Thursday, March 30, 2006

I love Andrea Dworkin, part 1

I've been thinking about Andrea Dworkin a lot lately, and I've put off writing about her. How can I properly write about Andrea? I was a dedicated feminist as a young adult, but drifted away from feminism due to illness and life. I've only recently recommitted to feminism, and have read very little of Ms. Dworkin's work.

But you know what? When I was paying attention, it was easy to realize how important she was. It was easy to see how her rage cut through all the bullshit, getting right to the heart of the matter. Do I agree with everything Andrea Dworkin stood for? Well, I don't know since I've read so little of her work. But I intend to change that situation. The first book of hers I'm going to read is Life and Death.

Here's the thing. I've never met a person (yet) with whom I agree completely. I don't agree with myself on everything. But I'm able to disagree on minor or major points without throwing a woman's entire ideology into the trash.

April 9th will be the first anniversary of Andrea's death. The mainstream media barely reacted when she died. That reaction seems fairly predictable. What really offended me was to see how some feminists reacted to her death. Lindsay Beyerstein posted about Andrea's Death, saying it was unthinkable for the mainstream media to overlook a feminist of Dworkin's stature. However, Beyerstein also wrote this:

Indeed. I have about as much regard for Dworkin's work as I do for the philosophical writings of the late pope.

WHAT? She's equating a woman who fought tooth and nail for women's rights her entire life to one of the men directly responsible for women's oppression? It's disgusting to see a comparison of Andrea with the pope, for the planet's sakes, and it's sad to see her contempt for a critically important woman.

I won't post a selection of comments about her death because I don't think that most of them deserve attention. There's one comment, however, that I can't let go:

Though she died young, she seems to have well outlived her particular brand of feminism.

It's tragic of course that she died an early death, but just about no one would have wished her ideology a longer life.

Au contraire, my little short-sighted one. Andrea did not outlive her particular brand of feminism. There's an entire movement out here keeping the ideology going. We're still fighting, Andrea. I'm grateful you finally have peace.

Tech help

Over the last few days, when I've tried to log in to Blogger, I find that I'm already logged in. Now, the first few times it happened, I could believe I forgot to log out the previous time. But I became concerned over how scattered I was being, and started paying attention.

Just now, it happened again. Anyone have an idea as to what's going on? I really am paying attention now and making sure to log out.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Please blog about this

A story about the rape of an African-American woman hasn't gotten much coverage in the media.
The woman who says she was raped last week by three members of the Duke University lacrosse team thought she would be dancing for five men at a bachelor party, she said Friday. But when she arrived that night, she found herself surrounded by more than 40.

Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."

By standing by and refusing to help the woman, and by participating in such a hate-filled occasion, all of the men are guilty. So if they won't say which 3 men raped the woman, charge all of them. They are all responsible. There should be consequences for standing by and letting a woman be brutalized. There should be consequences for refusing to speak up and tell investigators who committed the rape.

I learned about this story from Rachel's Tavern. Rachel correctly points out that if the victim had been white, this story would be all over the news. Please blog about this to help get the word out, and to help put pressure on Duke to do something.

Monday Bunny Blogging

Bumble's cardboard box is never quite finished. It always needs another door or window. And sometimes, just the sight of it angers him and he goes into a chewing frenzy.

This bunny moves so fast no camera can capture him!

Most picture of Bumble turn out like this-all blurry and four ears.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Elderly Get a Pass on Racism

The current issue of The Week has a story on Eva Longoria's new love. My first thought was "Who is Eva Longoria?" It turns out she's one of the stars on Desperate Housewives. I almost stopped reading, because I find I retain more brain cells when I ignore celebrities, but kept reading and found out that she is in love with Tony Parker, the point guard for the San Antonio Spurs.

Here's the kicker:

The two are now talking marriage, but there's just one problem: Her very traditional, 95-year-old grandma doesn't know that Parker is black. But Longoria has a solution. "We'll just tell her that he's French."

Is this supposed to be funny? Oh, ha ha, we have to protect old racist granny from the fact that a black man is marrying into the family. They're going to tell her that he's French? What?

There are two related societal standards that really chap my ass:
1) Don't speak badly about the dead.
2) Don't ever upset the elderly.

The first standard is easily dealt with. If you don't want people to speak badly about you when you're dead, then don't be a hateful, nasty pusbag when you're alive. The second standard is trickier. Someone who is 95 years old does have more pressing health concerns than a younger person. So if a family member is awaiting biopsy results, it's probably best to wait until you have the test results before telling grandma or grandpa. Spare the elderly person the worry if you can.

However, this doesn't mean that you can be as awful as you want to be once you reach a certain age. If granny is a racist puke, then she needs to be called on it. I don't care if someone is 5, 15, 55, or 105. Racism must be confronted and challenged. "We don't want to upset a 95-year-old." Sure, I don't want to upset someone who is so old they could die from the stress of bad news or an argument. But granny shouldn't have gotten to this advanced age without being challenged on her hateful beliefs. She should have found out that other family members were highly offended by her racist views, and that she either needed to change, or to shut up about it.

Instead, the Longoria family is going to work to protect racist granny's feelings. I wonder if anyone is considering Tony Parker's feelings. Age is supposed to bring wisdom. This story is further evidence that sometimes, age just solidifies hate.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Is blogging worth it?

I'm going for my record in shortest time between posts. Woo-hoo!

So, I haven't been posting lately because I'm having all kinds of blogging conflict. There's the "what's my focus" conflict, the "I can't come up with anything to say that several others haven't already said" conflict, the "I hate writing" conflict", the "is blogging all about popularity" conflict", the "how in hell will I blog when I'm employed" conflict, and the "what do I believe about the conflicts I've been reading about on other blogs" conflict. There are even more conflicts, but I'm tired.

I've learned that other bloggers go through at least some of these issues too. In a way that makes me feel better-we're all trying to sort things out. But it also makes me feel worse. Why are we putting ourselves through this! Why don't we all set up a weekly lunch or dinner time, get together, talk and relax. Leave the blogging behind. If only we didn't live so damn far apart. Well, have a refreshing beverage and take a break for me. Put your feet up. I'm off to pet the rabbit.

Just how many disorders can one person have?

I alphabetized my blogroll, and I feel so much better now. I'd intentionally left each section organized randomly, even chaotically! I was trying not give in to my strange need for order.

I have lost the battle (except in the General Blogs and Carnival sections). If you notice anything is not properly alphabetized, for the planet's sake, please tell me. Fixing it will make me happy.

I'm going to go watch Monk. That show always makes me feel better about my obsessive tendencies.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Carnival of Feminists Is Up

The 11th edition of Carnival of Feminists is posted at Angry for a Reason.

Head on over and have a look around.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Feminism Ruins Everything

I found this post discussing the case of a 25-year-old woman who had sex with a 14-year-old boy. The blogger discusses the attitudes people apply when teens have sex with an older person. People often react as if there is no problem when the teen is male, and even act as if it's a positive thing. I agree with him on this point; I don't understand why we don't take sexual abuse of boys seriously.

But the blogger's explanation for the case in question was astounding:

Did this crime always exist, or is it yet another byproduct of feminism's assault on established female values? If it feels good do it. It's my body. Who are you to make rules for me? If it's love, what can be wrong with it? The application of these values gets very, very messy.

So now feminism is responsible for the sexual abuse of teenagers. Get a grip on reality, please. If you're going to be a misogynist, at least have the guts to speak plainly. "Established female values" means "women behaving the way men want". He equates the concept of control over one's own body to being able to do what one wants to someone else. The logic in this is laughable, but the underlying sentiment is appalling. Those uppity women want control over their bodies. Give it to them, and they'll be forcing themselves on men in no time. In short, women't autonomy destroys society.

If I thought it would do any good, I'd implore him to do some basic research in feminism. The application of feminist values is very, very easy. How much more straightforward can you get than embracing the idea that a woman is a person, and she has the right to determine what happens to her body.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

You know, something isn't really yours until you modify it and make it your own.

Click the thumbnail to see Bumble's latest modification to his chair.

Rusty Yates Moves On

My friend Madame DeBarge told me that Rusty Yates remarried yesterday. Who is Rusty Yates? Why, he is the man who encouraged his wife, Andrea Yates, to do things that put her at risk of becoming psychotic. He's the one who stood by and watched his wife become progressively more ill, and who did nothing to help her. Eventually, Andrea drowned their five children. I couldn't find a link to a story announcing Rusty's happy event, so I'll just link to this story about Rusty moving on. Just in time, too, Rusty. Andrea's retrial starts tomorrow! But Rusty's a stand-up guy:

Yates continues to stand by his ex-wife, who has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.

Excuse me (sniff). I think I have something in my eye. (cries quietly) Oh Rusty, you are an honorable man! What a way to help Andrea!

Let's review what happened, shall we?

Andrea, Rusty, and their 4 oldest children lived on a bus. Conditions were obviously stressful, and to make matters worse, Andrea came under the influence of Michael Woroniecki, the minister who sold them the bus. What kind of influence was Woroniecki?

He preached, "the role of women is derived from the sin of Eve and that bad mothers who are going to hell create bad children who will go to hell." Andrea was so totally captivated by Woroniecki that Rusty and Andrea's family grew concerned.

The stress built and built. Andrea attempted suicide, was hospitalized and released with medications. She didn't take the meds. If you've never been on antidepressants and/or antipsychotics, you have no right to judge her decision. These drugs can cause extreme illness, so it's understandable when patients stop taking them. This reaction, stopping medication, is why it's so important for other people to be involved in caring for a person with mental illness. Maybe Rusty couldn't figure out that Andrea wasn't taking her medication. Well, it turns out that the symptoms were obvious:

... she began to self mutilate and refused to feed her children because she felt they were eating too much. She thought there were video cameras in the ceilings and said that the characters on television were talking to her and the children. She told Rusty about the hallucinations, yet neither of them informed Andrea's psychiatrist, Dr. Starbranch. On July 20, Andrea put a knife to her neck and begged her husband to let her die.
(emphasis mine)

Andrea was a little too sick to tell her doctor about these problems. Rusty, presumably was not suffering a terrible illness, yet he did nothing until a knife was at her throat. Andrea was hospitalized, and responded very well to medication. Not all patients do respond to meds, so this was wonderful news. She was presribed Haldol, an antipsychotic. It stopped Andrea's extreme symptoms, like hallucinations. However, the psyciatrist warned Rusty and Andrea that pregnancy would be very dangerous. Getting pregnant could cause more episodes of psychosis for Andrea.

Life seemed to be going well for the Yates. They moved out of the bus and into a house, and Andrea was taking her medication. Andrea resumed old activities, and seemed to be managing motherhood and her life well.

In March of 2000, Andrea, on Rusty's urging, became pregnant and stopped taking the Haldol.

How could Rusty do this? Why would he knowingly encourage his wife to do something so incredibly dangerous? He wanted a child? They already had four kids. They could have adopted. But in spite of the doctor's warning, and in spite of the couple's experience, he wanted her to get pregnant again.

After her daughter was born, Andrea's father died, and she began to crash. She wouldn't feed the baby, she wouldn't drink anything, and she mutilated herself, and "frantically read the bible".

By the end of March Andrea returned to a different hospital. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Mohammed Saeed, treated her briefly with Haldol but discontinued it, saying that she did not did not seem psychotic. Andrea was released only to return again in May. She was released in 10 days and in her last follow-up visit with Saeed, she was told to think positive thoughts and to see a psychologist.

Think positive thoughts? Dr. Saeed seems to have the same mindset as Rusty Yates: Even if you're dangerously ill, don't bother me. She didn't "seem" psychotic? That's a statement worthy of a layperson, who doesn't know what they're talking about. Dr. Saeed is a psychiatrist, a medical doctor trained in the specialty of mental illness. A woman with a serious psychiatric history that includes suicide attempts and psychosis is just not released without medication and told to think positive thoughts! Would he deprive a diabetic of insulin and tell them to just "visualize low blood sugar"?

Two days after being released, Andrea drowned her five children. Immediately after being taken into custody, she explained that she was a bad mother and was condemning her children to hell. She was corrupting her children through her own vile flaws, so she had to do the only thing she could to save them from hell.

Andrea Yates was obviously and profoundly ill long before she killed her children. The two people who could have prevented this from happening were her husband and her psychiatrist. Andrea did not kill her children in cold blood; she killed her kids as a last-ditch effort to save them. Don't discount what she believed because it doesn't make sense. Her logic was rooted in her psychosis. She lost the ability to think clearly and to make reasonable choices. She was severly mentally ill and she was not getting any help for her illness. Andrea desperately needed help. Her children desperately needed help. Those kids had a psychotic mother and a father who didn't give a rat's ass about his family. They were in trouble long before the day they died.

Tomorrow, Andrea will be on trial for murder for the second time. The one person who could not be responsible for her actions is being held responsible. Rusty Yates is free to do whatever he wants. Dr. Saeed is free to live his life. Andrea has to live with the fact that she killed all of her children. I can't imagine the pain she suffers. All of this could have been avoided. Happy honeymoon, Rusty!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Feminism, Racism and Privilege

Brownfemipower posted on guilty bloggers. The post really shook me up. Fuck, I’ve done it again. I’ve been coasting on white privilege.

I’m new to blogging, and have struggled with the focus of my blog. I want a heavy emphasis on feminism, but I also want to deal with the hatred the mentally ill face, and with conservation issues. My blog reading focuses on feminist blogs, and I’ve found the atmosphere on many of these blogs quite uncomfortable. People who fall under the umbrella of feminism should be very diverse. However, I’ve found that, as a mentally ill woman, I see both casual bias and outright scorn against people with mental disorders on feminist blogs. It’s easy to use “crazy” as the butt of a joke. I’ve also felt ill at ease, rarely, due to being childfree and an atheist. But I never once felt uncomfortable because of my skin color. The majority of blogs I visited dealt with issues that were relevant to me, a white woman.

I’ve wanted to write about my feelings of alienation in the feminist blogosphere. I’ve wanted to challenge the status quo in feminist blogging. I’ve been furious at the story of “top” male liberal bloggers acting as if feminism wasn’t their concern. Those men rose to the top through their ability, and if women couldn’t do the same, then they must not have any talent. On my blog, I’ve focused on feminist issues that directly concern me. I have not posted about racism. I’ve been coasting on white privilege. I’ve been behaving like those elite male bloggers: only worried about my own ass.

How could I do this? People who care only about themselves sicken me. I have two options: be completely self-centered or walk my talk. The reason I'm a feminist is that inequality enrages me, so it’s time to walk my talk. Everyone matters. Feminism is about equality for all. So why do I fall into the selfish trap? Privilege is a vile, invisible cancer, and it infects every area of life. When I think about feminist issues, I’m well-aware of my position as one-down in society. But I blindly ignore my status and the advantages I have by “virtue” of being born white and straight.

At work, I teach psychology at the community college level. One of my favorite areas is social psychology, because I can spend a lot of time on racism and privilege. In the classroom, I introduce the concept of privilege. And oh, does the atmosphere turn chilly. Formerly talkative white students get quiet, and the anger in the room quickly builds to near breaking point. I get frustrated with my white students, quarter after quarter. OK, so they didn’t know about privilege before, that’s why I’m teaching them about it. But they resist learning about privilege. In spite of numerous examples, case histories, and discussion, they furiously deny privilege exists. I hear “I don’t try to have privilege over anyone!” and “I didn’t have any slaves!” over and over. White students say “I have problems too! People discriminate against me!” One student even said “White people face the same problems that colored people face.” My own frustration threatens to explode. I will not open their minds by screaming that they are miserable little cretins. I try to hammer home that privilege is so destructive precisely because it is invisible to those who have it. This classroom exercise is routinely unsatisfying, nerve-wracking, and unproductive.

Once privilege is explained to you, you are obligated to think about it, take responsibility for it, and fight against it. Why won’t those students get it? I have not posted about racism. Why don’t I get it? Well, I do get it, but I lose focus and return to my comfortable, privileged world. Intention is never enough; fighting for equality requires persistence and dedication.

It isn’t Brownfemipower’s, or anyone else’s job to educate me, remind me, or motivate me. But she did all of those things, and I’m grateful to her. From now on, I won’t coast on white privilege. Feminism is about autonomy for everyone, not just for white women.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Google Meme

Via feminist reprise and The Geeky Feminist. See feminist reprise for rules. No cheating!

1. town and state where I grew up:

2. city and state where I now reside:

3. first and last name:

4. my grandmother's name:

5. my favorite food:

6. my favorite drink:

Oh, now I'm going to have to go get some root beer tomorrow.

7. my favorite smell:

I don't know what the Abominable Snowman smells like. My favorite smell is my bunny's face. He always smells very sweet and comforting, and his name is "Bumble", hence this picture.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Women's Pain Is So Funny!

The amount of misogyny in the world exhausts me. But just when I feel too tired to scream, I run across something especially vile. Fortunately, I have a special reserve of rage built up for those who attempt to be hateful while hiding behind humor.

In How to Pick Up a Really Hot Babe, men are given instructions on manipulating a beautiful woman into sex. A discussion of this type would not be complete without a rape joke.

Three minutes of conversation and you put her to sleep. Way to go, Valentino. Sleep is not as useful as unconsciousness. Stare for awhile, give her a sniff, touch her arm lightly to confirm how soft her skin is and then proceed to Step 5.

This pusbag thinks that this is so funny. Instructions for rape aren't offensive becaues this is "dark humor". Well, in dark humor, you are supposed to combine horrible aspects of life with humor to show how awful the situation is. Laughing at violence against women, and trying to limit women to roles as sex objects does not mark you as being funny. It reflects that you are cruel, limited in knowledge, and afraid of women.

If you have the stomach, check out another page on the site: Mail Order Iraqi Brides.

This is just a small sampling of the treasures that await you when you become a full member. All of our brides pass our exclusive 48-point quality inspection. Don't settle for just any old used bride, make your next wife a top-of-the-line previously-owned bride!

Women are possessions. What an original joke! Since he manages to insult both gender and culture, the joke must be twice as funny. Which is worse? The thought that his guy is a traditional, straight-out woman hater, or that he thinks he respects women?


I'm having serious internet connectivity issues. I've had to go without surfing for several hours! The problem appears to be structural (cable problems, not computer), and will continue for some time. Sometimes the connection is only gone for a few minutes, but I'm dreading the possibility of it being gone much longer.

One upside to all of this is that I'm reading books more often. Currently, I'm reading The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. I'm not familiar with Buddhist priciples, so it's quite eye-opening. One thing in particular grabbed me:

maitri: the complete acceptance of ourselves as we are

That concept alone was worth the price of the book.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday Bunny Blogging

Bumble loves hay, especially when it's fresh out of the bag.

But he loves *this* hay so much, he tried to snuggle underneath the bag.

Life is good.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Luna dies

I am so sick about this. I hope this post is coherent.

As a baby, Luna was more independent than most orca calves, and would wander away from his mother. The picture below was taken when Luna was very young.

source: Susan Berta, Orca Network

Maybe it's not surprising that Luna eventually ended up separated from his pod. In July, 2001, Luna appeared alone in Nootka Sound. There were no other orcas in the Sound. Orcas are highly social animals, and as Luna grew, he sought companionship with people and with boats. While this sounds appealing, it's dangerous for all involved. It's also pitiful that the whale was reduced to seeking out boats for company:

Last week Luna made an appearance at the Gold River dock for the first time in some weeks. He followed the Uchuck III in from his familiar territory, and hung out at the dock for one night. While he was there he visited several of his favorite boats, including a dozer boat working among the logs and a tug he often follows out in Nootka Sound. The next day he found his way back to his territory, no doubt hitching a ride on another slow boat.

Many whales ride the wake behind boats. Luna engaged in this hobby, but got too close, and suffered injuries.

source: Mike Parfit, Orca Network

In spite of the danger, and in spite of his injuries, it was an activity he seemed to enjoy.

He had that rough wave just where he wanted it. He must have been sliding down its steep edge, using the energy of the boat to carry him along. Several times he showed just how easy this was by lifting his flukes right out of the churning water. Once I saw him slide slightly to the port side of the stern of the boat, and through a smooth rush of water I could see his head under the surface. His had his mouth open. Not just a little bit, either. It was open big, for all the world like a kid on a bike careening downhill, no hands, mouth open, yelling with joy or fear or a glorious combination of both.

Now it seems, that love has cost him his life. There are many questions that must be addressed, but I can't think about that right now. For an account of his death, see here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Blank Noise Project

Today is Blog Against Sexism Day, and International Women's Day. I was going to write about whatever angered me the most today. Fortunately, I found a post by Feminist African Sister that reminded me that today is about celebration of women's accomplishments as well as fighing against sexism. For that reason, I chose to write about the Blank Noise Project.

In 2003, the Blank Noise Project was launched. Blank Noise must exist because of horrifying levels of street harassment, from verbal taunts to assault. The work is focused in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi.

What are the women fighting?
Seven years later, again in Bombay, after swearing to travel only in the ladies compartment of the local train, I learnt yet another lesson : some 'ladies' compartments turn into a free-for-all feel-up-jam-session after nine o'clock at night.

Suddenly, there were men's crotches pressing into my face, my knees and my shoulders. I stood up and fought my way to the door. Only to be surrounded by half a dozen men offering to 'get me out safely'. As the train stopped, half a dozen men got on, half a dozen got off. Trapped between them for a few seconds, I lost count of how many hands felt me up.

I cried tears of rage - if only that train hadn't moved away... I wanted badly to drag at least one of them off that train and smash his skull on the nearest railway track.

Of course, it isn't just a battle against men who think it's their right to assault women. Some "innocent" men think the women are too uppity in their complaining:

I remember reading a post on the Blank Noise blog last year: The author sounded like a fire breathing feminist, righteously declaring that all men are evil (something along the same lines), and some of them look at women and having dirty thoughts about them, while they have no right to do so (I think she used the expression 'lecherously ogle'). If my memory does not fail me, Greatbong left a really amusing comment explaining that anyone had a right to look at any one else, and of course, a right to think whatever he/she wanted to about whoever they were looking at. Boy, that sure was funny. [Full disclosure: I consider observing female specimens of the human species from a respectable distance, and appreciating their beauty, a completely above-board, and a rather agreeable activity]

The Blank Noise Project faces quite a battle when people equate women's experience with harassment to men's experience. Maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe the writer quoted above has had his breasts grabbed repeatedly. Maybe he lives with the constant fear of rape. Maybe he's been sitting on his brain for far too long.

This post is about hope and optimism. What women face in street harassment is outrageous and inexcusable. But women, and some men, have banded together to fight for the basic right to be free of attack. Yesterday, activists held the Blank Noise Blog-a-thon. Women continue to fight. Happy International Women's Day!

Please join us today and Blog Against Sexism!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Carnival of Feminists Is Up

The 10th edition of Carnival of Feminists is up and running at Indian Writing. Surf over to the blog, get comfy and read many great posts.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Bullshit Bullshit BULLSHIT

Jill at Feministe posted earlier today on a story that really brings things into focus.

PHOENIX — State representatives voted Monday to make it illegal for a woman to sell her eggs, but they refused to impose similar restrictions on men selling their sperm.

What? A different standard for women and men?

Rep. Bob Stump, R-Peoria, said both measures are necessary to protect the health of women.

Thank the planet, he's just worried about women's health. I was afraid he was trying to control women like a sick patriarchal fuck.

Stump said the disparate treatment is justified. And, he said, it has "nothing to do with gender politics."

Oh, see, this reassurance makes me feel better.

Stump conceded that the medical risk remains the same whether the eggs are donated or sold. And nothing in his legislation makes donation illegal.

Caught you with your pants down, Bob. Let go of the sausage and let's try to think rationally. You're worried about women being subjected to harmful procedures, like back alley abortions? Oops, sorry. I drifted. You're worried about women's health. But you're only worried about it sometimes. Women can donate an egg (eh-maybe you want to make a little Stumpie, Jr.?), but they can't sell eggs and make some money for their time, pain and effort. See, this doesn't make any sense.

But Stump said there is one difference. Human eggs can be used not only for in vitro fertilization to help a childless couple conceive — like sperm — but also can be used "for the express purpose of destroying cloned human embryos" for medical research.

It would be a lot easier to ban men from selling sperm. After all, sperm are everywhere-hotel carpets, bathroom towels, fast food, etc. Safety first! Ban the sperm!

Stump, in his two years at the Capitol, has waged a campaign to create legal impediments to cloning. Besides these two measures, last year he pushed through a ban on the use of state funds or facilities.

Oh, now this is embarrrasing. I trusted you, but it turns out you don't care about women's health. You just think you have the right to control women. Women are objects once again.

Monday Bunny Blogging

Where did the term "snuggle bunny" come from?

I feel badly that he pushes himself up against my foot. That's bad snuggle form for animals with a keen sense of smell.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sexism for sea turtles

I cherish wildlife conservation. From early childhood, I supported the fight to preserve animals and ecosystems. So it's extraordinarily painful for me when this movement utilizes techniques that subjugate women.

A campaign last fall to save sea turtles in Mexico caused an uproar. People plague sea turtle populations, believing that sea turtle eggs are an aphrodisiac. The campaign used model Dorismar to promote the idea that eggs would not help libido. Posters featured Dorismar saying "My man doesn't need turtle eggs".

Many people have objected to this campaign because of its "racy" nature. Objectification, not sex, is the issue. Deflecting charges of sexism by framing the problem as being about sexual piety misses the point by a mile. The way women are viewed is essential, and must not be pushed aside for other concerns.

The National Women's Institute of Mexico condemned the campaign. Feminists were criticized on many fronts, but I found this criticism telling:

Homero Aridjis, a poet and naturalist who has fought for years to save the turtles, said the feminists opposed to the advertisements were being overly prudish and should turn their attention to the rampant violence against women in places like Ciudad Juárez, where hundreds have been killed.

Besides, he pointed out, semi-naked women are seen on billboards all over the country selling perfumes, lingerie, beer and tequila. Why, he asked, are the women in the government institute scandalized by one more model in a bikini?

The violence against women in Ciudad Juarez is heinous and must be addressed. Aridjis models the root problem effectively. The problem is the failure to connect rampant abuse and murder of women to societal acceptance of women as less than men.

Supporters of the sea turtle egg campaign countered that they needed to use sexist ads to tap into a sexist culture to get their message across. Utilizing the belief system that women are valued only for their sexual use to men in the name of conservation is indefensible.

When will people wake up? Women are not decoration. The sea turtle campaign is about saving animals because of their inherent worth. The campaign works on the assumption that animals are not here for humans to use and exploit. When will we get the idea that women are not here for men to use and exploit?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Being a rabbit really sucks

I have no idea when Easter is (atheist, remember?), but this is an important time of year for rabbits. Countless baby bunnies are given to children as the "perfect" Easter present. Things are great, for a short time. But kids lose interest, and the rabbits are dumped. Some people take the rabbit to a shelter, but many just "set the rabbit free". These are domestic rabbits, people. Setting a rabbit free is like setting a cow free. It isn't going to end well.

A typical Easter Bunny
source: Coumbus House Rabbit Society

I'm very intense about treating rabbits as disposable pets. My own rabbit, Bumble, suffered this fate. He was found wandering around outside. Luckily, a kind-hearted person caught him and took him to the local Humane Society. Even luckier, he came home with us instead of being euthanized. Animals are not disposable. Please only adopt an animal if you intend to care for it for its lifespan. "The kids lost interest" is not a valid defense for getting rid of your pet. Kids lose interest in things. They're kids, that's what they do. When they lose interest, it's a parent's job to teach an important lesson: we don't throw away living things because we're tired of caring for them.

The Columbus House Rabbit Society is a wonderful organization that cares for abandoned and abused rabbits. They started an excellent campaign, Make Mine Chocolate! to promote purchasing chocolate rabbits for Easter instead of buying live rabbits. Now, the Columbus HRS works hard to get rabbits adopted, but they advocate adopting only after carefully considering the decision to bring a rabbit into your family. A very important link on the Make Mine Chocolate! website shows just what can happen to Easter bunnies. Encourage everyone you know to Make Mine Chocolate! Doing this small thing would result in many more happy bunnies.

Bumble avoided a terrible fate