Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary Roe v. Wade, Happy New President, Happy New Sec. of State, Happy, Happy, Happy

Technically, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade was yesterday, but I am one busy blogger these days and couldn't quite make it on the actual day. Since this is a week of celebrations and remembrance, I thought we should add reproductive freedom to the list of things to celebrate and to fight for.

Here's President Obama's statement on Roe v. Wade and reproductive education and CHOICE.
Yay Mr. New President!

As a former employee of Planned Parenthood, I can only begin to sympathize with the St. Paul staff of PP today. Yesterday, a person drove his car into the front of the Planned Parenthood building. Luckily, no one was hurt, and they resumed servicing their clients (there for a multitude of reasons) shortly after the incident.

This is the only Planned Parenthood in Minnesota that performs abortions. When I worked for PP out West there was a week's worth of safety training, and rigid security practices that I won't delve into here. At first I thought they were just amping up the histrionics to make sure we're all safe, but no. There are actually people who believe that being Pro-Life means it's ok to kill staff and clientsto literally drive their message home.

Keep on fighting the good fight.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm Just a Bill--I'm Only A Bill

This is some good news: The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House, and it looks like Obama, not Busehie will be signing the bills into law. From the NY Times:

"The House passed two related bills on Friday. One, approved 247 to 171, would give workers more time to file lawsuits claiming job discrimination.
The bill would overturn a 2007 decision by the Supreme Court that enforced a strict 180-day deadline, thwarting a lawsuit by Lilly M. Ledbetter, a longtime supervisor at the Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Ala. Three Republicans voted for the bill.The other bill — passed 256 to 163, with support from 10 Republicans — would make it easier for women to prove violations of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which generally requires equal pay for equal work. President Bush threatened to veto both bills, saying they would “invite a surge of litigation” and “impose a tremendous burden on employers.” Congress will not give him the opportunity."

Wow. It's 2009 and the wimins might finally get a start on a fair shake.

More good news: I knew I liked that Obama guy. It seems "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" might be going bye bye.

On the other hand, Israel and Hamas are ignoring the U.N. Resolution that calls for a cease fire.

On the other hand from that: JOYOUS HOLY HELL: Bush has 10 days left in office. Let us have a party!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hold the Fat

The key to starting a new blog is to have time to write in it, which I haven't in the last week. Sorry, Survival of the Feminist not a false promise. I promise....

Being a successful blogger kind of depends on your regularity (heh heh) of blogging. So because I haven't had any time to formulate my own thoughts in the last 6 days, I am going to point you in the direction of some smarties who won't let you down.

First and foremost, there is a smackdown going on at two of my favorite blogs Almost Diamonds and Greg Laden's Blog ( read: Responding to blatant aggressive sexism on the intertubes) that has to do with trollish, misogynist blogger/commentators. I am actually behind in my reading too because I had no idea any of this was going down until this morning. Greg's got lots of interesting posts on science and gender. And, AD is new(ish) to the blogging world, but I appreciate her smack downs whole-heartedly because they are smart, and on point.

Shakesville has some interesting things to say on Sanjay Gupta's appointment as the Surgeon General.

Gupta, as a medical doctor cum health reporter is on the obesity drum-beating band wagon. Obesity and lack of exercise and poor food choices are a problem in this country and around the world, yes, but the kind of sensationalist journalism Gupta reports on might engender more fear and prejudice against anyone who doesn't have a typical and accepted body weight and size than it does an understanding weight, genetics, sedentary lifestyles, etc. This kind of reporting on obesity isn't actually helpful to anyone who might want to know how to eat better or how to live healthier. These are the kind of shows where they show the fat stomachs of anonymous, headless people, about to shove ice cream into their off-camera faces. The histrionics over obesity starts there, I am convinced.

What better way to marginalize your fellow humans is there than to show pictures of their stomachs and forbidden food in their hand? Despite what people may think, fat people need to eat too. And, these segments are literally and figuratively feeding shame and guilt into our psyches about eating lunch cannot be useful to anyone who wants to make a change. It makes all food fat people eat a joke, forbidden, and problematic.

Fat people, ironically, are extra-visible in our culture, but not respected. The reverse is true, in fact. It is socially acceptable to criticize an obese person, especially women. If a woman is fat she is no longer considered relevant. Obese folks are constantly degraded and turned into circus-sideshow freaks by main stream media and conventional culture. How many images do we need to see of fat bodies barely churning along a city sidewalk with a huge slice of pizza in their hand? Headless creatures ruled not by the same drives as other people, but by their overly large stomachs. Fat people are the national health crisis. The mob is forming. Fat people are costing the health care system millions. Their weight is literally squashing everyone else, so why not make them the object of derision on the television and in the living room? The living room where you're watching TV, probably seated, probably eating.

If our government wants to intervene in obseity, maybe Sanjay Gupta and his ilk should stop blaming working mothers! and look to corn and industrialized farming and the almighty bottom line of the dollar. What I would ask Gupta and the rest of the Obama team is to focus on the subsidies of major ag companies who are producing CORN and CORN-RELATED products.

Let's, instead look at subsidizing family and organic farms, and keeping food fresh and minimally processed at local levels. Let's make the Farm to Lunch Room programs available to ALL inner city schools in all states. Let's not blame working mothers, Sanjay Gupta, before we look at all of the above.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wonder Feminists: Unite!

Happy 2009! Welcome to Survival of the Feminist. I'm your blogger, Monica. I am kind of like a feminist MacGyver or Wonder Woman without the suit. I am here in the spirit of Feminism to rock the boat, and to use some spit and duct tape and the invisible jet to cobble together a feminist blog.

There are about a bajillion blogs out there on Feminism-- see the blogroll. A super duper gem is Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog. Go there for answers to your Feminism FAQs. My goal is to add to the discussion.

I started this blog because I like hearing what you have to say about gender and feminism in today's culture. I like turning a critical eye toward the bullshit of patriarchy, and I like writing and language. Gender is one of those tricky ideas that seems to get all caught up in language and its constructions. But, I want to get one thing clear: this is a Feminist blog. Feminism to me, means blowing up gender constructs, and being the squeaky wheel who gets the grease in that sense. Feminism means deconstructing gender and defending our fellow humans against gender biases, and because we aren't monolithic, it means understanding and critiquing gender constructs that intersect with racial, socio-economic , and all kinds of other constructs.

For a long time I tried to find an adequate definition about what Feminism is that I like, and then I tried to write an adequate definition. What I have found is varied and sometimes oversimplified: Feminism is a movement that promotes equality among the sexes. Okaaaaayyy.... that's a start. But, it's also a cultural critique. Feminist theory also critiques biases and constructs based on gender and race, gender and socio-economic statues, gender and sexual orientation, gender and able-bodiedness, and so forth. I came to the conclusion that Feminism isn't static, and that it's evolved, and ever-evolving.

I could get into trouble real fast by saying what Feminism isn't. But, I'll keep it to a minimum: this blog is not about hating. It's not about bashing anyone because of their gender and it's not about all the other fallacies and stereotypes ascribed to the word "feminist" or "feminism."

I hear people over and over again say they don't want to identify as a feminist, even though they say they hold Feminist values. WTF?! You can't use the word because someone might think you're a, a, a, a.....what? A femi-nazi, and lesbian, a bitch? I do not get this particular phenomenon. I am not trying to be all zealous and get a tatoo on my forehead that says "Fuck you, I'm a Feminist." But, Fuck You, I'm a Feminist. And, I am not embarrassed to use that word. I am informed by it and empowered by it.