We Will Miss you, Jeanne Manford

Jeanne Manford, the unassuming Founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), died earlier this week. She was 92. Jeanne personified Courage, Grace, Beauty, Compassion, and Unconditional Love. This world is a better place for her having been here. She will be missed. Thank you Jeanne, for all you’ve done for so many!

PFLAG

The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today’s Pride parade. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group.

In the next years, through word of mouth and community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering “safe havens” and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, DC.

Some snapshots of PFLAG:

In the 1980s, PFLAG became involved in opposing Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and worked to end the U.S. military’s efforts to discharge lesbians—more than a decade before military issues came to the forefront of the GLBT movement.

In 1990, PFLAG President Paulette Goodman sent a letter to Barbara Bush asking for Mrs. Bush’s support. The first lady’s personal reply stated, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country.  Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.”  Inadvertently given to the Associated Press, her comments caused a political maelstrom and were perhaps the first gay-positive comments to come from the White House.

In 1993, PFLAG added the word “Families” to the name, and added bisexual people to its mission and work. By the mid-1990s a PFLAG family was responsible for the Department of Education’s ruling that Title 9 also protected gay and lesbian students from harassment based on sexual orientation.

PFLAG put the Religious Right on the defensive, when Pat Robertson threatened to sue any station that carried the Project Open Mind advertisements. The resulting media coverage drew national attention to PFLAG’s message linking hate speech with hate crimes and LGBT teen suicide.

In 1998, PFLAG added transgender people to its mission.

And finally, a statement by Jeanne (found at the PFLAG site):

“Of course, I knew Morty was gay,” Manford explained. “He didn’t want to tell me. I told him that I loved him, and nothing else mattered. At first, there was a little tension there. He didn’t believe I was that accepting. But I was.”

In 1972, Morty was punched, kicked and thrown down an escalator during a gay rights protest at the New York City Hilton Hotel. Manford and her husband watched the attacks on the evening TV news, outraged that police officers appeared to ignore the assault.

Manford’s next steps erased any doubt her son may have had about her loyalty and acceptance.

She tried to call The New York Times to expose the injustice, but says she was hung up on.

Next, she wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Post. The letter was published. One sentence jumped out: “My son is a homosexual, and I love him.”

The next day, she received a phone call from Morty.

“You can’t believe it [the response],” he told her. “No mother has ever announced to the world her son is gay.”

Six Ways to Solve Sagging Breasts

1. Pushup Bras. We made those things for a reason.

2. Value yourself for who you are rather than by the state of your breasts.

3. Change society’s attitude towards beauty

4. Reject the media’s obsession towards breasts and sex.

5. Embrace nature. Accept gravity. It’s not going to go away, so we might as well try to play along.

6. Duct tape.

But seriously, why are we so obsessed with breasts in this culture? Why? Let’s be honest, they’re just sacks of fat. They are there to feed your child. They’re basically utters on a cow. (By the way, breast milk butter is a thing that exists in the world. I mean, it’s one thing I suppose if its your own milk, but please don’t start selling that shit. That’s just weird.)

My breasts don’t feel all that sexy to me. In fact, they’re kind of a hindrance (Sorry, girls). They obstruct my view, and make me top-heavy. I can’t chest bump. I can’t jump, run, climb stairs, or play hopscotch without a bra (Nobody wants to be  hit in the face with their own breasts). They make me feel awkward because of their excellent crumb-catching capabilities. They’re just always in the way. Sometimes I just want to sling them over my shoulder or detach them just for a moment so I can tie my freaking shoes!

And why do we think that bigger is better? I mean, I suppose I can see the attraction, but I think we’re starting to take it way too far. (Or, do I see the attraction because society has conditioned me to see the attraction/think bigger is better?)

In 2011, breast augmentation was the second most popular cosmetic surgery in the U.S. (right under Liposuction) with 316,848 cases. And then fifth most popular was a breast lift with 127,054 cases.

I am so skeptical about whether bigger is better.


big breastsbiggest breast implantbiggest breasts

Now really, is that attractive? Nothing against these women, I’m sure they’re wonderful people. But…. it just looks so uncomfortable. And that last girl in the bright pink top, her breasts were made so big by some sort of hollow coil inside of her breasts that is constantly expanding. The coil-thing expands, and it forces the breasts to fill with fluids, and the coil expands, the skin stretches, and the breasts fill with fluid, until you take the coil out. That sounds horrible.

Seriously, how the hell do they tie their shoes??

And when these women go out, people flock to them. They want their picture taken with these women, or rather, with their breasts. See, unlike normal celebrities where people want a picture with George Clooney or Katy Perry, people don’t know who these women are, nor do they really care. It’s the breasts. They get the women attention, but I don’t really think that sort of attention is flattering.

Could this be one of those urban legends, like Valentines Day was created by Hallmark, or Halloween was cooked up by the candy companies. This social ideal, this standard of beauty–big breasts–was made up by plastic surgeons in order to generate business?? I feel like it’s a perfectly valid conspiracy theory.

Teen Mom who Waxed her 3-Year-Old’s Eyebrows Claims she’s a “Good Mom”

Farrah AbrahamFormer Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham not only decided to wax her little girl’s unibrow, stopping mid-way when the child protested, only to finish the job while the little girl slept (Side note: can you imagine creeping into your daughter’s bedroom while she slept with a pair of tweezers in your hand? In what world is that normal? That sounds like a creepy slasher movie or some shit), but after that proudly blogged about it, saying “I feel like a good mom!”

Dearest Mommy Farrah did it because she “felt bad for her.”

But what can we expect from a woman who just threw down 16 grand on plastic surgery for her breasts, chin, and nose?

It’s one thing to use a tweezer on your baby, but wax?? That could have burned her. She’s three years old! Jesus, woman, have you no sense? Who the hell cares if a 3 year old has a unibrow?

One consequence of such early-in-life beauty obsessions experts say is that it teaches young girls to value themselves based on how they look instead of who they are. If you’re going to start her worrying about how her eyebrows are shaped at 3, how can you expect her not to worry about her beauty? This plugs right in to how young children think already; they focus on what they can see and not what lies underneath. You have already started your daughter on the path to body issues.

And what are children supposed to think if their own mother–the woman who gave birth to them, the one person in the world who is supposed to love you no matter what–feel bad for you because you have a unibrow. Farrah basically told her daughter that her own mother doesn’t think she’s beautiful. And she’s teaching her to blindly accept the popular culture’s definition of what pretty is.

Eyebrow guideBeing taught to focus on beauty can lead to a lifetime of psychological and social problems. If your mother values you based on how you look, you in turn will learn that behavior, and then appearance becomes the focus of what you care about. Only caring about appearance undermines emotional attachment, which can in turn cause an inability to make or maintain caring relationships, or develop a positive self image.

I just don’t understand why you would ever want to wax your child’s eyebrows. She’s a child. So what? She’s supposed to run around with other kids, and play in a sandbox, and believe in the Tooth Fairy, not worrying about if she’s beautiful or not.

Of course, her mother is a person who got pregnant as a teenager and then thought it would be a good decision to be on a reality show. (Honey, to get on a reality show these days, your life has to be pretty screwed up. Just an observation.)

 

Why I don’t like One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” a feminist perspective.

The other day my sister asked me why I felt the need to break my arm lunging to change the radio station when What Makes You Beautiful came on. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. It’s wasn’t just because they were a boy band, or because I had already heard the song enough times to fill a lifetime, or because I’m just not into this particular type of music, but something else. I figured out why. It’s the lyrics.

I’m only going to put in about half of the song. I think that’ll be enough. The song is about this guy singing to this girl about how beautiful she is.

You’re insecure
Don’t know what for
You’re turning heads when you walk through the door
Don’t need make up
To cover up
Being the way that you are is enough

Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you

Let’s start here, focusing on the first few lines. You’re insecure/Don’t know what for. I do. She’s insecure because she’s been bombarded with media and images of beautiful, perfect, unattainable women; women from television shows and movies and billboards and magazines, and she feels like she doesn’t compare. She can’t compare. She’s in high school (presumably). Those years can be the shittiest in life. Her breasts aren’t big enough, her lips are plump enough, her eyebrows aren’t waxed enough, her butt is too small or too big. When she looks in the mirror she doesn’t see the beautiful young lady she is, she sees the love handles on her hips, and the gap in her teeth, and her eyes are too far apart, and her scrawny legs. She doesn’t see the girl you see, because women aren’t supposed to. To know you are beautiful is to be full of yourself, or too confident, stuck up, conceited.

But also, perhaps she is insecure not about her beauty, or her weight, but we can conceive that perhaps she feels inadequate for other reasons, such as she doesn’t have as many friends as she would like, she doesn’t feel smart enough, she hasn’t been to a party, she secretly doesn’t want to drive, or rebel, like all of her other friends do and so in that way she feels like she is an outsider, etc. There are other reasons to be insecure besides beauty.

[Chorus]

Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
You don’t know
Oh Oh
You don’t know you’re beautiful

Let’s be honest here, she could be faking that hair flip and coy glance downwards. Whoever this little girl out there is, no offense to you, but it is a possibility.

If only you saw what I can see
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe
You don’t know
Oh oh
You don’t know you’re beautiful
Oh oh
That what makes you beautiful

But wait, a minute ago you were saying how she shouldn’t be insecure, but it is that insecurity that you like? That’s what makes her beautiful? That is exactly what I just said up above in my very first paragraph. Girls aren’t supposed to be confident. They’re not supposed to know they’re beautiful. We like them insecure. We like them anxious. It makes girls “cute” and “delicate” or some other bullshit like that.

So c-come on
You got it wrong
To prove I’m right I put it in a so-o-ong
I don’t know why
You’re being shy
And turn away when I look into your eyes

Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you

Well, I just told you why. Or maybe she’s just shy. Maybe she likes you and is embarrassed. Maybe she grew up in a family that never taught her the skills to look people dead in the eye when they talk.

There’s basically no new lyrics after this point in the song. It just repeats itself a few times before ultimately coming to a final and complete end.

I just don’t really understand the song. Yeah, boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl is beautiful, boy sings about girl…. but then he sings about her beauty, she doesn’t realize her own beauty, that’s why he likes her, and then he wants her to own her beauty? The logic doesn’t quite follow.

Girls, Don’t Get Raped!

First of all, can we just acknowledge how brave this girl is for telling her story in so detailed a picture? If something like that happened to me, I don’t know if I could write it down, take a picture, and put it on the internet for everyone to see. And her friends and boyfriend are assholes. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with them?

Second, I’m not sure if the person who wrote over the picture, the picture on the right, realizes the putrid irony of what s/he rewrote. And they hit all the marks. In the woman’s story, she says that because of the way she dressed, because she drank, society says that “it was her fault” for being raped, which is exactly what the right side picture says. She says she was called a whore, and the right side calls her that too.

It immediately labels the woman as a slut, a whore, a lying bitch who deserved what she got, placing all of the guilt and blame upon her; then, it exonerates the rapist as being completely in his rights to have sex with her; and then it paints the (ex) boyfriend as a good guy, a hero almost, who saw through the evil whore’s silver tongue and got back his dignity by spitting in the bitch’s face.

The right side picture is saying everything that she says our society teaches, which (at least in my opinion) make her claims all the more credible, because there they are in black and white just a few inches away.

And isn’t it ironic that the very last line of the right side says “I am not responsible for my actions.” Where is the accountability and responsibility of the men’s actions? Both of them? The rapist (who apparently isn’t a rapist) and the boyfriend?

Don't get raped

Don't get raped not Don't rape

Lets stop rape

When you know it is rape:

1. When the woman says no.

2. When you try to convince the woman to have sex with you/when you guilt a woman into having sex with you.

3. When the woman is too intoxicated (by alcohol or drugs) to make fully conscious decisions.

4. When the sex is unwanted, unconscious, or unasked for.

Rape doesn’t just happen in a dark alleyway in the city by a stranger. Rape can happen anywhere to anyone. Rape is usually committed by someone you know. Rape can occur in a marriage. Rape can occur without any beating or weapons involved.

So yes, because she was drunk, she was not of a sound mind to give full consent (if any consent was ever given), and it was rape.

I do actually feel like this when walking home alone. I pretend to talk on my cellphone when I walk home alone.

I do actually feel like this when walking home alone. I pretend to talk on my cellphone when I walk home by myself.

[disclaimer: I know that not all men are rapists, and not all rape victims are women. Thousands of men each year are raped, but only 1 in 10 men report being raped.]

 

.

And if you can’t tell, yes, in the uppermost righthand corner of the first picture, whoever posted this picture to their Facebook thought that it was very funny. Very funny indeed.

Fox News New Years Eve Disaster

Clearly, we can see where Fox News’s interests lie.

Sex.

Did you watch their New Years Eve show? I hope not. It was a huge waste of time. Half of it was models walking down a runway. What a useless show it was only about sex. The women were modeling clothes (which is one thing if we’re modeling them to show off a designer’s work, but I have no idea who the designer was, if there even was a designer[which I doubt there was]), but then they modeled skimpy swimwear that barely covered anything.

Why are these women modeling swimsuits? It’s the beginning of winter. The end of December. No one wants to buy a swimsuit. They are modeling them only for the sex appeal of it all. They want to show women’s skin. That’s it! Useless show. Clearly no longer a family show.

And then! And then they had the models talk about what they sleep in. What did most of the models answer? Nude. Classy, Fox News. Really, really classy.

What’s more, who do they have to entertain the masses? Carmen Electra.( She sang a song about how she likes loud music. Truly, a talented artist.) Who is she? I had no idea. I had to Google her. Here’s what I found out. She made her claim to fame though Playboy Magazine, then through an MTV game show called Singled Out where people compete for a date, and then through Baywatch. Way to go, Carmen. You seem to have made quite a name for yourself.

Sex!

And that annoying host? What was his name? Who cares! I hate him more than both of the X-Factor hosts combined! He thought that calling a woman “Barbie Doll” was a good compliment. At least, I think he was complimenting her. The only thing Barbie has going for her is an unrealistic plastic body… which doesn’t sound like such a great thing to me.

Way to show a positive role model for little girls all around the world, Fox. You really took it up a notch, this year. Hell, it was better than Dick Clark.

Why Gay Marriage will be hard to Achieve

I find that most of my human interactions happen in cafes or cafeterias or restaurants. I wonder why that is. Something about the watering hole, I’m sure, brings people from all backgrounds and thought bubbles into one place. The watering hole is an equalizing gathering place.

Enough musing. As I said before, I was in a cafe. A regular college cafe full of regular college students. Behind me I heard a group of girls laughing and talking about Buffy, Firefly, and Joss Whedon. I was just thinking about turning around and talking to them, perhaps I would even whip out the Firefly DVD case I happened to have in my backpack, when the conversation turned to Nathan Fillion, and then to Neil Patrick Harris.

And, unfortunately, the conversation took a predictable turn.

“He’s so hot! It’s too bad he’s gay.”

Too bad he’s gay. I am so sick of hearing this. What does that even mean? Like, if he weren’t gay, you would have a shot at him and Neil Patrick Harriscould get married to him and live happily ever after? I don’t think so. Even if Neil was the womanizing Barney from How I Met Your Mother, random girl in Utah, I still don’t think you would have a shot at his genitals, and even if you did, you’d probably break up anyways. Just saying.

But then these girls went on talking.

“He can act, sing, dance, and he’s gorgeous! What a waste that he can’t have kids.”

Alright, first of all, just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he can’t beget children. There are such things nowadays thanks to this witchcraft called science like artificial insemination, or surrogacy, or drunken horny one night stands. All those things can and have fathered children from gay parents. But more importantly, what did you just say?

What a waste.

Those words have been ringing in my head ever since I heard them.

What a waste.

A waste of what? I understand the fact that you would like to get good genes into Humanity’s gene pool and continue on the Harris line of awesomeness, but those words. A waste of genes? A waste of a pleasurable sexual encounter? Or are you somehow implying that he’s a waste of life?

That last one seems a little extreme, and she probably never meant that in her wildest dreams, but you can’t help but stop on those words and wonder what was wasting away?

This is the problem. This is why it’s going to take a while for marriage equality, because of an underlying attitude in today’s culture that undermines equality. .Too bad…... What a waste…... Why are all the good men married or gay….... This attitude, that gays are some how not worthy, or they’re stealing away chances of happiness from women, is more detrimental than the hardcore anti-gay protesters. Because there’s always going to be someone who will protest, but it’s like this attitude is infecting the pro-gay people.

I believe in gay marriage. It’s just too bad that they’re gay.

That’s not really helpful, now is it? It’s not really equality, it’s not really tolerance, and it’s not really acceptance. In the back of people’s minds, there’s still this nagging. We can’t seem to accept people as people–purely and only as people who have feelings and ideas and something to contribute to the world other than children and sex.

How many times have we seen this? Just go to any Adam Lambert song on Youtube and see for yourself. The comments are not about how well done this song was, or what an amazing voice he has, or what the video means. All of the comments are qualified and tainted with something like

… if only he wasn’t gayadam lambert

… too bad he’s gay

… I don’t care that he’s gay, he rocks

… Isn’t he gay?

…..

I mean, seriously, when did he come out? Three, four years ago? And we still can’t get over it. We can’t just talk about his music, we can’t just say he’s talented, we can’t have a conversation about him being hot or him being our favorite singer without yourself or somebody else chiming in You know he’s gay, right? I’ve never been able to.

This ‘If Only He Wasn’t Gay’ thing has to stop. It has to. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words hold the real power. They last. They hurt. They break. They change the world.

The words that come out of our mouth reflect our thinking, and right now it doesn’t look good. How we think affects how we act, and our actions affect others.

We the people of the United States hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cannibalism, and Gender

Ever see those Cinnamon Toast commercials? They’re weird, right? Slightly disturbing, cute, and funny all at the same time. Those crazy squares are cannibalistic, always eating each other, sometimes even themselves!

They work together to try and hunt down their own species and reap the rewards of the cinnamon and sugar, and then are betrayed by the very same squares, or they fall into a messy trap. Survival of the fittest in pursuit of deliciousness. And rightly so. Can you blame them?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon Toast Crunch 4

But something caught my attention the other day. The first two words of the commercial said “Hey, Ladies.” and then the last words, the sort of tagline was “Everybody craves those crazy squares.” Now, this may just be the English major in me (we like to pick things apart and look at the details) but I couldn’t help but think of those two opening words.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch 1

Maybe the commercial is directed towards us ladies because women’s tongues are different then men’s and are more inclined to sweets.

Or maybe its because women on their period crave sweets. Or it’s the hormones, you know?

I kid, of course.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch 2

But then again, it’s interesting how they target the cereal towards women, but have that cereal then be cannibalistic and treacherous.

Hm…

But then again, I suppose the Toasty squares aren’t actually female. They’re more gender neutral, which, because they don’t have long eyelashes and luscious pink lips, mean they look male. That could possibly make up for it, right? They only said ladies, but then the actual members look male. That gets them off the hook.

No, wrong again. Because feminism isn’t just interested in women, we’re interested in masculinity and men, too. So, it also catches my attention that the cannibalistic, self-destructive, shifty, backstabbing Squares are male-esque characters.

But what are you going to do? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Criticized with women and men. Well, that’s just how things are, I suppose. The problem is this isn’t like an intentional attack on gender, it’s just there. We don’t think about it. It’s ingrained in our skin and it comes out in our media in things as small and insignificant as cereal commercials.

Morgan Freeman’s take on the Conneticut Shooting, Shrimp Tacos, and Fox News

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”

And he’s right. On so the day of the shooting, plus the day after, so many of my friends of Facebook lamented the horrible tragedy that is this devastating shooting, but then they also pointed fingers towards gun control. Gun control is not the problem here. People who want guns will get guns, whether or not it is illegal. The problem here is how we are treating these tragedies. With fame and almost glory. (Not the kind of glory as we would like, but they’re infamous monsters whose names will be remembered, maybe forever.)

And Fox News didn’t even get it right. Once they heard a name that could possibly be the shooter, they went online and got a profile picture off of Facebook and spread it all across the news. It was this guy, Ryan Lanza:

Ryan Lanza

But he didn’t do it. He wasn’t even close. It was this guy’s brother who was the suspect, but this is not the right Ryan Lanza, just a guy with the same name.

We are spending too much time pointing fingers: it’s society’s fault, it’s the violent media’s fault, it’s violent video games... Pointing fingers doesn’t help anybody. We need to start trying to increase the good, try to increase understanding, awareness, and help.

We need to stop listening to the news. Especially Fox News. Seriously, it’s worthless. It’s become sensationalist and dumbed down. They don’t tell you what’s happening on in the world. They laugh and make jokes and tell you how to make Cheesy Potatoes or Shrimp Salsa Tacos. Fox wants to entertain you, not inform you. A recent study was done and showed that the viewership of Fox News had an average IQ ten points below the national average.

And they went online and plastered an innocent man’s face all over the nation as being a killer, apparently without any sort of research or fact checking.

Let’s substitute human reason for shrimp tacos and Facebook slaughters.

Let’s try to build understanding of the world around us.

Let’s try to support research rather than point fingers and glorify killers.

But let’s now have a moment of silence for all of those who died needlessly, whose names we don’t remember, whose faces we never knew.

.
.
.
.
And then let’s try and love one another rather than fester and hate.
.
.
.
.

Men Dressing “Like a Woman”

Men wearing dresses

 

 

Let’s conveniently note that the woman teacher is wearing pants.

Let’s wonder if a woman wearing that dress would have “too much cleavage.”

Let’s question if a guy can even have cleavage.

Let’s now picture him wearing a loose jersey that I’ve seen much too often for my own preferences. I’ve seen guys walking around schools in those and they never got escorted out.

men dressing like a womanIggy, I’m not sure who you are, but I kind of love you.

My favorite picture is him on the right, by the way. I just love the way he frolics.