Saturday, February 23, 2008

Love your body!

One of the things I care about most is body image. My dream is to one day be the editor of a magazine that helps girls develop and maintain a healthy body image. I've been told it's impossible, but I refuse to believe that. Unfortunately, girls who have a healthy body image today are few and far between. It took me years to develop a positive body image, and it still requires regular maintenance.

NOW, the National Organization for Women developed a great quiz about body image and a slide show about images of women in the media.

Take the quiz:
Take the Body Image Quiz

Friday, February 22, 2008

I ♥ Eli Stone

So the show may be really unrealistic in its portrayals of a doctor treating his own brother, a lawyer being engaged to his opposing counsel, or inter-office dating, but I love it for the issues it addresses like autism, the effects of pesticides, and war-torn families. Then there are moments like this, taken from the last episode, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

Defense Attorney: We have a separation of Church and State.
Eli: That's still around? It's hard to tell with the current administration.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

¡Viva Obama!

The other day while discussing the race for the Democratic nomination, someone mentioned that Hispanics are voting for Clinton. I don’t know where this idea came from, particularly because I voted for Obama, but I’m really tired of the idea that all minorities think as a group, and those of us who fit into more than one category – say, Hispanic women – are at odds with which category should decide our vote.

In celebration of breaking the stereotype, here are two awesome videos promoting Amigos de Obama:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Charles Barkley takes on "Fake Christians"

*Cross posted on Choice Words

I was really excited to see this clip of Charles Barkley talking about being pro-choice and for gay marriage. Since I’m so outspokenly political, it always makes me happy to see celebrities advocate for their pet causes, thought luckily I’ve yet to be turned off by one of my favorite celebrity’s political views. I think it’s brave that they risk their popularity to use their celebrity for a good cause.

What I love about Barkley’s statements is his assertion that true Christians can be pro-choice and for gay marriage. I am a pro-choice Catholic and my faith is part of the reason that I am pro-choice and for gay marriage. It infuriates me when people insist you can’t be a true Christian without being anti-choice and homophobic. I was glad to hear Charles Barkley call out members of the so-called “moral majority” as “fake Christians.” So many people, President Bush in particular, are very holier-than-thou in their Christianity, but are intolerant when Jesus preached love and acceptance, judgmental when the Bible is full of lessons against judging the sins of others, and violently vengeful—as in the death penalty and abortion clinic bombings—when Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek.

I’m not so sure about Charles Barkley’s bid for Governor of Alabama, but he sounds pretty darn cool to me.

Quick Hit: Women in Ski Jumping

There's a great post on Feministing by Sarah Murray of the Women's Sports Foundation about the International Olympic Committee's refusal to add a women's ski jumping competition. Um, what century are we in? Too bad Title IX isn't international.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reproductive Justice on ABC

*Cross posted on Choice Words

I was pleasantly surprised to see a reproductive justice issue addressed on primetime TV. One of my favorite new TV shows is Eli Stone, a dramedy about a lawyer who starts seeing visions that lead him to take on cases against the mega corporations his firm usually defends. In last week’s episode Eli took on the case of a produce worker who was rendered infertile from exposure to pesticides. This is a real problem faced by many men and women both in the United States and abroad, and the focus of one of Choice USA’s campaigns. The Fairness in Flowers Campaign, an ongoing collaboration with Jobs with Justice’s Student Labor Action Project, advocates for Dole flower workers in Ecuador and Columbia who, among other human rights violations, have been exposed to toxic chemicals that lead to miscarriages and birth defects. This issue is important to Choice USA because reproductive justice is about more than abortion – it is also about the right to have children and raise them in healthy environments. Click on the Fairness in Flowers link above to take action.

Another look at reproductive justice will be in the upcoming remake of the classic play and movie A Raisin in the Sun. Starring Phylicia Rashad and Sean Combs, the movie is about an African-American family dealing with racism and poverty. The original playwright, Lorraine Hansberry bravely included a sub-plot about the mother Anna’s contemplation of getting a back-alley abortion. (The movie takes place before Roe v. Wade.) Interestingly, while matriarch Lena lectures Anna on their being a family that does not take life but gives it, she admits that in hard times, there’s nothing a desperate woman won’t do to help her family – “the part that’s living.” I definitely recommend watching A Raisin in the Sun on the 25th at 8pm, not only because of its look at abortion, but because it’s a beautiful story. I hope it will be as good as the 1961 version, which is a must-watch classic.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Quick Hit: The Hispanic Vote

It's nice to see an article about the Hispanic vote that isn't about who we're supposed to support as an ethnic group (because clearly we don't think as individuals). This article by The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer looks at why Hispanics went to the polls in record numbers on Super Tuesday. It turns out blatant racism is a great incentive to vote, or at least to vote Democratic. As recent Colbert Report guest Angelo Falcon said, "the Republicans have been basically taking Latinos up to the top floor and chucking us out the window."

"A" Daily Show

I have to say, the one thing I like about the writers' strike is the effect it's had on Jon Stewart's interviews, particularly those with people he disagrees with. It seems that the writers were holding him back.

The Daily Show - writers = anything goes.

Here's a clip from a hilarious interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace:

On the complete other end of the spectrum, here's his interview with Lynne Cheney, also known as the the most awkward interview ever. (Coincidentally, both have references to the Plame incident)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It Takes Two

*Cross posted on Choice Words

I want to add to Holly’s post (on Choice Words) about Rep. Liston’s comment that teenage mothers are sluts, because there are so many issues involved here that get me riled up.

Rep. Liston’s comment echoes a column written by Dr. Laura near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I really shouldn’t have read it, since I’ve never read a column of hers that hasn’t left me livid, but I saw the title, “Planned UN-Parenthood” and read anyway.

Dr. Laura starts by accusing women who have abortions of being careless about “when and with whom they have sex,” not using birth control, and not having “the maturity to make sure their sex partner (or, if you’re in college, it’s just a hook-up partner) uses a condom.”

Just how removed from the real world is Dr. Laura? Does she honestly believe that married couples never have unplanned pregnancies? Or that no one who’s had an abortion was using birth control? Or that it’s the woman’s fault if the man doesn’t wear a condom? Even though birth control is extremely effective when used correctly every time, in the real world, well, stuff happens. We forget to take pills, condoms break, we’re denied access to the morning after pill… Unfortunately, the list continues.

Later, Dr. Laura echoes Rep. Liston’s call for a return to shame:

“It would seem that reinstituting shame for being a “bad girl” and having sexual intercourse out-of-wedlock (it works…there were no pregnancies in either of the two high schools I went to in Long Island, NY), and pushing the heck out of adoption might be better for women in the long run than unfettered abortion rights.”

Again, Dr. Laura needs a reality check. I’m sure there was at least one girl at one of her high-schools that got pregnant – she was just shipped off to Texas to hide the problem. And the father? He got to stay at school, anonymous and without shame. I remember Loretta Ross’s story about girls being expelled from her high school for being pregnant, while the boys were left unpunished.

Given Dr. Laura’s stance on abortion, and I’m sure Rep. Liston’s as well, their treatment of pregnant teens is very telling. After going to great lengths to keep young girls from getting abortions they continue to shame those who continue with their pregnancies. It’s clear that they don’t just want to keep girls from having abortions – they want to keep girls from having sex.

It really infuriates me how girls are almost always the ones shamed and punished for having sex. The politics of virginity are really interesting to me. Girls somehow lose their value with their virginity while boys become men. Girls aren’t supposed to have sex until marriage while it is a natural urge for teenage boys.

The Curvature had a great post about a Maryland School District’s decision to notify parents of their daughter’s pregnancy that brought up the idea of parents’ feeling of ownership of their daughters’ bodies (particularly their virginity). She noted that her dad refused to leave her unsupervised with her boyfriend, yet didn’t hold his sons to the same rule. This idea is perhaps best exemplified in the practice of virginity balls, where girls ceremonially pledge their virginity until marriage with their fathers as witnesses and protectors of said virginity. Purity balls for boys, however, are extremely rare.

Like with teen pregnancy, it angers me that all the responsibility of avoiding sex before marriage is put on the girl. Girls already are the ones who actually become pregnant – we should spare them the shame, punishment, and ostracism that are completely unfair and unnecessary. It’s time society acknowledges that teenagers—not just teenage boys—are sexual beings, and, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Vote Obama

I love Obama. I really do. I know it’s cliché by now, but he gives me hope.

I have to say that I’m a little offended by the idea that my support of him is only because I’m a person of color, or that my choice of him over Hillary is somehow betraying my gender. Amazingly enough, I support Barack Obama because I like his politics.

Some may call him naïve because he is not jaded by decades in Washington and refuses to give in to the system. He would rather be guided by hope in achieving what others call impossible than to not try at all. This hope he has is infectious.

This September I was lucky enough to hear him speak when he came to Santa Barbara. He is honestly one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. The audience was near silent as he spoke, completely captivated by his words, and enthusiastic in their applause. He left me inspired and filled with hope, which is sadly a rare occurrence.

I think my love for Obama may have began after the Supreme Court’s awful paternalistic ruling on Gonzales v. Carhart last April. One of the first to respond, Obama noted that Roe v. Wade is "a matter of equal rights for women." I couldn’t agree more. The legality of abortion is essential to the equality of women, not only because it allows them the ability to compete in the job market, but because women will never be truly equal until we as a society value women’s ability to make their own decisions.

It kind of amazes me that I like Obama’s stance on abortion more than Hillary’s. While their voting records on the issue are basically the same, and they are both great supporters of reproductive choice, the way they approach the subject of abortion is very different. Sadly, I knew that Hillary was planning to run for president when she said something along the lines of abortion is a horrible choice for a woman to have to make. I don’t remember the exact quote, but that her use of “abortion” and “horrible” together signaled a move to the middle that disturbed me. The Clintons also use the line that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. But it isn’t.

I’ve been accused many times of being a single issue voter. Granted, reproductive justice is the most important issue to me by far, but I also care about the environment, immigration, gay rights, healthcare, labor, the war, an end to genocide, and education, to name a few. Obama not only represents the causes I support, but he has the passion to achieve great things. My vote for him is inspired by hope – a hope for change in the political system, a hope for change in our nation, and a hope for a brighter future.

Here is an awesome video inspired by Obama’s hope: