Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been trying to figure out why in the commercials/trailers of "Obsessed" feature Idris Elba as the first person named, when the movie is clearly focused on the struggle between Beyonce Knowles' and Ali Larter's characters. And, I mean, if we're going to go off of star power, Beyonce is clearly the biggest star in the film.

I don't get it...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Miss California USA vs. Gay

I've been watching this whole Perez Hilton vs. Miss California USA debacle ever since Brittany mentioned it in a tweet. It's very interesting, and I think Perez has continuously stated his case well again and again. (I've watched him on MSNBC, Larry King Live, and the Today show now.) I just finally caught Miss California USA on the Today show, and she reminded me one of the biggest things that I just can't understand about anti-gay marriage people.

If you believe that marriage between a woman and a woman or a man and a man is wrong, then just don't have one! I know that a really subtle and obvious point, but it boggles my mind. I just can't see why people want to oppress this moral/religious based belief upon others. It's in the same vein as how I feel about abortion. (Now I'm treading on dangerous territory here, because gay marriage and abortion are nowhere near comparable in my mind, but if we're playing the whole Christian Right game, then we would say that all "sins" are equal.) Having laid out that disclaimer, if you're in this mindset...then just don't participate in the things you think are wrong! I mean, adultery isn't illegal, and it's in the freaking 10 commandments...and yet we feel no need to police that anymore.

At least with abortion though, I can cognitively process the Biblical thoughts on it. The Bible is so clouded about homosexuality. It's one of those things that is distorted and manipulated, and subject to translation.

And in all's a victimless "sin." Do the two married women next door to you make your marriage any less sacred? Only if your marriage was a joke in the first place, honestly. If you are a strong person who knows who you are and you are in a strong marriage based on love, then nothing that anyone else EVER does can change that. Why should you be threatened by someone else's love?

That's what it all comes down God is, how can love be wrong or evil?

Of course, I'd love to go off on a tangent now about pageants in general...(Isn't it weird that I was in one once...) but now I gotta get ready for work! I'm already going to be late.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I'm playing around with some things on here. First of all, since this isn't my personal blog, I changed our URL. We are now

Second, I've added ads...we'll see how this goes. If anything non-feminist starts showing up, I'll remove them. But I wanted to see how much revenue this can generate. (I'm thinking like 5 cents.)

Third, I tried a new template. If only I knew how to do really cool html things, I'd be in business.

That's all for now...I haven't had anything to rant about for a while. (And by a while, I mean a few days, of course. Give me some time...something will come up.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My jaw dropped...

Sexism goes both ways!

I'm watching "Today". A woman was charged with the murder/rape of a little girl (Sandra Cantu). One person quoted in the news story said, "You'd expect this of a man...but a woman?" My. Jaw. Dropped.

REALLY? We *expect* our men to rape? How does that make you feel good guys? Does this mean we're supposed to ALLOW rape?

An expert clarified later that only a psychopath would do this (man or woman)...but I COULDN'T believe that the Today show would allow that quote from an obviously ignorant woman to make a part of their news story.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Feminist's Body Image Struggle

As a feminist, I am well aware of the evils of the unrealistic body ideal promoted by mainstream media. (Pretentious sounding sentence, anyone? Anyway…) It is clear, that as a woman and a girl, everywhere you look you are reminded that you’re not pretty enough, not thin enough, not young enough, not big breasted enough, not perfect skinned enough (and in many cases not white enough.) We all know this fact by now: The media and our society promote unrealistic body image for women. (And increasingly for young men as well, although I would argue not as rigidly.)

The situation becomes even more complex when you hear the statistics of eating disorders among young women:

Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder
• Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
• Only an estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
• 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight
• 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight

It’s not a stretch to cognitively understand why the media might influence bad body image in young girls, but it can be difficult to “prove” that this exists. I remember reading about the anthropological study of an indigenous Papua New Guineaian society that didn’t have access to American TV or magazines. Their societal ideal for a woman’s body was slightly overweight, large breasted and buttock-ed, and all around “thick.” Girls and women strived to have this particular body type and therefore ate plenty. Eating disorders were, in fact, nonexistent in this society. However, after the culture gained access to mainstream American cultural through television, suddenly eating disorders developed among the girls.

I wish I had a citation for that, but it’s just one of those things I came across in a women’s study class.

Clearly, the media’s portrayal of the ideal woman as a size 0 (but with DD breasts…HUH? That doesn’t happen in nature!) is not positive. One response to the increasingly unrealistic depiction of women has been the pro-fat movement. Of course, I’m for something that seeks to gain acceptance for a marginalized group…but let’s think about pro-fatness for a moment. Being obese is a health risk, just as been excessively thin is. I’m not exactly sure that I’m ready to endorse a movement that puts anyone’s health in jeopardy. I’m not anymore pro-fat than I am pro-ana (which is one of the creepiest “pro” movements out there! Google it!)

Let me sort this out…I’m getting off track. I need to refocus on why I’m writing this. I’m writing about body image because of what I struggle with, myself, as an overweight feminist. It can be tricky to balance the thoughts that swirl through your mind about your body as ANY woman in American society, let alone a feminist woman. On one side, I’ve been raised in this society, so pretty much daily I think that I’m the fattest person alive, that my boobs don’t look that great, that the occasional zit here and there are life altering. But then my feminism comes in and says YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. You are you, no need to try to be anything else. Stop focusing on your body and think about all of your accomplishments, the person, not body, that you are. But THEN my health side kicks in and reminds me that I *do* need to lose weight to be healthier. It can all be a lot to take.

At any rate, the health side has been winning for a while now, and I have been trying to live healthier, so that I can prolong my life. Since January, I’ve lost 16 lbs. (A very slow and gradual, but steady process.) I’ve been stalling out a bit lately and wanting to slide back into a life of not caring. In these cases, I think I try to use feminism as a crutch for myself, but that isn’t going to help anyone. At the end of the day, I do need to lose about 20 more lbs to be out of the truly unhealthy zone.

My point is that the media does promote an unrealistic body ideal for women. However, it’s not unfeminist to want to be healthier, and I have to remind myself of that. I have no desire to be someone with no butt or boobs, because this is my body…and I’m gonna make myself love it, if it takes a lifetime. If doing a few crunches helps me love it a little more, then so be it. But you’ll never see me walking down Sunset Boulevard with big plastic boobs and a 22 inch waist. I know you’re heartbroken and shocked to hear that :)

Society DOES need to drop the so-thin-ribs-are-poking-out-and-stabbing-us high fashion models. We DO need to stop reducing everyone woman to her waist and bust size. We DO need to have representation of all body types in print advertisements. We DO need to stop portraying all overweight people are stupid, lazy, and ugly. We DO need to embrace diversity in its entirety (race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education level, and YES, body size.)
But Americans also need to be healthier, for ourselves and our children.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why Gay Marriage is a Federal Issue

This is a blog that I wrote for a while back. My account expired, so I thought I'd post this here...


April 2008

Yesterday, on the nightly news in Indianapolis, was a story of a group of friends walking to the campus bar for karaoke night. They were being disrespected, demeaned, and sexually harrassed by a group of males. The group of friends attempted to ignore them, but the harrassment persisted. Then verbal harrassment turned into physical harrassment. The friends were ganged up on and beaten violently merely because...they were gay men.

A few months ago, a fifteen-year old boy in California went to school one day. It was just a normal day. He had no clue that on this particular day he would meet his fate. Another boy, fourteen, came into this boy's classroom and shot him in the head in front of twenty other middle school students merely because...he was gay.

These are two stories among thousands that one could tell of the horrific tragedies that have occurred because of another individual's deeply embedded hate for homosexuals. These are not stories of old or events of the past. Both of these tragic events have happened in the past three months, in the year 2008. Why? Why do these lives have to be lost?

Because homosexuality is still not seen as a legitimate way of life in the United States. Basic human rights still are not extended to this minority. The people who run this country debate whether or not these human beings should be able to live a life of equality. Fundamentalists blame homosexuals for natural disasters and global tragedies. Politicians have a fiery passion to keep marriage and all of the benefits of married life solely a heterosexual privilege. These are the messages that are being sent to the fourteen-year-old boy who thought it was okay to take the life of his classmate simply because he was gay. These are the messages being sent to the young men in Indiana who thought it was acceptable to beat other young men simply because they are gay.

It is not until the leaders of this country stand up for ALL citizens of the United States that such dispiriting events will cease. Not until homosexuals are seen as legitimate citizens and are offered all of the rights that heterosexuals receive that a different message can be sent to Americans, young and old, that it is okay to be a homosexual. This is why gay marriage is a federal issue. A strong message from the leaders of this country needs to be sent to its citizens. Allowing this issue to be a decision of the state says, "We don't want to deal with it." That is simply unacceptable. Our leaders do need to deal with it and they need to deal with it now. Lives are being lost and there is something that can be done about it. The federal government can make this change and they need to make this change.

On the less philosophical side...we have already seen that leaving the issue of gay marriage to the states will inevitably cause practical complications. Married couples do not just have rights and privileges at the state level. They have federal rights and privileges, including being able to file federal taxes jointly and such. We are even seeing court cases of this kind being brought to the attention by state governments who recognize civil unions, and have for quite sometime now. So, basically, whether we call it a federal issue now or not...eventually it will be.

There are truly dozens of more points I could make as to why gay marriage is necessarily a federal issue, and should be approached as such. Just remember this...the next time you hear or are yourself engaging in the discussion regarding whether or not gay marriage should be legal, not, a state or federal issue, or should be left alone entirely, think on this: in absolutely no other time in our nation's history has the rights of a population of people ever been based on a vote of the people. Think on that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning: MAJOR SPOILERS

I've wanted to write and talk about this movie...not that I didn't get my chance with Ronald, but I feel the need to get my thoughts totally out there.

This isn’t a review. The movie, overall, was just ok. It’s been calling itself this year’s “Little Miss Sunshine” or “Juno.” It’s not even close, but still a moderately enjoyable watch. But the movie isn’t what I’m concerned about. At least, not the main story. What I really want to talk about is the teensy, tiny lesbian subplot, which is so small you’d almost miss it if you blinked.

Here’s where the spoilers start. I encourage you to read if 1) You don’t even want to see the movie. 2) If you do want to see it, you don’t mind it being spoiled. 3) You’ve seen it.

Aaaaanyway, the basic premise is that these two sisters start their own crime scene clean up company. Norah, the younger sister who is not the primary focus of the movie, discovers pictures of a dead woman’s daughter in one of the houses they clean, and decides to try to find the daughter and let her know, seeing as how the woman died alone and was not discovered for quite some time.

Norah sort of stalks the daughter, Lynn, and ends up in an elevator with her, where Lynn asks her why she’s following her. Norah pretends she wasn’t, and we learn that Lynn works for a blood bank drawing blood. Lynn gently touches Norah’s arm and tells her that she should donate blood, as she has nice veins (or something like that.) At the time, I just thought Lynn was a creeper…but in retrospect, I see they were planting the seeds of attraction.

Norah does eventually donate blood and asks Lynn to go to a party with her. At the party, a sex, drugs, and rock and roll kind, we see the strongest indication that there is budding attraction in the mix. A few of the people at the party are wearing candy necklaces, including Norah. Lynn points out that Norah’s “boyfriend” (seen across the room making out with two women) is winning the race. (I guess more of his candy necklace was eaten?) Norah denies that the man is her boyfriend and Lynn leans in and eats some of the candy off her Norah’s necklace. The look on Norah’s face was a mix of pure sexual desire and guilt about the real reason that she knows Lynn.

IMMEDIATELY CUT TO: an impersonal, rough, and off putting scene of Norah later being mindlessly humped by the man from the party who “wasn’t her boyfriend.” Norah’s face is blank, as she stares up at the ceiling...looking like she couldn't be less into it.

If this isn’t the subtle story of a woman who is at least questioning her sexuality, I don’t know what is! Norah and Lynn later go on a few dates (without the movie directly addressing them as dates). Norah’s character throughout the movie is strong and rough. But when she is with Lynn she lets herself be vulnerable and we learn so much about her past. The only other time Norah even seems that remotely soulful is during a very deep conversation with her sister about their deceased mother.

In the end, I was left very dissatisfied with how Lynn and Norah turned out. Norah admitted to Lynn how she really found her, and gave her the pictures she found in Lynn’s mom’s house. Lynn said something along the lines of “I thought you were really interested in me” and storms out. Norah just lets her go, but I really think she WAS interested in her, at least the way it played out in the movie. Everything I saw and felt from Norah indicated that her experiences with Lynn had opened her up to a part of herself she had shut out and ignored…or at least never explored before.

As I walked out of the theatre, people around me were talking about how they wanted the other sister, Rose to end up with the nice guy character, Winston. I couldn’t care less! I wanted more for Lynn and Norah. I just wanted them to be happy together, as cheesy as that might be. *That* was the part of the plot that really got me, and I was endlessly disappointed with it.

It left me wondering if there had been more to their story…if the original script or if the director’s cut of the movie would have been different for Norah and Lynn. Maybe the studio wanted their story cut down to make it more “mainstream.” Maybe it didn’t test well with American audiences, so they revised it to contain less of the subplot. Who knows? Either way, the really intriguing part of the story was, in my opinion, Norah and Lynn, and it was also the least complete. I mean…here’s an official synopsis from IMDB:

“Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) finds herself a single mother attempting to support her son Oscar (Jason Spevack) and her unreliable sister Norah (Emily Blunt) while working a mundane job as a maid. Once the head cheerleader in school with plenty of prospects, Rose now has little to show for her years, and while she still sees the former lead football player (Steve Zahn), it is little more than a despondent affair. When Oscar is expelled from public school, Rose takes a job as a bio-hazard crime-scene cleaner to help pay for a private education, and brings Norah on to help in her steadily growing business. As the sisters work to clean up the messes left behind by the chaotic lives of others, they must learn to reconcile their own differences and overcome a troubled past if they hope to prosper in their newfound venture.”

Not a mention of Lynn. But at least one of the plot keywords for the movie on IMDB was lesbian!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Apparently the objectification of women is necessary in order to sell burgers.

While watching the NCAA Championship basketball game this evening (yes that's relevant), I saw two...yes two...offensive commercials that made my jaw drop to the floor. For expensive perfumes? No. For tight jeans? No. For hair products? Absolutely not. For fast food joints. Yes...apparently the objectification of women is necessary in order to sell burgers.

Here is the first that I saw...

Oh...where to begin? First of all, the song...don't get me wrong...I, too, like big butts and I cannot lie. I also have been known in my anti-feminist past to play Sir Mix-A-Lot's *only* hit quite loudly in my car. However, never in my wildest dream could I imagine creating any type of media aimed at CHILDREN and incorporating this song. Even in the provocative 2000' Secondly, as children become teenagers, we warn them of the oh-so-appalling music videos that are full of profanity, hyper-sexualized women, and drug and alcohol abuse. Parents and teachers alike shout of their disapproval with the classic, "Kids these days..." attitude. I also shout of such disapproval (with less of the latter mentioned attitude), but in addition to my rants about how horrible they are...I do something about it...that's the difference. And comes Burger King replacing the profanity with Sponge Bob and the drug and alcohol abuse with Kid's meals. What remains? The hyper-sexualized women. The song is a version of, "I like big butts" obviously and replaces 'big' with 'square.' They give the back-up dancers (who are only women!) huge, square butts. At one point, the King is even measuring the angles of a dancer's ass! Now, you tell me, what message is this sending to the kids watching this commercial? More specifically, what is this communicating to the little girls watching this? I'll tell you. They see their daddies laugh at the commercial and think it's quite alright. Am I man-hating? No. Gender specificity will be explained...keep reading.

Here's the second commercial...

At first I had mixed emotions about this commercial, because they're making eating sexy. That should do *some* good for the eating disorder pandemic in our country, right? Maybe...doubt it...probably not enough to justify all of the misogynist implications this commercial has. Once again, the hyper-sexualization. Why, why, why is this necessary to sell a burger? And why, why, why are the only people being objectified in order to sell products, completely unrelated to sex, women?! Okay, maybe not all...just a humongous majority...I do remember the Diet Coke guy. It was the last line in the commercial that put the fire in my stomach, though. "Hardee's western bacon thickburger...more than just a piece of meat." Woooooow. No words. I really am just going to leave it at that.

Now...why was it relevant that I was watching the NCAA Championship basketball game? And what justifies the fact that I was not man-hating in my mention of "daddies." Did I see these commercials while watching my fav Lifetime movie? No. Did I see these horribly misogynistic commercials during The Rachel Maddow Show...during Rachel Ray? No. It was during a basketball game, and probably one of the most watched basketball games of the year. Who is likely to be your key audience here? Men. Heterosexual Men. Who is drooling over the woman eating the thickburger and who is buying the kids' meal? It's no surprise that advertisers know what they are doing. Moms, teenage girls, or even women-loving-women (like myself) are not going to pay attention to or like these commercials. In fact, this women-loving-woman is going to protest this shit no matter how hot that girl in the Hardee's commercial is! Because I want my daughter (or son) to grow up in a safe world for women...and these thirty-second tragedies aren't helping.

So, please join me in writing Burger King and Hardee's expressing your disapproval of these ads.

Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

100 N. Broadway, Ste. 1200
St. Louis, MO 63102-2706

Here's What's Wrong with Using Out-of-Date Materials in the Classroom...

One of my professors is the sort who is caught in a rut of teaching the same class for 20 years. He uses cases and example material from 1980-1990. This time the topic is about crisis management for nonprofit managers who have to speak to the media.

And one of the (many) downfalls of being 20 years out of date is that every now and then you get something like this...

"On the air: wear solid dark clothes. Blue shirts and subtle ties look best for men. Women should wear heavier make-up than usual for studio interviews to avoid the 'ghosting' effect of bright lights."

So what's wrong with this?
1) It presumes that ALL women wear SOME form of make-up. ("Heavier than usual" means there's usually make-up there.)
2) It rests on the assumption that men and women's appearances should be dealt with differently in the media.
3) It reinforces the idea that women are *supposed* to be attractive if they wish to be taken seriously. (There's no worry about men's "ghosting"under bright lights. If men looked bad, that's ok...they'd still be taken seriously for their words.)