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Showing posts from June, 2011

Summer of Feminista: Speaking in order to spread social justice

My name is María Villaseñor and I am in expert in Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies, and Comparative Ethnic Studies because of the expertise I developed in graduate school, and have continued developing in my work as a professor at a public university in California. I teach a number of courses in Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies including a course on Chicana/Latina Feminisms. I am also developing as an expert in mentoring undergraduates—especially Latinas, students of color, working class students, and allies. Unfortunately, I am also an expert in grading and commenting on undergraduate student essays, an expertise I have developed from giving feedback on hundreds, possibly thousands, of essays in my new (5 years so far) career as a professor. My academic and professional life have allowed me to know a number of women who could be Latina public intellectuals if given the right forum. That is, it strikes me that the role of the public intellectual is to foment public discussion and articulate in

Summer of Feminista: In Search of Nuestras Hadas Madrinas

My name is Wendy Irula Braun and I am an expert in analyzing representations of Latinas in contemporary popular culture because I have not only studied these representations, but have experienced the daily harmful effects of negative or missing images of myself and my Latina hermanas. It is not news that in most contemporary images and public discourse, Latinas are often portrayed as asexual maids, hypersexualized spitfires, and undocumented mothers of “anchor babies.” That is, if we are portrayed at all. We are rarely represented in the public eye as intellectuals, though as Linda Garcia Merchant points out in the last post , we are certainly here and doing the work despite a lack of public recognition. But it is also clear, as Veronica writes, that we do not have a “stand out Latina public intellectual akin to a Gloria Steinem or those on the top of the 100 public intellectuals list.” As Merchant mentions, we do have contenders. We have many. So why hasn’t this role been filled

Book Review:: Radicals in their Own Time by Michael Anthony Lawrence

Goodness gracious is this book review late! This was one of those books lost in the shuffle of the spring semester that kicked my ass. As you might be able to tell from the cover, I was interested in Radicals in their Own Time because it included Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I wasn't disappointed. Lawrence does a great job at tackling the controversies that surrounded ECS her whole life. From her upbringing, to how she was often too radical for her feminist friends to her decision to pursue women's suffrage in opposition to suffrage for freed slaves. I have read biographies of ECS and while all have touched on her controversies, none focused this closely on them. Lawrence's mission was to tell the story of the United States through the eyes and lives of five radicals who helped shape US history. It is an academic book, but not academic in speak...academic in depth. Which for a big nerd like me is fine most days. I was lucky to ask the author a few questions. Again, rememb

Sandals limit our daughters ability to be in the world

Dear Target, Payless and other sellers of shoes, As the mother of an active seven-almost-eight-year-old girl, I am asking you to please, please, please stop selling a zillion types of sandals for summer and only a limited types of actual shoes, especially sneakers. Here is a what the Target girls shoes site looks like: Note that there are *85* different types of sandals and only 15 different types of sneakers. Yet the best sellers include a boot, a sneaker and an active sandal/shoe. The Payless site looks to have the same representation of sandal versus real shoe. We stick to the lower end of shoes because well, when you have a girl who tears through shoes faster than her foot is growing out of them, you don't want to invest a lot of cash into shoes.But even at Nordstrom there are three times more sandals compared to athletic shoes. OK, some of their sandals are actually functional... Over the last few years the different type of sandals for girls has escalated and it is

Summer of Feminista: Chicanas who spoke out and inspire

My name is Linda Garcia Merchant and I am an expert at understanding the importance of giving voice to our Latina history because I have made four films about that very thing. I am the Technical advisor for the ‘Chicana Por Mi Raza Digital Humanities Project’, a five year project through the University of Michigan Latino/a Studies Department. Our project will create a virtual library of materials and interviews of Chicana activists working during the period of 1965-1985. I believe that there are a number of pioneering women that would never define themselves as Latina intellectuals but live their lives in just that way. Women that process the knowledge of books and academics and then find a point in their continuously oppressed everyday lives where they move forward to action. When they make the statement, ‘Ya! Enough is enough. Our lives, the lives of our children and parents and husbands and partners must change’. As a documentary filmmaker with a focus on pioneering Latina wom

Walmart low prices are at the expense of women's paychecks

I have to be honest, I really didn't expect the Supreme Court to toss the Wal-Mart class action. I don't know what I was thinking, but when I read that the USSC sided with Wal-Mart I yelped...and not a good one. The issue that the class action hinged on? Commonality. Apparently because the majority did not think that all the 1.5 million women of Wal-Mart had a common experience, the case can't be a class action suit. I wonder where they leaves other large class action suits ? But what really got my goat is the implication that Wal-Mart is so large that it can't be held responsible for what a few "bad" managers do in respect to women employees. Really? Wal-Mart is too large to sue for sex discrimination? Oh hell no! Then in the majority decision, Scalia says that he believed that any manager would want the best person for the job, man or woman. Really? This clearly shows that Scalia has no idea what happens in the real world and hasn't had to cold app

Bandits' Grand Opening Night in New Stadium

I took the family out to Rosemont to attend opening night for the Chicago Bandits. It was a great game and a great new stadium. I wrote a short summary for Gapers Block : Opening night for the Chicago Bandits , Chicago's professional softball team, was a pitchers' duel between Bandit Monica Abbott and the USSSA Pride 's Danielle Lawrie. After a picture perfect first inning, an errant throw by Abbott in the second led to the Pride getting on base. Thankfully she was saved by a clinic-worthy cutoff throw to home to keep the game scoreless. The duel resumed and continued until the bottom of the seventh, when the Bandits skillfully moved Megan Wiggins, who led off the inning, around the bases, capped off with Caitlin Lever's shot to right field to bring Wiggins home. The crowd erupted in a roar to signal the end of the game. This was also opening night for Rosemont Stadium , the new permanent home for the Bandits. Having attended Bandits games in Lisle and Elg

Announcing Summer of Feminista 2011 -- Sign up today!

It's back! Summer of Feminista 2011 is here! Last year I asked Latinas to share their thoughts about feminism on this blog. I was overwhelmed by the response I received by a simple request. I've been pondering a theme for this year's summer and thanks to Ileana for providing a great theme and listening as I fleshed it out over email. So what is it? THEME:: Latinas as Public Intellectuals WHY:: There are not enough Latinas embracing the role of the public intellectual. There is also not a stand out Latina public intellectual akin to a Gloria Steinem or those on the top 100 public intellectuals list. So my dear Feministas...I ask you to respond to the following prompts: In the spirit of the Op-Ed Projec t, start your blog entry out with My name is _____ and I am an expert in ______ because ________.  Don't be scared by the word expert. You might be an expert on foreign relations (I'm not) or an expert on starting book clubs. Every topic has an expert and just

Trust Texas Women

When people ask me where I am from, I say my dad is from Mexico and my mom was from Texas. Her side of the family have been in Texas so long that they are one of those families where the border crossed them. I even went through a phase where I said I was half Texan. So when I received the press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights about Gov. Rick Perry having zero trust in the women of his state, well, I had to add CRR's campaign, Trust Texas Women , to my "current actions" box in the right side bar. Click over to read the scoop and sign their petition to show your support for the women of Texas. 

The Final Stretch!

While you are voting for Viva la Feminista , take a moment to also vote for the other feminist moms on the list such as my bloggy BFFs PunditMom, Gloria Feldt and Write like She Talks. There are also other fab feminists on the list too. Thanks for your support!

Book Review: If Sons, then Heirs by Lorene Cary

If Sons, then Heirs by Lorene Cary broke my heart by page 5. This was an especially bad thing to do since I was just peeking at the book. It showed up in my post office box near the end of the semester and I knew I wouldn't be able to touch it for weeks. It taunted me on my bookshelf. The first time in a long time a book called out to be read. When I finally got a chance to start reading it, I devoured it. The story begins with 30-year-old Rayne searching for the mother who put him on a train to his grandfather's house at age 7 and then never had him return. The story plays out as if Rayne was adopted by strangers rather than his grandfather and great-grandmother, Nana Stella. Adoption is a major thread in the story as if that quest of "Who am I?" To ensure a secure retirement for his great-grandmother, he ends up having to dig up past tragedies, secrets and face the fact that his own sad tale springs from one fateful day long before his mother was even born. The

Where I am this week

I'm at Chicagonista asking, " How Will Chicago Women Fare in a post-Oprah World? " Well she’s gone. After a long and star-studded good-bye, Chicago is Oprah-less. For feminists, Oprah was a double-edged sword. At times she wielded her power to shed much needed light on domestic violence and the need to educate our girls here and around the globe. Yet at the same time she taught a whole generation how to pine for “Favorite Things” and gave a platform for some anti-medical foolishness. But for women on the whole, Oprah validated their lives and opinions by giving voice to them. I know some women felt safe believing that Oprah was on the case, that she was essentially in the wings waiting to pounce on injustice in the world. How many times did an event or issue provoke someone in Chicago to say, “Let’s get Oprah!” Instead of a knight in shining armor, women had Oprah to look to for saving, informing and organizing us to action. In a post-Oprah world, we must

Book Review: Wonder Girl by Don Van Natta Jr. (and giveaway!)

There is a point in one's life when you grow up and realize that your sports heroes are just as human as you are, some are mean, some are as awesome as you hope and some you wish you had never rooted for. During the first few chapters of Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias , I started to think it was wrong to ever idolize The Babe. Don Van Natta does an excellent job at painting a picture of the young girl, who was nicknamed Babe, as spoiled and an awful brag. Tales of bullying classmates to play by her rules and having the muscle to back up the threats, Babe was unstoppable. She was also quite the racist by taking glee in beating up on black boys and girls in her quest to prove how tough she was. When I mentioned her brashness to the ChiFem book club members, one of them said, "But if she were a guy, would it seem so bad?" Well, yeah...it still would be. Babe was like the Neon Deion of her generation. The LeBron of today. So cocky

Guest Post:: School Sexual Harassment Tips for Parents

By Mandy Van Deven Today’s guest post is part of the Hey, Shorty! Virtual Book Tour . Check out this lin k to find out how you can support the 25-date nationwide tour! In the spirit of transparency, I find it necessary to let you know that I am not a parent. I am a person who has children in my life whom I care deeply about and who has worked with parents and children for a number of years; however, I understand the parameters of my experience only extend so far and there is a limit to the usefulness of my knowledge when it comes to real life practice. I say this because it is important to note that the information I have about how parents and caregivers can intervene in and respond to sexual harassment in schools is either observed or secondhand, and I encourage those who are raising children to add your own expertise to the comments of this post. Learning from each other is crucial and there are so few places where parents come together to talk about sexual harassment in schools.