Lately, I've been on the verge of losing my mind at work. It has been crazy for the last, lets just say several months, and hasn't slowed down a bit! To top it off I'm actually doing the job of two people, sometimes it feels like more, so it's suffice to say that I'm desperate for some much needed (and I'd like to say deserved) time off and after two years without an actual vacation the time has finally, FINALLY come!
So excuse my virtual absence for a few days while I sit by the beach and sip some cocktails down in Florida. I hope Tropical Storm Danny (he's not a Hurricane yet is he?) doesn't interfere too much! I'll have wifi and my computer so I might pop on by to say hello, but this lady needs some R&R so I'll likely be MIA!
Enjoy your weekends everyone!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Lately, I've been on the verge of losing my mind at work. It has been crazy for the last, lets just say several months, and hasn't slowed down a bit! To top it off I'm actually doing the job of two people, sometimes it feels like more, so it's suffice to say that I'm desperate for some much needed (and I'd like to say deserved) time off and after two years without an actual vacation the time has finally, FINALLY come!
Imagine being sentenced to life in prison without parole at 16-years-old. Your whole life - or what you thought it could of been - flashes before your eyes. That future no longer belongs to you.
Imagine that the circumstances surrounding your imprisonment are completely unjust and down right cruel.
Sara Kruzan doesn't have to imagine this horrific nightmare. For her it is reality.
What happened to Sara? How did she end up in jail? What could she have done to deserve life without parole?
Find out the answers to these questions and learn more about Sara's story at Care2!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
To commemorate Women's Equality Day NOW launched a new blog - Say it Sister - "to inform, inspire and instigate feminist activism."
I gave it a quick look and while I'm not crazy about the color choices, it looks like it will be a great new place for feminist minds to gather in the blogosphere to share our thoughts and concerns about this crazy world we live in. I know I'll be checking it out and you never know, it just might get a little space over in my blog roll!
Check out NOW's announcement about the blog below:
NOW Launches Action-Oriented Blog on Women's Equality Day
"These splendid people are hungry, hungry. Oh, for more power to give out the truth!"
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1875
The National Organization for Women is proud to celebrate Women's Equality Day this year by launching Say It, Sister! — a new blog designed to inform, inspire and instigate feminist activism.
Women's Equality Day marks the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. For more than 70 years, the foremothers of feminism campaigned for women's equality at the polls, and they finally achieved victory in 1920.
Nearly a century later, the ballot box remains vital to protecting and advancing women's rights, but the way we educate voters and petition our government has changed dramatically. The Internet has brought us unprecedented organizing power, and there's little doubt that suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth would have welcomed this tremendous opportunity to amplify their voices and reach out to women across the country and around the globe.
In the tradition of those great feminists, Say It, Sister! will bring women's rights supporters together to motivate and strengthen each other in our mission to end all forms of sex discrimination. The blog will serve as a place where NOW leaders speak their minds, call women and men to action, encourage feedback and facilitate a lively (no doubt) dialogue.
"I am thrilled to launch NOW's blog, Say It, Sister!, on Women's Equality Day," said NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson. "As Elizabeth Cady Stanton said so long ago, there are many hungry people out there. Well, now we have this incredible power to nourish them and point them in the right direction to make change, and that's just what we plan to do!"
The NOW blog is located at www.now.org/blog
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Better late than never, right?
I completely forgot about today's significance until I got an email from my sister at work wishing me a Happy Women's Equality Day! I got so busy at work that it slipped my mind until now but I couldn't let it go and it's not midnight yet here on the East Coast so I guess I'm coming in right under the wire.
So thank you suffragists for working so hard to guarantee my right to vote. Thanks to your tireless efforts in ensuring the passing of the 19th Amendment, women like me and those across the country have exercised our right to vote for nearly 90 years and this year I cashed in my vote for the first woman candidate for President - Mrs. Hillary Clinton. That is a moment I will never forget.
Speaking of women's suffrage. I came across a movie - Iron Jawed Angels - with Hilary Swank that is a beautiful portrayal of the suffrage movement. I definately recommend checking it out if you haven't already.
Happy Women's Equality Day all!
By now you've probably seen or heard of the woman on page 194.
If not let me introduce you.
Meet Lizzi Miller. She's a 20-year-old model who recently graced the glossy pages of Glamour magazine in nothing but a thong – all 180 pounds of her.
I wrote a post about this picture on Care2 that has stirred quite a bit of buzz in the comments section - some points of which I'd like to address here.
First of all, I do not believe that Lizzi is physically plus-sized, but by modeling industry standards she is considered a "plus-size" model. Ridiculous, I know. Maybe we would make more progress in body acceptance if the runways stopped referring to "average" women (like Lizzi) as "plus-size" and started putting them on the runways! For now though I guess a 3-by-3 inch photo hidden in the middle of a magazine is progress (baby steps, very little baby steps).
Secondly, as a size 12-14 Lizzi does represent the "average" American woman. I hate the word "average" but statistically this is true.
Thirdly, at 5 foot 11 and 180 pounds, Lizzi's BMI is slightly (and I mean slighty) overweight. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Lizzi's BMI is 25.1 putting her in the overweight category. For her weight and height a BMI of 18.5-24.9 would be considered normal. So tecnically Lizzi is overweight, but seriously she's .2 away.
Lastly, I don't think Lizzi looks overweight or plus-sized or fat. I think she looks beautiful and confident. I wish I had a picture of myself like this and am glad I came across this one because Lizzi has given this lady a newfound love for her belly pooch.
Make sure you check out my article on Care2!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Answer: "I believe that now a days we women have overcome many obstacles and I do believe that we have reached the same level that men have. We must realize there are no longer any barriers amongst us."
To this answer she received rousing applause and cheers.
I'm sorry what?
There are really no words (except bad ones) so I'll leave it at that.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I know many people have very strong opinions about Hillary Clinton. I do too. It seems that they either love her or hate her. I LOVE her! I think she is a phenomenal woman who champions women's rights around the world tirelessly and for that I am thankful.
She recently returned from an 11-day tour of Africa where she focused largely on bringing women's issues to the forefront of the governments across the continent. Before leaving for her trip she sat down with New York Times to talk about her work on women's issues. Below are my favorite highlights:
"Democracy means nothing if half the people can’t vote, or if their vote doesn’t count, or if their literacy rate is so low that the exercise of their vote is in question."
"I happen to believe that the transformation of women’s roles is the last great impediment to universal progress..."
"... in too many places and too many ways, the oppression of women stands as a stark reminder of how difficult it is to realize people’s full human potential."
"If you look at where we are fighting terrorism, there is a connection to groups that are making a stand against modernity, and that is most evident in their treatment of women."
"President Obama and I and the United States will not tolerate this continuation of wanton, senseless, brutal violence perpetrated against girls and women."
"... so-called women’s issues are stability issues, security issues, equity issues."
Also be sure to check out my post on Care2 about her trip to Africa.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's a Special Issue called, "Saving the World's Women: The Women's Crusade."
I was a little daunted when I saw that the article was 7 pages long, but when I finished I was disappointed. I wanted more and luckily there will be more next month. The essay featured is actually adapted from Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's (a former NYT correspondent and Kristof's wife's) new book, "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide."
“'Women hold up half the sky,' in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos."It doesn't have to be this way. We can reach out and help the women and girls of the world and in doing so help us all. Kristof and WuDunn have the right idea in their essay which is sprinkled with inspiring tales of women and girls from the most remote and improverished regions of the world and innovative ideas to help better the lives of women and girls globally.
Check out a sneak peak to Half the Sky at the NYT now!
Friday, August 14, 2009
So, I'm currently on the Bolt Bus (free internet!) on my way to Boston for ....
COUNTRY FEST 2009!!
I know, I know. What's a New York City girl doing listening to country music, but some friends of mine in college got me hooked and I've never looked back. I mostly like pop country, you know, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, etc and this weekend I will get to see 5 great artisits perform at Gillette Stadium including the great Kenny Chesney as well as Sugarland (another favorite of mine), Lady Antebellum (a relatively new group), Miranda Lambert (a solo female fav), and Montgomery Gentry (who I honesty know nothing about). It's going to be a great show and I could not be more excited!
While I'm away for your weekend enjoyment I wanted to leave you with my latest Care2 posts. I've neglected to post them so wanted to play a little catch up. So check them out:
Gym Shooter Targeted Women
Rape Tactic of War in the Congo Target New Victims: Men
Chris Brown Apologizes: Is It Too Late?
Match.com Serial Rapist: Finally Found Guilty 8 Years After First Attacks
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I've been thinking a lot about my little virtual home here at Feminist in the City and I've come to some new thoughts on how I'd like to, let's say, decorate it. See, I thought that writing this blog would be something I would enjoy, something that would give me space to express my thoughts and feelings about the world around me, but instead it has become a chore, something always nagging me in the back of my mind. And I think I know why.
It's because I was taking this too seriously, trying too hard to write the right thing and in the right way, trying too hard to sound smart and witty, so much so that I lost sight of what it was I wanted to do, which is be ME! And share MY thoughts no matter how inane or wise. And I learned something: my thoughts, my opinions cannot be edited. They are what I think and feel and no-one has to agree. In fact, if you disagree, please let me know. If I haven't thought of something that you have let me know! I'd LOVE to hear from you.
So, things are going to change around here, hopefully for the better. I may ramble about my day or what's stressing me out. I might get really angry about something sexists or unjust that I read about. I may give you some insight into the little old island of Manhattan that I inhabit - cool spots to check out, restaurants to eat at, exhibits to visit, etc.
So, here's to a new day and hopefully a new look soon (I'm still not digging this layout / colors)!
Sidenote: Let it be known that while writing this post I could not get Celine Dion's "A New Day has Come" song out of my mind.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Ok - just like the rest of America I too am sick of the never ending Jon and Kate Plus 8 saga but it doesn't seem like this news is ever going to die, is it so I'm why not put in my own two cents like everyone else?
For the record I'm "Team Kate" on this one. Yes, she has her faults (impatient, neurotic, anal, etc, etc, etc) but she loves her children and takes her job, which provides for her family, a family of 10 (er, 9 now?), seriously. That I do not fault her for. I applaud her. Yes she has an unconventional job and yes maybe she is stretching her 15 minutes of fame, but it is a job that allows her to provide for her family (imagine having to pay for 8 children to attend college, 5 weddings, etc). What's so wrong with that? Is it just that people are threatened by this Supermom breadwinner?
Anyway, I digress. Today, Kate appeared on the Today show to talk yet again about her divorce and soon-to-be-ex-husbands infidelity. We've heard it all before splashed across the pages of tabloids and magazines and what's starting to get me even more infuriated about the whole mess is the media's coverage of the story.
Take for example two stories that ran today about Kate's appearance on the Today Show.
The first from the Associated Press is titled, "Kate Gosselin still wears her wedding ring." Hmm. So the news worthy angle here is two paint Kate as the pathetic, lonely housewife who can't possibly bear to take her wedding band off, right? Wrong. In the interview she explains that she wears her wedding ring for the sake of her eight children - her eight children who naturally are devastated by their parent's separation. This is not a sign of a woman's desperate hope to work things out with the father of her children. No, as always, Kate is thinking of her children first.
The second story from today's news that nearly made my head blow off was from the title of a video on the Daily Beast where you can view a clip of Kate on the Today Show. Above the still image of Kate on TV is the title, "Kate: I Still Love Jon." What? That has got to be one of the most misleading headlines I have ever read. if you actually listen to the interview you will see that after Meredith asks, "Does any part of you still love him?" Kate responds, "When I think back to the Jon I knew yes, um, suffice is to say." That is not a declaration of love for her cheating, foolish husband as the title leads you to believe. Yes, she loved him, at a time - the time before Jon decided he wanted out of his marriage to go off gallivanting with young women in the Hamptons and NYC.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A new report has found that violence against women in the form of burning and acid attacks is on the rise in Pakistan. Women who are seen as dishonoring their families are often the targets of these attacks which leave both devastating physical and emotional scars.
Read more at Care2.
Monday, July 6, 2009
So, as much of the world has come to find out Sarah Palin has resigned as governor of Alaska.
I was on my way out the door to enjoy a nice cold beer on the beach on such a beautiful 4th of July day when I saw the story on the news. I was shocked and instantly suspicious.
Why would she resign in such a hurry (by the end of the month) when she still has 18 months left in her first term as governor?
Why did she wait until a holiday weekend to make the announcement? Perhaps, she was hoping to catch the media off guard? I think so.
Is there some juciy secret ready to be leaked that would have her ousted as governor anyway so she wanted to stay ahead of the game? Maybe.
Whatever the reason I think we all know that this isn't the last of Ms. Sarah. Oh what will she - from the outside in - do next?
Some interesting articles on Palin's exit:
@ Jezebel - "3 Reasons Sarah Palin Was Good — And Bad — For Women In Politics"
@ NYT - " Now, Sarah’s Folly"
Thursday, July 2, 2009
In Sweden, a 24-year-old couple has chosen to keep their two-and-a-half-year-old child's sex a secret in hopes of helping him or her help avoid the preconceived notions of what it means to be male or female.
“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”
Read more at Care2
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Joseph Brooks, the Oscar-winning composer and director of “You Light Up My Life,” has been accused of raping and sexually assaulting women he lured to his apartment for a starring movie role via a Craigslist ad. What a pig!
Read more at Care2!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Your eyes aren't deceiving you! I'm trying out this new blogger template and in the time being things will be changing up a bit while I get settled!
On that note, do any of you savy web experts out there know how I can make the left hand sidebar wider? Any help would be much appreciated!
Also, what do you think? Like the new look?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A while back on Care2 I wrote about the backlog of rape kits in California that have gone untested.
It was so shocking to me that evidence with the potential of putting rapists behind bars was just sitting in labs without any urgency. With so many women victimized each year this is completely unjust not to mention stupid!
Now it seems that a budget deficiet in Cali could delay or stop the testing altogether. So women continue to be raped and rapists continue to walk free. Someone explain to me how any of this makes sense?
1 in 4 men in South Africa admit to rape. Of these almost half admit to being repeat offenders.
I know sexual violence in South Africa isn't a new concept, but that doesn't mean that these statistics become less impactful. In fact, I feel the very opposite. The more I read about it and the more studies that confirm its existence, the more saddened and angered I get!
Read more at Care2!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Ok so I know alcohol companies are notorious for disrespecting women but Bacardi's latest promotional ploy is just too much.
Good thing the blogsphere blew up when this story came out and the website was taken down and now Bacardi has issued the following apology:
Thank you for taking the time to post your story regarding Bacardi Breezer.
The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.
Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
At his speech at Cairo University last week, President Obama tackled the issue of women's rights in the Muslim world.
Check out what he had to say, and what I think about it, at Care2!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
So, I've been on a bit of a "virtual vacation" the last week for a few reasons. First, work has been the craziest it has been for me in the time that I've been there and secondly I've been traveling a lot. One of my best friends from college is getting married and I've been away for her bridal shower and most recently her bachelorette party but alas I'm back and boy is there a lot going on - and at the forefront of course the murder of a hero - Dr. George Tiller.
I've been so angered, shocked, and saddened by the untimely death of Dr. Tiller that it's been difficult for me to put into words how I feel although I've been reading lots about how other people feel. Both the anti-choice and pro-choice sides are up in arms and I've been utterly disgusted by the things said by anti-choice zealots like Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry and Fox News Bill O'Reilly. This USA Today editorial that I read today describes what happened in a way that speaks to me. My favorite part is the end:
Regardless of personal beliefs about abortion, authorities have an obligation to protect those providing and receiving abortion services, and to prosecute those who harass or threaten them. The tragedy of Tiller's death will only be compounded if it frightens away more doctors and makes a legal procedure even harder to come by.
On a lighter note this article from the NYT put a smile on my face from beginning to end. Maybe every man should be forced to go through menopause to get an intimate look at a woman's life (you're intrigued aren't you??) Check it out!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
...to a memorable evening featuring music by the children of the St. Joseph School band, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and more!
A friend of mine is organizing the event in support of the school's Music and Extended Day program. As a former band member I know the importance of music in education and its confidence building capacity. I played the flute from 4th grade up through high school and developed great self-esteem in doing so. Being able to master my instrument and play with a group is an experience I remember fondly and one I hope to pass on to my own children some day.
If you are in the NYC area please check out this event and support music education at St. Joseph's!
Check out the invitation >
Get your ticket now >
Read about the St. Joseph School Band in the Wall Street Journal >
For more information, please contact Fiona O'Sullivan at (718) 583-9432 ext 3 or at email@example.com
The sale of a computer game, RapeLay, that simulates rape (yes seriously) in Japan is being challenged by Equality Now!
This game is absolutely appalling! I wrote about it a while back on Care2 and was shocked when I discovered the gruesome details of the game - repeated rape, forced abortions, gang bangs, sexual slavery. All of this is the name of "fun" because after all this is a game, right? What kind of a sick game is this and what kind of a sick person would play?
AHHHHHH! Violence against women and girls is not a game. Trivializing the issue in this matter is reprehensible and only serves to perpetuate the problem, not to mention the slap in the face it gives to the thousands of women that are victimized by sexually violent crimes every year.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that is angry and even more glad that Equality Now has taken the initiative to challenge the sale of the game and all forms of hentia in Japan!
Read more at Care2 and learn what you can do to help!
Nicholas Kristof does it again with a compelling op-ed that highlights a women's rights issue that is so often overlooked by the media - maternal mortality.
According to the World Health Organization, Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality in the world, and in several African countries, 1 woman in 10 ends up dying in childbirth.
It’s pretty clear that if men were dying at these rates, the United Nations Security Council would be holding urgent consultations, and a country such as this would appoint a minister of paternal mortality. Yet half-a-million women die annually from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth without attracting much interest because the victims are typically among the most voiceless people in the world: impoverished, rural, uneducated and female.
The types of pregnancy-related deaths the women Kristof writes about could be easily preventable at a very low costs but all around the world women are literally dying to become mothers. This is completely unjust and reprehensible. Women can be saved in childbirth but only if, as Kristof says, "...their lives become a priority."
Read Kristof's op-ed in full >
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Married couples fight for all sorts of reasons, finances at the top of the list especially with today’s economy, but in Saudi Arabia disputes over money may soon take a turn for the worse.
Speaking at a domestic violence conference in the country, Judge Hamad Al-Razine has said that it is ok for men to slap their wives if they spend wastefully.
Yes seriously! Seriously ridiculous!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I am fortunate enough to not know anyone in my family or circle of friends who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Many others are not as lucky as me and when I read of the practice of "drive-through" mastectomies I was horrified and angered.
How is it just (or safe for that matter) to discharge a patient only a few hours after having such invasive surgery? How would you feel if you were the patient? Or it was your mother or sister or friend?
Read more at Care2 and learn what you can do to help! >
Friday, May 8, 2009
Jane Fonda is a pretty unbelievable woman and a pretty badass feminist if you ask me.
Not only does she work to end violence against women with VDAY ( Do you remember last year when she said cunt on the Today show and the world freaked out? Priceless.) but did you know that she is also the founder and chairwoman of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Amazing!
This week she authored an editorial in the Atlantic Journal Constitution about teen pregnancy that rocked! Below are my favorite highlights:
"...Too often, issues of teen sexuality are described in moral terms, especially by politicians who seem to care more about getting headlines than admitting what does and doesn’t work. But here’s what is really immoral: leaving in place unrealistic ideas and ineffective programs that don’t address the serious problem of teen pregnancy, one whose impact will be felt well into the future...."
"It’s misguided to focus exclusively on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which have been shown repeatedly, and over time, to be ineffective. All of us should do everything we can to persuade our elected officials to reverse this failed policy.
Let me be clear: I’m not against abstinence. Deciding to wait to have sex is a smart choice for young people. But I wasn’t born yesterday, and I know many teens are going to have sex, like it or not. Given this reality, it’s not the “abstinence” that’s the problem. It’s the 'only.'"
Jane Fonda, you just get it. Amen sister!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Imagine being sold to an older disabled man for $585 – a man who is only the first of a number of men you are forced to marry.
Imagine having to do 100 squats followed by 100 laps around a soccer field only to finish and endure an intense beating.
Imagine being forced to terminate a pregnancy by having two men stand on a plank that was placed on your pregnant belly and then losing not only your child’s life but yours as well.
Women from North Korea know this unbearable treatment all too well – for them it is reality.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I have finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon so now you can follow my every move!
Check out what I'm up to by using the right hand navigation or why not follow me on twitter!
If you have any tricks of the trade or tips for using twitter to publicize my little old home here or at Care2 please let me know! Thanks kids!
Today, as we recognize the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy we are reminded all too well of statistics that reveal that the teen birth rate is on the rise:
- 3 out of 10 American teens get pregnant every year
- Less than half of these girls finish high school
- 8 out of 10 don't marry the fathers of their babies
Personally, I disagree. I think if we are going to have any crack at reducing the escalating teen pregnancy rates we are going to have to provide teenagers with comprehensive sex education that teaches them both about abstinence and contraception. We need to power teenagers with knowledge so if and when they do decide to have sex (which many of them do) they have the tools (condoms, birth control, emergency contraception, etc) to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Another thing - when I saw that Bristol was a teen ambassador for the Candie's Foundation I had to look it up because I was certain it wasn't the same Candie's that sells sexy shoes to young women but alas I was wrong. It is that Candies and if you take a look at the website and you will instantly see that sex (although teens shouldn't be doing it, right?) sells! They currently have a promotion with Britney Spears - a single young unwed mother whose famous sister is a teen mom herself - where she is pictured with a bikini top and suggestive smile and nothing else. So the message is that you can dress sexy and be sexy but you shouldn't think about sex let alone have sex and if you do, well Candie's is there to tell you all about the "devastating consequences" but not to help you avoid them - nope you're on your own there.
Don't get me wrong. I think it is admirable that Candie's wants to do its part to help reduce teen pregnancy and clever that they are using a celebrity hook to talk to teens BUT while they aim to raise awareness of this serious problem, they fail to give these teens the tools to avoid the very problem - getting pregnant. Someone has too so if you have any teens in your life I suggest you take some time today to talk to them about sex and teach them how to protect themselves!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
This is amazing!!! I may be a little late on this news but seriously amazing!
It has been confirmed at Billboard.com that Lilith Fair will return in 2010! So far it has only been reported that the festival will do a two-week stunt in the UK and Europe. No word on the US yet, but I'm willing to travel to see this!
Let it be known that Lilith Fair raised over $10 million for women's charities when in ran from 1997-1999 and that '97 it garnered a $16 million gross making it the top-grossing touring festival of all time! Talk about Girl Power!
And who knows maybe I'll be able to kill two birds with one stone and get both Lilith Fair and Sister Act in one fabulous UK trip (yes they are remaking Sister Act the movie into a musical in the UK and YES I LOVE IT!)
Sunday, May 3, 2009
A while back I wrote a post for Care2 about the backlog of rape kits in CA that have gone untested. I was outraged by the Human Rights Report that made this discovery and was even more outraged that the issue wasn't getting the attention it deserved.
Finally though last week I came across a column by one of my all time favorite columnists Nicholas Kristof who was just as outraged as I was!
"Some Americans used to argue that it was impossible to rape an unwilling woman. Few people say that today, or say publicly that a woman 'asked for it' if she wore a short skirt. But the refusal to test rape kits seems a throwback to the same antediluvian skepticism about rape as a traumatic crime..."
"It’s what we might expect in Afghanistan, not in the United States."
The only silver lining:
"New York City has made a concerted effort over the last decade to test every kit that comes in. The result has been at least 2,000 cold hits in rape cases, and the arrest rate for reported cases of rape in New York City rose from 40 percent to 70 percent, according to Human Rights Watch." (emphasis mine)
Thursday, April 30, 2009
In his news conference last night Obama addressed these issue of abortion. I have to say that I was pleased with some remarks but others fell flat and were inconsistent with my views as a pro-choice woman
What do you think?
Check out the transcript below: (emphasis mine)
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. In a couple of weeks, you're going to be giving the commencement at Notre Dame. And, as you know, this has caused a lot of controversy among Catholics who are opposed to your position on abortion.
As a candidate, you vowed that one of the very things you wanted to do was sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which, as you know, would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion. And at one point in the campaign when asked about abortion and life, you said that it was above quote, above my pay grade.
Now that you've been president for 100 days, obviously, your pay grade is a little higher than when you were a senator.
Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?
OBAMA: You know, the my view on on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.
I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they if they suggest and I don't want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women's freedom and that there's no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.
The reason I'm pro-choice is because I don't think women take that that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.
So so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.
And so I've got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.
Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that's that's where I'm going to focus.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
This month a PSA starring Keira Knightely was supposed to air on British TVs, but now Clearcast, the company that reviews ads for TV has ruled that the ad is too violent to air!
Guess what? Domestic violence is violent.
Check out my story on Care2 to learn more!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
You both went to college, maybe even to graduate school. You both have the same amount of work experience and you both landed the same job, but at the end of the day something doesn’t add up because you only make 78% of what your co-worker makes.
What’s the deal? Oh right, you’re a woman.
It’s seems ludicrous that today women are still not guaranteed equal pay for equal work, but low and behold the wage gap persists. If you're African America or Latin you fair even worse! African American women earn only 69 cents for every $1.00 earned by a man and Latina earn just 59 cents!
Well this Latina is not happy about it, especially considering the Equal Pay Act was passed over in 1963 and since then the wage gap has only narrowed by 19 cents– that’s a rate of less than half a penny a year! Half a penny a year! Seriously?
Over the course of a lifetime this is a significant chunk of change. In fact, the Wage Project found that full-time working women with a high school diploma will lose as much as $700,000 over a lifetime of work. College graduate will lose $1.2 million and professional school graduates may lose up to $2 million – money they would have earned had they been born a different sex.
Today, on Equal Pay Day let us not forget that when it comes to your paycheck women continue to fall short.
Learn more about the wage gap and take action today courtesy of Care2
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The New Agenda is presenting a Violence Against Women forum in New York City on Saturday, April 18, 2009, from 3-5pm at the Benjamin Hotel followed by a cocktail from5-6pm. See the invite below!
If you're in the area you should definately check it out and report back (I'll try to make it but have a friend visiting so may be unable to).
Learn more about the panelists:
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
About a year ago my sister and I went down to New Orleans to celebrate VDAY's 10 year anniversary. It is honestly difficult to put into words what an inspiring weekend it was. Let me just say this - it is possible to make a difference with one idea, one person. I've seen it happen thanks to Eve Ensler who decided it was about time to give the vagina a voice - a powerful voice. In doing so, her play the Vagina Monologues was created and from this tiny seed an idea sprang and an incredible movement to end violence against women, one that has spanned the globe and raised millions upon millions of dollars was born - from one person, one voice, one idea, one vagina.
Eve Ensler you are an incredible woman. Vaginas of the world - you are all incredible women.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
So, don't think I've abandoned you this week. I've actually been spending some time looking for a new template to give this blog the face lift it needs! If i haven't mentioned it already, I'm sick of the purple so I've been trying to find something that better suits my little virtual home here. Hopefully I'll be able to settle on something soon so I can debut the new look for you all!
In the meantime, check out my latest post on Care2:
Cut!: Keira Knightley Works to End Domestic Abuse in the UK
NYC Subway Rape
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Hey KIDS! Sorry I've been MIA lately. Work / life has been crazy so I've slacked on my little virtual home here! I'm also sick of looking at all this purple so need to find time to do a revamp of the look - something that has been on my to-do list forever! Getting on the twitter band wagon (tips anyone?) is yet another to-do list item that has taken a back seat (as well as posting more faithfully - sorry!).
Anyway, while I get my act together over here please stop by and check out my latest post on Care 2 about the backlog of untested rape kits in California that is allowing rapists to walk free! This is seriously ridiculous! Please read, comment, and participate in the poll! I'd love to hear from you!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
My fabulous friend Tara is the founder of Gather, a group that aims to bring the "lesbian community under one roof." She hosts regular gatherings around New York to give lesbian women a chance to get together in a public setting and discuss the things that matter to them most.
At the first Gather we discussed commitment and at the one that followed we talked about what it's like to be a single lesbian.
The events are open to women of all sexual orientations so come check it out!
The 3rd gathering will take place this Sunday in Park Slope! Details Below!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Remember the new video game I told you about ... you know the one where the whole point is to rape women?
Well, rape is not a game and it's about time someone say something so do your part and sign the petition at Care2 to ensure games like this are no longer produced! Just a few seconds and you'll make a huge difference!
Friday, March 13, 2009
As the first woman Secretary of State under Bill Clinton's administration (who was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate 99-0! No big deal!) she is as badass as a feminist as they come!
Thank you Ms. Albright - I couldn't agree more!
President Obama has signed a provision in the budget bill that offers incentives to drug makers to offer discount for birth control pills at college health clinics!
This is fabulous news for sexually active students who saw substantial spikes in prices over the last two years!
Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards called the legislation "a victory for women's health and especially for women who have struggled to afford the rising costs of basic contraception in these tough economic times."
Whether drug makers will actually offer discount is still unclear. Fingers crossed!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
A friend recently brought a new video game called Rapelay to my attention the other day. And surprise, surprise the game is in the name. Yes, that's right. Rape. The entire purpose of the game is to rape women. The features are incredibly disturbing and what's even more disturbing is that such a game is available for the profit of others. Disgusting!
Check out more of my thoughts on Care2!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In my family the women take center stage. Being surrounded by such smart, confident, powerful women is one of the many reasons I'm a feminist and then there's the fact that my father is one of the proudest feminists I know (that doesn't hurt either).
As some of you may already know one of my gorgeous sisters has a design blog that has become quite popular. In it she combines wit and humor with her ideas of style and design and added spects of her everyday life for good measure. She can decorate a room with her eyes closed and arms tied behind her back. I on the other hand am hopeless in the area (blow up furniture anyone?)
She has often joked that when she thinks of the three of us she is reminded of a scene from one of our very favorite movies Dirty Dancing. It goes like this:
Dad: Max, our baby's going to change the world.
Max (Looking at Lisa): And what are you going to do, missy?
Baby: Oh Lisa's gonna decorate it.
Lisa = my older sister
Baby = me and my younger sister
Recently, said younger sister was featured on the Huffington Post with her first op-ed. I couldn't be prouder! Her writing is crisp and clear and she delves into a very important topic that affected us both at our alma mater Boston College.
By denying access to contraceptive resources and restricting open discussion of reproductive health, Catholic schools are putting the sexual health of a significant population of sexually active young adults in serious danger. Students have sex, even on Catholic campuses.Go check it out yourself!
Monday, March 9, 2009
After celebrating International Women's Day on Sunday it was a shock to read that 8 women in Iran have been sentenced to death by stoning after being accused of adultery.
My friend Tracy over at Care2 reported on the incident after learning about it from Amnesty International.
Now, I'm not one to condone adultery but death, let alone by stoning, for committing adultery is extreme not to mention inhumane. I mean talk about cruel and unusual punishment.
Make sure you sign the petition to eradicate the law in Iran now!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The statement below about what "allegedly" happened is horrifying.
According to the statement: (Thanks CNN!)
"Brown was driving a vehicle with Robyn F. as the front passenger on an unknown street in Los Angeles. Robyn F. picked up Brown's cellular phone and observed a three-page text message from a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with.
"A verbal argument ensued and Brown pulled the vehicle over on an unknown street, reached over Robyn F. with his right hand, opened the car door and attempted to force her out. Brown was unable to force Robyn F. out of the vehicle because she was wearing a seat belt. When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against he passenger window of the vehicle, causing an approximate one-inch raised circular contusion.
"Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.'s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.
"Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, 'I'm going to beat the s--t out of you when we get home! You wait and see!'"
The detective said she then used her cell phone to call her personal assistant, Jennifer Rosales, who did not answer.
"Robyn F. pretended to talk to her and stated, 'I'm on my way home. Make sure the police are there when I get there.'
"After Robyn F. faked the call, Brown looked at her and stated, 'You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I'm really going to kill you!'
"Brown resumed punching Robyn F. and she interlocked her fingers behind her head and brought her elbows forward to protect her face. She then bent over at the waist, placing her elbows and face near her lap in [an] attempt to protect her face and head from the barrage of punches being levied upon her by Brown.
"Brown continued to punch Robyn F. on her left arm and hand, causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps that was approximately two inches in diameter and numerous contusions on her left hand.
"Robyn F. then attempted to send a text message to her other personal assistant, Melissa Ford. Brown snatched the cellular telephone out of her hand and threw it out of the window onto an unknown street.
"Brown continued driving and Robyn F. observed his cellular telephone sitting in his lap. She picked up the cellular telephone with her left hand and before she could make a call he placed her in a head lock with his right hand and continued to drive the vehicle with his left hand.
"Brown pulled Robyn F. close to him and bit her on her left ear. She was able to feel the vehicle swerving from right to left as Brown sped away. He stopped the vehicle in front of 333 North June Street and Robyn F. turned off the car, removed the key from the ignition and sat on it.
"Brown did not know what she did with the key and began punching her in the face and arms. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.'s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness.
"She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her. While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown's body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet, causing several contusions."Robyn F. began screaming for help and Brown exited the vehicle and walked away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Robyn F.'s plea for help and called 911, causing a police response. An investigation was conducted and Robyn F. was issued a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order."
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
As one of Avon's Global Ambassadors, she publicized Avon's new campaign against domestic violence that raises proceeds for the cause with the purchase of an Empowerment Pendant Necklace. For just $5 you can become part of the movement.
When I came across this story I was angry, upset, offended, confused ...
What do you think? Is is discrimination or was something lost in translation?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I’m sure happy I’m not a teen living in Texas! If I was I might think that condoms are ineffective or that I could get HIV/AIDS from tears or sweat.
Research from the Texas Freedom Network reveals that an overwhelming amount of Texas schools use “scare tactics and spread myths” instead of teaching accurate health information that students could use to protect themselves and their partners.
The results of the schools included in the sample are startling:
- 41% of school district’s sex education materials include factual errors
- 41% of errors are regarding condoms; 38.9% regarding STDs
- 81% of districts receive NO formal recommendations on sex ed from state-mandated local advisory councils.
This is all sorts of wrong! First, I don’t get the whole abstinence-only education thing. I mean yes in an ideal world abstinence would be, well, ideal but we don’t live in an ideal world do we? No. We don’t. And second, sex is a natural (and might I add fun!) part of life. It’s natural for teens to be curious and experiment, especially when their hormones and bodies are changing.
That is not to say that sex doesn’t have consequences. Of course it does. We all know that which is why it is so important to equip teens with information to prevent these consequences (pregnancy, STDS, HIV/AIDS). Shaming students, scaring them, or worst off, giving them wrong information isn’t going to stop them from having sex. It’s just going to create more young pregnant mothers (if anyone has a greater chance of getting pregnant accidently, it’s misinformed teens who are experimenting) and more teens carrying STDs and spreading them because they don’t know otherwise.
And guess what? I’m right! These tactics don’t work. Texas continues to have one of the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rates despite receiving more federal abstinence funding than any other state! Wasted money and lots of confused and shamed teens!
Texas – get your act together!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I'm sure many of you have heard about the pub attack on a group of Indian women back in early February. I was both horrified by what happened and empowered by the reaction of the women and wanted to help raise more awareness.
Check out what I have to say about the attacks and the campaign on Care2.
I read today that 4 more women have been attacked in Banglore in broad daylight with witnesses watching that did nothing to help the victims! Unbelievable!
Hello all! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend and a nice start to your weeks! All I can say is that I'm glad tomorrow's Wednesday!
I've recently come across some interesting articles / projects that I've been meaning to share so here we go:
1. CNN: "Men see bikini-clad women as objects, psychologists say" - Now I'm sure many of you may have already seen this article and thought, "Well gee surprise, surprise" but I thought in case you didn't I'd share so you could at least get a chuckle at the defintion of the researchers of hostile sexism as, "a more adversarial viewpoint which includes the belief that women attempt to dominate men." And what about this gem: "This is just the first study which was focused on the idea that men of a certain age view sex as a highly desirable goal, and if you present them with a provocative woman, then that will tend to prime goal-related responses." I'm glad we've begun research on the fact that men view sex as highly desirable. I had no idea!
2. Vanity Fair: "Plastic Surgery Confidential" - It's also no surprise that many women have warped defintions of what it means to be beautiful. Thanks to our culture's fascination with thinness, many women are willing to go under the knife to attain this ideal, creating a $13 billion industry that only serves to perpetuate the strive for body perfection. This undercover piece offers great insight into the behind-the-scenes business of plastic surgery and leaves you wondering what business any of these doctors have in suggesting plastic surgery for a woman that is 27-years-old, five-foot-nine, and 120 pounds.
Over the past 3 years photographer Jonathan Torgovnik has traveled to Rwanda to document and tell the stories of women who bore children from the rapes they endured during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. These stories are no doubt heart-wrenching and difficult to share, but ones that need a voice. Depicting them through photos will be extremely interesting and certainly create an eye opening experience for many. Bravo Mr. Torgovnik!
4. Missing Mothers - Every year 500,000 women die from pregnancy related complications that could have been avoided - That's one woman missing for every minute of every day. Unbelievable!
- Check out what you can do to help!
Sorry for the scatter brain approach of this post! Just thought I'd share a collection of interesting things that I've read / are going on.
Friday, February 20, 2009
What better way to celebrate International Women's Day then with a viewing of the acclaimed documentary film, A Powerful Noise.
The screening will be followed by a live town hall discussion in 450 movie theatres with:
- Madeleine K. Albright
- Natalie Portman
- Nicholas Kristof
- Christy Turlington Burns
- Dr. Helene Gayle
Buy your tickets now! I'll be there!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
All my Children (AMC) made television history this week with the first lesbian wedding on daytime TV.
Although I have to admit that I'm not a faithful viewer (OK I don't think I've ever seen an episode of AMC in my life), I think this is fantastic news and I might just tune in.
"It is a full romantic, rich relationship between Bianca and Reese, with all the complications that come from any passionate relationship and so it is fully portrayed," Susan Lucci tells ET.
It will be interesting to see how the relationship pans out post wedding. With a married same-sex female couple on the show there is a great opportunity to portray a lesbian relationship on daytime TV. And it looks like this couple also has a child so it will be an even better opportunity to portray a lesbian family on TV.
Here's a segment I found on CNN about the wedding:
Apparently, a lesbian wedding isn't the first first for AMC. They also had the first transgender character on television and first same-sex kiss on daytime television. Bravo AMC!
Here's another video I found with a longer clip of the wedding (actual wedding starts about 6:34 but only goes through one girl's vows - sorry!):
I know soap operas are a unique medium. Let's be serious, soap operas have a lot of ridiculous story lines but this is a great move and one that I hope will pave the way for the portrayal of more same-sex couples across the airways.
Check out more about what I have to say on Care2!
Monday, February 16, 2009
I can’t think about Valentine’s Day without thinking about The Vagina Monologues. I lost my Vagina Monologues virginity my senior year of college – I know that’s pretty late for some but I’ll never forget it. I was so moved by the show’s honest and raw appeal and its ability to explore women and their bodies in such a new and exciting way. I’d never heard anything like it and I knew I wanted more.
That same year on a whim a friend and I decided to invite Eve Ensler to our college campus as our Spring Women’s Studies speaker. We knew it was a long shot, but we decided it couldn’t hurt to ask. And I’m so glad we did. Within the hour we had an email response saying Eve would love to come. I could have died.
It was an incredible speech and one of the most incredible moments in my life, especially because it opened my eyes up to V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls that developed as a result of the popularity of The Vagina Monologues. The idea is so simple, but it’s impact so great and effective. Performances of The Vagina Monologues, and other plays of Eve’s, are performed in over 120 countries around the world with the proceeds going to local efforts to end violence. In over 10 years V-Day has raised over $60 million in over. Incredible.
Last year I went to New Orleans to celebrate V-Day’s 10-year anniversary. It was an amazing weekend with star-studded performances of The Vagina Monologues, slam poetry, dancing, local New Orleans musicians, speeches from world leaders, a non-violence parade through the streets of the city, and so much more! It was the most inspiring weekend of my life.
Here are me and my sister before entering the SuperDome - the Superlove for the weekend (notice the wind blowing in her hair - haha!).
Here is the stage in the Superlove - one of the biggest, most beautiful vaginas I have ever seen.
Second runner up for biggest / most beautiful vagina - that vagina sculptor was the entrance to the Superlove.
Marching through the streets of New Orleans with Code Pink and lots of other fabulous people!
Eve Ensler and Agnes Pareyio, the woman who opened V-Day's first Safe House for Girls in Kenya.
The stage where the star-studded performances of The Vagina Monologues took place with a huge performance of R-E-S-P-E-C-T at the very end with Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson and lots others!
So, to make a long story short I love The Vagina Monologues. I love V-Day. I love Eve Ensler. And well, I love my vagina.
What’s your vagina story?
Friday, February 13, 2009
THIS IS CRAZY:
More thoughts on it later (since I'm at work - bahhhhh - when will it be 5:30!?)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
On the subway this morning on the way to work I saw an advertisement for abortionchangesyou.com
It was a picture of a somber Asia woman with the following next to her:
“I thought life would be the way it was before.”The word abortion had been crossed out and in its place in blue sharpie was the word MURDER in caps.
Abortion changes you.
Not the way I’d like to start my day off, but there it was smack in my face. As soon as I got to work I looked up the organization and I have to say I have mixed feelings.
While on the one hand I believe it is important for women to share their personal stories about abortion (that’s why I was so excited about the Glamour article!), this site paints a picture of abortion as something that women should regret.
Each story I read talked about remorse, depression, loneliness, and needing to be forgiven, but the truth is that not all women feel this way. Many are relieved and happy with the choice they have made. This is not to say it wasn’t a difficult decision, but I think it is dangerous to portray abortion in this one sided manner.
I’ve never experienced having to decide whether or not to have an abortion, but if I did I know I wouldn’t be comforted by going to this site. I’m sure abortion changes you, or at least it could, but it’s doesn’t automatically mean a change for the worse. Many women feel they are better off having exercised their choice.
I didn’t read all the stories so I’m sure there must be some that have a different take, at least I hope, but I guess the flip side is that these women are able to openly and anonymously talk about a very difficult decision.
What do you think?
Glamour magazine has a great article in this month's issue on abortion that is definitely worth a read.
While we often read about the political debates between the pro-life and pro-choice community in the newspapers, what is often left out of the conversation is women's personal experiences with abortion.
The reality is that 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion by the time they are 45. That's a lot of women who could offer ample advice to those going through the same thing.
What we need to do is create a platform for women to share these stories with one another to give a face to the issue and remove the culture of secrecy we have created around abortion. Hearing women's stories allows people to see the varied reasons why women have abortions and why it is so important to keep Roe v. Wade legal.
Bravo Glamour! We've got to start somewhere.
Have you ever had an abortion? Want to share you story? Please, start the conversation.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Many people (um, everybody) are wondering why the economy took a turn for the worse. It was Wall St. bankers greedy ways that left us in this never-ending hole, but would the same have been true if there were more women financiers?
Hmm. Check out Nicholas Kristof's NY Times column to find out!
...Wall Street is one of the most male-dominated bastions in the business world; senior staff meetings resemble a urologist’s waiting room. Aside from issues of fairness, there’s evidence that the result is second-rate decision-making...
Maybe the silver lining of this dreadful economy is the doors it will open for women in the finance world.