Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kelly Kulick becomes first woman to win PBA title

This is a really big deal, even if a lot of people read it and go "eh, it's just bowling."

Last Sunday, Kelly Kulick beat Chris Barnes at the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas to become the first woman bowler to win a PBA Tour title. There is no professional bowling league for women (the PWBA folded in 2003), although the PBA does have a Women's Series that consists of eight events. In 2006, Kulick became the first woman to get an exemption to compete in the PBA Tour.

Congratulations are definitely in order!

Read more:
  • Sports Illustrated: "Kulick wins men's bowling major; can she revive women's league?"
  • Boston Globe: "Bowling’s first lady is on a roll."
  • NY Daily News: "Women's rights finds a kingpin in Kelly Kulick, first woman to capture a PBA title."

Brooke Hogan's not-retouched photo

In a recent edition of "Life and Style" magazine, an article about Brooke Hogan (daughter of wrestler Hulk Hogan) was accompanied by (and about, really) an non-retouched photo of her in a bikini, which you can see at the link. Apparently she got paparazzied with some unflattering photos on a recent vacation (I haven't seen said photos), and she wanted to have a non-retouched photo published to show, I guess that those paparazzi photos didn't accurately reflect her body.

Fair enough. The article goes on to say "But the 5-foot-11 reality star and singer is proud of her body -- and says that heavy-handed photoshopping is to blame for unrealistic expectations. 'Whoever invented Photoshop was a genius, but it sets a bad example for what 'healthy' is,' says Brooke."

A great point, one many of us (all of us?) can agree on, and it's great to see another celebrity-type out there expressing this opinion. She also says "I'm not a size 2 and probably never will be. That's something I had to get out of my head a long time ago."

To be sure, she looks fantastic in the photo. She looks thin to me (if that's her concern, it shouldn't be), but more importantly, she looks healthy. So, kudos to her.

But no kudos to this guy who says Brooke said "she is never going to be a skinny bitch," which is not in the Life & Style article at all. (Are all skinny women bitches? Or just celebrities?) The guy went on to say "Brooke is so desperate for any kind of attention but what I will give her is that her body is kind of banging." Kind of?? A body like hers is only "kind of" hot? Give me a break, guy.

Suggested Sunday reading (1/31/10)

This has been a huge news week, with the Scott Roeder trial, the one-year anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and more. Let's see what we can sort through.
  • In Kentucky: "Senate passes ultrasound abortion bill." The bill "would require doctors to show a woman an ultrasound image of her fetus and explain how it is developing before performing an abortion." The bill specifies that women (are you ready for it?) are allowed to avert their eyes. The bill now goes to the House. Let's hope that's as far as it goes.
  • The Guardian: "Ireland accused of exposing women to anti-abortion lies." No real surprise there.
  • Detroit News: "Woman broadcasts abortion message despite protests."
  • On Newsweek: "Coerced Reproduction: Experts are studying a phenomenon that brings a whole new meaning to the term 'unwanted pregnancy.'"
  • This is an infuriating story from "Starbucks to Employee Suing Over Sex Demands: You're a Slut." ABC News has a story on it as well.
  • From Fox News (I know, I'm sorry): "California School District Reverses Dictionary Ban After 'Oral Sex' Flap." They seriously banned a dictionary. Because a kid found "oral sex" in it.
  • Check out how your Senators and Representatives rated in 2009 with this handy guide from AAUW. (One of my Senators got 100!)
  • Also on Fox News (again, sorry): "Police: Criminals in Haiti Raping Quake Survivors."
  • From Xinhua: "Children,women most endangered by post-quake chaos in Haiti."
  • The Guardian: "Mademoiselle? Non merci," with the sub-headline of: "Sixty years after the feminist revolution, France should join other countries in updating its social etiquette on honorifics."
  • Real nice* editorial from the National Post in Canada: "National Post Editorial Board: Women's Studies is still with us." *that is sarcasm.
  • More not good news from Canada. In fact, this is awful. From Womanist Musings: "A Pelvic Exam Without Permission is Rape."
  • Lastly, if you're just in the mood to read something beautiful, give this blog post from 2008 a try: "Joyas Voladaras," by Brian Doyle.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dr. George Tiller's assassin convicted of first-degree murder

Scott Roeder, who confessed under oath to murdering Dr. George Tiller (pictured), was found guilty today of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. He will be sentenced on March 9. He's not eligible for the death penalty, but according to AP:
"Roeder faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Prosecutor Nola Foulston said she would pursue a so-called 'Hard 50' sentence, which would require Roeder to serve at least 50 years before he can be considered for parole."Not much to really say about this. I'm glad he was convicted of first-degree murder, I'm glad none of his crazy "necessity" defenses worked, I'm glad the judge didn't let the jury consider a lesser charge of manslaughter. I am not glad the country lost such a great, important doctor. Despite this conviction, this story is still tragic and horrifying.

Tiller's family released a statement today:
Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, Dr. George Tiller's attorneys, issued the following statement today at the request of Mrs. Jeanne Tiller and the Tiller family.

"The family of Dr. George Tiller would like to thank the jury, District Attorney Nola Foulston and her office and law enforcement for their service in this difficult matter. Once again, a Sedgwick County jury has reached a just verdict. We also want to thank George's countless friends and supporters in Wichita and around the country who have offered their comfort.

At this time we hope that George can be remembered for his legacy of service to women, the help he provided for those who needed it and the love and happiness he provided us as a husband, father and grandfather."
More reading:
  • AlterNet: "The Absurdity of the Roeder Argument."
  • Roeder Watch: For all past coverage of the trial and the time leading up to it.
  • NARAL: "NARAL Pro-Choice America Statement on Jury’s Conviction of Scott Roeder."
  • New York Times: "Jury Reaches Guilty Verdict in Murder of Abortion Doctor."

In History: Birmingham abortion clinic bombed

This is the 10th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Unfortunately, this week's "In History" column serves as another reminder of the potential dangers faced by all the doctors, nurses, workers, escorts, security personnel, patients and bystanders at abortion clinics, every day.

On Jan. 29, 1998, the New Woman, All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed. Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer who was working at the clinic as security was killed, and Emily Lyons, a nurse, was badly injured. The attack was later attributed to a terrorist who had committed other bombings; he was caught in 2003 and eventually sentenced to five life terms in prison. You can read CNN's news story from the next day here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book recommendation: "At Home in the World"

In light of today's news about J.D. Salinger's death (RIP), I want to point out a book from 1998 not written by him: "At Home in the World" by Joyce Maynard. It's a memoir, made famous mostly because it focuses largely on Maynard's relationship with Salinger and the time during which they lived together.

It's been many years (10? more?) since I've read the book, and while I don't recall every detail of it, I do recall being extremely interested the entire time I was reading it. There is more to the book than the Salinger bit, and Maynard herself has had an interesting life -- she wrote her first memoir, "Looking Back," when she was 18!

I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who hasn't read it, but I will add this paragraph from the book, the last of the author's notes at the start of the book (emphasis mine):
"All my life I had been trying to make sense of my experiences without understanding a crucial piece of my history. I couldn't have said, two years ago, what it was in how I had lived before meeting Jerry Salinger that made his power over me so vast and enduring. I couldn't have said how the events of that year I spent with Jerry shaped what I went on to do with my life. Now it was hitting me in the image of my daughter. All these years, I had been holding on to secrets that kept me from understanding or explaining myself. I knew it was time at last to explore my story.As for Salinger's death, all I can really say is that a book like "Catcher in the Rye," a book that itself is legendary, doesn't come around often. I didn't read it until later in my life, and I'm not obsessive about it in the slightest like some people are (I've read many books that captivated me more than "Catcher"), I can understand why it became a piece of our literary history. If you haven't read it, do. And definitely read "Franny and Zooey," and "Nine Stories" is worth reading as well. I have not read his other book, "Raise High the Roof Beam, and Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction," anyone have thoughts on that one?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I want this: Wonder Woman sweater

This makes me want to learn how to really knit. I know the basics -- I can make a mean scarf -- but I don't know how to make anything that isn't a straight line. Like, umm, a scarf. Nor do I know how to make patterns within the straight line. (Nothing's wrong with one-tone scarves, right?) But a Wonder Woman sweater?? I. Want. One.

io9 posted about it a couple days ago (h/t to heaven4heroes), but they found it on a blog post from 2007 from the woman who knitted her own WW sweater. And it is amazing.

Hopefully this will inspire me. Or someone close to me who wants to make me a sweater ...

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Living Dolls" could generate big conversation

Author and writer Natasha Walter has a new book coming out (Feb. 4, I believe), called "Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism." If you pay attention to UK newspapers, you know it's already generating a number of columns and stories in the press.

Obviously I haven't read it yet, nor have I read Walter's previous book, "The New Feminism." What I have read about the book, though, makes me a curious. I feel like this might be a bridge to a bigger conversation (which I'm getting to).

The Daily Mail has an excerpt from the book (I think? If it's not an excerpt, maybe it's an introduction?). The Guardian has an article about/interview with Walter, which perhaps gave me a better sense of the book than the former link did. I wish I could summarize what the book is about, but I'm not entirely sure. I think a lot of it has to do with younger women who are obsessed with their looks, their bodies, and being attractive, convinced they need to look like a centerfold to get anywhere in life, even if that "anywhere" leads them to taking off their shirts in a nightclub contest or to lapdancing. (Though to be sure, there is much more in the book than that, including, apparently, a second half about gender and biological determinism, quite a different subject than what I'm talking about here.)

Walter's piece in the Daily Mail says:
It was indeed an aim of the women's liberation movement of the 1970s that women should be released from conventional morality around sex, which had confined them to idealised chastity on the one hand or contemptible promiscuity on the other.

The fact that women can now be sexually active and experienced without being condemned is a direct result of that feminism - and all aspects of the current 'hypersexual' culture are seen as proof of women's growing freedom and power.

Glamour modelling is seen by many who participate in the industry as a marker not of persistent male sexism, but of women's new confidence.

This equation of empowerment and liberation with sexual objectification is now seen everywhere, and is having a real effect on the ambitions of young women.
And this in the Guardian article that caught my eye:
"In Living Dolls, Walter takes on the ­notion that, for example, stripping and pole dancing are ­empowering, ­liberating choices; instead, she ­suggests, it has become increasingly difficult for young women to opt out of this culture, to take any path other than that which leads inexorably to fake nails, fake tan and, finally, fake breasts. And, if they do, there are ­serious social penalties."I think there are generally exceptions to everything, but I can't help but wonder how much truth there is in this. Perhaps a lot. I think we can all remember how much peer pressure there was in our teenage years (for me that was about 15ish-maybe-more years ago), and even though "times have changed," I'd guess there's more pressure now to fit into a sexually-charged culture than, say, the grunge-rock culture of my teen years.

I can't tell if this is supposed to be a "feminism failed" or "feminism succeeded" tale, or if it's "feminism led us somewhere we might not have wanted to go." Ceri Radford at the Telegraph says (emphasis mine):
"I feel far more sympathy and concern for the woman trapped in a miserable marriage by a culture untouched by feminism than I do for the British girl shivering in her skimpy outfit on her way home through the snow because she’s too vain to wear a coat. If some women don’t make the best use of the choice that the emancipation movement gave them, that doesn’t diminish the triumph and importance of winning it in the first place."I think that's an excellent point. I also think Michael Deacon of the Telegraph makes a great point, too (again, emphasis mine):
"A female journalism student once asked me how I'd feel if a daughter of mine became a glamour model. I said if she were 18, she could do whatever job she chose, no matter what I felt. And that's the difficulty facing today's feminists. If women are to have the same freedoms as men, feminists can't easily complain when some women exercise those freedoms in a way feminists disapprove of."I think that is the conversation this book could bring about: Can feminists, self included, complain about this? Should we be complaining? ("This" being, to me, women perpetuating the cliche that you have to be "society attractive," that looks are what get you to where you're going in life, that boob jobs are necessary, etc.) What is the complaint, exactly? Or should we be worried? Or should we say "Hey, if that's what she wants to do, that's what she wants to do?"

For me, there's a difference in the individual and society here, and I guess that's the bigger picture. I don't care at all if a woman wants a fake tan and fake boobs and to wear underwear in public. I do care that she might think it's expected of her. I care that society expects it, 24/7. In these days of instant access to naked photos online, on your phone, on TV, in ads, etc., doesn't it seem like the expectations placed on women are only going to get worse, not better?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (1/24/10)

Whole lotta stuff this week:

Did you see the New York Times' articles on "The Female Factor?" If not, they're worth reading. One is "In Germany, a Tradition Falls, and Women Rise," and the other is "The Good Mother, and Modern Politician." They also have a story about "More Men Marrying Wealthier Women," (but isn't it really "More women have money, and men are still marrying women?") as does The Guardian (whose headline, "American women bring home the bacon as 20% earn more than spouses," I like better).
  • Hopefully Spare Candy readers have heard about this by now, but if not, please take a moment and read this CNN story: "Women's movement mourns death of 3 Haitian leaders." RIP.
  • Two stories worth reading after Martha Coakley lost the Senate election in Massachusetts, one at Politico and one at the Daily Beast. Did you know this (from Politico)? "“It took 222 years for Massachusetts to elect its first woman, running in her own right, to statewide office, and that was Shannon O’Brien as treasurer in 1998. Martha Coakley is only the second one." She was attorney general before running for the Senate seat.
  • A couple health stories: On U.S. News & World Report, "Health Buzz: Study Finds Women Tested for HPV Have Fewer Cancers;" and from the NYT, "When Hair Loss Strikes, a Doctor Is a Girl’s Best Friend."
  • I love this story from Central Michigan University. Makes me miss college. "About 70 walk in Women’s Suffrage Commemorative March."
  • And this story from New Times: "More men speaking out against domestic violence."
  • Not being of the religious sort, I found this entry on the Dallas Morning News' religion blog an interesting one: "Texas Faith: Do religions oppress women?"
  • From "Business Schools Sweeten Lures for Women." According to the article, "New York University's program, which has the highest proportion of women among co-ed programs, is only 40 percent female."
  • A must-read on IDN, about a new report out from Human Rights Watch: "Governments Compel Medical Centres To Practice Torture." The article says "In many countries, HRW documented the human rights violations suffered by women and girls, including those related to pregnancy, birth, and women's role as caregivers and providers. For example, preventable maternal mortality and disability as a result of negligent policies and laws kill and maim more women annually than the impact of armed conflict, the Washington-based rights organization said."

In other international news:
  • Ethiopian Report: "Amid cabinet setback, Afghan women face slow political climb."
  • ABC News: "Women's Fitness Center Forced to Close in Saudi Arabia." (Because officials say "it is illegal to run health clubs or fitness centers for women in the country.")
  • AFP: "Nepal court blocks 'cash for widows' scheme."
  • Feministing: "Rape Victim in Saudi Arabia Scheduled to be Lashed 100 Times."

Suggested Sunday reading: Blog for Choice Day

The fifth annual Blog for Choice Day was Friday, where bloggers were to answer the question "What does 'Trust Women' mean to you?" There was so many great things to read it was easy to miss them. Not that I can list them all here, but I have a few links and related stories.

First of all, all the blogs that participated can be found here (mine is here). I've been making my way through some, and the range of blogs is fantastic.

Secondly, check out RH Reality Check's "Roundup: Women's Status in 2010 at the Ballot Box," which discusses NARAL'S report "Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States." NARAL has a map that allows you to click on your state to see what's going on there with reproductive rights. Mine, Ohio, gets an "F." Figures.

Third, this is a great read from Women's Media Center: They interviewed Sarah Weddington, the attorney who represented Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade. Among many other things she says is this: "If you cannot determine the number and spacing of your children, then you cannot control any of the other parts of your life. The circumstances under which you decide to carry a pregnancy to term should be up to you."

Fourth, on Daily Kos: Louise Melling of the ACLU writes "Reflections on a Decade of Reproductive Freedom," looking back at significant moments, good and bad.

Fifth, on Womenstake: "The Onion’s Abortion Satire Brings Tears to The Eyes."

Any other recommendations out there? Leave links in the comments.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Music time-out

A few or 10 blog posts ago I mentioned a group you should check out, Florence + the Machine. I kinda love their album "Lungs," and am thrilled to find out the singer, Florence Welch, sounds just as good (better?) live as recorded:

Love that song!

And speaking of songs I love ... Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris performed "Hallelujah" on the Hope for Haiti telethon last night. If you missed this fantastic performance, check it out.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In History: Roe v. Wade

This is the ninth post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

On Jan. 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion in all 50 states in the country. The ruling was 7-2. The majority: Harry Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Chief Justice Warren Burger, William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis Powell and Potter Stewart. The dissent: William Rehnquist and Byron White.

Everyone knows the outcome of the case, but if you're interested in the actual decision, you can read the entire decision at this page.

If we had a bench of nine male justices today, would they even take on Roe v. Wade? Would they rule the same? I can't help but wonder, and be grateful to those seven justices in 1973 for taking a huge step forward toward women becoming first-class citizens in this country. We still have some work to do to get there.

What "Trust Women" means to me

This blog is part of the "NARAL Pro-Choice America's 5th annual Blog for Choice Day 2010," which you can read about here. The question posed this year: "What does Trust Women mean to you?"

For me, the phrase means trust women ...

To know themselves.

To know what is best for them.

To know what they can and can't handle.

To know their bodies.

To know their minds.

To know their feelings.

To know if they want children, or not.

To know if they don't know.

(And to do things like drive a car, be a manager, run a business, run a household, understand something complicated, throw a ball, read a map, talk about serious issues, operate power tools, and anything else that falls under a stereotype of "things women can't do.")

Women can make their own decisions about big, important life moments -- like if going through with a pregnancy is the right thing for them to do. Thousands of woman make such decisions every day. And as the saying goes, "If you can't trust me to make a choice, how can you trust me to raise a child?" It doesn't work both ways.

Trusting also involves supporting. If you trust women to make a decision about children, that decision needs to be supported. It's not about what you would do; it's about what the woman in question wants. Her decision, even if it's not the same as yours, is just as valid. Life doesn't work the same for everyone. You probably don't want decisions about your body made for you, right? Right. No one does, women included.

Be sure to check out other blogs participating in Blog for Choice Day here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Protest the lies at Planned Parenthood protest


If you're going to lie through your teeth and pass it off as news, the least you could do is not cite an article that directly contradicts your lies with things like "facts."

There was a large anti-choice protest today in Houston, in front of a soon-to-be new Planned Parenthood facility. OK, fine. Certainly won't be the last time a PP facility sees a protest. This facility, however, is being called an "abortion supercenter" by anti-choicers, presumably because the building is a big one. It is in fact the biggest building PP will have -- because it will be serving as the regional headquarters for PP, and have a clinic, a call center, surgical suites and more. PP issued a statement today about the new building (PDF here), and it says
"It will be our administrative headquarters for 35 counties in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, and will house a flagship family planning health center, a surgical suite for abortion care and vasectomies, a clinical research center, an HIV testing and counseling area, education and training rooms, a large call center, and a secure, enclosed parking area."So those are the facts: 1. Planned Parenthood is opening a new regional headquarters in Houston, which will offer many services (as all PP facilities do), including abortion services. 2. Thousands of anti-choicers protested outside the building today.

As far as I can tell, anti-choicers took "really big building," added in "Planned Parenthood," and concluded it obviously must be an "abortion supercenter." It's a tired, old argument regarding PP, and not at all surprising. (Do these people even realize how many women get their birth control from PP? You know, the very birth control that could prevent abortions? Or how many women get pre-natal care at PP? You know, for the babies they're going to give birth to? Sigh.)

But this guy at Dallas Blog writes about this story like this:
Headline: "Pro-Lifers Protest at Houston 'Abortion SuperCenter'"
Lede: "Wal-Mart is opening 'SuperCenters' all across the country, offering the lowest prices for everyday goods. Now, Planned Parenthood wants to open a chain of 'Abortion SuperCenters,' to reduce the population of African-American and Hispanic-born babies."

See what he did there? Lies = facts. Absurd, to say the least, and so freaking irresponsible that he shouldn't be allowed to have an Internet connection of any kind. OF COURSE Planned Parenthood does not want to open a chain of "abortion supercenters" (and technically, they already have a chain of abortion centers), and OF COURSE Planned Parenthood is not trying to reduce the population of non-white babies being born. Lies, lies, lies.

But then this guy goes on to quote, at length, a Houston Chronicle story about the protest, and at the end of his story there is a link to the Chronicle story that says "Read the entire article from the Houston Chronicle."

Well, I did. And guess what it says? "The protesters [did stuff] to convey their opposition to what they called an 'abortion super center' that Planned Parenthood will open ... [snip] Organizer Lou Engle used the Martin Luther King holiday to accuse Planned Parenthood of locating the new facility in a predominantly Hispanic and black area to target minorities for abortion services." (Emphasis mine.)

Not even close to what Dallas Blog Guy's story says. What's more, if you continue reading the Chronicle story, you learn that:
According to Planned Parenthood, last year slightly more than 8,000 abortions were performed in its Houston region, which includes two clinics in Louisiana. The agency reported 34 percent of the abortion clients were Anglo; 25 percent were black; and 34 percent Hispanic. The black and Hispanic abortion rates were slightly higher than their overall population percentages in Harris County.

“This is because minorities often have more unintended pregnancies. Perhaps because they do not have the same access to birth control,” Tafolla said.
Perhaps this PP facility will help them access birth control if they need or want it? Anyone at the protest want to talk about that? No? Of course not.

The Chronicle story also debunks the whole "abortion supercenter" claim:
"Protesters on Monday also questioned why Houston was selected for the Gulf Freeway clinic that they believe will be the largest abortion facility in the Western Hemisphere. However, Tafolla disputes that point. While the new facility will be Planned Parenthood’s largest healthcare center in the U.S., only two floors will be dedicated for clinical space."And the rest of the space will be used for all the things mentioned in the beginning of this post. Again, obviously not an "abortion supercenter."

If you want to read more about the protest, you can go here, here or here. But I would recommend something much more important: "Planned Parenthood assesses abortion coverage," on Lake Villa Review, about what is going to happen to abortion access if health care legislation is passed with abortion restrictions (and we all know how likely that scenario is).

By the way, such crap from Dallas Blog Guy would never ever make it into an actual news publication. "New media" has a long way to go before I'm putting both feet in. In the meantime, support real news organizations, both print and Web-based. And support PP too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (1/17/10)

Happy Sunday everyone! A look at some of the news this week:
  • From Reuters: "Afghan women praise Karzai's female cabinet picks."
  • On CNN: "Study: China faces 24M bride shortage by 2020." There's so much to say about this article ... about what brought China to this point, about how China views girls, about how China isn't the only country to place more importance on male children ... sigh.
  • From "India's Single Women Resist Stigma, Demand Rights." I love this. Also, how crazy is this? "Single women in India outnumber the population of Canada. And these 36 million women, as counted by the 2001 census, only represent those who are legally divorced, separated and widowed. There is no official estimate of abandoned, deserted and unmarried women."
  • Reuters: "Fewer free countries in 2009: Freedom House." The world is moving backwards.
  • In South Carolina, "Program to Train Teachers to Spot Domestic Violence." Yes, please. This should be everywhere.
  • Sen. Al Franken, once again, is involved in legislation that benefits women. "Franken wants 'morning-after' pill available for military women."
  • On RH Reality Check: "Dramatic Rise in Women Ambassadors, and How the Washington Post Treats the Story." I can tell you why the Post didn't have this "above the fold" on its Web site: Clicks are pretty much the end-all of Internet metrics, and more people are going to click on the Leno-Conan story than are going to click on the women ambassadors story. This is the future of news, people. What is perceived as "people will click this" is what will be front and center.
  • On, "Does the Sexbot Encourage Rape?" If you haven't heard about the sexbot yet, it debuted at the Adult Entertainment Expo, and apparently you can sex her up however you want and talk to her, too. Roxxxy goes for about seven grand. Allegedly a Rocky model is in the works. Love how Roxxxy's sex is built into her name with the three X's. WTH kind of name is "Rocky"?
  • From The Sexist: "Rape Analogy Redux: The 'Stroll In The Jungle' Theory." One of my favorites. If you don't leave your house, your chances of getting raped drop significantly. So just don't go anywhere.
  • The Curvature: "Alleged Victim Slut-Shamed, Rape Case Thrown Out." Sigh.
  • Another from "D.C. Police Confirm Condom Policy that Endangers Public Health."
  • And another from RH Reality Check: "Don't Want to Pay for Abortion Coverage? I Don't Want to Pay For (Fill In The Blank)."
  • On Womanist Musings: "PeTA Takes On The Pro Life Movement." Really, is anyone surprised?
  • The Daily Beast: "Sterilized for Being Poor?" Starts with "When a Welfare-collecting mother of nine was allegedly sterilized against her will, she was shocked by the outpouring of public support—for the doctors who did it." See, because it's cheaper to sterilize her than to "pay for" her babies.
  • On Pandagon: "The backlash ... with more bones, fewer ruffles." It's worth reading the comments.
  • I love this on Racialicious: "And we shall call this 'Moff's Law'." So well said.
  • And finally, this image is so great. (Thanks Megan, if you're reading, for bringing it to my attention!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

In History: Queen Elizabeth I

This is the eighth post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Mixing things up a bit with this "In History" column and actually writing about a couple things that happened today in history, starting with ...

Queen Elizabeth I was coronated on Jan. 15, 1559, at age 25. (Can you even imagine?!) She was the Queen of England and the Queen of Ireland for 44 years, until her death in 1603. Obviously she's a larger-than-life historical figure, and she came to power through a non-Democratic method, but she was still a 25-year-old woman who went on to lead a very powerful country for more than four decades. (Image source)

Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African American college women, was founded on Jan. 15, 1908, at Howard University, by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. Lyle, by the way, was the first African-American female college graduate to teach in a regular school in Oklahoma and the first to earn a Teacher's Life Certificate from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No thanks, Ricky Gervais

Last night, Ricky Gervais was on the (soon-to-not-be) Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. His interview segment featured a clip from his upcoming animated HBO show, The Ricky Gervais Show. I love the concept of the show: him and his buddies are sitting around talking, and then the conversations are animated later. But after seeing the clip, I think I'll have to pass. I know this is "supposed" to be funny, but there's really nothing funny about "tricking" a woman into having sex with you:

(You'll probably need a Hulu account to watch this, but it's the only video I've found of the clip.)

Ah! Found the clip on YouTube finally:

V magazine puts out a "size issue"

The latest issue of V magazine, which comes out today, has been making news for a while now, as photos from the issue have been leaked and posted around the Internet. The issue is being called the "size issue," and features women -- some professional models, some not -- with various body shapes. There are two covers (pictured), featuring actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Dakota Fanning.

I don't know what to make of this trend at this point. A number of magazines are jumping on the "plus-size" model train, but it doesn't seem that any magazine is really doing what most women are calling for: featuring "regular" women regularly. Every time a women's magazine does feature non-size-zero models/women, it has to point it out and congratulate itself. The "regular" women aren't featured regularly, or without commentary. The only exception I can think of is when Glamour used a small photo of Lizzie Miller toward the back of an issue in the fall. I'm not positive, but I think that photo was published with no fanfare; that came later.

One thing is for sure: featuring models/women in your magazine who aren't traditional size 0-2 is a guaranteed way to get publicity. Another thing nearly for sure: featuring those women is probably going to result in those women being shot nude. I don't know why -- to properly "show" these women's bodies? Because if they're naked, you know without a doubt they aren't "thin"? Putting clothes on them runs the risk of making them look, in fact, "normal," and we need to be able to distinguish between them and the size 0-2 models? Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the nude photos, but as Emili Vesilind wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "If there are no clothes featured in the images, it's hardly a fashion spread." Are they not wearing clothes because designers don't make clothes for these body shapes?

Is this all a step toward featuring non size 0-2 models in women's magazines on a regular basis? I don't know. For now, it seems like a fad. I also suspect magazines would like to use "regular" women more often, but might be limited by what the designers are making. No size 12 clothes = no size 12 models. If nothing else, this issue of V magazine has generated a lot of discussion and it does show a variety of body shapes, and I think the more we see variety, the more used to it everyone will become. I know there are concerns about exploitation, and I do think some of that is going on (actually, I think that can happen in any women's magazine, regardless of the size of the model). What do you think?

Numerous articles are out there about this issue of V, some with photo galleries. Some of them:
  • New York Times: "The Triumph of the Size 12s"
  • Boston Globe: "Here's the skinny"
  • Fox News: "V magazine's 'size issue' features plus-size models" (photo gallery)
  • has a couple photo galleries; see the links on the left to others (warning: some photos NSFW; full on nudes ahead)
  • CNN: "Will 2010 be the 'year of plus'?"

Monday, January 11, 2010

You need to be following Samantha Burton's case

This case (which I mentioned here, in August) is truly outrageous and terrifying for anyone out there who fears that women could become actual second-class citizens as a result of stricter abortion laws and/or "fetus' rights" laws ... because it happened in this case, without either of those two. It's been said over and over, for example, that if women are forced to give birth, they instantly lose rights and autonomy. That could also be the outcome of any legitimate fetus-is-a-person law. In this case, a pregnant woman in Florida, already a mother, who disagreed with how doctors wanted to treat her pregnancy was court-ordered to undergo bed rest and "any medical treatment necessary" to save her fetus. This is the government telling a pregnant woman that not only can she not make medical decisions on her own, she must also for real give up control of her body.

From the Reproductive Rights Prof Blog:
ACLU Press Release: Tallahassee Court To Hear Arguments On Tuesday In Support Of The Rights Of Pregnant Women To Refuse Medical Care:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union will argue in the First District Court of Appeal as friends of the court in support of Samantha Burton who was confined to a hospital bed, against her will, after disagreeing with her doctor's recommendations for treating pregnancy complications last year.

In March 2009, the Circuit Court of Leon County ordered Ms. Burton – a pregnant mother of two – to be indefinitely confined to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and forced to undergo any and all medical treatments deemed necessary to save her fetus. After three days of state-compelled hospitalization, Ms. Burton miscarried and was released from the hospital.

In August 2009, Ms. Burton asked the court to overturn the lower court’s decision to compel her to undergo medical treatment, stating that her rights had been violated.

The ACLU will argue on Tuesday that the lower court’s decision invites courts to impermissibly intervene in nearly all aspects of a pregnant woman’s behavior and medical judgments. The result: some women will be discouraged from coming to a hospital for pregnancy care if they know that any disagreement may lead to forced medical treatment.

The ACLU’s brief is available at:

Video of Tuesday’s argument will be available live at:

WHAT: Argument in Burton v. Florida, No. ID09-1958, a case involving the forced medical treatment of pregnant women.
WHEN: Tuesday, January 12, 2010, at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: First District Court of Appeal, 301 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Tallahassee, FL
WHO: Available for comment immediately following the argument:

David H. Abrams will argue on behalf of appellant, Samantha Burton.

Diana Kasdan, Staff Attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, will argue on behalf of amici: the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida, and the American Medical Women’s Association.
You can also read more about this case here and here.

UPDATE: A couple more articles about it, including one from the New York Times, and one on

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (1/10/10)

Happy Sunday! A quick run-through of headlines from this week:

The Wichita Eagle: "Late-term abortion back on legislative agenda."

AlterNet: "Legal Abortion Is a Fundamental Right -- Why Do We Often Forget That?"

RH Reality Check: "A Wish List for the Pro-Choice Movement's Next 10 Years."

Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Judge rejects Personhood petition; ruling to be appealed."

The Michigan Daily: "Campus group pushes for more info at local pregnancy centers." This is a great idea.

Boston Globe: "Mary Daly, pioneering feminist who tussled with BC, dies at 81." (In case you haven't read a story about her death yet.)

Winnipeg Free Press: "Afghan women set themselves on fire to escape brutality." A must-read.

From the blog Otherspoon: "Is it legal? Catholic mandate for patient care."

The Huffington Post: "Sleep Challenge 2010: Women, It's Time to Sleep Our Way to the Top. Literally." (I know I need more sleep. You?)

From "2010 - Seven Who Rewrite the Rules."

On FWD/Forward: "Backscatter X-ray scanners, security theatre, and marginalised bodies."

On the blog Women Undefined: "New law in France set to ban 'psychological violence' in marriages."

NPR: "Dallas Police Aim To Help, Not Jail, Prostitutes,"

Jezebel: "The '10s Will Be The Decade For Women In Comics."

Feministe: "Oh, you bad, bad women." This is really outrageous.

New Mexico Business Weekly: "New Mexico executive order to ensure gender pay equity." Hey, how about that?!

DW-World: "Top German magazine trades models for 'real' women."

CNN: "From child's death, mom helps 6,000 kids."

If you missed Clinton's speech Friday about women's rights, you can watch it here. Also check out this article on Huffington Post, "Standing Up for the World's Women."

I don't normally post about finance-related news or issues, but I found this New York Times article extremely interesting: "Walk Away From Your Mortgage!"

No doubt by now you have heard about the Facebook campaign to post your bra color in your status as a way to raise awareness for breast cancer. (If you haven't, I envy you!) I thought these were good pieces on the topic:
  • Feminazery: "I'm wearing a silky leopard-print pushup number with apricot lace trim and peepholes."
  • It's Not a Zero Sum Game: "Important Announcement to World: Women. Have. Breasts."
  • Toddler Planet: "In the name of awareness."
  • Newsweek: "What Color Is Your Bra? Facebook's Pointless Underwear Protest."
Finally, check out the 11th Carnival of Feminists -- Global Edition at Gender Across Borders. Lots of great stuff there.

Friday, January 8, 2010

In History: Minidoka Project crew

This is the seventh post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

How fantastic is this photo?


All female survey crew - Minidoka Project, Idaho 1918.

Photo from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,
of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

I wish there were names with the photo, but alas, that doesn't seem to be the case. If you're curious about the Minidoka Project, you can read up here and here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Women hold top 5 spots on music chart

Granted, I don't listen to these artists on a regular basis (some closer to "never"), but this is still pretty cool: For the first time ever, five women artists held the top five spots on Billboard 200, for the week ending Jan. 3. They are:

1. Susan Boyle, "I Dreamed A Dream"
2. Lady Gaga, "The Fame"
3. Alicia Keys, "The Element Of Freedom"
4. Mary J. Blige, "Stronger withEach Tear"
5. Taylor Swift, "Fearless"

Women have taken the top four spots on the chart three separate times before this. Check out this article for the list of who, and more details.

Sorta kinda related, Sandra Bullock has made a bit of history by breaking the $200 million barrier with box office ticket sales for "The Blind Side." According to all kinds of articles out there, that is a first for a film "driven solely by a top female star." (But the articles all note that "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" topped $200 million; I guess that was not "driven solely by a top female star"?)

Congrats to these artists. Hope the trend continues this year!

P.S. If you're looking for a female-fronted music act to support, I suggest checking out Florence & the Machine, if you haven't already.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (1/3/10)

Happy 2010 everyone! I haven't had a lot of time at the computer over the last two holiday weeks, but now that the holidays are over I'll be back to writing more regular blog posts. The Sunday reading link list is the most regular feature here; remember, if you ever want to submit something, whether it's a news story, another blog post or your own writing, send it to me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Starting things off with a number of stories about women around the world:
  • The Independent has a must-read story, "Jennipher, the woman thrown to the dogs," about a woman in Uganda who was treated like property/an animal by her husband, including having been made to breast-feed litters of puppies. The report also discusses domestic violence in Uganda and what is being done to try to lessen it, such as doing away with paying for brides.
  • From CNN: "Woman maimed by suitor fears more reprisals," about a woman in Pakistan whose nose was cut off by a man after she refused to marry him.
  • Eve Ensler writes a column for the Huffington Post, "The Four Months Since Hillary," about women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The Gulf Daily News, out of Bahrain, reports on "Rights push for divorced women."
  • From Jewish Times: "Israeli Women Fight Relegation To Back Of Bus." According to the story, "a group of women who filed affidavits as part of a petition to Israel’s Supreme Court to ban gender-based segregation on Israeli public buses" -- a trend that is growing in practice.
  • On NPR: "Iraqi Women Taking Aim At Parliament Again," featuring this excellent point: "Women's leadership doesn't always mean women's rights defenders."
  • From Vanguard: "The life and times of Maryam Babangida," the former first lady of Nigeria who died recently.
  • From the Winnipeg Free Press: "Greed trumps rights for women ski jumpers." Keep these women in mind when the winter Olympics start soon.

In other news:
  • The Lawrence Journal-World (Kansas) reports on an important issue: "Advocates seek rape exams closer to home." Some women have to be driven two hours each way to a facility qualified to administer rape exams.
  • The New York Times: "A Peril in War Zones: Sexual Abuse by Fellow G.I.’s." A lot has been written about this, and rightfully so. This issue can't be swept aside.
  • I enjoyed this post on FWD/Forward: "Subtitles in Assassin’s Creed II and Ubisoft’s Pledge." As a casual gamer, it's nice to hear a developer listen to consumers on an issue like this.
  • There's a great post on Comic Book Movie Fansites: "Still No Big Screen Love For Wonder Woman."
  • If you can get past the headline and Vanity Fair-ness of this, the interview is actually quite good. Plus I adore Rashida Jones. "Rashida Jones is All About Hot Chicks Kicking Ass!"
  • In case you haven't had enough end-of-year stories, check these out: On BlogHer, "Feminism and Gender in the Aughts," by Suzanne Reisman, and on Alternet, "10 Defining Feminist Moments of 2009," by Mikki Halpin. Also, I really like this concept of setting goals for yourself for the new year instead of resolutions.

Friday, January 1, 2010

In History: Olive Schreiner and her words

This is the sixth post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Olive Schreiner, who was born in South Africa and lived from 1855-1920, might best be known as an author (she wrote "The Story of an African Farm," among other books), but she was also a political activist, pacifist, agnostic and something of a feminist as well. You can read about her here, but I'd like to point out a few great quotes from her (the first might be my favorite):

"Men are like the earth and we are the moon; we turn always one side to them, and they think there is no other, because they don't see it / but there is."

"A little weeping, a little wheedling, a little self-degradation, a little careful use of our advantages, and then some man will say 'Come, be my wife!' With good looks and youth marriage is easy to attain. There are men enough; but a woman who has sold herself, even for a ring and a new name, need hold her skirt aside for no creature in the street. They both earn their bread in one way. Marriage for love is the most beautiful external symbol of the union of souls; marriage without it is the least clean traffic that defiles the world."

"I have no conscience, none, but I would not like to bring a soul into this world. When it sinned and when it suffered something like a dead hand would fall on me, -- 'You did it, you, for your own pleasure you created this thing! See your work!' If it lived to be eighty it would always hang like a millstone round my neck, have the right to demand good from me, and curse me for its sorrow. A parent is only like to God: if his work turns out bad so much the worse for him; he dare not wash his hands of it. Time and years can never bring the day when you can say to your child, 'Soul, what have I to do with you?'"

"Power! Did you ever hear of men being asked whether other souls should have power or not? It is born in them. You may dam up the fountain of water, and make it a stagnant marsh, or you may let it run free and do its work; but you cannot say whether it shall be there; it is there. And it will act, if not openly for good, then covertly for evil; but it will act."

"We were equals once when we lay new-born babes on our nurse's knees. We will be equal again when they tie up our jaws for the last sleep."


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