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Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

31 May 2008

A Lesson For All Your Youngsters Out There...

I'm working on my reapplication to the Progressive Women's Voices program. I applied for the second round and didn't get in. I was taken aback considering that the program says they want new voices and different voices. Yet if you click on that link and see who actually has gotten in, well, this reapplication is a long shot.

The hardest part of this application process?

Remembering all my media appearances!

Somehow I thought that this program was to find brand new voices, but apparently not. Just new voices in that women's voices aren't heard much at all, but they do want experienced voices. And seriously, that makes sense. So, here I am putting finishing touches on my resume and application and I can NOT for the life of me find all my media appearances. One part of the application asks for media clips. I have things that were in print, but outside of a poorly taped segment on TV, I have no live media to send them. That's what happens when you do most of your radio on community radio.

But even besides having the pieces, just remembering all the dates is driving me insane. I'm going to go dig thru my old appointment books pre-Treo to see if I can put together my media timeline.

So...for those of you starting out with anything - DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!!

You know how people say that you should always update your resume after you do something? Yeah, you really should. Or at least keep a better journal, diary, whatever so you're not like me running around trying to prove that you do have some experience. Not Donna Brazile experience, but I think some decent experience.

OK...back to writing.

29 May 2008

New Feature! Baby Swag!

Spurred by the response from my Parenting, Inc. review post, I want to start a new feature here at Viva La Feminista. I'm not sure what to call it yet, so it will debut next week. BUT the focus will be highlighting one aspect of what one might consider a logical or realistic baby registry. One without too much of the frivolous items and if they are they, some real commentary not any of the BS you get from the box.

I'm not going to highlight items that I get pitched to me. This is about me giving my honest advice based on my own experience & observations and some from my friends. If you want to chime in, please leave a comment with your email addy so I can get in touch.

Despite all of the above, I'm not going to focus on bashing products. I won't highlight a certain DVD series and rant about them. I'm going to focus on things I think you really do need to put on that registry or throw in your shopping cart. It's not about being cheap or old skool either. I think every kid needs their first hipster t-shirt even if they're gonna just spit up on it in 10 minutes. It's gonna be about being honest. Thus, my small, but growing, army of readers, if you have questions, please do leave them too. Even if you're not gonna be preggers soon, chances are that you're gonna be attending a baby shower.

Stay tuned. I'm pretty psyched about this.

I'm in love

Remember my post about a new feminist economics blog? Well, there's another!

Susan Feiner left a comment to let me know about her blog. I just zoomed thru her first posts and I am in love. Not sure if with her or the idea of feminist economics, but it's love. Here are just a few snippets from her blog:

  • 45 years ago American feminist Betty Friedan saw how suburban isolation undermined women’s health and restricted women’s choices. In a now classic essay, “The Problem That Has No Name” Friedan successfully linked the repressive domesticity of the 1950s to suburbanization.

    Friedan’s analysis was pooh-poohed as a “women’s” issue.

    Coming soon to a station near you: $5.00/gallon gas. VOILLA!

  • Here’s the basic idea. In a recession, people are losing their jobs, businesses are cutting back, and the level of private spending is falling off. The government can step in and replace some of the purchasing power that’s disappead. People without jobs have no income so their spending goes down, a lot! In today’s world of highly indebted consumers the loss of a job is even more disastrous, since people have so little put aside in savings.

    In the face of a recession government can, for starters, extend unemployment insurance. This puts spendable income directly in the hands of people who’ve lost jobs.

    But, and here’s a critically important point for women: part-time workers are not eligible for unemployment compensation. Most part time workers are adult women. So extending unemployment insurance is not going to be much help. Congress could enact changes in the program that would make part time workers eligible.
For reals...go check her out. I know I'm a big time nrrd, but I don't think she's writing above anyone's head over there. Which in itself is proof of feminism. (Yeah, I'm looking at you Judith Butler!)

Technorati tags: Susan Feiner, economics, feminism

28 May 2008

Book Review - Hijas Americanas

First off, the only negative for this book is that it is from Seal Press, so I know right off some WOC will not buy this book. I bought this book last summer. That said, I really did love this book, so if at all, go pick it up from your local library. Read it in Borders and reshelve it. I don't care, just get your hands on this book. That said, let's get into the review.

The back of Hijas Americanas [WCF, Powells, Amazon] by Rosie Molinary sets up the entire book by asking - How Latina Are You?

This of course forces you to come up with a definition of what is a Latina. Does she speak Spanish? With an accent? Have tan skin? Molinary delves into these questions and much more.

This is another entry into what I'm calling pseudo-academic books. It's not a slam, but an acknowledgment that a book chock full of research and data is wrapped up in a memoir. Unlike other pseudo-academic books, this book is about the research first. Molinary surveyed Latinas from around the country as well as some in-depth interviews. Her memoir is secondary to the story she is weaving. We still learn a lot about her including that the essential question is often asked of her, "I've also been told plenty of times that I wasn't Puerto Rican enough, or even Puerto Rican at all." - page 6.

The opening chapter, "Turning Gringa" gives us Latinas the ultimate bottom line:

Ultimately, I learned that the way people labeled me was often more about their own perconceived notions than about what I did or said. I slowly began to understand that the one thing I did have control over was how I saw myself. Page 20

It really should be that easy and leaving us with a great booklet. But it's not, it's only the beginning.

It's not all happy fiestas in the book though. Molinary spends a good chunk of time going over the hardships that Latinas face including being raised to please everyone but yourself (page 67) that may leave many unable to negotiate sexual relationships. Not to mention having to negotiate the way society and our families frame Latina sexuality (page 94).

I've previously stated that Hijas Americanas is a true self-help book and it is. Molinary goes through many of the stereotypes of being Latina - our sexuality, fashion sense, education - and proves them AND dispells them. Essentially she proves to us that being Latina is not a prescription but a spectrum.

Disclaimer: I received no payment for this review as I bought this book myself.

Technorati tags: latinas, Hijas Americanas, Rosie Molinary, book review

Book Review - Slowpoke: One Nation, Oh My God!

Thanks to Jen Sorensen for sending me a review copy of her latest book, "Slowpoke: One Nation, Oh My God!" [WCF, Powells, Amazon] This is some of the funniest shit I have read in a long time and woo-wee did I need a good laugh!

First, I have to say that I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the book once I started to sift through her archives and found that one of her characters, Lil Gus, looks just like GRod, the great governor of Illinois.

Lil Gus is in here as is Mr. Perkins and Drooly Julie & all her sexcapades. But what is funny is Jen's ability to not only skewer those of the political persuasion, but also our own activities in this crazy thing called life. From a "Field Guide to Magnetic Ribbons" to "Spectacle Semiotics," Jen has us all pegged...including herself. I can say that because unlike other comic books that I've seen and honestly, I haven't seen a whole lot, she gives you commentary on each comic. Thus you get the background on why in the world she'd want to joke about the evolution of eye wear.

So click on the links above to purchase the book from either a small feminist bookstore or giganto-Amazon. Get it for yourself or for a new graduate...With our economy, they'll need something to cheer them up as they look for a decent job.

Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the review copy of the book.

Technorati tags: Slowpoke, Jen Sorensen, book review

27 May 2008

Work it, Mom! Monday! on Tuesday

My post this week is about Memorial Day and remembering that we're losing moms in Iraq & Afghanistan. And yes, I know that I didn't even mention the moms of Iraq & Afghanistan, but since it was Memorial Day for US military, I focused on that. It's short and to the point, so go on over and read. NaComLeavMo'ers, it counts as another blog!

More on feminism, motherhood, & the Walkers

Baby Love came out over a year ago, so why all the interest in Rebecca Walker and the radical things she says in the book? I don't have a clue.

Feminist Law Professors points us to a few new media pieces:

I read Baby Love, got to ask Rebecca a few questions over the phone, and saw her in person where others got to question her. While I do feel that the harm her mother, acclaimed feminist Alice, is totally true, I am starting to feel that her continuing airing of their relationship in the media is uncalled for. As I said in my last post on them, I know how ones relationship with ones parent can dissolve into nothing.

I also know second wave feminist moms who did suffer when they had their child. Claims of traitor or some such nonsense. So it's not too far fetched to listen to Rebecca's claims. Now a huge confession...I've never read any of Alice's work. So I have no idea if Rebecca's situating her mom's work is true or not. But considering how high profile all of this is, I'm gonna say that Rebecca's on the money. Seriously...correct me if she's wrong!

When I was pregnant I didn't want to know if I was having a girl or a boy because for one, I wanted to be surprised. And two, I did not want to buried under pink or blue crap! I opted for greens and yellows and some blues. I even bought a few boy jackets for my unborn because well, sometimes boys clothes are just built for play. I knew my kid, girl or boy, would play.

I do have a Barbie ban in place, but my daughter has dolls and plenty of stuffed animals. She plays house with them, but in her play, her dollie's daddy is in the picture. I assume that he's an involved imaginary daddy considering that I've walked into her pre-school to see two of her friends of the boy gender playing house - together - one of whom was pregnant.

On the other hand, my daughter's room is pink. It's rose pink, but it is pink. I let her pick out the color. She loves wearing dresses & some days the only way I can get her into pants is to remind her that we do not get to climb trees in our dresses...unless there are pants underneath. She will not be that 8-year-old you see in her micro-mini climbing at the playground. Um, no. Not even at 4. That's why skorts were invented. All hail skorts!

Bottom line...if Alice Walker wrote the feminist mom rules, I've most likely failed half of them. But she didn't. No one did. Each of us write the rules within the parameter of our own feminism. No, no...not choice feminist motherhood, but if our feminism is rooted in solid theory, then our mothering will be as well.

Yes, my daughter is a "burden" when I'd really like to hit T's and grab a martini with some girlfriends and when I'd like to hit a networking reception that is central to who I am trying to be, but am I gonna take it out on her? Um, no...I chose to have her. I knew that I'd have to stay home with well, mother her! She is not my sister...I have two of them already. She is my daughter. A young woman-child whom I am trying to mold into a loving human being. Lucky for me, she came that way, I just need to keep her loving life & others and not allowing the ugliness of life to overcome her glow.

When I was in a situation with my late-mother, my godmother stepped in. Anyone got Gloria's phone number?

Technorati tags: feminism, motherhood, Alice Walker, Rebecca Walker



NaComLeavMo: More Conversation Than You Can Shake a Stick at

I'm behind due to an uber-busy Sunday and then out sick yesterday. I'll catch up. I promise!

Thanks to all the NaComLeavMo'ers who have already stopped by.

23 May 2008

Book Review - Parenting, Inc.

The first time I walked into Babys-R-Us after I became pregnant I had an anxiety attack. My husband & I were with my parents and it was just days before Christmas. I thought I had learned from our disastrous wedding registry experience, that I should bring my mom along as she had raised three girls and was an OB/GYN nurse. All I remember is standing in front of the wall of pacifiers and bottles shaking. I froze. Thankfully my husband and mom agreed, let's just look around and do the registry later. I agreed despite my desperate need to run screaming from the store and hoping the stork brought baby items as well as the baby.

Pamela Paul's latest book, Parenting, Inc., [WCF, Powells] is a goddess send. It takes all the insanity that is the baby/child accoutrement business and whittles it down into common sense. On Good Reads.com, one reviewer didn't agree:

I bought this book in hopes it would provide some perspective on my current buying spree. Unfortunately, all I really found it offered was a whiney polemic againt parents buying so much. Although the author included some top line research, it was clearly not a balanced perspective.[sic]
And this is where I think the brilliance of the book comes into play. Paul takes the agonizing time to look into just about every aspect of the baby/child business. From the moment that second pink line appears to pre-school, Paul walks us through why we have so many gadgets to buy and even why we are afraid not to buy them. It is not whiny as much as a plea for parents to trust our instincts. Do we really need a walking and talking doll to teach our kids the ABCs? Do we really need to buy educational DVDs for infants?

Paul talks to experts and the bottom line is that we don't need most of what we are buying or being told to buy. I've resisted buying any educational DVD for my daughter and shamelessly will gloat about it too. Why? Because the idea of sitting her down in front of the TV to learn anything never jived with me. Yes, I blissfully recall learning some Spanish on Sesame Street, but I recall mostly that they said 'aqua' as AHG-WHA not AH-WHA. Paul states that "[s]ticking a baby in the bouncy seat or exersaucer in front of the TV set while Elmo or Dora do their thing is the modern equivalent of the once-ubiquitous, now verboten playpen."

From outsourcing parenting trials such as potty training and sleeping schedules to uber-fancy kiddie 'country clubs,' Paul does an excellent job at painting the picture, dismantling it with facts & data, and then giving us a choice. That choice is usually "Don't Do It," but somewhere in the "Outsourcing Parenthood" chapter she gives into some of the parenting experts. I do have to say that she does an excellent job at justifying her choice as well as giving us parenting experts who DON'T do the parenting as some others do.

The only thing missing is a better look at mommy blogs who peddle many of these unnecessary items to fellow moms. Paul rips apart marketing and advertising folks, but barely mentions the enormous power that is mommy blogging and mommy blog review sites. Yes, my dear readers I'm getting jaded...Mostly because I do believe many things are unnecessary and the reason I love the momosphere is that we're supportive of each other. I don't care that some make money off their blog, but when they do it by selling me an overpriced piece of plastic, I care. That said, I will still review products, but in a carefully vetted process and I'll be totally up front with you.

This book is a must read...AND I highly suggest that you get this book for yourself or your girlfriend/sister/daughter BEFORE she's pregnant (hormones are a bitch!). Get it now and hand it to her once she even mentions she might be trying to get pregnant. The bottom line is that there is a huge market out there and us parents are chumps when it comes to our kids. We want the best for them and we have been led to believe that we can only get the best by opening our wallets. Believe me now or regret those purchases later...You don't need 15 receiving blankets. For reals.

Other reviews:

Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the review copy of the book.

Technorati tags: parenting, marketing, Pamela Paul, Parenting, Inc.

Movies By Women

Are you tired of movies that treat women as accessories? That our stories aren't being told? Or just tired of year after year seeing old white dudes win the Best Director award?

Sign up for Movies By Women's weekly newsletter that let's you know when a woman directed movie opens up.

Movies By Women.com is an organization dedicated to “spreading the word” about movies directed by women. The main Movies By Women.com website includes information on historical women directors, current and past statistics on women directors, and also includes female director interviews.

They even advocate buying tickets to movies even if you can't make it - especially helped for those of us not in NYC and LA! Here is what is out and directed by women:

++ American Zombie directed by Grace Lee

++ Beyond Belief directed by Beth Murphy

++ Blindsight directed by Lucy Walker

++ Body of War directed by Ellen Spiro & Phil Donahue

++ Caramel directed by Nadine Labaki

++ The Cool School directed by Kristine McKenna & Morgan Neville

++ Dhamma Brothers directed by Jenny Phillips

++ Extra Ordinary Barry directed by Vivi Stafford

++ The Favor directed by Eva Aridjis

++ Flow directed by Irena Salina

++ Forever directed by Heddy Honigmann

++ Hats Off directed by Jyll Johnstone

++ How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer
directed by Georgina Garcia Reidel

++ I for India directed by Sandhya Suri

++ Jack and Jill vs. The World directed by Vanessa Parise

++ Jellyfish directed by Shira Geffen & Etgar Keret

++ Just Sex and Nothing Else directed by Krisztina Goda

++ Little Chenier directed by Bethany Ashton

++ Never Forever directed by Gina Kim

++ Nim's Island directed by Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin

++ Paraguayan Hammock directed by Paz Encina

++ Persepolis directed by Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Payrounnaud

++ A Plumm Summer directed by Caroline Zelder

++ A Previous Engagement directed by Joan Carr-Wiggin

++ Refusenik directed by Laura Bialis

++ Remember the Daze directed by Jess Manafort

++ Stop-Loss directed by Kimberly Peirce

++ Then She Found Me directed by Helen Hunt

++ Under the Same Moon directed by Patricia Riggen

++ The Unforeseen directed by Laura Dunne

++ Viva directed by Anna Biller

++ Vivere directed by Angelina Maccarone

++ A Walk into the Sea directed by Esther Robinson

++ War Made Easy directed by Loretta Alper & Jeremy Earp

++ Water directed by Saida Medvedeva

++ Water Lilies directed by Celine Sciamma

++ XXY directed by Lucia Puenzo

++ Young and Restless in China directed by Sue Williams

21 May 2008

Feminist Economics

I have a some-what secret obsession...economics.

I've only taken one economics course and I HAD to take it for my master's degree. I dreaded it like nothing I've ever taken before - Yes, even Organic Chemistry was less of a dread. My freshman year of college, my roommate's (not the hubby!) dad was a well-known economist. He had held positions in I think the Bush I administration and kept bugging me to take economics. "You're a smart girl and I think you'd like it." GAG! Economics? Learning about the market forces that I knew were keeping poor people poor?

Well, yes...I really did need to know about that.

That said, during my econ course, I swear I must have made the instructor so upset that he wanted to kill me. This was microecon I...total intro to econ course, thus reality was to be left at the door. Except that NO ONE told me that!

I vividly recall one night where he was talking market forces, supply & demand, and why local entities shouldn't tax businesses because there will always be a town down the road that will lower their taxes for the right business. He then went to make the case that we as employees were the same. That health care packages were like tax breaks. If we were unsatisfied with our health care package, we can always go find another job.


My arm shot up and I argued. "Um, not everyone has the luxury to go and find another job." We argued for quite some time until I realized that I wasn't going to win and he wasn't going to stray from the party line.

That's why I was PSYCHED to read that Allison from Shameless has a feminist economics blog! It's called Economic Woman and you should must check it out. Don't worry, as much as I am a nrrd, I'm not Alex P. Keaton...I need my economics translated into human talk as much as the next grrl.

There's also this piece from Beacon Broadside on how my generation is failing to do even just as good as our parents. Err...well in a general sense anyway. My parents & the hubby's parents really struggled to do half the things we can do for our daughter today. Yet, despite us making more money than I believe all three of our parents make together, we still aren't living la vida loca the way were to told growing up. As poor Latin@ kids we were told that if we just worked hard enough we could go to college and get good jobs and not worry about money. Of course student loans and a craptastic economy wasn't in that scenario. Nan Mooney brings us these fantabulous statistics:

  • Consider these statistics: College tuitions have gone up 35 percent in the past five years. The average college graduate today carries close to $20,000 in student loan debt. For those who also attend graduate school, the average debt rises to $46,000.

  • In the late 80s, 56 percent of major corporations still believed that “employees who are loyal to the company and further its business goals deserve an assurance of continued employment.” By the late 90s, that number dropped to just 6 percent.

  • Health care premiums have increased at five times the rate of inflation since 2000. 46.6 million Americans lack health insurance, almost twice as many as in 1980.

  • Between 1992 and 2005 CEO pay — including wages, bonuses and stock options — rose a staggering 186 percent, while the average worker experienced an income gain of just 7 percent.

  • The United States is one of only two industrialized countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave to its citizens. In an international survey compiled by the Project on Global Working Families, out of over 168 countries studied, 96 guarantee paid annual leave, 45 also guarantee some form of paid paternal leave for fathers, and 37 mandate paid leave specifically designated for caring for sick children. The U.S. is not among them.

  • The net worth of black and Latino college graduates is similar to the net worth of white high school graduates.

  • In 1949, mortgages were equal to 19.7 percent of disposable income; in 2000, they had risen to 66 percent; in 2005, they reached 96 percent of disposable income.

  • The wealthiest 400 tax payers in the country now pay the same percentage of their earnings in income, Social Security and Medicare taxes as families earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year, those at the heart of the middle class.

  • 2005 was the first year since the Great Depression in which Americans spent more than they earned.

So if you're still in college and have access to an econ class...take it. It'll pay off in you being able to use fancy economic words when people shrug and say, "It's market forces!"

Technorati tags: feminism, economics

20 May 2008

The Boys' Crisis is BUNK

The AAUW released a new report today detailing education trends between girls and boys for the past 35 years. And you know what? BOTH are succeeding...BOTH are going to college. Despite cries of terror from certain circles fueled by the media, boys are NOT being left behind.

The NY Times covered the report (and astonishingly NOT in the style section!):

  • The report points out that a greater proportion of men and women than ever before are graduating from high school and earning college degrees. But, it says, “perhaps the most compelling evidence against the existence of a boys’ crisis is that men continue to outearn women in the workplace.”

    Linda Hallman...said the report was an effort to refocus attention on what she said were the real problems of education for poor and minority children, and away from a distracting debate about a so-called boys’ crisis. Ms. Hallman said the group’s members were concerned about arguments by conservative commentators that boys had become disadvantaged and were being discriminated against in schools intended to favor girls.

As the good feminist/blogger/science nrrd I am, I read the entire report today and here are some highlights that I don't believe are in the executive summary, but you should know:

  • Gender differences cannot be fully understood without attention to race/ethnicity. (VLF: This is uber-important to note. The AAUW is calling out every data collection agency that they must be collecting as much data as possible including family income and ethnicity AND report it out that way. Don't hide those intersections.)
  • Boys' advantage in math does not supersede the more substantial advantage of students from higher-income families over students from lower-income families.
  • Among 12th graders in the 2006-07 school year, 1.5 million students, almost half of all graduating high school seniors (46 percent), took the SAT, and about 1.3 million (40 percent) took the ACT.
  • Gender gaps on the SAT and ACT math exams are most pronounced among Asian American, Hispanic, and white students and are much smaller among African American students.
  • Across races/ethnicities, boys tend to outscore girls in math
  • Girls earn more credits than boys earn in high school math and science and have a higher combined GPA in these courses. (VLF: ARGH!!!!! And yet we still have people who claim that girls don't like or want to do science!
  • While gaps by race/ethnicity are evident, the percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who have college degrees is generally increasing for every gropu except Hispanic men, who show no clear trend. The number of Hispanic men earning college degrees, however, is increasing.
  • The college enrollment rate of young women, 66.0 percent, was approximately the same as that of young men, 65.5 percent. (emphasis by VLF)
And I will leave you with that last statistic. Men and women are going to college in record numbers. Oh...and all the lines above can be found in the report with their appropriate citations.

What the AAUW is trying to tell us all, once and for all, is that education is not a zero-sum game. Yale and Harvard might be, but education itself is not.

Technorati tags: education, equity, feminism, AAUW, boys crisis

Why is the IL Dept of Transportion using sex to sell seat belts?

I ask because I recently caught their new PSAs for the "Click it or Ticket" campaign and they use two very attractive women to urge their men to use their seat belts. Two women...one white and one African-American with sultry voices and in cute outfits telling their men, "You know what I want..." Where is the Latina PSA?

En Espanol! Because us Latinas are never more sexy than when we're seducing our hombres into wearing seat belts than when we're speaking Spanish, eh? The problem is that not all of Latino men speak Spanish or at least would be watching Spanish language TV. I can only consider that a lack of English-language Latina PSA means that the state thinks we all only speak Spanish, they could give a damn about us English speakers, or our Latina sexuality is just too much for English TV.

Can you imagine if JLo, Salma, or Lynda Carter aka Wonder Woman did a PSA in English? Ay, Papi, we'd bankrupt the state due to all the Latino men falling under their Latina spell and always buckled up! Especially if we used Wonder Woman's lasso of truth!

And what's with the men in these PSAs? They are squirming in their seats as if they are innocent virgins and the hot-to-trot women are fiery sirens seducing them into doing oh-so-naughty things. When I first saw these PSAs, it was after 10pm and I thought it was another ad for a chat line. "Wanna be bad? Let's use our seat belts!"

Ironically, I had to go to YouTube to see the PSAs and they are not mentioned on the state's website or offered in their 'Get involved' section. Is the state ashamed of their blatant use of sex to get men to buckle up?

cross-posted at Shakesville

Technorati tags: Illinois, seat belts, Click it or Ticket!, sexism

18 May 2008

Latin@s in Hollywood - Bad & Good

When I first saw the trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua, I was floored and fearful. I was floored because of the total racist portrayal that I felt was on display. Aztec chihuahuas? For reals? I was fearful because my daughter is obsessed with chihuahauas. If she sees this trailer, she's gonna want to see it and well, I'm not.

So I was very happy to see Latinitasoyme rip the trailer apart with both a Latin@ and a gender viewpoint:

Not to mention the perpetration of male domination from having the leading characters in these films being males (What about all the Disney Princesses? What kind of portrayal of women is being displayed? Just think about that.) As well as having Papi, the Chihuahua, being in the forefront of the film's poster rather than Chloe, the Chihuahua, who the plot is said to surround.

For some better reading on Latinas in Hollywood, the Chicago Sun-times has a cute profile on America Ferrera (my girl crush) because she's got two movies this summer. Movies by Women alerted me to the fact that America's first movie this summer, How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, is directed by a woman. It's too late for all of us to run out for opening weekend, but sign up for their alerts so you'll be able to support women-lead movies in the future. And go see Garcia Girls...it looks good!

Technorati tags: Latina, Hollywood, movies, America Ferrera

16 May 2008

There is too much, let me sum up

Because I have a presentation on gender equity on Thursday, found out about another extension on a chapter I was writing & gave up on, AND the hubby is out of town meaning I have less time for me this weekend, I present you with a bullet point blog post. Enjoy!

  • Help some awesome Radical WOC get to the Allied Media Conference. I swear, I'd be there myself to represent the not-so-radical WOC contingent, but I have to attend another conference that weekend. Oh...and if you've ever wondered where the super kewl WOC bloggers are, start with this list!
  • Peggy Simpson from the Women's Media Center sums up the fallout from the NARAL Pro-Choice endorsement. As does Scott at RH Reality Check is also following the fallout. (Is it me, or does he look like Bobcat Goldwaith? But of course, far less scary!)
    • My reaction? Award for the worst timing EVER! While I did give NARAL kudos earlier this month, I gotta say that I was shocked at such poor timing. I know that Kate Michaelman is an Obama woman, but come on...it's not like you were trying to submarine Lieberman! *sigh* I'm on a listserv with a lot of second wavers & 99% of them are working their tails off for Hillary. The heartbreak is unbearable.
  • The NY Times has a great piece on women in science and the hurdles they have to jump through AND why sometimes they just pack up their microscope and go home. KUDOS! But...there's always a but, eh? The article is in the fashion/style section. I mentioned it on another listserv I'm on and someone pointed out that perhaps instead of being in a more "serious" section, it's getting more attention. Thoughts?
  • Noemi reports, "In at least one case, a guard reportedly got a female detainee pregnant. It’s all happening at the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall. News 4 Trouble Shooter Brian Collister brings you the fall out from his investigation." Read more.
  • Want to evacuate from a hurricane? Better have your papers ready!
  • The Ask a Working Woman Survey 2008 is out! "The survey is an opportunity for working women in America to tell decision-makers what it's like to be a working woman in America in election years. Opinions will be collected through June 20, 2008. The findings will be announced to decision makers and released in nationwide media in order to highlight and help improve the status of the working mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and nieces in all of our American families." Go take it!
  • Chicago Public Schools are tauting an increase in the number of graduates attending college. Parents United for Responsible Education isn't so sure we should be celebrating.
  • June 2nd is the 3rd Annual Blogging for LGBT Family Day!
  • Ward Connerly's Super Tuesday is losing steam. Maybe he can rename it Good Tuesday?
  • An interview with Amy Richards (not to be confused with one of my BFFs) at RH Reality Check is a must read.
  • Today Google had another special holiday logo, this time about the invention of the laser. So it got me thinking...have they tipped their hat to a woman? Answer, outside of recognizing International Women's Day in 2005, nope.



NaComLeavMo: More Conversation Than You Can Shake a Stick at

What is NaComLeavMo?

...in honour of my own blogoversary (since I am so modest. Wait, and because community and conversations are very important to me and a huge reason why I write my blog), I am conducting NaComLeavMo--National Comment Leaving Month (the national refers to wherever you are reading) from May 25th to June 25th. A full month of intense comment leaving.

Want to join along?
I'm in...what about you?

15 May 2008

Equal Marriage in Cali!

Thanks to Shakes for posting the utterly craptastic responses by the two Democratic candidates for President in response to today's ruling that California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

I am seriously so pissed that their responses that I can't even form a coherent rant. So congrats Hill & Barry...You have left me speechless over your continued pandering to the homophobic voting block.

Now to my non-hetero sisters and brothers...Congrats. While I have theoretical objections to the institution of marriage, I also know how nice it feels to be married, especially the health benefits. I hope that this ruling leads to a flood of weddings in California and that it's a huge economic boost. I can't remember where I read it, but seriously, if gay men really do know how to accessorize, can you imagine the wedding bling? *wink*

Technorati tags: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, equal marriage, gay marriage, love

What they said

I've been meaning to post this ditto to what Bitch Ph.D. said a few days ago:

Dooce nails it.
guess there are some people who are very uncomfortable with the fact that I and many other women are writing about our children on our websites. How dare we violate your privacy like this, how dare we endanger you like this, we obviously care more about ad revenue than what this is going to do to your adolescence. And I have been asked countless times if I am at all worried that you will totally resent me for the details I have shared here.
Will you resent me for this website? Absolutely. And I have spent hours and days and months of my life considering this, weighing your resentment against the good that can come from being open and honest about what it's like to be your mother, the good for you, the good for me, and the good for other women who read what I write here and walk away feeling less alone. And I have every reason to believe that one day you will look at the thousands of pages I have written about my love for you, the thousands of pages other women have written about their own children, and you're going to be so proud that we were brave enough to do this.
On a side note, I've never read Dooce. Never. OK, maybe once when she first made it big, but I have an allergy to big bloggers or at least ones who are already big when I get there. I prefer to watch smaller onces grow ala Feministe, This Woman's Work, and a few others. But I've become more curious with all the media she's gotten and the spit fire attitude I've seen.

13 May 2008

When Feminism and Motherhood Collide

When I was about 4 months pregnant the Iraq War broke out. I was at the much heralded anti-war protest that ended up stopping traffic on Lake Shore Drive. My mother freaked out when she saw it on TV and called me later that night to yell at me. I was very happy to report that I left that rally for a board meeting before the real fun broke out. The next day a dear friend reamed me over email about realizing that I'm not just eating for two, but living for two.

I've taken my daughter to peace rallies and even one for equal marriage. She's been to a NOW board meeting - I nursed her during a meeting AND while I made a point. She's been to other meetings. She's canvassed with me during political campaigns and I expect her to do the same this fall for whomever is the Democratic candidate. My life has changed, but hasn't ended with the birth of my daughter. She knows that I travel for work and for my activism.

I often say that my biggest fear is that she'll rebel and become a born-again Christian and constantly call me to tell me I'm going to hell. But in reality my biggest fear is that she's going to hate me for all that I do.

That's why I asked Dr. Wicklund about her daughter in January. And why I teared up when she said her daughter was grown, almost as old as I am, and still in love with her mom.

That's why I hate reading about Alice and Rebecca Walker. I know, better than some, how parental relationships can erode and tear, but the extent that their relationship has become toxic makes my heart break each time I think of it. I read Rebecca's latest book last year and even got to chat with her about it. Reading about the ending of her relationship with her mom was utterly heart wrenching. Here I am, wishing that I could have just one more day with my mom and there is Alice refusing to even visit her sick newborn grandbaby.

Walker’s success as a campaigner was to her detriment as a mother. Like Dickens’s Mrs Jellyby, who neglects her home and her children as she directs her energy towards the poor of Africa, so America’s icon often went to feminist meetings and rallies and left Rebecca to fend for herself. Her daughter experimented with drugs and became pregnant at 14. [link]
If my daughter ends up pregnant at 14 will it be a symptom of my feminist activism? Will the fact that her daddy & I are still married be enough to buffer her?

Will she write a memoir akin to Rebecca or even Larkin from "Parable of the Talents," who believes her mother sacrificed her for the good of the movement?

Yes, I know that the chances of all of that happening are slim, but it's not zero. And it scares the bejezus out of me.

Technorati tags: feminism, motherhood, Alice Walker, Rebecca Walker

12 May 2008

No Skirt Monday!

It's official, sk-rt is now kirtsy!

I am happy that they chose that name, I liked it all along. In my head you curtsy as a thank you at the end of a performance or when you meet someone regal to show a sense of awe. Well when you're surfing the blogosphere and you read an amazing blog post, you should kirtsy to show them some loving.

I called for No Skirt Monday because of The Bloggess' rant about this name change. Which is the part where I'm sad to see sk-rt.com leave us.

Please note that I also changed all the "sk-rt this" buttons below each post to kirtsy this. Feel free to kirsty me all day long.

Technorati tags: kirtsy

RH Reality Check & Work it, Mom Monday!

You get two new posts from me today!

The first is my first piece at RH Reality Check and then my weekly post at Work it, Mom!

Technorati tags: RH Reality Check, Work it, Mom!

11 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I've had an event filled weekend, thus the lack of blogging. I hope that my USA mommy friends had a great day today. I certainly did. We planned on having a low key lunch at Lou Malanti's with my sister & my nephew who are moving to North Carolina at the end of the month - when a Chicagoan is moving away, one has to stock up on pizza & other goodies. Well when we got to her apartment our dad was there! He surprised us all by flying in. My daughter was super surprised and happy, even if she didn't show it at first.

ACORN is asking people to remember mom today and here is my recollection:

First off this is the 5th Mother's Day I've spent without my mother. Technically she was still alive today 5 years ago, but on life support while I walked to receive my graduate degree sporting a 6-month baby bump. Thus Mother's Day is a whirlwind of emotions that I am still sorting out. I owe a lot of who I am to that woman who officially left this world on May 18, 2003.

My most vivid memory of her voting is in 1992. I was super angry that I wasn't yet old enough to vote in the election. Just a few weeks kept me from being able to register! So I was eager to hear from my mom after she voted. "Of course, I voted for Clinton! And there was this woman who didn't speak much English having trouble with the ballot. She was waiting to go vote when I was leaving. She asked me for help and I told her, 'Just for the Democrats. They'll help us.'"

My mom instilled the idea, the idealism in fact, that if we just speak up, things will change. Perhaps not over night, but eventually justice will come to those who need it and fight for it. This was a woman who became PTA president for our elementary school when the administration wasn't giving parents the answers she thought we all needed. Instead of just screaming & complaining about things, she ran for office with a few friends. They all won! I do think on of her proudest moments was when my husband ran and won for a Local School Council seat.

So my mom voting? Yeah, she did it. And she taught me to do it, be educated about it, and of course, tell others about it. Thanks Mom.

Read others ACORN stories.

Other Mother's Day Stories:
Photo from Yikes!

09 May 2008

The Kool-Aid is Cubbie Blue

I'm still trying to figure out/justify this Twitter thing, but have decided to use it during conferences and to announce certain things. But now that the Sun-Times has decided to cover Cubs games over Twitter, I think I'll drink my glass of Kool-Aid.

Technorati tags: twitter

Book Review Linky Love Rules

Found on the 3 R's:
This week in Weekly Geeks - Weaving a book-review web. Quoting from Dewey:

The theme for Week 2 is something borrowed (yes, she said it was ok!) from Darla at Books and Other Thoughts. She says in her sidebar that if she reviews a book that you’ve reviewed, you can email her and she’ll link to it in her review. I love this idea for three reasons.

1. As a blog reader, I like that I can have my review linked in someone else’s blog.

2. As a blog reader, I like that if I’m interested in a book Darla writes about, there will be other reviews linked at the bottom of the page, so I can get other viewpoints. You can see how this works here.

3. As a blog writer, when I review a book, I often remember that I read someone else’s review at some point, but whose? And when? With Darla’s method, people tell her about their reviews, and she can see what they had to say about a book that is still fresh in her mind.

So here’s your challenge! If you’re willing, adopt Darla’s policy in your own blog. I realize this is a big commitment, so think it over first, but I think it can be really community-building.

1. Write a blog post as soon as possible telling your readers that you’re adopting Darla’s policy. Darla has people email her, but you could use a Mr Linky or you could just ask people to leave their links in your comments.

2. As much as you can with the time available to you during the week, visit other Weekly Geeks who are adopting Darla’s policy and see if you have any reviews of books they’ve reviewed that you can offer them.

3. Later in the week write about your experience this week: did people take you up on your offer, did you find reviews you could give to other bloggers, did you enjoy the experience, do you think you want to keep this policy, etc.

So....if you review a book that I have reviewed here, leave me a comment and I'll link back to you. I really do love reading what others think of books.

Technorati tags: book review

08 May 2008

The Feministing of Fathers

There are plenty of things that make being a mom worth it. The hugs, the kisses, the seeing your almost 5yo run across a soccer field, kick a goal, and then throw a smile and shy wave in your direction. But in the top 5 of the list of things that make this whole motherhood gig worthwhile is the blossoming of my daughter's father's feminism.

When I say blossoming, I mean it. When I met my husband (whom I married nine years ago today!) I was in some ways more radical than I am today. I was immersed in my Amnesty International activism and quite set in my 17yo ways. Heck, in my head I was on my way to Evergreen State College to kick my feminism into high gear! So he knew what he was getting into when he told me that he was crushing on me. I also knew what I was getting into when I said, ditto.

While he was more Alex P. Keaton than Steven Keaton, he was feminist enough for me. When we first met the idea of his wife keeping her maiden name was out of the question...Here I am nine years after our wedding still with the name I was born with. He's evolved in his feminism. Any credit that is due to me was a result of many debates, pushing, pulling, and yes, some nagging.

What amazes me is how much of the stuff that I used in those debates that he scoffed at now coming out of his mouth now that we have a daughter who is headed to kindergarten next year.

There's an old saying that to make a man a feminist, give him a daughter. It didn't work with Reagan, Bush, or McCain, but it sure has helped with my husband. I can't recall exactly what he said a few days ago, but I just smiled at him and beamed that look of love usually reserved for cheesy date movies or political spouses.

Over at Beacon Broadside, Kevin Scott discusses the pornification of Miley Cyrus not just from the POV of a professor of American literature and culture, but as a father:

Talk about teachable moments. Two days before the "topless Miley" stories broke all over television and online, my class and I were discussing the young star of the Disney show, Hannah Montana.


Knowing, as they do, how easy I am to distract, they asked me what I thought of Miley Cyrus, who plays a normal high school kid who moonlights as a rock star. (Don't we all remember that kid from our own high school days? No?)

I said, roughly, "Well, the music makes my ears bleed, BUT, considering the options, if my daughter were to be a fan of the star, I would probably decide to shut up and let her have her fun."


Largely, I agree with Cyrus' early comments, printed in Vanity Fair, along with the photos, that the image is "artsy." Yet there can be little argument that the girl in the photo—looking over her shoulder at you, with her lips plump and red, and her hair tousled as if awakened in the bed, nude, and clasping her satin sheets around her—is suggesting pleasures more adult than the age on the driver's license she can't yet possess would say is appropriate.

Then again, as a "Dad," I saw her ribs poking out and thought, "Man, somebody feed that kid."

With stories of dads who take their girls to get waxed, telling their daughters they are fat (personal anecdotes abound!), and other horrors, it is refreshing to see one and read of another who really get it. They understand that crap that their daughters will be growing up in and want to change things for the girls' sake. Yes, it is an extension of the patriarchal protection that makes this world insane in the first place, but it's a feminist patriarchy...I think.

Technorati tags: feminist, father, dad

A voice from 1968 reminds us to unite

A beautifully written op-ed by Dick Simpson on why the Dems must unite this year. The stakes are too high.

As Illinois campaign manager for Eugene McCarthy, I was one of those committed to ending that war, eliminating racism and impeding the imperial presidency. I was also one of those who refused to vote for Humphrey in November.

As a result of withholding our votes, we got Richard Nixon as our president, and the war dragged on many more years to an inglorious conclusion. Sure, President Nixon did some good. For instance, he opened diplomatic relations with China. But he was also the first president to be driven from the White House -- for the crimes of Watergate. He permanently blemished the office. Perhaps worst of all, he undermined voter conference in our political system. It is a malady from which our nation still suffers

07 May 2008

Bitches know how to party

Last night I was honored to have coordinated a benefit for Bitch Magazine at the Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park. While the event did not go off without a hitch, I think we all still had a great time & money was raised for the best feminist magazine (sorry, Ms.). The best part was finally meeting Bitch publisher Debbie Rasmussen. Isn't she cute like in that sassy pixie way?

We had a great chat while the band set up, heard a bit about the Bitch move to Portland, Oregon, and got some insight into how the magazine hopes to move in the future. Debbie's on her way around the Midwest for a string of Bitch benefits and Feminism In/Action discussions where I think you'll also get a glimpse of what may be in store for Bitch. So if you can, get to one! Unfortunately I was only able to set up the benefit.

Debbie lined up a great band for the evening - The BELMONDOS.

Seriously, how can you beat a band that has an accordion, bass, AND banjo?

Their music was perfect for an evening at the Heartland. They were also great sports for dealing with the technical difficulties that resulted in about a 20 minute intermission. It was all my bad.

More photos of the BELMONDOS!

Even people who weren't at the benefit came over to listen to them and inquire about a CD. Their next show is at the Abbey tomorrow night.

I invited the Revelettes to dance up a go-go storm. This is the second Bitch benefit that they have performed at and why yes, I coordinated the other one as well. I love seeing them because they are just too funny in how much they get into the go-go dancing. It's awesome! It's cheesy! It's to be seen.

We also had an intuitive do readings. I won't say what she told me, but it really made me think. Thanks to Early to Bed, Weener Ware, and Poise.cc for their goodies for the raffle.

And now I'm hitting bed cause I'm an old married mom who can't handle being out until 11:30 pm on a school night anymore.

Stay classy, White Sox

There's a reason why baseball players are called the "Boys of Summer."

As a feminist, I have been asked on many occasions how I could ever love watching sports like football where the goal is to beat each other up. I jump to its defense with a correction that it is boxing where the goal is to beat each other up. Football's beauty lies in watching players like the late Walter Payton and current Bear Devin Hester bob and weave past defenders. I also admit to love the beauty of Brian Urlacher cutting past an offensive lineman to crush the quarterback for a sack. When it comes to baseball, the question I get asked the most is how I can watch when it's so boring.

Well thanks to the sophomoric antics of the Chicago White Sox, it's not boring any longer. Yet, let's not pigeonhole sophomoric antics to just the Southside of Chicago. Recent antics include the admission of Hall of Fame bound pitcher Roger Clemens' relationship with the then-under-aged singer Mindy McCready. Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Carol Slezak is taking a lot of crap on the Sun-Times site thanks to the new interactive comments option for revealing the ChiSox antics. It makes me wonder if people are more upset that she talked about it at all or is offended by it.

Neither Guillen, his players nor anyone else in the Sox organization had attempted to conceal the shrine from reporters before the Sox played the Blue Jays on Sunday at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Her offense at the display is well founded. Her comment about such a display being in violation of sexual harassment laws is very well founded. If I recall correctly, one of the landmark lawsuits was over a pin-up calendar in a fire house. Imagine what a court would do with a display of female dolls being sodomized?

Yet, I expect this type of low-brow 'humor' from athletes. As Telander points out, there are some other ways that baseball players try to work out of a slump:

Again, for the uninformed, major-leaguers throughout history have done ludicrous things to break slumps. They have made offerings, burned bats, gotten so drunk that nothing matters, found the ugliest girl possible -- a real one -- and...I'm not making these things up, just giving information.

But that anyone would wave away the sex doll display by saying there are worse things in other locker rooms removes any sort of responsibility from the White Sox organization. This display shouldn't be weighted against what the Cubs, Yankees, or Red Sox have in their locker rooms. It should be weighted against human decency and respect for women. It can not be waved away with the ever present, "Boys will be boys" mantra because in fact these are not boys, they are men. And for goodness sake, they should act like it. It does not matter that Telander can find one woman sports reporter who says it was funny. You can find anyone to prop up the establishment, especially one where women are still fighting for respect (again, see the comments on Slezak's column) in a "man's world."

I don't expect all athlete's to be role models or model citizens. Urlacher's recent tantrum over child support and Karl Malone's history of rejecting the children he had out of wedlock ,not to mention possible statutory rape, are all examples that immature men don't just play baseball. What I do expect is that the men (it is mostly men) who run our sports teams would take sexism, homophobia, and racist comments seriously. Andi asked me that as a Cubs fan if I wasn't just a bit gleeful that the White Sox have yet another bad mark on their reputation. "Not one bit," I replied. But it does make me a bit sad for White Sox fans. Always the groomsman in Chicago sports, even during their championship year, they are always wondering why they don't get any respect. We can make like Mariotti and pretend that stories of certain Cubs players trolling for ugly girls don't exist or we can face the facts and realize that we often root, root, root for the sexist jerk. Which I think is why as I get older, I root for my Cubs, not so much for the boy on the field.

Technorati tags: baseball, sports

Is Indiana poised to have a woman governor?

Missing in the national coverage of yesterday's Indiana primary is the razor thin win by Democrat Jill Thompson Long to win her party's nomination for governor. Yes, I know that Jim Schellilnger isn't conceding, but it's a rare thing for more votes to be discovered. Either way, it's still a story that doesn't seem to be discussed this day after.

While her website needs some work - a link to read more about State Senator Sue Errington's endorsement keeps me in a clicky loop - the fact that Errington has endorsed her is a good sign for feminists. Errington has an excellent record as a feminist. According to wikipedia, it looks like she would be the first woman to govern that state.

That said, Thompson Long is in the agriculture business and the big AG business at that. I have to wonder what that would mean to Indiana, but would it be any worse under a Republican? Doubtful. The state of agriculture in our country is certainly a feminist issue don't get me wrong. But if I lived in Indiana, I'd pick the candidate who might support better health care and education even if she gives tax breaks to big Ag. Considering the state of Indiana's economy, I can't see any other path for their farming industry. Really, a very sad state of affairs in this country. If anyone is from my neighboring state and has a better perspective on this, please comment! I didn't even realize this was happening until I heard a snippet on NPR this morning.

At least we have something else to think about than Barack & Hillary, right?

Technorati tags: Jill Thompson Long, Indiana, feminism, politics, election

06 May 2008

Upcoming Event - Beyond Choice: Exploring Reproductive Justice from Scholarship to Activism

Hurry and register! It's free, but after May 19th, you're not guaranteed a lunch! I'll be in attendance in the morning.

The Section of Family Planning at the University of Chicago
Presents its 3rd annual conference celebrating women's reproductive freedom

Beyond Choice: Exploring Reproductive Justice from Scholarship to Activism

Thursday, May 22, 2008
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Keynote Speaker
Dorothy Roberts
Kirkland and Ellis Professor, Northwestern University Law School
Professor, Department of African-American Studies and Sociology

Other speakers include:

Lisa Harris
Assistant Professor,
Obstetrics and Gynecology &
Women’s Studies
University of Michigan

Toni Bond
CEO and Co-Founder,
African-American Women Evolving

Cassing Hammond
Assistant Professor,
General Obstetrics and Gynecology
Northwestern University

Christine Stansell
Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor,
United States History
University of Chicago

Heather Bonstra
Senior Public Policy Associate,
The Guttmacher Institute

Elena Guiterrez
Assistant Professor,
Gender and Women’s Studies &
Latin American and Latino Studies
University of Illinois at Chicago

Gaylon Alcaraz
Executive Director,
Chicago Abortion Fund

Lorie Chaiten
Director, Reproductive Rights Projects
American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois

Register at www.ChicagoFamilyPlanning.org

Free admission—donations appreciated
Lunch available—please order upon registration
Space is limited and will be filled on a first come first serve basis.

International House - Assembly Hall, University of Chicago
1414 East 59th Street | (773)753‐2274

Persons with disabilities that may need assistance should contact the
Office of Programs & External Relations in advance of the program at (773) 753-2274

Technorati tags: feminism, reproductive justice, events, Chicago

WNBA Rookie camp includes a visit from Bobbie Brown artist

Low ratings and attendance has apparently forced the hand of WNBA President Donna Orender, a former basketball player herself. She's created a workshop for this year's rookies on makeup and fashion:

As part of the rookies' orientation into life as professional athletes, the WNBA for the first time offered them hour-long courses on makeup and fashion tips. The courses, at an O'Hare airport hotel, made up about a third of the two-day orientation, which also featured seminars on financial advice, media training and fitness and nutrition.

This is not as drastic a move as one may think. After cooling off from my initial shock and anger, I realized that this is just one more step in the craptastic direction of making some of the strongest and best athletes in the world into cheesecake pin-ups. Lisa Leslie of the LA Sparks was never seen without lip gloss on. Now, she may be a fan of the lip gloss and that's fine, but she was THE face for the WNBA for many years and after having a child last season, she's back. Yes, she is one of the best players, but she's also one of the most feminine one as well.

The photo I've posted is from a
'behind the scenes' photo album. The first three photos are of the players getting all gussied up aka all girly. Candace Parker, in the photo, has joined Lisa Leslie in LA and are being marketed as not just a pair of kick ass players, but the photos of them (which I can't find now!) are super girly.

I've been musing in my head the idea and fact that girls today can jump from their pink dresses into cleats without much thought, so why am I so pissed? I'm pissed because I fear that the focus on these athletes’ outer appearance
reduces the positive influence of sports and is downplaying their achievements on the court:

Susan Ziegler, a Cleveland State professor of sports psychology, said disparity in wages and media coverage between male and female athletes, along with a battle against perceived negative stereotypes, are factors in marketing female sports figures for their physicality rather than their athletic assets.

The WNBA, she said, seems to be becoming more image-conscious.

"No. 1 is, of course, the need for the image of WNBA players to be seen as real women," Ziegler said. "That comes from the lesbian homophobia that surrounds women in sports in general."

Ziegler has done extensive research on female athletes being sexualized through the media. Even with something as common as applying lipstick, promoting physical appeal can take away from the athletes' legitimacy, she says.

"Once you begin to worry about how the person looks as opposed to how she plays, you've crossed the line into dangerous play," Ziegler said. "We're not really focused on marketing them as athletes but as feminine objects."

Did ya see that? The WNBA is still "fighting" the image that all their players are ugly lesbians. *sigh* Our collective fear of the Lavender Menace never seems to leave us! Feminist Law Professors sees how the inevitable impossible beauty standard we hold actors and other entertainers was bound to leak down into sports. Not to mention the WNBA's view that about womanhoood.

Forget about the Miley Cyrus photos…This is a much bigger danger to our daughters. What does this really tell our girls? That your amazing jump shot and great ball handling skills doesn’t mean much if you can’t apply eye liner (something I didn’t attempt until I was in my 30s) or know what type of skirt is in fashion?

The reality is that every girl growing up in America today knows all of this. My generation knew it once we say cute Mary Lou Retton everywhere and saw this line of thought devolve into Anna Kornakova-mania. Cute sells, plain and simple. But somewhere in all of this, I thought that a sport that relied solely on skill (gymnastics has artistry points) like tennis, basketball, and soccer would be free from beauty sells. Luckily for the marketing gurus, cute girls play softball too.

Despite this reality do we really need a women’s professional sports league to send yet another message to us that we need to not just practice our free throws, but also know how to "how to perfect [our] arcs" on our eye lids? I’m still going to buy some tickets for the Chicago Sky, but I just might skip the eyeliner that night…maybe.

Oops...forgot my hat tip to Women's Hoops for alerting me of the story. This blogger always tries to give credit where credit is due!

Photo credit: Bill Frakes/SI

Technorati tags: WNBA, make-up, fashion, WTF

05 May 2008

Yo Feministing readers!

Thanks to Feministing for linking this tiny blog.

Thanks to all the readers! Y'all are throwing off my average. haha! I've also seen an uptick in subscribers, so thank you even more for wanting to stick around!

I'll have something more to chew on later tonight.

Stir it Up: Women's Activism Reframing Political Debates

If you're in NYC or will be on June 5th, stop on by the National Council for Research on Women's annual meeting's discussion. This is one event that is open to the public. I've been to the last two NCRW meetings and they are amazing! Details from the email below:
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Join us for the Opening Plenary for the NCRW Annual Conference, Thursday, June 5, 2008 at the Kimmel Center at NYU. This session is free and open to the public. To register for the entire conference, please visit our website at www.ncrw.org.

Stir it Up: Women's Activism Reframing Political Debates

The possibility of a woman or an African-American presidential candidate has galvanized voters and moved citizens to become more actively engaged in the political process. It has also provided real opportunities to place women's issues and concerns on the national agenda. Join leading experts, thought leaders, and advocates as they discuss how issues need to be framed so they influence political debates at local, state, and national levels, and strategies for ensuring that women's voices are heard and their votes counted in the upcoming election.

Featured Speakers:

  • Ruth Mandel, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University (Moderator)
  • Kathy Bonk, Communications Consortium Media Center
  • Kim Gandy, National Organization for Women
  • Barbara Lee, Barbara Lee Family Foundation
  • Diana Salas, Women of Color Policy Network at NYU
  • Marie Wilson, The White House Project

Date: Thursday, June 5, 2008

Time: 4:00p.m. to 5:45p.m.

Location: The Kimmel Center at NYU, New York City

Co-Sponsored by:

The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU, Center for Research on Women at Barnard College, Shirley Chisholm Center for Research on Women at Brooklyn College, Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, The Center for the Study of Women and Society at CUNY, Marymount Institute for the Education of Women and Girls, WEDO, Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University, Girls Incorporated, Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University, The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at SUNY Albany

For more information about the Conference contact Jessyca Dudley by phone 212.785.7335 x205 or e-mail at jdudley@ncrw.org.


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