Monday, November 29, 2010

In which I address a comment left on my blog about the rape "problem"

I hate to dredge up this post again, because the entire post and response to it were not pleasant, but it needs to be done. The comment was left on this blog post: "What to do with the American University rape apologist," which I published on March 29, 2010. That was exactly eight months ago. In the entire time I've been writing this blog, I've written about rape many, many times. It's one of the top topics on this blog. So why the comment was left on this particular post, I don't know, but here's what the comment says:

we are a group of women's studies students doing an in-depth analysis of the feminist blogosphere and specifically blogs related to violence against women. after reading your blog and many others we have noticed that there is a lack of solutions suggested for these problems. for example your blog is addressing the issue of date rape and one student's assumptions; however, as you do list other reasons for why girls may go back to boys rooms you do not list any other solutions to this problem. a problem that is much larger than just this one college campus. just an idea for further blogs, suggestions on how to prevent violence against women (date rape) may be more helpful than just talking to one person.

That comment is from the ever-popular Anonymous.

So, dear group of women's studies students, here's a solution to the "problem":


I promise you, as soon as rapists stop raping, the problem will go away. Until then? There is no "solution." No matter what people do to try to "prevent" rape (walking in groups, wearing modest clothing, carrying weapons, etc.), rapists aren't going to stop or even dramatically decrease until society as a whole does a couple things:

1. Take rape seriously. It is the only crime that involves blaming the victim to the nth degree; rape accusations aren't taken at face value; prosecutors won't take rape cases; if convicted, rapists serve very little time in prison; etc. When rape goes unpunished, that's a pretty clear message that we, society, don't care if someone commits this crime.
2. Quit treating certain segments of the human population as if their bodies are commodities. No one's body is "there for the taking," so to speak, yet human bodies are presented in that manner all day every day.
2. Take rapists seriously. Yes, really. Because we, society, cannot seem to accept that the only person to "blame" for rape is the person who committed rape. That's it. That is the problem: the rapist. A person can do everything in their power to prevent rape, and they can still be raped. So it's time we take rapists seriously, as actual criminals, and not as "boys will be boys" or whatever other bullshit rape apology/excuse comes up when someone is accused of committing rape.

And by the way, women's studies students: I'm really sorry that you've not found an acceptable amount of suggested solutions in your studies of the feminist blogosphere. I also find it pretty hard to believe. Are you sure you're reading feminist blogs? Like, a lot of them? Because the feminist blogs I regularly read have suggested solutions to ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS, including how to end/reduce rape. And guess what?! As it so happens, I have a blog post on this very website(!) about how to stop rape. So, you all should probably look at more feminist blogs, or at least carefully read them.

Also? Feminists and feminist bloggers, while we may be concerned about All The Problems ailing this world, get tired. Tired of explaining things like "You know why rape happens? Because rapists commit rape. That's why." Tired of being told things like "if you're going to complain, then offer solutions." Fuck that. I will complain all I want, as often as I want, and offer exactly zero solutions if I want. Because this is My Blog, and the world is not My First Responsibility. Educating you is also not My Responsibility. My first responsibility is taking care of myself, and that is a full-time job plus some. After that, I might be taking care of someone else. Or doing activist work, for free. Or cooking dinner. Or whatever else. With what energy I have left, I might write a blog post criticizing some stupid column some stupid college kid wrote, and it just might not occur to me that I have to state the obvious for all of the people who aren't aware of it: only rapists can prevent rape.

Does that address your concerns, women's studies students?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (11/28/10)

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.

Going to start off this roundup with a video. It's a short one, that conveys good and important and extremely sad information about body image and the diet industry. I particularly liked that the video includes information about male models and G.I. Joe. Check it out:

Body Image PSA from Vianca Lugo on Vimeo.

In other news:
  • Gathering Forces: "Reflections on Thanksgiving by a Native Revolutionary."
  • CBS: "Tables Turned On Alleged NYC Subway Flasher; Woman Decides She's Fed Up And Not Going To Take It Anymore." I really admire what this woman did, it takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself like this (video at the link). Also, check out Salon's related article, "A virtual hideout for subway flashers."
  • Salon: Can anorexia lead to unplanned pregnancy?
  • The New Civil Rights Movement: "UN General Assembly Votes To Allow Gays To Be Executed Without Cause."
  • Huffington Post: "Notre Dame Sex Attack: Football Player Accused Of Leading Lizzy Seeberg To Suicide."
  • Constitutional Law Prof Blog: "Judge Kimba Wood on gender equality." This is so awesome.
  • The Vancouver Sun: "Ad campaign targets men who prey on drunken women." From what I've seen of this campaign, I love it.
  • Time magazine: "Move Over, Milk Banks: Facebook and Milk Sharing."
  • CBS: "In Novartis Sex Discrimination Case, Lawyers Get $40M But Women Get Just $16K."
  • Big Think: "TSA Sexism: Pilots' Junk Off-Limits; Flight Attendants' Fair Game."
  • National Center for Transgender Equality: "Transgender Travelers and New TSA Policies."
  • Yolanda Pierce: "When It Happened to Me." This is also about the TSA, and about race, and it is a really good piece of commentary.
  • DNAinfo: "Greenwich Village High School Launches Blog on Feminism." How cool is this??
  • New Latina: "The Challenges of Today’s Latinas."
  • CNN: "Woman fighting sex slavery named CNN Hero of the Year."
  • The Telegraph: "The women sold into sex-slavery." Recommend reading this, if you can.
  • Ms. blog: "Where in the World Can Women Feel Safe?"
  • Time magazine: "ACLU Cites Walgreens For Refusing Emergency Contraception to Men." Good-to-know information: Anyone who is age 17 or older (with ID) can purchase emergency contraception, regardless of gender.
  • Women's Views on News: "Only 10-20% of newspaper opinion pieces written by women."
  • Women's Views on News: "The forgotten 98% – femicide in Guatemala."
  • New York Times: "For China’s Women, More Opportunities, More Pitfalls."
  • The Guardian: "Indian village bans unmarried women from using mobiles."
  • Pink News: "US judge says lesbians can be 'cured' by male soldiers."
  • AlterNet: "Sarah Palin's Brand of 'Feminism' More Popular With Men Than Women." Shocking!! And FYI, she is not a feminist, nor does she have a "brand" of feminism.
  • "College Student Assaulted for Using the “Wrong” Bathroom."
  • The Guardian: "I accused my husband of rape. I was locked up – and he was set free."
  • This Ain't Livin': "Rights For States, Not For Women?" I have never understand this, ever.
  • Mediaite: "ESPN Magazine Poses Lindsey Vonn As Sharon Stone In Basic Instinct (Yes, THAT Scene)."
  • The Telegraph: "American Vogue courts controversy with Asian model fashion shoot."

Friday, November 26, 2010

In History: Sojourner Truth

This is the 53rd 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 could never begin to write something comprehensive about Sojourner Truth's life in one simple blog post, but today is the anniversary of her death and I want to acknowledge that. She was born in 1797 and she died Nov. 26, 1883. Sojourner Truth was the self-given name, from 1843 on, of Isabella Baumfree. She was an abolitionist and women's rights activist who was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York.

If you don't know much about Sojourner Truth's life, I suggest starting here and here to get a brief overview. Both sites have links to more information. Also, you can download "The Narrative of Sojourner Truth," by Olive Gilbert and Sojourner Truth, at Project Gutenberg. For that book, Truth dictated her memoirs to her friend Olive Gilbert, and in 1850 William Lloyd Garrison privately published the book. The Library of Congress also has a number of online resources you can check for more on this amazing woman's life.

The one thing I definitely wanted to point out today is Truth's famous speech, often called "Ain't I a Woman," which she gave at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, on May 29, 1851. There are a number of versions of this speech. Here is the first recorded version, which Marius Robinson, who attended the convention and worked with Truth, published in the June 21, 1851, issue of the Anti-Slavery Bugle:
I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman's rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can't she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can't take more than our pint'll hold. The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don't know what to do. Why children, if you have woman's rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won't be so much trouble. I can't read, but I can hear. I have heard the bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well, if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again. The Lady has spoken about Jesus, how he never spurned woman from him, and she was right. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to him with faith and love and besought him to raise their brother. And Jesus wept and Lazarus came forth. And how came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and the woman who bore him. Man, where was your part? But the women are coming up blessed be God and a few of the men are coming up with them. But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.
And here is a version that I would deem is the "more popular" version:
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On this Thanksgiving, what I am thankful for

I am thankful for the many, many people in this world who are working every day, in whatever way they can, to eliminate discrimination of all kinds and to make life better for oppressed populations. To everyone working toward making this world more equal, safe and overall a better place, I say thank you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (11/21/10)

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 really disappointed about the Paycheck Fairness Act not passing. Well, not just not passing, but not even being debated. Every single Republican Senator, and one Democratic Senator, voted to block debate on the bill. And I'm not just disappointed; I'm angry. Angry that people in our government consistently do what they think is in the interest of business instead of what is in the interest of citizens, of equality, and of what is right. They may as well have issued a statement that says "We cannot possibly require businesses to pay people fairly; that isn't fair to businesses who already don't pay people fairly, because it will cost them more and hurt their profit margins." Anyway, I really liked what the AAUW had to say about this whole fiasco, especially this: "This de facto filibuster of fair pay by Senate Republicans ensured that we never got to a debate on the bill's merits. Strategically, I can't blame them — they can't win a fair fight against pay equity." I also like this Newsweek article, "Stranger Than Fiction."

There have also been a number of stories this week about TSA pat-downs, as I'm sure you've all heard. I wanted to point out a few of them:
  • Gender Across Borders: "Guys Against Sexual Assault." This is about how men are suddenly realizing the sexual-assault aspect of these pat-downs. To quote the article, "Dozens of stories are coming up now, but only after a white guy screamed pseudo-rape."
  • Huffington Post: "100 Body Scans From Security Checkpoint Leaked."
  • Gizmodo: "Woman Suing Federal Government After TSA Screeners Exposed Her Breasts to Entire Airport (And Asked for Video)."
  • MSNBC: "TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine."
  • MSNBC: "TSA forces cancer survivor to show prosthetic breast." This woman is a flight attendant, by the way. Is she going to have to do this every time?
In other news:
  • Bust magazine: "Gay Bashing vs. Slut Shaming: Aren't they equally deadly?" Sadly, yes, they are. And they both deserve our attention.
  • Feministe: "Transgender Day of Remembrance."
  • FWD/Forward: "Dear Imprudence: I’ll Keep My Body Hair, Thanks." This is great.
  • New York Times: "Here’s a Woman Fighting Terrorism. With Microloans."
  • Huffington Post: "Why Women Need Pelosi." This goes well with their article "Just How Bad Is Boehner for a Woman's Right to Choose?."
  • The Guardian: "The truth about sex difference is that if men are from Mars, so are women."
  • NPR: "Kidnapping, Tribal Reprisal Upend Iraqi Woman's Life."
  • Shakesville: "So, Jon Stewart was on the Rachel Maddow Show." I liked this analysis.
  • The Advocate: "Lesbians Stopped From Graduating." Why? I'll give you one guess. It rhymes with schmesbians. And then there's ...
  • "Lesbian Couple Banned From School Dance." You know, I used to go to school dances with (heterosexual) girls all the time. No one seemed to have a problem with that.
  • Cindy's Take on Tech: "An Open Letter to Wired Magazine." This is about their latest issue, which has boobs on the cover.
  • MSNBC: "Pregnancy not covered by most individual health policies." Some people probably know this; others find out way too late.
  • Feministe: "Making a career out of telling women not to have careers."
  • The WIP: "Combating Berlusconi’s Vision of Women: Italian Feminism 2.0."
  • The Scavenger: "In defence of stripping and sex work." This is an excellent interview.
  • SF Chronicle: "Ads for Zestra women's arousal oil rejected." But Viagra ads are everywhere.
  • The Stir: "Fox News on Obama's New Book: A Bunch of Sitting Bull." Ugh. Also check out Mediate's article.
  • Colorlines: "A Generation of Black Youth Is Losing Its Future in the Jobs Crisis." What can we do about this?
  • USA Today: "Michigan law official fired for harassing gay student leader." Finally!
  • Father Geoff Farrow: "Why I handcuffed myself to the White House fence."
  • The Curvature: "Study on Rape of Youth Age 12 and Younger Responded to With Victim-Blaming Rhetoric."
  • Pigtail Pals: "Have Yourself A Very Sexist Holiday." About toy catalogs, and it's exactly how you think it's going to be.
  • MSNBC: "Transgender Americans face high suicide risk."
  • Writing is Fighting: "Why am I not a Feminist?" I thought this was an interesting perspective. It makes me want to fight even harder for feminism to be more inclusive.
  • Fox News (sorry): "Study: Men Fake Orgasms, Too." Gasp!
  • Sociological Images: "Redefining Masculinity: Do Men Save Lives or Take Them?"
Popular culture:
  • Washington Post: "PBS edits Tina Fey's remarks from Twain event." Grrr.
  • The Ebb and Flow: "'Glee’s' Girl Problem."
  • USA Today: "Patti Smith's memoir 'Just Kids' wins National Book Award."
  • My Modern Met: "Grandma's Superhero Therapy (18 photos)." I love this so much.
  • Pop Matters: "Politicking with 'Made in Dagenham''s Miranda Richardson."
  • Style Bistro: "Women’s Mafia Artist Jodi Leib Featured in the GLAAD OUTAuction!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Today is International Transgender Day of Remembrance

If you are unaware of what this day is all about, let me fill you in real quick: Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held every Nov. 20. It was founded to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the "Remembering Our Dead" web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in hundreds of cities around the world. According to the Transgender Day of Remembrance website:
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
That same site also has a list of events being held around the world. Some have already happened, but check and see if there is one going on in your city. You might be surprised. If you want, you can also see a list of some of the people who are being memorialized today. According to the Trans Murder Monitoring project -- yes, that exists -- this year alone there are almost 180 trans persons to be added to the list to be remembered, mourned and honored.

If nothing else today, please read the following articles and consider what can be done to make this world safer for all trans people.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In History: Nadine Gordimer

This is the 52nd 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.

Nadine Gordimer, born Nov. 20, 1923, outside Johannesburg, is a Jewish South African writer, political activist and Nobel laureate. Her writing deals with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid in South Africa. She was active in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress during the days when the organization was banned. She has recently been active in HIV/AIDS causes.

Gordimer started writing when she was young; she published her first story when she was 15 years old. Many of her short stories were published in various magazines in South Africa, and eventually she developed a relationship with New Yorker magazine, where a number of her stories have appeared. Her first novel, "The Lying Days," was published in 1953.

In 1906, the arrest of Gordimer's best friend, Bettie du Toit, and the Sharpeville massacre spurred her entry into the anti-apartheid movement. She quickly became active in South African politics, and was close friends with Nelson Mandela's defense attorneys (Bram Fischer and George Bizos) during his 1962 trial. When Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Gordimer was one of the first people he wanted to see.

The South African government banned several of Gordimer's works, two for lengthy periods of time. "The Late Bourgeois World" was Gordimer's first personal experience with censorship; it was banned in 1976 for a decade by the South African government. "A World of Strangers was banned for 12 years. Other works were censored for lesser amounts of time. "July's People" was also banned under apartheid, and faced censorship under the post-apartheid government as well: In 2001, a provincial education department temporarily removed "July's People" from the school reading list, along with works by other anti-apartheid writers, describing "July's People" as "deeply racist, superior and patronizing" -- a characterization that Gordimer took as an insult, and that many literary and political figures protested.

Gordimer joined the African National Congress when it was still listed as an illegal organization by the South African government. She saw the ANC as the best hope for reversing South Africa's treatment of black citizens. She hid ANC leaders in her own home to aid their escape from arrest by the government. Gordimer regularly took part in anti-apartheid demonstrations in South Africa, and traveled internationally speaking out against South African apartheid and discrimination and political repression.

Her works began achieving literary recognition early in her career, with her first international recognition in 1961, followed by numerous literary awards throughout the ensuing decades. Literary recognition for her accomplishments culminated with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, which noted that Gordimer "through her magnificent epic writing has -- in the words of Alfred Nobel -- been of very great benefit to humanity".

Gordimer's activism has not been limited to the struggle against apartheid. She has resisted censorship and state control of information, and fostered the literary arts. She refused to let her work be aired by the South African Broadcasting Corporation because it was controlled by the apartheid government. Gordimer also served on the steering committee of South Africa's Anti-Censorship Action Group. A founding member of the Congress of South African Writers, Gordimer has also been active in South African letters and international literary organizations. She has been Vice President of International PEN.

In the post-apartheid 1990s and 21st century, Gordimer has been active in the HIV/AIDS movement. In 2004, she organized about 20 major writers to contribute short fiction for "Telling Tales," a fundraising book for South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign, which lobbies for government funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

Gordimer, whose latest book came out in 2005, has received many awards in her career:

* W. H. Smith Commonwealth Literary Award (England) (1961)
* James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Scotland) (1972)
* Booker Prize for The Conservationist (1974)
* CNA Prize (Central News Agency Literary Award), South Africa (1974, 1975, 1980, 1991)
* Grand Aigle d'Or (France) (1975)
* Orange Prize shortlisting; she rejected
* Scottish Arts Council Neil M. Gunn Fellowship (1981)
* Modern Language Association Award (United States) (1982)
* Bennett Award (United States) (1987)
* Premio Malaparte (Italy) (1985)
* Nelly Sachs Prize (Germany) (1986)
* Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (1988, A Sport of Nature)
* Nobel Prize for Literature (1991)
* Laureate of the International Botev Prize (1996)
* Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the Best Book from Africa (2002; for The Pickup)
* Booker Prize longlist (2001; for The Pickup)
* Legion of Honour (France) (2007)[35]
* Hon. Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
* Hon. Member, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters
* Fellow, Royal Society of Literature (Britain)
* Patron, Congress of South African Writers
* Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France)
* At least 15 honorary degrees (the first being Doctor Honoris Causa at Leuven University in Belgium)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today: National Day of Action to End Child Sex Trafficking in America

Please check out this article at's End Human Trafficking blog and sign the petition there:
At least 100,000 American children are forced into prostitution each year, right here in the U.S. You can help make that number zero by uniting your voice with thousands of people from across the country to demand an end to child sex trafficking and pass landmark legislation which will keep traffickers off the streets, punish those who buy sex with kids, and protect victims.

On November 17, the National Coalition to End Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is organizing a National Day of Action to pass the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act. Right now in the U.S., there are only a handful of shelter beds for the thousands of children who are being removed from prostitution each year. This legislation will mean more young domestic sex trafficking survivors will have access to the shelter and restorative care services they need. It will also increase resources for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute the traffickers and predators who victimize our children.

This law can absolutely become a reality for the hundreds of thousands of trafficked children in the U.S. The Senate bill is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate and the House bill picked up steam after the Sept 15th House Judiciary hearing where Craigslist announced the permanent closure of their erotic ads in the U.S. But time is running out for the current 111th Congress, and it is critical to pass this legislation, especially in the House, before the session ends.

Here's how you can make this historic bill to fight child sex trafficking in America become law:
  1. Join advocates across the country on November 17 to make the phones on Capitol Hill ring off the hook and send members of the U.S. House of Representatives a clear and united message: The number of children being trafficked in the U.S. is on the rise, and it's time for Congress to act! Check back next week for call information, contact numbers, and a sample script.
  2. Sign the petition asking your representative to support the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act.
  3. Share the National Day of Action on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks (check out the buttons at the top of this post) to spread the word and inspire more people to join the fight against child sex trafficking in America.
We have an opportunity to create historic change and reduce child sex trafficking in America. Will you join us on November 17 in calling for an end to the exploitation and sale of children in our country?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Final Countdown for Paycheck Fairness: Call Your Senators Today!

This follwing is from NOW. I hope you join me in making some phone calls! This is so important. You can read the entire bill here, and you can read about the bill here.

The countdown is on and we need your help to get the bill across the finish line. On Tuesday, November 16 (that is TODAY!), participate in the national call-in day! Call your senators at 1-877-667-6650 and ask them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this session!

The moment is here – thanks to your support, we are within striking distance of passing the Paycheck Fairness Act! The Senate is back in session and precious few days remain for them to pass this critical bill.
Taking action has never been more important than it is right now. The Senate must make this bill a priority: the Paycheck Fairness Act would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers.

This critically important bill will greatly advance equal pay for women and must be passed this week during the short lame duck session. Under Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) able leadership, the House passed the Paycheck Fairness Act as one of it first votes in the current Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised to bring the bill to a floor vote during the lame duck session which begins today. Important point: there may not be an opportunity for such legislation to be adopted in the next Congress because of the change in leadership in the House. So the Paycheck Fairness Act needs to be adopted now -- please call BOTH of your senators.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, NOW and other leading organizations in the Paycheck Fairness Act coalition are hosting a nationwide call-in day to push the Senate to vote. We need only a few minutes of your time. Please dial 1-877-667-6650 and simple instructions will direct you to your Senators’ offices.

After you are put through, be sure to tell them the following:
  • Your name, address, and that you are their constituent.
  • You are calling to urge them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • Women currently only make 77 cents to the dollar paid to men.
  • The Paycheck Fairness Act would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and bar retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers.
  • The House already passed the bill in January, 2010. The Senate must do the same this session and protect against any weakening amendments that arise.
The final hours are ticking by and every call makes a difference. Please, take a few moments on Tuesday, November 16 to call your senators at 1-877-667-6650 and ask them to pass Paycheck Fairness for women and their families before time runs out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (11/14/10)

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.

There has been a lot of bad news this week, and much of it has to do with rape. Trigger warning for the following, to say the least.
  • Think Progress: "5th Circuit Rules That High School Cheerleader Is Required To Cheer For Her Alleged Rapist." Not only did the court say she had to cheer for her rapist, it also ruled that her family has to to pay the school district’s legal fees on the grounds their suit was "far-fetched and frivolous." Yes, it is so far-fetched to think that a cheerleader, who was raped by a football/basketball player, wouldn't want to say his name during a cheer. The family is appealing, by the way.
  • BBC: "Anger over rape case jailing of Powys woman." Basically, a woman accused her husband of raping her, then later dropped the charges, a couple more things happened, and then she got sentenced to jail for eight months for making "false accusations."
  • PNC Minnesota: "Rape Survivor Devastated by TSA Enhanced Pat Down." This is going to be an ongoing problem, for all kinds of people. (And if you watch "Dexter," you'll recall the scene this season in which Julia Stiles, playing a rape survivor, has a panic attack while going through a pat down at an airport and ultimately can't get on the plane because she can't go through with it.)
  • "Woman Forced by Police to State That Non-Consensual Sex Was Not Rape." Read that carefully. Rape is not rape. WTF.
  • Detroit Free Press: "Mom: No justice for daughter." This is a follow-up to the story about the teenager who was raped and then committed suicide after being bullied at school. The charges against the guy were dropped after she killed herself. Jezebel also has a story about this.
  • Chicago Tribune: "Police: educators didn't report rape allegation." A girl gets raped in a bathroom at school, goes to tell school administrators, and they decide to "investigate" her allegation because it was "vague." Four hours later, they call the police.
  • "Child Rape Victim Threatens Suicide to Escape Interrogation by Rapist." From the story: "In Seattle, Washington, on Thursday, a 21-year-old woman was soon to testify against the man on trial for raping her as a child. It's a traumatic experience for a rape survivor to go through under any circumstances, but this was an especially horrific situation: the person who would be cross-examining her was the very man accused of sexually abusing and threatening to kill her. Distraught at the prospect, the young woman made her way to the King County courthouse rooftop and spent three hours threatening to jump before being led to safety."

So. Those are just the stories that made "big" headlines this week. It's painful.

In other news:
  • New York Times: "For Afghan Wives, a Desperate, Fiery Way Out." From the story: "Through early October, 75 women arrived [at this hospital] with burns — most self-inflicted, others only made to look that way. That is up nearly 30 percent from last year."
  • "Skip the Poppy Seed Bagel, or Your Baby Could Be Taken Away." This is horrible.
  • Salon: "The soft war against women: It may seem like a wonderful time to be female, but there is a darker current beneath the surface of society." Also check out Salon's article "Prediction: An assault on reproductive rights."
  • Los Angeles Times: "Korean island women carry on diving tradition." This is a really cool story.
  • Time magazine: "Study: Breast-Feeding Moms Get Just as Much (or Little) Rest as Formula-Feeders."
  • WSOC TV: "Local Pastor Convicted Of Stalking Doctor Who Performs Abortions." He was sentenced to two years probation.
  • Ms. magazine: "The Anti-Abortion Clinic Across the Street," about crisis pregnancy centers.
  • RH Reality Check: "Mendacity Exposed: Researcher Debunks the Big Lie on Abortion and Mental Health."
  • New York Times: "Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected."
  • Wall Street Journal: "Study: Where Have all The Women Lawyers Gone?"
  • Associated Press: "0% of Kids Raised by Lesbians Report Abuse in UCLA Study."
  • Los Angeles Times: "Supreme Court discusses gender discrimination in citizenship case."
  • RH Reality Check: "Daddy I Do: 'Purity' World is Tough for Women."
  • Washington Post: "Study: Recommendation letters can hinder women." Great.
  • The Japan Times: "Foreigners victims, perpetrators of sekuhara: Japan sees progress on sexual harassment, but stories suggest it still has a long way to go."
  • Binary Subverter: "Why trans people should lead trans stuff."
  • Gender Across Borders: "Some Thoughts on Weddings and Abled Privilege."
  • Gizmodo: "How Two Gay Men Used Skype To Have a Legal Wedding In Texas."
  • Stuff (New Zealand): "School dean upsets pupil with 'slut' comment."
  • Amanda Hess: "Local anti-abortion activists' elaborate plans to protest LeRoy Carhart."
  • The Guardian: "Does empowering women really make men less 'relevant'?Does empowering women really make men less 'relevant'?"
  • "Washington State Wants to Let Pharmacies Deny Women Plan B." Sigh.
  • Washington Post: "Supreme Court declines to end 'don't ask, don't tell'."
  • Time magazine: "The Family Minister vs. the Feminist: German Women at War."
  • The Guardian: "How feminism could improve judicial decision-making."
  • The Guardian: "Aung San Suu Kyi 'released from house arrest.'" BBC has video.
Popular culture:
  • Crunk Feminist Collective: "On #ForColoredGirls *Spoiler Alert*"
  • Washington Post: "Tina Fey accepts the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor." I love this: "The rise of conservative women in politics, she said pointedly, is good for all women, 'unless you don't want to pay for your own rape kit .. unless you're a lesbian who wants to get married to your partner of 20 years ... [or] unless you believe in evolution.'"
  • Gender Across Borders: "Glee Exposed: Don’t knock the supply if you are the demand..."
  • Feminist Fatale: "Maura Kelly: I Don’t Hate Fat People, They Just Disgust Me."
  • Thought Catalog: "Gender Bending in Entertainment."
  • Entertainment Weekly: "KaDee Strickland talks about her brutal rape storyline on 'Private Practice.'"
  • Spin magazine: "Indie Supergroup Wild Flag Debut in Olympia." In this group: Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, Mary Timony of Helium and the Minders' Rebecca Cole.
  • After Ellen: "Review of 'Black Swan.'"

Friday, November 12, 2010

In History: Mary Edwards Walker

This is the 51st 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.

The Medal of Honor award was established in 1862, during the American Revolution, and is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. In its history, 3,470 of them have been awarded. Only one has been awarded to a woman (one, in the entire history of the award!), and that woman is Mary Edwards Walker.

Walker, born in 1832, was an American feminist, abolitionist, prohibitionist, alleged spy, prisoner of war and surgeon. Before the Civil War, she earned her medical degree, married and started a medical practice. The practice didn't do well and she volunteered with the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War and served as a female surgeon. She was captured by Confederate forces after crossing enemy lines to treat wounded civilians and arrested as a spy. She was sent as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Va., until released in a prisoner exchange. She went on to serve during the Battle of Atlanta and later as supervisor of a female prison in Louisville, Ky., and head of an orphanage in Tennessee.

After the war, she was approved for the Medal of Honor for her efforts during the war. As mentioned, she is the only woman to receive the medal, and she is one of only eight civilians to receive it. Her medal was later rescinded based on an Army determination, and then it was restored in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter.

Walker became a writer and lecturer after the war, supporting such issues as health care, temperance, women's rights and dress reform for women. She wrote two books that discussed women's rights and dress; she herself often wore pants and a top hat. She participated for several years with other leaders in the women's suffrage movement, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The initial stance of the movement, taking Walker's lead, was to say that women already had the right to vote, and Congress need only enact enabling legislation. After a number of fruitless years working at this, the movement took the new tack of working for a Constitutional amendment. This was diametrically opposed to Mary Walker's position, and she fell out of favor with the movement. She continued to attend conventions of the suffrage movement and distribute her own brand of literature, but was virtually ignored by the rest of the movement. until her death in 1919.

Walker's Medal of Honor citation reads:
Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, "has rendered valuable service to the Government, and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways," and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major-Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made. It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her.

Photo source 1; photo source 2

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Veterans Day, let's remember the women

Women have played a role in warfare since, well, ever. Seeing as today is Veterans Day in the United States, I hope you all join me in saying thank you to all the women who have served in the military, whether in a time of war or a time of peace, whether on the battle lines or as medical support or in a behind-the-scenes role. Not to mention all the women who have had family members and friends serving in the military, and who have lost family members and friends. (I feel like this is basically everyone ... in the sense that I think everyone has been personally affected by war, at some point.)

Some women who have played a role in battle or in the military:

1755: Cherokee leader Nancy Ward fights side-by-side with her husband at the Battle of Taliwa. When her husband is killed, she picked up his rifle and led the Cherokee to victory.

1778: Molly Pitcher (born Mary Ludwig in 1754) married John Hays in 1769. Her husband fought for the Continental Army at the Battle of Monmouth (New Jersey) on June 28, 1778. During the battle, she brought pitchers of water to her husband and fellow soldiers, thus earning the appellation Molly Pitcher. When her husband succumbed to exhaustion, she picked up his rifle and fought against the British.

1782-1783: Deborah Sampson serves in the American army during the American Revolutionary War while disguised as a man. She is the first known American woman to join the military, the first to fight in combat, and the first to receive a military pension.

1861–1865: Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist and a former slave, becomes an Union spy. She leads a band of scouts and provides key intelligence to the Union Army. Tubman becomes the first woman to lead an armed assault during the Civil War in the Raid at Combahee Ferry in 1863.

January 25, 1865: Florena Budwin dies and becomes the first American woman to be buried in a national cemetery. She had disguised herself as a man in order to fight on the side of the Union Army in the American Civil War.

1978: Margaret A. Brewer becomes the first woman to reach the rank of general in the United States Marine Corps.

1980: The first classes with women graduate from the United States Air Force Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy.

1997: Claudia Kennedy becomes the first woman in the United States Army to hold a three-star rank.

If you'd like to read more, check out this Wikipedia article, which has information on women who serve in the military in a number of countries. Also, there are some great links at this article.

I'm going to take a sharp turn here and point everyone to this AlterNet article, "Covered up: More than 1/3 of American woman soldiers raped." I've posted this link before, but it needs to be emphasized again, and what better day than today. Here's an excerpt:
A congresswoman said Thursday that her “jaw dropped” when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military.

A government report indicates that the numbers could be even higher.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, spoke before a House panel investigating the way the military handles reports of sexual assault.

“My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military,” said Harman, who has long sought better protection of women in the military.

“We have an epidemic here,” she said. “Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.” As of July 24, 100 women had died in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

In 2007, Harman said, only 181 out of 2,212 reports of military sexual assaults, or 8 percent, were referred to courts martial. By comparison, she said, 40 percent of those arrested in the civilian world on such charges are prosecuted.
This is a problem. A real, big, huge, problem. Consider this, from (which has tons of info, check them out):
92% of all females that report a sexual assault is discharged from the military before her contract ends. From the 92%, around 85% are discharged against their wishes. Almost all of the 85% lose their careers based on a misdiagnoses that makes one ineligible for military service. The most common misdiagnoses are: adjustment disorder, personality disorder and pre-service existing PTSD or other disorder.
Today would be a good day to send a quick e-mail to your representatives to remind them that we need to be supporting and treating the women in our military better than that. There is a letter at IAVA's (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) website that you can sign. (It's at the bottom of the page, but do check out the other info they have.)

One more suggestion: The blog at is written by a woman in the Marines. Do you know of other blogs like this? Leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New project: The Feminist Hub

Hi all! I wanted post a quick note to let you know about a new project I'm involved in. It's called The Feminist Hub, and it is a new blog on Tumblr. Basically the site is run by the great MissWorld, and has 15 other contributors (including myself) who are all lovely, smart feminists talking about all things feminism. I hope you'll check it out, get involved and let us know what you think! If you aren't on Tumblr, you can still ask us questions or submit a link, story, etc. to us. You don't have to be a Tumblr member to read the site, either!

You can read the introductory post to The Feminist Hub here, and learn more about this project and the contributors (there are links to everyone's bios, if you're interested). We'd love to get the word out, so feel free to share the site with anyone you think would be interested!


"The Great Vagina" (in graphic form!)

You will come across graphics like these occasionally here on Spare Candy. (Sometimes graphics are just more fun, right?) If you click on the graphic, it should take you to page where you can magnify it to read it. Some good information here, though some of the language is problematic.

Monday, November 8, 2010

November is National Native American Heritage Month

President Barack Obama recently issued a proclamation declaring November is National Native American History Month, and declaring that Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, is Native American Heritage Day (as it will be from now, thanks to the Native American Heritage Act of 2009). As far as I'm concerned, there should be a federal holiday honoring American Indians, but I guess this is what we get for now. Anyway, I wanted to take this chance to point everyone to two great blogs on cultural appropriations: My Culture Is Not a Trend, and the aptly named Native Appropriations. Both of these are a great source to learn more about every day racism and stereotypes. I'd also recommend Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources, which has a global focus. I'm sure there are many other blogs out there along similar lines -- feel free to leave recommendations in the comments. Also, the Library of Congress has a site for Native American Heritage Month that looks to have some good pieces on it.

Here's Obama's proclamation:
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 29, 2010
Presidential Proclamation--National Native American Heritage Month


For millennia before Europeans settled in North America, the indigenous peoples of this continent flourished with vibrant cultures and were the original stewards of the land. From generation to generation, they handed down invaluable cultural knowledge and rich traditions, which continue to thrive in Native American communities across our country today. During National Native American Heritage Month, we honor and celebrate their importance to our great Nation and our world.

America's journey has been marked both by bright times of progress and dark moments of injustice for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Since the birth of America, they have contributed immeasurably to our country and our heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders in all aspects of our society. Native Americans have also served in the United States Armed Forces with honor and distinction, defending the security of our Nation with their lives. Yet, our tribal communities face stark realities, including disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, crime, and disease. These disparities are unacceptable, and we must acknowledge both our history and our current challenges if we are to ensure that all of our children have an equal opportunity to pursue the American dream. From upholding the tribal sovereignty recognized and reaffirmed in our Constitution and laws to strengthening our unique nation-to- nation relationship, my Administration stands firm in fulfilling our Nation's commitments.

Over the past 2 years, we have made important steps towards working as partners with Native Americans to build sustainable and healthy native communities. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act continues to impact the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including through important projects to improve, rebuild, and renovate schools so our children can get the education and skills they will need to compete in the global economy. At last year's White House Tribal Nations Conference, I also announced a new consultation process to improve communication and coordination between the Federal Government and tribal governments.

This year, I was proud to sign the landmark Affordable Care Act, which permanently reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, a cornerstone of health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives. This vital legislation will help modernize the Indian health care system and improve health care for 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. To combat the high rates of crime and sexual violence in Native communities, I signed the Tribal Law and Order Act in July to bolster tribal law enforcement and enhance their abilities to prosecute and fight crime more effectively. And, recently, my Administration reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by Native American farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture that underscores our commitment to treat all our citizens fairly.

As we celebrate the contributions and heritage of Native Americans during this month, we also recommit to supporting tribal self-determination, security, and prosperity for all Native Americans. While we cannot erase the scourges or broken promises of our past, we will move ahead together in writing a new, brighter chapter in our joint history.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2010 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 26, 2010, as Native American Heritage Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

And if you're curious, here's Obama's statement from last year's Native American Heritage Day:
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 25, 2009
Statement by the President on Native American Heritage Day

Tomorrow, Americans everywhere will observe our National Day of Thanksgiving. It will be a time of celebration and reflection as we gather with family and friends to count our blessings and remember those less fortunate. But it will also be a time to remember how this holiday began– as a harvest celebration between European settlers and the American Indians who had been living and thriving on the continent for thousands of years.

That is why on Friday, I encourage every American to join me in observing Native American Heritage Day. My Administration is committed to strengthening the nation to nation relationship with tribal governments. But it is also important for all of us to understand the rich culture, tradition and history of Native Americans and their status today- and to appreciate the contributions that First Americans have made, and will continue to make to our Nation.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (11/7/10)

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.

Biggest news in the United States this week (in my opinion, at least) is the election results. And there are a number of stories that came out of the election that I want to draw your attention to:

  • Denver Post: "'Personhood' amendment fails by 3-1 margin." You can read more about PersonhoodUSA at RH Reality Check. Also check out "Ken Buck’s Abortion Stance Cost Him a Senate Seat" on US News & World Report. And if I may, thank you Colorado, for not voting Ken Buck into the Senate.
  • AlterNet: "Conservatives' Big Hypocrisy: Turning Women Candidates (Who Are Anti-Sex and Anti-Woman) into Sex Symbols."
  • Daily Mail: "Sharia law banned: Oklahoma to become the first U.S. state to veto use of Islamic code." You know, because this is such a pressing concern in Oklahoma.
  • Gay Politics: "Lexington, Kentucky elects openly gay mayor."
  • CNN: "No African-Americans in next U.S. Senate." There was only one black Senator, and he retired. The three who ran for the Senate lost their bids.
  • ExecDigital: "US Election Day 2010: Campaigns Spend Record $4 Billion."
  • Associated Press: "Sexism remains a problem for women seeking office." Stating the obvious, but still important, because ...
  • NPR: "Despite GOP Wins, Hill May See Fewer Women." The article says "There are still a few outstanding races involving women yet to be decided, but when the final count is tallied, this year's election will probably be the first time in 30 years that the number of women serving in Congress declines."
  • AlterNet: "The 7 Sleaziest Sexist Moments from the 2010 Elections."
  • Ms. Magazine: "Election 2010: Pro-Choice Sustains Big Losses; Abortion Not Deciding Factor."
  • The Guardian: "So did Sarah Palin's 'conservative feminism' fail in the midterm elections?"
In other news:
  • "Post-Rape Care Never Comes." Highly recommend this story. It's about "A new study by the International AIDS Society explores the effects of mass rape on HIV in conflict situations."
  • "In Finland, a Mass Exodus from a Homophobic Church."
  • Associated Press: "Health Overhaul May Bring Free Birth Control." May, but I'm guessing it won't. Though it obviously should be free; it's so much cheaper than paying for prenatal care and birth.
  • USA Today: "Some 'pink' products do little for cancer research." Not surprising news to some of us, but I wish more people knew about this.
  • The Guardian: "The men who believe porn is wrong." The headline is a little simplified. The story is a lot about the founder of the Anti-Porn Men Project.
  • Los Angeles Times: "Brazil elects first female president." Her name is Dilma Rousseff. Congrats to her!
  • "Women Can Be Forced to Give Birth in Leg Irons in 22 States." Only seven states have adequate laws banning the shackling of pregnant and delivering women. Ugh.
  • Ms. blog: "Cheerleader’s Father Speaks Out." This would be concerning the cheerleader who a school tried to force to cheer for her rapist.
  • Women's E-news: "The I.R.S Says No Tax Break For Breastfeeding Moms. Acne Sufferers Get OK."
  • Toronto Sun: "Law to stop coerced abortions faces uphill battle."
  • Sydney Morning Herald: "Body blows to self-esteem." A good read. The first line of the article: "As a person with disabilities, I often feel left out of conversations about body image."
  • The Pervocracy: "The People You Meet When You Write About Rape." I have run into every single one of these on the Internet. How about you?
  • The Telegraph: "Women will work the rest of the year for free, say equal pay campaigners." Yippee.
  • RH Reality Check: "Anti-Choice Say "Ban the (F-) Bomb!" As in "fetus."
  • The Curvature: "Victim Threatens Suicide After Plans For Alleged Rapist to Directly Question Her In Court."
  • IPS News: "Sexual Violence Is Not 'Collateral Damage.'"
  • Boston Globe: "Cheers to tenured professor." Jeannie Suk has become the first Asian-American woman to get tenure at Harvard Law School.
  • "When Pro-Gay Marriage T-Shirts Get High School Students in Trouble."
  • Broadsheet: "Who wants to be an abortion doctor?"
  • Ms. blog: "Where Are All The Atheist Women? Right Here."
  • Lez Get Real: "Lesbian Corrective Rape Victim has her day in Court."
Popular culture:
  • Jezebel: "Private Practice's Rape Episode Brings In Big Ratings, Mixed Emotions." (Spoilers coming up:) Personally, I thought the show handled it very well. I thought Addison could have been less demanding, as someone trying to support Charlotte (pictured; she is played by KaDee Strickland), but overall it felt pretty realistic to me. The fact that she didn't report it does not bother me; that is more common than reporting it is. And I've read people complaining about the fact that Charlotte is a strong woman (and she is, I love her character) and therefore should have reported it, or shouldn't be "embarrassed" by what happened, etc., but I completely disagree with that. It doesn't really matter how "strong" you are, character-wise. What you do is up to you, how you handle it is up to you, and hello, it's an extremely traumatic event -- and the episode conveyed that. I also thought the way the show handled the rape scene, by not really showing it except a few bits here and there in a flashback, was good.  Did anyone else see it? Thoughts?
  • PopEater: "What's the Difference Between Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan?" There is a similar story at Radar Online.
  • NPR: "Women In Jazz: Taking Back All-Female Ensembles."
  • Moviefone: "Girls on Film: Hollywood's Dismissal of Violence Against Women."
  • Digital Spy: "Shirley Manson confirms Garbage reunion."
  • Prop 8 Trial Tracker: "NOM meet Glee. Glee meet NOM." Ugh.
  • 365 Gay: "Kids’ book prizes to include gay and lesbian award."
  • She Knows: "'For Colored Girls' movie adaptation hits theaters today." And hey, here's a surprise: a male critic at the Washington Post thinks the movie has too much "male bashing." He also reports that the audience laughed during a date-rape scene.
  • FWD/Forward: "Astonishingly, A Mental Illness Plot on 'House' That Doesn’t Make Me Want to Scream!"
  • New York Times: "Jill Clayburgh Dies at 66; Starred in Feminist Roles." RIP.

Friday, November 5, 2010

In History: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

This is the 50th 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.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz lived a long time ago: she was born in either 1648 or 1651, near Mexico City, and died in 1695. She was a self-taught scholar, poet of the Baroque school, and nun of New Spain (hence the "sor," which means "sister"). Although she lived in a colonial era when Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, she is considered today a Mexican writer. You might also see her name as Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramírez de Santillana or Juana Ines de la Cruz de Asbaje y Ramirez.

Juana Inés de la Cruz's accomplishments were many:
  • She was a devoutly religious child who hid in the hacienda chapel to read her grandfather's books from the adjoining library, something forbidden to girls. She learned how to read and write at the age of 3. By age 5, she could do accounts, and at age 8 she composed a poem on the Eucharist. By adolescence, she had mastered Greek logic, and at age 13 she was teaching Latin to young children. She also learned the Aztec language of Nahuatl, and she wrote some short poems in that language.
  • At age 16, Juana was sent to live in Mexico City. She asked her parents' permission to disguise herself as a male student so that she could enter the university. Not being allowed to do this, she continued her studies privately.
  • In 1667, she entered the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites of St. Joseph as a postulant. In 1669, she entered the Convent of the Order of St. Jérôme.
  • Juana was widely read in Spain, being called "the Tenth Muse". She was lauded as the first great poet of Latin America. Her work was also printed by the first printing press in Mexico City.
  • Juana wrote a letter titled Respuesta a Sor Filotea (Reply to Sister Filotea), in which she defended women's right to education. In response, the Archbishop of Mexico joined other high-ranking officials in condemning Juana's "waywardness."
She was "wayward," of course, because she was a woman pursuing education and writing in a time when that wasn't allowed or popular. In her poem "Redondillas," she defends a woman's right to be respected as a human being. She also criticizes the sexism of the society of her time, poking fun at and revealing the hypocrisy of men who publicly condemn prostitutes, yet privately pay women to perform on them what they have just said is an abomination to God. Juana asks the question "Who sins more, she who sins for pay? Or he who pays for sin?" (I love that.)

Juana also wrote a romantic comedy titled "Los empeños de una casa," about a brother and a sister entangled in webs of love, elucidating the themes of love and jealousy. She inquired how these deeply emotional matters shaped and carved a woman's pursuit of liberty, knowledge, education and freedom to live her life in self-sovereignty.

You can read some of Sor Juana's poems here (they are in Spanish and English); not a lot of her work has survived over the years. And you can read more about her life here.

Photo source.


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