Fred Thompson on Abortion and Gay Marriage – Disclaimer SCARY

August 17, 2007 at 12:55 pm (abortion, feminisim, Fred Thompson, Gay Rights, In the News, Marriage, media, politics, Uncategorized, women)

wkrnDES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Likely Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson told CNN Friday that he plans to enter the race for the White House “shortly.”

“We are going to be getting in if we get in, and of course, we are in the testing the waters phase,” he said, adding, “we’re going to be making a statement shortly that will cure all of that. But yeah, we’ll be in traditionally when people get in this race,” he told CNN’s John King in an interview Friday.

Showing his conservative stripes, Thompson said he would push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and would overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I don’t think that one state ought to be able to pass a law requiring gay marriage or allowing gay marriage and have another state be required to follow along,” Thompson explained. Thompson said that the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion “was bad law and bad medicine.”

The full entry can be read here.
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Dita Von Sleeze and Borelesque

August 13, 2007 at 7:24 pm (anti-pornography, burlesque, dita von teese, eating disorders, feminisim, sex, sex industry, sex workers, Uncategorized, women)

Burlesque Sucks.

I hate burlesque shows. I don’t see them as being any different from going to a strip club.
They are really popular in the city where I live. A nightclub that I used to regularly attend has now incorporated a monthly burlesque show in its lineup of events. Needless to say, I no longer attend shows at this club.

Some women who perform in burlesque like to think that doing so empowers them. Yet, I don’t believe that performing on stage with tassles covering your nipples is very empowering.

Dita von Teese is often regarded as the world’s most successful burlesque performer and is idolized by many amateur burlesque performers. I find Dita von Teese to be a poor example of empowerment and an even worse modern day female role model. Looking at some of her comments made to reporters throughout the years I have to ask myself why is it women find her so appealing. How is it a woman with such antiquated ideas and hypocrisy is a bastion of female empowerment in our current times?

‘I like to cook old-fashioned, homely things, sometimes pot roasts,’ says Dita. ‘I like baking.’

And:

 ‘But all the models in the specialist magazines were tattooed, butch and scary and I thought: “Why isn’t anyone doing this in a glamorous way?”‘

TOP TABLE; styleCUISINE Simon Mills Joins Dita Von Teese at London’s Cafe De Paris
Newspaper article; The Daily Mail (London, England), October 31, 2005.

Many of the burlesque performers that I’ve seen in San Francisco are tattooed, many of them proclaim that they are performing in burlesque as a way to show that there is a different side to sexuality that Playboy, which Von Teese posed for the cover in 2002, and the likes would want you to see.
The popularity of the Suicide Girls is a testament to this ideology.
The Suicide Girls even host burlesque strip shows throughout the nation and many claim Dita von Teese as idols.
Are they aware that she has such a narrow view of their personal choices?
That she herself finds models that look scary, butch and tattooed as not being glamorous?

In the following statement Von Teese would like to have us believe that she has never suffered any abuses due to her being a burlesque performer. However, she also states that she always takes her boyfriend or a bodyguard with her.

Professional and businesslike, she says she never felt used or abused. ‘I would always take my boyfriend or a bodyguard with me.’
TOP TABLE; styleCUISINE Simon Mills Joins Dita Von Teese at London’s Cafe De Paris
Newspaper article; The Daily Mail (London, England), October 31, 2005

Does she mean that if she didn’t have a boyfriend or bodyguard with her she would be abused?
Why does she need a bodyguard?
What if your boyfriend is busy that day?
Why do you need anyone to go with you to your job?
This is empowering?

Dita von Teese even acknowledges that burlesque is another version of stripping in her comments to Stuart Husband at the Mail on Sunday:

‘Burlesque is just where stripping as we know it today has evolved to,’ she grins.

Dita Von Teese on posing for Playboy:

“Playboy is the second most-recognised symbol in the world after Coca-Cola,’ she says proudly. ‘It’s a Hollywood walk of fame for female bodies. Hugh Hefner [the legendary womanising publisher of Playboy] remembers all the old burlesque shows and comes to see me perform. It’s like being anointed.’ Anointed by the father of the Playboy empire she may be, but what do her own, now-divorced, parents think of what she does? ‘Mom is fine with it,’ she says. ‘My dad is a different story – he threw me out of the house when I was 16 because I worked in the lingerie store and wore black lace panties. But he loved that I was on the Playboy cover; suddenly I was his daughter again. In fact, everything changed after the Playboy cover. Before, people were scared of me, but suddenly what I did was validated.’
Miss Von Teese TAKES OFF
Newspaper article; The Mail on Sunday (London, England), March 12, 2006.

Posing nude is validation?

The part about her father really creeps me out. Playboy is of course so mainstream and fake that I would have to think that Von Teese would like to separate herself from ths type of publication in keeping with her “natural beauty” ethos. But, no, Playboy made her career.

Dita von Teese says only young people can be sexy:

‘I don’t want to see a 55-year-old woman in a thong,’ she shudders. ‘But I’ll be fine. I’ll become an impresario – round up some hot chicks, open a burlesque club, pass on my wisdom. Then I’ll move to Paris where they appreciate the sight of old women tottering to the corner store in full makeup.’
Miss Von Teese TAKES OFF
Newspaper article; The Mail on Sunday (London, England), March 12, 2006.

Essentially when she is washed up she will become a pimp and wear lots of makeup to hide how old and ugly she has become. I wonder if this will actually be the case for her. Considering her warped concept of natural beauty, I just can’t believe she will age gracefully and drop out of the public eye. However, I absolutely do believe that she will turn into a pornographer (if she hasn’t already) and pimp out new fresh meat to the masses. She is probably mortified that she can’t get royalties off the myriads of women who are “cashing” in on her burlesque revival without throwing back to her.

Dita von Teese likes natural beauty but not her own:

“It’s no secret that I had my breasts enlarged about 15 years ago, but I never lie about this. I just always wanted to be more voluptuous.
MY STYLE; Burlesque Dancer Dita Von Teese Reveals the Secrets of Her Vampish Retro Look LIFEstyle
Newspaper article; The Daily Mail (London, England), November 6, 2006.

People give her credit for being honest about it, but in her line of work, and with burlesque philosophy in general, she would have to be up front about her surgery. She wouldn’t want to be called a hypocrite. But I think she still can be called as such. Just because you admit you’re a hypocrite doesn’t make you any less of one. Perhaps if Von Teese wanted to be more voluptuous she would increase her 16” waist size (sometimes reported as a 17” waist) and then the rest of her proportionately. Curves are still curves regardless of how small your waist is, it’s all relative.

You can increase fat on your hips too Dita, it’s called eating. Less corsetry and other medically unsound practices should help with that.

Of course, a woman I know who performs in burlesque has told me that the women she works with deplore Dita von Teese because she represents the sell out factor in their genre of pornulation.
These women have removed the negative connotations from burlesque and created something entirely new from it. But, I have to wonder if this is entirely true.
Aren’t they just repackaging the same old product for the same old consumers?
The twist this time is that the people providing the product are claiming it as beneficial to them as opposed to a necessary means for survival in a patriarchal society.
I’m really not buying it though.
Do you think that these shows would be anywhere near as popular if the women were wearing clothing, and not exposing their breasts?
What if burlesque shows really did include women of all shapes, sizes, colour, race and so forth?

Look through galleries of online websites of burlesque shows and do the math. It’s still the same stuff as your local strip club. The only differences are a few strategically placed tassles and some kitschy humor. I say to these burlesque performers use your talents in dancing, singing, storytelling and keep your clothes on.

You may actually be surprised to find out that people will like what you do for your talent and not just your tits.

How will you know otherwise?

dita

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Equal Pay, Please.

August 13, 2007 at 4:41 pm (employment, equal pay, feminisim, In the News, Uncategorized, women)

New research out of the University of Cincinnati finds that the more times are changing, the more the traditional gender roles between husbands and wives remain the same. Research conducted by UC Sociology Professor David Maume finds that in the case of urgent child care, women are more likely to leave their jobs to attend to their children.

As the women reported higher pay, women became less likely to take sole responsibility for urgent child care. Compared with men, the study found that women had a higher probability of missing work in a child care emergency as family size increased and/or husbands worked longer hours.

The full article can be read here.

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Bean Pies, Power, RAPE, and death and misogyny and the same ole same ole

August 12, 2007 at 4:18 pm (feminisim, In the News, oakland, rape, women, your black muslim bakery)

When I was first learning about feminism I was living in Oakland, California in the beginning of the 1990s. I was teaching myself with books that I would find at a flea market held in the parking lot of a mass transit train station. I was not part of any women’s group, nor did I have any like minded friends. These books were my sole source of information and guidance.
Most of my friends were male and very much part of the patriarchy and loving it, at least from what I could tell. I stayed silent about my personal development because I felt I wasn’t educated well enough to accurately represent my beliefs and concerns to a hostile party.

Shopping on San Pablo Avenue one day with a friend we came across “Your Black Muslim Bakery.” My friend wanted to go in and see what is what like. I’m not sure if he wanted to purchase something or if he just wanted to gawk at the “different” people. I, however, put my foot down and found the courage to state that as a feminist I could not enter the store. Never before had I declared to anyone that I was a feminist and this shocked him. I had no idea the impact these few words would make on the day and on our friendship. He laughed at me initially, and when he saw that I did not return the humour he then asked if I was serious. I stated that I was. Then came the questions that I was completely unprepared to answer. Questions that I have now had to answer so many times in my life that I have responses pre-formed and ready to submit before the inquisitor can even finish his/her sentence. These questions ranged from how can I call myself a feminist when I have done all these <insert un-feminist things> in the past, to how can I be so concerned with women in the United States when there are women who are much worse off in other countries. He was essentially telling me that I was wasting my energy on national concerns and being selfish. Women living in the United States of America have “made it” and it was stupid to be drawing attention away from the the plights of women who are really oppressed. It was this question that stumped me. To say that I thought it was completely ludicrous would be a lie. I saw merit in the question, but I did not know how to argue against it. I felt that women were oppressed globally, some perhaps more so than others, yet I couldn’t tell a woman who is homeless and living with HIV that she is better off than a woman in Afghanistan. Orphans exist all throughout the world who are in need of caretakers. We don’t just adopt children from China or Malawi and tell Americans that U.S. Born orphans are better off because they are in the United States so adoptions of these children is prohibited.

After making a few feeble attempts to answer my friend’s question and realising that is was a failure I walked the rest of the way home from the bakery wondering if my interactions were always going to be this way when “coming out” to my peers, friends, and the like. I was not fond of defeat and certainly not happy to have my first feminist discussion end so poorly. I voraciously returned to my feminist books I had obtained from the flea market. It did not escape me that these cherished books of mine were in the dollar bin while the copies of Playboy and Sidney Sheldon were amassing two to three times as much. However, I wasn’t going to complain. I felt the team could take it if it meant a new feminist was to be born.

Today is Sunday, I’m reading the news on a local website when I see this article, Bean pies, power, sex and death at Oakland’s Your Black Muslim Bakery.  The title is catchy with the important key buzzword “sex”. I recall that embarrassing day way back when in my early feminist herstory. As I read the article I am surprised and well, horrified to find that the answer to my friend’s question was less than 3 feet away from me all along.

But many of those who describe themselves as victims of bakery employees and the Bey family say the alleged crimes started with the father.

Tarika Lewis will testify. No one listened to Lewis when she spoke out in the 1970s, when she worked at the bakery and said she saw the elder Bey beating women. No one – not police, not community leaders, not Child Protective Services – intervened in 1981, when Lewis said she told them Bey had raped underage girls.

The alleged victims were Lewis’ stepdaughters, who had been placed in Bey’s custody by her ex-husband. In 2002, prosecutors said they had DNA evidence to prove that Bey fathered five children with four victims under the age of 14, two of whom gave birth when they were 13. Two were Lewis’ stepdaughters. Bey died of colon cancer at age 67 before he was to go to trial on charges involving one of the victims.

San Francisco Chronicle
Matthai Chakko Kuruvila, Chronicle Religion Writer
Sunday, August 12, 2007

This type of news story is not terribly shocking to me anymore. I have read many like it, practically daily, over the course of twelve years. I am incensed that the now deceased owner of this bakery was never brought to trial for his alleged crimes. I am incensed that so many young girls, and when I say young, I’m not exaggerating, were raped repeatedly and had their youth stolen by this man. Young girls giving birth to his children when they themselves are still children. I am incensed the author chose to use the buzzword “sex” in the title of this article. This isn’t sex, what happened here was rape.
Don’t try to titilate us, and nullify the actions of this man by lessening the meaning of what he did by correlating the rape of four children under the age of 14 with sex.

I am no longer acquainted with the male friend who tried to put me in my place so many years ago. I will never be able to answer his question, and I don’t really feel that I need to anymore. I do, however, wonder if he remembers that day outside Your Black Muslim Bakery, and if he will read about this story in the news. I wonder then if he will remember the question he once asked of me, and I then wonder whether this will answer that question for him.
Sadly though, I doubt it.

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Apple Must Be on Crack

August 11, 2007 at 8:27 pm (advertising, body image, computers, eating disorders, feminisim, Mac, media, technology)

I wonder what Apple was thinking when they came up with this ad.

Seriously though, are they clueless about eating disorders and Hitler?

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August 11, 2007 at 4:57 pm (breastfeeding, feminisim, In the News, Uncategorized, women)

CNN has an article on their website titled, “Five Breast-Feeding Mistakes New Moms Make, and How to Fix Them”.
I didn’t get pissed off until:

Mistake 4: Moms get intimidated breast-feeding in public

Solution: Have snappy comebacks at the ready

Clowes says occasionally mothers in her group reported getting nasty comments when they’ve breast-fed in public. She suggests having a few retorts at the ready. On her Web site, crankylittleman.com, she has these two suggestions: “If you’re uncomfortable seeing my baby eat, you are welcome to cover yourself with this baby blanket. I’ll let you know when we’re done,” and “You think this is something? You oughtta see where he came out!”

What great advice is this? If I’m the type of person who is uncomfortable breast-feeding in public because of the reaction I get from strangers am I really going to be able to say these things to them? Is that really a viable option? It sounds great in theory, and very empowering, but the reality is most snazzy come backs only ever happen when replaying an unfortunate experience over in your mind minutes or hours later.

This, however, is not the part that pisses me off the most. What really irks me is the notion that women should blame themselves, find fault, and be told they are making mistakes in a society that doesn’t allow them to do something as fundamental as breastfeeding.

Who exactly is making the mistakes here?

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