Johnny Weir Responds to Gender-Conformity Police

After scorching the ice in the greatest outfit in the history of the Olympics (an outfit of his own design, no less), American figure skater Johnny Weir was ridiculed and criticized for being "feminine" and a "bad example" to boys. Entertainment Weekly's Pop Watch covers the story:

According to The Canadian Press, Claude Mailhot of the French-language RDS network began by saying, “This may not be politically correct, but do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?” Alain Goldberg responded saying Weir’s femininity may reflect poorly on other male figure skaters.”They’ll think all the boys who skate will end up like him. It sets a bad example.” Goldberg is also quoted as saying, “We should make him [Weir] pass a gender test at this point,” and Mailhot then joking that Weir should compete in the women’s competition. The two broadcasters later issued an on-air apology.
Mr. Weir responded with strength and grace:
“I would challenge anyone to question my upbringing and question my parents’ ideals and feelings about bringing up me and my brother, who’s completely different from me but taught very much the same way that I was,” [...] “Even my gender has been questioned. I want that to be public because I don’t want 50 years from now more young boys and girls to have to go through this sort of thing and to have their whole life basically questioned for no reason other than to make a joke and to make people watch their television program"[.]

Weir had more to say in this video from the Associated Press, also embedded in the EW post:

"I think, as a person you know what your values are and what you believe in and I think that’s the most important thing."

Transcript below the fold.

The comments at the Entertainment Weekly Pop Watch post are not as bad as most blog comments (faint praise, naturally). Although the thread was immediately derailed by a troll who thinks it's OK to attack Weir on gender grounds because he "asked for trouble" by wearing fur (he's switched to faux, by the way), most commenters disagreed. A man named Jefferson, who seems to be Butch Pornstache's more enlightened brother, even showed up to own his shit:
Johnny Weir should be every bit as flaming or macho or anything in between as he wants.
I’m a straight man who likes football and big trucks and naked chicks. Does Johnny’s demeanor make me uncomfortable? Yes. But I understand 100% that that is my own problem, and my own issue to overcome. Johnny Weir (or anyone else) should not change for me, or for anyone. He should only ever be true to himself (as should we all). Anyone who can’t deal with that is the one who needs to change, by opening their mind and heart.
And in answer to the commenter who calls Johnny a "flame" for wearing a crown of red roses after competition, "me" writes,
By the way, the crown of roses he sported is an inside joke from his russian trainers since in eastern european countries at the end of the school year the student with the highest marks from each class gets “first price with a crown”. I’ve been crowned 4 times in my life (before highschool when cutting class became more appealing) and never saw ppl be embarassed by having their picture taken with a crown of roses, daisies or any other flower they liked. I teared up a bit actually bc the crown means to his team and trainers that he is a winner despite not getting a medal.
Yes, Johnny, you are definitely a winner.

The H/T goes to Pixelfish in today's Open Thread.

I’m not somebody to cry over something or to feel weak about something, I felt very defiant when I saw these comments. I felt that it wasn’t these two men criticizing my skating, it wasn’t them criticizing my anything-- it was them criticizing me as a person. And that was something that really frankly pissed me off. So more than anything I felt like I had to make a comment and a statement saying that I hope more kids can grow up the same way that I did, and that more kids can feel the freedom that I feel, the freedom to be themselves and to express themselves, that’s the most important thing. That’s the message I want to come out of all of this. Because out of ugly—I think the most important thing to do in life is to make something beautiful.

I—I can’t say anything mean, I mean I’m totally for freedom of speech and voicing your own opinions, so I can’t, I can’t, like, have them fired, because they voiced their opinion, and just the fact that they’re on television, I mean, I’ve heard worse in bathrooms and whatnot about me, so [laughs]. So it’s not a big issue for me that they said it, it’s just that I didn’t want other kids to have the same issue, and other people in the public eye to have the same issue. If I had a chance to sit down with them over a putzin ( ETA: poutine?), I think, uh, I think we’d all be, like, lovely people together, I think they’d see who I really am, because, being an athlete and being a figure skater, I rarely have the opportunity to voice my opinion without it being misquoted. I am always thought of as the sparkly, flamboyant character that wore a crown of roses, I mean, that’s what people see of me and they come up with a notion of what I must be like. And uh, aside from my circle of very close friends and people, nobody knows me—nobody knows what makes me tick, nobody knows what’s inside here and here [points to head and heart].

Uh, I think masculinity is what you believe it to be. To me, masculinity is all my perception. And I think that masculinity and femininity is something that’s very old-fashioned. There’s a whole new generation of people that aren’t defined by their sex or their race or by who they like to sleep with. I think, as a person you know what your values are and what you believe in and I think that’s the most important thing.

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Sunday Archaeological Photo of the Day

Amenhotep III, found in the ruins of the pharaoh's mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor.

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Open Thread

Hosted by Electrawoman and Dynagirl.

This week's open threads have been brought to you by The World of Sid and Marty Krofft.

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Happy Birthday, Misty!

Every single year, Misty gets a Barbie princess cake on her birthday, because she's such a princess!

Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuu!
Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuu!
You're such a shrinking violet,
And a prim princess, too!

I lurrrves ya, girlie. (And, for the record, that Barbie is just waving hi to people entering your virtual party, not heiling any fascist dictators.)

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Open Thread

Hosted by Wonderbug.

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And Another Thing...

...about Homomentum.

It occurred to me just now that one of the little ways in which my life as a queer woman living in a mid-sized urban region has changed (I live in a cluster of small cities growing into one another, with a population of around 500k), is that my friends and I used to keep tabs on places we could go as out queer people - so-called "gay bars/coffee houses/whatever"; places where a small PDA with one's same-sex partner wouldn't be grounds for rudeness (at the least) - our tacit version of "separate but equal", which of course never was.

Now, though, we keep tabs on where we can't go.

Because that list is a lot shorter than the other one now. It's easier to track homophobic places than homophilic: they're much fewer in number.

As I said before, we have many leagues to go, but that doesn't mean we can't occasionally look back and feel good about the part of the journey we've already accomplished, and look around at how much closer to the end of that journey we have gotten. Better doesn't have to equal good to be appreciated for being better.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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Harry Potter Star Speaks Out On Behalf Of Trevor Project

Daniel Radcliffe has filmed a PSA for the Trevor Project scheduled to air this spring. The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth.

The actor states "I grew up knowing a lot of gay men and it was never something that I even thought twice about — that some men were gay and some weren't. And then I went to school and (for) the first time ... I came across homophobia. ... I had never encountered it before. It shocked me."

Radcliffe adds, "I think it's important for somebody from a big, commercial movie series like Harry Potter and particularly because I am not gay or bisexual or transgendered. ... The fact that I am straight makes not a difference, but it shows that straight people are incredibly interested and care a lot about this as well."

You may also recall, Radcliffe made a major contribution to the Trevor Project last fall, and has a serious case of gay face.


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Quote of the Day

Grab your barf-bags, Shakers...

"Sometimes I got carried away rallying the country. I think the swagger criticism was fair. A lot of others weren't. I hope I conveyed a sense that I was a lowly sinner who found redemption. I'm not better than anyone else. What makes me different from others is that I realized I needed help. I'm religious—I confess. One of the challenges in life is: Maintaining religious piety is harder when the pressure is off than when it is on. But now there is still a dependency in a greater grace."Former President George Bush, at "a reunion breakfast that was the inaugural event for the Bush-Cheney Alumni Association." What a fun shindig that must have been.

"Hey—'member the time we outed a CIA operative?"

"Yeah! How 'bout that time we started a war of choice in Iraq?!"

"Good times."

"Them was the days, boys! Them was the days!"

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Today's Edition of "Conniving and Sinister"


See Deeky's archive of all previous Conniving & Sinister strips here.

[In which Liss reimagines the long-running comic "Frank & Ernest," about two old straight white guys "telling it like it is," as a fat feminist white woman and a biracial queerbait telling it like it actually is from their perspectives. Hilarity ensues.]

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Daily Kitteh


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This is a real thing in the world.


Vajazzling, about which Jennifer Love Hewitt evidently dedicates an entire chapter in her forthcoming book, entails "bedazzling your lady parts with stick-on Swarovski crystals." One intrepid blogger got vajazzled (for SCIENCE!) and the (NSFW-ish) results are here.

The portmanteau, if you haven't already discerned its sparkly etymology, comes from the mash-up of "vagina" (or her hipper cousin, "vajayjay") and "bedazzling." You remember the Bedazzler, don't you? "Don't be dull—be dazzling!"

Come on, ladies—you don't want dull ladybits, do you?!

As nearly everything else related to the typical female anatomy between the legs, the reference to the vagina is a misnomer—and thank Maude for that, because, apart from being the orificular equivalent of Willy Wonka's Tunnel, a jewel-encrusted vagina doesn't sound particular comfy or safe for anyone involved.

It's actually the pubic area that gets vajazzled, which is, let's face is, only a dubious improvement. "Scraping! Loose crystals! In your teeth! Stuck to a condom! Even…Maude help me…getting shoved up into your vulva and vagina!" exclaims BeckySharper. "What a phenomenally bad idea!"

Indeed so. But what a delightful treat for the gynecologist who treats your ensuing infection when zie peers beyond your labia and finds a glimmering geode.

[H/T to Shaker Kevin Baker, via email.]

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Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by Shaxco, publishers of the bestselling biography of Melissa McEwan, "Fat in the Hat."

Recommended Reading:

stephiepenguin: Asian Women Blog Carnival #5

Thea: Stories That Ally vs Stories That Appropriate: A Yardstick

Tami: I'm Not Your Girlfriend

Maureen: More Adventures in Olympic Racial Drag

Angry Asian Man: Queen Yu-Na

Andy: CA Law Still Requires Health Officials to Seek Cure for 'The Gay'

Bri: Fatty Defies Fat Health Stereotypes!

Leave your links in comments...

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Today in Fat Hatin'

Its effects, as inevitable as they are depressing and frightening:

Half the six-year-old girls [in a British study] asked to pick their ideal body shape from a range of digitally altered images of themselves chose one that was three sizes smaller than the real image – the slimmest option they could choose.

Many of the girls questioned in the study, by Cambridge University, said they thought being skinnier would make them more popular.

...[The mother of six-year-old Saffron Davis, who opted for the thinnest image] told The Sun: "Saffron looks through my magazines and says her legs are fat. There is a worrying culture of girls thinking they're overweight from a very young age."

Last week it was reported that five-year-old Lucy Davis, 3st 9lbs, had been classed as "unhealthily fat" by NHS doctors in Poole, Dorset because she was one per cent over her ideal Body Mass Index.
These are the girls who turn into the 54% of women who would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.

I am reminded, once again, that one of the most devastating consequences of not including a spectrum of fat women in our media, of showing instead their headless bodies as grim warnings and using tragic tales of (some) fat women's sad lives as cautionary tales, is that little girls don't grow up in a culture where there exist stories of happy (and happy-go-lucky) fat women.

Yesterday, I saw this picture of Gabby Sidibe in USA Today:

And I grinned. And tears sprung to my eyes to see such a beautiful, sexy, happy, fat woman, in a place where we are never seen. Her body looks like mine, or mine like hers: The belly rolls, the oversized upper arms, the double chin. And I never, ever, get to see a body that looks like mine attached to a happy face, in the mainstream media.

But we exist, we happy fat women. We live good lives, we work and eat and fuck and maybe have kids or maybe not; we fall in love, we get zits, we go to costume parties, we hang out with Deeky, we hang out with Spudsy (who occasionally masquerades as the Hoff when he doesn't want his picture posted), we flip off Jay Leno, we go on holiday, we get new specs, we give Mona Lisa smiles. And we wear hats.

We exist. And goddamn the world for pretending we don't, so that little girls think the worst thing they could ever be is like us.

Being me ain't so bad.

And it's not like I care whether anyone actively wants to be like me when she grows up; I do, however, care a lot that there are little girls whose greatest fear is being like me because they see it as a fate worse than death. And the reason I care about that is because some of them are going to look like me, whether they want to or not—and some of them are going to die trying to avoid that fate.

A fate with which I'm content.

[H/T to Shaker lelumarie.]

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Tool: "Sober"

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In Things Dr. Seuss Would Rather You Didn't Remember

Little known fact: During WWII, Dr. Seuss did his patriotic duty cartooning propaganda for the War Dept. and pencilling political cartoons for the tabloid PM. Really. Seuss's trademark whimsy runs headlong into racist demonization of the enemy. It's as unsettling as it is fascinating.

Just check out this drawing imploring citizens to buy savings bonds: A caged Seussian rhino, replete with Hitlerstache and totally swastikafied, is held captive by a smiling bald eagle in Uncle Sam garb.

Or this little number: A cutesy Josef Stalin (maybe a first) holds up a platter of stuffed, Nazi pig, captioned "They're serving roast Adolf at Joe's house tonight!"

And for added irony: A pile of wood labeled "War Work To Be Done" is emblazoned with a sign "No Colored Labor Needed," as two African American men look on, appearing somewhat gobsmacked. Racism is a bad thing, Seuss says here (see also The Sneetches). Except when Othering the enemy (see image above).

Like I said, unsettling, fascinating. More here.

[Cross-posted. And thanks to my pal Will for passing this along.]

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Bi-Monthly Reminder & Thank You

This is, for those who have requested it, your bi-monthly reminder* to donate to Shakesville—although I haven't actually done one of these since November, because I wanted to get the blog working again first.

Asking for donations is difficult for me, partly because I've got an innate aversion to asking for anything, and partly because these threads are frequently critical and stressful. But it's also one of the most feminist acts I do here.

So. Here's the reminder.

You can donate once by clicking the button in the righthand sidebar, or set up a monthly subscription here.

Please don't feel obliged to donate, especially if money is tight. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel stretched because of a donation.

I also want say thank you, so very much, to each of you who donates or has donated, whether monthly or as a one-off. I am profoundly grateful—and I don't take a single cent for granted. I've not the words to express the depth of my appreciation, besides these: This community couldn't exist without that support, truly. Thank you.

(Why I ask for donations is explained here.)


* I know there are people who resent these reminders, but there are also people who appreciate them, so I've now taken to doing them every other month, in the hopes that will make a good compromise.

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France to "Tag" Violent Husbands

[Trigger warning.]

The BBC reports that the French Parliament is considering, and is likely to pass, a new law that would require men who have been court-ordered to stay away from their partners to wear an electronic tag that would alert police if they break the order and get too close to their partners.

My immediate response was essentially a slew of questions about the specifics: What is the threshold for getting a court-order in France—is it easy or difficult? Is is only applicable for married, opposite-sex couples? Does the abused partner have to wear a tag, too, in order for the abuser's tag to know he's getting too close, or does it only work as long as the abused partner stays in her home? How long does the tag stay on—forever? Or is it a temporary thing, like an ankle bracelet worn by someone under house arrest? If it's finite, who determines—and how—when it's safe to remove the tag because its bearer no longer poses a significant threat?

But all of those details aside, there has to be a pretty compelling case for me to support a new kind of human tracking by a government. Which makes this the only truly relevant question: Have these "tags" been shown to have any kind of observable deterrent effect?

Because if they have, if violent men who are tagged by court-order are demonstrably less likely to attack and/or murder their spouses ("three women are being killed by their partners every week" in France), then that's a pretty compelling reason.

But if they haven't, then all we're talking about is something to make the job of police and prosecutors easier, because they get "alerted" when a tagged abuser breaks a court-order to kill his wife.

Which ultimately doesn't help abused women at all.

And doing something just to feel like you're doing something, instead of doing something to materially and practically help victims of domestic violence, can be worse than doing nothing at all, because it gives everyone an excuse to avoid doing something genuinely effective for even longer.

[H/T to Memeorandum.]

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Big Bipartisan Healthcare Summit Review

So yesterday was the Big Bipartisan Healthcare Summit, and my colleague at CifA, Sahil Kapur, perfectly sums up the event: "Thursday's much-hyped bipartisan healthcare summit was a predictably fruitless political showcase. Republicans knew coming into it they wouldn't reverse a year of frenzied opposition to healthcare reform under any circumstances, and Democrats knew the prospect of GOP co-operation was laughable on its face. That's how it began, and that's how it ended."

I keep reading over and over this morning that this was the final straw, and now Obama and the Democratic leadership will forge on without regard for the Republicans: "Obama listened politely for six hours, with occasional flashes of temper, but in the end, the message was clear: It's over. We're moving forward without Republicans," writes Greg Sargent.

And Steve Benen notes: "In effect, yesterday was about both sides asking the other a fundamental question. Obama's question for Republicans was, 'We're offering a bipartisan, comprehensive package built around principles you claim to support. Are you willing to work with us?' Republicans came with their own question: 'Will you throw out all the work you've done and promise to let us kill reform with a filibuster?' Both sides have the same answer to the competing questions: 'No.' The difference is, Democrats are the governing majority, and the party's leaders see no reason to make Republican satisfaction a prerequisite for success."

This is no knock on either one of those fine writers, whose observations are absolutely right, but I am left wondering, yet again, what was the goddamn point of wasting an entire year—not to mention enormous amounts of political capital, progressive goodwill, and, quite literally, thousands of American lives—to come to the conclusion that healthcare reform will just have to move ahead without the help of the Republicans, who indicated from DAY FUCKING ONE that they were going to offer naught but obdurate obstructionism?

I guess I finally understand the objective of 12-dimensional chess: To end up with the board looking exactly the same as when you started, but sitting across from a stronger opponent.

Paul Krugman: "So what did we learn from the summit? What I took away was the arrogance that the success of things like the death-panel smear has obviously engendered in Republican politicians. At this point they obviously believe that they can blandly make utterly misleading assertions, saying things that can be easily refuted, and pay no price. And they may well be right."

Digby, looking at the media response, finds, naturally, that they are right. The media is declaring the GOP the victor. Digby notes that CNN analyst David Gergen proclaimed, I shit you not: "Intellectually, the Republicans had the best day they've had in years. The best day they've had in years."

And check out this typical headline from that liberal media outlet CBS: "The Summit Was a Tie—and That's Good News for GOP." Even when the Republicans tie, they win!

And all they needed to do to "tie" apparently was not completely lose it and start flinging their own shit at the president like caged monkeys, because they sure didn't win on facts. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the occasion of the summit to scold his Republican colleagues: "You're entitled to your opinions, but not your own facts. Your opinion is something that is yours and you're entitled to that, but not your own facts."

But the truth is, they are entitled to their own facts, because the media lets them say whatever the fuck they want and, as long as they look confident saying it, declare them the winners.

This is a narrative that media watchdogs like Eric Boehlert and Bob Somerby have been documenting for years. And yet President Obama and the Democratic leadership are so arrogant or daft or delusional that they evidently believed it will be different for us!

I cannot begin to convey the depth of my contempt for this administration's patent refusal to surrender its belief that the game can be changed by foolishly pretending that the rules simply don't apply to them.

People have died in the last year because they didn't have health coverage, while Obama & Co. fucked around trying to win an ideological battle that they were never. going. to. win.

Me, almost a year ago: "The Democrats should concede nothing to the altar of bipartisanship and corporatism. They can water down legislation until it's not remotely progressive and unlikely to even be effective, but it still won't be enough for the right-leaning interests in this country to do anything but try to kill it and kill it and kill it, and anything resembling it, until they get what they want. And what they want isn't good for the American people. Which is why they should be roundly ignored."

I've said what feels like a hundred times in the last year that any attempt to compromise with the GOP is utter folly, because you can't negotiate with someone whose position is "No." And I resent bitterly that this administration's insistence on ignoring something so patently obvious, in pursuit of indulgent and ultimately vain political gamesmanship, has ended up where we are today, in the same place we started, but with countless people sicker than they had to be, broker than they had to be, or dead, when they didn't have to be.

In other news that makes me want to smash things...

The public option never even got a mention at the summit, which doesn't mean there aren't still the few, the proud, the authentic progressives in both houses of Congress who are still valiantly fighting for it:

The Senate has the 50 votes necessary to pass a public health insurance option using the budget reconciliation process, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Thursday.

Sanders, a self-described "democratic socialist" who supports the government-run plan, urged President Barack Obama to push for the public option even though the possibility of passing it appeared to die this week.

"I think we do have 50 votes in the Senate for a public option and frankly I don't know why the president has not put it in and I hope that we can inject it," Sanders said on MSNBC. "I think it's a very important part of healthcare reform."
I'm with you, Bernie. Perplexed and pissed and still hoping, despite all evidence of its futility, for something good to come out of this huge, stinking, disgusting mess.

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Open Thread

Hosted by Jimmy, H.R. Pufnstuf, Cling, Clang, and a gravestone so fucking cool it's making me rethink cremation, if I can get a duplicate made.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker The_Great_Indoors: What's something you're proud of? No real restrictions on this; could be recent or years past, public or private, and not necessarily a teaspoon item—just a small space to brag up something.

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With All Due Respect

Every email I get that begins, "With all due respect," is followed immediately thereafter by a barrage of seething, hyperbolic vitriol. Usually several paragraphs of it.

One might reasonably argue that my correspondents are being ironic, implicitly commenting that I am due no respect at all by showing me none.

But one then wonders why it is they take the time to hector, lecture, berate, condemn, and attempt to persuade me of my principles with compelling arguments like "Your a fat stupid cunt anyways!"

Hmm. Well. There is a fine line between respect and fear.

What a pitiable existence it must be, quivering at the keyboard and pounding out vicious missives to perfect strangers, scared of the mere knowledge there are people in the world who are different than you and not inclined to accept that those differences make them less than. How sad to be threatened by anyone whom the strategies of the high school bully fail to silence.

Insight isn't the only thing that undiluted privilege doesn't freely give its members; it also robs them of an internal, dignified security that isn't predicated on treating rights as a zero-sum game. Every layer of privilege serves as proxy for the self-assurance hard-won by struggling to be proud despite one's marginalization. Privilege tells its members they need not reflect, or justify, or earn, or question. They needn't even bother themselves with the business of being good, because unexamined privilege assures them they are good, by virtue of their privilege.

But who are they, if that privilege comes undone? Are they good? Are they smart, strong, deserving? They've never had to find out—and thus the insecurity, the desperate lashing out at anyone who threatens, in even the most meager way, to topple the tower of unexamined privilege atop which they stand. Their pride was unearned, and they're left with a cavernous void of self-esteem if that tower crumbles beneath their feet.

They are nothing without their privilege, because their privilege has allowed them to live a life never having to be anything, other than privileged.

So they flail, urgently and frantically, in my inbox, because it's easier to impotently shout at me than to even begin to contemplate the vast fuckery that is having been robbed of the will and need to know themselves, coerced into complacency by the damnable illusion that they have everything already that they will ever need, and need never expect more of themselves.

With all due respect, my friends: You've been hoodwinked.

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Daily Kitteh

Titchy McIckleson

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Multi-language Feminist Links?

I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I'm a translator by vocation (and to an extent by avocation too), specifically of French, German and Russian (I also read some Spanish and Japanese, but not well enough to work in them).

One of the ways I keep my skills up is to read every day in my languages, various news sources online: Le Monde, Suddeutsche Zeitung,, and El Pais are on my daily list.

It occurred to me today, while reading yet another kyriarchal paean from one of them, that it'd be really interesting to hook into communities of feminists speaking languages other than English. Quickest way to accomplish something like that, I figure, is ask a Shaker.

So this is me asking: You Shakers who speak/read languages other than English: what's your favourite $LANG_ADJ feminist site? What fauxgressive $LANG_ADJ sites should be avoided, in your opinion? Leave your links below.

And please don't worry, those who come here to post from off-site feminist places whose native language isn't English: since I'm proposing to unleash a small horde of second-language learners on your sites, please don't fear that your (if it is!) imperfect English will be unwelcome here. If you need or want to post in a non-English language, let us worry about finding a translator - I'm explicitly inviting comments in not-English.

What's "teaspoon" in Arabic, anyway? Anyone know? :)

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Hudson Taylor, Ally

Shaker BrianWS emails:

How awesome is this?!‏ Offered with no comment besides that. Oh, and a blub or seven.
I've got nothing to add. Just go read.

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"My eyes are just a little sweaty today."

Jack's not crying.

[Paraphrase: Scenes of Jack from Lost, totes crying plentiful jears, set to the Flight of the Conchords' "I'm Not Crying," the lyrics for which can be found here.]

Thanks to Shaker alabee for passing that along under the subject line "FOTC + Jears: Need I say more?‏", and also aptly noting that, aside from being funny, "It's also a pretty awesome dissection of rigid conceptions of what's properly 'masculine'."

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Today's Edition of "Conniving and Sinister"


See Deeky's archive of all previous Conniving & Sinister strips here.

[In which Liss reimagines the long-running comic "Frank & Ernest," about two old straight white guys "telling it like it is," as a fat feminist white woman and a biracial queerbait telling it like it actually is from their perspectives. Hilarity ensues.]

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Goon Squad: "Eight Arms To Hold You"

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A Different Way to Feel the Homomentum

I don't ordinarily do much about Valentine's Day. Besides being the anniversary of the day my back was damaged (22 years now - half my life ago), I've a number of friends who are single but don't want to be, and who find the day really unpleasant and painful as a result, with its strong emphasis on dyadic happiness.

But this year, one of my partners (a woman) happened to be in town (I have two long-distance relationships at the moment - we're all polyamourous, no "cheating" involved) on V-Day, so we went out for dinner, to a local steakhouse we like reasonably well.

It's a fairly ordinary steakhouse/sports bar, lots of TVs tuned to various mercenary companies playing sundry forms of "put the MacGuffin in the scorehole more often than the other bunch does"*.

Anyway, we went, and were seated, and were handed the V-Day special menu, from which we ordered - it was a thing where you could get various dishes "for two", as it were, served on a main plate with the intent of sharing it.

In the background, the TVs blared eight different McGuffin-moving-matches at once, and faintly, if you listened carefully, you could hear a succession of bland pop songs under it all.

Just after we ordered, a song came on: I Kissed A Girl, I don't know which version, but it made me smile.

And then recognize what this was: we were, very evidently to anyone, on a date, two women in a sports bar, effectively, having a romantic dinner like any hetero couple might. And were served off the "couples" menu, while listening to a pop song(!) in which a woman loudly proclaimed how much she'd enjoyed her moment in the lesbo sun.

My mind went back, to many dinners with many dates, over the years, and how it used to be we would travel to Toronto to have such a romantic dinner so we could have it on Church Street and not have to worry, being surrounded by other queer and/or queer-friendly folk - rather than face dirty looks and slurs, poor service, and all kinds of "you're not welcome here, dirty queers" responses, that generally stopped short of anything you could report to the Human Rights Tribunal.

That is what the homomentum does for me. It means I no longer have to drive a two hundred kilometre (hundred and twenty mile) round trip to have a date. It means popular media include me, and people like me, at least a little. It means matter-of-factly handing the "couples" menu to any group of people as wants it. It means relationships that look like mine don't make heads turn.

It isn't about special rights. It's not about having a lifestyle. It's about having a life, like anyone else's: to be able to go out for a nice evening together, and to be free of harrassment, opprobrium, and not occasionally physical danger.

So maybe we don't all need same-sex marriage, even the queer folk. But even if you personally don't need it, its existence is yet another piece of making it so being queer isn't...well, queer. It's another tiny piece of making us part of "normal".

And on that level, every single jurisdiction, no matter how small or remote, adds another teaspoonful to that big sack of homomentum.

Thanks, Maryland. And all the others.

* And geez, what do you think Freud would have to say about that? Group after group of large, physically masculine men, gathering in groups which they prefer not to include women, to symbolically stick their McGuffin in the scorehole as often as possible. Getting any sense of metaphor here?

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Feel the Homomentum!

Woot! Maryland to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other places:

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) declared Wednesday that Maryland will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and that its agencies should immediately begin affording gay married couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.

With Gansler's decision, Maryland in effect joins [Washington D.C.] and a handful of states including New York that recognize same-sex marriages performed in four New England states and Iowa. [D.C.] also has its own measure legalizing those unions that is expected to take effect next week.

Gansler, a supporter of legalizing same-sex marriages, was asserting his authority as the top legal adviser to state agencies to answer a question that experts say had been left unclear by Maryland law. He was responding to a legislator's request that he issue an opinion.

The attorney general's opinion unleashed a torrent of emotions from both gay rights advocates and those opposed to same-sex marriage, adding a potentially explosive issue to election-year politics in Maryland. It is likely to be quickly challenged in court, Gansler acknowledged.

...In a news conference, Gansler went beyond the written opinion, saying his writing should dictate how state agencies respond when same-sex couples from elsewhere request benefits and legal protections.

"It's not that foreign of a concept. I mean, it's just people. It's just like any other heterosexual couples," Gansler said. "However a heterosexual couple is treated that was validly married in Maryland or elsewhere, [a same-sex couple] will be treated like that here in Maryland, unless and until a court or the legislature decides differently."
I really love his matter-of-factness about it. While opponents are going apoplectic, Gansler just gives a straightforward soundbite about it, casually underlining that equality isn't a radical notion.

(Or shouldn't be.)
Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery), an openly gay delegate ... was joined at the [celebratory news conference Wednesday afternoon] by her spouse, Deborah.

The couple held a marriage celebration in Maryland in 2005 and was legally married in California in 2008. At the news conference, Mizeur held up a copy of their marriage certificate.

"The [attorney general's] opinion says my state can and should recognize my marriage," Mizeur said.

This will see a court challenge, and opposition will be fierce and obnoxious and rude and unfair and hateful, but it also has the potential to move Maryland one step closer to legalizing same-sex marriage.

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Captain America

So I'm reading about how Marvel is doing "screen tests this week in its search for the actor to play Steve Rogers, the alter ego of the title character in its 'Captain America' movie," and I notice that the list of contenders—John Krasinski, Michael Cassidy, Patrick Flueger, Scott Porter, Mike Vogel, and Chace Crawford—has the same problem as Details' "Next Generation of Hollywood's Leading Men" gallery I mentioned the other day.

Now, I know that Captain America is a white dude in the comic and all, and I remember that it was fucking heresy to suggest that Star Trek's Captain Pike be recast as a woman, but I stand by my contention that a belief in the inherent equality of people renders absurd any argument that a privileged character must retain the characteristics of privilege to prevent undermining a character's heroic nature.

Which is a fancy way of saying that I don't believe Captain America has to be white. Or straight. Or even a dude.

(As an aside, I'm unthrilled with a female counterpart named American Dream. Heroines are treated as sexualized fantasy objects enough without having "Dream" right in their names.)

The questions up for discussion, thus, are: Who would you cast as Captain America? And why?

I'm giving my vote to Rosario Dawson. She hails from NYC, which is a quintessentially American town, she's a philanthropist, she's a feminist, and she's Puerto Rican, Afro-Cuban, Native American, and Irish, which is exactly the sort of melting pot make-up I would expect an anthropomorphized America to have.

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Obama Defends His Policies to CEOs:

President Obama rejected assertions on Wednesday that his domestic program amounted to big-government socialism.

Speaking to a group of corporate leaders, he defended his spending, tax and regulatory initiatives as the natural response to a historic economic crisis.

Declaring himself an "ardent believer in the free market," Mr. Obama challenged a line of criticism that has fueled discontent with his presidency. The policies of his first year in office, he said, "were about saving the economy from collapse, not about expanding government's reach into the economy."
"Seriously, dudez," he added. "I'm only acting even marginally like a Democrat because I have to."

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Healthcare Open Thread

The Big Bipartisan Healthcare Summit is today (currently streaming on C-SPAN), and there's a lot riding on it. Here's some of this morning's recommended reading:

Michael Tomasky: The Healthcare Summit Stakes

McClatchy: Big Stakes for All as Obama, Lawmakers Talk Health Care

USA Today: Poll: Expectations Low on Health Summit

Gallup: Americans Tilt Against Democrats' Plans if Summit Fails

New York Times: Preparing for Health Debate, and Its TV Audience

WaPo: A Viewer's Guide to the Health-Care Summit

Ezra Klein: There's No Plan B for Health-Care Reform

WaPo: Obama May Compromise on Consumer Agency to Pass Financial Regulation


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In Which I Substitute an Email Conversation with Liss for an Actual Post

Liss: What. the. Fucking. Fuck.

Deeky: No.

Deeky: Seriously. This story is a hoax, right? As is this line: "The pair has Walter the Farting Dog in development at Fox, with the Jonas Brothers starring." There is no way this could be happening. No. It can't be.

Liss: I'm just... WHUT? There is no way that anyone thinks this is a good idea.

Deeky: George Lopez thinks the big fat paycheck he's getting is a good idea.

Liss: What a total jerk. And I don't know why I'm under the totally absurd impression that people in Hollywood would consider this a BAD idea, considering the existence of the multi-part Shrek franchise, the central character of which is literally just a collection of nasty Scottish stereotypes. Still. They don't even play Speedy Gonzales cartoons anymore because they're FUCKING OFFENSIVE. Still. Jeff "Jose Jalapeno" Dunham has his own show on Comedy Central. Still. Christ.

Deeky: Also in development: Beaners: The Motion Picture, Wetback: The Musical, and the dramedy Lazy Mexicans.

Liss: And the new Baz Lurhman musical, Picante Immigrante.

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Open Thread

Hosted by Blurp...

And Slurp.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker artem1s: If you could bring one person forward in time and show them how they affected the world, who would that be and why? Sort of a George Bailey moment.

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"I'm doing this to demystify abortion."

Shakers KarateMonkey and Leah emailed me about Angie the Anti-Theist, a blogger whose birth control failed, resulting in a pregnancy which she decided to terminate. And she decided to use the occasion of her abortion to talk about it, via Twitter and YouTube. "I'm doing this to demystify abortion," she explains. "I just wanna let everybody know that you, too, can have an abortion, if you want one."

[Transcript below.]
Hi, YouTube. This is Angie the Antitheist. This is not a scripted video, so I apologize for the higher incidents of ums and you knows.

I found out about a week ago, Saturday, that I was pregnant. Um, for a variety of reasons, including, uh, very high health risks for me, I am having an abortion. Right now.

They have abortion by pill now—RU-486. I went to the doctor, Planned Parenthood, had blood tests and everything else done; they did a sonogram to check the state of my pregnancy; I'm at only four weeks, one—I was at only four weeks, one day, when I went into the office on Thursday. Um, they sent me home with some medicines; I've taken those. They take awhile to set in; I ended up actually going and getting a second dose, uh, but, uh, yeah, I'm having an abortion right now. It's not that bad. It's not that scary. It's basically like a miscarriage.

I'm live-tweeting my abortion on Twitter. Not for some publicity stunt, or attention, or to justify this to myself; I am at peace with my decision.

I'm doing this to demystify abortion. I'm doing this so that other women know, "Hey, it's not nearly as terrifying as I had myself worked up thinking it was." It's just not that bad.

This is nothing compared to childbirth. Compared to labor. Compared to, for me and my risks, late-stage pregnancy. This is the best choice. And it's not that bad. And I want people to know that it's out there, that, if you need this, there's non-surgical options available, especially in the earliest stage of pregnancy. Um, obviously, everybody use protection, uh, sometimes that doesn't work, and, when it doesn't, there's the morning-after pill, and, if you're not in time for that, there's RU-486.

So, I just wanna let everybody know that, uh, you, too, can have an abortion, if you want one. It's okay. It's not shameful. It's not secret. It's not killing a child. I have a little boy. You guys have seen him on my video channel. He is my world. I wanna stay alive and be his mom for a lot longer. So I'm having an abortion.

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My So-Called Photo of the Day

Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano, Fifteen Years Later. That's all well and good, but where the hell are Rickie and Krakow? [Photo credit: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images.]

Fuck I'm old.

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Vloggin' with Blogginz, Episode 12

[Episodes One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven.]

Summer movie preview. Totally not made up as we go along, ahem.

[Also available at Daily Motion. Full transcript here.]

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Today's Edition of "Conniving and Sinister"


See Deeky's archive of all previous Conniving & Sinister strips here.

[In which Liss reimagines the long-running comic "Frank & Ernest," about two old straight white guys "telling it like it is," as a fat feminist white woman and a biracial queerbait telling it like it actually is from their perspectives. Hilarity ensues.]

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Daily Kitteh

Tongue sticking out = Maximum happiness achieved.

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Jobs Bill Passes Senate

Senate passes $15 billion jobs bill on bipartisan vote: "The Senate easily passed a $15 billion jobs bill on Wednesday morning ... The measure passed 70 to 28, with 13 Republicans joining 57 Democrats in support of the package. ... The next stop is the House, where Democratic leaders are weighing whether to pass the Senate version or go to conference to reconcile it with the $154 billion jobs bill the House passed in December."

I remain amazed how many of the GOP caucus refused to vote for this bill.


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Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by Shaxco, makers of Liss' Lost Lust Pillow Covers, for all your sleepytime kiss-practicing needs.

Recommended Reading:

Rachel: Utah Bill Criminalizes Miscarriage

Renee: Vancouver Games & First Nations Resistance

avendya: Disability Blog Carnival #63: Relationships

Echidne: On That Public Option

Laura: Scotland Yard Staff to be Trained in Psychological Effects of Rape

LeMew: Two Facts about the Supreme Court

Leave your links in comments...

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Oren Lavie: "Her Morning Elegance"

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Shakers, I literally just read an article in Newsweek dissecting how female lovers of famous men should behave, and wondering what makes Rielle Hunter, John Edwards' lover (partner? I don't know their status), have such a "quiet dignity," while the women who slept with Tiger Woods "talked, posed, opined, and disappeared before we could even concentrate long enough to learn their names."


I don't even know where to begin. Have at it in comments.

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Quote of the Day

"I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that's a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life."Lauren Ashley, Miss Beverly Hills 2010, and Miss California competitor, on homosexuality. Ashley reassures us "I have a lot of friends that are gay," so it's all good.

Speaking for myself, I don't have any friends I want put to death, but that's just me.

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Impossibly Beautiful

We haven't had a male entry in this series since Clive Owen's ghastly Lancôme advert, mostly because men are generally allowed to look reasonably like themselves in ads and on the covers of magazines. But this photo of Matthew Fox on the cover of Emmy magazine is a good example of how men's freedom to age in public is slowly being eroded, too:

Zuh to the wuh? It looks like they recycled his head from some kind of leftover promo shot from the first season of Party of Five, and then airbrushed that into oblivion. Matthew Fox is 43 years old, and, minus the fake headwound and dirtying-up island makeup, he looks like this:

He has a wonderfully expressive face, and he's damned well earned the lines that mark it; the furrows and creases left by knitted brows and broad smiles are the legacy of being a successful actor, a husband, a father who worries and laughs. Erasing them hides the legacy of his lived life.

[Click to embiggen.]

Occasionally, when there is evidence that male public figures are being treated to the same demeaning "beautifying" processes that turn human people into mannequins, I hear someone saying some variation on, "Good. Let's get rid of that double standard!"

But adding unrealistic, dehumanized images of men to the vast ocean of unrealistic, dehumanized images of women, subjecting men to the same oppressively rigid beauty standards to which women are held, is hardly an improvement. It's a step forward only in a race to the bottom, and there is little to be gained by treating service to the lowest common denominator as a favorable equalizer.


By way of reminder: Comments that try to suss out what changes, exactly, were made, and even comments noting that, for example, the removal of laugh lines because they are ZOMG wrinkles actually robs a face of its character or humanity, are welcome. Discussions of how "he looks handsomer/hotter/better in the candid picture" and associated commentary (which would certainly make me feel like shit if I were the person being discussed) are not. So please comment in keeping with the series' intent, implicit in which is the question: If no one can ever be beautiful enough, then to what end is the pursuit of an elusive perfection?

[Impossibly Beautiful: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38.]

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Lost Open Thread

(Jack + Tears = Jears.)

Last night's episode will be discussed in infinitesimal detail, so if you haven't seen it, and don't want any spoilers, move along...

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Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning.]

Shaker samanthab sent me a New York Times article, headlined "French Ad Shocks, but Will It Stop Young Smokers?" the first paragraph of which reads: "A new French antismoking advertisement aimed at the young that plays off a pornographic stereotype has gotten more attention than even its creators intended, and critics suggest that it offends common decency and creates a false analogy between oral sex and smoking."

Which is only accurate if you think "oral sex" is a euphemism for sexual assault.

The slogan is bland enough: "To smoke is to be a slave to tobacco." But it accompanies photographs of an older man, his torso seen from the side, pushing down on the head of a teenage girl with a cigarette in her mouth. Her eyes are at belt level, glancing upward fearfully. The cigarette appears to emerge from the adult's trousers.

Two other ads show young men in the same position as the girl, though the adult is wearing a suit jacket and a watch.
The ads are viewable here.

At minimum, if one inexplicably imagines, despite the reluctant and fearful expressions on the models' faces and the heavy, directive hand on their heads, that the analogical sex act is consensual, it appears to be statutory rape. But even that is an absurd stretch, given that the tagline of the ad equates smoking/the analogical sex act with being enslaved—which explicitly excludes the possibility of consent.

Florence Montreynaud, the feminist president of La Meute des Chiennes de Garde [the Pack of Female Watchdogs], which identifies and opposes symbols of sexual violence in films and advertising in France, said the ads are "unbearable" and "shocking [in their] banalization of sexual violence." And despite being "a longtime member of Droits des Non-fumeurs [Nonsmokers' Rights]," the anti-smoking group that created the ad, she strongly objects to the campaign: "I'm appalled. It's a poverty of imagination. When people have no ideas, they use female bodies." Indeed so.

Meanwhile, Gérard Audureau, the president of Droits des Non-fumeurs, defends the ad by saying, "Using sex is a way to get [young people's] attention. And if it's necessary to shock, let's shock."

Except, of course, that what's being shown in the ad doesn't look like "sex." It looks like sexual assault.

And thus necessarily implies that, like not smoking, not being sexually assaulted is simply a matter of making the choice not to.

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Proud Mama

Arachnophobia warning!

I'm putting this video below a fold, because even the still image would probably freak out arachnophobes.

I, on the other hand—being the sort of spider aficionado who has invited, just to get a closer look, anything from common house spiders to tarantulas crawl on her (the teensy, quick, scampering ones make me screech-giggle when they scurry across or near me, but tarantulas are super mellow)—think this video of a female wolf spider with babies on her back is amazing.

[Via Chris.]

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Open Thread

Hosted by Hoodoo.

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Question of the Day

[We've done this one before, but it's one of my favorites, so I'm doing it again…]

Who will play you in Shakesville: The Movie?

Looks-wise, the obvious choice is Dawn French, to whom I am nearly identical in height and weight, and probably not dissimilar in temperament. She's 17 years older than I, but I won't complain if she won't.

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Quote of the Day

"John Yoo is a moral vacuum, but he is also a constitutional law professor at one of the nation's top law schools and a former Supreme Court clerk. ... So when John Yoo claims that the President is not bound by Congressional limits, he is not simply ignorant or misunderstanding the law. He is lying."Ian Millhiser, on former Bush administration legal adviser John Yoo, who famously made the case for the use of torture tactics on detainees, and who is now busily making the public argument that the US president can justifiably "massacre" entire villages of civilians in wartime because "the government places those decisions in the president, and if the Congress doesn't like it they can cut off funds for it or they can impeach him."

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Help Amelia


Amelia, a 27-year-old Nicaraguan woman, has a ten-year-old daughter. She also has cancer and desperately needs treatment, but is being denied care because she's pregnant. Abortion is entirely illegal in Nicaragua, even in a case like Amelia's where she needs a therapeutic abortion to save her life. In Amelia's case, it's not just abortion that is being denied — it's treatment for the cancer as well, since such treatment could harm the fetus. Amelia might die and her ten-year-old daughter may be left without her mother because of "pro-life" orthodoxy.

Women's groups are asking for help. Please visit RH Reality Check to see the full list of contacts – and please, send emails and spread the word.
I'll also recommend to USians (as always) writing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to urge diplomatic pressure. We've got a feminist Secretary of State who makes women's issues a global priority; let us not be afraid to solicit her help! Sample letter:

Dear Secretary Clinton:

I have recently become aware that Amelia, a pregnant Nicaraguan woman and mother to a 10-year-old daughter who is being denied a therapeutic abortion and effective cancer treatment to save her life, because abortion is completely illegal in Nicaragua.

Women's groups in Nicaragua and international organizations working with them have asked people to immediately contact the chair and vice-chair of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), as well as Nicaraguan government officials.

As I am aware of and resoundingly support your advocacy on behalf of women worldwide, I am hopeful that there will be a swift response from the US State Department on Amelia's behalf.

Melissa McEwan

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Mighty Whities

Hmm. Does anyone else notice anything peculiar that the gentlemen featured in Details' "Next Generation of Hollywood's Leading Men" gallery all appear to have in common...?

It's a veritable rainbow of conformity!

[H/T to Andy.]

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Shaker Gretchen emailed me about this new Snickers ad, in which white dudebros just aren't themselves when they're hungry. They're divas!

[Transcript below.]

One of the things I like most about this ad, ahem, is its implication that only divas complain about being too hot or having someone kick the back of their seats. The premise is reliant on, and simultaneously perpetuates, the gendered narratives about suffering and communication. Men are stoic, and suffer in silence. Women, on the other hand, are whiny complainers.

Men endure.

Bitches bitch.

The gutting irony of admonishing a man to "stick this candy bar in your mouth and stop acting like such a woman" is that the persistent message that being a man means eating shitty food puts men who strictly adhere to this "Junkfood manly! Vegetables girly!" narrative in greater risk of needing medical care later in life, while the persistent message that men suffer in silence makes those same men less likely to seek that care.

That's some real man-hating garbage, right there. And it sure ain't the responsibility of feminists, despite the fact that we're the ones with the reputation as man-haters.
[Four people are in a car on a road trip: One young black man (driving), one young dark-haired white man (passenger seat), one young ginger-haired white man (driver's side backseat), and Aretha Franklin.]

Franklin: Can we turn the AC up? [fans self] I'm dying back here.

Dark-Haired White Man: It's on. Can't you feel it?

Franklin: [slaps Dark-Haired White Man upside the head] Can you feel that?

Black Man: Oh-ooh!

Ginger-Haired White Man: [offers Franklin a Snickers bar] Jeff, eat a Snickers, please.

Franklin: [grabs Snickers] Why?

Ginger-Haired White Man: Every time you get hungry, you turn into a diva. Just eat it so we can all coexist—

Franklin: [unwraps Sinckers bar] Ooh, I turn into a diva!

Black Man: Mm-hmm!

Dark-Haired White Man: Put it in your system, crankypants.

Franklin: [starts to eat Snickers] Okay.

Black Man: Thank you.

[Franklin turns into a young fair-haired white man.]

Ginger-Haired White Man: Better?

Fair-Haired White Man: Better.

[Dark-Haired White Man turns into Liza Minelli.]

Minelli: Will you get your knees outta the back of my seat?

Fair-Haired White Man: Whoa-oo!

Voiceover (and text onscreen): You're not you when you're hungry. Snickers satisfies.
[Assvertising: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100.]

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Bingo with Bayh

by Shaker koach

Apparently now that Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) is leaving the Senate, he can't stop yapping about the partisanship and gridlock gripping Washington and causing good centrists like him to search out employment elsewhere.

CNN has posted a short story recapping Senator Evan Bayh's appearance on State of the Union, and some of Bayh's remarks are priceless—meaning that I wouldn't pay a penny for them.

"Our politics in Congress has become tribal in some ways. We have the tribe of the Democrats and tribe of the Republicans," Bayh said.
This sort of "tribalism" argument angers me, wherever I stumble across it, as if societies organized into tribes are inherently combative and incapable of cooperation for the greater good. There's a further implication that only modern, civilized (white) folks know how to get along, how to work together, how to solve problems, how to be reasonable—even as it simultaneously ignores that modern, civilized (white) folks have tribes of their own, organized around ideas, religions, hobbies, heritage, particular kinds of wealth and access.

And Bayh doesn't stop there.
In discussing partisanship, [Republican and former House member Susan] Molinari said that "women have a tendency to band together a little bit more than the men."

Bayh interjected: "It's testosterone poisoning; it's not our fault."
This exchange is not only misogynistic—only women are capable of communicating and working together, suggesting that they are incapable of being tough and standing strong on their issues—but also insulting to men, as the flip side, of course, is that men are only capable of fighting and posturing, not getting along and solving problems.

But there's more in Bayh's statement: "It's not our fault." So now he's refusing responsibility, blaming the lack of problem-solving on testosterone. You know, it's amazing just how powerful testosterone must be. Of course, I don't really get it, with my poor lady-brain worrying about how to band together, but gosh, testosterone sure seems important and powerful. It's also amusing that Bayh claims poisoning, as if one could have too much testosterone.

A lot of Bayh's colleagues have too much of something—but I'm going to go with "privilege," rather than testosterone.

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This Health Care Porridge is Just Right

John Boehner, in October 2009, on why the proposed health care legislation sucks:

"All you need to know is there are 1,990 pages," Boehner said. "That should tell you everything."
John Boehner yesterday on why the proposed health care legislation sucks:
"The White House's 'plan' consists of an 11-page outline, which has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office or posted online as legislative text. So they want to reorganize one-sixth of the United States' economy with a document shorter than a comic book, and they're complaining that they can't find our plan on their own website? C'mon," said [Boehner's] spokesman, Michael Steel, in an email to reporters.
I'm sure that at some point, the GOP will unveil their new Goldilocks algorithm to determine the precise number of pages necessary for successful health care reform legislation.

So, the real question is: How many pages do we need for single payer?

[H/T to ThinkProgress.]

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