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Showing posts from January, 2009

On being a token

As any good WOC feminist, I am quite familiar with being a token. In grade school I was the token: On sports teams because I pushed & shoved my way there; In the gifted program for my grade because I guess I was the only gifted girl & person of color; In high school I was the token: Poor chick in class - while some of my fellow C'villers made it into the honors and AP classes, I don't recall many of my other C'ville chicks making it there despite I knew quite a few of them were pretty smart. There was also a dilution factor that kept many of us apart; Poor chick in my group of friends - this came about due to the above factor. You start to socialize with the peeps in your class; Latina in my class - Again, not too many Latinas in the honors classes & it didn't hit me until in my later years. Honestly I didn't mind so much. There is a bit of glory in being the token...or so I thought. But not every instance of being a token is laden with guilt or tokenne

The Ms. Obama cover

And of course I mean the Ms. magazine cover with President Obama on it. I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Executive Editor Katherine Spillar this morning about the controversy and thought behind the Obama cover. You can read Eleanor Smeal's rationale for the cover online and in the issue, but I wanted to dig a bit deeper. Of course the morning had already started on a bit of Obama news that leaked out late the night before about the President asking that family planning money come out of the economic stimulus package . Long time readers may recall that my stance on reproductive justice keeps evolving more and more to be centered on economic justice. A woman can't afford her birth control method without economic justice and thus can't plan her pregnancies to allow for economic justice. Essentially, many college women can't get thru college in 4 years without a little help from the birth control pill. I know it helped me! Thus I couldn't understand why a man

Chicago Abortion Fund Rally for Roe

Thursday was the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the Chicago Abortion Fund & friends rallied at Federal Plaza. We not only rallied to celebrate Roe, but we also rallied to bring attention to the Hyde amendment and the injustice it brings to poor women around the country. Medill came out and covered the event and there is a nice photo gallery online ! I'm in the last photo digging thru my purse for my Treo because I was hoping that President Obama would lift the global gag rule and then we could celebrate! Alas, despite what the anti's wanted us to think, he didn't lift the ban until Friday. A two-day celebration isn't a bad thing thou.

Blog for Choice Day 2009

This year's topic: What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress? I hope that President Obama and the new Congress remember that reproductive justice is imperative to women's economic well-being. I don't just mean the mom who decides that she can't afford to feed and clothe another child. I want the President, Congress, all of us to remember: The college students who despite their cell phones (which are often their only phone) face rising tuition, housing & fees and outrageous book prices who can't afford $50 a month for a pack of pills; The teenage girl who would drop out of school if she had to give birth because her parents have decided she must move out; The girls and young women who trade sex for survival items and want birth control. It doesn't take a Ph.D. to see the parallel between the legalization of birth control, abortion and the mass influx of women into the education system to see that they go hand in hand.

Michelle Obama: Mother or Career Woman?

From the new First Lady's webpage: When people ask Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn't hesitate. First and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha's mom. But before she was a mother — or a wife, lawyer, or public servant — she was Fraser and Marian Robinson's daughter. This introduction for the First Lady's biography has continued the discussion on whether or not Michelle Obama downplays her achievements as a working woman. She is quite accomplished on her own as witnessed by a press release by Leadership Greater Chicago and Crane's Chicago: He was known as “Michelle’s husband — that guy who’s a state senator,” recalled Mr. Goolsbee, the only one of the three to make it to Monday’s event. I know pointing that line out and me adding that my husband knows people who knew Michelle when she was THE OBAMA in town, will just add fuel to the "she's downplaying her role" fire. But is she really downplaying her role? No, she's not. Michelle

Happy Inauguration Day!

Want to know how I celebrated? Check out my latest post at Chicago Parent : How does one top the thrill of watching our new President be sworn in over on a LCD projector surrounded by the awesome women one works with? Why you head to your daughter's kindergarten class! Oh, yes I did! The morning was wonderful. My boss cried. We all laughed at President Obama stumble over the oath, which helped ease the tension in our conference room. We ate, laughed, ooh'ed, booed and cheered when we officially had a new President. Afterwards I headed out to talk with my daughter's kindergarten class.

Final Ideas for Change

The top 10 ideas for change have been revealed and NONE of the top three women's issues made it: Pass the DREAM Act - Support Higher Education for All Students Appoint Secretary of Peace in Department of Peace and Non-Violence Free Single Payer Health Care Develop & Implement a National Strategy for Sustainability Pass Marriage Equality Rights for LGBT Couples Nationwide Make the grid green in 10 years Legalize the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties Save Small Business From the CPSIA Health Freedom IS Our First Freedom


I am almost certain that entitlement plays a huge role in why we continue to struggle with our daughter over respect. I know that at age 5 she doesn't fully understand the concept, but she does understand when we fail to respect her wishes. It's a thin line between all these concepts and it will take a few more years to get her to a place where I think she can truly get it. But I also know that she feels that she is entitled to everything she wants. She feels that all she has to do is push us to a certain point and we break. Many days that is true. To counter this, I am trying to build up my tolerance for her crying, pouting and wailing. I know that by giving in to her, I'm sparing myself some agony, but I also know that I'll just get double the agony the next time I tell her to please do this or that and I get a snotty "no" response. It's really easy to understand how some kids get to be so damn spoiled. I'm trying really hard not to let mine get li

Women, Power, and Politics

The Women, Power, and Politics is an online exhibition. Over the past 10 months, it has become one of the most comprehensive multi-lingual sources of women's political participation available on the Web. It just got a fresh new look, a video overview and a toolkit for action. It is about women in general, so there are some women one wouldn't call feminists. But the museum isn't just there to tell you what it means to be a woman. They want you to be a curator too. The International Museum of Women announces the completion of its latest global online exhibition Women, Power and Politics at . Women, Power and Politics is one of the most comprehensive online sources of women's political participation around the world. From mothers to members of parliament, Women, Power and Politics reveals the untold stories of women claiming and exercising their power to transform our world. Available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic, the exhibition features near

I love my readers!

I do apologize for being such a blogging slacker lately, but work has me utterly swamped. Get this, I have a letter of intent due on the 28th, a grant resubmission & panel proposal due Feb 15th and I'm late on my encyclopedia of motherhood entries. They are pretty much done, I just need to do a lot of formatting. I seriously need to learn to start out with the formatting! Ugh. Anyway, the good news this week is all about the Fair Pay bills churning their way thru the Congress. Annie pointed out in comments from last year's vote that: And that is Hillary Clinton and Tom Harkin's Bill. : ). Obama will get all the credit, but all he's doing is signing it, but know whose bill that really is. : ) OK, so some might think this is residual Obama bitterness from the primary. But I think she's right. Yes, he's going to sign it (much like LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act), it was HRC's bill. We need to remember what the Senate has lost and what the world has gain

Why I write what I write

Warning this post is really just a brain dump. I had a great phone call with one of my freelance 'bosses' and really it was great. But they pointed out that I like to write about women's stuff a lot. And it got me thinking... Yeah, I do write about women a lot. It might be me making up for a childhood of rejecting many girly things. Playing with dolls but scoffing at skirts & pink. For preferring the company of boys to girls because boys played sports and didn't squeal when they were hit. Then when I hit middle school, boys got too weird and girls were mostly catty. The ones who weren't, I was scared of getting too close in case I scared them away. But honestly I write about women because I don't feel like enough people are really writing about women in the media. If you give me a soapbox, a medium, a platform to talk about something, I'm sure that the first thing that comes to mind is about women. I know there are people in my life who get tired of

Books don't teach people, people teach people

h/t Brutal Women


The Ideas for Change in America competition was created in response to Barack Obama's call for increased citizen involvement in government. The final round of voting began on January 5 and is comprised of the top 3 rated ideas from each of the 30 issues in the first round of the competition, which collectively received more than 250,000 votes. The top 10 rated ideas from the final round will be presented to the Obama administration on January 16th at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, co-hosted by the Case Foundation. At the event we will also announce the launch of a national advocacy campaign behind each idea in collaboration with our nonprofit partners to turn each idea into actual policy. For more information about the competition, click here » Here are the top three women's rights issues that made it to the final round: Abortion rights

EVENT:: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

It's not a rare thing for me to attend a women's/feminist conference and come out of it in awe of someone I met there. I fan-girl way easy. But last summer I was blown right out of my bobbie socks. I got the chance to hear and meet one of the women who is in " Pray the Devil Back to Hell ." Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the extraordinary story of a small band of Liberian women who – armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions - came together in the midst of a bloody civil war, took on the warlords, and brought peace to their shattered country. Pray the Devil Back to Hell reconstructs the moment through interviews, archival footage and striking images of contemporary Liberia. It is compelling testimony to the potential of women worldwide to alter the history of nations. In the midst of a civil war a group of women protested for peace! No Facebook, no Twitter to organize them, yet it happened. I did not see the whole film, but it was enoug

Disney here we come!

The question is when. Our daughter is five and we've always said that she needs to be big enough to go on the rides by herself when we make the trek back to the Happiest Place on Earth. In the summer she'll be almost six and I'm sure big enough for at least the kiddie rides. BUT...she's not just a kiddie ride gal, now is she? So the question we take her when she could at the pinnacle of her Disney love? Or do we wait another year or two so she take better advantage of Disney's offerings? I didn't get to Disney until I was 10 and loved it. Yes, I missed out on a few kiddie rides, but I did get to ride the roller coasters unlike my younger sisters. We also wanted to wait until she could remember her trip. It's not like we're going to go every year. In the meantime, we're saving up our pennies (or rather Senor Feminista is) and I guess we'll figure it out sooner or later.

26 reasons to celebrate!

Being from Illinois, I need a reason to celebrate the swearing in of the new Congress today. Thanks to Nancy Keenan for reminding us that today 26 new PRO-CHOICE Congresswomen & men will be sworn in: This new Congress includes 21 new fully pro-choice members in the House and five new seats the Senate - a net gain of 26 pro-choice members from the 110th Congress. These new members are from a wide variety of states, including Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and Virginia. Twenty-six. Hot damn! As Nancy goes on to say as well, let's get to work on restoring the reproductive rights for every woman and woman-child in this fine country. Real sex ed, access to birth control, right to choose when and where to birth a baby, and our right to end our babymaking days when we choose. HPV access for those who want it. Access to abortion services, medical or surgical. On and on!!

Monday morning wake up

Whoa mama! I'm back at work and the kid is back at school today. I thought that this morning was going to be hairy, but the Goddess blessed us with a hassle free morning. I did write up a short list of hopes for 2009 at Work it, Mom ! And as usual, here is a list of my AWEARNESS posts that you might have missed over the holidays: Who Should Benefit from the Jobs Growth Program? I'll Have the Turkey on Sourdough with a Side of Your Flu Now That's Using Your Crown Don't Mind the Dead Fish, Coal Ash is Safe Re-gifting: The Green & Inexpensive Way to Give Is There a Benefit to Migraines? It's Baking Season! The Tough Case of an Eye for an Eye The Walsh Family: Turning Tragedy into Positive Action What to Do When an Online Friend Dies? Slaves Built That House As always, comments at both sites are very much appreciated! AWEARNESS now has a system where you don't have to register to leave a comment. Easy! OK, back to the grind...

The S-word

This is starting to look like VLF's feminist dictionary! In the comments of my post on the C-word , the Evil Slut Clique asked me about my feelings on the word slut. Oy... First of all I believe that the word slut is used by most people as a way to shame women for their sexuality. The stud:slut dichotomy has been discussed by feminists for years. That means that women need to either new to create a new word for positive women sexuality or reclaim a word. Should that word be slut? As a sassy teen, I tried to reclaim it by using it to label myself. My best friend & I would call each other "slut" and "whore" as an attempt to throw it back into the faces of our classmates who called us that. It was our way of saying, "Go ahead & call us that, we don't care." But we did. At least I did and I still do. But I don't believe it is the word as much as the hypocrisy that went into the labeling. Getting called a slut was punishment for much mor

DonorsChoose & BuildABearville Winners

And that means that Amy & Kat will each recieve a $10 card to DonorsChoose AND $10 on . Congrats!! And thanks for making my birthday extra special.

Looking ahead to 2009

** This week's giveaway is a $10 card to both DonorsChoose & BuildaBearville ** Instead of resolutions for this new year, I want to make goals: 1) Not to accept anymore book reviews until I finish the ones I'm already committed to. Speed reading thru books is not fun or lend itself to a quality review. That said, my to-be-read-and-reviewed pile includes: Feminist Mothering, Labor Pains, Dancing at the Rivers Edge, and Dream in Color. 2) Be more physically active, even if that is walking more around campus (hurry up spring!) 3) Apply for two NSF grants 4) Write one journal paper for work 5) Write one magazine article (most likely not for a magazine you'll find in the check out aisle) 6) Get one op-ed accepted in a newspaper...even in this time of shrinking newspapers and space 7) Limit my blogging to only one more new blog...Someone's already approached me with "I'm brewing an idea." So she gets my one slot. 8) KNIT MORE 9) Reorganize my home

Looking back at 2008

** This week's giveaway is a $10 card to both DonorsChoose & BuildaBearville ** Borrowed from kate : 1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before? I allowed my online life to really merge with my work life. It was scary, hell it still is scary. 2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I wanted to listen to more country music and I think I did that. I love Taylor Swift. There I said it. Love Song & Our Song are sugary sweet and that's how I like a lot of my country music. 3. Did anyone close to you give birth? A co-worker had a son over the summer. Her older son is in high school, so it's been quite a change for her. 4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully no. 5. What places did you visit? I spent a lot of time in NYC this year - four visits in four months! I also visited MIT for the WAM! conference, but no visits like a real tourist visit. 6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacke