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Showing posts from June, 2013

Guest Post: My Platoon Tried to Sell Me

VLF is happy to welcome, Miyoko Hikiji , author of “ All I Could Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq ” to the blog today. Since I am already at capacity for book reviews this summer, we decided a guest post would be the best way for you to get to know her. This is not an excerpt from her memoir, rather an exclusive essay for VLF. Miyoko Hikiji joined the U.S. Army in Iowa as a way to pay for a college education. Near the end of her enlistment contract in the Iowa National Guard and before completing her degree in journalism, her unit was called to active duty in Iraq in early 2003. Good looking at 5’3” and 120 lbs., she didn’t “look the part,” but passed all of the qualifying tests, including weapons training and a 12.5 mile march in full uniform carrying a rifle and a 50-pound backpack. The guys said it was a joke, but I wasn’t the only one that didn’t find it funny. The Iraqi men bartering for me, an American female soldier, weren’t laughing either. It was July 2003 and

Summer of Feminista: The Importance of Affirmative Activism and Multiple Mentors

To kick off Summer of Feminista 2013, we welcome Wendy Braun.  Wendy recently received her PhD in Comparative Literature with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is currently educating and mentoring students at Louisiana State University. Congrats, Wendy!! My alma mater’s English Department recently circulated a strategic plan of action for the department, part of which included a consideration of circumstances and institutional policies surrounding the lack of non-white English faculty and graduate students. After the email was sent, Facebook was abuzz with statuses and threads from students of color at my alma mater, voicing concerns about the current and future state of the department and the university at large, as well as frustrations over the career implications of under-hiring of faculty of color on the national level. A few weeks later, one of the few departmental faculty members of color (and one of two African American departmental faculty members) resigned, a

Quick Hit: Three comedians and a big fly

I didn't think I could crush on Steve Carell more than I do... then I watched this. I'm crying I'm laughing so hard. Poor fly.

The Student Loan Crisis May Bust Us for Good

When I graduated college in 1997, I walked away with just over $10,000 in student loan debt. It seemed insurmountable back then. It would seem like pocket change today. Today, student loans are impacting a generation of young people like nothing else. Democracy for America has created this great infographic to show us exactly what is at stake when it comes to the student loan crisis. Besides the marketplace reasons to get student loan debt under control, I am seriously worried about the number of people putting off starting a family. I am also worried about what this crisis is doing to young women's earning and savings power. Due to the wage gap, women end up paying MORE of their newly earned income compared to the men they graduated with: A woman with a B.A. in psychology and social work without a graduate degree brings in a median of $40,000 annually, compared to a man with the same credentials, who makes $52,000. Take-home pay can vary by state, but if this woman

Review: Nine for IX -- espnW's documentary series on women sports

Get your DVRs ready! Because ESPN is bringing us nine tales of women's sports this summer, Nine for IX. The series will premiere July 2 on ESPN and air consecutive Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. each week. To kick off the series, espnW is bringing us the short documentary, " COACH ," about the legendary Rutgers coach, Vivian Stringer. It launches today, so I'm excited to learn more about this powerhouse. Scroll down to view it here! It's amazing. She is amazing. But I am ECSTATIC about the full series. My daughter can't wait to watch the film on the '99ers. She just loves all things soccer and I hope to take credit for her admiration of Julie Foudy.  I did watch the first half of the July 2nd film, "Venus Vs." and it was great. I'll have more to say after I finish watching it all as I have some issue with us always waiting for "that one champion" to push us towards equality. Well, like I said, more later. It should make a grea

Book Review: Mac 'N Cheese to the Rescue by Kristen Kuchar

Mac 'N Cheese to the Rescue: 101 Easy Ways to Spice Up Everyone's Favorite Boxed Comfort Food by Kristen Kuchar is a cookbook made for busy families like mine. Kuchar writes simple and straight-forward recipes. A few are a bit silly in how simple they are, but then I thought, "Well, d'uh! Why didn't I think of that?!" And that's where the genius of the book becomes crystal clear. For the most part, "Mac 'N Cheese to the Rescue" is filled with recipes one can use on those days when you stare at your open freezer & cupboard thinking, "Oh, not spaghetti again!" Rather you'll know exactly what to do with the leftover rotisserie chicken you picked up last night. Is there a worse task to do after a long day at work than figuring out new ideas on how to eat leftovers before you have to thrown them out? OMG, do I hate throwing food (and money) away! There are also plenty of recipes that don't require leftovers. "Mac

Summer of Feminista 2013: Call for Participation! #Mentoring

The fourth annual Summer of Feminista is ready for your participation! Over the last three summers we have explored the issue of feminism, public intellectuals and lastly electoral politics. This year we are tackling the subject of mentoring! How do we do it? During the summer, VLF is open to guest blog posts from YOU! Don't worry, you retain all ownership of your words. You can even cross-post from your blog.  Theme: Mentoring Mentoring has been a hot topic this year, due in large part to Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In , and the controversy over her stance on mentoring versus sponsorship. Lean In is on my summer reading list, but if you have read it, feel free to use it as a jumping off point. And you can define mentoring any way you want. It can be a formal mentoring program you participated in at work or school. It could be that wise Latina in your life who is always ready with great advice. Or are you that wise Latina eager to help the next generation avoid your