Friday, October 30, 2009

What is this, "hate on monogamy" week?

A number of articles have come out this week about monogamy, and the verdict seems to be "don't bother." Why? "It's not natural." Oh, and it's annoying and cumbersome for men, apparently.

I'm a monogamist. I'm also of the mind that whatever goes on in your bedroom (assuming adults and consent are involved) is none of my business. Whatever it is might not be for me, but if it's for you, why would I care? Monogamy is what feels right to me, and I get that it doesn't feel right to some people. Perfectly fine.

But Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports suggests in this column that not only is monogamy not natural (implication: something is wrong with it and those who practice it), it also hinders men and their careers (no mention of how it affects women, good or bad). He says "A heterosexual man's happiness is directly tied to his visitation privileges with PG [Pussy Galore]. Man is most happy when he is free to experience her pleasure in her varied forms, textures and styles of dress." He even blames gender equality for men's infidelity (stay in the house you damn attractive women, or else I simply must cheat on my spouse!) and goes on to say men who are "moderately famous" and making a certain salary should be allowed to cheat without consequences (no idea why he limits this to only some men). No mention from him if women, any women, should be "allowed" the same.

This is not only a tad bit insensitive to women involved in
monogamous relationships, and, well, to women in general, but what a horribly offensive way to describe men. This article can really be summed up in one sentence: "Men like pussy, so shut up and let them have it already." I strongly dislike when anyone sums up men in such simple terms. Sure, there are some men who might appear to be like that, and I'm guessing some men actually are like that. But not all men are, and just because Whitlock's favorite ESPN sports analyst, Steve Phillips, got fired for having an affair with an assistant doesn't make it permissible to whittle men down to simple sex creatures who absolutely have no self control. (Let's not forget that women cheat, too, even if Whitlock overlooks that fact.)

The "it's not natural" argument against monogamy is an old one, given all the time as an excuse for people who are cheating or want to. I don't know if it's "natural" or not, nor do I really care, because I do know it's possible. For me, it feels natural. So when I hear that it's not, I normally roll my eyes and move on, because here's the thing: If monogamy isn't natural for you, don't be in a monogamous relationship. Find like-minded partners and go for it. Do whatever you want, just be honest to all those involved. Don't partner up or get married and commit yourself to another person who believes you're going to be monogamous and then cheat. In other words, be an adult. Thinking about cheating? Talk to your partner/spouse. Or break up or get divorced, whatever. You have options, and the options include honesty.

It's beyond me as to why Whitlock never even hints at the concept of not entering into monogamous relationship if it's not for you, and instead says monogamy has to go. (By the way, I do understand that circumstances and relationships change; I'm not in any way saying you should be with one person your entire life, unless that's what you want and it works out for you. I just believe you should be honest with yourself and your partner(s) about what you want, able to trust them, and give them reason to trust you.)

Then there's this blog post by Dan Savage, "Monogamy isn't realistic." I've been reading and listening to Savage on and off for years now, but apparently not enough to know exactly how much he hates and belittles monogamists and the concept of monogamy. I have to say, this column kind of surprised me, and not in a good way. I am an avid supporter of everyone's right to marriage (or to not marry, whatever), gay or straight. It's something I passionately believe in. To see him say "[monogamy] is an unnatural lifestyle, and it's definitely a choice I wouldn't make," (again, unnatural = implying something is wrong with it) and "It's sad that monogamists can only defend their unnatural lifestyle choices by tearing down those of us who are in healthy, natural non-monogamous relationships," is, frankly, weird and confusing. After all the years he has spent advocating for gay rights (and other causes), he finds it OK to attack a different form of a relationship than the one he's in? Is he being sarcastic for the sake of it, or does he really believe this and think talking about monogamy and those who practice it in this manner is perfectly fine? I honestly don't get it.

Because those articles aren't enough, CNN also got into the mix; their story is what prompted Savage's column. Their article asks if monogamy is realistic, and tries to show both sides of the argument (to sum up: it's not natural, Americans are too uptight about it, but it's OK to want to be and to actually be monogamous). Even Psychology Today weighs in, with "The mysteries of pair bonding."

Where is all this coming from? Just because a few famous people got caught cheating on spouses? And because they did, monogamy is to blame, not the people who cheated? Uh-uh. You are responsible for your actions, you and you alone. An "outdated" idea didn't make anyone cheat on their spouses, so let's quit labeling monogamy as some unreasonable way to be in a relationship. Certainly don't go around saying "gender equality made me cheat," because not only is it a stupid excuse, but people have been cheating long before "gender equality" came around.

A couple more things: There's an interesting interview on AlterNet with Lauren Rosewarne, the author of "Cheating on the Sisterhood: Infidelity and Feminism." This aspect of cheating isn't discussed often -- at least not that I see -- and the interview is a good read, particularly after reading all that crap above.

Also, because I mentioned Steve Phillips and his affair, this Deadspin article needs to be looked at. The girl he had the affair with, as the title of the article suggests, is getting the "Lewinsky treatment." Because the girl isn't a size-zero super model, she's been called ... well, the article lists what she's been called better than I could. I've run into numerous comments on the Internet lambasting this girl, and Phillips for sleeping with her, just because the people commenting don't find her attractive. Never one thought given to the idea that maybe he finds her attractive, or that there's something else about her he's drawn to. Nope, just a chorus of "ewww's."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can the legal system be changed when it comes to rape?

I've written about rape a number of times, but I've yet to really get into the legal side of the issue: prosecuting rapists and other sexual assault criminals, such as those who sexually abuse children. I don't have the energy to really get into it now either (sorry!), but this story reminds me, yet again, why this topic needs discussed and the desperate need for improvements to our justice system in this area.

Basically, this guy, who is 19 years old, is charged with raping a 16-year-old girl. When the police went to look for the guy, they found he was already in jail, for violating probation -- probation that he received as sentencing for pleading guilty to gross sexual imposition in February. In that case, he was originally charged with kidnapping and rape, but then plea bargained down to the gross sexual imposition charge. And his sentencing was three years probation. Zero time in jail. He did have to register as a sex offender, but ... no time in jail? You can read the legal definition of gross sexual imposition here. Doesn't the 1A line sound an awful lot like rape? And as far as I know, gross sexual imposition is a felony. Throw that on top of the original charges of rape and kidnapping, and it sure sounds like some jail time would've been appropriate. Try as I might, I cannot find any information on this case from February, so I have no idea if the evidence wasn't there, etc., to try and figure out what happened.

Now, this guy hasn't yet been convicted of raping the 16-year-old in this current case, and I'm not saying he's guilty of raping this girl. But if it was him, it sure is hard not to think that this rape case would've been prevented if he were in jail.

Check out these statistics (taken from a comment on this blog):

  • 61% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Those rapists, of course, never serve a day in prison.
  • If the rape is reported to police, there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made.
  • If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution. If there is a prosecution, there is a 58% chance of a felony conviction.
  • If there is a felony conviction, there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail.
  • So, even in those 39% of rapes that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison.
  • Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% – 1 out of 16 – of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free.

What can we do? How do we change this? Where do we even start the conversation?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

eBay rightfully blocks auction for Roeder

Supporters/worshippers of Scott Roeder (pictured), the man arrested in the killing of Dr. George Tiller, thought it would be a good idea to raise money for Roeder (for his defense, I guess?) by auctioning items on eBay, such as
  • Three drawings received in the mail from Roeder. Two drawings were done by another inmate at his direction, but Roeder autographed all of them. One is a sketch of David and Goliath. “It has David with a slingshot in one hand and the head of Goliath in his other hand and the name ‘Tiller’ on Goliath’s forehead. On the corpse on the ground, it says ‘child-murdering industry.’” These are donated by Regina Dinwiddie.
  • An Army of God manual, an underground publication for anti-abortion militants that describes dozens of ways to shut down clinics, including bombing. Donated by Dave Leach, an Iowa abortion opponent who is organizing the auction effort.
  • A collection of recipes compiled in prison by Shelley Shannon, the Oregon woman who shot and wounded Tiller in 1993 and was convicted in a series of abortion clinic arsons and bombings.
  • A bullhorn autographed by Dinwiddie "similar" to those she used when protesting outside abortion clinics.

And there is more.

Thankfully, eBay has said "uh, we don't think so" and the auction won't happen. Well, at least not on eBay. I'm sure these supporters will find another way.

Tiller's family had requested that eBay not allow the auction:

“These materials contain hate messages, glorify violence against abortion doctors who provide constitutionally protected medical services, and instruct on means of violence, including bombing, of abortion clinics,” said Lee Thompson, an attorney for the Tiller family, in a letter sent to eBay on Tuesday and approved by Tiller’s widow, Jeanne Tiller. “We urge you to deny access to the resources of eBay for this reprehensible and vile ‘auction.’”

Read more at Ms. Magazine and Choices Campus blog. And um, note how this blogger refers to Roeder as a "fetus-freedom fighter." Yeah, otherwise known as a terrorist.

This just in: The pill caused public education to fail

Yeah, that's seriously what the authors of "SuperFreakonomics" conclude:
Another unintended consequence of the women's liberation movement has been the deterioration in the education system - mainly the availability of the best teachers.

"Now if Alley [high-end prostitute featured in the segment] does ever have a daughter, chances are a private education will provide her best hope for a good life," Weir said. "Because, much like prostitution, America's education system has been split into two markets - the haves and the have-nots. At the bottom are mostly public schools, horribly broken since the ‘70s. Once again, Levitt and Dubner chalk it up to empowerment of women and the one invention that gave them more control over their professional destiny - the birth control pill."

And because of birth control, women were able to take on other professions besides teaching.

"Before the pill, women were not able to make the investments to be doctors and lawyers," Levitt said. "Instead they would find career tracks that would allow them to get in and out of the labor force."

"A lot of the best and brightest women stopped becoming school teachers in order to become bankers, lawyers and doctors," Dubner added. "As a result, the overall talent level of school teachers in this country began to fall quite precipitously."
Logic, I miss you.

Yes, I do realize I'm using NewsBusters as a source. It will probably be the first and last time that happens.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What do you title a blog post about the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl?

A 15-year-old girl who was leaving the Homecoming dance at her high school in California was gang raped for two and a half hours, in public, in front of witnesses, before someone called the police. She was raped repeatedly, robbed and beaten, and had to be airlifted to the hospital.

Two and a half hours. While people watched and did nothing to help. Instead, they allegedly took pictures and video on cell phones. According to this ABC story, "Police were called only after someone who was not at the scene heard people talking about the attack, which was still going on."

This is a hard story to digest.
  • CNN: Police: Gang rape outside school lasted more than two hours.
  • CBS: Police look for more suspects in gang rape
  • San Jose Mercury News: Richmond High gang rape, lack of action from onlookers outrages community
It's easy to get caught up on blaming people -- where were school officials? School security? Parents (as the school official suggests in the ABC story)? Why didn't anyone call the police when they realized what was going on? But let's not forget to blame the men and boys who raped her. They are the ones who did this. Yes, witnesses absolutely should have used their phones to call the police instead of taking pictures with said phones of a girl being raped -- but they still didn't rape her for two and a half hours.

One of the things that really gets to me about this story is how "outraged" people are that no one called the cops. How about a little outrage over, you know, the actual gang rape? That's just a little more serious than someone witnessing a crime and not doing anything about it -- which, by the way, is legal to do. You aren't legally obligated do anything if you see a crime happening. Morally obligated, perhaps, but not legally. Raping someone, however, is obviously illegal all the way.

My heart hurts for this girl. I've read reports saying she was pretty drunk when this happened, and I can only hope the crimes against her were "severe enough" that she doesn't have to endure much victim blaming (because I'm sure it will go around) on top of what she's already gone through. I would hope people can recognize that whatever she did or didn't drink (or wear, or say, or whatever) before this happened in no way means she "invited" this to happen.

Two people have been arrested so far, one 19 and one 15. Police are saying as many as seven men raped her. For two and a half hours.

FYI: According to RAINN, only six percent of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. And RAINN is an excellent organization to check out, get information from and donate to, as is Men Can Stop Rape.

Readers of this blog might want to check out Shakesville's post on the story (if you haven't already,) particularly the comments section. Such as this one (excerpted):
I wish I was stronger for you, unnamed young woman whose childhood, selfhood, sense of safety and dignity and autonomy, was so brutally taken and used and violated and tossed aside. I wish you all the love and healing there is, and yet I'm so afraid it might not be enough.

Scariest of all: she won't be the last. And so many still care far more about maintaining the status quo and protecting the "feelings" and "futures" and "reputations" of our young men, than the FUCKING HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELLBEING of our women.

UPDATE (10/28): Four suspects have now been arrested and charged, and a fifth is being questioned. The four arrested are ages 19, 17, 16 and 15; all will be tried as adults. ABC reports that police think as many as 10 people took part in the gang rape. San Jose Mercury News says "perhaps seven." All four charged could face life sentences.

UPDATE (10/30): The fifth suspect still hasn't been charged, but a sixth suspect, who is 18, has been arrested. Police say he played a "significant role" in the rape. A couple other stories about the case:
CBS: Will Richmond High gang rape gawkers go free?
ABC: How could people watch alleged gang rape "like an exhibit"? This story touches on one of my earlier points: "
Members of the Richmond, Calif., community were stunned by the alleged rape and assault of a high school student after a school dance last Saturday. But a nationwide news audience was even more astonished by allegations that about 20 people in the immediate area observed about 10 men and boys gang rape and beat the 15-year-old girl for two-and-a-half hours on the Richmond High School campus and did not contact authorities." How sad is this?? It's more shocking that people watching didn't call the police than it is shocking that a teenager was gang raped.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (10/25)

Happy Sunday everyone! Lots and lots of news to get to ...

  • RH Reality Check: Court rules Arizona sheriff cannot block inmates' access to abortion care
  • Michigan Messenger: Republican legislators have introduced "egg is a person" legislation; it would be an amendment to the state's constitution, if passed. (This kind of legislation is popping up everywhere.)
  • Passionate Provider takes on the "abortion causes breast cancer" myth.
  • Salon's Broadsheet examines "'Law & Order's' anti-choice propaganda," after an episode of the show about a "fictitious" late-term abortion provider who was murdered in his church.
  • RH Reality Check's Cristina Page has an excellent column, "Pro-life pretense." Tackles the Family Research Council, crisis pregnancy centers, and hypocrisy.
  • Peru is considering changing abortion law to make abortions legal in cases of rape, incest and fetal deformity; protesters on both sides of the issue speak out.

Health insurance and reform:
  • Both Womenstake and Huffington Post have stories about Christina Turner, a rape survivor who can't get health insurance now because she took anti-AIDS medicine after she was raped. Add "raped" to the ever-growing list of "pre-existing" conditions that insurance companies use to deny health insurance to women.
  • RH Reality Check: "Media ignores women's health disparities in Shriver report."
  • And speaking of the Shriver report, AlterNet has a column by Gloria Steinem on why we should be "optimistic and cautious" about the report.
  • Denver Post: "Women pay up to 50 percent more for health insurance premiums."

Violence against women:
  • Sen. Al Franken's amendment that would "prohibit government contractors from restricting workers from suing if they are sexually assaulted while on the job" could be stripped from the bill it was attached to ... by Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Democrat. Why? Because defense contractors want him to.
  • In California, money that was cut for domestic violence shelters is being restored. Good news.
  • Nicole Kidman spoke to Congress this week about violence against women. She is a goodwill ambassador for UNIFEM and says she will work "the rest of her life" on the issue.
  • Voice of America: "Human rights groups want U.S. leadership in fighting violence against women."
  • Politics Daily: "Women's rights and the new U.S. Sudan policy."

  • Reuters: Prime Minister "Berlusconi sparks feminist backlash in Italy."
  • AP: "Mexico's pink taxis cater to fed-up females." Reminds me of the story about trains for women in India.
  • ArtDaily: "American figurative artist and feminist, Nancy Spero, dies at 83."
  • If you haven't browsed around the International Museum of Women, I'd recommend it.
  • Jezebel: "'Self' editor: Photoshopped mags just giving women what they want."
  • Bust is kind enough to alert us to this "terrible remake." Hey Hollywood: You know you don't have to remake every movie ever, right?
  • Ms. Magazine: Women in Kuwait can now get passports without their husband's permission
  • New York Times: "The audacity of 'Precious,'" an article about the movie coming out soon, which I'm very interested in seeing. Has anyone read the book it's based on, "Push" by Sapphire?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Love Your Body Day -- today and every day

Tomorrow, Oct. 21, is Love Your Body Day.

I love this idea. I support pretty much anything that calls out media's, Hollywood's, society in general's use of fake images of women and explains how those images hurt us all. Forget about the negative, damaging, impossible, overly-sexualized images. Love your own body. Stop worrying about every little detail and "flaw" you see in yourself and instead use that now-free time on something positive. Keep yourself healthy -- that's important, obviously -- and realize it's OK to let go of some of your hang-ups.

I am not perfect, and I'm glad. It is far too time consuming. It's too much pressure. It is exhausting. (I don't know how people can even take the time to do things like fix their hair in the morning; I run a brush through mine and go.) I am a little overweight. I have a belly, to be sure. For my health, I probably need to lose 10-15 pounds. And I think I'm pretty lucky, because I know that, for me, whenever I do take the steps get in better physical shape, it will be for health reasons, and not some kind of obligation to be thinner/prettier/whatever. I long ago gave up the "battle" with my looks. I look how I look. You don't like it, don't be my friend or date me or flirt with me or whatever. Fine by me. Why would I want to associate with someone who can't see past my size 12 waist anyway?

Here is the National Organization for Women's press release for Love Your Body Day:
Unrealistic Images of Women Make Love Your Body Day More Important Than Ever
October 15, 2009

For years now, advertisers and fashion magazines have airbrushed photos to turn models into the latest beauty ideal. Women and girls are constantly bombarded with these artificial images -- fantasies they can't possibly live up to in real life.

This Photoshopping of models and celebrities has really gotten out of hand lately. Self magazine felt the need to digitally slenderize singer Kelly Clarkson before putting her on the cover of its "total body confidence" issue, even though Clarkson has said that she is comfortable with herself just the way she is. Model Filippa Hamilton recently revealed that she was fired by Ralph Lauren for being too big, despite being a size four. Hamilton is the same model who appeared in a Ralph Lauren ad that was so aggressively retouched that she appeared emaciated and completely out of proportion.

If models can't catch a break, how can the rest of us hope to have a healthy self-image? Starting at younger and younger ages, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and a preoccupation with appearance plague women and girls, sometimes with disastrous results. "In my teenage years, I was hospitalized for anorexia," said eating disorder survivor and NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson. "I remember a fellow patient winning a modeling contest while she was on a pass from the hospital. The only way to end the glorification of unhealthy beauty stereotypes is to stand up proudly for real women's bodies."

That's why the NOW Foundation is celebrating its 12th annual Love Your Body Day on Oct. 21. This campaign is a giant shout out to the fashion, beauty, diet and advertising industries: No more fake images! Show us real women, diverse women, strong women, bold women. And to the women and girls who are targeted by messages telling them that the key to success and happiness is manufactured beauty, we say: It's okay to "Be You" -- the true you is beautiful.

Many different kinds of Love Your Body events will be held across the country on Oct. 21. Contact the NOW Foundation to learn more.

Here's the Web site for the NOW Foundation: The site has all kinds of information, resources and ideas -- you can even send e-cards and browse positive and negative ads.

Also be sure to check out This week, Oct. 19-23, is Fat Talk Free Week,
"an international, 5-day body activism campaign that draws attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the thin ideal on women in society."

I first saw this video with the headline "Every teenage girl should see this." I'd say every person should see this:

Happy Love Your Body Day everyone.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (10/18)

Short and sweet today, as I'm a little hungover.

This week, the House passed a bill to establish a National Women's History Museum on the National Mall in D.C. Bill now moves to the Senate. This is something that is far overdue. According to a NWHM press release cited in the story, "Of the 210 statues in the United States Capitol, only nine are of female leaders. Less than five percent of the 2,400 national historic landmarks chronicle women's achievement and, according to a recent survey of 18 history textbooks, only 3% are dedicated to women." The National Women's History Museum has more on their Web site, and they have a form to use to write your senators about passing legislation for the museum. (They also have badges you can put on your own site to show support.)

In other news:
  • Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for economics.
  • Check out the Op Ed Project's byline breakdown to see the percentage of women's bylines on op-ed pieces in major newspapers and Web sites. As they say, "it ain't pretty."
  • The Shriver Report was launched this week with the Web site I haven't had a chance to read much of it yet, has anyone else delved into it yet? Thoughts?
  • The New York Times has a book review up for Gail Collins' book "When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present." I'm intrigued.
  • The BBC and AP report on the latest Guttmacher Institute report about abortion rates and availability. Some findings: Banning abortion doesn't stop (or come close to stopping) abortions from being performed, and 70,000 women die each year from unsafe abortions.
  • Bust writes about the "Like a Virgin" kit that has caused a stir in Egypt.
  • Fem 2.0 has a great, important column on women in the military, "Women on the battlefield: Protecting our soldiers."
  • Meghan McCain responds to the responses she received from posting a cleavage-showing photo of herself on Twitter. I like StrawberryBlog's take on the situation.
  • French Vogue publishes photos of models in blackface. WTF? Why?
  • Finally, I wrote last week about the bill amendment Sen. Al Franken introduced that would prevent the federal government from doing business with companies that don't allow employees to sue or go to court for things like being gang-raped. If you haven't seen Jon Stewart's segment on this news yet, watch it here. Great stuff.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pepsi, you should AMP UP your apology

A couple days ago, word started circulating about an iPhone application for Amp, an energy drink produced by Pepsi. The app is called "Amp up before you score." What it does is break women down into 24 "types" and "help" men score with them by feeding them "lines" and "tip." Apparently it also encourages men to brag about the women they "score" with by creating "brag lists" that can be shared. (You can read details about the app at Huffington Post, Jezebel, Mashable and App Shopper, or watch the video below.)

Disgusting, right?

Today, on Amp's Twitter page, an "apology" appeared:
Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback. #pepsifail
Links to various stories have been going around Twitter with the hashtag #pepsifail, and it would be funny that Amp included it, too, if this weren't such a sorry excuse for an "apology."

Pepsi, if you think you should apologize, do it. Don't hedge around with "if it's in bad taste, then we're sorry, but otherwise we're not" when you know it is in bad taste. And since it is in bad taste, why aren't you pulling the app? Admit it was a mistake and move on.

I can't get Amp's Web site to work: All I get is an error message, so I don't have contact info for that brand at the moment. However, here's a list of various contacts at Pepsi Co. The phone number for Pepsi Co. Inc is 917-253-2000.
Of course, you can always not buy Amp (does anyone drink that?) or any other Pepsi product.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (10/11)

I've been on vacation this past week, and I've spent a good portion of my time painting my apartment, re-arranging furniture, hanging artwork on walls and eating bad-for-you food. I also managed to watch a decent number of movies -- Zombieland, Paranormal Activity (must-see if you like scary movies), Behind the Mask and American Zombie. The latter was interesting, but a little slow. Highly recommend the other three. Anyway, as a result, I've also taken a mini-vacation from my computer and the Internet, but here are my can't-miss stories of the week:

I don't think this story has received nearly enough coverage: "Franken passes law denying fed contracts to companies that support rape of employees." This is the case of a former Haliburton/KBR employee, a woman, who was gang-raped by seven co-workers and held hostage in a shipping container in Iraq. She later found out she can't press charges or sue in our court system because the contract she signed with Haliburton/KBR prevents her from "seeking any justice apart from private arbitration." Sen. Al Franken introduced an amendment to a bill that would prevent the federal government from entering into contracts with companies who have such policies. The bill passed the Senate, 68-30. Kudos to Franken for putting together an important piece of legislation, and to the senators who voted to pass the bill.

Read more here:
  • Think Progress: "Franken wins bipartisan support for legislation reigning in KBR's treatment of rape." (also has video of Franken's comments on amendment)
  • ABC: "Alleged U.S. contractor rape victim fights for day in court."
  • Huffington Post: "Meet the senators who voted against the Franken amendment."

A new Oklahoma law requires details of abortions to be posted on the Internet. Not your name or address, but pretty much everything else -- including why you're having an abortion. A suit has been filed to stop the law from going into effect. This isn't all Oklahoma is up to in terms of restricting abortions or scaring women into not getting them. Check out Salon's article "The details of your abortion online?"

In other news:
  • RH Reality Check writes about women in Congress and health care reform: "Women Democratic senators take on reform, show their male colleagues what it means to have cajones." Sen. Barbara Mikulski says "We the women of the Senate have fought for equal pay and equal work…and now we are fighing for equal coverage. We want equal benefits for equal premiums." This is a great article, and I'm grateful these women are standing up and talking about this. It's too important.
  • NYT: "House votes to expand hate crimes definition." Man, some of the people against this legislation sound completely ignorant and prejudiced. Yes John Boehner and Mike Pence, I'm looking at you. The bill goes to the Senate next and it sounds like it will be passed there.
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement this week saying that Gen. Stanley McChrystal should put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "in her place." (I can only assume they mean in a kitchen.) Lincoln Mitchell has a good column about this on Huffington Post, even though it doesn't really address the gender aspect of this statement -- but it's kind of refreshing that he didn't. If you so wish, you can sign the DCCC's petition denouncing the NRCC's statement here.
  • William Petrocelli writes for the Huffington Post about the book "Half the Sky," in a column titled "The Most Important Book of the Year."
  • Politics Report reports "Women should not have the right to vote, according to the right."
  • Women's Rights discusses a Funny or Die video showing a "fat" Nicole Eggert.
  • Sexist vintage ads have been making the rounds, but I've never seen the first one pictured on this site. Holy not subtle.
  • Anyone care to explain to me why men who look at Playboy would care to see a naked cartoon character? Especially if that character is Marge Simpson? (I can't stand the Simpsons, never could get into that show.) I do not get it. At all.
  • Finally, some cute news: "Piano steps trick people into taking the stairs." (Apologies for the link's use of the word "fatties," but the video is worth watching.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Music: 30 Seconds to Mars

One of my favorite bands, 30 Seconds to Mars, debuted their new single today. It's been more than four years since we've had new music from this band. I cannot wait to hear this entire album.

The YouTube video I had of the song has been taken down, but the song is streaming on the band's Web site.
It's called "Kings and Queens."


Into the night
Desperate and broken
The sound of a fight
Father has spoken

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell

Into your lives

Hopeless and taken
We stole our new lives
Through blood and pain
In defense of our dreams
In defense of our dreams

We were the Kings and Queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the Children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell

The age of man is over
A darkness comes and all
These lessons that we learned here
Have only just begun

We were the Kings and Queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the Children of a Lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell

We are the Kings
We are the Queens
We are the Kings
We are the Queens

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Glamour devotes space to diverse bodies

About a month ago, "plus-size" model Lizzie Miller and Glamour magazine made big news when the magazine published a nude photo of Miller showing her not-flat stomach. It would appear that Glamour got the message: women want to see images that better reflect their own bodies, not just images of size zero models. The magazine has vowed to have more diverse images, and to work with designers who share that mission.

The November issue of Glamour will feature this photo:

Photo courtesy of

Glamour has an article about it online, "These bodies are beautiful at every size." Ellen DeGeneres had some of the models on her show, as well as the editor of Glamour, to discuss the photo and the issue in general. The Fbomb writes about that, and has video of the segment (it's worth watching, in my opinion). ABC News is covering the story too.

I suspect this move by Glamour indicates the magazine thinks it can make money now by showing such images (whereas before it couldn't, I'm guessing), but I hope it's sincere in this mission and I hope other publications follow suit. Based on what I've seen and read so far, this seems like a Very Good Thing for women's magazines.

UPDATE: Just came across an AP article saying that Brigitte, a German women's magazine, is going to stop using professional models next year. Read about it here.

Suggested Sunday reading (10/3)

Two blog carnivals this week were kind enough to include Spare Candy posts, and links to many great posts. (Also a big thanks to Kick-Out!! Wrestling for allowing me to guest post.) Highly recommend you check out the carnivals if you haven't yet:

Since Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland last weekend, it has completely blown my mind that anyone is defending him. Sorry, there is no defense for drugging and raping anybody, including his 13-year-old victim. There's no defense for fleeing the country after pleading guilty either.
  • Salon: Reminder: Roman Polanski raped a child
  • Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times: Polanski's defenders lose sight of the true victim
  • IndieWire: Over 100 in film community sign Polanski petition
  • Kansas City Star: Polanski doesn't deserve a break
  • Shakesville: Polanski: The defend-a-thon
  • Jezebel: Chris Rock on Roman Polanski: "It's rape! Rape!" (with video)
  • And in the news: Ex-prosecutor admits he lied about Polanski case (CNN)

A suspect has been arrested in the Erin Andrews case, where someone videotaped the sports reporter nude in her hotel room and posted it online. To me, this is another case of men (in the general sense) thinking they have the right to see a famous woman naked. I know WAY too many men who watched this video, and then didn't see anything wrong with watching it. No respect or sympathy for her whatsoever. Just wanted to see her naked. Disgusting. I hope justice is served here, and I hope Andrews does crusade for stronger laws.

In other suggested reading:
  • The Planned Parenthood Foundation posthumously honored Dr. George Tiller.
  • Feministing: "Women and low 'genital self-esteem'"
  • VOA News: "UN condemns sexual violence in war zones"
  • RH Reality Check: "The Face of Conservatism: One Arizona Law Makes Guns Far More Accessible/Portable; The Other Restricts Women's Rights"
  • ONN: "Bill introduced that would require birth control coverage" (Ohio)
  • Manfield News Journal: "Why abortion is needed, and why Ohio clinic violence must stop"
  • Salon: "Contraception fights global warming"
  • Dallas Morning News: "Judge calls Texas' gay marriage ban into question"
  • All Africa: "Ghana: Women rights to adequate housing vital to their well-being"

Finally, I hope everyone was able to mark Banned Book Week in some way.


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