blog for choice!

today is the 37th anniversary of roe v. wade. NARAL Pro Choice America celebrates this milestone through Blog for Choice Day!

In honor of Dr. George Tiller, who often wore a button that simply read, "Trust Women," this year's Blog for Choice Day question is: What does Trust Women mean to you? in order to participate- just answer the question, and make sure to let NARAL know that you are participating!

so, to me, Trust Women means that i wouldn't have to hear anything like "don't worry your pretty little head about it" ever again.

turns out, my pretty little head is perfectly capable of worrying about anything it wants to, and furthermore, it has every right to worry, fret, parse, weigh or decide what's right for its own self, tyvm. (also: condescending much? )

Trust Women covers so much ground. it makes me think of so many issues in addition to reproductive rights: from the prosecution of sex-workers (instead of the johns) to the treatment of women atheletes, academics and politicians, to equal pay.

"Trust Women" is a sobering reminder that so much of the world still needs reminding that women are of inherently equal value, and should be treated as such. period. full stop.


in other news- how much do i love Mo"Nique's hairy legs at the globes last weekend?? (via Feministing). judging by all the uproar about her awesome mashup of furry-and-french pedicure, clearly women aren't even trusted to make the right choices about their own LEGS.
*eye roll*


random rants

a couple of items that caught my eye during my daily headline perusal:

3 recent "domestic" fatalities in iowa seen as a coincidence.
except they're no coincidence. they are all products of the same system that devalues women's lives and glorifies violence and abuse as acceptable solutions to conflict. that system goes by many names, but his friends call him patriarchy.

to spawn or not to spawn
i feel a lot of the same frustrations Lucy does. like her, there are some children i dearly love (my perfect niece being one of them!), and find babies endearing (when they aren't smelly, loud or messy.) but i have ZERO interest in creating one of my own. zilch. nada. zip. not only do i not feel any sort of biological imperative personally, i'm radical enough in my beliefs about our exploding global population, i usually have to bite my tongue when i hear about people having babies for the purposes of "carrying on the family name" (are you kidding? it's a NAME. adopt a child and give them your name! but that's a whole other discussion re: the importance of men's names...) or "to feel complete" (isn't that pretty much the definition of co-dependency? needing another being to complete you?).

anyway- the pressure to have babies is omnipresent for women my age. while i do believe women who choose to bear children should not be treated unequally, paid less, or be automatically assumed to be the primary caregivers (unless they chose to have a baby without a partner; and, stay-at-home mom should be a paid position with benefits), i also believe that women who choose not to have children should receive equitable treatment. in other words- the decision whether or not to have babies should be no more defining than the decision to have extra foam on her latte. fertility should not be a moral issue.

see also: choosing not to bear children for ecological reasons; and, if men had babies.

and finally today, Jessica Valenti takes on feminist elitism in a really interesting blog post. she says (and i agree):
Everybody – whether or not they take Women’s Studies, have read Judith Butler or
heard of Foucault – deserves to have feminism in their lives.

I am proudly someone who tries to convince women that feminism will make their
lives better – not only because it’s the truth, but because then those same
women go on to change their families, communities and even country.

i should say, i bet the author Jessica is refuting (Nina Power) would have some really interesting things to say as well. but it struck me as i read Jessica's post- what if more women (like, significantly more...like, ALL women) realized all the positive impacts feminism could have, and has had, on their lives? what if all women really did believe that women (individually and as a class) are people too? the world as we know it would look radically different if more than half its population actually did think that women were 'created equal'.

yep, i read things like that and i start doing the math in my head (no small feat, as i am of course, a woman, and those numbers- they just fly right out of my head!). how many more years have i likely got on this planet? how much progress can we make in that time? could i actually live to see the day?

here's hoping!


DERAIL: Battle of the Bards

well, to completely switch gears from my normal raving...i've just joined a little contest, a literary battle royale actually, brought to us by Padfoot & Prongs. as usual, i originally heard about this on my sister Eli's AMAZING blog, Need More Shelves- she's always got the latest & greatest page-turning news!

so all you have to do is take a look at the bracket (this first battle is, naturally, selected works of shakespeare, but i think they're going to do more!), and choose your winners!

then, register for the battle (BY JAN 18!) as they instruct.

finally, EMAIL them with your choices! the person who accumulates the most points through their picks, wins ooh, aah, fabulous prizes!

THE GRAND PRIZE (ooooohhhh ahhhhhhhhh)
That's right marauders. For that lucky thespian who gets the most guesses accurate, at their door they will find a literary package filled with treasures galore.

The grand prize includes:
1. A copy of the winning Shakespeare play (plus an assortment 4 plays of your choice).
2. A custom mug featuring the B.o.B logo
3. Any prize of your choosing from the GBI Etsy store
4. Oh and wait for it...... a 20$ gift card to B&N courtesy of Padfoot
and Prongs.
4. Other literary mystery prizes that will begin to pop up as the contest
progresses, (not just for the winner) so be sure to participate and check back often.

so, i've got my picks! frankly, i have less than zero interest in the real march madness, so this is much more my style! :) (and really, how could Romeo & Juliet not win??? so really, it's all about the strategy for picking the winners up to the final battle, IMHO.)

OH, i almost forgot- you (well, i) need to remember to go back to Padfoot & Prongs' blog and VOTE throughout the battle! the winners will be chosen by popular vote!

leeeeeet's get ready to rrrrrrrrrrrrumbllllllleee!!!!!!! (hee!)


home run, hillary!

Hills hit it out of the park on friday in a speech abou tthe 15th anniversary of the conference in Cairo for global population development!


"Too often, still today in 2010, women and girls bear the burdens of
regional and global crises, whether it’s an economic downturn or climate change
or political instability. They still are the majority of the world’s poor,
unschooled, unhealthy, and underfed. They are rarely the cause of violent conflicts, but increasingly they bear the consequences of such conflicts."

"Global rates of maternal mortality remain perilously high; one woman dies
every minute of every day in pregnancy or childbirth,
and for every woman who dies, another 20 suffer from injury, infection, or disease every minute."

"An estimated 70 million – that is 70 million women and girls worldwide – have been subjected to female genital cutting, a procedure that is not only painful and traumatic but is also the source of infections and increased risks of injury during childbirth."

"When a girl becomes a mother before she becomes literate, when a woman
gives birth alone and is left with a permanent disability, when a mother toils
daily to feed her large family but cannot convince her husband to agree to
contraception, these struggles represent suffering that can and should be
avoided. They represent potential that goes unfulfilled."

"Investing in the health of women, adolescents, and girls is not only the
right thing to do; it is also the smart thing to do."

"We are doing all of these things because we have seen that when women and
girls have the tools to stay healthy and the opportunity to contribute to their
families’ well-being, they flourish and so do the people around them."

right on, madam secretary.

what can I do?

fact: i pretty much worship eve ensler. everything that woman says is everything i wish i were smart enough to come up with on my own. she's brilliant, and inspiring.

fact: every nine seconds, a woman is beaten in the U.S. like this woman from des moines, who "had bruises on almost every part of her body caused by [her abuser] hitting, punching, kicking and pushing her over the past few weeks."

fact: in the Congo, it's much, much worse.

it all seems so inevitable, so overwhelming, so impossible to change, doesn't it?

but here's why i love eve ensler. in her recent HuffPo piece on the violence in the Congo, she suggests 10 actions we can ALL take to affect change...but the last two are so perfect, so applicable to us all, and so DO-ABLE.

9. Talk about the Congo everywhere you go

Be a pain in the ass. Ruin cocktail parties. Stop traffic. Give
sermons. Insert facts about Congo in every possible occasion, i.e., in response
to "How are you today?," you might say: "Well, I would be okay if women weren't
being raped in the DRC...."

Host teach-ins and screen V-Day's film Turning Pain to Power. Visit
vday.org to access

10. Get angry and stop being polite

Feel what your sister, mother, grandmother, daughter, wife, girlfriend
would be feeling if she were being gang raped or held as a sex slave for years
or if her insides were destroyed by sticks and guns and she could never have
another baby.

Feel feel feel.

Open yourself to feeling.

THAT'S what i'm trying to do with this blog...and hopefully i succeed, some of the time.


"the destruction of the female species"

as usual, eve ensler has hit it out of the park with her piece on huffpo from last week.

the women of the congo still live in fear every day.

Over twelve years, this war, this brutally inconceivable violence has raged on.
Almost six million dead. Almost 500 thousand raped. You tell the story of horror
and atrocity one too many times and then you realize nothing is changing and
that the world goes on getting its minerals, supporting its luxuries and the
death, massacres rapes and tortures of millions do not matter. And then you
can't find a real reason for wanting to live in humanity or be part of this
world but you don't want to kill yourself so you start screaming out, screaming
and screaming out and then you get called intense, angry and then mad. Because
that is what people who have crossed over get called.

At what point are we all going to cross over?

let's try this- instead of these women's names sounding unfamiliar and their location seeming remote, why don't we substitute our own names and hometowns? really. read that article again, and insert your name.

Mwamirindi/Carolynn was held as a sex slave and pieces of her flesh were cut every
few days. She was raped for months and watched them rape her sister in law who
they killed and cut open and served for dinner and then when Mwamirindi/Carolynn finally escaped and returned home, she was expelled by her husband who sold her land and house and threw her and her children into the street. Now she is three months pregnant with a baby from the rapes.

terrifying, isn't it? but it is REALITY for these women.

eve calls the situation there "the destruction of the female species of the Congo".

how can it be anything else?


in related news, evidence is piling up that the recession is indeed sparking an increase in violence against women and children domestically. BIG surprise there.

support V-day, support your local women's shelter, support your lawmakers who DO SOMETHING to stop gender-based violence (and ask those who don't if they consider their mothers, sisters, daughters and wives just collateral damage?)

more than half our population is at risk.