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Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Fit

iron woman, san francisco harbor

Yesterday, the first Monday of the year was “tourist” day at my gym.  I overheard one regular guy acknowledge this annual phenomenon to a friend and end with, “that’s ok, they’ll all be gone by Valentine’s Day.” Snark.

It’s true, though. I’ve belonged to this gym for over 11 years and I don’t need to look up the statistics to know that the vast majority of yesterday’s newcomers will be gone in a month.  It makes me sad.  Oh, sure, the extra people make everything more crowded, there are lines at the locker desk, waits at the weight stations, extra bodies circling the track.  But, there is also a general air of excitement and promise each January that comes with those shiny new resolutions to lighten and tone and sweat.  I want every one of those newbies to still be there next to me come June and July.  You won’t hear any snarky comments from me, nosiree, ’cause I remember my first day and what it took to come back on day two.

I’ve noticed a good number of female bloggers taking up the “fat and fit” banner as a feminist issue, and I agree with what they have to say about bowing to societal pressure when it comes to body image, shame, standards of what’s sexy and what’s not, all imposed on us by a patriarchy invested in harnessing women as the sex class.  I even buy the criticism of the arbitrary guidelines that purport to tell us if we actually are overweight or not.  I get it.

But, why stop the discussion there?  Forget about your dress size, how many push-ups can you do?  How fast can you run a mile?  Walk a mile? Can you touch your toes? How many minutes of sweat-inducing exercise do you get each day?  Compare your answers to current CDC guidelines for physical activity.  Good health is a lot more than the absence of illness.

Since I’m not aware of any feminist theory that professes my right to die sooner rather than later, I plan to continue sweating  in hopes of living long enough to annoy every conservative I’ve ever known for as long as possible.  That’s all the motivation I need to get to the gym each day.

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The Scream

All of modern society’s social ills are the result of fatherless homes, and women are to blame!?!

I wonder if Ms. Schlafly has the nerve to say that in front of an audience of single mothers and their children?

I started out thinking that this sentiment is truly “out there” and that the audience for this sort of mucked-up thinking is limited, but then I came across a couple of largely sympathetic articles regarding the recent detainment of Roman Polanski.

I flipped.

He drugged, raped and sodomized a thirteen year old GIRL.  It’s not material whether the victim wants, or doesn’t want this case publicized again.  Polanski plead guilty to the charges 30 years ago.  As a society, we need to find the stomach to fight child abuse, rape and violence perpetrated against women.  That means following through on the Polanski case.  It’s simple, really, and attempts to paint Polanski as the wronged, artistic genius who had no choice but to flee the country fall into the same camp as Ms. Schlafly’s convoluted, blame the victim line of thinking.

Polanski, like all the absent fathers Ms. Schlafly gives a pass to, need to “man-up” to their actions.  So what do you figure the chances are that the patriarchy will enforce  responsibility upon its own members?

We all know the answer.  Ms. Schlafly continues to get paid speaking engagements, and Mr. Polanski has fawning documentaries made about him and happily accepts Oscar awards.

You’ve come a long way, baby, but you’re still on your knees.

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In honor of today’s call to action by Back Up Your Birth Control, I’m re-posting something I wrote last year on the topic. Please follow the link above for more information about emergency contraception, your right to obtain it, how it works and where to get it.

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Almost one year after the FDA approved Emergency Contraception (EC) for over-the-counter sales to men and women at least 18 years of age, the actual availability of EC in pharmacies is not guaranteed.

A recent study released by NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina contains alarming statistics that indicate widespread unavailability of EC, a glaring lack of knowledge about EC among pharmacists, individual pharmacy regulations for obtaining EC that directly violate federal regulations and anecdotal evidence to suggest that individual pharmacists are refusing to dispense EC based on their religious beliefs.

According to the study:

  • Nearly one-fourth of pharmacists stated EC was the same as the abortion pill (it’s not) and nearly 5% stated that EC caused an abortion (it doesn’t – EC prevents ovulation)
  • 40% of pharmacists did not have EC in stock, and of these, 30% refused to order it
  • Only 57% of pharmacies in rural areas had EC in stock
  • Prices for EC varied from $20 – $500
  • 11% of pharmacists said they would require a prescription for all women seeking EC

Think North Carolina is some sort of exception? Aside from the fact that the state is overly represented on the board of Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (“Dispensing Hope and Encouragement” I kid you not) I doubt NC is unique.

We already know that abstinence education doesn’t work, contraception efforts fail, and that women are raped and assaulted in this country at the rate of one every two and a half minutes.

We also know that approximately once every two and a half minutes, our television is going to assault us with another queasy ad promoting a drug for erectile dysfunction, guaranteed to turn his little pinky into something the cat can’t scratch down in less than four hours.

Does your local pharmacist have a problem dispensing that drug? I doubt it.

Better than nothing? You tell me.

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Mark Penn.

Sandy Berger.

Terry McAuliffe.

Take a closer look at these three men behind Senator Clinton’s campaign and you might agree.

Mark Penn – Chief Campaign Strategist

Mr. Penn is the worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller, a PR firm with ties to Blackwater and Countrywide (names ring a bell? ). Despite his position in Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign, he continues to serve as CEO of a firm with clients such as Microsoft, AT&T, Eli Lilly and Texaco. (I mean, c’mon, even Karl Rove was forced by “W” to sell his lucrative direct mail business when he came to work on Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.)

Penn was the pollster and political adviser for Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and remained active as an adviser throughout Clinton’s second term. He is also the pollster for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council and his clients have included Sen. Joe Lieberman and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. In 1981, he and a partner worked in Israel to help with the reelection of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, one of the most right-wing prime ministers in Israel’s history.

Mark Penn is one of the key architects of the Democratic Leadership Council’s right-leaning political platform, a tactical philosophy referred to by Greatest Husband as “republican-lite.” From a foreign policy standpoint, one can easily dispense with the “lite.”

Sandy Berger – Foreign Policy Adviser

Berger served as the U.S. National Security Adviser to President Clinton from 1997 until he left office in January of 2001. He plead guilty to misdemeanor theft charges in 2005, after he was caught stealing records from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. In addition to serving the Clinton presidential campaign, he is currently chairman of the board of an international investment fund – just the sort of position a thief might be rewarded with when one is a wealthy and privileged white male. That, and the opportunity to try – once again – to gain a foothold in the inner circle of White House power.

Terry McAuliffe – Chairman, Hillary Clinton for President Campaign

Past chairman of the DNC, raider of union pension funds and, oh, hell . . . this article by Jeffrey St. Clair spells out everything one needs to know about what motivates this oily underbelly of a human being.

If you can’t stomach reading the entire article, maybe you can take in this much:

The young fundraiser learned an early lesson. No enterprise was off-limits, no matter how tarnished the reputation of the company: weapons-makers, oil companies, chemical manufacturers, banks, sweatshop tycoons. Indeed, McAuliffe made his mark by targeting corporations with festering problems, ranging from liability suits to environmental and worker safety restraints to bothersome federal regulators. The more desperate these enterprises were for political intervention, the more money McAuliffe knew he could seduce into DNC coffers. What about environmental groups? Big labor? The traditional core of the Democratic Party? Not only didn’t their objections (assuming they voiced any) matter, they actually made McAuliffe’s pitch more appealing to the corporadoes. After all, the Republicans didn’t have any sway over these organizations. Triangulation, the backstabbing political playbook of Clintontime, originated as a fundraising gimmick. A very lucrative one.

In the early 90s, really big money began to pour into the DNC. McAuliffe recruited robust donations from Arco and Chevron, Entergy and Enron, Phillip Morris and Monsanto, Boeing and Lockheed, Citibank and Weyerhaeuser. Many of these corporations had all but abandoned the Democrats during the Reagan era. McAuliffe lured them back with promises of favorable treatment by a new generation of anti-regulatory Democrats attuned to the special needs of multinational corporations. This was the mulch bed from which the Clinton presidency took root.

By 1994, Clinton himself had aligned himself to McAuliffe’s magic touch. He tapped him as the chief fundraiser for the 1996 reelection campaign. In this capacity, McAuliffe masterminded some of the more risqué political fundraising operations since the Kennedy era. There were the fundraisers at Buddhist temples in California. There were the notorious coffee klatches, where for a six-figure contribution to the DNC, corporate executives were brought to the White House for some face-time with Bill and Hillary, Al and Tipper, and a retinue of cabinet secretaries, with pen in hand ready to address any nagging problem. McAuliffe also devised the plan to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom to top contributors for slumber parties with the president.

Over the course of the next six years, McAuliffe was personally responsible for raising, largely from corporate sources, more than $300 million for the DNC.

It’s impossible to know whether Sen. Clinton chose these men or they chose her as their ticket back into the power halls of the White House. Either way, I don’t like the alliance.

What I fear with a Clinton presidency is a White House influenced by the same element that is directing her campaign: More hard-line foreign policy decisions and direction, more military engagement to protect and shore-up the right wing elements in Israel, more of the Republican playbook when it comes to protecting and rewarding corporate polluters, more industry/government coziness in federal oversight of public safety when it comes to our food supply, drugs and consumer protections.

I don’t see myself ever pointing to a portrait of a President Hillary Clinton and telling my young nieces that therein lies proof they can achieve anything they want as women, because I will also need to tell them about the power brokering, criminal, wealthy white men of questionable morals who helped to get her there.

I agree with Gloria Steinem that it’s time to put women first, and for me, feminism means putting the welfare of my country first. I’m looking for a candidate who will enforce all of our Constitutional rights, limit or curtail our military engagements, wage peace through diplomacy and alliances with other countries, redirect spending towards domestic policies that aid women, children and families, and stand firm against corporate greed for the health and welfare of all of our citizens.

I already know how disappointing a Clinton White House can be. It takes more than a shuffle of the deck chairs to fool this old bag feminist.

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First, a confession. I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter. Statistically, I should be.

I fall into the right age group (50+), I was weaned on the great 60’s & 70’s feminists’ writings, I consider myself to possess a hyper-awareness of sexism in all its manifestations, and, yes, I’m a product of too many women’s studies courses to mention.

I claim a good deal of feminist cred – in fact, a lifetime of it – but I refuse to march lock-step behind a candidate primarily because she is a woman. And, when feminist icons like Gloria Steinem voice support for her candidacy it makes me, well, defensive. Why don’t I support Hillary Clinton?

My shortest answer is that I fear a Clinton candidacy could lose the bid for the White House in 2008, and that’s not necessarily Hillary Clinton’s fault. During the Whitewater investigations, people laughed at her conspiracy charges, but the deep-seated hatred of the Clintons is not something to be dismissed as trivial or imaginary. It’s real and it’s still very much alive. The right wing is obsessed with Clinton. The mainstream media is obsessed with her, and both factions seize on every misstep, every unflattering photo, every tear, every inflection of her voice in a way that makes a “swift boating” group extraneous to the cause of rooting out every asshat voter in the country to keep her from office.

Is that sexism? You bet it is. It’s also Hillary Clinton and the Clinton legacy. She can’t help but drag that legacy with every political step she takes.

So much of who Hillary Clinton is has been shaped by her husband that it seems odd to put her on a feminist pedestal. For better or worse, Hillary hitched her star to a man, a powerful, charming, deeply flawed man. That’s the way ambitious, smart women gathered power for themselves for centuries. It was, and maybe it still is the only way.

My feminist dream is different. I want a woman candidate who will break that mold and rise to power without her husband’s political cronies stoking the machinery in the background. Maybe the candidate I’m waiting for is Hillary Rodham.

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