Monday, September 27, 2010

Guest post: "Barbie vs. Ruby"

Today's guest post is written by Maria Rainier, a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online colleges. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

It’s no news that patriarchal social cues and media have manufactured the current physical feminine ideal. The theory of where the ideal comes from, however, is up for grabs. While Consuming Passions was published in the ‘80s, author Judith Williamson’s theory is hardly common knowledge, most likely because it’s threatening. She deduces that, contrary to the ideal posed by Mattel and Barbie, “the desirable shape for a woman . . . is that of a boy.”

While one may doubt such an unlikely conclusion in a society that has produced such a homophobic atmosphere as that of the U.S. military where “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” still reigns, Williamson is convincing: “The fashion images that we inevitably compare ourselves with (to be found lacking!) are of figures that resemble not so much women, as boys ... lean, tall, flat-tummied boys -- leggy, tight-bummed, curve-less. Endless boyish models with tousled hair, long thin legs and no hips pout at us from every magazine, their armpits and so-called bikini areas immaculately hairless, a total denial of adult women’s sexual qualities.”

Fashion designers continuously design clothes to eliminate female body characteristics inherently different from those of men. For example, women inevitably have what we call “tummies,” and no wonder, as women possess an entire organ men do not: the womb. Subcutaneous fat sits mostly on a woman’s wider hips and breasts as opposed to men, who have less of this fat, but also have a fundamentally unfeminine appendage: a penis. Williamson reminds readers that a female comic rarely dresses as a man and “[stuffs] a sock in her trousers and [waggles] it at a crowded studio to roars of laughter,” while men who dress in drag and don “big tits, fat tummies, wobbly hips and elaborate hair-dos” meet great approval. “The man in each case isn’t being undermined: female characteristics, and by implication women, are.”

This unequal treatment of male and female physical attributes indicates that “as long as women are less powerful than men and treated as inferior, the characteristics of maleness will probably be valued more highly, and taken more seriously than those of femaleness.”

Barbie: Made By Men, For Women
Thus, many men laugh at femaleness to soothe their fear of women and prescribe manufactured ideals for women to mimic in order to maintain their higher position in the socio-political hierarchy. Buxom Barbie, boyish department store mannequins, and even the manufacturers of breast implants (which predominantly male-run manufacturing companies model after the unrealistic, round ideal) manifest Williamson’s theory of the socio-political struggle between the sexes. The following table from the article “Statistics” on the ANRED (or Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc.) website compares the physical measurements of average American women to Barbie Doll and department store mannequins:

Average womanBarbieStore mannequin
Height5' 4"6' 0"6' 0"
Weight145 lbs.101 lbsNot available
Dress size11 -1446
Bust36 - 37"39"34"
Waist29 - 31"19"23"

Fig. 1 “Statistics: How many people have eating disorders?” ANRED. 2005. 1 July 2008 .

One assumes that manufacturers create children’s dolls so they may pretend that the said dolls are real people, and storeowners arrange store mannequins to reflect how an outfit would look on a real person. Clearly, if Barbie’s waist measures ten inches smaller than the average woman’s and a mannequin’s dress size averages at 6 while the rest of America wears something between an 11 and 14, these models are the stuff of fantasy-fiction, not real life. 

Ruby: the Real Deal

The Body Shop made a statement in September of 2007 by filling its windows and shelves with posters, magnets, and post cards of Ruby, as in “Rubenesque,” an anti-Barbie Doll whose voluptuous body graced Europe and Australia a year earlier. Despite positive feedback from passersby like Aly Daly, 28—“‘It’s real, truthful, and honest. The reality is, we don’t all look like Barbie’”—Barbie manufacturer Mattel sent The Body Shop a cease and desist order after several complaints, including one from a mall patron who spoke for his daughter who had allegedly been “traumatized” by Ruby’s pear-shaped figure.

Despite the un-lewd nature of Ruby’s nudity and her more realistic body type, patriarchal tendencies squashed raw femininity in favor of plastic idealizations, leaving children with Barbie and G.I. Joe for role models.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (9/26/10)

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.

First up: You may have noticed that Spare Candy looks a little different now. You can read more about the changes here.

Second, there have been a couple really interesting stories out of Afghanistan this week. The New York Times has the article "Afghan Boys Are Prized, So Girls Live the Part," about a practice in the country of parents cutting their girls' hair and dressing them as boys until they hit puberty. has a follow up to that, with the article "Do Afghan Children Prove Gender is Fluid?" Then, the Los Angeles Times has the article "Afghan women break barriers in a male bastion: the army," about a group of 29 women who became the first to graduate from an officer-candidate program mentored by U.S. troops."

In other news:
  • The Crunk Feminist Collective: "Females: You Just Can’t Trust ‘Em and Other Lies Women Believe."
  • Politico: "Reid calls Gillibrand the 'hottest' [Senate] member at fundraiser." Really, this is beyond unacceptable.
  • Huffington Post: "The U.S. Soldier Who Killed Herself After Refusing to Take Part in Torture." Also check out's article "Military Women and Suicide Awareness: Is Something Missing?"
  • The Guardian: "Let's end the great gender lie."
  • The Guardian: "Why exercise won't make you thin." This is a good article to keep on hand when talking to someone about health. The point of it is exercise can help you be healthy, but not really help you lose weight.
  • Salon: "Facebookers defend alleged rape victim." This is in response to people on FB and other websites spreading photos around of a girl who was gang raped.
  • Think Progress: "Scalia Says Constitution Does Not Prevent Gender Discrimination." That would be United States Supreme Court Justice Scalia. Lovely, isn't it?
  • Nick's Crusade: "Why It’s Time For Survival Politics For People with Disabilities."
  • Newsweek: "Why Women Need the Paycheck Fairness Act." See also: Common Dreams' article "Why the Women's Wage Gap Persists."
  • AOL News: "Men Wear Heels So Women Can Heal From Domestic Violence." I love this story. I hate that it is labeled as "weird news."
  • BBC: "Florida court overturns state ban on gay adoptions."
  • "A Lesson in Racism 101: GOP Strategist Jack Burkman Gets Schooled on Fox."
  • TBD (Amanda Hess): "Men Can Stop Rape turns sexual assault prevention to tweens."
  • New York Times: "Woman, 41, Is Executed in Virginia." Also check out the Los Angeles Times' article "Virginia's execution of a woman may signal shift in national thinking."
  • "Student Banned From Homecoming Event Over Dreadlocks." Really??
  • Name It Change It: "Huffington Post on Hillary Clinton: Just Plain Sexist."
  • Salon: "Break bra in case of emergency." No really, it turns into two gas masks!
  • France24: "Swiss women claim first ever majority in cabinet."
  • Wall Street Journal: "Interlopers Run Amok: Guys Crash Road Races for Women."
  • Terra: "KFC Double Down Butt Ads Labeled 'Sexist.'"
  • IPS: "Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking."
  • The Guardian: "No wonder rapists walk; The DPP apologised for a botched sexual assault case. From the jury box, I saw even more failings."
  • The Bilerico Project: "Recognizing National Gay Men's HIV Awareness Day - Six Things for Gays to Know About HIV/AIDS."
  • "3M Joins Target In Supporting Anti-Gay Politics." Sigh. Speaking of Minnesota politics, check out Joe My God's article "NOM Launches Ad Campaign Supporting Anti-Gay Tom Emmer."
  • GLTNN: "Senator admits 'All Faggots Must Die' comment came from his Atlanta Headquarters." The senator in question is Saxby Chambliss.
  • The Curvature: "San Antonio Woman Assaulted; Police and Media Respond With Transphobic Excuses."
  • The Wonk Room: "Judge Reinstates Lesbian Soldier: Discharge 'Did Not Significantly Further Government Interest.'"
  • Jezebel: "Fun Facts About How Poor Women Are Denied Their Reproductive Rights."
  • NOW: "Anti-Abortion Rights Model Guidelines Released: NOW Intensifies Call for Obama to Live Up to Campaign Promises."
  • New York Times: "Many States in Mexico Crack Down on Abortion."
  • Dayton Daily News: "Right to Life opposes human services levy." Why? Because 0.1 percent of the levy money is given annually to Planned Parenthood. Of course.
  • RH Reality Check: "Why Did She Wait So Long? Later Abortions and the Implications of the New Nebraska Ban."
  • Guttmacher Institute: "New Study Finds Abortion Does Not Cause Mental Health Problems Among Adolescents."
  • "Amendment 62 Debate: Term 'Fertilized Egg' Compared To The N-Word." This is about the personhood amendment on the ballot in Colorado.
Pop Culture:
  • The Frisky: "Could Mattel’s Japanese Barbie And Ken Be Any More Stereotypical?"
  • TBD (Amanda Hess): "TV reporter Barbie is dressed for sexual harassment controversy."
  • Time magazine: "Mad Men Watch: Women's Movements."
  • AlterNet: "Of White Feminism, Civil Rights, and Giant Negroes: Mad Men’s Episode, 'The Beautiful Girls' Reviewed." Have I ever mentioned how much I love this show? :)
  • Slate: "Our Hillary Hangover: A review of Rebecca Traister's 'Big Girls Don't Cry.'" This book sounds pretty good.
  • Musings of an Inappropriate Woman: "Whitewashing women’s magazines: racism or just bad Photoshop?"
  • AfterElton: The site has put up a list of its Top 50 Favorite Gay Films.
  • The Women's Media Center: "Feminist and TV Lover? The Two Can Peacefully Co-Exist!"
  • New York Times: "Once More Into the Groove: 'Desperately Seeking Susan' Turns 25."
  • Sady Doyle: "30 Rock Rape Joke: Overanalysis + Feelings-Share Module Activated."
  • Slate: "Pixar Invites a Girl Into the Boys’ Club."

Photo source.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quick note about the site

Spare Candy will be temporarily under construction today, and will probably look pretty ugly in the process. I want to make a few changes to make the blog more readable and easier to use. Whether or not I accomplish that, we'll find out! Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions for something that you'd like to see or something that would make this site easier for you to use, please let me know!

UPDATE: I think it's done, for now. Again, if there is anything that would make this site easier to use or anything you think should be added, just leave a comment here or e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

UPDATE II: Two-something years later, I have added a comment policy and guest post guidelines to the site! They should be listed at the top left of the page. Feedback on these is welcome as well.


Friday, September 24, 2010

In History: Constance Baker Motley

This is the 44th 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.

I don't know if I can say enough about Constance Baker Motley She played such a huge role in civil rights and broke a lot of ground. For instance:
  • She was the first black woman ever to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. In Meredith v. Fair she successfully won James Meredith's effort to be the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi.
  • She attended Fisk University, then graduated from New York University in 1943, then received her law degree from Columbia Law School in 1946.
  • Her legal career began as a law clerk in the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF). She was LDF's first female attorney, and she became associate counsel to the LDF, making her the NAACP's lead trial attorney.
  • Motley wrote the original complaint in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, in 1950.
  • In 1964, Motley became the first black woman elected to the New York State Senate.
  • In 1965, she was chosen Manhattan Borough President — the first woman in that position.
  • In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson named her a federal court judge, making her the first black woman named to that position.
  • In 1982, she became the first black woman to serve as chief judge for a federal court.
Do you see what I mean? There are a lot of "firsts" in there. And in addition to all that, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993, was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton in 2001, and received the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, the organization's highest honor, in 2003. I am so glad she was honored so highly before her death in 2005.

You can read more about her here and here, and read her obituary in the New York Times here.

Photo source.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Contact your Senators NOW and urge them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

I'm passing along this important press release from the National Organization for Women:
Paycheck Fairness Bill Before Senate - We have just learned that the Senate will vote on critical pay equity legislation this coming week. NOW activists should call AND email their senators, urging them to pass S.3772, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) -- which the House adopted in early 2009. S.3772 is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with 27 co-sponsors. Use NOW's editable email message to urge your senators to do the right thing by voting for this very important bill.

To really drive home your message, follow up your email with a phone call to both senators with the simple message: "Vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act!" Beginning Saturday, Sep. 18, you can dial 1-877-667-6650 free of charge.

  • Gender Wage Gap Stagnant - Newly analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Census for 2009 show the wage gap remaining at 23 percent, with a female-to-male earnings ratio of 77 percent, down from 77.8 in 2007 -- the highest recorded. Median annual earnings for full-time, year-round employed women were $36,278, compared with $47,127 for men. Additionally, white women were paid only 75 cents for each dollar paid to white men; African American women were paid 62 cents for every dollar paid to white men and for Hispanic/Latina women, it was 53 cents, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR).
  • More Data of Concern - The Bureau of Census also reports that fewer women -- 2.4 million -- had full-time, year round jobs in 2009, compared to 2007, when the recession began. The recession has forced 1.3 million women into part-time or part-year jobs. IWPR also reported that 360,000 new female-headed households were created in 2009.
  • Pay Equity Crucial During - Since women tend to be hurt "first and worst" during economic downturns, new legislation strengthening pay equity laws is needed now more than ever. The data show that an unprecedented number of women now are family breadwinners due to rising unemployment among men -- making pay equity vital not only to family economic security but to the nation's economic recovery as well.
  • Bill Would Close Loopholes, Collect Detailed Pay Data - The Paycheck Fairness Act will close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and strengthen it by creating incentives for employers to follow the law. Additionally, the Paycheck Fairness Act would assist women in effectively negotiating for better pay and promotion, expand skill training for girls and women, restart the research on the gender wage gap, and require wage data to be disaggregated by gender, race and ethnicity to ensure that businesses are providing equal pay. Of critical importance is a provision in the act that would prohibit retaliation against employees when salary information is shared, plus strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts.
  • PFA Already Passed by House - President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act at the beginning of the 111th Congress, but the Ledbetter bill was only a down-payment on making real progress in closing the wage gap. The next crucial step is for the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3772); the House already passed the measure by an even stronger bipartisan vote (256-163) than the Ledbetter bill (247-171).
I have written about the Paycheck Fairness Act many times in the past, so much so that I'm pretty sure I've repeated myself in at least five posts on this blog. But it looks like we're coming up on the moment of truth. So please, call and/or e-mail your Senators and ask them to pass this legislation. The link provided by NOW is extremely easy to use. Just put in your ZIP code and it will bring up a form letter that you can edit and send to your Senators AND it will give you their phone numbers, too. If you have friends that don't have Internet access, let them know what's going on and look up their Senators' numbers for them so they can call, too.

The National Women's Law Center also has a super easy form you can fill out and send. And if you're curious about the wage gap in your state, check out the AAUW's state-by-state map.  AAUW also has a ton of information at this link. You can read the actual legislation here.

More reading:

Monday, September 20, 2010

A feminist goes to a comic book convention ...

And has a great time!

Some background: I don't really read comics. I have read some (most recently, all of the Walking Dead, in about a week's time), but I tend to prefer word-only books when I read. I have nothing against comic books or graphic novels and those who read them -- such as my boyfriend, who I live with, who is responsible for me reading the Walking Dead and for me going to the convention. But even though I don't read a lot of comics, I do try to keep up with some news about the industry, particularly as it relates to feminism (women in refrigerators, Wonder Woman's newest costume, are there any gay characters or characters who aren't white, women who write/illustrate comics, problems with sexism at Comic-Con, etc.).

So, it wasn't like I was thrilled to be going to this expo, but I wasn't dreading it either. Which is why I'm surprised I had as good a time as I did. This was a decent-sized convention; not huge by any means, but it had about 100 booths. By far, the best part of the experience was talking to the writers and illustrators, many of whom are local or near-local to where I live. I had no idea so many people around here were putting out their own comics, and it was cool to hear from them what their comics are about, have them sign and draw stuff for you, etc.

A couple highlights:

This print, "Fannie the Flesheater," is done by the talented Billy Tackett, and it's one of three we bought from him, all of which he signed. It is, unsurprisingly, my favorite purchase of the day. All three prints are going to be framed and put on our walls because we like them that much. Check out his work at his website,

The BF and I were talking to Thom Zahler, author and illustrator of "Love and Capes," which neither of us have read. Zahler was telling us the story behind his comic and it sounded great, so we bought the first volume of the series, which he was kind enough to sign for us. But what was funny was Zahler asking me if I read comics (I said "sometimes," and he said "yay!"), and then him later telling me that all the women in his comic are clothed except one, and she's not because of her character. So that made me even more curious/excited to read "Love and Capes"! I was just thrilled that he would even think to let me know about that aspect of his work. (Maybe he saw my Fannie the Flesheater print?) You can check out the comic at

Of all the featured guests at the expo, only one was a woman -- out of 14. It was Lora Innes, who writes and illustrates "The Dreamer." I wanted to be sure to check her out, as I'm unfamiliar with her work. After talking to someone at her table who told us all about the comic, I was sold. We bought the graphic novel and a print that was drawn specifically for this expo, which Innes kindly signed. I'm looking forward to getting into this book. By the way, The Dreamer started as a web comic, and if you're interested, I believe the entire comic is still available to read online at You can also find more about the comic there, and the author.

The one thing I saw at the convention that made me roll my eyes: A comic called "Thong Girl." If you're inclined, you can read about it here. (The plot does sound kind of amusing.)

At one point, after making many purchases (which aren't pictured here, such as a signed Tony Moore print), I turned to my boyfriend and asked if I was going to turn into a comic book nerd like him. (Jokes, I swear!) Who knows, maybe I will after this. So if you have any comic recommendations or favorites, let me know!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Must-watch segment on Maddow: "Women candidates vs. women's rights" (with transcript)

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow recently had a segment on her show called "Women Candidates vs. Women's Rights," which dealt with women candidates (specifically from the GOP) and with the fact that there are five GOP Senate candidates (not all women) who believe that not only should abortion be illegal, but that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape and incest. This is must-watch TV, especially for the commentary offered by the always great Melissa Harris-Lacewell. You can see the full 13-minute segment here (by the way, that video offers subtitles and a transcript if you hover over the video). The video I've included is an excerpt of the segment, starting around 8:40 in, (h/t Jezebel), with a transcript of that excerpt under it.

Transcript (emphasis mine):

RACHEL MADDOW: Joining us now is Princeton University professor and MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Professor Harris-Lacewell, thank you for joining us.

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL: Can we please have the whole hour, Rachel? This one is really -- there's a lot here.

MADDOW: I'm going to make my first question very short so you can just start. Huh? What do you -- what do you make of this, Melissa?

HARRIS-LACEWELL: Well, again, you've got really a lot of complicated things going on here. On the one hand, this kind of group of insurgent young women in the GOP who are doing something that, you know, scholars of women's politics would say is very unlikely. They are running with little experience, with little name recognition, against incumbents. I mean, this is precisely why we've said we don't have many women in national government. It's precisely because it is so hard to be a person of less experience running against an incumbent. So, on the one hand, there's this little tiny bit of me that want to cheer for the fact that you have women candidates willing to be sort of courageous enough to put themselves forward in this very tough political situation. On the other hand, let's be completely clear about the facts here. There is no place in the world and no time in history where restricting women's reproductive rights makes a people or a nation more free or more equal. These extreme positions on abortion are without any question a war on American girls and women. And the fact that there are women who are both complicit and participatory in it is really neither surprising nor unprecedented.

It has always been true and incredibly important that we recognize that despite the fact that we can be very proud of these women as women and as politicians, that the question is: how do women as citizens fare on the other side of them either elected or not elected?

MADDOW: We now have at least five Republican Senate candidates on the record espousing this view of no exceptions to a nationwide abortion ban, even in cases of rape or incest. This is -- the reason I say that I'm stunned by the not getting more attention, is this is unprecedented to have this many real anti-abortion radicals running for national offices at this high a level. But do you think that we got five of them, we got so many of them because that view is becoming mainstream in Republican politics or just because we just have extreme candidates running this year?

HARRIS-LACEWELL: You know, I don't have the evidence yet that this has become a mainstream view. What I suspect is actually that it has more to do with kind of our ignorance of our understanding about women's life experiences, even as women. When you talk about the rape and incest clause, I suspect that many Americans, maybe even many pro-choice Americans, think that rape and incest and pregnancy resulting from it is a pretty unusual occurrence. They suspect that, you know, that maybe there's a -- there's a few dozen women for whom that would make a difference in any given year. But the fact is that sexual assault is an embarrassingly common experience. I don't mean embarrassing for those who are victimized, but rather embarrassing that in our country, it's still true that one in four girls and women is likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. And we know that particularly in cases of incest, the question of possible pregnancy -- because incest is often a repeated violation and one that does not often include protection -- that the possibility of pregnancy is very real. We're talking about hundreds of women, thousands of women in pregnancies. And, look, I'm from a people who really did experience the need to hold on to a God who would see them through difficult times, including generations of black women who in slavery were forced to bear the children of their rapists. And I do believe, because I'm a person of faith, in an interceding God that can help people through difficult circumstances. But I'm also an American who believes that the point of government isn't to make life so hard for half of our citizens that the only force there to help them is God. We, as a government and as a people, deserve and should do better.

MADDOW: Princeton University professor and MSNBC contributor, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who didn't wirte what she just said right there. She just said it because she can do that. You're amazing. Melissa, thanks.

Suggested Sunday reading (9/19/10)

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 might have heard a lot this week about Ines Sainz, the NFL reporter who alleged that a harassment case took place in the New York Jets Locker Room last Sunday. The coverage has been pretty awful, if you ask me. Just read through this Chicago Tribune story, "Sainz's NFL saga poor example of work of women covering sports," featuring lovely quotes like this one: "I say if you dress like that, be prepared. I will say that I've never been made to feel uncomfortable in the Bears' locker room." Some other (and better, mostly) reading on the case:
  • Hello Ladies: "4 Lessons From Ines Sainz and the New York Jets."
  • RobotCeleb: "Roger Goodell announces new training program because of Ines Sainz and Jet’s locker room antics."
  • New York Times: "Limits on Women Reinforce N.F.L.'s Boys' Club Mentality."
  • Football News Now: "Jets Won’t Be Fined for Female Reporter Incident."
  • New York Daily News: "Ines Sainz accepts Jets owner Woody Johnson's apology in sex harass flap, says can't 'happen again.'"

In other news:
  • Knotty Yarn: "Why I Am A Feminist, and Why I Will Shout It Loudly Into the Ears of Anyone That Will Listen." This is from July, but I really like it.
  • A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss: "Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, & Weight Gain: Facing Facts." This is worth your time. Really good.
  • VOA News: "WHO: Global Maternal Mortality Declines by More Than One-Third." Also check out "A Matter of Life and Death: The Preventable Crisis of Maternal Mortality," on the Huffington Post.
  • Feminist Peace Network: "Tubal Ligation In The Aftermath Of Pakistani Flood."
  • Ms. blog: It was bell hooks week, and they have a collection of links up.
  • The Crunk Feminist Collective: "Life is Not a Fairytale: Black Women and Depression."
  • Feministe: "Fat acceptance: when kindness is activism."
  • Pam's House Blend: "Tennessee lesbian couple burned out of home in suspected hate crime needs help." You can read more about this here.
  • Ms. blog: "Young Immigrant Women Have a DREAM," about the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minor's Act.
  • Tree Hugger: "Why American Women Accept Climate Change Science More Than Men." Hmm.
  • Care2: "African-American Boys Suspended Three Times More Than White Boys." Also in the article: "Black girls were suspended at four times the rate of white girls."
  • Bloomberg: "Goldman Sachs Sued Over Alleged Gender Discrimination."
  • IPS: "Michelle Bachelet's Appointment to Head UN Women Widely Applauded."
  • GLTNN: "New York City coalition condemns ongoing murders of members of the LGBT community in Puerto Rico."
  • CNN: "Transgender Politics," about the race in Oklahoma between transgender Democratic candidate, Brittany Novotny, and the socially conservative Republican incumbent, Sally Kern. Also check out "Oklahoma lawmaker Sally Kern supporter calls transgender opponent a 'confused it'" on NewsOK.
  • The WIP: "Facing Double Discrimination: Cambodian Lesbians Are Breaking the Silence."
  • Just Out: "Study: Nearly 9 in 10 LGBT Students Harassed at School."
  • The Guardian: "Wayne Rooney's infidelity exposes law's misogyny." This is a good read.
  • National Women's Law Center: "Women's Poverty Soared in 2009."
  • FTS Blog: "Uganda: From Forced Marriage in a War Zone to Peace Scout."
  • WZZM: "Kent County Commissioners vote to remove abortion benefits." This is in Michigan.
  • "California Planned Parenthood Medical Center Firebombed."
  • "The FBI's Shockingly Narrow Definition of Rape."
  • CTV News: "Don't share photos of gang-rape: victim's father." So, so awful.
Pop culture:
  • The Mirror: "The women strikers who bought Ford to its knees .. and the major motion picture that's been made about it."
  • This Ain't Livin': "The Windup Girl: Orientalism, Science Fiction, and Wasn’t Your Own Culture Good Enough For Your Dystopian Novel?"
  • BBC: "Helen Mirren makes Prospero a woman in Shakespeare film."
  • The Bay Citizen: "Geena Davis Says Girl Characters Mostly Stereotypes."
  • The fbomb: "Women in Pre-Code Film."
  • Gender Across Borders: "The Case for why Peggy Olson is NOT Mad Men’s Feminist Hero."
  • In Style: "Fashion Week’s First-Ever Plus-Size Fashion Show!"
  • Slate: "Can a Woman Be a "Great American Novelist"?"
  • After Ellen: "Katy Perry sings "Ur So Gay" in revenge, remains offensive while doing so."
  • The Consumerist: ""Sexy" "Sesame Street" And "Costume" Should Not Be In The Same Sentence." Just ... ugh. No.

Friday, September 17, 2010

In History: Maureen Connolly

This is the 43rd 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.

 Maureen Connolly was born on this day, Sept. 17, in 1934. She was a powerful tennis player, who became the first woman to win all four Grand Slam tennis tournaments -- the Australian Championships, the French Championships, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships. And she did so at age 18, in 1953. Connolly was ranked in the world top 10 from 1951 through 1954, reaching a career high of World No. 1 in those rankings from 1952 through 1954. She was the top ranked U.S. player from 1951 through 1953. Unfortunately, in 1954, an accident crushed her right leg and ended her tennis career when she was just 19 years old. She stayed involved in tennis, as a correspondent and coach. She died in 1969, at age 34, of stomach cancer.

Connolly was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969 and the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. The Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation, which was started by Connolly and her husband, Norman Brinker, to promote junior tennis, is still in existence today.

You can read more about Connolly here, which also includes video of her, and you can read the New York Times' story about her winning the Grand Slam tournaments here. Her obituary is here.

Photo source

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (9/12/10)

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.

This week has seen a number of good and interesting articles from one source: The Guardian, a newspaper in the UK. I have this feeling, unverified by anything except doing this Sunday reading column for more than a year now, that The Guardian consistently features more articles about feminism and women's issues than nearly any other newspaper, and certainly more than any newspaper in the United States. (Thoughts on that?) With that said, I want to point out some of their recent articles:

Abortion and reproductive health and rights:
  • Hello Ladies: "Ohio Working Mothers Need Not Apply." P.S., I live in Ohio. Great.
  • ABC: "Molotov Cocktail thrown at Madera's Planned Parenthood." This is in California.
  • WSOC TV: "Concord Man Charged In Plot To Bomb Women’s Clinic." But I'm sure they're pro-life!
  • The Unneccesarean: "Medical Student Won't Perform Pelvic Exams on Anesthetized Patients." This is a must read.
  • "Utah Lawmaker's Brilliant Cost-Cutting Plan? Cut Epidurals." FFS.
  • Daily Kos: "Too Easy." About how, according to 48 percent of American voters, it's "too easy" to have an abortion in this country.
  • Sydney Morning Herald: "Birth rights," about birth rape and women's experiences giving birth. Also check out Salon's "The push to recognize 'birth rape.'"
  • Ms. magazine: "Women Imprisoned for Miscarriages Freed In Mexico."
  • New Jersey Star-Ledger: "N.J. abortion doctor temporarily stops practicing medicine while under investigation." Ugh.

Sexual assault and rape:
  • Houston Press: "Laura Resendez: Another Woman Sues Over Alleged Sexual Assault In Iraq"
  • Charlie Glickman: "The Most Important Thing That Men Who Have Sex With Women Need to Know." This is really good.
  • ABC News: "Many Campus Assault Victims Stay Quiet, or Fail to Get Help." Including this for the information; I hate the word "fail" in the headline, and for the record, I don't think anyone is required to not stay quiet or to get help. It's up to each person.
  • Yes Means Yes: "False Rape Allegations Are Rare." If only more people believed that.
  • Salon: "Indian rape victims subjected to 'finger test.'" I can't even.
  • St. Louis Today: "Disabled woman was tortured and held as a sex slave." (Such a minor point compared to the content of the story, but "disabled woman"? Come on, headline writers.)

In other news:
  • CNN: "Tens of millions of 'missing' girls." A talk given by author Sheryl WuDunn.
  • New York Times: "Appeals Court in Atlanta Again Rejects Racial Discrimination Claim."
  • CNN: "Son seeks proof Iranian stoning case 'on hold.'"
  • Associated Press: "Female, single, over 30: Iraqis count cost of war."
  • The New Civil Rights Movement: "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Court – Now What?"
  • Washington Post: "One of Afghanistan's rare female Olympians now running for parliament."
  • Jezebel: "Why You Must See Unretouched Images, And Why You Must See Them Repeatedly."
  • Women's Views on the News: "Sexism is still rife among football players."
  • Jezebel: "Why Is It Weird When Your Boyfriend Is Not As Tall As You Are?"
  • Associated Press: "Little Rock 9 member Jefferson Thomas dies in Ohio."
  • The Consumerist: "Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Ladies Nights." I always hate the idea of ladies night.
  • Feministe: "Shameful Behaviour," about slut-shaming.
  • Tiny Cat Pants: "Who’s Watching the Women?"
  • The Nerve: "Girl Scouts breed 'pro-abortion' lesbians, says Republican." Lawls.
  • Jezebel: "Citibank HR Tells Ladies How To Succeed At Work." I truly hope they are ashamed of themselves for this, but somehow I doubt it.

Pop culture:
  • Falling Awkwardly: "Escaping the Fridge." This is about a storyline in the video game Dragon Age, which I have been playing (a lot) recently.
  • New York Magazine: "Rating the Practicality of Female-Action-Hero Fashion, From Alien to Resident Evil 4."
  • Women and Hollywood: "Women’s Stories Dominate Venice Film Festival."
  • Hollywood Reporter: "Betty White gets comic book treatment." I love this line of comic books.
  • Ars Marginal: "Via Loose Canon: Tropes of Women of Color in Sci-Fi."
  • The Awl: "Footnotes of Mad Men: The Promethean Woman, or, Our Dog in the Parthenon." God I love this show.
  • Ms. blog: "Breaking News: Lindsay Lohan Benefits from White Privilege!"

Friday, September 10, 2010

In History: Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley

This is the 42nd 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.

Mary Wollstonecraft, born in Britain in 1759, died this day, Sept. 10, in 1797 at age 38, 10 days after she gave birth to her daughter, Mary Shelley. This is quite the mother-daughter duo, even though they didn't know one another.

Wollstonecraft worked as a translator, reviewer and she wrote a number of books, in a time when not many women made their living as a writer. She is probably best known for her work "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason. (You can read the book online at Google Books, and you can download an audio version of it at LibriVox.) You can see a list of her other works here, a timeline of her life here, find a number of her other books online here, and read more about her here, which also has a good list of links.

Mary Shelley, born Aug. 30, 1797, was also a writer, best known for writing and publishing "Frankenstein" at age 19, (nineteen!) though she also wrote many other books, stories and essays. "Frankenstein" is available on Google Books, and the audio version is available on LibriVox. You can find more of her works online here, and more about her writing here.

I highly recommend reading more about these two incredible authors, as I can't do their lives justice in this short post.

Photos source: Wikipedia

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (9/5/10)

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.

Something a little different to start this week's post: A recommendation for an entire blog. Have you heard about the 30 Mosques 30 States project? The "about" section of the site describes it as this: "30 Mosques in 30 States is Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq’s Ramadan road trip across the United States. Beginning August 11 in New York City, the two will spend each night of Ramadan at a different mosque in 30 states around the country." They're just about done with their trip, but I would encourage anyone interested to start at the beginning and read through it. It's really, really good, as are the photos -- and you might just learn something! CNN wrote a story about the project that you can read here, also with video.

Abortion-related news:
  • RH Reality Check: "Lacking Health Insurance, More Women Turning to Do-It-Yourself Abortion." The class issues involved here ... cause you know that when women in poverty actually have kids, conservatives (and let's face it, others) want to get all judgmental and say things like "why did you have kids if you can't afford them," and "we don't want to pay for your welfare/food stamps/WIC, so just get a job already." Not to mention the safety and health issues involved in this. Ugh.
  • Wire Update: "11-year-old gives birth in southern Mexico after being denied abortion despite rape." You may remember reading about this girl before. So awful.
  • The Scavenger: "Why I help teenagers get secret abortions."
  • Huffington Post: "Colorado Senate Candidate Ken Buck Insists Rape, Incest Are No Excuse For An Abortion." I really hope the voters in Colorado don't put this guy in office.
  • RH Reality Check: "Access to Abortion: Red State, Blue State, Interstate."
  • CBS News: "N.J. Man Thomas Hill Raped Wife Because She Wouldn't Get Abortion, Say Cops." Forcing (or trying to force) a women to get an abortion is never okay. All about control.

Violence against women:
  • Colorlines: "Women Detainees Sexually Abused as ICE Polices Itself."
  • "Ex-Marine Receives Life For Taking Another." I can't really describe what happened here other than to say a man Marine was accused of raping a woman Marine, and she later turned up dead in his yard. Just read the article.
  • Campus Progress: "The Street Harassment Problem." Reviews the book "Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Spaces Safe and Welcoming for Women" by Holly Kearl.
  • "Bias Against Sex Workers Let Serial Killer Murder 21 Women."

In other news:
  • Al Jazeera: "Native women 'disappear' in Canada: On the International Day of the Displaced, activists say fate of hundreds of missing indigenous women must be examined."
  • Ms. magazine: "Campaign Workers for Afghan Woman Candidate Murdered."
  • "Indigenous Oaxacan Woman Sues Missisippi Hospital For Taking Her Baby." I can't even.
  • Huffington Post: "Ordination of Bhikkhunis in the Theravada Tradition." This is pretty cool. Four women were declared fully ordained as bhikkhunis, Buddhist nuns, in the Thai Theravada tradition, the first such ordination ever in the Western hemisphere.
  • Slate: "The Mother of All Grizzlies: Ruth Bader Ginsburg shows how feminism is done. Again."
  • FWD/Forward: "Signal Boost: Submissions Requested for the September Disability Blog Carnival." These are always really good, and they're looking for submissions.
  • New York Times: "A Palin of Our Own" (op-ed). This is a good read. Also check out "How Feminists' Eggs Came Home to Roost," on Huffington Post. I think it's pretty spot on, especially this line: "Why are Democratic women moving backwards? Because we've promised our vote to one party on the basis of one issue [abortion]. We have no bargaining power or leverage." And there's also "Women Losing Out in Congress" on Tapped.
  • Owning Pink: "Want a Raise? Wash Your Vagina." Yes, this advice was actually given.
  • San Francisco Chronicle: "Are Bikini Baristas 'Bad Feminists?'"
  • Feministe: "Marginalized folks shouldn’t always have to be 'the bigger persons.'"
  • NOW has a new webiste called Ratify Women! and it's all about CEDAW. Lots of info there.
  • Women's eNews: "Welfare Job Rules Hit Women With Disabilities."
  • Feministing: "A Victory for Domestic Workers." This is in New York state.
  • Los Angeles Times: "Fidel Castro takes 'responsibility' for persecution of Cuban gays." Hmm.
  • Shakesville: "What You're Projecting Ain't Saying Much For Ya." This post contains this excellent line: "In short, they fear gay men treating them the way they treat women."
  • Bitch magazine: "Push(back) at the Intersections: Hello, Appropriation!"

Popular culture:
  • Jezebel: "'Huge' & The Future Of Fat On TV" (there are some spoilers). I enjoyed the show, I hope they bring it back for a second season.
  • Think Progress: "Mary Louise Parker Calls O’Reilly An 'Idiot' For Attacking Jennifer Aniston’s Comments On Single Motherhood."
  • The Nation: "On 'Friday Night Lights,' Abortion Stigma Goes Primetime" (mild spoilers). Man, I love this show. And this is a good article.
  • Slate: "Emmys Reward Smart, Nuanced Female Characters."
  • The Atlantic: "What Hath Feminism Wrought," something of a review of the book "What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848," by Daniel Walker Howe. Sounds quite interesting.
  • "U.K. Magazine Says No More Models or Celebrities."
  • Cinema Blend: "Kristen Bell Organizes Fans To Demand A Veronica Mars Movie." I haven't ever watched the show, but I know people who really liked it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

In History: Ruth Nickerson

This is the 41st 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.

Jennie Ruth Nickerson (1905-1997) was an American sculptor, WPA (Public Works of Art Program) artist, art educator and teacher. She preferred to work in stone and carved directly into her materials. Her signature works were larger-than-life religious figures, but also created the occasional political figure as well.

As this site says, Nickerson was "a female pioneer in a field dominated by men until the late 1900s. ... As a female, Nickerson was unable to find apprentice work with any of the great sculptors of the time. Striking out on her own in a studio on 14th Street in Manhattan, she discovered the art of direct stone carving." Nickerson exhibited in a number of museums, including Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Cocoran Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy. Read more about her at the link, which also contains images of some of her sculptures.

Photo source.


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