Category Archives: feminist

Video: occupy dc and excessive police force

It seems like the Occupy movement had gone into hibernation for winter, but apparently they’re still camped out. Personally, I wouldn’t move into a pseudo-tent city to make a political point, but we all get to make our own call on that. Either way, I think this video shows a complete lack of understanding and respect for other human beings in this country. Don’t the police have something legitimate to be doing with their time rather than harassing non-violent people? Go break up a drug ring, answer a domestic dispute, hunt for online predators, something?

Stop harassing people and causing them physical pain when they have done nothing to provoke this kind of reaction. My boyfriend works for our state’s Department of Corrections– and as apolitical as he is (which astounds me sometimes), he gets so angry at these scenes because he knows how strong tasers are and how painful pepper spray is. That also means that these cops KNOW what they’re doing when they tase someone. Beyond the argument for not arresting and not evicting, how about lets not cause physical pain to other citizens of the United States for standing up for a movement which calls on our government to NOT treat us like useable, meaningless shit. Rallies don’t just include young unemployed people– they include the employed, the middle aged, the elderly, the college students. I want to go to a rally. I don’t want to be pepper sprayed or tased, or knocked onto the ground with my hands zip-tied behind me when I did nothing violent, and nothing to provoke the police.

Who is truly at the top of the chain of command in making these decisions? Are we really just to follow along, follow our superiors, when we know they’re calling bad shots? These police are just another example of everything that is wrong with this country, and why the occupy movement has taken hold of the country and the world.

[feminist] Miss Representation Film

I just got back from watching “Miss Representation” which was absolutely incredible. Sometimes it takes being slapped in the face before we realize what we’re absorbing into our minds, both consciously and subconsciously. I’ve attached the Trailer.

“Miss Representation brings together some of America’s most influential women in politics, news and entertainment, including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem to give audiences an inside look at the media’s message and depiction of women. The film explores women’s under-representation in positions of power by challenging their limited and often disparaging portrayals in the media. Miss Representation takes the stand that the media is portraying women’s primary values as their youth, beauty and sexuality – rather than their capacity as leaders.”

When was the last time you watched a movie where the star was a woman?
And she wasn’t hunting down a man to marry?
Or Laura Croft, taking charge of the world as a badass go-get-um woman wearing not enough clothes?
You’re not sure, are you?

Watch the commercials during the next TV show you have on. What are women wearing? How are they acting? What are men wearing? Why are the vast majority of women on our televisions sexualized? Even if you’re monitoring what your kids watch on TV, how can you escape commercials? And what subconscious messages are your kids receiving through the shows they watch– are men smarter? funnier? more attractive? make more money?

Can you think of a show on TV where the woman is smarter, funnier, more attractive, or makes more money? AND, they aren’t stereotyping her or making fun of her in some other way?

Open a magazine, and how many ads are there featuring stick-skinny women who are un-godly beautiful? These ads don’t come with a disclaimer “after five hours of makeup and hair, we did some professional photo-shopping!” We’re telling girls and women that they should be this pretty and this anorexicly skinny. We’re also telling men that this is what they should look for in women. Don’t forget, the anorexic girl has great boobs, thanks to photo-shop, of course.

And lets think back to the 2008 election. Compare Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton– the obsession with her clothes, size, and appearance far outweighed what she said. Sarah Palin is a raving lunatic. But many people were so obsessed with her appearance as well that they couldn’t get to the part where she opened her mouth and said dumb things. Our culture is obsessed with a woman’s image and appearance to the point where she can only be taken as an object and not even considered as an equal person with men.

How could we ever elect a female president when we can’t look beyond her makeup and clothes? How can we elect women into positions of power on any level? We must learn to look beyond appearances and appreciate women for their intelligence and inner beauty or we will never be taken seriously by anyone in our lives. If we can’t look beyond what the media has helped put into our heads, politics will remain a realm dominated by old white men, and the hard work of the previous feminist generations will regress. Personally, I’d like to have Title IX stick around, equal pay for equal work, no regression on maternity leave policies, and the right to make decisions about my uterus that aren’t controlled by the government.

Watch the trailer, watch the film, reassess your life priorities and what makes you attractive, and tell your family and friends. The women of America cannot regress, we must move forward, and we cannot let others dictate what is important to us. Toddlers and Tiaras, Jersey Shore, go to hell.

[feminist] 60 seconds of advocacy: congo’s coltan is killing civilians for our phones

Amnesty International USA, Take Action! SEC: Companies Must Disclose Conflict Minerals in Their Products
I’m active in the Amnesty International USA group on my university campus, and I’m always looking for ways to be involved on a global level, without forking over money that I don’t have. This link will take you to the Amnesty page which has information about emailing the SEC to be accountable for human rights around the world.

Thanks to wikipedia for its infinite wealth of random information (this is my condensed version):

  • Columbite-tantalite (or coltan, the colloquial African term) is the metal ore from which the element tantalum is extracted. [which is used in products ranging] from hearing aids and pacemakers, to airbags, GPS, ignition systems and anti-lock braking systems in automobiles, through to laptop computers, mobile phones, video game consoles, video cameras and digital cameras. As a result, it is used in jet engine/turbine blades, drill bits, end mills and other tools.
  • Cassiterite is chief ore needed to produce tin, essential for the production of tin cans and solder on the circuit boards of electronic equipment. Tin is also commonly a component of biocides, fungicides and as tetrabutyl tin/tetraoctyl tin, an intermediate in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and high performance paint manufacturing.
  • Wolframite is an important source of the element tungsten. Tungsten is a very dense metal and is frequently used for this property, such as in fishing weights, dart tips and golf club heads. [Also] in metalworking tools, drill bits and milling. Minimal amounts are used in electronic devices, including the vibration function of cell phones and Blackberries.
  • Gold 

Don’t you want to know if your laptop or phone helped to promote armed conflict against civilians? How about the golf clubs you’re going to buy your husband for his birthday, the video game console your kid wants for Christmas, or the new GPS you want. If all companies had to label their products as to where they got their parts, wouldn’t you choose the product that didn’t fund the mass murder and rape of civilian populations?

[feminist] mass produced bras and my breast reduction surgery

In response to:
Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. “Breast Buds and the ‘Training’ Bra.” 1977. Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 4th edition. 249-254.
Before reading this I had no idea that the first bra was created in 1913, “designed simply to flatten,” and that the more current/modern bra came about in the 1930’s (Brumberg 250). The concept of the bra is so new yet so universal now. Mass production and mass media are so influential in society, and the bra is a prime example. With mass production came sizing—A, B, C, D, the infamous DD, and the realm of un-tamed breasts even larger. (As a person who once wore the “more than a DD,” I know firsthand the impossibility of buying a bra in a department store that will be the correct size.) I was still in middle school when I made the transition to “larger than my mother” and up to DD, and had to face the realization that I wasn’t just larger than normal, larger than my peers, but I was freakishly, abnormally larger than society as a whole. For years I wore two minimizer bras at a time in an effort to “tame” my breasts even more, as they continued to grow. I was known as “jugs” for years in high school before I had breast reduction surgery, after which I spent my final year in baggy shirts so that no one would I know that I had “gotten my tits cut off.”  (which to this day people perceive as a “tragedy” despite the fact that it was practically a medical necessity)
The physical pain I had from wearing underwire bras aimed at “taming” my breasts has always led me to wonder why anyone would wear a AAA or AA (or even an A) bra when to me they so obviously don’t need one. But with stores and brands like Victoria’s Secret a AAA girl can wear a bra that makes her look like she has real B-size breasts. (I’ve always wondered how disappointed the boyfriend is once the bra comes off?) 

The concept of “teenage breast management” developed in the 1950’s by male doctors (I would also like to call them pedophiles) is absolutely sick and totally bullshit (Brumberg 251). The medical world has been cutting people open and examining them for hundreds of years, and obviously know that breasts are held up by more than skin, and are going to sag no matter how great your bra is, and how often you wear it. These doctors were either funded by the bra-industry or had lots of sons looking for perky-breasted women to marry. And the “boob check” sounds horrifying. No one’s breasts are perfectly symmetrical , proportional, with mirror-image nipples. No one should chart your “breast development” to promote the idea that you need huge boobs to breast feed the children you make with your perfect husband. (Were they doing “penis development checkups”? NOPE. I’d personally be a bit more concerned with whether or not my son was becoming a man than if my daughter had the perfectly-growing boobs to go with her period.)
Junior figure control? (Brumberg 251) Great, if you want to wear spanx at the age of 40, I’m all for it. If you want your 14 year old daughter to wear some spanx to make her look slimmer, you’ve clearly not questioned your daughter’s pediatrician properly. Through the mass-marketing of spanx (and knock off spanx) I’ve managed to buy a few pairs myself in my efforts to look slimmer and “fit in” better. (PS- fail.)Through the media and my own lovely mother I managed to spend middle and high school larger than most of my peers and desperate to find solutions to fit in to the stereotypical  image of the ideal high schooler. In the 1950’s junior figure control companies provided “free purse-size booklets on calorie counting”—way to go making the world feel fat by the age of twelve (253). 
In the back of magazines there are always sketchy ads for dating sites, making your long hair more beautiful (you know, the white girl hair that you can flip), and making your tiny boobs bigger. There were never any creams or exercising for making your breasts smaller. The song “I must, I must, I must develop my bust” (Brumberg 253) I learned in 5th grade, as the song “I must, I must, I must increase my bust.” Way to make the mosquito-bite girls feel like crap about themselves. 
I did not wear a B bra until after my surgery—my mother refused to let me wear more than a tank top until I was clearly, desperately in need of something more to cover my breasts in order to fit in at school… she waited until I was a full C. This was how she grew up (a conservative Southern Baptist). This also meant that I was not allowed to have colored, polka dotted, or lacy bras. Not that they made those in 36DD, 36DDD, 38DDD, 38-“hm. Big…” The very first bra that I bought for myself was light blue with a tiny peephole between my breasts. It cost me $20, and had no underwire and held my breasts perfectly. It didn’t cost me $50, squish me until I couldn’t breathe, and come in an ugly nude grandma style. (I know, I’m perpetuating age-ism, but that’s the only way I can put it…) FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE AGE OF NINE I FELT LIKE I FIT IN; I WORE A BRA THAT DIDN’T RESTRICT MY BREATHING; AND I WORE A BRA THAT I FELT BEAUTIFUL IN.