What She Said!

The next time some guy asks you where all the female bloggers are,
tell him What She Said!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Save the Internet

AlterNet: MediaCulture

Well, the evil corporations that run this country and their pet Republicans are trying to control the internet. The lastest move is that they want to decide who gets priority on the web, so that smaller sites, non-profits, and anyone who can't pay access fees won't get priority on the web. Little sites like mine might take forever to load, if you can get it on line at all.

This is ass-backwards, like everything with a Republican stain - we should be making access to the internet easier to get for everyone, regardless of ability to pay. This is the most effective communication tool ever invented. Don't let the bastards privatize it and silence the voices that will tell you the truth.

The link above takes you to Alternet's story; sign the petition here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Carnival of Feminists

Hey, Y'all -

I'll be hosting the next Carnival of Feminists over at the WAM site (that's the Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty Movements site.)

Send your posts or nominations in by Beltane, please - I'll post the Carnival on May 3. Go the the main Carnival of Feminists site to send your submissions.

I can't wait to read all the submissions - blow me away, ladies!

The Carnival of Feminists

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Defining Violence

Blogging for awareness about Sexual Violence is a good idea. There are many types of violence, some not so obvious as others. If we compare women in Muslim countries to women in the West, you'd say it's obvious that the Muslim women are subjected to violence constantly - war, genocide, systematic rape; punishment for learning to read or wearing anything other than a burka; being sold into marriage or sexual servitude as young children; and the horrible practice of female genital mutilation. Men in those countries won't even shake hands with women sent to represent our government. Women can't leave their homes unescorted because of the possibility they'll be abducted, raped and killed. A woman's own family may murder her if they feel she has dishonored them in some way. A woman's in-laws may murder her if her dowry isn't large enough. No human should live in these conditions for any reason.

Women in America suffer violence as well, though it is rarely as overt as it is in the Middle East. If your husband beats you to death while the police sit outside in their car and do nothing, are you luckier than a woman forced to wear a burka? If you are gang raped and video taped by your classmates and the courts don't punish your attackers, are you luckier than a girl not allowed to go to school? Does it matter if you are raped in Africa rather than San Diego? If you can't feed your children, is geography a mitigating factor? I think not.

The American media likes to minimize the importance of women's rights by focusing on the issues of wealthy women - whether to stay home or work; equal pay for equal work; equal access to places where business is conducted outside the office. These issues are important, but they distract from the real goal of feminism: Survival of Women.

Women in America may have a camera stuck up their skirts and the video posted on the web, and in most places there is no law to prevent it. 2 out of 3 American women will be sexually molested at some point in their lives.(That's what the stats say - I think the number is more like 4 out of 5, because I rarely meet a woman that doesn't have a story of sexual abuse to tell.)The most telling statistic on the state of women in America is that the number one cause of death in pregnant women in this country is murder. It may not be as dangerous to live in America as it is in Iraq, but being female can still get you killed here.

We live in an era when a woman can be raped by a fraternity or a sport team, then be called a tramp by the men's lawyers and the TV commentators. A time when "sports heroes" get away with rape. When people find entertainment in video games that involve killing women, music that calls women "bitches and ho's" and women are sugicaly altered, humiliated or married off for money and TV ratings.

Our media glorifies men for lying to obtain sex. I like to call this "male fraud." It's not overt violence, but it is still a sexual violation. If a woman believes she is in a monogamous relationship, she may be less careful with things like birth control and AIDS prevention. A woman might reject a particular man if she knows that he is married or engaged; she might choose not to reproduce with a man who already has one or more children with other women; she usually considers things like job, relative success, stability, religious and political beliefs, as well as availability when choosing a man with whom she is willing to be romantically involved.

Abandonment is a covert form of violence. A woman who is impregnated and abandoned has been violated, and so has her child. A child whose father walks out on her mother will never recover. Even if a woman is able to meet the physical and emotional needs of her children alone, as many have to do, they are more likely than any other segment in this society to live in poverty. If an abandoned family turns to the State for help, the woman's own president will refer to her as a "welfare queen." When was the last time you heard a politician or a right-wing pundit complain about deadbeat dads? They're more likely to advocate absolving these fathers of any financial responsibilty at all. Deadbeat dads are often rich, white men, too. So are their attorneys.

Poverty is an insidious form of violence. You don't die from bombs - you die from lack of health care, decent food, a safe environment. A bullet in the Bronx will kill you just as dead as one in Fallujah. A poor education won't help you earn a living in America, even if you are theoretically free to apply for a job. And who is going to watch those kids while you are at work, you "selfish feminist?" Poor women don't have the option of staying home. They may not even have the option of working only one job. When George Bush praised a woman with a sick child for working 3 jobs as "uniquely American," he failed to comprehend that it's unique because only America has no safety net for that mother and her poor child. You're either lazy or neglectful - that's some choice. Actually, since Clinton gutted the welfare system, even that choice is not always available. I haven't even touched on the subjects of sexual harassment, discrimination in the work place and the very real threat of child molestation. And they wonder why feminists are angry...

America enjoys another dubious distinction in that we produce more serial killers than any other culture. Quick - name one British serial killer other than Jack the Ripper. Can't do it? I can think of one, but I don't remember his name. Name a Canadian one. A Swede? A German, not counting Hitler?
I'm sure there are some, but even when they have one, they don't make him a star.

Now, name an American serial killer. John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer - that's just off the top of my head. Manson doesn't count - he's a cult leader, and his crew were spree killers. Spree killers happen everywhere now and then. Only America had to develop a professional law enforcement specialty called "Profiling." The word, the practice, everything, started in our FBI by a former Agent John Douglas. The last estimate I read is that there are 150-200 serial killers active in this country at any one time. Did you listen to the news this weekend? Did you hear about the 10 year-old girl who was abused, murdered and was about to be cannibalized by her killer? He even wrote about it on his blog.

What is it that makes America so uniquely adept at producing serial killers - who, by the way, are usually white men between 25 and 35. That's a hint. Yep, it's that white male privilege that says "I am the master of my domain. I can rape, pillage and plunder at will, for all creatures are inferior to me, and I am free to take what I want." It's not a huge step from Manifest Destiny to the Zodiac Killer. Or the Boston Strangler. Or Son of Sam. Or the Green River Killer. The same entitlement that allowed the settlers to commit genocide against the First Nations is the same entitlement that says I can stalk, torture and murder women or children. Not many Killers out there targeting other white guys, are there? They only target those they perceive as "less" - less likely to strike back, less threatening, less human. Now, lets take someone like Ramirez, the Night Stalker, who was charged with 13 counts of murder. These were obviously horrific crimes, and I don't mean to minimize the suffering of those victims. How many people will die because of the sense of entitlement displayed by Ken Lay? He never hurt anyone directly that we know of, but he destroyed life after life of the people who worked for him faithfully and put their trust in his company. Ramirez crimes were immediate and horrible, but had a comparatively small scope. Ken Lay will probably be responsible for 5, or 6, or 30 times as many unnecessary deaths because he stole the life savings people were counting on. Both crimes are unforgivable. Ramirez is in jail. Will Ken Lay ever pay for those unnecessary deaths? I doubt it.

That same sense of entitlement is why women aren't safe in their own homes. You don't have to be a Ramirez to be a danger to a woman. You just have to be in a relationship with her. Women are more likely to be raped by someone they know than by a stranger. They are more likely to be killed by a lover or husband than anyone else. Those pregnant women aren't being killed by other women - they're being killed by the men who impregnated them. How many women have to seek restraining orders against an ex? How many of them are killed or brutalized in spite of them? Too many. That's why we're blogging about this today.

I want an America where women are safe in their homes, in their schools and in their neighborhoods. I want a world where women everywhere enjoy the basic freedoms that any human being should have- control over their own person; education; the ability to support themselves through work other than prostitution; safety from rape, genocide, and war; food and shelter for themselves and their children.

It is absolutely possible. Are we going to make it happen?

Femivist: Blogging Sexual Violence


Today, women bloggers all over the web are blogging to raise awareness about Sexual Violence. I'll be doing what I can on as many of my blogs as I can, and I invite the other women in the blogosphere to do the same. Keep checking in, and make sure you go to Femivist at the link above to see a list of the amazing posts as they hit the web!

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Press Release: MyMenopauseblog

I got this in my mail recently:

For Immediate Release

Menopause Blog is Hot

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recently reported that approximately four million Canadian women have now reached menopause. By 2026, it is estimated that women over the age of 50 will make up 22 per cent of the Canadian population. Statistic presented by the North American Menopause Society tells a similar story for U.S. women.

In short, the women of the world are heating up. Many of these women are looking for understanding, information and relief.

Sue Richards, author of MyMenopauseBlog.com was one of those women. After becoming a member of the peri-menopausal club and having no clue of what was happening, Richards started on a quest for knowledge about symptoms, natural remedies and treatments.

“My first need was to confirm I wasn’t going crazy. After I calmed down and accepted my new life stage, I simply wanted a heads up on what I could expect and what to do.”

Richards decided to do her own research and share the results with other women by way of a blog, an on-line weblog, she writes daily. Blog popularity is currently surging. Technorati, the top blog authority, tracks over 28 Million blogs, in a blogosphere that is doubling in size every 5 and a half months.

Richards’s blog postings include valuable information about the stages and symptoms of menopause, including details of clever and amusing ways to deal with the ‘change’. Her trademark ‘smart humor’ is liberally sprinkled throughout the posts, along with cartoons and Richards’ photographs. A social science graduate from the University of Guelph, she honestly delves into the psychology of menopause and aging offering insights and asking questions. Books and products that cross her path, get reviewed.

My Menopause Blog started quietly in July 2005 as a Blogger blog. In February 2006, after Richards found she had developed a following of readers, the blog moved to its new domain, www.mymenopauseblog.com , with a refreshed look and new features thanks to Barking Dog Studios of Guelph.

Publisher of the fine art photography, breast health calendar Breast of Canada, Richards is no stranger to the ‘dome of silence and shame’ that gets mixed into women’s health issues. Using her creative sensibilities, writing skill and social entrepreneur tendencies, Richards hopes that My Menopause Blog will serve as a touchstone for women who need to know that they will survive and that they are not alone.

“I feel so much better since I started the blog. If nothing else, my attitude has improved and I’m not as confused about what is going on with my body anymore. Plus I’m so much more open about this whacky experience. If I’m having a hot flash, I don’t try to hide it. In fact, I’m working on a meno-stripper routine,” jokes Richards.

Other MyMenopauseBlog.com features include Club Meno, a listing of links to other menopausal bloggers, paid advertising by Google, a comprehensive post filing system of specific categories, over 160 posts and a place for readers to leave their comments.

For more information about MyMenopauseBlog.com please contact:
Sue Richards at: artjam@artjam.org ; 519•767•0142

Link: http://www.mymenopauseblog.com
Link: http://www.breastofcanada.com

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Observations about the North American WingNut

Blogging can be an unintentional study of human behavior. Reading this blog's comments, I've learned that WingNuts share a few particular qualities: They can't spell. They travel in packs. They're smug as hell for no discernible reason.

The spelling and grammar are not surprising to a "liberal elite" like myself. Apparently, "liberal elite" means I can read and write, so I'll go along with that assessment. I make allowances for typing errors and an occasional misspelled word, since electronic communications are often swift and unreliable, but some of these rants are beyond the pale. Seriously, people, if you want me to read your extensive ramblings, don't distract me with evidence of your inferior education. Your opinions are more than enough to reinforce my fears about the failure of American schools. Use a dictionary - they're freely available on line. For the sake of the English language, learn how to conjugate a verb. Why is it that the people who want to make English the "official" language never seem to be proficient in it?

The 'traveling in packs' behavior should be no surprise, either. People with a "herd mentality" will naturally find strength in numbers. I have to wonder, though - are these really different people? If I get one Nutty comment, I get three. All are poorly written. Do I assume this is a set of three friends, or one WingNut with several screen names?

The smug attitude might be funny if it weren't so sad. Even if a commenter made a salient argument, there would be no justification for acting as if they'd just delivered the Sermon on the Mount. They aren't just wrong, they're rude about it, and proud of showing their ignorance. The stereotypical Ugly American is alive, well and trolling the Progressive blogosphere. Yawn.

Now, gentle readers, I must warn you not to waste your time looking for the comments on which I have based these observations. I deleted them. Unlike their authors, I have no desire to irritate the people who use the resources offered on this blog. I am, in fact, quite protective of the women writers who are featured here, and I won't waste valuable web space or reader attention on bullshit. I welcome intelligent debate, but the operative word in civil discourse is "civil." Be brief, be polite, or be gone.