Since beginning this blog, we have wanted to write about breastfeeding and the current culture that surrounds it. Both of us had troubling experiences when our expectations about breastfeeding collided with the too-often ignored realities that come with it. We want to start by telling our stories, and then offering some thoughts about what women can do to deal with encouragement and discouragement around breastfeeding. Read the rest of this entry
While nervously awaiting the rulings on The Defense of Marriage of Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 (which went in the direction they needed to go this morning!), another hugely important political moment was happening in Texas. The State Legislature was ending its special session and (insert descriptive terms of your choice here) Governor Rick Perry had snuck one of the most damaging reproduce rights’ bills (look halfway down the page at the information on SB-5) into the session. The bill had such draconian regulations in it that it would have shut down all but 5 of the 47 women’s clinics in the state.
Enter Wendy Davis, the amazing Democratic Senator from Fort Worth. Davis endured a solo THIRTEEN HOUR filibuster, in which she was not allowed to eat, drink, talk about anything other than the bill and its impact, leave the podium, sit down, or even lean on anything while she tried to run the clock down on the session in order to keep this bill from passing. Read the rest of this entry
After my daughter was born last July, something changed. What Henry Rollins calls the “ember of rage” that had been simmering deep down inside of me pushed upwards to the surface. It has been painful and transformational and I sit here today wondering it will lead.
Yesterday I read the suicide note from an Iraq-war veteran named Daniel Somers. I won’t do the man and his family the injustice of quoting from it, but instead, I urge you to read the note in its entirety here.
This issue hits really close to home for me, as I would include it with the many feminist issues that Lisa and I want to discuss with all of you. Perhaps this entire blog was born out of finding that my ember of rage needed more than just my own thoughts to stoke it.
It is uncomfortable to deal with rage, and frustration, and heartbreak over much of what is happening in our world. We do a great job, thanks to capitalist patriarchy, of masking and avoiding those feelings – things like obsessing over our bodies and physical appearance, abusing a variety of substances, or accruing more money and possessions. But our relationships to others and our knowledge of the pain that other people have keeps reminding us that masking is only a temporary fix.
It doesn’t matter what your ember of rage comes from or if you think you don’t have one. As Henry Rollins discusses in his story about visiting disabled veterans at Walter Reed Hospital, we all have one. Yours may have to do with children, women, LGBTQ rights, mental health, the elderly, racism, war, wealth distribution, animals, the environment. Rollins gives a stirring call to action in his show, by saying that we all have to decide that “this” isn’t going to get passed on to our children. And it’s up to all of us to, as he says, decide that this (whatever that ember of rage is for you) isn’t going to happen on our watch.
The Ember of Rage. Let’s see where it leads us.
My junior high years were filled with the music and visual images of the female recording artists Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar. These were powerful women, often with overt pre-grrl power sentiments behind their lyrics, physical images, and lives.
Lauper was quirky, Benatar was tough, and Madonna dared the viewer to objectify her, letting him or her know that she was always the more powerful even if she was the one being viewed through the lens. Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday I saw Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s This is the End, a meditation on the difficulties of balancing friendship and ambition with a lot of demons and dick jokes. I liked it, even though it resoundingly fails the Bechdel test; I don’t think a single conversation takes place between two women, full stop—forget figuring out if all they have to talk about is men.
In the recent Miss. USA pagent, Miss. Utah received a question about income inequality between the genders. It was a great question, and her answer was thoroughly nonsensical. Take a look:
It’s truly cringe-inducing, and there has been a swift public excoriation of Miss. Utah, pageants, and everything in between. A very smart woman I know responded to it in a different way. She notes that we may be calling a woman “stupid” who was in truth panicked. She goes on: “Perpetuating ‘stupid’ as a label for women (for anyone) who are trying to at least do something with their lives (even Miss. America) is a little harsh.”
I think my friend brings up a great point. It’s as if by participating in a beauty pageant, we think these women are fair game for pure hatred and ridicule, and that one admittedly terrible answer is a reflection on their general intelligence and worth. As my friend said, that’s a little harsh.