signs that say things like "Keep your hands off my body." (And of a Republican Congresswoman saying the same thing.) NARAL has made a note of it as well.
  • The Curvature has a great post, "Rape apologism and the response to Mackenzie Phillips." I, too, was stunned by the way this story was covered, and by the reaction to it.
  • RH Reality Check reports that the Dominican Republic has completely banned abortion.
  • A column in the Washington Post discusses Virginia's Bob McDonnell, a GOP candidate for governor, and the effect his 1989 thesis is having on the campaign. In the thesis, he basically said working women and feminism are destroying society. Lots of poll numbers are reported in the column, broken down by sex, and it's kind of interesting. Example: "Nearly six in 10 women ages 18 to 44 said it would be worse for the country if "men and women went back to the traditional roles they had in the 1950s." Just a third of men in the age group agreed." Two-thirds of men think it would not be worse to go back to "traditional roles"? Nice.
  • By now you've probably heard about or read the bogus Huffington Post article by Marcus Buckingham about how women are less happy these days. There's been a lot of discussion about the article; I liked this column in the Guardian, by Ruth Sutherland, "Stop telling me I'd be happier in the kitchen."
  • Womenstake writes about one of my favorite shows, "Mad Men," and how one of the female characters takes on the equal pay issue. This is set in 1963, and here we are today still fighting for it.
  • The New York Times reports on budget cuts in California, and how domestic violence shelters are suffering as a result. A number of them have had to close.
  • MOMocrats takes on Sen. Jon Kyl's comment about not needing maternity care in his insurance plan. Read it, it's an excellent post.
  • The U.S. military is considering letting women serve on submarines. Reuter's article says "Allowing women on submarines would be another step forward in expanding the role of women in the U.S. military. Last year, a woman was promoted to the rank of four-star general for the first time."
  • Two stories published recently about groups of women taking on human rights and domestic violence/sexual assault: Native American women in this country, and indigenous women in Mexico.
  • Francine Prose discusses her new book about Anne Frank, and makes this excellent point in the interview: "Teenaged girls are the most maligned, undervalued portion of the population."
  • Completely fascinating (and long) story by the NYT about a book Carl Jung wrote 100 years ago that has only been viewed by about two dozen people. Even if you can't make it through the entire article, be sure to check out the photos of the book and its illustrations.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sen. Jon Kyl's statement is inexcusable

Male politicians, let me clue you in on something: When you're discussing what kinds of care should be mandated to be covered by health insurance companies, it is not in your best interest, or your party's best interest, to say "I don’t need maternity care, and so requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive."

You do realize you're sitting up there with your quite comprehensive government-provided health care, telling others -- and in this case, women, specifically -- what they don't get to have in their health care?

Yes, Sen. Jon Kyl, I'm talking about you. (And while I do so appreciate Sen. Debbie Stabenow's succinct remark exposing the absurdity of Kyl's statement, that isn't really the point of this video clip.)

Here's why it's not in your best interest to say such things, and yes, I do have to talk to you like you're in kindergarten:
Out of men and women, only women can give birth. We can agree on that, right? OK. Now, women make up half the population of this country. (Just over half, actually.) That's a fact. There are women in your party -- the Republican party. Also a fact. There are conservative women, Republican women, religious women, moderate women, women in the military, and they live in this country, and some even live in Arizona. Some probably even voted for you! There are women in your own family, I presume, since someone gave birth to you. Beyond that, you are working on legislation that can affect every single man and woman in this country. Not just your constituents, not just Arizona citizens, not just Republicans, and definitely not just men. And to sit there in the United States Senate and try to explain why health insurers should not have to cover maternity care is, I'm sorry, pathetic. What's even more pathetic is the reason you give for why they shouldn't -- it'll cost you more.

You have just told more than half the population (women) that you don't believe health insurers should be required to pay for maternity care (childbirth -- you know, that whole thing that lets the human species keep existing) without even, I assume, thinking about the fact that women and men together often bear the costs of having a child. Uteruses aren't out their on their own for every single birth in this country. Men are kind of part of the process too, assuming we still want things like "dads" and "families" around.
If I'm married and have a child, my husband's wallet is going to take a hit, not just mine.

Is this a joke, Sen. Kyl? Do you even realize how expensive it is, medical-bill wise, to have a child? Are you really trying to justify allowing insurers to not cover maternity care? (Most don't cover it now, unless you're insured through an employer.) Are you really telling women and men that prenatal care and childbirth don't fall under the "mandatory care" umbrella of health insurance? Have you told your children that the hospital bills from the births of your grandchildren should have been paid for out of their own pocket? Since it's going to cost you more, why not say that insurance shouldn't cover pediatric care either? I mean, you don't have young kids, right, so why should insurance companies have to cover something that doesn't pertain to you? And I don't have a prostate, or a penis, or testicles, so coverage of anything relating to those areas is coming out of health insurance too, right? Oh but here's the kicker: I ALREADY PAY FOR YOUR HEALTH CARE.

This is a joke. Because it's health care, and it's this country, and it has become nothing more than a joke at this point. And Sen. Kyl, your comment today puts you in the role of Biggest Joke of All. Congratulations.

More reading:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clinton Global Initiative on women's rights

The Clinton Global Initiative is holding its fifth annual meeting this week, and former President Bill Clinton made a powerful point today:
  • "Women perform 66 percent of the world's work, and produce 50 percent of the food, yet earn only 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property. Whether the issue is improving education in the developing world, or fighting global climate change, or addressing nearly any other challenge we face, empowering women is a critical part of the equation."
This statement was also made, by Zainab Salbi, founder and CEO of Women for Women International:
  • Girls get one cent, or less than one cent, of every dollar of development aid.
And the Guardian is reporting that the summit was to discuss child trafficking:
  • Only 1 in 10 countries have special police units to investigate sex trafficking of children and young people, the initiative found.
A news release about the initiative also points out the economic advantages to women's equality:
Reports show that when women and girls are empowered, entire regions see measurable results. This is especially true for economic empowerment - for example, a woman is likely to reinvest about 90 percent of her earnings into her family's well-being, compared with 35 percent for a man. Increases in access to education among girls accounted for a decline of 43 percent in the malnutrition rates between 1970 and 1995. Investing in women's health, especially reproductive health, not only saves the lives of half a million mothers, but also unleashes an estimated $15 billion in productivity each year.
Time will tell what results the Clinton Global Initiative will have in the women's rights arena, but here's what was announced today:
  • After meeting at CGI's 2008 Annual Meeting, Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and Hani Masri, founder of Tomorrow's Youth Organization, developed a new partnership. This year, this partnership is committing to increase women's participation in the Palestinian labor force by offering customized training opportunities and services that will increase participants' business, craft, and innovation skills.
  • Merck and Qiagen are launching a major new partnership to prevent cervical cancer in the poorest countries of the world. The program will facilitate the development of national comprehensive cervical cancer prevention and control programs that integrate two breakthrough technologies, HPV vaccines and HPV DNA tests. These programs will benefit at least 1.5 million girls and 1.5 million women.
  • The ING Foundation and Girls Incorporated commit to expanding the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge, an innovative program giving girls hands-on investing experience while allowing them to keep their gains as college scholarships. Increasing the number of cities participating in the program, this commitment will have a direct impact on 100 young women's lives, while increasing financial literacy in the United States.
  • Sustainable Health Enterprise commits to provide access to affordable, eco-friendly sanitary pads, plus health and hygiene education, through sustainable, locally-led businesses, for one million girls and women in Africa by 2012. This commitment will increase school/work attendance, decrease pelvic infections, and drive economic growth.
  • Plan USA and its partners commit over the next three years to train 140 adolescent girls from Ghana in media production and journalism skills, empowering the girls to advocate against gender discrimination through diverse media. This commitment will increase awareness of the needs of adolescent girls in West Africa by reaching a radio and television audience of approximately 1 million.
  • The Freeplay Foundation commits to distribute its award-winning, self-powered Lifeline radios and new clean energy Lifelights to poor women and girls in Rwanda, directly benefiting 20,000 people. The Lifelights will enable women to extend their business hours and the radios will enable the women and girls to access health, literacy, and practical skills, as well as agricultural advice.
  • The Nike Foundation and its partners commit to utilize the Adolescent Girls' Global Health Agenda to advocate around the report's key recommendations to stimulate global attention and investment in adolescent girls' health. The Grameen Nurse Institute in Bangladesh will serve as a sustainable business model to demonstrate how girl-focused innovation improves outcomes for everyone.
  • Exxon Mobil commits to identify and deploy innovative technologies to advance economic opportunities for women in developing countries, in partnership with the Ashoka Changemaker Campus Initiative and the International Center for Research on Women. The project will improve the quality of life of women in developing countries and enable them to participate more fully in income-generating activities.
  • Goldman Sachs commits to working with partners including the Inter-American Development Bank to provide women entrepreneurs in Peru with quality business education and enhanced access to capital. Their efforts will offer more than 700 high-potential small business owners with the specialized training, access to capital, networking, and mentoring necessary to significantly expand their businesses.
  • Hathay Bunano and its partners commit over the next year to develop 22 handicraft production centers in Bangladesh which will provide training and subsequent employment for 2000 destitute women. Hathay Bunano will train the women in hand knitting and hand crochet, enabling them to make high quality, export-orientated children's toys to be sold worldwide.
  • Pro Mujer commits to provide poor women in Latin America with an integrated package of microfinance, health care, and training that will allow them to take an active role in changing their lives and creating a better future for their families. The organization's goal is to expand its reach to 350,000 women and impact the lives of more than 1.7 million children.
  • General Mills and CARE will launch "Join My Village" which will tap the power of online communities to connect women in the U.S. with families in Malawi, igniting a new level of consumer education and involvement. Ongoing reports from the field will enable consumers to participate in the lives of some of the poorest women and girls in Africa.
  • Women for Women International commits to improve the livelihoods of 103,000 female survivors of war over the next three years. This will be accomplished by a comprehensive program of rights education and vocational and business skills training. These will give the women access to the resources that allow them to participate in their countries' political and economic decision-making.
Thumbs up, all around. This is important.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Abortion in public? Then I say sex in public.


If abortion makes it to the public square, so do live births (vaginal and C-section) and sex. After all, if we're going to publicly show one of the end results of pregnancy, we may as well show some others ... and while we're at, how the pregnancies happened in the first place. Right? And nothing "disgusting" ever happens during sex or birth, so it should be fine to show those right alongside "disgusting" abortions!

This video, by the way, is from the 2009 Values Voter Summit. The same place where we learned reading Playboy makes you gay, that feminism has ruined men, women and children (how ever are we still all alive?!), and that Carrie Prejean is disgusted at how intolerant people are (right around the 2:00 mark).

So there you go, smart and logical people all around at this event.

I'd like to write more on the Values Voter Summit sometime, but I don't know if I can stomach it. Ignorance makes my head hurt. If you can handle more, I highly recommend Gord's Poety Factory, which has a ton of updates on the event.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Photoshopped images worthy of health warning?

The infamous Faith Hill Redbook cover controversy.

Some French lawmakers think so, while Liberal Democrats in the UK support banning retouched images "that create 'overly perfected and unrealistic images' of women in adverts targeted at children" as well as a health warning on such photos.

The warning on photos in France, as proposed, would read:

"Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person's physical appearance"

It's an interesting idea. Would it do women any good to put a health warning on such images here? Would it help young girls to not see so many "unrealistic" images? I think most people have some inkling of an idea that most images, especially in print, are retouched, but I don't know if people know to what extent it happens. Ultimately it would probably help all of society more to actually stop with the incessant Photoshopping of images of both women and men, but I don't think that cat's going back in the bag.

(By the way, doesn't it seem like some major publisher or ad firm would revolt, so to speak, against all this fakeness? Doesn't anyone besides Dove and maybe Playtex realize what a huge opportunity is staring them in the face? Given the loud support for a magazine recently (daring) to show a "plus-size" model's actual stomach, the time could be right for such a trend.)

What would the reaction be in this country if a group of women lawmakers proposed the idea of limiting these unhealthy images, or putting a warning label on them? I have a sneaking suspicion we would be bombarded with horribly Photoshopped images of those lawmakers, they would be told they could "use a little Photoshop" themselves, they would never hear the end of it, and a loud portion of this country would complain about lawmakers wasting time on such "stupid" legislation. I don't know how far the proposals will get in France and the UK, but I'm curious to see where this goes. (Anyone know of other countries thinking about doing something similar?)

And in case you've never seen what Photoshop can do to a body, check out these links and this video:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (9/20)

This week's hits:
  • The Public Eye: "The more things change: Continuing threats to reproductive freedom." Great summary of the current anti-choice movement, and of how far it goes.
  • RH Reality Check: "Lawsuit filed against sweeping new abortion restrictions in Arizona." Including making a woman wait 24 hours to get an abortion after she's talked to a doctor about it, and, according to the article, "one part of the new law is so vaguely written that it would also prohibit a doctor from receiving payment for any medical service from a patient who inquires about abortion until after he or she has received abortion counseling, regardless of whether she seeks an abortion."
  • Sydney Morning Herald: "Abortion couple not aware they broke the law." A woman and her boyfriend face charges using pills smuggled in from Ukraine to induce an abortion. She could get a seven-year sentence. Apparently in Australia, abortion laws are determined by individual states, and her state (Queensland) doesn't allow abortions except in the case of the mother's life. According to this story, "Queensland hospitals recently suspended drug-induced abortions after the Leach case, and insurance companies in the state said that they would no longer cover doctors who aided medical abortions." LOTS of problems here.
  • Forward Kansas: "Operation Rescue admits Dr. Tiller's death cost them money." (I think we're all a little suspicious of this claim, especially after the little stunt of protesting in front of the Obamas' children's school.)
  • Passionate Provider: "Fighting words." Great visual illustration of the anti-choice and pro-choice movements.
  • MSNBC: "Teen birth rates highest in most religious states." Raise your hand if you're surprised. ... Anyone? No? Me either. Mississippi tops the list.
  • New York Times: "New U.N. agency for women's rights." This has been in the works for three years. Read more here.
  • Politico: "Study: Women lawmakers outperform men." I think there might be something to the theory put forth by the researchers -- women try harder because they're underdogs, or not expected to do well.
  • The Guardian: "Pay survey: Top paid woman receives only a tenth of highest earning man." In the UK, the discrepancy between men's and women's salaries is 22.6 percent nationally.
  • Feminists for Choice: "Being female can be a pre-existing condition." I don't think the ways health insurers discriminate against women can be emphasized enough. Whatever happened to John Kerry's bill, the Women's Health Insurance Fairness Act? Did it disappear in the health care reform debate?
  • Ms. Magazine: "Military contractor wins right to sue for rape." To be precise, she wins the right to sue Halliburton.

In some lighter news this week:
  • Wonder Woman Museum: Wonder Woman Day IV is coming up, and it raises money for women's shelter's and crisis lines.
  • Gender Across Borders: "Recycling Feminism -- Lilith Fair returns." Can't wait to hear more info on this.
  • CNN: "Google lets you custom-print millions of books." I love this idea. Love it.
  • Newsweek has a gallery of color photos taken in Russia 100 years ago. They're gorgeous.

Remember, if you have something you think should be included here, e-mail me at rosiered23@sparecandy.com! I'm always open to suggestion, because I know I miss tons of good stuff every week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

No boobs for you!

Hey, have you heard that Megan Fox has a new movie coming out?! Yeah, it's called Jennifer's Body, but you probably won't go see it because Fox doesn't show her boobs in it, so forget I said anything.

That's pretty much the gist of this (oldish) Cinema Blend article that I came across last night:

According to FilmGecko the latest rumor surrounding the movie is that this topless scene, the only real selling point of the movie unless you are a die-hard Diablo Cody fan (Are you? Really??), has been cut from the final print. Are the producers attempting actual live movie hari-kiri? Has Megan Fox suddenly come over all shy? This move makes no sense from a marketing point of view because at worst it's better to be known as “the movie where Megan Fox shows the goods” than to be “the Diablo Cody vampire flick nobody saw”. Presumably on a more practical plain they're aiming for that predictable and, to be frank tiresome, PG-13-theatrical/Unrated-DVD switch-back to boost sales.

Stop editing for content Hollywood in your slimy manipulative attempts to boost sales. Boobs sell too! Keep them in! Or... should that be, keep them out, so to speak.
Note to this guy: You don't have any actual right to see Megan Fox's boobs, okay? So stop acting like you do, and poor Hollywood has stifled this "right" of yours. (And note that it's bad to take boobs out of a movie and add them back in on the DVD to boost sales, but it is not bad to put boobs in a movie to make money on the movie.) I'm surprised Fox's kiss with Amanda Seyfried isn't enough for this guy, to be honest.

And then there's this absolutely horrendous headline (and story) in the New York Post a couple weeks ago:

Megan Fox's nipples
sadly still underwraps

The first sentence:
"Last May it looked like foxhounds all across this great globe would finally be able to lay their eyes on the prize: Megan Fox's bare breasts."
Hey Jarett Wieselman, Fox's boobs, or any other woman's boobs for that matter, are not a "prize" you get to win. Ugh.

Nudity can add a whole other, meaningful layer to movies. I think we can all agree on that. But this is a scenario I have never, ever EVER understood, and I suppose I never will: the fascination with gratuitous nudity in movies or TV shows. But it's not just any nudity; no one talks about some no-name actress who shows her boobs in an indie movie. It's celebrity nudity. It's Megan Fox nude, or Halle Berry nude (Swordish, anyone?), or Angelina Jolie nude (remember all the buzz about her nude scene in Beowulf, which wasn't true, and makes no sense anyway since she's been nude in movies a number of times before that), or Anna Paquin nude in True Blood, or whichever Star of the Day is exposing, especially if it's the first time she has done so. I understand people are curious, but the countless online discussions about whether Megan Fox will show her goods in Jennifer's Body go way beyond curiosity and reach a certain feverishly obsessed level that isn't healthy for anyone involved.

Plus, are you really going to a movie just to see someone's boobs? Even if you hate everything else you know about the movie, you're still going? As in, no way would you see the movie unless it had SoandSo's boobs in it? If you are so desperate or excited (both?) to see someone's boobs that you have said yes to this -- and are, in fact, a grown man -- may I suggest counseling? Or, you know, waiting a day or two when said boobs will be available for viewing online? And would you mind keeping your fascination to yourself, while you're at it?

I don't know if Jennifer's Body will be good, okay, bad, whatever. Maybe Bust's review is right: "this film is so radically and refreshingly both funny and scary from a female perspective, the boys simply don’t know what to do with it.
" I haven't seen the movie, and probably won't until it's on DVD or cable. I know a lot of people will go solely because Megan Fox is in it. That's fine, I get that. What I wonder is how many people would have gone if only her boobs were in it, too. (I probably don't really want to know the answer to that question.)

For the record, Fox has said she won't do a nude scene on film. And judging by how many people are demanding she do, I can't blame her. But if she ever does do a nude scene, I hope it's her choice, and not pressure to do so. She certainly doesn't owe her fans a glimpse at her naked body, that's for sure.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

'Of course' she lied about rape

I overheard some men today who were talking about the Hofstra University student who reported she was raped, and who then recanted the allegation. The conversation went like this:

Guy One: Yeah, so she said she was raped by five men and then today or last night or something, she admitted it wasn't rape, that it was consensual.
Guy Two: Of course she did. (You could just hear his eyes rolling.)

"Of course she did"??! Excuse me, but what in the hell is that supposed to mean?

I am beyond fed up with so many people automatically assuming that women lie when they say they were raped. It happens time and time again, regardless of the circumstance of the rape allegation. One men, five men, a stranger, a friend, it doesn't matter -- she's lying. (Go to any news media site that allows comments on stories and read the comments when a rape story is posted. Count how many times it's said that the victim lied.)

Why do people assume that? Obviously people are raped, all the time, so it stands to reason that not everyone is lying when they say they've been raped. If a relative or friend told these people she had been raped, are they going to assume she's lying? If a relative or friend of theirs were actually raped, and had heard them in the past make comments about a woman lying about being raped, how is she going to feel comfortable reaching out to them, or talking to them? (Same goes with rape jokes people. Let me clue you in: rape jokes aren't funny. Period. And if you think they are, ask yourself why. Why are they funny? What does it say about you?)

I feel like I could scream at the top of my lungs about this issue, and no one would even care enough to respond. People get tired of hearing about rape, rape culture, violence against women, etc. Easier to tune it out than to stop and think about why they might assume a woman (or man) is lying about being raped.

You know, I get that some people do lie, and as I've said before, that is also unacceptable. Lying about rape results in giving people an easy out -- they can land on the side of "she's lying" instead of contemplating what might have actually happened, instead of thinking about how many people are raped every single day in this country, instead of wondering if this could ever happen to their loved ones. It's easier. The assumption that women lie also plays out before the courts, with attorneys doing everything in their power -- like asking a woman to re-enact the rape on her own mattress in the courtroom, or calling rape victims "whores" -- to either make the woman look like a liar, like she deserved it, or get her to drop the charges because she's too ashamed to continue the court case.

The media isn't innocent here either. Someone is raped, it's a small story inside the paper. Someone says they were raped and then it comes out they lied about it? Huge news, as evidenced by the Hofstra case.

This needs to stop. The justice system -- the entire system -- needs to take rape and sexual assault seriously. Rape and sexual assault need to stop (in my wildest dreams, right?), people need to stop lying about it happening, and people need to stop assuming people are lying if they say it happened. You cannot assume a woman is lying if she says she was raped or assaulted. You simply cannot.

More reading:
  • The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women's report (PDF) on false reports. (They say estimates for the percentage of false reports are 2-8 percent.)
  • Amanda Hess' City Paper column, "False rape accusations and rape culture."
  • Men Can Stop Rape's web site.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Denying insurance to domestic violence victims

Yes, that can happen. According to healthreform.gov, "It is still legal in nine states* for insurers to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence, citing the history of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition."

What's the theory working there? "Well ma'am, seeing as you've been abused before, it's likely you'll be abused again, causing more injuries, and we don't want to pay for that, so no insurance for you." Something inhumane like that, victimizing women who are abused again?

*Although that site says nine states, the number is now eight, according to seiu.org, who reports that Arkansas passed a law in April prohibiting insurance discrimination against domestic violence survivors. It is unbelievable this has to be legislated, but leave it to health insurance companies to make such legislation necessary. (The same health insurance companies that so many tea party goers seem so keen on keeping in place as-is, I might add.)

States where insurance can still be denied to domestic violence victims:
Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and in D.C.

SEIU has a form you can fill out to send to Congress about this issue and a list of links to other media and blogs covering this story here.

This information from the Huffington Post is particularly relevant to the current health care reform debate:

In 2006, Democrats tried to end the practice [of insurers denying domestic violence victims]. An amendment introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), now a member of leadership, split the Health Education Labor & Pensions Committee 10-10. The tie meant that the measure failed.

All ten no votes were Republicans, including Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), a member of the "Gang of Six" on the Finance Committee who are hashing out a bipartisan bill. A spokesman for Enzi didn't immediately return a call from Huffington Post.

At the time, Enzi defended his vote by saying that such regulations could increase the price of insurance and make it out of reach for more people. "If you have no insurance, it doesn't matter what services are mandated by the state," he said, according to a CQ Today item from March 15th, 2006.
Really Mike Enzi? Insuring domestic violence victims shouldn't be necessary because it will make insurance cost more for other people? And you're one of the people leading health care reform now? My hope dwindles even more ...

Abortions cause breast cancer, groups say

This story is so stretches the lines of logic that it's sometimes hard to follow the supposed logic, so consider yourselves warned.

RH Reality Check has a must-read column by Eleanor Bader called "Anti-choicers target Komen Foundation." As in the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports women with breast cancer and breast cancer research.

The story goes something like this:
An old study claimed that having an abortion increases your risk of breast cancer. Anti-choice groups have latched onto that study to have another "reason" to outlaw abortion. The Komen Foundation, as it turns out, donates a small amount of money to Planned Parenthood clinics for the purpose of breast cancer exams and education. Because Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, and because abortions cause breast cancer, and because the Komen Foundation donates to Planned Parenthood, the Komen Foundation is helping to cause breast cancer.

See what I mean about the logic? (But please read the article, it makes it as clear as it can possibly be made.)

A doctor (of what, I don't know), Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, actually is quoted as saying "If aborting a pregnancy increases the risk of cancer and Planned Parenthood is the nation’s number one abortion provider, Komen is contributing to increasing the amount of breast cancer."

Nevermind that the American Cancer Society says there is no link; in fact, they say "
As of 2008, the scientific evidence does not support the notion that induced abortion raises the risk of breast cancer." The National Cancer Institute also concluded "that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer." But an old study, which has been refuted a number of times, says there is, and these people's minds can't be changed. Why? Because they are that desperate to have another angle with which to target abortion and the women who have abortion. It's very similar to the attack on birth control pills.

The groups mentioned in RH Reality Check's column are actually boycotting the Race for the Cure. The Komen Foundation says the boycott isn't having any impact, but if you want to donate to them, you can do so here.

The more pro-lifers lie and stretch the truth, the easier it is to dismiss them. You'd think they would realize this by now.

Randall Terry now terrorizing children

"Activist" (terrorist?) Randall Terry, who, among other things, once said that Dr. George Tiller "reaped what he sowed," has just one-upped himself, believe it or not.

In response to the murder of Jim Pouillon, a longtime anti-abortionist, Terry and his crew are planning to protest in front of schools across the country tomorrow, Sept. 17. (Pouillon was shot in front of a high school; Harlan Drake has been charged with his murder, and with another murder the same day.) One of the schools listed as a protest site just happens to be the same school President Obama's children attend -- Sidwell Friends School in D.C.

Now, I understand the pro-life community wanting to speak out about Pouillon's murder, and by all means they should, and have every right to do so. He obviously didn't deserve to die, and it's tragic that he was killed for holding up a sign. No one should be killed for expressing their beliefs in the abortion debate. (Nor should any doctors who perform abortions, especially by people claiming to be "pro-life.)

But I'm sorry, what does protesting in front of Obama's children's school get you, other than a little extra attention from the Secret Service? Actually, what does protesting in front of any school have to do with Pouillon's death? The location where he was shot is pretty much irrelevant. He wasn't shot because he was standing near a school. He was shot because someone "didn't like" his anti-abortion sign.
No kid at any school had anything to do with this shooting. So to go protest in front of schools seems a little, well, dumb. But Terry et al are purposely choosing these schools -- including Sidwell -- and the only conclusion for why is to scare and intimidate kids and parents. Kids and parents who, again, have nothing to do with this. They aren't even protesting in front of the actual school where Pouillon was shot! If Terry and his supporters actually cared about children, and not just about fetuses, would this the way to show it? Holding up graphic signs outside a school? No. Fetuses, once again, trump humans.

This would be like if, when Tiller was shot inside his church, pro-choice supporters went and protested in front of random churches across the country. Would that have made sense as a response to Tiller's death? Well, maybe a little, since many churches are anti-abortion ... but no, because the church had nothing to do with Tiller being murdered. He wasn't murdered because he was at church, he was murdered because of what he did for a living.

This decision, to protest in front of schools, is not just dumb, it's disgusting. I understand protesting in front of clinics and reproductive health care offices. But schools? Why? Is this something common to the pro-life movement that I'm unaware of? (Hoping for a little "indoctrination," perhaps?)

I sincerely hope very few people turn out for these protests, and instead find a more constructive (yet peaceful) way to show their grief and outrage. (What's wrong with a good ol' candlelight vigil?) And I can't help but wonder if, in the wake of Pouillon's death, the Operation Rescues and Randall Terrys of this country will still think it's okay to target abortion providers as they have in the past, resulting in doctors being killed or injured, clinics bombed and other violence.

Here's the press release about these protests, and the schools are listed below. What a joke, by the way, about Randall complaining about protection for pro-lifers when he has done everything possible to intimidate abortion providers and their supporters. But he wants protection? Of course. Because so many people actually threaten to kill or promote killing pro-life supporters (have you ever heard of that happening?) ... as opposed to what Terry and Operation Rescue do (second item, and note you can still purchase it).

MEDIA ADVISORY, Sept. 15 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Randall Terry, Director, Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex: One protest will occur at Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC, where many high powered politicos send their children. "We will not be intimidated into silence. We will continue to show images of aborted babies at high schools, no matter what the cost. "We hope that other pro-life groups will set aside differences and turf wars, and will do as I have done - follow the urging of Baltimore area pro-life leader, Kurt Linnemann, who wrote me urging me to help promote this. (See copy of letter below.) "President Obama condemned Jim Pouillon's murder - which is good - but he said nothing about protecting pro-lifers. At least by going to Sidwell Friends School, we know we will have police protection. " Randall Terry, Director, Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex.

Protests will be held on Thursday from Noon to 1:00 in DC and Baltimore, and the following Schools.

Sidwell Friends School

3825 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016

Baltimore Polytecnic Institute

1400 W. Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore, MD 21209

Protests are also scheduled in the following cities:

Hanford West High School
1150 W. Lacey Boulevard
Hanford, CA 93230

William Penn High School

713 East Basin Road
New Castle, DE 19720

St. Louis (Granite City) MO

Dallas TX

Buffalo NY

See more details at www.OverturnRoe.com

Dear Randall, I have been infuriated by the lack of press coverage of Jim Pouillon's murder, and equally grieved by the lack of outcry from so many pro-life groups. My question is: What will WE DO now that the first pro-life martyr has been slain?

As you know, Jim Pouillon was murdered this past Friday, September 11th at the Owosso High School (in Michigan) while holding a large sign showing a picture of an aborted baby and a healthy baby.

With his tragic death, we have the opportunity and duty to show our love for one of own, and show our committment to the Unborn in doing the following:

1. If possible, attend the funeral of Jim Pouillon.

2. Organize and/or participate in a protest at your local High School this Thursday September 17th at 12:00 noon. If possible, we should use the exact same signs that Jim was using when he was slain. If you do now have the same signs, use similar signs that show dead babies, and healthy babies. If you do not have sings like this, go on line and search images of aborted babies. You can download and print your signs. And please: contact your local media to let them know what you are doing. It has been appalling how little press Jim's death has received.

By gathering at Jim's funeral, or participating in a protest at a local high school, we will show our love for our fallen brother, our commitment to the Unborn, and our resolve to not back down in our goal to end child killing. Please urge pro-lifers around the country to join us.

God Bless,

Kurt Linnemann

More reading:
RH Reality Check: Motives remain unclear
Media Matters: O'Reilly's Tiller/Pouillon comparison doesn't hold up

Alan Colmes: Randall Terry targeting Obamas' children's school

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (9/13)

Image from Birth Pangs

A group in Florida is trying to outlaw a number of things associated with reproductive health -- such as birth control. (And abortion and the morning-after pill.) This is a "personhood" group, Personhood Florida, and the legislation they want to put before voters would also define a person from the moment of conception. (These are the same people who got similar legislation on the ballot in Colorado, where it was overwhemingly rejected by voters.) I've written about "personhood" issues before, as well as other attempts to vilify birth control pills. To be honest, this whole "movement" seems so illogical and, well, silly to me that it's almost hard to take it seriously.

The point of declaring an embryo a person is to make abortion illegal. If such a bill were to ever pass in any state, it would obviously conflict with Roe v. Wade, and I'm sure would end up before a number of courts. Would SCOTUS ever agree with such a law, and thus overturn Roe? I can't see it happening. If SCOTUS wanted to overturn Roe, they could've taken any number of cases over the years and done so. But they haven't, and there's a reason for that.

The point of trying to outlaw birth control and morning-after pills, as far as I can tell, is to simply keep people from having sex. Birth control pills and morning-after pills don't kill babies. That kind of talk is just a tactic, an excuse to involve themselves in women's sex lives. It is not an attempt to save babies. Want to see abortion rates increase? Outlaw birth control. People aren't going to stop having sex -- or abortions -- no matter what.

I'll never understand why a group concerned about abortion rates doesn't work to lessen the need for them, by helping all mothers, instead of living in some fantasy land where they think making the procedure illegal will result in zero abortions. And do these people realize, or care, that if women were to stop having sex, that means no sex for men either? Doubtful. This group is full of people infected with the religion, and are probably the same people calling for government to stay out of health care, at least judging by their Twitter page. It's rich, their demand for government to not be involved in health care, while they demand to get their hands and the government's in women's uteruses. I'll be keeping an eye on this attempt to control women in Florida, while hoping most citizens there are too smart to even sign the group's petition, let alone vote to pass such legislation.

In other reading:
  • Pam's House Blend writes about school officials in Iowa strip-searching five girls. What is wrong with these people?!
  • The St. Petersburg Times posted responses from teenagers about President Obama's address to students on Tuesday. You know the one, where he indoctrinated your kids? Some pretty smart kids in the article.
  • New York Magazine has a fascinating article about photographer Annie Leibovitz and her financial problems that put the rights to all her photos at risk. (The story is now outdated, but worth reading; latest news on her case here.)
  • A movie is being made about The Goree Girls, "a real-life 1940s-era country music group comprised of all-female prison inmates."
  • The BBC reports on Muslim women's rights in South Africa.
  • After recent elections, the parliament in Kurdistan is now made up of 33 percent women. (The U.S. Congress has 93 women out of 535, or 17 percent.)
  • Feministing writes about Uruguay becoming the first Latin America country to pass a gay adoption law.
  • KimWrites has a great post on body image, "Read my hips: The 'fat' photo"
  • If you're looking for something simultaneously amusing and sad, check out this column on how feminists are out to destroy men.
  • Finally, one of the most disturbing stories I've seen in a while: a "cemetery" in Evansville, Ind., which features 2,000 wooden crosses to symbolize abortion "victims," is seeking people to "adopt" their souls. For $5, you can name the baby and pray for its soul. Allegedly the money they make is going to be used to update the crosses to PVC pipe crosses. (Do 2,000 PVC pipe crosses cost $10,000? I'm skeptical.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Protester wants control of her body

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Do you think the woman front and center would keep her "hands off my body" if we were talking about abortion? Doubtful. Funny how that works, isn't it? (Would anyone be surprised if she believed health care reform would fund abortions? Yeah, me either.)

Maybe she can get together with Michele Bachmann and talk about the issue, since Bachmann wants control of her own body as well.

Joe Wilson, king of no shame

Really, Joe Wilson? Really? It wasn't enough to make a fool of yourself by screaming at President Obama like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, but now you want to exploit your own stupidity by making money off your disrespectful "You lie!" outburst?

Can you sink any lower? I don't think so. I can't decide if this move means you're desperate for attention, funds or both. I can decide that you're an idiot, since the "you lie" allegation isn't even true; nothing is going to change in how illegal immigrants do or don't receive health care. They won't be covered by insurance -- just the same as now. So not only did you earn yourself the title of "most disrespectful Congressman of the last 100 years," you also were wrong.

Just listen to the words in his ad: "Government-run health care." Of course you have to stoop to such a Karl Rove-esque tactic of calling something by a name that 1. isn't accurate, at all, and 2. scares people. It's the only thing you and your Republican colleagues have left at this point: lies and fear-mongering. There is no other explanation for the terminology you and those like you use when discussing health care reform. Death panels, killing grandma, fat camps, government takeover, rationing ... I refuse to believe you are all THAT stupid to believe any of those things, which leaves me to believe you are not only THAT desperate, but that you, in fact, do not want all Americans to have health insurance, despite your repetitive claims that you do. If you, GOP members of Congress, mean it when you say everyone should be covered, you would work toward a solution instead of backing into a corner and shouting as loud as you can that "socialism" is coming, and you would certainly stop giving Sarah Palin's imaginary death panels any credence whatsoever. (Blue Dog Dems, you need to get your butts in gear, too. You were elected as democrats, start acting like it.)

Grow up, all of you.

As for the 17,000+ people who have donated money to Joe Wilson because of his outburst, I hope you stop to think for one second how you would've reacted to this situation were a Republican president the one who was heckled. Would you think the person who heckled worthy of anyone's donations? Would that person be worth $700,000 in donations?

No? Then why are you donating to Joe Wilson?

Anyone who wants to donate to Joe Wilson's opponent, Rob Miller, can do so here.

By the way, Joe Wilson wants you to know he is NOT going to apologize again!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Supermodel's stomach is a starting point

A supermodel baring it all isn't normally news, but Lizzie Miller and her nude photo created quite a bit of it when the photo was published in Glamour magazine's latest issue.

Why? Lizzie Miller is a "plus-size" model.

Miller, who is 20 years old, is 5'11 and weighs about 170 (most stories say she weighs "12 stone," so I'm estimating). Not that her weight would matter in everyday life, but we are talking about the modeling world. She says she normally wears about a size 12-14, and actually has been told she's too "big" for plus-size modeling by two different clothing lines. (Now someone who wears "average" size clothes is too big for plus-size modeling?! What's next, size 8 is sold as "plus-size"? The insanity of this part of our culture knows no bounds.) Miller talks about her struggle with weight as a teen in many interviews, and discusses how she used to look at women's magazines and wonder why she couldn't look like the women in the magazines do. Sentiments familiar to many, I'm sure.

It's not surprising that Miller's photo has generated so much talk. It is rare (sadly) to see a model with a "tummy" photographed in such a natural position, laughing and owning her body. I know her limbs are all crossed, which happens to be something I resort to when I'm trying to hide parts of my body when I'm sitting down, but I think that's more to cover her nakedness than anything else. Miller is clearly a beautiful woman, and I would bet that if she were clothed, hardly anything would be said about her. But she's not, and as a result this is a wonderful opportunity for society and for women's magazines to have an actual conversation about how women's bodies are portrayed and judged.

Will that conversation take place in any meaningful way? I suspect not. Lip service will be paid to magazines featuring more "real"* women, but they won't, and people who read them will continue to be bombarded by images that only genetics and Photoshop can produce. I dare any mainstream magazine to commit to hiring models of all sizes and shapes and colors. Heck, I dare any mainstream magazine to do ONE issue without retouching one photo in it. That issue wouldn't even have to feature "real" women; let the models pose, then publish the photos as-is. (And for goodness' sake, there's no need to Photoshop the body of someone like Kelly Clarkson. Here's an idea: If you don't like her body as it is in life, don't use her as a model!)

If you take a look at any of the comment sections on the articles about Lizzie Miller's photo, you can instantly see how deep this small gesture touches so many people. You can also see how far we have to go until society can get past its thin obsession. There are women commenting on this story and saying that the women who are glad to "see themselves" in a magazine are just jealous of thin people. Men are commenting and saying "sorry, we just want to see hot chicks."

Some of the reaction over this photo being published is heart-wrenching. Miller said she's ...
received e-mails and Facebook messages from hundreds of people, including a woman who said the picture inspired her to throw away her diet pills and laxatives; and from a man who claimed that only now, after Miller's un-self-conscious image hit newsstands, will his similarly proportioned girlfriend believe him when he tells her she's pretty.
That last one breaks my heart, and I can think of so many women I know who that would apply to (self included, on occasion). When you constantly see thin women everywhere you look on the TV, in magazines, billboards, etc., and you constantly hear about how attractive they are, it takes some digging and self-convincing that other women, like yourself, are attractive too.

Miller's grandmother saw the photo, and said "It is beautiful. I hope women get that little glimmer of hope that they don't need to be tiny to be sexy." I hope women have more than hope that they don't need to be tiny to be sexy, but hope is at least a start.

More reading:
Momgrind: Lizzie Miller in Glamour magazine: I just wish this photo wasn't so special
ABC: Lizzie Miller fuels debate about plus-size acceptance
Winnipeg Free Press: Normal-size model likely a flash in the pan
NY Daily News: Plus-size model Lizzie Miller in Glamour begs question: Is it time for magazines to show real women?

Wales Online: Six women bare all to talk about body image

*By saying "real" women, I don't not mean that thin women are not "real." We are all real. I'm just using the term as society does, to refer to "normal" bodies, not supermodels' bodies. I wish there were better words than "real" and "normal" to use!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Controversial speech? More like a PSA.

Right-wing nut jobs, tea partiers and the like who think President Obama's planned speech to school kids tomorrow (read the speech here) is really some guise to "indoctrinate" the children in this country, let's hear from you now that his speech has been released. What exactly is it about this speech that made you lose your collective minds, once again? Especially before you even saw or read it? What did you think it would say? Are you afraid your kids might take the black man's advice? Such controversial advice it is, too, like "stay in school" and "don't give up." Afraid your kids might not hate him as much as you do?

You guys must know you're really reaching when even Newt Gingrich is defending Obama's speech. He said, on Fox News nonetheless, "It is good to have the president of the United States saying to young people across America stay in school and do your homework. It’s good for America." But I know too many people still disagree with that, and I would so love to hear why. (And if anyone answers with some sort of socialist-communist-Hitler answer, you better write a book explaining it, because I can already tell you you're absolutely wrong.)

Did you care at all when Bush Sr. spoke to students in 1991? I was in school then, and I can tell you right now I don't even remember that speech -- can you imagine if the same fuss was made then, over something that ultimately wasn't even memorable? Even Bush Jr. strategist Matthew Dowd doesn't get what the big deal is. He said: "If he can't give a speech like that to the schoolchildren ... without people freaking out, that's the problem we have today," Dowd said. And he is exactly right.

For every parent who keeps their kid(s) out of school tomorrow because of this speech, what exactly are you teaching your children? That if you don't like something, run from it? That's it's okay to skip school (or any event, I suppose), because of an 18-minute speech from the elected leader of our country? That they shouldn't listen to or respect the president? Or any black person?

For every school district opting out of showing this speech, shame on you. You're hardly any better than the parents above.

For all the officials ranting over this speech, shame on you, too. I don't know if you could be any less responsible in your offices than to say that school children should not listen to the president of this country.

And for every person screaming about this speech who doesn't even have children? Shut the hell up.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (9/6)

Lately I've had an aversion to the computer. Haven't wanted to be on it, and when I am, not feeling compelled to do much of anything. Anyone else get like that? (I'm sure it has nothing to do with my mini-obsession with Batman: Arkham Asylum.)

In the news:
  • Did you read about the case the Supreme Court will be hearing when the justices return Wednesday? It's the ongoing saga over the "Hillary" movie and campaign finance, and this AP article is less than encouraging. Sounds like it could be a huge step in the wrong direction.
  • Ann Curry is reporting about women's rights in Pakistan. Check out this photo gallery on MSNBC, which also has links to video. One of the photos is of a young woman who was kidnapped and raped. The caption says that when she went to the police about it, they raped her, too. Nicholas Kristof is mentioned in Curry's reports; he's one of the authors of "Half the Sky," along with Sheryl WuDunn. (Has anyone read this yet? I need to pick it up.) Kristof wrote a column this week about the possibility of menstruation holding girls back in poor countries. I wouldn't be surprised if there's truth to that.
  • IPS is reporting that the United Nations may postpone or drop altogether the creation of a new women's entity.

  • Pregnancy-based job discrimination claims are on the rise, according to the Miami Herald. Speaking of jobs, women outnumber men in the workforce in Canada, for the first time ever. Not really because more women are getting more jobs, but because so many men are losing theirs.
  • A lot has been written recently about the lack of doctors who perform abortions; the Washington Post weighs in with a story on the subject, and talks about how most med students receive a lecture, if anything on the topic. Those who want to learn how to perform the procedure are pretty much left to do so on their own time.
  • This story is a couple weeks old, but it's a must-read if you haven't seen it: The Nation's "Shotgun Adoption," about "crisis" organizations that coerce women into giving up their babies.
  • I absolutely adored this column on Feministing: "Raising a Feminist/Raised a Feminist: A Mother's and Daughter's Perspective." And I really liked this interview with Margaret Atwood in The Independent.
  • Not exactly new news, but The Gulf reports on a study that found teenage girls suffer abuse from their boyfriends. As in one-third sexually abused, and one-fourth physically abused.
  • Some drug news: The good is that a generic version of Plan B can now be sold (though I think $30 is still kinda pricey for it.) The bad? Pharmaceutical companies need to be reigned in, pronto. This story is so disturbing. Meanwhile, five Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana are closing, which means a lot less affordable birth control will be available for those clinics' patients.
  • North Carolina has decided to join modern times and teach kids that STDs exist. I can't find the video, but CNN reported on this earlier today, and the reason the state is changing its sex ed stratedy? Pregnancy and STD rates are increasing. Go figure.
  • Finally, did you hear about the Swedish woman making porn on the government's dime? Read about it here and here.


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