Wednesday, September 30, 2009
In fact, all toddler and infant Ts and onesies on eBay featuring Bob Marley are listed under the "Boys" subcategory. Because only boys like Bob Marley, apparently.
On the one hand, I think you have to be self-reflective, and figure out what you need, and take care of yourself. And sometimes this entails taking a break from politics and activism when it gets to be too much, or too depressing, or you have other things in your life bringing you down.
On the other hand, being able to take this break, and sort of withdraw for awhile is a function of privilege. I'm invested in the issues of health care reform, and achieving a truly inclusive ENDA, for example. And I recognize that this is a crucial time on these issues, and that if these opportunities are lost, it may be years before we cycle back to them again. And I have been posting on these topics until very recently. But right now I'm not even interested in watching Rachel Maddow (which is amazing in itself), and the thought of tracking developments on these issues just kind of makes me feel tired. I'd much rather play with my kid, bake a bunch of nutmeg biscotti, curl up with a cup of good coffee and some Annie Proulx short stories, or lose myself in a football game. And the point is, I have the luxury of doing that. My employer provides excellent health insurance at an affordable price. I don't have to worry about negotiating for reasonable accommodations in the workplace, or experiencing discrimination based on my gender presentation. In these ways I'm privileged. And one function of privilege is that you can periodically withdraw from the debate and the work of ensuring fair treatment for all.
So I guess I'm saying that I recognize that my silence on these topics and my withdrawal from the debate and the work of consciousness-raising is a function of my privilege. And that doesn't really sit well with me. At the same time, I think self-care is a feminist act. So I guess I'm kind of torn on the issue, and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Here's what I mean. The way our food production system works now starts with corn. It all comes back to corn. The government subsidizes corn to the point that 1) farmers are incentivized to produce huge surpluses of corn, and their economic payoff for it is not tied to the market like it used to be - they get paid no matter what; 2) buyers (like cattle feed lots, for example) can purchase corn at a fraction of the production price. So the incentive is to make all kinds of animals (even fish!!!) eat corn, whether or not they're naturally suited to it. And a corn diet (often combined with growth hormones) forces animals to grow super fast and become fatter and larger than they normally would. This leads to the widespread routine use of antibiotics. Because when you grow that fast your immune system is shit so you're prone to disease.
The use of corn also leads to other problems like E coli (grass fed cattle don't produce the quantity and the deadliest strains of E coli), and the fact that corn feeding requires a feedlot setting in which animals are immersed in their own waste 24/7 aggravates the problem. Not to mention the fact that corn fed meat is much higher in saturated fat and doesn't have the Omega 3s that grass fed meat has. Because the corn is so heavily subsidized, the beef and chicken and pork that's produced on it is also cheap. And the highly processed foods that are made from corn derivatives (such as high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin and modified food starch and saccharin and sucrose and dextrose and hydrolyzed vegetable protein and cellulose and on and on) are also cheap. So the double cheeseburger and soda (which is basically diluted corn syrup of one type or another) you can get at the fast food place is far cheaper than the healthy foods you should be eating. And, as noted in the movie, this explains why obesity tracks with poverty. Your chances of being obese are directly tied to your income level.
And here's where I get really pissed off. Instead of recognizing that we have incentivized unhealthy eating by making unhealthy foods really cheap and accessible, thus causing unhealthy eating in many Americans of all sizes, our government has chosen to turn a blind eye to the system which it has created that perpetuates unhealthy eating. So instead of changing the system to truly reflect the actual cost of producing healthy versus unhealthy foods (which would be roughly equivalent if we didn't subsidize so unevenly) we attach moral judgment and shame to unhealthy eating and obesity, which our very system has created! Get it? We feed poor kids the worst possible crap, and then shame them for having bad eating habits and being prone to illness and obesity. Meanwhile, they're still trapped in the system in which fresh veggies are out of reach but junk food is plentiful. And anyway, by now their eating habits and preferences are already established, and it takes hard work to retrain your tastes and desires. At the same time, those of us who are aware of the situation and have access to (and are willing to make the sacrifice to obtain) healthier foods for our kids, watch other kids eating this awful stuff with a mixture of guilt and impotent rage at the system.
So what can we do about this form of class warfare? Admittedly, not much. The system is huge and the corporate groups that profit by maintaining the status quo are incredibly rich and powerful. Far more rich and powerful than any of the advocacy groups that oppose them. Still, it seems like there must be something that consumers and citizens can do to bring about change. Beyond buying local and organic when you can, and communicating with your congressional reps about the ag bills that periodically come through Congress, you can also sign petitions and donate to the advocacy groups that do try to take on the behemoth:
- Sign The Child Nutrition Act Petition
- Do as many of the Ten Things as possible
- Join the True Food Network
- Read up on this stuff at Organic Consumers Association, so you can be as much of a food geek as me.
- Stay up to date on advocacy projects at The Commons food and ag blog
- Send a letter to your reps to limit the use of antibiotics in livestock
- Grow a Victory Garden, and carve out your own little sustainable space in your yard, on your patio, or in a local community garden. Give your surplus to the local food bank or soup kitchen.
More on class warfare: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and This.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Rep Clarke: It's "inhumane" not to extend protection against discrimination...is there some good argument in favor of continuing the status quo?
Rep Polis: We've had this protection in Colorado for some time now, and it hasn't caused any problems, so there's no reason to oppose it. It also enhances worker efficiency to provide protection for all.
The committee's blog.
Contact your reps in support of ENDA
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Here's one that jumps out at me. Morgan quotes Laura Berman saying, "Good sex is all about intimacy, sharing, trust, and making yourself vulnerable to your partner." I assume she's talking about good sex for women, in the women-are-all-about-the-emotions-while-men-are-all-about-the-visual tradition. And I have a few thoughts about that. First, it may be the case that many women self-report as being turned on by and interested in the emotional aspect of relationships more than the physical/sexual stuff. And that's to be expected, given our conceptual framework which depicts women (real women) as emotional beings. After all, the way we describe our experiences is mediated by the worldview and conceptual framework we inherit from our culture.
Then there's the fact that women who are interested in sex that may not be in a loving relationship are sluts. Let's not forget that in our culture it's only OK for a woman to be interested in sex within a properly sanctioned hetero relationship. Obviously most women who have grown up in this environment will have internalized this message. And if you've internalized the message that enjoying sex in this way makes you a bad person, you're probably not really going to enjoy it all that much. Or you're not going to cop to enjoying it. So no doubt many/most women do find sex more enjoyable in the context of a loving relationship. Emotional intimacy probably is integral to their sexual pleasure. But let's not assume that they're just wired this way or something. My bet is that this has as much to do with the way women are constructed socially as with their biology.
Which brings me to the next issue. Even if many women do experience sexual intimacy this way, it is still not the case that all of us do. And for those of us who don't, being constantly told that women aren't interested in casual sex and aren't primarily visually stimulated, could lead to sexual dysfunction. At the very least, it's super irritating. No matter who you are, being told that you're abnormal and, by extension, unfeminine, is problematic. Some of us have had really good sex outside of hetero constructs and committed relationships. Others only feel comfortable enough to be sexual in a secure and loving relationship. And that's OK. But continuing the discourse with these limited conceptions of what female sexuality can look like is limiting and othering to those who don't conform. And that is a perfect recipe for dysfunction.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
And on Skenazy's original post, BlogHer's own Stirrup Queen, Mel, comments so thoughtfully I would totally kiss her on the lips if that wasn't, you know, weird and creepy.It's absolutely fine for a het woman to not be attracted to, or interested in kissing, another woman. But calling it weird and creepy? Really?
- The little crisis that prompts Max's escape into his fantasy land is going to have something (or a lot) to do with his mom being single and dating again. Of course, this is all based on a 3-second glimpse in one of the trailers of his mom canoodling with a guy on the couch (while Max watches them broodingly from around the corner, wearing his wolf suit, of course). And this tired old meme isn't one of my favorites, to say the very least.
- At least some of the characters in the land of the wild things are stand-ins for people in Max's real life which whom he has some tension or some issue or some conflict that he's trying to work out a la The Wizard of Oz.
But even if the movie's interpretation of the book is disappointing in some ways, which sort of seems inevitable, I predict that the wild rumpus scene will make it worthwhile. And I love how the wild things look so exactly like the drawings in the book.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Because, ya know exerting too much energy can damage your womb and will sap your reproductive energies, virtually unsexing you. Oh wait, this isn't the Victorian era anymore. Silly me.
I am a 16-year-old girl who works at a supermarket collecting shopping carts in the parking lot and lining them up near the entrance. Customers frequently express to me their disapproval of a girl pushing shopping carts. They've said: "Girls shouldn't be doing this," "Tell your boss he should be sending boys outside to do this," and "You're too cute to be doing this job." Some customers have tried to pry the shopping carts from my hands, and one man even threatened to talk to my boss. Surprisingly, the biggest perpetrators of sexist comments are women. By the end of the day, I feel awful. I want to tell the customers to stop when they say sexist things to me, but it's been my experience that adults get indignant when someone younger tries to set boundaries. Is there any way I can let people know to leave me alone and let me do my job?
—Leave the Girl Alone
You're right—you don't want to give lectures; you want to use your youthful charm to defuse the sexist commentary. You need to have several ready replies that you deliver with a disarming smile, such as, "With this job I get exercise and fresh air. Please don't complain to the manager, because then I might have to work the cash register!" "When I'm an adult, I'll have to do my own grocery shopping, so this is giving me plenty of training in pushing carts." "Someday we'll have a woman president. But for now, I'm blazing the trail for female shopping-cart
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"I think Joe's conduct was asinine, but I think it would be asinine no matter what the color of the president," said Dick Harpootlian, who has known Wilson for decades. "I don't think Joe's outburst was caused by President Obama being African-American. I think it was caused by no filter being between his brain and his mouth."
Harpootlian said he received scores of racial e-mails from outside South Carolina after he talked about the vote on Fox News.
"You have a bunch of folks out there looking for some comfort in their racial issues. They have a problem with an African-American president," he said. "But was he motivated by that? I don't think so. I respectfully disagree with President Carter, though it gives validity to racism." (Emphasis added)
And lending validity to racist views is something for which you do have to take responsibility. You just do.
Could this picture and story be endorsed by anyone that's ever actually been on a real farm? And children's books are full of these kinds of depictions of farms.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The second major theme I caught was that women don't approach fantasy football the way men do. Because men are all about winning when they play fantasy football, while women aren't. Women are just all about the pretty man-flesh. To illustrate this point they featured a couple of Sample Females™ faux-whisper-gushing about how hawt some player was, and then admitting in a confessorial tone that they generally don't choose their players based on the quality of their performance on the field. Or something like that. So here we have The Truth About Women and Men and Fantasy Football. All women. And all men. 'Cause all men are hetero and competitive and base all their choices on strategic reasoning alone. And women never behave this way and always behave in a frivolous, flighty manner. And they whisper and giggle while doing it. On their pretty pink mobile devices.
Look, I'll agree that Brady Quinn is one of the finest examples of Man Candy out there. Mm-hmm. That boy is delicious. But there's no way he'd be my quarterback of choice if I actually had time to play fantasy football this year. And I'd bet the price of two Superbowl tickets that there are many other women out there playing fantasy football who aren't choosing their players based on how pretty they are either. But who wants to hear about women making smart, well-thought-out choices? Especially when it comes to such a manlyman sport? No, it's only newsworthy when they giggle and drool and type daintily on their pink mobile devices.