Saturday: Smash the Patriarchy, Extinct Political Birds, Blurred Feminism, and Mental Illness as Rebellion

extinct_birdsNewsflash: Conservative dodo bird Jonah Goldberg finds Hillary Clinton boring.

(So boring, in fact, that recall Goldberg and/or his wife ghostwrote fed stale old anti-Hillary canards about tea, cookies, and bra-burning for Palin’s America by Heart.)

In other news…

Keep your popcorn bowls handy, newsjunkies, as we continue to watch the heads explode on all the dodos.

Next up… Two patriarchy-smashing parodies of the misogynist-yet-insidiously catchy earworm that is Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” I recommend taking the time to view the videos below at some point this weekend if you haven’t seen them already. (Especially after Thicke went on the Today show this week claiming his original track to be “great art” and a “feminist movement in itself.”)

First up, Mod Carousel’s gender role reversal “Sexy Boys”:

From the video’s description:

Mod Carousel, a Seattle based boylesque troupe, does a sexy parody of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video.

It’s our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions.

The other video is Melinda Hughes’ “Lame Lines”:

From the lyrics, as transcribed in Hughes’ youtube description:

You think I want it
I really don’t want it
Please get off it
You’re a douchebag
You’re a little flacid
Your dance is spastic
Should go get tested
I hate your lame lines
You think I want it
I really don’t want it
Please get off it
You’re a douchebag
Hey don’t you grab me
Look at me, I’m classy
I said don’t grab me

There are a lot of other parodies out there, but these two had a distinctly gender bender vibe to them. So, what do you think Sky Dancers? Did these versions succeed?

Switching gears a bit, here’s an interesting piece from AlterNet by Bruce E. Levine, called “Why Life in America Can Literally Drive You Insane” with the byline “it’s not just Big Pharma” underneath:

In “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?” (New York Review of Books, 2011), Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, pathologizing of normal behaviors, Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, and the adverse effects of psychiatric medications. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason.

A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in “progress” has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment. For many of us, society has become increasingly alienating, isolating and insane, and earning a buck means more degrees, compliance, ass-kissing, shit-eating, and inauthenticity. So, we want to rebel. However, many of us feel hopeless about the possibility of either our own escape from societal oppression or that political activism can create societal change. So, many of us, especially young Americans, rebel by what is commonly called mental illness.

Ah, yes, I believe I called it when I first coined the phrase, “Political Affective Disorder.”

It’s a long read, and not one I can yet say I fully endorse or not, particularly on the issue of diagnosis and the author’s attitude toward the DSM as nothing more than “pseudoscience.”

As a student of the psychological discipline, I am still taking my sweet time to form an opinion on the DSM-5 and the food fight between its proponents and detractors. The DSM in all its versions thusfar has been far from a perfect venture, but having  gotten to hear directly from one of the Work Group chairs that was at the frontlines of changes for her respective category at a mental health conference last month, I have to say it makes a difference to hear from the horse’s mouth the reasoning that went into each change, as opposed to reading about it in an op-ed. That’s a rant for another time, though!

Suffice it to say, Levine’s essay is thought-provoking and raises important points for debate. I have long-thought there was a social rebellion aspect to mental illness. (Cassandra, anyone?)

Excerpt from the piece, with some relevant survey trends and research stats on the current state of the American Dream/Nightmare:

Returning to that June 2013 Gallup survey, “The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement,” only 30% of workers “were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace.” In contrast to this “actively engaged group,” 50% were “not engaged,” simply going through the motions to get a paycheck, while 20% were classified as “actively disengaged,” hating going to work and putting energy into undermining their workplace. Those with higher education levels reported more discontent with their workplace.

How engaged are we with our schooling? Another Gallup poll “The School Cliff: Student Engagement Drops With Each School Year” (released in January 2013), reported that the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become. The poll surveyed nearly 500,000 students in 37 states in 2012, and found nearly 80% of elementary students reported being engaged with school, but by high school, only 40% reported being engaged. As the pollsters point out, “If we were doing right by our students and our future, these numbers would be the absolute opposite. For each year a student progresses in school, they should be more engaged, not less.”

Life clearly sucks more than it did a generation ago when it comes to student loan debt. According to American Student Assistance’s “Student Debt Loan Statistics,” approximately 37 million Americans have student loan debt. The majority of borrowers still paying back their loans are in their 30s or older. Approximately two-thirds of students graduate college with some education debt. Nearly 30% of college students who take out loans drop out of school, and students who drop out of college before earning a degree struggle most with student loans. As of October 2012, the average amount of student loan debt for the Class of 2011 was $26,600, a 5% increase from 2010. Only about 37% of federal student-loan borrowers between 2004 and 2009 managed to make timely payments without postponing payments or becoming delinquent.

In addition to the pain of jobs, school, and debt, there is increasingly more pain of social isolation. A major study reported in the American Sociological Review in 2006, “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks Over Two Decades,” examined Americans’ core network of confidants (those people in our lives we consider close enough to trust with personal information and whom we rely on as a sounding board). Authors reported that in 1985, 10% of Americans said that they had no confidants in their lives; but by 2004, 25% of Americans stated they had no confidants in their lives. This study confirmed the continuation of trends that came to public attention in sociologist Robert Putnam’s 2000 book Bowling Alone.

Oh dear, this makes me want to get into a dialectic with me and myself about Tonnies’ small town Gemeinschaft and big city Gesselschaft and Durkheim’s Anomie.

I’ll spare you and just quote another paragraph from Levine’s piece on Alter Net before I close:

The reality is that with enough helplessness, hopelessness, passivity, boredom, fear, isolation, and dehumanization, we rebel and refuse to comply. Some of us rebel by becoming inattentive. Others become aggressive. In large numbers we eat, drink and gamble too much. Still others become addicted to drugs, illicit and prescription. Millions work slavishly at dissatisfying jobs, become depressed and passive aggressive, while no small number of us can’t cut it and become homeless and appear crazy. Feeling misunderstood and uncared about, millions of us ultimately rebel against societal demands, however, given our wherewithal, our rebellions are often passive and disorganized, and routinely futile and self-destructive.

taintor-idiot-no-longerI can attest to that much personally, having gone through the self-destructive, passive slow suicide of anorexic rebellion in my adolescence and into my twenties and the process of recovery and trying to reclaim my identity now into my thirties (as a patriarchy-smashing-archery-goddess-witchy-woman-feminist of course!)

Give Levine’s article a read in full if you have the time. I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts, especially from Dr. Bostonboomer, our resident psychologist.

Alright, well that’s all I’ve got for you this morning.

What’s got your blogger juices going this Saturday, Sky Dancers? Let us have a listen in the comments, and have a great weekend!


Throwback Thursday: Those ‘Dog Days of Summer’ primary debates

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Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., talk onstage during a break in the ABC News Democratic candidates debate Sunday at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo)

Good evening, newsjunkies!

Since it’s the first of August, my memory has jogged back to those primary debates from way back when, the ones before the total loss of my innocence about the Democratic party as a young whippersnapper 20-something — one who Hillary Clinton was starting to win over in those debates with her masterful debate skills and just the simple plain-as-day fact that not only was Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton the diametric opposite of the BITCH warmonger stereotype that the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, et al. had been feeding in the trough up until then…But, also the growing evidence with each debate that she was the best candidate standing on that stage. Time and time again, and the more the good ol’ boy network ganged up on her, the stronger she became…sheer baptism by fire! And, myself–a radical feminist in the making. Like Sarah Slamen told our Texas ‘all asshat, no cattle’ legislature: “Thank you, for being you, Texas legislature. You have radicalized hundreds of thousands of us…” . The experience of 2007-2008 radicalized my feminism… or at least, cemented a process that had already started to unfold as I came of age politically.

Hillary+Clinton+Democratic+Presidential+Candidates+Ah0aR5uFuxwx

In a sea of male empty suits, the workhorse in the pantsuit with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt at her side. (Click pic for HQ)

Mind you, I did so in a time where a faux cowboy running off of nepotism and Forrest Gump like charm first took the election Al Gore essentially dropped on the floor, with the media laying banana peels on the floor for him to trip over every step of the way. Four years later, Cowboy Clueless unarguably claimed the election from one John F. Kerry who let it slip clear through his hands as he windsurfed his way through being swiftboated. I saw the worst of presidential matchups and media shenannigans in both of the first presidential elections in which I was old enough to vote–and here came Hillary Clinton, like a breath of fresh air. Not a saint by any means, but a Joan of the American political arc nonetheless compared to the fallen over cliff-view I’d seen in the decade prior. She laughed, she cried, and she honed her debate points like a laser as the chatter of the male suits on stage became even more obvious for the shallow, insular horse manure it was.

I’ve been poring over transcripts from the summer of ’07 for the past hour or so, for a throwback moment to spotlight tonight, and here’s what I settled on…Hillary’s response to the closing question asking all the candidates, what the decisive moment was in their life, with George S. opening the final round by saying, “You know, presidential biographers are always looking at the turning point in a life, the moment where an ordinary person went on the path to the presidency, the decisive moment.” Hillary, August 19th, 2007, Des Moines, in the fateful state of Iowa:

CLINTON: Well, when I was growing up I didn’t think I would run for president, but I could not be standing here without the women’s movement, without generations of women who broke down barriers, the civil rights movement that gave women and people of color the feeling that they were really part of the American dream.

So I owe the opportunity that I have here today to many people; some of whom are known to history and many who aren’t.

But more personally, I owe it to my mother, who never got a chance to go to college, who had a very difficult childhood, but who gave me a belief that I could do whatever I set my mind…

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the last word.

hillary_dorothy

…and the spirit of Dorothy Rodham living through her.

All eyes on Iowa 2016.

A few Hillary-links for you to peruse tonight:

At the Golden Heart  Awards on October 16,  Michael Kors will present his inaugural award for Outstanding Community Service to Hillary Clinton who clearly needs a museum in which to store and display the many awards and honors she continues to collect.

FILMMAKER and Academy Award winning documentarian Charles H. Ferguson has signed on to a CNN Films project about Hillary Rodham Clinton, which will have a theatrical release before it hits television.

This is a double-edged sword, because the scrutiny Hillary will receive will be more intense than her Republican rivals or a Democratic challenger, who will likely get to throw everything at her. While she will be expected to be above it all, starting with not punching down, as the saying goes, acting presidential while working to get the presidential nomination for the first time in American history.

CNN will surely be once again dubbed the “Clinton news network” whether they stay objective, accusations of going soft inspiring them to do the opposite. The cross promotion of the feature on CNN is likely to set Republican teeth on edge.

For women and girls of all ages it’s not possible to hedge or try to be coy about what this means. It is an exciting moment in American history, because women have waited a long time to see such building fanfare over a potential female presidential candidate with the viability and star power of Hillary Clinton. She’s getting the exact same due that a man of her stature would demand and it’s been a long time in waiting for this moment.

Documentarian Charles Ferguson already has one Oscar to his credit, for a movie about the financial meltdown (“Inside Job”) and another Oscar nomination for his film about the Iraq War (“No End in Sight.”) He’s now going to be making a full-length documentary about Hillary Clinton. Given his track record, I doubt it will be a puff-piece.

As for that biopic, it’s very pointedly going to be called “Rodham.” Directed by James Ponsoldt, whose film “The Spectacular Now” opens this weekend, “Rodham” will focus on Hillary’s earlier years. In the Watergate era, Hillary Rodham was in her mid-20’s and working with a group of fellow D.C. lawyers on how to legally impeach a President. The movie will focus on how she wrestled with her personal and professional prospects: a brilliant political career in D.C. versus moving to no-count Arkansas to be with the man she loved. We all know what path she ultimately chose but a lot of us may wonder why she made that choice.

  • Thinking now is as good a time as any to post this primer Peter Daou wrote in April of this year, for all your Hillary diehard ninja needs in the coming election cycles– A Reader’s Guide to Anti-Hillary Themes:

Now, as the floodgates open on 2016 speculation, and despite her high standing in public polls, commentary about Hillary Clinton is following predictable patterns. Several pervasive anti-Hillary themes are being dusted off for yet another political cycle; these are carefully-crafted and patently false talking points designed to dehumanize and demean her. Many of the themes are rooted in the sexism that permeates our culture.

During the 2008 campaign, under withering fire for allegedly being, among other things, too ambitious, too polarizing, and willing to “say or do anything to win,” Hillary refused to play into stereotypes. She told her staff, “I don’t want to succeed because I’m a woman, I want to succeed because I’m the best at what I do.” Whatever she chooses to do in the future, as a former advisor and current supporter, I sincerely hope she is judged based on her actions, not on other people’s inventions. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of anti-Hillary themes so that readers, viewers and listeners recognize them for what they are.

1. SHE WILL DO ANYTHING TO WIN
Rooted in decades-old Clinton conspiracy theories from the fringe, this catch-all attack has been adopted by mainstream critics and is designed to portray her as unscrupulous, unethical and even sinister.

2. SHE IS TOO AMBITIOUS
Another way of saying she doesn’t know a woman’s ‘place,’ this is designed to undermine her achievements and to frame her actions and goals in an unsavory light.

3. SHE IS TOO POLARIZING
Any popular figure generates strong feelings, but in Hillary Clinton’s case, it is ascribed to her as a negative personal trait. The irony is that it’s most often peddled by people who are busy bashing her, thus creating the very polarization they are lamenting.

4. SHE IS CALCULATING
A way to strip her of humanity and to deny that she has genuine feelings, this portrays her as a machine, methodically scheming to attain predetermined goals.

5. SHE IS DISINGENUOUS
Used disingenuously by people who want to call her a liar but are too timid.

6. SHE IS INEVITABLE
No matter what she says about working hard, staying focused and not taking anything for granted, detractors create this perch then try to knock her down from it.

7. SHE REPRESENTS THE PAST
Translation: she is old. Ageism in various forms.

8. HER CLOTHING
Often used in faux-jest, it is still a potent and all-too-common way to undercut a successful woman by highlighting appearance over accomplishments.

9. HER HAIR
See #8.

10. HER HUSBAND
When all else fails, attack her family.

I just LOVE this list, it is so perfectly reflects the experience of 2007-2008.

And, with that…

This is your Thursday evening/late owl overnight thread, and it’s an open one for you to use until Dakinikat’s Friday morning post. Do your thing in the comments, Sky Dancers!


Saturday: Late Lunch Reads

1016966_420781081371818_990974132_nGood afternoon, newsjunkies.

By late lunch, I really mean a) I’m eating from a box of Annie’s Homegrown cheddar bunnies, and b) this time last week, JJ aka Minkoff Minx and I were happily squished together in a restaurant booth in Atlanta waiting for our sandwiches to come out (which took forever to do so; I think this was the universe giving us more time together…)

JJ had an even bigger heart in person than I already thought she would–somewhat an impossible feat. I can only hope know this is just the start of many more Sky Dancer luncheons and meetups and such! (How does a Winter 2013 Sky Dancers convention sound, y’all? Or, maybe Spring Break 2014?)

The entire conversation last Saturday afternoon was such a blast, between JJ’s mama, her daughter Bebe, my younger sister Megan, and the two of us.

At one point, in my typical absentminded and inarticulate fashion, I stumbled trying to explain that we feminists hold our movement to a standard that I don’t think other social justice movements (of which I consider myself a member!) necessarily do. We struggle to find the perfect hypothetical woman to carry out all our diverse views on womanhood–when really all we need is a woman who lives her choices in action, and supports the choices of others. (Y’all know what comes next…drumroll please…)

Hillary 2016!

Anyhow, here are a few ‘easy-over’ links for you to graze on while you peruse the net this afternoon…

First up, if you haven’t seen it yet, Maxipad-gate: Now I Know Exactly How To Talk To Dudes About Periods! [via Upworthy]

I’m just going to excerpt here:

So this guy watched a maxipad commercial and thought that periods were the best time EVER in a woman’s life. Then, he found out that wasn’t true. So naturally, he took to Facebook and expressed his thoughts, which you can see below.

Then, the (fictional) CEO of Bodyform decided to respond to his unfortunate misunderstanding of the way the human body works.

Here’s the “Bodyform CEO” response:

Sardonic awesomeness, right? When I saw it, I just knew I had to post it here. Apologies if it’s a repeat of anything posted on the frontpage or the comments already. I’m still all tortoise-like slowly but surely catching up on last week and this week at Sky Dancing. So I should probably stipulate that this disclaimer applies to all my links 🙂

Next up, an -interesting- read via New Zealands “stuff.co.nz” network of publications, in which Rosemary McLeod examines the last fifty  years of feminism after Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique: What women wanted – and what they got.

I’m going to tease you a tiny snippet and withhold my opinions of the piece for a moment so I can hear some unvarnished feedback from y’all. I really hope you take the time to read it in its entirety and comment below if you have the chance this weekend–as ever, I look forward to hearing what Sky Dancers have to say on this topic!

Teaser, just to give you a taste:

THE POWER STRUCTURE

In 1963 there was no Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

QUESTION: What does the Ministry of Women’s Affairs do?

MORE QUESTIONS:

• What would Betty Friedan make of Madonna, Tracey Emin and Lady Gaga?
• Would she have enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill?
• If she were young today would she have a pierced nipple/clitoris/tongue?
• What would her tattoo be, and where would she have it?
• Where did suburban neurosis go?
• Why are twice as many women as men currently on antidepressants?
• Why do three times as many men as women commit suicide?
• How are university women’s studies courses faring?

And, finally–a Hillary-bite! NBC to air Hillary Clinton miniseries [via Gary Levin in USA Today]:

Diane Lane will star, and the action will begin in 1998.

clinton
(Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

Story Highlights

  • Hillary miniseries is one of several planned by NBC
  • Diane Lane will star
  • NBC expects to air it before her presidential candidacy is formally announced

As Hillary Clinton is widely expected to make a second presidential run in 2016, NBC is planning a sure-to-be-controversial miniseries about the former first lady and secretary of State.

Diane Lane (Unfaithful) will star in the project, which has yet to cast an actor to play the former president. But it will begin in 1998, midway through Bill Clinton’s second term, when the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal engulfed the family.

Courtney Hunt (Frozen River) will write and direct the four-hour project.

Will NBC run afoul of campaign laws that require equal time for presidential candidates? Not if the network gets the project on in a hurry.

“She’s not going to probably declare her candidacy for two more years,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said, “so this could well have aired before that.”

Oh wow! This reminds me of Obama and the West Wing storyline that preceded his election. Oh WOW. I’m kind of gathering my thoughts here on this, so…

I’m going to turn the comment sections over to y’all. Have at it!


Bad Reputation (Open night owl thread)

Two things.

Thing one... Spending life not rattling my jewellry:

Joan Jett’s jacket. Notice the pins.

“keep abortion legal”

“If she says no, it’s rape”

“Pro fucking choice”

This jacket is from about thirty years ago. These issues were big then. Thirty years later, these issues are still present. I was amazed to find these pins on the jacket, and realize this, because I would have thought, back then, if I was alive, that those issues would be solved by NOW.

But they aren’t. Joan Jett knew what was up.

Why can’t we take a minute and soak in her “bad reputation” and think about how in thirty years, abortion and rape culture STILL are huge issues.

Photos courtesy of EMP museum in Seattle, Washington.

Thing 2… I love Joan Jett and the Foo Fighters and so finding this video made my day (language Not-exactly-SFW unless you work in Congress or a state legislature, perhaps *wink*):

Alright, that’s all! Open thread, and enjoy your night.

thing1thing2-jpeg

 

 


Mona Late Evening Mash-Up: From Wisconsin to Texas to Tahrir, Solidarity forever, sisters!

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Madame Secretary, April 2009. Note the matching hot pink clipboard.

So our illustrious and prolific JJ aka Minkoff Minx is still not quite back in the pink yet–she needs to rest all she can and get well soon! I’ll be filling in for the Evening Reads tonight, and while I cannot for the blogger life of me do the kind of thorough job she does following all the day’s news leads day in and day out, here’s what’s on my radar today.

Hillary 2016

Is Texas Hillary Country? That’s what a “new poll” suggests, but it’s just one of many “new polls” that have been trending this way for months years.

Also via KTRH News Radio out of Houston: Hillary Clinton Pantsuit Becomes Museum Display. I have embeded the Newsy youtube below, so you don’t have to click over–if you wait past the blah blah fashion cakes in the first 45 seconds or so, the second half is commentary on Hillary’s future that you might find of interest. You won’t want to miss Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s comment at the reception in Little Rock at the Clinton library honoring Oscar de la Renta … I’ll transcribe it for you below the video.

Anna Wintour: I can only hope that all of you here in Little Rock will be celebrating her come November 2016 … All of us at Vogue look forward to putting on the cover the first female president of the United States.

Hillary 2016!

Texas

I stood with Wendy last night as the Stand With Texas Women bus tour made its stop in Houston. I saw her speak, oh yes I did. I went with my sister of course! Sisterhood of the Pink Sneaks 😉

1) Wendy is simply amazing, y’all. 2) I got the burnt orange T-Shirt to prove it!

As my sister and I were leaving Discovery park, a woman in maybe her 30s or 40s walking toward us just getting there asked, “Is she still speaking?” I had to let her down, but luckily she followed up by asking about the “Stand With Texas Women” t-shirts, and we were able to direct her where to go get her own! So those were the two big things of the night, Wendy and the shirts, though there were so many wonderful little things and moments.

I did take my own photos, some of which I’ll post in the comments. They aren’t the greatest, partly because my iPhone camera roll was annoyingly full, so I couldn’t snap very many, and the other part being there was quite a sizable turnout (see the Egberto Willies article I highlight below), especially on a muggy, muddy Tuesday night with only a day or so’s notice… Everybody in the crowd w972203_411669078949685_1210288188_nas swarming to get pics, and…rarely have I ever felt bad about being short except for times I can count on my one hand like last night, where tall guys and people’s posters kept covering the podium space! However, I did get this awesome photo (see right) of a little girl in the crowd whose father held her up over his shoulders and who Wendy referred to in her speech–and he held her up again. I was standing right behind him and got this photo. Wendy referenced his holding her up earlier as an symbol of our future that we are standing for as we take our stand for Texas women…she didn’t seem to expect him to lift the girl up again. It was just one of those moments you had to be there! He held her up as much as he could without being a bad dad about it. It was great.

As was seeing all the pro-feminist men (read: unicorn!) who showed up to stand with and alongside Texas women…speaking of which, here is Art Pronin (old blogger handle texan4hillary) with Cecile Richards at yesterday’s event!

Blogger Egberto Willies has video and describes the event thus: “Electrified Crowds Greet Wendy Davis & Company Tour In Houston”:

There were over 1000 souls in attendance even after a downpour followed by a very muggy humid heat. Attendees did not mind the heat, wet, or the mud. They gave the Senators and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood a fiery hot welcome. This rally exceeded expectation just as did last night’s rally in Austin and last week’s rally.

All of the attendees knew exactly why they were there. “I feel strongly about this issue,” said Linda Walker, a veteran that served the country. “I didn’t serve this country to   be treated as a second class citizen.”

Here is Egberto’s youtube footage of the event, just shy of 10 minutes, with interviews of people there and parts of the speeches. I was pleased with the portion he chose from Wendy’s speech, because I had wanted to write that part down when I heard it:

Afterward at dinner, the head waiter and waitstaff kept commenting on my sister and my t-shirts (“So I’m going to say you… -dramatic pause- ….stand for Texas Women…,”). Most of them were unaware but curious to learn what it was all about. I tried my level best to keep relatively quiet and not go off on a feminist tear (you never know in Houston what mansplaining turd lurks ready to explain why we need to defund Planned Parenthood…). I just kept dropping Wendy’s name, the filibuster, told people to google it. At least our waitress had an inkling of what it was about…she brought up her friend working at the Capitol in Austin, who she described as a “big feminist” (which had me raising the roof a little visibly of course!)

But, enough of my fangirly gushing on that. Here’s the big bad ugly headline out of Texas today…predictable but ugly…

Texas Tribune: House Approves Abortion Restrictions.

From the link:

The House voted 96-49 on Wednesday to give final approval to proposed abortion regulations in Texas. House Bill 2, which would ban abortion at 20 weeks and enact some of the strictest regulations in the country on abortion providers and facilities, now heads to the Senate.

“If we’re going to ask for more children to come into this world, we should provide for them,” said state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio. She offered an amendment, which lawmakers tabled, that would have extended state benefits to children put into the foster care and adoption system by women who could not access abortion as a result of the legislation. She added, “We know there are going to be lots of cases where the mothers just cannot, even though they may want to, they cannot take care of them.”

Of course Laubenberg (the bill’s author) “countered” that the amendment wrongly assumed abortion wouldn’t be available, services wouldn’t be available for a child in need, yarda yarda. Really, then what’s the rightwing’s motivation with all this pro-DUMB legislation?

Crickets. (Oh, right. No Profit Left Behind)

Oh, and… of course… Five Texas women arrested in the Capitol today for protesting this pro-DUMB/No Profit Left Behind smoke and mirrors.  Of course.

Fun stuffs:

Police arrested five women in the Texas House of Representatives Gallery today following the passage of House Bill 2.

According to a press release from abortion rights group Rise Up Texas, the five women arrested were Jessica Harmon, Yatzel Sabat, Joshua Pineda, Hallie Boas and Julia Pashall, all abortion rights activists.

According to witnesses at the scene, the women were screaming their opposition to the bill from the gallery as the House voted. Police are allowed to place anyone disrupting proceedings in the House and Senate in jail for up to 48 hours.

The press release reads that the women were “stating their opposition to the continued assault on women’s human rights and standing up for their moral beliefs.”

“We are the people of Texas and we are horrified by legislators’ blatant disregard for the law,” Harmon said in the press release. “You have executed voter fraud and corruption of the legislative process, as well as attempted to silence the voices of choice. Shame on you.”

I guess it could have been worse. I guess it could have been 63 Pro-choice activists arrested like in North Carolina on Monday night. (See also Janet Colm: Why I Got Arrested for Women’s Health)

Seriously, think twice America before ever letting Goodhair and his dodo-bird governance anywhere near the White House, let alone a heartbeat away… his presidential aspirations pose much more of an actual harm than Sarah Palin’s or Michele Bachmann’s five minutes of presidential fancy ever did. This is the kind of awesomely productive special/emergency legislative sessions to which you have to look forward if you really want Dubya’s cowboy clone or any of the other dodo governors in charge of our country (pictures of today’s arrest in Austin via the Houston Chron blog):

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The more the ultra-rightwing Texas Taliban tries to infect the rest of the country, the more women across the nation–like women in Texas–are going to stand up, for themselves, their daughters, their families, and their communities, to say the have had enough and RAISE HELL… (WENDY DAVIS for Governor 2014! HILLARY 2016!)

Oh, and Handmaidens of the Patriarchy (yes I’m looking at you Kirsten “I Don’t Stand With Wendy Davis” Powers)?  You might want to evaluate which side of history you have set up camp. The inner voice of resistance in women–oh yes, the F word, feminism!–is growing.

Kirsten et al. here’s THE POINT — Legislators should keep their hands off women’s bodies:

[…] issues of abortion should not be decided by the men of the Texas Legislature. They should be left up to the woman, her doctor and her conscience.

–The Eagle of Bryan-College Station

Here’s a blurry photo I took of my favorite poster from yesterday (also featured much more clearly in Egberto Willies’ youtube embedded above):

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NO means NO. Get it out, get your hands off our bodies, our health rights, our right to self-governance and “small” government. NO means NO! We need actual governance of ours states–our country. The grownups are coming to your places of power and they got girly brains that rival your concerns with their lady parts! (WENDY 2014! HILLARY 2016!)

Wisconsin

Briefly!

From the the capital of the state in which I was born, to the capital of the state I’ve lived in for almost 3 decades…Solidarity, forever, sisters!  Via Overpass Light Brigade, a picture out of Madison, WI on Monday night:

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Tahrir

Also, briefly! From the Nation earlier this week, part two in a series on the global sexual violence epidemic by Salamishah Tillet:

Women at Point Zero in Tahrir Square

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Opponents of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi rally in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Last Wednesday, the world watched an increasingly familiar scene: Egyptian crowds gathering in Tahrir Square to demand social change. Once the army announced it had ousted President Mohamed Morsi, these same streets became host to victory celebrations for some, and violent conflict for others. For over ninety-one women who were sexually assaulted that night, Tahrir Square became what Egyptian women’s rights activist. Soraya Bahgat described as “a circle of hell.”

Tillet ends her piece with a very powerful indictment and call to action:

In an e-mail, Rebecca Chiao, the co-founder of HarrassMap Egypt, a group that rescues women being sexually assaulted by mobs in the recent protests, wrote, “Whoever is at fault for paying thugs, no political actors have made a serious effort to punish or prevent mob harassment/assault/rape.”

Régine Jean-Charles, author of Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary, told me in a phone interview that this insidious response is “not new” but consistent with “a global pattern of social movements not including ending gender-violence in their liberatory visions.”

Even in our own Occupy Wall Street movement, women were subject to sexual assaults and misogynist jokes.

Real social change must include eradicating rape culture. Until then, as women continue to be on the frontlines of protests—be it in New York City or Cairo—with our political brethren, our bodies, our rights and ultimately our lives remain on freedom’s sidelines.

Privacy vs. Security: Is it really a binary discussion?

I had intended to do another section here at the end devoted to the debate of just how much privacy we are willing to give up in the name of security, but honestly? It will have to wait for the weekend. Not that I don’t care–I care deeply about the issue. However, I just care even more about fighting for the things that I support (rather than focusing on things I oppose but don’t know what to replace it with… things like the behemoth spy state.)

And, y’all know there is nothing I care to fight for more than for women’s rights! WENDY WENDY WENDY! HILLARY HILLARY HILLARY!

(And no lectures on how I should talk about issues instead of shero worship, please. I’ve had enough of d00dz chanting Obama and Ron Paul as an anti-war cry to last me a liftetime. Wendy and Hillary and other serious women pols like them actually promote policies I care about, for example the fifty year fight for Equal pay for Equal work, not just pie-in-the-sky rhetoric against something. Yesterday, Wendy made a point to speak of Texas legislators working to reintroduce the Lilly Ledbetter act that Gov. Dodo vetoed in Texas.)

All that said and getting back to privacy (which as we know has been linked to reproductive rights and women’s autonomy in this country), if anyone has any really great links on solutions to the problem of how we keep the spy state in check, please post them in the comments or e-mail them to me so I can add them to my reading list before my next post on the topic.

I really don’t understand the libertarian-savant focus/elevation of privacy OVER all other issues–say we were able to completely dismantle the surveillance apparatus of this country? Then what? How do we operate in a world where security is still a real concern? Enough with the binary framing! It’s not either privacy or security. Both are valid, just one shouldn’t infringe upon the other.

Anyway, I think I’ve said enough for awhile.

I did want to end with this funny list from In the Pink Texas, one of my Texas blogger reads for years now:

BREAKING: TEXAS WILL NEVER EVER BE THE SAME

July 8, 2013 – 2:08 pm 4 Comments

Gov. Rick Perry made a very important announcement in San Antonio today that will shape his political future. As I am loathe to wait for press conferences such as these, I typically prepare my analysis beforehand, taking into consideration several possible—and likely—scenarios.

1. He will not run for reelection. Instead he will become the new face of Men’s Wearhouse. (You’re going to like the way he looks.)
2. He will run for reelection and institute martial law immediately following Inauguration.
3. He will run for president, as well he should, since he didn’t make Texans look sufficiently idiotic the first time around.
4. He is harboring Edward Snowden.
5. He is leaving politics to star in Magic Mike 2.
6. He will run against Andy Brown for Travis County judge.
7. He finally admits to blood doping with Lance Armstrong.
8. He is switching back to the Democratic party to #standwithwendy.
9. He’s entering rehab to treat his addiction to painkillers.
10. He is joining the Texas Tribune.

Check out the rest of the post, as well as the rest of In the Pink Texas, if you like. And, please share what you’re reading and thinking about this evening in the comments if you get a chance.

Well, maybe I have one more thing to say:

WENDY 2014. HILLARY 2016. From MADISON WISCONSIN to TAHRIR SQUARE. RISE, SISTERS, RISE!