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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
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No holidays or parades for homeless women veterans

Meet America's fastest growing homeless population. The harrowing stories of women who served -- and were forgotten

As we rightly commemorate those who perished while serving in the Armed Forces today, another group of veterans is getting little attention, and its numbers are swelling: homeless women veterans. In fact, while the problem among male veterans has dropped, homelessness among women veterans has risen sharply. It may come as a surprise, but women veterans are the fastest growing homeless population in the nation.

I recently completed production of a documentary, War Zone / Comfort Zone, in which I followed the story of two women — one of them a Gold Star mother — who fight to establish Connecticut’s first transitional, supportive house for women veterans. The women and their allies faced neighborhood opposition in several towns, and establishing a home with fifteen beds for women veterans and their children took more than four years. (A house in Delaware is currently facing a similar response.)

Gladys is one who has struggled with homelessness and depression since she returned from Iraq. She is a funny, resourceful and generous person who grew up in a Colombian immigrant household in the Bronx. Gladys initially joined the Air Force to see the world and better herself — a pioneering move in the 1970s. She settled in Connecticut and worked for the U.S. Postal Service, and remained in the reserves for twenty years.

When Gladys turned forty, she wanted to challenge herself again and decided to join the Army Reserves, serving two tours of duty in the Iraq War. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and serious spinal damage, and spent a year recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center.


A Shift in Focus: Why I've Chosen to Say "Consent-Positive" Rather Than "Sex-Positive"

(A very interesting and informative POV---a bit graphic in places)

This decision's been building for a long time. It's by no means final, absolute, or certain, only that it makes space for my own uncertainty (and hopefully the uncertainty and hesitation of others but more on that later). Like many things concerning love and relationships and sex, this decision and the conversations I've had surrounding it have resisted simplicity and can only be expressed in the messy progression that follows.

I'll start with my own experience. In the past when using the term “sex-positive” I, like many of my women friends, have had listeners assume that by saying I'm sex-positive I'm saying I’ll be into whatever kind of sex they’re into. And also that I am willing to do that kind of sex with them soon or immediately. "Sex-positive" is optimistically coded as consent, potential consent or some indication of how/what I will consent to. I can’t say I've had a full frontal "Hey! but I thought you were sex-positive" when I've refused such sexual advances but I have been coerced and "c'mon”d. On two separate occasions, other “sex-positive” (male) party goers suggested that because of my nudity at past events and my self-professed sex-positivity I should disrobe and “continue the tradition”. I first started to say “consent-positive” in an attempt to duck the possibility of the creepy interactions "sex-positive" had elicited.

It's not just self defense, but it was because of this and other like experiences that I slowly began to realize more reasons for this shift. I began to notice that whenever I talked about being kinky, poly, and/or sex-positive what I ended up talking about was consent. As much as I do enjoy talking about sex it felt much safer personally and more transgressive politically to talk about how powerful an experience I've found it to build language and rituals that ensure that my consent, and the consent of those I am sharing space with is consistently receiving attention. (Note I don't say that consent itself be constant or even consistent).

One of the main reasons I continue wanting to wrench focus onto consent rather than the sex is that when sex is the rhetorical focus of a conversation or the goal of a movement consent starts to look like a means (getting to yes) to an end (sex). Some of you may recognize this progression model as it is commonly identified in feminist circles as a way in which men are taught to and often do relate to women and women's sexualities. It's the same logic that tells folks that the ideal romantic evening involves a man romancing (the consent out of) the woman and him fucking her until he (or they both) comes. In this narrative sex is the happy ending and consent is the means. I want consent to be both the means and the end! I want consent without sex to be viewed as it's own happy ending.

Opinion: How the Prime Meridian Changed the World

Indeed, before the Guide and Almanac, the world had a deadly longitude problem. Navigation at sea was extremely difficult, resulting in countless disasters and disappearances over the centuries because ships' captains simply could not figure out where they were.

For instance, on Oct. 22, 1707, more than 1,400 British sailors died because a storm caused the fleet's navigators to lose their location; then the navigators and naval officers mistook the craggy archipelago on which the fleet wrecked for the western entrance to the English Channel.

But by the spring of 1763, after decades of hardscrabble observations and calculations, astronomers had finally cracked the code to predict the moon's meandering path across the sky. No mere academic exercise, this breakthrough would enable mariners around the world to locate their longitude at sea—turning the moon into the world's first global positioning satellite.

Though he was not the first scientist who attempted to resolve the longitude issue, Maskelyne was the first to put forward a practical solution, one that wound up being so good it effectively enshrined Greenwich as the prime meridian for the entire world, says Rebekah Higgitt, curator of history of science and technology at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Thus he was, she says, "very central to creating Greenwich as it has come to be known.


Oh, the irony here is painful

Artsy Male Directors At Cannes Say Sexist Shit Too. Who'da Thunk?

Let me jump to the quote by Mr Polanski:

“Offering flowers to a lady has become indecent. I think to level the genders — it’s purely idiotic. I think it’s a result… of progress in medicine. I think that the Pill has changed greatly the woman of our times, ‘masculinising’ her — how would you say it? [...] I think that it chases away the romance from our lives and that’s a great pity.”


Than another from Mr. Ozan:

I think women can really be connected with this girl because it’s a fantasy of many women to do prostitution. That doesn’t mean they do it, but the fact to be paid to have sex is something which is very obvious in feminine sexuality.

THR: Why do you believe that is a desire? I really don’t think that’s the case.

Ozon: I think that’s the case because sexuality is complex. I think to be an object in sexuality is something very obvious you know, to be desired, to be used. There is kind of a passivity that women are looking for. That’s why the scene with Charlotte Rampling is very important, because she says [prostitution] was a fantasy she always had but never had the courage to do it. She was too shy.

THR: How did you come to the conclusion that is a theme in women’s sexuality?

Ozon: It is the reality. You speak with many women, you speak with shrinks, everybody knows that. Well, maybe not Americans!

The article:


I ain't mad, y'know, really. I'm more like an incandescent angel of fuck you and all your iconic movies.

I'm gonna go watch "I Spit on Your Grave" in honor of the Cannes.


How Uganda's female writers found their voice

It was only as an adult that Lamwaka found a way to express what she had been through and it came in the form of short stories. "The only way I could deal with it was to write the stories we hadn't been able to tell," she explains.

Lamwaka, 35, is one of a new wave of Ugandan fiction writers. Her work has been published in several anthologies and she has been nominated for several international prizes. The tale of her brother's abduction inspired a powerful short story called "Butterfly Dreams", in which a young girl is abducted by the LRA: "You caressed your scars as if to tell us what you went through," Lamwaka writes. "We did not ask questions."

Lamwaka says she has only had the confidence to turn her experiences into fiction because of the pioneering work of Femrite, an NGO established in Uganda in 1995 to promote and publish women's writing. Until that point, the literary scene in the country had been limited – publishing houses preferred to print profitable textbooks than novels that didn't sell – and what there was of it was dominated by men.

Femrite has changed all that. The organisation holds regular writing workshops and residential retreats, as well as running its own publishing arm, and is one of numerous organisations in developing countries working with Commonwealth Writers, a development foundation in the UK, which aims to unearth and nurture less-heard voices from across the Commonwealth; it also awards an annual prize for a best unpublished short story worth £5,000. The winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story prize will be announced this week by John le Carré at the Hay festival.


Breakfast: Not Sexier than Before, but Funnier than Ever

Laurie and Debbie say:

Having a product called “Sexcereal” is funny enough.
Seriously promoting it as being full of foods that make you sexy is funny enough.
Having different versions of it for men and women is funny enough.

But honestly, the folks behind Sexcereal are in the wrong business. Hollywood pays big bucks for people who can be this hilarious:

Once upon a time, not that long ago, before there were drugstores on every block, when you wanted something to nourish or heal you, you simply walked into the woods and gathered the plants, herbs and spices that after thousands of years of human trial and error proved their medicinal worth. That’s the purpose of food and that’s what SEXCEREAL is – a food with purpose.

Forty years or more ago, the mother of one of Debbie’s friends used to say that in the days of hunter-gatherer societies, between harvesting food and avoiding predators, people probably weren’t thinking about multiple orgasms. Besides, we thought the purpose of food was nutrition and satisfying taste.

It isn’t clear that the makers of SEXCEREAL know this, but the history of breakfast cereal is tied to the history of promoting sexual abstinence. In the late 19th and early 20th century, men whose names are still household names today (Graham, Kellogg and Post) created corn flakes and grape nuts as part of a health food craze tied to the Seventh Day Adventists, who are also celibacy advocates.


(Yes, this is a real 'thing')


10 Feminist Lessons We Learned From The Women Of “Star Trek”

While the latest “Star Trek” movie is facing criticism for its portrayal (or lack thereof) of female characters, let us not forget that the “Star Trek” franchise actually has a very impressive history of strong women characters. Growing up watching “The Original Series,” “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager,” we found plenty of smart, outspoken, compassionate, powerful women to look up to. In fact, the ladies of “Star Trek” taught us some of our most enduring feminist lessons. Click through to check out our favorite Starfleet feminists–and the important lessons we learned from them!


(This is fun stuff)

The Second Sex – a visual footnote

(So, if you happen to be in, or go to, France...)

A proposal by Tobi Maier, curator in residency

The exhibition The Second Sex – a visual footnote is a visual essay inspired by the book of the same name by French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, whose existentialist take on many of the issues of feminism first emerged with the publication of Le Deuxième Sexe in 1949. One of de Beauvoir’s principal challenges was to foster women’s emancipation and the recognition of their working force. Through a close reading of de Beauvoir’s seminal book, the exhibition introduces a number of works that lean towards ideas highlighted in her texts, such as representations of women in myths and the descriptions of their lived situations.

The Second Sex – a visual footnote presents installations by three woman artists spanning a variety of media, from film, sculpture, and photography to collage. Originating in the 1970s, Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven, Marianne Wex and Ilene Segalove’s work can be considered a visual articulation of the intrinsic ideas of second-wave feminism. Launched during the late 1960s, critiques of patriarchy, capitalism, the woman’s role as wife and mother as well as the relations between race, class, and gender oppression were major topics. Active until the present day however, the concepts in the artists work selected for The Second Sex – a visual footnote also relate to a more inclusive third-wave feminism, which began in the mid-1990s and deconstructed notions of the body, gender, sexuality and hetero-normativity.

In collaboration with Travelling Féministe and the Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir in Paris, the exhibition at La Galerie is presenting a collection of titles sourced from the centre’s archives, which consists of activist—feminist, gay and lesbian—videos from the 1970s, but also more recent works, documentaries, video art, fiction and experimental films produced in France and abroad.

The exhibition is accompanied by a public program, including a workshop led by Marianne Wex on May 25, 3pm at La Galerie; a roundtable discussion with Nicole Fernández Ferrer (Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir), Elisabeth Lebovici and Giovanna Zapperi (Travelling Féministe) on Saturday June 15, 3pm at La Galerie; and a seminar in collaboration with Travelling Féministe at Forum des images, Paris on June 21 at 6pm.


Brilliant teen creates device that charges cell in 30 seconds!

Eesha Khare is an 18-year-old high school senior. She’s going to Harvard in the fall and uses her cellphone. Typical 18-year-old girl stuff. Oh, she also invented a supercapacitor that charges cell phones in 30 seconds! According to Clutch:

“Eesha Khare, 18, invented a fast-charging device called the supercapacitor. It is miniature energy-storing device that can juice a phone to full charge within 20-to-30 seconds.”

Apparently she developed the device because she got tired of her phone not being charged. When my phone is dying, the best I can think to do is log off of Twitter for a while. This young woman is sharp!

Not only that, she’s doing it with great intentions and ambitious hopes for all of our futures.

“Khare hopes her creation will ‘set the world on fire,’ eventually having enough energy to power automobiles.

So far the burgeoning scientist has powered a LED, but she hopes a few tweaks can lead to the placement of the supercapacitor in cellphones and other technological devices. Khare wants to cut down our dependence on electrical outlets.”

She’s smart and invested in sustainability. So dreamy! You go girl!


So this is how you make a point about sexism in gaming

“Brosie the Riveter,” the prank who made a point.
This week I walked into the Idea Room at HUB Seattle and met two people whose office prank calling out sexism in gaming went all over the Internet as a positive story.
A positive thing. Really.
One of them, “K2″ and @k2_said on Twitter, won’t reveal her name in public. The other is artist Sam Kirk. Both work at Meteor Entertainment, a Seattle gaming company that runs a free online mech war game called Hawken.
The more we talked, the more convinced I became that something a lot of people do wrong these two did so very right. From inception through execution, their prank was hardly a prank at all. It was a thoughtful, careful statement. And it rode on the power of playfulness to teach a lesson: maybe this is the way to spark conversations about gender stereotypes in male dominated industries.
Their story starts and ends with sexy posters.
In the beginning, there was “Ruby Underboob,” as K2 not so affectionately called her. She is Hawken comic art that Meteor Entertainment CEO Mark Long commissioned for a gallery show (he’s partner in Seattle’s Roq La Rue gallery) then hung on the out-facing wall of his office. It was the first thing people saw when they entered Meteor’s Pioneer Square office and the last thing they saw when they left.
K2 loves Meteor. But she did not love Ruby Underboob.
She hatched a plan, brought in artist Kirk and on April Fool’s Day the two replaced “Ruby Underboob” with Kirk’s new creation, “Brosie the Riveter.”

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