As super-storm Sandy continues her collision course with our area, with storm surges predicted to travel straight down into the river a few blocks from my house, I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to whether the storm inside.
Dear Mr. Romney,
I am concerned that despite being a presidential candidate, you seem a bit perplexed by our world. When you suggested a causal link between folks shooting each other up with automatic weapons and… single parents, I became highly disruptive to the small gathering of progressive viewers I was hosting at my home (not that that’s your fault, of course). My high pitches shrieks of “NO, no, oh HELL no, whhaaat?” brought me back to a time when Dan Quayle tried to blame societal ills on sitcom character Murphy Brown. In addition to single moms, you Republicans also seem to put quite a lot of blame on teachers for everything from the recession to colon polyps. Remarkably, It always seems to be some almost entirely female group that is to blame for societal ills. Why do Republicans do this?
“We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Wherever possible, the — the benefit of having two parents in the home — and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically. So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the American system.”
It seems to me the last few horrific gun crime incidents were perpetrated by highly educated males. The Aurora shooter had a PhD. Another recent shooter was a psychiatrist. Just heard today the Aurora and Giffords shooters both came from two-parents households. Oops. Not hanging together so far, Mitt. I’m thinking if we want people to stop using mass murder weapons we have to stop people from getting them – smart people, uneducated people, people with single and married parents, almost entirely male people. I don’t think blaming female people is going to get us anywhere.
But okay, the other points you make about marriage are valid, sort of. Married folks do enjoy a higher quality of life, do better financially, are healthier, better educated, (oh, and have more sex, but you wouldn’t care about that, now would you Mr. Governor, sir?).
Part One of a Two-Part Series on Abortion – in honor of the upcoming election and in reaction to the raging War on Women – this one originally appeared on RoleReboot.org
When I hear folks saying they are pro-life, I wonder for whom, and under what circumstances. You see being pro-life is far from the black and white moral distinction pro-life folks typically suggest. On the contrary, there are many ways in which being truly pro-life can lead you into incredible gray areas. For example, when a choice must be made between a mother’s life and a child’s, choosing abortion is still being pro-life, isn’t it? It is being for a mother’s life. Who decides that a child’s life is more important than a mother’s or vice versa? And what aspect of a woman’s life are we willing to give up for a child’s? Her physical body? Her soul? Her hopes and dreams? Her chances to better herself and her family? The well-being and potential of existing children, of future, wanted children? We need to ask whose life and what kind of life are we fighting for?
Today I met with a client who is about to age out of the foster care system. We’ll call her Alma. Alma is 18. She is 11 weeks pregnant. I first speak to her case worker who explains that she was trying to convince Alma to accept a placement where she could live with her baby. However, today Alma revealed she decided to have an abortion. As a mother, when I heard those words it was like being punched in the gut. I had already seen Alma in the waiting room. I had already seen her baby bump, unusually large for the first trimester. In an instant, the image of that bump, the feeling of being pregnant, the knowledge of having a life inside me, the sweet faces of my twins, and the terror of ever losing them all flashed through my mind.
I sit down with Alma. She is guarded and quiet at first, but after a while she begins to open up. She has a sweet, almost surprised smile. She seems caught off guard that I’m listening to her with respect. Alma experienced physical abuse by her alcoholic mother and was placed with an aunt. She recently decided she wanted more freedom and is now living in a shelter. Alma’s story is nowhere near one of the worst I’ve heard. For kids in the system, it’s actually one of the best. Alma suffers no mental health issues, has an average IQ, a high school diploma, and while she is currently out of work, she has a marketable skill. As I’m sitting with Alma, I have this wonderful feeling come over me that I’ve only had a few times in seven years of working with low-income and under-served kids. She can turn this ship around! Alma has a rare combination of the mental health status, intelligence, and drive to change the trajectory of her family’s life.
Today is such an exciting day, I just had to take a moment to say THANKS again to all of you amazing people who actually take the time to read this thing. You don’t know how much joy it brings me to have folks to share my ideas with. The best part is hearing your thoughts and responses and knowing others are wrestling with the same questions and feelings.
1)TODAY I GOT MY 100th “LIKE!” You all really know how to lift a girl’s spirits after a rough weekend! Special thanks to Rachel J – my first ever “like” and April H. – my 100th “like.” Welcome April! It may sound silly, but I like to think of us all as one big virtual family where everyone can be whoever they are and voice any opinions (other than the desire to kill, mame, or otherwise attack me, I have to draw the line there). You all are some of the smartest and most fascinating folks I’ve ever “met.” You come from 15 countries and numerous cities and represent so many diverse identities, lifestyles, and perspectives. What fun!
2)PODCAST RECOMMENDS UNDERCOVER – Just found out “Undercover” was recommended on this cool short podcast from Strong, Sexy, and Stylish. I am so flattered to get a shout out from these awesome ladies trying to help women feel better about ourselves with a sex- and body-positive message. Let’s all check out their blog and podcasts!
3)TEXAS REPRESENTATIVE MARY GONZALEZ POSTS A COMMENT – Finally got up the courage to post this post on Representative Gonzalez’s FB page – my response to finding out she’s the first out pansexual politician in the country. Well, she commented on the post – wee! I think she’s my hero. Here’s what she wrote:
“I just wanted to say thank you for your blog post. It reminded me why I decided to be “out.” Thank you for making this process easier and more meaningful.”
Man, I just think she’s swell. It would have been so easy for her to continue to identify as lesbian and not risk anything that might disrupt her political career, but she chose to send a message – pansexuals are out there! I think I love her.
My mother died of brain cancer almost 8 years ago. I spent 18 months as her caregiver, researching treatments, flying her around the country for the best possible care, fighting with doctors, and just being there as she faced death on a daily basis and struggled to “get her affairs in order.” During that time I learned something. Cancer sucks. It’s horrible and destructive. There is nothing cute, fun, or trendy about it.
I think that’s why when I see pink ribbons covering everything from oil change advertisements to nitrate-laden meat products, to BPA-infused water bottles, to make-up, it’s always felt a little wrong to me. But I told myself, if this is what it takes to “raise awareness” and money, than so be it! But is that what pinkwasing does?
Yes, it turns out pinkwashing raises lots of money… for corporations. Pinkwashing is the practice of utilizing pink ribbons and other breast-cancer paraphernalia to demonstrate support for breast cancer “awareness.” I think when most of us see those ribbons, we think it signals that buying this product will help support breast cancer research, hopefully bringing us closer to a cure. But that is not the reason for pinkwashing.
Pinkwashing has become so ubiquitous, not because so many corporations care so much about breast cancer, but because it sells. It sells because it gives us something we all want – the feeling that we are doing good. But the feeling that we are doing good doesn’t cure cancer. Check out the trailer for Pink Ribbons, Inc., which documents how little, if anything, these corporations are actually doing to “fight” breast cancer. You gotta at least check out the breast cancer bacon part – priceless – you’d better hope they find a cure after ingesting all those nitrates in your bacon with the pretty pink ribbon on it!
Also appears at elephantjournal – check it out!
Months ago I posted an article on myths about BDSM, and a fan responded saying she knew if she passed along this piece, folks who identify as feminists would attack it on a number of grounds. So here are my responses to Feminist myths about BDSM – just for you fellow feminists, inspired by super-fan, Rachel:
With the increasing media attention to BDSM, it’s more important than ever to be clear on what BDSM/kink is and is not. With the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey the kink community was caught between simultaneously wanting to promote the attention and increased acceptance of kink lifestyles but also wanting to dispel the aspects of this portrayal they saw as unrealistic. In my feminist circles, folks also seem to struggle a lot with wanting to accept women’s choices of sexual expression, but having concerns about BDSM being inherently oppressive to women. As a sex-positive feminist who is training to be a sex therapist, I feel many of these concerns grow out of misinformation about what kink is and what “causes” folks to be into it. In order to make space for feminists who are part of the kink community, be good allies to those with diverse sexual interests and preferences, and work to continue to expand, rather than limit the possibilities for sexual expression, I believe we need to be clearer about what kink is and isn’t.
1)MYTH: BDSM is Abuse and/or Oppressive to women.
For our own sake, and in order to support folks in the Kink/BDSM communities, we have got to learn to differentiate between fantasy and reality, consent and non-consent, and understand the concept of play. The BDSM motto is “safe, sane and consenual.” We’ll get to the “safe” later. The sane is there because one must be mentally healthy to fully consent. So if BDSM requires consent by a sane individual, insisting it is abusive or oppressive means insisting a female engaging in it is ill-equipped to give consent.
Assuming a woman who consents is agreeing to abuse or oppression is no better than assuming a women who chooses to have an abortion can’t be trusted to understand or make that decision. I think many feminists (and others) wonder how someone with self-respect would consent to BDSM because they fail to distinguish between a behavior happening during abuse, and the same behavior occurring in another context. I allow my toddlers to swat at me, bite me, and kick me in the face. I wouldn’t let my co-worker do those things. Holding down a two year old to change her diaper is not the same as holding down a child to sexually abuse her. So why then, would we assume being tied up by a sexual partner with full, open communication and consent is the same as being tied up during a sexual assault? There is a fundamental difference. Being tied up, handcuffed, spanked, flogged, gagged, is all about context.
Originally featured on RoleReboot.org…
A few years back my husband and I went away for the weekend with another couple. We’ll call them Kyle and Shari. We had a great time, introducing each other to great music, enjoying grilled Brie and blueberry wine by the camp-fire, and talking intimately about our lives and relationships – or so my husband and I thought. Shari and Kyle were one of those couples who had experienced love at first sight and been inseparable ever since. They never failed to call each other by nauseating pet names and seemed to have endless patience for one another. We were shocked a few months later when they not only told us that they were divorcing, but that that weekend had been “the beginning of the end.” Seth and I were stunned. How could our impression of Kyle and Shari have been so wrong?