Monday Catch Up

6 07 2009

Hope everyone had a good Independence Day weekend.  Here are some things we missed:

Four Freedom Movements You Should Know About This Independence Day.

Renee’s take on Sarah Palin‘s public declaration of her intention to resign.  More thoughts on that here, here, here and here.

Racism takes a toll on the health of African Americans living in a predominantly white society.

How Racism Works – people mistakenly de-contextualize racism and perceive it as something that functions in individuals rather than seeing the big picture of how racism is institutionalized and structured in our daily lives in society at large.

A good 101 post on Three Dumb Things About “Reverse Discrimination”.

Thoughts on disability and respectful language.

Arab TV Soaps Reinforce Gender Bias and normalize violence against women.

This is old news, but good news nonetheless – last week, an Indian court decriminalized homosexuality.

There is no such thing as trans privilege.  For necessary 101, here is a great and important post on vocabulary when it comes to gender and cis.

Stop bullying transgender children.

Trigger warning – Sexual Abuse of Female Inmates in Oklahoma.

Carnival Against Sexual Violence has worthy reads you should check out.

Gift giving by stereotypes – an interesting look at the intersection of stereotypes we have about age, class and gender.

Sunscreen’s shady business – a look at the $1 billion a year sunscreen market.

It’s easy to watch a documentary (like Food, Inc.) and be inspired to take action, but often times we may get back into our daily routines and be stunted from any activism or we may simply just not know what to do or how we can help.  So to counter that here’s I Saw Food, Inc.  Now What?

All right, happy reading everybody!

Monday Blogaround

30 06 2009

There’s a lot we’ve missed lately… so here are some good reads to catch up with:

As Pride Month comes to an end, and as we reflect on Stonewall: Obama Commemorates Stonewall, Inequality in the Marriage Equality Movement and The Real Stonewall Legacy.

Eve Ensler’s op-ed in The Washington Post: A Broken UN Promise in Congo.

Gender is a social construction, so two feminist parents in Sweden are raising their child gender non-specific.

Triggering and heartbreaking – Violence against the trans community is still very persistent and pervasive: Transgender Woman Brutally Beaten in Queens Bias Attack – TLDEF Demands Full Investigation Into Hate Crime.

Recession Depression: Having a good work/life balance is ideal, but how realistically achievable is it especially in economic hard times?

This caught my eye because even though I am not a big Chipotle fan, many of my friends rave about it: Chipotle Injustice – Chipotle is the nation’s most rapidly growing fast food chain, but how socially responsible is it?

Prison rape is a widespread phenomenon and the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission just released a new report with suggestions and guidelines on how to end prison rape.

Reflections on Privilege, Guilt and Identity.

Some body to love – you are more than just your body.

Racist Thinking at the Supreme Court – Again.

The connection between reproductive rights and sexual violence – “He Thought a Baby Would Keep Me Forever”: When Partner Abuse Isn’t a Bruise but a Pregnant Belly.

Society is obsessed with parenting and children – Vanessa Richmond at Alternet explores this further.

PETA’s Next Move: Recruiting Che Guevara’s Granddaughter

19 06 2009

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has recruited Che Guevara’s 24-year old granddaughter, Lydia Guevara, to promote vegetarianism for their South American campaign that will premiere this October in Argentina, a big beef eating country.

lydia guevara

The posters and print ads will (shockingly!) feature Guevara scantily clad, “wearing nothing but the infamous Che beret and an ammunition belt of carrots”. Again PETA, must you use female bodies in order to promote vegetarianism?

The campaign’s tag line: “Join the vegetarian revolution.” This will be PETA’s first campaign in South America. Thoughts?

Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act

16 06 2009

The Child Nutrition Act needs to be reauthorized so that children at public schools across the nation will be fed healthy foods.  EVERY child deserves access to healthy foods, because health should be a right, not a privilege.

“We believe that federally funded nutrition programs should provide all children with the healthy food they deserve. This includes low fat and safe dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Schools should be soda and junk-food-free zones and serve food that complements and furthers parents’ efforts to feed their children healthfully.”

Please urge Congress to make healthy food a reality at all schools across the country. By signing the petition, you pledge to make healthy food a priority and are asking your representatives to do the same.

Sign the petition now.

What we missed this weekend

15 06 2009

Violence against the trans community remains largely prevalent but ignored – Group of Teenagers Attack Trans Woman in Seattle

Up in Canada, Sharon McIvor celebrates her victory over sex discrimination in the Indian Act – Justice for Sharon McIvor and all First Nations women – at last!

The Great Wall of Mainstream Feminism

A sick family business: a father and a son collaboratively ran a rape trade business, WTF?! – Police Arrest Rape Traffickers, Then Book Trafficked Women on Drug Charges

How does the US measure up when it comes to Paid Parental Leave?

And how does the US compare to other countries when it comes to military spending?

Meet D.C.’s Anti-Gay Marriage Crusaders

GLBT Peeps, If You Want Your Rights, Fly This Flag!

Spain – convicted trans woman transferred to women’s prison after 11 years

The Chrysler/Fiat Merger will emasculate the dudes?! Just for clarification – A Car is Not a Penis

Another great post from Renee – Privilege and Ignorance Speak Volumes

Check out Food, Inc.‘s blog, Hungry for Change. See the movie if you haven’t already.

Food production, “Food miles” and greenhouse gas emissions

8 06 2009

Via Sociological Images:

Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews authored a report Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States.  It appeared in Environmental Science and Technology in April 2008.  It “compares greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production against long-distribution food distribution, aka ‘food miles'”.  The following chart shows the greenhouse gas emissions associated with household food consumption, like red meat, oils/sweets/condiments, fruits/vegetables, dairy products, chicken/fish/eggs, cereals/carbs, beverages, and miscellaneous products:


This chart illustrates that food production accounts for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions.  The report encourages us to be mindful about our food consumption choices.

FYI, your “organic milk” isn’t actually organic

15 05 2009

My parents have always been skeptical of the whole organic foodstuff, jaded that everything is just an evil industry out to exploit you for money, and therefore food companies mislabel their products so organic food isn’t actually organic, but bearing a sticker or a label claiming to be organic makes people feel better and believe that it’s really organic.

I just read Twisty’s post at I Blame the Patriarchy about how Horizon Organic and its sister company Aurora Organic, both owned by Dean Foods, aren’t really organic.  Gee, it seems that my parents are actually right about something for once!

You see, Horizon Organic produces milk under factory-farm conditions which goes completely against organic regulations.  Not only that but, instead of purchasing organically raised calves, they purchase calves that were born and raised on conventional farms.  Again, this goes against organic regulations.  What’s more, these so-called organic cows are confined and fed a shitty diet of genetically modified grains, slaughterhouse crap consisting of ground up pigs, chickens, dogs and cats, and chicken shit.  Oh, and the calves are weaned on the blood of other animals instead of milk.  Vomit, Vomit and VOMIT!

Dean Foods has been pushing to lower standards for organic food so that they can get away with their industrial, slaughterhouse, un-environmentally friendly bullshit and have it pass as organic.  Which it is clearly not.

Dean Foods also owns Silk organic soymilk.  But since organic doesn’t mean what we think it means, who knows how organic Silk soymilk really is.  (Judging by Dean Foods’ track record, probably not very organic at all.)

Isn’t it great to know that we are, again and again, being lied to?

Do I love square butts?

10 04 2009

Okay, so I’ll admit that I absolutely love Spongebob and I am a huuuuuge fan. So when I initially saw this commercial I thought it was quite hilarious:

But it’s really just another way of using humor to normalize sexism and the hypersexualization and objectification of women. When you see this, you’re supposed to just laugh it off and be like oh, it’s just Spongebob, nothing serious. And that is exactly its power – that it disguises itself as just a cute and innocent laugh.

Also notice the prominent yellow 99 sponge-like thing in the back which is supposed to advertise Burger King’s cheap food. It is obvious that this commercial is targeting lower-income people of color. Poor people of color tend to eat fast food the most because it is cheap and quick. They do not have access to nutritionists or the income to buy their groceries at Whole Foods. Here again we see that food and access to healthy, nutritious food is clearly a class issue. And because class is so closely tied to race, it is also a race issue.

Using Spongebob to market Burger King is also supposed to mostly appeal to children who watch Spongebob, and it’s not surprising or novel to have a hypersexualized commercial that commodifies female bodies geared towards children. And is the immense amount of female booty shaking really necessary?

Besides, the Burger King guy dancing is just plain creepy. Especially when he just goes up to one of the dancing women and measures her butt. This also demonstrates how men feel like they are entitled to female bodies and the idea that a woman’s body/sexuality isn’t hers to own but instead is up for grabs.

Food IS a feminist issue

22 03 2009

It is no secret that Americans eat way too much mass-produced, processed and unhealthy foods. The New York Times reports:

…the truth is that most Americans eat so badly — we get 7 percent of our calories from soft drinks, more than we do from vegetables; the top food group by caloric intake is “sweets”; and one-third of nation’s adults are now obese…

Instead of getting our nutrition from “real” foods with real, natural ingredients most Americans tend to eat processed food that is more calorie-dense, less nutritious, and not so great for the environment. We eat stuff that is junk, for our bodies and for the environment. Due to the highly commercial and industrial nature of (mass produced) food in this country, proponents of more sustainable food (food that is locally grown, ecologically conscious and friendly, organic, etc.) have been met with a lot of resistance by the government and the food business.

However the new administration has been more receptive of and responsive to advocates of locally grown and organic food. With the Obamas’ new White House vegetable garden and strong emphasis on the need for sustainable (for people and for the environment) and healthier food, we may be living in a food revolution.

Michael Pollan, contributor to the New York Times magazine, and author of several books (including The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food), “has called on President Obama to pursue a ‘reform of the entire food system’ by focusing on a Pollan priority: diversified, regional food networks.” However, despite the encouragement and support that sustainable food activists have received from the Obama Administration, Pollan still worries that “’The movement is not ready for prime time. It’s not like we have an infrastructure with legislation ready to go.’”

Regardless, many food-sustainability and food-safety advocates and activists are still eager and excited about their progress and the potential future of the food revolution:

“We are so used to being outside the door,” says Walter Robb, co-president and chief operating officer of Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain that played a crucial role in making organic and natural food more mainstream. “We are in the door now.”

It is great that we finally have people in power who care about issues around food justice, people’s health, nutrition and the environment. But some may ask why is this something that appears on a feminist blog? How is food a feminist issue?

Food IS a feminist issue: the politics of food, access to food, production of food, purchasing of food, preparation of food, and consumption of food. Food has also been a very feminized issue. If you go into a grocery store or a farmer’s market, look around and see who does most of the food shopping. Women. Even in modern society, the kitchen continues to be seen as very much a female domain. Most women are the ones who cook at home for their families.

Furthermore, it is about distribution, access and affordability and the inequity of distribution, access and affordability. Eating healthy foods that are good for you and good for the environment should be something that everyone is entitled to. However, not everyone can afford to buy organic food, or locally grown food, aka better food that does your body and the earth well. Instead of being accessible and affordable to all, eating healthy has become a bourgeoisie activity.

Compare the price of a hamburger at McDonald’s (or better, anything on the Dollar Menu) to the price of a tossed salad anywhere. Obviously the gross, fried, mass-produced, junk food is cheaper. For the single inner-city mom who has three kids to raise on her own, buying food that she can afford is more of a priority than buying food that she and her kids should be eating but can’t afford.

Famine and malnutrition among impoverished (or lower class) populations are about failures of entitlement to (healthy) food, not about a lack of food or inadequate food production. There is enough food for everyone, so everyone should be able to eat. However, poverty, racism, classism, etc. are barriers to accessing food. Across the globe, women and dependent children who are living in poverty cannot afford to eat because of rising food prices and the transformation of food from a basic human need and right into a bourgeoisie liberty.

Even if we look within this country, schools do not spend a great deal of money or research into providing students with healthy meals. Tons of government funding goes to abstinence-only sex-education in public schools (which uses scare tactics, (hetero)sexist gender stereotypes, and false information) while a substantially lesser amount goes to fund healthier school lunches. Children who fail to eat nutritious and balanced meals while they are growing may continue these unhealthy eating habits into their adulthood. This ultimately affects their health and can create health complications/problems later on in life.

Which brings us back again to the importance of food sustainability, especially in relation to health care. Eating sustainable, locally-grown or organic foods is a preventative measure for obesity and related diseases, and is a valuable tool in improving health/health care. Overall, having a healthier population increases the productivity of the nation. In order to sustain ourselves, we must sustain our environment.


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