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Showing posts from September, 2009

Rape Is Still Rape -- Even After 32 Years - From Awearness

This was originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog. 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. I firmly believe that these two facts, courtesy of RAINN , are intertwined. Why would you want to call the police after being raped if you knew that there was less than a 10% chance that your rapist would ever see the inside of a jail cell? Thirty-two years ago an adult man raped a 13-year-old girl . Along with her mother, she reported it to the police. The man pled guilty and, threatened with imprisonment, he fled the United States. Today the media asks why money would be wasted on bringing this man in front of a judge to close the case, and questions its timing . I ask, "What took so gawd damn long?" Please continue reading over at AWEARNESS .

Carnival of Feminists

The 5th Carnival of Feminists is now up! Go check out the awesome posts...I'm sure you're already read mine. *wink* Chally had this visualization of the carnival made...awesome eh?

Interrupted Life: Incarcerated Mothers in the United States - From Awearness

Originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog. I'm not usually an art person. It's not that I don't like art -- it's that I don't usually get it. But last week I went to the last day of Rickie Solinger's Interrupted Life: Incarcerated Mothers in the United States: A Traveling Public Art Exhibition. Almost immediately I was in tears. The first piece I stood in front of was a list of rules that incarcerated women must adhere to during visitation or else their visitation rights will be revoked. It was breathtaking to see all the rules etched into glass in black and white. It was overwhelming. And I knew this is why I waited until the last minute to see the exhibit. If I had gone earlier, I might have found myself obsessing over the pieces day after day. Read the rest over at AWEARNESS...

Nurturing Responsible Privilege

Can it be done? I sure hope so. While I still identify with my working class background, I also acknowledge the numerous privileges I have earned. My mother always let my sisters and I know that my parents moved us into our school district for the "better" education we would get. This wasn't just so we would get a good education, it was so that we would have better career options than our parents had and thus for our children to have a "better" life. So here I sit with bachelor's and masters degrees in my fairly comfortable upper middle class life. wow. What got me thinking about all of this were two things: 1) Our daughter came home with a note about an after-school science program. My husband asked her if she wanted to do it and she said yes. He immediately filled out the application and was ready to grab the checkbook to pay the almost $200 fee. WOW. I pulled out of Model UN and color guard camp for money reasons. Thus when I did get to participat

Toothpaste for Good - From Awearness

Originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog I love Tom's of Maine toothpaste. It's environmentally responsible and it tastes good. Now, there is something more to love: their new community corporate sponsorship program . In their words, "Small differences in the community can make a large difference in the world, so we want to support and encourage your efforts to get involved! In November we'll award five 501c (3) nonprofit organizations with $20,000." Many, many organizations submitted applications and Tom's of Maine whittled it down to 50 finalists. Now the heat is on! It's up to us to head on over and vote for up to five organizations who you think should get $20,000.   How exciting for a company to empower its customers and include them in its philanthropy. I really love voting competitions like this, and learning about all the amazing work being done. Now off to vote!

My privileged nose & reporting a slap to a baby

Tonight we stopped at a store and as we were heading to the check out lanes, we saw a family enter the store. I had noticed them because the baby in the cart was crying. I always try to give the parent/caregiver a "been there" smile. But as I watched a man with the baby, the mom came walking up and then it happened. He slapped the baby. My heart sank. The mom jumped and tried to get between the baby and the man. I assume it was the dad, but her "don't hit my kid!" gives me a bit of doubt. But then again, there are times when I refer to our daughter as "my daughter" or "your daughter." Hmm...But the man and mom starting arguing with the baby between them. My husband took our daughter away from the scene (thankfully somehow she saw none of it) and I asked the couple to please take a moment to cool off. Of course he shot me the "mind your own business bitch" look. My heart was racing. He was clearly pissed off at the baby, her an

Seeing Dedé Mirabal was a challenge for me

Today I went to see Dedé Mirabel talk about her memoir, Vivas en su jardin .Why would this be such a challenge for me? It was in Spanish. For new readers, I don't speak Spanish very well. I wasn't raised speaking Spanish and despite four years of Spanish, I still think I'd never find my way in Mexico if I were lost. Althou, survival Spanish may seriously kick in. But I wanted to hear and see the lone surviving Mirabel sister, the one left to tell her sisters' stories of opposing the cruel dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and were assassinated in 1960. Luckily for me the event was translated into English. Unlucky for me, it was at my campus. I seriously hate being in very public places and looking like the gringa Latina I am. But I sucked it up and grabbed a translation headset and sat down for the event. There were times when I took the headset off to test or push my Spanish. I quickly would put them back on when I realized I was losing the conversation. And I

Repost: And what are you for Halloween? A 10-year-old hooker!

This is becoming an annual event! Ah, sometimes posts never go out of style. Is that what we really want our daughters to be this Halloween? I have to admit that Halloween is my favorite holiday. What I don't like is that it too has been pornified in recent years and the pornification keeps trickling down to younger and younger kids. Take this costume for example #1: Major Flirt . You daughter can be sassy, cute, and of course, sexy all at the same time! And please, don't try to tell me that this is the same as a cheerleader costume. The label is FLIRT! [2009 Update: It's been renamed as Attitude, but the description still says FLIRT.] Flirts have sexual power. But look through the costume aisle at your local store and you'll see that the costumes are sexed up even for girls. AND also notice the gender line that is clearly drawn. I was in Target last week browsing with my daughter and noticed it oh so well. In the boys aisle you can be a doctor, police officer, an

Be still my feminist mama heart...My daughter and the Emmys

It's Sunday and homework is all done (actually, she didn't have any since she won Star Student of the Week. *gloating*), the kid is in her PJs, teeth have been brushed and tomorrow's clothes are picked up. Yup, it's a rare night when it's 8 pm and not much is left to do in our household. We're curled up in a heap on the couch flipping between the 2009 Emmy Awards and Sunday Night Football. Our precocious daughter watches men and women pick up separate acting awards. Then one of the writing award nominations are being announced. "So, is this the men's writing awards?" "Um, no mija. Just the writing awards. But GOOD observation!" As much as I feel that I am raising her in what I would call a feminist manner, I wouldn't say that I point out all of life's injustices like say an awards category where there are only men or only white women. That is for much later in life when I feel like she could handle such a conversation. Only at

How About We Get Rid Of The Death Panels We Already Have? - From Awearness

One of the enduring myths about health care reform is that of the death panel (Thanks Sarah! You too, Betsy!). The idea that the government might set up panels of non-medical or even medical experts to decide who lives and who doesn't scares people. Little do they know it's already happening--and that we pay for those panels through our insurance premiums. It happened to Crystal Lee Sutton , the woman whose real life inspired the 1979 film Norma Rae . Sutton died of cancer last week. While she was fighting the illness she battled with her health insurance company, which delayed her treatment. In 2008 The Burlington Times News reported the story : She went two months without possible life-saving medications because her insurance wouldn't cover it, another example of abusing the working poor, she said. "How in the world can it take so long to find out (whether they would cover the medicine or not) when it could be a matter of life or death," she said. &quo

EVENT: Media and Democracy with Laura Flanders Café Society Do-It-Yourself Launch Celebration

Event Details When::  09/21/2009 -- 6:00pm - 8:30pm Where:: Chicago Cultural Center, 5th floor Washington and Garland Rooms 78 E. Washington St. See map: Google Maps Fee: Free. Open to the public Reservations are required Is the media fair and objective or is the media becoming more partisan? Can we point to the recent resignation of Van Jones as an indication of the growing power of the media on politics and policy? Does the media influence politics or is it the other way around? What should the role of the media be in a democracy? Laura Flanders , host of “GRITtv” -- the new news and culture discussion program online, on satellite and on cable TV – will engage us in a lively conversation about these issues and more. This conversation will be moderated by Barbara Ransby , Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Plus, hear a few words from Lisa Lee , founder of The Public Square. Following the presentation, we invite Y

Should High School Girls Have To Take Gender Tests? - From Awearness

Last week, Caster Semenya's gender tests revealed that she has both male and female sex organs. This means that Semenya is intersex . Reacting to the findings, Lord Coe, a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (and a world-record-setting runner and former Olympian ), wants a rule change in order to "eliminate competitive advantages." He's also concerned, he says: about protecting athletes like Semenya from "the risk of entering a championship and having this exploding all around them," as well as the other young women in sports: "We have to maintain confidence for girls to come into the sport and to think that they are competing on a level playing field."

Let's talk donuts - Sweetwater Donuts specifically

Over labor day weekend the Feminista familia hiked it up to Kalamazoo, Michigan to visit our godson and his family. Somehow in the hustle & bustle of our lives, it had been two years since our last visit. When we head up there, it's all leisure time. I did bring two books with me and the laptop, but I only cracked open the laptop on the ride home. This allowed my brain to decompress a bit, althou we did have a quick laughing discussion over the Obama education talk. Outside of catching up with the godson & his family, the best part of our trip was when the godson's mom mentioned to us, "Have you tried Sweetwater Donuts?" WHAA?? "Oh, they are named the best donuts in the country!" I whipped out the smartphone and brought up Google maps like Clint Eastwood in a western. And away we went! O-M-F-G...

Book Review: On the Line by Serena Williams

I love everything about the U.S. Open except the line calls . I experienced this past weekend's U.S. Open upset for Serena Williams with a different perspective than if I hadn't read her memoir On the Line . The book is written in Serena's voice. It's personal, it's conversational, and that's why I like it. I enjoyed her reflection on her life thus far. I have to say that Serena is a spoiled brat, but that observation comes from her directly. She tells stories that curled this big sister's toes of scheming to get her way, cheating, and destroying her sisters' property. In looking back at all that peeking thru her fingers, I respect Serena for her honesty and self-criticism, and I agree with her judgment that she was a horrible little sister! Serena spends a lot of time defending her father from the criticism he still receives about his coaching style. While her mom was pregnant with Venus, Serena admits her father decided that they would raise two

What is Chicago teaching its students about personal health? - From AWEARNESS

On one hand Chicago Public Schools is telling parents and students that they should stay home or will be sent home if they have a 100-degree temperature in an on-going effort to stem the swine flu. On the other hand, Chicago Public Schools uses absences, even illness absences, as one way to choose which student is allowed to enter into the top college prep schools in the system: [Celia Hensey] was a straight-A student who aced the selective enrollment high school entrance exam. She scored in the 90th percentile on her middle school tests and tallied 984 points out of 1,000 on the overall admissions scale. But Celia did not get in. Her likely downfall? A nasty flu bug in 7th grade that kept her out of school for five days. In the complex and competitive world of selective enrollment scoring, Celia was docked 10 points for five absences. The years that students are earning their way into the top high schools are 4th through 7th grade. When my daughter began kindergarten last

The Deal with Disability - from AWEARNESS

The Deal with Disability is a new blog on the scene and is a much watch: Hey, I'm Eva. I'm 26 and a recent college graduate. I like to write, to take Digital photographs, and just chill. But this blog is not about what I like. This blog is about how people treat me. You see, I am physically disabled. Actually "severely" physically disabled. I have Cerebral Palsy , which for me means I can't walk, speak, or use muscles in traditional ways. I use a power wheelchair to get around and spell out what I want to say on a letterboard. This blog will be videos of people treating me bizarrely. My video camera is mounted to my wheelchair (very discreetly) and I basically just press record whenever I go out and then edit the good stuff for you! I will then write my comments on the event, which is usually what was playing in my inner monologue while these insensitive people were talking. There are three videos of encounters that Eva wants us to watch and learn from. The

Swirling, swirling, swirling...

Thanks to this blog and many other activities, my profile is a rising in the world. I've received invitations to events I never thought I was entitled to attend - kinda like being a tattered Cinderella waiting for the invitation to the feminist ball - and requests for appearances I only once joked of having. Some of my chosen family members like to lavish me with compliments, that I'm reaping what I have sown for all these years and that I should stand tall. My problem is that I never learned to stand tall. One problem with moving from this flat text world into a world of flesh, whether it is on the radio, TV or in person is that I lose some of my VIVA in the translation. Yes, I'm a fairly spunky chick, but mostly in the company of my trusted family members. And even then I get ribbed that I'm too much like a closed book, too guarded. I also realize that sometimes this guardedness comes off poorly. Believe me, my hesitation to jump into conversations isn't because

Book Review: The Love Children by Marilyn French

Marilyn French , acclaimed author of " The Women's Room " died on May 2, 2009 months before the release of her last novel, " The Love Children. " In some ways it is poetic that this is her last novel. From what I have heard from women whose lives were touched by " The Women's Room ," this last novel is a good capstone on French's legacy. The novel revolves around the life of Jess Leighton, a teen whose life epitomizes the changes brought about by the anti-war, feminist and civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Part of me didn't like this novel at all. I felt the conclusion was too weak and sad. Yet after stewing about the novel for a few weeks, I think it may be one of the most honest ways to answer the question, "What did happen to all the former hippies and flower children? How did all those changes impact the youth and their life decisions?" The answer just might be, it wasn't pretty. As a Gen Xer, whose own genera

Why I'm practically giddy about my will

Why yes dear readers, after having a daughter for six years, the husband & I finally got our wills drawn up and our estate in order. Excuse me, but OMG, the word estate always brings up the image of a the mansions I grew up gawking at and not the life I lead in our modest Chicago two-flat. Anywho...People who will inherit the kid have been chosen, notified and made as legal as it gets. Of course they can decline heaven forbid the time comes. Honestly that decision was one of the hardest decisions to make. And obviously it should be. AND that's all I'll say about it here. BUT... I'm fairly excited to plan my memorial service. I think I freaked Kim out when I tweeted that. Don't fret my friends, I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. This is why I'm excited about the planning: First - When my maternal grandmother died in 1996, I thought it was just plain weird that a priest that she most likely never met before was going to be leading a memorial s