Archive Page 2


A quick WTF note to Disney


When I went to see Up this past weekend, I was subjected to a trailer for a Jerry Bruckheimer-directed Disney film called G-Force, featuring special ops hamsters and (one suspects) rather a lot of explosions.

Certainly there is probably a great deal to complain about in the film, especially for any devotees of storytelling or good taste, but that’s not what really caught my attention.

There is a token female character (the one on the far left). Voiced by Penelope Cruz, I am guessing she is also supposed to be Latina. And you’ve named her Juarez.


Were you perhaps not aware that one of the things that Ciudad Juarez is best known for is the horrific unsolved rape-and-torture murders of hundreds of women since 1993?

These unsolved femicides are not a secret, nor are they even obscure. They are the fifth thing to come up in Google search if you enter “Juarez.” Several movies have been made about them, the FBI has investigated them, books have been written about them, Amnesty International has gotten involved…. this killing spree has gained worldwide attention.

And yet no one at Disney either did enough research or, if they did discover this, thought that it was pertinent to the naming of a Latina character in a kid’s film.

What, exactly, were you thinking?



Rest in Peace, Dr. Tiller

You may have already heard by now, but on Sunday, Dr. George Tiller of Kansas was shot dead while serving as an usher at his church. The killer as of this writing remains unidentified and uncaught.

Dr. Tiller was one of a handful of doctors (there may actually be only one or two others) in this country willing to perform late-term abortions, which are, contrary to anti-choice propoganda, almost always performed for medically necessary reasons.

You can read about some of the women he helped (and their heartbreaking stories) here

The reality is that abortion in the late second and third trimesters is extremely rare. The reality is that finding a doctor to do this procedure in the late second or third trimester is almost impossible. For me, the reality was that at the most painful time of my life I had to travel out of state, stay in a hotel room and face hostile protesters in order to carry out this most personal of choices.

If you’re like me, you had no idea that this happened to people. I thought that I would go through this under the care of my regular doctor, in my local hospital, with the support of family and friends nearby. I remember a few weeks before getting our baby’s final, lethal prognosis, I heard on the news about a doctor being shot. “Isn’t that terrible,” I thought, having no inkling just how relevant this would be to me just a few weeks later.

Up until the moment I sat across the desk from my OB, I held out hope that he would give my son some chance to beat the odds. I couldn’t believe it when he said that there was no chance that he would live very long after he was born. Since I had not even entertained that idea, I was even less prepared for the next thing he had to say, but those words are burned into my memory forever.

Dr. Tiller was a hero; though his clinic was protested and vandalized, though there was an ongoing campaign of harassment against him and the other workers, though he was shot in both arms in 1993, he kept working, putting the lives of women ahead of his own. To read about some of the harassment tactics that the non-violent protesters used against his workers, go here.

Operation Rescue’s smear campaign against Phares [a worker at Dr. Tiller’s clinic] is part of a new strategy to shut down abortion clinics by systematically harassing their employees into quitting. Banned by law from blockading clinics as it did in its early days, Operation Rescue has taken its offensive to the front lawns and mailboxes of clinic workers. In Wichita, members of the group rummage through employees’ garbage in search of incriminating information. They tail them around town as they run errands. They picket clinic staffers at restaurants while they’re inside having dinner and castigate them while they’re standing in line at Starbucks. Operation Rescue is also visiting companies that do business with the clinic and threatening them with a boycott if they don’t sever their ties with the facility. This is America’s new abortion war, and the objective, in military terms, is to cut off the supply lines to abortion clinics and demoralize their troops.

What happened to Dr. Tiller was both a horrific tragedy and an act of domestic terrorism. If you’d like some information on some of the nonviolent ways we can support his work and react to this tragedy (groups to donate to, vigils to attend) check out feministing’s list..


Warning: Men With Spatulas

There’s a million things to blog about, including President Obama’s new pick for SCOTUS and the ruling about to be handed down by the California Supreme Court on Prop 8. However, these are topics I’ll actually need to do research about, so for right now I’m going to discuss a pet peeve instead.

My father does most of the cooking in our house. Mom’s entirely able to cook, and there are some dishes designated as hers (taco shells, egg salad, cookies..), but in general, Dad cooks.

I’m not sure how the pattern got started, but I’d guess that convenience was a big factor: Dad was always home at least an hour and a half before Mom was. That’s not really the important part.

It was when I got old enough to realise that according to advertisements, I lived in a bizarro world where normal laws of space and time did not apply.

Then, and now, it is next to impossible to find a commercial or print ad for cooking (aside, of course, from the manly art of grilling) that depicts men in the role of cook/food maker. It is always, always always the wife or mother or any other females in the scene that do this. (Just as it is always the female worried about the cleanliness of or engaged in the active cleaning of the domicile. For a more detailed analysis of that topic, see Sarah Haskin’s expose on Target Women.)

I remember one ad for McDonald’s from a few years back where the mother was out of town for the weekend. She’d left an entire fridge full of colour-coded tupperware containers so that her apparently completely useless family could feed themselves, but, overwhelmed by the insurmountable challenge of the microwave (and following directions), the idiot father takes his offspring to McDonald’s instead, which is, of course, a way better experience than eating her carefully premade food would have been anyhow.

This preponderance is ridiculous, of course, but it’s also unfair and demeaning to women and men. It tells my father and my boyfriend (thank goodness, a better cook than I am) that they (and their needs) don’t exist in the minds of advertisers or the companies they’re advertising. It tells them they can’t possibly be competent in a kitchen. It tries to tell me that any other needs I have are secondary to my ability to cook and keep house (seriously, are we still in the 1950’s?), and that I can’t expect to be in a heterosexual partnership that shares duties.

Next time you’re watching TV, keep count. It’ll scare you.


Sorry I’ve been so hard to find lately….

Yes, I am continuing this blog, I even hope to expand it. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when the semester ends and I make my seasonal migration north for the summer, and driving cross-country takes a lot out of me. (As does job hunting in this economy.) Bear with me while I settle in and I should be back to posting shortly.


In Defense of LOLcats

They’re not just adorable, they’re good for you.

A new study suggests that looking at cute things can actually improve your performance on certain tasks.

See, I’m just here to help.

(disclaimer: I don’t know enough about the study to know how well it was handled or how many grains of salt it should be taken with. That being said, unless it is debunked I am fully prepared to use it to justify my obsession.)


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

It would take a book to cover all the reasons I’m grateful to you, but since this is a blog about feminism, I’m just going to mention a few that seem especially pertinent:

Thank you for yelling at my summer camp instructors so I could play soccer instead of doing cheerleading.

Thank you for keeping your birth name. I wouldn’t love you any less if you hadn’t, but the fact that you did meant growing up I always had an example of how you didn’t have to do things just because society told you you were supposed to, especially if you’re female.

Thank you for having such a great marriage. You and Dad set an amazing example of how a healthy adult relationship between equals is supposed to work, and while it gives me a lot to live up to, I’m grateful to have had the example.

Thank you for never telling me I wasn’t fine the way I was.

Thank you for teaching me math. When I’m out with a group of friends, I’m still commonly the one that’s fastest at calculating divisions and tips and stuff.

Thank you for liking my art.

Thank you for always supporting my interests, no matter how weird I’m sure they did (and still) seem.

Thank you for always taking me seriously.

Thank you for teaching me humanist values, and for teaching me you don’t need religion to have values.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, and thank you.


Gay Marriage in Maine!

Maine’s Governor has just signed the gay marriage bill into law! This makes Maine the fifth state in the US to cease marriage discrimination against homosexual couples.

Five years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage, we now have five states (aside from Iowa, all are in New England) where you can get hitched no matter who you love.

And that’s just in the US. Worldwide, gay marriage is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden.

Civil unions are currently recognised in Andorra, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

And the world hasn’t ended yet.

Now to work on the other 45…

(I should mention right now that in parts of the world it is still actually illegal to be gay, sometimes punishable by death. Iraq is currently facing an upsurge in murders and executions of homosexuals and suspected homosexuals, often by their families or the police.)