Recently in This is a feminist issue because… Category

This is a feminist issue because...Godzilla Weeds

Yesterday there was an article in the New York Times about how excessive use of herbicides, such as RoundUp, has caused some weeds to become immune to the poison. Because an increasing number of weeds do not die from traditional does of herbicides, farmers, in turn, are spraying even larger amounts of the stuff. The poisons in herbicides are very harmful to living things. As a feminist, I find it troubling that it will be the poor immigrant farm workers, who are exposed daily to herbicides, and wildlife that will become ill from our society's chronic consumerism. spritze_gross-1.jpg

Feminist Issue- Barbie's Dimensions


The other day, I was having a conversation with one of my friends about girls bodies and how some girls can be so lucky to have such a proportional body. This conversation led on to talking about Barbie's body in relation to our body, since I have heard that the relation was really messed up. If Barbie were real, she would have a 42D chest, 32 inch hips, and an 18- inch waist. This is CRAZY! Barbie impacts so many little girls' lives, and it is disheartening to know that little girls look up to Barbie, and want to look just as pretty as their dolly. I wasn't a huge Barbie fan as a little girl, but thank god I wasn't. My body image could be very distorted. I think this is a feminist issue because no little girl should have that "Barbie looking" image for themselves. I hate that our society is so much about pretty, skinny girls. It's not reality. It's reality to be healthy and happy, and that is all that really should matter.

Feminist Issue- Dove Commercial

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No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.

This is the dove add that was released a few years ago to made us aware of the media and how the gorgeous women and men are portrayed differently than they actually are. This television commercial takes an everyday average girl and puts make- up on her, curls her hair, then takes her picture onto a computer and photo shops her entire face and hair. By the end of the commercial, she looks like a completely different girl than what she started as. I think this is a feminist issue because the media is showing us people who don't really exist, and we are trying to live up to these fake standards. It makes me sad that some people really do feel the need to be as pretty as people we see on ads and magazine covers, when really it is all fake. Why should women (and men) have to be portrayed like this?

With its first season coming to an end, "Cougar Town," a television sitcom, has made a rather interesting impact on the economy. The show follows a newly divorced 40 some year old mother in her quest to reenter the dating arena and rediscover her sexuality. According to Reuters, lingerie sales among women above the age of 40 have increased dramatically since the premiere of the show, along with the release of "Sex and the City 2" which also concentrates on women in their 40s and 50s and their relationships.

This is a double edged issue - on one hand, it is brilliant that through these forms of media, women of all ages are reexamining their own bodies and trying to mend their relationships with their own bodies. However, the issue arises of whether or not lingerie is the proper facet through which to reclaim one's body. It would be interesting to see whether or not things like gym memberships and spa treatments among women over the age of 40 have also increased - if this trend is solely related to lingerie, or perhaps related to a larger trend of older women taking the time and effort to take care of themselves and perhaps pamper themselves a little.

Regardless, the facts are facts, and one lingerie saleswoman says "With women's 40s being touted as the new 20s, and lingerie designers stepping up to the mark to feed this demand, it's a market we expect to see grow further in the future."

Oklahoma just passed an abortion law which I find extremely disturbing. It has several parts:

1. Anyone who goes into a clinic to get an abortion, including victims of rape and incest, need to watch an ultrasound of their baby and hear a description of the fetus.
2. Women cannot sue doctors who misinform them about the health of their fetus.

This is shocking to me. No one WANTS an abortion, and no one makes the decision to get an abortion lightly. So people who go to get an abortion in Oklahoma may not be deterred by seeing a picture of their fetus, but they will certainly be emotionally harmed. It's much more difficult to come to terms with "killing" a baby if you can see a picture of it. While it's unlikely to deter women from actually getting a baby, it does inflict a lot of emotional pain and suffering on them. People don't get abortions because they think its fun - they get them because they are in a position in their life when having a baby is not a good idea. Making them go through a strenuous emotional ordeal seems like a dangerous subversion of the hippocratic oath.

Additionally, I think it is totally unacceptable to make it illegal to sue a doctor who misinforms you about the health of a fetus. This demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for women's knowledge and choices - how can you make an educated, informed choice about whether or not to have an abortion if you don't have reliable information about the health of the baby? If the baby is going to be born with some horrible genetic condition that makes its death inevitable, I definitely think women should be aware that their baby is not going to live long - imagine the emotional devestation of going through the process of preparing for a child and then realizing that your baby has only a little while to live - and your doctor knew this all along. I can think of very few things that would be more difficult to deal with than that.

Fundamentally, I think this law incentivizes fraud and emotional damage, and I think it makes it impossible for women to have a real "choice" concerning abortion - how can they make an educated decision about their body and their future without trustworthy advice from their doctors? Abortion is a moral and religious issue - it should never, ever be made into a medical issue. Doctors are necessary to keep us healthy and safe. We should be able to trust them.

This documentary is, at first glance, just about the movie business. Before I watched it, I assumed it was a documentary on how they decide what gets rated what. Instead, it talked about why movies get rated NC-17 and also talked about how secretive this board that determines what gets produced (basically, an NC-17 ends up meaning that no one will stand behind the movie, because it's not marketable) and who's allowed to watch it, is completely secretive. The members of this group are not allowed to talk about who they are and what they do, and even after they leave, they still are not allowed to talk about how the board rates movies, or they are sued by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). That's not so much the feminist issue (I just found it rather interesting), as the reasons why movies are rated R or NC-17. The movies they discuss about getting rated NC-17 specifically get rated as such because of how the romance in the movie is shown. They continually talk about the denial of female pleasure. A few of the movies they talk about were given NC-17 ratings because the orgasm of the female was too long, it's not even that there was nudity, but that when the camera was focused on the woman's face during intercourse, she looked like she was having an orgasm for longer than the MPAA preferred. Another one of the more ridiculous reasons that the MPAA gave an NC-17 to one of the movies the documentary discusses is due to the fact that during a sexual scene in the movie, for a split second, a woman's pubic hair could be seen. The movies that the MPAA gives out NC-17 ratings for are movies that are only portraying what we all know to be true. By the time almost any kid is 15 or 16, they already know all about sex, not just biologically, but also the actual act, the different positions available, etc... The fact that the MPAA is denying those ideas in movies just seems unnecessary. They are much lighter on violence in a film than sex, and I would hope, that most people have seen more sex than violence first-hand. I'm not sure if changing the rating system would change anything, but I think it would be incredibly beneficial to the film industry( and those watching the movies) that violence be seen in a darker light than sex.


Do you see that thing? It's not a joke. Here is a link to the commercial if you don't believe me.

There several aspects about this that make feminist issue. But at the forefront, its capitalism at its finest. Massive corporations are profiting from slowly killing the people who consume their products.

Some might say that it is wrong to accuse the companies of any wrong doing, after all, they aren't forcing anyone to buy it. "Of course, it's sort of a foregone conclusion, a rigged game. This vile meatwich is crammed like a grenade with sodium, sugar, fat and chemicals. Ergo, the testers, presumably people with taste buds devastated by years of cramming similar compost into their guts, thought it was pure nirvana. And then their colons exploded".

Read Mark Morford's original article from the SF Gate here.

wtf is up in az... ???!!!


wanna turn this into a link too? :)

not sure what to post this under, but please read!

I know when our group looked into surrogacy, we started to talk about outsourcing surrogacy to make the process cheaper, but I didn't realize how big of a problem it was until I actually saw it referenced in an almost brand new show, Lie to Me. In episode 8 of season 1, the main character and his colleagues discover that a US official has been illegally bringing women into the country on the premise that all they have to do is be a surrogate and get paid for it. Obviously, this scene is over-dramatized and fairly irrelevant to the issue, however, at one point in the show, the biological mother of the surrogate's child specifically says that she went through an agency because it was 60,000 dollars cheaper than American surrogates. This is the big problem with outsourcing surrogacy, it is far cheaper than to keep the surrogacy within the United States, and it preys on the poor that do need the money being a surrogate mother brings to them. This obssession with having a child that's biologically yours is being outsourced, like this article says, just like so many industrial jobs are, but is it really the right thing to do? I do think surrogacy should not have laws against it in the United States and women should be allowed to sell their bodies if they want to - however, this would (and may already) be a problem in the United States and is already a problem in India because impoverished women get stuck in this position, whether they like it or not, because the payment they receive will pull them out of the lower class and put them at least into middle class, if not higher, which doesn't sound like a bad thing, but is it really worth having women sell their bodies away and put themselves in a very risky health position for nine months?

Secret ICE Castles

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thought I would share. very much related to the current outrage at the AZ bill.

if only if i knew how to link it, this would be so much more cool :)

This is a feminist issue because... The female MD/PhD experience

I am planning to apply to (and hoping to matriculate into!) a combined MD/PhD program, which combines medical and graduate school and gives one the fancy designation of physician-researcher. I attended a seminar given by a U of M alum and MD/PhD on Thursday about his experiences as a medical and graduate student and a clinician investigator.

This got me thinking - what is has the female MD/PhD experience been like?

To my pleasant surprise I found an entire article on the subject at Science Careers, a section of the website for Science, the premier research journal. The article indicates that current research indicates that a disappointingly high proportion of women leave the academic path, especially between the period between achieving a post-doc and faculty position.

As a doer myself, I appreciated the goal-oriented focus that some of the women interviewed took on this issue. For example, one female MD/PhD started a program that specifically funds post-docs who are primary caregivers. What an awesome and gender-neutral way to address the child-care issue!

This is a feminist issue because...

I know that the television series Glee has been mentioned on the blog before, but this weeks episode had a lot to do with feminist issues. Thought I would share...

Have you all seen the most recent Lady Gaga video, "Telephone"? In general, Lady Gaga has created quite a stir among feminists--Is Lady Gaga a feminist or isn't she?--and this video is no exception. Since a big chunk of the video takes place in prison, it seems fitting to use it to think about the feminist (im)possibilities of Lady Gaga in relation to prison and the PIC. In Are Prisons Obsolete, Angela Davis discusses how prisons loom large in our everyday lives, even as we work hard to keep them invisible, through our constant and repeated exposure to media images of the prison--in films, television shows...and videos. She writes:

But even those who do not consciously decide to watch a documentary or dramatic program on the topic of prisons inevitably consume prison images, whether they choose to or not, by the simple fact of watching movies or TV....The prison is one of the most important features of our image environment. This has caused us to take the existence of prisons for granted. The prison has become a key ingredient of our common sense. It is there, all around us. We do not question whether is should exist (18-19).
How is the prison represented in this video? What is Lady Gaga doing with (and to) the prison here? Is she reinforcing the idea of the prison as natural and as something that we should take for granted? Or is she de-naturalizing it (or is she doing both)? What ideologies does she reinforce in this video? Which ones does she subvert?

Now that you have watched the video, check out these feminist responses:

One More: Feminist Porn

Here is an interview with a queer-feminist director of porn.

There is a part where she says feminist porn in more about who is behind the scenes producing rather than the exact execution of the visual fantasies. Having women on all levels of production and marketing is important. Also, she mentions that people who have never liked porn before are becoming interested.

I only post this and my other porn link as a response that ALL porn and sex work is exploitative. These are two really good examples of more recent strives to offer something different in the face of a mostly male controlled industry. Think of if feminists of all stripes were to support this alternate women friendly business, and the business we could take away from mainstream stuff.

What do we face as a society if we suppress and censor all porn and prohibit sex work? Does suppression make abuse and criminalization for those with that make this choice more likely? Should we suppress some, not all, porn? Can there be good porn?

This is a Feminist Issue... Feminist Porn (beware, it IS a porn site. read below why I posted)

I had a friend who was hired in one of the videos for this website. I honestly have not seen the full videos, but from what I hear (and you can watch clips so beware clicking once on the site!) it is a positive queer representation of porn. Keep in mind the hostile world towards queer people of color... and subsequent hard time finding and keeping employment relative to their counterparts. Maybe it should not be celebrated that resorting to making money this way as ideal. But when you're about to be on the street and don't have other options, this company seemed the way to go at the time. No, he not a porn star. It was a one time thing.

Just in case people were wondering if such a thing existed in contrast to Dworkin's critique or what is commonly referenced. I am a firm believer that sex is not always and completely about submission and objectification. I do not think that changes by videotaping it. Having alternatives is important, for it allows people to engage without the same guilt they might otherwise experience by witnessing the dominant forms most are accustomed to.

"There is power in creating images, and...for a woman of color and a queer to take that power... i don't find it exploitative; I think it's necessary".

-Shine Louise (Director)

This is a Feminist Issue....Cougar Moms

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I thought this article was very interesting. I thought it dealt with feminism because of how these cougar moms are portraying themselves. What do their actions make the image of women look like? Is it degrading or is it just a different "style"? I know if I were in that 16 year olds shoes I would not be approving my moms actions. It would be embarassing and after awhile it would get old and annoying to hear everyone talking about your mom (in all sorts of contexts). Thoughts?

Cougar Moms

This is a Feminist Issue... White Privilege Conference

This post is a little delayed due to emotional exhaustion after attending the 11th Annual White Privilege Conference April 7-10. For those of you who are not aware, white privilege is the unearned advantages that benefit white people (whether or not they seek them) by virtue of their skin color in a racist society. As white supremacist as that sounds, it is anything but that. We did not celebrate the white privilege we have; rather, we learned about the experiences of people of color in our racist society and how to combat this racism. This battle is a feminist issue, because with intersectionality, racism and sexism are intricately linked.


We heard multiple keynote speakers, attended workshops on a range of topics and networked with other activists. The theme this year was Health Inequities. Many of the speakers talked about the health disparities for people of color and how to nurture our souls. My favorite keynote was Dr. Joy Degruy who spoke about the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. I could rant on and on about her speech, but instead I will direct you to her website. It's very difficult to summarize what I learned and experienced at the WPC because, for one I'm still processing my thoughts and emotions, and two, I learned sooo much! I would love to talk to anyone who has specific questions and share my notes from the weekend. Post comments or talk to me in class!
If you go to the WPC website at the link I posted above, and you like what you see, next year, the 12th Annual White Privilege Conference is being held, RIGHT HERE in Minneapolis!!
"Use privilege to create change, don't simply pass as a racist." -Dr. Degruy.

I found this article on and was instantly curious. While this doesn't tie directly into our class discussion about marriage as an institution, I think it still applies as a feminist issue because it deals with gender relations and roles, among other things.

First, I noticed that all of the couples pictured are heterosexual, and although there are couples of different races, there was only one interracial couple (and they looked like they were having serious issues). This speaks volumes of what the article is telling the reader is normal, healthy and attractive.

Apart from the subliminal messages, the direct message- the rules- were ridiculous. I'm all for giving some suggestions to a partner: yeah, help me clean up, that'd be great, and its nice to hold my hand and give me hugs and not be an ice-creature in general, but rule numbers 8 (surprise her) and 9 (apologize) took me by surprise, made me wrinkle my nose and say, really? These suggestions- write down reminders to do something nice on a weekly basis and apologize even if you weren't wrong- are just plain ridiculous and insinuate assumptions about males. These rules typecast men as beings unaware of women's needs and desires, that men need reminders to act decent (or civil, if you read rule number 2- respect your in-laws), and that they'll lie to shut their partner up (saying sorry when you're not sorry is just plain insincere). What does this do for men? And how does this affect their partners? What does it even mean, then, to be a good husband?

This is a feminist issue because... Hospital visitation

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I came across this article on about Obama asking the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule preventing hospitals from denying visitation to gay and lesbian couples. This is a feminist issue because it deals with equal rights between individuals, addressing sexual orientation and gender identification as barriers to services and privileges normally accessible to heterosexual individuals. I think that this is a step toward equal rights. However, as the article mentions, the lack of hospital visitation has been used as an argument in favor of gay marriage. I am curious what others think of Obama's order- will this make it easier to legally recognize gay marriage, or will this hinder the movement?

I came across this article on about women Hugh Hefner has rejected from Playboy magazine. I think it ties in with what we are reading about for class- sex work and its ramifications.

What is problematic about this article, and the larger construct of sex work, is that the author purports that a woman's worth is measured by whether or not one publication chooses to publish nude photos of her. "It has gotta hurt to hear that no one wants to check out your goody basket," the author, Olivia Allin, writes. What?! Yeah, it would be hurtful to hear that, but a statement like that implies that women are a commodity- a goody basket, no less. Women's bodies have become commodities in the sex industry- people pay for pictures, to see women take off their clothes, to perform sexual favors. Where is the equivalent industry for men, where women pay for pictures of men, etc.? And how do we change this perception of women as a consumer item?

What is more, who cares that these women were rejected by Playboy? Is this the ultimate measure of who is a sexy female? And since when is sex appeal, status or worth reduced to one type of women reflected in a single publication?

I think it is problematic and unfortunate that an article like this is popular (it was on the "most viewed" feed), but more problematic and unfortunate that women would be upset that one individual decided they do not measure up to some unrealistic standard.

This is a feminist issue...selling/marketing "freedom"

Throughout the semester, we have been critically engaging with the concept of freedom and how it functions as a goal for feminists and their political projects. The freedom to choose; the freedom to work (or not work); the freedom to and me; and now, in our "sex wars" section, the freedom to determine our own sexual lives/experiences/labor. Should freedom be a goal--and what does it mean (and at what/whose expense) is freedom promoted? All of these (and many more) questions were swimming around in my head as I watched this recent Special K commercial. Check it out here:

"Ladies, raise your spoons" this the legacy of feminism? The freedom to eat granola that won't make us fat?

Is sleep a feminist issue?

Check this out! This is an article about Ariana Huffington of the Huffington Post and Cindi Leive of Glamour have teamed up to take on what Leive calls "Sleep Challenge 2010". It is pretty interesting.

This is a feminist issue because... Glee!


I found this article as I was googling my favorite show:

For those of you who don't know, the show "Glee" is this years newest TV phenominon - it tracks a very small high school Glee club (a competitive show choir group) through their trials and tribulations, ranging from teen pregnancy to their regional competition. The show is amazingly unique, and I imagine that producing it was quite a risk. Aside from the fact that it is a musical, it deals with numerous contentious and progressive issues:

1. Coming out, and being gay in high school
2. Being a disabled high schooler
3. Teen pregnancy

How many shows can you think of there a main character is in a wheel chair? Or where a character has Downs Syndrome? Aside from being amazingly fresh, Glee is feminist in a few ways:

-All of the female characters are strong. The main character, Rachel, is self-assure to the point of conceit, but never loses her vision or goals. She is definitely regarded as a leader in the group. When she stumbles into a "Chastity Club" meeting, she listens for a few minutes before loudly dispelling the rumor that men want sex more than women.
-Quinn is another girl who has gotten pregnant - however, she is never portrayed as slutty, stupid, or helpless, stereotypes which often plague teenagers who are pregnant. She is shown as strong and capable, as well as clever.
-The characters have enough strength to stop relationships that are bad for them. How often do we see this in TV - or in real life, for that matter? How many TV shows revolve around a couple and their magnetic but destructive attraction to one another? Aside from countless reality TV shows, I can think of Gossip Girl, True Blood, Greek, Dexter, House... its nearly impossible to find strong characters who are willing to prioritize their emotional health and get out of destructive relationships. However, Quinn, Rachel, and Will Schuester all do.

What does this say about the future of television, and of feminism? Does the fact that this TV show has become a riotous success mean that the public is becoming more accepting of "radical" ideas? Are producers starting to see TV as a means to instigate social change? How many people are actually affected by the messages sent by this show?

Male Inequality


This is obviously problematic. But also hilarious.

What exactly does this clip point to? are there assumptions by males in our society that they are losing power and becoming increasingly emasculated? how does this clip act to critique this assumption? is humor a successful way to point out the ridiculous without getting too caught up in abstract theory?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Male Inequality
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

I first came across the story of Constance McMillen in the form this news story. The article is about how Constance, a senior in high school, wished to bring her girlfriend to prom and how her school subsequently canceled prom. Since then, Constance's life has consisted of ups and downs. She was invited to be a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in order to talk about her experiences. While on the program, she received a scholarship for $30,000. Furthermore, a lawsuit was filed by the ACLU, and a federal judge ruled that Constance's rights where indeed violated. However, no trial of yet has been held. Nevertheless, the school prom remained canceled, and students and parents decided to have a private prom. The understanding was that Constance would be invited to this private prom, which she was. However, on Friday she showed up at the "prom" that was planned by students and parents in the community. Turns out it was a fake prom. In this article, Constance is quoted as saying, "Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event. They had the time of their lives [and] That's the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn't have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom]." The rest of the kids who attend this high school were at another venue, enjoying their own prom.

Certainly this instance of discrimination and prejudice is a feminist issue, and I think it is an instance representative of the plight of those who face discrimination in society due to their sexuality and sexual orientation. The question I would like to pose is how does one address these issues? In this instance, a ruling was made saying that rights had been violated, and a trial is pending, but the bigger issue is the way in which such prejudice and bigotry is imbedded within society. The fact that "mature" parents would participate in such a disgusting, deplorable act of discrimination speaks volumes of the barriers that are yet to be overcome. The question is how. Education is perhaps the easy answer to give, yet how exactly does one go about educating an entire culture to lose its obsession and loathing for people who happen to be slightly different?

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Femisnit family Values-

Bristol Palin is ok for Bristol but not for anyone else? Really. Lets take a look at how this commercial makes it about class and not reality. Most young women who get pregnant are not wealthy and do not have much support. Because of social pressures and lack of money many of these young women cannot get or afford abortion,... leaving them to have few or no options and being a mother is not bad. Being a poor mother is not bad. Being a hypocrite, however, is.

my reasoning behind the privileged comment is for feminist this is a huge issue...meaning that for women the ability to mother and parent is constantly under scrutiny by our society, whether it is through welfare reform, abortion restrictions, family planning, media, capitalism etc women are given so many mixed messages about when to have, or not have children, how to or not how to raise their kids, and for Bristol to reinforce this by saying that the ability to parent is based on your ability to have money it invalidates many women, particularly women of color and women living in poverty ,who are parents, good parents, just not rich parents.

The reality is the inability to get fair access to birth control, family planning, community support, access to medical care, free and low-cost abortions, food, and housing make it almost impossible for women living in poverty to ever get out of the situation! Being born into a rich family is great. You get a good education and you have parents who generally care about what happens to you but for the women who are not in this position having a baby should not mean being told they cannot succeed. This is something that if we truly had this community sense about us, as a country, we would not be in this situation.

I came upon this article and thought I would share. It's very funny and sad at the same time.



I'm going to be using this news story on two levels- one, the obvious reasons this is a feminist issue. The second is the content of the show and recent plot.

Nicollette Sheridan, former star of "Desperate Housewives" is suing the creator of the popular show, according to this article. Sheridan, who played Edie Britt, claims that Marc Cherry hit her. This is a feminist issue for the obvious issues- gender violence, mistreatment of women by men, etc.

What is a feminist issue as well is the content of the show, which some may argue sets the feminist movement back by portraying women in archaic stereotypes of housewives who stay at home as caretakers and cater to their breadwinning husbands all while elegantly dressed and flawless-looking. This show (I admit, a guilty pleasure) includes a current plot line in which two of the leading ladies engage in a homosexual relationship. I would like to use this aspect of the plot to enter a discussion about the benefits or harm plots like this create.

The "Normativity" reading we read for class illuminates the issue of how and what we perceive as normal. Heterosexual relationships are consistently what drives the plot of the majority of prime time television. In recent years, several popular television shows introduced homosexual relationships. Whether this is done to boost ratings or to promote tolerance is arguable. I think it is great that shows portray a variety of diverse couples, but I think that it can be harmful to introduce a homosexual plot line only to point at it and say, "look how different!" If we strive for equality, why would someone include a particular relationship only to point out how different or sensational it is? If the show is truly trying to promote acceptance and equality, wouldn't it be beneficial to portray homosexual couples as totally normal, run-in-the-mill instead of the "token gay couple" or the "hot lesbians" ? Does anyone agree, disagree?

Class! Check out this timely video, in light of our recent class discussion!


According to Adora Svitak, an incredibly insightful and articulate 12 year old, "no matter your position or place in life, it is imperative to create opportunities for children, so we can grow up to blow you away."

If you agree with her that "the world's problems shouldn't be the human family's heirloom," what kinds of values must we cultivate today, as adults, as children, *with* each other? What might you take as instructive particularly from "feminist" family values? And how does what Adora argues incorporate--or depart from--"feminist" values?

I'd like to preface this with the following: if you're commenting, you don't have to address all of the issues presented.

Looking for the most off-the-wall feminist issue I could think of, I googled, "feminism urinals", and I came across the apparently controversial, multifaceted issues involved with urinating standing up and urinals/male restrooms in general:

1. As portrayed by, female body parts are used as urinals, sinks, and toilets. What is the appeal of peeing in a nun urinal or a urinal shaped like a pair of obviously-female lips? What does this say about how our society thinks of women? Do men see this as just humorous or just a urinal, or does this influence males to propagate patriarchy?

2. According to several blogs and forums, feminists in Sweden, Germany, and Australia are fighting to ban urinals. Their goal: to make men have to sit down to pee. How banning urinals would accomplish this...I don't know. The thinking behind eliminating urinals is that women can't so men shouldn't and a man standing up to pee is "a nasty macho gesture," reduces women, and "is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity." What do you think? Should urinals be banned? Is a urinal "just a urinal?" Is urinating standing up degrading to women or just a natural way to perform a bodily function?

3. Some feminists think that there should be female urinals in female restrooms. This would make both men's and women's restrooms equal. Another suggestion is unisex urinals. With unisex urinals in both men's and women's restrooms, it would make choosing between the two less daunting for intersexual and transgender individuals. Alex Schweder suggests that restrooms are designed from a Freudian model that states that women are basically men without a penis. Similarly, women's restrooms are men's restroom's lacking urinals. With the penis being a symbol of power or superior masculinity, installing urinals in female restrooms will be one more step towards leveling the playing field between men and women.

4. Along the lines of #3, the GoGirl is a convenient toilet for women, allowing them to pee standing up. The GoGirl website even claims, "You won't be like a man. You'll just pee like one."

While the video does explain the usefulness of the product, does the statement, "You won't be like a man. You'll just pee like one," seem to be taking this issue too far? Moreover, isn't "[being] like a man" part of the equality feminism strives for? The way it's phrased, it sounds like "[being] like a man" is a negative thing. Is penis envy the bigger issue?

Why is or isn't peeing standing up a feminist issue?

Feminist Issue....Emotion and its barrier


Through the course of this class, I have been dwelling on how emotion plays a central role in feminism; specifically related to the stereotypical view of feminists as man-haters, which in my opinion is related to the lack of emotional regulation in certain feminist, namely in the sense of debate. It helps to understand what emotions are. Emotions involve complex combinations of physiological sensations, cognitive appraisals of situations, cultural labels, and free or inhibited affective displays (Simon 1138) (1).

Now, I understand that the aggressive behaviors of certain feminists directed towards men specifically do not represent feminists in general, but they clearly affect how feminism is viewed in society and in this sense, in my opinion, that it is clearly not beneficial to the feminist movement. Instead, it promotes a sense of resentment towards the important goal of feminism of ending sexism, by societies perception of the affiliation of these behaviors of anger and spite displayed by the lack of emotional regulation in some feminist. My further disclaimer includes that perhaps these individuals have a good reason to be spiteful towards men through abusive and oppressive experiences with them, which does not represent the general male population. However, in my opinion these aggressive behaviors should not have a place in feminism as with any other movement due to their adverse effects inhibiting the movement's goal.

Such angry and hateful perception of what makes up a feminist is even recognized by hooks, "I tend to hear all about the evil of feminism and the bad feminists: how "they" hate men...." (hooks vii), and "Mostly they think feminism is a bunch of angry women who want to be like men (hooks viii)".

Behavior stems from emotions, which can turn into anger and resentment, which is a good thing when it is used in self-preservation that is beneficial in examples such as physical distress or abusive relationships. But when they foster behavior that negatively impacts the goals of a movement in simple communication, I think they are more beneficial when kept to a personal level rather then displayed publicly when they tie in to an association of a more general cause.

I believe that when these angry behaviors are expressed in debates, or in any communication trying to persuade a change of views in another individual, it is self-defeating in that it raises defensive emotions in the recipient that cause barriers in communication. When related specifically to feminism, the result is a "turn-off" of the individual to the cause due to the association of these aggressive behaviors with the movement.

Another effect emotion has if not regulated is its ability to decrease logic or reasoning. This is what is known as "getting caught up in the moment", or "I don't know what I was thinking". Well, at least for me anyways when I can identify with those sayings means that I wasn't thinking, I was reacting to emotions. New York Radical Women issued a set of principles that read in part as follows: "We take the women's side in everything, we ask not if something is reformist, radical, or revolutionary, or moral, but we ask: is it good for women or bad for women" (Jaggar 10).

Quotes by Genevieve Vaughan that include "By uniting with each other across all the boundaries patriarchy creates, we can finally step back form the brink of human and planetary disaster", and "Our governments keeps us ignorant of the damage done by Air Force Jets" (Feminist Forum,7).

These in my opinion are examples of how emotion has the ability to distort reality due to its inhibiting effect on logical reasoning. I think basing judgements solely on whether anything is simply either good for women or bad for women is, impulsive to be honest but related to emotional irregulation. And human and planetary disaster seems quite an extreme. Even Air Force Jets. Granted perhaps there is a shred of reasoning that the government may have a reason to be reluctant on emissions produced by Air Force Jets in a global warming sense, despite thousands of scientists who understand the chemistry and it's effect on the ozone layer. So the government oppresses each and every one of them? But why single out Air Force Jets? What about automobiles? What about commercial jets? Do you think that Vaughn flew anywhere this year on a commercial jet? Maybe she flew to the very convention in which she made that statement. Perhaps there is prejudice towards the military in correlation to men. Perhaps it is emotional.

So my .02 cents is this I suppose, when you try and persuade someone to a cause and your heart starts to race, you get impatient, irritated, animosity starts to build towards that person, and you take it personally like sometimes I can, slow down and compose yourself. Regulate your emotions. Use logic as your reasoning and it will go further. The best way to persuade someone is to understand them, the best way to understand someone is to accept their differences, even you don't agree with them. When you accept someone, that defensive mechanism is neutralized which will open them up to your logic and reasoning, the best way to persuasion.

(1) American Journal of Sociology Volume 109 Number 5, (March 2004).

This is a feminist issue because... Prom dress


Going along with Chloe's comments today, when I watched this video, I started thinking about feminist family values and the importance of realizing how valuable children's input, ideas, and thoughts were.

What I was most shocked about was the lack of expression students could employ at the Prom... I thought her dress looked gorgeous. But in addition to that, paddling?! This girl had 2 choices... 3 days suspension or paddling. 17 other girls, being seniors in High School, chose the paddling over the suspension. Only the girl featured in the video chose the suspension. It makes me ponder the rules that the authority at the school has imposed upon these students. Does anyone happen to know if this is even legal? I'm guessing it is, I'm just not familiar with corporal punishment.

I also wonder about the dress code for men. And how much easier it must have been to abide by those dress codes.

What are some of your thoughts?

This article gave a brief analysis of the Icelandic political system, which has many more women than almost every other country world wide. They have recently banned stripping and lapdancing - what is interesting, however, is that this law was based in feminist reasoning, instead of religious reasoning. I think it raises a couple of issues. First of all, I was slightly annoyed by the line, "Clearly, if we want to live in a more progressive country, we should be electing more and more women. Granted, some would probably be Republicans." I think it's a common misconception to equate feminism with liberalism. But that's mostly unrelated. Do more women automatically mean more feminist policies? Also, I think this topic will be even more interesting as we start to think about the sex wars topic - what about those women who feel empowered by taking control of their bodies and WANT to strip? How can be balance exploitation with personal desire? Does it make a difference what the logic behind our laws is, if they have the same effect (Feminism vs religion)?

gay rights.jpg

I ran across this article as I was looking for articles on the Prison Industrial Complex. The sum of this article is the complete ban and fear of homosexuality within Zimbabwe. This country is currently writing a new constitution and there has been a strong push to include gay rights in the constitution and this has been flatly declined by the president. Even the president's opponent agrees on the anti-homosexual policy that is currently in place. Two men are currently facing 14 years in prison for their homosexuality. My first reaction to to most articles that pass this blog is shear shock! I know that there are strong feelings on homosexuality, but for a country's opposing government parties to agree on a complete ban of homosexuality is astonishing. Usually I see bipartisanship as a good thing, but not in this case. It makes me sad to think that a government would have such a detrimental policy even if members of a government party did not subscribe to the same beliefs and lifestyles. This is an issue that America has fought consistently throughout its conception and I feel that I take a lot for granted in comparison. One of the most sobering lines in the article was " Homophobia is the norm throughout Africa. In Uganda, a lawmaker has proposed harsh penalties for homosexuality, including the death penalty in some circumstances". The death penalty??? This extreme oppression is tragic and I believe that this is definitely a feminists issue because it restricts the freedom for people to choose a way of life and happiness. This is a direct infringement on people being able to express forms of love and a government should not have the power to dictate forms and qualities of love.

This is a feminist issue because... fairy theme park

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I read this article and wow, is this one heck of a theme park. To sum up the article, there has recently been a theme park opened in southwestern China called "The Little People's Kingdom of Magical Dwarfs." Basically, this theme park is manned almost completely by little people who put on skits, dress up like fairies, and entertain guests (who pay 80 yuan as an entrance fee - to put this in perspective, a bus ticket or subway ticket in China is no more than 2 yuan one way.) The owner of the park defends it by staying "I'm very happy with it [...] Because some people don't get it, they think we are using the dwarfs [...] But what we are actually doing is giving them a platform to live, giving them worth and the ability to work freely, to exist freely."
dwarf theme park.jpg
What's interesting about this topic is the viewpoints of many of the workers. Because of traditional Chinese culture, there is much discrimination against dwarfs. Upon some further research and reading more articles, it seems that it's pretty much general consensus among the workers that their work at the theme park is better than any other work they might find.

So digging down, I feel that the basic reason that this is a feminist issue is not dealing specifically with the morality of the park itself, but the reason for which these workers have no choice but to take these jobs. Discrimination against anything that is not "normal" has been a recurring theme throughout this course so far: transgendered people, "non-traditional" households, etc. Also, the park is definitely not helping tone down stigmas and stereotypes that little people are "freaks" and "abnormal."

Between 2000 and 2008, more than 4,300 women were murdered in Guatemala. According to the online magazine, Upside Down World, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, and Guatemala Human Rights Commission, Guatemala is one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America. This is because it is considered "fashionable" for Guatemalan men to murder women, often torturing and or raping them beforehand. Making this matter even worse, most of the murderers, 98-99%, have not been prosecuted. With only a 1-2% chance of getting caught, many men are literally getting away with murder. While the Guatemalan congress passed a law against femicide and other forms of violence against women. Below is an excerpt from the documentary "Killer's Paradise."

How is femicide in Guatemala a feminist issue? How much responsibility for these murders rests on the government's shoulders and how much on its citizens'? What does it say about Guatemalan culture that a law against killing and hurting women had to be passed? Why does it take so long for such heinous crimes against women to decrease?

As a freshmen, I took an anthropology class: Understanding Cultures. In it, we were exposed to many different cultures and subcultures. One of the topics was female genital mutilation/cutting/circumcision, which primarily takes place in Muslim countries in Africa, and some still occur in Asia and the middle East. It is banned by most western nations, and the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, and the United Nations have all taken a stance against female genital mutilation Putting it lightly, the graphic movies we watched and revealing literature we read were horrifying and made me cringe. There are a variety of ways that females' genitals are mutilated for the purpose of maintaining "purity," becoming a woman, and reducing sexual pleasure (for just the female). They can involve cutting, removing, burning, or sewing shut various genitals, as explained in this article. Many who undergo such procedures are very young girls (sometimes infants). Many are forcibly held down and must endure great pain with these often irreversible alterations, often without anesthesia. These practices are unsafe, using knives or razors for cutting, which can result in excessive bleeding or death. Despite this, some still support female genital mutilation. Below is a video explaining the cultural significance of female genital mutilation to a Sierra Leone community.

How is or isn't this a feminist issue? Should the WHO, UN, and Amnesty International take a stance or get involved, or should tradition be respected? Is it acceptable for infants and children be performed on or just adult women? Is it okay only if the procedure is reversible? Should western countries be more open to this, allowing it in hospitals (and, perhaps, providing a safer experience)? Do you see this as a way in which women are honored and cherished or violated and reduced?

I was really racking my brain trying to think of feminist issues that aren't already on the blog, and I ended up focusing on female "purity." Female virginity is a big deal in most cultures, usually accompanied by a double standard for men. Prized particularly by men, women often go to extreme lengths to remain or seem "pure." Some take preventive steps, such as female genital mutilation; others may break their hymen before marriage by: rape, premarital sex, strenuous exercise, tampon usage, or some childhood accident. For women who have a torn hymen, their value as a woman, wife, girlfriend, family member, or whatever is diminished if anyone were to find out. Women often resort to hymenoplasty so that no one knows. Unfortunately, many cannot afford such surgeries; however, Gigimo has created an "Artificial Virginity Hymen" (for the low, low price of $29.90), which a woman can insert in her vagina before intercourse and contains fake blood so that her husband doesn't know that she's not a virgin. Also, this device protects her from the shame or violence of (male) family member(s) in response to her lost virginity. The above audio, as well as articles from NPR and LA Times, explains the backlash this device has received from lawmakers in Egypt, claiming that it encourages promiscuity.

Why is or isn't this a feminist issue? Should feminists be for or against such devices? (Should women feel empowered to be able to rely on a device like this as a way of rebelling against "tradition," or should they be more saddened by the need for such a product?) Could banning the device be positive, causing women to speak out, or would it quash any efforts from women to gain equality?

I am not very familiar with what's going on with the Health Care Reform Bill, but I read in an article from the National Organization for Women that the reform has several stipulations that restrict women's rights. The article pointed out that although congressmen talk around this issue, this bill eliminates basically all private and public insurance coverage for abortion. The bill established insurance "exchanges" which sets up two kinds of insurance: one that includes abortion coverage and one that doesn't. It requires that those with the insurance plan write two monthly checks; one for the abortion care rider and the other for all other health care. This separation allows the insurance plan to charge more for the additional abortion coverage. Hence, this restricts many poor women who cannot afford to pay the extra fee for the abortion coverage. This can have serious implications because it may be that those who cannot afford the abortion coverage, are the people that need it the most. Moreover, the writer also mentioned that the bill allows insurance plans to charge women higher premiums because they are women.

This is definitely a feminist issue because it is quite puzzling that such a bill that restricts the rights for women has been passed. If this health reform bill actually does limit women's rights this way, I think this needs to change because this bill does not serve the needs of everyone, universally. Although men and women are different in some aspects, we are both human and are entitled to health care.

menandfeminism.jpgI was discussing the above question with a friend of mine in the GWSS class the other day, and we were both curious about the implications of a yea or nea decision.

Let's start with a basic definition of feminism. In Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks defines feminism as "a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression."

If a man wants to "end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression" is he allowed to call himself a feminist?

Ultimately, my friend and I outlined two opposing perspectives on this issue:

Perspective One: Even though they represented an empowered identity, anti-racist Caucasians were considered to be part of the Civil Rights Movement and were still called civil rights activists; civil rights activists could be advocates (minorities) or allies (non-minorities). In a similar vein, shouldn't men, as an empowered identity, still be allowed to call themselves feminists? (Note: I've heard some refer to men as feminist allies, but that seems to imply that they aren't full-fledged feminists in their own right.)

Perspective Two: Although the above statement regarding the Civil Rights Movement is true, it is highly unlikely that whites would have encouraged or would have asked to join the Black Panther Party, an African American nationalist political party. It was understood that the Black Panther Party was an advocate-only group, composed only of African Americans. Is Feminism also an advocate-only group, composed only of women?

This is a feminist issue because... Conscience Bill

The Idaho House of Representatives has basses a "Conscience Bill" that allows any health care professional to deny access to contraception, abortion, stem-cell, end-of-life treatment, or medication due to their conscience. The article which discusses this bill in the Feminist Majority Foundation makes the point that a person's conscience and what they feel comfortable with should be considered, but then who is looking out for the patient and their rights?

I believe that in a medical setting patients' rights should always come first. At the same time, a person should not have to do something they feel uncomfortable with and do not agree with. Personally, I feel that if someone is not comfortable with providing these reproductive rights to people, this are of the medical field is not the right place for them to be working, as they are not suited to the demands of the job. There are plenty of other careers probably more suited to someone who doesn't feel comfortable providing reproductive services to patients, even within the medical field that these people should consider. The patient should not have to suffer simply because a medical professional has entered a job in which they do not feel comfortable performing the duties required of them in such a position.

A bill has been proposed by the Missouri state Senate which would require medical professionals to attempt to obtain various personal information from women upon receiving an abortion. According to an article in Feminist Majority Foundation this information would include the reason the woman sought the abortion, including the specific medical, social, and economic factors influencing the decision as well as whether the woman was using any form of birth control when she got pregnant and if so what type.

If this bill is passed, the doctor must ask these questions and not discourage the women from answering the questions in any way, but the information is all voluntary so the women may refuse to answer the questions. They claim the purpose of this law would be for the government to obtain more information on the reasons women seek abortions.

I feel like the process of asking these questions may seem degrading to the woman who is getting the abortion. They are not necessary questions to ask and the government does not need to know why each woman chose abortion. Women should have the right to choose, and their decision should not be questioned. While it is not required that the woman disclose this information to proceed with the abortion, I believe that asking these questions is an invasion of one's privacy. If the government does feel that more information of this sort is needed, then maybe an anonymous questionnaire can be included as part of the paperwork done before the procedure and if the woman chooses to fill it out that is her choice and if not it is a less awkward and personal setting for the woman to decide not to disclose such personal information.

Models in the fashion industry are typically rail-thin and unhealthy. But obese women is also a preference for some women. Eating disorders are prevalent in modeling, from anorexia and bulimia to even overeating. A 600 pound model for reports in an article on the ABC news website, "I'm heavy and I wouldn't mind being heavier", as she discusses all of the edible gifts her fans send her. This article only briefly addresses the health concerns involved in obesity, and nowhere in the article does it mention how these obese models view themselves. Every quote or paraphrase taken in this article by these women concerns how men view these women and how they feel that they can be sexy this way for some men as well. Nowhere does it say that any of these women like being obese simply because they are simply confident, only that the men out there who find obese women sexy make them confident and this is why they model for these men.

Women should not feel like they have to be stick skinny to feel comfortable with themselves, but they also should not only be comfortable with themselves by modeling for men who like large women in order to receive gifts and fan mail in response. Women should aim to be healthy and accept their bodies without the approval of men, and men should be happy with a healthy confident woman, no matter what her size.

Michelle (Bombshell) McGee is a Feminist Issue Because...

Michelle McGee has allegedly had an affair with Sandra Bullock's husband, Jesse James. She recently did a photo shoot for Tattoo Revue magazine, telling the publication's founder he should put her on the cover because "I'm going to be real hot soon". Three months after the shoot she decided to go public with her alleged affair with Jesse James. According to an article on People magazines website, a friend of Michelle's said "I would not be surprised if she went after Jesse James because she thought it would bring her fame".

Women who go after married men are a feminist issue. When women are trying to achieve gender equality, we cannot treat each other in this poor manner at the same time. How can women expect men to treat every woman with respect when women themselves treat each other in this manner? Yes, Jesse James is in the wrong as well for stepping out on his wife, but this is a whole other feminist issue.

It is thought that Michelle McGee also went after Jesse James and went public with the affair in order to gain more fame and create opportunities for herself, like getting on the cover of a magazine. Women using men for their fame and money is another part of this feminist issue. In the feminist movement women want to be seen as equals to men who are capable of supporting themselves and making their own lives, and this type of behavior encourages a lifestyle in which women use men to elevate their own status and quality of life instead of doing it in an independent and honest manner.

Hi class! I want to apologize for missing your presentations on work agendas and the discussions that ensued last Thursday. I was attending an IAS panel on ecological restoration and the Mississippi River Gorge at the same time.
Of the many topics that were discussed, some included how to manage a watershed that is both highly urban and green, future visions of the Twin Cities stretch of the river (from island restoration to dam removal to a white water park installation), the enormous amount of collaboration necessary (between residents, industry, government, transportation, security, and nonprofits, to name a few) for river projects to ensue, and the need for river revitalization to address both human and nonhuman needs.

District9.jpgTwo days later, I presented a paper on posthumanism at the "Framing the Human" graduate conference that took place here on campus. It critiqued some of the oppressive tropes of the hit 2009 film, District 9 (many of which parallel problems in Avatar), then it discussed the potentially liberatory aspects of its narrative, all the while exploring what it might mean to reframe our politics away from humanist, rights-based discourse.

It occurred to me that these topics--ecology, environmental stewardship, getting beyond humanist frameworks, etc.--might seem endemic to feminist movement for some of you--especially those of you who have written about your interest in ecofeminism. For others, there may exist a disconnect between these issues and your definition of feminism--especially those of you who have argued that feminism is a humanist, rights-based pursuit, and one whose definitions and practices desperately need to be narrowed, not expanded. There is ample support for both of these perspectives in feminist theory, activism, and literature. What is your take?


This is a Feminist issue...

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Washington DC is making female condoms available for free along with male condoms. Click here. I hadn't really realized before that male condoms are often free, but female condoms are not. It makes more sense for a woman to be in control of her own body...

I believe this article misses the point of a critical and useful tool for the fight for feminism: Liberation. To the contrary of Mr. Harrison, I believe not only is this a feminist issue due to it's liberation of women in Afghanistan, but an opportunity that should be taken advantage of to the highest of it's ability.

Mr. Harrison pointed out some points that may be true, or could be false. Depends on his source of information I suppose, which he does not include in the article. But lets say for arguments sake he is right. What if things haven't change for Afghan women in the recent years? Well, I think it is unrealistic to think that such impacts will be felt in a matter of a few years, and cannot be quantatative at this point. First the oppressive power has to be eliminated. Then an authority restored that fosters freedom and choice. Then organizations set up to re-educate the roles of women, plus institutinos created such as medical facilities and care, then the results of womens longevity of life will be felt, and a lower death rate concerning birth. These examples will take years to happen, and will not happen while there is still a war going on between our military and the oppressive taliban. Any assets that we create will be stolen, destroyed or even used as human shields by the taliban. This is why in my opinion we must stay till the job is done. Otherwise many people will continue to be oppressed, including women.

Why is it our fight? Well I am predicting an out-lash concerning about how our foreign policy as a nation is narcotic, and how there is no place for war ever, anywhere. I agree to a point. The world is not perfect, humans our not perfect, I am not perfect, you are not perfect. But rather then dwelling on our imperfections or bad decisions, why not focus on the possibilities of ending sexism in other nations through these good or bad decisions? I don't know if I am ready to insist that the liberation of Afghan is our fight. The point that I will make, is that since we are at it whether the reasons are justified or not, why wouldn't we fight for the liberation of Afghan women? We do have the resources through our military to make an impact. Why woudn't feminism use administrative resources, financial investments and knowledge, and work through our military, or take advantage of our military being there and better the lives of these Afghan women? I am sure there are some organizations doing this. Does this make it our fight? Is it a cause worth fighting for? is this resource of fighting sexism unacceptable because it may take advantage of our military occupation of a nation? Can feminism look past an issue such as war, or the thought of even being associated with our military for the simple reason of furthering the cause of feminism? Does this make it our fight?

The movie industry-

Women in Hollywood- When we think about some of the major industries in this country we have to include the entertainment industry. Although we have seen strides in the film industry like the acceptance of mixed race couples, gay and lesbian performances, casting men and women of color in leading roles, there are still less women than men in the industry when it comes to the technical side of filmaking. Thinking about work and where women work it is interesting to see how few women are a part of the behind-the scenes in Hollywood.

Janr Fonda Work this interesting article and gives us a little montage of women who have been sucessful in Hollywood. Why is there this issue and why are there less women then men directing major motion pictures?

This is a feminist issue because...


In my creative writing class today, we had a guest speaker. She appeared to be a wonderful woman, and a very good fiction writer. She gave us advice and did pretty regular routine talk for our writing lecture. The thing that caught my attention was that she told a story. Her short story was about how she liked when men read her books. She didn't add the word more after that, but it was intended that she felt more complimented when men read her books than women. Why? She went on with her story to say that EVEN Arnold Schwarzenegger had read some of her work, "and bought ten copies!" It didn't come off as such a brag, but it was such a weird thing to me. "If Arnold Schwarzenegger can read my books, anyone can!" Who cares?

A not so feminist take on stay at home dad's

This is an interesting article that was posted on femimnisting about housework and women. Obviously Dr. Laura has an interesting idea of what a man's role is and as a feminist I think she is way off base. Men, just like women, are and should be responsible for the raising of their children.

Dr. Laura

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