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Archive for September, 2009

Hollywood loves to make a fuss when an actress known for her beauty deigns to take on a role that shows all of her imperfections.  Remember the gallons of ink spilled over Charlize Theron’s turn in Monster (nevermind that she was heavily made up in order to look “ugly” in that film)?  The angle for stories like these is that a glamorous woman’s decision to risk being seen as anything other than a flawless ideal of beauty is an act of heroism.  I encountered this same trope today while reading about Mariah Carey’s role in the new film Precious, and I’m so mad about it that I could just…wipe off my lip gloss and throw away my mascara. (more…)

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The October 2009 issue of Glamour has an article by Elna Baker called “Yes, I’m a 27-year-old Virgin.” It isn’t available on line, but here’s a Youtube video of Baker’s standup act that goes over much the same territory (although the bit about making a Halloween costume that’s supposed to resemble a fortune cookie but ends up looking like a vagina is unique to the video):

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Apparently, women aren’t very happy. “Each year since 1972, the United States General Social Survey has asked men and women: ‘How happy are you, on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being very happy, and 1 being not too happy?'” And since 1972, women’s happiness has dropped steadily. And this isn’t just the finding of one study; six separate studies have come to the same result, across decades, ages, and countries. According to the Huffington Post article “Wherever researchers have been able to collect reliable data on happiness, the finding is always the same: greater educational, political, and employment opportunities have corresponded to decreases in life happiness for women, as compared to men.”

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A college friend of mine (and a friend of this blog) sent us a link to Michael Gerson’s Washington Post op ed about the dangers of cohabitation.  Mr. Gerson’s logic is so tortured in so many places that I hardly know where to begin.  Since I am also under the influence of some very strong cough syrup, I will attempt to address several points here in no particular order (rather than weave my usual, byzantine tapestry of impeccable logic and flawless rhetoric). (more…)

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Best interests?

Over at Mombian yesterday, I found this report about a Tennessee case (thankfully now overturned) in which a judge used the “paramour clause” to refuse Angel Chandler the right to have both her female partner and her teenaged children stay in her house on the same night. The argument here of course is that it is “not in the best interests of the child” to have them exposed to illicit sexuality.

Dana ends the blog post by saying “Let’s hope the trial court does indeed consider the best interests of the children in its new ruling.”  Now, I don’t have children and I’ve never wanted children, so I should keep my mouth shut, but I’m not going to. I want to call into question this whole notion of “best interests of the child” for a moment.

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A few months ago, I posted a status update to my Facebook page decrying the media’s insistence on portraying Michelle Obama as “mom-in-chief.”  I said that she was a lawyer who had graduated from a prestigious university, and now she was being “reduced” to a mother.  Several of my friends, parents of their own, objected, arguing that parenting is a legitimate job and should not be denigrated.  I agree: I don’t think it’s fair to trivialize the very real difficulties women in traditional, so-called nuclear families face when it is assumed that they are responsible for complete maintenance of the household and child-rearing.  These difficulties are compounded when both parents work, since women are still expected to shoulder the majority of  the child-care burden.  But the shift in the media’s framing of Michelle Obama is still telling, I think.  It suggests that no matter how much a woman accomplishes professionally, our culture will jump at any chance to get her back into the home, taking care of the kids. (more…)

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A friend and regular commenter sent me a link to this article, which reveals the little known fact that in 8 states and the District of Columbia, being abused by your spouse is a pre-existing condition and can get you denied health care. “In 1995, the Boston Globe found that Nationwide, Allstate, State Farm, Aetna, Metropolitan Life, The Equitable Companies, First Colony Life, The Prudential and the Principal Financial Group had all either canceled or denied coverage to women who’d been beaten.”

I’ve put off blogging about this because I don’t quite know how to respond, other than to type “WTF” over and over.  But I finally have two short points.

First, anyone who thinks universal health care isn’t a feminist issue is an idiot. Women are still far more responsible for taking care of sick family members (children, parents, whomever) than men and women are more likely to be misdiagnosed and mistreated because the models are all male (did you know that men and women usually have different symptoms when experiencing a heart attack?)

Second, apparently in 2006 the Democrats tried to end this with a bill in the Health Education Labor & Pensions Committee. Is anyone surprised that all 10 of the “no” votes were Republican? Once again, the “family values” party proves that by “family” they mean “white, upper middle class, rich, nuclear, straight, abled and Christian…aka, just like us.”

I don’t know which is more appalling: that most Republican politicians consistently prove that they have no regard for any “family” that didn’t walk out of a Sears catalog or that there are still people who believe they are the party of decency and ethics. WTF!

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