Friday, July 30, 2010

In History: Voting in Quebec

This is the 36th 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.


Image description:

Canadian political cartoon of a woman in Quebec reading a sign that reads:
"News bulletin: for the first time in Turkish history women will vote and be eligible to the public office in the general election which takes place this week"
Women were granted the right to vote in Turkey in 1930, but the right to vote was not extended to women in provincial elections in Quebec until 1940.

You can read more about women's right to vote in Quebec here.

Image source

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (7/25/10)

Just a quick reminder, you can submit links for this column via e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com, and you can catch up with Spare Candy on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr as well. Or! Leave a link in the comments! Self-promotion is perfectly acceptable here.

I'm going to start off this post with a feature on NPR, called "Hey Ladies: Being a Woman Musician Today." NPR says "We asked hundreds of women working as musicians today to tell us what it's like right now: the good, the bad and the same as it ever was. Read their responses, find new music and join the discussion." No doubt many of you have come across this already, but if you haven't, do spend some time reading the many parts of this piece. Much of it comes straight from the musicians, and it's really interesting. And, to be honest, I haven't heard of a number of these women, and I can't wait to look further into their music. (Pictured: Kelly Ogden of the Dollyrots.)

International news:
  • Huffington Post: "Spain Burqa Ban: Spanish Parliament To Consider Banning Islamic Veils In Public." Following France's example, I suppose.
  • CNN: "Afghanistan's 'Oprah' helps heal country's wounds."
  • The Independent: "'Leave your job or we will cut your head off your body...'" This is about Afghanistan. The secondary headline says "With violence on the rise, Afghan women are terrified at the prospect of a deal between President Karzai and the Taliban."
  • Illume: "Hillary Clinton Advocates for Women's Rights in Afghanistan."
  • Color Lines: "MAC, Rodarte Say Sorry for Juarez-Inspired Makeup." I don't know how these companies get to plead ignorance.
  • RH Reality Check: "Ending Child Marriage: It's a Smart Investment."
  • New York Times: "African Studies Give Women Hope in H.I.V. Fight."
  • Salon: "Women: The missing weapon against AIDS."
  • Change.org: "Cambodian Sex Workers Raped, Beaten, and Electrocuted by Police."
Abortion:
  • New York Times Magazine: "The New Abortion Providers." This is a lengthy article, and one worth reading.
  • Chicago Breaking News: "Dead animals left at 2 clinics that perform abortions." I don't know about you, but I've always understood that leaving a dead animal somewhere is a threat of more violence to come. Here's another story about this.
  • LifeSite News: "Rep. Chris Smith to Introduce 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.'" We already have this legislation; it's called the Hyde Amendment.
  • Change.org: "A Woman's Body: Neither an Incubator, a House, Nor a Meth Lab."
Other news:
  • Jezebel: "Jury Decides Consent Is Not Required For Girls Gone Wild." I've already posted this story on every social networking site that I'm on, but I still cannot believe this happened.
  • Mashable: "For Women, Social Media is More Than 'Girl Talk.'" I think most women I know would agree with this.
  • The Guardian: "Women are happy to let feminists get bashed."
  • Ms. blog: "Serial Killers and "Nappy-Headed Hos.'"
  • Huffington Post: "Club Monaco Mannequins Emaciated, Collarbones And Spines Show." This, to me, is really disheartening.
  • New York Times: "Prone to Error: Earliest Steps to Find Cancer." This is about early stage breast cancer, and every woman should read it to learn about how often it is misdiagnosed.
  • Have you heard about the blog "My Fault, I'm Female"? I highly recommend it. It's submission-based, and gives women the chance to share their stories of sexism and other related life situations they encounter. Check it out.
  • Incite blog: "Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements."
  • Gender Across Borders: "Denial of Service: Sex Workers Confront U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Protest the Anti-Prostitution Pledge."
Pop culture:
  • Ms. blog: "Is Lilith Fair Feminist? Sarah McLachlan's Not Sure." What do you think?
  • io9: "How Angelina Jolie fought to keep Salt from becoming "pretty.'"
  • Gender Across Borders: "Are Gay Parents 'Better' Than Straight Parents?" Thoughts after seeing the movie "The Kids Are All Right."
  • Feministing: "Degrassi to feature transgender character."
  • io9: "Janelle Monae turns rhythm and blues into science fiction."
  • The Washington Post: "On 'Friday Night Lights,' a brave and honest abortion story." This is one of my most favorite TV shows of the last 10 years or so, and I thought the way they handled this was excellent. But, the fallout for Connie Britton's character (Tami Taylor), is nothing short of infuriating. (I think that might be still to come in the series; I've already seen this season.)
  • The Consumerist: "Barbie Can Now Spy On Your Enemies For You."
  • And finally, this has nothing to do with anything except my own interests, but I love this story: "100 year-old whiskey frozen in Antarctic being thawed out." If you have any interest whatsoever in the early explorers of Antarctica, I can't recommend Ernest Shackleton's books enough. They are nonfiction and you will hardly believe all the trials he and his crew went through trying to reach the South Pole.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

31 Days of Action: Support the IVAWA

Posting this press release here to support this cause. There's still a week left in July. Get to it! Be sure to check out the video below, too.
Women Thrive Worldwide has created the 31 Days of Action campaign for the month of July to coordinate grassroots activism around the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).

Why IVAWA? One in three of the world's women will be violated or sexually abused during her lifetime, according to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. In some countries, women face a 71% likelihood of violence across a lifetime. Studies show that reducing violence against women can help reduce poverty. IVAWA, reintroduced to Congress in February 2010 with bipartisan support, seeks to empower women in effective, sustainable ways by focusing on local solutions.

To help get IVAWA passed, Thrive has teamed up with Amnesty International USA and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, but the bill still lacks crucial support in both the House and Senate.

By signing up for the campaign, you'll receive a few brief emails giving you a list of actions, the longest of which takes about three minutes to complete, intended to support IVAWA.

By the end of the month, Thrive hopes to raise $3,100. But even if you can't donate money, you can help by donating your time, your voice, and your mind.
Note: You can read and track the IVAWA here.


Friday, July 23, 2010

In History: Frances Wright

This is the 35th 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.

This isn't just about Frances Wright, it's about this caricature of her. I think it illustrates well what some people thought of outspoken women at the time -- and really, probably isn't that far off the mark of what some people think of outspoken women today.

Frances Wright was born in Scotland in 1795, and later emigrated to the United States and eventually became a U.S. citizen. She was a feminist, advocating for equality, particularly in education, and women's right to vote. She was also an abolitionist, a writer and a lecturer, and outspoken against capitalism. She believed in freeing slaves, sexual freedom and birth control. Wright and her sister went on a speaking tour around the U.S. Eventually, Wright "became the first woman to lecture publicly before a mixed audience when she delivered an Independence Day speech at New Harmony in 1828."

And that brings us to this caricature:


Image description: "'A DownWright Gabbler, or a goose that deserves to be hissed --'", an 1829 caricature which takes a hostile view of Frances Wright's public lectures. Many at the time considered the mere fact of a woman lecturing in public to be a shameless act of brazen impudence and effrontery in itself (regardless of the particular content of her lecture), and the fact that Wright preached radical views of slavery abolition and giving women the right to vote only increased the criticism she received.

The caricature depicts her with a goose's beak and eyes, wearing a somewhat unfashionably high-waisted and narrow-sleeved black dress, and reading from a book as she lectures. A young man with a somewhat vacant look, and a hand tucked into one side of his vest (à la Napoleon), patiently holds her bonnet. (This was probably intended to be interpreted as going a little bit beyond an ordinary daily act of chivalry into a more or less subserviently deferential role.)"

Wright died in 1852 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and her tombstone is said to read "I have wedded the cause of human improvement, staked on it my fortune, my reputation and my life." She is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati (image).

There was much more to Frances Wright's life. You can read more about her here, here and here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

17 Things You Should Know About DNA

You may come across more graphics like these in the future here on Spare Candy. (Sometimes you just need something different, right?) If you click on the link under it, you should be taken to a bigger image.

Online Nursing Programs
Via: Online Nursing Programs

Previously on Spare Candy: "15 Things You Should Know About Caffeine"

Guest post: "Two moms are better than none"

Today's guest post is from Kyle Simpson, who writes for a Medical Billing website where you can find more information about a career in the medical coding industry. Thanks Kyle! If you're interested in writing a guest post, or cross-posting, send an e-mail to rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

As the debate rages on over whether or not gay and lesbian couples should legally be allowed to wed, millions of these couples are managing to carve out a life for themselves in committed relationships and turning their eyes towards creating a family and a legacy that so many married couples take for granted.  And once the legislation making gay marriage legal passes (and it will pass), one must wonder where the bigots will throw the next stone.  My guess would be straight at gay and lesbian parents.

The truth is, one parent is better than none and two is better than one.  There is a simple science behind this.  First of all, a child with no parents will have a much harder time forming correctly.  Children who end up in foster care at a young age, bounced around from home to home, may suffer physical and psychological abuse as well as neglect.  While there are plenty of foster families that truly care for their charges and give them a good home, there are just as many unscrupulous individuals who see these children as a meal ticket and nothing more.  The sad fact is, a temporary home is no home at all.

And orphanages are no better.  Do you really believe that a state-run institution can raise a child better than a loving parent?  A ward of the state is really nothing more than a number; a mouth to feed, a brain to standardize, and a body to dress and bed.  These kids are shuffled through the system like cattle and left to fend for themselves, alone and often unskilled, as soon as they reach legal adulthood.  How can that possibly be the best choice for unwanted children?

On the other hand, there are many gay and lesbian couples looking to adopt who face a world of challenges that the average married couple (or even some single parents) would not.  Many organizations (and even entire states) do not allow gay and lesbian couples seeking children to adopt, and it is a huge mistake.  Children thrive when they’re in a loving and stable home, and if there are people in the world who are both willing and able to provide such an environment, it seems antithetical to deny them simply based on their so-called “alternate” lifestyle.  And choosing single parents over a homosexual couple is equally ridiculous.  An adult who has a partner to lean on and consult is going to do a better job of parenting than a single person simply because of the added support (which is not to say that single parents can’t manage, but they certainly can’t be expected to provide the same attention and care as two people).

Let’s face it: the nuclear families of 1950s Americana are a thing of the past.  Dad as the breadwinner and mom as the happy homemaker with 2.5 kids just doesn’t apply anymore.  With broken homes and blended families outweighing the married-for-life mentality, there simply isn’t room for these narrow-minded notions of what a “normal” family should be.  And beyond that, there are over a million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents raising children in the United States today, facing all the same doubts, difficulties, and rewards as countless heterosexual parents, and probably faring equally well, despite the fact that they must do the same job while facing ridicule, hostility, and underhanded bigotry at every turn.  If anything, it seems that they are even more devoted to their chosen path than those of us who take it as a given that we can marry and procreate with whomever we choose.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (7/18/10)

Just a quick reminder, you can submit links for this column via e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com, and you can catch up with Spare Candy on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr as well. Or! Leave a link in the comments! Self-promotion is perfectly acceptable here.

Let's start off by saying congratulations to Terri Sewell, who this week won the Democratic nomination in Alabama's 7th Congressional District in a runoff election. If she wins the seat in November, Sewell will become the first woman to represent Alabama in Congress. Ever. Ms. magazine reports, "Of having more women in office, Sewell has said 'I know that when women are at the table, issues of families and children really get decided and discussed. Just watching the health care debate, and the fact that the Stupak amendment got defeated is a very good example of how having effective women legislators in Congress makes a difference.'" Check out NOW's press release about Sewell's win, and you can visit her website here.

In other news:
  • Colorlines: "The Women of Haiti still in rubble." This is an article you need to read. Consider this: "The human rights of women in post-quake Haiti have been a barometer of injustice in the international response to the crisis: activists say poverty, sexual violence and political disenfranchisement have created a second wave of disaster."
  • Change.org: "Kenyan Women Risk Rape Just By Going to the Bathroom."
  • New York Times: "Ruling on Women May Spur Asylum Claims." Specifically, for women from Guatemala.  
  • The Pursuit of Harpyness: "Some Good News on Pay Equity." The good news is, younger women are making closer to the same salaries as their male counterparts. Bad news is, that disappears as women age.
  • Gender Across Borders: "Domestic Violence in the Press," another example of how language matters. Also check out their Global Feminist Link Love post, which they do weekly at GAB. It is always good reading material.
  • The American Prospect: "A One-Off Win for Gun Control." A court ruled that keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is not unconstitutional.
  • The Daddy Files: "Abort Protesters." One guy's encounter with abortion protesters the day his wife had to have an abortion.
  • Ms. blog: "Nebraska Abortion Law has Chilling Effect." A more in-depth look at the "informed consent" law in that state.
  • The News Tribune: "Missouri Governor Lets Abortion Law Take Effect." The law involves offering ultrasounds to women seeking abortions.
  • Philadelphia Inquirer: "Obama, Republicans Square Off Over Courts." Here's something you may not know about the Obama administration: "So far, nearly half of Obama's 73 appointments to the federal bench have been women, 25 percent have been African American, 11 percent Asian American, and 10 percent Hispanic. About 30 percent of Obama's nominees were white males. By contrast, two-thirds of George W. Bush's nominees were white males."
  • Telegraph: "Motherhood: It's not a competition." The secondary headline says "Given that the majority of mothers now have no choice but to work, it's time we moved on from the should-she-work-or-not debate, says Kate Figes."
  • MSNBC: "Who controls childbirth — expectant moms or doctors?" Always a discussion that we need to pay attention to.
  • Check out this discussion on angryvulva's Tumblr about not forcing women into childbirth (something I agree should never happen).
  • The Stranger: "Savage Love Letter of the Day: Raped Twice." Read what Dan Savage has to say to this guy. It's harsh, but I happen to agree.
  • The Guardian: "Vatican makes attempted ordination of women a grave crime." Shocking!
  • Ms. magazine: "Report Released on Hate Crimes Against LGBTQ Communities." It's not good news.
  • Sociological Images: "Gender, Race and Top Billing at Paramount Pictures."
  • Glamour: "Crystal Renn on Her Skinny Photos: 'I Don't Look Like That.'" If you've been following this story and/or are a Renn fan, you might be interested to see the original photos from this photo shoot.
  • Gawker: "How the Internet Beat Up an 11-Year-Old Girl." Things like this make me hate people.
  • Huffington Post: "Facebook Allows Hate Speech Against Fat People."
  • The Sexist: "Sexist Beatdown: Rape or Art? Edition," dealing with Roman Polanski, among other topics.

Friday, July 16, 2010

In History: Meena Keshwar Kamal

This is the 34th 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.

Meena Keshwar Kamal was born in 1956 in Afghanistan. She was an Afghan feminist women's rights activist who founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan in 1977. The group was organized to promote equality and education for women. In 1981, Meena (as she's commonly known) launched a bilingual magazine called Payam-e-Zan (Women’s Message). She also visited France for the French Socialist Party Congress that year, representing the Afghan resistance movement. Meena established schools for Afghan refugee children, hospitals and handicraft centers for refugee women in Pakistan. 1n 1987, at age 30, she was assassinated while in Pakistan. That was a year after her husband, Afghanistan Liberation Organization leader Faiz Ahmad, was assassinated.

RAWA is still active today. You can learn more about the group on its website, and you can read more about Meena here.

Photo source

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (7/11/10)

Just a quick reminder, you can submit links for this column via e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com, and you can catch up with Spare Candy on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr as well. Or! Leave a link in the comments! Self-promotion is perfectly acceptable here.

The movie "The Kids Are All Right," starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple with two kids, is getting rave reviews. People are already talking Oscar for Bening. The movie is directed by Lisa Cholodenko, who also co-wrote the movie with Stuart Blumberg. (Cholodenko also wrote and directed "High Art.") Jezebel has a good roundup of reviews, and check out Women & Hollywood's article, too. I haven't seen "The Kids Are All Right" yet, but after reading reviews, I plan to. Has anyone seen it yet? Thoughts?

In other news:
  • New York Times: "Phys Ed: What Exercise Science Doesn’t Know About Women."
  • The Post-Standard: "Dr. Robert Seidenberg, outspoken feminist and celebrated author, dies at 90."
  • Washington Post: "Health insurers may soon offer contraceptives at no extra cost." Wouldn't that be nice?!
  • Reuters: "Caster 'thrilled' to compete again." About runner Caster Semenya, who had to undergo gender testing after allegations that she wasn't a woman.
  • Newsweek: "Women Will Rule the World; Men were the main victims of the recession. The recovery will be female."
  • AP: "Hawaii governor vetoes same-sex civil unions bill."
  • Transgriot: "Legal Victory For Vandy Beth!"
  • AP: "Presbyterian leaders approve gay clergy policy."
  • AP: "White House silent on Mass. gay marriage ruling." The ruling involves federal benefits for gay couples.
  • Change.org: "Google Can Find Only 8 Women to Honor, Over 100 Men." One of them is Frida Kahlo, and speaking of her ...
  • Leaving Evidence: "Reflecting on Frida Kahlo’s Birthday and The Importance of Recognizing Ourselves for (in) Each Other."
  • Shakesville: "13-Year-Old Girl Humiliated for Being Insufficiently USian." Ugh.
  • The Frisky: "Daughter Wants 'Artsy' Footage Dad Filmed Of Her Breasts Out Of NYU’s Archives." Warning, this one will leave a gross taste in your mouth.
  • Common Dreams: "What We Make Our Sisters Do for Healthcare."
  • Feministe: "Storytelling as a Radical Act."
  • The Curvature: "Alabama Expands Abuse Protection Law to Cover Dating Relationships."
  • Broadsheet: "Why can't 'career women' just be women?"
  • Daily Mail: "Playboy cancels Portuguese edition after it features Jesus Christ among topless models."
  • Politics Daily: "The Next 10 Women to Watch in Politics."
  • The Sexist: "Waterboarding Is Torture, Pickpocketing Is Theft, Rape Is Rape." Short, but with an important point.
  • BBC: "Majority of rape cases in NI do not end up in court." NI = Northern Ireland.
  • 10 TV (Ohio): "Alleged Rape Victim Says She's Target Of Intimidation."
  • AP: "Spain's unrestricted abortion law takes effect." Unrestricted in the first 14 weeks, that is.
  • Ms. magazine: "Louisiana Abortion Bills Become Law." Both laws are entirely suspect.

Friday, July 9, 2010

In History: Bloomer Club Cigar

This is the 33rd 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.

"Bloomer Club Cigars": A somewhat silly 1890's cigar box lid which combines a number of incongruous elements in a way that would have been mildly titillating to males of the 1890's. At that time, it had only very recently become acceptable for women to wear knickerbockers or (skirtless) "bloomers" in a few strictly limited contexts, such as bicycle-riding and gymnastics; thus the bicycles in the upper and lower left corners and the gymnastic clubs in the upper right corner.

This cigar-box label goes far beyond reality (indulging in an elaborate social satire and put-on), by imagining that women would wear knickerbockers/bloomers to an elegant social club, and by imagining that such a women's club corresponded to some men's clubs in featuring cigar-smoking, heavy drinking, and athletic activities (thus the fencing foils at center top, and the empty bottles near the dumb-bells at lower right).

The humor is in the rather extreme contrast with the actually-existing decorous and genteel women's clubs of the time, in which firmly-corseted and long-skirted ladies were generally extremely earnest in pursuing goals of social betterment, literary self-improvement, etc.
Those silly women, wearing pants!

(via; higher resolution)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Federal government starts $25M Pregnancy Assistance Fund

This is pretty interesting. The Health and Human Services Department announced Friday that it will start "accepting applications for the Pregnancy Assistance Fund." What, you might wonder, is the Pregnancy Assistance Fund? Pretty much just what it sounds like: it's a $25 million grant program that, according to HHS' press release, would "provide pregnant and parenting teens and women a seamless network of supportive services to help them complete high school or postsecondary degrees and gain access to health care, child care, family housing, and other critical support.  In addition, states can use the funds to combat violence against pregnant women." The program will offer the $25M yearly through 2019.

I think trying to support pregnant and parenting teens and women is a fantastic goal, one I fully support. I also think this language in the press release is telling (emphasis mine): "States can use funding from the Pregnancy Assistance Fund to work with a wide range of stakeholders to provide needed services to pregnant teens and women who have decided to carry their pregnancies to term and to those who are parenting."

Pair that with this information from the Guttmacher Institute (emphasis mine): "The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

Then it becomes clear, to me at least, how this all fits in. Decreasing the number of abortions in the United States is, I think, a worthy goal, so long as women are always able to make the choice for themselves. If there are obstacles standing in the way of women keeping wanted pregnancies (and there are), such as finances, work, school, etc., then absolutely we should be trying to figure out ways to help these women and their children. (Including after the women give birth, which this program seems to allow for.) Obviously, no woman should be pressured into giving birth even if such assistance is available to them. (And really, if decreasing abortions is an actual goal, it has to start with comprehensive sex education and widely available contraceptives. But this is a good step, too.)

My only real gripe with this program is the amount of funding. Twenty-five million dollars isn't a whole lot, especially when you consider how this money is probably going to be distributed. According to the press release): "It is anticipated that up to 25 grants in the amounts of $500,000 - $2,000,000 per year will be awarded." I know some organizations can do a lot with those amounts, and I'm sure many will put this money to good use. I just wish more funds, and more than 25 grants, would be available.

To read more about the grant or get application information, go here.

Other reading:
  • CNN: "White House ties new pregnancy assistance fund to 'common ground' abortion plan."
  • Care2: "How Do We Prevent Abortion? Obama Thinks One Way Is To Help Pregnant Women."
  • MSNBC: "Moms to get more care under new health law" (this is a quick overview of some of the changes coming under the new health-care overhaul that deal with pregnant women and women who've just given birth)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (7/4/10)

Just a quick reminder, you can submit links for this column via e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com, and you can catch up with Spare Candy on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr as well. Or! Leave a link in the comments! Self-promotion is perfectly acceptable here.

You may have heard how Wonder Woman got a costume change this week, along with a new background . All sorts of people have weighed in on her new look, and guess what? It's controversial! Newsarama details the changes. Also check out On The Issues' "Wonder Woman: A Comic Book Character Shows the Way," for an overall look at the character. The Women's Media Center weighs in with "Wonder Woman in Pants is Not a Feminist Win." And Geekosystem responds to Fox News' charge that Wonder Woman's new look has stripped her of her patriotism. (Here's a big hint: She's not American!) Geekosystem also has this story: "Wonder Woman Gets New Costume, New Origin; We Get Angry, Resigned"

In other reading:
  • Daily Herald: "Fremd grad's beating in Chicago brings charge." This is the story of Matthew Leone, a member of the rock band Madina Lake, who intervened when he came across a man beating his wife on the street. He was seriously injured by the guy, but he just may have saved this woman. Who knows what would have happened if he hadn't stepped in. He is a hero, if you ask me.
  • Time: "How We're Failing Our Female Veterans."
  • WWD Media: "Australia Pushes New Body Image Standard," dealing with magazines, models, etc.
  • Voice of America: "Radio Station Seeks to Empower Palestinian Women." It's an all-women station.
  • The Guardian: "Scotland Yard condemned for serial sex attacker failings." The secondary headline says "Police officers could face dismissal after Kirk Reid went on offending for four years in 'shameful chapter' for Met."
  • The Nation: "Saudi Feminist Wajeha Al-Huwaider: An Open Letter to President Obama." Definitely worth reading.
  • NY Daily News: "Topless women may be welcome at Asbury Park beach, if city council says OK."
  • NPR: "How Women Changed The High Court ... And Didn't."
  • Change.org: "One Woman's Costume Is Another Woman's Nightmare," dealing with cultural appropriation.
  • Rolling Around in My Head: "Disability Blog Carnival #67: Proud Voices." Lots of good stuff here.
  • The Curvature: "Scotland Anti-Rape Ad Tackles 'She Was Asking For It' Myth." If you haven't seen this ad yet, check it out.
  • The Sexist: "Courtney Stoker on Feminist Geek."
  • Ms. blog: "Where’d the Diaphragm Disappear To?" Excellent question.
  • Broadsheet: "Guns for batterers: One advocate says a domestic violence conviction is no match for the Second Amendment -- but is he right?"
  • The Guardian: "France outlaws psychological violence in attempt to tackle domestic abuse."
  • UN News Centre: "Sale of people is one of top illegal businesses in Europe, UN report says." According to the story, "The vast majority of victims tend to be young women who are subjected to rape, violence, imprisonment, drugging and other forms of abuse."
  • Gender Across Borders: "Intro to the Global Feminism Series." Looking forward to reading this series.
  • Change.org: "Senate Candidate Sharron Angle: Your Rape Is Part of God's Plan." Umm, yeah.
  • BBC: "Rwanda's children of rape." Such a complicated spectrum of emotions.
  • AP: "'Virginity test' helps free 3 in Vietnam rape case." That would be three men who were convicted of rape.
LGBTQ:
  • Pam's House Blend: "Doctor testing fetus 'de-lesbian' hormone therapy on pregnant women." I cannot get over this story.
  • Ms. blog: "Iceland Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage." Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir married her partner soon after the law passed.
  • The Advocate: "Lesbian Refused License Name Change." This is in Tennessee.
Abortion:
  • NPR: "The Rhetoric That Shaped The Abortion Debate." Good background information here.
  • AP: "Planned Parenthood sues over Neb. abortion law." That would be the law that "would require women wanting abortions to be screened by doctors or other health professionals to determine whether they were pressured into having the procedure. Those women also would have to be screened for risk factors indicating they could have mental or physical problems after an abortion." Here's another story about it.
  • The Hill: "Republicans to launch new push for federal restrictions on abortion funding." Shocking, I know. Elections are coming up and here comes the obligatory abortion outrage.
  • ABC News: "Abortion: Last Resort For Hellish Morning Sickness." I was unaware of this condition, called hyperemesis gravidarum.
Pop culture:
  • Spinner: "Le Tigre Make Feminism Funny in New Tour Documentary." I hope this will be available to a wide audience at some point.
  • Independent: "My spirit walk with Tori Amos."
  • Los Angeles Times: "When 'Twilight' fandom becomes addiction." Be sure to read the last paragraph.
  • Jess Weiner: "ABC Family’s new series stirs up 'HUGE' anger, allegiance and conversation."
  • Forbes: "Lisbeth Salander, The Girl Who Started A Feminist Franchise." Are you reading these books? I've read (and loved) the first two. Plan on getting the third soon.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

United Nations General Assembly forms new group: UN Women

I think this is good news! Here is the press release:
In an historic move, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously today to create a new entity to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.

The establishment of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — to be known as UN Women — is a result of years of negotiations between UN Member States and advocacy by the global women’s movement. It is part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact.

“I am grateful to Member States for having taken this major step forward for the world’s women and girls,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement welcoming the decision. “UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe.”

UN Women merges and will build on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system which focus exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:
“I commend the leadership and staff of DAW, INSTRAW, OSAGI and UNIFEM for their commitment to the cause of gender equality; I will count on their support as we enter a new era in the UN’s work for women,” said Secretary-General Ban. “I have made gender equality and the empowerment of women one of my top priorities — from working to end the scourge of violence against women, to appointing more women to senior positions, to efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates,” he noted.
Over many decades, the UN has made significant progress in advancing gender equality, including through landmark agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth.

Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination, and are under-represented in decision-making processes. High rates of maternal mortality continue to be a cause for global shame. For many years, the UN has faced serious challenges in its efforts to promote gender equality globally, including inadequate funding and no single recognized driver to direct UN activities on gender equality issues.
UN Women — which will be operational by January 2011 — has been created by the General Assembly to address such challenges. It will be a dynamic and strong champion for women and girls, providing them with a powerful voice at the global, regional and local levels. It will enhance, not replace, efforts by other parts of the UN system (such as UNICEF, UNDP, and UNFPA) that continue to have responsibility to work for gender equality and women’s empowerment in their areas of expertise.

UN Women will have two key roles: It will support inter-governmental bodies such as the Commission on the Status of Women in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms, and it will help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, as well as forging effective partnerships with civil society. It will also help the UN system to be accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
Secretary-General Ban will appoint an Under-Secretary-General to head the new body and is inviting suggestions from Member States and civil society partners. The Under-Secretary-General will be a member of all senior UN decision-making bodies and will report to the Secretary-General.

The operations of UN Women will be funded from voluntary contributions, while the regular UN budget will support its normative work. At least US$500 million — double the current combined budget of DAW, INSTRAW, OSAGI, and UNIFEM – has been recognised by Member States as the minimum investment needed for UN Women.

“UN Women will give women and girls the strong, unified voice they deserve on the world stage. I look forward to seeing this new entity up and running so that we — women and men — can move forward together in our endeavour to achieve the goals of equality, development and peace for all women and girls, everywhere,” said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.

The General Assembly resolution creating UN Women also covers broader issues related to UN system-wide coherence, laying out a new approach to the funding of UN development operations, streamlining the work of UN bodies, and improving methods of evaluating reform efforts.
More reading:
Statement by the UN Secretary-General
Message from UNIFEM Executive Director
Joint Statement by DAW, INSTRAW, OSAGI and UNIFEM
UN General Assembly Resolution
UN Women Website
Facts & Figures on Women Worldwide

Friday, July 2, 2010

In History: Alice Guy-Blaché

This is the 32th 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.

Yesterday, July 1, would have been the 137th birthday of Alice Guy-Blaché (also sometimes known as Alice Guy). Guy-Blaché was born in 1873 in France and later lived in the United States before returning to France. She is considered to be the first woman film director and the first woman movie studio owner. (According to this, she is still the only woman to have run and owned a movie studio.) Her 28-year career in film making included her directing, producing, writing and/or overseeing more than 700 films. Guy-Blaché was an innovator in movie making, being the one to develop narrative film making; you can read more about her technical achievements here.

Reports say that many of Guy-Blaché's films were lost, and that the world basically forgot about Guy-Blaché until her memoir was published. Since then, Alice McMahan has written a detailed book about Guy-Blaché, and the Fort Lee Film Commission is working to see that she is honored and recognized. According to this CNN story, the "the National Board of Directors of the Directors Guild of America has voted to award Guy-Blaché a posthumous 'Special Directorial Award for Lifetime Achievement' in honor of her groundbreaking career." A graveside ceremony was held for Guy in New Jersey yesterday. She died in 1968.

Guy-Blaché's films can still be seen; for example, this collection includes some of them. I believe a couple are available on the internet in their entirety. And if you're interested, here is her IMDB page.

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