Monday, August 31, 2009

Not Just Breast for Breast Sake

Every now and then a story comes along and you can help but be utterly amused… That is how I felt about Meghan Pleticha’s article on her "topless experiment." Ironically, Alex touched on the issue of going topless just last week when she mentioned

The article, although a little ostentatious, chronicled Meghan’s experience of sunbathing topless in a New York park. The premise of the experiment is quite brilliant, and it pushes the reader to think outside the box (or in this case outside the top). She acknowledges the different reactions that she was confronted with and notes that women seemed to be more critical of her topless parade.

I think this article makes you consider double standards that are currently in place for men and women’s nudity, as well as bringing up how men and women react to people who push the boundaries of social norms.

In the article is mentioned. Once you get past the copious boobage, there is actually some interesting reasoning behind National Topless Day...and its not breasts for the sake of breasts. Who knew going topless could be so feminist?

Friday, August 28, 2009

A True "Leader of the Pack"

With so many high-profile deaths dominating the news lately, the passing of remarkable song writer and producer Ellie Greenwich has been largely over looked.

Ellie Greenwich died Wednesday, August 26, 2009 of a heart attack in New York after being treated for pneumonia. Not many people know Greenwich, but they certainly know her songs which include the Dirty Dancing favorite “Be My Baby” and “Chapel of Love”. These songs defined life as an American teenager in the 1960’s with innocent and naïve stories of first loves and heartbreaks.

While feminists may not appreciate Greenwich’s lyrics from songs like “Leader of the Pack” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” her accomplishments in the male-dominated music industry of the 60’s made her legendary. In an interview with National Public Radio, Greenwich said she got her start by writing songs for her cheerleading squad and grew to into a career managing girl groups and working with other famous singers such as Cindy Lauper, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

In a reflection written by Greenwich herself in 2001 she comments rather humbly that she never thought her music would have the impact and longevity that it has. When she first got started, she explains how her concerns for the future were focused on her marriage and children—not her career.

Ultimately Greenwich wanted her songs to make people happy and it is truly difficult to hear a song like “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and not smile.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day!!

Today is officially Women’s Equality Day: a date intended to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Women's Equality Day also highlights the struggles of individuals who continue to fight for gender equality.

How can you get involved? Take a trip down history lane by completing a quiz that tests your knowledge of events that ultimately lead to passage of the 19th Amendment. Print out this informational pamphlet and distribute it to family, friends, coworkers, etc. Run for public office. Go topless [WARNING: bare breasted women!!!]. Sure, why not? Use your imagination.

How are you fighting for equality? Get active, leave your mark on the women’s movement, and help celebrate Women’s Equality Day 2009!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Close Encounters of the Creep Kind

Last Thursday night/early Friday morning, I went to the midnight showing of District 9 (which, for the record, I enjoyed very much). I went with a large group of people, and we were spread out in 2 rows, as the theatre was quite empty and there was plenty of room. I had consumed a large coffee in order to stay awake much later than my usual bedtime and was excited to see the film, which I had been looking forward to all week.

In order to relax and take advantage of the armrests, I left a seat between me and the guy I was sitting next to in the row. All of a sudden, an older, creepy-looking man came up to me and gestured to the seat between me and the guy I sat next to.

Creepy Man: Is that seat taken?

Me (confused): No, uh, uh, I’M sitting there. [I scooted back over.]

[Creepy Man sits down on my left.]

Me: (in a slightly accusatory tone) Uh, is there a reason why you’re sitting next to me?

CM: Well, I thought there would be a good view here.

M: Well, I don’t like sitting next to strangers. [I got up and moved to the next row, where more people from the group I came with were sitting.]

[The creepy man moves another seat over, next to my former seatmate. I think this is because the guy had a pony tail, which made the creepy man think he was a girl.]

M: (Turning around in my seat) I don’t think he likes sitting next to strangers either.

CM: Well, that’s what happens in a movie theatre, you sit next to strangers.

M: I understand that, but this theatre is pretty empty, and there are a lot of other seats you can sit in.
[Eventually the man moves one seat over. I think he realized the guy I had first sat next to had a goatee. Just a theory.]
* * *
This exchange left me feeling uneasy. I was uncomfortable with some old, creepy guy sitting so close to me, and I questioned his motives. I was a little nervous about him sitting behind me, and watched him out of the corner of my eye for sudden movements. After the film was over, I was scared to go directly home because I was worried that he was hiding in the bushes, waiting to follow me home. Perhaps I was overreacting, but I didn’t want anything bad to happen. And not to sound cliché, but I’ve learned to trust my instincts (they’re almost always spot on), and I was not getting a good “vibe” about this man.

While telling this story to my friend/boss/editor Kate, I relayed my uncertainty about being able to make this story into a blog. She pointed out the role that gender played in this scenario. If it had been a woman that sat right next to me, I would probably have been annoyed, but not at all threatened or worried. It is interesting to try to imagine my possible reactions when the variables of age and gender change (i.e., a young man, a young woman, and old woman, a child, etc). Also, it would make for an interesting social experiment.

I also want to get the message across that if someone makes you uncomfortable in a situation, feel free to remove yourself from it, and/or voice your thoughts about it. Even though the setting was pretty benign and I was with my friends, I had paid my hard-earned money for that ticket, and I had a right to feel comfortable. So I spoke out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

So, what’s the deal with healthcare?

No matter where you look, you can’t seem to escape this topic. For women, healthcare reform can be especially important, so getting the facts is a must. This article discusses some of the new legislation and how it can impact women. The article is pretty informative and gets past all the partisan propaganda. This article is pretty informative especially for issues important to women; however do have an issue with the logic in the final paragraph where the author writes:

“Even if health reform sails through Congress and onto President Obama’s desk, none of these new programs is likely to be available until 2013. By then, of course, Congress will have had dozens more chances to tinker with the plan. And you’ll have had dozens of more chances to pay for skyrocketing health care costs.”

This is a skewed line of thinking. In comparison to other industrialized nations, the U.S. spends much more for health care and covers less of the population. So we are already paying skyrocketing healthcare costs. Maybe the bureaucrats can do a better job at providing healthcare than private companies that are out to turn a profit.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Generation Y and the Status of Feminism

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard “Feminism is dead.” This strikes me as odd considering there are indications of feminism and the need for feminism everywhere. Third wave feminism, for example, is basically defined as the activities of the movement from 1990-present (Generation Y). “Third Wave envisions a world in which young women and transgender youth have the skills, power, and opportunity to engage in and lead efforts for social justice,” reports the Third Wave Foundation. This video indicates what the third wave is all about. A diverse range of young persons are getting involved with the third wave through a variety of ways. Julie Zeilinger is a mere 16 years old, but nevertheless identifies with the ideologies of feminism so much that she started her own blog, fbomb. Ruby, possibly the youngest feminist I’ve ever encountered, is only 7.

But isn’t feminism unnecessary? Women have equality, after all. Well, not exactly. Women occupy only 17% of the total seats within Congress, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. On the state level, percentages are a bit higher with women occupying approximately 23.6% of the 314 available positions. Add this to other inequalities including, but not limited to: the wage gap, domestic and sexual assault and violence, limited reproductive rights, and not to mention, the pervasive and ever-powerful institution of patriarchy. Feminism, after all, is about equality and until such equality does exist for ALL members of society, isn’t it still indeed necessary?

Before accepting the popularized stereotypes about what it means to be a feminist consider conducting your own research by utilizing a variety of sources (start with a few feminist magazines such as Ms., Bitch, or Bust and check out a few blogs like, or even more article-based sites like Books such as Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti or Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future by Jennifer Baumgardner illustrate the importance of feminism and why you should get involved. Feminism isn’t just for hairy, lesbian, man-haters; believe me…though they are certainly welcome. I have faith in Generation Y to wake up and smell the inequality and recognize the importance of feminism. In fact, in many ways, they already have.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm All "Siskel and Ebert" This Tuesday Afternoon

The mind works in mysterious ways… and mine was working overtime this week as I tried to come up with a blog topic. I settled on creating an overview on the topics that have intrigued/disgusted/brought me joy, and assemble them here for your reading/surfing pleasure.

Thumbs Up: The WRC is 30 Years Awesome

As our 30th anniversary celebration quickly approaches, I’ve been quite busy nailing down all the details. I mailed out the invitations to our luncheon, and am preparing for our open house, which will be from 3 PM to 6 PM on September 3rd.

Thumbs Up: Painting The Town… Blue

The upstairs portion of the WRC was painted last fall, and the painters started the downstairs area yesterday in our conference room. We’ve selected a cobalt blue, and the room is on the fast track to looking amazing.

Thumbs Down: George Sodini’s Blog

Lettie wrote yesterday about Sodini, the man who opened fire in a gym earlier this month and murdered 3 women. His blog is available after you plug in his death date (August 4th of this year) on this page, and it is very creepy and unsettling to read.

Thumbs Up: Priceless Performance By Priceline Spokesman

On July 27th of this year, William Shatner appeared on The Tonight Show and performed excerpts from Sarah Palin’s farewell speech on her final day as governor.

After making up words in her farewell speech, she’s now making up odd details in Obama’s healthcare bill. It just adds fuel to my ‘I Really Dislike This Person’ fire.

Thumbs Down: Western Women Are Opting For Female Genital Mutilation… And Paying For It

Lettie blogged about vaginal rejuvenation a while back, and this article on Alternet further discusses the issue.

Not only is this unsafe, as my boss/editor Kate pointed out, it diminishes a woman’s identity. I understand that mothers that do this are trying to illustrate their devotion to their child- but it’s YOUR profile, not your offspring’s.

So, there you go- a little insight into the inner workings of my mind. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gun Violence and Misogyny

I recently received this article from The New York Times on the shooting in Pennsylvania where three women were killed and nine were wounded. I found this article really interesting, and it reminded me of the Lane Bryant shooting not that long ago, which also had to do with gun violence against women. These incidents remind us of how women are affected by gun violence and that misogyny continues to run rampant in the US today. The closing paragraph of the Times article was most powerful, as it encapsulated the problems that gun violence and misogyny present to women:

“We would become much more sane, much healthier, as a society if we could bring ourselves to acknowledge that misogyny is a serious and pervasive problem, and that the twisted way so many men feel about women, combined with the absurdly easy availability of guns, is a toxic mix of the most tragic proportions.”

Another tragic discovery I made while doing a little side research was that the shooter had used the same online gun store as the VA Tech and NIU shooters. This hits close home, and I truly feel highlights that having easy access to guns is a HUGE problem that must be tackled. The old adage that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” may have a certain amount of truth; but lets face it, a gun can be a big difference on how much violence is inflicted.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This is What a Feminist Looks Like...

I love this video! Thoughts?

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Lighter Side of Feminism

These days, a lot of people identify feminists as: angry lesbians who hate men, people who are “pro-abortion,” or women who don’t shave. These are terrible stereotypes that get thrown around without a true understanding of feminism. Why don’t people realize that feminits can be fun and witty and not fall into the realm of “femi-nazis?” Feminists are everyday people and can be quite funny. Thus, today I offer an ammusing video from one of my favorite feminists: Sarah Haskins.