Tag Archives: women’s rights

Stuff That’s Worth Your Time

Invisible Nursing Woman
Shoshana Rachel (great middle name!) talks about breast-feeding, cleavage and invisible women over at GirlBodyPride.

I Review Tear The Curtain
Earlier this month, I had the chance to interview one of the creators of a supposedly-groundbreaking new Canadian theatre piece. Schedules allowed me to chat with co-creator Kevin Kerr, and this weekend just gone, I was able to see the production in one of its final performances. My review is available through The British Theatre Guide, where I’ve been a contributor since 2003ish.

A Fan Letter To Certain Conservative Politicians
From @scalzi on Twitter. A letter to anti-choice politicians from a satirical rapist. Triggering, yet scathing on the order of Jonathan Swift’s  A Modest Proposal. A skilled piece of writing, whether or not you agree with his political views.

Climate Change
I’ve been following the campaigns, and one thing I’ve noticed is that the major candidates have refrained from significant discussion on the topic of climate change. Earlier this year, I did a project called Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change and I’d like to take this opportunity to suggest that sometimes, fiction can be an effective way of starting conversations on a grassroots level. Short stories include work by Sare Liz Gordy, RJ Astruc, Miranda Doerfler and Eric Sipple.

Trailer – Celeste Bright
I’ve mentioned a web series project in previous posts, and have to thank @thepowerobject for pointing me to this trailer. Gorgeously shot, the editing and music take you along for the ride – I’m going to pop in the first episode and see what I think of the product. This is part of my research on form and webseries; while I’m still trying to make it through Aidan 5’s full season, learning the language of a quality webseries is coming to the front in my ever-revolving priorities binder.

Ack. I just said binder, didn’t I.

We’re about ten days away from Election Day and voters in key swing states are already heading to the polls. If you spend time on “Twittah“, you already know my views, so I won’t bore you. Politics are, however, relevant, because of my new writing project.


Back in June, I had the idea for a novella that would look at the mechanics of a modern-day election, in scifi-punk terms. Having read a lot of cyberpunk in my teens, and growing out from the ongoing progress of my AI Anthology, Electalytics was meant to give me a chance to express some anxieties about the current election cycle, as well as the framing of political action/content within what I felt (and still feel) to be outdated models – all within a technopunk framework.

Electalytics started off as a challenge – could I write 30K words in a month? By July, I was still shy 2.5K, but I had the solid basis of a piece – and since then, I’ve been editing and refining the story. It’s lost mass and gained focus, and I’m excited to be offering a free look at the first chapter to the first 50 people who sign up on my mailing list. We’re about halfway to our subscription goal, so sign up for the free promo.

Also, come November 6th? Vote.

Creepy Creepers and the Creeps Who Excuse Them

Pic gakked from paulocoelhoblog.com.             Creepy, huh.

Today, my friends, we are going to talk about some particularly heinous sexism, of the “It’s okay for men to be creeps because genetics make it so they can’t help being creeps” variety. What sparked this? A blog entry I read earlier today. Here’s a delightful little nugget:

“So ladies, next time some lecher is staring at your breasts instead of making eye contact, don’t get indignant; he can’t help himself. It’s in his genes, and he just wants to share them with you. It’s evolution.” – Evolution, the Visual Ape

Read the post if you want. You’ll be treated to x-rays, photos of oranges, mushrooms shaped like mammary glands, and particularly offensively, the idea that men just can’t help it when it comes to reining in their baser instincts.

Well, I call bullshit. You know who thinks it’s okay to stare at a woman’s breasts because he’s aroused in the midst of a conversation?

A creeper.

You know who thinks it’s okay to tell women that wanting to spread his progeny (i.e. make you have his babies) is justification for treating her with a lack of human respect?

A creeper. (Or maybe Todd Akin.)

You know who thinks it’s okay to belittle other men by saying, “Today, his [aggressive rapey creeper] progeny vastly outnumber those males who are aroused via the other senses, a group collectively referred to as “sensitive men.”?

A creeper.

A child in a man’s body.

Someone who thinks his desires – particularly his desires for sexual gratification – should be the top priority in every situation.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. Here are the behaviors women endure because of Creepers who think the above are all just “part of evolution.”

“Because if I had to list every time a guy…

grabbed me, groped me, cornered me, pinched me, rubbed up against me, called me a “bitch,” a “whore,” a “cunt” (and I love it when they append “stuck-up” before the noun; as if that’s the insult), called me “opinionated” (’cause… women shouldn’t have one?), “confrontational,” “unladylike,” told me to shut the fuck up, told me I could never be good enough, that I was stupid, fat, ugly, that I “ought to make more effort in the looks department,” that I should wear clothes that “emphasize (my) assets,” that I “should have kids by now,” deferred to my male companion, spoke mostly to my male colleague, ignored me entirely or deigned to talk down to me, assumed I was incapable, assumed I couldn’t learn, treated me like I was deaf, or mute, or an idiot, or an object, catcalled or whistled at me, acted as if I were nothing but a disembodied pussy and tits, talked over me, shouted me down, looked past me, looked through me, tossed off a sneery “whatever,” took credit for my ideas, thought “no” meant “oh jeepers, shucks, I meant ‘go ahead’,” tried to infantilize me, tried to shame me

…seriously, y’all.  We would be here FOREVER.”

— Mere Smith on Everyday Sexism. (highly recommended post)

Now, maybe the author of Evolution: the Visual Ape thinks he’s being funny with his post about why he just can’t help being a Creeper. Some of his commenters seem to think that was his intention. I didn’t laugh. You know why?  Because everything he says in his post is justification for why some men think it’s okay to subject women to the behaviors Mere listed in hers.

And this guy isn’t just belittling women with his post. How about lines like: “Most women tolerate this reaction from their men, not because they believe the common refrain that it’s okay to look but not to touch, but because they have come to realize that there is no hope of altering this behavior. ”

Fuck that shit. Women tolerate this reaction from men (“theirs” or otherwise) because if we tried to fend it off 24/7 we’d have no time left to deal with the rest of our lives. Because we can either get into physical altercations and verbal arguments multiple times in a day, or we can shrug and say, “Fuck that, I have better shit to do.”

What’s more, I know plenty of men who don’t gawp at my cleavage every time I speak to them: smart, articulate, interesting, “sensitive,” manly, virile guys who know that the way to prove you’re a man doesn’t come down to sticking your dick in any hole within reaching distance, but by treating other people like human beings.

But no, this blogger says, men just can’t do that. He justifies visual lechery, normalizes it, saying it makes more sense than olfactory or aural stimulation because:

A female walking around in the hot African sun, covered with hair, unable to bathe properly because soap is still several millennia away, is not likely to smell like Channel (sic) No. 5. Have you ever seen chimpanzees in the zoo? They play with their feces? She probably smelled like L’ Air du Shit.”

“Unable to bathe properly.”
“Covered with hair.”
“Smelled like L’Air du Shit.”

Now women are chimpanzees?

Well, the writer of this blog is a creep. A creep trying to justify creepiness under the guise of bullshit pseudo-science that blends just enough jargon with just enough “layman’s anthropology” to put together a blog that excuses being a lechey creep.

If, that is, you’re a creeper.

Vagina Vagina Vagina.

UPDATE, 6/17, 11:57am:
Check out my next blog post for information on solidarity events taking place in NYC – and hopefully elsewhere – Monday night.

How many times does a woman need to say “No” before the person she’s speaking to takes her seriously?

Last night, I started seeing internet chatter about Reps. Byrum and Brown of Michigan, who were barred from speaking on the house floor due to speaking out of turn. Both are women, and the debate they were barred from speaking in was one on yet another anti-abortion-access bill: HB5711, which Speaker Bolger (@SpeakerBolger on twitter, if you’d like to let him know your thoughts) described via tweet as protecting “women from dangerous practices/unsafe facilities for abortions, requires proper handling of child’s remains.”

The quote that started #Vaginagate? Essentially, “I’m glad you’re so interested in my vagina, Mr. Speaker, but No Means No.”

Sexual Violence: Not A Joke

While I agree with tweeters who say that joking about sexual violence doesn’t help advance equality for women, this doesn’t play as a joke to me – nor does it play as an inaccurate analogy.

In recent months, multiple states have passed laws which prevent women from fully exercising control over our biological processes. Rape is not the only form of sexual violence. Intimidation, badgering and barraging us with bills that call into question our right to determine the treatment of our own bodies are also forms of sexual violence.

How many times do we have to say “No” before lawmakers respect us enough to listen – and stop wasting everyone’s time and money with these debates?

While @SpeakerBolger may have gotten a response that was not as respectful as he wished, neither is his or his party’s commitment to making women spend time and energy repeatedly defending access to our hoo-hahs respectful.

A Sustained Attack On Women’s Mental & Physical Health

From Planned Parenthood bombings to excommunicated nuns to legislative manipulation, I feel like a battering ram is being used against the women of this country. Stop it, every person without a vagina who thinks they have a say in what happens to mine. Stop it, every person with a vagina that isn’t mine. Stop making me repeat myself. Stop making me spend my time and energy fending off this degrading mental and ideological abuse.

It’s not moral or ethical to batter another person with the same question over and over and over in different phrasings, breaking them down to the point of exhaustion – then act against their oft-expressed wishes the moment they can no longer defend themselves. That’s not the behavior of someone who should be making laws. It’s the behavior of a spoiled child.

But that’s what’s going on with women and our bodies and these bills and laws. (And with a number of other civil liberty issues: PIPA/SOPA/CISPA, anyone?)

So what can we do about it?

Late last night, I tweeted the author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler,  and asked a question: would she be willing to support a round-the-clock reading of her play outside the Michigan State Legislature?

This morning, she tweeted me back.


“@EveEnsler has just tweeted the following:
Vaginas Take Back Michigan Capitol. I’m be there w Sen Reps activists & thousands to perform Vagina Mono on steps @ 6pm. COME SAY THE WORD”

If you can’t be in Michigan, be online and vocal. 6pm Monday night.

Just had an email from @EveEnsler’s team; things are getting crazy and this is getting huge. I will be in NYC promoting the hell out of it any which way I can.

UPDATE: 9:01PM (every hour on the hour?)
Interest is being expressed in a New York based solidarity event Monday night. Please let me know if you’d be interested in participating; leave a comment or tweet me at @girl_onthego. 

Check out the hash tags #ConnectTheLeft and #WarOnWomen for access to broader conversations on this issue.

UPDATE: 6/16/2012, 6:51pm
If you’re in Michigan and planning to go to this event, please let me know either here or on Twitter.

Event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/268583796582574/
I’ve just set up a paper.li twice-daily paper which will update using a search for #VaginaBlogs and #VaginaGate – so again, make sure you use the hash tag when you post on Twitter – you might see your story on paper.li! http://paper.li/girl_onthego/1339985196#

Planning your own action? Drop me a line and I’ll retweet/publicize as best I can. Check back for details as the NYC #Solidarity event takes shape.

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Celebrity Meltdowns – On Opposite Day

Celebrity Meltdowns – On Opposite Day.

Recently, Pakistani actress Veena Malik was taken to task by a conservative cleric in her country for her perceived “shameful” representation of herself and of Pakistan on the Indian version of “Big Brother,” “Big Boss.”

Please consider reading my thoughts, linked above at the show blog, on Ms. Malik and her incredible stand for women around the world, and donating to “Celebrity: The Meltdown Monologues” at Kickstarter if you find the commentary engaging, interesting, or insightful.