Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Hooha About...VaJayJays

One of the most powerful sex-ed exercises that I ever participated in was the one in which we students were asked - mostly to our horror - to name slang terms for our "parts." Because the facilitator then turned it into a feminist-y discussion about positive female body image and societal messages about how "icky" things are "down there." Further, my favorite scenes in Eve Ensler's Vagina Monolgues are those that deal with "nicknames" for vaginas and reclaiming once-disparaging terms ("cunt...cunt...CUNT!").

So it didn't really bother me when strong female character Dr. Bailey on Grey's Anatomy referred to her "vajayjay" under the duress of labor. What does bother me is the fact that the TV censors have problems with the word "vagina." And that discussion about this fact focuses more on the term than on the actual issue: Why are slang terms more "appropriate" for prime time television than standard medical anatomy terms?

Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

The M-Word

What do you think of the word "moist"?


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

An Abortificant Is An Abortificant Is An Abortificant Is An Abortificant...

Unless It Is A Contraceptive

This just in on Reuters...RU486 is not the same as Plan B.

Via Broadsheet (whose reporting we can rely on)

Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

46th Carnival of Feminists

The 46th Carnival of Feminists is up at Cubically Challenged.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NWSAction 2.0

Featuring a Vlog by Yours Truly

Check out the premier edition of NWSAction 2.0, the interactive and all-electronic newsmagazine published twice yearly by the National Women's Studies Association. NWSA's embrace of new and emerging technologies is refreshing and I hope that other academic institutions and disciplines will follow their lead.

Full Disclosure: I interned for NWSA from 2006-2007.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Monday, October 15, 2007

ERA 2.0

And the debate on blogging feminism continues...This time in the context of continued efforts to add an ERA, or the Women's Equality Amendment, to the US Constitution.

At the end of this Newsweek article, Jennie Yabroff asks
But even if blogging can translate into real-world activism, will it be enough to hold a movement together? That's a question this generation of feminists will have to answer themselves.


I'm hopeful that those riding the cyberwave of feminism already are answering this question...

Via Girl with Pen


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Colbert '08

I heart Stephen Colbert. Why? Check out his OpEd in the NYTimes...

A few of the Colbert family jewels:
Let me regurgitate: I know why you want me to run, and I hear your clamor. I share Americans’ nostalgia for an era when you not only could tell a man by the cut of his jib, but the jib industry hadn’t yet fled to Guangdong. And I don’t intend to tease you for weeks the way Newt Gingrich did, saying that if his supporters raised $30 million, he would run for president. I would run for 15 million. Cash.
Nevertheless, I am not ready to announce yet — even though it’s clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative.
What do I offer? Hope for the common man. Because I am not the Anointed or the Inevitable. I am just an Average Joe like you — if you have a TV show.


Via Feministe

Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Friday, October 12, 2007

On Books and the Blogosphere

Vlogging with Girl with Pen

Head on over to Girl with Pen to check out a great vlog on Books and the Blogosphere. It stars Deborah Siegel and yours truly...and is part of a larger project - so stay tuned for more vlogs and updates.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Last Call for the Real Hot 100

Nominate a young woman leader who you know is a "real hottie" NOW!

The deadline for nominating women to the 2007 Real Hot 100 is Monday, October 15th. Recognize the amazing work of young woman leader in your life by nominating her today.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Another Indictment of Online Activism

...Maybe the new revolutions is already happening online...and some folks just aren't logged on...

According to aNYTimes OpEd by Thomas Friedman:
America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage (it must be in there) of Generation Q. That’s what twentysomethings are for — to light a fire under the country. But they can’t e-mail it in, and an online petition or a mouse click for carbon neutrality won’t cut it. They have to get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention rather than just patronize them.

Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms. Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall. Virtual politics is just that — virtual.


I guess successful actions like the 2004 March for Women's Lives - which was mobilized via virtual mehtods - doesn't count???


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Live Blogging the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate

I Spy Sexism?

In watching the Republican debate tonight with Roomie*, I noticed that the candidates seemed to only refer to one Democratic candidate. Whether criticizing the blue party's policies or individual campaign strategies, one Democratic candidate seemed to take the spotlight.

Do the male Republican candidates have a crush on the female Democratic candidate? Is this like middle school when you tease and put down the girl you like the most?

Or is it just easier to throw rhetorical punches at a straw woman?

PS...And Rudy Guilani on "policing the internet"...Thoughts??? An FCC for the 'net - what would that look like?

*We enjoy horror flicks.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mister First Lady Man

On Coupling and the Whitehouse



So, I was reading Roomie's copy of New York Magazine today. I mean, after seeing the cover art of femme-Bill, I felt compelled. I had to see what was inside - if Bill as Jackie O. (drag photoshop style, of course) was the on the outside.

While Jennifer Senior's article "How a Clinton II White House Might Work" followed the usual premise of the Husband-as-First-Lady role reversal riff, I was surprisingly refreshed by Ariel Levy's "The Upended Gender Politics of '08." Levy (who I don't always quite agree with) credits Hillary's tone-setting tenure as first lady and subsequent independent political carrer as what has made first-wives-to-be into campaign spokeswomen who are generally accepted by the public:
But the main reason Elizabeth Edwards can say what she wants, can speak so freely, so knowledgeably, and so aggressively - and still seem so cozy - is that by actually running, Hillary Clinton is doing Edwards and all the other candidates' wives the favor of absorbing much of the anxiety, suspicion, and contempt many Americans still feel toward accomplished women - which would otherwise be directed at them.

What both of these articles made me contemplate is the way in which career couples are read in our society. Complicating the personal/political/public/private, marriages are now under the microscope - and perhaps being studied with a new lens? Or perhaps not. While such power couples and "gender reversals" are unique to the '08 elections, it seems that all this fuss is being created more by the fact that the culture can't metabolize such working marriages (with spouses who both work in their own right) than by the actual issues up for debate.

Which leaves me wondering...How can we stretch the concept of partnership* so that successful women and men can both have their careers without having to play second fiddle or having their career choice limited to the "family" business? Because, right now, it seems that spouses can't share the spotlight or even perform separately on their own stages in this metaphorical theater of career life. As an audience, we seem to be demanding that only one spouse can have a leading role. Which, in a world that necessitates dual earner households, seems to be a mold that society won't fit into anymore...And that I don't think I necessarily want to call back for an encore either.

*I use partnership here to move away from the heteronormative nature of the debate at present and to attempt to be inclusive despite the fact that the public debate hasn't quite reached the stage of considering Mr. President and Mr. First Lady or Madame President and Mrs. First Lady.

Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Anorexia is Not Sexy

Despite what Halloween costume makers might want you to believe, there's nothing sexy about anorexia. But costumes that portray this disease as such certainly are frightening.

I think feminists of Halloweens past have done a good job of analyzing highly sexualized female Halloween costumes, so I won't get into that more here other than to wonder...How "scary" would it be if women rejected normative body myths and just had fun with this carnivalesque holiday this year?

Via Broadsheet

Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Next Feminist Wave...Will Be Online

In a recent interview with The Nation, Jessica Valenti of Feministing predicted that the next wave of feminism will be online:
I'm really positive that the fourth wave is going to be online feminism, just because of the outreach capability itself. It's really insane. A teenager did a Google search on Jessica Simpson, and she got directed to Feministing, because we wrote about Jessica Simpson's creepy dad. And now this girl is a regular reader. Which is a really subversive, awesome thing, I think it's happening on Myspace and Facebook too.
Online feminism lets you choose what you want to be interested in, lets you decide your own level of engagement, which is really important form women in terms of letting their politics into their everyday lives. So that's what I think, and I swear it has nothing to do with my blog.*

To which I must say - right on. That's why this blog is bicycle-less and riding the cyberwave, for sure.

*Emphasis added.

Via Girl with Pen

Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

Monday, October 01, 2007

To The Contrary: Feminism Interrupted (Or Not)

Ann over a Feministing recently posted about the discussion that took place on PBS's To the Contrary about the lack of young women's involvement in feminism as a movement. Analyzing specific points that host Bonnie Erbe and guests Jane Hamsher and Eleanor Holmes Norton made, Ann smartly summarizes the problem with such arguments that indite younger women for a perceived lack of a young feminist movement despite their active online presence:
I think if the online feminist community has proved anything, it's that we [young women and generation Y] are a movement generation. I participated in feminist actions on my college campus, but that felt more like a club than a movement. I worked for a women's rights nonprofit, but that felt more like a day job than a movement. I went to rallies and marches, but they felt more like one-off events than a movement. It took blogging here, and being part of a community of feminist bloggers, for me to really feel like part of a feminist movement. To feel I was part of a group of people, committed to a set of ideals, who are working day in and day out to advance those ideals.


As the interviews that I conducted for my M.A. thesis - with feminist bloggers of all ages - the offline feminist movement is enhanced by the online feminist movement (which I personally see as the as the same movement, but others might disagree). Feminists around the world use the blogosphere to share information and strategize actions. And as many feminist bloggers have pointed on their blogs and in their interviews with me, they see both online *and* offline activism as important parts of achieving feminist goals. Although feminism may be branded differently for different cohorts, this repackaging does not mean that the latest generation of women is not taking up the feminist cause. It just means that they (we!) are doing it in their (our) own way. And isn't that the key to preserving an ongoing feminist movement - continued investment and ownership?

For more on generational divides in the feminist movement, I recommend Deborah Siegel's Sisterhood, Interrupted.

Via Feministing.


Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.