So…I’m diggin’ ABC Family’s The Fosters.

75c9550295c737231f2eac88f962d023As most of you know my Ph. D. research revolves around teen media, which gives me a hearty excuse to stay current with all that ABC Family produces, and I am impressed enough by their new show The Fosters that I feel the need to note it.  Produced by none other than Jennifer Lopez , The Fosters revolves around a bi-racial 40-something lesbian couple, Stef Foster and Lena Adams, who have five children: Stef’s biological son (Brandon), an adopted set of twins (Jesus and Mariana) and two foster children (Callie and Jude). While I am not willing to make the claim that the show is an ideological paradise because Lena and Stef’s relationship continues to reinforce many patriarchal and heteronormative structures, the show does offer viewers a complex examination of issues like cultural diversity, adoption, the foster system, family, homosexuality etc.

For example, in the recent episode “Quinceañera” questions were raised about the nature of racism and the importance of honoring one’s ethnic background. The episode brought forth thoughts about ethnicity and race through a multifaceted plot line. Even though they are not of Latin decent, Stef and Lena throw Mariana a Quinceañera because they feel it is important to introduce  and incorporate the culture of Mariana’s heritage into her life. This cherish-your ethnicity-perspective explicitly comes to light , during a conversation between Lena and Lena’s mother, who is in town for the  Quinceañera. It is made clear that Lena’s relationship with her mother has always been strained because Lena, as the daughter of a white man and a black woman,  is a lighter skinned than her mother so her mother believes that because of Lena’s fairer complexion Lena doesn’t fully understand the “black” experience. Lena rejects her mother’s perspective and points out that oppression is not a game of comparison. Both the discussion of Mariana’s need for a Quinceañera and Lena’s navigating thorough the world as a fair-skinned black woman are nuanced and they forward really interesting and engaged ideas about social justice and the complex nature of living in a diverse world.

In just a few episodes, The Fosters has taken reproductive justice (including, the use of the morning after pill, sex ed, and issues of parental consent), the foster system (flaws, reports that stigmatize foster children, abuse, sexual assault), Sexual education (both how it works and how it fails), Immigration and undocumented individuals, and finally the definition of family.  If nothing else – I have a new respect for J. Lo.

Besides me and a whole lot of 13 year-olds, has anyone seen this show?

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The Education of Shelby Knox – Better Late Then Never…

The Education of Shelby Knox  (2005) is a must see. The film documents the  activism of teenager Shelby Knox’s and her fight for the right to comprehensive sex education for teenagers and for  basic civil rights for all people no matter their sexual orientation is inspirational. Knox’s struggle is of particular interest because of her conservative christian/ republican upbringing in Lubbock, TX.

Proving that you are never to young to speak up and speak out, Knox shines as a genuine critical-thinker who examines the moral framework of her upbringing and finds it lacking – noting that her god is a forgiving and loving god. Knox’s determination and endless pursuit of social justice reminds viewers why we need voices and activism.

In all honesty – I am late in the game on this one. I should have seen it six years ago, but it is still worth watching. For those of you who have Netflix – the film is available through instant watch or you can buy it on Amazon. And if you don’t know – Shelby is still out there fighting her fight. You can find her blog at shelbyknox.com and her twitter handle is @ShelbyKnox.

Body Revolution Telesummit

I just registered for the Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit! Join me for free by checking out this website and signing up!!!

For more info and to register, go to http://www.bodyloverevolution.com.

Here’s a very brief rundown of the topics and interviewees:

SCHEDULE (Full schedule is at HTTP://WWW.BODYLOVEREVOLUTION.COM) :

1/31 — FAT ACTIVISM with Peggy Howell, Amanda Levitt & Marilyn Wann

2/2 — FAT HEALTH with Linda Bacon & Ragen Chastain

2/7 — FATSHION with Marie Denee, Rachel Kacenjar, & Yuliya Raquel

2/9 — FAT SEX with Hanne Blank & Virgie Tovar

2/16 — FAT BLOGGING & SOCIAL MEDIA with Marianne Kirby, Margitte Leah Kristjansson & Brian Stuart

2/21 — FAT FITNESS with Jeanette DePatie & Anna Guest-Jelley

2/23 — FAT/QUEER INTERSECTIONS with Bevin Branlandingham, Charlotte Cooper, & Jessica Luxery

2/28 — FAT POLITICS & HISTORY with Paul Campos & Amy Erdman Farrell

Again, the address to register is http://www.bodyloverevolution.com..

Also, I’m not sure how many of you would be interested, but I heard about this by belonging to the yahoo fat studies group – which is perhaps the most awesome and informative “listserve” I’ve ever been part of – the group is super smart well informed and genuinely engaged in thinking about how fat studies and fat-phobia and hatred are with us everyday. Check it out.

Kim Gandy speaks for Clinton

SO I HATE TO PASS ALONG MESSAGES SECOND HAND, ESPECIALLY WHEN I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IN A WHILE….BUT THIS IS WORTH IT.

Message from NOW PAC Chair Kim Gandy:

In a few hours, at 4:15 am to be exact, I’m headed out in the cold to yet another airport, this time to Chattanooga and then Knoxville, Tennessee to rally and speak for Hillary Clinton.

I’d go anywhere, any time, to shout from the rooftops that Hillary Clinton is the right choice for women, for our families, for our communities and for our future.

Here is why I care so much:

Hillary Clinton is a national leader of the highest order, with the strength and determination and experience to deliver real change to our country. She has been a leader on women’s rights and civil rights for over 30 years.

It is of special importance to me that Hillary is an unparalleled champion for women’s reproductive rights, justice and health. In fact, I’ve just signed a letter from many leaders: Martha Burk, Gloria Feldt, Cecelia Fire Thunder, Lulu Flores, Ellen Malcolm, Irene Natividad, Ellie Smeal, Gloria Steinem, and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones on why Hillary is the best choice for those of us who care so deeply about these issues.

Hillary has been through fire and emerged stronger with each challenge. She can take anything the Republicans can dish out, and give it back double. The Democrats need her, the country needs her, and she needs your vote on Tuesday.

Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton is the strongest candidate to win in November, and to set our country right. She beat the Republicans in two landslide elections, despite predictions that she couldn’t win in upstate and rural New York. And it will take someone with her economic and national security strengths to beat John McCain. We know she can deliver on Day One — from getting our troops out of Iraq, to fixing the shattered economy and the mortgage crisis, to winning health care that covers every single person in this country.

Please vote on Tuesday for Hillary Clinton, and if you haven’t done it already, please email your friends and contacts in the Super Tuesday states and tell them that:

from her earliest days advising battered women, helping abused children, and providing free legal services to the poor,
to her time in the White House advocating for universal healthcare, championing the S-CHIP (State Child Health Insurance) program, and helping to pass the Violence Against Women Act,
to her service as a U.S. Senator, standing strong for reproductive rights and writing legislation to expand contraceptive access, helping win approval of emergency contraception, sponsoring equal pay legislation, and speaking out on the floor against the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, specifically saying that they would damage Roe v. Wade if confirmed. She was right, and I know we can count on her to nominate pro-women, pro-choice judges to the courts at every level.
She’s always stood up for us, and now it’s time for us to stand up for her with our vote and say “I’m Ready for Hillary.”

I’m ready.

P.S. Robin Morgan’s terrific new essay “Goodbye To All That (#2)” calls out the stereotypes, double standards and toxic viciousness against Hillary Clinton – Our President, Ourselves – and she concludes: “Me, I’m voting for Hillary not because she’s a woman-but because I am.”

Go see Juno!

So in honor of Ellen Page and others getting an Oscar tap for Juno, I thought I’d blog about this truly nifty little film.

Juno is the story of a precocious teenager who finds herself pregnant and decides to give her baby to a “deserving” couple rather than have an abortion. It’s worth mentioning that this film is definitely a farce and social critique. You are meant to laugh and see truisms in this less than lifelike world. For example, no parent has ever taken their daughter’s teenage pregnancy as well as Juno’s parent’s do, and no teenager is as equipped to handle life as well as Juno does. As long as you keep this in mind, Juno reveals itself as a touching and hilarious film, featuring a strong-minded, smart protagonist, which us feminists can adore.

A tid-bit about me that most of you don’t know, I have a MFA in creative writing, which means I am eligible for two things, I excruciating job teaching college composition and the right to point out really bad and really great writing. (I paid close to 60,000 dollars for this privilege. Dope.)

Embracing my place in the world as a homegrown and ridiculously over-educated critic, I’m telling you that Juno is smart, funny, clean writing.  Diablo Cody brings rich sarcasm and cutting style to the page.

With this meaty script to work with, director Jason Riteman (Thank you for Not Smoking) and Canadian actor Ellen Page gracefully bring to life the world of this a knocked up and delightfully awkward 16 year old. Watch the trailer, go see the film, it’s easily worth two hours of your life and your hard earned pennies:

Check out the blog by Juno’s writer: The Pussy Ranch

Pro-choice, forever.

Last year, I was driving in my car listening to NPR when I first learned that the supreme court had banned late term abortions. Nausea surged from the pit of my belly and I had to pull over. I wrote about this once before a few months ago. I wont repeat myself…you can look if you want.

It has never occurred to me to condemn a woman or a couple for recognizing that the better choice is not to bring an ill or unwanted child into the world. I don’t believe that abortion is birth control, but it is a necessary entity. In a world where abstinence is taught as sex ed and sexual activity is condemned as sin… unwanted pregnancy will happen.

There are so many reasons that our right to choose is important. And I’m not just talking the dirty back alley abortions went on when the choice didn’t exist. (A little Thank you Dirty Dancing for exemplifying this to every eight year old in my generation). I ‘m talking about poverty and starving families that can’t afford to feed another child; I’m talking about a country where children of minorities are less likely to get adopted than Caucasian children; I’m talking about 11 year-olds who are raped by their fathers and mothers who have HIV.

But the truth is, I’m also talking about the twenty year old, unwed women who are just starting out or busy with college, and by some accident the find themselves no longer menstruating and decide that their only option for their future and the future of their future children is to choose to have an abortion because they want to lead strong successful lives.

No matter what the politicians say or the lawyers argue, I will never be swayed. I am eternally faithful to my belief the we have a right to choose our own destiny. I am pro-choice, forever.

Happy Birthday Roe v. Wade!

May You live a long safe life and continue to protect the women of this country.

Everyone Cheer on New Mexico!!!

So, I read today that New Mexico is the 15th state to refuse Abstinance-only funding! This is a state very close to my heart. It is where I’ll be married and one of the most beautiful places on earth so please give a cheer for New Mexico this holiday season.

Sex-ed Victory in Port St. Lucie!

Superintendent Lannon of Port St. Lucie County School Board members approved a sex education program called Get Real About AIDS. I hope other counties in Florida will soon follow their lead!

Get Real About Aids teaches teenagers how to protect themselves against unintended pregnancy and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections and provides them with the factual information they need to make responsible decisions.

Planned parenthood says:

We need education programs in our schools that will keep teens healthy — by including information about abstinence as well as contraception, healthy communication, responsible decision making, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Abstinence-only programs deny teenagers medically accurate information about birth control and sexually transmitted infections.

SO, Here, Here Superintendent Lannon!!!