Weekend Reads

22 08 2009

Dana Goldstein on the need for a public health insurance plan to provide reproductive health coverage.  Over at The Nation, Sharon Lerner has more on why women need health care reform.

An interesting photo essay that questions and explores what it means to be masculine.  It’s accompanied with an interview with the photographer, Chad States.  The subjects of some of the photos include trans men.

The children’s books industry is a very much white run industry and often children’s books are embedded, subtly and not-so-subtly, with racist undertones.  Read this post on Racism Review about children’s books are very much white-framed and whitewashed.

Here are some thoughts on 18-year old South African runner Caster Semenya whose female-ness was being questioned because she doesn’t conform to traditional western standards of femininity.  Bird of Paradox has more.

Michelle Obama should be allowed to wear shorts without coming under such scrutiny by the media and the public, especially while vacationing at the Grand Canyon.

Being careful with language is very important, especially since language is used to normalize.  There has been much discussion online about language and privilege.  Deeply Problematic takes on being blinded by privilege in these two posts: “Blinded by Privilege”: ableist language in critical discourse and For the Uninformed: Privilege, Perspective and The Little Things That Jab.  Hoyden About Town also has a post on unexamined privileges and unconscious behaviors.

Here is a long but interesting article that contextualizes the use of rape as a weapon of war.  Author Crystal Feimster, a historian at the University of North Carolina, claims that rape was used as a weapon of war way back in the Civil War, which is a new contention.

This one’s more of an uplifting story about a woman in a small West Virginian town, Maria Gunnoe, who took on the coal industry and was victorious.  She was a great community organizer who took action against the coal tycoons and despite threats, harassment and violence, she is not giving up the fight.

PETA gets worse

20 08 2009

PETA has a new fatist billboard campaign in Florida.  This billboard just went up in Jacksonville:


Save the whales.  Lose the blubber: Go vegeterian?!!  PETA is notoriously sexist and racist in their campaigns, and now they are fatist as well.  From their press release:

A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight — and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball — that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. [….]

Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. […]

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

This is absolutely shameful, tactless and tasteless, but is not very surprising considering PETA’s track record.  Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly?  Way to fat shame and make women feel even more pressured to be thin.  PETA is completely inconsiderate and unempathetic of people’s feelings.

One woman wrote a heartbreaking letter saying:

I would like to express my outrage at a billboard I recently saw in Jacksonville, Florida.

My family was visiting, and I was planning on taking them to the beach to enjoy the beautiful day when i saw a billboard that made me want to cry. It says “Save the Whales,” with a picture of an overweight woman in the foreground.

We all sat there and stared at it for a minute and everyone in the car was silent. No one wanted to mention my weight. I laughed it off as usual, but it really had made me so embarrassed, so self conscious and so ashamed about my weight that I dropped off my family at the oceanfront and left to go home, making the excuse that I wasn’t feeling well.

My embarrassment turned to outrage as I was sitting at home contemplating that distasteful, disgusting billboard. I can’t believe that PETA would be so disrespectful as to use the terms “whales” and “blubber” when referring to obese people. I wish there was something I could do. I’ve already written to them expressing my outrage at their malicious terms and asked them to take it down.

Unfortunately PETA does not care that they are consistently offensive and outraging.  H/t Holly at Deceiver.

American Apparel Fail, yet again

1 08 2009

I am not a fan of American Apparel, never have been and never will be.  Many people are quick to defend it because the products are made in “non-exploitative settings”.  Okay, so it’s great that the clothes are sweatshop free and made in an air conditioned LA factory where the workers are paid full wages and receive health benefits.

But “exploitative” has other meanings too.  Like sexually harassing workers on a normal basis.  Calling your female employees sluts at work because it’s “endearing”.  Firing people because they aren’t deemed attractive enough.  Constantly objectifying women.  Dov Charney and American Apparel engage in very misogynist practices that disgust me.

American Apparel operates to create and perpetuate an unrealistic, exclusive standard of beauty.  Charney has recently requested that all “ugly” employees be fired because they are “detrimental to the AA ‘aesthetic'” and hindering the company’s ability to profit.  Gawker has an email from an AA store manager:

Summer is supposed to be a great sales season for AA. Needless to say, with the state of the economy, sales haven’t been going so well. Dov usually gets on the conference calls and talks to people, but one week, he went on a huge tirade and made stores that weren’t doing well send in group photos. Why, you ask? He made store managers across the country take group photos of their employees so that he could personally judge people based on looks. He is tightening the AA ‘aesthetic,’ and anyone that he deems not good-looking enough to work there, is encouraged to be fired. This is blatant discrimination based on looks.

Dov personally judged each person in group photos that were sent in, and if you weren’t to his liking, then boy… watch out. The comments that he made were raging from childish ones to insulting ones. Managers that don’t comply with these new standards are afraid of losing their jobs. Employees who aren’t up to Dov’s “look” and whose work ethic is “just ok” are being targeted and scrutinized and the minute they make small mistakes, they are being fired. But it’s only because Dov wants to weed out the “ugly people.” It’s ironic that he would rather have gorgeous slackers who don’t move the product [or lift a finger] working there than normal looking people who are really aren’t that bad looking, but are A+ sellers and great at customer service. The real irony here is that he is no [looker], himself. He’s asking for a class-action lawsuit and i hope that when it rains, it rains hard. Worst place to work, ever. This is happening at many stores across the country.

This is seriously fucked up.  So yeah, in addition to the sexual harassment lawsuits against him, I won’t be surprised if sketchball Charney has another round of lawsuits to deal with.

You wouldn’t want sweat to ruin Your Big Day!

19 07 2009

I saw this on Oh, You’re a FEMINIST?!:


This was an email that The Knot sent out with the subject line as “Worried about sweating excessively on your wedding day?” The body of the email said:

BOTOX® is approved by the FDA as a treatment for excessive underarm sweating when antiperspirants fail. There are enough things to worry about on your wedding day! Sweat stains on your wedding dress should not be one of them!

Aha. With sweat being so unfeminine and all, brides should really just get Botox so they don’t ruin their wedding by sweating and leaving sweat stains on their dresses. Makes a whole lot of sense to get this injection to stop sweat on Your Big Day, doesn’t it?

For Your Saturday

18 07 2009

Here are some good posts in the feminist blogosphere to check out:

Lessons from the Rape Culture and a piece inspired by that post.

The Obamas and the Door of No Return.

Hillary’s Challenge – Would putting women first make for better foreign policy?

The Latest Marriage Dust-Up.

Reproductive Rights Matter At Every Age.

Shave and get drunk, because you’re already brilliant.

“Disabled Girls” Video Game.

The Supreme Court and Redefining Racism.

Friday Linky Love

17 07 2009

The Progressive Case Against Sotomayor:

Sonia Sotomayor’s all-but-certain confirmation will be a notable victory for Democrats, and for the cause of diversity on the nation’s highest court. Whether it will be a victory for criminal justice is another question—one that seems to matter little to most of her liberal supporters.

The Rights of Men:

I’ve been half-listening to the Sotomayor hearings all this week, and have been fairly bored—how many times can you listen to a woman answer the same question? But every once in a while someone throws out a real gem, like Senator John Coryn (R-Texas) quoting Martin Luther King Jr. to make an anti-affirmative action point (because that’s exactly what MLK meant when he said he dreamed of a day when his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”)

PFAW on the litany of right wing fringe lies about hate crimes legislation:

People for the American Way has released a document about the tired, hoary, untethered-from-reality pack of lies that the professional anti-gay set keeps spewing about hate crimes legislation, “As Senate Prepares to Take Up Hate Crimes Bill, Far Right’s Inflammatory Claims Should Not Be Taken Seriously.”

Lateisha Green’s Killer Dwight DeLee Convicted of Manslaughter as a Hate Crime:

There is a verdict in the trial of Dwight DeLee for the death of Lateisha Green.  Green was a trans woman who died from gunshot wounds in November; DeLee was originally charged with murder in the second degree as a hate crime.

Just minutes ago, the verdict came back and was announced on Twitter (the AP also has a blurb).  A jury convicted Dwight DeLee of manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime.

Real Bras? They’re not for trans women:

On a slightly less surreal, but possibly more absurd note than the trainwreck that is VWHC’s trans exclusionary policy comes this report in the Vancouver (where else?) section of Xtra West (link here).

See, us trans women, we’re so speshul™ that we even get our own speshul™ underwear now.

“Affirmative Action Increases Diversity by Discriminating Against White Men”:

Only some crazy fringe politician that no one ever listens to or pays attention would say something like that right? I guess only Pat Buchanan on MSNBC. See video below if you can stomach it.

The Brazil Files: Bela or Bust Part 1 – On Gender:

I recognize that to say that the preoccupation with being beautiful for women in Brazil boils down to three separate entities is oversimplifying. Gender, class, and race obviously intersect constantly and are difficult to consider beyond their Venn diagram-like existence. Yet for the sake of clarity and hopefully accessibility, I have decided to discuss this topic in three parts: 1) gender, 2) class, and 3) race.

Ratification of Important Women’s Rights Document Sparks Controversy in Cameroun:

Let’s start off with some good news- Cameroun joined 27 other African countries in promoting the health and rights of women when it ratified the Maputo Protocol on May 28th, 2009.  The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol, guarantees the human rights of women throughout the continent.   Adopted by the African Union in 1993, the Protocol calls for the adoption and implementation of national measures that uphold women’s sexual and reproductive rights, political and social equality, and the right to live free from violence and coercion, while providing a comprehensive legal framework for holding African governments accountable for violations.

Eyelid Gluing for a “Western” Look:

I’ve posted in the past about surgical procedures used to give “Asian” eyes a more “Caucasian” or “Western” look. As Alexia R. showed us, though, there are temporary means of getting a similar effect, particularly gluing a fold into eyelids. WonderHowTo posted a video showing the technique:

Is Amitjo Kajla Too Pretty to be a Prison Guard?:

Former prison guard Amitjo revealed to the industrial tribunal in Birmingham that she believes that she was forced out of her job because of her appearance.  She is claiming constructive unfair dismissal. The chief complaints sited against her were the amount of make up that she wore and the alteration of her work uniform.  The work uniform was deemed to be to revealing, while Kajla claims that it was only reduced to be size appropriate.

More ageism and sexism in advertisements

8 07 2009

Saw this ad for Ripolin Paint on Sociological Images.  Sociological Images, in the post, also points out some more ads that criticize and mock older women.

The images are not necessarily safe for work or lecture, so they are below the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


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