Friday Night fun and Culture John Gorka

He’s playing the WildFlower Festival here but global warming has made outdoors for extended periods of time unbearable and it is only May.

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Transgender Rights Are A Feminist Issue

From Care2:

May 17, 2012

A consistent, and exceedingly fair critique of the feminist movement is that it is grounded in a certain white, liberal privilege that offers very little social and cultural change for populations that need it most. And maybe nowhere is that critique most on-point than the issue of transgender rights.

Make no mistake about it. Transgender rights are feminist rights and transgender issues are feminist issues.

Take, for example, the landmark opinion by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late April that said gender-identity discrimination is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This opinion was made possible thanks to legal precedents from the 1980s and 1990s were a woman was overlooked for a job opportunity because she didn’t act or look “feminine enough” and another where a man was sexually harassed and threatened by other men at work.

At the heart of these cases is the idea that forcing someone to conform to a privileged or preferred gender performance is discriminatory even if those decisions did not stem first from complaints by transgender employees but rather by professional, heterosexual women. The discrimination faced by those women is inextricably linked to the gender discrimination that other people face, including and especially transgender people.

And the reality is that protecting transgender rights in the workplace makes the workplace safer for everyone, just like protecting transgender rights everywhere makes the world safer for us all. Violent attacks against transgender people are motivated by the same dark impulses behind rape and domestic assault. These are not (usually) crimes motivated by passion but instead of power–of putting non-compliant persons in their place and by reinforcing, if by force, dominant gender norms.

Intelligence Report Article Provokes Fury Among Men’s Rights Activists

From Southern Poverty Law Center:

by Arthur Goldwag
May 15, 2012

The last issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report presented a scathing portrait of “a hard-line fringe” of the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM): “women haters whose fury goes well beyond criticism of the family court system, domestic violence laws, and false rape accusations,” whose rage is “directed at all women, not only perceived feminists.”

The article, entitled “Leader’s Suicide Brings Attention to Men’s Rights Movement,” provoked a tremendous response among men’s rights activists (MRAs) and their sympathizers.

“Piggybacking on the two minutes’ hate against Limbaugh,” the National Review Online sarcastically declared, the “clueless commissars at the Southern Policy Law Center” have “found a new arena of hate groups, comparable to neo-Nazis and the skinheads: the ‘manosphere’ of misogynist web sites.” The website In Mala Fide was defiantly proud: “Before, our enemies ignored us. Now, they point their gnarled, disgusting fingers at us, sputtering syllables of disapproval.”

A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam tried on a collegial tone at first. “The goals of SPLC and AVfM are quite similar,” he averred in open letter to the SPLC’s president, Richard Cohen. “We both work to identify groups who seek to oppress others, and inform the public of the inequities they would perpetuate.” But just days later, in a post headlined “Southern Poverty Law Center Linked to Hate Activity,” he changed his tune.

It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit. But we did call out specific examples of misogyny and the threat, overt or implicit, of violence.

Thomas James Ball, for example, who was hailed as a martyr on so many men’s rights forums, called for arson attacks on courthouses and police stations. The Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik wrote extensively about the evils of feminism. We included as much as we did about because it is so intimidating to its targets, not all of whom are criminals. When Elam accused Vliet Tiptree, a pseudonymous contributor to RadFem Hub, of “calling for extermination of half the human race; the male half, that is,” he offered a cash reward for her real identity. The names and locations of several candidates were publically aired.

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Body Image: I Love How I Look — In a World that Doesn’t

From Huffington Post:


I love my body.

When I say this, I frequently hear lots of clapping and even cheers. I give talks across the country about my personal recovery from an eating disorder, and people in the audience are often fed up (no pun intended) with assaults against women’s bodies. It is not often that we actually hear someone say, “I love my body.”

Samantha Brick recently attempted such a thing and did not receive applause for it. Of course, her self-proclamation of being beautiful was tagged with her belief that women hate her for it. I don’t think women hate me because I love my body.

Like Samantha, I do think I’m beautiful. I also know that women don’t hate me for that. In fact, I am told that they respect me for it. But I would argue that Samantha and I have different definitions of beauty.

When I say “beautiful,” I don’t mean society’s picture-perfect face and body. I mean beautifully strong, healthy, and happy. In fact, after getting a massage a couple of weeks ago, my masseuse enthusiastically reported, “Your body is very happy!”

My body is happy even though I have cellulite on my legs and still get frequent pimples on my chin. It is happy despite the fact that I will never have chiseled calves or rock hard abs. My personal definition of beauty no longer includes these things. After being tortured for years by an incessant voice in my head saying, “You aren’t good enough,” I finally stopped listening.

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Elizabeth Warren | JPMorgan and Wall Street

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Skechers fined $40 million for false claims about its toning shoes

I bought a pair. I’ll be willing to bet more than a few women did.  Even though I kind of suspected their claims were bullshit.

I would have been better off putting the money into a pair of Birkenstocks or a sport shoe wit good arch support and no super star jocks on the payroll.

From The Telegraph UK:

Footwear label told to shape up its substantiations or tone down its claims as American Trade Commission orders it to reimburse customers.

17 May 2012

Footwear brand Skechers is to pay $40 million (£25 million) to settle claims that it deceived consumers by suggesting its sports shoes could help weight loss and bottom-toning.

In an agreement similar to one last year against Reebok, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in America said purchasers of the California-based firm’s Shape-up, Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-up shoe ranges can apply for refunds.

READ: Reebok fined $25 million for ‘toning shoes’ false claims

The Shape-ups adverts featured reality TV star Kim Kardashian getting rid of her personal trainer in favour of a pair of Shape-ups in a campaign aired during last year’s Super Bowl – the most watched American television broadcast of the year.

“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims,” he added.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris added: “Consumers shouldn’t be duped into paying more for products with false promises of weight loss and other benefits.”

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Congresswoman Lee Discussing Her Amendment to End the War in Afghanistan

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