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Author Archives: thefeministcritic

The Sexing of Halloween

I’ve seen some great commentary on the whole “sluts on Halloween” phenomenon.  Here’s the first, by the hilarious Jenna Marbles.

She makes some great points.  BuzzFeed came out, last week, with this commentary on sexy Halloween costumes. When I  first took Women’s Studies, back in the early 90s, my professor told me a good test of sexism was to apply any issue to men, and if it was funny, it was probably sexist.  This video is a great example of that.

Halloween has become an industry all unto itself.  It’s like the pet industry.  When I was a kid, there were no mega pet stores.  You didn’t take your dog to the vet to get her teeth cleaned.  And you generally put together a costume using your own creativity.  As someone who has thrown a Halloween party consistently since 1997, I have seen a LOT of creative costumes.  And most people make them.  There is an occasional purchase, at the store, by some last minute party-goer, like last year’s Gorilla, but in general, people buy props and get creative.

The Halloween industry allows for a lack of creativity.  Just in a five mile stretch, we have the “Spirit of Halloween” and “Halloween City” which allows lazy or stressed parents to run in and purchase their child’s costume, and sells hordes of sexy lingerie the Halloween industry calls costumes.

The issue for me is not necessarily the pressure for young women (and old) to dress as minimally as possible, it’s honestly the lack of creativity.  Halloween is the time to DRESS UP, meaning put on clothing that makes you into something else, a character or a thing.  It’s not about dressing in something skimpy that makes you look just like you, but in a Victoria’s Secret catalog.

The industry of Halloween has allowed us to be less creative.  And this is why, as much as some of my friend’s hate it, year after year, we have a theme for our Halloween party.  This keeps people thinking and creating.

Here are some of the great themes over the years:

Villains of Time:  Two people, who didn’t know each other, both came as Bill Buckner.  One of my best friend’s came as Martha Stewart, fresh out of prison, with apology letters.  My brother and his girlfriend at the time came as Brittany and Justin.  I came as President George W. Bush.

Seinfeld:  Mulva, the low talker, the Soup Nazi, Elaine, the Ugly Baby.

Horror Movie Characters:  My favorite costume, Tippy Hedron from The Birds.  My brother in law came as Quint from Jaws.  My husband came as Franknfurter from Rocky Horror.

Rock n Roll:  We took pictures of people as the dead rock n roll stars, the women, the men.  My husband’s Bob Dylan with the harmonica was priceless.

I could go on an on about the creativity and the original-spirit my friend’s have.  This year’s theme “Songs” is going to prove just as creative, maybe even more so.  I’m not here to judge the so-called “sluts on Halloween.”  I’m here to question where people’s artistic and creative energy has gone?  Is it really easier to just drop $30 on a cheap, made in China costume?  Or is it just as easy to spread that $30 out by picking up an item here and there that finishes your original costume?  You are then the ONLY person on the planet wearing THAT costume this year.

I’m not saying don’t be sexy.  I’m just saying, be original.

halloween

Me, 7th grade, Houlton, Maine, as an old man.

The Pinking of the NFL

Two weeks ago I sat in a bar with my little brother watching Monday night football in a university town with a big athletic program in central New York.  I noticed something I have never seen, even though it has apparently been going on for a few years.  All the players wore pink sneakers, gloves, or towels.

I asked my brother, “why are they wearing pink?”  He said “breast cancer awareness.”  I said, “Are you kidding?”

I get passive marketing to raise awareness.  We do it all the time in my work.  We have a “consent is sexy” campaign happening right now.  Passive marketing can be a powerful tool to not only raise awareness of an issue, but also to spark conversation amongst those who view it.

However, with recent allegations of domestic violence issues within the NFL, and October being domestic violence awareness month, these men should be wearing purple.  There’s something a bit unsettling about a bunch of burly football players wearing pink to raise awareness.  The whole thing made me uncomfortable.  I couldn’t even watch. And it is not the gendered color issue, i.e. blue is for boys, pink is for girls.  It’s more like “here we are helping you ladies to make sure nothing bad happens to your boobies.  Aren’t we great?”

The website has three points of focus:  1) for women to sign up for a reminder to get screened for breast cancer, aka, get a mammogram; 2) to donate money to the American Cancer society to provide more screenings for women (although I’m not really sure how this actually happens); and 3) asks folks to take a pledge that they will help other women get screened.

What are the players actually doing besides wearing pink?  Who bought them their new pink shoes?  Sneakers aren’t cheap, so did a portion of the cost for the pink shoes go to the American Cancer Society?  The month culminates in a “crucial catch” day on October 25th where they will raise money to provide breast cancer education and screenings to underserved communities.

Providing free screenings is a wonderful idea, as a preventative method.  But there’s so much more to this “pinking” of the NFL that is disturbing.  Maybe we should pink the NFL to provide research to the causes of breast cancer.  Maybe the NFL should have a month of not eating red meat as a factor or other types of awareness to the causes. Maybe they should have a pink sustainable month where they address the environmental impact that leads to the US being the country with the highest breast cancer rate.

Or maybe, just maybe, they should all be wearing purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month as that is the topic where the NFL could use some awareness.  pink

The Next Generation

truth-new-hate-speech

In September we brought over one thousand first year students (commonly called freshMEN at some institutions) to new student orientation.  I am part of a team of folks who teach the students about sexual violence, alcohol and diversity.  After viewing a theatrical performance, with actors who the students are allowed to question in character, the students break up into small groups with upper-class facilitators.

We gave them four scenarios to discuss if they were “bystanders” to each situation and how they would approach the situation using 3 “D’s”:  distract, direct, delegate.  One situation involved witnessing dating violence, another a potential sexual assault, another someone with potential alcohol poisoning and the last was overhearing a fellow student using the words “pussy” or “fag”.

What scenario do you think got the most push back by the incoming class?

The language one.  Many of our incoming students border between the Generation Y or Millennial generation and the new Generation Z.  Here are some comments on why THEY feel they should be able to use words like “pussy,” “fag,” and even the “n” word.

“If they say that word in a song, then I can use it.”

“It’s just a word, you shouldn’t be bothered by it.”

“Free speech.”

“I can say whatever I want.  If you’re offended, it’s not my problem.”

Boy, oh, boy have we got some learning to do!  These comments were very similar to the response to my Op-Ed, posted last week, about the Dartmouth High School mascot, the Indians.  One of the writers of their high school newspaper interviewed me about the controversy.  You can read it here.  Based on their responses to the reporter, it is clear that many of the students and some administrators are lacking in any type of social justice awareness.  No wonder the students entering as first year students don’t get language as powerful and potentially oppressive.  Their high schools could care less.

Why should I be surprised?  I learned absolutely nothing about racism, sexism, rape, etc. when I was in high school.  There was no critical analysis of the world’s problems.  I was taught what they thought every student needed to know to go to college.  Apparently not much has changed.  I have a good friend who is a high school history teacher and she constantly laments the lack of time she has to really teach young people the history of the world.  She showed them the movie Amistad and had  parents writing in complaining about how graphic it was.  It’s hard to teach about the enslavement of millions of people without being graphic.

I like to end my blog, in South Park style, with a suggestion on how we fix the problem, but in this case, I have no idea.  Transforming the K-12 educational curriculum needs to happen, particularly in respect to bullying, social justice issues, and sexual violence, but I have no idea where to start that movement.  I know that the Massachusetts Media Literacy Consortiumis working hard to get a media literacy curriculum into the K-12 school system, which would address some of those issues.

In the meantime, it’s up to parents to talk to their kids about this stuff.  If we are going to have an Indian mascot and no coursework on the Trail of Tears, we are leaving the student’s with only half of the story.

free versus  hate

Standard Times Op-Ed: End Use of Racial Slurs for Mascots

I was thrilled to get my second Op-Ed published in the New Bedford Standard Times.  

Football season: the time of year when racism gets blindly supported throughout the country. Two weeks ago, I noticed a picture of the Dartmouth High School mascot in the 99 Restaurant.  I posted on Facebook “How did I not know the Dartmouth High School mascot was the “Indians”? A former student responded that the Seekonk High School mascot, the “Warriors,” was also represented as an Indian head in traditional garb. I couldn’t believe it.

In Massachusetts, according to the New England Anti-Mascot Coalition, 43 schools have an Indian as their mascot, nickname or logo. This link provides a list of all New England schools with Indian mascots, approximately 91. (http://sanfacon.com/mascots/schools_NE.html). The names of these mascots include Rangers, Tomahawks, Aztecs, Red Raiders, Warriors, Wamps, Chieftains, Sachems, Braves and Tewksbury Memorial High Schools offensive “Redmen and Lady Redmen.”

This is a timely conversation on the national stage. Announcers who work for CBS are boycotting the Washington Redskins name by refusing to use it during games. “Change the Mascot” is a national campaign to end the use of the racial slur “redskins” as the mascot and name of the NFL team in Washington, D.C.  Launched by the Oneida Indian Nation, the campaign calls upon the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell to do the right thing and bring an end to the use of the racial epithet.  A longtime NFL referee has been boycotting the Redskins, silently, for years, by asking not to be put on their games. “I think sometimes evolution is slow for some people,” he said. “But where else in America do you see that, though, the refusal to change? From Stanford on down, most everybody has changed from a derogatory name to one that is acceptable.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/mike-carey-longtime-nfl-referee-avoided-washingtons-games-because-of-the-name/2014/08/20/d6dae602-27b2-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html).

We know the slogan “think locally, act globally.”  This boycott with the NFL may not be a “global” action but it is a long overdue action. And if we can get behind these announcers, can we look in our own backyard at the institutional racism playing out in front of our children?

The word “Massachusetts” is an Algonquian Indian word from the Wampanoag word Massachuset, which means “by the range of hills.” The original inhabitants of Massachusetts were encompassed in three tribes, the Wampanoag (including the Massachusett, Nauset, Nantucket, Pennacook, Pokanoket, and Pocasset), the Mohegans (including the Nipmuc and Pequot) and the Mohican’s (including the Pocumtuc). What kind of respect do Massachusetts citizens give to their foremothers and forefathers, who lived here first, by using racist representations from the past? I shudder to imagine this same imagery being acceptable if it represented African-Americans. It wouldn’t be tolerated.

As a board member of the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts, our mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. One of the ways we work to eliminate racism is to talk about its harmful effects, to call it out where we see it, and to offer programs to help educate our community, like our racial justice and economic justice workshops. I struggle to see how an organization, like the YWCA, exists in a community that is using a traditional Indian headdress.

Please write to your local school boards, in Dartmouth and Seekonk, and ask them to find another mascot, one that does not offend and misrepresent a culture and a community of people who have endured enough misrepresentation.

Where are All the . . . ? Take Two.

I love award shows.  It’s the little girl in me who watched The Oscars as a kid and dreamed of being up on that stage.  And while that dream has certainly faded as I’ve moved into my mid 40s (gasp!) , I still enjoy seeing the actors I love get recognized.

However, with the tinted glasses of feminism, award shows generally piss me off.  The lack of diversity in this year’s Emmy awards is frightening. And even more so, in some senses, than Hollywood.  Movies cost money, much of television doesn’t.  (although more and more shows being recognized are from HBO, Showtime, and Netflix, channels that do cost money).  What is most accessible to young people is a white coated representation of life, as shown in the nominees for this year’s Emmys.

There was never more than two people of color nominated in any category.  Lead Actress in a drama: one African-American woman.  Lead Actor in a drama:  all white men.  People of color did best in the “Guest Actor in a Drama.”  Two men of color were nominated for House of Cards, with Joe Morton taking the Emmy.  Two women of color were nominated in the same category with Uzo Aduba from Orange is the New Black taking the Emmy.

 

uzo-aduba

For Directing a Drama, there are two men of color, Carl Franklin for House of Cards and Cary Joji Fukunaga, who won for True Detective.

 

Cary Joji Fukunaga

The most diverse lineup of nominees was in Best Direction for a Comedy Series, which had one African-American man and two women in the lineup with Gail Mancuso winning for Modern Family.

Spend some time scrolling through these lists of nominees and you’ll get a white view of television’s lack of diversity.  What is someone who cares about representation to do?

I don’t watch a lot of television these day, but I need to become much more investigative in who is directing and who is represented.  I love VEEP, strong female role, but that show is also very white.  I know that Orange is the New Black is the show to watch for diversity, but I can only get sucked into one series at a time.  I watch Scandal because I believe in Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington being the first African-American women lead in decades.  Modern Family has a touch of diversity, as does The Walking Dead, my husband’s favorite series right now.  I love Key and Peele.  But my love of fake news shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are led by two very white men.  And honestly, there are only so many hours in the day to even watch television if you roll in at 6pm, put dinner together and get to bed by 10pm.

The only way to keep on task is to keep talking about it and keep sharing information on good examples and bad examples.  And maybe, just maybe, turn off those shows that reflect a society that really doesn’t exist anymore.

Words are Hard to Come By

I want to write about Michael Brown and the struggle and strife in Ferguson, Missouri.  But words are hard to come by,  especially as a white person who cares deeply for social justice and hates racism.  But what can I say?  The police are racist?  That is not new information.  Black people are targeted by the criminal justice system?  That is not news, either.  The only good cops I know are the ones with a college degree.  Is that a bad thing to say?  I think all police should have degrees in sociology or psychology.  Much has been written on this topic, so I am going to include some other folks’ words that resonate with me.

USA Today reported that on average there were 96 cases of a white police officer killing a black person each year between 2006 and 2012, based on justifiable homicides reported to the FBI by local police.

 Blogger Eric Brewton, in his blog “The Game is Rigged in Ferguson,” writes

“It was Wilson who pulled his police issued revolver and fired anywhere between five and seven shots at an unarmed Michael Brown, killing him while his hands were in the air in a show of surrender. It was Wilson’s police chief Tom Jackson who took the first step towards putting Brown on trial by releasing a convenient store surveillance tape that showed the eighteen year old swiping cheap cigars and shoving a store clerk who tried to stop him just minutes before his death. It was Jackson who admitted that there was no link between that robbery and Brown’s deadly encounter with Wilson. It was the city’s mayor James Knowles, who in the wake of public unrest displayed a frighteningly high level of ignorance by suggesting the town had no racial strife when everything from traffic stops to the lack of diversity on the city’s police force would have suggested otherwise, and it was the state’s Governor Jay Nixon who was missing in action Wednesday night when the St. Louis County police force put on a performance that would have made the cops from the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago proud. Nixon’s presence hasn’t exactly made the situation better. His latest stunt, calling for a citywide curfew for it’s residents has only added to the raw anger and intense pain being felt by so many.”

In Mother Jones last week, Jaeah Lee’s article “Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?” contains a troubling graphic:

 

Who Is Shot by New York City Police?

So what’s a well-meaning white ally to do?  How can those of us committed to an anti-racist world stop violence against people of color?  What can we do to change the ways that people are socialized in our society and by our media?  I don’t know.  But I am thankful to Janee Woods for giving allies a place to start.

1. Learn about the racialized history of Ferguson and how it reflects the racialized history of America.

Michael Brown’s murder is not a social anomaly or statistical outlier. It is the direct product of deadly tensions born from decades of housing discrimination, white flight, intergenerational poverty and racial profiling. The militarized police response to peaceful assembly by the people mirrors what happened in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement.

2. Reject the “he was a good kid” narrative and lift up the “black lives matter” narrative.

Be mindful, political and socially aware with your language. Notice how the mainstream news outlets are using words like riot and looting to describe the uprising in Ferguson. What’s happening is not a riot. The people are protesting and engaging in a justified rebellion. They have a righteous anger and are revolting against the police who have terrorized them for years.

4. Understand the modern forms of race oppression and slavery and how they are intertwined with policing, the courts and the prison industrial complex.

We don’t enslave black people on the plantation cotton fields anymore. Now we lock them up in for profit prisons at disproportionate rates and for longer sentences for the same crimes than white people. And when they are released, they are second class citizens stripped of voting rights and denied access to housing, employment and education. Mass incarceration is The New Jim Crow.

5. Examine the interplay between poverty and racial equity.

The twin pillar of racism is economic injustice but do not use class issues to trump race issues and avoid the racism conversation. While racism and class oppression are tangled together in this country, the fact remains that the number one predictor of prosperity and access to opportunity is race.

6. Diversify your media.

Be intentional about looking for and paying close attention to diverse voices of color on the tv, on the internet and on the radio to help shape your awareness, understanding and thinking about political, economic and social issues. Check out ColorlinesThe Root or This Week in Blackness to get started.

7. Adhere to the philosophy of nonviolence as you resist racism and oppression. 

Dr. Martin Luther King advocated for nonviolent conflict reconciliation as the primary strategy of the Civil Rights Movement and the charge of His Final Marching Orders. East Point Peace Academy offers online resources and in person training on nonviolence that is accessible to all people regardless of ability to pay.

8. Find support from fellow white allies.

Challenge and encourage each other to dig deeper, even when it hurts and especially when you feel confused and angry and sad and hopeless, so that you can be more authentic in your shared journey with people of color to uphold and protect principles of antiracism and equity in our society. Go to workshops like Training for Change’s Whites Confronting Racism or European Dissent by The People’s Institute. Attend The White Privilege Conference or the Facing Raceconference. Some organizations offer scholarships or reduced fees to help people attend if funding is an issue.

9. If you are a person of faith, look to your scriptures or holy texts for guidance.

Seek out faith based organizations like Sojourners and follow faith leaders that incorporate social justice into their ministry. Ask your clergy person to address antiracism in their sermons and teachings. If you are not a person of faith, learn how the world’s religions view social justice issues so that when you have opportunity to invite people of faith to also become white allies, you can talk with them meaningfully about why being a white ally is supported by their spiritual beliefs.

10. Don’t be afraid to be unpopular.

Let’s be realistic. If you start calling out all the racism you witness (and it will be a lot once you know what you’re looking at) some people might not want to hang out with you as much. That’s a risk you’ll need to accept. But think about it like this: staying silent when you witness oppression is the same as supporting oppression. So you can be the popular person who stands with the oppressor or you can be the (maybe) unpopular person who stands for equality and dignity for all people. Which person would you prefer to be? And honestly, if some people don’t want to hang out with you anymore once you show yourself as a white ally then why would you even want to be friends with them anyway? They’re probably racists.

11. Be proactive in your own community.

As a white ally, you are not limited to being reactionary and only rising up to stand on the side of justice when black people are being subjected to violence very visibly and publicly. Moments of crisis do not need to be the catalyst because taking action against systemic racism is always appropriate because systemic racism permeates nearly every institution and community in this country. Some ideas for action: organize a community conversation about the state of police-community relations* in your neighborhood, support leaders of color by donating your time or money to their campaigns or causes, ask the local library to host a showing and discussion group about the documentary RACE – The Power of an Illusion, attend workshops to learn how to transform conflict into opportunity for dialogue. Gather together diverse white allies that represent the diversity of backgrounds in your community. Antiracism is not a liberals only cause. Antiracism is a movement for all people, whether they be conservative, progressive, rich, poor, urban or rural.

12. Don’t give up.

We’re 400 years into this racist system and it’s going to take a long, long, long time to dismantle these atrocities. The antiracism movement is a struggle for generations, not simply the hot button issue of the moment. Transformation of a broken system doesn’t happen quickly or easily. You may not see or feel the positive impact of your white allyship in the next month, the next year, the next decade or even your lifetime. But don’t ever stop. Being a white ally matters because your thoughts, deeds and actions will be part of what turns the tide someday. Change starts with the individual.

What will you do?

 

Where are My Pockets?

I was recently talking with some feminist friends about blog ideas.  In general I just write about whatever is pissing me off as pertains to women, politics, food, theatre, etc.  The subject of our lack of pockets came up.  This spawns two areas of critique.  One:  why don’t women have pockets built into their clothes as ALL men’s clothes do?  And two:  is this the reason behind pocketbooks or purses?

First of all, in general, women’s pants have tiny pockets you could barely fit a key into.  Skirts and dresses almost never have them.  If you do find a skirt or a dress with pockets, you are going to pay a pretty penny for that item.  Even suit jackets, those that do have pockets, have tiny outside pockets you might be able to squeeze a phone into.  My husband’s suit jackets have two large pockets on the outside and often one or two internal pockets.  He’s the one who has to carry my shit when we go to a wedding.

Why is this?  Does anyone know?  I mean, is the reason we don’t have pockets built into our clothes so that we have to buy a matching pocketbook for every item we own?  Nice purses cost big money. I have friends who pay hundreds of dollars for their purses.  $60 is a splurge for me.  (This story changes drastically when we are discussing shoes, however.  We all have our edge!)

Let’s talk about what women NEED to carry, at minimum.  I will only reference myself here as this differs from chick to chick.  Tampons or Pads.  (Yes, only for a week or so a month, but for some women, that arrival day is never predictable.)  Lipstick.  Or some kind of lip ointment.  Phone.  Keys.  Emory board in case you break a nail.  Business cards.  Cash.  Quarters if you have to park in a city.  Am I missing anything?

My husband carries the following:  phone, keys, butts, lighter, money clip wallet.  And he always asks me to carry his stuff if we go somewhere fancy where I have a bigger purse.  And he has a wallet that looks like this.

wallet 2 photo 1 wallet

If you like this amazing money clip, the link below will take you to my friend’s amazing printed leather products.

http://www.sharaporter.com/

My Administrative Assistant insists that she only searches for dresses or skirts WITH pockets.  I’m not sure where she gets them as I have never seen them at places I frequent.  Maybe there is some secret women’s clothing store that sells clothes with pockets?

As far as I’m concerned, this is just another piece of the puzzle of women’s oppression.  Not to mention those back problems from carrying those huge purses on our shoulders!

 

I Don’t Need Feminism . . . Oh, But I Do!

A lovely share on Facebook showed up about the Tumblr “Women Against Feminism.”  In it, a series of mostly white young women hold up placards describing why they don’t need feminism.  Of course all of these placards are stereotypes of feminism.  And they will make you shudder:  Women Against Feminism. 

What freaks me out about the whole page is that these young women, who have not YET experienced discrimination, have enough time on their hands to rip apart a movement that is not just about empowering them, but also men.  The misunderstanding and misrepresentation of what feminism really is has clearly hit these Millennial’s or Generation Z’ers.

Fortunately a sarcastic response appeared #needthepatriarchy, which is hilarious.

But the bottom line for me, as an educator and a feminist, is how to fight off these horrible stereotypes that these young women have bought into.  Here is a great example:

tumblr_msv7ggz4TU1qf7o51o3_1280

First, there is an assumption that feminism is about victimization. Yes, feminism has been a movement that started rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, but it is not tied to victimization, but empowerment.

Second, sure, white young thing from the west, you are not oppressed.  But maybe your sisters of color are.  Maybe they don’t have economic access to the things they need, like reproductive health care.  Maybe there are poor people living in your town?  Maybe you don’t know because you never drive “over there.”  Maybe you haven’t had a job yet in the professional world where you got paid thousands of dollars less than a man.  Maybe you have never been raped or beaten by someone you just met or someone you thought you loved.  Maybe all of these things haven’t happened to you.  Yet.

I’m sorry your life is so boring that you have nothing better to do than develop a tumblr about how much you hate feminism.  What a drag.  Maybe instead of being a hater, you could go out and volunteer in your community and learn something about the world you live in.  Even the town you live in.  If you want to change the world or even the way that you think feminism is constructed, try doing something positive instead.

Because believe it or not girls, feminism has done more to help women and men in our world than your tiny hater tumblr will ever do.  And if you don’t think feminists are funny, you surely haven’t met anyone like me or my friends.#Ilovefeminism

My Dear John Letter to the SCOTUS,

Dear Supreme Court of the United States,

You make it hard for me to like you.  It is increasingly more difficult to appreciate the benefits of the three branches of government keeping each other in check, the way our forefathers designed this so-called democracy, based on your recent decisions.

 RNS-HOBBY-LOBBY-SCOTUS 

In fact, I have struggled with what to say about you for almost two weeks now, rendering me mute in my ability to articulate how frustrated I am with you. I know you are not ALL to blame, but as you are designed as a nine person decision making body who rules on two opinions, rarely consensus, you are still one branch of government. And even though I want to hug and kiss Judge Ginsberg, it won’t help. Women are still singled out for a prescription only THEY take. Just women. Don’t you find that troubling?  Women are singled out for being protected on their way to the abortion clinic.  Just women, because men don’t get pregnant, but you must know that.

I mean, hell, you only have three women on the bench out of the nine of you. Only two of you are people of color.  How that is any representation of the people of the United States of America is beyond me.

You are clearly a court split 5-4.  Five of you appointed by Republicans Reagan, Bush, and Bush.  Four of you appointed by Clinton and Obama.  Women are screwed just by the make up.

daily-kos-scotus-hobby-lobby

So what’s a girl to do?

For today, I’d just like to break up.  I don’t need this third branch of government, not really elected by the people, to make laws about women’s bodies.  I will just have to vote for the right Senators and Representatives, like our own Elizabeth Warren, to make laws that help me, not hinder me via a decision that not only is discriminatory, but that is also tied to class.

Women are more likely to work at a store like Hobby Lobby.  And retail tends to be an industry where the pay is lower.  Women who are not allowed to cover their birth control with their employers health insurance then have to PAY OUT OF POCKET.  I would assume that most of these poor bastards are not living the high life and have tons of pocket change to spare.  This decision is on the backs of poor women.

And its a slippery slope.  You don’t want to cover contraceptives because corporations with religious leanings have rights?  What other rights will they have?  Not to hire Muslims?  Not to allow gay and lesbian workers to have their spouses covered?  Where will this lead?

So goodbye SCOTUS.  Good luck to you.  I’m sure you’ll all find work in the free marketplace.  I hear Hobby Lobby is hiring conservative folks just like you, Justice Kennedy, Justice Scalia, Justice Roberts, Justice Alito.  Maybe not you Justice Thomas.  I’m not sure their evangelical leanings support civil rights either.

I’ll remember the good times. The striking down of DOMA, for one.  And Roe V. Wade, of course, one of my favorites.  Brown v. Board of Education.  I could go on and on.  But these decisions are all in the past and I can see how divisive you have become.  I just can’t wait for one of you to die or retire so the balance will tip.

meh

Good luck, SCOTUS.

Sincerely yours,

Juli L. Parker
Woman who has prevented pregnancy via birth control for over thirty years.

The Kilroys Challenge Theatres to Produce

gg

Last week The New York Times did a piece on “Creating a Supply Chain of Women Playwrights.” This subversive group, The Kilroys, asked 127 theatres to help create a list of plays written by women that had one or no productions but “were among the best they had seen or read this year.”

OK.  Great.  Here’s a list, Mr. Artistic Director.

Unfortunately just a list ain’t gonna fix what I would call a root cause.  Um.  Sexism.

And there’s another problem with the list.  A good friend of mine runs a small theatre in Rhode Island.  He is dedicated to having a diverse lineup every season.  However, the minute he calls Samuel French or Dramatists Play Service to ask about producing a new play by a woman, this is what he gets;

“We are holding this play for an equity theatre.”  Or, “we aren’t letting smaller theatres produce this one.”

This conversation constantly happens.  In fact, he recently got into a screaming match with a publisher at Samuel French.  He said “don’t you think the playwright would be thrilled to have her work produced?”

So here’s the dilemma.  Women writing and publishing plays.  Publishers who get to decide where these plays are produced, with little to no input from the actual playwright.  What’s a good artistic director to do?

Then there’s just the whole trying to find a play to read piece.  So, this same artistic director sends me a list of plays to read.  I go to the library website at work.  Searching for a single play is like looking for a needle in a haystack, excuse the old metaphor.  Most plays are published in collections.  One must find the collection it was published in, say the 2010 Humana Festival of New Plays. You would actually have to know that the specific play you were looking for was first produced at the Humana Festival.

Plays are not like books that get published and are easy to find.  People might actually read more plays if they were more accessible to the non theatre producing reader or audience member.

my feminist praxis

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

The Feminist Critic

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