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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Should Politicians Have to Take a Test?

So by now we are all just sick and tired of the election.  Sick of seeing the same old commercials of how Warren is better than Brown and Romney is better than Obama and this one didn’t do this and that one didn’t do that. 

And I am certainly the last person to say I have given up and I won’t vote because our political system has become too irrational for the everyday person, but this year (or maybe it really is every year) I keep getting this nagging sense that there needs to be some kind of test or requirement or schooling that some of these people need before they start running for office.

Todd Akin who sits on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology thought that a woman’s body rejected pregnancies caused by “legitimate rape.”  You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.  Sorry, I really had to swear here.  Todd has a B.S. in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Master’s in Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary.  I’m not sure either of these degrees qualifies him to provide medical statements on rape and pregnancy.

Mitt Romney, my former Governor of Massachusetts, who has helped many of my friends get health insurance continues to bumble.  His latest tape revealing he doesn’t care about 47% of the electorate, as they don’t pay taxes and thus won’t vote for him makes one wonder if people running for President should have a degree in Economics.  Romney has a Bachelor’s in English and a J.D. and MBA from Harvard.  Maybe it’s the English degree that makes him struggle with math. 

We can certainly question the folks who advise these “brilliant” men.  Or question the brilliancy of men who hire people who give them terrible advice.  These same would-be politicians will continue to hire people if elected; people who might continue to provide poor advice as well as incorrect information.  Whatever the case, I’m just looking forward to Thanksgiving when all this will be behind us, for another two years. 

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Leave Sandra Fluke Alone!

I was fortunate to see Sandra Fluke live this past April when I brought five students to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Young Women’s Leadership Conference.  She spoke passionately about her experience testifying before a panel of men about women’s need for birth control.  She is a true reproductive justice activist.

I was thrilled the DNC invited her to be one of their speakers, not only because of her passion for reproductive rights, but also because she is a young outspoken woman who TELLS THE TRUTH.

Should I be surprised at the aftermath of her speech?  Should I be surprised that the right wing CHRISTIANS used sexualized language to critique her?  I guess I shouldn’t, as Rush Limbaugh’s horrible attack of her after her Congressional Testimony where he stated,”What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”  (If you want to read more about the Rush Limbaugh attack, read David Frum’s article) It doesn’t make sense to me that a party who extols the virtues of Christianity would say some of the horrible things they have been saying about this woman.  Honestly, I would be embarrassed if I was a pro-choice Republican woman.  Here are a few of them:

Before the speech, the lovely Ann Coulter tweeted, “Bill Clinton just impregnated Sandra Fluke backstage.”

The rest of this I quote from David Frum’s CNN column “Slurs only Bolster Sandra Fluke’s Cause.” 

Stephen Kruiser:   “Tricky camera work to keep TV audience from seeing (David) Axelrod’s hand up Fluke’s a**.” 
Steven Kruiser: “Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education … and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children.”

James Taranto:  “Seriously, the party of Andrew Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman chose to showcase someone whose claim to fame is that she demands that somebody else pay for her birth control.”

Joe Walsh: “Think about this, a 31-, 32-year-old law student who has been a student for life, who gets up there in front of a national audience and tells the American people, ‘I want America to pay for my contraceptives.’ You’re kidding me. Go get a job. Go get a job, Sandra Fluke.”

Sandra Fluke’s original testimony was about student’s having access to birth control at Catholic Universities, like Georgetown, where she is a law students.  This was not about taxpayers paying for birth control, although that’s what one would think it was about if you read all the pundits responses to her.

What remains for me, however, is what these attacks on Fluke tell us about the way women are represented in our culture.  A smart, young woman cannot get up in front of a group of men, only men, and talk intelligently about the needs of young woman without being sexualized and demonized.  Women can’t run for office without being ripped apart about how they look and what they wear.  Hillary cries a tear, she’s emotional and clearly can’t be President.  Elizabeth Warren looks like a librarian and thus isn’t “hip” enough to be a Senator.  Michelle Obama is gorgeous and has style so she should be on the 2012 ticket.  And people wonder why more women don’t run for office.  What smart woman wants to put herself through THAT kind of scrutiny, opening herself up to being called a slut or ugly or emotional, none of which has anything to do with her politics and her leadership ability.

In the years that I have observed the world through my purple-hazed feminist glasses, I don’t recall it being so crude, so mean, and so trivial.  For male conservative leaders to use sexual language to critique a person’s opinion instead of intelligent critique backed up with facts only demonstrates who is really the idiot in the room. 

Crazy Dating Site

I heard about this dating website on an academic listerve.  Whatsyourprice.com is a site where people bid on dates.  For example, if I was interested in dating you, I’d offer you $50 and you can accept my offer.  The site talks about “generous” people and “attractive” people.  Your photo has to be approved to allow you to register.  The site also maintains a blog.  This blog got me fired up.

Step by step guide to being a lady

I don’t even think there is any need to comment on this in 2012. 

my feminist praxis

critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

Ashley.Bendiksen.

The official blog: My personal manifesto on living your best life, every day.

Eric Brewton

A great WordPress.com site

The Feminist Critic

Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.