Sunday, February 28, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (2/2810)

Thoughts this Sunday go out to those involved in earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards and any other non-weather yet-stressful events. This week's links:

The Canadian women's hockey team is getting a lot of flack for celebrating their gold medal win with alcohol and cigars, on the ice, in front of no one but a couple photographers. It's *ridiculous* and frankly, kind of unbelievable. Would it have been better if it hadn't taken place on the ice, but instead in a bar? (And why?) Or if they were men? Anyway, Eye Weekly has a good article, "The case for a women's professional hockey league." The Vancouver Sun writes "Canadian women play hockey like girls in golden performance." (It's not what you think.) At least there won't be a formal investigation. And be sure to check out this lovely satirical piece from The Albatross, "Concern Grows Over Unfairness to Women: In Hockey."

Somehow the fact that as women get older, they have fewer eggs with which to create babies is new news. A couple of really good responses to the topic:

Meanwhile, the EU is working on longer maternity leave time: 20 weeks, with pay. And while that's happening, Nicaragua is denying a pregnant woman the cancer treatment she needs because it might harm the fetus. Somehow I think her death would harm the fetus, too. For a good roundup of abortion-related news, check out Antonia Zerbisias' Broadsides column, this ABC story from Nebraska, "Proposed Abortion Bill Focused on When Fetus Feels Pain," and this Washington Post story: "Minnesota abortion provider helps meet need in South Dakota."

This week's winners for Most Absurd Claims: GOP House member Trent Franks, says abortion is worse for black people than slavery (see the NYT's story "To Court Blacks, Foes of Abortion Make Racial Case"); Virginia state delegate Bob Marshall says women who have abortions for their first pregnancy are more likely to have disabled children later because God is punishing them; and the editor of the New York Times Book Review says "The Amy Bishop Shootings Prove That Feminists Should Shut Up About Women Being Victims."

In other reading:
  • On the heels of the forced blowjob anti-smoking ads from France comes some rather awful ads from Durex.
  • New York Times: "France May Make Mental Violence a Crime." As in domestic abuse.
  • Reuters: "Pentagon OKs lifting ban on women in submarines." About time! 
  • Slate: "I Should Have Read My Islamic Marriage Contract."
  • CNN: "Liberalism, atheism, male sexual exclusivity linked to IQ."
  • The Smithsonian magazine has a pretty cool article, "How Dolley Madison Saved the Day." (President James Madison's wife, not the snack cake.)
  • The New York Times writes about "cellar door."

Friday, February 26, 2010

In History: Shirley Chisholm

This is the 14th 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.
Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) -- first black woman in the House, first woman Democrat to run for president and first black person to run for president (in 1972). In 1969 she joined the Congressional Black Caucus as one of its founding members, and she was also one of the four founders of the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.

Chisholm is also the star of this fantastic image:

Some of her campaign materials:



For further reading:

And be sure to read her 1970 speech on the Equal Rights Amendment, which includes this:
This is what it comes down to: artificial distinctions between persons must be wiped out of the law. Legal discrimination between the sexes is, in almost every instance, founded on outmoded views of society and the pre-scientific beliefs about psychology and physiology. It is time to sweep away these relics of the past and set further generations free of them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Instead of smoking, you should ... be forced to give blowjobs?

That sure is the impression I got when I first looked at these ads from France, aimed at teens:

I saw the ad and thought "Umm ... huh. What the ... how does this get you to stop smoking, or not start smoking? Are they saying you should put a dick in your mouth instead of a cigarette? It's hard to smoke and perform oral sex at the same time ... Are they forcing a dick in these people's mouths? Dicks > tobacco? What the hell? And they're aiming this at teens? What am I miss-- OH THE HAND IS TOBACCO."

Because, you see, the tagline for the ads is "Smoking means being a slave to tobacco." So ... they're sucking tobacco's dick? (I can't reconcile the positioning of the people in these images as being a slave to something. All I see is someone forcibly being pushed down as if they should be performing oral sex.)

I'm joining the loud chorus of people and claiming these as a a major fail.

More reading:
  • Time magazine: "In France, Sex Sells — Even in Anti-Smoking Ads"
  • Parent Dish: "Hey Kids: Smoking Blows; Teen Anti-Smoking Ad Inflames the French." (haha, smoking blows, get it?!)
  • Telegraph: "Anti-smoking advert with sexual innuendo shocks French."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NPR tackles super important topic: Sexual assault on college campuses

If the first segment is any indication of the rest, this NPR series is a must-read or must-listen. Why is this super important? Because "the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of 5 college women will be sexually assaulted," and as a whole, colleges and universities aren't doing much about it.

The first part of the series is "Campus Rape Victims: A Struggle For Justice." You can read and/or listen to it here. The rest of the series:
Part 2: All Things Considered, Feb. 25: "Failed Justice Leaves Rape Victim Nowhere To Turn"
Part 3: All Things Considered, Feb. 26
Part 4: Morning Edition, March 2

One thing in the first story that bothers me is a quote from Kevin Helmkamp, associate dean of students at the University of Wisconsin. He's talking about sexual assault cases on campus, and he said "They clearly are very, very difficult cases to investigate. Usually, there is not a lot of corroborating evidence for one side or the other. It does tend to come down to one person saying this happened and the other person saying, no it didn't happen that way." OK, makes sense, and I think that's pretty much exactly how it goes 9 times out of 10.

But then he says: The result, "I can assure you, is that someone is going to be unhappy" with the outcome of a decision.

People who would be unhappy:
1. Someone who was assaulted and the assailant was found not guilty or wasn't punished.
2. Someone who was falsely accused who was found guilty.
3. I'm going to assume that if someone was assaulted and the assailant was found guilty, the assaulted would be "happy" with that. Leaving, in this scenario, the guilty assailant to be unhappy. Hey, I think I know a way to avoid that: DON'T SEXUALLY ASSAULT PEOPLE. Then you won't be "unhappy" when you get caught! How about that.

Anyway, because this information is so important, I'm reprinting it from the article. Please pass it along to anyone who might need it, now or in the future:
Rights Of Sexual Assault Victims

What's now called the Clery Act, enacted in November 1990, requires that higher education institutions publicly disclose all crime that happens on campus. The idea was that students and their parents should be informed — and that public scrutiny would force colleges to get serious about preventing crime.

A 1992 amendment to the Clery Act added a victims' bill of rights, which requires schools to provide certain basic rights to survivors of sexual assaults on campus, including:
  • Giving the alleged victim and the alleged assailant equal opportunity to have others present in disciplinary proceedings.
  • Notifying alleged victims of their right to pursue justice through local police, and of the availability of counseling services.
  • Notifying alleged victims that they have the option of changing classes and dormitory assignments in order to avoid their alleged assailants.
If a university fails to appropriately handle a reported case of sexual assault, alleged victims can report this to the U.S. Department of Education. Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 — a civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination — sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape are also considered discrimination on the basis of sex.

If a college or university is aware of but ignores sexual harassment or assault, it may be held liable under the law.

Visit the Web site of Center for Public Integrity to learn more about the law and resources for victims.

— From NPR research and reporting by the Center for Public Integrity

UPDATE, from Part 2:
There's an excellent point made in the second article that every woman should know. Margaux, a rape survivor, says: "when you're a girl and you're obviously drunk, you're putting a target on your back for a predator. So, yeah, it makes a huge difference. But what happened to me is still assault. I mean you can't. There's a reason why it's in the law: A drunk person can't consent."

The story goes on to say:
"Every state in the country has sexual assault laws that say when a woman is drunk to the point of passing out, she can't give consent."
Another thing to keep in mind: "Only 5 percent of women report sexual assaults on campus, according to research funded by the U.S. Department of Justice."

Photo credit:

Articles on sex uncover absolutely nothing new

I have had these stories bookmarked, some for a while now, and I have to share the headlines (and sub-headlines, if applicable) with you, dear readers, so you can experience the full range of "advice" going on here.

"Hooking Up for Sex: Sluts or New Feminists?
Debate at Harvard University Asks if Hooking Up is Degrading or Liberating" (ABC)

"You Like That, Baby? You Like That?
Do adult films really ruin men in bed?" (Nerve)

"Why You Shouldn't Have Sex" (MomLogic)

"Is your date a 'stud or dud?' Ask your phone" (CNN)

"Casual sex – and no emotional wreckage?" (Star Tribune)

I know, I know ... sex has been, is and will be discussed ad nauseum for all of time, and these articles are like, a molecule's worth of the commentary out there on the topic. What kills me is all the contradiction out there. It's fine to do it, don't do it, it's degrading, no it's not, porn is bad, no it's not, no really, it is, oh and by the way, do a background check everyone you date, because everyone lies, except for those who don't.

One thing that is crystal clear: Figure out what you are comfortable with, and forget the rest of this crap.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Get ready for International Women's Day!

Mark March 8 on your calendar, as it's International Women's Day. The United Nations theme for the day this year is "Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all."

Are you planning anything for the day? Attending an event, writing on the theme, or something else? I'm really hoping to make it to a local viewing of "Half the Sky," a one-night event at the movies that is related to the book "Half the Sky". (Or that's my understanding of it, at least.) You can read more about it here, and there's also a link there to find a theater near you that will be showing it. You can even buy tickets there.

Also, Gender Across Borders is hosting something of a blog carnival for International Women's Day. You can sign up with the site if you intend to write something, and they have graphics you can download and use on your blog. I hope a bunch of people sign up, I know I am.

Be sure to check out Reuters' site for the day, too, at Tons of information there, and they have posted lists of events broken down by country.

What else is going on? I'll add to this as sites and events come up!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Check out "This Is Not an Invitation to Rape Me"

I really wish I could see the exhibit "This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me," which is at the University of Pennsylvania through March 5.

Charles Hall started working on this in 1993 after a friend was sexually assaulted. (Read his artist response here.) The works' simplicity is what makes it powerful. Some images are text only, others are photographs that simply say "this is not an invitation to rape me." (See some of the images here.) What's great about the exhibit at Penn is that students' work is also incorporated, and I have no doubt they came up with some great stuff. (Note: I have no affiliation to Penn, at all.)

Reading about it makes me want to create all kinds of such images. My first thought was a woman in a military uniform, with the phrase positioned over her name/rank area. (Ya know, because 30 PERCENT of women in the military have reported an attempted or completed rape by a man they were serving with.)

What kind of image would you add to a campaign like this? (Note: this blog post indicates the campaign could and should be expanded to include male and transgendered victims, which I completely agree with.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (2/21/10)

Hi all! Remember, if you ever have something you'd like to see in the Sunday reading column, either your work or someone else's, send a link to rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com. And if you have a question for me, ask away at formspring. On to this week's suggestions:

I want to point you to something that simply warmed my heart (and apparently many others', judging by the comments). Have you ever heard of Tavi Gevinson? She is a teen (13 or 14 years old, I'm not sure) who writes the blog Style Rookie. It is a fashion blog in a way that no other fashion blog is. She lives Fashion, which is not something I'm so much interested in (I can't even get into fashion, to be honest). But the way she writes is delightful. Much more "mature" than most teens her age, I would say, but with enough "teen" to make it apparent she is a teen. I adore her writing style. Recently, she read and wrote about the book "Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music", which is about women in rock from the '90s to today. Please do yourself a favor and read her blog post about it. You can't miss things like this: "Never before had I felt that feminism was something I could be so much a part of."

And speaking of fashion-related-sort-of stuff, did you see Christine Hendricks on the cover of New York Magazine? I love it, so much that I'm including the image in this post! (Article here.) Also, Esquire's article about Roger Ebert is a must-read. Truly incredible, his story is. (Ebert's blog itself is must-read material for me these days.)

In other news:
  • BBC is running a series of stories about women in the military. This is good stuff. The link is to the first article, and you can access the others with the tabs helpfully placed on the page.
  • At Shiny New Coin: "Half the population can't be a niche market." So, so true.
  • The Washington Post (column by Jessica Valenti): "For women in America, equality is still an illusion."
  • At "Boycott American Apparel and its Best Butt Contest." I. Do. Not. Like. American Apparel.
  • On The Frisky: "Conservatives To Whack A Nancy Pelosi Pinata At Conference." There's a Harry Reid punching bag, too. Stay classy, GOP/Tea Partiers! Continuing that theme, Talking Points Memo writes: "Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Rolls Back Non-Discrimination Protections For Gay State Workers." Such a disgrace. And one more, from Think Progress: "Kansas lawmaker compares rape to auto theft." Seriously?? OK, just one more, from New York magazine: "GOP Tries to Win Over Young Voters by Mocking Feminism, Gays." As I said on Twitter, maybe this guy doesn't realize it, but the people you would win over with such nonsense are ALREADY ON YOUR SIDE.
  • From the New York Times: "Judge Sylvia Pressler, Who Opened Little League to Girls, Dies at 75."
  • On Broadsheet: "Guys, get ready for Spanx." That's right, the "shaping" garment is being made for men.
  • I really enjoyed "Stay-at-home Saboteurs" from Lunch Box Mom. The post is a few months old, but I just came across it a few days ago.
  • On Frannie's Room: "Average Joe Fails To See Rape Culture, Doesn't Like "Tone" of Women Who Do." Such an infuriating topic, but it can't be written about enough. 
I've tried to limit the amount of reproduction rights/abortion news this week, because sometimes (OK, many times) it dominates the Sunday reading column, but I can't ignore these stories: 
  • The Jacksonville Observer: "Abortion bill filed in legislature." The bill would criminalize most abortions now allowed under state and federal law." It's a direct challenge to Roe.
  • CBS: "Planned Parenthood Video Sting: Was Clinic Allowing Secret Abortions?" Not good, at all.
  • The Washington Post: "Anti-abortion activists say Robertson was right about Haiti."
  • RH Reality Check: "Utah bill criminalizes miscarriage."
  • RH Reality Check: "Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act as unconstitutional." Yay!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

In History: Ida B. Wells

This is the 13th 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.


Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 1862-March 1931) really lived a life. She was a teacher, and a journalist, most known for her work on documenting lynchings, and she was active in the civil rights and women's rights movements. Her parents were slaves, freed at the end of the Civil War. She wrote books, and books have been written about her. Wells' life and her work are fascinating. If you don't know much about her, take a couple minutes and read up. I'd suggest going here, here and here to start.

"Brave men do not gather by thousands to torture 
and murder a single individual, 
so gagged and bound he cannot make 
even feeble resistance or defense.
-- Ida B. Wells

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy(ish) Day of the Women of the Americas

Today is Day of the Women of the Americas. (Did you know? There's next to nothing about it in the press, or on the Internet as a whole for that matter.)

"The Day of the Women of the Americas was established in 1982 by Resolution CIM/RES.587 (XII-0/82) of the OAS General Assembly to commemorate the creation of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) in 1928. In doing so, the Assembly recognized the vital role that the women of the Americas have played as agents of social change. The main objective of this day is to stimulate new initiatives and establish programs of action dedicated to involving women fully and permanently in the countries’ development. Twenty years later, the CIM encourages the participation of all Member States to celebrate women’s roles as fundamental actors and vital constituents to their societies.

The CIM maintains a constant dialogue with women of the Americas in order to exchange ideas and experiences and to promote policies that will increase women’s voices in the development process."
Now, I may be wrong about this (please?), but: Given the lack of talk about this day, the lack of any apparent organizational effort to even make it "a day," the seeming absence of any actions related to this day (except this one and I'm sure a few others) ... what is the point? Issue some press releases and pretend like the Americas are working together to better women's lives? (Are the Americas doing that? I could be totally be wrong, but I don't recall anything along those lines going on.)

Anyway, if you're interested, here's what Organization of American States Secretary General José Miguel Insulza has to say about the day. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement. I do like her point about Haiti:

"Efforts to empower women across the Americas have gained new urgency in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which left so many homeless and in need. In the first hours after the disaster, Haitian women played a vital role in distributing emergency assistance and securing lifelines for shattered communities. In the difficult days of rebuilding that lie ahead, their determination and hard work will be crucial to Haiti’s rebirth. As we celebrate this Day of the Women of the Americas, let us reaffirm our solidarity with the women of Haiti and their families."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Va. House approves pro-choice license plate, but diverts funds from PP

If you could show your support for women's reproductive choices on your license plate, would you?*

The state of Virginia is currently in a legislative debate over offering license plates that say "Trust Women. Respect Choice." Planned Parenthood has sought to offer these plates, with a portion of the proceeds from sales of the license plates going to PP (as is common practice when a nonprofit organization seeks to issue a state license plate; Virginia has more than 30 such plates). According to this story:

"Virginia's proposed plate would generate money for the state's eight Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide free pregnancy tests, contraception, gynecological exams, cancer screenings and other services for about 30,000 people each year. That is likely to be a source of contention for Republicans, who control the House and in recent years have stripped the organization of state funding other than Medicaid reimbursements because Planned Parenthood provides abortions. The organization says the money from any license plate sales- $15 per plate after the first 1,000 are sold- would not be used for abortions."

See if you can guess what happens next. Really, go ahead. Guess.

You ready for it? Okay ...

Today, the House gave preliminary approval to the actual license plate. BUT. They denied the funds going to Planned Parenthood. Instead, Republicans in the House offered up and passed an amendment that "the bill instead directs the funds to the Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund, a fund administered by the state Board of Health to support women facing unplanned pregnancies."

The story says the bill will be up for a final House vote Tuesday, and the Senate still has to take up the bill. If you live in Virginia (or if you don't?), now's the time to contact your representatives about this. Be sure to let them know that funds from the "Choose Life" license plate, which is already available in Virginia, supports Heartbeat International, a pro-life organization.

(UPDATE: The Senate has passed the bill, with funding for Planned Parenthood in tact. The full House has passed the bill as voted on by the committee Monday, with funds going elsewhere. Not sure what happens from here. Also, be sure the read the one and only comment on that first story. Has to be a joke.)

I really hope Virginia sees the error here and that funds end up going to Planned Parenthood. I wonder, though, if PP would prefer the plate be available no matter where the funds go? Here is PP's site for the plates, which were available for pre-order. (I suppose they still are, but I don't know what's going to happen with the funding from purchases of them.)

By the way, if this passes, Virginia would become just the fourth state to offer a pro-choice license plate. Twenty-three states offer a pro-life plate. (Read more about that here, about six paragraphs down.)

Seems like a good time to donate to Planned Parenthood, doesn't it? (Here's the link to the Virginia PP, too.)

More reading:
  • RH Reality Check: "UPDATE: Virginia Gets Closer to Creating Pro-Choice License Plate."
  • New York Times: "Is That Plate Speaking for the Driver or the State?" (backgrounder)

*(And would you be concerned about someone defacing your car? Just curious.)

Recent break up? Death Bear can help!

I get the need for Death Bear -- he's someone you can call to haul away things left by an ex after a breakup (among other things). It's probably easier to hand the items over to someone than it is to put them in the garbage (Goodwill, anyone?), and a number of people in the article say the process is helpful. They also say Death Bear is comforting, and not scary.

I'm going to take their word for it, because opening the door and seeing this would most definitely not comfort me:

Photo by Kevin Walsh

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (2/1410)

If you celebrate Valentine's Day, then a happy one to ya. For those who don't (self included), happy Sunday. Let's get to this week's suggestions, of which there are many.

Have you been following the story of the anti-abortion billboards in Georgia? The ones that say "black children are endangered species?" Be sure to check out related posts on Womanist Musings and two on RH Reality Check, here and here. Some of the comments offer good insights, too.

Continuing with reproduction rights-related news:
  • The Columbus Dispatch: "Ohio House speaker denies girl spotlight for anti-abortion group's award." See, it's not controversial to introduce this, it's just controversial to deny it. Love my state, really.
  • Huffington Post: "Parental Notification Laws for Abortion Cause Physical and Emotional Harm."
  • Some Ecards has a response to the Tebow Super Bowl ad, and it's a good one. Also worth reading: "Was the Tebow ad much ado about nothing?" on
  • The Guardian takes on Scott Roeder's ability, even after his conviction in Dr. George Tiller's murder, to post hate-filled rants on YouTube, and whether YouTube should be giving Roeder a platform.
  • On "Pregnant Iowa Woman Arrested for Falling Down." This should have every single one of us worried, on many levels.
In other news:
  • Costa Rica has elected its first woman president, Laura Chinchilla. According to the story: "Chinchilla is the fifth woman to be elected president in Latin America in the past two decades, a sign of slowly growing female economic and political clout after centuries of subservience. She followed Argentina's Cristina Kirchner, elected in 2007, Chile's Michelle Bachelet, elected in 2006, Panama's Mireya Moscoso, elected in 1999, and Nicaragua's Violeta Chamorro, elected in 1990."
  • The Pixel Project has put out its latest Violence Against Women e-News Digest. Lots of good stuff here.
  • Again, with the love my state: Feminist Majority posts "Study Indicates Ohio is Hub of Sex & Labor Trafficking."
  • From The Sexist: "'I’m Claimed By This Pervert': One Woman Who Reported Her Grope." This is part of a series on groping, something I'd guess every single one of us has dealt with. There are links to the rest of the series at the end of the story. It's all good reading.
  • Want to take part in Ada Lovelace Day? Join me and sign up here. And on a related note, check out Broadsheet's "Girly and Geeky, Together at Last."
  • The NY Post has a story about supermodel Gemma Ward and the industry's reaction to her weight gain. You can imagine how this one goes. (h/t to Frockwriter, who has more on this story.)
  • From the BBC: "Afghanistan's Sikh heroine fights for rights."
  • Vanity Fair has a long piece on John Hughes. It's worth your time if you're a fan of Hughes' work, like I am.
  • The Wall Street Journal has the mother of all cautionary tales about student loan debt, in which one woman's $250,000 in loans for medical school have now become $555,000 worth of loans that will take her until she's about 70 to pay off.  (My loans are like pennies compared to those figures and it still feels like I'll be 70 when they get paid off.)
  • And finally, if you haven't seen this yet, please watch it, because the last line is just perfect. It's a response to Dodge's horrible "Man's Last Stand" Super Bowl Ad (via The Frisky):

Saturday, February 13, 2010 Religion

Have a question for me? Ask here.

What do you think of women who embrace religions (specifically Abrahamic ones), when they portray the role of women in such a disturbing way? (I hope its not a loaded question. I think you agree)
Well, it's kind of a loaded question. Aren't all religion questions a little loaded?

If a free woman who has the ability to choose her religious beliefs wants to embrace a religion that poorly portrays women or treats them as second-class, less than human, slaves, etc., that's really up to her, isn't it? I mean, some women don't have a choice, but I don't think that's what you're asking. For those who do, their religious beliefs are their own, and I may disagree 100 percent, just as they would disagree with me 100 percent, but who I am to say what she should or shouldn't believe in? I can explain why I think a religion or aspects of a religion are harmful or oppressive to the woman, and that's about it.

On the other hand, there are women who embrace such religions who are looking to better and improve how those religions treat women. That's a hard road to take, and I wish them luck. I think often times it isn't the actual religion, it's the interpretation and corruption of the religion that permits followers and leaders to think they're better than another part of society. Such as men are superior to women. Correcting that is nearly impossible.

There's so much about religion I have problems with. Treatment of women is right up at the top. I may not understand why a woman chooses to embrace a religion that seeks to control women or treats them poorly, but I'm guessing that woman has reasons for her beliefs. Education can help probably help in some cases, but there are plenty of educated women who believe in these religions. Plus, all kinds of people of all faiths don't follow every single tenet of that faith. People cherry-pick what they want to believe and what they don't. Some of that could be going on, too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Remember women ski jumpers during the Olympics

I'm sitting here watching the opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics. I love the Olympics, winter or summer. I'll watch as much of them as I can. But these Olympics are a little tainted for me.

As I've mentioned before, women ski jumpers have been trying (for years and years) to get their sport recognized by the Olympics. Men's ski jumping is an Olympic sport, but not women's ski jumping. Why? I don't know. There's a bunch of red-tape claims out there, about how there has to be a certain amount of world championships in said sport and a certain number of "big-name" athletes, blah blah blah.

Maybe it is as simple as that, but after reading this story in Time magazine, I don't think so.

It turns out, the person who holds the record for the longest jump off the ramp that was built for these 2010 Olympics is a woman -- American Lindsey Van (pictured). She has the record of everyone, men and women, and she doesn't get to compete on the biggest sports stage there is. Will she ever? Well, just read this quote from International Olympics Committee member Dick Pound (yes, that is his name) when asked if women ski jumping will be included in 2014:

"We'll have to wait and see. If in the meantime you're making all kinds of allegations about the IOC and how it's discriminating on the basis of gender, the IOC may say, 'Oh yeah, I remember them. They're the ones that embarrassed us and caused us a lot of trouble of trouble in Vancouver, maybe they should wait another four years or eight years.'"

You read that right. An IOC member actually said "if you say we're discriminating based on gender, then we will discriminate against those bitches." That's sure how I read that quote. He is actually threatening these women and the people who support their bid to get their sport in the Olympics. Keep your traps shut. Know your place. Then maybe we'll think about letting you compete.

Dick Pound, if you don't know anything about the Olympic spirit, or about something as simple as decency and fairness, you probably should resign from the IOC.

So, I'm still going to watch the Olympics, despite Dick Pound's unbelievable tone, because I love seeing sports we don't get to see often and I love learning about the athletes and their stories. Like Marjan Kalhor, Iran's first woman skier in the Olympics. Or alpine skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong from Ghana, who is that country's first winter Olympian. How can you not love that?

In History: Hubertine Auclert

This is the 12th 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.

Hubertine Auclert, who lived from 1848 to 1914, was a French feminist and worked most of her life to get women not just the right to vote, but also the right to run for office. In 1876, Auclert founded Société le droit des femmes (The Rights of Women), which later became Société le suffrage des femmes (Women's Suffrage Society). She did things like "launch a tax revolt, arguing that without representation women should not be subjected to taxation." That was in 1880. In 1908, she smashed a ballot box.

On Feb. 13, 1881, Auclert launched "La Citoyenne," a feminist publication that she published for the next 10 years, until she ran out of money. The cartoon below is from the cover of an issue of "La Citoyenne," and according to this site, it says:

"Under a banner saying 'Universal Suffrage', a man and a woman place their votes into an electoral urn. The man votes for war, the woman for peace. On the urn is written 'World peace, social harmony and well-being of humanity will only exist when women get the vote and are able to help men make the laws.' Beneath the picture it says, 'Woman will only really become a female citizen when she has her full rights.'" 

It doesn't get much truer than that.

Do you have a question for me?

If you haven't noticed yet, I'm now on at Formspring is a fun little site where people can ask you questions (anonymously or they can sign in and use a user name) about anything, and you answer them. I signed up for the site a few days ago, and I haven't yet posted any answers to Spare Candy, but I might in the future if there's something I think would make a good post or further a discussion.

So, if there's anything you want to ask, please do so! You don't even have to go to the site -- there's a box on the right-hand side of this page where you can submit questions. (But you do have to go to the page to see the answers.) There's also a link at the top of this page. And if you're on Formspring, let me know so I can check out your Q&A's and ask you questions as well. I think it's a quick, easy way to learn more about a person. I love seeing what questions people come up with.

Here's one of my most recent Q&A's:

Does the term "ginger" offend?

The potential is there. Even if used as a joke, joking about someone's looks or about a group of people always has the potential to offend. Does it offend me? Not usually, but it can. Does it offend other people? Yes. The term is often used in a derogatory way, and I'm definitely no fan of the whole "Kick a Ginger Day" bs. I've had red hair my entire life, and there has never been a shortage of insults for redheads, or ways to make fun of us. This, to me, is just the latest. I'll take it over "fire crotch" -- which, by the way, isn't just offensive. Depending on circumstances, use of that phrase can also fall under sexual harassment.

Call it whatever, I love my hair. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Site discusses cyber-stalking, -bullying, -pressuring, -abuse

Have you been to That's Not Cool yet? If not, get your butt over there and check out this great site, which says "Your cell phone, IM, and social networks are all a digital extension of who you are. When someone you're with pressures you or disrespects you in those places, that's not cool." (h/t to

This is a really important issue -- we're hearing all the time about cyber-bullying and other forms of digital harassment that teens are dealing with these days, and this definitely has an impact on young girls. It's hard to know if someone is crossing a line when it involves text messages -- how many are too many? Or is it more about the tone than the quantity? And as we've seen, pressure to send nude or semi-nude photos and/or actually sending them to someone you're seeing can have a devastating outcome. Boys and girls need to be educated about these issues, and this site is a good place to get information.

The site is put on by the Office on Violence Against Women, Ad Council and Family Violence Prevention Fund. It's targeted at teens and talks about issues like "When does caring become controlling? When does affection become obsession? When does talking become stalking?" The site also talks about various kinds of abuse and has resources for more information. Not only that, it has videos to help explain situations and a forum where people can ask questions and discuss their problems.

Perhaps my favorite thing on the site is the "Callout Cards." There are a bunch posted, for topics like "Textual Harassment," "Rumor Rumor," "Pic Pressure" and more. You can comment on the actual cards, or you can download them, e-mail them or have them posted to Facebook or Myspace. Some of my favorites:


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Music time-out: Hellsongs

If you watch the FX show "Damages," you probably caught this song on last night's episode. If not, give it a listen now, because it's pretty great.

This is the Swedish band Hellsongs doing a live version of "We're Not Going to Take It" -- yes, a cover of the Twisted Sister song. And it is completely different when the Hellsongs sing it. The album version is on their "Hymns in the Key of 666," which is full of well-done cover songs -- including Iron Maiden's Run to the Hills!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Australia bans A-cups in adult films

Or, so it seems. It's kind of hard to get the story straight,and I don't entirely understand Australia's classification system for porn, so please correct me if I'm wrong. However, it would appear, from everything I've read on the subject (here, here and here), if you're a young-ish looking woman who has small boobs, you're out of luck if you want to be a nude model or be in adult films -- because you look like a child and naked images/video of you promote pedophilia.

I know the "barely legal" genre is a big one, and I'm sure it's raised questions many times over. I know what that genre is trying to promote (teenagers), but I've often figured that in this country, you'd be a fool of a porn producer to not use actors who are 18 years old or older. (Not that that would stop some producers from using under-age girls, or some under-age girls from lying about their age.) But saying a 22-year-old woman with an A-cup promotes pedophilia is like saying pedophiles like 22-year-old women. It's senseless. Also, does looking at nude images of a legal-age woman who look young actually turn anyone into pedophiles? I'm guessing no -- wouldn't half our country be pedophiles at this point?

If the concern is really over pedophilia, does anything say "this is probably not a child" like pubic hair does? I'm surprised they haven't banned pubic hair shaving for young-looking women. To me, a bald vagina is more "child-like" than any boob size. Maybe that's just me. (And yes, I know children have pubic hair post-puberty. But I think you know what I'm saying. There are also 15-year-olds in this world with D-cups, so ...)

And where is the ban on young-looking men? Just because men don't have something measurable like a cup size doesn't mean there aren't numerous men in adult industries who don't look 18. So, Australia, what's up with that?

Here's another thing banned from adult films in Australia: female ejaculation. The classification board seems to think it's either fake (so why ban it?), or that it's urine (all urine-fetish videos are already banned in Australia), or that female ejaculation doesn't exist. Actually I guess you have to believe the latter to come up with first two. Male ejaculation is just fine though.

Thanks for the sexism, Australian Classification Board.

By the way, while on the subject of porn, a study came out recently that "found that boys who see porn are more likely to believe there is nothing wrong with sexually harassing a girl or pinning her down," and that "boys who see porn also have more difficulty carrying on successful relationships when they’re older." Read more about that at The Frisky.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (2/7/10)

I will most likely not be watching the Super Bowl today, but I will definitely be watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, complete with the Kitty Half-Time Show and the hamster-run blimps! Cutest thing on TV all year. I think it starts at 3:30 EST. Until then, some Sunday reading:

Susan Hill, an abortion rights advocate and founder and CEO of the National Women's Health Organization, died Jan. 30 of breast cancer. After a moment to thank her for all the work she's done over the years, check out this interview with her in On The Issues. Also check out the post on RH Reality Check. And the movement lost another great advocate just days before that, Ruth Proskauer Smith (pictured), who died at age 102. She helped found what is now NARAL Pro-Choice America, along with her many other accomplishments. RIP.

This is absolutely a must-read speech by Sen. Al Franken, given as the keynote address at NARAL Pro-Choice America's Roe v. Wade anniversary luncheon. He makes so many excellent points, but this stands out: "So this is my pledge to you: I will be unwavering in my support for women’s choice and women’s rights." Thank you.

And speaking of Franken, good news on an issue he has worked to correct: "Pentagon Acts to Ensure Military Women’s Access to Emergency Contraception," from NARAL.

Another must-read story comes from the Gender & Sexuality Law Blog (at Columbia Law School): "Running Like A Girl: Sex-Stereotyping in the Olympics." The recommendations being made for how the Olympics should deal with gender are unbelievable. Just read it.

From the Kansas City Star: "Obama budget targets women amid complaints."

News out of Rhode Island: "RI sued for details on handling pregnant inmates." It's always suspicious when you won't release the information requested.

The Sexist asks "Why Do So Many Men Die As A Result of Domestic Violence?" The answer will no doubt surprise a couple people.

I'd be remiss not to mention this atrocious story, though I know many people have already read it, from Care2: "Bikinis Blamed for Rise in Rape in Goa, India." If anyone doesn't know this fact, let me share: Bikinis don't cause rape. Rapists do.

A great post on Her Authority: "Living In A Rape Culture." This really got me: "You know you live in a rape culture when, if you're a survivor, you can't live through one god damn day without someone ripping open your wounds."

Interesting post on The Abortioneers: "Against abortion? You know what to do ..." (I love this, because I've long said men need to be held accountable for pregnancy, too.)

From AP, via Raw Story: "Conviction angers anti-abortion militants." That'd be the Scott Roeder conviction. Shocking, I know.

Ms. Magazine reports "Lawsuit filed to Force 'Personhood' Vote in MS." I vote that if ever a state falls for this and votes for "personhood," that state instantly becomes the "former 50th state of the United States." Who's with me?

From the Boston Globe: "Women, start your campaigns." Seconded!

We knew this day was coming, but according to the New York Times, "Women Now a Majority in American Workplaces." Not really good news, considering it's only come about because so many men have lost their jobs.

The HPV vaccine is now available for men and boys. Read about it at Black Voices.

A story out of Seoul from the Yonhap News Agency: "Women's groups blast abortion crackdown."

From the New York Times: "Gay Marriage Puts Mexico City at Center of Debate."

A Canadian band with the name Sexual Assault is causing a bit of controversy.

Have you checked out Gender Across Border's "Hip Hop, Resistance, and Feminism" series? You should!

And finally, it's not often I read a book review that instantly grabs my attention and makes me really want to read the book, but this NYT's review of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot did just that.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Can both sides of the abortion debate agree on this?

I'm curious, because so much of the anti-choice's message is about "life." The "life" of the fetus is many times put before the life of the mother. Stringent anti-choicers don't want any abortion to be allowed; the more casual anti-choicers want it limited to situations such as rape, incest and the mother's life in danger. Fetus > woman in all other cases, right?

What about when giving birth kills a woman? Because that is happening more and more in California, according to a yet-to-be-released report conducted by the California Department of Public Health.

The news article says "the mortality rate of California women who die from causes directly related to pregnancy has nearly tripled in the past decade," and that this is "the most significant spike in pregnancy-related deaths since the 1930s." Also alarming: the mortality rate "in California is higher than in Kuwait or Bosnia."

I know pro-choicers have women's best interests in mind on the entire birth spectrum. I know pro-choicers who have been concerned about these mortality rates for years. I know anti-choicers claim they have women's best interests in mind (they do not), but I'm curious: Will any anti-choicers take up this increasing mortality rate as a cause? Does it matter to any of them that more and more women are dying while giving birth, in this country, in this day and age of advanced medical technology? Does any anti-choicer care that "that C-sections have increased 50 percent in the same decade that maternal mortality increased," and that (coincidentally?) C-sections "bring in twice the revenue of a vaginal birth"? Oh, one more thing: "The C-section is the single most common surgical procedure performed in the United States" today. Yet vaginal birth is safer than C-sections, for the mom and for the baby. Anyone besides people on the pro-choice side want to talk about this? Can we all work to do something -- such as support research and education, at the least?

Many anti-choicers try to paint abortion as a risky medical procedure -- some going as far as saying having one will pretty much kill you, you know, eventually -- but the truth is, abortion is far less risky than giving birth. Shouldn't we all be working to make giving birth safer?

And if we all care about women, here's something else to chew on: the mortality rate for safe abortions is 0.2-1.2 per 100,000 abortions in countries where abortion is legal. For unsafe abortions? According to World Health Organization statistics, the risk rate is 1/270; according to other sources, unsafe abortion is responsible for one in eight maternal deaths. Whether anti-choicers want to admit it or not, those numbers are something we would face in this country if abortion were ever made illegal. Because no matter the legal status, abortions continue to happen across the world -- even in places were it has been illegal for decades.

Time to pass the International Violence Against Women Act

Yesterday, the International Violence Against Women Act was reintroduced, in the Senate by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA, pictured.), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and in the House by Reps. Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

According to the press release, "This landmark bipartisan legislation makes combating violence against women and girls a strategic imperative for the United States government. IVAWA creates new institutional authorities, responsibilities, and funding to fight the scourge of violence against women and girls around the globe."

The legislation was "originally drafted by then-Senator Joe Biden (D) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) in collaboration with over 40 women's groups and 100 non-governmental organizations worldwide."

The legislation was introduced in 2007 but never voted on. That cannot happen this time around. Contact your Senators and Representatives and request their support for this important legislation, and urge others to do the same.

Additional reading:
  • Amnesty International: "USA to provide effective remedies to violence against women and girls with the introduction of I-VAWA." Also see their I-VAWA page.
  • RH Reality Check: "International Violence Against Women Act Addresses the War Against Women."
  • U.S. State Department's press release.
  • AlterNet: "US: Approve Bill to Curb Violence Against Women."

In History: Mary Pickford

This is the 11th 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 Feb. 5, 1919, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Mary Pickford launched the film studio United Artists -- a big moment in Hollywood history. Pickford was a big deal, too.

Mary Pickford was born in 1892 in Toronto, landed her first role on Broadway in 1907 and went on to become one of the biggest, if not the biggest, stars of silent film. Pickford starred in 52 feature films, and according to Wikipedia, "became her own producer within three years of her start in features. According to her Foundation, 'she oversaw every aspect of the making of her films, from hiring talent and crew to overseeing the script, the shooting, the editing, to the final release and promotion of each project.'"

Pickford also helped found what is now the Motion Picture & Television Fund. She was also a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She won a best actress Oscar for Coquette in 1929. Pickford stopped appearing in movies in 1933, and sold her shares of United Artists in 1956. In 1976, she received an Academy Honorary Award for a lifetime of achievements. She died in 1979.

Photo taken in 1920. Source.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Site maintenance

Just a quick note to say I'm making some changes around the site that hopefully will be finished in the next couple days. If anything looks wonky or wrong or isn't working, I'd appreciate a heads up! You can give me feedback in the comments or e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com. And if there's anything you like or don't like, I'd love to hear that, too! My goal is to make the site more legible and user-friendly -- let's see if that's the outcome.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Looking for ways to help women in Haiti?

Two causes worth considering donating money to:

Press release from Say No -- Unite:
Three weeks after the earthquake hit Haiti, there is an urgent need to ensure that women and girls receive adequate protection and are involved in rebuilding Haiti.

We have a new champion for this cause - the out-going Chilean President Michelle Bachelet will be working with UNIFEM to advocate for the needs of Haitian women. Currently, UNIFEM is working to rebuild women’s shelters and provide services to victims of gender-based violence in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel. You can help by saying NO to violence against women and girls in Haiti.

To Say NO to violence and to keep women and girls safe in Haiti:
*Donate to rebuild shelters and expand services to women and girls in Haiti
*Download the special Haiti Desktop Calendar and share it with people you know

Thank you for your support.

The Say NO Team, UNIFEM
And from V-Day:
... V-Day has responded immediately to the catastrophe by establishing the V-Day Haiti Rescue Fund. V-activists from around the world have already dug deep and donated funds which are being put into action:

According to Michele Lebrun Pavana, speaking for Mrs. Marjory Michel, Minister of Feminine Condition, the earthquake has put women at heightened risk for sexual assault, as many women have been left to live in the streets with no shelter. Rapes have been reported and the situation on the ground is ripe for traffickers.

For this reason, V-Day is partnering with ShelterBox, an NGO which delivers immediate relief to victims of natural and other disasters, to help support the efforts of the Ministry of Feminine Condition in Port au Prince to provide safe shelter for women and their families.

We have allocated $40,000 towards ShelterBoxes for women impacted by the earthquake, providing shelter and other essentials for 400 survivors of the earthquake.

Each ShelterBox is a large, rugged, green plastic container that holds a 10-person tent and a range of other equipment like:
*Thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets
*Waterproof ponchos and bin bags
*A multi-fuel stove that can burn anything from diesel to old paint
*Cooking pans, utensils, bowls and mugs
*Collapsible water containers and water purification tablets
*A basic tool kit – hammer, axe, saw, pliers, hoe head, trenching shovel, rope etc
*A small, children's pack containing drawing books, crayons, pens etc.

We thank our friends at ShelterBox for the amazing work they are doing and the critical support they are providing survivors on the ground!

V-Day is also providing AFASDA (Association Femmes Soleil d'Haiti ), run by V-Day activists Elvire Eugene, with a $20,000 emergency grant to help serve survivors with medicine, food, clothing and other essentials. AFASDA is meeting a critical need by serving displaced residents of Port au Prince.

We are also happy to announce that the V-Day Sorority Safe House in Port au Prince was not destroyed in the earthquake. We are currently reviewing the structural integrity of the house with the hopes that we can open its doors to serve as an emergency shelter for families as soon as it is safe to return to the building.

We urge you to continue to support this effort. V-Day is committed to helping in Haiti for the long haul. We will need your support!

Donate at this link:

To donate by check, please mail to:
303 Park Ave South, Suite # 1184
New York, NY 10010-3657

**Please make checks out to "V-Day" and write "Haiti" in the memo line.
Any other recommendations?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin