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Showing posts from February, 2008

Feminism at its Finest February 2008

February's round up of the " best feminist posts " is out and I'm in it. More linky love for my write up of Dr. Susan Wicklund's visit to Chicago. Now for any newbies reading (ahem, WMG) don't think that I'm all that hot or that my write-up was so popular that the carnies are all linking me. Just head on over to the Blog Carnival site , search for a carnival that fits your post's theme and submit your post. Wa-la! It's not a guarantee that you'll get in, but most of the time I get in. Of course, the trick is to REMEMBER to submit to these carnivals so that you can increase your blog traffic. For new readers visiting from FaiF, welcome. Stick around, comment, and come on back. Thanks for visiting. Technorati tags: feminism , Feminism at its Finest , blog carnival

Whose your favorite woman blogger?

Well of course it's me, but seriously. The Women's Voices Women Vote site is asking people to nominate their favorite blogger and then they will list the top 10 and then there will be voting. So head on over and vote for some awesome bloggers, K?

The Problem with Pro-Choice

Many feminists, especially feminists of color, have made excellent platforms of why we, feminists/progressives, need to stop saying pro-choice. The bottom line is that pro-choice usually focuses just on abortion rights and maybe birth control. In reality, we should be fighting for reproductive justice - abortion, artificial fertilization, having healthy babies, and the right to birth where we want and with whom. One reason why I have a problem with pro-choice is that it is often used as short hand for a candidate's stance on women's health. And oh how wrong that can be! Example 1: Peter Roskam, IL-6th District (R) He was elected to office in 2006 over a woman war-veteran. She had the backing of many women's organizations especially pro-choice organizations. It was recently brought to my attention that he brought home the bacon! Specifically $243,000 for Access Community Health for mental health treatment and chronic diseases. I was seriously floored when my friend told

School "Choice" in CPS

Saturday ushers in March and the hope that spring will overcome winter, some televised spring training games, Shamrock shakes, and of course, notification from the Chicago Public School lottery and all those privates & parochial schools on whether or not your child was selected. All of this is because Chicago Public Schools have school choice . It's a nice slogan. It lulls you into the belief that you, the parent, has control over where your beloved offspring will be learning their three R's. In fact it is a madness that pushes parents into an annual emotional marathon. The Chicago Tribune points out the intense competition to get into not just CPS schools, but religious and private schools: Statistically, it's more difficult, for example, to get into Drummond Montessori, a public magnet school in Bucktown , than it is to get into Harvard University. About 995 children applied for the 36 openings at Drummond next school year, a 4 percent acceptance rate. Harvar

54th Carnival of Feminists

The 54th Carnival of Feminists is out and yours truly is in it! Here are some of my favorite selections from this issue: Penguin Unearthed on identifying as a mother: " This blog does not have any real focus. But if it had one, it would be the intersection of parenting and work - how the world of work should change, and how to make that happen. So maybe that’s why I identified as a mother - it seems obvious to me that I’m in the world of work, but it’s easy for the world of work to forget my life as a mother. " Julie Fairey' s hilarious look at becoming a mother: " My days and nights used to be mine to command. Now I live at the beck and call of a tyrant, one who insists on using a foreign language that I am slow to learn...His tyranny extends to determining when I sleep and when I wake, even sometimes when I can eat, and the dictates of the Holidays Act and other relevant labour legislation simply do not apply in this area of employment ." Karnythia at Ang

Upcoming Events in Chicago

I'm taking a mental break from a proposal that I must finish today. It's almost done and I hope my sanity can be regained. Thus in lieu of a real post, today you get invitations to some awesome events in the next week: OK, not an event, unless hitting the bookstore is an event (for me it is!), but the Chicago Foundation for Women is Women & Children First's organization of the month. Just print out a coupon and present it when you make a purchase and CFW gets 10% of your purchase total. Easy! Thursday, February 28th - T's Bar & Restaurant - Fundraiser Please support “Revolutionary Expressions: A Celebration Commemorating International Womyn’s Day” by joining Latinas Organizing for Reproductive Equality, Mexican Students of Aztlan, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, F.I.R.E., and Young Women’s Empowerment Project at: T's Bar 5025 N. Clark St Thursday February 28th 7:30p – 11p **Portion of the proceeds from food and drink sales as well as

Bitch on Bitch - Again

Due to Tina Fey's endorsement and the onslaught of "Bitch is the new black" ware on the internet AND some women being uncomfortable with the B-word, I point y'all back to Andi Ziesler's essay on "bitch." JFTR - When I first got online, one my earliest email addys was Of course, now you can't do that because Yahoo, et. al don't like swear words in your email addy. Technorati tags: Bitch Magazine , Andi Ziesler , bitch , Leonard Pitts , John McCain , feminist

Obama's a witch, Clinton's a bitch

Of course the ever subtle Sun-Times political cartoonist Jack Higgins thinks that Hillary is both with this incredibly sexist cartoon. But Starhawk, a real witch, writes a beautiful piece that isn't pro-anyone other than pro-us. Not US, but us, you and me, working together to make this country and this world a better place: As for me, I do believe, as Obama urges us to—not in his or any politician’s ability to make change, but in ours. If we as a people find our own vision, and speak, march, lobby, write, push for it and enact it in every way we can, then this moment of fear and crisis can become a turning point. We face huge losses in the years to come, and to get through them we need trust and connection in one another, courage, creativity, and compassion. None of that arises out of cynicism and despair. All of it comes only when we begin by believing, “Yes, we can!” Starhawk also outlines why many of us are falling under the spell of Obama: Obama evokes some powerfully app

Feminism is good for boys & men

I vividly recall being in a meeting maybe six years ago trying to figure out what committees should exist for a feminist group. There was the usual call for a "diversity" committee, but I said that we needed a men's issues committee instead. I was quickly yelled down by a few key leaders of said group. So when I read Jeff's post at Shakesville about gender and boys , I said a little thank you to the Goddess! Thank you for showing me another sign that I wasn't insane for suggesting that feminists reach out to men in an attempt to bring down the patriarchy, to find new/more partners in our fight for reproductive freedom, and to end gender roles in society. That "acceptable femininity" has expanded in scope is unquestionably a good thing, and while we're not there yet, one can see the day coming when girls are considered girls simply for being girls, no matter their dress, interests, hair length, or sexual orientation. The same cannot be said for boy

What We Think

See this banner? It's for my book. OK, it's not MY book, it's Adele's , but I do have an essay in it. It's entitled "Occupation: Professional Feminist." Obviously it goes over why I call myself a professional feminist and explores a bit of how feminist careers go far beyond what is generally thought - domestic violence center director, women's health clinic director. All careers that are awesome, but are just the beginning of the universe of careers that feminists can hold that are feminist careers. In reality, I think almost any job can be feminist if feminist ethics and morals are used. I don't know exactly when the book will be out, but don't fret, I'll let you know. I also believe that part of my sweat equity for the book is to do some events as well as publicize the book. So yes, my friends, you may need to come out and buy the book at a signing. HAHAHA!! The idea of me at a book signing is just too funny for me to contemplate right no

How Barack and Bill -- Yes, Bill -- Can Create Real Change

My latest column at Work it, Mom! The Presidential campaigns have been raging for just over a year now. The GOP has their candidate, even if a certain former Governor hasn’t gotten the memo, and the Democrats are still in a horse race. What has been most intriguing to me during this primary is how Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton have been seen in the media. I was a senior in high school when Bill and Hillary were on the path to the White House the first time. I was proud and quite surprised that the country was embracing this strong feminist of a woman. It seemed odd to me that so many people were embracing the idea of having a hands-on First Lady. Of course, I knew that she wouldn’t be the first. In the fourth or fifth grade I was obsessed with First Ladies. I even made a zine of them and highlighted my favorites: Abigail Adams , Eleanor Roosevelt , and Jackie Kennedy . Having grown up with some pretty wimpy First Ladies – Barbara and her books and Nancy and her guest appearanc

How many feminists does it take to pick 6 books?

A: It's not how many feminists, but how many rounds of voting it takes! To the left is a photo of the voting rounds from the Women & Children First Intergenerational Feminist Book Club. We meet twice a year to choose books and it's always a riot. Monday we had just five people and about 17 books up for vote. The first round we each got 6 votes, that eliminated a few books, but then we needed another round and another...Eventually we picked all six books in 4 rounds. The funny thing is that it took so long to whittle the list down to 6 because so many of us liked the same books, but just not enough to have a clean first vote. There are the books that made the cut. We didn't have a copy of "The Golden Notebook" so we used a sticky note as a stand in. Who says feminists don't have sense of humor. "It's So You" is the selection for March. We figured that after this insanely frigid winter we needed to think about fashion again. April is "The


You're lucky that I have too much other writing to do to write a long ranting post about this comic and how true it is and not just in terms of math. That or you can curse all my deadlines for keeping me from posting. :) H/T to Brutal Women

How macho should a State's Attorney be?

My antennae are standing up. I had read a piece somewhere and heard it on NPR that there are rumblings to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois. For those not familiar, Illinois has had a moratorium on the death penalty since 2000. It was one of the last things and the best thing former Governor Ryan did before he left office. He's since been convicted of corruption and is serving time in a Wisconsin prison. While this new piece on how state's attorney candidates feel about lifting the moratorium doesn't quite hit the whole "you need to be for it to be tough on crime" I'm sure that it will end up like that by the time we hit November: Democratic Cook County state's attorney nominee Anita Alvarez said Friday that Illinois must enact more reforms and allow the public a say before lifting its death-penalty moratorium. "I believe there were a lot of reforms, and there were a lot of recommendations that I don't believe have been put int

Def: Mommy Bloggers

Next month I'll be attending the WAM conference and speaking on a panel about blogging, feminism, and I'll add in mommy blogging to that list. So my question for my small band of readers is this: What comes to your mind when you think mommy blogger? Be honest...use the anonymous comment feature if you must. But I think that mommy bloggers are fighting a huge stereotype. I know we're not a monolith, but with all 'groups' others see us as one. So tell me, what do you think? If you were to meet a blogger and they said they were a mommy blogger would you check out their blog? What if they said they were a feminist blogger and dropped hints about their children? to enjoy Saturday before my daughter complains about me being on the computer too much! Technorati tags: mommy bloggers , stereotypes , WAM

Michelle Obama on Working Moms

It's as if Michelle knew I'd be listening. To be honest, my mommy blog collab has finally made contact with the Obama campaign and we're thisclose to having a chat with a few of their policy folks about the issues that are important to our readers & writers. Don't fret dear readers, it won't be all about mommy stuff. We're women too. I saw this piece before I headed out to work. My husband asked me, "What do you think?" I said, "She hit all the points perfectly." Now we know why Barack calls her the closer. It got me remembering back in 1992 when so many of us were excited to see Hillary Rodham Clinton talking about feminist issues. "If only she were running!" many of us exclaimed. I hear the same chorus about Michelle. Obviously the men in power aren't dummies about who they choose as their partners. So what happened to Hillary? Where are all the women who were backing her 15 years ago? Is this a case of careful of wha

Thoughts from a mother bear

I drove into work today with a heavy heart for my students. First, I consider every student on campus mine. I've always thought that, it's not a motherhood thing, but I feel that it lives in the same place in my heart & soul. The last time I felt this much dread for my students was September 12, 2001. If you recall, the cries of the terrorist attacks were from Arabs was already flying around. I believe there was already a hate crime reported from somewhere like Oklahoma. With the high number of students who identify as Middle Eastern, I felt fear for them. Would they be safe at home? On campus? Walking around town? How did they feel 'knowing' that someone who looked like them might be responsible for the attacks? Today I drove in worried for them and how unsafe they must feel. Being at a university in the middle of Chicago and in an area where students' parents still think is "the worst neighborhood" in Chicago I feel that if the shooting that happe

Happy Valentine's Day Texas!

I haven't checked my referrals that closely to know how many readers I have from Texas, but I want to send a quick VDay shout out to the Lone Star State. Congratulations on the recent ruling that legalizes your "personal massage" devices : A federal appeals court has struck down a Texas law that makes it a crime to promote or sell sex toys. "Whatever one might think or believe about the use of these devices," said an opinion written by Justice Thomas M. Reavley of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, "government interference with their personal and private use violates the Constitution." Under Texas law it is illegal to sell, advertise, give or lend obscene devices, defined as a device used primarily for sexual stimulation. Anyone in possession of six or more sexual devices is considered to be promoting them. In case you were a law abiding citizen and now need to stock up, I point you back to my post on Early

I wanted to be Pat Benatar....I think she wants to be Natalie Maines

I'm a child of the '80s and thus grew up in the hey day of MTV. You know, when they actually showed music videos and the non-music shows were related to music (Remote Control 4EVER). So I logged more than my fair of time watching, acting out music videos and yes one of my favorites is " Love is a Battlefield ."A few years ago I heard of a new summer camp for girls - Girls Rock! How freakin' kewl is that? One week learning the ins and outs of an instrument, writing music, and forming your own band? Hell yes! Can I be 10 again? So when I received an email about a Girls Rock! movie, I was so all over it. Watch it. I'll wait for ya... Yeah, now you want to be 10 again too, eh? I have to admit that I cried like a baby watching the trailer. While I grew up post- Title IX , it was also pre-Girl Power. I hung out with the boys during recess because I liked playing sports, I liked getting dirty and honestly kicking their butt (seriously, no matter how many times I wo

Body Warriors Unite!

This week is full of deadlines at work, so I give you some homework and this one is a tough one. I want you, the women who read this blog, to consider becoming a Body Warrior. What is a Body Warrior? Author Rosie Molinary features Body Warriors on her blog each Tuesday : ...women of all ages and backgrounds celebrating their body, beauty, and identity. Would you like to be A Body Warrior to Meet? You don't have to be 100% happy with your body or yourself to be a warrior...some of us like me are constantly working on our love-hate relationship with our bodies. The questions Rosie asks of the warriors are hard ones to least for me they were. My answers were short and hopefully sweet. I'll let you know if I'm featured. Technorati tags: body image , Hijas Americanas , Rosie Molinary

Parents at the Polls

Today on the Chicago Moms Blog and our sister sites (Silicon Valley, NYC, and DC Metro) many of us spoke about politics, what we're teaching our kids, and why we're voting for one candidate or another. It's some good stuff, so jump on over and start reading . If you want, jump right to mine and then read the rest. Or save mine for last...kinda like dessert. One thing that I want to throw out there...Should fear play into your vote? A lot of us progressives, liberals, etc. hated, hated that Rudy Guliani was running on the fear of 9/11. If someone asked him what his worst date was he'd pull a "Miss Congeniality" and answer September 11th. So why are so many people allowing "everyone else's" fear of Hillary or Barack to decide their vote? Not just in our collaborative posts, but in many places in the blogoshere and in my own conversations with friends. HRC will polarize the right and we'll lose - FEAR Racists won't vote for Obama - FEAR

Privilege Meme

Bold the ones that are true for you. The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright. Father went to college Father finished college Mother went to college [if you count junior college] Mother finished college Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers Had more than 50 books in your childhood home Had more than 500 books in your childhood home [I tried! But there's only so far the Scholastic Book Fair can take one kid] Were read children's books by a parent Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 [gymnastics in 1st grade and tennis in 7th grade...that was it.] The people in the media who dress and talk like me are por

Dear Orgs who want to blog

The last few years blogging has exploded to the point where everyone wants one or rather everyone thinks they need one. Yes, email is for old people, but it is still a great way to communicate. Yes, blogging is fun, fluid, but takes up a lot of time. It can also be a fabulous way to get your message out to people who aren't on your mailing list. That said, before you launch a new blog, please try to consult with an expert. Yes, I am considering myself one of them. Despite not having a huge following myself, I have been around long enough to give you some great pointers for your newborn blog. And if you're a friend, I'll even do it for free. If you're not, I'm pretty darn inexpensive. Ask Planned Parenthood. If you're a feminist org that I am in love with, we can chat. If you're a conservative group, I'm $200/hour plus travel expenses. See...I'll still work for ya, but I know you have money. It just saddens me to see blogs started by awesome orgs wh

Raising a citizen

Originally posted on the Chicago Moms Blog My husband & I like to joke that we are raising a candidate. We take her with us to vote (this photo is from Super Tuesday), I've taken her to door knock for Congressional candidates, she knew the phone bank script for an Aldermanic campaign last year, and we talk to her about politicians we see on TV or in magazines. About a year and a half ago we were in a doctor's waiting room and I pointed to the cover to TIME magazine and said, "That's our next president."  I was only half joking, but more seriously explained that the smiling man was our Senator. I really do view a lot of what I do in life through a feminist lens. It's not easy, but it's not cheesy either. I don't vote just because I have something to say or want someone to do something for me, but I know the history of women's suffrage and well, I am so not going to tempt the ghost Alice Paul to haunt me. I will teach o


I've spent the weekend with two sassy 4-year-olds so my brain is a bit fried. In lieu of a real blog post about the resignation of HRC's campaign manager (a Chicago Latina!) or Barack's sweeping of the weekend, I present you my upcoming travel calendar. Please let me know if you'll be at any of these events: March 28-30 -- Women, Action & the Media June 5-7 -- National Council for Research on Women Conference June 19-22 -- National Women's Studies Association Conference July 18-20 -- NOW National Conference At this time, I do plan on presenting or will be submitting a proposal to present at all these events. I do love presenting to others as it really is a big conversation about one topic or another and I feel that I learn more when I open my mouth and others comment. I love meeting new people too. If you're local, I'm more than happy to chat about me coming to speak to students of any ages.

Latinas & the election - Local Edition Part Two

A quick follow-up to yesterday's post about Anita Alvarez...My former State Senator, Iris Martinez, beat back her opponent and the Tribune is attributing her win and many other women's wins to the number of women who went out to vote for Hillary and just kept voting their gender all the way down. We didn't take into account that Alvarez was the only Hispanic and only woman in the race. Of course we didn't. For years we've been writing and blabbing about the Hispanic vote as the great "sleeping giant" of American politics. We've sagely pointed out that places like Cicero , where the population has gone 80 percent Hispanic, still have white ethnic mayors and board majorities. Hispanics don't vote in proportion to their numbers, we said. Whenever will the giant wake up?... Often this ethnic voting stuff cancels itself out. White ethnics tend to return the favor with big margins in their precincts for their candidates. But on Tuesday, it seemed that

Latinas & the election - Presidential Edition

Being in Chicago during this primary season is, well, interesting to say the least. Everywhere I turn I see Obama signs, stickers, and you can feel the Obamania in the air. I heard of polls that said Latina/os were for him, against him...That Latina/os should not support Clinton because of this or that. My husband heard of a group for Clinton supporters called Chicas for Hillary or something like that. It was kinda funny actually. For every reason I heard that we should support Obama, I heard almost the same thing for Clinton. In the end Obama got his ass kicked by the Latina/o vote, especially in California. So it was quite a shock that when I checked in on Latina Lista on Wednesday that I saw that Obama had finally sent in his statement for her readers. I blogged in November that Clinton, Gravel, and Dodd had sent in their statements. I think that was all we got until Obama. I do know I was sitting at home waiting and waiting for more statements. It was really disappointing to see

Latinas & the election - Local Edition

Anita Alvarez became the first Latina/o and the first woman to win the nomination for Cook County state's attorney. I wish I could say that I voted for her, but I didn't. I went with one of the dudes running who had the backing of the progressive community. I wouldn't had known Alvarez from any other Latina just before the election. I just didn't know her and I used up all my election research/contemplation time on Clinton & Obama. I did know what barrier she would break if she won and I applauded that, but I wasn't going to vote for her based on that. Now that she's won the nomination I do plan on voting for her. She is the Democrat in the race! This nice piece came out in the Tribune about her and I think I'm going to like getting to know her: The daughter of a Mexican immigrant waiter and seamstress mother, Anita Alvarez seemingly came out of nowhere in the blood sport of Cook County politics to win the Democratic primary for state's attorney.

The kindergarten hunt continues

It's been a long time since I've blogged about seemingly never-ending search for a kindergarten for our daughter. Part of it is that I do believe in conspiracy theories and don't want to black mark my lil one with this blog by complaining too much. The other day a news story broke that made it clear - We live in Chicago and even the school system is Chicago. Chicago's magnet applications should be audited following revelations that parents tried to clout their kids into one magnet school by falsely claiming they had a child already enrolled there, the head of a government watchdog group said Tuesday. Disclosures that 12 applicants falsely claimed to have "siblings'' at Sabin Magnet -- giving them a clear admissions edge -- is "the Chicago Public School version of Chicago clout in action,'' said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association. But it's really not much of a surprise. I grew up in the burbs where kids p

Bitch Blog is back!

Of course, I'm behind on the cool kids, as usual...But looking thru my referral log I saw that Bitch Magazine's blog is back...with a vengeance! Rockin'! And totally humbling that the awesome Ms Andi liked what I had to say here . So my small, but growing horde of readers, go check out my fave mag's shiny revamped blog. I swear I checked their site a few months ago for an updated blog... Technorati tags: Bitch Magazine

Planned Parenthood on Obama on choice

This afternoon Planned Parenthood Chicago Area CEO Steve Trombley spoke out on the questioning of Senator Obama's votes as an Illinois State Senator on choice. I have seen this issue pop up in many places across the blogosphere. While I did cast my vote for Clinton today, I still support and admire my junior senator. Each candidate has their flaws. Choice is not Obama's flaw. But judge for yourself: When Obama was an Illinois state senator he worked with Planned Parenthood to develop a strategy combating a series of extreme anti-choice measures designed to paint pro-choice legislators into a corner. Obama and numerous other state senators voted “present” on these bills in order to protest the politicization of the health and safety of Illinois women. Illinois is one of the few states that allows legislators to voice their objections to legislation through a “present” vote. These “present” votes are counted in the official roll call of the bill, and they DO affect the outcome.

I've decided...I think

T-minus 7 hours until the polls open in Chicago and I think I've decided. I say think because goddess knows I might change my mind. We have dueling feminist letters. Pro-Hillary , Pro-Obama. I've seen friends turn on friends, feminists turn on feminists over this race. Deborah Siegel's piece at HuffPo doesn't deserve the venom it is getting. Through all of this I am certain of one thing: Whomever is the candidate in November for the Democratic party, I will vote for, send money to, and work hard to make sure that on January 20, 2009, I will be celebrating like the Ewoks at the end of Jedi. I do feel dumb for not having made a decision earlier. I have dear friends whom I campaigned with last year in an aldermanic election who have been working their asses off for Obama. I know I would had had a blast with them at phone banking or car pooling to Iowa. I know people in the Clinton campaign whom are wondering about me. Some friends, some colleagues in this struggle. I

More on Dr. Susan Wicklund @ WCF

The event also featured the Chicago Abortion Fund, where I co-chair the board. One of our staff members discussed what the fund does to the standing room only audience. It was an honor to watch this young woman talk about opening up the phone line for one hour each week and how that was an improvement. Yes, an improvement. Just a few months ago CAF's hotline was open only one hour every two weeks. That's all the money we could hand out and have money last an entire year. But our energetic executive director has worked hard to increase our funding from foundations and individuals. Back to Dr. Wicklund...She said something that really made sense, but was a bit sad. Dr. Wicklund said that her book made both sides of the abortion debate mad. She tells her truth and for that she has received some negative comments from the pro-choice community. Her truth includes admitting mistakes and honesty about how she dealt with them. One such story she told us and it hurt. Oh, you could hea

Dr. Susan Wicklund at Women & Children First

I had the honor of seeing Dr. Susan Wicklund at Women & Children First on Wednesday night. She read from her memoir, This Common Secret . The first piece she read was from chapter one and the same piece that was in Ms. magazine. Despite the fact that I had read that piece over and over and cried over it, hearing her read it was so moving. The book came about during a time she was living with a family where the father was an author. He would watch her head off to work each morning in her bullet proof vest & sidearm. Each evening she'd come home and not talk much about her day. Finally he told her, "You have to write this down. People have to know." We had a great Q&A session (even with the weird/anti question) where she talked about performing an abortion on a long-time protester. Each of the staff members had to take time to find a place in their heart for this woman who had yelled "Mommy don't kill me!" for years to patients. How could they trea