From Suffragette to Bachelorette, believe it or not, but Rochester, New York is where you can have the most feminist bachelorette party imaginable. It’s true. Ranked as one of the US cities with the best quality of life, it is also home to the women’s rights movement. Any bachelorette party can be feminist because a b-party is really just about women congregating together to celebrate a sister and womanhood in general, but with so many special women’s activities and locations this is the quintessential one. Having always known of Rochester, I was overwhelmingly impressed with the city during my first visit. From its adorable Victorian era neighborhoods to the Genesee River High Falls, from the preserved architecture to the plethora of museums and the general geniality of the city and the super wealth of American history, needless to say, I have never fallen in love with a city so quickly (then I remembered how cold it gets in the winter and immediately reconsidered my moving there). It also offers a tons of adventurous fun (I covered some options) to balance out its intellectual side – i.e. the perfect place for a feminist bachelorette party. Here’s a list of cultural, feminist and generally fun activities as ideas for your next bachelorette party (you’ll need to rent a car). As a small disclosure, I haven’t done everything but I look forward to one day!
Now Pantene has joined the list of for-profit companies that are creating ads that not only empower women but address some very real inherent issues in female culture. Joining GoldieBlox, Aunt Flo, Verizon and Always, Pantene is tackling women’s overuse of the phrase, “I’m sorry.” It’s pretty amazing to see how Sheryl Sandberg’s #BanBossy Campaign has filtered down into other areas. After all the controversy it received, it’s clear that a lot of important people at big women-focused companies were all change, which is why we’re seeing so many of these types of ads. I don’t know about you, but I hope to see many more and in MEN’S advertising too!
[Watch the video below!] While this Always ad is not about weddings, it’s important to think about how we treat and raise young girls – girls, who will ultimately grow up and get married. How they see their value as children will ultimately impact how they see their value, potential and contribution as grown women in relationships. I’m no psychologist, but it seems logical to assume that a person with healthy self esteem is more like to have healthy relationships.
The Feminist Bride in Curve Magazine: “With a majority of states maintaining their marriage bans, isn’t it crucial to examine all avenues to speed date this process? Pursuing change through legal civil action is not enough. The social traditions within Western wedding culture are extremely influential when it comes to government’s regulation of marriage. This is when tradition is at its most dangerous. Social traditions have often created civil laws, such as protecting domestic abusers, discriminating against out-of-wedlock children and preventing women from voting if they didn’t share their husband’s name, and prohibiting interfaith and interracial marriage. Same-sex marriage is no different. If common social practices can influence laws, isn’t it in the best interest of the LGBTQA community to reform traditions?” To read the rest of the article click here.
Click to read first Part 1: Love on Las Vegas Boulevard – Finding Zion
Among the Bail bondsmen, pawnshops, liquor stores and Adult Video purveyors on Las Vegas Boulevard, you’ll find the two most famous wedding chapels in Las Vegas, A Little White Wedding Chapel (ALWWC) and the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel (VLVWC).
When I started The Feminist Bride website, I would get two responses: an “oh boy!” with an eye roll because they were expecting a one-sided soap box conversation; and a “why are you bothering to get married then?” ignoring the fact that feminists, too, fall in love. I had even debated back and forth on whether to even use the “f” word as the blog’s namesake. Five years ago, the acceptance of the word was a lot more hostile.
Today, it seems the fire most people associate with feminism has warmed people up to it. According to Ms. Magazine, the number of women calling themselves feminists increased from 50 percent in 2006 to 68 percent in 2012. The New York Times came out with an article asking, Who Is a Feminist Now? looking at the change in attitudes (both ways) among celebrities.
In an Elle article, Amy Poehler, 42, said, “Some big actors and musicians feel like they have to speak to their audience and that word is confusing to their audience. But I don’t get it. That’s like someone being like, ‘I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it.’ ”
I highly recommend reading the article. It’s both a great indicator of change and an embrace of the word, but also a sobering account of how much feminism also needs to be understood better still.
I may be biased because I was (and am still) obsessed with The Goonies and love Raising Hope, but I think Martha Plimpton, 43, said it best, “We’re going to have to insist on correcting bigotry as it happens, in real time. And fear of women’s equality, or the diminishment of it, is a kind of bigotry. I think it’s important to remove the stigma associated with women’s equality, and as such, yes, normalizing the word ‘feminist’ and making sure people know what it means is incredibly important, whether we’re talking to celebrities or anyone.”
As Plimpton revealed there’s still a lot of initial bias when people hear the “f” word, which means it definitely deserves a second consideration before being discarded. For the people out there still thinking about it, since embracing it whole-heartedly, feminism has really given me some amazing gumption and sense of self that I never knew I needed or already possessed. While I may actually be on that soapbox, it’s important for folks to know that I’ve got some awesome company up here, both men and women. And there’s plenty room for more friends. The work laid out ahead of us is hard, but the benefits are great and we want everyone to enjoy them.
To read more about feminism and linguistics:
The state of Arkansas created an exciting stir in the continued campaign to give same-sex couples the same marital rights and protection afforded heterosexual couples last week. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled a week ago that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
The ruling was short-lived.
According The Boston Globe, Arkansas’s Attorney General Dustin McDaniel favors marriage rights for gay couples but vows to defend the state’s laws. How supportive can Attorney General Dustin McDaniel really be if he won’t uphold it when it matters the most? Arkansas passed a state constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as only between a man and a women. McDaniel’s sought an emergency stay, as did lawyers for four other counties.
69 of 75 local officials declined to give out marriage licenses since Piazza’s ruling, most citing confusion over the change in policy, some just plain refusing to and a separate law that barred clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses remained on the books. (That’s very sneaky Arkansas, very sneaky.)
The last license was granted to Hilda Jones and Kerin Hartsell. They join more than 540 other couples.
The fate of same-sex marriage is now in the hands of Arkansas’s Supreme Court, though attorney Jack Wagoner stated optimistically, ‘The handwritings on the wall from the United States Supreme Court. Unless every court is reading the U.S. Supreme Court wrong, the days of barring same-sex couples from marrying are coming to an end.’’
Let’s hope that the courts of Arkansas decide not to leave these 540+ plus jilted at the altar and give the happy ending that the rest who couldn’t get licenses in time that happy ending they deserve.
For a general update on where state’s stand on same-sex marriage:
More Feminist Bride Articles on Marriage Equality:
New Yorker cartoonist, Liza Donnelly takes to the TEDWomen 2010 stage to talk about the power of humor. She shares her journey as a female cartoonist and breaking the glass ceiling in her field. (She joined the New Yorker in 1982, when she was only one of three women on staff). What’s most interesting to brides out there though, is how her humor works because it’s tied heavily to female culture and traditions.
Hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped in a school raid in Nigeria on April 14, 2014. The kidnappers are from the Islamist group Boko Haram, which means, “Western education is sinful.” Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been unable to retrieve the girls and he is seeking internationally assistance.
US Secretary of State John Kerry promised help. “The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice,” Kerry said from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The international community is right to respond cooperatively, but what about addressing why the girls were kidnapped in the first place?
Brides, what you’re paid will affect your new family’s quality of life. If you want that happily ever after after that perfect wedding, it’s best that you put equal pay on your wedding registry.
Four in ten women are the sole or primary breadwinners in their family. While that sounds like great news, women overall still earn less, which means that even that female breadwinner (and her family) are financially disadvantaged in the larger picture.
Did you know that the wage gap has influenced a lot of wedding traditions? When it comes to the things that anyone but the bride pays for like an engagement ring (groom), paying on a date (the guy), the honeymoon (traditionally the groom) or most the wedding (the bride’s family) it’s all a function of women’s wage gap. It stemmed from when they weren’t even allowed to have careers, which meant they had no income for life’s events. Even traditions where money is not involved like the groom asking the bride’s parent’s permission to marry, walking the bride down the aisle and carrying the bride over the threshold all stem from asset issues. As in a women’s only asset was herself and her fertile uterus, which is why those are traditions of exchange (just a different type of currency, because, again, she didn’t have the monetary type).
When thinking about the wage gap and all the debate over it this week, consider how it might affect other areas not just your direct deposit into your bank account. If you’d like to learn more about where women stand in terms of matching men’s earrings, watch the video below. Just remember next time you find yourself with a cumbersome and annoying amount of pennies – every cent counts.
During a medieval tradition called the bedding ceremony, the bride and groom were escorted by the groomsmen to the newlywed bedchamber. Since any piece of the bride’s garment was considered lucky with the garter as the crème de le crème, the men would subsequently scuffle with the bride to remove the garter. As a result, the bride started preemptively throwing it away. And thus the garter toss tradition was born because who doesn’t like a good ‘ole medieval groping?
Obviously, the garter is an erotic symbol, yet women throw asexual flowers. During the wedding game, brides shyly laugh and try to push the groom out of her undergarments, whereas the groom seeks the treasured garter using his sexual prowess. Imagine reversing the roles, with the bride sexually aggressive and tossing some tighty whities. Seems raunchy right? It’s a complete double standard to how men and women are allowed to treat sex, yet it’s accepted and practiced at nearly every wedding without a second thought.
Many a fair maiden has pranced around in a garter. It’s a fun, frilly piece of lace meant to be sexy and flirtatious. Other than Victoria Secret models, no one really wears them for functional reasons like holding up your pantyhose and knickers. It serves no practical purpose anymore; instead, promoting the notion that purity and virginity are present, but that the wearer has a friskier side. A perfect cat and mouse chase. Removable chastity.
There are creative possibilities to rethink the tradition more fairly and appropriately without abandoning the garter completely. Consider keeping it private and solely for the wedding night. Removing the garter can be quite the sensual act and will definitely be more fun to keep going without an audience waiting to dance the funky chicken. It could be relegated to a Jack and Jill party where guests will be close friends from the same generation who accept the sexuality of the garter removal and toss. Or for the couple who decides to keep the tradition, think about incorporating something equally sexual for the bride; say, removing her husband’s bow tie with her teeth – that would be talent – or if the couple is very bold, reverse the roles completely now that would be an evocative and witty message.
A terrible step backwards in women’s fight for equality overseas. Iraq’s Council of Ministers has drafted a law, The Jaafari Personal Status Law, which will be voted on April 30. If passed the law would:
This law was formed to appease the Shi’a Muslim community in Iraq, which have a stronghold majority in the country at 36 million. It’s argued that Iraq’s current law that women can only marry at the age of 18 religiously discriminates against the Shi’a Muslims. As it stands, UNICEF estimates that more than 24 percent of Iraqi women are married by age 18, and nearly five percent are married by age 15.
If passed before Iraq general elections, the law will violate the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, which Iraq signed and its own constitution.
To understand how widespread this issue is in the world and not just potentially in Iraq, here are some facts:
To read more about global child bride issues:
Information originally appeared in: Iraq Wants To Legalize Child Marriage – The Daily Beast.
What a powerful presence, speaker and inspiration! Feminist Bride fact: As women’s access to education increases, they end up marrying later in life. This occurs because educated, professional women need marriage (or a husband) less as a means of support. Marriages to highly educated women are more likely to succeed because of their financial independence and more developed conflict resolution skills. Educating women is a no brainer!
Her book, I am Malala is available on Amazon.
For more awesome speeches from inspirational people and on marriage equality:
In what is considered another great feat for same-sex couples, England and Wales ended their
ban on gay marriage today (Saturday, March 29)! The only downside is that wedding guests will have to eat more fruitcake/bride’s pie at British weddings. Some sacrifices are worth making for equal rights.
The first couple in England to marry will be Peter McGraith and David Cabreza. All major parties in England’s parliament (including the conservative majority) supported the change. Prime Minister David Camerson shared these words,
“It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says, ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay.” (PinkNews)
Unfortunately, in Ireland and Scotland same-sex marriage is still illegal, though that could change in Scotland in the coming year.
Congratulations to our oversea neighbors who now get to walk down the aisle with the same pomp and circumstance as the royal family. We look forward to even more fancy weddings with exotic headgear and perchance now a modernized Jane Austen film featuring a same-sex couple that ultimately tie the know!
Other related Feminist Bride same-sex marriage articles:
To read more from the Washington Post: Gay marriage ban ends in England and Wales as marriage bells toll – The Washington Post.
Struggling with planning a wedding? Being a bride today is not nearly as bad as it was 60 years ago! Jezebel offers some sobering and interesting insights into what weddings and wifedom were like back in the 1950s. The article explores Modern Brides‘ advice to young brides like on selecting an intelligent or a not so intelligent mate,
“The average man marries a woman who is slightly less intelligent than he is. That’s why many brilliant women never marry. They do not come in contact with sufficiently brilliant men, or fail to disguise their brilliance in order to win a man of somewhat less intelligence. College males tell us that they want a girl for a wife who is intelligent but makes them feel they are still more intelligent!”
If you find yourself agreeing with this antiquity mindset, you might want to loosen that equally outdated girdle you’re wearing. The next time you hear someone talking about how wedding and marriage tradition should be firmly adhered to and never changed to accommodate modern women and same-sex couples, just send them directly to the article to read more horrific advice. And if you’re still convinced there’s a nugget of good advice in there, here’s this hilariously offensive bit of marital insight:
“Is He an Agreeable Person—Or An ‘Individualist’”? The agreeable person tends to conform to the norms set by society. Particularly this is important in a girl. For example, she favors prohibition and opposes burlesque shows. She finds it easy to accept leadership when it is directed by ethical considerations. Not liking to be ‘different,’ she wants her marriage to meet community standards.“
As a kid the best part about Disney princesses was watching the sassy, beautiful princess go on an adventure, defeat the bad guys and fall in love. As a teenager, I loved collecting all my well used VHSs and searching for the hidden sex scenes (the only undeniable one was in The Little Mermaid, which probably only exists on the VHS version now). As an adult, I still enjoy Disney movies but, as a feminist, I need that bottle of wine as my spoon full of sugar to soften those misogynistic blows in technicolor. Graduate school and my romps in feminism hasn’t ruined Disney, but I swallowed that blue pill. I woke up to their sexist reality and Cinderella will just never be the same (which is why, unlike my childhood, I will probably raise the kids on Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Castle).
To be fair, Disney is slowly getting better. The last few Disney princess movies have not ended in marriage. This winter’s Frozen was probably the most progressive in implying that a women’s value is not in her amorous relationship. And it’s misunderstood villain, Elsa reiterates that neither do women have to sacrifice their interests or subdue their personality to get a man. (Though Frozen is not socially perfect, it was awfully white…and I’m not talking about the snow.)
If you’ve missed the gender evolution of Disney movies and were totally unaware that Belle had a verbally abusive relationship with the Beast or that the Cinderella and Snow White could only escape domestic drudgery if they married. Luckily, you can still enjoy the imaginativeness of Disney despite its magic spell being broken with the fun viral videos by the AV Byte Brothers that let’s women know, “Why keep on assuming men will save the day, I can be a hero, and do it my own way…I am fine the way I am, I don’t need a man.”
On this Valentine’s Day with great signs of affection, red roses and confectionary delights, many will declare their love to another. But what if lovers could do something more meaningful beyond the time-honored champagne and strawberries? Like admitting that the biggest misdeed in being partners in crime is that few couples are truly treated as equals and promising to correct that?
An Oregonian boy becomes a man, not only by having his bar mitzvah, but because he chose to take his opportunity to use his d’var Torah, a traditional speech, to speak as a proponent of gay marriage [in Oregon]. Duncan McAlpine Sennett’s words speak volumes to his maturity, his reasoning and use of historical analysis proves his intelligence and his bravery to even address such a topic within a religious setting exhibits immense leadership and kindness. And he’s only 13! Mazal Tov to David, hopefully he will inspire many other people to positively speak on behalf of others.
To learn more about marriage equality in Oregon check out: OregonUnitedforMarriage.org
For more awesome speeches related to marriage equality:
There’s a lot of things I’d ask Jesus if I met the guy in person, like why curse some people with not liking cilantro, what would his Cliff game choices be if I gave him Oprah, Psy and Steve Buscemi and what are his thoughts on Lena Dunham’s constant nudity in Girls? But kudos to Sarah Silverman who dared to ask, “Jesus, when does life begin?”
In a random late night
bootie call visit, Jesus approached Sarah to be his spokesperson. He was feeling pretty bummed about how people use his name for intolerance and oppression. After a NCIS marathon, seems Silverman took J-Bones up on his request and started to share the harsh reality of women’s access to reproductive rights, i.e. abortion. “Comedy-expert,” Laura Ingraham may not have appreciated the banter with Jesus, but I found Silverman’s straightforward historical context and tell-it-like it is storytelling refreshing and captivating. I also loved how she showed what a double standard it was to legislate vaginas but not penises. And to give our own fun fact, Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson (D) actually tried to get this penis probe added to the “personhood” movement, which gave all eggs and semen the same rights as American citizens to make a point about how skewed legislature controls women’s bodies but not men’s.
What’s even better is that Silverman also asks you to carry on the word of Jesus by signing up with www.LadyPartsJustice.com to keep up to date on the level of personal pussy power in the US. There will even be a series of events through “V To Shining V” throughout the country where women can come together on these issues. So thanks for setting the record straight Sarah, oh and by the way – awesome shirt.
In the saccharine land of rom coms, plots can be trite, characters undefined and sappy sweet endings all too predictable for most movie goers. And the worst part is that they are usually geared towards women. No one wants to watch the same movies with the same formulas. If you’re like me, you’ve been looking for something different, endearing and more in touch with reality.
That’s where Obvious Child (2014) comes in by writer and director, Gillian Robespierre. Unlike rom coms being about getting the boy or choosing love, Obvious Child is about what a woman chooses for herself – in this case, an abortion. It follows Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) who gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for the worst/best Valentine’s Day of her life. The best part about the film’s description is that it focuses on the nature of the Donna’s choice and how after everything, she ends up all right.
Strong. Confident. And accurately informed. Hillary 2016. Need The Feminist Bride say more?
As a child of the 80s and 90s, all I wanted to do was build and engineer things with my Legos. People were nice enough to encourage this, but they insisted on only giving me pink Lego sets with dolphins and pink convertibles instead. As adults perhaps they thought they knew better than 8-year old me, who wanted the train or pirate sets they marketed to boys. Barbies held no interest for me, but I loved building the sets of houses where she lived. And I had to built it without instructions because that was more challenging. Once it was built, it sat there collecting dust. I was pro-princess however, but when I played princess she was the heroine and I was frequently rescuing others. I adapted to the gendered toys handed down to me, but I spent so much energy modifying them to fit something beyond their girlie-ness that I have to wonder if my creativity and personal development was limited by them.
That’s where GoldieBlox comes in. It’s a toy company that focuses on creating construction toys that develop an early interest in science, technology, engineering and math for girls. It was started because for over a hundred years, these types of toys have been limited to the boys club. One might argue that girls could easily just buy and use the same Erector Sets the boys use, but marketing has sent a clear message that those toys are more for boys than girls. And it’s had a profound effect on women in the sciences.
“Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s in this country are awarded to women, and only about half of those women are American; of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14 percent are women.” (New York Times, October 2013, Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?) Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. And barely 1 in 10 actual engineers are women (Upworthy.com).
They are trying to get the message out on this discrepancy and get girls constructing! They’ve released an awesome ad, which they are vying to get into the Superbowl with. It will be a great break to see girls do something else than eat Doritos provacatively, wash cars in bikinis or drink cold bear in a push up bra. So if you want young viewers to see something with a positive message that’s not about sex and stereotypes, vote for GoldieBlox here!
It may be too late for me to reclaim my childhood filled with pink and princesses, but GoldieBlox and myself can at least make sure that the next generation of girls can be more than just damsels in distress!
Stephen Colbert is once again challenging politicians on the state of marriage. Here’s how it goes down (get to the 5.05 mark):
“You’ve got these 15 states (Illinois was just added as the 16th state) plus the District of Columbia that are riding the rainbow train to helltown right now,” Colbert said, “Hasn’t this one slipped away from us?”
“I think the real problem here is marriage has slipped away from us,” Santorum said. “Marriage has devolved into just a romantic relationship between two people. And that’s not what marriage is.”
“No, it’s for transferring property,” Colbert joked.
Santorum went on to defend that its purpose was to procreate essentially…I had no clue that romance was bad for procreating. I guess I’ll have to put away my candles, bottle of bubbly and The Notebook for the next date night. Apparently, Santorum doesn’t know what foreplay is. He just gets down to business.
Santorum seems to be forgetting that heterosexual procreation in marriage is religious dogma and that there is now, luckily, a separation of church and state. I’m currently reading All Dressed in White by Carol McD. Wallace and she states how in the early to mid 20th century divorce was as high as 1 in 4 marriages (1946). A good explanation for this is that couples adhering to the traditional family gender roles of male breadwinner and female mother and housewife were not enough for a successful marriage. Before that divorce wasn’t an option and the unlimited production of children put great physical and financial strain on a marriage and the mother (that is until birth control became accessible). History tells us marriage for procreation alone was not enough to have a good marriage, nor a fulfilling life. If you ask me, successful modern marriage is about the union of two people who love each other regardless of demographics, who bring dynamic and supportive characteristics to their new family in order to make it stronger and whole. That foundation, and the decisions made within in, are what advance society and that includes children both adopted and biological of gay parents. Producing children in a linear [heterosexual] model for the sake of marriage is not enough to advance a healthy society, Santorum.
On children with same-sex parents Santorum replied, “Every child has the right to their natural mother and father. Every child has a natural mother and father and they have a right to that mother and father to give them what only a mother and only a father can give.”
Colbert, “Wouldn’t it be better for them to have no parents than to be loved by two gay people?”
“The point of the law is to encourage what is best,” Santorum replied. “It’s to set a standard for what is best, not to set a standard short of what is best, because when you do that you get less of what is necessary.”
His parenting argument is about as weak as his romantic skills. Technically, under this rhetoric he’s even challenging the legitimacy of heterosexual adoptive parents. I’ve had the fortune of getting to know a lot of gay parents and the love I see them give to their children is unmatched and amazing. And if you don’t believe me check out the speech by Zach Wahls of Iowa. Santorum seems to miss that a successful marriage and a parent starts with the quality of character of that individual, not who they choose to watch The Notebook with.
Senator Elizabeth Warren takes to the podium on the Senate floor on September 30, 2013 to remark on the devastating impact this government shutdown will have and how it is basically a ransom tactic for Republicans to get their demands met. If you’ve ever watched Senator Warren speak publicly, you know she’s forthright and likes to rely on facts and decisions (Watch the hearing on the minimum wage as a good example).
What’s awesome about the speech is that she goes into how it affects women and how this shutdown is based on obsolete ideologies and not modern lifestyles. Not only that, they are catering only to their own agenda and not the welfare and benefit of a diverse nation of peoples. Senator Warren explains how a minority group of Republicans are taking the economy hostage and more or less refusing to participate in the democratic process that America prides itself on.
I think it is safe to say the level of frustration among all Americans and government employees runs at an all time high. While there’s a lot of finger pointing going on in the House right now with simpleminded slamming, it’s nice to hear a congressional leader offer an opinion that is not based on derisiveness or ugly tactics, but on reason and empathy. And as woman and the feminist bride, who is always constantly concerned that my access to reproductive freedoms will be limited or taken away, it’s reassuring to know that someone is looking out for me and women like me.
As far as Obamacare goes, having grown up in Massachusetts with a father who’s worked for a major healthcare company for over thirty years I’d like to think I have a unique personal insight into state enforced healthcare. I’ve always been fortunate to have excellent health insurance, but there was a period of about two years when I just chose to opt out. The penalty I paid for not having healthcare each year as a Massachusetts resident was about $41 dollars. Now I understand the arguments against big government, but I had two choices with this mandated tax; I could throw a tantrum, refuse to pay it and shutdown the government or I could just pay the measly $41. When I tried to get independent, private healthcare in the middle of that two year period, I was denied for having Reynauds. If you’re unfamiliar with the disease, I was denied healthcare coverage because my hands get cold. You know how I cure it? I put on gloves. If you want to have an eye opening read on how the current system is horrifically broken I suggest reading Time Magazine’s The Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. It’s clear there’s a lot Americans need to work on and improve and who’s to say how we’ll need to recover from the shutdown, but I feel like I can rest a little bit easy with Senator Warren in my corner. There have been many times when I’ve been amazingly proud to be from Massachusetts, this is another moment.
An old speech but an amazing one worth reviewing by NYC Senator Diane J. Salvino. I’m going to put this as one of the top speech’s to protect and support gay marriage. Another great one is by Zach Wahls of Iowa. If you have a few other speech recommendations, send them my way at TheFeministBride@gmail.com. I’d love to put together an inspiring list!
We should hail Senator Diane J. Salvino not just for being one of the few 19% of women that form the United States Congress, but for her amazing speech supporting gay marriage to the New York Senate when New York was still grappling with the idea of letting gays marry. Her speech in 2009 was poignant and inspirational, but most of all it was about time someone spoke rationally, reasonably and fairly on the subject. The speech is available on YouTube, but here is a portion of the transcript.
“I was on 6th avenue in Manhattan, I was in my car, I was driving, make a left turn onto 52nd street, I was stopped at a light, I had my window open. And a young man on a pedicab stopped and stuck his head in the window of my car, which I thought was kind of strange. But he recognized the senate license plate on my car and this was right during the week that the assembly was taking up the vote earlier this year. And he said to me, ‘Excuse me, is there going to be a gay marriage vote in Albany this week’? And I said ‘Yes, the assembly’s going to take it up, but the senate probably won’t take it up any time soon, I’m not sure when.’ And he said, ‘Are you going to vote for it?’ And I said, ‘Yes I am.’ And he said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because I believe that people should be able to share their life with whomever they want and the role of government is to administer that contract that they agree to enter into.’ And he stopped and said, ‘But they’re changing the definition of marriage.’ And I said, ‘Don’t get so excited about this marriage stuff.’ I said, ‘Think about this, we just met, you and I right here at the stoplight. You stuck your head in the window of my car. Do you know tomorrow we could go to City Hall, we could apply for a marriage license, and we could get married, and nobody there will ask us about the quality of our relationship or whether we’ve been committed to each other or any of those things. They will issue that marriage license and we can get married.’ And he said, ‘Yes, that’s true.’ I said, ‘Do you think we’re ready for that kind of commitment’? And he stopped and he said, ‘I see your point.’ And that’s really what this is about. We in government don’t determine the quality or the validity of peoples’ relationships. If we did we would not issue three-quarters of the marriage licenses we do. And I know there are many people in the religious community who feel that we’re going to force this on them when in fact that is not true, we have never done that. I’m a Roman Catholic. The Catholic church has the right to deny me the sacrament of marriage if they determine the person I choose to marry is unfit or our relationship doesn’t meet their standards. City Hall does not have that right. That will not change under this bill. That will never change. Religious institutions can continue to practice discrimination with respect to the sacrament of marriage. We don’t. We shouldn’t. We should not do it for gay and lesbian couples.”
Despite her impassioned speech, lawmakers still denied the bill to give gay couples equal marriage rights. However, in 2011 the New York government came around and finally passed a Marriage Equality Bill. Speeches like hers may not make changes over night, but they certainly can plant important idea-seeds that will grow in flourish in the future.
For my bachelorette party in Las Vegas, we participated in some typical bachelorette events. Some of us went to see The Thunder Down Under at the Excalibur and some instead went to go see…John Stewart. Whatever floats your sexy boat. Another night many of us went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. Here is my best way to describe Zumanity – half Vaudeville humor, half erotica show with the typical Cirque du Soleil acrobatics but with stripper poles. We all enjoyed the show, it was tastefully, well balanced between the love scenes, the star crossed lover story lines, the flying trapeze boobies and the sexy cheerleader who was twirled around by the grip of her teeth. However, we were most impressed with the pole dancing moves. They literally defied gravity.
Stonehill College was nice enough to invite me as the keynote speaker to a panel on gay marriage. As a Catholic school, it had just added anti-hazing based on one’s sexuality to its school charter; and given the recent US Supreme Court decision, same sex marriage was a hot topic on campus. I was joined by two professors one with a law background commenting on the recent US Supreme Court ruling and another who specialized in the gender issues and gay marriage. I decided to talk about choice feminism and how within a hetero framework, women who use the “freedom of choice” to justify patriarchal or socialized gender traditions perpetuate prejudice and discrimination in both sexual spheres. In my lecture, I asked that choice be made not just to the benefit of oneself, but keeping in mind the needs and welfare of others as choice is constraint by many systems, both seen and unseen, and therefore must be made wisely.
A special thanks to Stonehill College. The students and faculty were very welcoming, respectful and engaged; and I appreciate the opportunity to share my ideas and research.
Breaking the Rules Panel. April 2013
When Harry Tries to Marry (2011): As a result of his parents divorce, young Harry believes arranged marriages are the only way to have a successful marriage. Straight out of college he rushes to employ a matchmaker, gets paired with a very nice match and goes about planning his wedding. Except amid a long-distance relationship… life and love unexpectedly happen. Harry is left to decide between his hardcore beliefs and the natural path that is laid before him. The movie ends on a really good lesson; that life and love cannot be rushed in youth, inexperience and impatience. Time is one of most important assets we can give ourselves. (Subjects: Marriage, Love, Arranged Marriages) Director: Nayan Padrai
In honor of the Supreme Court ruling today defending the legality and support of same-sex marriage, I thought offering insight into the future of marriage would be a salient point. I’m thrilled that many same-sex couples in states that recognize gay marriage can now enjoy the same state and federal benefits hetero-couples do, and I hope that many of those in states behind the curve can start planning their own legal nuptials soon too. However, while today was a huge milestone there is still lots more to accomplish…for all sexual orientations. Everyone should keep marriage equality as their number one wish on their wedding registry.
In the meantime, I predict more scandalous celebrity marriages and divorces that will push the limits of conventional marriages (I’m looking at you Kardashians). Now with California, I foresee one highly publicized gay celebrity marriage sponsored by US Weekly that will help mitigate the fears of same-sex marriage, but also (unfortunately) perpetuate gay stereotypes. I envision a line of new wedding products designed by those briefly married celebrities. I foreshadow more diversity in the couples TLC wedding shows exploit. Rom-coms will continue to define its female lead’s value by the relationship she gets by the end of the movie. After all of this, I hope Hollywood will be a little more conscientious about how it treats marriage and those within it.
There are more positive things to predict though. I predict, like interracial marriage, gay marriage will be commonplace in the next twenty years and our children (born inside or outside of marriage) will read about this civil rights movement in their history books. In the near future, I anticipate people will come to better understand that mass cultural institutions cannot take precedence over a person’s private rights as protected under the fourteenth amendment. I also hope same-sex marriage naysayers learn that a strict exclusive definition to marriage dilutes its power and meaning, it is stronger when it is all encompassing and embracing. Love does not discriminate and as its formal frame, neither should marriage. I believe gay marriage will help eradicate sexist gender roles in wedding traditions and marriage and we will be better off for it. I predict every person, regardless of their race, age, gender and sexual orientation will eventually access the same rights, the same benefits and the same protection, not because they fell in love with someone, but because we’ve come to respect and love humanity above the private privileges marriage retains for itself. But most of all, I hope the terms same-sex or gay marriage disappear and we can just recognize those forms of marriage as what they truly are, just marriage.
I predict the next big issue when it comes to marriage will be among the permanent, lifestyle singles. With 95% of people trying marriage at least once in a lifetime, the next minority to feel excluded from the special provisions provided by marriage will be singles, and single families. This means that fixing the cracks and dents in our existing family law will be the next reform issue. And it’s a major one. We seldom realize that our existing family law discriminates against almost everyone, regardless of his or her race, sexual orientation, marital status and age. (Sorry, plural marriage participators I just don’t think the US is ready to pull your number for reform next.) I foreshadow that in the effort to eradicate singlism, the next great debate will not be what is marriage, but what constitutes family.
I’m struck by all the happy and celebratory posts on Facebook in light of today’s Supreme Court ruling, particularly by those who do not benefit directly from today’s historic ruling. Their elation shows true altruism. For everyone celebrating though, it proves that marriage is purely enjoyed when everyone can partake in it. And for my final predictions, I foresee a still long walk to the aisle for same-sex couples, but today it got a little shorter; I envision happier and just slightly brighter smiles at weddings, and I expect to get invited to many more weddings now.
The NY Times is having a debate on whether or not the prenup is passé. Whatever you think, I think it’s important to consider who needs to protect their assets the most. With men still earning $1 to women’s measly 77 cents, it is fair to assume that it’s not the women. Prenups highlight the unequal wage and income issues that women still face. If office income is not enough to make you think twice, consider that many women who decide to cut back on office hours part time or completely for family set themselves back considerably financially – in terms of retirement savings, competitive wages, position advancements, etc. Married mothers loose around $11,000 in salary for every year they miss in the workplace and that gap only grows with each kid. The role of homemake and mom just isn’t appreciated in terms of its economic contributions like a paying job is. If a prenup needs to be enacted and it favors the father, what happens to the women who put aside both her spouse’s assets and her own income earning potential? No matter what the courts decide in terms of alimony, divorced women can expect a 30% decline in their standard of living.
Whether or not a prenup is necessary before you say, ‘I do’ consider the larger social issues it relates to – not just for you but for all women.
See what others had to say in the NY Times debate: The Power of the Prenup – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.
Really Kate Spade? This is a little low brow. Sure Carrie Bradshaw wore her trinket Carrie necklace religiously, which had more intrinsic value than any other high fashion item in her closet but it also didn’t assert any social gendering.
There’s probably no “Mr.” version of this necklace, but even if there were, it still wouldn’t represent men discriminately based on his relationship status like a “Mrs.” necklace does. Brides and wives need to think about what it means when being called Mrs. Mrs. carries a lot of unfair social construction and identity politics compared to Mr. When a man marries his identity and name does not change based on his new relationship status, but a woman’s does according to name change tradition and that has a lot of sordid historical weight to it.
Want to be treated as an equal, maintain the integrity of your identity without having to redefine it just because you went through a new life stage? Than opt for using Ms. It’s a much stronger statement and from this feminist perspective a much more awesome sentiment to wear around your neck.
To Learn More About Name Change:
The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!
Rain on Your Wedding Day Is Good Luck: It’s raining on your wedding day, neigh torrentially down pouring with lightening and thunder with potential hail. The swans you ordered are taking refuge in the bathroom, those fireworks specially-ordered from China will have to be 4th of July pyrotechnics, forget about taking that everybody jump photograph at sunset outside and worst of all you’re wearing white. It is true rain can be a downer when what was suppose to be an outdoor wedding is now indoor in a less then ultimate space. The guests sopping wet from their run from the car to the venue, give you a weak smile despite nature’s wrath and offer you their condolences, “At least rain is good luck on your wedding day.”
The funny thing about wedding book guides is that it suggests the bridesmaid and Maid of Honor plan and pay for the shower and bachelorette party. The question is – is that really good and fair advice? Fiances are now financially independent, living on their own or cohabitating; gone are the days when brides had to ask mom and dad for a loan or an allowance. If brides have more financial autonomy, if they expect a party in their honor and want to dictate the details of it, shouldn’t they step up as party leader and payer?
If the party is given as a surprise with the bride sitting in the passenger planning seat, then it seems more reasonable for the cost to be covered by others. In the grand scheme of things though, at what point does another financial burden begin to break a bridesmaid’s back? She is already paying for a dress, shoes, alterations, gifts, maybe make up and hair and overnight or travel accommodations. Her hangover after a bachelorette party might be the least of her concerns after she gets her credit card bill.
The difficulty, as a bridesmaid, if knowing when and how to say, ‘enough spending’; and as a bride, to understand that there are limitations to everyone’s budget and that her own expectations can’t be met by everyone’s balance sheet. This current wedding party financial etiquette leaves brides and bridesmaids open to awkwardness and trouble. The tradition stems from times when women didn’t have their own cash influx, but this is not the case for modern women. It’s time to update this tradition – to accommodate different budgets, expectations, responsibilities and be open and nonjudgmental about it all.
If the bride is really running the show, she should be open to paying her way. Party guests can also choose to chip in for something special and fun like that lap dance, a nice bottle of champagne or a massage with Sven. Bridesmaids should not have to worry about forgoing certain events or services at the expense of not feeling a part of the group or worry about subsequent ostracism. The party will be much more enjoyable when people aren’t obsessing over whether or not they can afford the next round of shots they feel pressured into reciprocally buying. Bridemaids will feel better knowing they can share their feelings that buying matching penis hats for the bachelorette party is a waste of money, instead of knowing such opinions will only get them dirty looks from other bridesmaids who feel it’s a good investment.
At the end of party, it’s not about who pays that makes a good bridesmaid or bride, but the sincerity given in toasts, the genuine happy smiles captured in pictures and the honest effort executed in making everyone happy. It’s true that it’s the thought that counts, but everyone has different ideas on what’s thoughtful. The problem is current wedding etiquette entangles party expectations and friendship support with financial obligations and that is not a healthy mix.
 I hear massages by guy’s name Sven are always good…
At a wedding, not only do you celebrate the love you have for someone else, you also ask friends to celebrate this love with you! In today’s wedding culture, there’s this unspoken pressure to make a wedding and a wedding party a big family and friends affair. The size of a wedding party mythically indicates how rich in relationships a couple is; sort of like the more friends you have, the more popular you seem; and the grander the processional, the more seemingly expensive the wedding. Since society values relationships above all else, the number of bridesmaids and grooms is considered a sign of a person’s or couple’s emotional and relational success. However, what if quantity does not always imply quality?
Laws preventing consanguineous marriages still exist, but more-than-friendly brother-sister relations still occur like out of a V.C. Andrews novel. The latest international news story was about a German couple in 2001: As a result of their amorous affection, they bore a child, did hard time, and love still survived. The idea of it still captures the distorted fears of moviegoers today with movies like The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, 1986, 1974), Deliverance (1972) and Wrong Turn (2003). In less horrifying film, who can forget in The Godfather III when Mary Corleone ignited a fire with her cousin Vinnie Mancini, but her father, Michael Corleone, forbade it.
While today sibling relationships are both taboo and illegal, there was a time when it was widely practiced, and even encouraged in order to prevent the tainting of royal bloodlines. Before Mark Anthony, Cleopatra VII was married to her brother Ptolemy XIII, and she was the offspring of a sibling marriage as well. While technically illegal during Roman times, it is said that Roman Emperor Caligula did the deed with all three of his sisters, Julia Livilla,Drusilla, and Agrippina the Younger. And no story of incest would be complete without the tale of Oedipus, who brought shame and ruin to himself and his city for marrying his mother. These tales were (and still are) told to children to impart lessons on morality, civility and health. The moral of these stories is that it is wrong to bang your sister and have children with her, but unsurprisingly, nature has a hand in promoting or preventing this kind of attraction.
The Westermarck effect is a process by which two people become sexually desensitized to each other during their first couple years of life, which is thought to be a natural selection process promoting gene diversity. For example, when a sister’s friend finds her older brother attractive, the sister fails to relate to the attraction. On the other hand, there is a theory of a “genetic sexual attraction,” whereby relatives kept apart during their formative years might be more inclined towards mutual sexual attraction. Finally, it’s well known that the risk of congenital diseases and birth defects rises with each inbred generation, a risk factor that can be determined by an “inbreeding coefficient.” An Ohio State studyresearched Charles Darwin’s genealogy. Ironically, Darwin himself was a product of consanguineous marriages; and after marrying his cousin; their 10 children faced severe health problems and infertility. Three of them died prematurely. It is thought that Darwin’s children suffered from inbreeding effects.
Over hundreds of years, marriages between cousins frequently occurred for a variety of reasons. Like ancient Egyptian royalty, European royalty encouraged marriage between cousins as a political strategy to unite kingdoms and forge alliances. The Hasburg family of Austria was most famous for interfamilial marriages, so much so that Charles II of Spain exhibited signs of genetic disorders. Ultimately, his infertility led to the extinction of the Hasburg family line. Survival and companionship was another motivation, which was especially useful in pioneering communities. For small religious groups at risk of extinction, faith survived better by marrying those within the community – namely relatives. Retaining wealth, assets and titles was a huge driver in uniting relatives. Laws prior to the 1900s forbade women from retaining property and turned all assets over to her husband’s control. So to keep it in the family, families literally kept it all in the family. But in today’s more modern times, love may just naturally bud at family reunions, maybe as a result of that “genetic sexual attraction” theory. Pass the potatoes please.
Despite the dangers of inbreeding, along with the social and religious ramifications, there are an amazing amount of geniuses and leaders associated with this consanguineous practice. Johann Sebastian Bach married his cousin and they had seven children together. Albert Einstein thought it a smart idea too. Jessie James was not so much of a tough-guy to say no to his cousin, and perhaps writers Edgar Allen Poe and H.G. Wells both found inspiration in their aunt and uncle’s children. Queen Victoria, who set in motion the Victorian model of a modest bride, married her cousin, Prince Albert. Jerry Lee Lewis married his second cousin, an improvement over firsts, but he loses points because she was allegedly only 13. And while FDR bravely battled the Depression and Nazis, and while Rudy Giuliani fought against the destructive efforts of terrorists in 2001, both succumbed to the feminine wiles of their cousin-wives as well. (Giuliani anulled his marriage after 14 years with the Catholic church on the grounds the cousin-thing made it illegal in the first place.)
Affinity marriages are ones of indirect blood relations and can be defined as “in-laws,” which are still too close for comfort in certain jurisdictions and religions. One of the most famous affinity marriages is that of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, daughter to Spain’s Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II. Catherine had been married to Henry’s brother, Arthur, who died suddenly. To keep relations between Spain and England strong, Henry married Catherine after she promised the first marriage had never been consummated, and the Pope granted dispensation from affinity. Eventually, Henry, lusting after one of the Boleyns, justified his divorce from Catherine on the grounds that she had, in fact, consummated the marriage with Henry’s brother. And then he accused Anne Boleyn of sleeping with her brother in order to get rid of her.
Despite religious condemnation, legal disapproval and social discontent, history has shown that the practice was generally accepted among some of the world’s greatest leaders, thinkers and poets. While Thomas Jefferson marrying his third cousin seems too long ago to matter in the present day, the taboo itself has widely shaped and influenced history and culture. The question of its morality is not what’s being debated here, this dialogue is to bring attention to the fact that by treating consanguineous marriage as abnormal and taboo, we fail to recognize it as a pervasive component in history and in doing so only half the story will ever be heard.
I created this ‘Name Change Cultural Spectrum’ for a lecture I gave at Tufts University this spring. I wanted people to understand where their decisions stand in the broader context of equality. For example, a lot of women who retain their surname but also incorporate their new spouse’s name through hyphenation will defend their decision as being progressive or feminist or seemingly more about equality. If you look on the spectrum, that one-sided name change is not as based on equality as we might like to think, especially since men typically do not join women in this one-sided hyphenation.
Also to show that existing name change culture does not encourage equality, I had to invent the term Neutronymics. Neutronymics is the adoption of a new name or combination of names created using the names of married individuals or the retention of separate surnames. It is meant to be a solution to those wishing to participate in neither patronymics nor matronymics and to increase name equality. Mutual hyphenation, the Scrabble Name Game and Surname Retention are all options people are aware of, but had never been grouped before or labeled. Labeling it gives it legitimacy and really puts into perspective the other options that favor one sex over another.
So when it comes time for you to get married and you’re not sure if you’re making the right decision that honors yourself and/or your partner – take a look at the Name Change Culture Spectrum. See where your decision places on the map and you’ll get a better sense as to whether you are helping to buck the dominating patriarchy, are alone in your name change decisions or are making a healthy decision that really promotes equality in your relationship and teaches women to value their name too. And if you’re a lady getting married, don’t forget to make the groom put in the same type of name change consideration you are putting in yourself!
The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!
Represent yourself and the ne0-traditional, feminist bride that you are (or a friend you may know) with a Feminist Bride t-shirt! Wear it on your bachelorette party, to the Post Office, a feminist rally, to your Jack n’ Jill shower, maybe to go get coffee, who knows. I say wear it all the time.
Current colors are cerulean blue, pink, purple and black! Don’t see a size or a color you like, just ask! Custom orders can be made too.
I hand printed these in a screen print shop, so there’s feminist sweat that went into them. Proceeds go to supporting website costs. Your support is much appreciated (and needed…)
To make your purchase click here.
‘This male quip captures something essential about the face of sexism: an ambivalence, or doubled-edged way of thinking, in which women are sometimes treated with contempt and sometimes adored.’
British Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith, 18 was in a documentary on BBC, “Girl Power – Going For Gold.” Some Twitter commentators said Smith was more or less too masculine, should be more feminine in order to attract a man and that she should ‘go make her boyfriend a sandwich.’ Smith fired back on her blog, confronting a particular commentator (who apparently couldn’t handle the fight because the username is now disabled) and is being hailed for her smart and strong retort.
“We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.”
The negative comments are a good example of hostile sexism. Hostile sexism is the negative treatment of women because they do not fulfill traditional, feminine gender roles (which is benevolent sexism and this keeps women subservient in traditional feminine gender roles). How to connect this to marriage? Well, marriage is a typical path for women to fulfill traditional feminine gender roles. Exchanges like in this article are an example of how those roles effect other areas women are engaged in, as evidenced in the sexual comments directed at Smith. It’s not necessarily sexism in the Olympics. The strong presence of women in the Olympics encourages lingering sexism in our communities to surface. It is an unfortunate event, but on a positive note it does highlight we, indeed, do not live in a post-feminist society and tells us we still have important work to do.
Women’s weightlifting was introduced at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Smith went on to break the British record in the 58kg competition by lifting twice her weight (211kg), but finished 12th out of 19 overall.
To read the article from Feministing.com and many more about sexism in the Olympics click here.
The New Yorker’s June 25th cover features two “June Brides,” by the artist Gayle Kabaker’s. The magazine’s art editor, Françoise Mouly, found the image through her Blown Covers blog. (Click here if you’d like to see the runners up to the Blown Covers wedding contest and click here if you’d like to see my own feminist bride art (no harm in a little self promotion!) It’s unclear if there are any related stories in this week’s magazine, but the fact that that subjects are featured sweetly and beautifully over being portrayed as overtly political is a nice change of pace. When images like that happen it becomes more about capturing life than directly commenting on it (though acceptance of gay marriage is legally lagging any representation is important).
The Kabaker also had some nice points to make about her career and approaching the subject to kids and adults, “I live in the Berkshires, so I do almost all of my work online,” Kabaker said. “It’s a big deal, getting on the cover. We’ve been getting the magazine forever—it comes in and goes straight on the kitchen table. We talk about the cover with my son, who’s seventeen, and my daughter, who’s twenty-three. ‘What do you think it means?’ It’s a conversation. And we all read it, dog-ear it, and leave it on the table for the next person to pick up.”
Between the ongoing debate about sex education programs in school, birth control, teen moms, celebrity shotgun weddings, abortion, cohabitation before marriage and the plethora of conflicting opinions on sex, the one thing we can all agree on is that we all have sex on the brain.
Introducing The Feminist Bride merchandise! Know a bride that wants to celebrate her upcoming nuptials but wants to make a statement that she’s a lady that stands strong and proud? I hand-printed these 100% cotton t-shirts with that type of bride in mind (not to mention support website costs and maybe some wine therapy…)
Sales go through Etsy, so click on this link to get a t-shirt that shows your strength as a woman and a bride!
Size: Small Petite & Large Available (other sizes and colors are available. Please email shop owner for personalized request!)
Color: Black with White Lettering
Washing Machine Safe
In a historical change of mind, President Obama has come forward to proclaim that he supports same-sex marriage. Prior to this announcement, he limited his belief system to civil unions based on his own religion’s edict that marriage was only for men and women. Regardless of his new personal beliefs he still believes the legality of same-sex marriage should be dictated on the state level. I could find no information as to whether this would prompt him to change the federal policy which still doesn’t recognize legal same-sex marriages from the seven states that allow it.
The Affair of the Necklace (2001) (R) – While this may not be a movie about marriage or weddings, it is a unique movie in that it is about the true story of a woman who step outside her societal boundaries and dared to change the fate of her life, as a result she helped to bring down the rule of an abusive monarchy. Jeanne de la Motte Valois, a strong-minded Contessa (played by femme-fort Hilary Swank), loses her station, family and homestead because her father was considered to liberal and anti-monarchy. She aims to reclaim her family home through a scam surrounding an extremely expensive diamond necklace. I give the movie high marks not only for its excellent story telling, but because not enough true stories are told about women who try to fight the ruling system. (Subject: Women, Heroine, History, France) Director: Charles Shyer
Mary Poppin’s “Give Women the Vote” song just joined the 21st century through a rendition of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. I’m thrilled that there are slowly more and more independent short films focusing on women’s issues and done in a funny way. It’s marvelous that producers, writers and directors can take a serious topic and approach it with fun and humor. I believe those tactics alone represent a new age of feminism (ahem, fourth wave feminism) that no longer isolates the objectors and objected but critically addresses a topic with less aggression so the message can be easily, effectively and enjoyably understood by all. Brava. I particularly cracked up at the line, “We just want to wear pants.” Women may have gotten the vote in 1920 but contemporary reinterpretations reminds us modern gals that there is a lot to be thankful for. If you’re into 4th Wave feminist media, check out this classic: Jane Austen’s Fight Club.
“Acknowledging you’re a feminist is an act of gratitude for the people who went before and fought for the rights you are now enjoying.”
Funny videos of the birth control Congressional hearing debacle. Thought it would be worth a share, a chuckle and a tisk-tisk over the whole birth control debate issue.
SNL’s Amy Pohler and Seth Meyer in “REALLY?!”
Stephen Colbert’s Catholics and Birth Control
Between Republican Presidential Candidate’s Newt Gingrich’s delightful views and treatment of women, people attacking Obama on his legislation protecting women’s reproductive rights, the Susan G Komen vs. Planned Parenthood debacle, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and now the blatant exclusive male debate over women’s birth control, I get a really warm, fuzzy and inviting feeling when it comes to women’s place in politics.
So when I see the countless people celebrating this President’s Day weekend, I’m only compelled to celebrate the Monday I’ve been given off. There’s little cause for me to celebrate. Out of 44 presidents (and 55 available terms), not one has been a woman. A few have come (sorta) close though. In 1872, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president. Back then women did not even have the right to vote in federal elections yet and wouldn’t until 1920 – 52 years later. The female candidates between now and then have been few and far in between with no successful ones. A 2009 poll revealed only 55 percent think America is now ready for a woman president. Despite Americans seeing themselves as a world leader, we actually rank 90th in the number of women in our national legislature. And given the US’s history of world politics we’d be embarrassed to realize what other countries are ahead of us such as Cuba (ranked 6th) and Afghanistan (30th). The figures are no more encouraging for other political positions. Overall, for dominating 51% of the total US population, women only account for 17% of the seats in Congress. And our numbers are declining. At this rate women will not reach parity for 500 years!
I’m happy to think that a lot of this birth control debate and the blatant misogyny we see occurring in our reproductive fate is encouraging women to speak up after too much silence. I haven’t seen such overwhelming support for women since the 1990s. The personal may be political, but in the public realm most of us have been keeping the personal private and that is clearly dangerous. We’ve naively assumed that the personal will be protected. Without our direct involvement in our own fate we can’t assume the progress of women will continue. Below is a list of where women in positions of political leadership currently stand. The statistics are scary.
On this President’s weekend, I encourage women to think about their own involvement in the political process. Are you voting for candidates that believe in women, that will fight for ALL women and include women on their own offices? What is your own involvement in politics – instead of being disgruntled at the our current state of affairs, why aren’t you throwing your hat into the ring? Many of us grew up in a generation that taught women can be anything they put their minds too, yet few of us have followed up on that idea. We should recognize we hold all the same skill sets, will and strength to run and hold positions of leadership as any other candidate. Why aren’t we more involved then?
Sorry to copy straight from the pages of the WCF Foundation, but I found the statistics so compelling, eye opening and straight forward that it just seemed better to give them a tip of the hat on their work and a little plug for their non-profit (Click here to donate to their “She Should Run” Campaign). Here is their mission statement: “WCF is dedicated to helping women build the skills and infrastructure they need to become more effective leaders in public life. WCF Foundation conducts action-oriented research and pilots targeted programs that prepare women to become more politically active, increase their engagement in key democratic processes, and ready them for public leadership roles. At WCF Foundation, we not only identify barriers to women’s political equality – we find solutions.” I would also like to point out The White House Project that encourages women’s leadership in all sectors. Their mantra of “Add Women, Change Everything,” speaks exactly to the power of including women.
Where We Are: 2010 Election Update
For the first time since 1987, the United States made no progress in electing more women to Congress.
A few pieces of good news in an otherwise dreary election cycle for women:
Women are still under-represented at all levels of government.
Facts on women of color in elective office
Why We’re Here
Parties can make or break a woman candidate:
Gender Stereotypes still play a role:
This news of a Republican panel of five men and NO women convening to discuss denying birth control coverage struck a sour chord. It saddens me because I don’t want men dictating how I treat my body, and we women are not second-class citizens who are unable to think for ourselves. (One woman did show up to testify, but was shown the door.) But it also saddens me because denying this coverage commits an entire sector of our population to an endless cycle of poverty. It’s amazing how making a little pill (or other more reliable options) available to all, regardless of income, can make a difference in the educational level and the standard of living of our entire country.
I was looking at all the “What People Think I Do/What I Really Do” memes and I thought “WTF!?” Where’s the one on feminists? I got to about page 10 and couldn’t find one, so I decided to take matters in my own Internet hands and contribute to the mass, pop culture phenomenon that we know as memes. Given that we have our fair share of unfair stereotypes is seemed like a perfect fit to create one and set the record straight on who we feminists really are. Enjoy, lol.
30 Rock’s lovably quirky Liz Lemon introduced us to Anna Howard Shaw Day. Despite the obtuse and ridiculous plots brought to us by the hijinks of Tracy Jordan, the grifts of Jenna Maroney, and the power-clashing of Jack Donaughy, Liz Lemon’s seemingly invented day to avoid Valentine’s Day, Anna Howard Shaw Day is in fact a real day. With Tina Fey as a confessed feminist, it’s no surprise this reference made it into her highly acclaimed TV show. Here is a day we can celebrate alongside our snarfing and night cheese binges with pride and in public.
Anna Howard Shaw (February 14, 1847 – July 2, 1919) was born in England and came to Lawrence, Massachusetts at the age of 2. Her father sent her mother and five siblings away to fend for themselves on a desolate farm in remote northern Michigan. Her childhood sounds very similar to the story in Agnes Smedley ‘s Daughter of Earth. Shaw’s mother also suffered considerably from her inability to support a family. Shaw tried to fill the shoes a son would by doing much of the labor work around the farm. Eventually, she became a teacher to help support the family. When the opportunity to become the first ordained female Methodist minister arose, she took advantage of it even when her friends and family offered to pay for her college education if she stopped preaching.
After graduating from Albion College (where she had to support herself because she kept preaching), she went onto Boston University’s School of Theology in 1876 where she had the sinking feeling of, “the abysmal conviction that [she] was not really wanted there.” She was the only female amongst 42 men. There is now a Anna Howard Shaw Center at Boston University School of Theology that promotes structures and practices that empower women and honor diversity.
A strong support of female suffragism, Shaw met Susan B. Anthony in 1888. She convinced Anthony to unite two women’s groups to form the National Woman Suffrage Association, of which she became president from 1904 to 1915. Eventually the group became more militant in its protest. Shaw opposed to such tactics eventually resigned from her post. Her dedication to women’s suffrage never abated though. During World War I, Shaw was head of the Women’s Committee of the United States Council of National Defense, for which she became the first woman to earn the Distinguished Service Medal. Shaw died a few months before the ratification 19th amendment due to pneumonia.
A woman of many firsts in the United States, she was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000. Her birthday on February 14th stands as an alternative to Valentine’s Day to celebrate the power and independence of women. In addition to celebrating Anna Howard Shaw Day, here is another Valentine’s Day alternative.