And in other news...

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My cousin rocks! I am so envious and proud of her.

Outrage of the Day- Women Stoned for Protesting Legalized Rape

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"Kabul - More than 1,000 Afghans surrounded a group of 200 protesters who took to Kabul's streets Wednesday to protest a new family law that they said violates women's rights.
As police tried to keep the two groups apart, a man picked up a stone and threw it at a schoolgirl, shouting at her, "You dog of the Westerners, go from here."
At least three people were wounded by police gunshots in western Kabul, witnesses said, when a group of young Shiite men tried to stop schoolgirls who were on their way to join the protest against the Shiite family law that lawmakers passed and President Hamid Karzai signed last month amid national and international criticism.
Critics said the law "legalizes rape within marriage" because some of its articles allow husbands to demand sex from their wives every fourth night unless they are ill or have "lawful or logical excuses." "

National Day of Silence on Friday

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The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.
And the reaction of anti-LGBT groups:


Courtesy of the Illinois Family Institute, which is a card-carrying, certified hate group. I suppose that the irony of using Abraham Lincoln's image, the great Emancipator, is lost upon them. Because, ya know, ensuring that schools are safe spaces for children is just like racial segregation.

"Out-of-Wedlock" births

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Yeah, as usual, I'm late to the party. But I didn't really care about this report very much at first. Sure, the whole thing is a little too 1950's-esque. Some people want to get their panties in a bunch over this, let 'em.
Then I got to thinking why that would be, ignoring the statistics regarding teenagers as that's a whole 'nother rant in and of itself. You've got lesbian women who can't marry, and often can't adopt. Then there's polyamorous folk who can't marry all of their partners, who might or might not have planned such an occurrence. There's a good chunk of our society to whom we are denying legal marital bliss, and then bitching that they're having babies anyway.
And, as the article mentions, good ole' Christian marriage is not a priority anymore. I didn't grow up dreaming of my ideal wedding, pretending to marry the neighbour-boy, and all that craziness. I just wanted to find someone with whom I could spend the rest of my life, the rest would fall into place as it came. Most of us are realizing that the happily-ever-after faerie tales are nothing but lies. We women especially are taught that our wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, not that wedlock is actually hard work. Then again, such a reality check would be a detriment to the wedding industrial complex, and we can't have that!

For those who celebrate...

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Happy belated Zombie Jesus Day!
A friend of mine noted yesterday that the most popular Easter dinner involves ham... In honour of the death of a Jewish man. In case you're wondering how on earth that came about, it was the brilliant idea of a ham processing company in the 50's that wanted to sell more hams. And then there's the Christmas ham. Yeah, somewhere along the way, somebody failed at some point.

"You people"

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This morning I stopped at a local convenience store on my way to work because there was too much blood in my caffeine system, and the women behind the counter were chatting about their respective churches and Easter. Now, the culture of this particular chain is highly conservative and, well, redneck. I mean when they play up on stereotypes of nagging wives, beleaguered idiot husbands, and all things hick in their advertisements as a source of pride...
During this conversation, one woman asked, "What sort of church has services on Saturday?"
I chimed in with, "Seventh Day Adventist is one. And I believe the Jewish sabbath is on Saturday, but that would be temple and not church." (The employee in question belonged to the former). When I included Judaism they looked at me in confusion as if I were speaking Greek.
The same woman who could not comprehend religious services on anything other than a Sunday turned to her Latina coworker and asked, "So do your people do anything for Easter?" My jaw must have dropped because she scrambled to say, "When I say 'your people' I don't mean Mexican, I mean you Catholics. Don't you only eat fish or something for like three days before?" Not that "you people" in regards to one's religion is any better, I said sarcastically, "Nice backpedal." And having been raised Catholic, I added, "Many people give up meat for Lent, which is the 40 days preceeding." I did refrain from lecturing her on the numerous ways Catholics commemorate Easter, let alone how she shows her ignorance in general by Othering her coworkers. Then again, I lacked sufficient caffeine levels to think that quickly.
Considering different Christian denominations were so alien to her maybe it's a good thing that I didn't mention that some Unitarian Universalist churches hold services on Saturdays, let alone us Pagans who don't have a weekly sabbat at all.

Happy Full Moon!

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April's full moon is usually called Wind or Seed Moon. Last Friday, I planted radishes, brussel sprouts, chili peppers, and sunflowers. Most of them have already sprouted. Although, I don't know what I was thinking when I planted the peppers. Hopefully I know enough people to pawn them off on.

Hey, UR gay blogaround

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Gay Marriage in Vermont! Geez, landslide doesn't even cover it. The House- 100:49. Senate-23:5.


Healthy Submission, Mental Illness, and Feminism

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Yes, talk about a complicated subject. First, we have an analysis of heterosexual, submissive women. Well worth reading.
The following caught my eye: I've seen women read the psychiatric diagnostic manual (DSM-IV) and then ask, "Do I have borderline personality disorder?" During one of my stints in counseling, they thought I might have BPD. I was never diagnosed one way or the other, but looking back I can understand how they might have come to this conclusion. Before I was on medication to control my chemically imbalanced depression and in conjunction with my submissive nature, anyone without knowledge of the latter would assume it was borderline prsonality disorder.
I can imagine you're saying, "But you're a feminist?! How can you... What?" *Insert sound of mind breaking here.* It's simple, really. Outside of the bedroom, I am equal to anyone, including my partner. I am strong, smart, stubborn, and self-possessed. What I am like behind closed doors is completely separate from my crusade to right the wrongs of the world. Although there are undoubtedly misogynists who would like to play psychiatrist and claim that who I am with my partner at home is the "real" me and the public me is just a facade. Except for the obvious fact that these two personas are both a part of me, just different aspects shown to different people within a certain context.
Part of what changed me from a meek wallflower into who I am now was an Evil Ex who took advantage of my submissive side, effectively raping me. I couldn't report it. They would have seen it as: we were dating, I liked to be tied up, so I must have been ashamed of what had happened and tried to get him in trouble. I could have crawled under a rock and never come out again, or I could go on with my life. That's not to say that living was easy, particularly in combination with the aforementioned manic depression.
I determined that I needed to be far more selective in the relationships I formed, both romantically and platonically. Although at the time I didn't consciously understand, I weeded out people with hard, definite concepts of gender as ingrained in them by society. Especially men whose sense of self was inextricably caught up in their culturally defined masculinity. This left people who care about who I am as opposed to what they assume I should be.

Monday Blogaround

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As usual, there's too much crap to catch up on from the weekend so it's all getting lumped in.
Shave Your Legs so You Can Be Sexually Assaulted! Feministe
Yes, because hairy legs prevent unwanted sexual attention. Because hair on women is a turn-off. Guess my partner missed that memo. Uh-oh, I use that brand of razor. Crap.
No surprise there.
Welcome home, Sgt. Phillip Myers.

Fox News and "Nazi Talk"

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Excellent blog about an ex-Nazi's reaction to Fox News and the parallels he found in the rhetoric.
Naturally, some people responded adversely in the comments. We don't go around systematically killing certain groups of people, we don't have concentration camps, etc. Basically no one is deserving of an unfavourable comparison to Nazis, period. These people missed the point, reacting to "Nazi" rather than the actual point. The goals and ideology are not the same, it's the methods and the propaganda used. And it's not America that is being accused, it's Fox News. Two completely separate entities. Although, to hear Fox say it, they are America (tm) incarnate.

Tips on Surviving Karoake in a Redneck Bar...

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  • Copious amounts of alcohol.
  • Hide your non-Christian religious symbol behind the collar of your shirt.
  • If in a non-heteronormative/non-traditional relationship, try to keep your hands to yourself a little. Just a little self-restraint.
  • Don't perform any magick/energy work. Just because they're Muggles doesn't necessarily mean that they're morons.
  • When the locals get up to sing such anti-feminist standards, such as "Stand by Your Man," try not to shout back things like "Doormat!" or "Barefoot and pregnant!" and other such sarcastic feminist responses.
  • Try not to discuss non-Christian theology/philosophy so loudly that the next table over can clearly hear your conversation.
  • If you do sing karoake (hey, a couple shots of tequila is the great equalizer), try to sing songs that will help you blend in a little. "Rebel Yell" is perfectly suitable, "The Mummer's Dance" not so much.

Don't ask how I know this.

Quote of the Day

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"You people — you people made your choice. You made your choice during the election!" - Senator John McCain to a group of Hispanic business leaders in an outreach meeting.
The trigger subject? Immigration.

Outrage of the Day Part II- Woman Beaten

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"A video showing a teenage girl being flogged by Taliban fighters has emerged from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, offering a shocking glimpse of militant brutality in the once-peaceful district, and a sign of Taliban influence spreading deeper into the country.
The two-minute video, shot using a mobile phone, shows a burka-clad woman face down on the ground. Two men hold her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whips her repeatedly.
"Please stop it," she begs, alternately whimpering or screaming in pain with each blow to the backside. "Either kill me or stop it now."
A crowd of men stands by, watching silently. Off camera a voice issues instructions. "Hold her legs tightly," he says as she squirms and yelps.
After 34 lashes the punishment stops and the wailing woman is led into a stone building, trailed by a Kalashnikov-carrying militant.
Reached by phone, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the flogging.
"She came out of her house with another guy who was not her husband, so we must
punish her. There are boundaries you cannot cross," he said. He defended the Taliban's right to thrash women shoppers who were inappropriately dressed, saying it was permitted under Islamic law."
And before anyone chimes in with, "But it's their culture, who are you to judge?" she had no trial. The only "evidence" was one nosy, suspicious neighbour. Then there's the fact that the local residents passed around the video to spread awareness of the Taliban.
It's also Southern "culture" to be racist assholes, but we still don't tolerate it, do we? To some of the mentally deranged, it's Islamic culture to kill anyone who isn't Muslim, but we still don't tolerate it, do we? So why do we deem it acceptable for them to beat, murder, rape, and victimize their own people? Oh, that's right. It's only when it comes to "special interest" groups that people play the "It's their culture!" card, such as homosexuals, women, non-members of the prevailing religion, foreigners, etc. No, actually come to think of it, it's just when it happens to women and homosexuals. In other words, when it comes to the Other.
Shakespeare's Sister has a link to the US State Department.

Good news and bad news

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First, the bad:
"A 44-year-old man has died in what police described as an "execution-style" killing after being shot at his home in Eccleshill, Bradford.
Neville Corby died at the scene at Ashbourne Road on Monday morning while his 31-year-old partner is recovering in hospital from gunshot wounds to the chest."
And the good:
"Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on gay marriage, saying the provision violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples.
The unanimous ruling issued Friday would make Iowa the third state where gay marriage is legal."

OuMother/Boyfriend Accused of Trying to Rape 13 yo Daughter

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"A mother and her boyfriend gave the woman's 13-year-old daughter rum and drugs so the mother's boyfriend could try to get her pregnant, police in Uniontown said.
The adults were charged March 16 in connection with a plot to impregnate the girl because they wanted a baby and the mother is infertile."
This is what's wrong with the crazed belief that the only children you can have/should want/would ever love are the ones that come from your own genes. We are pressured to have children, particularly women, whether or not such a course of action would be a good idea. Procreate, procreate, procreate! But wait, I can't myself so let's find a surrogate so it will at least have your genes, honey!
This is one of the many reasons why I am such a huge advocate of adoption, which, unfortunately, still is full of stigmas in our culture that has turned the Duggars and Octo-Mom into celebrities.

O'Reilly's Privilege

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Word typically used by progressives, particularly educated ones, tend to irk me. I often feel they're used as a pretension, a codeword, "hey, I know the lingo so it doesn't matter what I say or if the logic is sound." Marginalized, dichotomy, paradigm, privilege. The language we use to prove that we are educated.
I've been following the crap Bill O'Reilly pulled on Amanda Terkel. It really hit me the more I thought about it. It never occurred to him that this might have been a triggering experience for her. As a man, he does not have to worry about strange men approaching him. He does not have to worry about men stalking him. He has the privilege of not living in fear of certain people/situations by virtue of his nether bits, so he deflects the issue by claiming she's overreacting and that it's a legitimate journalist technique. It's a legitimate paparazzi technique.
Even in high school we were taught better than that. You call them and ask for a statement, you invite them for an interview, you give them some idea as to what the heck you're talking about. Gah, just mentioning O'Reilly gets my blood pressure up.

NPR: Women Pay the Price For Healthcare

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Essentially, we pay more because we're more likely to get preventative care, which actually decrease costs long-term. That's not even covering women of baby-bearing age and what we have to pay, even if we choose to live childfree.
And people wonder why some of us want socialized health care.

Old Fashioned Sexism

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Fun with archaic advertising.

Officer Threatened NFL Player Outside Hospital

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"As a storm of outrage gathered over his department, Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle called a news conference Thursday to apologize for the behavior of an officer who detained a distressed family outside a hospital emergency room.
Kunkle said Officer Robert Powell had been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the incident last week, in which he stopped a family rushing to visit a dying mother, keeping them for 13 minutes to write a traffic ticket. The woman died before two of the family members were able to see her."

I do think this was predicated on race. First off, unless the person is inebriated, why would you threaten to arrest someone for running a stop sign?
Secondly, an officer is only supposed to draw a gun when they feel threatened. Granted, as a football player, Moats is undoubtedly a large man who behaved very appropriately given the situation. If any family member of mine was dying I wouldn't have been nearly that coherent. It was a man and his wife, her grandfather, and her great-aunt. If they had been white, how threatened would the officer have felt? Especially after they had explained that it was an emergency?
The officer should have helped them get to the hospital, not threatened arrest.

"Choose Life" License Plates

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Anti-abortion folk can now feel their cause has been legimitized... with a license plate. Even better, Centers for Pregnancy Crisis get proceeds from the sales!
Who cares that "the revenue from the 'Choose Life' plates would go to many CPCs that use deceptive, intimidating, and emotionally manipulative tactics to block women from learning the facts about, or choosing, legal abortion…"?
And then there's the little fact that the "free" pregnancy tests at CPC's are actually kits that have been dumped by drug stores because they're past their expiration date. (Yes, they do have expiration dates, just like condoms. If you don't know either of these facts, go immediately to your parents/old sex-ed teacher and tell them that they have failed you. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200).
Very honest and totally deserving of our government money.

Outrage of the Day- Backlogged Rape Kits

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"Los Angeles County officials should move urgently to test a backlog of more than 12,000 rape kits - the physical evidence collected after a sexual assault - to ensure justice for rape victims, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 68-page report, "Testing Justice: The Rape Kit Backlog in Los Angeles City and County," reveals that the backlog of untested rape kits in Los Angeles County is larger and more widespread than previously reported. Through dozens of interviews with police officers, public officials, criminalists, rape treatment providers, and rape victims, the report documents the devastating effects of the backlog on victims of sexual abuse.
"Women who are raped have a right to expect police to do all they can to thoroughly investigate their case, but in LA they often feel betrayed to learn that their rape kits are never even tested," said Sarah Tofte, researcher with Human Rights Watch's US program and author of the report. "And in some cases, failure to test means that a rapist who could have been arrested will remain free."
Women who report being raped are asked to undergo a lengthy, extensive examination to collect DNA and other physical evidence that might identify their attacker, corroborate testimony about the assault, or connect their case to other rape crime scene evidence. The resulting rape kit is then booked into police evidence. However, although rape victims may believe it is automatically tested, that is often not the case in Los Angeles County. Rape treatment providers told Human Rights Watch that victims assumed silence from the officers investigating their case simply meant no evidence was found, or that there was no DNA match.
But Human Rights Watch analyzed data from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, and Los Angeles County's 47 independent police departments, and found that as of March 1, 2009, there were at least 12,669 untested rape kits sitting in storage facilities. In those cases, officers never sent the kits on for forensic testing.
Of these 12,669 untested kits, at least 1,218 are from unsolved cases in which the attacker was a stranger to the victim. And 499 kits are attached to cases past the 10-year statute of limitations for rape in California, making it impossible to prosecute the alleged assailants even if they were to be identified. Under California law, if those 499 kits had been opened within two years of the attack, the statute would no longer apply.
Thousands more rape kits were destroyed untested."
Rape kit exams are just as intrusive and a violation as rape itself. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it'd be like to go through that just to have everything ignored, and even destroyed. Even when you knew the person, but it was never examined! I'll bet anything that a disproportionate amount of them belong to women of colour, lesbians, and any other marginalized group possible.

Derailing for Dummies

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"You know how it is. You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity.
They’re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim. The thing is, you’re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible - it’s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.
Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?
Don’t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!"

What is it with...

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Right wing nutjobs lately comparing regrettable and admittably sad occurrences, such as the economy, to child abuse and child molestation?
A) It's horribly inappropriate
B) Grossly out of proportion
C) Demeans the abuse of children by treating their trauma as a punchline.

Blogaround II: The Revenge

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I thought, ok, do a blogaround because there were lots of interesting tidbits. Then I found more nutfuckery.
Yes, seriously.
I don't get it either.
"Life" is Gay: You Are Dumb
Apparently because you can choose the gender of your spouse. That's right, a boardgame gives you teh Gay.
Yes, seriously

Blogaround

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Total Recall Snuggie: Shakespeare's Sister
It's like a Teletubby gone horribly wrong. Then again, has there ever been a Teletubby that has gone right?

God Hates Fags church raises money for LGBT support group: Pinknews
No, it wasn't intentional, but it's still pretty funny.

A Modern-Day Dickensian Tale: I Blame the Patriarchy
Catch 22 from hell, courtesy of our legal system.

Co-ed bathrooms?!?!11?: Feministing
Focus on the Family's latest "the sky is falling!"

A Self-fulfilling Prophecy: The Guardian
Restricted Access to Birth Control = More Abortions.

G20 Protests: The Guardian
I never thought that I would see the word "hardcore" appear in a newspaper.

The Handmaid's Tale during the Spanish Civil War

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On my way to work this morning, I listened to this story on NPR. I was vaguely aware of the Spanish Civil War through literary and movie references, such as Pan's Labyrinth. As I listened, it was interesting to me from a historical viewpoint until they detailed the lives and deaths of the victims and then I was pissed.
Fascism promotes strict gender roles, yet one of the many reasons why the term "Feminazi" is ludicrious (because you know that wanting to be treated like a human being is just like invading Poland). The Franco regime freaked out about politically active women who should have been home, in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Until a state psychiatrist declared that they were morally degenerate and therefore should not be allowed children. That's the excuse they came up with to take thousands of children away from these women, often just before their executions, and then raise them in abusive conditions in order to indoctrinate them into fascism and ultra-conservative Catholicism. And the Catholic church denies a long history of pedophilia. *Snort*
It makes sense in a twisted, inhuman way. You quell at least half of the dissidents by denying them visibility, restricting their sphere of influence to the home and being an incubator. But what about all the children that you want them to bear? Can't have them being raised by independent thinkers of opposing political ideology, they might grow into their own army! Criminalize the mothers and take the children to become mindless drones in your war-machine. It's perfect!
Then I realized that's what happened in The Handmaid's Tale. Women who weren't content to be docile housewives were forced to bear the children of government officials and/or outright prostitution. The children were then raised completely immersed in the tenets of the totalitarian theocracy.
It's one thing to read a critique of society, even one that hits so close to home. It's another to have blatant, horrific examples of it shoved under your nose.