Monday, March 30, 2009

Why I don't (normally) miss TV: Part one

I was about to turn off the TV a while ago when I saw this advertisement for Heineken beer. It was the same commercial, but what it said at the end was different on T.V. than it was on the YouTube clip. (And no, it wasn't "verry funny")


Link between periods and shopping?

Today, before my first class, I was on the BBC website when I came across this headline: "Shopping sprees linked to periods."

Later this week, British Professor Karen Pine (and author of the book Sheconomics) will be presenting her findings to a British Psychological Society meeting. A study she conducted suggests that in the 10 days leading up to a woman's period, she is more likely to go on a spending spree as a way to deal with negative emotions accompanying hormonal changes during that time.

Pine asked 443 women aged 18 to 50 about their spending habits.
Professor Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire, said: "Spending was less controlled, more impulsive and more excessive for women in the luteal phase [later stage of the menstrual cycle].
She also had this to offer:
"We are getting surges and fluctuations in hormones which affect the part of the brain linked to emotions and inhibitory control. So the behaviour we found is not surprising."
What do you think about this?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Limbaugh thinks "dikes" in Red River flooding HILARIOUS

“I heard some top-of-the-hour news, and it made me feel uncomfortable. It’s about the flooding in Fargo, North Dakota, brought on by the melting snowpack and the icepack. [Reading from news item]: ‘As the Red River threatens to overflow, they’re filling in the dikes.’ Isn’t there a more appropriate word? Do we have to say, I mean, we don’t have any dikes here. The ‘dykes’ are over there. … They’re filling in the dikes. Couldn’t we change that to ‘they’re filling in the contingencies’ or something? … We really need to change that word. … Hey, would you dykes in North Dakota give me a call and let me know how the flooding is going?”

Hey a-hole, those dikes are saving lifes and saving property, probably put in place by people who don't appreciate your humor. I bet some of those people are even lesbians (dykes, some may say) and gay and bi and trans and allies and straight.

So shut the f up until you graduate 6th grade, mmmkay?

Women's Professional Soccer League Game Today, March 29, 6pm ET

Women's Professional Soccer League Inaugural Match
Today, Sunday, March 29, 6pm ET

Los Angeles Sol v. Washington Freedom
Watch on Fox Soccer Channel or Fox Sports Net

Players will be on Twitter giving updates during the game!

I am very excited about this. I am a huge soccer fan in a country that is generally not as excited about the game as many parts of the world. As a soccer player myself, I have always enjoyed being able to look up to women players, but unfortunately, professional women's soccer in America has not been very successful in the past.

The precursor to Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) was the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA). WUSA was the first professional women's soccer league in the United States, but after only three seasons (2001 to 2003), the league was forced to cease its operations after substantial financial loss, largely attributed to lack of interest.

Out of the failure of WUSA eventually emerged WPS which consists of seven teams across the country (to learn more about the teams, visit this page).

Today marks the inaugural match of the WPS league, and I hope anyone who enjoys soccer, or sports in general, will tune in if possible and support these women athletes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Abortion debate continues in Brazil

Many readers have probably already heard about the 9-year-old Brazilian girl who was raped and eventually impregnated by her stepfather. The girl, who weighs only 80 pounds, was carrying twins, and it was deemed that the pregnancy posed a serious health risk. So she underwent an abortion in her 15th week of the pregnancy after being granted access for the procedure by a judge. This caused an uproar in Brazil, a predominantly Catholic country where abortion is illegal except for cases of rape or when the mother's life is in jeopardy.

Soon after this procedure took place, there was talk of everyone involved in the case, such as the girl's mother and the doctors who performed the abortion, were to be excommunicated. The stepfather, unbelievably, escaped such action. Luckily, there seems to be some disagreement among Catholics about the excommunication argument.

Then, today I came across this article that discusses the growing problem of sexual assault of young girls in Brazil. Apparently, the case mentioned above has shed light upon numerous other such cases of rape of young girls, often by family members, especially in poor regions of the country.
The number of legal abortions of girls ages 10 to 14 more than doubled last year to 49, up from 22 in 2007, the Ministry of Health reported. That was out of 3,050 legal abortions performed last year in a country of more than 190 million. But the vast majority of Brazil’s abortions are not legal. The Ministry of Health estimates about one million unsafe or clandestine abortions every year.
And: PĂ©rola Byington Hospital [a women’s health clinic specializing in treating victims of sexual violence], doctors said abortions were often necessary to protect the lives of sexual-violence victims. Of the 47 abortions performed at the hospital last year, 13 were girls under 18, all victims of rape.
Although there are now 55 clinics that may perform abortion, opposed to only one twenty years ago, most of the clinics that are financed by the state are located in capitals far away from many of the people who need their services, and they are concentrated in the southeast of the country, a much wealthier region.

The politics of abortion are still being fought over in Brazil, where anti-abortion Congress members who want to push for more restrictive abortion laws are the majority.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Judge thinks FDA should lift age restriction for the baby-killing abortion pill* (Plan B)

U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman of New York has recently instructed the FDA to rethink its 2006 decision that only allows women over 18 years to have access to Plan B without a prescription. Korman urged the agency to "make Plan B available to 17-year-olds within 30 days and to review whether to make the emergency contraceptive available to all ages without a doctor's order."
In his 52-page decision, Korman repeatedly criticized the FDA's handling of the issue, agreeing with allegations in a lawsuit that the decision was "arbitrary and capricious" and influenced by "political and ideological" considerations imposed by the Bush administration.
Of course, not everyone is excited about this. Some conservative Congress members and other groups still like to think that Plan B is unsafe, could "encourage sexual activity and make it easier for men to have sex with underage girls," and of course, that it's a baby-killing abortion pill.

I think it's a good idea for Plan B to be available to all women, regardless of age. Having to show I.D. as a proof of age means that certain women, even if they are over the age of 18 (such as illegal immigrants, as the article states) may be unable to get access to Plan B when they need it, which could easily led to unplanned pregnancies with their whole set of controversial options, including legitimate abortion.

And the idea that having this available to women of all ages would promote sexual activity? Well, haha.

*Sarcasm. :)

EDIT: Moved the dang * in the title it make clearer what I meant.


Red River Valley flooding

As the Red River rises to record and dangerous heights in North Dakota and Minnesota, know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Stay safe, friends.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Babe Bella

Amelia was looking for a volunteers to post something about feminism and coincidentally at the time I was looking at various sex toys online with a friend. She came to the section of "Sex dolls," something that I've never seen or looked at outside of "Lars and the Real Girl." The first entry was "Big Babe Bella," who is a "petite chubby [that] can’t wait to meet the chubby in your pants!" What stuck me most about the description is not only is "Big Babe Bella" given objectifying characteristics, the reviewers act the same way. "Big Babe Bella" apparently "takes it and takes it good." The doll serves as a completely submissive version of a woman, one that has "2 welcoming entries for supreme orgasms so choose her vagina or her anus."

Next we looked at "Wrap Around Lover Doll," a doll that can wrap fake limps around the penetrator. Like "Big Babe Bella," the doll is treated as if human, her description stating, "This sexy slut wants to wrap her long silky legs around you!" It concludes by saying, "She’s gotta have it hard, fast, and right now!" This casts the "Wrap Around Lover Doll" as a sex-craved woman, who wants it hard and fast. While the link between objectification of women and pornography can be shady at times, this seems like more of a direct line. They literally are objects in the form of a woman that exist entirely for whatever sexual pleasure the user wishes to inflict upon them.

We did find male sex dolls, but often they had an anal or oral passage, implying use by men. They also varied in their descriptions, such as "Mr. Stud Love Doll," who "is your perfect lover! His go the tool to satisfy your hot steamy fantasy," (Yes, there were grammer mistakes in the description) which lacks the feel of "submissive slut" that the descriptions of the female dolls had.

Here is a link to the website should anyone desire to explore for themselves:

Nellie McKay: "Mother of Pearl" and "If I Had You"

I'd say this is funny, but apparently I don't have a sense of humor.

Feminists don't have a sense of humor
Feminists just want to be alone (boo-hoo)
Feminists spread vicious lies and rumor
They have a tumor on their funny bone

They say child molestation isn't funny
Rape and degradation's just a crime (lighten up, ladies)
Rampant prostitution, sex for money (what's wrong with that)
Can't these chicks do anything but whine

Dance break
(Take it off)

They say cheap objectification isn't witty, it's hot
Equal work and wages worth the fight (sing us a new one)
On demand abortion, every city (okay, but no gun control)
Won't these women ever get a life

Feminists don't have a sense of humor (poor Hilary)
Feminists and vegetarians
Feminists spread vicious lies and rumor
They're far too sensitive to ever be a ham
That's why these feminists just need to find a man

I'm Dennis Kucinich, and I approve this message

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Welcome to the team, Tasha!

I'm pleased to say that the Female Impersonator Blog has a new team member.

Tasha attends Knox College with Kate and I, and she will be contributing from time to time. I look forward to her additions to the blog.

Welcome aboard, Tasha!

A note and a question...

Just a quick note to say that this term at school is going to be really busy for me so I probably won't be blogging as much as I would like to. I am taking a maximum course load as well as taking on the role of president of the campus feminist organization, SASS (Students Against Sexism in Society).

Although I'll be busy, feminism will still be in my thoughts. I'm actually working on approval for an independent study about feminist theory and body image to prepare for my summer research fellowship that will be dedicated to a similar topic.

So, readers, what sorts of feminist-y goodness have you been up to in your lives lately? I'm interested to see how people balance their feminist work with the other demands of their lives.

Monday, March 23, 2009

One of these things is not like the other ones...

Let's play a game! One of these things is not like the other ones...

Get with the program, Murphy Robes. Lots of denominations ordain women, and some have been for decades upon decades. PCUSA ordained its first woman clergy in 1893, the UMC gave full ordination rights to women in 1956, ELCA since 1970, the Church of England in 2004 (as priests).

Women wear the pulpit robes, bishop robes, albs, and more, but there's not one woman modeling the pulpit robes. Why don't you put some female models in there? And stop relegating women to just the "women's styles"?

Oh those ladies, trying to be preachers...

Thanks to my friend, Lisa, for mocking these websites with me. I'm getting her a pair of manpants for her upcoming ordination.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I heart Meghan McCain vol. 2

I know I've said it before, but I'm kinda in love with Meghan McCain. In her latest post at The Daily Beast, she writes:
I have been teased about my weight and body figure since I was in middle school, and I decided a very long time ago to embrace what God gave me and live my life positively, attempting to set an example for other girls who may suffer from body image issues. I have nothing to hide: I am a size 8 and fluctuated up to a size 10 during the campaign. It’s ridiculous even to have this conversation because I am not overweight in the least and have a natural body weight.

But even if I were overweight, it would be ridiculous. I expected substantive criticism from conservative pundits for my views, particularly my recent criticism of Ann Coulter. That is the nature of political discourse, and my intent was to generate discussion about the current problems facing the Republican Party. Unfortunately, even though Ingraham is more than 20 years older than I and has been a political pundit for longer, almost, than I have been alive, she responded in a form that was embarrassing to herself and to any woman listening to her radio program who was not a size 0.

I have boundless respect for Meghan McCain. If she becomes a major voice in the Republican Party in the future, I think conservatives and liberals will have really substantive discussions and we might actually get stuff done and respect each other at the same time. Crazy, huh?

So from me to you - much love, Meghan.

Nominate Your Women's Health Hero Starting April 1

I recently got an e-mail alerting me to a very cool event that will be happening over at Our Bodies, Ourselves. The Women’s Health Heroes awards "honor those who make significant contributions to the health and well-being of women." Do you know someone who has made an impact in your life with regards to women's health issues? Look here for information about nominating someone, along with more general info.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Night Music

Here's some Sunday night music to ease you back into Monday:

The Watson Twins covering The Cure's Just Like Heaven.

Also, it might be a little slow around here this week - I think we're all on spring break so consider this your vacation also. A slow-down of sorts, maybe.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Review: Dee Dee Myers' Why Women Should Rule the World

I first picked up Dee Dee Myers' Why Woman Should Rule the World after hearing about how she experienced the wage gap in her role as press secretary to President Clinton from 93-94. I also knew that she consulted with The West Wing and that she was the inspiration for the character C.J. Cregg (who I loooove).

Myers discusses how her position in the Clinton Administration was often a conflicted one - she was given increased responsibilities but no authority in her role as deputy press secretary under Stephanopoulos. By positioning Myers under Stephanopoulos, it decreased the importance of the press secretary. So while Myers was de facto press secretary and the press held her to the standard set by prior press secretaries, she was given less resources, less staff members, and was paid less.

Additionally, Myers describes how another deputy assistant to the president was making more money than her, even though she outranked him and had more responsibility as press secretary. When she asked for a pay raise to equal his, she was denied on the basis that he took a pay cut from his prior job to come to the White House and he had a family. If this happened today, Myers could take action under the newly signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. But it didn't and she didn't recieve equal pay - more like less pay for more work.

Myers' argument in her book is that the world would be a drastically different place if woman were more actively involved in various sectors of life - foreign policy, health issues, executive jobs, etc. Although the book was written pre-2008 Democratic primaries and Hillary Clinton was still a potential for president, Myers' case for increased female participation are still pertinent. She suggests that in some cases, the institution and "way things are done" needs to be altered and modified to incorporate more women. She cites the work of Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman who made the university a more mother and female-friendly place. Tilghman instituted policies that made tenure a longer process to ease the timing of children, as well as a Back-Up Care program where anyone could call and request help for cheap - babysitter, someone to wait for repairs, etc.

Myers covers lots of ground and deftly argues her case. I'm not quite sold on all of her assetions - I question the claim of decreased violence in the world if women were more actively involved in foreign policy (due to their mothering). She's got research to back it up, but I'm hesitant to jump on board any argument that uses motherhood as such a large reason for why the world wouldn't be violent if women were in charge. Perhaps it's because I'm not a mother, but I don't think it's a fail-safe reason. I'm iffy on this point, but she makes many good ones in her book; and on many, I agree with her. The book is well researched, yet the academic in me wishes her sources were footnoted or generally easier to reference.

Although her title suggests that women should be ruling the world, she's suggesting that women become significantly more involved in making major decisions in the public sphere. I have to admit, Why Woman Should Rule the World is way more catchy than Why Woman Should Be Equally Represented in Politics, Education, and Basically Everything. But Myers' has me sold. Check out her book if you're interested in a quick, engaging read that will make you want to run for public office or generally become more involved in the public sphere.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Epic Patriarchy Fail

Sorry, FailBlog. This is not a win. This is an epic patriarchy fail.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy International Women's Day!

If I could write a postcard to my sisters from all around the world, I would say:

Happy International Women's Day from the United States! The weather is a little rainy here, at least in the Midwest, but we're still enjoying Obama's sunshine (at least for a little longer)! Things have been going pretty good with the Fair Pay Act and the no longer around Global Gag Rule, but we're still have a lot of work. I hope we see each other one day soon, when we can celebrate our sisterhood with no clouds above our heads. Enjoy your celebration and good luck!
Missing you,

Where's the Meg White love?

If you're not familiar with the White Stripes, they're a kick ass rock group made up of Jack White and Meg White. Jack plays guitar and sings; Meg plays drums. The White Stripes have released six albums with a seventh supposedly on the way. Three of their albums have won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album (Elephant, Icky Thump, Get Behind Me Satan).

However while Jack White is heaped (well deserved) praises for his guitar playing, Meg White receives a ton of criticism for her drumming, or is just ignored.

Here's an excerpt from an iTunes review:
"I don't know that America has encountered as much talent as Jack White.... I believe this album is the finest expression of Jack's artistic freedom and it shows you the many facets of his abilities. True to their form The White Stripes take the listener on a journey through different types of expression, no two songs are quite the same... Jack White is to be considered a prophet on some levels and inspired in the very least." - review by hofmary for Get Behind Me Satan
Although Jack White certainly plays like none other and deserves much praise, the focus on Jack White alone seems to miss the point of their collaboration. Not all of the iTunes reviews are this way, but the fawning over Jack White and dismissal of Meg White is a common motif in reviews and general public opinion.

Jack's spoken out on criticisms of Meg's drumming before. From a 2005 Rolling Stones article, Jack said, "I never thought 'God, I wish Neil Peart was in this band.' It's kind of funny: When people critique hip hop, they're scared to open up, for fear of being called racist. But they're not scared to open up on female musicians, out of pure sexism. Meg is the best part of this band. It never would have worked with anybody else, because it would have been too complicated... It was my doorway to playing the blues."

I've had this discussion with my roommate - he loves the White Stripes, thinks Jack is great, but says Meg is horrible. I asked why he thought she was so bad and he said she didn't match Jack's talent. While he is amazing, that doesn't mean she's terrible. I questioned him on why he thought the band was so great if half of the members were just crap. It just doesn't add up, in my opinion. Meg White's talented and her contribution to the White Stripes helps make up their unique sound - The White Stripes couldn't be the White Stripes without Meg White.

So here's my appreciation for Meg White - she's awesome and rocks out in her own style. I salute you, Meg White. Keep up the good fight.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Women: Shameful and Unclean (part two)

This BBC article about the practice in Nepal of chhaupadi, or confining women who are deemed to be considered by society to be “unclean” is yet another way in which women are made to feel and be perceived as dirty and shameful.

In Nepal, chhaupadi applies to new mothers (until the eleventh day after the birth of their child), and to women during their monthly period. This practice is attributed to a belief that their god will become angry with families who do not practice chhaupadi. Padma Devi Deuba, a young mother, said of being on her period: “If I touch anyone, it will be a sin.” Other beliefs are not universal, ranging from bad luck on a household that allows a new mother or a menstruating women to remain in the house, to the idea that such women can make blood out of cow’s milk.

Many of the women in Nepal are forced to deal with cramped, unsanitary conditions, often in spaces shared with cattle, and the consequences can be frightening.

“Last summer a 15-year-old girl died of diarrhoea she contracted while sleeping alone in a shed. No one wanted to take her to a health post.”

Such realities did lead the government of Nepal to take some action on this issue.

“Extreme confinement was outlawed by Nepal's Supreme Court three years ago, but continues to be widespread.”

Devaki Shahi, who was confined after the birth of her son, now travels and speaks out for change in regard to this practice. She works for the Rural Women's Development and Unity Centre, a local charity.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Women: Shameful and Unclean (part one)

I have been doing some preliminary readings in preparation for a feminist-type research project I hope to undertake at my college this summer. Many of the readings I have done have either gone into detail about, or at least briefly mentioned, the problem of shame and dirtiness surrounding women in our society when it comes to menstruation.

Shame sells menstrual products.

The idea of shame is widespread in advertisements for menstrual products. This 1992 ad describes how Kotex pads will keep girls from being embarrassed by their hot lab partner finding out she’s on he period. This buys into the idea that menstruation, a perfectly natural part of women’s lives, is something to be ashamed of and to hide from everyone, especially those cute boys in your life. This 1990 Tampax tampons ad plays into the idea that a girl’s virginity is tied to her worth, and that a girl who loses her virginity is shameful, by assuring potential buyers that “you can use them at any age and still be a virgin.”

Along those same lines, the following, more recent ad for Tampax Pearl Tampons also buys into the idea of shame. Notice how it doesn’t go into any detail about why this particular product is supposedly such an “upgrade.” All it says is that it’s their “best protection ever” from those possible leaks that are to be avoided at all costs if women want to avoid long-lasting humiliation and shame.

This trend does not only apply to advertising for menstrual products, but it is especially troubling in this case because menstruation is a very natural function, and one for the most part, cannot be controlled.

For more advertisements, check out the Museum of Menstruation website.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Vote for the Beat Freaks on ABDC!

I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I kinda really love America's Best Dance Crew, especially the all-woman team Beat Freaks. They've made it into the top two teams, and have consistently kicked butt to make it there.

They're competing in the live finale on Thursday night, but you can vote for them now here. The other team, Quest Crew, is awesome too, but Beat Freaks have been rocking out week after week.

Here's a video of Beat Freaks on the show:

Don't forget to vote here. Finale is Thursday at 10e/9c.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Blog-a-versary!

The Female Impersonator Blog was started one year ago today...ish.

I actually wrote the first post on this blog on Feb. 29, 2008, a leap year.
So I decided that March 1 will be the anniversary.

I am so proud of this blog and all the wonderful people who write for it. Many many thanks to my co-bloggers and all our wonderful readers for a great year of blogging. I hope there will be many more to come.

To celebrate, I am going to take a little me time and relax with some good music. Join me!

"How Would It Be" by Ellis

"Reckless" by Tilly and the Wall

"Nur ein Wort" by Wir sind Helden


"Playing With Pink Noise" by Kaki King

Thanks again to all of our supporters! And please, if you have the means, support the above artists and buy some of their music.