February 24, 2010

Lady Gaga, the good and the bad

This clip was originally posted at BitchMedia last year. In an interview where Lady Gaga is asked about the sexually explicit lyrics in her songs and her sexually provocative persona, she calls the interviewer out on the ancient sexual double-standard that has existed between men and women for literally thousands of years. It’s so ingrained in our cultural consciousness that Jessica Valenti made it the title of a recent book, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double-Standards.

If she’s singing about f*****, she’s a slut and a bad role model. If he’s singing about f*****, sticking his d*** in her ear or some other female orifice, slapping her on the a** or what have you, he’s a rock star, a rapper, a happenin’ celebrity…or just a regular guy. It’s a tired, restricting and one-dimensional double-standard that does not serve our society in any way. Good for Gaga for calling him out on it.

Ah, but then  it continues. Hmmm. If she’s making a critical statement like that, could she… be a (gulp) feminist?

Nope. Gaga loses points when she perpetuates the stereotype of the man-hating, gender separatist feminist who hates men ( and wants to cut their balls off). There are tons of stereotypes that keep people otherwise supportive of feminist values and goals away from the movement. Man-hating happens to be the number one reason.

Sadly, her former statement was trumped by the latter and proves that most people continue to know more about the stereotypes than they do about the history of the movement, the women and men that organized and sacrficed for rights most people take for granted and it’s core principles. Equality. Freedom.

January 5, 2009

Featured Feminist: Jacquie O'Godless

Jacquie O’Godless is an atheist, feminist, queer living in Los Angeles. She is a passionate activist heavily involved in politics and has spent time working on and off as a writer for local campaigns. She currently blogs for The Daily Profaner, a news blog for the godless and irreligious.

My click moment: My true understanding of feminism came after ending my monogamous relationship of four years. At this time, I came to understand the connection between hetero-normative society, patriarchal oppression and monogamy as the contractual ownership of another person. Since then, I have been a passionate advocate of polyamory as a feminist practice.

Favorite reading material: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, Valencia by Michelle Tea, Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy, Written on the Body by Jeannette Winterson and My Revolting Life by Penny Rimbaud.

Feminist Icon: Simone de Beauvior

Personal role model: Kathleen Hanna

My issues/concerns: Atheist visibility, exposing the relationship between judeo-christian religion and patriarchy, destroying class privilege and hetero-normative society, dissecting gender, and fighting for equal status for feminist men within the movement.

Favorite quote: “…the most intense pleasures occur in deep despair…” Fyodor Dostoevsky

December 5, 2008

Ruby, you rock!

Filed under: Gender,Media — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 6:55 pm

After my post on Wednesday gushing about Amy Poehler’s new show, I had to devote an entire post to Ruby. It’s obvious why.

November 6, 2008

Featured Feminist: Nita Rubio

Nita Rubio was born and raised in Southern California in a liberal household. Nonetheless, women’s rights, women’s studies, and  female empowerment were not things inherently included in this liberalism. Luckily, spirituality and creativity were highly regarded and served as the pathway for self-discovery and deep personal inquiry. At the age of 18, Nita began to read authors such as Carol Christ, Luisah Tesh, Riane Eisler and more. This impacted her deeply and it was incredibly exciting to know of these women who viewed the personal as political and that even the paradigm of patriarchy needed to be extracted from our spiritual beliefs. Following this new way of perceiving her walk in the world, Nita was formally ordained as a Priestess through Woman Mysteries of the Ancient-Future Sisterhood. Although this mystery school teaches many
spiritual arts, its rare inclusion is that of the need for its Priestess’s to fully explore the extent of misogyny held deeply in the feminine body. Nita has been teaching the core work of the lineage, The Tantric Dance of Feminine Power for the last 13 years. At this time, Nita is passionate about learning and teaching the matriarchal and tribal roots of Tantra and helping women to explore the depths of power viscerally held in their bodies.

My “click” moment: At the age of 17 or 18 I was in a deeply rebellious mode and was down in Mexico with friends and boyfriend. Lots of partying, fun and frolicking. A girlfriend and I had walked to the car to get more beers and were approached by two other guys asking for some beer (but, of course, really looking to pick us up.) Our response of “no” was repeatedly ignored again and again. It got tiresome and irritating as the intensity of the requests increased. Finally I blurted out “We have boyfriends” and those seemed to be the magic words for those guys to leave us in peace.  We returned to the party but I couldn’t engage. I felt uneasy and disturbed by the interaction. About 15 minutes later the answer to my uneasiness came in like a lightning bolt. We had to belong to other men to be left alone. Our simple “no” had not been good enough. I felt sick. And awake all of a sudden. Just after that I read The Women’s Room by Marilyn French which profoundly affected me.

Favorite reading materials: The Great Cosmic Mother by Monica Sjoo, Shakti Woman by Vicki Noble, Passionate Enlightenment by Miranda Shaw and The Women’s Room by Marilyn French.

Feminist icon: Gloria Steinem

Personal role model: All women who have taken the risk of personal loss to no longer compromise the calling of their Spirit.

My issues/concerns: That women don’t know what they don’t know. I am concerned that women’s studies (at least when I went to school) are an elective. I am concerned about the height and frenzy of the media and celebrity that contributes to the disassociation of our bodies and our own internal desires. I am concerned that women are still slaves all over the world and that this seems to be acceptable.



Favorite quote: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

November 1, 2008

Showcasing JLove Calderon:educator and activist

JLove Calderon is an educator and activist raising consciousness on issues related to race and white-skin privilege.  She has authored four books, the fourth forthcoming: That White Girl, Conscious Women Rock the Page: Using Hip Hop Fiction to Incite Social Change, We Got Issues! A Young Woman’s Guide to a Bold, Courageous and Empowered Life and Til the White Day is Done.

She has promoted and continues to facilitate and create space for creative activism and artistry. Calderon is Director of Programming and co-producer of We Got Issues! performance piece that combines politics, activism and creative expression into a multimedia show piece that illustrates the myriad ways that politically minded, conscious individuals can make their voice heard.  As the Riot Grrrls illustrated in the 1990s, activism takes on many forms.

She continues to bridge the gap between ideology, politics and everyday issues with the transformational workshops she co-leads with Marla Teyolia, Empowered Mammas! Right on.

JLove Caldron is an inspiration and role model to young feminists, hip-hop artists and fans and individuals seeking to critique and contribute the cultural discourse.

Laura Flanders of GritTV interviews JLove Calderon in October:

October 22, 2008

Eleanor Smeal to John McCain

Eleanor Smeal, president of The Feminist Majority Foundation, posted an open letter to John McCain on the Huffington Post today.

Dear Senator McCain,

This week you have lashed out against the “Feminist Left.” I understand your frustration. You see that women are not flocking to the McCain/Palin ticket and you don’t understand why. Allow me to illuminate you.

The truth is, Senator McCain, your candidacy is the worst for women in recent history. You thought that women would vote for you once you put a woman on your ticket. But women aren’t fooled by this tactic. Women, Senator McCain, vote on issues important to us, not on whether or not the candidate wears a skirt.

The problem, Senator McCain, is your voting record, platform, and policies. You have consistently voted wrong on issues that directly impact American women’s bank accounts, personal liberties and health.

• You voted 19 times against increasing the minimum wage (the majority of minimum wage earners are women) – before you finally voted for it because it included business tax cuts. You voted to gut the Family and Medical Leave act – and you oppose expanding its coverage.

• You oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would restore women’s ability to fight wage discrimination in the courts – telling women our problem was that we needed to get more education and training.

• You voted NO on the Violence Against Women Act and NO on funding for the Office of Violence Against Women.

• You voted NO on starting the Army’s Breast Cancer Research Program which has funded hundreds of millions in breast cancer research. You voted NO on reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and supported Bush’s veto.

• You oppose a woman’s right to choose, and your running mate Sarah Palin opposes legal abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

• You voted to terminate federal funds for family planning and you have ducked questions on contraceptive insurance discrimination.

• You have stated that you admire the voting records of Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and John Roberts, and have stated that you would like to put Justices like them – Justices who want to overturn Roe v. Wade – on the Supreme Court.

We have compared the votes and platforms of Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin on women’s issues and the record is clear. No matter how you look at it – Obama/Biden score close to 100% and McCain/Palin approach a zero on women’s rights and issues.

If credit should be given for consistency, you deserve such credit when it comes to voting against women’s interests. Twenty-six years of voting against women’s rights and issues and you think women, when given a clear choice, won’t notice?

October 19, 2008

You're right on this one, McCain.

She doesn’t adhere to the ideology and goals of liberal feminism or to the sense of community momentum and solidarity that feminism offers by providing choice and support for all women.

Thanks to the women at Feministing for today’s post containing the following clip:

October 17, 2008

Featured Feminist: Donna Pattee-Ballard

Donna R. Pattee-Ballard is a working artist, photography instructor, and feminist. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Ball State University and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Donna has been an exhibiting and working artist since 1991. She has created and shown four major bodies of work: Abandonment 1992-1994, Becoming 1995-1996, Uninvited 1996-1997 and the Sacred Feminine 2005-2007. She has displayed her work in many exhibitions and is a lecturer on the nature of feminism, gender socialization, and the role of the artist in the modern world. She is currently an instructor at the College of the Canyons, Department of Photography in Santa Clarita, California.

My click moment: I grew up in Indiana and although I had heard of feminism, I didn’t really know what it was about. When I finally left the Midwest and moved to Las Vegas for my MFA studies, it was culture shock for me. I was lost and really didn’t know who I was until I read a novel by Marilyn French called “The Women’s Room.” Then I suddenly found myself angry about what my family in Indiana expected me to be and how I as a woman was represented in “Sin City.” I now realize that I grew up in Las Vegas not Indiana.

Favorite reading material: Novels with strong female characters and travel novels.

Feminist Icons: I don’t have just one! Artist Mary Beth Edelson, Faith Ringgold, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro, Betye Saar, Hannah Wilke, Jenny Holzer, and Barbara Kruger.

Personal role model: My best friend Darlene Kaczmarczyk. She is a fellow feminist artist and has inspired me a great deal.

My issues/concerns: Sarah Palin- do the republicans really think we are stupid enough to vote for a woman just because she’s a woman?!!! I’m insulted!

Favorite quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Marianne Williamson

October 11, 2008

Book Spotlight: Feminism and Pop Culture by Andi Zeisler

Co-founder of Bitch Magazine, Andi Zeisler‘s most recent book, Feminism and Pop Culture (Seal Press) continues Zeisler’s focus on the realm of popular culture as an important area of analysis in considering the symbiotic relationship and influence of contemporary feminism and the media industry:

We’ve tried to get people to see that pop culture is a critical locus of feminism. Most young girls are not reading Ms. They’re watching “The OC” or “Veronica Mars.” It makes sense for us to talk about those pop-culture products, because those are the conversations that girls are having among themselves. They’re not talking about how many seats women have in Congress. They’re not talking about public policy.

TV and mass media in general are the conduit by which most people get their information and form their opinions. We are such a mediated society.

October 2, 2008

Rebecca Traister on Palin: cry me a river. Not.

Excellent commentary by Rebecca Trasiter at Salon.com today after Palin fumbles repeatedly in interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric.

Highlights include:

Where I come from, a woman — and especially a woman governor with executive experience — doesn’t have to rely on any elder or any man to protect her and pull her ass out of the fire. She can make a decision all on her own. (Palin was more than happy to tell Charlie Gibson that she made her decision to join the McCain ticket without blinking.) I agree with Coates that the McCain camp was craven, sexist and disrespectful in its choice of Palin, but I don’t agree that the Alaska governor was a passive victim of their Machiavellian plotting. A very successful woman, Palin has the wherewithal to move forward consciously. What she did was move forward thoughtlessly and overconfidently, without considering that her abilities or qualifications would ever be questioned…

So here it is, finally. And as unpleasant as it may be to watch the humiliation of a woman who waltzed into a spotlight too strong to withstand, I flat out refuse to be manipulated into another stage of gendered regress — back to the pre-Pelosi, pre-Hillary days when girls couldn’t stand the heat and so were shooed back to the kitchen.

Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.

When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude — trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice — well, then, I don’t feel bad for you.

When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid — or in Palin’s case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling — I don’t feel bad for you.

When you don’t take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don’t support, I don’t feel bad for you.

When you don’t have enough regard for your country or its politics to cram effectively for the test — a test that helps determine whether or not you get to run that country and participate in its politics — I don’t feel bad for you.

When your project is reliant on gaining the support of women whose reproductive rights you would limit, whose access to birth control and sex education you would curtail, whose healthcare options you would decrease, whose civil liberties you would take away and whose children and husbands and brothers (and sisters and daughters and friends) you would send to war in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and wherever else you saw fit without actually understanding international relations, I don’t feel bad for you.

I don’t want to be played by the girl-strings anymore. Shaking our heads and wringing our hands in sympathy with Sarah Palin is a disservice to every woman who has ever been unfairly dismissed based on her gender, because this is an utterly fair dismissal, based on an utter lack of ability and readiness. It’s a disservice to minority populations of every stripe whose place in the political spectrum has been unfairly spotlighted as mere tokenism; it is a disservice to women throughout this country who have gone from watching a woman who — love her or hate her — was able to show us what female leadership could look like to squirming in front of their televisions as they watch the woman sent to replace her struggle to string a complete sentence together…
Read full article here.
Traister echoes my own sentiments.  I’m tired of this woman.  I’m tired of the gender games and manipulation that has been waged by this campaign and their phony feminist ideology and concern for women’s rights.  Palin’s response to Couric’s question regarding her feminist identity was ludicrous.  How can you honestly state to the people, especially the women of this country, that you are for women’s equality and choice when your record indicates the exact opposite?  I’m tired of the transparency of this campaigns lies which is a slap in the face to the citizens of this country. I’m tired of the stage craft and political drama this campaign has utilized as distraction. I’m sick of hearing the same lame line about this team of “mavericks.”  The fact that Palin and the McCain camp can’t make up their mind about how they want to craft her image speaks to their insecurity, lack of integrity and dishonesty.
I’m ready for the debate.  Unfortunately, this debate, like all of her official speeches, has been careful crafted and she has been diligently groomed for her role.  I hope that people don’t forget who the real Sarah Palin is: the woman we saw unscripted and incapable when questioned by Gibson and Couric.

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