Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Hi all,
I just wanted to apologize for my absenteeism. I am not abandoning my blog and I am certainly not abandoning my issues. Unfortunately, as some of you who know me personally know, my mother is rather sick right now and I am focusing on doing what I can to help her and making sure I pull my own weight at work. I do have a few posts that I have started and been unable to finish. Perhaps I will knock one of them out tonight, but more than likely it will still be a few days.

On the bright side, my mom seems to be slowly getting better from this current setback. PLUS I voted today, so that is good.

That's all for now. My best to all my readers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bodies: Olympic Sponsorship Edition

Okay, so I am deeply bothered to learn that the strongest athlete in America, Sarah Robles, has to accept donations from her friends just to keep her head above water. Jessica Testa from Buzzfeed fills us in. Robles can lift more weight than any other American competitor (men included), but she only receives $400 monthly from U.S.A. Weightlifting. Unfortunately, "PowerBar is Robles’ only product sponsorship and her name isn’t yet big enough to land her any big special appearances." 

This is problematic, once again, because much of the reason for her lack of sponsorship is her body type. In order to lift 568 pounds, her body has to be large enough to support that. That means she's not going to look like Venus or Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jennie Finch, or Abby Wambach. She has a much broader frame than any of those women. That's great for her sport, but not for getting corporate sponsorships. 

(My full wrath after the jump.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Check it Out: Rape Jokes Edition

Kate Harding collected 15 rape jokes she found funny here. I didn't find all of them funny, but most of them made me chuckle. They all followed her two simple rules, "A) they’re constructed so that rape victims are not the butt of the joke, and B) they made me laugh." I do think it is sad that Dane Cook can tell a funny rape joke that isn't damaging to hear, but most other hacks can't. Get it together, comedians.

I also am going to repost the link to Lindy West's Jezebel article because it was helpful.

And in case you missed Jessica Valenti's article at the Nation, here it is again.

Curtis Luciani wrote about why only very skilled comedians are able to tell rape jokes and jokes about other very damaging experiences.

This one needs a MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING. This is another Tosh.0 video showing a "prank" that involves two teenage boys and a large dildo. I kinda want to throw up now. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Just For Fun

In case you need some quick relief because all my serious posts are getting you down, you can check out "The Usual Suspects" of men who comment on feminist blogs.
I have yet to get comments like this on my blog (only on Reddit), so thank you to any dudes who have been reading my blog. Congratulations! I love you. Thankfully, I know some male feminists and a lot of best case scenarios. If you're a dude who falls into one of the awesome categories, feel free to shout it out loud and proud. We appreciate you!

Why I Should Avoid Reddit: Arguing Against Rape Jokes [Update]

*Trigger warning: This post discusses rape jokes and insensitivity to rape survivors.*
[Update: I added two links to other relevant and brilliant articles at the bottom.]
Duty Calls
Thank you, xkcd. You have perfectly summed up my evening.

Last night I intended to go shamelessly promote my "Nice Guys" post over at Reddit, and when I go there, I always check out some of the other posts in the hot and new sections of the Feminism subreddit. Unfortunately for me, there was a huge debate going on on several posts regarding Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central's Tosh.O. 

In case you don't know Tosh or his brand of offensive slurs and homophobic rants strung together humor, here is a brief video:


(Reason for the outrage after the jump)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Promised "Nice Guys" Post

Okay, in my "Abuse is Not Funny" post last week, I promised I would weigh in on "Nice Guy" syndrome and its implications. This is a subject that has certainly been discussed by many people with as many different views. 

I will begin this discussion by saying that I am not trying to indicate that there are no men who are legitimately nice out there. I know there are because I've known them and in fact, I've dated them. Men can be genuinely nice while also being aggressive, funny, and popular. I've dated and been friends with these men. There are also men who are capable of being shy, mostly passive, sweet, and also genuinely nice and interested. I have also dated a man like this and been friends with others. My point is that this is not about men who are genuinely nice, who are interested in being friends with people, and who are clear about their expectations and desires (even if it takes them a little while to work up the nerve to communicate them). 

Most of this discussion and debate focuses around men who are interested in women. I am going to be clear and say that there are men who behave like this toward other men they are interested in and there are women who behave like this toward their desired partners. This is really a social issue, not just a feminist one, so don't go away from this thinking I'm beating up on heterosexual males.

(My actual analysis begins after the jump.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Abuse is Not Funny [Edit]

*Trigger warning: this post discusses domestic abuse (although not in detail)*

[EDIT: This post raised some interesting questions from various readers. I have since changed the wording of a sentence in the last paragraph. My issue with the pathologizing of female behavior is not to diminish domestic abuse committed by women. In fact, it is an attempt to help differentiate between people complaining about their female partners' annoying behavior and people disclosing their female partners' abusive behavior. The line is sometimes blurred and I appreciate that people are recognizing the importance of encouraging victims of abuse by women to come forward for help. The societal views will not change unless we demand that they do.]

So, I was directed via Facebook to a lol--omg--so freaking funny blog post over at Shrink4Men by Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, in which she trivializes female abusers at the same time as she warns of their danger. The "crazy bitch quiz," which is an advertisement for her remote counseling services offered for a fee via Skype, mixes serious warning signs of abusive relationships ("Do you find yourself making excuses to your family, friends and colleagues for her inexcusable behavior?" and "Does focus solely on her emotional experience while exhibiting little or no empathy for yours? (sic)") with ridiculous, not even funny fake signs ("Is her lipstick a little too red? Is it applied like theater makeup and a tad crooked?"). 

She then continues to say things like "If you think you may be involved with an abusive woman, good luck." and "You’re not alone. They’re everywhere." I fail to see how this is helpful for these abuse victims. Don't we want to aid victims of abuse in escaping the abusive relationship and seeking ways to end the cycle of victimization? Because I don't think saying "good luck" really cuts it as a mental health professional.

(More after the jump)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

On PPACA or "Obamacare"

Update: You should totally read this on how Obamacare affects your vagina over a Jezebel!

I love me some Obamacare. I really, really do. I've also decided that I like the reclaiming of the term Obamacare, because honestly, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is kind of difficult to say. I used to call it the Affordable Care Act, but even that is long. And honestly, I kinda like the look on people's faces when I say Obamacare, but then proceed to rave about how much it is already helping people. 

Just in case you were ignoring the nation for a while, you are probably aware that SCOTUS has ruled 5-4 in favor of PPACA. This is good news for me and for people like me. If you're not sure who will benefit from this ruling and/or how people are benefiting from Obamacare already and how they will continue to in the future, check out this very simplified reddit post. You can also read the more official info at healthcare.gov and the info from the White House

I'm not in love with the NYTimes turning this victory into a political game, declaring this a "victory for Mr. Obama." I am, however, super excited about the law being upheld. (I'll tell you why after the jump.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Response From My Email to My State Representative

This is the email I received in response to my previously published email to my State Representative regarding the dangerous abortion legislation being forced through Michigan's Congress. This is why I vote. Kate Segal, I will vote for you again and again.

(Email after the jump)

Yet Another Feminist Blogging About Body Image

Surprise, surprise. Women have fucked up body image issues. (Men do, too, but this post will be about women. If anyone would like to guest post on men's body image, please let me know.)

We all recall the backlash over Vogue's story about the 7 year old whose mother put her on a diet. If you don't recall, it was kind of everywhere. Wouldn't it be great if we could move past this toxic cycle in which we indoctrinate young people into a culture of fat shaming? 

Well now, there is a new campaign called Keep It Real fighting to get magazines geared toward young girls and women to publish ONE unaltered photo in each issue. You can participate, too.  Here is the guide.

(More after the jump.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Some Quick Links From the Week

I was sorta AWOL last week, sorry. But I did get a chance to check out some important links for you guys.

Thanks to Tom for sharing this with me: "The Only Good Abortion is My Abortion" by Maggie Koerth-Baker.

Zerlina over at Feministing wrote on the new White House PSA on domestic violence: 1is2many. Favorite part:
The reality is that so many of us have experienced both violence and the societal blame that follows and in some ways it’s the latter that is more hurtful and damaging long term. This ad is a monumental step in changing the narrative around who should receive all of the blame for violence – the person committing it – and it helps put everyone else on notice that it is our collective responsibility to support and speak up for and with survivors brave enough to tell their stories.

Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote "Why Women Still Can't Have it All" for the Atlantic. If you haven't read it yet, get off my blog and go read it now! I mean that. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

International Olympic Committee or Gender Police?

Okay, so I know that's kind of an inflammatory headline, but this is a blog so deal with it. I honestly don't know how I feel about part of the debate around the IOC's attempt to protect women from competitors who aren't female enough by enacting new regulations that will test female competitors testosterone levels. I haven't entirely made up my mind on all of these issues so I'm going to be incredibly honest here and see if anyone is willing to do the same and share their opinions on the matter.

First off, here is the part I can readily say is bullshit: the method of testing. It turns out that testosterone is not even remotely a good marker for this type of testing. Rebecca Jordan-Young and Katrina Karkazis explained in an article for the NY Times:
Testosterone is one of the most slippery markers that sports authorities have come up with yet. Yes, average testosterone levels are markedly different for men and women. But levels vary widely depending on time of day, time of life, social status and — crucially — one’s history of athletic training. Moreover, cellular responses range so widely that testosterone level alone is meaningless.
Testosterone is not the master molecule of athleticism. One glaring clue is that women whose tissues do not respond to testosterone at all are actually overrepresented among elite athletes.
As counterintuitive as it might seem, there is no evidence that successful athletes have higher testosterone levels than less successful ones.
In case you're wondering where they got the authority to make such claims (I was curious), it appears that they coauthored a study recently published in The American Journal of Bioethics titled "Out of Bounds? A Critique of the New Policies on Hyperandrogenism in Elite Female Athletes." Full text is available hereBasically, there is no evidence that having more testosterone increases performance in athletics. 

(More info and my struggles after the jump.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rape and the Language of Reporting

*Trigger warning: in discussing reporting, I quote some descriptions of sexual assault.*

I've been loosely following the Jerry Sandusky rape and sexual abuse trial. Since I have not been obsessively following the coverage, I don't have a whole lot to say about how the prosecution is handling the case. I do, however, have an issue with how the mainstream media has been covering the trial.

It all started when I read this article at FoxNews from Reuters reporter Ian Simpson. (I don't know how I keep ending up at FoxNews; I blame Google News.) The first thing that struck me was how offensive the idea was that the defense would be introducing testimony claiming Sandusky's letters to his victims were the product of his histrionic personality disorder, not pedophilia. What bothers me about this is pretty obvious--just because he had a personality disorder does not excuse his abusive behavior toward minors. 

What really struck me, though, was later in the short article. Simpson writes:

Prosecutors allege Sandusky had physical contact with the boys over a 15-year period that ranged from tickling and a "soap battle" in Pennsylvania State University football showers to oral and anal sex.
 Emphasis mine. Now, the defense attorneys are simply doing their jobs by digging up ridiculous excuses for the alleged sexual predator. Simpson, on the other hand, is not doing his job; he is misleading the public by not calling rape rape. The prosecutors are not alleging that Sandusky had sex with anyone: they are alleging that he raped and sexually assaulted minors. Assault and rape are not interchangeable with sex. 

(So much more after the jump.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Check It Out: Some Quick Links of Michigan's War on Women

Jos over at Feministing writes about HB 5711 passing yesterday with only 20 minutes of debate. I have no words, so I'm glad she does.

Another from Jos, this one includes a transcript from Lisa Brown's "vagina" comment.

And Angie Becker Stevens at RH Reality Check also wrote about HB 5711 passing the Michigan House.

Obama's immigration announcement

Reuters has a rather cynical analysis of President Obama's announcement on immigration today. Jeff Mason and Richard Cowan essentially parrot the Romney opinion that this is a "Power Grab." They talk about this immigration news as if Obama were pandering, as if he has never before moved for legislation to help children who came to this country illegally. They acknowledge the DREAM act that failed in 2010 and Obama's past efforts on immigration:
Obama has long supported measures to allow the children of illegal immigrants to study and work in the United States, but efforts to pass such measures in Congress have failed amid objections by Republicans.
Yet they talk about the move as if it were solely to draw additional votes (and funding) from the Latino community:
Obama's order was the second time in two months that he has reached out to a key Democratic voting constituency. Last month, he said for the first time that he supports legalizing gay marriages, a move that while largely symbolic, won him praise and campaign donations from the gay and lesbian community.
They speculate the President's motive, saying this policy "seemed to be aimed at Hispanics whose enthusiasm for voting in the Nov. 6 election could be crucial to Obama's re-election chances."

[More analysis and other somewhat surprising coverage after the jump.]


Apparently use of anatomical terms in the Michigan House of Representatives is "vulgar," "inappropriate," and "offensive." On Wednesday, State Representative Lisa Brown, a Democrat, said, "I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'" 

[Video and discussion after the jump.]

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

update on voting on HB 5711, 5712, & 5713

Just a head's up: looks like the Michigan house is holding off on their vote until tomorrow. There's still time to contact your representative and the speaker of the House, Jase Bolger.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Update on Michigan War on Women

Quick update: Planned Parenthood called me to let me know the Michigan House of Representatives is voting on HB 5711, 5712, and 5713. As far as I can tell, we're getting hit with provisions for preventing coercion, restricting teleconferencing used to prescribe RU-486 to physically remote patients, and the fetal pain provision.  I especially enjoyed (if you can call it that) subsection (11) in HB 5711, which provides the requirement for doctors to show the women pictures and descriptions of the fetus and describe the medical procedure, etc.

 Did anyone catch any others? There's so much to wade through to even find the changes and I'm finding too many contradictory claims on other blogs/websites to want to re-post any of it.

Anyway, if you read this anytime soon, feel free to call your representatives or to contact Speaker of the Michigan House Jase Bolger at JaseBolger@house.mi.gov or 517-373-1787. I left him a helpful message asking him to make sure he supports women in the future and that he helps protect women from harmful legislation such as this.

In case you were wondering if he supports women right now, I'd encourage you to take a look at his page on VoteSmart. (Spoiler alert: he doesn't.)

Help Servicewomen Who Are Victimized

Did you know that members of the United States military cannot get an abortion at a military hospital--even if the pregnancy is the result of a sexual assault? I didn't. As Darlene Iskra over at Battleland writes:

Most rape victims are junior enlisted women who cannot afford an abortion in the civilian sector. Enlisted earn less pay, and often come from families who cannot afford to help them. If they are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, they cannot get an abortion in country and must return to the United States, if they can convince their commands to let them go. Then they must pay for the procedure itself. The policies are stacked against women who are raped and become pregnant. Congress is the only organization that can change this scenario.
Even more embarrassing for our government? This restriction is not across the board, "U.S. servicewomen remain the only federal workers denied coverage in cases of rape. Even federal inmates can get abortions." I find it unacceptable that we have thus far failed to end the culture of sexual violence that seems to be especially dominant in the military and then when the people who are victimized by this system seek help, they are denied. 

[Discussion and how you can help after the jump.]

Are you afraid of the dark?

*trigger warning* (While this post doesn't talk much about the act of sexual abuse, it does talk a bit about its aftermath.)

This post is a pretty personal one, so if you know me (I'm assuming most of my readers at this point do) and don't want to think of me in any deep way, you may want to skip this one.

Okay. Now that all the disclaimers are through, I can begin to tell you what's going on today. This morning I read an article about adults who suffer from insomnia and if they are afraid of the dark (spoiler alert: a lot of them are). As you will notice in reading this blog, most everything gets me thinking. So this, of course, got me thinking.

[Personal anecdote after the jump.]

Saturday, June 9, 2012

devastating military suicide rate


The above link sends you to a pretty depressing article about the suicide rate of military service members. Unfortunately it's back on the rise again and nearly one veteran has killed him or herself everyday in 2012.

I am not a military member and I have never served my country in combat. However, as a civilian looking in (and one who herself is struggling with depression, anxiety, and PTSD), there are a few suggestions I'd like to make. Obviously we need to work harder to protect our soldiers from hazing, beatings, "friendly fire," etc. We also need to provide better education and protection to prevent sexual assaults (and I don't mean educate potential victims, I mean teach soldiers how to not rape each other).

Those issues are ones that I will likely address in other posts. Today I want to focus on what can be done right now. Right now, we can make sure that VAs are fully staffed, that they don't see funding cuts while dealing with so many new veterans. Right now we can support groups trying to help veterans get and keep jobs, since financial stress is playing a major factor in some suicides. Right now we can help veterans we know and be good battle buddies for them as they reenter civilian life. Right now we can educate ourselves on the warning signs of suicide.

THEN we can put pressure on military leadership to change the culture within the military to one that supports seeking help.

Friday, June 8, 2012

War on Women in Michigan

Sooo.... I started a blog at WordPress, but I think I like blogger better. Good thing I hadn't done much over at WordPress yet. Starting again.

Anyway, I currently live in the state of Michigan. Unfortunately, my state representatives are pushing through legislation that would severely restrict women's right to choose. The decision to have an abortion is, I would imagine, never an easy one. I don't see any reason why we should continue to try to make it a harder one. Often the decision is made on a medical basis, either for the fetus or for the mother. (The woman who live tweeted her abortion was terminating the pregnancy because her last pregnancy nearly killed her.) As Jenni Lane's story from RH Reality Check states:
The vast majority of later abortions are performed for similar medical reasons, because so many serious conditions are impossible to detect until near or after the 20-week point. Far from being an exception to the rule, nearly all of the women affected by a ban on abortions after 20 weeks will be women just like Jenni, who are making the excruciating choice to end a wanted pregnancy in which the fetus cannot possibly survive.
[More after the jump.]