March 8, 2010

It's time you know her

rankin-2

Jeannette Rankin.

If you don’t know why she is important or have never heard her name, it’s time you know her and know you should.

In our quest to bring you new role models and sheroes, we bring you an excerpt from Kamala Lopez‘s post from September 2008 at the Huffington Post. Sarah Palin’s annoying and repetitive cries of “maverick” prompted Lopez to write a piece on true historical maverick, Jeannette Rankin, the subject of A Single Woman.

On a cold distant November in 1916, a true Republican maverick and reformer became the first woman elected to the United States Congress. Her name was Jeannette Rankin and as an indefatigable champion of peace, justice and equality for all, her ghost stands in stark contrast to the Republican woman being hailed today as a loveable patriot and agent of change.

Should Sarah Palin be voted into office come this November, ninety two years after Jeannette’s historic election, she may well be responsible for change: a change back to a time before the struggles of thousands of women and men succeeded in providing a framework upon which the Women’s, Peace and Civil Rights movements could weave themselves into the fabric of America.

When Jeannette Rankin ran for Congress from Montana, not only were there no women in the US government – women across the United States couldn’t vote. Three years later the nineteenth amendment was ratified granting all American women the Federal right to cast their ballot. Today more than fifty million American women are not registered. Of registered female voters in the last election, twenty two million of us didn’t bother.

It is the most painful irony to watch Palin stand on Jeannette’s shoulders in order to dismantle that which Rankin gave her life to build. At the time that Jeannette was campaigning, there were several states in which it was still legal for a husband to terminate his wife’s pregnancy without her consent. Choice and abortion are not synonyms. Choice is a word with connotations that reach far and deep into a woman’s life – her finances, her sexuality, her body, her opportunities, her control over her own destiny. Rankin believed that these choices should be available not only to all women, but to all peoples.

Continue reading the original post here.

Learn more about Kamala Lopez  by clicking on the following links:

ERA Today (Official Facebook page)

Global Girl Media

Heroica Films

Las Lopezistas

March 12, 2009

SHOCK! Bristol and Levi split

Uh, not really.

Bristol Palin and her fiance, Levi Johnston, have split despite plans to work together and raise their child, Tripp.

As a new mom (I gave birth to my son 3 weeks ago), I can vouch for the stress and strain a newborn baby can put on individuals not to mention the changed dynamic created in the couple’s relationship.  Thankfully, my partner and I planned this baby for many years and the arrival of our son has allowed us to create a new bond and relish in this process.  But, on countless occasions, I imagine what it would be like to have an unexpected, unplanned pregnancy.  WHOA!  I can’t begin to imagine the challenges and strain an event like that would out on a couple, especially a teen couple.

I don’t think the public is too surpsied to hear about this split.  Upon announcing the obvious pregnancy, Sarah Palin proclaimed that the couple would get married and raise this child in a legitimate union, sanctioned by God and law.  Somehow, this statement was meant to justify a teen pregnancy by a daughter born to a woman that does not believe in sex education, access to birth control or safe and legal abortion.  Yet, Sarah Palin said the decision to have a child was a “choice” and that her daughter, Bristol, and the child’s father, Levi, would make the best of the situation.

I never believed that marriage was making the best decision for this couple.  But, it’s a clear example to all of those individuals that felt it was the appropriate solution and applauded it that life for these two teens is not what Sarah Palin predicted it would be.

From Bristol’s recent statement, it sounds like choice was not in the equation from start to finish.

Bristol also said that “everyone should be abstinent but it’s not realistic… [sex] is more and more accepted among kids my age.”

Bristol also warned about the dangers of teen pregnancy and said that she should have waited 10 years before having children.

November 21, 2008

Gender, media and politics post election

No one can deny the role that gender played in the recent election.  From the beginning, scores of articles and opublic discussions revolved around gender, race, class and their collective role in the political campaigns.

New York Women in Communications examined the intersection of gender, media and politics at their recent panel discussion on November 13 featuring Geraldine Ferraro, Arianna Huffington, Marie Wilson and Lesley Jane Seymour.

Naturally, a significant portion of the discussion revolved around Sarah Palin and her post-feminist feminist image:

“She isn’t going away,” Seymour said of Governor Sarah Palin. “There is a group of women out there who love her, who think she’s a feminist; she thinks she’s a feminist. Listen to her talk. She is a post-feminism feminist in many women’s eyes.”

“Women are hungry to see people fight, to see people be confident, to see people stand up and say things,” Huffington continued. “Even women who deserve confidence don’t have it.  So, when a woman stands up like she did at the convention and speaks with confidence fearlessly and also has children, it’s very appealing.”

Of course, the panelists stressed that we must remember Palin’s true anti-feminist nature, but the conversations about her did not end. There is something very significant in the fact that Palin dominated a discussion at an event of educated, motivated feminists and it begs the question: Is Sarah Palin setting the agenda for modern feminists?  When did we go from leading the movement to reacting to it? And ultimately, where does the feminist movement stand in 2008?

When the discussion turned to Senator Hillary Clinton, the commentary remained somewhat unsettling. “The way Hillary gave her final speech of the primary was very significant because it showed women, who are so terrified of failure, that you can fail magnificently, that you can fail and still succeed in so many ways,” Huffington revealed. “When she said that there was no resentment or bitterness, despite whatever she may have been feeling, she came across as somebody who was ready to move on and be in the future.”

While it’s true that Clinton’s conduct spoke to women and set new standards, how did she become an example of graceful failure and how is Sarah Palin considered bold, confident and still trying to win?

Feminist ideology, feminism and feminist identity also became a hotly debated issue post-Hillary and in light of Sarah Palin.  The relationship between feminism and the media has a long, sordid history and there was ample discussion on the future of that relationship in the wake of Clinton and Palin.

Whatever you believe, this event spoke to the urgency and relevance of feminism in 2008.  The panel proved one thing — that truly feminist, intelligent women must be involved in drawing up the country’s blueprints and maneuvering the cranes of change in the next four years. Donning political and cultural hard hats is the new feminist imperative. This is our chance to build a future, where all people can flourish equally. And it’s about time to get to work.

Read Maric G. Yerman’s complete article at the Huffington Post here.

November 17, 2008

I don't think so…

Spare me.

In a recent article discussing Sarah Palin’s future and her prospect of banking approximately 7 million in possible book deals on her experience as the Republican VP pick, Camille Paglia, the super conservative faux or anti-feminist feminist made this comment:

Camille Paglia, the radical feminist, declared that she had “heartily enjoyed [Palin’s] arrival on the national stage”. She had been subjected to “an atrocious and sometimes delusional level of defamation”, Paglia added. “I can see how smart she is and, quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones.”

This comment comes several paragraphs after this:

She [Palin] scoffed at untrue reports that she initially thought Africa was a country and that she didn’t know members of the North American Free Trade Agreement. She said much of the criticism levelled at her came from “bloggers in their parents’ basements just talking garbage”.

First of all, to the Times Online that referred to Paglia as a “radical feminist,” it looks like YOU’RE stupid and don’t know anything about feminism. Radical feminism is a specific branch of second-wave feminism that was revolutionary and challenged the existing tenants of feminism at the time, namely the dominant branch of Liberal Feminism associated with Betty Freidan and N.O.W.  Radical Feminism challenged feminism to push the envelope, move beyond legislation and the goal of incorporating women into the inherently flawed andocentric status quo.  In doing so, it developed a richer and more diverse feminist agenda that  certainly looks nothing like and has nothing in common with Paglia.

Second, Camille, we’ve seen Palin’s botched interviews, the inability to answer questions and the recycling of her campaign speeches post election.  We’ve heard her made ludicrous comments and insult the American public by being or acting dumb as a representation of the citizens of this nation.  To say she’s smart and everyone else is stupid makes it clear that you like her because you see much of yourself in her. A conservative mouthpiece that does not contribute to feminism or women’s studies.

November 7, 2008

Katha Pollitt on Sarah's gift to feminism

Filed under: Gender,Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 12:29 pm

I enjoyed this article at The Nation. I’ve been thinking along similar lines lately. Hillary Clinton brought feminism to the round table discussion and Sarah Palin kept it there and allowed feminists to take the conversation in new directions. The articles, interviews and commentary that were produced in response to her presence on the political stage was like a dam burst open. I don’t remember the last time we’ve had that much mainstream feminist commentary. Sarah Palin stirred the pot and enriched our conversations about what feminism is and what feminism isn’t.

Excerpts from Pollitt below:

And so we bid farewell to Sarah Palin. How I’ll miss her daily presence in my life! The mooseburgers, the wolf hunts, the kids named after bays and sports and trees and airplanes and who did not seem to go to school at all, the winks and blinks, the cute Alaska accent, the witch-hunting pastor and those great little flared jackets, especially the gray stripey one. People say she was a dingbat, but that is just sexist: the woman read everything, she said so herself; her knowledge of geography was unreal–she knew just where to find the pro-America part of the country; and don’t forget her keen interest in ancient history! Thanks largely to her, Bill Ayers is now the most famous sixtysomething professor in the country–eat your heart out, Ward Churchill! You can snipe all you want, but she was truly God’s gift: to Barack Obama, Katie Couric–notice no one’s making fun of America’s sweetheart now–Tina Fey and columnists all over America.

She was also a gift to feminism. Seriously. I don’t mean she was a feminist–she told Couric she considered herself one, but in a later interview, perhaps after looking up the meaning of the word, coyly wondered why she needed to “label” herself. And I don’t mean she had a claim on the votes of feminists or women–why should women who care about equality vote for a woman who wants to take their rights away? Elaine Lafferty, a former editor of Ms., made a splash by revealing in The Daily Beast (Tina Brown’s new website, for those of you still following the news on paper) that she has been working as a consultant to Palin. In a short but painful piece of public relations called “Sarah Palin’s a Brainiac,” Lafferty claimed to find in Palin “a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernible pattern of associative thinking and insight,” with a “photographic memory,” as smart as legendary Senator Sam Ervin, “a woman who knows exactly who she is.” According to Lafferty, all that stuff about library censorship and rape kits was just “nonsense”–and feminists who held Palin’s wish to criminalize abortion against her were Beltway feminist-establishment elitists who shop at Whole Foods when they should be voting against Barack Obama to make the Dems stop taking women for granted.

So the first way Palin was good for feminism is that she helped us clarify what it isn’t: feminism doesn’t mean voting for “the woman” just because she’s female, and it doesn’t mean confusing self-injury with empowerment, like the Ellen Jamesians in The World According to Garp (I’ll vote for the forced-childbirth candidate, that’ll show Howard Dean!). It isn’t just feel-good “you go, girl” appreciation of female moxie, which I cheerfully acknowledge Palin has by the gallon. As I wrote when she was selected, if she were my neighbor I would probably like her–at least until she organized with her fellow Christians to ban abortion at the local hospital, as Palin did in the 1990s. Yes, feminism is about women getting their fair share of power, and that includes the top jobs–but that can’t take a back seat to policies that benefit all women: equality on the job and the legal framework that undergirds it, antiviolence, reproductive self-determination, healthcare, education, childcare and so on. Fortunately, women who care about equality get this–dead-enders like the comically clueless Lynn Forester de Rothschild got lots of press, but in the end Obama won the support of the vast majority of women who had supported Hillary Clinton.

October 29, 2008

Keith calls 'em out

Socialist! Socialist! “Redistributionist-in-chief.” Celebrity.

Oh, GOP. Keith calls you out on your double-standards. Swoon.

October 23, 2008

Campbell Brown calls out the double-standard

I appreciate Campbell Brown’s statement. Watch and listen.

October 22, 2008

Palin's designer wardrobe

Filed under: Gender,Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 7:46 am

Amidst claims, that she’s just like all the other working class folks, it has been revealed that over $150,00 has been spent on the Palins’ wardrobe.

“It shows that Palin ain’t like the rest of us,” Tom Matzzie, a Democratic strategist told the Huffington Post, when asked how the party would or could use the issue. “It can help deflate her cultural populism with the Republican base. The plumber’s wife doesn’t go to Nieman’s or Saks.”

Check out the full story here and here.

See how GOP donors respond here.

October 19, 2008

Thanks for the laughs, Palin. And, we ARE laughing. Daily.

Filed under: Body Image,Gender,Media,Politics,Violence — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 9:55 am

Salon writers comment on last night’s performance.  Read full article here.

Jeanne Carstensen: Poor Palin —  she looked like she had just seen a moose, but didn’t have a rifle. Part of me wanted her to field-dress Alec Baldwin — but nada. Instead, she tottered off on Baldwin’s arm for a “tour” of the “SNL” set after he trashed her to her face — well, supposedly, to “Tina’s” face. Come on, Sarah, show some of that Alaska backbone, or at least a little fire and brimstone. Something. She fell flat in a way I didn’t expect. I mean, the entire Castro is going to be doing Sarah Palin drag for Halloween this year, yet when given the opportunity to make fun of herself to a national audience, Ms. Pay for Your Own Rape Kit seemed bland and muffled. The obvious parallel here is when the other female rock star candidate of this election cycle showed up on “SNL” in a skit with her “SNL” doppelgänger — Amy Poehler. All I can say is, Sarah Palin, you’re no Hillary Clinton.

Judy Berman: I didn’t expect much from Palin, so I’m not terribly surprised that her actual participation in the show was minimal. While both Barack Obama and John McCain, at the Al Smith benefit Thursday night, showed they could deliver a zinger or two, “SNL” wisely decided it couldn’t even trust Palin to make a joke. Her biggest contribution was laughing along, good-naturedly, as the show’s cast poked fun at her. The skits were funny, but they would have been just as entertaining, with a few minor adjustments, without Palin. Tina Fey carried the opening piece, as usual, and I’d like to nominate Amy Poehler for a special Emmy — “best satirical rap performed in front of and about a V.P. candidate while in the third trimester.”

Vincent Rossmeier: What was the point of her appearance? Somehow, Tina Fey managed to seem more like Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin did. But this hardly should have been a surprise. Basically, on “SNL,” Palin performed the same role she does on the campaign: Nod, pose and stay silent when asked. My only other question is: Where was Bristol?

October 15, 2008

Yup, I do love Keith.

This comes from Keith after more shouts of, “kill him” at at a Palin rally on Tuesday. Tonight could be interesting.

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