Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sexist Ad of the Day: Ikea

"Every woman needs her space."

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Medicaid Family Planning State Option FAIL

Yesterday, Obama caved to Republicans and facilitated the removal of family planning from the stimulus package. I find myself thinking about many scenes from The West Wing (again):

"This is about getting votes from white men."

I wish Amy Gardner was a real person. (I know we have women like her out there...I'm just feeling mopey right now.)

Planned Parenthood lays it out better than I ever could:

The Medicaid Family Planning State Option is a simple way to make health care affordable for millions of Americans. It would do two important things:

1. It would allow millions of women to obtain basic health care. It would extend safety-net health care coverage for millions of people, including many who are losing their jobs and health insurance in the economic downturn. Studies estimate that 2.3 million low-income women would receive coverage under this provision by 2014, and 500,000 women would be able to avoid unintended pregnancies.

2. In these difficult times, this provision would save states money. State budgets are being squeezed by the economic downturn, just as millions are losing their jobs and health insurance. The Medicaid Family Planning State Option not only would help states extend their coverage, it would generate savings for states and the federal government by expanding access to preventive care.

Please, take two minutes now to help us raise a public outcry.

Call the White House (202-456-1111). Let them know that during this tough economic time, expanding access to basic health care is more important than ever for women and families.

For more details, click here.

Conundrum of the day: Shin Saim-dang's picture on a South Korean bank note

According to the LA Times, the decision to put Shin Saim-dang's picture on the 50,000-won bill is controversial, both because she's a woman and because she is known as the "wise mother." one is happy. A convenience store worker doesn't want "a woman's face on [his] money." A university student hopes "people don't think she represents women in this culture. She doesn't."

From the LA Times article:

While some applauded the move as an equal rights gesture in a country where men control nearly every facet of society, others say choosing Shin reinforces sexist stereotypes about women's roles.

Known as Eojin Eomeoni, or "wise mother," Shin for 500 years has been a model of both excellent mothering skills and filial piety, according to Bank of Korea officials.

Shin was the mother of seven children, including Yi I, a famous Confucian scholar whose image adorns the nation's 5,000-won note.

The officials point out that Shin was a respected female figure in Korea's Joseon Dynasty, which ruled from 1392 to 1910.

Shin's success in fulfilling her duties as a mother, wife and daughter while succeeding as an artist has brought her great respect in modern-day South Korea, the proponents add.
I don't know enough to have an opinion on this one (hence the heavy quotage), but I thought it was an interesting story. Any thoughts from people with more knowledge on the subject?

The Bright Side: Iceland appoints openly gay, lefty woman as PM

Yay, Iceland! It's only a matter of a bajillion years before a former flight attendant-turned socialist lesbian becomes president in the US. That's right...I think Iceland's a bajillion years ahead of us on that front.

Of course, Johanna Sigurdardottir will only be PM until the general elections in May (the former PM stepped down because he so royally screwed up the economy...or because he was sick...right...that's it). And she's got an economic disaster on her hands...

But still...this is awesome.

You MUST be joking: Dating a Banker Anonymous

Dating a Banker Anonymous is a support group for women who are "stuck" dating a banker. Here's the full text from the intro:

Are you or someone you love dating a banker? If so, we are here to support you through these difficult times. Dating A Banker Anonymous (DABA) is a safe place where women can come together – free from the scrutiny of feminists– and share their tearful tales of how the mortgage meltdown has affected their relationships. DABA Girls was started by two best friends whose relationships tanked with the economy. Not knowing what else to do, we did what frustrated but articulate girls have done since the beginning of time - we started a blog. So if your monthly Bergdorf’s allowance has been halved and bottle service has all but disappeared from your life, lighten your heart with laughter and email your stories to Warning all stories sent will be infused with our own special brand of DABA Girl humor.
The "humor" they mention is the Gossip Girl/Sex and the City "look at me, I'm really spoiled and unhappy" brand of wit. To be fair, they've found a niche and they're running with it. Fine. And if they have emotionally and/or physically abusive boyfriends (or 'FBFs' - financial boyfriends), then they should have a support group.

But most of these women are talking about everyday depression. Their boyfriends are watching their lives disintegrate and it's "not what they signed up for." Their rich boyfriends aren't making money anymore and they're all mopey and "clingy." What's a girl to do?

How a good partner? Everyone goes through bad times. The nice thing about being in a relationship? Your other half wants to make you feel better. know...CARE about you. That's comforting when everything else in your life is turning to shit.

I could continue with the appalling quotes, but you get the idea. This is a group of selfish, whiny women. They act like they're victims of the recession. If they're so unhappy, just BREAK UP with the guy. It'll probably be better for him in the long run. Of course, then you'd be forced to change your "facebook status from 'in a relationship' to 'I ain’t saying I’m a gold digger, but I ain’t messin’ with no broke banker.'" THE HORROR!!!

Talk about false victimization. I wish these women would either grow a pair and help these guys out, or get out before they do any damage to their "FBFs."

UPDATE: Here's the NYT story about these ladies.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

RIP "Feminist"?

I'm tired of writing about Palin. Really, I am. But she did pose an interesting quandary for those of us who call ourselves feminists. know...SHE called herself a feminist.

A Feminist for Life.

That's a feminist who doesn't believe women should have a choice about what they do with their own bodies. A feminist who believes equal rights is being "one of the boys."

For a long time, I've believed that anyone who identifies as a feminist IS a feminist. Who am I to say they're not a "real" feminist? And then Palin came on the scene.

I don't think she would've kept the feminist thing going if it hadn't come out that she was a member of Feminists for Life. But it did, and she took it and ran with it. Smart.

Still, I don't think, as this article suggests, that she killed the word itself by "eliminating the taboo."

I don't want people to be scared of the word. I want everyone who truly believes in equal rights to be able to proudly say that they're a feminist. We don't need a taboo to keep us going. We need people on our side.

And that's what bugs me about Palin. I don't think she's on our side. Obviously, feminism means something entirely different to her. She can call herself a feminist, but a politician who believes "that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway" is not someone who is fighting for women's rights. It seems like she just wants to maintain the status quo. And that's not enough.

But the KKK didn't kill the word "Christian" and Palin didn't kill the word "feminist." She can call herself whatever she wants, but she doesn't represent feminism. She doesn't speak for us. And terrorists who call themselves Muslims don't speak for Muslims everywhere.

I'm not, in any way saying Palin is comparable to a terrorist or a member of the KKK, I just think people can use words to describe themselves without changing the definition for everyone.

I don't think Conservative Christians are anywhere near co-opting the word. I think it's still scary, just not AS scary. And that's a pretty good place to be.

Michelle Obama is not ready to call herself a feminist (she "doesn't like labels"). And I think that proves the point. People are still afraid of the word. I would love for that fear to end, but it hasn't.

It isn't time to read the "feminist" obituary, but when that time comes, it will be because it's second nature to believe that men and women should be on equal footing. (That's why we don't call people man-ists.) The death of "feminist" won't come from some female good ole boy, it will come from hard work and revolution. When everyone's a feminist...THEN it will be time to retire the word.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ding, dong the global gag rule is DEAD!

Some were pissed that Obama didn't lift the global gag rule (which denies funding to any NGO that gives abortions or abortion counseling) yesterday, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Instead, he did it today. Yesterday, he said the issue was too emotional to make the decision on such a symbolic day. day makes such a difference? I think he just wanted to stand out from the crowd (both Clinton and Bush addressed the rule on January 22nd).

Plus, there's this:

His choice to lift the gag today rather than yesterday, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision and the date that both Clinton and Bush made their announcements, is being read as a sign of respect toward antiabortion activists, who staged a large march in D.C. yesterday. That may be true, but it's also true that by making more pro-choice news today, after issuing a very strong statement in support of Roe yesterday, Obama is ensuring that his lift of the gag rule -- which really does change the landscape for international health and family services -- can stand as its own news story, rather than just getting mashed in with the rest of the January 22 "abortion day" news.
You know what? I don't care why he did it today. I'm just ecstatic that he did it. More access and funding for contraceptives, counseling, and education means fewer unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions. And that's what we all want...right? RIGHT?

Soft, Squishy White House Girlz

Ty, Inc., of Beanie Babies fame, released a set of dolls before the inauguration. COINCIDENTALLY, the dolls are two girls with dark skin and dark hair. Also COINCIDENTALLY, their names are "Sweet Sasha" and "Marvelous Malia." Not coincidentally, Michelle Obama is pissed.

The toymaker says they were "inspired by" the Obama girls, but that they chose the names because they are "beautiful." These dolls are not supposed to be exact replicas of the girls.
It's true. I don't think Sasha and Malia have hearts attached to their wrists. And the girls aren't as busty as these dolls since, you know, they're 7 and 10 years old. But this is far from a coincidence. Hey, at least they're not china dolls. Cause...well...plush dolls are pretty tough. Even if they DO have boobs.

Let the exploitation of two little girls begin!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Feminist Freak Out: Ms. Magazine's Obama Super-feminist cover

The stage is set. Tomorrow, Obama will be our President. It's historical and wonderful, and I'm still feeling the chills from that performance of "This Land is Your Land." For the first time in my life, I feel like that song might be true very soon.

So Ms. Magazine decided to get in on the action with a "special Inaugural issue." The cover of the issue has caused a lot of femi-freak. Here it is:

Some feminists are upset at what they feel is a misguided image of feminism. Right. Who wants the President on our side? We want people fighting for our rights, just not the man who beat what this article calls the "real live" Wonder Woman candidate (Hillary Clinton). We're bitter, we're hurt, and we'd rather just sit in our meetings and complain.

And I'm saying, no. That's not what we're about. Feminists are PEOPLE who believe in women's rights. And while I don't think he's a God or a superhero, we want him fighting for us. While The Super-Feminist would make for a boring comic book, it's great in real life. Sure, we haven't broken the presidential glass ceiling, but all women are not feminists (Palin, anyone?). Yeah, we don't need men to rescue us. But if that man is President, we need him on our side.

To the Second Wave Feminists who are still bitter about Clinton, who still think of feminism as an exclusive club, I say: Get over it. Wait till he screws something up, then complain. But maybe this time, he'll actually listen to us.