Tag Archives: women’s studies

WAP Grammys 2021 Performance is Not Empowerment or Feminism–It’s Misogyny

16 Mar

Visibility is imperative. Pushing norms is progress. But disguising the objectification of women for the male gaze as empowered feminism is super-problematic, and that’s what is happening here. Cardi b and Meghan Thee Stallion’s Grammys 2021 performance was supposed to push boundaries, and shock. And it did! Madonna pushed boundaries of female sexuality with her cones and simulated sex scene prior to this. But I see the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke twirking on all the negative YouTube videos for ‘top 10 cringe moments’, ‘celebs that are problematic’, ‘people who got cancelled’, etc, etc… And let’s not forget how Janet Jackson was ENDED over a fraction of a sec of nipple pasty action at the Superbowl. Can you say, double standard?!

Anyway, I keep seeing a lot of arguments for the merits of this song/performance because it matches what men do. Men have scantily-clad women on their videos, demean women as “bitches” (and far worse) in their lyrics, talk about sexual acts in explicit detail, and are “pimps” when they rack up the number of women they conquer. So people are arguing it’s cool that now women can do that too.

Except here’s the thing:

Feminism isn’t doing whatever you want or being as disgusting as men, it is breaking away from objectification, truly empowering the individual self and collective group of women.

Joining in on objectification of women is not empowerment!

em·pow·er·ment (N)- Authority or power given to someone to do something. “individuals are given empowerment to create their own dwellings” the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

This performance isn’t about women owning their bodies, sexuality, or controlling the narrative. This is women selling their image in a package that men like in order to make money and gain fame in the small niche that female rap artists have carved out.

Women in this patriarchal society have to fit in a box–the Madonna/whore dichotomy. Women in music, already in that narrow box of patriarchy, have to fit into an even smaller box of being a role model to girls while having sexual appeal for the general public. The rap category is an even teenier box a couple of select women have to fit in to keep going. In the end, the box is so small and limited, there is no space left.

People online are praising the performance as visible female sexuality, black women owning their own bodies, and empowerment. Which, I agree might be present (though in this writing, I’ll argue it’s in diluted form). I felt the performance was harmful to women’s progress. What I don’t want to do is add the the terrible narrative that black women’s sexuality is wild/animalistic/scary/out of control that colonialism, racism, sexism, and patriarchy has painted it. I find the performance harmful because it is misogyny in feminist clothing, to borrow the sheep expression.

I know there’s a whole song, and the music video that goes with it. I don’t know much about either so my critiques are based solely on the following video of the 2021 Grammy performance:

My racap of the action:

-A stripper pole-references the men’s domain of the strip club where women take off clothes and dance suggestively for men’s entertainment.
-Cardi B backs up and puts her butt-crack on the pole. Side-note: Butt implants are for men. A women can die getting plastic surgery to enhance her body. Her clothes will fit differently. She will have to move differently, walk differently, lay down differently than she did before putting plastic in her butt. And she may have complications later. Leaking, autoimmune issues, cancer… This is not for a woman’s pleasure–women’s butts are not an erroneous zone, or secondary sex characteristic. A big butt is for men’s pleasure.
-In case the viewer couldn’t put it together, a giant, clear plastic stripper platform shoe flanks the stage. The type of shoe men like to look at, but women have trouble walking effectively in, and certainly running from danger is out of the question in such a shoe. It shows the power dynamic–females are weakened by such a shoe but men get pleasure from them wearing the shoe. Men are in power here. The women are just props for them to use to achieve sexual gratification.
-Other suggestive moves that drive home this is a performance to cater to men’s sexual desire: Splay legs, she grabs/rubs her puss, gyrating hips and doing suggestive humping dance moves. Cardi B elevates and licks her own leg. Countless squats split legged. Laying with legs far apart on the bed. Crawling on the bed. Split legged humping. Laying on her back with split legs. The two women crawl toward each other on bed. They scissor their legs together. [Pet-peeve] this is NOT a thing! I mean, it might technically exist in the way the pile-driver is a thing, but not used in real life, it’s only for porn. This scissoring maneuver is performative and it’s is ignorant/Lesbphobic. As a matter of fact, if two out, butch lesbians did the same move, I’ll bet the reaction would be totally different. Then to finish the show, more split legs.

Here’s the test to know

a) if this is two women owning their own bodies, displaying confidence and empowerment

OR

b) this is a sexually suggestive performance for the male gaze

In the above video and descriptive paragraph, trade out the women for men.

Have you seen men doing a similar performance before? Does it seem like the same type of performance? Would it garner the same reaction?

I’d say fail.

You do not/would not see two men: Dancing on a pole. Licking their own leg. Crawling toward another man on a giant bed. Or scissoring legs together with another man…

This is not women owning their sexuality. This is objectifying & commodifying women for the male gaze.

Research by Calogero has shown that the male gaze can have detrimental effects on women’s self-esteem and self-objectification, leading to increased body shame and a worsened mental state. The male gaze creates a power imbalance. It supports a patriarchal status quo, perpetuating women’s real-life sexual objectification.

So that’s why I don’t like it. I’m not even going to mention being role model for girls, b/c the conservatives always trot that out to shame women. But I will say it would be nice if society was better at recognizing misogyny. I can understand why it’s difficult because it’s ubiquitous and pervasive. But we need to educate ourselves a lot better, because things are still BAD for women. And I would love to see women being successful by truly own their own bodies and sexuality in an empowering way. I hope it happens.

But this was not it.

Inspirational Women: Molly Brown

23 Mar

http://the44diaries.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/little-known-black-history-fact-molly-williams/

A female firefighter?

A black woman?

Check and check.  Williams was way before her time!

  • The first woman firefighter was an African American.  Molly Williams worked along side the men of the Oceanus Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 of New York City in 1818.

Even as a slave, Williams had gained the respect of her fellow firefighters. Her story and strength paved the way for other women, including one the first paid Black female firefighters and the most tenured in the country – Toni McIntosh of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who served for over 11 years.

forest fire 5And such is typical–I can hardly find anything written about her.  To me, this is a big deal and you’d think there would be many books on the first female firefighter.  Who is also a black woman.  But I really can’t find very much aside from those facts, which just goes to show who records history and makes me wonder how much more of MY stories have been left out?  How many other woman did amazing things that we’ve never even heard of because some white man didn’t deem it important to write down?  It’s a real forest fire 6shame.

Here’s what I can find:  https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/dianne-ochiltree/molly-golly/

A children’s book.  That’s it.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all, but I was hoping for a biography with substance–or at least a compilation of important historical firefighters or something like that.  How disappointing!

 

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frances willard (good thing this isn’t for a grade)

13 Mar

My citations would NOT be appropriate.  OK, it may be a cut & paste job, but this is a really interesting history of an early feminist in honor of women’s history month.  Anyway, it might not be my own, and it might be in a jumble, but the biography is inspiring and educational all the same.  Check it out:

-Frances Willard was a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.  She exposed the inherent hypocrisies of the status quo and forever changed accepted societal norms (2).

-the alcohol problem represented the powerlessness of American women. The crusade to stop alcohol was a protest by women of their lack of civil rights. In the late nineteenth century, women could not vote. In most August 2011 105states, married women were considered “dead to the law,” their identity subsumed under their husband’s. Men could take their wives’ pay but not vice-versa. Married women could not own property in most states, and men could not be prosecuted for wife abuse. As late as the year 1900, in 37 states a woman had no right to custody of her children in the case of divorce. When the WCTU began its work, the state-regulated “age of consent” was as low as seven, and prosecutions for rape were rare (3).

-Women in the United States were victims. The consumption of alcohol by the men of America, coupled with the The German by Laurel 009powerlessness of women, led to child and wife abuse and other oppressions of women. And liquor was truly a curse. In the late nineteenth century, there was one saloon for every 50 males over age 15 in working class sections. Most local political meetings were held in saloons from which women were excluded. The liquor trade held a disproportionate share of public offices and was involved in corruption, crime, and vote-buying. By the year 1900, one of every 116 Americans was employed in the liquor industry. Americans spent over a billion dollars on alcoholic beverages, $900 million on meat, $150 million on churches, and less than $200 million on public education (3).

-The women who fought to control liquor were opposing one of the most powerful, entrenched forces in American life. Alcoholic men spent their money on liquor and had no legal obligation to support their wives and children. In divorce, the same alcoholics were awarded the children. As the leader of the WCTU, in the forefront against the grave societal evils represented by liquor, Frances Willard became the most admired woman in America (3).

-in 1873-4: the so-called “Woman’s Crusade.” In Hillsboro, Ohio, in December of 1873, a group of Protestant winechurch women went to hear a temperance speaker. The women became so excited by the dangers of liquor portrayed in the speech that they stormed the local saloon with prayer and non-violent protest. Across the Midwest, normally quiet housewives began to march and to accost druggists, hotel owners, and saloon keepers and demand that they refuse to sell liquor. Women dropped to their knees for pray-ins at local saloons and refused to leave until the saloon shut down. Within three months, the women had driven liquor out of 250 villages and towns. Opened casks of liquor were poured down the streets. By the end of the Woman’s Crusade, over 900 communities in 31 states and territories had experienced it. Nationwide, 750 breweries were closed. Thousands of women felt empowered by the crusade, which was the first time many of them had taken a public stand for anything (3).

-Willard recognized, developed, and implemented the use of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as a political organizing force (2).

-The WCTU quickly became the largest women’s organization in the United States, with local branches in most wine pic-niccommunities. It was the first national religious organization to be organized in the South after the Civil War. Its paper, the Union Signal, by 1890 was the largest woman’s paper in the world (3).

-She became the national president of the  Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1879, and remained president for 19 years (wiki).

-Under her leadership, the WCTU grew to be the largest non-secular organization of women in the 19th century (2).

-In their push to expose the evils of alcohol, Willard and other temperance reformers often depicted alcohol as a substance that incited black criminality, and implicitly made the argument that this was a serious problem requiring a serious cure.[ (wiki).

-National Prohibition has been interpreted as a cultural war between Protestants who were already well-Cool's b-day wknd 154established in North American and the newer Catholic and Jewish immigrants, who typically drank alcohol beverages as part of their cultures. In addition, Protestants tended to live in rural areas and towns whereas the newer immigrants tended to settle in large cities, thus creating another division. 5 WCTU membership included women from nearly every sector of American life, but consisted largely of lower-middle and middle-class women with strong ties to evangelical Protestant churches (5).

Although the WCTU had chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada with a very large membership, for years it did not accept Catholic, Jewish or African-American women or women who had not been born in North America. This reflected the cultural division conflict. When the WCTU began accepting African-American women, they were organized into separate chapter or unions. Black members tended to be teachers or other professional (5).

The WCTU was anxious to “Americanize” new immigrants, which meant to them, to persuade them to abstain from alcohol beverages. In the first two decades of the twentieth century much of its budget was spent on its center on Ellis Island in order to begin this “Americanization” process. The WCTU was especially concerned about the immigration of Irish and Germans and what it believed was the threat they posed to abstention and the promotion of prohibition (5).

-One WCTU leader expressed strong concern over “the enormous increase of immigrant population flooding us Easter 006from the old world, men and women who have brought to our shores and into our politics old world habits and ideas [favorable to alcohol]” and peppered her writing with references to this “undesirable immigration” and “these immigrant hordes.” (5).

The WCTU was not unique; the largely anti-foreign, anti-Catholic, anti-German and anti-Semitic nature of the temperance movement has been extensively documented. 7 The WCTU also supported eugenics. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) actively promoted Prohibition and its strict enforcement and many women belonged to both the WCTU and the KKK, sometimes holding leadership positions in both organizations(5).

-Her tireless efforts for women’s suffrage and prohibition included a fifty-day speaking tour in 1874, an average of 30,000 miles of travel a year, and an average of four hundred lectures a year for a ten-year period, mostly with her longtime companion Anna Adams Gordon. (wiki).

-Willard insisted that women must forgo the notion that they were the “weaker” sex and that dependence was their nature and must join the movement to improve society, stating “Politics is the place for woman (wiki).

-The WCTU pushed for women’s rights to vote specifically so that women could vote for the prohibition of liquor. Halloween 2013 006As an organization of church women, the WCTU persuaded the Protestant churches to get behind the women’s vote as a vehicle to push through temperance. Suffrage and temperance were seen as two pieces of the same issue: national prohibition was finally enacted in 1919, shortly before women received the vote (3).

-The WCTU has proposed, supported, and helped establish protection of women and children at home and work, stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against girls and women, traveler’s aid, police matrons, pure food and drug laws, legal aid, passive demonstrations, among many others (2).
-lesbian?

-“The loves of women for each other grow more numerous each day, and I have pondered much why these Vodka_and_Martinithings were. That so little should be said about them surprises me, for they are everywhere … In these days when any capable and careful woman can honorably earn her own support, there is no village that has not its examples of ‘two hearts in counsel,’ both of which are feminine.”  –Frances Willard, The Autobiography of an American Woman: Glimpses of Fifty Years, 1889 (wiki).

-To most modern historians, Willard is overtly identified as a lesbian,[17][18][19] while contemporary and slightly later accounts merely described her relationships, and her pattern of long-term domestic cohabitation with women, and allowed readers to draw their own conclusions.[20] Willard herself only ever formed long-term passionate relationships with women, and she stated as much in her autobiography.[21] (wiki).

-denounced prez candidate for Catholic religion (prohibition documentary).
-later became Catholic (prohibition documentary).

1) wikipedia

2)  http://www.franceswillardhouse.org/Frances_Willard.html

3)  http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/temperancewillard.htm

5)  http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/Controversies/Womans-Christian-Temperance-Union.html#.UyImbD9dWtM

 

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An Under-Rated Holiday: Women’s Day

8 Mar

Happy Women’s Day!  Did you even know there WAS such a thing?  I like everything this day stands for and try to at least think about it every year.  And so should you.

Mother Jones

I wanted to write a thoughtful post about the history, the struggles, and the future of the women’s movement and feminism in general.  Alas, I am busy being a feminist and pursuing higher education so I can one day use my clinical doctorate to make a difference in the world.  If my to-do list is on-track, I may post a synopsis of some of the Native American women I’ve been reading about, later on today.

I also wanted to have a women’s day project of some sort:  Write a letter to a politician, volunteer for a female-related cause, DO something to further the cause of the forgotten gender.  Maybe tomorrow (today now) I can take some time from audiometry, grad school application procedures, and house-sitting and do something like that.

Sally Ride

What I can do (quickly) is suggest some reading you, my dear-readers, should follow up on to get educated/motivated:

Egalia’s Daughters

The Red Tent

The Triangle Fire

The Beauty Myth

Backlash

and right now before bed I’m reading Wise Women:  The Forgotten World of Native American Women Trailblazers (or something to that effect).

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/62.Best_Feminist_Books

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Girl 27

11 Jul

MGM wanted to wine and dine their sales associates.  Invited them to L.A. and Mr. Mayer is quoted as saying “Anything you want.”  They got extras to a ranch under false pretenses–a movie call requiring western wear.  It turned out to be a party for the sales people.  With something like 1.5 cases of scotch per person.  This was a very thought-provoking documentary about a 17 year old extra (dancer), Patricia Douglas, who accused an MGM sales-rep at the party of raping her.  She had been a virgin.  Not that it would have been any less terrible (or true) if she had been sexually active.

In the 1930’s (and before) there was no sex education from parents or school.  No one talked about sex, pregnancy, or especially rape.  Rape was never even mentioned in the movies–it was avoided.  As such, rape could not occur.  When women accused it, they were stigmatized (as they are today) There was also no recourse or help when it did occur.  Like the “perfect” 1950’s, which I’ve discussed on my blog before, where things aren’t discussed, it doesn’t mean the perfect image portrayed is a true one.  The unpretty is just hidden.  And keeping secrets makes ugly, problems.  People can’t keep those sorts of things under wraps without facing consequences at some point or withering away internally.  Not talking about sex or rape, doesn’t mean sex won’t occur and rape won’t happen.  It just leaves people ignorant about sexuality and sweeps rape under the closet door with everything else unpleasant.

Along with ignorance and secrets so prevalent in that era, the institutionalized cover-up contributed to Douglas’ misery and decline.  It was the studio movie era so MGM was king.  MGM was the biggest employer in L.A.  This means they controlled police, politicians, and the majority of the public.  To cover the bad publicity, they got the doctor to give Douglas a douche PRIOR to an examination–essientially erasing all evidence.  The one witness changed his story–then got a lifetime (nicer) job at MGM.  When the case went federal, Douglas’ lawyer didn’t show up (3x) to the landmark–1st–federal trial.  Suddenly, Douglas’ mother, the minor’s custodian, came into money.  She had furs, a stable of horses, and cash–and dropped her daughter’s case.  Makes you wonder. . .

The film covers the subsequent trial (then lack of one), cover-up, and lifelong ramifications.  It is true, abuse and mal-adaptive behavior continues from one generation to the next.  Though she lived into her 80’s Douglas had died long before that.  Long term affects of the rape and the cover-up of it:  Douglas could not love or trust men, and became, in her own words, “frigid” sexually.  She never mentioned any of this to her daughter or grandchildren, but was cold toward them.  Douglas became home-bound and obese.  The only things she ever did were watch MTV all night and sleep all day.  Douglas lived with her mother, but treated her poorly.  The rift, ignorance, and pattern of abuse spans generations.

What else can you say, but rape ruins lives?  The documentary will stay with me.  I suggest you watch it too.

PS: Greta vanSustern is a total lesbian–married to a man or not.

P.S.S:  Film based on, “It Happened One Night. . . At MGM.

Tampon Commercial

2 May

You wouldn’t think advertisements for women’s products would shame women–but I guess they are one of the biggest culprits. Just look at the modeling industry and makeup.  But still–I expect more.

I was listening to Spotify as I studied, and the music was inturrupted by a commercial. This happens often, as I refuse to pay to get rid of the ads. And this commercial was actually new, instead of the Safeway Pharmacy commercial they usually repeat over and over.

It was for Tampax Tampons, and went something like this: “It is difficult for a girl to make it in the Spotify world. Music is competitive, and there are many obstacles for women. Now, women can eliminate her period as one of those obstacles.”  I don’t remember the exact wording, because like I said–I was studying.

Whhhat??  *insert Hank Hill’s shocked/appalled facial experession*  I think there are many things wrong with this ad:

First and foremost the company portrays itself as women-positive, supportive of female artists.  When obviously, the opposite is true.  Many obstacles–for women.

Secondly, Tampax makes it sound like music is a man’s world, female artists suck more, and current female (aspiring) artists should be as male as possible–hiding menstruation–in order to make the cut. Not true, not awesome.

Finally, shame is used to sell the product.  They are saying if you want to be successful in the man’s world of music–then you had better make your monthly period as inconspicuous as possible.  Menstral cycles are a deal-breaker if you want to get listened to in this industry.

I don’t think periods are anything to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.  Women have them.  It’s not like the cycle can be curtailed or controlled (without mediation/surgery).  It would be good if feminine products were actually supportive of women.

On the plus (or hyprcritical) side, when I went to the Tampax website to see the exact wording of the ad, it was pretty female-positive.  Showing activities “girls” want to do such as, “Ace the test, play against the boys, and stand on top of the pyramid.”  Aside from the frequent usage of “girl” on a women’s product, that is.

And I liked the fact they had tampon-insertion tutorials for scared newbies, disease and sexual education obligatory FAQ, and even a place to sign up for a free sample(I should be getting some tampons in the mail!) they redeemed themselves somewhat.  Ugh never-mind!  I just gave them all my info so they can spam the fuck out of me–and they were like “Sorry due to high interest, this offer is no longer available.”  Phishing scam–I think so.  Damn you, Tampax!  And stay out of the music world, tampon commercials. . .

Because I could name a thousand–maybe a million–successful female artists. That didn’t have to hide the fact they are women.  Right now (excuse any misspellings):  Celine Dion, Cher, Madonna, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Rait, Sarah McLachlan, Adele, Blondie, Brandy, Jennifer Lopez, Mylie Cyrus, Mariah Carrey, Tracy Chapman, Ferron, Melissa Etheridge, Peaches, Fiona Apple, Gwen Stafani, Miranda Lambert, Nelly Fertado, Macy Grey, Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, Faith Hill, Janet Jackson, Jewel, Lesley Gore, Joan Jett, Lady Gaga, TLC, Reba McEntire, Anne Murray, Alanis Morrisette, Pink, Katy Perry, Robyn, Tina Turner, Brittany Speares, Shania Twain, Aretha Franklin, Judy Garland, on and on and on.

UPDATE:

Sounds like I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like the tone of that commercial.  Here is the (prompt) response I got after linking this post on Facebook:

Tampax Sorry you found our Spotify commercial offensive 7aurel. We’re glad you took the time to drop us a line and share your thoughts. Tampax is about supporting women in whatever they choose to do and we want to make sure nothing stands in their way. Our message may have been misconstrued and it wasn’t our intention to offend anyone. As of this week we have since taken the ad off of Spotify and are revising the copy.

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Film Genre and Feminism

9 Apr

Which is worse? A slasher Movie or A RomCom?

Slasher films are not the best representation for women:  Females are always dumb-bimbos, they are always helpless and screaming, and they always get violently ripped apart from stem to stern.  Sexually active vixens are sure to die, giving the message women are only “good” if they’re virginal.  The more cleavage, the better in this films, which sexualizes women and makes them into (disposable) objects.

Admittedly, I enjoy a good horror/slasher movie, and am inundated with those negative images.  BUT I know what I’m getting.  I know what to expect with a slasher film.  I can see they are low-budget most times with poor dialogue and unrealistic plot lines.  I get that.  I don’t think there are many horror fans that believe what they are seeing is absolutely real.  I like a scary movie, because I know it’s phony, though the messages about women are very real.

I would argue that romantic comedies are a worse representation of women then slasher flicks.  Sure, no woman is sawed apart or treated with extreme violence as in the slasher film, but portrayal of women is still poor.  Women in romantic comedies are dependent upon males, whiny, helpless, manipulative, and weak.  They may live to the end credits, but women in romantic comedies still are not shown as independent, smart, well-adjusted ladies.

At least there is usually a strong female role-model in the horror films.  There may just be one survivor, but she outsmarts the villain, kicks ass, and had superior survival skills.  In romantic comedies even the “strong” women are flawed, lonely, and NEED a man to realize true happiness by the end of the movie.  And unlike the slasher films, romantic comedies portray their content as realistic.

Romantic comedies, like Disney princesses, give girls and women unrealistic, idealized, expectations of men, relationships, and love.  Instead of showing relationships based on hard work, trust, and equal partnership, the RomComs show romanticized male leads with overly chivalrous behavior, and an unbalanced relationship where the women schemes to get what she wants and the man is in ultimate control.

Which do you think is worse:  The Slasher Film or RomComs???

 

“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” Gloria Steinem

8 Mar

It’s International Women’s Day!  And truth be told I am SO excited–I honestly wish it were a widely known, legit holiday that everyone acknowledged.  I really wanted to celebrate this special day.  Originally, I wanted to pamper myself and get a massage or something like that.  Which I have never done before.  But Cool works, I have a quiz this afternoon to do more preparing for, and I work all day tomorrow.  Also, I’m sick, sick, sick, and the thought of anyone touching me, sounds fairly horrid right now.  Plus snarfing and coughing isn’t nearly as sexy as I would like to feel at my fist massage session.

Instead, I am immersing myself in strong female influences today.  This will include:  Listening to the female artists while reading feminist blogs, watching only pro-women portrayals on television (time allowing), and maybe finishing the day with some sort of Lifetime movie.  And for dinner–tacos.  And not (solely) because Cool thinks she’s hilarious bringing up some kindergarten joke of tacos vs. hot dogs–but because my mom ate tacos very night she was pregnant with me.  Every.  Night.  For 9 months–my poor father!

I have to mention that it was extraordinarily difficult to broach the subject of IWD without clinging to the trite cliche prevalent on the internet.  Picking a title–Women’s Day, Herstory–well, it’s all been done before.  And pictures?  How many Rosie the Riveters could I see?  With each one, the impact was a little less.  Not that those aren’t imperative images–I just wanted to be more original to have maximum impact.  To get the day started right, here are some of the most important women.  Remember them, respect all they have accomplished, and research the more unfamiliar.

Influential Women Everyone Knows (or should):

Really, this list is not all-inclusive.  There are so many examples of brave, strong, influential, important females past and present.  These are just the tip of the iceberg.  Mother Teresa, Rosie the Riveter, Harriot Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Elenor Roosevelt, Sally Ride, Sandra Day O’Connor, Madeline Albright, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Billie Jean King, Annie Oakley, Oprah, Hilary Rodam Clinton, Mia Hamm, Eve Ensler,  Lucille Ball, Candice Bergen and many, many more.

Lessor Known, but Just as Important Women:

Martha Graham-revolutionized dance.  “The Picasso of Dance.”

Mary Kay Ash- her sell-it-yourself goods allowed women to be independent

Joan Ganz Cooney-created Sesame Street

Virginia Apgar–created the Apgar Test to reduce infant mortality

Mother Jones-fought for child-labor laws and overall rights for mine workers.

(Famous and ) Especially Meaningful to Me:

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls

Naomi Wolf, author of “The Beauty Myth”

Margart Sanger–mother of Planned Parenthood

Women of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

I hope everyone has a great IWD and takes some time to appreciate women.  DO something to further women.  I went to Change.org and clicked “Women’s Rights” to sign a lot of petitions demanding fair treatment of women.  Also, get word out about this holiday!

Birth Control [Scene 2 and 3: The Bad and The Ugly]

15 Dec

The ugly side of the pill is the way it’s handed out to every woman.  To clear up skin problems, regulate unruly menstrual cycles, shorten the duration of periods, reduce periods to a quarterly event, reduce the severity of cramps, delay periods for big events like weddings, help hormonal imbalances, and finally as birth control.  And now there is a study saying women taking the pill over the long term get less disease and live longer????  Who funded that one–and what did they have to gain?  How was the study conducted, on how many women was the data collected, and who in the world did they find to be in the control group?  I am VERY suspicious of such sweeping results!

Are we (and by we I mean medical professionals who should be unbiased and have no stake in the huge industry) taking the BCP too far by doling it out to anyone and everyone whether they need it or not?  I for one, have NEVER been asked if I was a lesbian by any of my doctors, gynos, OR the IVF people who did my lady-exams before I donated my eggs.  But each one of those care providers suggested I get on the pill.  For various reasons.  To regulate my menstrual cycle.  To reduce cramping.  It’s a fix all.  Were there no alternatives for those problems for a person not having sex with men?  I want to know what are the ACTUAL side effetcs or long term health effects from being on lifelong birth control pill?

I guess I’m just a little suspicious.  I have a hard time believing a daily pill wouldn’t cause any deleterious long-term effects.  I have a really difficult time believing a daily pill containing hormones strong enough to do all those various and integral things has no other affects.  If it’s a fix all, then certainly the pill is acting very heavily on hormonal balances.  Look at this easily found example of women not getting the full story about affects of the pill.  {C.}  I knew Yaz had a lot of side effects, because the commercial advertising it goes on, and on, and on.  But I did not know death was one of them. . .

And why isn’t anyone concerned that the pill decreases a women’s libido?  Which is it birth control or mind control?  In giving women a means to control her own reproduction, which gives females much more power then they formerly held, the pill has also taken it away.  Women on birth control experience decreased sex drive.  They are slaves to buying and remembering to take the pill.  Because the pill is an option, they are responsible for birth control for any sexual encounters.  The pill is something men never have to think about, and it’s another excuse they use not to wear a condom.

That’s the ugly part of the birth control pill.  It doesn’t do anything for Sexually Transmitted Diseases.  The pill may lull people into a false sense of security.  All the while, HIV and AIDS is on the rise, and other STDs with gross (sometimes lifelong) consequences are not going away.

 

References:

{C.}http://www.medpagetoday.com/OBGYN/Pregnancy/30111

Birth Control Pill [Scene 1: The Good]

14 Dec

The invention of the birth control pill has given women vast freedom to plan their own families and protect themselves from unintended pregnancy.  I think the pill should be available to everyone that wants and needs it for no charge.  It’s great preventative care and in the long run saves tons of money, by limiting unwanted children and welfare expenses.

Here is a brief history {A.}:

1550 BC in Egypt–women were given  recipe using common food items and wool to avoid conception.

1873–after some experimentation with very primative versions of cervical caps, condoms, and douches, the puritanical U.S. becomes the only western country to demonize birth control.  It is considered obscene and criminalized.

1916 in Brooklyn–Margaret Sanger opens America’s first family-planning clinic.  It closes in 10 days.

1920–Sanger tries again, this time more successfully, and opens what would become Planned Parenthood.

1938–A judge lifts the ban on birth control.  Still, it remains outlawed in most states.

1951 in Mexico City–A progesterone pill is created by Carl Djerassi.

1960–the FDA approves a birth control pill!

1965–By this year, 6.5 million women are on THE pill.

1970–There are concerns about BCP’s safety prompting senate hearings.

1980–By this year, 10.5 million women are taking the BCP.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1983970,00.html#ixzz1gTK53shX

Rates of unintended pregnancy among women of child-bearing age (15-40 in this data set).  Teens aged 15-19 from 1981 to 2002, and women aged 20-24 and aged 25-29.  {B.}

____All Women__Teens (15-19)__Women aged 20-24__ Women aged 25-29
1981____54.2_______78.1_________ 93.6____________ 60.6__
1987___ 53.5_______ 79.3_________ 102.7___________ 66.1__
1994___ 51________ 82__________ 105_____________ 66___
2002___ 51________ 67__________ 104_____________ 71___

As you can see, unintended teen pregnancy was the only age set to decrease their rates from 1981 to 2002.  Women in their 20s and 30s remained relatively stable or increased slightly.

And who can argue with those benefits?

References: