September 12, 2008

Feminism is acceptable as long as it wears a skirt

Filed under: Body Image,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 11:38 am

Nina passed along a post from the folks at JezebelDonny Deutsch reiterates  what I posted in an earlier post from September 11, “America the Beautiful,” that feminism can be tolerated and embraced as long as that feminist is attractive and is showing off her gams in a skirt.

I guess people forget that feminism sought and continues to seek new areas of expression, leadership and opportunity beyond the narrow confines of a dictated and oppressive beauty standard.  I celebrate women’s beauty in all forms.  I am not oppossed to wearing lipstick.  I DON’T feel that our physical appearance should be the sole measure of our worth or our capabilities as aleader, a mother or a lover.

This is just another ludicrous example of the watered down “feminism” the right is trying to offer women.

September 11, 2008

I smell hypocrisy

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 7:15 pm

Quindlen’s article in Newsweek is another must read!

“The Republican Party has undergone a surprising metamorphosis since Sarah Palin was chosen as its vice presidential candidate. In Palin I recognize a fellow traveler, a woman whose life would have been impossible just a few decades ago. If she had been born 30 years earlier, the PTA would likely have been her last stop, not her first. Her political ascendancy is a direct result of the women’s movement, which has changed the world utterly for women of all persuasions. It is therefore notable that Palin has found her home in a party, and in a wing of that party, that for many years has reviled, repelled and sought to roll back the very changes that led her to the Alaska Statehouse.

But expediency is an astonishing thing, and conservative Republicans have suddenly embraced the assertion that women can do it all, even those conservative Republicans who have made careers out of trashing that notion. James Dobson of Focus on the Family once had staffers on his hot line saying, “Dr. Dobson recommends that mothers of young children stay at home as much as possible.” He now applauds a woman who was back at work three days after her son, who has Down syndrome, was born.

Even to state that simple fact resulted in outrage among those at the convention, who screamed double standard. But the double standard was mainly theirs. The governor was aggressively marketed in terms of her maternity, yet questions about how she managed to mother five and lead the state were dismissed as sexist. The governor’s two years leading Alaska, which in terms of citizens served is the equivalent of being mayor of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was said to be the linchpin of her appointment, but questions about her breadth of experience were dismissed as sexist. Her surrogates wanted the press to write about mooseburgers and ignore how the governor had once pursued the kind of earmarked federal funds she now insists are anathema to her. Conservatives have probably used the word “sexist” more in the past week than they have in the past 50 years.”

Thanks to my esteemed colleague for passing this on and keeping the information flowing.  We have everything to lose if we don’t.

Don't Know Much about (Womyn's)History

The Los Angeles Times and numerous other outlets featured photographs of supporters carrying signs with Sarah Palin’s head superimposed over that of the iconic feminist symbol of Rosie the Riveter. I received countless emails and comments from outraged women in the last 24 hours.  The Feministing community posted a comment that expressed the reaction that so many of these woman, including myself, felt upon seeing this bizarre merging of images that are so diametrically opposed.

Any person that knows anything about womyn’s history knows full well that Sarah Palin does not embody the core beliefs and values that guided the fearless suffragettes during the first wave of feminism, the line workers during WWII or their feminist sisters of the second wave or any of the women that recognize their struggle within the larger stream of women’s issues that has persisted for centuries.

I find it outright insulting and appalling to see the face of a woman that is blatantly anti-women’s issues photo shopped on an icon that represents female solidarity and strength. Rosie the Riveter and the women that worked in the factories experienced new levels of freedom and independence.  Sarah Palin does not support the freedom of choice for women of any social supports that would bolster their success in the workplace.  The woman that Rosie the Riveter represents defied conventional gender norms while Palin benefits from feminism but seeks to reproduce and support all of the traditional gender constraints that have impinged on women’s ability to benefit in the ways Palin has.

The foundation of this country and the heart of feminism is freedom.  Plain and simple.  Palin represents the  repression of freedom.  The fear tactics the Republicans spew sends the mainstream public running for order.  As the woman were sent back into the home after the men returned from WWII, the gendered constraints tightened and provided order in an unstable war filled with foes, enemies, McCarythism and the Red Scare.

Sound familiar?

Most people don’t know the names of our fore-mothers in the endless struggle for women’s rights.  The icons and symbols are vapid and empty.  The Riot Grrls were co-opted by The Spice Girls and the collective movement was transformed into a meaningless slogan without solidarity or group force.

Girl Power.  Sarah Palin.

Vapid. Empty. An image/slogan that is sold to a public that has lost it’s sense of collective history.  A rich history that is mired in collective amnesia.

The only connection I can make between Sarah Palin and Rosie the Riveter is the fact that both images are propaganda.  Yes, Rosie the Riveter is a true icon but, at her inception, she was used as a tool to recruit women to work knowing full well these women would get the boot once they had served their purpose in the war cause.

Sarah Palin is a similar tool used to lure in votes and then kick those individuals to the curb once the right-wing agenda has been served.

September 10, 2008

Seeing through stupid

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 11:22 am

Jamie Lee Curtis nails it on the head.

“Mr. Obama said it…. “They must think you are stupid.” Stupid to believe that McCain/Palin are “change agents.” Change is becoming this campaigns’ ping pong ball and we are missing the point. Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Be it. Don’t talk about it, don’t pontificate about it. Be It. Action word. Demonstrative. Maybe Nike just drafted off that great statesman and made us all “Just do it.”

Whatever, the call to action is now. Be it…

We are not stupid, but we are gullible, to fear, lies, misinformation and calculated deceit and that is what we are now up against and where we need to demonstrate the real change.”

Voting for a "Rock Star?"

Filed under: Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 9:27 am

Just this morning the Minneapolis-St.Paul Tribune claimed that Palin is a rock star and that liberals are worried.  What’s so striking is the fact that just weeks ago McCain launched a campaign criticizing Obama of being nothing more than a celebrity.  His campaign claimed that the country needs a leader with substance, a leader that has fought and has the “scars to prove it.” Yet, his own running mate is touted as achieving rock star status and that it should give considerable pause to Obama.  Polls claim that Obama is losing support.  What’s interesting is that most of these polls have not taken large samples in order to make these sweeping claims and/or they do not reveal what part of the country was polled or how there were polled for these survey results.

While conservative media outlets and McCain’s campaign celebrates the very thing they criticized in Obama (sound familiar?), actual rock stars have distanced themselves from the McCain/Palin ticket and have asked them to cease playing their immediately.

The official Hart website states:

“Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart have informed the McCain/Palin Campaign that Universal Music Publishing and Sony BMG have sent a cease-and-desist notice to not use one of Heart’s classic songs ‘Barracuda,’ as the congratulatory theme for Sarah Palin. The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission. We have asked the Republican campaign not to use our music.”

They added:

“Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late ’70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.”

Palin’s image is selling even in the face of resistance and disbelief.  Media historians claim that John F. Kennedy’s victory was assisted by the face-value that television provided in American homes across the country.  Palin’s “rock star” appeal in the face of frightening takes on social issues takes this phenomenon to new heights.

September 9, 2008

Sarah Palin Action Figure

Filed under: Body Image,Media,Politics — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 6:39 pm

The Sarah Palin action figure has arrived and joined the McCain and Obama action figures.  But, unlike the McCain and Obama doll, the Sarah Palin doll strikes an eerie resemblance to Britney Spears in her heyday and Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft. This doll looks more like the Bratz or The Pussycat Dolls. Hasbro planned on marketing a line of Pussycat Dolls for children which was subsequently scrapped after declaring it “inappropriate” for promoting “unhealthy behavior.”  According to the polls, a scantily clad, pistol packing, moose hunting “hockey mom” is not inappropriate nor does she promote “unhealthy behavior.”  On the contrary, she has riled and “energized” the Republican ticket.  I’m not surprised.  She upholds all of the mainstream, traditional values of hypermasculinity and arrives in a “hot” package. She’s titilating.  She’s a caricarture.

In a culture that primarily measures women by their physical assets, Palin fits in perfectly and the narrow-minded, conservative, anti-female rhetoric that comes out of her mouth only fuels her appeal.  I received an email, from a self-proclaimed “redneck” that is planning on naming his two children Smith and Wesson, confirming his vote by stating, “Yes to Palin! She is one hot gun slining mamma.”


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