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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 40,343

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

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I'm a General Heathen

(A couple of others on the list too; ahem)

"You're dressed like whores!" - Christians vs Comics in San Diego
Rob Beschizza at 11:40 am Sat, Jul 20, 2013


Marte Dalelv: Norwegian woman convicted after reporting rape now loses job

In March of this year, Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip to Dubai. She was raped after a night out with colleagues and went to the police who imprisoned her and, four days later, charged HER with three crimes including having sex outside of marriage. She was convicted this week and has now been sentenced to 16 months in prison for having the temerity to report her assault, compared with the 13 months that her alleged rapist received. Marte, from Norway, is now officially wanted by the Dubai authorities, despite the Norwegian government having apparently secured a "conditional release" for her.

To add insult to injury, reports now suggest that Marte Dalelv has been sacked from her job, due to her, "unacceptable and improper behaviour". Her boss, Wissam Al Mana, for whom she worked at Al Mana Interiors, seemingly sent her a personally signed letter to inform her that she was, "terminated for misconduct and breach of [her] employment duties, effective immediately [...] due to [her] unacceptable and improper behavior during your last business trip in Dubai, which has resulted in [her] arrest by the Police Authorities in UAE".


Helen Thomas opened White House press corps to women

WASHINGTON — Helen Thomas, the feisty, trailblazing White House reporter who tore down historic barriers that had stymied women journalists for generations, died Saturday at 92.

After becoming the first woman reporter assigned to cover the president rather than just the First Lady, Thomas covered 10 presidents from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. Most of the time, she reported for United Press International.
Thomas got her break when assigned to cover President-elect Kennedy’s post-election vacation in Palm Beach, Fla. She soon fought her way to the news side of coverage, a move unheard of at the time. She would go on to become an officer at three of Washington’s loftiest symbols of journalistic clout: The White House Correspondents Association, the Gridiron Club and the National Press Club. In 1974, she became the first woman White House bureau chief for a wire service.

Thomas became embroiled in controversy in recent years because of her remarks critical of Israel. But she was remembered Saturday for her groundbreaking career. “Helen was a true pioneer, opening doors and breaking down barriers for generations of women in journalism,” President Barack Obama said Saturday.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/20/197205/helen-thomas-opened-white-house.html#.Uer1aqa9LCQ#storylink=cpy

Planned Parenthood To Close Three Texas Clinics

The three clinics are located in Bryan, Huntsville and Lufkin, Texas. They are closing in response to a new package of abortion restrictions signed into law on Thursday and funding cuts to Texas' Women's Health Program that were passed by the Texas state legislature in 2011. Out of the three Planned Parenthood clinics that are closing, only the Bryan clinic performs abortions.

“In recent years, Texas politicians have created an increasingly hostile environment for providers of reproductive health care in underserved communities. Texans with little or no access to health care services have been deeply affected by state budget cuts to programs provided by Planned Parenthood health centers and dozens of others that provided lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams and birth control," said Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast."

“The combined impact of years of budget cuts to women’s health care services and the dismantling of the successful Women’s Health Program will take affordable, preventive health care options away from women in Bryan, Lufkin and Huntsville — just as these policies have taken health care away from an estimated 130,000 others — when Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is forced to close these family planning health centers at the end of August," she said.

“Ensuring Texas women have access to the care they need to stay healthy, especially women in rural and underserved areas, goes to the heart of our mission," she continued. "We are making every effort to provide resources for our patients faced with health center closings, however the alarming reality is that most will be left with no real options for getting the basic, preventive health care they need."


Armpits4August is making women's body hair a feminist issue

"Bloatedness, mood swings and acne are telltale signs that it's that time of the month," says Cat Gray, "but when my PMS arrives, menstruation and ovulation do not follow." Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of female infertility, and with 10% of women estimated to have the disorder, it's the most common hormonal condition to affect women of a child-bearing age.

Gray was diagnosed with PCOS when she was 19 and, now 31, she says it makes her feel "less of a woman" due to the lack of a monthly cycle and the impending barriers to starting a family. "My mother was the most upset, worrying that she wouldn't get grandchildren. For me, it's the visible side effects that hurt the most." Along with higher chances of infertility, heart disease and diabetes, the common symptoms include obesity, acne and hirsutism. High levels of testosterone can cause all kinds of hair, skin and weight issues, and Gray says her teens and 20s were marred with "being fat, spotty and, worst of all, hairy".

Amy De Luca hasn't been swimming or sunbathing since she was 12: "Puberty and PCOS triggered hair growth all over my chest and back and, 10 years on, I don't look or feel any better." For the hirsute woman, dealing with body hair can feel like fighting a losing battle, regardless of the amount of razors and lasers in her arsenal. Hirsutism isn't simply a case of excessive female body hair – it can manifest itself as male-like hair growth with coarse, wiry hair on the chest, tummy, chin and upper lip. The hair can regrow rapidly enough to require a daily or twice daily shave, a practice that can be as distressing as it is time consuming. De Luca makes the bittersweet observation that it's the fear of judgement, rather than the condition itself, that drives the routine: "I would love to no longer feel the need for constant de-fuzzing, but I am terrified of what others will think of me so I shave anyway."

This summer, hundreds if not thousands of women will be breaking the cycle for the first time, by foregoing the razor in order to raise funds and awareness for PCOS. Armpits4August is a collective of hirsute, polycystic and body-hair-positive women who are tired of the pressure to pluck and preen to perfection, and are setting the challenge to simply stop one practice on one area, for one month. Like a ladies' version of Movember, but with a decidedly feminist twist, the charitable event presents an obvious but underestimated alternative to hair removal. In the words of a 70s Clapton classic: let it grow.


Gov. Rick Perry signs anti-abortion bill into law

Texas Governor Rick Perry just signed the state’s new, incredibly restrictive anti-abortion bill into law. This is bad: the law could drop the number of abortion providers in the state from 42 to 6 and will ban abortion after 20 weeks. But this fight is not over. The national reproductive rights movement doesn’t want to admit it, but we’ve been losing for a long time. The Texas state government was already stacked with anti-choicers, as are the legislatures of many states, despite the majority of people in this country supporting abortion rights. But Texans rose up in response to this disgusting bill that will make abortion so much more difficult to access in the state. And that feminist army is not going away. Here is the list of legislators who voted for the bill and who feminists will now be organizing out of office. I’m looking forward to seeing a pro-choice Texas government led by Governor Wendy Davis.

In the mean time, you can donate to Texas’ abortion funds, the Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access Fund. Abortion funds shouldn’t be necessary; abortion should be accessible to everyone. But right now, they’re one way folks with financial resources can help. And there will be plenty of organizing to do to change the political climate in Texas and across the country.


“We’re” Not Raising Trayvon: The Difference Whiteness Makes

While white feminists shouldn’t try to make these events and the aftermath “about” white people, but we should be on guard against white defensiveness or white dismissals of what sustains this pattern of violence. Widespread racist perceptions make it possible for police and neighborhood watch volunteers to assume the worst of Black children. Most importantly, white feminists can’t act as if these thoughts are not a big deal. They’re a huge deal.

Early this summer on a visit home, I walked through the New Orleans French Quarter on a Sunday afternoon with a white child I dearly love and her parents. While we visited on a corner waiting for the light to change, a group of about ten Black boys approximately the same age as the girl I was with approached the corner biking fast and furious. They took the street corner with expert skill. Their bikes hugged the road as they tilted at a 45-degree angle towards the pavement. The moment sang summertime to me—children free to fill their days with things so sacred they simply had to race to fit it all in. But my breath stopped short when the child I walked alongside named her perception of those few seconds, “They’re probably doing something bad.” I am grateful that her father interrupted the way she made sense of the scene, suggesting that she had no evidence to draw such a conclusion, but what was made clear was that those perceptions already live inside of her.

I don’t know how to comprehensively get it out of her. I don’t know how to know for sure how these deeply insidious stereotypes shape my own perceptions unconsciously. I don’t know how to revamp a society in which everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, is bombarded with racist messaging about who is good and who is bad, who is threatening and who is safe.

What I do know is that these perceptions don’t just shape our thoughts and ideas, they find their way out into the world. They travel from the brain through the nervous system to the musculature of the index finger and into physical world through the barrel of a gun. These perceptions rip open the bodies of Black children and the hearts of parents who fear such outcomes for their Black boys and girls too.


“Stand Your Ground” Increases Racial Bias

Yesterday a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin. The decision was based on a law colloquially called “stand your ground” (SYG) which allows people to use proportionate force in the face of an attack without first trying to retreat or escape. More than 20 states have such laws.
At MetroTrends Blog, John Roman and Mitchell Downey report their analysis of 4,650 FBI records of homicides in which a person killed a stranger with a handgun. They conclude that stand your ground “tilts the odds in favor of the shooter.” In SYG states, 13.6 percent of homicides were ruled justifiable; in non-SYG states, only 7.2 percent were deemed such. This is strong evidence that rulings of justifiable homicide are more likely under stand your ground.
But which homicides?
The very kind decided in the Zimmerman trial. A finding of “justifiable homicide” is much more common in the case of a white-on-black killing than any other kind including a white and a black person. At PBS’s request, Roman compared the likelihood of a favorable finding for the defendant in SYG and non SYG cases, consider the races of the people involved. The data is clear, compared to white-on-white crimes: Stand your ground decreases the likelihood of conviction, but only when a white person is accused of killing a black person.

It’s simple: SYG laws increase the chances that a homicide will be considered justifiable because it gives the jurors more leeway to give defendants the benefit of the doubt. But, jurors will likely give that benefit of the doubt to certain kinds of defendants and not others. Stand your ground may or may not be a good law in theory, but in practice it increases racial bias in legal outcomes.


A Feminist Interpretation of the First Time

Hew Li-Sha asks us to challenge our perceptions on virginity and what it means.

There is a cultural mandate that in order to be worthwhile, you need to be having sex. But there’s another societal rule which implies that you should only be having sex at a certain age with a certain person of a certain gender after a certain ceremony. This piece intends to show that the term ‘virginity’ is a term we must stop using because it detrimentally affects women, as well as limits the way we engage in the conversation about sexual intercourse.

There are many complications when trying to define that exact moment you are no longer a virgin. When does it really happen? When you get a blowjob? Give one? Give 10? When someone fingers you? Oral sex? Anal sex? Orgasm? What if your first time was with a girl? Would you stay a virgin forever? When do you cross the threshold from virgin to non? At what point is virginity, like your keys or your glasses, lost?

The concept of virginity bolsters a highly heteronormative hierarchy of what is and isn’t defined as sex. You’re technically a virgin if you’ve only had anal sex. It doesn’t count. Fingering too, that doesn’t count. I see. Let’s be all heterosexist about sex now, shall we? Let’s bow down before patriarchy and accept that sex can only occur when a penis penetrates a vagina. Even the way we see sexual intercourse is male-defined! Why don’t we see it as the vagina consuming the penis? It’s somehow always difficult to define sex without including the phallus. In fact, when you have two men or two women doing something, it doesn’t fit into the heteronormative conception of virginity. What we understand about this concept of virginity, in a sense, invalidates queer sex. Additionally, when we make the issue of virginity central to our ideas about sexuality and indeed, to being a human being, it completely marginalises those who don’t actually see sex as that overwhelmingly huge factor of their lives.

I remember a conversation I had with my friends. We were all lazing around in the living room, awkward and rebellious teenagers joking about sex, when someone went:

“It must be really difficult for you girls, because you lose more when you have sex for the first time.”

“What the hell do we lose?” my friend and I retorted.

He paused. “I’m not sure.”

Society has embedded within our minds that when a woman loses her virginity, she loses something – her worth, value and hymen. Historically, and in modern times, female virginity has been regarded as more significant than male virginity. Teenage boys ‘get laid’, ‘get lucky’ when he ‘takes her virginity’ but teenage girls ‘lose it’. It becomes a subtle societal obsession: ‘When did you lose your virginity?’ ‘Who did you lose it to?’ ‘Are you saving yourself?’ ‘Did you know it was right?’ There is no word for the first time you kiss someone, the first time you bungee-jump, or the first time you step into a different country. But the first time you engage in heterosexual sex (consensual or not), you’ve lost your virginity. We call it a ‘gift’, and cherish cherry-popping stories, keeping them sweet and sentimental like old photographs in shoeboxes. All of this isn’t such a surprise of course when we remember that for centuries, women have been seen as property and not individual human beings. The concept of virginity reinforces this idea, that a woman’s worth is intrinsically linked to her sexuality.

- See more at: http://www.loyarburok.com/2013/07/15/feminist-interpretation-time/#sthash.RnHQjupZ.dpuf

Gender bending in Japan

Myth takes us back to the formless void, where among the first generations of gods and goddesses are Izanagi (“He who Invites”) and Izanami (“She who Invites”). The biblical God’s creation of the universe is awesome and mysterious. Not so Izanagi and Izanami’s begetting of Japan, recounted in the eighth-century chronicle “Nihon Shoki.”

Imagine sexually awakened gods who, like children, don’t quite know what to do. They look at each other and are enchanted. Izanami speaks first: “What a splendid young man!” To which Izanagi replies, “What a splendid young woman!”

Their first offspring was a “leech child,” born without limbs or bones. What had gone wrong? The older gods explained: Izanami, the female, had spoken first. Initiative was the male’s prerogative. Chastened, they tried again. This time they got it right. Izanami gave birth to the islands of Japan, and to gods and goddesses without number. The poor deformed baby, placed in a boat of reeds, floated away, never to be heard of again.

Japan, begotten child of childlike gods, escaped the stern sexual discipline imposed by an asexual creator god whose grim intolerance of human passions caused him, for example, to destroy a city, Sodom, for a “sin” known ever since as sodomy. Japan acknowledged no sexual sins, least of all that one, as the 16th-century Christian missionaries who saw this “land of the gods” in its pristine state noted with squeamish disgust.

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