Lately, I feel like every time I’ve sat down to write up a little something for the loyal followers of feminist cupcake – my attention is immediately diverted to something more pressing – like my students or my dissertation or the multitude of doctors that help me deal with my Hashimoto’s disease (Bastard! – and also a plague. If you haven’t had your thyroid antibodies checked and you’re feeling a little wonky, I suggest you bully your MD into ordering you some tests. And if you find you have heightened antibody levels see a functional doc – a lot more help there for hasi than an endocrine doctor. Just sayin’ ).
Finally, Summer is here and this cupcake is back! (I have high expectations – expect 3 posts from me every week).
So without futher ado here are the top five feminist moments I would/should have shared with you recently if I had the time:
1. Boycott Abercrombie and Fitch. I don’t know how many, if any of you shop there, but if you do refrain. A&F’s CEO has recently spouted some really ugly comments about fat women. boo-hiss. Check out Virgie Tovar’s interview on CBS NEWS.
2. Some super TED videos out there recently – have you seen Jackson Katz…
or Courtney Martin…?
3. Did you run into the images of the real life Barbie and the anime girl? For me, this is a little creepy. Plastic Surgery is one of those issues which feminists from different waves debate ad nauseam. I think these two women ask us to consider this issue just a little deeper or differently. If nothing else, I think you find this unsettling.
4. Licia Ronzulli – the Italian MEP who brings her daughter to work - inspires me. The Guardian wrote a piece recently about her – and if nothing else the mere images of this woman doing her job and being a mother at the same time allow us to recognize that perhaps it is our conceptions of what is acceptable in the workplace that limits all people’s social positions.
5. The New Dove, “Real Beauty Sketch” videos were highly problematic so much so that I hate to share them – but if you didn’t see it here it is:
The best discussion I saw on the issues with this video was written by Golda Poretsky - “Why Dove’s Latest Real Beauty Video Gets It All Wrong.” - Basically, as Golda points out – this video is racist, sizeist – reliant on the same old beauty ideas and most importantly tells women that they should base their self esteem on how others perceive them. Read Golda’s article – in fact, hang out with Golda for as long as you can. Her work is awesome.
Some of you may remember a post of mine about a Swedish preschool that was trying to become gender neutral. Well, this week a Swedish toy company published a gender neutral toy catalogue. Here are some of the images:
All in all I would find this joyful to look at but I seem to be having a gender crisis of sorts — seeing that Nerf gun in the little girls’ hands has my skin crawling — and clearly I should feel that way when I see a little boy playing war too! That said, I cannot believe how jarring it is to my sentiments to? see this gun in the little girls hands. The issue here is that guns in little boys hands are invisible and they shouldn’t be. How did we ever start seeing war and gun violence as a game? Doesn’t that seem a little sick to you? Still – Gotta love the idea of all children being taught to care for their homes and their future children — Rock on Sweden!
So for those of you who don’t know I am attending the Feminist Intensive for faculty and staff in NYC hosted by Amy Richards and Jen Baumgardener…3 days of intense exposure to what feminist activism looks like right now…there are pictures and details and stories which I will post soon — but for now this was our schedule today.
9:00 AM Orientation Breakfast with Jennifer and Amy at Equality Now
Yasmeen Hassan is the global director of Equality Now. Before joining the organization, Ms. Hassan was with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women where she worked on the implementation of CEDAW and the Secretary-General’s study on violence against women. She has been involved in women’s rights since very early in her career, authoring the first study of domestic violence in Pakistan, which ultimately became Pakistan’s submission to the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. She has written several papers and opinion editorials on the situation of women which have been published in the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune. Ms. Hassan holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School where she studied Islamic law and women’s rights. She practiced corporate law at David Polk & Wardwell from 1995 to 2003 and clerked on the D.C. Court of Appeals from 1994 to 1995.
Equality Now works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world. Working with grassroots women’s and human rights organizations and individual activists since 1992, Equality Now documents violence and discrimination against women and mobilizes international action to support efforts to stop these abuses.
**We will travel together to our next meeting.
1 to 2:30 Lunch with Joanne Sandler @ her home
Joanne Sandler is an independent consultant focused on women’s human rights and organizational change strategies. She is a Senior Associate of Gender@Work, an international collaborative that strengthens organizations to build cultures of equality and social justice. Between 2001-2010 she served as Executive Director at UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and helped establish UN Women in 2010. Joanne played a key role in establishing numerous initiatives including grant making funds, such as the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women and the Fund for Gender Equality; and innovative pilot programs, including Safe Cities for Women and Girls, Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting, and UN Women’s flagship publication,Progress of the World’s Women. Joanne has also served on boards of numerous organizations, including Breakthrough, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), and Women Make Movies. She was recently appointed to the Global Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women.
Jane Sloane has held executive positions for seven marquee social sector organizations including World Vision, Marie Stopes International, International Women’s Development Agency, Austrade, World Vision, Sydney Media Centre for the Sydney Olympic Games and the Social Entrepreneurs Network. Among other citations, she has received a Churchill Fellowship to improve Humanitarian Emergency Response Models for Australia and the region after the Asian tsunami, an Australian Government Endeavour Professional Award focused on increasing Pacific women’s political participation, and is one of the original 75 Australian climate change presenters trained by Al Gore. Ms. Sloane holds a Masters degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney and a BA (Hons) History from the University of Adelaide and is currently undertaking a doctorate in Public Health.
Women’s World Banking is a non-profit, microfinance institution, consisting of 39 financial organizations in 27 countries, providing low-income women access to financial services and information. WWB helps microfinance institutions move away from a strictly credit-led approach toward providing a broader array of financial products and service, including savings and insurance to help the poor build comprehensive financial safety nets.
6:30 PM Dinner at Aurora with Robin Morgan and Irshad Manji
Irshad Manji is a New York Times bestselling author, professor of leadership and advocate of liberal reform within Islam. Irshad directs New York University’s Moral Courage Project, which teaches people worldwide to challenge political correctness, intellectual conformity and self-censorship. As a faithful Muslim, she emphasizes Islam’s own tradition of “ijtihad,” or independent thinking. The Jakarta Post in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, identifies Irshad as one of three women making a positive difference in Islam today. Her latest book, Allah, Liberty and Love, is sparking fierce debate internationally.
Robin Morgan is an award-winning poet, novelist, political theorist, feminist activist,and best-selling author, who has published more than 20 books, including the now-classic anthologies Sisterhood Is Powerful, Sisterhood Is Global, and Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women’s Anthology for A New Millennium. A founder of contemporary US feminism, she has been a leader in the international women’s movement for 25 years. She has traveled–as organizer, lecturer, journalist–across Europe, to Australia, Brazil, the Caribbean, Central America, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Pacific Island nations, the Philippines, and South Africa; she has twice spent months in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, West Bank, and Gaza, reporting on the conditions of women. In 1990, as Ms. Editor-in-Chief, she re-launched the magazine as an international, award-winning, ad-free bimonthly. Recently, she co-founded The Women’s Media Center.
a day to remember…
The other night I noted that slamming women who choose to be stay-at-home moms is one of my pet peeves because this completely overlooks the real issues women face, i.e. being understood and understanding ourselves as valuable, capable and empowered and having access to the resources to be free to make choices. Culturally, Western thinking frames childcare as womanly or domestic work and therefore undervalues the complexity and necessity of this kind of work. (In the comments to my last rant on this topic – a good buddy of mine, Jeff Nall pointed out that Val Plumwood does a great job of detailing the fault in this type of thinking – noting that “the core features of patriarchy, including the devaluation of “domestic” duties … wants to take out lifeboats for elite women to join elite men, leaving behind the rest.”
We can’t draw lines in the sand – we can’t say she’s a republican or a christian or a stay at home mom, so she’s not a feminist. Feminism isn’t about what you think or do – it’s about the freedom and access to think and act as you desire. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of perusing Jennifer Baumgardner’s new book F ‘em!: Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls and the sentiments in the first few pages of this book crystallize these ideas. Baumgardner explains:
“Feminism is the full political, social and economic equality of all people…Feminism is also a movement to make sure that all people have access to enough information and resources (money, social support) to make authentic decisions about their lives. Thus, it’s not the decision one make so much as the ability to make a decision that indicates whether feminism has arrive in your life” (10).
One of the most outspoken activist/feminist minds I know, Kristen Goss is a stay-at-home mom. I am also well acquainted with some stay at home dads – who are rockin’ the world – one politically conscious child at a time. As far as I’m concerned, child care is job – a choice – often feminist choice – one which often require sacrifice and hard work for both parents – that is if one is lucky enough to be co-parenting. (No judgement here – just noting that a child is a lot of work for one person.)
Today – in a flagrant attempt to appease my own anger at those that dismiss stay at home mom’s as un-feminist, I am providing you with links to my five favorite feminist/mom bloggers. There are others but these five bring to mind Bell Hooks sentiments that Feminism is for Everyone:
1. The Feminist Breeder
2. The Radical House wife
3. Blue Milk
4. Stay at Home Feminist Mom
5. The Mamafesto
We need to support feminist parents people – because arguably they have a much greater chance of raising kids with feminist values!
Inform me – who’s your favorite feminist mom blogger?
Last bit tonight, I promise. But as I imagine many of you know women’s rights are under attack and tonight the issue at hand is that the Republicans in the Michigan state legislature feel that saying the word vagina is inappropriate – and in light of this they have banned two female state representatives. If I lived in Michigan I would be marching in front of the capitol building with some seriously fun vaginal picket signs. Alas – Michigan you are so far. Instead I will mention this craziness to all I see and sport a Vagina pin – Thank you Zazzle.
For your reading pleasure Jezebel has published response to this lunacy entitled, “25 Republican-Approved Ways to Say ‘Vagina’ Without Offending Political Pussies,” which I imagine will make you both cringe and giggle – but either way I think you should read it because while I am still I’m gonna say vagina and all the other terms that describe my body – such as vulva, clitoris, fallopian tubes, period and whatever else you can think of whenever I see fit – in the classroom, legislature, hallway, bedroom and/or supermarket – I will henceforth endearingly refer to my vagina as the lovely and illustrious Ms. Kant from now on.
Tell me Ladies – how will you respond to this throwback into the dark ages?
If you remember – a couple of weeks ago I mentioned the two military moms who were photographed breastfeeding their children. Today a friend in the Airforce forwarded me a link to this article: “Woman Behind Military Breast Feeding Photo Fired from her Job“. Crappy world strikes again. Boo.