Featured Post

Why Joss Matters

30 October 2012

Down Ballot: No on Amendment 6

There is more at stake on November 6th than just the White House. No, I'm not talking about the Supreme Court, although that is a valid concern. I mean all the local ballot initiatives!

In Florida, Amendment 6 would ban state funds from covering abortion. This is far more than just the Hyde Amendment folks. This means state employees who get their health insurance from the state are at risk of losing their abortion coverage.

So don't stop voting after you select President Obama! Keep on going...check the back of the ballot too! Sometimes things are hiding there. And if you don't live in Florida, I bet you might know someone who does.

25 October 2012

McCain Breaks With Romney, Won't Continue To Back Mourdock

Presented without comment...because, well it says it all, right?

Although, if you need your memory jogged on who the hell Mourdock is, he's running for the U.S. Senate from Indiana and said
"And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

22 October 2012

Book Release: Moms Gone Mad: Motherhood and Madness, Oppression and Resistance

Demeter Press is pleased to announce the release of:

Moms Gone Mad: Motherhood and Madness,
Oppression and Resistance

edited by Gina Wong
demeter press logoImpetus for this landmark collection emerged from the extraordinary success of the Moms Gone Mad: Motherhood and Madness Oppression and Resistance International Conference in New York City, 2009.  Cultural meanings extolled on motherhood are often overlooked and many women struggle and personalize issues to themselves and remain silent. This anthology synthesizes and roars out marginalized experiences of moms in a culture that relegates unconventional experiences to 'craziness' and her own 'madness'. From a feminist perspective, scholars in motherhood across disciplines and mothers steeped in the experience have come together to capture multifarious experiences of oppression to resistance in a groundbreaking anthology that embodies motherhood empowerment. This book enhances dialogue and revolutionizes our understanding of motherhood constructions and experiences by exploring the underbelly of mothering and subjugated experiences such as women's inhumanity to women and deconstructing notions of 'mommy' in literature/media that are oppressive. Critical examinations  of the 'good mother', 'mother-shame', and 'mother-guilt', growing up a daughter of depression, body image and disordered eating in motherhood, postpartum depression are explored as well as experiences such as single motherhood, mothering a child with disability, and childlessness; and perceived anomalies such as losing a child to suicide and postpartum psychosis and more.

Dr. Gina Wong is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology at Athabasca University, Canada. She is a Registered Psychologist who specializes and publishes/presents nationally and internationally on maternal mental health and wellness. Gina directs a counselling and consulting practice devoted to adolescent girls and women. She is a Board of Director with the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement and Demeter Press and is an Advisory Board member with the Journal of Motherhood Initiative. She is the Alberta Co-coordinator with Postpartum Support International and directs the Disordered Eating and Body Image Treatment (DEBIT) Program. Gina resides in Edmonton, Alberta with her two young daughters. 
Fall 2012 / $34.95 pb / ISBN 978-0-9866671-7-6 / 6 x 9 / 240 pp.
Please visit our website at www.demeterpress.org/momsgonemad.html 
for details on how to order this new title!

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

15 October 2012

Vote for me!! Time for the Women's Media Center Social Media Award

I am super honored to be nominated for this year's Women's Media Center Social Media Award.

As most of you know, I am thick in the middle of working on a PhD. This has greatly reduced my ability to blog & engage in social media, so when I do, I try to make it count. This nomination means so much. It's nice to see that others see the effort I put into my work I do here and on social media sites to spread the word about women's rights.

So here's the deal. I hate begging for votes, but this is a popularity contest. But I don't have the time to do a full out push, so I am going to beg for not just your vote, but for you to ask your friends to vote for me too. Especially as I am up against some amazing feministas who truly are social media mavens. Let's get this ball rolling!

Voting will be open until October 29.

I may not have a media empire, but what I do kick ass at, in my humble opinion. The work I cite for the WMC ballot page includes:
  • My first post from the Nobel Women's Initiative Delegation: There were many reasons why I was invited to join the delegation, but having some mad social media skills certainly helped them select me. I spent 11 days in Mexico & Central America and every wifi signal I could snag allowed me to amplify women's stories of resilience. I am humbled that they shared their stories with us and even more so that I have been able to retell them in person and via social media.
  • My support women's sports Facebook page: What started out as a bit of a personal dare has grown into great community of women's sports fans who love to discuss the field. This community has piqued a lot of interest on outlets such as the Matt Filipowicz Show and On the Issues magazine.
  • Summer of Feminista 2010-2012: What can I say about my baby? In 2010, I asked Latinas to write about their relationship with feminism and whoa did we get some amazing posts. In 2011, I asked about Latinas as public intellectuals. This year I asked Latinas to write about the upcoming elections. That was difficult for some, but I still received some fabulous and inspiring posts. And this year's edition almost didn't happen due to my hectic schedule, but I got far too many requests for me to put it to bed.
  • I did the initial training for the My Voice, My Choice, My Blog team: I have never been more proud of setting up a blog, teaching a handful of women how to post to it and then walking away. This blog belongs to the women of the leadership group and that group is made up of women who have used CAF's services. They are pissed off at a system that says women have a choice, but only if they can afford it. They take to the streets, cable access/YouTube and the blogs/social media to do reproductive justice education and voice their opinions. Their media empire is growing and you should check them out.
Whew! And that's not even all the amazing work I have done over the 12 years I have been blogging, four years on Twitter (which I didn't get at first, does anyone?) and seven years on Facebook (old school!). Do I deserve an award for all of this? Hell yeah! But so do all the other feministas I'm up against. But you're still voting for me, right? Pleeeeease?

Thank you in advance to everyone who will vote and especially to those of you who help spread the word.

And for my fellow Chicagoans, one vote per person, so get your grandmama to vote for me! 

Vote. Vote. Vote.

CFP: Communicating Motherhood/Mothers Conference (Canada)

May 9-11 2013, Toronto, Ontario Canada

We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, artists, community workers,bloggers, mothers and others who research in this area. Cross-cultural and comparative work is encouraged. We are open to a variety of types of submissions including academic papers from all disciplines and creative submissions including visual art, literature and performance art.

This conference will explore the nature, status, representation and experience of mothers and motherhood in various historical, cultural and literary contexts, and examine the many ways in which mothers have been and are affected by, viewed, and/or challenged contemporary cultural
norms and dominant ideologies and representations of their role.

Topics may include but are not restricted to:
Representations and depictions of mothers/mothering/motherhood in fiction, poetry, drama, art, music, film, advertising, TV, facebook, blogs, twitter; investigations into navigating cultural expressions of "good" and "bad" mother/ing; transmitting maternal knowledge(s), parenting skills, mothers/mothering and language, mothers and literacies, feminist motherlines; teaching/learning about mothering/motherhood through literature, popular culture, celebrity culture, new media; parenting/mothering in literature, art, popular culture, social media, the blogosphere; queer engagements with mothering/motherhood in literature, popular culture and social media; de/constructing embodied understandings of mothering, mother, motherhood; how communication technology permeates the work/home barrier, assists/ challenges relationships and attachment with adopted and biological children; the impact of literature/popular culture/social media on opinions regarding reproduction; mothers' relationship with "the experts"; expert discourses vs. grassroots communications; transmission of culture and ethnicity through various maternal modalities; mothering in the Information Age; communicating mothers/motherhood across the generations; crossing national borders and class divides through New Social Media; communication and other revolutions (or political organizing), new social media-linking or dividing moms?; low-income and young mothers' access to and use of New Social Media; cybermothering; mothers/motherhood and Communication Studies; mothers/mothering and education, learning and pedagogy.


If you are interested in being considered as a presenter, please send a 250 word abstract and a 50-word bio by NOVEMBER 15, 2013 to info@motherhoodinitiative.org


Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) 140 Holland St. West,
PO Box 13022, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5 (905) 775-9089 http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

10 October 2012

A must watch TED talk on abortion shame

Presented without comment:

I Had an Abortion... Or Maybe I Didn't: Leslie Cannold at TEDxCanberra 2012

08 October 2012

CFP: Mothering, Education, Maternal Pedagogies and Motherhood Studies

The editorial board is seeking submissions for Vol. 4.1 of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (JMI) to be published in spring/summer 2013.
Mothering, Education, Maternal Pedagogies and Motherhood Studies

The journal will explore the topic of Mothering, Education, Maternal Pedagogies and Motherhood Studies from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, government agencies and workers, artists, mothers, and others who work or research in this area. Cross- cultural, historical and comparative work is encouraged. We also welcome creative reflections such as poetry, short stories, and artwork on the subject.

Topics can include (but are not limited to):
Normative & disruptive discourses about motherhood and education; pedagogical othermothering & midwifery; mothering in the academy; teaching & learning from mothers at the margins (mothers of color, teen mothers, First Nation/aboriginal/Native American mothers, low-income mothers; adoptive mothers, queer and transgendered mothers...); maternal pedagogies; empowered mothering & teaching; mothering, education, & disability; education & infertility; men, mothering, & education; mothering & homeschooling; mothering, education, & activism; education & the public/private split; mothers' historical experiences of education; teaching one's actual or surrogate children; navigating cultural expressions of "good" and "bad" mother/ing; second/third shift responsibilities & education; transmitting maternal knowledges; motherhood & online teaching; problematizing the motherly teacher; literary/artistic/pop cultural representations of motherhood & education; teaching and/or learning parenting skills; educating public policy makers about mothering/motherhood; challenges to patriarchal and/or imperialist educational ideologies and practices; motherhood, education,& health; feminist motherlines & education; teaching/learning about mothering/motherhood through new media ; Is a distinct scholarly discipline of Motherhood Studies needed or necessary? What are the benefits and risks of creating a distinct discipline? How do we determine what is Motherhood Studies and what is not? Is such determined by the content and or perspective of the scholarship? Are there methodologies and or pedagogies distinct to Motherhood Studies; what are they? What topics have been well-researched? What areas require further study and research? What are the strengths of Canadian Motherhood Studies? What is the hertory of Motherhood Studies in Canada? Have some regions and universities been more prominent (and why)? What is the relationship of Motherhood Studies to Women's Studies, Childhood Studies, and Feminist Studies? Is Motherhood Studies feminist in its perspective and content? Does it have to be? How does Motherhood Studies relate to the burgeoning studies of fatherhood/parenthood? How do we study motherhood without falling prey to the scholarly limitations of 'identity politics' and essentialism? How do we best develop and disseminate Canadian motherhood studies?
Articles should be 15-18 pages (3750 words) including references. All should be in MLA style, WordPerfect or Word and IBM compatible. Please see our style guide for complete details: http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/journalsubmission.html

Please direct your submissions to:
Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) 140 Holland St. West, PO Box 13022 Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5 (905) 775-9089 http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org info@motherhoodinitiative.org

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

06 October 2012

What is a 21st Century Feminist?

With all the talk of a “war on women” during this explosive election year, the notion of feminism is once again in the news – and open to debate. Especially among women.

Heather Bio Photo.jpgNothing illustrates that better than the rash of commentary following the recent death of sexual-revolution era author Helen Gurley Brown, says Heather Huffman, a 35-year-old author whose newest book, “Devil in Disguise,” continues her tradition of upbeat romances featuring strong female protagonists.

“Some writers took her to task for advocating sexual freedom for women,” Huffman says. “They say she wasn’t a ‘feminist’ because she was all for promiscuity, not women’s rights, and her actions led to an explosion of single moms and STDs.

“Others viewed her as the ultimate ‘feminist,’ a heroine who chopped through a cultural thicket to break down repressive social mores.”

The truth is, Huffman says, that Brown did important work on behalf of women.

“While I don’t advocate promiscuity, I do acknowledge that Gurley Brown’s boundary-pushing stance brought the topic of women’s rights to the forefront, paving the way for change,” she says.

The problem is, she says, that when people hear the word “feminist,” they picture a woman from another time, like Helen Gurley Brown. They don’t see themselves at all.

“I hear some women say, ‘I’m not a feminist!’ They think a feminist is a strident, angry man-hater who gets up in arms over any perceived slight,” Huffman says. “That’s too bad, because the world needs feminists as much as it needs any group that advocates for human rights.”

Feminism changes with the times, she says. So what is a 21st century feminist? Huffman offers her observations:

• She (or he) supports a woman’s right to be a mom – or not. When women won acceptance and equal rights in the workplace, we were released from one box and plopped right into another one. “We went from raising children to raising children and working. Too often, that’s the expectation now,” Huffman says. Feminists support a woman’s right to choose her life’s direction, whether that’s staying at home and being mothers, choosing never to become mothers, or some hybrid of work and motherhood. “Having equal rights is having the freedom to choose our life’s direction without being subjected to discrimination because of what other people expect our role to be,” Huffman says.

• Supports removing double standards. “You still see, in the workplace and at home, the tough guy gets praised, and the tough woman, well, she’s a ‘witch’ or worse,” Huffman says. More smart, savvy women have earned respect professionally – Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright – and that’s progress, but we still have work to do. “Professional women still get criticized about their hair style, their fashion choices. Rarely are professional men snubbed for these things.”

• Understands what rights are being legislated and by whom. We all know the hot-button “values” issues that polarize voters. “The reality is a politician’s party affiliation doesn’t paint an accurate picture of who they are or what they stand for. Voting records, corporate associations, and actions are much more telling. As citizens, as women with a voice, we must do our homework to ensure our values are being reflected in Washington. And, in truth, feminism is more than a political movement – it’s the empowerment of women to live the life they were created for.”

About Heather Huffman

Heather Huffman is a women’s advocate, writer, former human relations specialist and mother of three. She and her family are currently homesteading 10 acres in the Ozarks. Huffman is the author of seven novels, including “Throwaway” and its prequel, “Tumbleweed.” A portion of proceeds from sales of her books benefit groups fighting human trafficking.

This PR article was sent to me and I thought it was thought provoking enough to post. I hope you enjoy. If you're rather not see articles like this here, just say so. ~ v  

04 October 2012

Earthtalk Thursday: What's in your perfume?

De los Redactores de E/La Revista Ecológica

Querido DiálogoEcológico: Siempre he sospechado que los perfumes y colonias no deben ser demasiado sanos simplemente porque el olor de muchos de ellos me molesta. ¿Es esto correcto? ¿Hay información disponible sobre el asunto? -- Lucinda Barry, Minneapolis, MN

¡Ahhh. .. el dulce olor de los productos petroquímicos! El Environmental Working Group (EWG) [Grupo de trabajo Ambiental] reporta que, aunque muchos perfumes populares, rocíos de colonias y cuerpo contienen cantidades ínfimas de esencias naturales, ellos también contienen típicamente una docena o más de sustancias químicas sintéticas potencialmente peligrosas, algunas de las cuales son derivadas del petróleo. Para proteger sus secretos comerciales, se permite a los fabricantes ocultar los ingredientes de perfumes, así que los consumidores no pueden depender de las etiquetas para saber los peligros que puedan acechar dentro de esa nueva botella de perfume.

"Una rosa puede ser una rosa," reporta EWG. "Pero ese fragancia rosa en su perfume puede ser algo más, enteramente confeccionado de cualquiera de los 3.100 ingredientes que la industria de perfumes mantiene en su inventario, y cuyas fórmulas casi siempre se ocultan a los consumidores".

La Campaña de Cosméticos Seguros, una coalición de más de 100 grupos que buscan transparencia acerca de sustancias químicas en cosméticos, comisionó pruebas independientes de laboratorio que revelaron 38 sustancias químicas secretas en 17 perfumes prominentes. ¿Los principales delincuentes? American Eagle Seventy Seven encabezó la lista con 24, seguido por Chanel Coco con 18 y Britney Spears Curious y Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio, cada uno con 17.

"El producto medio de perfume probado contenía 14 sustancias químicas secretas no mencionadas en la etiqueta," indica EWG, que analizó los datos de la Campaña. "Entre ellos hay sustancias químicas asociadas con perturbaciones hormonales y reacciones alérgicas, y muchas sustancias que no han sido evaluadas por concepto de seguridad en productos personales de cuidado". EWG agrega que parte de los ingredientes no revelados son sustancias químicas "con propiedades peligrosas preocupantes o con propensión a acumularse en tejidos humanos". Ejemplos incluyen el falato de dietilo, una sustancia química encontrada en el 97 por ciento de los norteamericanos y ligada a daño del semen en diversos estudios epidemiológicos humanos, y la acetona de almizcle que se concentra en el tejido graso humano y la leche materna.

EWG explica que los ingredientes no clasificados en la "mezcla oculta de perfumes" deben ser listados en la etiqueta, así que los fabricantes revelan algunas sustancias químicas pero "amontonan otros en la categoría genérica de "fragancia"." EWG culpa en parte al gobierno de EEUU, indicando que la Agencia de Alimentos y Drogas (FDA) "no ha evaluado la seguridad de la inmensa mayoría" de sustancias químicas secretas utilizadas en productos tipo aerosol como perfumes. "El secreto de los perfumes es legal debido a una laguna legal gigante en la Ley Federal de Empaquetamiento y Etiquetado Honesto, de 1973, que ordena a las compañías listear ingredientes de cosméticos en las etiquetas de productos pero exime explícitamente el perfume," reporta EWG. Como tal, la industria de cosméticos ha mantenido el público en la oscuridad acerca de los ingredientes de perfume, "aún ésos que representan peligros potenciales para la salud o se acumulan en los cuerpos de personas".

Para más información, eche un vistazo al informe de EWG para mayo de 2010, "No Tan Sexy", disponible en el sitio web del grupo. También, la base de datos SkinDeep de EWG sirve como una fuente evolucionante de información sobre ingredientes (y sus peligros para la salud) en miles de cosméticos y productos relacionados, ampliamente disponibles en el comercio.

CONTACTOS: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, www.safecosmetics.org; EWG’s “Not So Sexy,” www.ewg.org/notsosexy; Skin Deep, www.ewg.org/skindeep.

EarthTalk® (DiálogoEcológico) es escrito y editado por Roddy Scheer y Doug Moss y es una marca registrada de E - La Revista Ecológica (www.emagazine.com). Traducción española de Patrice Greanville. Sírvase enviar sus preguntas a: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Suscripción: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Pida un número gratis: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve always suspected that perfumes and colognes must not be too healthy simply because of the way the smell of most of them bothers me. Am I correct? Is there information available on this issue? -- Lucinda Barry, Minneapolis, MN

Ahhh...the sweet smell of petrochemicals! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that, while many popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain trace amounts of natural essences, they also typically contain a dozen or more potentially hazardous synthetic chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum. To protect trade secrets, makers are allowed to withhold fragrance ingredients, so consumers can’t rely on labels to know what hazards may lurk inside that new bottle of perfume.

“A rose may be a rose,” reports EWG. “But that rose-like fragrance in your perfume may be something else entirely, concocted from any number of the fragrance industry’s 3,100 stock chemical ingredients, the blend of which is almost always kept hidden from the consumer.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of over 100 groups seeking transparency about chemicals in cosmetics, commissioned independent laboratory tests that revealed 38 secret chemicals in 17 leading fragrances. The top offenders?: American Eagle Seventy Seven topped the list with 24, followed by Chanel Coco with 18 and Britney Spears Curious and Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio each with 17.

“The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label,” reports EWG, which analyzed the Campaign’s data. “Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.” EWG adds that some of the undisclosed ingredients are chemicals “with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.” Examples include diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies, and musk ketone, which concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk.

EWG explains that ingredients not in a product’s “hidden fragrance mixture” must be listed on the label, so makers disclose some chemicals but “lump others together in the generic category of ‘fragrance’.”

EWG blames the U.S. government in part, pointing out that the Food and Drug Administration “has not assessed the safety of the vast majority” of secret chemicals used in spray-on products such as fragrances. “Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance,” reports EWG. As such, the cosmetics industry has kept the public in the dark about fragrance ingredients, “even those that present potential health risks or build up in people’s bodies.”

For more information, check out EWG’s May 2010 “Not So Sexy” report, available on the group’s website. Also, EWG’s SkinDeep database serves as an evolving source of information on the ingredients (and their health risks) in thousands of cosmetics and related products widely available on store shelves.

CONTACTS: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, www.safecosmetics.org; EWG’s “Not So Sexy,” www.ewg.org/notsosexy; Skin Deep, www.ewg.org/skindeep.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com.
Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

03 October 2012

Banned Books Week

Viva la Feminista is located at the intersection of feminism and motherhood so it should be a given that we read banned books. And guess what, it's banned book week!

Since I'm too busy reading non-banned books about organizational theory and building three literature reviews, I'm going to suggest you mosey on over to The Feminist Texican Reads for her review of ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature.

You can also head over to Open Road Media's Banned Books Week shin dig, which includes a fun interactive infographic on banned books. Click on a title and gives you the info on why it was banned.

According to Banned Books Week, the 10 most challenged titles of 2011 were:
  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism
Which have you read? Which is your favorite?

Read on!


This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces

Veronica's favorite books »
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

As Seen On