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Showing posts from April, 2010

Feminist Parenting: When to encourage

All year the kid has been talking about how she wants to join cheerleading. Yes, her school has a cheer program for grades 1-8. One of her BFFs is in it this year and the kid has told me time & again that she wants in too. *sigh* I tried out for cheerleading, so I'm not totally opposed to it. But cheerleading has gotten far more athletic than back in my day. Which is why I would let her try out. She's great at gymnastics! Plus the thought of cheerleading helping to get the kid to be more vocal in public, well, that's a bonus too. But then I think about how sexualized cheerleading has also become with all the sexy dances...I start to gag. I also don't want her to learn that girls cheer for boys and no one else. I've tried to find out if the cheerleaders cheer for both boys and girls basketball, if the squad does routines appropriate for all 1st - 8th graders and if the coach is certified. I'm willing to try this out. The thing is that the kid's tu

Book Review: My Little Red Book *GIVEAWAY*

My Little Red Book by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff is a cute book about first periods. It's not scholarly but nor is it a "Hey, you got your period? AWESOME!" book either. It's nicely in the middle. I'm fairly certain that I would have killed for this book as I was awaiting the arrival of my period many, many, MANY moons ago. I know I sent away for one of those books that you could request from a tampon box. But the information was still just as technical as my medical encyclopedia. I wasn't one of those lucky gals who got to flip thru her mom's worn copy of Our Bodies Ourselves either.  While my daughter will get to flip thru at least two copies of OBOS, have easy access to feminist health providers and well, I'm her mom, I'm so keeping this book on the bookshelf in the living room. I've already told the kid that within the next year, all the books in the living room will be free for the taking. No questions asked, grab one, re

Book Review: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Normally I put this at the end of my review, but I'm gonna get right to it: BUY Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale at an indie bookstore or Powells.com . I bought this book for my daughter after seeing it on the 2010 Amelia Bloomer list.   Since getting pregnant I've been on the hunt for feminist fairy tales. In the last month I've been a bit obsessed. I had to special order this from Women and Children First and I picked it up around 6 pm on Wednesday. By 11:30 I was done. Yes this is a graphic novel and it's for kids, so not too hard right? I read it in one night not because it was easy to read, but because it was soooo damn good! Hale takes an old tale and puts an amazing spin on it, gives Rapunzel brains and guts and WAM! We have ourselves an amazing adventure. I can't wait to read this to the kid. But we do have a few other books to get through first. It is a bit scary for a 6 1/2-year-old, but hey, she's reading The Sister

Book Review: Waking Up in the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo

I love glitter! I love crafting with it. I love wearing it. I love it period! Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel  by Kathy Cano-Murillo is like being in a tub of glitter. Pure fun.  I'm not one to read a book just for fun. I'm not usually a summer book kinda gal. But this was good fun. Sure, there's a good debate about craft versus art, but it's far more a story about a couple of women trying to find their way in life and love.  If you know Crafty Chica's arts and crafts, the book is the same fun.  Did I mention that the book is fun? Cause it is.  In Chicago, we're barely into spring, but it doesn't mean it's too early to grab this summer reading book for your beach bag. Or heck, get it now and pretend it's summer time. Buy your copy at an indie bookstore or Powells.com . Disclaimer: The only payment I received was the copy of the book. 

Equal Pay Day 2010: Wage gap in science and engineering

Today is Blog for Equal Pay Day!  This post isn't meant to be lazy, but I realized that the idea I had for today I already did over at Girl w/Pen . Yes, I've finally gotten to the point in my writing where I have forgotten what I've written about. It took a web search to remind me. Oh, so pathetic...but back to today's post.... One reason why I am passionate about piquing girls' interest in science and engineering as a career path is the money. Even in this recession, starting salaries for computer-related and engineering careers are on the rise. They are also usually higher than any other field. This can be quite a carrot for sticking out a second semester of Calculus or even organic chemistry. But I also tell my students that there is a wage gap for scientists and engineers. Back in 1999, the National Science Foundation found that the wage gap for engineers was only 13 cents . Not bad. Overall for science, engineering and math, it looks like the wage gap in

Book Review: Karma by Nancy Deville

I didn't read the entire book...I couldn't. Karma by Nancy Deville is a detailed fictional account of an American doctor who is kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. I was able to read thru Dr. Meredith Fitzgerald's breaking and transfer from Istanbul to Mumbai and then I had to skip chapters to see if Meredith was saved. When I saw detailed, I mean detailed. Human trafficking is not a topic that I feel knowledgeable enough to speak about, but then again, I'm fairly certain I know more than the average person about the shear magnitude of the problem. And thus I think that added to my overwhelming feeling while reading the book. Perhaps someone unfamiliar with the problem might continue to read while thinking "I don't believe this." I kept reading thinking, "I know this, why am I reading this?" The storytelling was great and too real for me. My only qualm with the book is that I felt that it was stereotypical to set a story like this i

Book Review: The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor

I can't remember the last time a tale of fiction grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I finished The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor over a week ago and it still haunts me during those quiet moments of my day. What drew me in to say yes to reviewing this book was that it was a tale of a nurse in pre-Roe U.S.A. who is arrested for illegal abortions. On top of that, The Blue Orchard is a fictionalized tale of Taylor's own grandmother. But I have to tell you that I forgot that last fact while reading. I was so consumed by the ups and far too many downs of Verna Krone, that I simply forgot that she really did walk this earth. The Blue Orchard is a painful tale of a young girl's hope to find her place in the world, only to have too many decisions made for her that ultimately result is heartbreak. I wish I could write more, but the story is far too delicate than I could ever express. I would highly recommend this book for a book group. I will certainly be suggesting it the

Guest Post: Interview with Julie Zeilinger, teenage editor of top feminist blog, the Fbomb

This is reposted from b-side chats with permission. I decided to repost this awesome interview because when the fbomb launched I was so damn busy that I didn't have time to help promote it. Plus it's awesome.... We had the opportunity to talk to one of the busiest (and youngest) bloggers on the web, Julie Zeilinger, sole founder of the Fbomb , a feminist blog for teenagers. Let us rephrase: while the blog may be run by a teenager and posted from a teenage perspective, the content is relevant for any feminist young and old.  Zeilinger attracts an international array of young feminists while posting from Pepper Pike, Ohio. In this interview, she tells us how her feminist outlook was shaped,  juggling school, the blog and the way her peers and parents view her. What made you start the Fbomb? I started the FBomb after reading a lot of other feminist blogs, like Feministing and Jezebel. I loved those blogs but I thought that the teenage perspective on the issues w

Authors should be treated the same as companies

Lenore has a great post about the dos and don'ts of book blogging , you really should go and read it, of course after this one. But one theme bubbled up in the comments section...Should we be gentler with authors because they are real people? I assume that people think this way because we can see companies are just that companies (well, except the USSC) and not as individuals. Authors, now there we know that some individual sat down, researched, wrote and toiled over a book. I've never done this myself, but I have plenty of friends, members of my chosen family, who have done this. I hope to do this myself one day. But I don't think that means as reviewers we need to treat them with kid gloves. That said, I don't think that we need to rip someone because their book sucks unless it really, really sucks and it's being heralded as the best thing since Shakespeare....OR criticizes Shakespeare for writing the same story, when they do the same. That last one, I'm t

Gracias Senor Escalante

Last week Jaime Escalante died at the age of 79. We got to know him thru the movie "Stand and Deliver." He was such an inspiration to this Latina. I owe a bit of my science career to Senor Escalate. See the movie came out in 1988 and I'm betting that I saw the movie in 1989. This means I saw it at that critical time as I was moving from middle school to high school. This is the point where many girls with mad math skills bail on math and science. There are a number of theories, but the most prevailing one is that the social pressures to be "not smart" overwhelm girls and well, we kinda fulfill that framework. My freshmen year of high school my algebra teacher asked me to consider taking two math classes sophomore year so that I could finish calculus senior year. WHAT? Yup, I was being asked to take geometry plus algebra II with trig in one year. And I did it. Well, at least the two math classes and was on track for completing calc senior year, but I bailed

Bowling for Abortions

Yup, I'm bowling for abortions folks! My goal is to raise $500 and I'm at $410. Not too bad, eh? I've been volunteering with the Chicago Abortion Fund since January 2006. I was drawn to them because the executive director is a woman of color. At that point in my life, it was very important for me to work with an organization being led by a woman of color. It matters...It really does. And what a difference it has made to my activism AND to my drive to fund raise. I'm competitive. Plain and simple. $500 is where I want to start all my fund raising efforts from now on. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. I know this is a national bowl-a-thon, so if you have already supported a bowler or are bowling yourself, you are exempt from this plea. BUT if you aren't bowling, I am asking you to please support the Chicago Abortion Fund today. $10 will help pay for a public transit pass. $30 is 10% of the average grant. $100 is one-third of the average gr

Happy Census Day! AKA Day of decision for Latinos...

I knew it was coming. I love the Census, I think it’s an amazing thing that our country takes to counting everyone every 10 years. I love that some of us, so far not my household, get to tell the government how we live by answering more than just “How many people live here.” But I was dreading this year’s form for one simple reason – Latinos are no longer a race. This change happened in 1997 and thus was on the 2000 Census form. I was pissed about it then too, but back then I really believed that a Latino or Hispanic organization would rise up to fight to put us back in the race column. But it didn’t happen. Now the buzz in Latino & Hispanic circles is “What do I check?” I’m asking, I’m getting asked, but I haven’t a clue. You really should read that 1997 memo as it also covers the naming of all race and ethnic categories including our invisible Arab/Middle Eastern sisters & brothers. The history seems a bit hazy to me. The government did a study about how we fill out ethni