Monthly Archives: September 2011

Free to be…?


Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system… Well, actually I haven’t. I’m afraid it’s time for yet another rant about how we as women are STILL being trained — and way too young, at that — to believe that our bodies and being pretty are our only truly marketable commodities in life. And I’m so OVER IT.

So apparently Highlights (remember reading their magazine in your pediatrician’s waiting room back in the day?) conducted a survey that revealed some shocking results — kids today have ideas about gender roles that are way closer to “Mad Men” than “Free To Be You And Me.” From the Washington Post and Care2Causes articles:

“There was a strong consensus from all respondents about what boys are better at doing. The highest response, sports (64.1%), was much higher than the next most common response, video games (3.9%). There was less of a consensus on what girls are better at, and the common answers included fashion/makeup (12.9%), cheerleading/gymnastics (10.2%), school (8.2%), cooking and cleaning (5.1%), and listening (3%).

In some of the specific answers, particularly when asked if girls are better at anything, the answers revealed some alarming assumptions… For instance:

Being pretty wearing stuff boys can’t wear and wear make up. Having a lot of pink.

In cleaning houses because boys don’t sweep very well like girls do.

Girls are better at wearing high heels.”

Paging Marlo Thomas and Mel Brooks — we need a “Boy Meets Girl” sketch triage team STAT!

Meanwhile, even some of the sources we’d like to turn to for empowerment are letting us down. Fantasy author Michele Lee wrote this exceptional article for io9, in which her seven year-old daughter responds eloquently to DC Comics’ sexed-up new version of their Teen Titans character Starfire. This excerpt from Lee’s conversation with her daughter speaks for itself:

“Do you think the Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon is a good role model?”

*immediately* “Oh yes. She’s a great role model. She tells people they can be good friends and super powerful and fight for good.”

“Do you think the Starfire in the Teen Titans comic book is a good role model?”

“Yes, too. She’s still a good guy. Pretty, but she’s helping others all the time and saving people.”

“What about this new Starfire?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Why not?”

“Because she’s not doing anything.”

“Is this new Starfire someone you’d want to be when you grow up?”

*she gets uncomfortable again* “Not really. I mean, grown ups can wear what they want, but…she’s not doing anything but wearing a tiny bikini to get attention.”

IMHO, Lee’s daughter is one of the lucky ones because she actually recognizes that not doing anything other than posing and showing off your body is *not* the end all and be all for a young woman. Someone needs to teach that to the girls on “Toddlers & Tiaras,” and the kids surveyed by Highlights, before it’s too late. There’s a whole world of opportunity out there for us, ladies — and the best of it doesn’t involve dressing like a pink-frosted prostitute while running a vacuum cleaner.

(I can’t believe I just had to write that in 2011. *le sigh*)




(Really, you can’t make this shit up.)


Saudi woman driver to be lashed

Back to class, where I shall now endeavor to feel lucky that the worst thing I have to deal with is the Hilton/Kardashian wannabes who employ their own special brand of torture on the rest of us. Oprah Gratitude Journal, don’t fail me now…

Next time I think I have it bad in S.G. …

Iran: Female Blogger Receives 50 Lashes

Good question.

Another great Op-Ed piece from last week’s NYT — Maureen Dowd poses a question that vexes me daily (esp. in SG):

Egghead and Blockheads

Why do Republicans want to be the Stupid Party?

Signs of the Impending Apocalypse, part ?

Catching up on my NYT Op-Ed reading, and came across this horrifying column from David Brooks (aka one of the few conservatives with sense in this country):

If It Feels Right …

AreYouSurprised is my new hero

(via Today Digital Life)

I am officially in awe of this guy. He’s been running a YouTube channel for months talking about coming out in the military, but up until now, he hasn’t shown his face. Now that DADT is history, he’s completely out to the military — and he went live coming out to his dad. Holy shit, this guy is brave.

A hell of a lot braver than the Marine recruiters in Tulsa, who couldn’t go to a military recruitment drive at a gay community center without planning for a retreat:

Master Sgt. Anthony Henry, a top Marine recruiting trainer for the southwestern United States, pulled up to Tulsa’s biggest gay community center on Tuesday morning and left his Chevy where he could make a fast getaway. “I have an exit strategy,” he said. “I know where my choke points are, I’ve strategically parked my car right on the curbside, I have an out.”
New York Times

Did he think he’d face rioting drag queens a la Stonewall? Gay cooties? An orgy of hot male-on-male groping that would end with him becoming the next Tom of Finland model?? Who knew the LGBT community of Tulsa was scarier than Al-Qaeda operatives?


While I’m thrilled that DADT finally ended last week, I have another bone or two pick with our military policies in this country. Why the hell are we still in Iraq and Afghanistan? And why is the military the only option for poor whites coming out of rural communities, for poor minorities in the cities, and for a lot of people wanting a college education? We’re cutting financial aid and Pell grants, so of course you’re going to see more kids just out of high school wanting to go into the military. Some of them want to serve their country, I know, and I respect them for that. But a lot of them want to get a chance to escape the circumstances they grew up with, and when getting shot to hell in wars we shouldn’t be in is their only option, it’s what they’ll do. It shouldn’t be their only option — not by a long shot.

So to the members of the LGBTQ community (and anyone else) who want to serve — congratulations. To those who are going into the military because they think they have no other option — god I’m sorry, and there has to be another way.


Oh for fuck’s sake…

Arpaio Revives Birtherism, GOP Candidates Get In Line

Bloody hell.

What a sick, sad, and twisted society we live in right now. “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.”

Troy Davis execution goes ahead despite serious doubts about his guilt

Articles: Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American

This article, which contains gems like “Registering[the poor]  to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals” and “It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country” and “Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections…[is] about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers” is bad enough. But check out some of the comments: 

pavan 09/01/2011 07:24 AM

From when the Constitution was written until about 1850, only white male property owners could vote.  After 1870, former slaves could vote.  Then in 1920 we had woman suffrage.  In the 1960s, it became illegal to require voters to be literate.  The motor voter law was passed in 1995.   In 2008 it became de facto legal for Black Panthers to intimidate voters at the polls.   Is anyone noticing a trend here?   When the country started, voting was restricted to citizens who had a financial stake in small government.   Now anyone with a pulse can vote.  Eventually, you might have to fight your way into the polling place through a gauntlet of government dependents who will decide if you look like someone who will support big government candidates.

VBMax 09/01/2011 10:55 AM

Another factor: Why are 18 year olds allowed to vote? Most don’t have the maturity, life experience or political smarts yet to cast a proper vote. Remembering how I was as a teenager, voting was emotionally based rather than researched and thought through.

Wayward Son 09/01/2011 10:55 AM

I’ve said all along we need LESS people voting. The conservatives should push for poll taxes (if you’re not willing or able to pay, then you probably are not willing or able to be informed enough to vote), increase the voting age to 21, no voting for anyone who has received government assistance in the past year, and no sufferage for anyone who cannot read. One person one vote is a recipe for political suicide and the Communist’s dream.

syrin23 09/01/2011 11:13 AM

I agree completely with this article and have a simple solution to fix it. Every person’s vote is weighted according to how much they paid in taxes. Everyone gets a default value of one. So of that evil CEO paid $750,000 in taxes, his vote would be the equivalent of 750,000 voters who paid nothing. No skin in the game, no say is how the real world works, but we would give them a small say. (Non-shareholders get NO votes in the dealings of a business). This would be “fair” and serve “justice” as those footing the bill would have the biggest say in what is done with THEIR money.

via Articles: Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American.

Who are these people?

(Oh, and VBMax? Eighteen-year-olds got the vote with the very persuasive argument that if they were old enough to be drafted and sent to war, they should be old enough to vote on whether those wars should be fought. Are you going to argue that they don’t have a stake in how our country is governed? Or does having a blood stake not count — it’s only money that matters?)