Tammy’s Victory! The First Openly Gay Senator

In case you haven’t heard, Tammy Baldwin, a woman from Wisconsin, has been elected to the Senate! Not only that, she’s openly gay. The first in history, I’m told. (Not the first openly gay person ever, the first elected to the Senate. Just so we’re clear. I know, sometimes I mix those two up too.)

Now, I can’t say I know much about her politics. She’s liberal democrat. And she’s for Medicare and Medicaid, in case you were wondering. I myself always find my mind wandering on such issues. And it’s great she’s been elected. She may turn out to be a crappy politician, but I hope she won’t be. Just because she’s gay and a woman doesn’t instantly make her perfect. But it’s great she’s been elected.
(I didn’t like Tommy Thompson’s politics. He was a sell-out and a corporate stooge. Too many special interests for my taste. What can I say, he just wasn’t working anymore. No, I don’t live in Wisconsin. Why do you ask?)

The polls show that Tammy was elected mostly by women and people under 30, which is cool for a couple reasons.
1. Women’s voices are being heard. They’re coming to be a regular force of nature, something to be reckoned with, and that’s really bitchin’.
and 2. The younger populations are showing up more and more in the poles. We’re breeding ourselves a new generation of more politically-aware and open-minded people. It shows that people are showing more tolerance and acceptance for difference. And that’s always good. That’s a brighter future, a damn good hope for achieving World Peace right there.

And the last really cool thing about Tammy being elected is now that there’s an openly gay person in the Senate, it’s bound to raise more gay issues. Once a person is sitting in the room, it makes a big difference. People will become more aware. Hopefully, what we’ve done is started a tiny pebble down the side of a mountain. And that pebble will bump into a few more pebbles, and those will knock into some slightly bigger rocks, and pretty soon we’ll have a boulder running down the face of the cliff. And I mean this in the best, non-violent way possible. We’ve started a powerful avalanche… of sweet potatoes and Cool Ranch Doritos. That’s not violent, and yet strikingly mighty and awe-inspiring, right? Ah, screw the metaphor. You know what I mean.

Anyways, in Tammy’s own words: “You’re damn right we’re making a difference!

Planned Papahood = Abortion-Tire care-Starbucks Shops Galore

This is funny, outrageous, and sexist; I know. But I started to wonder, is it also true?

There are a few ways to look at this question (if you overthink it). Just in case you have that same pesky problem I have with thinking, let me clarify the perimeters of this discussion:

When men become pregnant, we’re not talking about guys’ hormones/biology/body changing and essentially becoming women.

We’re not talking about all of human history being reversed and are now and have always been a matriarchal society instead of patriarchal. The gender roles are not swapped.

This is not a sudden switch, like suddenly guys are waking up with giant bellies and swollen feet.

Guys stay guys. History stays the same as it’s always been (men in power). The only thing that has changed is the fact that guys carry the babies. Yes, magically. No, more like a seahorse. Let’s say a seahorse. Men raise the fetus in his stomach, and then also gives birth.

The essential core to the picture shown above is this: Is the abortion argument really about the fetus?

Some other lesser questions hiding in the background are: If a woman was president, would she immediately legalize abortion? Is this
just another way for men to oppress women? Are men (and by men, I mean the majority of men in Congress/in power today) only seeing  one side of this argument: their side? Would men have so many abortion clinics in this alternative universe because it’s okay for men to have sex, but not for women? [Disclaimer: I know not all women are pro-choice, and I know not all men are pro-life. But seeing as the people making the Federal decisions regarding a “woman issue” are in Congress, and Congress is filled with primarily men….]

Back to the main question. Is abortion really about the baby? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The picture is outright saying it’s not. Abortion wouldn’t even be a problem if men were the ones having babies. It’s about power. Which, I kind of agree with. Abortion, by all means, is not a simple question. There is no simple answer, and saying there is a simple and concrete answer ignores the basic reality of the question. A baby is not the only one affected (if you believe a fetus is in fact a baby) in the decision. I have to argue that the mother is the one affected most of all. Whether or not that fetus lives or not, it’s not conscious enough to really know what life is. The mother, on the other hand, is painfully aware. And whether or not that mother goes through with the pregnancy or with the abortion, she has to carry that weight, that decision, probably for the rest of her life. Something growing inside of you, or the lack there of, is not something you can forget easily. What ever decision you chose sticks to you like a poltergeist, and stays there.

And no matter how compassionate, or caring, or loving, or understanding, or open-minded a man is, I’m not sure there’s any way for him to fully comprehend the full weight of a life inside of your uterus. No matter how many times you explain to him what it was like, what you were feeling, or what you thought, he’ll never know for himself. Because he can’t know. How could he know? Unfortunately, he’s not a woman.

There’s something here that no one can fully explain. A mysterious, ambiguous third factor lies in this question. A factor that no science, no numbers, no amount of extrapolation and deduction and conclusion-drawing can make clear. Abortion is steaming with this factor. Its why it’s such a hard question, pro-life/pro-choice. And it’s also why I kind of agree with the first picture. I do believe that part of the abortion arguments is actually about the fetus, the human life involved, but that’s not all of it. This is never going to be a fair fight as long as men exclusively are making the reproductive choices. Men should not be making these choices for women. If men understood the whole gravity of it, and the bits and bearings, I do believe that the decisions being made would be different. Or at least, we might be discussing it a little differently.

Rape: the Act of God, said one Republican asshole

“You know, this is that issue for that every candidates for federal, or even state office, faces. And I, too, certainly stand for life,” said Mourdock, after both Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning had identified as pro-life, though Donnelly also stated his support for an exception in cases of rape. “I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view.

But I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of
the life of the mother.  “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from god. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
–Richard Mourdock, Republican nominee

Seriously, do Republicans do this shit on purpose? I can’t even… I don’t…. *headdesk* Stupid stupid stupid….

No, God does not cross his arms and say “You there, good sir. Go and chase down that lady, pin her down, and rape her because I have this soul here that needs a vessel and I just cannot seem to find anyone else to impregnate right now.”

You have no right to tell a woman how to live her life, or what she should do with her body. And going beyond that, you have no right to reach inside the mind of God (whether or not He exists) and interpret his will for the world. You are not God, sir. Sorry to burst that bubble for you. You do not know His will. And any God who purposefully rapes women, well, that’s no God I want to pray to. That’s for damn sure.

Fun fact: Mourdock is really knowledgeable about Abraham Lincoln, and he goes around the state giving speeches and historical references about Lincoln. Apparently, he didn’t take Abe’s advice: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

And I suppose God, too, wanted Lincoln shot in the back of the head.

(I’m pretty sure that blurry word behind his giant head says Mourdick. I’m almost positive it does.)

Binders Full of Women for Everyone!

To those who don’t know what Romney said during the presidential debate, here is the video with his exact words just for you. It’s only two and a half minutes long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX_AN4w3da8

When the woman asked what the president was going to do about inequality in the workplace, the continuing problem of Equal Pay for Equal Work, Obama gave a pretty decent answer in my opinion. Romney, however, well… we all know how that went down.

Problem number one: he didn’t answer the question. He used the entire time allotted to talk about how he was such a great guy and went around collecting binders full of women candidates for the job opening when he didn’t have to, when it was inconvenient for him. 

Thank you, Romney. You’re such a saint.

I completely support recognizing the gap between the sexes during promotion and hiring time. And if every business man was a gender-conscious as Romney claims himself to be, then people and businesses across America would profit greatly.

But the words he used made it sound as if he was single-handedly responsible for giving all these women the chance of their life. Oh, how socially-aware he is. How kind. How elevated.

The problem with Romney’s plan to increase equality in the workplace is that he has no plan. No plan at all. Romney’s exact words are:

“We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring into play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they’re going to be anxious to hire women.”

He’s going to increase business, and the business owners will be so happy and so busy that they’ll just magically hire women? Really? Because that happens all the time, right? Maybe we should all have binders full of women to carry around and be enlightened.

What’s more, he generalized women workers to be working mothers. Women need flexible schedules because they have young children. Because they need to be there when they come home. Because their husband/partner obviously can’t take on the traditional mother role and cook dinner for the entire family and she needs to be there. 

And while a lot of women do need flexible hours because the traditional role of mother still falls onto women to be there when the kids get home and to cook dinner, even if Romney’s magical business plan to boost the economy works (which it probably won’t because he thinks trickle down economics are a good idea), even if businesses suddenly boom and grow and need new workers, there’s no plan in place to stop discrimination against women/mothers in the workplace. There’s no plan in place to enforce Equal Pay for Equal Work. There’s no fire under anyone’s butt to make employers allow flexible hours for mothers who do need to be home when the kids come home from school. 

40 Reasons to be a Feminist

Being a feminist means:
1. Walking home at night without having to walk with a buddy or pretend to be on the phone.
2. Walking home late at night without tensing up at the sound of footsteps behind you, wondering and worrying if those footsteps are quickening because they have somewhere they need to be or because they’re trying to catch up with you…
3. Being promoted at work instead of overlooked.
4. Being promoted at work, not because you’re a woman, but because your boss respects you as a capable part of the team
5. The boss considering you for a promotion and not weighing the job position between you or Sven, who isn’t as good as you, because Sven isn’t going to get pregnant and run off and have a family.
6. Your boss knowing that you can get the job done with or without a baby on your hip, and the company respects you for juggling work and motherhood, and even helps you do it, instead of weighing it against you.
7. Being able to say the word Vagina without having it declared a dirty word.
8. Being able to say vagina in Congress without being suspended.
9. Decisions about what’s best for your cervix decided by people who have a cervix.
10. Being in full control of your own sexual health and well-being.
11. Being able to crossdress! (Ladies, look down right now. If you’re wearing pants, you’re crossdressing. Yay!)
12. Watching a movie like Brave and not have someone saying/whining “it’s just about a not having to have a guy in your life…” The movie is about a girl. A strong girl. On her own. The end.
13. Having more time being a father, and being with your father, and a planned father at that.
14. Being paid the same wage as men for the same job. (Yeah, still don’t have that.)
15. Babies not being left abandoned on trains or in the fields because the baby is a girl and they needed a boy. (I had a friend who was left on a train as a baby and was saved. It still happens.)
16. Not feeling like shit because you don’t fit into these rigid and bizarre ideals of “womanhood.”
17. China’s population not being mostly men because the government put in the “One Baby Rule” and so everyone aborted the girl babies because they’re “less valuable” than boy babies.
18. Having affordable public daycare for working mothers.
19. Not worrying if you’re ugly, or fat, or hairy.
20. Valuing yourself as a human being rather than how sexy you look.
21. Not being expected to know how to cook and clean, and not being expected to enjoy that kind of work.
22. Not having the “second shift” when you come home. (The second shift being the work mothers put into your house and your children and your family, cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, mopping, dusting, wiping, swiping, shopping, feeding, homeworking/bathing/bedtiming children)
23. The president of Harvard saying that women are naturally worse at math and not have people take him seriously.
24. A teacher not getting fired from her job from being pregnant and unmarried. (Cathy Samford)
25. Not feeling the compulsive need to starve yourself or vomit every meal to fit the delusional ideal of womanhood because you feel inadequate.
26. Having a woman president of the United States.
27. Having more than 17% of women in Congress.
28. Having more than 3.6% of CEO’s in Fortune 500 Companies be women.
29. Republicans not trying to get rid of Planned Parenthood.
30. Paul Ryan not saying that God, reason, and science tell him that he has any right to tell women what to do with her uterus.
31. Women not having surgery to make their vagina’s “prettier” (Sorry, it’s too freaky not to mention. Seriously? Our vagina’s aren’t pretty enough for you?)
32. Michelle Bachman is not called crazy, especially when no one else was.
33. Hilary Clinton won’t be called a bitch because she’s powerful and in control. (By the way, Hilary Clinton won the state-wide title Woman of the Year in 1983 and then Mother of the Year in 1984.)
34. Women having more than one Halloween costume option: slut.
35. Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t think it’s okay to put “WHO NEEDS BRAINS WHEN YOU HAVE THESE?” on girls’ tee-shirts.
36. Being able to buy a vibrator in every state. Because a woman’s sexuality is something every woman should decide for herself.
37. Feeling pretty in sweats/Feeling pretty in lipstick and heels.
38. Not having to accept all men are slutty and all women are monogamous.
39. Women are seen than more than baby-machines, men are more than breadwinners.
40. Having better sex.

Watch Out! You Don’t Fit into Society’s Rigid Gender Ideals and Therefore are about to be Crushed by an Ironic Symbol of Masculinity! she called only too late…

Here for you now, I present a collection of Milwaukee’s Best Light Beer commercials… Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGItoKaX0BM

What do all of those commercials have in common? Beer. And also hegemonic masculinity.

Hegemonic masculinity is the term used to explain the criteria for being a “real man”; a model for all men to show how they “should” be. Generally, in American culture, there is only one complete unblushing male: a young, married, white, urban, heterosexual, Protestant, father, college educated, fully employed, handsome, tall, of the appropriate weight, and has a recent record in sports. And anyone who fails to qualify in any one of these ways at any time is likely to see himself as unworthy, incomplete, or inferior. Right? All other men who don’t fit this criteria are not manly at all. 

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The tagline of the beer is “Men should act like men”, and those who do not act like “men” should be crushed to death by an enormous beer can that falls from the heavens. Of course.

Clearly, this is unfair and sexist towards men. The men deserve to die because they are not acting like men, but are acting like women, and men becoming women is a fate deserving of death?

However, these men are not acting “like women”. They’re just not being stereotypical, hammer-up-the-drywall, macho-macho-masculine dudes.

The man who was showing love, warmth, affection, and sensitivity to a dog instead of working on the car? He definitely needed to die.

The guy who checked in with his wife? Acknowledging that he cares about his relationship? Obviously worthy of death. How dare a man be considerate. That’s just not how we do things here.

The dude with the clothes matching his wife? Whipped! He lost control of his woman. (And if you notice, once the guys reject him, his wife does too. She lets go of his hand and kind of inches away from him. Rejected by everyone.)

The man blotting his pizza, caring about his health, and perhaps even his appearance? Dead. And good riddance. (This is ironic because most older men in America have worse health than their wives. Not to mention this is a Light Beer commercial.)

A lot of this idea of masculinity has to do with the time we live in. If you notice, all of the “real” men are doing manual labor: digging a hole, fixing a car, grilling outdoors…. A hundred years ago, the perfect man would be he who did not have to do any physical labor. He would have slaves or servants to do it for him. Today, that has completely changed. The men were smoking, eating, drinking, working, getting dirty. Their masculinity was about brute strength. And this doesn’t really seem all that odd to us, because it is in fact hegemonic, and we don’t realize it’s there. We’ve integrated it into society so thickly, so deeply, that it only seems natural to us. Of course guys are rough and sweaty. What else would they be?

However, if this idea of “masculinity” was in fact natural, a hundred years ago the manliest men would also be digging holes and greasing up the … horses. If this really was natural, there wouldn’t be such great differences across time and space.

Here in America, two guys holding hands—not cool. Guys don’t generally hold hands, not unless their lovers. But in Africa, across the sea in the Middle East, guys hold hands. It’s a sign of friendship, of comradery. Guys do it all the time there, and it’s normal, it’s natural.

A guy I know, we’ll call him Gerard, served a Mission down in Africa recently. He had a tour guide to help him navigate the town. The tour guide was going to show him where such-and-such was, so he reached down to grab Gerard’s hand and instantly Gerard snatched his hand back, absolutely shocked. His tour guide looked at him strange, he was kind of hurt and confused. The tour guide was just trying to show him the way. Why had he not wanted to hold hands with him? Weren’t they pals?

It was extremely weird for Gerard to hold another man’s hand, and it was weird for the tour guide not to because of these two conflicting ideas of masculinity.

What’s so wrong with two guys holding hands in America? Oh right, because it’s “gay”.  … Oh, sorry, that was my cue: *Gasp!*

But wait, now why is that a bad thing? Oh right, because of this thing called hegemonic masculinity that says all real men are straight men, and real men are hardass Schwarzenegger S.O.B.’s that would never show affection or emotion because truly they’re half robot inside. And any deviancy will be met with the swift and just verdict of a giant beer can falling out of the sky to murder them on the spot. Silly me, how could I forget?

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Whoopsi daisy! How did that get there?

Babies having Babies. That’s why we need Planned Parenthood

Yes, it’s true. America has the highest rates of births to teenage mothers (even though it’s lowered since 1990). Our number is so high it’s double that of the next highest country—the United Kingdom (including Ireland). Babies having babies is a problem, it’s true. However, I’m not so sure critics and politicians are so worried about rampant immorality, the hardships of a single teen mother, or the effects of fatherlessness as they are worried about women’s sexual agency.

Let me explain.

Republicans claim to have family values, they claim to be worried about unintended pregnancies, but last year they tried to get rid of Planned Parenthood and Title X. Both of these provide millions of women with birth control, healthcare, and lifesaving screenings for breast and cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood goes further, providing contraceptives, family planning, HIV testing, STD preventatives and treatment, general/men/women healthcare, LGBT services, and yes, sometimes abortions or morning after pills. Republicans claim that it’s the abortion thing that has them running after Planned Parenthood like rabid dogs, but in Texas they sued clinics that didn’t even provide abortions.

What’s more, efforts to “stop” teen motherhood have included things like increasing restrictions on access to birth control and even birth control information. How in the world are teens not supposed to get pregnant if we don’t teach them how to protect themselves? Teens are going to have sex whether you like it or not. We need to accept this undeniable, unpreventable truth, and prepare them to handle themselves, not keep them in the dark and cross our fingers that nothing bad happens. Clearly, that isn’t working. I have a friend who didn’t know what birth control pills were until her college health class.

We all have a different way of looking at the world. I, a white, female college student born in 1991, don’t see the world the same way Bill my neighbor would, who is a war veteran. Because the overwhelming majority of politicians are white middle-aged males and of a high socioeconomic status, the way they perceive the world is not the same as how a poor young black mother sees the world, or how a widowed Asian-American woman sees the world. And how could they? They live in completely different realities.

However, the power through which the politicians, the elite white males, operate creates dominance over everyone else, and oppresses those who do not share their unique view. The lack of diversity in Congress creates a very narrow view of the world. The eras that those politicians grew up in affect their values and what they think is “valuable”, which may not be in the best interest of women. Apparently, this is the case. Because, the real problem here is not teenage pregnancy, but unwed mothers. Only 20% of babies born to single mothers are teenagers. 60% are unwed mothers, women between the ages of 20 and 30 years that are raising a child. This seems to be the real issue here. Women nowadays are more sexually active, and Planned Parenthood provides women with the knowledge and tools to control their own health and sexuality.

But also, the other problem of “babies having babies” is it can be a way to blame women for men’s irresponsibility. Politically, we are saying to young women if they are going to dance, they will have to pay the piper. (Although, we all know it takes two to tango.)

What do all these horrible cliches mean? The way we’re dealing with this problem is as useless and old as this language. Maybe the answer to this problem is we need to increase the abilities of young women to become responsible (health care, birth control, knowledge), and to foster a more responsible young manhood.