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Showing posts from October, 2009

Good riddance to Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

I hate it because it is all about the million pieces of junk we can buy that are pink. The pink ribbon is everywhere. Ironically it is on things that just might cause breast cancer! Breast Cancer Action calls these companies "pinkwashers." BMW, for example, gives $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure each time you test-drive one of their cars, even though pollutants found in car exhaust are linked to breast cancer. Breast cancer is far too dangerous and serious of an enemy to be defeated by pink cleaning rags. From the earliest record of how a breast cancer patient feels to today's survivors who are saying "No thank you to the pink ribbon," it is clear that breast cancer can radicalize you. It's easy for me to " Think Before I Pink " because I have issues with that uber-girly color. But even I had to do a double take when I saw that Dr. Susan Love has joined forces with Avon to launch Army of Women . Is this more pinkwashing? Or a real move

Fundraiser: The Advantage and Disadvantage of Zine, a funding proposal

If you read my blog at my blog, you may have noticed a little box over there >>>> That is a ChipIn widget for fellow Chicagoan, feminist and in her own right, total bad ass, Anne Elizabeth Moore. So it's not me asking for your dollars for me or my own sake, but rather for Ms. Bad Ass. Here's what she's fundraising for: Advantage and Disadvantage of Zine is a long-term, multifaceted collaboration with a group of young women college students in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I first met these young women when I was offered a residency in their dormitory, where I lived for two months during the winter of 2007-2008. (To read more about this work, scroll down to the right-hand section of this blog, Camb(l)o(g)dia, Condensed.) During my time there I initiated a close relationship with all 32 residents, and together we created two seperate bodies of self-publishing work and initiated an international dialogue about human rights and young women in developing nations. I inten

Where to send the girls who do like computer science

Originally posted at AWEARNESS WOW! I can't believe the response my post about girls and computer science on Wednesday received on Twitter. Thanks. Many of the retweets were of "don't forget us too!" variety, so to follow up on the popular post, here is a quick run down of just a handful of the amazing groups working to recruit girls to computer science and keep them interested. Please, please add additional ones in the comments! Anita Borg : This is a powerhouse organization that works to connect tech companies to women. ABI offers workshops, publications and information aimed to develop leadership skills; celebrates and highlights the success of women who are changing the face of technology; and provides programs that change the way technology is created, learned and taught. One peek at their board and you'll see that the movers & shakers of technology are gathering at ABI to bring more women to the keyboard. Read the rest of the resource list over a

Book Review: The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre

The problem with The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre is that it is a good book wrapped up in so many stereotypes it is difficult to find the true nuggets of knowledge. As a grown up tomboy who ended up marrying a man who sat still as a young boy, I find dealing in stereotypes completely unhelpful to the conversation. In fact I am so allergic to them that it takes a lot of data for me to say uncle. Tyre claims to want to rip the myths to shreds, but I fear that she merely reinforces them. One myth that needs to die is that boys are violent. Boys may be rougher than girls in their play, but violent shouldn't be tolerated. There is a line and we need to keep our boys on the proper side of that line. Tyre correctly blasts against zero tolerance rules, but we still need to deal with violence in our classrooms or the emergence of violence. Star Wars = ok, bloody murder scenes NOT o

Wanted: Girls who like computer science - From AWEARNESS

Originally posted at AWEARNESS Despite the rise of women attending college and becoming the majority of the workforce , one area that continues to be ignored by women and girls is computer science . There are many theories as to why girls love using computers ( women are the majority of social media users ) but don't want to learn how to program or build computers. There are those who chalk it up to gender differences plain and simple. Some believe it is because girls are repelled by geek or hacker culture. Universities and companies who hire computer scientists are constantly recruiting girls and trying to show them why computer science is a great option. One part of the theory why girls are excluded from hacker culture is that it is too "frattish" and misogynistic. That is why I find the lap dances at a recent Yahoo! event (Yahoo! paid for women to dance in skimpy clothing at a "brainstorming session") to be especially atrocious. Read the rest ove

Book Review: So Sexy So Soon by Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne

Britney. Bratz dolls. Thongs for girls. Those are the things we think about and blame for the sexualization of childhood. In So Sexy So Soon , Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne teach us about how commercialization and consumerism is quickly destroying childhood. First of all, one might think this is a book for those of us with daughters. Nope! This is one is for parents, period. While there is a huge focus on the sexualization of girls , there is also great conversations about boys and how toys and media are screwing with their sexuality. Levin & Kilbourne don't lecture parents. They are sympathetic to our situation, but they are stern in pushing us to assert our power as parents. It's not all about saying no in here, but they talk about how to say yes, how to talk with our kids about the decisions we make and how to make stores, marketers and product producers accountable. Take child thongs for example. Look up blog posts about them and those who aren't outrage

EVENT: Media Democracy Day -- Chicago, 2009

Join fellow progressive media professionals and activists to discuss how we can work together to create more media democracy and media justice, important steps to building a just society. The Metro Chicago Progressive Media Network … invites you join us for ... 2009 Media Democracy Day - Chicago Date/Time: November 7, 2009, 1-4-pm Location: Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn Ave, Chicago, IL See: . PROMOTE MEDIA ACCESS TO ALL SEGMENTS OF SOCIETY! . PROMOTE MEDIA THAT INFORMS THE PUBLIC ON IMPORTANT ISSUES! . NETWORK WITH OTHER PROGRESSIVE MEDIA PROFESSIONALS AND MEDIA ACTIVITS . CREATE MEDIA INITIATIVES TO STRENGTHEN DIALOGUE AROUND THE CHALLENGES FACING OUR WORLD! Initially Media Democracy Day (MD day) was organized by local Toronto and Vancouver groups of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom. In 2002, events were held in cities around the world. A Media Democracy Day has been held in Chicago in the past. Today the tradition of

Gender Trouble Week

This week I'll be sharing reviews of books that deal with the gender of our children and our parenting. I am the mother of a six-year-old girl and as long time readers know, I keep on eye out on how girls and their toys are sexualized. As an advocate for education equity, I keep tabs on the changed that our sons and daughters are making n the classroom. As a feminist I get told that we're post-feminist, the battle of the sexes is over and it's our boys who need a revolution. To that I say hell no and hell yes! Women may be the majority of workers but we still are paid only 78% to a man's dollar (even less so for women of color), tracked into low prestige and low wage careers and we still carry the burden of caregiving for our families. The feminist revolution is far from over. The next stage will be to free our brothers from the claustrophobic gender role box. If you read media depictions of why boys are falling behind you see feminists being blamed, but also

EVENT: Evolution of Activism

A fellow feminista friend of mine is on this amazing panel. So if you are free that night, get yourself over there! Lecture and Panel Discussion: Evolution of Activism Thursday, October 29, 2009, 7:30-9:30pm e-mail for more info

Review: The House on Mango Street

And I'm not talking about the book either! Tanya Saracho of Teatro Luna , has adapted Sandra Cisneros's classic coming of age tale, The House on Mango Street , into a play. Yeah, I know, like wow. Amazing eh? I went to see it on Friday night for a fundraiser for the Chicago Foundation for Women's Latina Leadership Council . It runs until November 8th and tickets are already limited, so get some today. It's been a few years since I read the novel so it wasn't like I knew how every scene should or could go. I sat back and enjoyed the show. Saracho includes some great songs as well to string the story together. To see Esperanza come alive on stage was moving. Yes, I was in tears many times. The scene where Esperanza is assaulted was handled perfectly. The theme of women in windows was played out in heart-wrenching beauty on the stage. It is amazing that a story that takes place over 30 years ago is still so fresh on so many levels. There's a joke about th

FTC, Bloggers & Publicists oh my!

Yesterday I attended the Publicity Club of Chicago 's monthly lunch discussion. I never thought I'd say that because it was a room full of PR execs and while I do my fair share of publicity for feministy things, I just don't see myself as  PR person. That said, I had the luncheon info sent to me by one of the husband's coworkers and the AWJ-Chicago listserv. OK, I'll go! And I'm really glad that I went. I totally felt like a mole because the topic was "Are Bloggers Journalists? Dealing with the Legal Implications of Today’s Media." Dum, de, dum! To top off the mole feeling was the fact that they start off the lunches with a few minutes of speed networking. "Hi, I'm Veronica a blogger." ha! The panel was moderated by Paul Rand and had Esther J. Cepeda , Toure Muhammad and Daliah Saper as the experts. First props to the organizers for having such a diverse panel and an excellent moderator. They kept the conversation going, even if Da

Blog Action Day: Our Kids Are Turning Green - From Awearness

Originally posted at AWEARNESS And I love it! I have a six-year-old daughter and she's been quite the green cop for the past couple of years. It started off innocently enough when recycling was implemented in her day care. The teachers always included the kids in their activities. It really is a hoot to see 2-year-olds toddling down the hall pulling a garbage bag. So when recycling came to daycare, the kids were asked to rinse out plastic items and told why they were doing it. Soon the kid started to tell us to rinse our plastic and ask why we didn't recycle at home.* Then came Happy Feet with its tale of overfishing. A peek at viewer comments and you see that some people thought that Happy Feet went overboard with the environmental message. I can only imagine what they thought of Wall-E and its literal message that we're throwing Earth away as we sit on our La-Z-Boys getting fat. Last weekend my husband took our daughter to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Just so you know, my phone works in the middle of night

I was fast asleep at three in the morning when I got the payphone call, And she said, ’did I wake you up,’ I said, ’hey, no, not at all.’ ~ Dar Williams "The Blessings" I am almost speechless folks. I seriously can NOT believe that anyone, much less an advice columnist, would say it was ok for friends to NOT come and get you in the freaking ER in the middle of the night. Especially if you are calling because someone drugged you at a club. Did I mention that you are supposed to be best friends with the cold-hearted slackers?  Thankfully Amy Benfer read the riot act perhaps three times over to unnamed "advice columnist" - you can get all the info in Amy's post. I know everyone says the internet is our new permanent record and we should watch out what we say, but I blog to not just get my opinion out t

It's been a busy month for science grrls!

Originally posted at Girl w/Pen It seems like every other story in the past month had a science grrl at its core. Some were good, some not so much. I honestly couldn’t make up my mind on which story to write about, so I’ll write a little about all of them: Elinor Ostrom is the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics . The best part of her story? That her high school advisor told her that she couldn’t take trigonometry because she was a girl. It’s been quite some time, but if that advisor is still alive, I hope they give her a call to apologize. Otherwise, girls take note. My high school advisor was horrible my freshman year, so I switched. If you don’t feel supported, find someone else to talk to! Ostrom topped off what has been a banner year of women winning the Nobel. We had the first time two women won a Nobel together (in medicine). The advisor-former graduate student pairing makes my heart a flutter. Now that’s Sisterhood NOT Interrupted! In addition, Ada Yonath won in

All Women Need to Stand with Erin Andrews - From Awearness

Originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog Michael David Barrett has been arrested for videotaping and stalking ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. If you haven't heard, an illegal videotape of Ms. Andrews was made as she was undressing in a hotel room and then leaked on the internet. Andrews was the victim of a crime. A little background: Erin Andrews is often not taken seriously by other journalists. They believe that Andrews relies far too heavily on her sexiness rather than her skills. USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan was caught on Facebook and Twitter essentially blaming Andrews for what happened, writing "I wish it didn't happen to Erin, but I also would suggest to her if she asked (and she hasn't) that she rely on her talent and brains and not succumb to the lowest common denominator in sports media by playing to the frat house." I can't read Brennan's Facebook page, so I can't verify. But that statement is pretty sad--and I normally

Shiny new Feminista

And no, it's not from the free cosmetics that are in my Blogalicious swag bag. If you are reading me at my blog, you see that my template has changed. I believe that I'll need to tweak things here and there, so if you see any issues, just do let me know. Hopefully this new template does what I want it to do thou. Thanks!

My take on the FTC guidelines for bloggers

is over at the Guardian's Comment is Free section : I'm a mommy blogger. For the past six months or so that was akin to saying I was a used car saleswoman. No, it had nothing to do with the stereotype that all I write about is my daughter, how cute she is and what we did that day. It had to do with the pile of freebies that I apparently live under and the idea that I lie about them . They call it blogola – payola for bloggers – the term for free stuff that bloggers get to review on their site and even the cash that some accept for those reviews. Those "offers" can also take place on micro-blogging sites such as Twitter, as exemplified by the recent controversy surrounding the #nestlefamily event – in which bloggers have agreed to take part in a promotional event organised by the multinational company. After months of warning us, the US Federal Trade Commission addressed the situation . Read the rest over at Comment is Free. Gotta say that it's crazy and

Women Tweeting Women

Women Employed , a fab Chicago organization,  is doing a 24 hour Twitter campaign called “Women Tweeting Women” on Wednesday, October 7, 2009. The idea is to post information about inspiring women throughout the day. On Twitter please use the hashtag #wtw09 when tweeting about the inspiring women in your life. This should be a lot of fun!! Even thou I don't quite have a "I'm a feminist ask me how" button on, other women just seem to know and I get asked questions about career development. One nifty aspect of Women Employed is their Career Coach . Now I love my job, but I know I need to up my ante soon. For me that means finally getting my butt in gear to start a PhD program. But a few years ago I had no idea where I was headed. Luckily I have a great mentor in my boss, so she was a world of help. But I also know that many of us have dreams and aspirations that isn't the same as our day jobs. So why not try Career Coach to get started on your plans? I don&

Book Review: Time for Kids: President Obama: A Day in the Life of America's Leader

You are warned: I bet this ends up being the next thing conservative parents will cry about on CNN and FOX News. Why? Because today TIME for Kids launches their book, President Obama: A Day in the Life of America's Leader , on President Barack Obama and it's awesome.Not only do I love this book, the kid loves it too. This is a book I would have begged my parents to buy me when I was a kid. During the 4th and 5th grade I went thru my Presidential phase. I not only read most of a totally age-inappropriate biography on JFK (in other words, it wasn't a picture book) and made a zine of First Ladies (oh, what I'd give to still have that!) but I seriously was hooked on the White House. This book gives kids a peek into the White House, the First Family and all the offices that make up the cabinet and the people who work there. It's a great primer for kids to learn about the three branches of our government, but especially the Executive branch. It even covers the prim

The Olympics

Quickly...Yes, I'm happy that Chicago didn't get the Olympics, but I'm not happy that so many people are disappointed. Someone on WBEZ said something about wanting the games for the civic pride. I was right there. I wanted to invite the world to our big small town for one hecka party too. But I just didn't think we could do it without hurting us at the same time. The press keeps asking if there is anyway for us to keep this Chicago love fest going in order to improve our schools, public transit, etc. I sure hope so.

I'm in the Guardian!

I had my first (yes, I plan on more) op-ed published in the Guardian yesterday and it's about Chicago's Olympic bid. By the time you read this, I'm sure a decision will be made. If it's yes, us Chicagoans need to hunker down for a bumpy ride. If it's no, whew!

What Is "Consensual" Sex? - From Awearness

Originally posted at AWEARNESS Can you have consensual sex if you have been given drugs and alcohol? What if the person is your father? Kristen Meinzer at YourTango didn't pull any punches when it came to breaking down Mackenzie Phillips' admission of "consensual" sex with her father. "Despite Mackenzie's choice to use the word "consensual" in describing her relationship with her father, it never really was," she writes, noting that Mackenzie describes their first encounter as rape, which taints the subsequent acts, that she consistently describes negative feelings about the relationship (which her father dismissed), that she was being fed drugs and alcohol by her rapist, and that sex between a parent and child is, a priori , non consensual. This fact has been entirely lost in most of the media coverage of Mackenzie's revelation. Many stories have describe Mackenzie and her father as "sleeping together" rather than use th