Pop Culture

Breaking Pregnancy News – Or Not

In case you’re putting the bump before the bouquet or getting pregnant after the party, here’s a cathartic and funny video about the frustrations of finding out if you’re pregnant.

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Malala Yousafzai on Empowering Women through Education

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:

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13-Year-Old Speaks on Marriage Equality at Bar Mitzvah

One of the Best Speeches Championing Marriage Equality

Speech! Speech! The History of the Wedding Toast

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Shares How Gov’t Shutdown Affects Women

Zach Wahls Speaking on Marriage Equality in Iowa

 

How to Give the Best Wedding Shower Gift

Since 60% of couples live together before marriage and have all the wondrous as-seen-on-tv stuff already, I find the household giving gift stuff redundant. That’s why I give a nice gift certificate from Victoria Secret and something else sexy to the bride (cuz the groom is barely at these things, lame) with a card that reads, “Pots and pans won’t make a marriage, but good sex can.” Because it’s true and is a lot more fun to give than a butter dish. Seems Comedy Central star, Amy Schumer feels that same!

To read more about feminist bride stuff on wedding showers;

Beware lame bridal shower games

Amy Schumer

Bridal Shower Blues

Party Planning: Who’s Booking The Stripper and/or Spa?

Creating A Wedding Party: The False Luxury of Many Friends

Not motivated to plan a wedding?

The UK’s Bachelor/Bachelorette Party: Stags and Hens

 

Where do engagement rings come from?

Thinking about getting an engagement ring? Have you considered whether it’s really worth it? The Feminist Bride has! The stone-cold truth is that the engagement ring and all its connected traditions were invented in a boardroom by folks who wanted to make a profit on your love! Academic College Humor has some very interesting (and might I say very accurate) information on the origins of engagement rings and their real intrinsic value.

Disney Princesses say, “I don’t need a man.”

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.”

Jesus Recruits Sarah Silverman to Spread his Word on Abortion

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.

FB Movie Review: The Five Year Engagement

5 Fem Rating SMThe Five Year Engagement (2012) – I might be two years behind writing this review, Five Year Engagementbut it still puts me ahead of Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet’s (Emily Blunt) own ill-fated nuptials. As you can guess the movie is about the quirky mishaps that can easily set young fiances off the marriage track. In the land of comedic rom-coms, FYE holds more character and relationship substance than most. High feminist fives for addressing the complicated politics of managing two ambitious career-driven partners in an egalitarian way! And kudos to writer’s Segel and  for opting to put the lady’s career first. I haven’t seen that done in the movies since Father of the Bride II. I also haven’t seen such a weird sex scene involving lots of condiments and deli meat before. And to top it off, they settle their marriage woes with the most endearing and heartfelt f^$%# off to the wedding industrial complex in the end (you’ll have to watch it to understand). There’s even a female proposal (the last one by my count was in Leap Year with Amy Adams and contrary to what you might think holds very few feminist values). If you’re looking for a good feminist flick on weddings, this one is great and if you’re just into fun movies, it also sports an incredible lineup of talented comedians. (Subjects: Engagements, Wedding Planning, Marriage, Jobs) Director: 

For More Related Stories on Wedding Planning:

Wedding Planning & Planners

Wedding Planning: Motivating the Mister

Manly Men Plan Weddings

VideoHow to Take Out Your Wedding Planning Aggression Elsewhere

FB TV Review: My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding

2 Fem Rating SMMy Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (TV – 2012) – Child brides, High School drop outs, first cousin incest, virgin brides, extreme consumerism, fashion nightmares, arranged marriages – TLC reveals that all of this is happening in America’s backyard. TLC dives into yet another cultural minority’s hidden and secret world, this time with Romanichal Gypsies. Given TLC’s penchant for supporting the Wedding Industrial Complex with their other wedding shows, one might expect this to be in line with the rest (and seems to be racing to become the next Jersey Shore).  It does manage to raise the occasional eye on the double standards between the sexes. Girls are restricted to the home, married off at 16 (ish), and are only expected to become mothers and housewives; the men are the breadwinners. Girls on their wedding day must be virgins (many have not even kissed a boy, let alone know their groom well) or else are labeled unfit to be someone’s wife. (It even shared the story of a same-sex wedding, a big taboo in Romanical culture and TLC.)

And the show is not shy about highlighting the tawdry fashion of the community. It often relies on the fashion designer, Sondra Celli to explain the bride’s culture and fashion choices. While the massive, plantation-style wedding gowns run upwards of $10,000 and run amuck with Swarovski Crystals, the day-to-day dress of a Romney is very provactive. Why the Romani lifestyle is quite anti-feminist, they do have feminist fashion leanings. The women in the show often struggle with being called sluts by “gorgers” (non-travellers) for their attire and seductive dancing given that a Romani woman’s innocence is extremely protected and cherished by her family and community. They struggle constantly with discrimination and judgment being placed on them by outsiders, period. Though the show heros even admit part of the sexy outfits is to attract a mate…

The heros of the show describe their culture as extremely family driven, they carry a strong pride within it and are firmly dedicated to keeping the community alive through new generations and upholding traditions – no matter how outlandish they are. My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is an odd mash up of respectable values, trashy TV, feminist and anti-feminist rhetoric, media exploitation, big personalities and lots and lots of tulle. It’s sort of a train wreck; and it’s impossible to look away.

Girls Can Be More Than Princesses

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!

 

Colbert Nation: Unromantic Rick Santorum Challenged on Gay Marriage

Stephen Colbert is once again challenging politicians on the state of marriage. Here’s how it goes down (get to the 5.05 mark):

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

“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.

FB Movie Review: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

3 Fem Rating SMCheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012) – A rather dry and witty period film MV5BMjEyMzczODAyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzU1MDA3OA@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_set in England visits an anxious and inebriated bride on her wedding day. Downstairs as crotchety guests get ready for the wedding, her lost and uninvited lover arrives with hidden motives. As the bride deliberates on her impending nuptials, remembrances of the last summer return to when the two fell in love. Despite the conflict between two loves – the groom and her lover, there’s a twist to the story that’s hard to see coming – proving that love may not always be what a bride needs to say, ‘I do.” Side note: keep an eye out for the incorrigible boy and his bag full of surprises! Director:  (Subjects: Love, Bride, Wedding, Decision Making)

Gov’t Shutdowns Wedding, Steven Colbert Shotguns Wedding Instead

A fiance leaving their partner at the altar is the least of a couples’ problems, especially these days as the government shutdown leaves both fiances stranded without a venue. The closure of national monuments and parks may have left vacationers out in the cold, but what about those looking to have a warm start to a new life together? Have no fear, Steven Colbert is here.

Mike and MaiLien hit the media lamenting their cancelled wedding at the Jefferson memorial, which marks the place of their first date.   Luckily, Steven Colbert, ordained minister of the American Marriage Ministries, swooped in to marry the couple on his TV show, The Colbert Report. Nothing says romantic better than Steven Colbert shotgunning a wedding while shotgunning shots, Smokey the Bear, Saul Goodman from Homeland and lots of shots. When America is stuck in the mud and couples need to say, ‘I do’ there’s always Super Minister Colbert to save the day. 

The Wedding Cake: Go Big or Go Home

Victorian’s started the whole big cake, compensating-for-something-else competition.Tricia Nixon Wedding Cake The larger the cake: the greater the wealth and affluence supposedly. Queen Victoria’s cake measured three yards in circumference, Elvis’s had six tiers, and in 1971, Richard Nixon’s daughter had a 350 lb., 7 ft. high White House wedding cake. The world’s largest wedding cake, according to The Guinness World Record Association, weighed 15,032lb on February 8, 2004 and was made by Mohegan Sun Casino, CT chefs. But that doesn’t trump the life-sized cake that a TLC Texas Bridezilla had made in the image herself (just of herself). Does that count as cannibalism?

 

Wedding March to Your Own Tune

If you’re willing to take risks and stand out, walking down the aisle to your own tune can really set in motion a lifetime with someone full of exciting risks and solid rewards, like the JK wedding in 2005 who created a YouTube viral video sensation. 

In a church ceremony, the wedding party of fifteen, carrying Gerber Daisies and decked out in sunglasses, broke into a fever of dance moves to Chris Brown’s, Forever. By 2013, the video had received over 82 million views and sparked the TV series, The Office to copycat it in an episode. Best of all, after hearing about the devastating domestic violence Chris Brown inflicted on singer, Rihanna; newlyweds Jill and Kevin decided to put their viral video to good use. From 2010 to 2011, the video managed to raise $34,600 for the Sheila Wellstone Institute that helps to prevent domestic violence. Traditions don’t always have to be broken, but look what good can come from those who do break from it.

But there are always those who may not always chose wisely. While you may be capturing a personal joke, sentiment or feel like you’re being totally honest about who you are – there is such as too much. Checking the lyrics is also really important. It seems the bride below must have known the lyrics to Buckcherry’s Crazy Bitch song as it’s hard to miss the bride air humping down the aisle: “You’re crazy bitch, But you fuck so good, I’m on top of it, When I dream, I’m doing you all night, Scratches all down my back to keep me right on.

Everyone loved the dirty wedding band in Old School, but it’s a different story when it’s real life, especially when parent’s have to earmuff their children at the ceremony (as seen in the video below). Though if you’re super into this idea, The Dan Band tours and might just be able to come play at your wedding. Just put a parental advisory rating on your wedding invitation.

 

The UK’s Bachelor/Bachelorette Party: Stags and Hens

A stag (bachelor) and hen (bachelorette) party are something to behold, but in feminist bride fashion first: SpecialEventPartys_StagHenParty_1Why do men get to call their parties after a noble animal, and women get to name theirs after one that poops eggs? Better than naming a group of women after a brood of cackling hens, let’s rename them lioness parties. 

On a 2011 summer trip to Edinburg, Scotland, my spouse and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. What we thought would be a magical weekend full of castles and becoming famous by discovering the Loch Ness monster, ended up being caught in an endless sea of stag and hen parties. Little did we know, Edinburg was party central for them, and little did we know, the romantic room we booked over a pub would be on top of were they all congregated from 10am till 2am (Yes, 10 AM).

What is unique about stag and hen parties is that one; they seem to include people of all ages – your mom’s mom, your aunt, you, all the way to your local librarian it seems. Wondering what all the ruckus was that made our anniversary bed vibrate (it wasn’t us), we wandered into an underground club blasting Katie Perry to Lady Gaga while grandpa got jiggy with it next to some bride-to-be in her 1.99£ tiara, veil and sash.

StagsHensPartiesThe second amazing thing is the dedication to costume these groups have: from sexy sailors to sexy witches to something else sexy. Every hen party is decked out in an outrageous costume. Equally amazing is that while, the stag parties don’t seem to dress up as much there were a lot of men who looked liked they had found an equally drunk girl to pull a phone booth clothing swap. There was always a barely coherent guy in a tilted wig, a mini skirt, trying to balance in high heels on cobblestones while trying not to spill his ale. The next blight, post plague, for this little medieval part of Edinburg seems to be hen and stag parties because many pub doors had written warnings on them reading, “No fancy dress allowed.” For an international b-party, dust off a Halloween costume and head to Edinburg. It was such a sight that on our one-year anniversary, my spouse and I starred at others more than at each other, but we made wonderful memories anyway.

 



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The Unrecognized Athleticism of the Stripper Pole

For my bachelorette party in Las Vegas, we participated in some typical bachelorette events. 00334-bendy-diva-dive-thumbnail-c644820e960bf153face69fbd005ad53d4ff74cdSome 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.

In saying, “I Do,” did you choose wisely?

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

Best Commercial About Your Period Ever!

So full disclosure, I’m a little jealous of this commercial. Not only was getting your period in your ‘tweens in the mid ’90s not considered a “red badge of courage,” but revealing the secret that you had met your Aunt Flo meant getting snickered at and teased. No one wanted to be the first one among your friends back then.

Apparently not in this day and age though! HelloFlo, a company that distributes period care packages at the time of your cycle, produced a company commercial that not only makes your period public knowledge, but makes it cool to do so (and they’re directing a good lesson to a young audience with adult appeal!) Talk about Mensa for your menses.

Having gone to a college where my freshman year it was only 30% women and then into finance where I was lucky to even see another woman during my work day, it’s really refreshing to see (even if it’s a commercial) something be forthright in our daily lives about our periods. No more sneaking tampons up your sleeves or explaining that you’re taking your entire purse to the bathroom – “just cuz.” Periods stink, but as the commercial poignantly points out to “Suck it up and deal with it!”

I’m happy that a feminine hygiene company finally decided to not add to our suffering with anemic commercials. Guys get cool commercials like with Axe Body Spray, DollarShaveClub.com and Dos Equis’s Most Interesting Man in the World. Girls need that type of (bra)vado and her-chismo in their every day media in order to build strong, confident women too! Kraft recently stepped up their funny-game and sex appeal with their Zesty guy. Then there’s a Russian Tampax commercial, which while crassly comedic; might not help women in the long run. It did take a long time for women to shake off the stereotype that it was unhealthy to ride a horse, go on a lion safari or swim in the open sea during your moon cycle. The other plus side to commercials like Camp Gyno is that it allows us to laugh and commiserate together. Plus there’s candy.

FB Movie Review: Ceremony

Ceremony (2010): A quirky and fun independent film of two estranged friends, Sam and Marshall, who set off on a weekend to reconnect, but instead end up crashing a wedding. False pretenses surround the party of eccentric characters as Sam acts like he is a successful author, he and the bride barely know each other, the groom ignores that he knows they had an affair, and Marshall tries to act like everything is okay despite the weekend going horribly wrong for him. Ceremony is a fun, offbeat movie with fast talk and so many oddballs that it certainly keeps you entertained. If you like the weirdness of The Royal Tenenbaums and ill-fated love stories, this movie is for you. (Subjects: Affairs, Wedding, Love) Director: Max Winkler

FB Movie Review: When Harry Tries to Marry

4 Fem Rating SMWhen 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

 

The Future of Marriage

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.

Part 1: Love on Las Vegas Boulevard – Finding Zion

               As a way to both celebrate and mourn turning thirty, my best friend and I took off on an on epic adventure together. Camping in the desert seemed like a great way to remember our passed youth, set our sights on the future and commiserate with an old friend. However, while most people hope to reach Zion one day; after four day there, we were ready to leave. Perhaps it was the 100-degree heat, the swarm of attacking ants our campsite rested upon or the cozy one-person tent my friend brought for both of us (she insisted it was a two-sleeper). Or maybe it was the screaming night terror she had at 3am from which I could not shake her from and from which I had a mild heart attack that characterized our amazing trip.

             After four days of not showering and watching our neighbors camp with their portable generator and shower stall, we decided we’d had enough communing with nature. It hit us as we hid from another severe thunderstorm in our parked rental car sipping from our birthday champagne bottle…we’d rather be drinking…in Las Vegas. So on our last night in Zion, we broke camp, gave our spoiled neighbors one last dirty look and raced off to Vegas!

While we had originally sought seclusion in nature, we were eternally grateful for the excellent phone service we had in the middle of the desert. With the help of AT&T and Priceline, we headed to the cheapest hotel with the minimum amount of stars that, to us, implied that we weren’t headed to the worst hotel and part of town. $40/night, we thought, would buy us some respectability in sin city.

As we drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, we started to worry our logic had failed us as we passed seedy strip club, tattoo parlor, pawnshop, liquor store, adult video and book store in incredible frequency. Then I saw it, my feminist bride blogging Zion. Among all the XXX signs, bail bondsmen and gimp masks in the windows rested three important buildings. The first, our hotel with an air conditioned room, two double beds and a shower; the other two, nestled on each side of our hotel were the two most famous wedding chapels in all of Las Vegas: A Little White Wedding Chapel and the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.

To say I was slightly exhilarated is an understatement. I had unexpectedly hit the jackpot in all the most appropriate and unlikely of places, Las Vegas. After a shit, shave and shower, a quick trip to the iron-barred liquor store where I’m pretty sure there was a shotgun hidden behind the sales counter like in the movies, we headed out to conduct some Feminist Bride research!

Part 2: Love on Las Vegas Boulevard – Creating a Wedding Experience

Related Articles: The Last Hurrah

Move Over Men, Las Vegas Is a Woman’s Playground!

Party Planning: Who’s Booking The Stripper and/or Spa?

 

 

 

Designer Necklace Meets Cheap Social Construction

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:

VIDEO: Why Do Brides Take Their Husband’s Names?

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!

Debunking Bridal Superstitions

Rain on Your Wedding Day Is Good LuckIt’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.”

Party Planning: Who’s Booking The Stripper and/or Spa?

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.[1] 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. 

[1] I hear massages by guy’s name Sven are always good…

Movie Review: Bachelorette

Bachelorette (2012): The Hangover and Bridesmaids, this movie, is not (but it tries really hard to be). Despite featuring actresses and actors I really enjoy and my doppleganger, K. Dunst, there’s little brilliance they could bring to this script. To start, this is a good example of how good-hearted humor goes much farther than mean-spirited humor and there was a lot of the later in the movie. From making fun of the bride for being fat, calling strippers skanks, and calling bulimics messed up in the head just to name a few feel-good gems, it got really good with the profuse use of calling just about everyone the C-word. Then there was the scene that pretty much encouraged one groomsmen to take advantage of an inebriated bridesmaid. And he should get over his moral anxiety by taking a Xanax so he can take advantage of the drunk girl who was G.T.G. (good to go). There was one redeeming moment when the bridesmaids start arguing with a strip club doorman about how misogynistic it is for women to need a male escort in order to enter the premises, but that was short-lived. I’m all for raunchy comedy, but the degenerate humor just came off as…degenerate, unlike its predecessor movies that managed to take off-color comedy and make it fun and clever. Director: Leslye Headland

Mazel Tov, Liz Lemon! You Are A Beautiful Feminist Bride.

Blurg! Everyone’s favorite fictional feminist got married last night on NBC’s 30 Rock. What kind of wedding does career-oriented Liz Lemon have? Well, it did not involve ham and other delicatessen treats, jorts or sun pee to toast the newlyweds. What it did involve was awesomeness served up with some midnight cheese on top and some sweet Tony Bennett on the side.

Watch out cuz ‘We’ll Marry Your Girlfriends!’

Sorry feminist brides, I’ve been MIA lately (grr, grad school!), but here I am bringing to you a FABulous video clip from CollegeHumor.com which I hope makes up for my temporary absence. In light of the advances towards allowing gay marriage this past election, here is a motivational video that will hopefully sway those reluctant to support gay marriage. Enjoy!

 

Marriage: When people kept it in the Family

After consummating their marriage, my friend’s parents discovered in family charts that they are in fact 23rd cousins, twice removed. They remain happily married to this day. While twenty-three degrees of separation seems like a big enough number to continue sleeping soundly in a joint bed, the cultural acceptance of relationships with only a few degrees of separation is just too close for comfort for most. Despite cultural taboos and legal barriers, the heart of the matter lies in the fact that affectionately entwined bloodlines have played a massive role in shaping history and culture throughout human history.

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.

FB Movie Review: The Decoy Bride

The Decoy Bride (2011) – A familiar tale brought to the big screen of a larger-than-life Hollywood star trying to marry outside the prying eye of the paparazzi. Think covert Hollywood wedding meets Knotting Hill minus Julia Roberts, meets the biblical story of Jacob and Raquel hidden behind a veil with a dash of Scottish flair. A local girl is used as a bridal decoy for the Hollywood star and accidentally marries the groom for real (played by Dr. Who, David Tennant). Shenanigans ensue and the unlikely couple run around trying to find the missing starlet and get an annulment only to realize there is a spark between them. While finding and identifying true love is the main focus of the movie, I found the characters and their small island life to be the most enriching aspect of the film. Watch for the completely endearing dance scene between the deaf and elderly husband and wife, it will melt your heart. Director: Sheree Folkson

Dear ReadyMade Magazine, This Is How Not to Write A Love Letter. <3 The FB

I may not be a literary genius like Mark Twain, a.k.a Samuel Clemens (hello bad blogger grammar), but I do know a chauvinistic comment when I see one. I’ll excuse Twain from using sexist language that was typical of his day because feminism had yet to take root, but I can’t excuse ReadyMade magazine for taking a romantic cue from the humorist in the present day. Last time I checked, women were not objects to be won (physically, emotionally or figuratively). I thought we figured this out decades ago?

Twain, in a love note to his wife in 1875 declared, “…I made my first great success in life and won you…” ReadyMade magazine highlights and interprets the ‘won’ as good framework for writing a love letter with, “…is a fun way to flatter. ‘Victory,’ ‘triumph,’ and ‘ultimate achievement’ are also words that work well.” Using synonyms does not bypass the blatant chauvinism in the statement. And there’s no way to put a positive, non-sexist reinterpretation on it.

There are a hundred better ways to say that you’ve never been happier since the day you met the love of your life and commited to him or her. Twain may have said a lot of wise and credible things, but giving credence to a statement that is clearly obsolete in our modern times is not healthy for any woman or relationship. ReadyMade may make a lot of things well, but perhaps it should stick to making stuff out of wine corks and light bulbs. Otherwise it should put a cork in it and leave love letters to fortune cookies and dirty limericks.

The Mark Twain quotes and ReadyMade Love Letter suggestions first appeared in the August/September Issue of 2010. Even though it is a year later, I still think it is important to highlight mistakes that perpetuate sexist, obsolete language.

FB TV Review: TLC’s “Four Weddings”

In the universe of TLC wedding shows, it seems they’ve reached the limit and are scrapping to discover and produce new hit shows. I introduce to you, “Four Weddings,” where four women attend each others weddings and rate them on venue, dress and catering. Unlike other aggressive judgmental shows, the ladies opinions are fairly passive since it seems they don’t want to rain on a bride’s special day – immediately (they wait until they’ve eaten wedding cake and go home with a souvenir). Their ratings post-weddings, however, are so particularly low that they would make any bikini contestant cry and go on another crash diet. Oh right, this is another yet unnecessary TV show were we cast subjective bias and pit otherwise friendly individuals against complete strangers and then we videotape this feedback for posterity. Missing from the cast members are the grooms, making this show another perpetuation of the heterosexual, traditionally feminine wedding chimera that riddles all wedding shows. The show is boring and unoriginal. If TLC wants to stir the pot and highlight the outrageousness of weddings…how about a feminist bride TV show? Something tells me I’d watch that.

Can Wedding Clichés Still Be Meaningful?

A lot of brides like to tell me how unique their wedding will be. I smile and politely shake my head, but I’m secretly thinking that this is what the last bride I spoke to claimed about her own wedding. Call it a coincidence but she too was proposed to on one knee, is wearing a white dress, registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond and will also have a flower bouquet made with seasonal flowers. If you’ve been to enough weddings, it’s hard to experience something completely out of the ordinary. Weddings are sort of like all inventions post-wheel, nothing is truly original.

While the little details might be customized with the newlyweds’ monogram or their personal inside jokes and tastes, a big wedding picture shows that our wedding planning choices are not really all that unique. Like call this crazy, but I predict most weddings at some point will play Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and/or Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, clink glasses to encourage newlywed PDA, show that one old Aunt and Uncle have some serious awkward, but awesome dance moves, and end with dessert. This homogenity is the nature of partaking in a cultural event. To participate in it means following certain rules and suggested guidelines.  And guess what, many others like you are also following them and only changing a little. This means a lot of weddings, no matter how customized the color on the wedding invitations are or how high a cake, someone probably had one just as high as you and they too got their crafty, hipster invitations from Paper Source.

Culture is not the only culprit to cliché wedding practies. Consumerism plays a huge role too. Weddings are commercialized events. Culture tells us what we need to have a proper weddings and then for-profit companies provide those products on a mass-produced scale that are easily affordable and accessible. That crappy plastic tiara you got for your bachelorette party that made you Queen for a night (because that’s what you are, clearly) is the same one the bride-to-be last weekend wore to hers. Aren’t princesses supposed to be rare?

The electric slide and the funky chicken were fun wedding dances until they became overused. Now they are extinct rituals because people find them tacky and cliché. The cutting and the feeding of the wedding cake, the garter and bouquet toss are now facing extinction as well. Does a ritual have to be bad to be considered cliché? Maybe clichés are subjective or a taste of our time, because people still propose at sunset, on the beach, in air balloons or hide rings in dessert.  It seems contradictory for people to want to participate in shared culture but then go to lengths to make it unique.

When it comes to planning, I get the sense that fiancés like to think that personalized means unique, personalization makes a wedding unique, and a unique wedding is considered more emotionally memorable. Unless you’re breaking from the macro traditions and rituals, little customized details does not make a distinct wedding. At some point we all get ideas from the same sources: friends, family, other weddings, media, TheKnot, magazines and other how-to’s. Our riffing on these handed-down ideas might provide some ownership to, say, your centerpieces, but I’m worried we’re confusing personal meaningfulness with a one-of-a-kind wedding celebration. If wedding rituals and customs are really nothing more than one big cliché and our specializing of the event not as pungent in setting itself apart from other weddings, can we still get meaning from participating in a cliché?

Click here to check out cliché wedding photography. (BTW, I love number three. The guy seems more like a photo-bomber than groom.)

FB Book Review: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing (Fiction)

The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank: As an outdoorsy gal, I picked this book up because of its awesome title, only to be mildly disappointed that hunting and fishing only referred to men and dating. Readers follow the life of Jane Rosenthal who is pessimistically and somewhat passionately needy when it comes to her own self esteem, and not surprisingly with men and relationships. Her love life involves a series of unhealthy relationships that she seems to understand are a function of her own personal issues but does little to make a clean break before any damage is done. At a breaking point on her own self worth, she turns to a self help book in order to find love. The book’s most redeeming moment is when Jane finally realizes that the book’s advice to act like a hard-to-get, traditionally feminine, demure damsel is probably the worst advice. The book seems to be hailed as an accurate depiction of women’s dating troubles, but I would have found the book more salient had it focused on problem solving stories and less on the problems. (Subject: Fiction, Love, Boyfriends, Relationships, Self Esteem)

FB Movie Review: Muriel’s Wedding

Muriel’s Wedding (1994): Yet another movie that revolves around Abba (someone please explain the Abba/Wedding phenomenon) but set in Australia. This movie is what one would expect the adult follow up to Welcome to the Dollhouse would be like. Muriel is awkward, talentless, painfully unfashionable and dateless. As the movie unfolds it becomes apparent that Muriel’s obsession with weddings and marriage stems from being surrounded by an unsupportive network of friends and family. Until she breaks away from her hometown via theft, does her life begin to change for the better when she meets Rhonda Epinstock. As Muriel pulls her life together she begins to relinquish her attachment to Abba and weddings, though when things sour it all goes terribly wrong. In the end she learns that marriage and a wedding is not the solution to her problems nor will give her value. Despite the painfulness and awkwardness of its characters and storyline, there are some really good lessons about our obsession with weddings and marriage worth paying attention to. Subject: Wedding, Marriage, Abba. Director P.J. Hogan.

New Feminist Bride T-Shirts!

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.

Olympic Athlete Fights Sexism with Witt, Words and The Web

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.

Punchy Opinion Pic on Wedding Pinterest Posts

Pinterest brings new light to an age old problem – the planning of your wedding before there is even a wedding. To be fair I was guilty of this before the invention of the Internet too, but the difference was I only shared my dream wedding with my closest friends, not 400 plus of my faintly acquainted Facebook friends. And to be extra fair there’s no problem searching Pinterest to get ideas (and we need users populate options), but there’s also something to be said about squirreling ideas away for an imaginary wedding. Wedding Pinterest fanatics might argue that there’s no harm in electronically bulletin boarding your dream wedding much like a serial killer might for its crimes in his or her isolated, creepy basement; and maybe they’re right. But instead of planning a wedding that doesn’t even exist, why not spend your time enriching your mind with Tolstoy or Betty Friedan instead (you bet your ass I just grouped those two authors together) than collecting things to buy and receive or with things that are pretty, letter pressed, thematic and color coordinated. And maybe I’m being unfair a little, but I haven’t seen guys Pinteresting their dream wedding. And that discrepancy alone says a lot.

A few months ago I attended a taping of TLC’s Randy to the Rescue (it was basically a big wedding expo with video cameras, dress racks, vendors advertising their services or products and a nice swag bag. And I will say Randy was really just the nicest guy, who said the most positive things about experience, body image and feeling good about yourself – things, even I, as the Feminist Bride approved of. I even got to tell him so). No, I didn’t go as an anti-wedding ninja, but I did go around interviewing the ladies there, asking them questions about weddings. I came across some ladies not in relationships but preparing for their future, non-existant weddings. One said her motivation was to be prepared herself as a bridesmaid and to help her friend plan her wedding, others were just there to get ideas and clearly enjoyed weddings, as if it were an informal hobby. Perhaps their real motivation was attending a TV show taping, but one has to wonder how much these wedding shows encourage pre-mature wedding organization.

Gone are the days of magazine dog earring pages quietly alone at home, now all your Facebook friends can view and attend your wedding from the comfort of their couch. That saves most of us the pain from dancing all night in high heels, cash bars and the chicken dance (maybe not the chicken dance, I haven’t seen that dance at a wedding in over 15 years). But thanks ironic, witty someecards.com for pointing out a very real Pinterest trend that none of us bothered to “Like” on Facebook; then again I should remind readers now would be a good time to Pinterest this article.

What do you think? Is planning a wedding before there’s a ring or even a fiance okay?

Same-Sex Brides Grace Cover of The New Yorker

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.”

 

The Last Hurrah

It’s the last call, the final mile, and the end of an era.  It’s the time you spend saying goodbye to  singlehood: It’s the bachelor/bachelorette party.

It’s a night that strikes fear into the hearts of many a young lover – where fiancés disappear in the night to sow wild oats; where irresistible strippers spread their legs for the almighty dollar; where “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is more than just a motto, it’s a credo; and where the ability to remember the night’s events is worn either as a medal of honor or as a sign of disgrace.

The event itself has historically been the man’s day, yet women are now taking part as well. Some women dare to rival the debauchery of bachelor parties, but many also insist upon propriety and decorum above this one “get-out-of-jail free” card.  No matter your taste in parties, it’s important to make sure the party is a representation of your ideals – not what other people think a bachelorette party should entail or how a woman should act.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe this momentous night is about saying goodbye to singlehood. Whether you’re the bride with the “suck-for-a-buck” t-shirt, or want to form a sewing circle, a bachelorette party is more about bonding with friends – of all genders.  Traditionally, this is a same-sex party, and while I’m all for ladies’ nights, women keep anatomically dissimilar friends these days.  So invite your guy friends! There is no rulebook that says a bachelorette party has to be ”just the girls.”

We’ve all seen the trend where opposite-sex friendships dissolve because a significant other felt threatened, or that eventually the lady felt like the male friendship was inappropriate, whether it really was or not. What does it say about a relationship that limits with whom you can be friends? If you value a friendship of the opposite sex, it’s important to honor it, and if your partner values you, then he should respect these friendships as well. It’s a powerful testament to see brides make a man a bridesmaid, and vice versa. A relationship is stronger when a partner can accept friends of all shapes, sizes and anatomy.

As my friends and I brainstormed on my own party, we stopped to consider the girls in relationships – would their boyfriends and husbands approve of a bachelorette trip…to Vegas?  We quickly noted the folly of this thought process – we considered ourselves progressive women, yet even we have been conditioned to look to our men for approval. Yes, it’s respectful to share information about the event, but we women have autonomy to make decisions, exercise that right, even if they are unpopular ones. So chose Vegas or whatever type of event that makes the night a happy one for yourself.

There are double standards when it comes to the party scene as well. Though equal opportunity partying is expected, it is still common for partners to be manipulated into thinking that if one partner abstains (for example, from seeing a stripper), the other should be held to the same standard.  The desire to party hardy and see a stripper does not by default mean a partner is straying from the relationship (there’s a no touch policy in the strip joints anyway). Sayonara-singlehood parties do have a bad reputation, but a relationship falters not because of the nature of the party, but because of deeper, rooted issues in the relationship. If trust cannot be shown even in the brief presence of a stripper or just amongst friends, how can it ever be earned before you get to the altar?

Having experienced a bachelorette party or two already, I was constantly dismayed at how most women treated this opportunity.  Most wanted to go to the beach and read – no alcohol, no scantily clad men, no penis pops or disastrous costumes only suitable for Halloween parties – not because it’s what they wanted, but because of a belief that this type of behavior was unbecoming and inappropriate since they were soon to be someone’s wife. In asking these ladies the reasons behind their choices, they simply explained, “those days are over for me.”  These ladies, who in college did keg stands, flashed their assets and spent many a night praying to the porcelain god, could not let their hair down for one night. It is perfectly fine to move past college nights of drunken debaucheries – BUT – there’s no need to assume sainthood just because we’re putting a ring on our fingers.  Neither extreme is a fair representation of who we are or who we will be, because the truth of the matter is once we do marry, we’re still the same girls who ran naked through the quad freshman year. History does not have to repeat itself, but we also don’t have to abandon it either.  Your partner loves you for who you are now, not who you will become.  Don’t change and compromise yourself because you think you have to as a wife.

The truth is there is no such thing as a “last hurrah.”  We said goodbye to singlehood the moment we stepped into a monogamous relationship.  A bachelor/bachelorette party is not a chance to experience singlehood for “one last time” – it’s a chance for camaraderie with your closest friends, to laugh, to relax. These parties are harmless, but when more power is given to its stereotypes over trust in a long-term relationship, it’s a sign of weaknesses in the relationship.  If these issues come to light, it is my hope that the partner has enough confidence to reassess the relationship, or at least address the real issue at hand. If there is real trust and each partner understands the true reasons behind hosting a bachelor/bachelorette, which is friendship, then there should be no limitations in the style of a bachelorette party.  We should be free to be ourselves amongst our friends, men and women alike – be it a night full of shots or a relaxing day at the spa.

Feminist Bride Swag – T-Shirts!

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!)

100% Cotton

Color: Black with White Lettering

Washing Machine Safe

FB Movie Review: Mystic Pizza

Mystic Pizza (1988) – Julia Roberts first break out role (no, Pretty Women was not the first) in what would be a long career of romantic films. Set in Mystic, CT three strong, local girls struggle with finding love, navigating the bedroom, their future and breaking from their provincial townie existence. Despite class struggles, forbidden affairs and feeling trapped, the girls at the end of the day find solace and comfort in each other and pizza. The break out feminist moment comes in the end, when one girl finally commits to marrying the love of her life but only on the condition that she keep her name. (Subject: Relationships, Sex, Identity, Friendship)

Mark Zuckerberg Updates Relationship Status to Married

A few years ago, a friend of mine kindly congratulated another friend’s parents on their sons engagement, except the parents responded with, “wait, what engagement?” Seems Junior told the Internet world on Facebook about this big life event, but forgot to tell his own parents. Drama ensued and my friend felt terrible even though she didn’t do anything wrong.

Seems Mark Zuckerberg pulled a similar stunt in a triple crown move: at his own wedding, on Facebook and to the world.

Zuckerberg married longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan in their backyard in Palo Alto, California last Saturday (May 19, 2012). According to news reports friends and family were arriving for a regular party when the couple said, “Surprise, this is actually our wedding!” (If you want a similar surprise wedding, I highly recommend Parks and Recreation’s Andy and April’s wedding.)

Guests were extremely surprised and so was the world who found out through Zuckerberg’s own relationship status update to “Married.” It seems in terms of wealth and celebrity, this is one of the most successfully kept wedding secrets in pop culture history. The paparazzi are probably pissed.

But there’s more to celebrate than just saying, ‘I do.’  Chan just graduated from medical school at the University of California at San Francisco earlier in the week. And Zuckerberg’s company IPO-ed the day before his wedding. If he was grossly rich before he is now stupid rich.

And this is where news outlets are raising their eyebrows about Zuckerberg’s recent influx of money and the timing of his nuptials. Some are calling it fishy. Personally, I’m not surprised by the grouping of such big events for the happy couple. The IPO and Chan’s graduation date would be a good smokescreen for wedding planning. It’s not like they needed to set up a registry and go that traditional route, instead they surprised friends with a good ole’ fashion backyard wedding that’s totally inline with the couples low-profile lifestyle and Zuckerberg’s casual closet (he did abandon his usual hoodie for a suit). And the plan worked, the cakes on our face for not figuring out his scheme.

But the fishy part comes, not from their reception food, but the fact that Zuckerberg’s IPO cash is protected under California’s communal property law. Technically speaking, Chan has no legal right to his fortune’s since the IPO occurred before their nuptials. Should they ever get divorce, there is a good chance she could fight and win more money beyond what Zuckerberg earns post-nuptials because of her support and influence on Zuckerberg and Facebook. She has inspired Facebook’s Organ Donor campaign and she’s been dating him for nine years, since their sophomore year in college and Facebook’s inception. Was this chain of events on purpose? Probably, but Chan should never suffer a financial drought. Between her own career and Zuckerberg’s earning potential, the couple in or outside of marriage will want for nothing.

Prenups are meant to protect the assets each individual couple brings into the marriage, it should not be interpreted as an ominous sign for the future. Actually, both are highly educated (Okay, Zuckerberg is a drop out, but it was Harvard) (Chan also graduated from Harvard in 2007 and now has a Masters), both are financially secure, dated a long time and are on the end of their 20′s (he’s 28, she’s 27, the average marrying age per sex). If a marriage is to last, these are the best facts you can have in your corner. Even living together before marriage is no indication of success. They stay out of the spotlight and live a moderate lifestyle.

Unfortunately, Facebook followers of Zuckerberg did not share the couples happy sentiment. Many responded with racial slurs saying that Zuckerberg has an Asian Fetish or that Chan is a golddigger and that this is probably nothing more than a green card marriage. No word on whether he’s ‘unfriended’ any of these people amongst his 14m plus subscribers.

This raises another big issue – Facebook etiquette. Facebook scrubs for pornography, harassing photos, etc. but what about the general lack of kindness in others? Did the founder himself have it coming for Facebook’s continuing privacy issues? Or is this a huge reminder that nothing we share on the Internet even amongst our community of friends and family is really private and safe?

Back in the day, engagement and wedding announcements were down via snail mail and a phone call. Nowadays our milestone communication is much more informal – we share our big news on Facebook. There’s now a growing culture to take photos of one’s engagement ring or proposal and share it with the world. Some interpret is as a positive, sharing experience, but in no other instance do we condone showcasing a luxury good around (didn’t your mom teach you bragging was bad manners?). Some though, not wanting to rain on others parade, remain silently unappreciative of the non-stop relationship status updates, the staged wedding photography, the emotional rants of those in love. I suppose at the end of the day it’s our choice as to who we follow, read and what we share. Zuckerberg’s wedding announcement is a good reminder of how our precious moments intersect, coincide and sometimes conflict with technology. Even the founder, himself, thought it better in the long run to keep the majority of his relationship and life events analog.

VIDEO: Why Do Bride’s Take Their Husband’s Name?

Before you get excited about becoming the next Mrs. John Smith, beware! There’s a sordid history to this cultural practice and severe modern implications as to how women are contributing to their own marginalization.

The video is a lecture I gave at the Tufts University Women’s Center ‘Beyond the Classroom’ symposium. It explains the history of why women take men’s name upon marriage, dives into its modern relevancy and issues and offers solutions for what women and men can do to practice the art of name change with more egalitarianism. (I’ll slowly be posting the name change spectrum and video transcript too!)

If you’re interested in more information about patronymics and matronymics and general name change here are a few additional Feminist Bride links and sources:

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!

FB Movie Review: The War Bride

The War Bride(2001) – Set during World War II, Lily marries a Canadian soldier. She quickly becomes pregnant and moves to Canada to live with her in-laws as part of a save the war-brides campaign. A sassy, fashionable city-Londoner, she finds herself in the plains of central Canada on a farm, severely out of her element and amongst hostile in-laws who find her UK style foreign, too sexual and think her marriage was a ploy to get her out of war-torn Europe. Not knowing whether her spouse is alive, she struggles with being a wife and a mother in a foreign land. (Subject: Marriage, War, Women) Director: Lyndon Chubbuck

Are Diamond Engagement Rings Really Worth It?

Ever stop to think about whether or not to say yes to that diamond engagement ring? I’m not talking about saying yes or no to the person doing the asking, I’m talking about the actual diamond ring! We put so much emphasis on the rock that sparks the start of two people’s lifetime commitment to each other – carat, cost, clarity and cut, that have we really stopped to think about if it’s an icon worthy of representing our love for another?

Understanding the Past, Present and Future of Marriage

This is my most recent lecture at the Tufts University GSC Research Symposium. It was me and a bunch of Ph.D. candidates lecturing on mostly science, but alas my speciality is in marriage culture. Here’s a breakdown of how marriage’s past, present and future effect our quality of life. It’s an interesting overview about how our time-honored traditions are totally irrelevant to Western lifestyles, which in itself makes a case for why it’s really important we respectfully modernize them! Enjoy.

FB Movie Review: Ready or Not?

Ready or Not (2009) – With the Hangover coming out in the same year, its hard to say which movie came first but they are exactly the same except this one is less humorous. The groomsmen use an over-the-top bachelor party to kidnap the groom to Mexico a week before his wedding. Everything starts going terribly awry from jumping out of a crashing plane to angering a mobster, from getting put in jail to being put in front of an execution squad. The question of the movie is is the groom ready to leave his bros behind for marriage? (Subject: Groomsmen, Groom, Bachelor Party, Comedy) Director: Sean Doyle

 

FB Movie Review: The Affair of the Necklace


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

Women’s Suffrage’s Rendition of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance

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.

 

“This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”

“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.”

2 Must-See Video Parodies of the Birth Control Congressional Hearing Session

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

Happy President’s Day to All The Past Female Presidents! Oh Wait, There Are None.

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.

FAST FACTS ABOUT WOMEN IN POLITICS

Where We Are: 2010 Election Update

For the first time since 1987, the United States made no progress in electing more women to Congress.

  • Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives, bringing an end to Represenative Nancy Pelosi’s historic leadership role as the first woman Speaker of the House. (Source)
  • 3 women committee chairs—Rep. Louise Slaughter on the Rules Committee, Rep. Nydia Velazquez on the Small Business Committee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren on the Standards of Official Conduct Committee—will also lose their leadership positions as the Democrats become the minority party in the House. (Source)
  • The number of women serving in the Senate will remain level at 17. The number of women serving in the House of Representatives will drop for the first time since 1979. (Source)
  • 10 incumbent Democratic Congresswomen lost their seats. No Republican women in the House lost their seats. One incumbent woman Senator lost her seat. (Source)

A few pieces of good news in an otherwise dreary election cycle for women:

  • Hawaii elected women to both of its U.S. House seats, making it the first state with more than one congressional district to have all-female representation in the House of Representatives. (Source)
  • Five women of color were elected to the House of Representatives, including WCF-Endorsed Terri Sewell, who will become Alabama’s first African-American Congresswoman. (Source)

Women are still under-represented at all levels of government.

  • Women hold only 17% of the seats in Congress. (Source)
  • Only 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions are currently held by women. (Source)
  • State Legislatures are only 24% women. (Source)
  • Only 6 out of 50 states have a female governor. (Source)
  • The United States trails behind much of the world—ranking 90th in the number of women in our national legislature. (*Note: The U.S. is listed as 73rd, but after accounting for tied rankings of other countries, the ranking for the U.S. is 90th. Source)
  • On average, male cabinet appointees outnumber women cabinet appointees in our states by a ratio of 2 to 1. (Source)
  • 50% less women than men consider of running for office. Of those, 30% less actually run, with only a fraction seeking higher office. (Lawless, Jennifer and Richard L Fox. It Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.)
  • Women constituted 54% of voters in the 2008 elections, but only 24% of state legislators. (Source)
  • Women of color represent only 4% of Congress and 23% of women Members of Congress. (Source)

Facts on women of color in elective office

  • Of the 89 women serving in the 112th US Congress, 24 or 27% are women of color. (Source)
  • From those, 13 are African American, 7 are Latina, 4 are Asian American and none in Native American.(Source)
  • Of the 68 women serving in statewide elective executive offices 10, or 14.7% are women of color. (Source)
  • Women of color constitute 4.7% of the 7,382 state legislators. (Source)

Why We’re Here

Parties can make or break a woman candidate:

  • About one-third of women say that someone tried to discourage them from running—most often an officeholder or political party official. (Source)
  • Women are more likely than men to say that party support was very important to their decision to run. Women are also more likely to cite their party, rather than an organization, as the most influential source of encouragement for their candidacies. (Source)

Gender Stereotypes still play a role:

  • Both male and female voters are much more judgmental about the appearance and style of a female candidate than of a male candidate. Although all candidates are judged on these attributes to some degree, women have a more difficult challenge in convincing voters to judge them on their merits rather than on their appearance.(Source)
  • If a woman candidate is unmarried, both male and female voters perceive her as less likely to share their own family values. (Source)

Money Counts:

  • The top three women who enjoyed incumbency advantage in 2008 raised approximately $33 million—$16 million less than the total for the top three male incumbents. (Source)
  • In highly competitive races, the gap between the top-raising female and male U.S. Senate challengers in 2008 was almost $14 million (Senator Kay Hagan raised $8.5 million and Al Franken $22.5 million), which is $8 million more than the difference in 2006. (Source)
  • Male U.S. House incumbents raised on average $196,281 more than women in 2008. Only five of the 1303 candidates relied on women for more than half their contributions. (Source)
  • Most women believe that it is harder for female candidates to raise money than male candidates, while the overwhelming majority of men believe it is equally hard for both men and women. (Source)

Feminist Meme

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.

 

 

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!

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.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

On February 13th, what will you be doing to treat your favorite gals on Galentine’s Day?

Parks & Recreation

Parks & Recreation

Putting the “V” in Valentine’s Day

When it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, we seek to spend it with those we love and shower them with all the accoutrements a Hallmark Valentine’s can bestow. What about spending Valentine’s Day in a non-commercial way? What if you could honor the women in your life by participating in something that seeks to support and empower them? What if you spent this Valentine’s Day learning how to appreciate yourself?

The Real Skinny on the Wedding Diet

Who doesn’t want to look and feel their best? Knock ‘em dead as they walk down the aisle? Fit into that dream dress which just happens to be three sizes too small? Make their partner melt on the wedding night? The truth is we all do – groom, bride…even the bridal party. Young adults receive countless lessons to protect themselves against body image issues that can cause eating disorders or low self-esteem; yet as adults, the wedding diet always seems to be the one condoned exception to the rule. If a couple wants to spend every day of the rest of their lives together, why is it that we decide our bodies aren’t good enough for just one day?

How Was Your First Kiss? TLC’s Virgin Diaries

Well, I’m speechless; not because TLC has managed to produce another wedding show that exploits extreme lifestyles and not because finding an unmarried virgin is like discovering the mythical unicorn. I am speechless at the sheer awkwardness of what they’ve captured for their premiere episode set to air this Sunday. Watch the below to know what I’m talking about:

Now that we’ve all been reminded of our first kiss, here comes our paranoia creeping in – did we look like that during our first kiss? And the awkwardness gets worse when they start to describe how it will all go down on the wedding night – starting with separate showers.

It’s not that the sexual choice of staying a virgin is wrong by any means, it’s that we just love a good kissing/sex virgin story. Remember 1999′s Never Been Kissed, which was also an episode on Glee. And if you really know your pop culture, there’s even a similar episode in Saved By The Bell. There’s the 40 Year Old Virgin and most recently the Mormon story about a virgin human marrying a 110-year old virgin vampire with a steamy, bedpost-crushing wedding night virgin scene that has all the ‘tweens screaming. There are plenty more movies that you can read about here. Despite most of us being sexually experienced on our wedding night (95%), we still want to make a HUGE deal about virginity. We treat it as something really serious ‘to lose your v-card or not to lose your v-card’ but we also treat it with a severe amount of spectacle. How can you defend something as meaningful, but then splay it out for cheap laughs and entertaining awkward moments?

 

Manly Men Plan Weddings

It’s really common to hear men declare that wedding planning is the “chick’s domain.” They assume their hard work is done after buying the engagement ring and proposing, now it’s time for the ladies to carry the burden of planning the big day. It’s all flowers, frilly lace and potpouri – stuff that’s too effeminate for a real man to be caught thinking about, right?