Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

31 January 2008

Now *this* is power shopping

This month the Chicago Abortion Fund is the proud and honored Organization of the Month at Women & Children First.

What does this mean?

You print out the coupon to the left, bring it into the store, buy yourself a gift for surviving the holidays, and CAF gets 10% of your purchase.

BAM! Easy schmeezy way to support reproductive justice in Chicago.

If you're going to order books online, please put Chicago Abortion Fund in the memo part of the order form.
Now don't forget your coupon because you can't get these in the store.

Althou, I think I'll have some on hand for the upcoming program with Dr. Susan Wicklund!

Time: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 7:30 PM
Location: Women & Children First
Title of Event: Dr. Susan Wicklund - This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor

This Common Secret chronicles Dr. Susan Wicklund’s emotional, dramatic twenty-year career on the front lines of the abortion war. Since its legalization 35 years ago, many young Americans have never known a time when abortion wasn’t safe and accessible. Today, women’s advocates are concerned that we could lose that right over the next few years, through a stacked Supreme Court and eleventh-hour wrangling by the anti-choice Bush administration. This Common Secret reveals that for many women throughout America, the right to safe, legal abortion is already an impossibility. As we enter another era with a fevered political fight over abortion, this raw and powerful memoir shows us what is at stake. A representative from the Chicago Abortion Fund (our Organization of the Month) will also be on hand to talk about their work making safe abortion accessible to low-income women.

Read an essay by Dr. Wicklund at Powells.com (but hey, don't buy it there just cause it's on sale! You want to give to CAF remember? And hey, get an autographed copy at W&CF.) to build up to the event!

I am keeping this post at the top so y'all remember to shop at WCF this month! :)
Technorati tags: abortion, feminist, books, Chicago Abortion Fund, Susan Wicklund

New Gig @ WIMN

First forgive the lame post...I'm home sick with some sinus thing. ack.

But I wanted to let my dear readers know that I've been promoted from guest blogger to regular house blogger at the WIMN blog, WIMN's Voices. My first post is all about the identity politics war and touches on the generational war that is brewing in the feminist community over Obama & Clinton.

So hop on over there and read a real post.

29 January 2008

Maya Angelou's poem for Hillary

State Package for Hillary Clinton

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits' end, but she has always risen, always risen, don't forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you're born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She means to rise.

Don't give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.

Rise, Hillary.

Rise.


from the Guardian

Technorati tags: Hillary Clinton, poetry, Maya Angelou

28 January 2008

What is the ultimate betrayal?

The feminist blogosphere is on fire with reaction to the press release from NYS-NOW:

Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.

And of course, CNN picked it up.

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy is under heavy fire from a state chapter of the National Organization for Women for his decision to back Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.

In a sharply critical statement, the New York state chapter of NOW took aim at Kennedy Monday for what it called an "ultimate betrayal," and suggested the Massachusetts Democrat "can't or won't" handle the idea of Clinton becoming President of the United States.

I'm only blogging about this because I want to be as honest as possible with my readers and I am very vocal with my support of NOW. I've already had to discuss this with friends. I have one friend who is not renewing over this statement and I suspect that others will have the same thought.

The national office put out their own statement. I have no idea if this statement was in response to the NY one or not, I don't know. What I do know is that each chapter and state is free to send out their own press release without running it past National. I was involved with the Chicago chapter when we sent out a few, um, controversial statements. Thus, don't judge the entire organization over one press release from a state chapter.

While I have not worked closely with the president of NYS NOW, I have seen her in action many times and during meetings. She is just as passionate about feminist issues are you or I, perhaps more so. This is not an apology for the statement, OK. I am just pointing out that she is a staunch feminist.

I agree that the media is covering Hillary in an awful light. I agree that our society is sexist. I agree that there are men out there who would vote for anyone before they vote for a woman much less HRC. There are also people who wouldn't vote for a black man too. I can't recall who said it, but someone blogged that someone else's hate will not affect their vote. Here, here.

But the ultimate betrayal? I don't think so.

At the end of the day, whomever is the candidate, I'll be out working for.

That's all I have to say on this topic.

Technorati tags: feminism, NOW, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy

Thought Exercise on Race & Gender

I've been pretty pissed off the past few days over Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson remarks and all the other racist remarks that are coming out of the Clinton camp, but not from HRC herself. I know that the media is being super sexist & misogynistic when it comes to HRC. So I kept trying to recall if Obama's supporters have said anything about HRC that would be sexist. First, his comment at the debate about her being likeable enough? That doesn't set off my sexist alarm. My jerk alarm yes, but not the sexist alarm. JJ Jr's questioning if HRC cried over Katrina? Again, more assholery, but not quite sexist. Bordering.

So…do we say that Obama has been leading a sexist-free campaign?

OR do we consider that Obama doesn't have to do anything because the media is doing it all for him?

Hmmm….

Why would Obama or any of his supporters need to stoop to that level when Matthews & the rest of the MSM are doing a fine job at the sexism game?

It's a question that can't be answered, but one to ponder. Well, if you're a big political dork/wannabe pundit like me anyway.

MS Word Test

I'm still getting use to our new Dell. I can't believe that in the almost 4 months we've had this machine that today was the first time I selected "New Document." And what did MS Word 2007 ask me? If I wanted to open a new blank document or a new blog post. A new blog post? WHA?? So of course, I had to test it out. I says that it works on Typepad too. So let's see how this posts and if you can see all the document info like what I call our account.

26 January 2008

Holy Thorn Birds!

Ann at La Bloga received a Priestcake Calendar!

“I got something for you Ann, I won it at a Yankee gift exchange and I just know you’re the only one who’ll appreciate it” my friend Tom told me earlier this month. “My brother got it at the Vatican.” He set it down in front of me, a 2008 calendar featuring black and white photographs of thirteen handsome young priests, one for each month and the best looking for the cover. And it is “con cenni storico artistici sul Vaticano.” With historic notes about the Vatican! Yeah! As I flipped through the pages, each month boasting another dark-haired, dark-eyed young man in vestmental garb, my jaw was on my chest. “It’s a priestcake calendar!” I exclaimed. “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen!” Tom’s smile couldn’t have been wider: he had found the calendar the perfect home. As I left his office—did I mention he’s our college president?—I decided I just had to know more about the calendar’s history.

I guess if they can't let women become priests, they can let the men become pin-ups. It gives a whole new meaning to "Forgive me Father for I have sinned." And yes, I know I'm going to hell. I'll save ya a seat.

The Pressure is on

We're just over one week away from super duper Tuesday...that's when we vote in Illinois. But that's not the reason I'm feeling pressure. It's coming from my husband.

He's in Hillary's camp.

Yup, after a year of complaining that he didn't want to read Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton in our history books, he decided (as I told him!) that Clinton's politics matched his best out of the bunch. But wait, it's not just that he decided to vote for Clinton, but he's gotten himself on one of those leadership boards where you really work to get out the vote and of course, the money.

We're a funny couple. There are elections where I'm out knocking on doors, calling people, and writing checks. Then the next election he might find a candidate and do the same. Yet we have yet to really get behind one candidate as a couple. That's what he wants to happen now. And I mean NOW!

I have, admittedly, been leaning towards Hillary. But I honestly can't get past Obama's idealism. I want to believe that we can get past all our differences!

I made a semi-frantic call to a long-time friend who is in South Carolina working for Hillary. My main concern with HRC is her moderate stance on so many issues and Bill's signing of the welfare reform bill and Hillary's stumping in favor for it at the time. Also, if you recall after Bill was elected feminist activism went down. The Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance broke up. Memberships at NOW and other orgs went down. We thought we had won and let down our guard. What would happen if we elected a feminist woman to President?

Thankfully I know that my friend, Pat, is far more left than I am. She worked on VAWA legislation when it was a joke. She works hard on welfare reform reform. She wrote me back (I followed up my voicemail with an email) and assured me that in her lefty heart, with all her political knowledge, that Hillary will listen to feminists, that we would have a feminist in the White House.

I think I'm almost there.


Technorati tags: Hillary Clinton, Election 2008, politics, vote

24 January 2008

Update on Who Owns Jane?

Way back in August I blogged about a lawsuit between Geena Davis and Dads & Daughters about the ownership of See Jane. Well they have settled the lawsuit and on my birthday! woot! Here is a snippet of the press release:

OSCAR®-winning actress and producer Geena Davis and the charitable organization Dads & Daughters (DADs) today formally announced the transition of the SEE JANE™ program from the Minnesota-based DADs to a new life as an independent, Los Angeles-based nonprofit. In order to have more direct influence in Hollywood, See Jane will now be part of Community Partners, the Los Angeles incubator for growing nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for building communities.

Ms. Davis and DADs have previously been engaged in litigation over See Jane. However, Ms. Davis has recently withdrawn that litigation and retracted all claims against DADs as well as its President Joe Kelly and former Executive Director Nancy Gruver. Davis said, “I am very grateful for what DADs, Nancy and Joe have done for the See Jane program in bringing it to life, and I have great respect for the integrity and skill of their work.” Davis continued, “This is an exciting and strategic development for See Jane, and I will do everything I can to make See Jane reach its full potential as an independent nonprofit organization.”

Glad that this is settled and both parties can get back to being their kick ass selves.

Technorati tags: feminist, Dads and Daughters, Geena Davis, See Jane, movies

Abortion isn't men's business or is it?

And that my dear readers comes from the headline for a most wonderful column in today's Sun-Times. Connie Schultz states:

Not long after I started writing this column in the fall of 2002, I lost a friend over abortion.


We had discussed countless issues, professional and personal, over the years. We often did not agree, but that just fed a spirited banter.


Then I wrote a few columns that made clear my support for women's reproductive freedom, including the right to abortion.


First, he sent me an e-mail expressing his "disappointment."


Then he sent another insisting that whenever I wrote about abortion, I sounded "angry," a trait he never had associated with me. I assured him that he was mistaking conviction for rage, and maybe we should agree to disagree.


That's when he started forwarding circulated e-mails that included "testimonials" from women who said they deeply regretted their abortions and had emotional scars that would never heal.


When I assured him that studies consistently show that most women who choose abortion do not suffer long-term psychological distress, he accused me of supporting murder. Before long, he was barely speaking to me.


I was sad to lose a friend, sadder still that he felt so compelled -- and entitled -- to lobby against women's reproductive rights.



I can't say that I've ever lost a friend over the abortion debate. I know that I have dear friends who are anti's, heck I even have one that voted for Alan "I'll run for that!" Keyes against Barak Obama. Despite that fact, I still love the big lug. I guess that with my anti friends, we have an unspoken rule to not talk about abortion. I also am admittedly shy to bring it up to new friends.

Even thou I do want a litmus test for my elected officials and the Supremes (as one grad school professor called the Supreme Court), I don't litmus test my friends. Thankfully after awhile I figure out that most of them are my side of the issue. Unfortunately for them, I end up inviting them to the million events I attend and put them on my donation list.

The other part of Schultz's column is about where men fit into the debate. The LA Times covered the idea that men have abortions too. But those men don't want women to have abortions. Last year Courtney E. Martin opened up a huge can of worms when she said that men too have a place in the abortion debate:

The pro-choice movement, and feminists in general, seem to have historically shied away from the difficult but imperative task of involving men in conversations about abortion. It is understandable that the movement has been weary; no hot-button issue brings out more manipulation than this one. But it is time that feminists' commitment to equality, as well as the quality of both women and men's lives, trumps their fear that acknowledging men's hardships will only serve as fodder for pro-life spin doctors. There must be a way to talk about men's perspectives and experiences without compromising women's bodies.

Yet considering how it is often men who are at the front of opposing our freedom to choose (except when it is media friendly to have the Uncle Tom woman opposing reproductive justice), how are we really to include men? Should we include men so that they have a seat at the table? Welcome in the community? Lead our organizations? The Chicago Planned Parenthood's CEO is a man. I love Steve...he's done some awesome things for Chicago women. I know he's a great guy, but the idea that a man is in charge does make me pause. Same thing for Personal PAC, a pro-choice political action committee.

Here we are in Chicago with two awesome, feminist men in charge of women's reproductive justice issues. Admittedly they are far outnumbered by the women who run or lead other groups. But just as NOW is often looked to for feminist issues, Planned Parenthood is the place to go for reproductive justice issues. On one hand, having the men at the table is nice. It's a diversity thing and reassuring that yes, there are kick ass men in the movement. On the other, well, you know.

So here in Chicago, abortion is men's business - Trombley & Cosgrove for abortion rights and the Sche1dler men on the other side. Good, bad...yes and no. But if I'm going to be in this fight for my rights, my daughter's rights, and mi hermanas derechos, I want all the back up possible. If that includes pro-choice men all the better. The anti-men, well they can jump off the new North Avenue bridge.

Technorati tags: abortion, men

23 January 2008

But wait, there's more Roe!

Yesterday I took a big chance and posted on the Chicago Moms Blog about the Roe anniversary. I say big chance not because I think our readers are all anti's, but just because I felt my post was about moms who have abortions. Somehow I felt it might hit a few bad chords. Of course, I only got positive feedback:
Speaking as someone who currently has a single child (born when I was 35), and had an abortion (at 18), all I can say is that I, personally, found the abortion emotionally difficult, but I suspect nothing like as difficult as knowing a mixed-race (and thus hard to adopt) child of mine was out there in the world somewhere, blood of my blood, sibling to my daughter, growing up under who knows what kind of care. Reading birthmother blogs has made me aware of how incredibly traumatic it can be to give a child up for adoption, how much regret some women feel. Until you make that choice, you don't know how it will affect you. ~ Mary Anne Mohanraj
There seems to be less and less wrong with Kansas. The Wichita Eagle Editorial Department Blog says flatly, " Stop taking pictures of Tiller patients."

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice wants to know how you learned about sex. If you haven't heard of them, believe me, they're cool. So take a second, fill out their survey, and then ask your friends to do the same.

See what other bloggers said on Blog for Choice day. Maybe some of them actually did the assignment and blogged about voting.

You should also, ok, you must check our Alternet's Reproductive Justice & Gender section including Jill Filipovic's 10 Reasons to Support Reproductive Justice Today piece.


Technorati tags: Blog for Choice, abortion, Chicago Moms Blog, RCRC, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, sex, Kansas, Alternet

22 January 2008

Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal - CAF makes choice happen

Blog for Choice DayIn case you didn't pick up yesterday's Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Abortion Fund was on the front page!

Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal; Chicago Abortion Fund helps poor pay for services
35 years after Roe, group uses old spirit to get service for all

In Cook County, Stroger Hospital performs first-trimester abortions on a sliding-fee scale, but many women say they can't get through the red tape to obtain a timely appointment.

"Abortion is legal," said Gaylon Alcaraz, director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, "but low-income women still can't access it."

So, like the women of an earlier generation who ran underground networks to connect women with illegal abortion services, people like Ortiz and Alcaraz are doing what they can to help out.

Their fund provides vouchers that are accepted by local abortion providers. The woman whose daughter was in trouble got a $320 voucher to help pay for a second-trimester abortion that cost $770.

"We issued nine vouchers that day totaling $1,650," Ortiz said.

The Chicago Abortion Fund, founded in 1985 by a coalition of women's organizations, is one of 104 similar groups affiliated with the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Read the entire article online. And if you missed the hard copy, you missed some awesome photos. Hopefully I can scan them later this week.

And to support the Chicago Abortion Fund, shop at Women and Children First this month or head over to our website and donate.
Technorati tags: Blog for Choice, pro-choice, Roe v. Wade, abortion, reproductive justice

Blog for Choice Day 2008

Blog for Choice Day Is it any different a day at Viva La Feminista? Nope. Just as the other 365 days of this year, we'll talk about freedom, justice, and abortion. But in honor of the 35th anniversary of the Roe decision, I finally saw "Juno" and in time to celebrate Ellen Page's Oscar nod and the picture's nomination for movie of the year.

A lot has been blogged about, op-ed'd about, and talked about this movie and whether or not is is pro-choice, anti-choice, or a very flawed fairy tale. Now that I finally saw the most talked about movie this season, I can weight in.

I think most of you are wrong. Spoilers ahead!

  1. Yes, Juno chose to carry her pregnancy to term. This does not mean that she (or Diablo) made some pro-life statement. She was a scared kid in a clinic alone and the only information she seemed to listen to was a fellow classmate's note about finger nails. Which show up around 16 weeks not the 10-12 weeks Juno was at the time of her abortion appointment. I think that scene showed a scared kid, plain and simple. Her friend, Leah, talked nonchalantly about another friend's abortion during their phone call. But at the bottom of this scene is the idea, myth, that if you are pro-choice, you show an abortion. I know, I know, I wish more movies showed then as often as a miscarriage, but let's not get all pro-abortion just to be pro-choice.
  2. The abortion clinic's receptionist wasn't any more rude than I've seen at the local ER or my doctor's office. Sure, I don't see pierced women at those places nor do they tell me about their blueberry pie boyfriend parts, but to compare the office to a tattoo parlor? Come on now. I've been in a few (no tats, yet) and they are far more friendly & clean than the office shown. Think brighter lights folks.
  3. As someone who volunteered in a Planned Parenthood clinic, I know if any of the receptionists or myself welcomed a patient in that manner, we'd be out on our butts. Diablo Cody might had been going for quirky, instead she did women's health clinics a huge disservice.
  4. The idea that this movie is pro-life is such an indictment on the conservative movement. Again, they close their eyes & ears to the rest of the movie and focus ONLY on the fact that Juno carried the pregnancy to term. They ignored Juno's step-moms' ripping of the ultrasound tech (score point for teenage moms), the teacher-lust exhibited by Leah, and the fact that Vanessa ends up a single mom when Mark leaves her and their expected baby. This movie would not be in my list of pro-life movies if I were running the other side.
As to the idea that this is a fairy tale. It think in some ways it is. But it also minimizes the bounce back of teenagers. Did we want a movie where Juno is depressed for years because she gave up her baby for adoption? Do we want her to suffer in some way? Why can't she be happy with her closed adoption and move on with her life? I've said it many times, I could never give up a baby for adoption, but if I did, it would be so closed, I might change my name. I'm just not strong enough to handle my child walking back into my life 15-30 years later. Selfish? Sure. I've seen teenage moms hand off their kids to their moms to raise and hit the club a few weeks later, checking in only to play mom for a few moments. Is this how we wanted Juno to end? I've also seen teenage moms who turn out to be some awesome moms.

In the end, it was fairy tale-ish that she figures out that she was in love with her boyfriend. But remember that his mom hated her. I know how that feels, what the looks like, and it ain't a fairy tale.

As we go out and celebrate 35 years of Roe, remember that what she stands for is that ideally we should all be able to choose to be a mom, relinquish a child, or terminate a pregnancy. In my head, it's all pro-choice...as long as it is done with full knowledge, support, and the economics that backs it all up.

Technorati tags: Blog for Choice, pro-choice, Roe v. Wade, abortion, reproductive justice

21 January 2008

Open Letter from American Feminists

This is why assuming that the women's movement or feminism in general is a monolith.

In response to on-going criticism by the right wing that feminists don't care about international women issues, Nation columnist Katha Pollitt wrote an open letter to the media & naysayers. I know what pushed her because I feel it too. Despite being an active member of NOW, I would never say that NOW speaks for all women and never for all feminists. I've met some really awesome feminists who say that NOW is too conservative for them. Again, I see their point. Yet, I stay working on some issues with them. For others, I go to other orgs as I feel that they just do a better job or need an infusion of feminism into their work. As a Latina, I am concerned about the zillion things wrong in this country that matter to me and fellow Latinas, the insanity that happens in Mexico and our motherlands, as well as with other women in far more oppressed nations than the USA. Thus to hear or read anyone claiming that American Feminists don't care about women in Afghanistan really pisses me off. As it does Katha.

That's why when she wrote me and asked me to sign on to her letter, I didn't hesitate. I could have picked it apart like La Chola did (and did quite well, BTW), but I was too pissed to honestly care that some of things are hypocritical. I am pissed that the media and conservatives want to paint all feminists with a broad stroke that we don't care what happens outside our borders.

And I come back to my original point. Feminists are not the same. Some of us are more conservative. Some of us are far more radical. Some of us really don't care about much of anything other than masking our terrible choices as just that - our choice.

Despite the fact that my name isn't shiny enough for the small list that the Nation lists, it's there. And it will stay there. I want naysayers to know that we do care about more than stupid Target ads or 'our choice' to be strippers.

With that, I will push my fellow feminists to rethink the way we, Western feminists, head out into the other part of the world to help our sisters in need. Do we offer then a hand or do we tell them what to do? Do we provide safety as they attend school or do we make deals with their oppressors to ensure a "larger peace?" And I hope that La Chola and others will continue to push other feminists and myself to think far outside any box. Because darling, feminism cannot be contained.

Technorati tags: feminist, Katha Pollitt, women of color, feminists of color

20 January 2008

Feminista Notes

I'm cuddled on the couch watching the Packers - Giants, helping the daughter learn how to spell colors, and trying to catch up with email & blogs. Here are some quick stories for your reading pleasure:

  • The NOW Foundation is launching an oral history project. I implore you, if you are a feminist who wouldn't be stopped at a convention with, "Hey, aren't you [fill in your name]?" but you have obviously done some kick ass feminist things, please submit your story. Super stars take too much of the limelight. So get your name or your friend's name in there. Cause we all know that sometimes our friends need a kick in the butt to accept the recognition they deserve. And believe me, I know that fact far too well.
  • NOW Executive Vice-President Olga Vives "visited the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is holding about 140 women on illegal immigration charges. Most come from Latin America, although there are some from Viet Nam, Cambodia and the Caribbean Islands." The anti-feminist movement would like to paint NOW and the entire feminist movement as sitting on our hands when it comes to international women's issues and immigration reform. Well, we're not. So suck it.
  • And for my Northern friends...the Canadian Feminist Blog Awards:

    Hosted by A Creative Revolution

    Nominations graciously accepted
    from January 25 to February 8
    First voting/elimination round: February 15 - 16
    Final Vote: February 22 - 23
    Winners announced February 24

    For more information, click here.

Oh yeah...it's also freaking cold here.

Technorati tags: NOW, National Organization for Women, feminism, ICE, immigration, Canada

Latinas for Hillary or Latinas against Obama?

We were out all yesterday and it was only at 10 pm that I learned that Hillary had "won" Nevada (it wasn't until this morning that I realized that Obama won the delegate count). My husband & I started to wonder whether or not she won the Latino vote and what the media would conclude about us as a people.

Latinos are racist, but I believe that everyone is racist in some way. Individuals vary from actively working on anti-racist measures to being just plain old racist. It's naive to think that our country is anything but racist and that as people living in this country are immune to our racist culture.

So what happened yesterday? According to Latina Lista (my go to for Latina news):

From the CNN entrance poll data, we immediately see that Clinton got 51% of the overall female vote while Obama received 38%.

However, among non-white women, Obama was the winner with 51% of the vote versus Clinton's 43%.

That's only an 8 point difference as opposed to what the point difference is between the two candidates when it comes to the overall Latino vote.

In that respect, Obama received 26% of the Latino vote and Clinton scored 64% of it — that's a 38-point difference.

It's a higher return than even the youth vote (18-29) where the point difference between the two candidates stands at 26 points. (emphasis mine)

Will this one caucus result in the media calling Latina/os racist? That a black man lost their vote to a white woman? (BTW - Have you noticed how the media refers to Obama as a black man and Clinton a woman...Thus saying that all women are white unless noted.) Instead of maybe talking about how Clinton perhaps addressed the issues that Latina/os are facing better than Obama? Or even how unions are losing power day after day (which is really sad for our working people)?

I don't know all the answers to those questions and I doubt that the media will work overtime to answer them. Perhaps I'm being too pessimistic. Maybe the media will too busy chasing after the Reagan remark or Hillary's hair to take this moment to slam Latina/os. But from what I've seen of the media, I doubt it.

footnote: I am unable to find the +/- or margin of error on this poll, which for me is very important. Still, considering that the media doesn't give a rats ass about what statistics really mean, I doubt that a margin of error even enters into their "analysis."

Technorati tags: Latina, Hillary Clinton, Nevada, Campaign 2008, politics

17 January 2008

When I was your age...I was the slacker!

Wednesday I got a call from a student who had a huge favor to ask - Would I sit on a panel about new leadership and talk about leadership from a Latina perspective? She was super cute in that she went on for a few seconds about how much I rocked. Aw, shucks...I like the sound of my voice, I don't need flattery. ;-) So 45 minutes later (it wasn't her fault she called so late) I was at the panel.

One question really stood out for me. The moderator asked if today's youth was ready for leadership. The panel was made up of 2 Gen Xers and 5-6 Millennials. Guess who slammed the Millennials and current high school students for being slackers? The Millennials.

Which is why I laughed my ass off when I read the headline in the NYTimes about Millennials not being as narcissistic as the general population (aka MSM) portrays them. Courtney at Feministing did a great job defending her generation:
Is it really us, people, or might it just be a little bit about you? Are older folks projecting their own unmet needs on an entire generation? Now that's narcissism.
After 2- 3 students talked about seeing their fellow Millennials wrapped up in wanting to be rappers or too worried about Britney than the state of the world, I ahemed and spoke up. A few Gen Xers chuckled and smiled at me when I said, "I'm 33, I'm a Gen Xer. We redefined slacker and apathy. Your generation is redefining it again and every generation redefines it. Bottomline, everyone thinks the youth are slackers and I don't buy it." I went on to rant on about how high schoolers took on A&F, how it's not too late for political awareness to occur in college (yes, the students thought if someone isn't a leader or aware by college, forget it.), and how sometimes women don't get feminism until they are in the workplace and runs right into a glass wall/ceiling.
How in the world are today's youth turning on each other?

Simple. It was an excellent showcase of how today's youth aren't monolithic. Damn, I wish I had thought of that yesterday! We'll always have slackers, we'll always have apathetic citizens, but when we buy into those stereotypes on such a wide scale as an entire generation, we're doing a huge disservice to those who are leaders, who run effective GOTV campaigns for candidates (there was a 17yo doing this last year on a campaign I volunteered for), or are working part-time, going to college full-time, and still contributing to the family income. Which a lot of the students who roam the campus I work on are doing.

I did it too in high school & college. Turned my nose at "those kids" who didn't give a crap about recycling or mocked my animal rights mantra. Some of them seemed to have grown out of that pre-hipster stage. Some just grew into big hipsters who still mock, yet do care...when no one's watching.

Each generation will be vastly different and yet so similar. Heck, I'm only 33 and I'm already sitting back watching my generation pick apart the Millennials.

But seriously, can you get anymore slacker than wearing ripped up jeans & flannels each day? At least Millennials seem to shower each day. I couldn't say that for most of my graduating class.

Technorati tags: Feministing, slacker, generations, millenials

So, do you, like, eat rice & beans at each meal?

Laila Halaby at Beacon Broadside has a kick ass post about how to ask people about their cultural/ethnic backgrounds & practices. Read it. Pass it on. And maybe slip it onto the desk of that person who always asks you dumb questions about being [fill in the blank]. JFTR - I'm going to use this list too. We're all others.

Here's my favorite one:
Rule Two: Ask yourself a few questions: Do I want the answer to this question or am I looking for an opportunity to share my own agenda? Would I be prepared to offer equally candid information about my own cultural, ethnic, and religious practices? How would I feel if this person asked me the same question, except instead of Arab or Muslim, it was about Black or Caucasian or Latino or Baptist or Hindu or Jew or Asian?

Technorati tags: race, culture, ethnicity

16 January 2008

Whose turn is it?

Lurking not so deep within the debate over who should be the Democrat's candidate is the theory of turns. As someone who has dipped her toe into politics, this notion of turns is very much a fact. One of the first things that I was taught (outside the classroom) about politics is that "the party picks you, you don't decide to run." I think the first time I heard that I decided that running for office wasn't for me.

Trying to run for office is hard enough, fighting to be at the front of the line isn't worth it to me.

There has been a lot written that it is clearly Clinton's turn to run for President, hell to be President, and thus Obama should (have) wait(ed). The logic to that theory is one of complete bullshit.
  1. This 'turn' theory relies on the idea that no other super star or ass-kisser will rise up in the ranks.
  2. That the chosen leader won't nurture someone else to take your place.
  3. That you'll even be in the same place to take the opportunity.
  4. In Obama's case, how the hell do you guarantee that he'll win in 8 years anyway? Maybe this is the best year (as I believe) for the Democrats to retake the White House. Who the hell knows what Clinton could leave him? Look at Al Gore (without the stolen election & Gore's distancing of himself from Bill).
  5. That the party won't change its mind.
  6. That they never really wanted you in the first place and just wanted you to be the second to make the organization/party/ticket look good.
I'm still undecided on who to vote for on February 5th. But I don't decide who to vote for based on who I think whose turn it is. We are at a critical point in our country's history. I want us to choose the next leader of our country. The leader who just might restore our image around the world. Not some party boss. Not a place in line. Me. You. Us.

Technorati tags: Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, politics

Adios Antonio Mora!

We all knew that after Antonio Mora's demotion last June that he wouldn't be in Chicago long. CBS 2 brought him in to beef up the ratings for their hapless 10 PM newscast. After not being able to break through and beat NBC or ABC, Mora took the fall.

Now he's headed south to Miami.

The headline for this interview is that his demotion was a setback for Latinos and that it was. I was pretty happy to see that CBS had figured out a way to bring Mora to town. We even switched over from ABC to watch him the first few weeks. But eventually we went back to the newscast that we've both watched since we were kids. And that's the weird thing...We grew up watching the Channel 7 news and thus we still watch it. Even bringing an awesome Latino to town to read us a list of who got shot, who died, who blew up who couldn't bring us to make a major switch.

After his demotion I did miss the idea that a fellow Latino was reading the news at 10 o'clock. Just knowing that he was reading the news felt good. I never got a chance to run into him and for that I'm sad. He always seemed like a nice guy and never heard any bad rumors about him. This interview in today's Sun-Times seems to cement that classy demeanor:

Q: Do you feel you were treated as a scapegoat when you were demoted?

A: Ah, the difficult question from the tough interviewer! Can we move on to the next one? The station has been ratings-challenged for a quarter century. Managers make their choices based on what they think will help the ratings. All I can say is that I am in terrific company, sharing the same fate as Lester Holt, Carol Marin and Bill Kurtis.

Outside of my disdain for Lester Holt (I can't watch him...Ever), I do think he joined a great club.

Stay classy, Antonio.

Photo credit: Sun-Times File

Technorati tags: Antonio Mora, Chicago media, CBS 2 Chicago, Latino, Hispanic

Once more with feeling...

The recent bickering by the Obama & Clinton camps over race was so petty that it bordered on turning people off their historic campaigns. I'm happy that they have called a truce on the MLK Jr. and LBJ thing. BUT I do hope that this does not mean they won't discuss race and gender issues on the campaign trail. Issues where we all know that they most likely agree, yet might have different ways to resolve issues of the feminization of poverty, the lack of black men in college, and immigration reform.

I have a love-dislike relationship with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, but I do believe he got it right yesterday:

That's why the current press focus on the sniping between the campaigns is a dangerous distraction. Candidates are tired; the campaign is close. Advisors argue for going negative; surrogates take cheap shots. Little things get magnified out of proportion, and start rubbing the raw wounds of race and gender.

The problem with this stuff is that it can easily get out of hand, embittering supporters on both sides. We're having a vital competition inside the team about who should be the first-string quarterback. And it's great that the competition is stiff and the competitors all highly skilled. But the battle for position shouldn't be so bitter that it divides the team and makes it impossible for the winner to bring us together to meet the real competition.

I do think that supporters get out of control, but it is up to the candidates to either let them go (Clinton's staffer who suggested that Obama sold drugs) or publicly denounce their statements. I know the temptation of slander in the name of loyalty is high and so easy to fall into, especially when the media asks you leading questions and would rather run with your slur than with anything of substance.

Then we had my crush, Bob Herbert in the NYTimes. Bob, each time I think you've written something that is just the epitome of brilliant, you top yourself:

Little attention is being paid to the toll that misogyny takes on society in general, and women and girls in particular.

Its forms are limitless. Hard-core pornography is a multibillion-dollar business, having spread far beyond the stereotyped raincoat crowd to anyone with a laptop and a password. Crowds of crazed photographers risk life and limb to get shots of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears without their underwear. At New York Jets home games, men regularly gather at Gate D to urge female fans to expose themselves.

In its grimmest aspects, misogyny manifests itself in hideous violence — from brutal beatings and rape to outright torture and murder. Fifteen months ago, a gunman invaded an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania, separated the girls from the boys, and then shot 10 of the girls, killing five.

The cable news channels revel in stories about women (almost always young and attractive) who come to a gruesome end at the hands of violent men. The stories seldom, if ever, raise the issue of misogyny, which permeates not just the crimes themselves, but the coverage as well.

Brava! Brava! Here! Here!

People sometimes ask me (still!) if men can be feminists. Bob is one of the best examples that yes, they can and do it beautifully.

Technorati tags: race, gender, feminism

14 January 2008

CPS - Building my trust with each botched mailing

Test time:

  1. The deadline to submit one's application to magnet and gifted programs for Fall 2008 for the Chicago Public Schools was December 21, 2007
  2. The CPS school directory showed up at our daycare yesterday
  3. What is wrong with the picture above?
When I saw them as we headed into pick-up, I turned to my husband and said, "I am so blogging this!"

Technorati tags: CPS

Back to the issues: Reproductive Health

I've had this burning question in the back of my mind.

Why hasn't Hillary Clinton submitted a completed questionnaire to RHReality Check?

Obama and Edwards did. But instead she sent a statement.

Is there any doubt about her stance on reproductive rights? For me, no. When I tally up all the pros and cons on each candidate, Clinton wins my vote on reproductive rights. And no, it's not because Obama voted present on a few bills in Illinois. It's more in line with the same reason I see a woman as my OB/GYN. I trust women with my girly parts.

So why, why, Hill, didn't you submit your questionnaire?

Edited to add: Ask and you shall receive! Thanks Hill.

I also want to add that you should not take the subject line as my way of saying that race & gender are not issues that our nation needs to deal with. What I find dumb is that we were having a national debate on whether or not LBJ deserved any credit for the civil rights movement, if even mentioning LBJ meant that Dr. King received less credit. It was a partnership. Dr. King got the grassroots active, pressured Congress & the White House, and we all got the Civil Rights Act signed. The splitting of hairs is what kept us off the real issues. Let's talk race & gender, but in a productive way. Game on.

Technorati tags: Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, John Edwards, reproductive health, RHReality Check, feminism

More on race & gender in the primary

I don't have anything new to add to the conversation except to ask you to please read and listen to these pieces:

  • Rebecca Walker responds with "The Fence"
    • Young women are not stupid. The idea that young women are too naive to realize the pervasiveness of sexism is an old Second Wave trope used to dismiss and discredit an entire generation, many of whom now support Obama because he doesn't insult them. As a result, there are a few women lining up behind the "feminist" placard, but many more running in the other direction.
  • Democracy Now! with Gloria Steinem & Melissa Harris-Lacewell (you can listen or read the transcript)
    • Yeah, I absolutely agree that electing another president whose path to the White House is basically through either parental or familial connection is an absolute travesty for our democracy. Our democracy should not read—I don’t want my daughter, who’s six now, to go off to high school and read, you know, a story that says Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton. I actually absolutely agree that we have to have a deeper bench in American democracy. And that’s part of the reason that I’m a strong supporter of Barack Obama.

      This is not, I think, the moment to suggest that one is owed the presidency, that there is kind of a natural line of succession. I think that’s exactly what we don’t want in this country. What we need is a real conversation with people who are willing to be honest about sort of all of the elements of who we are as people: our citizenship, our race, our gender.
  • Patricia Williams tells us "I'm a black woman. This is my dream."
    • There's a cliché in the American civil rights community: if you're a member of a stigmatised group, you have to be twice as good as everyone else to accomplish half as much. Clinton and Obama have been tested by fire; neither rose to this level of national importance because anyone gave them a pass.

    • Yet I pray that we Americans can resist the vicious, vacuous, mudslinging mire of malapropisms from which the Bush presidency loped to power. This is an extraordinary moment in American history: we have our first serious black and female presidential candidates and they are, indeed, twice as good as their nearest contenders. I hope that the two of them, in whatever order, will become running mates by November. They must not fall prey to those who would love to see them played against each other in the scramble to be top dog.
Williams' last comment strikes close to what is inside a lot of our hearts. Our dream ticket. In any order. Obama-Clinton, Clinton-Obama. Gawd, the thought makes me shiver.

Let's hope that this is over.

Technorati tags: Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, politics, campaign 2008, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Williams, Democracy Now!, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Rebecca Walker

Puke Pile - Holy Smurf-ness!

I was pretty struck by today's news that the Smurfs are 50 years old. Of course, as the 80s kid I am, they've only existed since 1980ish when they came to America. As a girl, I of course identified with Smurfette as the only female.

So when I saw a headline saying that there will be a movie and more female Smurfettes, I was all "woohoo!" Until I read the origins of Smurfette:

Blond-haired Smurfette, originally created by evil sorcerer Gargamel to foster jealous rivalry in the community, has been the single love interest for almost every other Smurf for years.

WTF?!?

Off to Good Search! (I GS for WIMN, you should too.) to find the skinny. It was worse than I thought!

Who created Smurfette and why?

One day, while feeling extremely frustrated and spiteful, Gargamel decided on a new plan to exact revenge on the Smurfs, "a ruthless curse that will make them beg for mercy". Gargamel decided to send them a female Smurf - a Smurfette!

How did Papa Smurf get involved?

Papa Smurf is the Smurf who turned everything around for Smurfette. After a successful operation of "plastic smurfery", Papa Smurf transformed the ugly (and unhappy) brunette Smurfette into the blond bombshell she is today.

Someone please pass the smelling salt! Holy mother of all stereotypes! To address this sexist history, head Smurf-creator said:

"There have been dramatic changes in socio-cultural values in the past 20 to 25 years," Hendrik Coysman, head of Smurf rights holder IMPS told a news conference on Monday. "One of these is girl empowerment."
Um, no shit.

wow...if Velma has a similar history, please just don't tell me.

Technorati tags: Smurf, movie, feminism

13 January 2008

Workit, Veronica!

Work It Mom That's right my dear readers! I have my first piece up at Work It, Mom! WIM, is a newish online community for working moms. It's not just full-timers like me, but even working at home moms. *gasp* You didn't know that SAHM's work for pay too? I don't fault ya, the way the media talks, you'd think that all SAHMs are off at yoga, sipping mochas, and smiling as they wash dishes & set the dinner table.

It also looks like I'll be writing for them on a regular basis. At first every other month. I don't want to take on too much at the moment, especially since I have a few other things a brewing.

If you're a mom or not, why not check in with me at WIM?

Technorati tags: Work It, Mom!, writing, feminist

11 January 2008

Close Gitmo Day

January 11, 2008 marks the six-year anniversary of the first
arrival of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. For nearly six years,
Guantánamo Bay has tarnished America's image and diminished our
ideals. It is a symbol of torture, abuse, and injustice. Its closure
is long overdue.

During those six years men & boys ranging from 13 - 98 have been held at Gitmo. Teenagers and men so old I bet they can't walk without assistance.

It's really hard to participate in this action because when I think that the country I live in & love is holding people without trial because someone said they were dangerous just makes my stomach turn & head hurt. We are a country that is founded on liberty & freedom. We have certain rights that are not restricted to citizens. We have a right to trial, to a lawyer, to being judged by someone who isn't making the laws. But no, that's all stripped away at Gitmo. Judge & jury in one man - Dubya.

He lied to us about weapons of mass destruction, of Iraq's involvement with the terrorist attacks, and yet we still allow him to keep Gitmo open?

It is a huge gaping bloody wound on our country's image and basis for being.

We must close this wound, close Gitmo, to even begin the healing that must begin immediately with ourselves & the countries around the world.

Rallies are scheduled for around the country (not in Chicago unfortunately) so check the ACLU Close Guantanamo site for a listing. Maybe there's one near you.

Technorati tags: ACLU, Gitmo, Guantanamo

10 January 2008

Hemming & Hawing - Feminist Style

The last week has been a whirlwind in politics. The ups and downs of Hillary Rodham Clinton & Barak Obama remind of Cubs baseball (minor leagues one day, majors the next, back to the minors). As a loud & proud feminist activist, I get asked a lot what I've been thinking, who I am supporting, and WTF is going on. To tell you the truth, I think a revolution is going on.

The women of New Hampshire and perhaps the entire USA are having a collective "click moment." You know, that moment when a woman puts all the pieces of sexism in her life together and they just "click" and she thinks, "I'm a feminist!" The women of NH didn't take pity on HRC for her teary moment, rather they looked at what the media was doing, what campaigns were doing, and relating it back to their own lives. They "were sick of the corrosive hostility and naked slant of the mainstream media against her." Someone on a listserv I'm on said it best when she likened what is happening to when you're the lone woman in a meeting and you say some great idea, it goes ignored, and then Bob repeats it 5 minutes later (cause he hasn't had an original thought since kindergarten) and the room cheers. It's not a perfect parallel, but I think it best sums up what women are feeling.

And honestly, I think all women are feeling that. Some of us are then being swayed to vote for her in an upcoming primary. Then there are others like Frances Kissling, whom I adore as much as Gloria Steinem, who fees for HRC, but isn't swayed:

The decision about whom to support is also based on more subtle issues of character, a sense of where the candidates will lead us and how much of a socially transformative vision for America they have. Being a feminist means not only supporting policies that improve women's lives, but that lead to a new understanding of women's and men's nature, identity and role in the world. It means an unrelenting attention to the questions of exclusion and marginalization, and to leveling the playing field. Asking whether Clinton is that person is not just a fair question, it is the feminist question. In answering that question, the history of centrist Democrats and Clintonism must be confronted.

Now, I've never been a centrist Democrat and everything I have seen of Clintonism and the Democratic Leadership Council confirms that women are far down their priority lists. But there must be some small space in the political world in which women are important. It is also not to say that Clinton doesn't care about women -- of course she does, and she has supported and will support many policies that improve women's health, employment and education. Perhaps one hears so little of that commitment on the campaign trail because it is assumed that the woman candidate does not have to talk about those issues. But whatever the reason, there is no evidence that Clinton's feminist history currently influences her thinking about women, or that it is any further advanced than Obama's and Edwards' thinking.

The sad fact is that Clinton has felt compelled to run as a stereotypical male. In her own mind it is only a certain kind of man who is qualified to be president and she will be that man: tough on everything from war, flag burning, kids' access to video games, illegal immigrants and Palestinians. She has missed the opportunity to talk about what it really means for women to be equal in this country. (emphasis mine)
This campaign tears are the heart of my feminism. As a Latina I understand the critiques of Steinem's op-ed. As a Chicagoan I feel the pull of being loyal to both Clinton & Obama. As a woman I feel the need to support HRC. As a feminist I want who will protect my rights and my daughter's rights to the death.

And lastly, as an active NOW member, this tears at the very idea of organizational loyalty. The pressure is intense to follow without question, yet my feminism is all about questioning. As a lover of women's history, I understand the need for some to see a woman president before they die or as a pay off for them blazing so many trails.

Yet I also met Obama before Newsweek and Time magazine did.

The first time was while lobbying in Springfield, Illinois on a woman's lobby day. He bought the delegation from Planned Parenthood & NOW lunch. Yup, I can honestly say he bought me a turkey sandwich. He came over to say thanks for coming down in the rain. Sure he was prepping for his Senate run, but hey, that's what politicians do. For a brief moment we stood together in the hallway awaiting his introduction. He was a quiet and well-spoken. He freakin' engaged us with a simple thank you!

The next time I can say I was truly in his presence was at THE anti-war rally where he spoke. It was awesome. He was awesome. Chills still go down my spine when I think about that day. That's when I fell in love with Obama.

The last time was during an interview during an endorsement session. My husband likes to recall that I came out of it thinking he was the best candidate, but that there was something about him I didn't like. All true. He gave great answers when he wanted, but dodged like the best of them when he didn't. The crush was over, but I still dug him.

For me, the decision on who to vote for is so very hard. I consider myself a feminist and I want to make the best vote as a feminist. But what kind of feminist votes for HRC and which kind votes for Obama?

That's what I need to figure out.

Technorati tags: feminist, politics, Clinton, Obama, Campaign 2008

09 January 2008

Case Dismissed for Aurora Planned Parenthood Clinic!

According to the Planned Parenthood Illinois Action blog (where I use to blog), the anti's have lost:
Anti-choice extremists in Aurora just don't know when to quit. However, they were dealt a blow last night when Aurora's Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to dismiss the case they made as a last-ditch effort to shut down the new Planned Parenthood health center. They argued that previous decisions by Zoning Administrator, Ed Sieben, regarding the property of the health center in Aurora could be appealed. They lost.

We know it won't be the last we hear from them. Their strategy is more about wasting money in court cases than anything else.

But congrats to PPIA for this victory. May it last!

Technorati tags: feminism, abortion, Planned Parenthood, Aurora

Latina/os & the Race for the White House

When the pro-immigration marches happened just under 2 years ago, one of the main themes was that Latina/os would be registered to vote and thus make their voices heard. This is the first major election to really test that theme - Are there enough eligible Latina/os in this country to 1) register and 2) get to the polls? I sure as hell hope so!

The interesting aspect of the first half of this race for the White House on the Dems side (and seriously, if there were more than just white dudes running on the GOP side, I might want to discuss them, but I digress.) is that despite a huge movement to get Latina/os involved in politics and political races one major face seems to have fallen by the wayside - Bill Richardson - whose mother is Mexican-American. The dude is Latino!

And where is Bill Richardson today? Leaving the race.

And where do most of the Latina/o voters seem to be leaning? Obama. While he doesn't have the experience, young Latina/o voters don't care, they like the message he brings. Latina Lista also notes that Nevada may be where Latina/o voters may finally be heard. What will happen? Will HRC claim them? Will Obama? Will we even turn out to make a difference?

As for me, I didn't give Richardson much thought because I just didn't. The fact that he is Latino didn't make much a difference to me because none of his messages seemed to really hit home. Maybe it was the way he said them, I dunno. Maybe I was too focused on figuring out Obama & Clinton.

Either way, thanks Bill for trying. You never won, but you represented pretty well.

Technorati tags: latina, politics, campaign 2008, Clinton, Obama, Richardson

08 January 2008

Iron This Yourself A**hole!

CNN Projects Clinton wins NH Primary

And while you're ironing your own damn shirt, make me a martini. I'm celebrating tonight!

I'm leaning more towards Clinton since the sexist attacks have really heated up and I fear that we won't see the end of them, thus my desire to back up a fellow woman, Chicagoan, Cubs fan, and feminist is only going to grow with each attack. Tonight we saw the first woman take a primary for either party (Sorry Libby!). No matter what happens, this is history.

Congrats Hillary. Try to get some sleep tonight because tomorrow is another day on the battlefield.

Technorati tags: Clinton, Iron This, sexism, Campaign 2008

07 January 2008

Abortion is a choice that women will keep making

Almost all of the GOP candidates are campaigning with the stance that they would overturn Roe or do whatever they can to outlaw abortion in this country. The inclusion of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Democrats race was supposed to infuse women's issues to the campaign. It really hasn't. Health centers that perform abortions have been torched in New Mexico. An anti-abortion ballot measure is in Missouri.

How many freakin' times do we have to say it? Women will continue to have abortions whether they are legal or not.

The reasons women make that decision ranges from economics to safety issues. It is rarely, rarely entered into without thought and often a heavy heart. (Um, no I'm not taking the "every abortion is a tragedy line, k?)

The Guttmacher Institute
just released a new report about why women choose abortions:
The majority of U.S. women who have abortions (61%) have children. This exploratory study analyzes qualitative information from 38 women obtaining abortions to examine how issues of motherhood influenced their decisions to terminate their pregnancies. Women in the sample had abortions because of the material responsibilities of motherhood, such as the care for their existing children, as well as the more abstract expectations of parenting, such as the desire to provide children with a good home. The women believed that children were entitled to a stable and loving family, financial security, and a high level of care and attention. One fourth of the women had considered adoption but regarded it as being emotionally distressing. The findings demonstrate reasons why women have abortions throughout their reproductive life spans and that their decisions to terminate pregnancies are often influenced by the desire to be a good parent. (emphasis mine)
This study can then be backed up by a story on abortionclinicdays:

Rayanna was quiet and almost bashful when I asked her questions about how she had come to choose to have her abortion with us today. She had given birth six times, indicating that three of the children did not live with her currently. She and her partner were caring for three of the youngest children. She was taking good care of these three, she explained, but any more, that would push them beyond their financial and emotional means. “I'm slowing it all down,” she said, 'seven pregnancies—that's too many.” Her current pregnancy was a result of a failed tubal ligation surgery. Complication with surgical sterilization are rare, but they do happen and sometimes you just don't know the surgery's failed until you find yourself pregnant.

Rayanna had indicated that her family did not support her having the abortion and I asked her about their relationship.
...
As a result of the incest, Rayanna had been sexually active for most of her life—but not on her own terms, not with her consent. When Rayanna became a teenager, she said she longed for affection and attention. But, not yet understanding how to get what she needed, she became sexually active with partners she described as “no good, beating on me, cheating on me and never there when I needed them.” She got pregnant twice as a teen and her mother forbid her to have an abortion. Bewildered, she went along with this and the two infants were adopted by a relative. A third pregnancy two years later came as a result of a rape. Again, her mother forbid her to have an abortion and the child was adopted by a family friend. She had borne three children by the age of 20—again, not on her own terms.
...

Rayanna brought it into the light. Generations of incest, silence and abuse ended that day. Her children would be safe—she would see to that. It meant sacrificing her relationship with her extended family and straining her relationship with her mother, but it was a worthy price to pay. I didn't know what to say, other than to thank Rayanna for what she had done. “I feel like I'm sitting here with a woman of such amazing strength,” I said. “Do you realize what a big deal it was for you to speak up about that? You did it, you're keeping your family safe.” It was a hard road, but she was staking claim to her life, her safety, her sexuality, her fertility--this time on her terms.

“I'm slowing it down,” she said. “I had three babies born and given away before I was even sure what babies were good for. Maybe if my mother had listened to me when I tried to tell her about the abuse the first time and gotten me some help, maybe then I wouldn't have needed to have all those boyfriends who treated me bad. Maybe I wouldn't have got pregnant and maybe no rape. But that was then. I talk about it all now and no one's going to do that to my kids. It took years of counseling to understand what all happened and now, I'm slowing it all down. I've got my three kids and we're working on communicating better and better and I just can't handle any more kids today. That's why I'm here. I'm slowing it all back down.”

And that's that. Women, while not all want to be mothers, most of them know what it means to be a mother. I've often told people that you never have the right time for having a baby, but you sure as hell have a "Hell no!" time. I think we all know when those "Hell no!" times are and we must act on those feelings, that instinct. For some of us, we will carry our pregnancies to term, perhaps try out motherhood, maybe turn to adoption. For some of us we will turn to abortion.

No law will stop abortion. It may make it harder, scarier, less safe, and may even kill us, but far too many of us know that the best thing for us is to not enter this tough thing called motherhood.
Technorati tags: abortion, feminism

Obama & Clinton

Two...Two posts in one!

1) Clinton & Change:
HRC has been raked over the coals for her quote from Saturday's debate that she has been working for change for 35 years. Some have taken the stand that someone who has been working for change for 35 years can't be working for too much change. Those people can't possibly be feminists or at least historians. 35 years isn't a very long time. A short list of others who have been working for roughly 35 years for change:
Now are you going to really tell me that these organizations aren't really working for change? I salute HRC for fighting for 35 years for a better world. Has she changed the world? Yes. Does that mean she can't keep fighting for more change? Hell No!

The Boston Globe also notes something about 1972 - No one who has won Iowa has won the Presidency since 1972.

2) oBama & Bloggers:

Chris Suellentrop of the NYTimes thumbs his nose at the "Netroots" for not backing Obama in the first place and spending so much energy attacking Obama. He also notes Obama's snubbing of a lot of the blogosphere. And boy, do I know that! Between Blogher and the Chicago Moms Blog, I've been trying in one fashion or another to get the Obama campaign to respond to mommy bloggers. Hey, if moms were a target audience the last two elections, shouldn't we still? Apparently we're not. But no one seems to be Obama's blogging target this time around. He's using the internet, but it seems in a slightly different way that we all expected. And so far, he's winning.

Of course, it's still early. Obama has delegates from Iowa and perhaps another 22 from New Hampshire. Someone needs 2,026 delegates to win the nomination. I know the media has backtracked from their coronation of Clinton to crown Obama, but I'm waiting until Super Duper Tuesday....Yes, when I get a vote.

(To find out who is supporting Obama, check out my post at Chicago Parent and at Chicago Moms Blog.)

Technorati tags: Clinton, Obama, politics, Campaign 2008

04 January 2008

Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa

I've never had a way with women,
but the hills of Iowa make me wish that I could
And I've never found a way to say "I love you",
but if the chance came by, oh, I, I would
-- Iowa by Dar Williams
I'll admit it. I've never been happier to not live in Iowa than right now. At dinner last night my husband asked me who I would be caucusing for and I had no idea. Us Illinoisans go to the poll in just over a month and I have no idea who I'd vote for.

Just about every group out there that represents the ideals I live by has a ranking of the candidates. I still end up switching the top three candidates in my head every day...sometimes more than a dozen times a day.

With Barak, I just fall in love with the way he talks. His optimism is contagious and despite all the snark and pissiness I showcase each day, I'm an optimist at heart. I want to believe that we can take this country and turn it around.

With John, I fall in love with how he actually talks about poverty, that he talks about New Orleans, and yes, his resemblance, both physically and idea-wise, with Bobby Kennedy. I don't hold the lawyer thing against him because well, all three candidates are lawyers.

With Hillary, well, there is that idea of wanting a woman president. But I want a feminist president and well, she is one, unabashingly so. Yet, she is far too moderate on some issues for me. Then again, I know she'll fight for women's rights to the death...at least I hope she would.

Ugh...I need to hear more, I need to learn more. I need them to combine forces and become one being.

Congrats to Barak for winning Iowa. History has been made and will continue to be made, even after we have a candidate.


Technorati tags: Iowa, caucus, election 2008, Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, John Edwards

02 January 2008

Puke Pile: Wife Swap Update

In August I blogged about Wife Swap's longing for a feminist mom to appear on their show. Well, they found one. And people, she's not just a strong feminist, but also a home schooler! The family she's swapping to? One centered around a beauty pageant daughter.

Oh, this should be puke-alicious. Grab a sturdy waste can and don't eat a big dinner if you plan on watching. I won't be. Once I stop dry heaving, I'll write up a bit more on why this episode makes me break out in hives.

H/T Feministing

Update: I ranted about the show in more detail at Chicago Moms Blog. Check it.
Update2: My rant was cross-posted at the WIMN's Voices blog.

Technorati tags: feminism,Reality TV