Tuesday, January 31, 2006

As you can see....

I needed a break. Alito's in (and one of the WA state senators Maria Cantwell voted against a filibuster), Bush has given a (sorry) State of the Union, Harper (PM), (Gordon) Campbell (Premier of BC), and Sam Sullivan (mayor of Vancouver) are in office. Both the US and Canada currently hate me (well, at least BC does. Sullivan! Campbell! Come on, people! I thought you were liberals, although during the rounds of strikes that went on earlier this year (not so much BC Teachers, but more NYC Transit) showed me that "liberals" are anti-union capitalists at heart. Wahhh, MTA should fire them all. They're striking for their pensions? I don't get a pension, therefore their strike is stupid, and it makes my life harder. Damn them, the greedy bastards. Jerkfaceheads. The correct response is: "I don't get a pension, maybe I should unionise my workplace and demand one!)

There's so much to discuss, so many things I want to comment on (and I'm sticking to feminist topics here too, I'm not even thinking about other ones yet). Unfortunately they are not coming today, as I am too worn out from the past week of moronity on the web (the "we're-sex-positive-and-never-say-that-you're-sex-negative-you-bitter-
puritanical-prude people, etc), and everything else that's been going on (see above) as well as a horrible weekend spent with my sexist water polo coach (tournament), a triggering incident, and a migraine. So I leave you with a link to one of my favourite science/feminist journals. (You may remember it from the 7th Carnival of Feminists talking about women in physics.) They decided to tackle some of Bush's speech The Science President. Trust me, it's funny/sad, especially if you're a science geek like me (this blog's pretty damn good for that too.)

One of my favourite comments is that we may as well call him "the feminist president" since it's about as accurate. (although more presidents are pro-science then pro-feminism.) Blargh. I'm gonna get some sleep, eat really well when I get up, have a few good cocktails (hours and hours and hours after I get up), watch some Buffy and I'll be back to my usual patriarchy destroying ways. (Although I have become addicted to reading all the wonderful radical feminist blogs out there so I will be back tommorrow to check and comment at least. Although this may be a right now thing, I feel all written out. I have so much to say and trying to focus in on one thing is hard and somewhat overwhelming. (But maybe I'll finally get my polyamory paper up on blogger.) Ugh. Sweet dreams all.

Monday, January 30, 2006

10 Views I Hold Without Evidence

I got tagged at The Countess's blog and I felt that I could take a break and blog this. (She tagged all people who had blogged about Alito in the past week.) I tag all people who have blogged about sex politics in the past week. So there. Nyah nyah. (Of course you don't have to do it.) Some of these I do think that there is evidence, but nothing concrete.

1. Slugs were put on earth to torture me. (Yes they were. Snakes, spiders, sharks? I don't care and love them, slugs? EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Scary little buggers.)

2. That society as we know it will implode (explode?) in the next 100 years. Now what I haven't decided is if it will be super biblical, primitivistic, or Futurama-esque)

3. That accordionists are irresistable. Especially if they have funny moustaches as well. (I have an accordion, now I'm going to get a handlebar mustache. I will be irresistable! Muahahaha.)

4. That I can reasonably call almost every cat the cutest cat in the world and mean it every time. (But my cat is the cutest cat in the world.)

5. That most of the rabid right wingers in the US have tertiary stage syphillus. (Coulter, DeLay, Robertson, etc., etc.)

6. That my little hideaway in the desert near the Mexican border in Texas is heaven on earth.

7. That books are the best invention ever.

8. That I was a cat in my previous life and must have done something very very wrong to come back as a human.

9. That I am destined to become the crazy cat lady.

10. That most of what people consider art is not at all. (heh, I can just hear my art school buddies cringing as I say this. I went to art school, I'm allowed to be a snob, and white on white is not art. kiss it.)

So there.

An update to my burlesque post

The Blogger at Seppaku has made a nice little post on the same topic (and refrencing mine) you can read it here.

(I love site meter)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Compulsive Masculinity

This was written as a paper for a Psychology of Women class and lately I've been looking to rework it, turn it more into a sturdy piece of theory. Let me know what you think. (And don't miss my other new post right below this one!)

Being a woman in this society it is easy for me to find many examples of the different types of ways in which women are objectified by men. I will be talking most about compulsive masculinity and sexualization of women. I will not only be using Horney and Weskott's critiques of sexualization and compulsive masculinity to deconstruct many patterns that I see within my life, as they appear in The Feminist Legacy of Karen Horney (Weskott, 1986), I will also be referencing Shulamith Firestone's critique of male culture, The Dialectic of Sex (1970). The idea of compartmentalizing women is a theme that runs rampant throughout our culture, and one which is destructive to all women no matter where on the spectrum they fall: girlfriend (superficial respect), sex object (no pretense of respect), or unattainable or "emancipated" women (whose company men can enjoy and also have sex with, but ultimately are too demanding to have a relationship with, and therefore also garner a strictly superficial respect). Everyone loses in this situation.

Our reading and discussion of Horney and Weskott's critique of compulsive masculinity came at a time where I saw the same things playing out in my life. I saw myself turn from someone who was unattainable to a certain group of guys into someone that they now saw as a woman who they could have sex with. Among this group of people I have known for some years I was always one of the "bitchy feminist" types who would call them on their sexism, but when I slept with one of them I became attainable to the entire group. Men that never hit on me before are seeing me in a new light and are constantly trying to sleep with me. Like most women I moved (in their eyes) from the unattainable woman who made demands on them in the ethical and intellectual spheres to the "woman of easy virtue" who would not make any such demands on them (Weskott, p. 99).

Firestone's discussion of the "emancipated woman" (the category I am most often placed into by men) includes how these women are not seen as people, but as a more difficult challenge for the man, and therefore a more rewarding experience to brag about to his friends. Firestone discusses the plight of the emancipated woman, Horney's unattainable or "pure" woman, and what waits for her in the world: either give up her ambitions, and her "masculine" type of behavior or "Be the 'other woman' for the rest of one's life, used to provoke the wife, prove his virility and/or his independence, discussed by his friends as his latest "interesting conquest (Firestone, p. 144-145)." Firestone's analysis of societal romance reflects what Horney and Weskott call compulsive masculinity. Horney's theory is that men need to prove their masculinity continuously, and that the harder the challenge, the more satisfaction a man gets from his conquest. Horney talks about how women who are in the group of "easy virtues" who therefore do not make any demands upon the man are already debased in the man's eyes and are therefore not as 'rewarding' a conquest, and how a man derives greater satisfaction from sexually conquering a woman who they saw as unattainable in some way, thereby debasing her (Weskott, p. 105-106). Here is where I "fell" in the eyes of the group.

Whether one looks at Horney or Firestone, the ideas are the same. The woman who refuses to shoulder a man's problems, refuses to stay on her idealized pedestal, or become a part of the man (Firestone refers to this as becoming an appendage of the man) are placed in a category all their own, and are pursued as more rewarding sexual conquests. To be this woman means being treated as a person (this is necessary for the man to gain your trust), and then once your trust is gained to try to have a more sexual relationship with you. If you forget that most men do this, then you will be like me, and continually sleep with these men who, inevitably, the next morning no longer have any words for you and will give you the "You're an amazing, wonderful person, and I care about you, but...." speech (although they don't always do this the next morning, as they may wait until you bring up the idea of a relationship, or until they have found a woman who isn't so demanding with which they can pursue a relationship). Firestone discusses this as the "let's be reasonable" speech (p. 144) with men's excuse for using it in the name of 'true' friendship. One does not want to date the woman who refuses to stand on the pedestal and one who is loud and acts against her feminine stereotype. As Firestone discusses, these men are all too happy to spend time with these women and enjoy their company, but any truly intimate relationship with them is not acceptable.

While I have not changed, and will continue to make demands on them and challenge them on their sexism, the change in how they perceive me is evident in their behavior towards me. Whereas before I was treated more as part of the group and not seen as a sexualized being, or at least one that was accessible to them, I became that person by "allowing" one of them to sleep with me. I am no longer treated with the same facade of respect that I had before, but instead am seen as a purely sexualized being. Their behavior indicates that they didn't respect me as a person before, but at least they had accorded me with the superficial respect that my previous position is given (although in the end this is just as unfulfilling, it is preferable to be treated as just a sex object). It is evident, not only from my experience, but how they treat other women they interact with that they compartmentalize women into the women who are asexual and the women who are purely sexual to them (Weskott, p. 104).

This compartmentalization is not only one that men use to differentiate between the women that they are "friends" with and the ones that they can sleep with, but they also use it to separate out women that they can date. In her book Firestone discusses how men feel the need to separate out a potential partner by placing her above all other women. "A man must idealize one woman over the rest in order to justify his descent into a lower caste (Firestone, p.144)." While this may seem preferable, being set upon a pedestal is a draining and ultimately aggravating and self negating place to be put, as no one can live up to an idealized version of themself. Firestone discusses how the emancipated women differ from the ones that men will date by being all the things that women are not supposed to be: smart, outspoken, sexual, and in possession of high aspirations (Firestone, p. 144). These women are fine for the men to sleep with, and enjoy their company, but are not women that they will date, for as Horney talks about these women make sexual, ethical, and intellectual demands on the men.

While one may seem better then the other, the sad fact is that no matter how they see a woman it is still through a patriarchal and misogynistic lens. Horney made sure to point out that in choosing who men will sleep with it is not a split between respect and sexual desire (Weskott, p. 105). It isn't based on the women who men respect and those they don't. The very way that compartmentalization is set up ensures that women are not respected as people, but are seen as more or less accessible sex objects. The different boundaries that men put up to differentiate the women of "easy virtue," and the "unattainable" or "emancipated" woman, as well as the women that they will date have nothing to do with how much they respect the women in any of the categories, because one cannot see a whole person when one splits them into superficial groups and is seen to be showing more respect towards one group over the other. Again, that respect is nothing but a facade.

The devaluation of all things feminine makes it impossible for a woman to be respected in this society. If she has valuable qualities she is disassociated from her gender, and is seen as "one of the guys," a moniker that I received frequently in my school days. When a woman acts outside of her assigned gender roles, she is trying to be more then a sex object; she is trying to be a person. The way that men compensate for this is to place women into the category of the "emancipated" woman. Unfortunately, this is still, as all categories are, one that is based on the idea that women are sexual beings. As hard as women try to be seen as "one of the guys," men will never view a woman as such because she is physically a woman. For me, all these things have played a part in my interaction with men. As with many other women, I forgot that most men can not treat me as a person, without placing me into different compartments. Unfortunately I realized too late what the repercussions of my actions could mean. I, like most people, tend to think that those I consider my friends respect me and see me as a person. Unfortunately, I have been proven wrong again and again. This is something that needs to be rectified, because it is a world in which no woman can live.

I feel special!

OK, so the *actual* reason for this post is that I made Sour Duck's quote of the month. You can check it out here. (SD includes links to the Original thread I am Woman, See me Wax on I see Invisible People.) I was going to tell you what the quote says, but I think that you can all click on the link and go over and see it. hehehe. (I'm also here. (forgive my giddyness and shameless self promotion, I'm just excited, I thought that I maybe would have had like 4 readers (that weren't my friends) by now. Wow, I'm just astonished. I'm so happy that you all are out there and blogging. It makes me feel so much better!)

Oh, and I finally got my site meter, I think that I figured out how to use it, all I found from my visitors today is that one person found me from a search for Kate Chopin's A Pair of Silk Stockings which I wrote about in my 10 books of the 'month.' And one person searching for "kirstie alley jenny craig exploit." I'm number one on that page! HA! Take that stupid commercials that normalize street harrassment. Lot's of people come here from my sister radical blogs. Thanks *waves*

OK, and one real question, I wanted to post my theory on Polyamory and the Left, but I'd like to know how to hide it behind a cut b/c it's over 10 pages long (but I have a feeling you all might appreciate it, a shrunken version was printed in the off our backs issue on Love.) If you could let me know that would make me happy. I also have been working on a piece on compulsive masculinity and that one might be lengthy as well. Let me know!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Excuse me, maybe you should see a doctor.

So to lighten the mood a little here, I will tell you a funny (true) story.

I was sitting on the bus in my usual imitation of men with swollen ball syndrome (I mean, like over 85% of the male population suffers from this, someone should look into it. It must be so painful for them to carry these obviously huge things around with them each day. I mean if your balls are so big and painful that you have to sit with your legs as far apart as physically possible on public transport then maybe you should consider getting them removed. Seriously, SBS could lead to other major health problems. I still have no idea how these men can walk around with these things, let alone do anything else. Really what's your secret? I can't even tell that your balls are the size of basketballs from your pants, you all must have something to strap them down with, it's amazing.)

So anyway, back to the story. A woman got on the bus (actually a lot of people got on the bus) and she looked at me (and the guy next to me who, poor dear, if he had swollen ball syndrome wasn't able to sit in his "comfortable" position) and said "Oh mhy god! You have swollen ball syndrome!" I, of course, was pleasantly surprised by this and exclaimed "Only when I'm sitting around guys! It's the craziest thing! I don't know why that happens." She then said, "Oh I know, that's the only time I have it too, it's really weird. Maybe someone should study that phenomenon."

Sometimes I love my life.

Oh, and my friend recently decided to change their blog from a poetry one to a blog blog (with writing being a part of it still) and you should all go check it out Buried Voices

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I find this amusing

I've been blogging about 3 weeks and I all ready have a readership and a hate club.
Seriously I have found more blogs quoting my burlesque article in them then I expected. I guess that's what happens when you attack male controlled sexuality. Shit, I really like to pick the hot button topics.

Oh and until I get to it (and if you didn't know all ready) I hate porn. It's demeaning, degrading, objectifying, and downright derogatory towards women. (This post brought to you by the letter 'D') I love sex, however. Porn isn't sex anymore then Intelligent Design is a theory. It's lies people tell you because they're scared that women's sexuality will threaten their manhood (or approval from those who have a "manhood.")

For examples check I'm not a Feminist, but and Hustling the Left

So yeah, any of you who think you can convince me otherwise can go elsewhere. I don't feel like hosting your discussion about how liberating (or whatever) porn is because I completely 100% disagree with you and neither of us is going to change each others minds (well, you're certainly not going to change mine, and it seems that you're not here to learn but to rant about how wrong I am and argue semantics. If you want to debate, maybe ask a few questions on why I feel this way ok, but I'm Not a Feminist, but..'s post sums up how I feel exactly. And don't troll her either.)

I should never turn on the tele again!

Every damn time. One day I'll learn (through conditioning of bad horrible tv shows except I am slightly addicted to CBC/Dr. Who/Veronica Mars/(guilty pleasures: Coronation Street and Numb3rs (I love it when he talks math, even if it'd be sexier from someone who actually knew it)) I can't believe I just admitted that.)

Ugh. I was watching a rerun of the Gilmore Girls (partially because I have heard good reviews from my friends) and I yelled at it twice (amazing for a half an hour of the programme. [tangent] OK, and as per my spelling it's a mix of English/Canadian and US spellings. Deal with it. It wreaks holy havoc on my spell check though. If my computer thought it would think that I'm the worst speller in the world. And while I'm on this language tangent, why does everyone look at me funny when I call sneakers(?) trainers? They're trainers, it makes sense, you can TRAIN in them, why do I always have to point to my feet to explain it! *Sheesh* Possible explanations are that I spent too much time in London and/or communicating with my friends in London. But I don't care. [/tangent])

So tonight on GG one of the first things I see is her and her grandparents sitting down to dinner with a minister. The grandparents found stupid reasons to excuse themselves and the reverend launched into this whole diatribe about how Rori has a special 'gift' and that she should save that 'gift' and how she only has one 'gift' and it's very special and that if she spends that 'gift' she can't get another and then she'll have to buy the guy a sweater! (something like that, I paraphrase. It went on a little longer.) The only semi-redeeming part of this was that she told him that that ship had sailed and is probably in Fiji now. Do most people really think that? I mean the whole your virtue is a gift that you can only spend on one guy? I mean, what the hell is so virtuous about virginity and why is it still a woman's job to protect their virtue when you know they never say this to the guy. I know, old news, but seriously I can't believe that people still fucking think like this let alone write TV shows about it and that I have the misfortune to witness. Seriously, WTF? Maybe I live in a nice little bubble, but I didn't think people refered to it as virtue or a 'gift' anymore (unless you live in the praries or bass-ackwards Kansas where you think that Intelligent Design is actually a theory.) But well educated east coasters? Seriously? Blargh.

Number 2: It was her birthday and her grandmother had the bartender make a drink for her. It was pink and the rim (martini glass) was covered in sugar. Lorelei's fiance refuses to drink the drink because he'd much rather have a beer, and he spends time talking about how pink it is and how this disgusts him (I personally would be put off by a pink drink too, but I'd either put it down or drink it. He's against it b/c he's too manly to like pink.) Rori's grandmother comes over to talk to them asks why he doesn't like his drink, he says it's pink, she says that of course it's pink because girls like pink and that nobody's asking him to wear a dress. I personally think it would be good for him (to wear a dress, I'm a whiskey gal myself so it's hard to convince me of drinking anything else.)

Ugh. Pink? Gift? Did I miss several decades? Am I watching reruns of the Brady Show? What's going on and why is it coming out of my TV? Blargh. STill better then the Tyra Show. I'd best turn my tv off before the calvalcade of old white men and young perfectly preened young white women read me things that they call "news."

Monday, January 23, 2006


Ugh. Just got over a horrifying trigger incident, now my body has decided to revolt. My tep's hovering at around 36.2C (97.2F) which is a little low yet I am sweating. Ugh. I hate being sick. So if I'm making little sense, I blame it on the temperature.

But to be true to my blog, I will go on. Have you heard of the Genocide Awareness Project? I hadn't until my friend started telling me about it on messenger, and how he and his friends protested it.

They have ads like this:

And my friend had signs like this: "'Menstruation is murder. STOP KILLING OVA!' and one with a gruesome surgery photo: 'THIS is the grim reality of open heart surgery. BAN IT'" I mean, are they seriously comparing the holocaust and lynching to abortion? Apparently, the answer is yes. UGH. Seriously, ugh. They travel around the country showing those horrible things on college campuses. Makes me miss the guys at the PENN in Philly where they waved signs that said funny things like "miscellaneous heathens."

And you can buy their signs!! But watch out: "The following are terms that must be agreed to in order to purchase and/or utilize any of CBR's "Choice" signs, GAP signs or abortion photos:

1. I / We will not alter the signs/photos in anyway.

2. I / We condemn all abortion related violence and will not associate with individuals or groups who fail to condemn such violence."

Get me a drink....

Stephen Harper just won.

Elected and leading as of 9:03pm Pacific Time.
Conservatives: 116
Liberals: 104
Bloc: 50
NDP: 29
IND: 1

Conservative MINORITY, not so bad. Ugh. Conservatives federally, the BC Liberals (conservatives) locally, and their counterpart as mayor of Vancouver (due to some shady dealings). Why do you hate me Canada?!

Canadians PLEASE VOTE!!

If you didn't vote in the advance polls please vote today.

I endorse the Bloc and the NDP (more the Bloc, but not everyone lives in Quebec.)

PLEASE! Stop Harper!!! If you do I'll bake you cookies (or something like that) Just go vote NOW!

(and can I pick the hot button issues or what?)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hey Ladies (and Gents) It's Blog for Choice Day!!!

So that means we're blogging to keep our choice with what to do with our uteruses. I don't fancy being turned into a baby factory anytime soon, and I hope you don't either. Bear with me this may be a little more rambly then usual. (I also wasn't sure if I should write about personal experience or not. I haven't had an abortion, but I sure am happy that I have the option.)

Blog for Choice

I am a feminist. I am against all hierarchy and dominance (see my Radical feminist or just plain feminist? post) I don't believe in the government, I don't agree with it. But I vote. Every single election I am out there at the voting booth ready and willing to vote. Now I take a lot of slack from anarchists who say that I'm implicitly supporting the governmental system. Maybe I am, but again I have serious problems with them trying to legislate my uterus. SO I vote, and I'll do so until the day I die (or until they stop trying to legislate my uterus, whichever comes first.)

Good Ol'USA
On to the choice. I hear that the US Supreme Court is going to take a look at the "Partial Birth Abortion Ban" again. That could be a good thing (although if you've seen the Supreme Court lately I'm a little on edge). Several lesser courts have found it unconstitutional, but I don't hold my breath for conservative judges on the Supreme Court to actually read and agree with the constitution moreso then whatever they believe to be morally right. (Seriously, you could have the politics of Bush on the stand and I wouldn't care if you *followed the constitution*) I know, it's hard giving rights to those that you don't think should have them. Poor babies. But it's not up to you to give or take rights, it's up to you to decide if the decision fits into the constitution, and this one doesn't. It's unconstitutional. Remove it. You want women to not have rights? Change the constitution. (I am not advocating this.) But watch out, we might beat you with our pretty pink heels.

In good news, Washington State is pretty kick ass. We have the Take Charge Program which offers free birth control to those who are at or below 200% of the poverty line, which means all high schoolers and college age kids can get free annuals, birth control, and e.c. And of course it's available to low income adults as well. It's a glorious thing out here in Washington. (It also allows anyone of any age to get fixed for free. HOORAY!!! I think that's a good thing, becuase I know a lot of people who have been told they're too young and that they'll regret it later, or that they have to have a kid first. I've known since before I started bleeding that I didn't want any kids. I know that there are others out ther like me.)

I was in Planned Parenthood this week and there are signs all over for a number to call in case the pharmacy you go into doesn't have/refuses to give you emergency contraception. Unfortunately I cannot remember the number as I would call Planned Parenthood to get it, but the reason they have the hotline is because pharmacists here HAVE to provide you with E.C. They can't pull the *religious* crap that they can elsewhere. They get reported and they get in trouble. Sometimes I love living here (but that's kind of rare.) I hope the program gets refunded. The amount of abortions went down from 2000-2003 (newest stats I could find) and hopefully the trend continued and they'll keep the women of Washington State with choices. (It's a 5 year program with year 5 being now. eep!) Hopefully other states will look to Washington as well and see how well we're doing with free birth control. It saves a lot more money in the long run, which I know is what states are actually interested in.

On to Canada:

Tommorrow, please GO VOTE.
Don't let Harper and his cronies win, for the love of all that is good and holy. I can't vote so you'll have to vote for me

And I quote: (Taken from a 1997 speech Harper made to the (US) Council for National Policy

...your country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.

...The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things.

...before the Reform Party really became a force in the late '80s, early '90s, the leadership of the Conservative party was running the largest deficits in Canadian history. They were in favour of gay rights officially, officially for abortion on demand. Officially -- what else can I say about them? Officially for the entrenchment of our universal, collectivized, health-care system and multicultural policies in the constitution of the country.

...Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.

...In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.

Please for the love ofher/his noodly appendage NO!!! And here's the best endorsement for the NDP I've read (to the same crowd):
[The NDP] believes not just in large government and in massive redistributive programs, it's explicitly socialist. On social value issues, it believes the opposite on just about everything that anybody in this room believes. I think that's a pretty safe bet on all social-value kinds of questions.
We know that Harper is not about women's rights, or a woman's right to control her own body. (I know this is old, but only a few months, check here.) SO please vote, and please vote NDP (out of the 4, well I might vote Bloc, but you can't do that outside of Quebec.) Please please please please PLEASE do not let Harper win. Preserve choice, preserve sanity.

Hey You!

You say something overly mean/nasty or of course misogynistic, homophobic, et al. Your comment will be deleted. My blog, my rules.

Friday, January 20, 2006

American Apparel: Sweatshop free, but oh so sexist

This may be old news, but it's new to me. (A friend just started working there)

So I know that many of you (stateside) at least get bombarded with the porn like ads featuring only "American Apparel employees." (They must not hire anyone bigger then a size 5.) To those of you who may not have to see these ads displayed everywhere I have provided one for you. I could probably post only on this ad, or others like it. Lord knows I rant about it enough in real life. (And what EXACTLY is she supposed to be doing with her socks? Why do we still have ads like these! I want all ads gone NOW!!)

No, the reason I am making this post is because of this:
It's in the company's racy ads -- which run mostly in alternative newspapers such as New York's The Village Voice and LA Weekly -- that the line between work and recreational sex at American Apparel begins to blur. Charney takes many of the photos himself, often using company employees as models as well as people he finds on the street. "Meet Melissa," reads one print ad, which pictures a comely brunette in a shower and a see-through shirt. "She won an unofficial wet T-shirt contest held at the American Apparel apartment in Montreal." (The company maintains a string of apartments in the U.S. and Canada to save money on hotel rooms.)

In his marketing, Charney has been adept at weaving his libertarian sexual attitude with his progressive labor practices. But it's another matter to make that attitude a bedrock principle of the workplace. In their sexual harassment suits, two of the women accuse Charney of exposing himself to them. One claims he invited her to masturbate with him and that he ran business meetings at his Los Angeles home wearing close to nothing. Another says he asked her to hire young women with whom he could have sex, Asians preferred. All describe him using foul language in their presence, much of it demeaning to women. Says Keith A. Fink, an attorney for one of the women suing: "The work environment there makes Animal House look like choir practice."

Charney says all three women did substandard work and gave no indication before they left that they had felt harassed. Charney says he never engaged in any of the acts of which he is accused. As for his language, he says that's par for the course in the fashion biz. "When I'm working with creative people I use the language of the street," he says. "It can get pretty salty."

The suits follow a bizarre article last year in the women's magazine Jane. Charney was described as engaging in oral sex with a female employee and masturbating in front of the reporter. Charney doesn't deny taking part in any of the activities described in the article. He says he befriended the writer over the course of the two months it took her to research the piece. "I've never done anything sexual that wasn't consensual," Charney says. The reporter, Claudine Ko, confirmed his take on events to BusinessWeek. *see below

Employment attorneys say Charney's language alone could get him into trouble. "You can't force women to be subject to certain conduct on the theory that this is a coarse working environment," says Washington, D.C. employment attorney Bruce A. Fredrickson. As for Charney's admitted "love affairs" with employees, San Francisco attorney Phil Horowitz, chair of the California Employment Lawyers Assn., says: "Any chief executive who's thinking of having sex with subordinates ought to have his head examined."

Since the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in 1986 that a hostile work environment was a violation of an employee's civil rights, sexual harassment cases have become a fact of life in American business. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature can constitute harassment if it's severe or pervasive. It's not illegal for a boss to pursue relationships with underlings, so long as the relationships are welcome. If there's a pattern of promotions or other opportunities granted to employees who engaged in sex with a manager, the employer may be liable for sex discrimination claims from other workers. (emphasis mine)

* and I quote "It doesn't help Charney's case that his stores are papered with Penthouse and Oui magazine snapshots and that he happily admits to having sex with his employees. Nor does it help that he brags about his penchant for masturbating in front of women. So much so, that he masturbated in front of reporter Claudine Ko while she interviewed him for Jane magazine. Ko reports in Jane:

"'Can I?' he says adjusting himself in his chair. And thus begins another compulsive episode of what Dov likes to call "self-pleasure," during which we casually carry on our interview, discussing things like business models, hiring practices and the stupidity of focus groups. 'Masturbation in front of women is underrated,' Dov explains to me later over the phone. 'It's much easier on the woman. She gets to watch, it's a sensual experience that doesn't involve a man violating a woman, yet once the man has his release, it's over and you can talk to the guy.' Soon enough he loosens his Pierre Cardin belt. 'Are you going to do it again?' I ask."

I hated his company purely because of his sexist ads, but Penthouse snapshots in the stores? And behaviour like this? I don't find that violating at all. Sure you can whip it out around me, but I wouldn't plan on doing that if you want to keep it attached to your body. Actually in his case, I might encourage him to do so. (Wait, can I say that....is blogger gonna tell on me?)

Anyway, I'm constantly fighting with people over supporting/not supporting American Apparel. I think that this is concrete proof that we should not. Sure they don't use sweatshops, but they're also anti-union. (BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!) And I mean any one can see how horrible their ads are. But people are buying American Apparel because it's made "conciously" and in Downtown LA (because the downtown parts of large US cities have never been home to sweatshops. nooooooooooooooo.) I boycotted them solely because of the ads, but now I feel that more people have to start boycotting, those people who can shrug off the ads, how can they shrug off this behaviour? That's the worst work environment I have ever heard of (especially for a "socially concious" company), and if I worked there I hope that I would never have to see that asshole.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

T.A.'s gone mad (and my cat's a poo head)

My cat's head smells like poo. She rubbed herself in something bad and I don't know what it is, but she really doesn't like it when I call her poo head. Not the point of this post, just something that I really wanted to share. She's insane and I love her for it, but giving me head butts when your head smells like poo is not ok.

So I had my first physics lab of the quarter today. Apparently I don't have the "look" of a physics major (although I am one of 2 majors actually in the lab.) He asked every table of all guys if they were physics majors (nope. I was actually at the same table as the one other physics major.)

He made some comment to the table of computer science people there about how they looked the part and then some bullshit about how physics and computer sci get the same makeup of er...(I can't remember the exact words) something to the effect of strange guys. He made an off hand comment about women not being in comp sci or physics (I can't remember what he said at the time, but I wanted to throw something at him). The comp sci guys called them on it and asked if he was making broad statements based on gender. He responded (I know, it's supposed to be funny) that he tries to be as "sexist and racist as possible." I loudly proclaimed that if he did that he might have heavy objects thrown at his head. Gee, I hope that doesn't affect my grade.

Gah. Looking forward to new labs, they seem lovely.

Oh and I added a counter. (As of two hours ago) Don't be scared, I'm just interested.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bootylicious Burlesque?

Now I admit when the song came out I would catch myself singing it. It's catchy, I admit, but when I listened to the lyrics, I was less impressed.
(What started this, you say? Well it was an article posted on cbc.ca)
Booty Rhapsody

So are we able to reclaimour own bodies by exploiting them in the same way as men? Hell no, and it's really starting to get on my last nerve that people keep telling me that it's possible. Becuase posing for pornography (as in the Suicide Girls) when your body type is not the normal body type seen in porn and stripping (excuse me, I must mean performing burlesque although the last time I mistakenly got caught at a burlesque show (long story and I left soon thereafter) it seemed mostly like being at a strip club so I'm left wondering what the hell's the difference. Yeah, dancing on tables must be so liberating) when your body type is the kind most often left out of strip clubs is liberating! Look! I can exploit myself! Yay!!!! But don't worry you leftist men who want to seem anti-sexist when you truly are, this is liberating for women so you can sit right back and enjoy it.

Now this rant has been brewing for a long ass time. Last spring/summer a group of Earth First! activists held a fundraiser for a woman with cancer (noble cause, and definitely something that deserves fundraisers put together by the community) with (I bet you know what's coming) a burlesque show complete with a kissing booth. Hmmm...why don't I tree sit anymore (that's another long story, but this seems indicitave of the problem.) Really, that's all great and wonderful, but why the hell is burlesque so damn popular with the radical and art communities? I, for one, can not figure it out (and I've been trying.)

Now I understand the need for women to affirm their body shape/size as something to love whatever shape/size you are, and I wholeheartedly support any positive forms of this expression, but how the hell is proving to the patriarchy that you too can be seen as a sex object accomplish anything? Really, (I hope) most women are fighting against being seen as sex objects, but now we're starting this again and I'm supposed to be happy becuase you're calling it burlesque and art instead of stripping? Just to be clear, whatever women need to do to get by I support. I support strippers, not stripping, but all the people who I've seen/heard of doing burlesque do it as a side thing not as a primary means of earning money.

Burrlesque is definitely sexual, but is it feminist? Taken from the article:
"A lot of women are doing politically-edged performance," says Baldwin, referring to performers such as Chicago-based troupe Lickity Split. They use their dances, lyrics and comedy to speak out on reproductive rights, the war and gay and lesbian issues. "It's almost like sugar-coating something. You're taking a heavy political point, but it's wrapped in rhinestones and music and a pretty girl."

Oh yes, because so many people (read: men) take me seriously when I'm fully clothed, it would be much better if I was wearing only a thong and pasties (with maybe a little glitter and feathers). Then they'd REALLY take me seriously. You hear that people? All we have to do to end patriarchy is to prance around in our underwear (or someone else's, cuz I sure as hell don't own any of that stuff.) Dammit I have problems with some activists (you know, the ones purportedly on my side) not being able to look me in the eye because their attention is elsewhere. How the hell are rhinestones and music supposed to cure that?

And why the hell is my not liking burlesque or porn mean that I'm sex negative? Because really I love sex, and I would love it a whole lot more if I didn't have to think about how everyone in this society has been taught to objectify and sexualize me. Even if I love and care for them I know how insidious sexism and patriarchy are. Really you can't get rid of all the brainwashing and it's kind of (read: really) painful to think that someone you love, who is an ally in every sense of the word is prone to percieving you in an objectified way. Really, that's shitty. Think of how much more fun sex would be without that horrendous baggage! (A lot better then you've ever had.)

Ugh. SO much more ranting to do, so little time.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Some good books for you.

Top 10 books of January (not in any particular order):

1. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. This book describes my perfect society. I love it so much and end up rereading it more often then any other books.

2. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. This book is so amazing. I don't know how exactly to describe it. It is so rejuvenating and refreshing to read. My psychology of women prof told us that the book was her gift to us, and it is one of the best gifts I have ever recieved. That still doesn't do it justice. Here's one readers review (you can read more at amazon and other sites) "To begin the wondrous journey of discovery to my wild and intutive self is a gift and a new journey to uncovering the jewel within. New depths of power are accessed with every reading and I am bathed in feminine myth and mystery. This book has inspired me to design, write, accomplish and accept fulfillment at so many levels. Please read this book. Women Who Run with the Wolves is a MUST tool for every female. It's a treasure." Elaine Maginn Sonne, PhD, Author Legends of the Stones.

3. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. I adore all of Frederick Douglass's works. He was an amazing activist who championed not only abolition, but women's rights as well. Brief bio I have all his books and many of his papers (anything I can get my hands on really) If you haven't read him do so NOW.

4. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. So this was a bestseller and I'm assuming that many of you have heard of it or even read it. As a fiction junkie I really appreciated how the novels that she chose to talk about in the book had many parallels to what was going on in her life in Iran. (I led a discussion on it. The first part went like this (and is an example of what I'm talking about:
So what did everyone think about Nafisi choosing to start the book with Nabokov, and this book? I think that it was a great way to reflect what these women were going through and introduce outsiders to the reality of being female in Tehran. In his most famous book, Lolita, the main character, Humbert, is erasing and inventing Lolita's past, much like in Iran. She talks about (on page 33) how Lolita is about "the confiscation of one's individual life by another." What are the parallels you see btw modern day life in Iran and Nabokov's writings?

Here's a peek at what I mean: (pg23)
What Nabokov creates for us in Invitation to a Beheading
is not the actual physical pain and torture of a totalitarian regime but the nightmarish quality of living in an atmosphere of perpetual dread.

5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I read A Pair of Silk Stockings in junior high and wanted more. I love this book so much and I think I can almost 99.9% say for sure that it was the first feminist literature that I ever read. I love Kate Chopin and find that she is less read then people like Austen or Gilman and I feel that she deserves to be ranked up there with them. She's amazing and her short stories are just as good. (A favourite of mine is Desiree's Baby)

6. (tie)
Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women's Memory by Marilyn Yalom and City of Darkness, City of Light by Marge Piercy. I am obsessed with the French Revolution and happening upon these books made it and even bigger obsession. The first one is a history book which tells all the commonly untold stories of women in the French Revolution, from the women of the royalty, to the die hard republican women of Paris, to the women who dressed up as men and fought for the Royal/Catholic army. If you love history this book is for you. City of Darkness is an historical ficiton that follows several different women (a store owner, an actress, a burecrats wife) along with several men (Robespierre the devil himself, Danton (also a revolutionary), and an academic aristocrat.) It beautifully brings to life these characters and the revolution. She stays true to what is known about all of the characters. I think it is good historical fiction (b/c there's so much bad historical fiction out there.)

7. Regarding the Fountain: A tale in letters of liars and leaks. by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise. Yes this is a kids book, and I love it more then any other kids book. The story is told all through writing of one sort or another (letters, memos, newspaper articles, phone messages, etc.) and it is brilliant. Purely brilliant. They have 2 sequels. I've only read Letters from Camp but I'm sure the other one is good too. This one is my favourite out of the three. I love it so much and look forward to more books from the pair. (Also I found out about it because a friend who was hitchhiking found it on the side of the road. Best discovery ever!)

8. Can't Buy My Love: How advertising changes the way we think and feel by Jean Kilbourne. I love this stuff. Deconstructing the media is one of my biggest past times and this is a good book for newbies and old hands at media literacy like myself. Y'all should all ready know Jean Kilbourne's work, but if not go here.

9. Forbidden Workers by Peter Kwong. As a Wobbly I am accutely aware of the failings of unions these days. We fail so many workers and among them, the most exploited: undocumented workers. There is so much in this book that is about the Fuzhou in NYC, but also about the broader problem with how the US and unions treat undocumented workers. Really well done and a great look into the plight of undocumented Chinese immigrants.

and the last book of the day:

10. Women Pirates and the Politics of the Jolly Roger by Klausmann, Meinzerin, and Kuhn. I haven't read this in awhile, but there is a hug obsession with pirates right now and it's so nice to counter with stories of women pirates who kick ass. I thought it was really intersting to also learn about the different types of pirate culture. Like the difference between the Chinese pirates and the pirates of the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Carribean. I learned a lot about different cultures.

SO that's it for now. I'm sure I will post more books that people should read at a later date, because this is no where near a close enough to all the good books that I've read, but it's a start.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Diets and dolls oh my!

Has anyone in the US seen the new Jenny Craig commercial with Kirstie Alley? Well not only do I hate Jenny Craig (and all diet companies, although I did watch my mother go on and off of the Jenny Craig diets in a constant attempt to battle with the fact that her body wasn't made to be the same stick figure she had at 16 before she had a couple of kids. Plus their food looked terrible.) If you haven't seen it I'll set it up for you.

Kirstie is walking down a deserted (except for her and a couple of guys) city street at night when some guy whistles and then calls out "Whooo momma, you're looking good." She of course stops, faces the camera and says "Was he talking to me?" Then proceeds to rip off her overcoat and a plethora of men run into the street to dance with her. (alternatively you can watch it here (just click on the Dance! video.)

I don't know about you, but when a guy calls out to me in the middle of the night on a semi-deserted street the last thing I do is rip my clothes off to dance with them. I usually try one of three approaches, the first one being my newest and most effective tactic against street harrassment:
1) Talk in the "I'm gonna pinch your cheeks/baby talk" voice and say "Ohhhh...does somebody feel like a big man now. DO you need to put down women to affirm your manliness. Oh that's so sad."
2) Scream at them to fuck of (or whatever...you get the gist)
3) Ignore them (I don't do this so much, but sometimes I do. Thanks to my music I do it a whole lot more because I can't even hear the morons.)
and whichever one I end up doing I always end up tightening my grip on my keys and putting myself on alert. Far cry from the light hearted crazyness of the Kirstie Alley commercial.

Of course this commercial also trivializes the danger that women are in every god damn night they go out of the house alone. And teaches men that it's fucking complimentary to harass us on the gorram street. Yeah, women love street harassment, just look at commercials like this. Women we should be lucky that men choose to shout things at us on the street because they're really
compliments!!! They just want to show us that they still value us as pieces of meat! Hooray! I should be happy because men's catcalls/ogling/yelling comments is such a compliment!

I must have missed the memo.

Veiled doll hits Egyptian toy stores.

"She's honest, loving and caring, and she respects her father and mother." But don't worry Fulla is a career woman: "Fulla is still single and there are no plans for an Islamic equivalent to Ken, Barbie's former boyfriend. However, a Doctor Fulla and Fulla as a teacher are planned - both respected careers for women." She also comes with, get this "gorgeous pink high heeled boots." Mmmm complete covering clothes with high heeled boots! Yes, perfect. Also, so that no one will be left out of the horrendous stereotypes of beauty that have been pushed onto the western world the Fulla doll has the same measurements as a Barbie Doll, that is if you ever deem to take off her abaya and head scarf. But she does come with indoor fashions as well that represent more what the young women in countries like Egypt wear underneath their oppressive outer clothing. She also wears less makeup then Barbie.

Yay!! Now little girls can play with dolls that are more respectable because they never show an arm or a leg. Oh and how could I forget the pretty pink prayer mat. Awwww....pink.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What is going on Tyra?

Call it morbid curiosity or call it masochism, but I watched the Tyra Banks Show. Is it because the topic was non-monogamous relationships? OK, actually no. I heard 5 seconds and didn't feel like watching any more of that crap until she mentioned that American Sexual ICON Hugh Hefner would be on the show with his 3 girlfriends (all young and blond and appearing in Playboy this or next month).

Not only did she call him an icon of American sexuality, but an icon of sexuality for the world. Yeah, I really see someone who exploits women, but also makes fun of and encourages rape and domestic violence as an icon of sexuality. WTF! And also how the hell is someone who exploits women supposed to be an icon of sexuality for the BILLIONS of women on this planet? I just can't understand it. Why do women idolize this misogynist shithead?

I should probably not watch shows like this, but sometimes morbid curiosity gets the best of me. I want to know what the rest of the world sees and thinks.

When will they learn?

India is missing 10 million daughters due to more refined infanticide (i.e. selective abortion).

Due to widespread use of ultrasound couples who have a female child are opting to abort. Now I thought that people were starting to learn the lesson that when you kill or abort girl children then you end up. China has started to learn this lesson, and has actually implemented a policy that encourages people to keep girl children. (Of course one of the ways it seems that the overabundance of men will deal with this problem is through visiting sex workers. "Instead they suggested the most probable scenario was that excess single men "will settle in bachelor ghettos in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and Tianjin where commercial sex outlets would be prevalent." So now we know how to deal with devaluation of women which left us in this bind where there are significantly less women then men, combat it with more devaluation! YES! Good god, why have I never thought of this before! In order to solve oppression we need to oppress more! AHA! But I digress.

From memory (i.e. an article I read in the New York Times a year ago) this effort was akin to things like posters saying "Girls are good!" Yeah, that'll work. We can erase centuries of misogyny with posters that say "Girls are good!"

Maybe they'll start to implement that in India, although one doesn't think that it'll happen until the gender gap starts to grow exponentially. Seriously, this is where I always get confused. Don't people understand that you need women? Really, I don't understand. Do these parents think that girls can also be grown on trees or magically fly in from outer space? I mean they're parents, they understand the whole reproduction thing-if we're looking at this from a purely biological perspective, the whole reproducing thing requires 2 people. Is there something special about these boys? Like the ability to asexually reproduce, cuz they did that in Herland and I think that those women were much more responsible with it. (Could you imagine living there? I like (some) guys well enough that I would be really sad to see them go, but I think that living there would be heaven.)

Also in slightly other news is the internet just full of lefties or is Bush in trouble? In any case, that made my day....hope you liked it too.

All right, sleepy now. Hope that link leaves you with a warm fuzzy inside.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Radical feminist or just plain feminist?

One of the blogs I like to frequent Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty. had this definition come up and I thought that it would be as good as any to sort of introduce myself, as I am called and sometimes self-defined as a radical feminist.

"Radical Feminists: Believe women are the first and most important group to ever be oppressed. Hate men, and sex. Like hippy women-only events that will never change anything."

As someone who gets labeled a radical feminist (and sometimes uses the descriptor) I have to disagree with this definition. All the "radical" feminists that I know (and there are plenty...I seem to attract them, YAY!) see the connections between all types of oppression. That actually is why I differentiate them from other feminists as radical, because I see them (us) attacking the root of the problem: dominance and hierarchy of one group over another. If you think of those as the roots it's easy to see how they are responsible for all oppressions. The foundations of various oppressions are so thick and hard to pin down, but I think that it can be boiled down to these two compulsions.

I believe that I shouldn't have to use the qualifier radical because my definition of feminism is one which means that I am fighting against all dominance and hierarchy, I just tend to focus on misogyny more then the others. (I also like to use the word feminist by itself because I refuse to let others sully a good word, but alas they have and so I have to qualify it. *sigh*) Also I get labeled radical b/c I'm not willing to compromise on equality. My views may come across as harsh, but really I don't want baby steps I want an overhaul of the system.

I really don't think hippy women only events are the way to go (could you imagine me there! ha!) especially ones like the Michigan's Womyn's Music Festival which has the completely absurd and anti-feminist policy of women born women only. (I would be across the street at Camp Trans even though I am a woman born woman. Fuck that bullshit.)

I also happen to be a Wobbly (Industrial Worker of the World), a tree-sitter, and a general pain in the ass for whatever government/corporation I happen to be concentrating on at the time. (Although to think that I cause problems for the US government is a little silly and presupposes that I am more effective then I actually believe that I am. I do try, and I am actively trying to land a coveted spot on Bill O'Reilly's enemies list.)

And I love sex. Funny, most people use the above definition to describe me and I know that they are overlooking so much, but it makes it much easier to shove someone you don't agree with into a box, and especially for an outspoken, no compromises on equality and freedom feminist like me it must be so much easier to call me a man and sex hating woman. Fuck that shit.