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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 36,983

Journal Archives

NASA Had Zero Plans To Send Women Into Space In The '60s

It seems a number of women have faced rejection from the aeronautical organization. At an event celebrating Amelia Earhart last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the audience that she also received a rejection letter from NASA because of her gender.

"When I was about 13, I wrote to NASA and asked what I needed to do to try to be an astronaut," Clinton said. "And of course, there weren’t any women astronauts and NASA wrote me back and said there would not be any women astronauts. And I was just crestfallen."

At some point NASA changed its mind and Sally Ride became the first American woman sent to space in 1983. In this year's new class of NASA astronauts, 50% are women, which the agency said was the "highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected for a class."

Who would have thought it! Women in space! Doing a man's (snort) job. My how times have changed.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/nasas-rejection-letter-to-women-in-the-60s-2013-7#ixzz2YpuatJGR

Texas activist Sarah Slamen: “It’s this police state that keeps us quiet” (interview)

You mention in the first few seconds of your speech that you had brought prepared remarks with you, but decided instead to speak off the cuff. What happened during the committee hearing to change your mind?
I wasn’t prepared for the endless stream of people standing up to call women murderers and promiscuous, selfish killers. How is that in line with Senate decorum and appropriate testimony?

I think it was around 6 o’clock [on Monday] that a woman stood up to talk about how her and her husband had spent most of their savings on in vitro fertilization treatments and that, after five or six tries, had finally gotten pregnant. But at 20 weeks, this couple found out that their baby had a rare form of spina bifida and would likely only have a 5 percent chance of survival. This woman recounted that, as soon as she learned she was pregnant, she had promised to love and protect her baby. And, in order to keep that promise, she had to have a medically necessary abortion.

After painfully recounting how she had to terminate this wanted pregnancy, a woman sitting next to her said, “I know two people who have adopted children with spina bifida.”
And not a word was said. Not one person on that committee of 20 had time to say, “Let’s not direct our comments to others providing testimony.”


CounterPunch and the War on the Transgendered

I’m an endangered species. Nearly half of people like me attempt suicide. Hundreds of us are murdered annually and, worldwide, that rate is only increasing. Those of us who have a job and a place to live often lose them both; too many of us can’t acquire either in the first place. What I am is a transgender woman, one of the lucky ones.

I’m lucky because I’m white, and because I have employment, housing and health insurance. I can’t get too comfortable, though, because every few days, a tragic headline reminds me of how fragile we are as a group: “Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill Passes,” “Transgender Inmates At Risk,” “Transgender Woman Shot.” The world is not kind to us and the news never lets me forget that sobering fact.

In some bizarre alternate reality, however, I’m seen as a villain who invades “real” women’s spaces and perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes. A small but vocal band of activists known as “Radfems” see transgender women like myself as a blight on the feminist movement, but — because their views are not representative of the feminist movement as a whole — many trans*-inclusive feminists refer to them as TERFs, or Trans*-Exclusionary Radical Feminists.

- See more at: http://jacobinmag.com/2013/07/counterpunch-and-the-war-on-the-transgendered/#sthash.flbJXocF.dpuf

My Tattoos are Not an Invitation

And maybe my mom’s. Believe me, she has some opinions about my tattoos. As a graduate student working toward a Ph.D. and teaching classes, I think I’ll be okay.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my young female embodiment seems to open me up to more comments, more questions, and more touching. In the midst of heavy debates about women’s access to healthcare and decisions about their own reproductive choices, I don’t think questioning my decisions about body art are unrelated to the trend of telling women they can’t make decisions about their own bodies. I feel that resonate when older generations ask me what my husband thinks of my tattoos or if he has any himself. Texas women are currently in a battle to claim their own choices about their bodies. As Texas women and men have gathered at the state capitol in Austin for the past 2 weeks, I’m reminded that women’s reproduction and health are not the only decisions censored. So to me, tattoos are an attempt to claim a choice about my body.

And in our culture of rape, I’m not surprised that some men feel that my visible display of body art is an invitation to yell about, touch, and seemingly compliment my tattoos. There is a tendency to believe that a woman’s display of tattoos, and more importantly the display of choices about how her body looks, equates to promiscuity. Perhaps this attitude that women have looser morals if they have tattoos, as a recent study claims, is another excuse to regulate women’s actions and punish those who dissent. Perhaps that’s why some women, like myself, have chosen to transgress expectations of how a woman should look. Most importantly, I didn’t wear a sleeveless shirt so my tattoos would give the public free-reign to comment on and touch my body. It’s just hot out here.


He-Man Woman Haters Club Aims to Keep Bocce Ball Strictly Dickly

Apparently, the club is facing an election for a new president, and one of the candidates is running wants to recruit more members to vary competition and help fix up the courts. But the core members—referred to by some in the community as "the big boys" who are accused of being something of bullies to the women who play on other courts—hate that idea. And they have their reasons.

You can’t put women with advanced players. It takes away the competition. That’s what I play for, the competition and the camaraderie.

I’m not saying women are inferior, but they’re inferior players…Also, men inherently use blue language. It happens. With women you have to mind your p’s and q’s, which is hard to do in the heat of a game. So I discriminate. Sue me.

Women, Mr. Cohen said, do not have the strength or stamina and “play for the sake of playing the game; they don’t play strategically.”


The comments are interesting.

Pixies: Just the Latest Rockers to Make Violence Against Women Look Cool (Et tu, Brute?)

(Part of me is screaming "NOT The Pixies!!!, I guess I'll just go listen to some OTEP to feel better)

""I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings," some snide, cracked alterna-nerd first whines and then roars as the music lurches into scruffy, scratchy surf funk. The alterna-nerd is Black Francis himself, and the song is "Bagboy," the long-awaited first new Pixies song since 2004. Though Kim Deal has sadly left the band, fans are still elated at the comeback--and the video by Lamar + Nik gleefully channels that fuck-yes-finally energy."

It shows a young, grungy kid (flannels!) frolicking in and trashing a comfortable, middle-class, suburban home: bashing lamps with a baseball bat, shooting silly string, and even (in the most vivid visual moment) filling the tub with milk and fruit loops and taking a bath. In the final scene, we see him through the window cycling away, and then the camera pans over to a black woman tied up in her bedroom. The kid wasn't just trashing his own digs; he was engaged in a brutal kidnapping and home invasion. How awesomely punk rock is that?

If you have a problem with cheering for a white kid terrorizing and humiliating a black woman, then your answer might well be, "not that awesome." My friend Bert Stabler, an art critic, made this point at my website the Hooded Utilitarian over the weekend. As Bert says, "in Chicago, where I live, there's a long history of police torturing black people- we live in a country with lots of black people in jail. There's also a long history of housing discrimination against blacks." And, of course, that's not just Chicago; the United States has a long, extremely unpleasant, countrywide history of terrorism aimed at black people who attempt to move into middle-class housing.

You could argue that the "Bagboy" video is a critique of that--that it deliberately links white alterna-rebellion to sexualized white racial violence in a screw-you-fanbase move analogous to taunting Pixie's classics like "U Mass." Lending support to this view, perhaps, is the fact that Lamar, one of the creators of the video, is black, and the woman in the video is his sister, as he explains in a note he generously left on Bert's post.

There are a couple of reasons to think that Bert is right, though, and that this video celebrates white-kid violence rather than condemns it. First, in his response, Lamar rejects the notion of racial critique altogether, instead insisting that race and gender are no longer relevant or useful categories.


Two Reasons There Could Never Be Another Justice Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg

(Thought this an interesting read, well worth it)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who’s previously hinted that she would retire from the Supreme Court in 2015, told Reuters’ Joan Biskupic last week that Court watchers shouldn’t gear up for a confirmation fight quite yet. Indeed, Ginsburg now labels Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired at age 90, as her new “model.”
The 80 year-old justice’s announcement certainly raises the stakes for the next presidential election, but it also extends the period that the Supreme Court’s most accomplished litigator will remain on the Court. Even before joining the bench, Ginsburg was the single most important women’s rights attorney in American history. She authored the first brief to convince the Supreme Court to hold that the Constitution’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” applies to women. And her brief in Craig v. Boren led the Court to hold that laws that engage in gender discrimination are subject to heightened constitutional scrutiny. Next to Thurgood Marshall, the late Supreme Court justice who argued Brown v. Board of Education, it’s unlikely that any other future justice did more for the cause of equality than Ginsburg did before joining the Court.
For this reason alone, the president tasked with replacing Ginsburg will be hard-pressed to find a similarly accomplished lawyer. Admittedly, there are potential Supreme Court nominees who have won major women’s rights victories — the most notable being United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit nominee Nina Pillard, who argued and won Nevada Dept. of Human Resources v. Hibbs. But Hibbs merely warded off an effort to convince the Court to reduce existing legal protections for women (and men) with families. For most of American history, the Supreme Court has shown little interest in improving the lives of the marginalized, and Ginsburg rose to prominence during a rare period when the justices were actually interested in expanding the blessings of liberty.
There is, of course, one area where a bare majority of the conservative Roberts Court has been willing to expand freedom: gay rights. And there are a number of attorneys engaged in this fight — Paul Smith and Pam Karlan probably the most prepared among them for a seat on the Supreme Court — who could conceivably fill the Ginsburg seat.


Tootsie Costume Made Dustin Hoffman Face the Patriarchy

In an AFI interview from late 2012 that’s just starting to gain some traction now, in the summer doldrums, Dustin Hoffman talked about how, when he was first made-up as Dorothy Michaels during his preliminary preparations for Tootsie, he had a revelation about the unreasonable expectations our society has for female beauty when the make-up wizards crafting his costume told him they couldn’t make him a “prettier” woman. Hoffman went home, his gender paradigm shattered, and decided that making Tootise would be a really important thing to do.


Did You Know A Woman’s Right To Vote Was Sparked By Two Brave Women On July 4, 1876?

It’s well understood that the point of celebrating the 4th of July is its significance to the history of America. Once the Continental Congress approved the resolution on July 2, 1776 that declared the United States separate from England, all attention turned to the Declaration of Independence, the written statement outlining and defining that decision. After two days of writing, editing, debating and tweaking by the Committee of Five led by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration was penned to completion and approved on July 4th; hence, our many and mighty celebrations on that day. But a lesser known fact of history is that it took another 100 years for women – a demographic so underrepresented in American government at the time – to create, approve and disseminate their own Declaration of Rights, but it did happen… exactly 100 years later, on July 4, 1876, and it became as crucial to the growing feminist movement as the first Declaration had been to the country at large.

In the 100 years after that memorable 1776 day in July, female activists were meeting, speaking out, and organizing in their efforts to gain rights on a par with men, something that was unheard of at the time. The first such group, called the American Equal Rights Association (AERA), came into being in 1866. It was a unique group in that it joined women’s right activists and black rights activists in a fight for equality for both groups. While the intent was noble, the collaboration was an uncomfortable fit, with two very divergent goals: both groups were looking to secure voting rights for their members, less focused on the other group. The women involved became embroiled over whether or not they should support the Fifteenth Amendment if it did not include voting rights for women as well as blacks. The strain of that debate – as well as the fact that Republicans in power deemed the amendment to be exclusively focused on the voting rights of blacks – led to a sense of betrayal amongst female activists and the dismantling of AERA three years later.

Read more: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/04/did-you-know-that-july-4th-is-also-the-day-women-ratified-the-declaration-of-rights-exactly-100-years-after-the-original/#ixzz2YL8GlapX

And This is so very, very badass.

Selected Papers, Volume 3
©2003 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Declaration of Rights
of the
Women of the United States
by the
National Woman Suffrage Association,
July 4th, 1876

Articles of Impeachment.
Bills of Attainder have been passed by the introduction of the word "male" into all the State constitutions, denying to woman the right of suffrage, and thereby making sex a crime—an exercise of power clearly forbidden in Article 1st, Sections 9th and 10th of the United States Constitution.3
The Writ of Habeas Corpus, the only protection against lettres de cachet,4 and all forms of unjust imprisonment, which the Constitution declares "shall not be suspended, except when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety demands it,"5 is held inoperative in every State in the Union, in case of a married woman against her husband,—the marital rights of the husband being in all cases primary, and the rights of the wife secondary.6

The Right of Trial by a Jury of One's Peers was so jealously guarded that States refused to ratify the original Constitution, until it was guaranteed by the 6th Amendment.7 And yet the women of this nation have never been allowed a jury of their peers—being tried in all cases by men, native and foreign, educated and ignorant, virtuous and vicious. Young girls have been arraigned in our courts for the crime of infanticide; tried, convicted, hung—victims, perchance, of judge, jurors, advocates—while no woman's voice could be heard in their defence. And not only are women denied a jury of their peers, but in some cases, jury trial altogether. During the war, a woman was tried and hung by military law,8 in defiance of the 5th Amendment, which specifically declares: "no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases . . . of persons in actual service in time of war." During the last Presidential campaign, a woman, arrested for voting, was denied the protection of a jury, tried, convicted and sentenced to a fine and costs of prosecution, by the absolute power of a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.9

Taxation Without Representation, the immediate cause of the rebellion of the Colonies against Great Britain, is one of the grievous wrongs the women of this country have suffered during the century. Deploring war, with all the demoralization that follows in its train, we have been taxed to support standing armies, with their waste of life and wealth. Believing in temperance, we have been taxed to support the vice, crime, and pauperism of the Liquor Traffic. While we suffer its wrongs and abuses infinitely more than man, we have no power to protect our sons against this giant evil. During the Temperance Crusade, mothers were arrested, fined, imprisoned, for even praying and singing in the streets, while men blockade the sidewalks with impunity, even on Sunday, with their military parades and political processions. Believing in honesty, we are taxed to support a dangerous army of civilians, buying and selling the offices of government and sacrificing the best interests of the people. And, moreover, we are taxed to support the very legislators, and judges, who make laws, and render decisions adverse to woman. And for refusing to pay such unjust taxation, the houses, lands, bonds, and stock of women, have been seized and sold within the present year, thus proving Lord Coke's assertion, "that the very act of taxing a man's property without his consent, is, in effect, disfranchising him of every civil right."10


My New Convention Harassment Policy

John Scalzi is a science fiction writer. I started reading him because he's a good sci-fi writer, (if you lke sci-fi, you get used to 'generational' sexism, as well just plan old fashioned sexism, up to and including outright misogyny)and he is great ally for feminism. Plus seems to be a pretty decent and caring human being, unlike the disgusting Orson Scott Card.

(Here are his thought on being or self-identifying as, a feminist)


Anyway, he recently declared he won't be attending Cons without a solid anti-harassment policy.

Well done Sir.

1. That the convention has a harassment policy, and that the harassment policy is clear on what is unacceptable behavior, as well as to whom those who feel harassed, or see others engaging in harassing behavior, can go for help and action.

2. That the convention make this policy obvious by at least one and preferably more than one of the following: posting the policy on their Website, placing it in their written and electronic programs, putting up flyers in the common areas, discussing the policy at opening ceremonies or at other well-attended common events.

3. In cases when I am invited as a Guest of Honor, personal affirmation from the convention chair that a harassment policy exists, that it will be adequately publicized to conventiongoers, and that all harassment complaints will be dealt with promptly and fairly, with no excuses or rationalizations for delaying action when such becomes necessary.

Why? Because I want my friends and fans to be able to come to a convention and feel assured that the convention is making the effort to be a safe place for them. I want my friends and fans to know that if someone creeps on them, there’s a process to deal with it, quickly and fairly. And I want my friends and fans to know that I don’t support conventions that won’t go out of their way to do both of these things. I want them to know that if I’m showing up as a guest, it’s at a convention that has their backs.

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