Monday, January 31, 2005

Postcards to PBS

Postcards from Nowhere suggests that instead of donating to PBS stations or ignoring fund drives altogether, we call in and explain that we are withholding funds until the network stops caving in to right-wing hatemongers. I like this idea.

Years ago, I stopped donating to my local PBS station because it apologized to death for producing a documentary about voodoo.

When you visit Postcards from Nowhere, be sure to check out the link for contacting the folks at Postcards from Buster.

Woman gives up dream to find love--imagine that

Last night I watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Magic of Ordinary Days, starring Keri Russell, Skeet Ulrich, and Mare Winningham. Russell plays Livy Dunne, a young woman who is pregnant by a World War II soldier who abandons her. Her strict minister father sends her off to a tiny farm community in Colorado, to an arranged marriage with farmer Ray Singleton, whose brother has been killed in the war.

Ray is quiet, strong, and hard-working, and his family (Winningham plays his sister) is warm and loving. No conventional farm husband, Ray teaches Livy to drive his eccentrically-behaving truck, he does most of the cooking, and when he learns that she was in college studying archeology, he checks out books on Troy from the library so that he can learn and understand her passion. He doesn't judge her. He gives Livy her own room, and never pushes her into anything. He tells her he will love the baby, and we believe him.

For her part, Livy does farm wife chores and socializes with her new family, but it is in two Japanese internment camp harvesters that she finds soul-mates. Like Rose and Florrie, Livy is a prisoner who has committed no crime other than to be at the wrong place at the wrong time in a culture of hypocrisy and oppression. Together, they observe the beautiful butterflies on the farm while Rose and Florrie record and illustrate the observations, providing the film with a painful extended metaphor.

After six months, Livy's sister offers her a way out: Her husband has been sent to war, and Livy can live with her and go back to college while she cares for Livy's baby. Of course, we know how it is going to end--Livy will try to leave, but will end up staying on the farm, where she has found an abundance of love.

This is a good story, well acted, with some unexpected twists (Livy even ends up involved in the attempted escape of a German soldier). Winningham says of it: "We could do far worse than celebrate this wonderful love story--two people who come together under terribly awkward conditions, and then learn to respect and love each other deeply."

True. So why am I offended by it?

I am offended because the message, once again, is that women have to give up themselves in exchange for love. Ray gives up nothing. He is a lonely man who loves his land and his work and his family, and by the story's end, he is a happy husband who still has his land and his work and his family. We understand that Livy is happy, too--she has a loving and understanding husband, a warm new family, and a baby. But she has given up her dreams in order to achieve domestic contentment. Not that I expect anything else from the Hallmark Hall of Fame (I watched because I like Russell), which uses its commercial time to subvert people into thinking they don't have to bother to express their feelings because Hallmark will do it for them.

The farming people in this film are just about too good to be true. It is the educated women who have committed "sins"--biological ones, at that-- and must adjust their lives to conform with the unjust realities of race and gender in World War II America. Mare Winningham appears to have missed that part.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Serena Williams returns in a sad final

All the nay-sayers can sit down and shut up because Serena Williams, winner of the 2005 Australian Open, is back. Down with injuries for some time and not playing up to her usual level, Serena was counted out by many, but now she's won her 7th Grand Slam. Unfortunately, she won it at the expense of a meltdown by Lindsay Davenport, and the final was even worse than the horrid 2004 French Open final.

Some of us thought Davenport's negative days were over, but apparently they aren't. Fatigue played a role: She played a grueling 3-set quarterfinal thriller against Alicia Molik, and a grueling 3-set semifinal against Nathalie Dechy. Then she played in the semifinals and finals of the doubles competition. It is established wisdom that possible singles champions need to stay away from doubles play at the same tournament, but this was a special occasion. Davenport was paired with her partner (and best friend) from 1999, Corina Morariu, who has had to battle both serious injury and life-threatening leukemia in the past few years. There was no way Davenport was going to cancel her doubles date.

But it wasn't just fatigue that caused Davenport--who was winning the match--to suddenly go to pieces. It was her maddening perfectionism. One bad error led to more and more and more, and that is the history of Davenport's game, and the likely reason that this incredibly talented player hasn't won more than three Grand Slams. She turns on herself, and her game disappears.

Williams, on the other hand, had to take an injury break, but came back still believing she could win. And though you can't give her much credit for defeating an opponent who had virtually stopped playing, Williams proved herself in her semifinal match against Maria Sharapova, when she saved three match points and won a 3-setter that was going Sharapova's way. That's what champions do.

This will probably be Davenport's last year on the WTA tour. I am a big fan and still believe she has another Grand Slam in her, especially after her remarkable 2004 summer run. The U.S. Open seemed to be hers, but she fell to injury in the semifinals. She has never been a prime clay court player, so her main chances are at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Injured throughout much of her career, Davenport has always had the toughness to come back, but she has not always had the toughness to believe in herself on the court during big moments.

Two other players should be noticed for their wonderful Australian Open performances: Australia's Molik and the French player, Dechy. Molik has been steadily climbing up the ratings, and she played superbly against Danvenport in the quarterfinals. Dechy, who has struggled with injury for years, has a new coach, and it shows. Her play in the semifinals was elegant and clever, but she lacked the champion's steadiness and resolve to close out a tiebreaker when she was up 4-1 at the end of the second set.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday cat blogging

Seattle chic Posted by Hello

Posing with some friends Posted by Hello

Drama queen Safin thinks women are "emotional"

Russian tennis star Marat Safin, who just upset Roger Federer in the Australian Open semi-finals, had some straight talk for his sister, WTA player Dinara Safina, who lost to Amelie Mauresmo in three sets in the second round of the Open.

"She has to make a lot of changes to be able to compete with all these kind of players," Safin said, "and to be able to do that, she needs to have a character and she needs to be a little bit of a grown-up woman... She has to grow up, be a little bit responsible for the things that she is doing and the decisions that she is taking. For some reason she cannot make any decisions; she needs somebody to explain her everything."

I do not follow Safina's game, but I certainly have no reason to doubt her brother's frustration over her failure to advance to a spot in the rankings where he thinks she should be, given the quality of her game. My gut feeling is that her brother's words may push Safina to work harder.

It was Safin's words later, in another interview, that were offensive. When asked how Safina had responded to his public chastisement of her, Safin's reply was: "Women are very delicate people so... it takes a little bit of time, you know, for them to calm down and really to think properly because they go with emotions, but then they use the head."

I don't deny the "women are emotional" argument the way some women do. Women are emotional, generally speaking. What angers me about this comment is the assumption that emotional means "delicate" and the presumption that men are not emotional. To hear the "women are emotional" argument from a male athlete is especially irritating, and to hear it from a male tennis player is almost hilarious.

From John McEnroe's barbaric fits of screaming, cursing, and racket-throwing to Ilie Nastastie's biting sarcasm and explosions of temper to Andre Agassi's into-the-stands ball-whacking and chronically foul mouth, male tennis players have shown themselves to be some of the most emotional--and delicate--members of the planet.

And now the irony you've been waiting for: During the 2000 season, Safin smashed 50 rackets during competition, and I don't mean by accident. He is known for screaming louder than Sharapova and burying his head in his hands when he makes errors.

When asked if his mother was accompanying him and Dinara to Melbourne, Safin said "No, she's not. Two women is too much for me."

Probably true.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Maybe he could insert it under the 10 Commandments

Mac Holcomb, sheriff of Marshall County, Alabama made the intelligent decision that one of the things he should post on the official Sheriff's website was a statement about how nice it was in the 50's when homosexuals were considered an "abomination." It is interesting that no one in the entire government of Alabama asked him to take the gay-bashing material down. Finally, a gay resident of Anniston wrote to say how offended he was.

Holcomb's response? He refused to remove the statement, but has since transferred it to his personal website. The man who complained has since received hate mail.

If you would like to correspond with Sheriff Holcomb about his desire to return to the days when men were men, women were beaten, and a bunch of people were in the closet, you may do so at

If you can't take the heat...

In 1997, the talented Swiss tennis player Patty Schnyder had to be carried off the court on a stretcher, so intense was the heat at the Australian Open. Last night, Schnyder again succumbed to the intense heat and dropped her second quarterfinal set, 1-6. She was defeated by Nathalie Dechy in three sets, and--not to take anything away from Dechy, whose tennis skills have improved quite a bit lately--but it is possible that Schnyder would have won in two sets had it not been for the heat problem.

A few years ago at the Open, Martina Hingis had to withdraw from a doubles match because of heat exhaustion. In 2002, Hingis was again overcome by the heat in a set she was winning against Jennifer Capriati. Capriati went on to win the match and make a significant comeback into the world of tennis

On day 10 of the 2005 Australian Open, Russian player Nokolay Davydenko retired in the middle of the third set because of heat complications. Earlier in the match, the medical crew had wrapped him in an ice vest and given him an inhaler. Davydenko had also been given the ice wrap in an earlier round.

Some day, someone will simply drop dead on the court in Melbourne, and then officials will have to change the Australian Open's ridiculous heat rules. As it stands now, the temperature must get to 95 degrees before officials can provide a roof over the net. If 95 seems like a high number, the reality is even worse. Because of the effects of sun on the court's surface, 94 degrees is actually 100 degrees, so the roof cannot go up until the court temperature reaches 101 degrees. In addition, officials are not allowed to assemble the roof once the match has begun.

If a women's match goes to three sets, the players are allowed to take a break after the second set. However, on the men's side, no such break is ever allowed.

This has nothing to do with fitness, but with the overpowering effect that heat has on many people, regardless of their physical conditions. Making people play a very demanding sport in very intense heat is not only dangerous, it also unfairly affects the outcomes of matches.

Poll question: What century are we in, anyway?

The latest Zogby poll asks a multiple choice question concerning when the right time is for a man to ask a woman to marry him. That is the only option given--when the man is to "pop the question." Though it is a sad fact that many women of different ages are still under the impression that they are supposed to wait for men to ask all questions about anything (those who do not are called "forward women" by Gwyneth Paltrow, a throwback if ever there was one), it is quite disturbing to see a Zogby poll question reflect this attitude. The poll makes an out-and-out assumption that man-asks-woman is the only way for an engagement to occur, which tells me once again that baby--we haven't come too far at all.

It's if you're as upset as I was.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Spongebob Square (never pleated) Pants and his gay friends

Thanks to James "I Can't Stop Thinking About Gay Men" Dobson, I now have a recurring image of Spongebob decorating his pineapple in hot designer colors while humming "Don't Rain On My Parade." What with the hoopla over Spongebob and Tinky Winky, it has occurred to me that Falwell, Dobson, and their fundamentalist gang somehow missed Ren & Stimpy, one of the gayest shows to ever air on television.

Sometimes it was subtle, other times it was overt, but the highly entertaining antics of the cat and chihuahua with gay sensibilities somehow escaped the attention of knuckle-scraping moralizers. Perhaps it was because Ren & Stimpy was more of an adult cartoon and operated under the radar. It was never a "kiddie" show, so it didn't attract the kind of attention that Spongebob has. Adults and children could watch the show and come away from it with totally different interpretations, which was one of the show's strengths.

I wonder when the Dobson gang is going to deconstruct cartoon favorites from long ago; it has to happen some time. After all, despite having a longterm girlfriend, Donald Duck never married, and was given to verbal histrionics. Popeye was engaged to Olive Oyl for decades, never married her, and obviously worked on his body obsessively. There are a lot of possibilities if all you think about is gay, gay, gay all the time.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Good blog reads

delegar talks about her daughter's sudden desire to dress in pink...

Jinky the Cat has a good post about one of the more interesting evasions of Alberto Gonzales...

The Poor Man has re-designed his blog...

Alas a Blog discusses a twist on The Vagina Monologues found at The Feminarian...

Silver Rights explains that the G.O.P. is most definitely not the party of civil rights...

Lancome's sexist ad campaign is no secret

The new Lancome spots are the most offensive ads I've seen in a while. Lancome is offensive to begin with, since it still engages in animal testing, but now it is also engaging in overt sexism.

In the new commercials, women are put to various tests to determine that they are lying, and the tests all show them to be telling the truth when they say they are only 29 years old. "A woman's age is her business," the tag line says, "and Lancome keeps yours a secret," or some such nonsense.

Promoting the idea that women are ashamed of getting older is an outrage, and to use the old "I'm still 29" line is such a throwback it would almost be funny if it were not so sickening. Unfortunately, every time advertisers play to women's desire to look younger than they are, women buy into it. There are plenty of women who still think "You don't look a day over 30" is a compliment.

And shame on Drew Barrymore for being part of Lancome's 2005 lineup. What with torturing cats and rabbits and insulting women, Lancome is one of the worst companies Barrymore could represent.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A sports commentator says something stupid--imagine that

When Elena Dementieva made a total ass of herself earlier this week at the Australian Open, former player Brad Gilbert, who is doing some announcing for ESPN, called--with a gleam in his eye--for a physical fight between Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova, whom Dementieva had treated very poorly. Apparently, any girl-on-girl action is better than none at all. When he got no response from fellow commentators Pam Shriver and Dick Enberg, he suggested the players' fathers have a fist fight on their daughters' behalf.

Yes, Gilbert was joking, but the call for violence between the fathers was no more amusing than the cheap sex joke about the players. There has been enough violence in sports lately, and there have been enough father problems in the WTA to last a lifetime. Steffi Graf and Mary Pierce endured fathers from hell, not to mention poor Elena Dokic, and now it appears Maria Sharapova must endure one, too. All we need is more inappropriate father participation. And of course, to think that these young women need their daddies to do their fighting for them is another matter altogether.

Two Way Pocky Way

Even those of us who do not participate in Mardi Gras look forward to the Mardi Gras music season. From classics like "Iko Iko" and "Carnival Time" to Mardi Gras Indian music ("Handa Wanda" is the best known) to the new second line hip hop songs, there's something for everyone. Dr. John, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, and Professor Longhair take over the airwaves each year. For the last few years, my favorite song has been "Indian Princess" by J. Monque'D and the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians. The best Mardi Gras music is on WWOZ, and you can listen to it on the Internet to your heart's content.

Friday, January 21, 2005

More about Harvard

Thanks to Left At The Altar for leading me to Michael Berube's January 19 satire, "Women barred from Harvard presidency by 'genetic predisposition,' study finds."

Friday cat blogging

Roxie and Velma do some cold weather snuggling Posted by Hello

And take a nice nap together Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 20, 2005

It started with Reagan

It would be easy to romanticize today's events by saying it is the saddest national political day of my life, but that would be myopic of me. The truth is, this kind of disgust and sadness has occurred three other times: the inaugurations of 1980, 1984, and 2000. 2000 was dramatic because it was clear to many of us that the election was not fairly won. Now that I have studied the Ohio results, I believe that the 2004 was not fairly won, either (though I was certainly prepared--given the ignorance of many Americans, the tone of the day, and the complete ineptness of John Kerry--to believe that it was).

1980 was the beginning of the "Rule by Ignorance and Testosterone" era in America. We took a break from it with George H.W. Bush (please don't consider this an endorsement of Bush's policies) and with Bill Clinton, but now we are back, with another president who doesn't believe in thinking or reading, but who prefers to be seen as the guy in jeans clearing brush at the ranch. True, Reagan had more poise, and even a level of sophistication, but it is essentially the same package: Appeal to the poor put-upon white people, especially the white men--especially the rich white men--and push back the nasty civil rights workers, feminists, gay rights activists, environmentalists, and church-state separation advocates.

By appealing to the fear of a common enemy, the "terrorists," the Bush administration has successfully sent the message that all those other things we used to think were important--racial harmony, fighting poverty, creating jobs, gender equality, clean air and water--can now be placed on the back burner (and they mean forever) so that America can kick some foreign ass and be manly again.

Unfortunately, people love this stuff. We are a violent nation, and the Bush administration knows it, and has exploited it.

Here is the really bad part: Reagan--a non-intelllectual, racist, homophobic, anti-feminist, dangerous imperialist--is a national hero. America reveres Reagan as a god. So don't go looking for America to wake up and see Bush as the ignorant, immoral, hypocritical promoter of fascism that he is. America loves this stuff.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Message to Elena D.: Shut the hell up

The WTA "doping" issue continues, with Belgian sports minister Claude Eerdekens now getting some competition for Tennis Butthole of the Week. When he first announced that someone had a positive drug test, he said the women tested were Savetlana Kuznetsova, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Natalie Dechy, and Elena Dementieva. He was also quick to say that the "guilty" party was not his countrywoman, Henin-Hardenne.

Of course, the guilty party was Eerdekens, who not only violated every drug-testing protocol, but who knew damned good and well that what Kuznetsova did was perfectly legal. The WTA has asked for an apology, and he has refused to give one.

Both Dechy and Dementieva say that they are victims, too, and they are. Having your name announced to the world--especially at the start of a Grand Slam tournament--as a possible drug violator is a terrible experience.

Dementieva, however, claims that she and Dechy are the only victims, implying in a not-so-veiled way that Kuznetsova is guilty of something. "The WTA are trying to handle this problem by saying there is three victims," she told the press, " but I see only two victims in this story-- me and Nathalie Dechy, who really have nothing to do with this."

If Kuznetsova didn't have enough pain already, now she has her ridiculous, narcisisstic countrywoman labeling her guilty while she asks for sympathy for her own suffering. What happened to Kuznetsova is outrageous, and I feel bad for Natalie Dechy, but the only sympathy Dementieva stirs in me is pity that she is such an ass.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sen. Boxer has over 48,000 signatures

But she needs more! It's not too late to sign.

I wish I had written this

Thanks to Pandagon for setting the record straight on Katie Couric. I am so sick of ignorant so-called left-wing "activists" accusing her of being a right-wing tool, I could scream.

Where is Clare Booth Luce when we need her?

She said "no good deed goes unpunished," and 2004 U.S. Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova would probably be the first to agree. Belgian sports minister Claude Eerdekens, after teasing the WTA with information that one of four players had tested positive for a banned substance, announced yesterday that the positive sample belonged to Kuznetsova.

Kuznetsova tested positive for ephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medicine. But ephedrine is banned in competition only, and Kuznetsova was playing an exhibition match when she tested positive. She broke no rule. Obviously, she took the medicine so that she could go ahead with her commitment to do the exhibition event, but I guess she learned her lesson about going out of her way to keep commitments.

Eerdekens' behavior is reprehensible, and WTA CEO Larry Scott was quick to say so. Anti-doping procedures require confidentiality and a presumption of innocence. And in this case, it was clear that Kuznetsova had done no wrong. Why Eerdekens went after her this way is unknown. Making the announcement on the first day of the Australian Open was a blow to the entire WTA, but especially to Kuznetsova, who deserves an apology from the Belgian sports minister. And there needs to be an investigation of Eerdekens' motives.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Time to put pressure on Ginny Conley

Thanks to Virgil Butler for some horrible news I just learned about today: Ginny Conley, the West Virginia prosecutor in the Pilgrim's Pride criminal case, has decided not to prosecute Pilgrim's Pride because, hey--they were chickens in a slaughter house, so who cares what kind of torture they endured? Part of the problem is that our government has deemed that chickens be excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act, but Conley could have gone for criminal charges, anyway.

The treatment of the chickens was horrendous, but not many people seem to care--they go right on buying Pilgrim's Pride.

It is not too late for felony animal cruelty charges to be filed. You can contact Conley at and remind her that cruelty is cruelty, torture is torture, and West Virginia has animal cruelty laws. Even for chickens.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Our health is bad, and it's the feminists' fault

Over at LAF (that's Ladies Against Feminism), 17-year-old Elisha Ann Wahlquist tells us why we are all sick, and I bet you can guess whose fault it is. That's right--it's women's fault, of course! Wahlquist's argument is that women working outside the home means women not bothering to prepare proper, healthy meals for their families.

The fact that Wahlquist believes it is the woman's job to prepare meals is too simplistically sexist to even talk about. She also hasn't been taught much about America's recent food history. The women of the 50's and 60's who stayed home and identified as "homemakers" did prepare most--or all--of the meals for their families. They used butter and lard and bacon grease. They fried chicken and served it with grease-filled gravy. They slathered salads with fat-filled dressings and rarely, if ever, served whole grain breads and cereals. In other words, they gave their beloved families enough fat and cholesterol to guarantee heart disease and cancer.

Then there is the matter of Wahlquist's either/or reasoning. I have always worked outside of the home, and I have always found it relatively easy to prepare healthy meals. Could I possibly be the only woman (or man) in America who has mastered this skill?

Of course, the author is an adolescent, and when she goes to college, she may discover new ways to think about feminism. Or not.

From LAF's mission statement:

This site is dedicated to the proposition that men and women are not identical creatures. Are we equal in human worth? Yes. Equal before the throne of grace? Absolutely. Equal in dignity? Indeed. But when it all boils down to it, if you insist that "equal" means exactly the same, you will have to fly in the face of biology, historical fact, biblical Truth and just plain common sense.

Of course men and women are different. In some ways, very different. But feminism is about equal rights, not equal hormones, anatomy, neurology, or psychology. LAF opposes social, economic, and political equality for women. However, they do not want to make women into empty-headed ornaments. This is what I suppose we can call post-modern anti-feminism: an acknowledgment that women are not useless and stupid, but that they have a place, and they need to stay in it (except in certain emergencies, as defined by LAF).

Friday, January 14, 2005

The thrust of the matter

At the end of the 2004 tennis season, when Maria Sharapova won an important match, she celebrated on court by making a gesture of, shall we say, male sexual aggression. The audience cheered, and I wanted to vomit. It is offensive enough when male athletes do this, because it equates athletic skill with male sexuality, not to mention it is in poor taste. To see a woman do it is beyond offensive because it equates athletic skill with...male sexuality.

All reference points are male. Can you imagine how the crowd would have reacted if Sharapova had dropped to the court and simulated female sexual aggression? She would have been fined by the WTA, I'm sure, and the networks would have Janet Jacksoned her for weeks. Because that would have been judged "obscene." But the stud-boys can do it their hearts' content, and everyone cheers.

It is this standard that motivates people to tell courageous women they "have balls." Except they don't. But God forbid we should judge courage by anything other than a male reference. If I didn't have my calendar, I would have no clue we were in the 21st Century.

Waving goodbye

Lisa Jervis, publisher of Bitch Magazine, has a thought-provoking essay in the current issue of Ms. Magazine. Jervis argues that it is time to put aside "Wave" (as in Second Wave, Third Wave) terminology in referring to the Women's Movement because such terminology creates false divides among the generations. She has an excellent point. As a Second Wave feminist, I have sometimes felt misunderstood and under-appreciated by the Third Wave, and I know I have permitted false images of the Third Wave to enter my consciousness.

I am now fortunate to be able to talk withThird Wave women on a regular basis, and I really don't see any difference between their anger and my anger, their goals and my goals. Here is a snippet from Jervis's essay:

It’s just so much easier to hit on the playful cultural elements of the third wave and contrast them with the brass-tacks agenda — and impressive gains — of the second wave: It’s become the master narrative of feminism’s progression (or regression, as some see it).

But when has it ever been a good idea to trust a master narrative?
Well put. It is the master narrative, invented by the news media and (put your hands over your ears, Ralph Nader) the American patriarchy that has cast us all--at one time or another-- as demanding, unrealistic, shrill, envious, ball-busting, sexless, promiscuous, neurotic, and God knows what else. Dividing a movement against itself is always the best way to destroy it.

Friday cat blogging

Velma gives us some of that Tortietude Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Steve Harvey is going to get a lot of email, and I can't wait

The return of fur as an acceptable clothing accessory has been one of the most discouraging developments of the last few years. This morning, on the Ellen Degeneres Show, comic and radio personality Steve Harvey bragged about his wife's mink coat and put down animal rights activists. This was probably a bit uncomfortable for Ellen, who appears to be somewhat interested in animal rights. She agreed with him that tossing red paint at fur-wearers was inappropriate (he threatened to kill anyone who threw paint at his wife), and then quickly changed the subject.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Stop calling me dude!

Perhaps I should be flattered that younger people sometimes say to me, "Dude, listen to this," but I'm not. Here's why: I'm not a dude--I'm a woman, damn it. In the 60's and 70's, it was "Hey, man, listen to this," and I had to explain what I thought was obvious--that I wasn't a man. That was back when we wore the Don't Call Me Girl buttons, too. "Woman" was--and still is, to some degree--a word to avoid.

The justification is the same today as it was 30 years ago--"dude" (or "man") means everybody. Exactly. A word meaning "male" is used to refer to everyone because "male" is the ultimate point of reference. Because "male" is valued more than "female." Have you ever gone up to a mixed gender group and asked "Hey, what are you girls doing?" The men would faint. But why is it okay to say to the same group "Hey, what are you guys doing?"

I hoped we had resolved this nonsense way back when, but we didn't. Everyone still has to be a man, only the terms have changed a bit. Only today, an anchorwoman on MSNBC explained that Renee Zellweger and Madonna would be "manning" the phones at the tsunami relief telethon. But Zellweger and Madonna can't "man" anything--they are women.

"So what do you say, huh? That they're going to 'woman' the phones?" Why not? And if it's a mixed gender group--as it was in this case--they'll be operating the phones or in charge of the phones.

The usual response to a complaint such as mine is that it is "politically correct," which, of course, is considered a bad thing. How about considering it accurate, for God's sake? Or enlightened? Or an acknowledgment of gender equality? There will never be gender equality as long as language is sexist because it isn't "just language"--it is the major currency and symbol of everything in our lives.

And by the way--unless you know me really well--don't call me "girl."

Why people don't want to see videos about the animal "industry"

Videos of the things that are done to cows, sheep, hogs, and chickens are so sickening and barbaric that people don't want to see them. They also don't want to see them because then they will be foreced to look at what they are eating and wearing, and how consumerism has fueled a gigantic industry of cruelty and torture.

But praise to J. Crew, whose executives did see a video about the Australian fur industry, which still practices mulesing, and which sends sheep on "death ships" to other countries. J. Crew will soon join Abercrombie & Fitch in refusing to purchase Australian wool until Australia ends its cruel practices.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Lord be with you

I don't see how you can be president—at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a relationship with the Lord.
From the mouth of George W. Bush, who, in reality, doesn't see how you can be president without stealing the election and telling outrageous lies to constituents.

So who is this "Lord" who condones theft, lying, cheating, the suppression of civil rights, the appointment of criminals to high office, the rape of the environment, the suppression of poor women and children, and the capricious blowing up of another country? Oh, wait! I's the same "Lord" Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson talk about all the time. The one who hates women, gays, and people who are not white. The Lord has been very active in America lately, sticking it to liberals, feminists, environmentalists, homosexuals, and anyone who dares to think or to exercise the First Amendment. The Lord probably needs another day of rest by now.

The lying idiot in the White House has pledged to open the coffers and throw a lot of money at faith-based organizations. Now that he is in his second term, one might wonder why he still needs to court the religious right, but he has four more years in which he has to destroy social security, appoint right-wing judges, poison the environment for industry, ruin what's left of the healthcare system, and maybe bomb some more countries. He needs his base to stand behind him.

It appears that serious Christians are never going to stand up and confront Bush's exploitation of their religion, of which he and his ilk have made a total mockery. A relationship with the Lord, my ass. Bush, through his behavior, spits on anything resembling true religion, but he gets away with that, too. What a country.

Bloggers make a difference again

Virginia delegate John Cosgrove has withdrawn his absurd, misogynistic bill from the Virginia legislature, citing "confusing language." Cosgrove also said that those of us who opposed the bill were engaging in an active campaign of misinformation to get political points across.

I wonder what part of the bill we didn't understand? The part that makes a grieving woman a criminal if she doesn't hurry up and call the police? The part about the police needing to know whether the mother is married to the father of the fetus? I'm sorry, John: Obviously, those ridiculous requirements have another secret meaning that only right-wing knuckle-scraping males can understand.

Who knew there were so many bad Homeland Security chief choices?

The Justice Department's Inspector General thinks Michael Chertoff acted capriciously in Bush's immigrant sweep. He also defended the Bush administration's practice of massive data-mining. And now he is Bush's choice to be Attorney General, or, as The Daily News points out, Chertoff is "Kerik without the sex."

Chertoff, you'll recall, also served as Special Counsel to the Whitewater Committee, just so you know he is well grounded in the practice of spending voluminous amounts of taxpayer money in order to cause needless damage.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Stop crying and call the police...

One of the saddest experiences a woman can go through is miscarriage. Women who miscarry fetuses suffer terrible grief, and if one Virginia legislator has his way, they may also experience the grief of having a criminal record.

Proposed House Bill 1677 would require women who miscarry to report the fetal death to the appropriate law enforcement agency within 12 hours or be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. And under this propsed law, women couldn't just stop crying for a moment and call the police. They would have to give the police the same information that doctors are required to give when they report fetal deaths: when the fetus was delivered, whether there were any congenital malfunctions, the weight and gender of the fetus, the number of prenatal visits the mother had, the history of the pregnancy, etc.

Also, the woman would be required to tell whether she was married to the father of the child, and what her previous deliveries were like.

The bill, proposed by Delegate John Cosgrove, may not read as though it could pass, but the anti-privacy and anti-woman movements are so big that the possibility of passage cannot be discounted, especially in a state like Virginia.

Women who miscarry tend to feel a lot of guilt. Now, if Cosgrove has his way, they can feel even more.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

NOPD protects sexual perpetrator, blames victim

Recently, in New Orleans, a man was charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl, and the newspaper quoted the NOPD as saying the girl had "consensual sex" with the perpetrator. An editorial employer of the newspaper called the NOPD to get some clarification. She probably expected to hear "oh, you know what we meant" or "so, what's the problem?" or all of the other offensive responses you get when you point out offensive things that people say about girls and women. What she got was even worse: The NOPD spokeswoman told the Times-Picayune employee that the police department had worded the news release that way because they "didn't want people to think he [the perpetrator] was preying on children in the community."

When the people entrusted with protecting the community don't understand that a grown man's sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl is the man's fault, you really have to stop and ask what century it is. I remember several years ago writing a letter to the editor because a reporter had written that a 12-year-old girl had "admitted" to having sex with an adult man. Blaming the female victim is what we do in our culture.

The Times-Picayune was right to let the NOPD's comments go unedited. Whether there will be community outrage is unknown, but we can hope.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Paul Krugman has nailed it

Right here

Some thoughts on The King

If Elvis were alive, he would be 70 today. It is hard to imagine what he might make of today's music, since his personal gestalt was such a mixture of high sex and conservative morality. I regret that I never saw him perform live, though God knows I tried. When I was a little girl, he used to appear at The Louisiana Hayride, which was in my city. The Hayride was only one step down from the Grand Ol' Opry, so it was a very big deal. My father, however, would not take me to the shows.

My parents had a radio in their bedroom, and on Saturday night, they would lie in bed and listen to the broadcast of The Louisiana Hayride. Once, when Elvis came on, I heard my mother say "That boy is going to be so famous some day," and my father snorted and told her she was crazy.

The girls across the street, who were older than I and who picked on me a lot, invited me to their house one day to listen to Elvis records. They taught me how to jitterbug, and when King Creole was released, they took me along to see it. I was thrilled to see Elvis on the big screen, singing "Crawfish" and the title song.

My favorite Elvis movie is Viva Las Vegas, because it is the only one in which the female co-star is as talented as Elvis. The great Ann-Margret dances with The King, and it is heart-stopping stuff. Apparently, Elvis thought so, too, because he had a love affair with her, and there is reason to believe it may have been the only healthy relationship he ever had with a woman.

Peter Guralnick's two-part biography of Elvis is wonderful. Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, and Carelss Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley are two of the best biographies I've ever read. Guralnick did voluminous research for these books, and his interpretations and analyses are thoughtful and layered. The story of Elvis is very sad.

I own some Elvis music: the legendary Sun Sessions, Elvis's Greatest Jukebox Hits, and an unusual 3-CD collection called Elvis: Collectors Gold. It contains Live In Las Vegas, Nashville, and Hollywood. The Hollywood CD contains Elvis movie songs that are seldom heard, and the Nashville collection also features songs you wouldn't expect--"Like A Baby," "I Want You With Me," and "Witchcraft."

Elvis changed popular music forever. His gospel renderings are beautiful, also; for many years, Cissy Houston was one of his backup singers. I have many favorite Elvis songs: "Mystery Train," "That's All Right," "All Shook Up," "Suspicious Minds," and--of course--"Viva Las Vegas."

Friday, January 07, 2005

Why have an alleged sexual harrasser when you can get an alleged harrasser and plagiarist at the same time?

The Bushes naturally attract sleeze. But in an act that is over the top even for the BFEE, Florida governor Jeb Bush managed, in the space of 24 hours, to trade in a sexual harrasser for a combination sexual harrasser/plagiarist.

On December 19, Bush fired Secretary of Elder Affairs Terry White because he had been accused of sexual harrassment. White's case is currently being investigated.

On December 20, Bush hired Lloyd Brown as a staff writer. Brown had recently resigned his position as editorial page editor at the Times-Union in Jacksonville because of charges of plagiarism. In addition, Brown has been accused of sexual harrassment with regard to his compulsive preoccupatin with Internet pornography.

It should also be noted that in 2000, Brown wrote an editorial in which he assured the good citizens of Florida that the effects of slavery were not permanent.

If you are reading this, and you are still not terrified of and repulsed by the Bush family, there is something seriously wrong with your thinking parts.

Friday cat blogging

Time to wake up Posted by Hello

Maybe not... Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Hail Barbara Boxer!

And to hell with Chip Reid.

Though I was very disappointed in 2000 when Senator Boxer failed to sign the petition concerning the Florida election, my money was on her from the get-go to sign the petition to challenge the Ohio vote, which she did. All hundred Senators should have signed it, but given partisanship, at least all Democrats should have signed it.

MSNBC's Chip Reid made a point of telling viewers that many Democrats were trying to distance themselves from the petition because they "didn't want to look like sore losers." For that reason, Reid said, they didn't want to be identified with "the radical fringe."

This isn't Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity talking: This is "mainstream" news, telling the American people that being concerned about the fairness of a highly questionable election puts you in the "the radical fringe." If it is radical to want elections to be fair, then so be it. America is a strange place.

As for the "sore loser" thing--until Democrats develop spines and get off of the defensive, they will be called names. Instead of yelling "Cheaters!" Democrats slink off into a corner and hope it all goes away.

As for the other so-called liberals in the Senate, where were they when the letter asking for a signature was read? Where was Ted Kennedy? Patty Murray? Dick Durbin? Hillary Rodham Clinton? Tom Harkin?

They were off slinking, waiting for the "healing" to begin.

A few words about manners

I could write many words about manners (like, what happened to them?), but here, I am going to talk about a subject that came up between a friend and me during the holidays: hosting and attending dinner parties. My friend talked about potluck dinners for which the host barely contributes anything. I dislike the concept of the potluck if the people involved are not undergoing financial difficulties, but that is a matter of personal taste.

And yes, if you are hosting such a dinner, it is your obligation to provide at least one substantial dish, as well as a reasonable serving table, utensils, and perhaps music. Hosting a potluck is not an excuse to let other people do all of the work for you.

The discussion about potlucks made me think of a pet peeve of mine: the confusion over guest/host roles. Some people like to host dinner parties; others do not. Those who do not like to host dinners have the option of taking others out to dinner, which is fine. Almost everyone likes to be invited to a good dinner party, but not everyone knows how to be a guest.

A guest does not bring food to a dinner party. If you are lucky enough to be invited to dinner, it is your role to enjoy the host's cooking, not to show up as part of the kitchen crew, or beg to be one of the cooks. Cooking is what you do when you host a dinner party. Eating is what you do when you attend one.

It is not necessary to bring a gift to a dinner party, but if you wish to, remember that a bottle of wine--though a nice gift--will most likely not be drunk with dinner, since the host has already selected and prepared the wine for the evening. Flowers are probably the best gift, since they can be enjoyed right away.

Just as it is not your duty to cook for a dinner party, it is not your duty to clean up after one. Most hosts will not want you to even pick up your plate, but if you wish to--and no one stops you--that is as far as you should go. The exception is if you are at a very large dinner party and the host has not retained extra help. Then you may offer to help clean up. Another exception, of course, is if you are a houseguest. Then you will want to do as much as possible to help the host.

Being a guest is just as important a role as being a host, and being a guest means that you are there to enjoy the generosity and hospitality of others. So relax and enjoy.

A few words about morals

I am a psychotherapist and a writer, and when practicing both of these vocations, I constantly have to deal with theft.

I cannot count the number of times people have used my written material without asking my permission, which is a copyright violation in most circumstances. Sometimes they even omit my name, which is plagiarism. When confronted, they tend to become defensive and insulting. Even people who have not violated my copyright have insulted me when they learned that I do not want others to violate it.

Such a low value is placed on creativity and thought in this culture that many people do not consider stealing it to be immoral or against the law.

The culture also places a low value on services. My psychotherapy clients sign a detailed financial agreement with me which explains quite clearly that if they fail to show up for a session or cancel it late, they will be charged a fee, and that fee is due before their next session. Dozens of them say they fully understand the terms, but when they fail to show up for a session and I ask them for payment, they are often stunned that I would suggest such a thing, and often go out of their way to get out of paying the money.

Even worse, some of these people ask me to commit insurance fraud--to bill the insurance company for the session which did not take place. When I explain to them--duh--that that is against the law, violates my own moral standards, and could cost me my license, they are surprised or disgusted.

Readers may be thinking: "Ah, but these are troubled people." Yes, a few have personality disorders, but most are just regular folks who are responding to the great moral void that is our culture. We don't like insurance companies, so let's steal from them. The insurance company won't know the difference, and it will save me money. I didn't show up, so why are you charging me for it?

Being a victim of chronic attempted (and sometimes successful) theft is an unpleasant education.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Die Frauleiterin talks back

Die Frauleiterin Dees is trying to play the same woman=victim card that was so successfully used by man-haters during the so-called Tailhook 'scandal'. Dees takes it for granted that we're supposed to have neo-Victorian attitudes about all women being pure and too angelic to be interested in that sex stuff the way those icky men are.
I ran across this comment (in a forum) about an essay I published and a letter I received from the hostile poster. I remember the letter, and I answered it out of courtesy, as I answer all letters.

It is disturbing that so many people still don't know the difference between "yes" and "no." If a woman says she is upset about being sexually assaulted, she can't be telling the truth because there is no such thing as sexual assault because we shouldn't have "neo-Victorian" attitudes about women not being interested in sex. Therefore...women are always interested in sex with every man they meet. Therefore...there is no such thing as sexual assault.

Wow. Talk about a fractured syllogism.

When I acknowledged to the poster that, as a woman, I was also disturbed by Clinton's behavior (of course that is the question they always ask, and I have no trouble answering it), this was what he posted:

"As a woman"??? Oh yeah, die Frauleiterin Dees must play the Women Are Morally Superior card and sneak in her hidden premise that no man would be distressed by any wrongful behavior. OTOH, remember how feminists themselves concocted the "one free grope" rule to excuse their first feminist president. Yep, their Gloria leader waved off all distress about clinton's groping, flashing, exploiting, and jumping on women -- "as a woman"!!!
So remarking that because of my gender I was especially disturbed by Clinton's behavior makes me believe that I am morally superior. And I fail to understand the "one free grope" rule about our first feminist president. We have had only one feminist president, in my opinion, and I hardly call Carter's lusting in his heart a "free grope."

It is really frightening to know that we are still living in a society in which a substantial number of people don't think that rape and other sexual assault ever takes place. The Tailhook events were horrific, despite the opinions of misogynist forum posters and governors of Minnesota. And, as we learned (and knew all along), they were the tip of the iceberg. And no matter what the brass say, the problem of sexual assault in the military doesn't go away. As it doesn't go away on campuses, in the workplace, and in churches. Reading the opinions in the above-mentioned forum makes it obvious why.

On never leaving Stepford

Last night, I saw the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives. I have rarely seen a remake that was as good or better than the original film (though the exceptions are stunning: Scorcese's Cape Fear, Hitchcock's remake of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much, and grandest of all, the second version of A Star Is Born), and this was no exception. The original was daring, creepy, and--thanks to Paula Prentiss--often hilarious. The remake tries too hard to distance itself from the original, and comes off as a series of cheap jokes and devices, though there are good performances by both Nicole Kidman and Glenn Close.

To the creators' credit, however, the second version of the film is culturally up to date, and that is what makes it so terrifying. In the 1975 version, the Second Wave of feminism was peaking, and the theme of The Stepford Wives was that men would do anything to prevent feminism from happening in their town. The idea of women having their own thoughts and their own lives was obviously terrifying, and the town of Stepford had a solution.

In the "post-feminist" (a euphemism if ever I heard one) version, the men of Stepford are reacting to the consequences of a feminist society. Powerful women are taken to Stepford and stripped not only of their power, but of their ability to think for themselves. What gives this story such a creepy overcast is the revelation that the scheme is the brainchild of a woman. A woman who believes that women will never again be loved and cherished by men unless they give up their power and become subservient.

We are supposed to believe that this woman (Glenn Close) is crazy because she has killed her husband and turned him into a robot, and then has gone on to devise this whole Stepford wife scheme. But films seldom lie when it comes to culture, and the Glenn Close character is so representative of current American womanhood that it makes my skin crawl. The backlash toward feminism is so strong that there is no longer a recognizable feminist movement, and only 1/3 of American women (and 1/5 of men) identify as feminists.

That only 1/3 of American women believe they should have social, economic, and political equality is more frightening than anything that could happen in Stepford. Fear of disapproval by men has always driven women to compromise their goals and give up parts of themselves, and until women give up this fear, there will always be a Stepford.

Ira Levin, who has never been given proper credit for being a feminist writer (The Stepford Wives and Rosemary's Baby) knew well what women were willing to give up in order to please men: Rosemary is so committed to the ideal of motherhood that she is willing to nurture Satan. In The Stepford Wives, the women do not appear to have a choice, but the building of robots is, of course, a metaphor for the seduction of conformity. In the new film version of The Stepford Wives, it is a woman--representing all women--who robotizes her own gender before its members lose the approval of their husbands and therefore suffer annihilation.

I can think of nothing creepier.

Monday, January 03, 2005

My 2005 fantasy

If 2005 is to be a better year, there are some people and things I would love to see disappear:

1. CNN...If I never saw this Fox-related yuck-fest excuse for news again, even by accident, it would please me to no end.

2. John Kerry...He is supposedly "marketing" himself for another run, as though the first one weren't disaster enough for a lifetime.

3. Star Jones...This dead animal-wearing pillar of greed needs to stay locked in with her pitiful new husband so the rest of us never have to look at her again.

4. Reality television

5. Those red hats

6. Mel Gibson

7. Non-Asians discussing feng shui

8. Bumper stickers that say These Colors Don't Run

9. Bumper stickers that say My Child is an Honor Student at ____...Teaching your child to be modest about her abilities should be a priority.

10. James Dobson...a horrid creature with no entertainment value whatsoever

11. "Liberals" who think women's rights and/or animal rights are not important

12. Sean Combs

13. SUVs driven down the middle of the street...that goes double for taking up both lanes to turn a corner

14. Bad grammar and syntax on NPR...I expect it everywhere else, I'm afraid.

15. Low-carb products

16. Books and articles on how to be spiritual

17. "Blogs" that are all links and no analysis

18. DeLay, Frist, Santorum, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the lying, anti-democracy, amoral Philistines

19. Thomas Kinkade paintings...I don't dislike them; it is their crass ubiquitousness that drives me crazy.

20. Taking any noun you like and changing it into a verb...There should be some kind of jail sentence for doing that.

21. Chris Matthews

22. Yuri Sharapov

23. Christian bookstores

24. Cell phones

25. Waiters who tell you their names...They usually make it worse by referring to themselves as "servers."

First Bella, then Patsy, now Shirley

Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, is dead. She died Saturday in Florida at the age of 80. Chisholm received 151 delegates when she ran for president in 1972, and was a strong and courageous proponent of women, minorities, and the poor.

Truly "unbought and unbossed," Chisholm taught a generation of women how to enter politics and retain integrity at the same time. She always said she was discriminated against more for being a woman than for being black. Those of us who were active in the Second Wave remember her with great respect.

One more reason to vote Green

For me, the highlight of Fahrenheit 911 occurs early in the film, when the formidable Maxine Waters says she doesn't care if there is a Senator's signature on the petition to investigate voter fraud in Florida in 2000.

Of course, the lack of a single Senator's signature prevented the Congressional investigation from taking place, and now we are repeating the whole cowardly mess with Ohio. Both Waters and Congressman John Conyers are ready to go, but once again, no Senator has stepped forward to sign the petition.

There is no race among Kennedy, Clinton, Kerry, Boxer, Murray, and other liberals and sort-of liberals to sign the petition. We haven't heard a peep out of any of them, and we probably won't.

You can fax, phone, and email your Senator, but don't expect much.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

1,000 stolen points of light

Thanks to Avedon Carol for pointing out Dave Lindorff's CounterPunch article about airline company employees being asked by their employers to work for free. U.S. Air, it turns out, asked its employees who were not scheduled to work New Year's weekend to drop by, greet passengers, help them with baggage, and provide directions--in other words, help bail the company out of its Christmas customer service nightmare.

You have to hand it to U.S. Air: It is an equal opportunity exploiter. One weekend, screw the customers; the next weekend, screw the employees. By calling for "volunteers," U.S. Air saves a ton in overtime pay.

Lindorff is correct, of course, in his assessment that this new "volunteerism" is right in line with the Bush administration's ideas about ownership, capitalism, and workers' rights. And we will probably see more of this sort of thing creep into the workplace. But you don't have to go very far back in time to see a horrific example of it: For decades, American women volunteered for everthing. They raised serious funds for arts and charitable organizations, gave assistance to teachers, helped the sick in hospitals, did office work for non-profit organizations, and did everything from sell tickets to give museum tours for arts organizations.

When those same women, many of whom had a lifetime of invaluable work experience, applied for real jobs, they were told they had no qualifications because they had no "work history." This exploitation of women--yes, allowed by women--and subsequent discrimination against them was in firm place in this country until the mid-70's, when women decided they weren't going to take it anymore. Once the Second Wave was in firm place, companies actually had to start paying salaries to people to do the work they'd gotten out of women for decades.

Watch this trend. My guess is that there will be another grab to get women to "volunteer" to work for free. My other guess is that women will fall for it.

Project Censored 2005

Brings you the top 25 censored media stories of 2003-2004:

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Women of America: Wake the hell up

A few days ago, a federal appeals court judge upheld a ruling that a female bartender in San Francisco was not unfairly fired from her job at a Harrah's Casino in 2000 because she refused to wear makeup. The plaintiff had been on the job for 20 years and had a stirling reputation as a bartender, but when the company revised its policy to insist that women employees wear makeup, she did not go along.

After she was fired, the employeee, Darlene Jespersen, sued Harrah's for sex discrimination, and a 3-judge panel of the oh-so-liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the firing was justified, thus upholding a lower court ruling. The Court based its decision on previous rulings that allow for different grooming standards between men and women. Both the Lamda Defense Fund and the dissenting judge argued that Jespersen's firing was a violation of Title VII. The majority, however, ruled that the new Harrah's grooming standards were no more burdensome to women than to men.

One cannot help but note that there may have been other motives for getting rid of an otherwise excellent bartender. Jespersen had worked there long enough to indicate that she must have been at least 40 when she was fired, and the Lambda defense indicates that she is a lesbian. At any rate, requiring women to wear makeup is sexist, no matter how you slice it, and is a Title VII violation if I ever saw one.

Then there is the woman in Spokane who was told by a judge that she cannot divorce her abusive husband while she is pregnant. In 2002, Shawnna Hughes' husband beat her so severely that he went to jail. She is now prenant by another man, and he baby is due in March. The divorce--never contested by Hughes' husbands--was approved until it was discovered that she was pregnant. Now, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine says "There's a lot of case law that says it is important in this state that children not be illigitamized."

Putting aside the stupidity of that argument, the other part of the equation is that Hughes is set to marry the father of her child, and now the judge is preventing her from doing so.

It will not suprise anyone that Judge Bastine commented that women who are married should not become pregnant by other men. Thanks for that, Paul.

It is the 21st Century, but a radio network holds a contest to give away large breasts to women. A White House-backed Abstinence-Only education curriculum teaches that financial support is one of the five major needs of women, and domestic support is one of the five major needs of men. Male pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for women's birth control on "moral" grounds, and not all of them have lost their jobs over it. Congress keeps hacking away at funding for the Violence Against Women Act.

It's all going backwards, and at a rapid pace. When was the last time you: Wrote a letter to the editor about sexism in your community? Wrote to your Congresspeople and Senators about legislation for women? Challenged sexist remarks and behaviors in your office, your church, and your home? Donated money to feminist organizations?

The work of the Second Wave is being undone. This is a warning. Heed it now.