Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seeking Carnival of Feminists blog hosts!

The Carnival of Feminists needs some blog hosts!

The bi-weekly Carnival of Feminists collects some of the best posts from the feminist blogosphere and puts them in one place for your viewing pleasure.

If you are interested in hosting a future Carnival of Feminists, please drop myself or Amelia an email at [firstname].impersonator [at] If you're not sure what hosting entails, we've got a lovely walk-through to help any first-time/long-time hosts.

Please send us an email or leave a comment if you are interested!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trust Women: Blog for Choice Day

To me, trusting women is more than just ensuring legal access to abortion. It's ensuring that women have the options to make their own decisions about their lives, health care and futures.

Trusting women means birth control. Sex education. Equal pay. Breaking stereotypes. Two words with a million different ramifications.

It's one of those things that's so simple, so fundamental that I can't believe we have to advocate for it.

I trust women. Do you?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Troll Patrol: Say What???? Edition

In response to my post about our radio show (which didn't happen due to some bad technical difficulties), I got this utterly confusing troll comment:

There's also no such thing as "bisexuals". You have gay men who don't want to be "out" all the way, and you have college straight women who make out with their friends for drinks.
No such thing.

This same troll also told me that there is no such thing as homophobia.

But according to this person, apparently, there is also only one kind of woman: the "college straight" kind. No other varieties, even if they "make out with their friends." Because they would only do that for drinks. Not as a legitimate expression of their sexual/emotional desires. And as far as men go, well, they're all totally gay. Maybe straight, too, but this person leaves that up for interpretation.


Female Impersonators Radio Hour, today 4pm central time!

The first episode of Female Impersonators Radio Hour will be on air today at 4pm central time!

Kate is sick (get well soon!), so Amelia will be the sole host for the day.

Tune in here.
Call in here: 309-341-7441

Amelia will be discussing:
- North Korean government enouraging officials to have babies by turning the lights off at 7pm? (more here)
- her run-in with a homophobic wedding photographer
- the custody battle between Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller (article here)
- thoughts on bisexuality, and the problems Patriarchy places on women and men who express deviant sexual orientations (article that inspired these thoughts here)
- her "woman of the week" (sneak peek here)

She will be playing (non-exhaustive list):
- Andrea Gibson
- Ani DiFranco
- The Butchies
- The Cliks
- Iron & Wine
- Metric
- Owl City
- Uh Huh Her

Hope you get to tune in!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Links

Sharing a bit for you:

New Law Requires Women to Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion
via Feministing

Some people may find the satirical video funny, but the sad truth is that some women DO name their babies and paint nurseries before getting abortions. Most often these are late-term abortions done for health reason where the women very desperately want the child. I can only see this video as poking at an open wound for those women and their families.

Two articles from the Minnesota Independent:

GOP bill could bring "Choose Life" plates to Minnesota
Anti-abortion license plates could appear on vehicles in Minnesota if a new bill passes the legislature this year. Legislators submitted a flurry of new bills on Monday well ahead of the start of the session in February. One submitted by Republican Rep. Larry Howes of Walker would initiate a “Choose Life” license plate program in the state.

Franken bill to give servicewomen access to emergency contraception
“All servicewomen should have the same access to this medication as civilians do,” Franken said. “The fact that more than 2,900 sexual assaults were reported last year in the military—a nine percent increase—only heightens the need to ensure emergency contraception is always available.”

Say what you want about Al Franken, but I've been repeatedly impressed with his actions and bills during his short time in the Senate.

Have a great weekend!

Book Drive at Minneapolis North Star Roller Girls tonight!

There are few things I love more than roller derby - waffles, books, kitties, my partner, to be precise - but tonight combines both books and roller derby. The Minneapolis-based North Star Roller Girls will holding a book drive for the Minnesota Reading Corps at their bout tonight!

If you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area looking for some fun tonight, head down to the Minneapolis Convention Center for derby! Bring a book and get a $2 discount on tickets. Doors open at 6:30 with the bout beginning at 7:30.

Full disclosure: I work for the MRC and have friends in the NSRG.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

I was reading Jezebel yesterday, and in response to a story on women who sleep with comedians (aka "chucklefuckers"), a comment-er left this pretty spot on thought:

"If you sleep with a man because of his job, you're a groupie.
If you sleep with a man because of his money, you're a whore.
If you sleep with a man and don't care about either, you're a slut.
If you won't sleep with a man, you're a bitch."

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

One of the most powerful ways women's sexuality is controlled by others is words.
People will label women no matter how we express our sexuality.

So, fuck them. Do whatever you want because no matter what your sexual decisions are, you will never satisfy the critics.

I can't hear them anymore, anyway.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Female Impersonator now on Twitter!

It's time for some shameless self-promotion.

I started a Twitter account for this blog. I will be updating it as frequently as possible with links to recent posts on this blog and other feminist links of interest. I thought it would be a good avenue to get the word out about our blog using some technology that people seem to be rather fond of.

Follow us here!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I'm truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me. And at the same time, as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others." - Amanda Simpson, a trans woman who was recently appointed by President Obama as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce, in the Bureau of Industry and Security.

h/t Shakesville.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Touch, Children and Consent

I've mentioned before that I work in a preschool. It's incredibly fun and I love my specialized focus of teaching my 3-5 year olds the necessary literacy skills they'll need to be successful readers in kindergarten (Psst: If you live in Minnesota, love working with and teaching kids, and need a short-term [1-2 years] job for next school year, email me and I'll give you more information about my non-profit).

However, once I'm with my kids, it's like my body is not my own anymore. More specifically, my lap for sitting, my hands for holding and rarely my hair for pulling. This is usually the extent of it, but occasionally kids will ask me what my breasts are or touch my butt from behind without notice. It usually doesn't bother me (except the one time when a kid had messy hands from lunch and wiped them all over the back of my jeans).

Today while reading The Lorax, one of my students began putting her hands near my collarbone, resting them on my skin for a moment then moving them to my other side. She said she was checking for my heartbeat. Another boy stuck his hand out and put it squarely on my breasts, saying, "No, this is where her heartbeat is." I suggested they try checking for their own heartbeat underneath their chins, modeling how to do it. His touch obviously wasn't sexual, but there's still something jarring about being touched, especially in some areas, without notice or consent. I don't want to stigmatize a particular area of their bodies as sexual, dirty, shameful or something they shouldn't be touching without the larger context and conversations of age-appropriate bodily education.* But they know the rules - hands to yourself, you must ask a friend first before touching, and you have to listen when a friend says no.

Awhile back we got a new girl in the class. She had no troubles adjusting to the class and got along well with the other children. On her first day, one of the boys suggested they be boyfriend and girlfriend. They held hands a bit during story time (with several warnings about the hands to yourself rule) and he tried to kiss her on the cheek after. She clearly didn't like this and I had to tell him to respect her no, even if he didn't like it. The class rules say that we have to listen to everyone's no, but I felt like I should have included that a girl's no must especially be listened to. It turns out she didn't even want to be his "girlfriend," but felt a little pressured. I told her that it's ok to say no if you don't want something. Again - these are 4 year olds.

But it must be said early and often if the message is to be understood.

Sometimes I wonder how I would do my job if I had difficulties with being touched without asking or were triggered by such actions.

Yet at the same time, I have to consider my own actions. Sometimes I touch kids without expressly asking. In the case of some kids, it helps if I rub their back during storytime. They listen better; they keep their hands to themselves, and I imagine it makes them feel loved. At first I finished that sentence with safe - I imagine it makes them feel safe- but I don't think I can say that for all kids. We want preschool to be a safe enviornment and actively work to destress kids in order to make them feel comfortable enough to learn. Some kids like having their back rubbed or scratched and I suppose I just think most kids like it.

And then I read Rebecca from City of Ladies and Thomas from Yes Means Yes** and step back to evaluate my own actions. Am I touching kids who would rather I not touch them? Perhaps. There are some things I'm very explicit about - I always ask a child if they would like to give me a hug and accept the occasional "no." I don't take pictures of children without their consent. But it seems that I must adjust my actions to include all touching if I am truly to respect their own decisions about their bodies.

It only takes a quick "Can I rub your back?" and all bases are covered. How many difficulties in this world would be avoided if only we checked in and made sure we had consent first?

*Since this came up a bit in one of my prior posts about preschool children and the language they use to describe their bodies, I'll state this clearly: I believe in age appropriate bodily education and will implement this in the classroom. That doesn't mean, as one anonymous commenter suggested, "feminists teaching [preschool children] about their bodies or sexuality." Age appropriate bodily education includes proper, anatomical names for body parts (arms, legs, brain, arm bones, vagina, penis, toes, etc) and recognizing what their bodies are telling them (hunger, sickness, anger, happiness). I'm not indoctrinating kids into feminism when I say that I use age appropriate bodily education; I'm teaching them that sometimes that funny feeling in their stomach means they're hungry, angry, sick or have to poop.

**My own thinking on the topic of children and bodily respect has been influenced by Thomas' post "If She's Not Having Fun You Have To Stop." It has been useful in shaping the way I interact and help police my student's actions.