It’s not just forced ultrasound: Abortion rights under assault

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/its_not_just_forced_ultrasound_abortion_rights_under_assault/?source=newsletter

In 2012, some 1,100 bills targeted reproductive rights — and 135 passed in 36 states. The cost? Women’s health

By
Sunday, Oct 21, 2012

A young girl in a green tank top lies on the examination table in a stark exam room in a Houston clinic. Her pink toenails dangle belowthe sterile covering draped over her thighs. The doctor inserts a probe between her legs and the two watch a grainy blob blossom on a sonogram screen suspended below the room’s industrial fluorescent lights. He gives a state-mandated description of the fetus: almost exactly seven weeks, he says, “nice and early.” She is well within the time frame for an abortion pill, rather than surgery.

The doctor, an avuncular, silver-haired man who’s been providing abortions, in the words of one colleague, “pretty much since Roe v. Wade,” turns the screen toward her and traces the outline of her uterus and the embryo, while the girl looks on blankly. He plays the heartbeat, which rises from the machine in a loud, shrill electronic pulse. The ritual, which is repeated several times a day at this Planned Parenthood in Houston and in clinics across the state, is mandated by a new Texas law designed to intensify the experience of abortion — to impress upon a woman, with images and sounds, the sense that she’s about to terminate a living thing.

Ultrasounds are a routine procedure at Planned Parenthood and many other clinics, a tool doctors use to gauge gestational stage — which can affect which procedure to use — or to detect complications. Some abortion patients prefer to see the sonogram, others are indifferent, others are traumatized by the very idea. But the new law makes displaying the ultrasound mandatory. Under Texas law, even if a woman averts her eyes, the doctor must give a verbal description of the fetus anyway. And it’s just the latest addition to a bureaucratic juggernaut of regulations that restrict how abortion providers practice in Texas.

In recent years, lawmakers across the country have enacted a dizzying array of arcane rules dictating everything from the dimensions of their buildings to the advice they must offer to patients about “abortion alternatives.” Thirty-five states, including Texas, have enacted pre-abortion counseling laws, which in many cases force women to make extra clinic visits. Legislatures in 10 states have introduced new measures for pre-abortion counseling and waiting periods in 2012. In addition, 18 states have introduced bills for ultrasound requirements this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research institute.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/its_not_just_forced_ultrasound_abortion_rights_under_assault/?source=newsletter

“Like a Dog?” Nasty GOP Insults Flung at Women Candidates

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/dog-nasty-gop-insults-flung-women-candidates

Todd Akin put his foot in his mouth again with comments about his opponent, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg attacked Elizabeth Warren.

By Alex Kane
October 22, 2012

Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin can’t stop putting his foot in his mouth.

During an October 20 fundraising event with Fox News star and evangelical Christian Mike Huckabee, Akin compared Claire McCaskill to a “dog.” McCaskill is Akin’s Democratic opponent for the Senate seat.

“She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch,’” said Akin, according to the website PoliticMO.com . “She goes to Washington, D.C., and get all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”

The comments  are only the latest controversial remarks from Akin. He became a household name in August when he claimed on television that “legitimate rape” victims rarely get pregnant because “ the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin also said last month that McCaskill’s debate performance against him was not as “ladylike” as she was in 2006.

Akin is trailing McCaskill narrowly in the polls.

Meanwhile, another male, conservative politician has hammered away inaccurately at a female candidate. In a New York Times interview, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw his weight behind Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who is running against the progressive Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg told the Times that a vote for Warren is a vote to “bring socialism back, or the USSR.”

Complete article at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/dog-nasty-gop-insults-flung-women-candidates

Conservatives’ HPV vaccine dilemma: are they anti-cancer, or just anti-sex?

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/16/conservatives-hpv-vaccine-dilemma

Proof that vaccinating girls against the HPV virus does not cause promiscuity puts culture warriors in a spot


guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 October 2012

According to a recent study, giving children tetanus shots will not, in fact, encourage them to stab themselves with rusty nails or be less cautious when playing outdoors. Various political organizations have advocated against the tetanus vaccine, arguing that tetanus shots send the message that recreation is acceptable, and that if children know they’re protected from lockjaw, they will be less vigilant about avoiding the kinds of cuts and scrapes that can lead to deadly nervous system infections. Attempts to require tetanus vaccination have met extreme backlash from conservative groups who argue that mandating the vaccine is an assault on parental rights and family values.

Even bills that simply would have made the vaccine free for low-income children without mandating it were vetoed by Republican governors. Doctors hope that these study results, which show that tetanus-vaccinated children are no more likely to engage in unsafe recreational behavior than their unvaccinated peers, will increase the tetanus shot rate for children of parents who fear that tetanus shots encourage risk-taking.

At this point, you’re thinking, I hope:

“What in the world is this lady talking about? Everyone gives their kids tetanus shots! You’d be irresponsible not to inoculate your child against tetanus, and you’re nuts if you think that giving a kid a tetanus shot will make him be less careful about slicing his skin with filthy rusted metal. And there’s absolutely no political controversy around tetanus shots.”

You would be right. If only the same were true of the HPV vaccine.

According to a recent study, giving girls the HPV vaccine will not, in fact, encourage them to engage in sexual activity any earlier than their peers. Various political organizations have advocated against the HPV vaccine, arguing that the vaccine sends the message that sexual behavior is acceptable, and that if girls know they’re protected from HPV, they will be less vigilant about avoiding the kinds of risky sexual behaviors that can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/16/conservatives-hpv-vaccine-dilemma

Mitt Romney’s Heartless Advice to a Woman Whose Pregnancy Might Have Killed Her

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/mitt-romneys-heartless-advice-woman-whose-pregnancy-might-have-killed-her

Mormon women remember Romney’s advice when he was a church leader, and there wasn’t much ‘moderate’ about it.

By Geoffrey Dunn
October 17, 2012

The summer of 1983 was blistering hot in New England. A record heat wave saw temperatures soar toward the 100-degree mark from June well into September. July had been the hottest month ever recorded at Boston’s Logan Airport.

The region’s beloved Boston Red Sox, full of hope and promise early in spring and claiming first place in the American League East as late as June 1, apparently melted in the heat, losing game after game and tumbling to last place by mid-July, where they were to remain the rest of the season.

It was also during the sweltering summer of 1983 that the family of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made its celebrated escape from the oppressive New England heat for the cooler climes of Beach O’Pines, Ontario, where the Romney family owns a beachfront cottage in a gated community on the shores of Lake Huron. Prior to departure, Mitt Romney placed the family dog—an Irish setter named Seamus—into a dog carrier and lashed it to the roof of the family’s Chevy station wagon for the 12-hour drive into Canada.

The infamous dog ride (dubbed the “Seamus incident”) was to become a full-blown issue in the 2012 presidential primaries, as Romney’s chief Republican opponent, Rick Santorum, invoked the incident to attack Romney’s “character.”

Political cartoonists and late-night comedians had a field day with the story. The incident inspired aNew Yorker cover, while the punk band Devo recorded a song entitled, “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro.” ABC’s Diane Sawyer, in an interview with Romney during the primaries, dubbed it the “most wounding thing in the campaign so far.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/mitt-romneys-heartless-advice-woman-whose-pregnancy-might-have-killed-her

Australia: Julia Gillard speech prompts dictionary to change ‘misogyny’ definition

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/17/julia-gillard-australia-misogyny-dictionary

Australian prime minister’s impassioned attack on opposition leader’s views of women provokes debate over word’s meaning


guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 17 October 2012

When Australian prime minister Julia Gillard launched a ferocious attack on the leader of the opposition for his repeated use of sexist language, she was feted by feminists the world over. But critics in Australia rounded on her for supposedly misusing the word misogyny and falsely accusing Tony Abbott of hating women.

Now, however, Gillard’s critics no longer have the dictionary on their side. In the wake of the row, the most authoritative dictionary in Australia has decided to update its definition of the word, ruling that a contemporary understanding of misogyny would indeed imply “entrenched prejudice against women” as well as, or instead of, hatred of them. Sue Butler, editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, admitted that, on this occasion, the dictionary had failed to keep pace with linguistic evolution.

“Since the 1980s, misogyny has come to be used as a synonym for sexism, a synonym with bite, but nevertheless with the meaning of entrenched prejudice against women rather than pathological hatred,” she said in a statement.

While the Oxford English Dictionary had reworded its definition a decade ago, staff at the Macquarie had been alerted to the issue only in the aftermath of Gillard’s extraordinary speech in parliament, she said. “Perhaps as dictionary editors we should have noticed this before it was so rudely thrust in front of us as something that we’d overlooked,” Butler told the Associated Press.

Gillard – Australia’s first female leader – accused Abbott, head of the centre-right Liberal party, of repeated instances of sexism and misogyny, including his description of abortion as “the easy way out” and a political campaign against Gillard using posters urging voters to “ditch the witch”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/17/julia-gillard-australia-misogyny-dictionary

Posted in Feminist, Misogyny, Uncategorized. Comments Off

Mitt Romney’s Condescending Views Toward Women

Posted in Feminist, Misogyny, Uncategorized. Comments Off

Julia Serano has been Targeted for attacks by the RadFem SCUM

First of all embracing SCUM and Valerie Solanis kind of marks people off as nut jobs.

Prior to going on to becoming famous for shooting one of the 20th century’s most important gay male artists (nearly murdering him) Solanis wrote a screed titled The Scum Manifesto.

The RadFem hagiography would have people believe Valerie Solanis was a misunderstood genius with impeccable feminist credentials and not a zoned out homicidal maniac from Alphabet City.

I know there was a movie that tried to paint her as someone cruelty abused by Andy Warhol and the people of the “Factory”.

Reality: She was an abusive stalker.

While SCUM Manifesto has a few viciously funny observations in it it is mostly the blathering of a mentally disturbed person.

After Valerie Solanis was released from prison she wound up dying of exposure while sleeping on a roof top because none of the feminists who lauded her wanted to actually be within pistol range of her.

Oddly enough Solanis wasn’t all that anti-transsexual/transgender or I should say the movie, I shot Andy Warhol, portrays her as being not all that anti TS/TG as it shows her being a friend of the late Candy Darling.

Well, fast forward and the radfem bigots have blogs that invoke Valerie Solanis’s screed.

Like Valerie they are both truth and sanity challenged.

But this blog and others among the radfem and their dubiously claimed intersex male ally Nicky (Komododragon) have embraced Valerie as some sort of icon; they are using this blog and others to attack Julia Serano.

Well not just Julia Serano, but JOS  at Feministing too, as well as a whole range of  highly reputable TS/TG bloggers who have had the audacity to say that the misogyny faced by TS/TG women and transkids is the same misogyny faced by assigned female at birth women and girls.

Unless one is incredibly privileged access to abortion and birth control are not the only issues faced by women today.

This is obvious enough to women who aren’t partners in law offices that defend some of the scummiest corporations in America.

Otherwise the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act wouldn’t be such a big deal.

If women weren’t being fucked over by those Wall Street Banks and Firms defended by the law offices of the above mentioned radfem, then women wouldn’t be out there as part of Occupy.

One has to wonder why the radfems, who sound identical to the Christo-Fascists and radical right, cropped up now to disrupt feminism which is engaged in fighting against the right wing/Christo-Fascist War on Women.  Especially since many TS/TG women are also feminists.  Some, like this Blog regularly keep people abreast of the right wing attacks on reproductive rights.

Julia Serano wrote a serious book that showed the intersectionality of transphobia and misogyny.  A lot of us read it and said, “Fuck Yeah!”

Everyone knows that according to radfems TS/TG women are nothing but mindless fembots controlling the fashion and cosmetic industry forcing women into a subservient position all .001% of us, sort of the same way the Jews supposedly control the world and are responsible for all the evils of the world.

Somehow Julia found time from her busy schedule of perpetuating the patriarchy to write this book that caused a lot of TS/TG sisters to come to the conclusion that transphobia was misogyny directed at a tiny minority group of people who are women in spite of not being assigned female at birth.

Of course the radfems whipped out the disingenuous charge that TS/TG women were some how raping women by taking hormones and having operations that allowed us to feel at home within our very own skins.

Never mind how feminism has chided those who use rape as a metaphor for actions other than actual rape.

Or that TS/TG people can and are often the victims of rape, assault and murder.

Radfem transphobic bigotry is identical to right wing racism and antisemitism, a whipping up of hatred and bigotry using exaggerated claims and  collective guilt.  The same sort of bigotry one finds behind Jim Crow and Apartheid laws.  The same sort of hatred and bigotry one found behind the Nürnberger Gesetze:

The Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze) of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating antisemitism as a form of scientific racism. There was a rapid growth in German legislation directed at Jews and other groups, such as the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which banned “non-Aryans” and political opponents of the Nazis, from the civil-service.

The lack of a clear legal method of defining who was Jewish had, however, allowed some Jews to escape some forms of discrimination aimed at them. The enactment of laws identifying who was Jewish made it easier for the Nazis to enforce legislation restricting the basic rights of German Jews.

The Nuremberg Laws classified people with four German grandparents as “German or kindred blood”, while people were classified as Jews if they descended from three or four Jewish grandparents. A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was a Mischling, a crossbreed, of “mixed blood”.[1] These laws deprived Jews of German citizenship and prohibited marriage between Jews and other Germans.[2]

The Nuremberg Laws also included a ban on sexual intercourse between people defined as “Jews” and non-Jewish Germans and prevented “Jews” from participating in German civic life. These laws were both an attempt to return the Jews of 20th-century Germany to the position that Jews had held before their emancipation in the 19th century; although in the 19th century Jews could have evaded restrictions by converting, this was no longer possible.

The laws were a legal embodiment of an already existing Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

Yes I am comparing the thinking of the radfems to Nazi antisemitism.

Not only are they attacking TS/TG women but any AFAB women who support us including those feminist bloggers.

Ironically I have reason to believe that several of the “radfems” are in fact self hating post-op transsexuals who also hold AFAB women in contempt.

What really lies behind the ‘war on women’

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/24/what-lies-behind-war-on-women-naomi-wolf

It would be a mistake to see these attacks as simply a backlash against women. This is about empire struggling for social control


guardian.co.uk, Thursday 24 May 2012

Are women suddenly running rampant in the streets by the millions, threatening society in unexpected ways?

You would surely think so by looking at the pattern that is visible across the nation: state by state, a well-funded legislative war on women is being unleashed. Many of these new proposed bills, or recently passed state laws, attack in novel ways women’s rights to ownership of their bodies and their basic life choices, which second-wave feminists thought long won.

Planned Parenthood appears to be target No 1: Maine, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas have all either had bills to defund Planned Parenthood successfully passed or else bills introduced to begin the process of defunding.

Target No 2 is abortion rights. Since 2011, 92 new laws against abortion took effect, in 11 states: some states, such as Tennessee, are passing creative new restrictions on abortion rights. On 12 April, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a new law banning abortions later than 18 weeks after fertilization, and imposing new regulations making abortion more difficult to obtain.

Other bills impose waiting periods for women after they have sought medical help – so that they are forced to “think it over” in a manner, and for a period, mandated by the state. A law in Utah requires women to wait 72 hours after receiving medical counselling, for instance, before having an abortion. A similar law is passed in South Dakota.

Finally, some bills – in a way that defies the US constitution – limit or criminalize certain kinds of speech to pregnant women: a law in Kansas would allow medical professionals to refuse giving abortion-seeking women information about clinics and doctors.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/24/what-lies-behind-war-on-women-naomi-wolf

Posted in Abortion, Feminist, Misogyny. Comments Off

A Message to Girls About Religious Men Who Fear You

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/message-to-girls-about-re_b_1518849.html


05/21/2012

Dear Girls,

You are powerful beyond words, because you threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.

In the United States last week there were people who wouldn’t let boys play a baseball championship final because a girl was on the opposing team. She’d already had to sit out two games because of their demands. Why? Did she, a competitive athlete and a member of her team, chose to? Was she being good and respectful when she acceded to their demands? Why were they not asked to forfeit their games? What messages were sent to her and her teammates? This is not complicated. It sent the wrong messages. Confusing messages. Incoherent messages. You need to know that she should have been allowed to play and not have had to sit out two games. These people, and others like them, all over the world, led exclusively by religious men, are scared of you and will not let you be. You worry them constantly.

If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.

It doesn’t feel this way, I know. If that were true, you think, I would not have to sit out baseball games out of respect for religious beliefs that require my subservience and call it a gift. I would not be turned away from serving God with my brothers. I would not be taught that I’m an evil temptress or the virtue keeper of boys. I would not have virginity wielded as a weapon against me and my worth determined by my womb. I would not be spat on and called a whore by men when I am eight because my arms are bare. I would not be poisoned for going to school. I would not be forced, at the age of 9, to carry twins borne of child torture. I would not have to kill myself to avoid marrying my rapist. If this were true, they would pursue my rapists instead of stoning me for their crimes. I, and thousands others, would not be killed for “honor.”

Girls, these things happen because there are men with power who fear you and want to control you. I know that I have equated relatively benign baseball games with deadly, honor killings but, whereas one is a type of daily, seemingly harmless micro-aggression and the other is a lethal macro-aggression they share the same roots. The basis of both, and escalating actions in between, is the same: To teach you, and all girls subject to these men and their authority, a lesson: “Know your place.” I also know that there are places where girls are marginalized and hurt that are not religious. But all over the world these hypocritical, pious men, in their shamefully obvious wrongness, represent the sharp-edged tip of an iceberg, the visible surface of a deep and vast harm. They employ the full range of their earthly and divine influence to make sure, as early as possible, that you and the boys around you understand what they want your relative roles to be. Where there are patriarchal religions girls, in dramatically varying and extreme degrees, disproportionately suffer. Understand these men for what they are: bullies. Do not internalize what they would have you believe.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/message-to-girls-about-re_b_1518849.html

Neo-Nazi Texas Republican Attorney General Compares Planned Parenthood To Terrorist Organization

It’s time to stop pretending the Republicans haven’t become the Nazi Party of America. Their hatred of women and LGBT people makes them completely un-American

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/texas-ag-planned-parenthood-terrorist_n_1468838.html


05/ 1/2012

Just two hours after a U.S. district judge stopped a Texas law that would have eliminated Planned Parenthood’s participation in the state’s Women’s Health Program, Federal Appeals Judge Jerry E. Smith issued an emergency stay that lifted that order.

In the appeal for the emergency stay, a team of attorneys led by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization.

“Planned Parenthood does not provide any assurance that the tax subsidies it receives from the Women’s Health Program have not been used directly or indirectly to subsidize its advocacy of elective abortion,” Abbott wrote in his motion to stay the injunction. “Nor is it possible for Planned Parenthood to provide this assurance.”

“Money is fungible, and taxpayer subsidies — even if ‘earmarked’ for nonabortion activities — free up other resources for Planned Parenthood to spend on its mission to promote elective abortions … (because ‘[m]oney is fungible,’ First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to ‘humanitarian’ activities performed by terrorist organizations).”

The “federal material-support statute” that Abbott mentions makes it a felony to give money to a terrorist organization, even if the funds are specified for nonterrorist activities. Abbott makes the argument that giving Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, pap smears, STD testing and birth control is akin to giving a terrorist organization money for humanitarian activities.

Planned Parenthood responded Tuesday to the terrorist comparison in a statement to the Huffington Post.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/texas-ag-planned-parenthood-terrorist_n_1468838.html

We’re Not the Bad Guys, the Executives at Disney Are

From Huffington Post:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-day/disney-princess_b_1449718.html


with Michele Sinisgalli-Yulo of Princess Free Zone.
04/24/2012

In honor of this being the First Annual National Princess Week, we’ve got a few things to say!

So much has been written about Disney, girls and their love of all things princess, but it’s time to address the epidemic of inflamed comment threads we’re seeing that pit moms against each other over this topic in a rather unhelpful way. It has us a bit confused, and more than a little concerned. I suppose because we’re both in our mid-40′s, we can remember a different era than can be recalled by younger mothers today. Yes, we remember being children and reading Disney books, seeing Disney movies in the theater and pretending to be princesses.

But we also remember how relatively small a piece of girlhood real estate was owned back then by the Disney Corporation, before the year 2000′s marketing blitz that led to the creation of the four-billion-dollar “Princess franchise” and, ultimately, the onslaught of over 26,000 Disney princess items currently being sold in the children’s market. It is no secret that Disney’s highly profitable, widely accepted, corporate-created definition of what it is to be a girl has become the norm. Our concern is that this new princess culture offers a one-dimensional and very limiting representation of femininity.

Newspaper articles, books and blog posts about princess culture abound, but it is often the comments that drive the grittier narrative. Let’s look at some typical comments taken from recent blog posts:

“I do not understand the concept of not allowing little girls to believe in the princess story. Let kids be kids and believe in fairy tales. People complain that kids grow up too fast these days, well this is one of the reasons why. Forcing adult ideals on children. When they are young let them believe in happy endings and being rescued by prince charming. As they get older, then you can teach them to take care of themselves.”
“You are a sick human being if you are ‘fighting’ the pull for little girls to be girly. Every little girls WANTS to be a princess and/or beautiful. Do you want your daughter to be like a boy?!”
“Really?! Is it really that big of deal? I am a child from the 90s where everything was gender based. Don’t you have better things to do with your time? There are bigger problems in the world.”

Why such backlash to the idea that there might be something detrimental about such a narrow definition of what it is to be female? We are amazed at the number of parents who assertively contradict the facts of history — saying there is nothing new here when this is not how it has always been. The angry push-back to the notion that a little bit of princess is OK, but that complete immersion in all things princess might not be the healthiest thing for girls, is at times breathtaking in its knee-jerk defensiveness and, dare we say, intellectual laziness.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-day/disney-princess_b_1449718.html

Posted in Feminist, Gender, Sexism, Uncategorized. Comments Off

Die-In tonight; Tomorrow is International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

From Feministe: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/12/16/die-in-tonight-tomorrow-is-international-day-to-end-violence-against-sex-workers/

by Clarisse Thorn
on 12.16.2011

Reposted with Permission

Tomorrow is the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. For some 2011 event locations, click here.

Sex Worker Activists, Allies and You has a bunch of great links and 101 materials about sex workers’ rights.

Here in Chicago, the Sex Workers Outreach Project is holding a Die-In tonight and another event tomorrow at the best feminist site ever, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum:

“STOP SHAMING US TO DEATH”
Die-in Action for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Hosted by: Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago
When: Friday, December 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Where: 18th and State Street, in front of the Chicago Police Department in the South Loop
Who: Current & former sex workers, allies, friends, families, and communities.

Join SWOP-Chicago in a die-in action to protest violence committed against sex workers

Chicago — On December 16th, sex workers and their allies in the Chicago area will gather at the Chicago Police Department for a “die-in” action. Participants will fall to the ground “dead” holding signs bearing our messages. Through this action, we hope to raise awareness of the violence committed against sex workers and other marginalized groups. Law enforcement, those whose job it is to “serve and protect,” often either ignores violence committed against these groups, or is a direct perpetrator. IT IS TIME FOR THIS VIOLENCE TO STOP.

This event is part of the annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. On the following day, Saturday, December 17th, sex workers and their allies will gather at vigils around the world to commemorate the annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, honoring sex workers who have died at the hands of violent crimes, and declaring an end to all violence against sex workers.

PLEASE JOIN US AT THIS IMPORTANT EVENT! And don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather conditions!

And here’s the info about the Saturday December 17 event.

Feel free to link to your own posts about sex work, the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers, and relevant events in the comments.

Plan B Backlash: Women’s Groups Sour On Obama

From Huffington Post:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/plan-b-birth-control-morning-after-pill-obama_n_1148769.html


December 14, 2011

Women played a huge role in propelling President Barack Obama to victory during the 2008 elections, supporting him more strongly than men by seven percentage points. His record on women’s issues as president, however, has been spotty, and major women’s rights organizations are warning that if he makes the wrong decision on birth control coverage in the coming weeks, it could cost him the election in 2012.

Many progressive women’s groups who supported Obama throughout his campaign and presidency felt betrayed last week when, without any warning, his administration decided to overturn the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration and limit access to Plan B One-Step, a popular emergency contraception pill. Whether or not the president had anything to do with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision, the fact remains that he promised in 2009 that his administration, unlike that of President George W. Bush, would “make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

Americans of all demographics overwhelmingly support access to birth control, which is why the Plan B decision especially surprising to women’s health advocates and has severely dented his support among them. Although progressive women still perceive the GOP candidates’ positions on the issues they care about as more damaging, the problem, they say, is voter enthusiasm.

“I think the women of this country are not disappointed, they’re infuriated,” Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, told HuffPost. “I’m gonna tell you the truth — we’re supporting President Obama as a means to get better alternatives. It’s not like we think he’s great for women, but we know we need to move in that direction, and frankly in this moment women must be engaged and must be mobilized to vote for the candidate that is a stepping stone toward real equality, even though there’s no candidate that represents that now.”

“The Plan B decision was a missed opportunity for Obama to strengthen his record on women’s reproductive issues,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “As we’re looking at 2012, we have a key segment of women’s voters, and it’s our job to show them the clear difference between President Obama and the alternatives. The decision last week makes it harder for us to do that.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/plan-b-birth-control-morning-after-pill-obama_n_1148769.html

Why is Facebook Protecting Pro Rape Language and Abuse of Women?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/sex/153406/why_is_facebook_protecting_pro_rape_language_and_abuse_of_women__/

Despite a campaign that included 180,000 signatures, Facebook continues to post pro-rape pages, showing, yet again, that they care about users so long as they’re profitable.

By Melissa Gira Grant
December 12, 2011

 Since August, tens of thousands of Internet activists have taken to social media to protest a social media giant — Facebook — for its apparent tolerance of user-created pages that make sexual violence into a punchline. The pages, with titles like “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont [sic] want to wake her up” and “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” have been common to Facebook for some time, but campaigns against them began when a Facebook representative commented to the BBC on its decision not to remove that kind of content, stating, “Just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.” The pub analogy comment circulated among feminist activists on Facebook, and it was quoted widely on blogs, sparking a series of petitions that circulated for months, demanding the removal of the pages. When Facebook failed to respond, online activists organized a Twitter hashtag Day of Action, #notfunnyfacebook, to further pressure Facebook to enforce its own terms of service and hold its users accountable. Finally, following the Twitter action, Facebook elected to delete a few of the pages. It also allowed others to remain, so long as they were retitled as parodies.

The victory came as a half-hearted one for activists, who, with more than 180,000 signatures and hundreds of Twitter participants on their side, had not been able to call Facebook to account. New pro-rape pages are still being posted. One I just visited is called “That one slut you have always wanted to kick in the face.” After scrolling past three nearly identical wall announcements explaining how I could make easy money at home today (not involving, as I had first assumed, being “slutty”), I found a handful of nasty comments, all so poorly spelled it would be difficult for them to retain any air of menace. Then I recalled the anonymous person who scrawled “FAGETS” on the wall of a student organization I worked with in college. Then I saw what the page was really used for: with the “tag a user in this post” function, fans of the page could add the name of their intended target to their wall post, and that target would potentially see the post and the threat. It made me queasy.

If it was not clear before, we must understand now that Facebook wasn’t built for us — it was built for the profit of the very few. That Facebook is of value to the public as a communications platform is only important to Facebook insofar as it allows them to sell targeted advertising against our own speech. Its governing document, the Terms of Service, has been repeatedly applied unfairly and without accountability to its users, as its purpose is to legally protect Facebook from our conduct, not provide us with a free space, or even a safe space. Facebook needs to be only as minimally welcoming to us so as to ensure our return to use it again. And that we might use Facebook as a public square for activism? Not even in the business model.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/sex/153406/why_is_facebook_protecting_pro_rape_language_and_abuse_of_women__/

Investigating the Lesbian Klan: The Rise of Cultural Feminism

Not all lesbians are members of the anti-transsexual Klan.  Nor are all lesbian feminists or even many lesbian separatists.

There is nothing inherent in the left/liberal precepts of lesbian feminism that requires the systematic bigotry that a minority within the lesbian community have deployed towards transsexual and post-transsexual women.

In spite of their claiming the label “Radical Feminists” their over all policies share little or nothing with the original “Radical Feminists” who grew out of the left and had more in common with the women of Weatherman, and the Trotskyites than they do with with those who claim that label today.  In the early 1970s to be a Radical Feminist meant that one acted radically rather than sitting around theorizing and engaging in vicious word games.

As early as 1972 there was a divergence from that form of feminism, which tended to view women’s oppression within the context of the oppressions of race and class.  This meant erasing the contributions Marx and Engels made to analyzing the origins of the family.

One of the early demands of what Red Stockings came to describe as “cultural feminism” came in the form of Robin Morgan’s Good-bye to all that… *1

Women had played a major role in every aspect of left wing movements in the US since the days of  the Abolition Movement.  They were part of the Labor Movement (Mother Jones and Elizabeth Gurly Flynn) They were part of the Communist Party (Dorothy Ray Healy).  The Anarchist Movement (Emma Goldman Lucy Parsons) The Black Civil Rights Movement (Angela Davis, Elaine Brown)  The Anti-war Movement, the Environmental Movement ETC.

In “Good-bye to all that” Morgan demanded women leave movements where they had worked for years, movements they had committed their lives to working with all to join what was at the time a middle class white women’s movement.  She laid out all the crimes of the alternative hippie communities yet never much focused on the misogyny of the mainstream media or corporate America.

This actually kept me from fully committing to feminism as I was working class and saw how oppressions of class and race meant that while all women were oppressed by sexism, many women carried much heavier burdens of oppression than others.

You see I was part of the anti-war movement and the counter-culture being trashed by Morgan, a well to do, former child star.  We were trying to build a new society and dealing with sexism wasn’t the only issue.

A couple of years later Jane Alpert, an acolyte of Morgan wrote Mother Right:

Letter from the Underground:

Dear Sisters in the Weather Underground:

I am addressing this piece to you, in spite of the fact that my concern at this point is with a far broader spectrum of women than your tiny band of forgotten leftists, because it was our arguments of the past year that convinced me to publicize my conversion from the left to radical feminism. I realized after these arguments that for me to keep silence would only support the illusion that the “underground” is united around the male politics which you still espouse, and these politics and practices are too reprehensible to me as a feminist to protect them by silence. I know that seeing this letter, which you thought you would receive as a private communication, here in print will shock you and that you will regard much of its content as a breach of the tacit code of honor among political fugitives. Nevertheless, my own politics demand that I share with all women my knowledge of the sexual oppression of the left, if only to warn other sisters against the pain that has been inflicted on us. Perhaps you personally will never open up to feminism; yet the experiences I am going to relate may speak more effectively to women involved in other branches of the left, from McGovern organizers to Socialist Workers Party members. And I have some hope that the impact of a public statement may do what none of my private arguments have succeeded in doing: persuade you to leave the dying left in which you are floundering and begin to put your immense courage and unique skills to work for women-for yourselves.

This letter and Morgan’s overt support of both Jane Alpert and this position struck me and many other left wing feminists as a betrayal on the order last seen by those who named names at the HUAC and the McCarthy hearings during the Red scare of the 1950s.

But even more insidious was another part of “Mother Right” which renounced the truly radical thinking of Shulamith Firestone while furthering the separation from the Left and counter-culture that had been started by Morgan.

“Mother Right” argued against the idea of women as female people  endowed with same abilities as male people.  While earlier feminists asserted that differences were not biological but  rather the result of patriarchal conditioning “Mother Right” introduced the idea of biological essentialism, the concept that men and women were completely different and didn’t share a wide variety of overlapping traits and talents.

For centuries feminists have asserted that the essential difference between men and women does not lie in biology but rather in the roles that patriarchal societies ( men ) have required each sex to play. The motivation for this assertion is obvious: women’s biology has always been used to justify women’s oppression. As patriarchal reasoning went, since “God” or “nature” or “evolution” had made woman the bearer and nurser of the species, it logically followed that she should stay home with the children and perform as a matter of more-or-less ordained duty all the domestic chores involved in keeping and feeding a household. When women work outside the home, we have the most menial and lowest-paid tasks to perform, chiefly because any labor a woman performs outside the home is thought to be temporary and inessential to her, no matter how she herself might be inclined to regard it. Naturally, then, the first healthy impulse of feminism is to deny that simply because women have breasts and uteruses we are better suited to wash dishes, scrub floors, or change diapers. As newly roused feminists, we retorted to evidence that women might be intrinsically better suited to perform some roles than others by pointing out that men have been forcing these roles on us for at least five thousand years. After such time, conditioning and habit are so strong that they appear to be intrinsic and innate.

However, a flaw in this feminist argument has persisted: it contradicts our felt experience of the biological difference between the sexes as one of immense significance To begin with, it seems obvious that biology alone would, in primitive societies, have dictated different roles and different powers as appropriate to each sex. And biological scientists have indeed assumed, for the most part, that the physical passivity of the female mammal during intercourse and the demands of pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing clearly indicate a role of women as biologically determined, and inferior. In response to this, Shulamith Firestone, with the publication of The Dialectic of Sex in 1970, articulated the definitive feminist antithesis to this idea by denouncing biology as reactionary. Agreeing that biology had necessarily been an all-powerful determinant of social roles in the past, Firestone went on to argue that the advances of technology made this tyranny potentially obsolete. Women are still enslaved to their bodies not because of biology but because the patriarchy will not permit the use of technology to interfere with men’s power over women. However, in Firestone’s view, the dialectic of history, in which the sexual relationship underlies all other power relationships, indicates that A feminist revolution is inevitable. This revolution will put technology to work to literally free women from biology, from pregnancy, childbirth, and the rest, thereby eliminating the last difference of any importance between the sexes and ultimately causing the sexual difference itself to wither away, in the course of evolution, together with all forms of oppression.

I think that Firestone is visionary in perceiving the sexual relationship as the basis of all power relationships, and in predicting that feminist revolution will therefore result in the end of all oppression. However, the evidence of feminist culture, which has accumulated largely since the publication of her epochal book, suggests that her analysis of the role of biology was deficient and that a third possibility, which is indeed a new synthesis of the previous views, may well be correct. The unique consciousness or sensibility of women, the particular attributes that set feminist art apart, and a compelling line of research now being pursued lay feminist anthropologists all point to the idea that female biology is the basis of women’s powers. Biology is hence the source and not the enemy of feminist revolution.

The root of this idea lies perhaps in buried history. It has increasingly been acknowledged that the most ancient societies worshiped a female diety or deities, and that menstruation, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and all other phenomena associated with female biology were surrounded with taboos. Furthermore, a number of these ancient societies were matrilineal: property and social identity were inherited through the mother rather than the father. Whether women had any secular power in these societies is a subject of dispute, and most archaeologists and anthropologists have felt that women didn’t have any power except over a few religious rites. But most archaeologists and anthropologists have been men, whose imaginations could not quite grasp a society in which women held real power, even a pretechnological society. (For example, the section on “Amazons” in the authoritative Oxford Classical Dictionary spends all of one sentence dismissing the notion the Amazon tribes ever existed–though these tribes were acknowledged by nearly every ancient historian who wrote about preclassical times.) Feminists in many branches of science and historical research have been reexamining the evidence for the existence of ancient gynocracies, or women-ruled societies. Among the more visionary and lyrically persuasive (if somewhat factually problematic) of these recent studies is The First Sex by Elizabeth Gould Davis. Davis hypothesizes that patriarchal society began only after barbarian male tribes violently overthrew the ancient, peaceful, and relatively advanced gynocracies, in which women were not only worshiped but were actually temporal rulers. These ancient gynocracies may have existed throughout Asia, northern Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and the Mediterranean area and persisted as late as 2,000 B.C. in some areas, such as Crete. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that Davis may be proved correct in the near future, and her thesis has been stated in a more tentative style than hers by several other highly respected scientists.

Those of us who considered ourselves radical feminists in the original sense of the term i.e. left wing Marxist-Leninist feminists felt utterly betrayed by the direction Morgan and others seemed to be moving in.

Eventually our branch of feminism became known as “Liberal Feminism”.  The branch that goes out and demonstrates for rights.  Some times in a manner that is reformist and sometimes in the case of those who fight globalization and the corporatocracy, radical.

Cultural Feminism, also referred to by some as “gender feminism” diverged from political feminism which was denounced as “reformist”. Something I always found strange given the reactionary positions masquerading as radical thought one found in in the writings of the cultural feminists.

As an atheist, I found it very difficult to get caught up in and devote much energy to the whole goddess worship movement that seemed to be an essential part of cultural feminism.  If the concept of a sky-god already seems absurd, it doesn’t much matter if that god is male or female.  Honestly I found some of the “research” on pre-historical matriarchies to be sketchy at best and requiring the same level of skepticism I used in reading Erich von Däniken’s “Chariots of the Gods”

Dancing naked around a fire with a bunch of other women was edifying in terms of fun and a fuck of a lot less work that working to elect a candidate that would support the ratification of the ERA. Except, it somehow seemed less relevant to smashing the patriarchy than doing the hard work of organizing.

Yet the cultural feminists started using their essentialism to dominate the political discourse.  They did this by claiming ultimate victimhood and wearing that ultimate victimhood as a badge of honor that gave them veto power over the political feminists and lesbians.  After all it was their goddess ordained, mother right, to have the voice of authority.

This essentialism along with ultimate victimhood became a tool of personal power and dominance.  A tool for shutting down the politicals and assuring the destruction of any sort of broad based feminism that worked on a wide scope of issues.

The attacks on transsexuals starting with Beth Elliott showed the basic elements of what became cultural feminism.  Particularly the essentialist elements.

There was a popular feminist button in 1969 that read, “Biology is not Destiny”.  I remember this button because I had one and wore it.  It was a statement of liberation that said one was not limited by their biology to specified roles.  In those days we talked about the sameness of men and women, the overlapping of talents, skills etc.  How male dominance was a product of social engineering.

Incidentally Dr. Benjamin and others who pioneered the treatment for transsexualism reinforced the idea of an over lapping of the sexes rather than a sharp dividing line.  Dr. Benjamin spoke of the many criteria of sex differentiation.

The essentialism of cultural feminism on the other hand was very much into the “Women are from Venus/Men are from Mars”  dialectic.  This like any other fundamentalist line of thinking  requires that ideology trump any possible form of contradictory evidence. Even when that contradiction is a living, breathing, thinking person standing there messing with your theory.

Transsexuals mess with Cultural Feminism’s Essentialist Theory

In later posts on this subject I will go into some of the contradictions the existence of transsexuals create for the Cultural Feminists prime theory of essentialism.  Like creationists they tie themselves in knots, presenting arguments not supported by evidence.  They will resort to lies, slander and false accusations to gain support for purging not only post-transsexual women from the ranks of lesbian feminism but anyone who supports post-transsexual women.

Who can blame them.  Transsexuals are the contradiction that devastates their ideologically self contained world.

1.  I confess to a love hate relationship with Robin Morgan.  Many of the books she compiled and edited are and have been a part of my essential feminist library since the early 1970s.  On the other hand I have felt that Morgan’s claiming to be a lesbian while in a heterosexual marriage and enjoying heterosexual privilege was an insult to actual lesbians.  While other women who wrote the works featured in many of Morgan’s anthologies were being trashed as seeking stardom for the mere act of putting their names on the writings they worked to produce, Morgan was never shy about putting her name on the anthologies she produced and edited.

Which Side Are You On?

The Transgender Borg and Transgender Inc put out a massive quantity of bullshit about identity and identifying as a woman, about how that identity trumps both physical reality and the perceptions of others. Based on the claims of some to be considered a woman all one has to do is claim to identify as such.

Being considered a woman doesn’t require being assigned female at birth.  Doesn’t require surgical sex reassignment from an initial birth assignment of male.  Doesn’t require the removal of testicles and definitely doesn’t require the surrender of one’s penis.  One isn’t required to live 24/7/365 in a socially accepted female sex role.  One doesn’t have to have electrolysis or even wear women’s clothing, according to Transgender Borg ideology to be considered a woman based on “identifying as a woman.”

Neither assigned female at birth nor later surgically reassigned as female women are permitted to have a say in this matter, but instead have to swallow the entire reactionary pile of crap regarding gender that we spent years fighting against.  Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique was all about how gender (sex) roles were used to trap women and limit their ability to function in the world as whole people with the agency to make their own decisions regarding the course of their lives.

For all of the Transgender Borg/Inc.’s  BS about deconstructing gender most of their philosophy seems deeply grounded in the reification of gender stereotypes as defining who is a man or who is a woman.

Indeed their ideology of “Transgender Umbrella” and “Transgender Community” seems intent upon stifling genuine attempts at breaking free from sex role/gender role stereotyping.  It is terribly oppressive to have your life colonized and be berated by the Borg/Inc for not embracing “Transgender as Umbrella” once they have decided you are part of a class that they have decided belongs under the “Transgender Umbrella.”

Speaking of “process”.  Isn’t there something incredibly phalliocentric happening when one group composed largely of penis people and their sycophants get to decide when some one is part of the “Transgender Community” or not, without the consent of the person or class of people being colonized?

I am well aware of Christan Williams attempts to write a form of revisionist history where  “Transgender” is a self chosen collective noun that was embraced as early as the late 1960s/early 1970s by women with transsexualism.

How does it feel, Christan, to be a sycophant toadie for a bunch of people who have advocated violence against feminist women, who had the courage to say no to the demands of phalliocentric transvestites and their demands to share the women’s room based on “identity”?  Identity with out actions that actually change your sex is meaningless, nothing more than a con game played by penis people who want to violate women’s privacy.

Don’t think I haven’t noticed the attempts at rehabilitating Angela Keyes Douglas, a psychopathic douche nozzle from the 1970s who hindered the integration of post-transsexual women into the feminist and lesbian communities with his androcentric “transgender superiority” and his calling  lesbian feminists  “ugly cunts” and “fish”.

BTW that word, “Fish”…  That’s the word that set the feminists off when it was used by Saint Sylvia during her drunken Pride Day Parade episode back in 1973.  Do you think that really gave post-transsexual women a big boost in the feminist community?  Or did it hurt us?

Many of us  look upon SRS as ending a chapter in our lives and with the end of that chapter come an end to membership in a shared class that has come to be called “The Transgender Community”.  At that point we face a life choice.  One road means we continue the process of becoming women, a process that can only happen if we drop the “Trans”.  That means dropping the “Transgender Community”.  It means embracing the bare unadorned label, “woman” with out the prefix “trans” much less the adjective “transgender”.

In spite of the TG Borg/Inc.’s protestations to the contrary one cannot identify as a woman and as transgender.  The two are mutually exclusive.  One might identify as a “trans-woman” or as a “transgender woman”, one might even identify as transsexual, although the term transsexual implies actual actions taken to permanently physically change one’s sex.  But as long as one either has to stick a prefix or adjective, or voluntarily sticks that prefix or adjective in front of the word woman then one is identifying with the modifying prefix or adjective and not with the noun being modified.

Being woman identified might have all sorts of readings and levels, take all sorts of forms from spiritual to political.

But one thing should seem obvious.  Living one’s life in transgender-centric surroundings is not conducive to taking the final step in the process of becoming part of the community of women.  It is continuing to live in the transgender ghetto.  One does not have to be hostile to genuine transgender people nor wish to deny genuine transgender people their rights.  But who is actually transgender?  This is a reasonable question. I had a hostile transvestite who goes by the on-line name of Carolyn-Ann come here a while back with his penis waving transvestite BS.  He got pissy when he found out I wasn’t about to be bullied by him and has periodically trashed me on his blog ever since.  Do I have to consider him a woman, or welcome him into women’s space?

Speaking of women’s space…  Many of us have been welcomed into women’s space based upon our work within the feminist and lesbian communities, our personalities.  Even the Michigan Women’s Music Festival quietly expanded its policies to permit women identified post-transsexual women into the festival.  Yet Camp Trans continues as many will not be satisfied until people with penises can invade any and all gatherings of women.

I have been accused of being a “genital surgery essentialist” by Autumn Sandeen.  Monica Roberts, who has advocated violence against Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford, suggesting they should be pimp slapped and condoning a transvestite named Anthony Casebeer suggestion that these women be attacked with a baseball bat.  Monica Roberts, who often points out racial injustice is equally often given to hyperbole and regularly engages in phalliocentric dismissals of post-transsexual women, snidely implying that women born transsexual has racist connotations with her oh so cute”WWBT” and her disparaging of our bodies as having man-made vanilla scented neo-coochies.

Nice going Monica.  You have insured the heightening of the contradictions.

One can be woman identified or one can be part of the phalliocentric Transgender Borg Collective.  One cannot be both.

I consider the attacks upon Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford to be unwarranted, nor do I see any real merit in the arguments coming fron the TG Borg/Inc.  The inclusiveness of the “Transgender as Umbrella” paradigm is its weakness not its strength.  They use post-transsexual women as a front when so many of them are men in their daily lives.  The refusal to limit Transgender to people who live 24/7/365 when writing legislation that grants entry to restrooms and other spaces where women expect a reasonable level of privacy, causes many women to be reasonably wary, to ask just what this means.

When post-transsexual women who have been around the scene and know what is going on because they have seen the reality take sides in this issue one may justifiably ask, “Do you stand with women, or do you stand with transvestites?”

I have been called a “radical feminist” by some in the TG Borg/Inc.  I guess I am, if that means I put the interests of women either assigned female at birth or surgically reassigned as female at a later time ahead of the interest of either transgender people or transvestites.

I put women without a prefix or adjective and their interests first, because that is what being woman identified requires.  Being woman identified isn’t an identity or make-up and clothing.  It is a commitment to women, both because you are a woman and because you put the interests of women first.

Right Wing Misogynist, Hannity blasts free birth control, defends free erection pills

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/08/hannity-blasts-free-birth-control-defends-free-erection-pills/

By Stephen C. Webster
August 5, 2011

In a bizarre Fox News segment Thursday night, right-wing talk show host Sean Hannity insisted that providing free birth control pills to women through their insurance is helping to build a “nanny state,” but giving men free pills to give them erections is just addressing a “medical problem.”

A Forgotten Fight for Suffrage

From The New York Time Op-Ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/opinion/25stansell.html?ref=opinion

By CHRISTINE STANSELL
Published: August 24, 2010

LOOKING back on the adoption of the 19th Amendment 90 years ago Thursday — the largest act of enfranchisement in our history — it can be hard to see what the fuss was about. We’re inclined to assume that the passage of women’s suffrage (even the term is old-fashioned) was inevitable, a change whose time had come. After all, voting is now business as usual for women. And although women are still poorly represented in Congress, there are influential female senators and representatives, and prominent women occupy governors’ and mayors’ offices and legislative seats in every part of the United States.

Yet entrenched opposition nationwide sidelined the suffrage movement for decades in the 19th century. By 1920, antagonism remained in the South, and was strong enough to come close to blocking ratification.

Proposals for giving women the vote had been around since the first convention for women’s rights in Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848. At the end of the Civil War, eager abolitionists urged Congress to enfranchise both the former slaves and women, black and white. The 14th Amendment opened the possibility, with its generous language about citizenship, equal protection and due process.

But, at that time, women’s suffrage was still unthinkable to anyone but radical abolitionists. Since the nation’s founding, Americans considered women to be, by nature, creatures of the home, under the care and authority of men. They had no need for the vote; their husbands represented them to the state and voted for them. So, in the 14th Amendment’s second section, Republicans inserted the word “male,” prohibiting the denial of voting rights to “any of the male inhabitants” of the states.

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/opinion/25stansell.html?ref=opinion

Wal-Mart Asks Supreme Court to Weigh In on Suit

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/business/26walmart.html?hp

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: August 25, 2010

Wal-Mart Stores asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to review the largest employment discrimination lawsuit in American history, involving more than 1.5 million current or former female workers at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores.

Nine years after the suit was filed, the central issue before the high court will not be whether any discrimination occurred, but whether more than a million people can even make this joint claim through a class-action lawsuit, as opposed to filing claims individually or in smaller groups. In April, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled 6-to-5 that the lawsuit could proceed as a jumbo class action – the fourth judicial decision upholding a class action.

The stakes are huge. If the Supreme Court allows the suit to proceed as a class action, that could easily cost Wal-Mart $1 billion or more in damages, legal experts say.

More significantly, the court’s ruling could set guidelines for other types of class-action suits. “This is the big one that will set the standards for all other class actions,” said Robin S. Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, an arm of the Chamber of Commerce, which has filed several amicus briefs backing Wal-Mart.

Continue Reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/business/26walmart.html?hp

Study suggests boys and girls not as different as previously thought

Aah is this the start of the pendulum swinging back to the more progressive thinking of the 1970s when males and females weren’t considered so different afterall?

Could be.  Perhaps because all the emphasis on gender is starting to be seen for what it is, misogyny in different drag from the sexism of stereotypical sex role expectations that Second Wave Feminism critiqued some 40 years ago.

From Physorg.com: http://www.physorg.com/news201177495.html
August 16, 2010

Although girls tend to hang out in smaller, more intimate groups than boys, this difference vanishes by the time children reach the eighth grade, according to a new study by a Michigan State University psychologist.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Social and , suggest “girls and aren’t as different as we think they are,” said Jennifer Watling Neal, assistant professor of psychology.

Neal’s study is one of the first to look at how girls’ and boys’ peer networks develop across grades. Because children’s peer-group structure can promote negative behaviors like bullying and positive behaviors like helping others, she said it’s important for researchers to have a clear picture of what these groups look like.

“Although we tend to think that girls’ and boys’ peer groups are structured differently, these differences disappear as children get older,” Neal said.

The reason may have to do with an increased interaction with the opposite sex.

“Younger boys and girls tend to play in same-sex peer groups,” Neal said. “But every parent can relate to that moment when their son or daughter suddenly takes an interest, whether social or romantic, in the opposite sex.”

The question of whether girls hang out in smaller groups than boys is controversial, with past research providing mixed results.

Neal examined peer relationships of third- through eighth-grade students at a Chicago school and found that in the younger grades did, indeed, tend to flock together in smaller, more intimate groups than boys.

But that difference disappeared by the eighth grade. While the size of boys’ peer groups remained relatively stable, girls’ peer groups became progressively larger in later grades.

Neal said further research is needed to confirm the results by examining a single group of children over time.

Provided by Michigan State University (news : web)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 158 other followers