Category: women’s rights

Chris Brown returned to court this week for a review of his sentence and charges; apparently he didn’t finish his community service. Guess who accompanied him? No, besides his mom.

Rihanna. The girl he beat up… the event that got him this charge in the first place. I have really lost respect for her through this. She is supposed to be a role model, but she is sending the message that it is okay to take a guy back who beats you up.



It’s long been said (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase) that the Super Bowl is one of the largest sex trafficking events in the United States.

According to our local Fox 8 (not to be confused with Fox News), five women were rescued this past weekend during the event here in New Orleans. This same weekend, eight arrests were made in connection to human-trafficking related events.

What’s ironic to me is that we, as a society, know that forced prostitution is wrong. We know that many girls are forced into it. Yet, there are so many men (it’s usually men. Don’t pull the “man hating” card just yet) who will justify this behavior by denying these very facts.¬†¬†

A lot is being done to help these girls, including cooperation with local businesses to train employees what to watch out for, and to make secret hotline numbers available for girls in hotel rooms or bathooms.¬† While these things are undoubtedly beneficial in helping these poor girls, it does not put enough of a public eye on the other piece of the puzzle.¬† (The names of the “Pimps” should be public, as well as the “johns”.¬† Why are people spending 10 years in prison for weed,¬†while these slave drivers are living freely?) How can these men justify their actions by calling the act “consentual”, and refuse to see that¬†their contribution is what makes it possible?

We live in a world where it is understood that sex-trafficking is wrong, but do we¬†truly understand why? Women are still judged and valued for their bodies every day. Walking through the downtown area on Super Bowl weekend, I saw the “Budweiser Girls” lining the sidewalk dressed (for lack of a better word) in thong-shorts and bra-tops.¬† How can we ever overcome the slavery of women if we still view them as objects; as something that needs to be decorated and looked at?¬† I don’t care if you think it “looks nice”. This isn’t about your needs. A nearly-naked woman should have no relevance to the sales of beer, but “sex sells”, and here lies the connection.¬† We’re taught that this is ok to expect this from women, and we justify it by telling ourselves they have “consented” to it.¬† No, these Budweiser women aren’t victims of sex-trafficking. They are victims of a world where there is so little that separates the two.

Beyonce’s job during the haltime performance was to sing and entertain. Why did this have to be done wearing a body suit? If Jay Z, or even Beiber,¬†came on stage wearing a speedo, we’d laugh. We wouldn’t take this seriously. “He must be pulling an act; he can’t be serious”. Because we all know that men don’t need to dress like this to gain an audience. Beyonce is known for her strong influences to women empowerment, yet she peformed in a stadium full of people wearing such little fabric. But again, we justify this. “She was hot doing all that dancing. It’s easier to move. She can wear what she wants”.¬† Whatever justifies it.¬† It’s this contribution that makes it possible.

Driving home from work the other morning I was listening to a talk-show where they were comparing¬†the the Mardi Gras here¬†with Carnival in Brazil.¬† Of course, the topic of women bearing their breasts came up, as it is much more popular in Brazil’s version of Carnival than it is here in the Big Easy – despite popular belief. One of the men began making fun of the women here: “I wouldn’t want to see the ones on the women¬†there anyway, they sag so much they’d¬†have to unzip their pants just for us to see them”.¬† While I realize he was “making a joke”, the point remains that our bodies are always up for others’ discussion; always subjected to others’ opinions and ridicule.¬† These two hosts would probably call me an angry feminist, but only they have no¬†way of understanding what it feels like to be on the other side.

To bring an end to my rant, how can we end forced¬†prostitution of women if we’re unable to look at the other ways we enslave them?


This past month I have been looking around for a used car, ending with me purchasing a Mitsubishi Galant a couple of weeks ago.¬† No, this isn’t a debate about American vs. Japanese cars – don’t get too excited. Rather, I have decided that I have another reason to add to my growing list of resentment about being the “weaker” sex.

I began by looking around online within my price range to see what I could expect to find around the metropolitan area, made tons of phone calls and emails, then took my search out into the streets. I tried to keep my search to local used car dealers, because the obvious assumption is that the car will be better taken care of.

Being a woman, the immediate thing that you notice when entering a car dealership is that the salesmen automatically assume you A. aren’t buying the car yourself, and B. that you wont have any legitimate questions to ask. I prefaced every inquiry¬†with the basic questions about the mileage, any major problems, how many owners, car-fax, and all that jazz. The first couple questions were answered with an obligatory tone, and then I had apparently reached my allotted time for questions, because that’s when things turned awkward.

I asked the salesman, “Why did the previous owner give up this car?” (It seemed like a very nice car for that price). His response? “Uh, I don’t know ma’am. To get a new one??!’¬† He said this while laughing.

When test driving¬†the car, he proceeded to crank up the music. Because girls only care about music, right? Clinking noises on the car can always be ignored if you have good tunes!¬† I was also laughed at when I asked when the last time was the car had an oil change. Because that’s apparently a funny question to be asked by a curly-haired girl wearing a pink shirt.

You’ll be happy to learn I left that dealership and purchased my car at another across town.¬† Just because I’m a woman, doesn’t mean you can easily take advantage of me.

People piss me off.

I’m sitting at Starbucks as I write this, and there is a meeting going on next to me about an upcoming party at the Frat House on Willow St. It is apparently some type of fundraising event to raise money for cancer.

Sounds like a good cause, right? Read on, my friend.

The¬†man¬†conducting the meeting is talking to three other people; another middle-aged adult about his age, and two Tulane students – male and female.¬† The decision maker/team leader is planning the party right down to the amount of alcohol bottles broken down by type, as well as the bands, etc.¬† It seemed like a harmless event-planning session until he started talking about the women who will help sell the party: “Well put a hot one, one with big breasts, at the front. That will bring in more people. Then we can put another one, maybe a less cute one than the one we put out front…we can put that one behind the bar. It’s always good to have a hot girl selling beer”.

At this point my interest is piqued.  Is this really happening right next to me as I type a paper on group counseling sessions for class?  I continue to listen:

“Well, like, I might have, like, some cute girls that I can ask to work for the night” – says the young girl at the meeting.¬†¬† Are we talking about prostitution or a party?¬† I know it’s the friggen Frat House, but come on.

“Do you have any hot girls in your sorority you could ask?” – team leader dude

“No. My sorority, like,¬†is the “ugly sorority”, hehe” – sorority girl.

“Maybe we can ask some chicks from another sorority” – male student with her.


The students leave a few minutes later, and the two men pick apart the looks of the sorority girl who met with them. “She’s not a pretty girl, but at least she has a nice body”.¬† I’m thisclose to throw my iced latte¬†over his balding head.

It’s quite amazing that years of hard work in the feminist movement has gotten us so far, just to have it taken away in a moment like this.¬†¬†¬† And the most pathetic thing is that this wont phase anyone, and their tactics will work for them. It makes me so angry that this post will end up in cyberspace somewhere; a feminist rant¬†falling on apathetic ears. And their party will do well, due to half-naked “chicks” selling¬†beer in an successful attempt at raising money for cancer.¬†¬†¬†It will always be a straight man’s world.

Well, Tulane students. Have fun at the Frat House whenever this party happens. It sounds decent for those looking for a cheap drunk.  Buy a $10 tank, get free beer and $1 shots all night. Hell, they even have me advertising for them.




I don’t understand how extremists can get so heated about abortion that they feel justified in bombing a Planned Parenthood.¬†¬† Killing staff and patients with the intention of preventing the, on average, 3% of services you don’t agree with is representative of how screwed¬†up you¬†truly are.

As long as the small percentage of services are ceased, therefore preventing those abortions, then these pregnancies are now carried to term (provided the mother survived the bombing).¬† Then,¬†it’s each person for themself!

Where are these passionate individuals when schools are being defunded, school lunch programs being cut, and children dieing of starvation or poor health? As long as the children are born, that’s all that matters? Why fight so hard to ensure their birth, if there is no intention to help them survive?

These extremist¬†pro-lifers/anti-abortionists are frequently the same group who are against sexual education and birth control. So, preventing the¬†pregnancy in the first place¬†is a no-go. Abortion is worthy of brutal acts such as bombing, etc.¬† And once the child is born, they better not be receiving any government aid for food, health, education, shelter, is anything else that will help them sustain the¬†“life”¬†for which¬†these extremists have fought so diligently.

Remind me again what their point is? …pro-life?

A group of republicans (who am I kidding? Of COURSE they’re republicans) are attempting to block the Violence Against Women Act. For those who don’t know, the VAWA was enacted in the mid 1990s, and provides increased funding for services and treatment for victims of domestic violence, as well as increasing penalties for domestic violence.¬† Even though this bill has been renewed twice since its enactment, republicans figure that the public might not notice its absence, what with all the other attacks on women’s rights taking center stage.

¬†¬†¬†¬† “Republicans’ biggest qualms are about provisions that make federal grants to domestic violence organizations contingent on nondiscrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender victims; rules extending the authority of tribal courts over domestic violence matters; and a section that would provide more visas for abused undocumented women who agree to cooperate with law enforcement.”

 (FYI: The Tribal Law is in reference to domestic violence on reservations here in the US, where authorities within the reservation do not currently have the authority to prosecute non-tribal members for acts of domestic violence. This is relevant because a large percentage of women on reservations are in relationships with non-members of the reservation, and there is also an increase in domestic violence in reservations. Therefore, the abusers that are not Native American are protected by US Law and are therefore exempt from repercussions in many instances.)

(Mom, turn away now).¬†¬† WHAT the HELL is¬†WRONG with these ASSHOLES?¬† This makes me SICK to my stomach.¬† Heaven FORBID we protect foreigners, gays, or abused Native Americans!¬†¬† The opposers to this bill claim that, while they agree victims of domestic violence should not be refused services due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, they fail to understand the need for an anti-discrimination amendment to the act.¬†¬†¬†THAT’S the basis for which you¬†hold an outright opposition? Because of something that is deemed unnecessary.¬† rightttt. *Doctor Evil voice*.

At an attempt to humor myself, I read further to figure out the reason for opposing the other two amendments to the VAWA.¬† Apparently, repubs don’t want non-Native American’s to be held accountable for acts of domestic violence on reservations. ie: protection for abusive partners is more important than the dignity and protection of the women abused on the reservation.¬† Yeah. Nice try at a not-even-attempt to cover up your real motive. Just come out and say that you don’t believe all women deserve protection, especially those damn “foreigners”. Our government is what forced Native Americans into secluded reservations in the first place. The least we could do is attempt to protect them.

Last but not… hell, what’s “least” when we’re discussing gays, women, and foreigners. Aren’t they all “less-than”?¬† Anyway, opponents to this bill want a cap on the number of visas given to foreign, abused women who come through our borders, with nowhere to go but back to their abusers. That’s the final motivation behind their opposition to this updated bill.

Still waiting for the justification for blocking a bill that would protect women; that would protect victims; that would protect FELLOW HUMANS.¬† I’m utterly sickened.

Women aren’t taken seriously. And I don’t mean in the they’re-too-emotional-to-make-decisions mentality. We are not even being taken seriously right now, when we are fighting for our rights – rights that we have been continuously fighting for since our mothers were small.

When we express a concern for our rights, we are referred to as “feminazis” or other derogatory terms reserves for those who dare¬†to publicly¬†identify with the feminist movement. Even people who aren’t necessarily opposed to the issues have sometimes expressed the belief that it’s “not worth fighting over”. To those people, let me remind you that human and civil rights have never been attained from people who didn’t feel like fighting.

It appears there’s an assumption that Christians/men/whites/etc will eventually get bored with the idea of having power, giving minorities more rights by default or sheer laziness. Maybe after 10 or 15 years they’ll say to each other “ya know, I just don’t see why we don’t extend the vote to women. They haven’t had that right yet, and they’ve been so patient and quiet about it!”

Perhaps, after too many Gin and tonics, a group of older white men will lead the conversation down the road of gay marriage: “Ah, marriage. I’ve had 5, or was it 6? I don’t even have to repeat after the priest anymore, since I know the vows by heart.¬†Think we should let those homosexuals have a swing at it? Maybe they’ll have better luck than I have.”

No, people. As much as these scenarios would make for hilarious commentary, (South Park writers, feel free to discuss possible submission opportunities below), change doesn’t happen while were cowering behind lampposts.

Found this over the weekend and I feel like it sums up my (and many other feminists’) feelings pretty well:


“This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary¬† for some women to carry¬† stillborn or dying fetuses until they ‘naturally’ go into labor. In arguing for this bill¬† Representative Terry England described his empathy for¬† pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation.

I have a question for Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and too many others: I have three daughters, two of them twins. If one of my twins had been stillborn would you have made me carry her to term, thereby endangering both the other twin and me? Or, would you have insisted that the state order a mandatory fetal extraction of the living twin fetus from my womb so that I could continue to carry the stillborn one to term and possibly die myself?  My family is curious and since you believe my uterus is your public property, I am, too.

Mr. England, unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy,  I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life. The right to privacy. The right to freedom. The right to bodily integrity. The right to decide when and how I reproduce.

Mr. England, you and your friends do not get to trade these rights,¬† while “dog and hog hunting,” in return for a young man’s chickens.

My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a ‘natural’ person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia’s and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.

Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean I cannot think clearly, ethically, morally, rationally about my body, human life or the consequences of my actions. Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean that I do not have rights when I am pregnant.  I have responsibility but am powerless. You have power but are irresponsible with my rights.

By not trusting me, you force me to trust you. And YOU are not trustworthy.

I gestate humans, you do not. I know how it feels to be pregnant. You do not. I know what happens to a fetus in a womb. You do not. I have carried three fetuses to term. You have not.  What I experience when I am pregnant is not empathy.  It is permeability. The fetus is me. And the state is you, apparently. But, no matter what you say or do I have fundamental human rights.  What makes you think that you,  who cannot have this fully human experience, can tell me anything about gestation or how I experience it? Especially when you compare my existence and experience to that of brutish animals.

The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind.¬† It’s no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. This week, Mr England, you supported a bill, the net effect of which, taken tandem with other restrictions, will result in doctors and women being unable to make private, medically-based, critical care decisions and some women being effectively forced to carry their dead or dying fetuses.    Women are different from farm animals, Mr. England, and this bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus, with no possibility of abortion, even when the she is in danger of dying, is inhumane and unethical. By forcing a woman to do this, you are violating her right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment and tortured. And, yes, involuntarily carrying a dead fetus to term, although not torture to you or to a pig, is torture for a woman. It is also a violation of her bodily integrity and a threat to her life and as such violates her right to life.

2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. “Let women die” bills are happening all over the country. There is no simple or pretty way to put this. Every day, all over the world, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions. Yet, here we are, returning to the dark ages of maternal sacrifice. Do really have to type this sentence: this is a violation of women’s fundamental right to life.

3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, like Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi or at least 40 other similar cases in Alabama or like Bei Bei Shuai, a woman who is now¬† imprisoned, is charged with murder after trying to commit suicide while pregnant. Pregnant women are becoming a special class subject to “special” laws that infringe on their fundamental rights.

4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe. Pennsylvania is currently considering that option along with eleven other states. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds undertaken with out a woman’s consent are rape according the legal definition of the word. This violates a woman’s bodily integrity and also constitutes torture when used, as states are suggesting, as a form of control and oppression. Women have the right not to be raped by the state.

5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. We impose an unequal obligation on women to sacrifice their bodily integrity for another.  For example, as in Tysiac v. Poland, in which a mother of two, became blind after her doctor refused to perform an abortion that she wanted that would have halted the course of a degenerative eye disease. If my newborn baby is in need of a kidney and you have a spare matching one, can I enact legislation that says the state can take yours and give it to her? No. We do not force people to donate their organs to benefit others, even those who have already been born. One of the most fundamental of all human rights is that humans be treated equally before the law. Denying a woman this right is a violation of her equal right to this protection.

6. Giving zygotes “personhood” rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. There is too much to say about the danger of personhood ideas creeping into health policy to do it here. But, consider what happens to a woman whose womb is not considered the “best” environment for a gestating fetus in a world of personhood-for-zygote legislation: who decides the best environment — the state, her insurance company, her employer, her rapist who decides he really, really wants to be a father? Anyone but a woman.

7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, imposing restrictive requirements like 24 hour wait periods and¬† empowering doctors to lie to female patients about their fetuses in order to avoid prosecution. In Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas and other states around the country bills that make women “pay” for their choices are abounding.

8. Allowing employers to delve into women’s private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control.¬† In Arizona, which introduced such a bill this week, this means covering payment for birth control as a benefit only when a woman has proven that she will not use it to control her own reproduction (ie. as birth control).¬† As much as I am worried about women and families in Arizona though, I am more worried about those in Alabama. You see, as recently revealed in a public policy poll in Alabama, conservative, evangelicals who support “personhood” related “pro-life” legislation and are fighting for their “religious liberty” — 21 percent think interracial marriage should be illegal. So, what if they decide that an employee involved in an interracial marriage should not, by divine mandate, reproduce? Do they switch and provide birth control for this employee?¬† Do they make contraception a necessary term of employment for people in interracial marriages? This violates a woman’s right to privacy.¬† My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.

9. Sacrificing women’s overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. Texas just did that when it turned down $35million dollars in federal funds thereby ensuring that 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care.

10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception.  Women like these are being fired for not.

You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality.¬† Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.

This is not about freedom of religion. If it were, we would, for example, allow Christian Scientists to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employees.¬† Religious freedom means I get to chose whether or not to be religious and if so, how. It does not mean that I get to impose my religion on others. Paying for insurance is part of the way we compensate employees, even when they use their insurance in ways we don’t agree with and are in contravention of our own personal beliefs. I think that it is stupid, dangerous and immoral to chain smoke, especially around children whose lungs it irreparably harms. But, I still have to pay for an employee to have access to lung scans, nicotine patches and oxygen tanks. I do not get to say that my religious beliefs, which include keeping bodies as healthy as possible, make it possible for me to withhold payment of this employee’s insurance.¬† Guaranteed coverage of contraception and reproductive health care has overwhelming benefits for society, including reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions.¬† By inserting your religious beliefs so egregiously into government legislation and my life, you are imposing your religious beliefs on me.¬† You don’t like mandated insurance coverage for basic reproductive health humans with two X chromosomes? I don’t like being bred by state compulsion like Mr. England’s farm animals. I have a MORAL OBJECTION to being treated like an animal and not a human. You do not have to use contraception, you do not have to use birth control. But, that does not mean you have any right to tell me that I cannot if I chose. That is my right.

Property, control, sex, reproduction, morality, defining what is human. Sounds a lot like issues surrounding slavery 170 years ago.¬† It is no surprise that of the 16 states that never repealed their anti-miscegenation laws, but rather had them overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967 more than half have introduced personhood bills.¬† Like anti-miscegentation laws, anti-choice laws and bills that humiliate women, that treat them like beasts, that violate their bodily autonomy, are based on ignorance, entitlement and arrogance. These laws are not about “personhood” but “humanity.” That women of color are massively, disproportionately affected by these assaults on their bodies and rights should also come as no surprise – their rights and their bodies have always been the most vulnerable assault.

This is about keeping women’s wombs public and in other people’s control — the exact opposite of private and in their own control.

And, yes, I do know how complicated the ethics, bioethics and legal arguments related to these decisions are. You, apparently, do not. If you were truly concerned with sustaining life and improving its quality  or in protecting innocent children, you would begin by having compassion and empathy for living, born people that require and deserve your attention. You feed them, educate them, lift them from poverty and misery. You do not compound these problems as you are with twisted interpretations of divine will. Only after that do you have the moral legitimacy to entertain the notion of talking to me about my uterus and what I do with it.  By then, fully functional artificial wombs should be available and you can implant your own, since you are so fond of animal analogies, as was completed with this male mouse.  What you are doing is disgraceful, hypocritical and morally corrupt.

And, no, I am not crazy. I am angry.

Mr. Santorum, Mr. England and Mr. Brownback and Mr. Perry you should consider not clinging so dangerously and perversely to the Agrarian Revolution ideas.  Birth control and safe abortions are life-saving technologies. These archaic bills and laws, wasteful of time, money and lives, obscure an enduring and unchangeable truth: safe and effective family planning is the transformative social justice accomplishment of the 20th century.  They will not go away. This is a revolution, too.

In a 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: “The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.”

Do you, Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum and friends even know who Sojourner Truth is?”


taken from:

Rush it

As many as 100 or more advertisers have pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh’s conservative show due to recent controversial events where he referred to a Georgetown Law student as a “slut” and a “prostitute”, and even said she should post videos of herself having sex for everyone “to watch”. (If this is news to you, you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks).
This week, in an action referred to as “unusual” by,¬† Premiere Networks told its affiliated radio stations that national advertising will be suspended from Rush’s show for two weeks.

“The development suggests that Rush Limbaugh‚Äôs incessant sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke have caused severe damage to the show.”

As much as I want to see this sexist and misogynistic show pulled off the air, that action would most likely have opposite results than what the Feminist Movement is going for. If we succeed in pulling his show from the air, he will be viewed as the poor man whose “freedom of speech” was restricted, which will take the focus away from the issue at hand.¬†He will forever go down as a martyr to the conservatives; a living testimony to what can happen when you speak out against the evils of minorities who dont know their place, oppressive civil rights activists, and poor law students asking for birth control.

We don’t want to be viewed as the oppressor, which unfortunately tends to happen when we stand up for acts of discrimination.
I’d suggest fining him, as is done with NFL or other pro-athletes. However, since his health insurance probably pays for the viagra and Oxycontin he’s been repeatedly caught with, he’s not exactly hurting for cash. That and his show reportedly brings in a bit of dinero.
At the risk of beating a dead horse with this issue, I’m proud of the response that has provoked these changes to his show. We have demonstrated the ability of a collective and united front, and what can be accomplished when a group works together.