Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Short, Angry Letter to Fish's Eddy

Have you seen Fish's Eddy's "Intervention Ware"? (This plate is the worst in my opinion.) Well, I just did and they inspired me to write this letter:


I just thought you would be interested to know that I was recently alerted to your "intervention" plates, and as such, I will no longer shop at your store.

We live in a size-biased, fat-hating society that constantly tells women (and men, but it's worse for women) that they are not good enough based on their appearance and their ability to conform to an arbitrary beauty standard. Fat people are discriminated against and mocked. We have girls as young as 5 going on diets and suffering from eating disorders and merchandise like this is contributing to that problem.

I have spent my entire life being bullied based on size and I do not need a store to continue this trend.

You have officially lost a customer. I will soon be moving and, as such, will need dinnerware. Under other circumstances I would have come to your store to get it, but now I think I will take my business to somewhere that doesn't make me feel like less of a person because of my appearance.

I know it's short, and it's not my most eloquently-written angry letter, but it gets the point across. I mean, anything sold with the slogan "serve up a heaping scoop of guilt!" has to be stopped.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

House Hunters Drinking Game [Updated]

Oh, House Hunters. The show that puts clueless people who adhere to every gendered stereotype imaginable in the hands of the most grating and idiotic real estate agents on the planet and forces them to choose between three mediocre home options. Or whatever the official outline of the show is supposed to be.

Again, my mother watches this show all the time, and still being stuck living with my parents, that means I end up watching it all the time. Which is terrible. Looking for a home is tedious and annoying in real life, so I can't get into the mentality that would enjoy watching others do it. And much like Say Yes to the Dress, it is formulaic and annoying, so I have decided to write it up its very own drinking game.

Take a drink when:

-The episode focuses on a white, heterosexual married couple.
-If they have small children or the woman is visibly pregnant. (two drinks if they have children AND the wife is visibly pregnant)
-Anyone utters the phrase "growing family."
-They talk about using a space for "entertaining."
-The couple says things to uphold gender stereotypes, for example, the realtor talks to the woman about the kitchen.
-They use the phrase "man cave."
-When it's a young couple, the wife points out that a small bedroom would make a great nursery. (two drinks if the husband immediately looks terrified)
-The buyers comment on crown molding.
-Someone mentions paint, furniture or light fixtures (or any other feature that is impermanent and relatively inexpensive to change) as a plus or minus to the home.
-The buyers have an obvious lack of knowledge about real estate.
-They have expectations that are completely unreasonable for their price range.
-Every time someone says a completely inane thought out loud.
-They mention walk-in closets. (two drinks if all closet commentary is aimed at the woman with no regard to where the man will keep his clothing)
-They complain about a street/train/other noise element.
-They complain that a room is "small."
-They complain about a lack of privacy in the yard due to neighboring houses at reasonable neighboring distances.
-Any mention of granite counter tops or stainless steel appliances.
-Anyone points out what a great "office" a room will make.
-The realtor points out something glaringly obvious ("This is a kitchen." "Here we have the back yard.")
-Any mention of a "bonus room."
-Something they say makes you think you would never want them to move in next door to you.

Finish your drink if...
-They actually buy the home you would have chosen.

Comment if you have any more suggestions! I have already added some and will continue to do so.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Rules for Tattoo Etiquette

Yesterday The New York Times published what can simply be known as the worst thing I have ever had the displeasure to read about tattoo etiquette.

You can head on over to the link to read it, but to sum up it was part interview with Ami James and part list of courtesies for people about talking about ink (their own or someone else's).

A couple of the rules were fine, like don't walk up and touch someone without their permission (do you want to get punched in the jaw?) or that it's OK to ask politely about someone's ink. But the rest were just terrible.

The "City Critic," who acknowledged having no ink of his own, seems to think the tattooed somehow owe the rest of the world unfettered access to their skin. One rule said that if you show any part of your tattoo, you must show the entire thing. Another said you should have a good story at hand for people who ask, even if it isn't true.

To sum up: no.

People with tattoos do not owe anyone anything relating to their ink. They don't have to show off the whole thing, they don't have to have a good story, they don't even have to answer your questions if they don't want to. Getting a tattoo does not suddenly revoke your right to personal boundaries and body autonomy.

I know the argument: "but you got a visible tattoo, what do you expect from people?"

This is what I expect: To be treated like a person. To have my personal space respected. The exact same things I would ask for with or without tattoos.

Grabbing someone without their permission is assault. True, your intentions may be curiosity and appreciation rather than violence, but it is still unacceptable behavior. If you want to know something about a tattoo you see, smile and ask nicely. Pay them a compliment before launching into your questions.

And by all means, you do not have to dress a certain way to show off or not show off* your tattoo. I happen to be showing off my shoulder tat in the picture below. But if I am wearing that dress in public, it may just as likely be because it's hot out or I just felt like going strapless. Wanting to share that particular tattoo might not have even factored in when I got dressed (though I admit to buying a few extra racerback tank tops after I got it out of excitement). Sometimes I wear ribbed tank tops with thick straps. When I do, you can see some parts of that tattoo but not the whole thing. I am breaking the City Critic's rule, and I am glad to do so. I like that style of shirt, and whether or not someone can see my whole tattoo isn't really my problem.

As far as stories go, you may or may not have a good one. I got a ball of yarn because it's pretty and I like to knit. I don't know if that classifies as a good enough story, but that's the truth and if I feel like talking about my tattoo that's what I will say. My other two have stories as well, and it doesn't matter to me if they are interesting to others. I'm not going to lie about why I got them. If I got one because I was at a party all night and my friends and I thought it was hilarious to get matching ink, that's the story I would tell. Tattoos don't have to have a deep meaning. Some do, some don't. People can get them for whatever reason they want.

Plus, some stories are so personal or painful that the inked individual might not want to tell them to a complete stranger. That's OK, too. If you ask about someone's tattoo and they don't want to tell you, don't get bent out of shape about it. They have no obligation to share for whatever reason.

So my rules are basically this: for admirers, be courteous. Don't touch, by all means, and if you want to ask something do so politely and maybe open with a compliment. And if the person isn't interested in talking, that is their right. Simply walk away. For the inked, yes people are going to ask questions if you have something highly visible. Human nature is to be curious. But you don't have to tell them anything if it's too personal, to complicated, or you just aren't in the mood to chat. Just try and be polite. Or be at least as polite as the person asking is being.

Oh, and for everyone, if you get caught staring, smile before you look away to indicate you are staring out of appreciation instead of judgment. Unless you're staring out of judgment, in which case feel free to get the hell away from me.

*Obvious exception: certain places of employment may have rules about how much ink you can show. I happen to think those rules are stupid, but you should probably respect them if you need to keep that particular job.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Coney Island Fourth of July [Photos]

I decided to head down to Coney Island to check out the festivities and the hot dog eating contest. It was really hazy and I couldn't get close to the stage to get pictures of the eaters, but here are the pictures I did take.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why I don't want a 10 to be considered "plus sized"

Forgive me if this sounds like a half-cocked rant. I'm really tired today but felt like I needed to say something.

I saw that the site Refinery 29 is launching a site for "plus size ladies size 10 and up." My reaction, instead of being glad to see that, is that I am decidedly not OK with a 10 being considered plus sized. (Note: all clothing sizes I refer to are U.S. measurements.)

It's not because (as someone actually said to me on Twitter) I think 10 is "normal," which, of course, indicates that plus sizes are a deviation from that. It's not because I think "plus size" is an offensive label or that it somehow damages the otherwise-socially-acceptable size of 10. It's because plus sizes need to keep aiming up, not down.

As it is, the smaller end of plus sizes -- currently the standard is to start at 14 -- get the bulk of the good stuff. There are more options, more representation in models (though plus models are still overwhelmingly too small), and more mainstream recognition. Once you pass, say, a size 20 or 22, you're in a proverbial no-(wo)man's land.

I can only sort of speak from experience on this. The largest I have been is about a 22/24 (and the smallest in my adult life is about a 16), so I have never really faced what it's like to be someone who needs a 28, 30, 32, or larger.

What I experienced is that once your size has a 2 in front of it, there is an immediate drop in options. Lines that brag about how they are making plus sizes and are suddenly oh-so-accepting-and-awesome don't really cater to anyone high up there. When Forever 21 first introduced plus sizes, they included 1X and 2X. That's not exactly much of an extension, especially when you consider that they also run small. Now, they have corrected themselves a little, going to 3X and adding in more styles. But that still excludes a lot of people.

So my reason is that including size 10 in the line of plus means the border is even lower, so women who wear sizes higher than 20 will be considered even farther outside the threshold between straight and plus sizes. In a world where lines already cater to the smallest plus size possible, the last thing we need is to have that size be even smaller. It's not because I think being called a plus size is a bad thing. It's because too many other people do, so to be further outside the so-called norm will be incredibly damaging to a group that is already too often excluded.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Punk Rock Bowling: The Good, The Bad, And the...

Gang Control
This is the only appropriate crowd response to Leftover Crack's "Gang Control."

In lighter news than the Weiner ridiculousness, I went to Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas last weekend.

Overall, I had a great time, though there were some issues. I'll recap.

The Good:
  • The line-up was excellent. It felt like there was a good mix between newer bands and "legends." I discovered acts I'd never heard before, like Larry and His Flask and Old Man Markley, but I also got so see old favorites like Dropkick Murphys, Leftover Crack, The Bouncing Souls and Agnostic Front. Over all I think I watched about 20 different groups play. Bonus: a lot of members of the bands were milling around in the crowd when they weren't playing and were gracious and friendly if you stopped them to say "hey, good set" or something.
  • Location. The lot where the festival was held was right across the street from my hotel and within a couple of blocks of several others. It was two or three blocks down to the covered part of Fremont Street, and there were a bunch of restaurants and bars nearby. If you were staying right around there, you rarely had to walk more than a few blocks to do anything.
  • People. I went by myself, knowing I would see at least two or three people I know (or online know without having met). Through them I met even more cool people. Friends of friends of friends starting piling up and it was a ton of fun. I swear I kind of felt like I was at summer camp.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm a sanctimonious vegetarian and I'm OK with that

Or maybe I'm not. It probably depends on who you ask.

Last night, I caught this joke (and I use that term lightly) going around Tumblr that said something like "Want to know who the vegan is at your party? Don't worry, they'll tell you." Essentially playing into the annoying stereotype of the preachy PETA-loving vegan who can't talk about anything else.

The stereotype is actually far more annoying than any vegetarian or vegan (from here on out I'll combine the terms into veg*n) I've ever met.

See, here's the thing. People don't adopt a relatively extreme lifestyle like veg*nism unless they either have to or feel passionate about it (though I will say vegetarianism isn't really THAT extreme). Let's even erase the "have to" part of things and focus on the veg*ns that do it because they feel strongly about animals.

When you're at a party, talking to people, what do you discuss if it's up to you? That's right, things you are passionate about. Whatever the topic -- football, church, gay rights, veg*nism -- why would you bring something up that you aren't interested in? And when it's a topic that's always near the surface (you have to think about it every time you eat) it may very well be the first thing that comes to mind when you're scrambling for a topic.

There's another scenario that I've encountered before. Sometimes you mention being veg*n for some reason, usually in passing, and it gets picked up by someone in the group you're taking with and it snowballs into a debate about the issue that you didn't even want.

It's for that last reason that I put forth the idea that there are far more sanctimonious meat eaters than veg*ns. And what's worse, the obnoxious non-veggies think they're being funny when they do it.

I of course am not saying all meat eaters are like that. Unlike the "joke" above, I am not stupid enough to generalize an entire group of people based on their dietary choices. I am, however, going to point out that I have met absolutely no sanctimonious veg*ns, but many people who claim all veg*ns are irritating and seek to make fun of them.

I guess since I occasionally mention (in conversations and in food settings where it's relevant and important) my vegetarianism and answer questions people ask about it, I'm obnoxious. If being open about my choices and standing up for myself is sanctimonious, then that's what I am. I'd rather be that than the kind of person who perpetuates stereotypes about other groups.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Punk Island Didn't Need to be Saved After All


As it turns out, Punk Island isn't in danger of being canceled like I had heard. I got an email back (while ago, I just forgot to write this update) that it's on as planned. There are fewer stages this year due to construction on Governor's Island, and the booking is now being handled by ABC No Rio. There's a Punk Island Facebook page that if you want to stay up-to-date.

And I gave them permission to use my photos from last year so keep an eye on the promo materials, some of the punk shots might be courtesy of yours truly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Where are all the Riot Grrrls?: Sexism and Punk Rock


Published in Persephone Magazine, March 16, 2011

I started out wanting to write about how I don’t think the punk world is really sexist. After all, I’ve been going to shows since I was 16 and haven’t personally experienced overt hostility, assault, or discrimination. But once I really sat down to think about it, I realized, much to my own dismay, the scene is almost as bad as anywhere else.

Almost. I still hold the opinion that it could be worse. I think there’s a more accepting ideology involved – for starters, there are several bands who outwardly express that they are anti-sexist in addition to being anti-racist and anti-homophobic – but it’s still a scene that’s part of this society, and part of music in general. Punk is not immune.

One major problem is a lack of female artists, at least in prominent groups. You can count on one hand, maybe two, the number of current well-known punk bands with at least one female member. The Creepshow, Star Fucking Hipsters, The Measure (SA), HorrorPops and Civet come to mind. If you loosen the definition of “punk” you could include a few more, like Hey Monday, Paramore and VersaEmerge. There are others, but it’s still a pretty barren wasteland compared to the hundreds of all-male bands that are out there. Barren in numbers, of course, not in talent.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Punk's Guide to SXSW

I originally wrote this for Dying Scene.

So you’ve decided to go to Austin (or already live there). And you want to enjoy yourself among the myriad indie rock, folk and acoustic acts that dominate the hipster pilgrimage that is SXSW.

Believe it or not, there are punk bands playing the festival, so you can find something more entertaining to do than, say, Photoshopping anarchy symbols on top of the festival’s logo. Anyway, here’s a guide to the punk bands and showcases gracing this year’s South by Southwest festival.

We’ve already reported that Fat Wreck Chords and Shirts for a Cure will host showcases on March 18 and Bridge Nine will host shows from March 16 through 19. We also thought we’d break it down day by day so you can get a handle on when the punks are playing.

Of course, half the fun of big music festivals is discovering bands you’ve never heard before. So we tried to include some of the lesser-known punk bands on the list, and the size of the fest means we can’t by any stretch pretend this is an exhaustive roster of who will be playing. The full festival schedule is here.

But we put together a short list of shows that we’d be sure to check out if we were going down there. Check it out here.

How not to write obnoxious how-to posts about check-splitting

For some reason, this piece from The Awl about splitting restaurant bills has been making the rounds in the internet circles I run in.

(This isn't actually about writing how-to posts, but I found The Awl post and some of the responses I've seen very obnoxious. I guess I'm really just adding my own reply, which is probably equally obnoxious, but seriously, people. Cut it out.)

It says, basically, if you are under 25 you can pay for what you ate but once you pass the quarter-century mark you should suck it up and split evenly, even if you don't drink or your food was cheap.

That's dumb.

I know, I'm not far past the 25 mark (I'm 27). But I generally think the paying-for-what-you-ordered route is the fairest one. From what I've read by people who work in restaurants, it's really not that big a deal for a server to split up checks or to put different amounts on different cards. Toss on an extra dollar in tip each if you're worried about being a pain. Or bring cash, which means you can pay what you owe and not give the server any extra work.

Because here's the thing. Though Jill at Feministe may think I'm an "ass" for this, I'm not going to pay extra for someone else's choices when they are significantly more expensive than mine. I'm a vegetarian, which means my food is often at least a little bit cheaper. Especially if I'm being nice/a doormat and I agreed to go somewhere where all I can get is a side salad and some tiny appetizer. I'm not paying for someone's pricey meat entree when all I had was a vegetable quesadilla. I'm already being nice by agreeing to eat somewhere that doesn't cater to my dietary needs to make my friends happy, so I'm not going to pitch in extra dinero on top of that.

And likewise, if I drink at dinner and someone else didn't for whatever reason, I wouldn't expect them to pitch in for a $10 cocktail when they had iced tea. Sure you could argue that it evens out in the long run, but why take that chance when it's not difficult to divide a tab fairly?

So here's what you do: get the bill. Look at it. Find what you ordered and add up the cost. Then add between 25 and 30 percent for tax and tip. Then put that amount on the table. Once each person has done this, someone count the money and compare it to the total-plus-tip (if you're a really big group they may add in tip, so figure that out beforehand). Is there enough? Good. If not, start hitting people up for singles until you get there.

Is it perfect? No. There will always be someone who only wants to tip 10% and someone else who throws in an extra buck to cover for them, but it's a lot closer to being fair than just splitting evenly. Plus it involves math, and math is hard. Oh wait, we all have cell phones with calculators. So it's actually NOT hard.

Also, to respond to The Awl: if you have to start a sentence with "I really hate to generalize/be sexist here," then you are about to generalize and be sexist, so just stop talking. And as a less-cute girl, I have never seen any of my hotter friends do what you claim they do. Being pretty does not make people manipulative and cheap. Really, everyone comes up a dollar short here and there, and decent friends don't mind covering once in awhile (no matter what you look like, shockingly).

Honestly, though, I've never been at a group dinner where anyone wanted to just split evenly. Everyone I eat with (except my parents, who just pay for my food, hooray) throws in for what they had plus tax and tip. Or we ask for separate checks.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spotted: Crochet bike in DUMBO


I noticed this while I was walking my dog last night. A crochet bike, surely from Olek, similar to the one that used to be on the Lower East Side. This is the same artist who crocheted a cover for the bull on Wall St, which was in place a whole two hours before some buzzkill took it down.


I'm not sure how long this has been there. I don't walk through that intersection all that often. But it has to be somewhat recent, because I can't find any other pictures or info on it through Google. My guess is it went up some time in the last few days, but if anyone knows for sure leave a comment.

More pics after the jump.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A belated post on the Walk for Choice and Planned Parenthood rally

I should get it out of the way that this is a media-heavy (photo and video) post, so if you're on a slow connection, consider thyself warned.


I know, I know. It's been almost a week. I suck. But last Saturday I attended both the Walk for Choice and the Planned Parenthood Rally for Women's Health.

In short, both were awesome.

I arrived at Foley Square, where the W4C was meeting, a few minutes late. I was worried they'd leave without me, but luckily they were running behind schedule. I met up with some people I follow on Tumblr, and enjoyed some of the signs.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Awesome video - Dropkick Murphys "Take Em Down"

This is a fan-made video using footage from Wisconsin union protests and the new Dropkick Murphys song "Take Em Down."

Also, in the interest of self promotion, here's a story I wrote on DKM selling special edition shirts for workers' rights.

Save Punk Island (Updated)


Yesterday I came across this note on Facebook:

CALLING ALL PUNKS! I need you to do me (and yourself) a huge favor. To ensure Punk Island happens this year, Governors Island needs to know we're interested. Please send them an email or drop them a line asking them when Punk island will be and that you are really looking forward to it.

The Trust for Governors Island at or at 212-440-2200.

And please, keep it simple and clean. Just when and thanks.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Price discrimination is never OK (an open letter to JC Penney)

Dear JC Penney:

To the left is a photo I took over the summer, in one of your stores near Buffalo, NY. I believe it was in the Walden Galleria mall, but precise location doesn't really matter as you have consistent stock across the country.

What you see is the exact same style shirt, only one is taken from the misses department and the other is from the plus sizes. The most important thing to note is that the plus size shirt costs $14 more than the misses size.

This is not OK.

There is absolutely no logical reason a size 1X should be more expensive than a size XL. I know what the stock answers are - that plus size clothing requires more fabric or that it is more complicated to make and therefore requires more skilled (and costly) construction.

I will refrain from using profanity in this letter, but let me say that my gut reaction to that "explanation" generally involves the excrement of male cattle.

Especially in this case. See, this is a t-shirt with some non-functional decorative buttons sewn to the front. This is not an underwire bra, a metal corset, a wedding dress or some other item that must conform perfectly to the wearer's body to function properly. IT IS A T-SHIRT. It's made of cotton; intended to hang from the shoulders and maybe cling to the lumps and bumps of the person inside. The construction does not vary greatly with size.

The other common excuse - that plus sizes require more fabric - wouldn't hold much water, either. The two shirts pictured above are an XL and a 1X. Arguably, those are barely different sizes at all. Now, I tried both on and I can say that the 1X had a little bit more room in it, but it didn't feel like it was even a whole size bigger than the XL. If higher supply cost were truly the case, all clothing would have prices that grade up with size. I mean, it takes more fabric to make a medium or large than it does to make an extra small, and yet those are always the same price. The cutoff point at which your company is charging more is arbitrary - based on a pre-determined line between sizes that are considered normal and ones that are othered. But there is no real difference if you look at it objectively.

So why do you, as a company, feel compelled to contribute to the rampant discrimination that plus sized people (in the case of this shirt, plus size women) already face on a daily basis? Is it not enough that we encounter taunts from strangers, rude comments from family and "friends," are ostracized from most clothing stores, kicked off airplanes, and constantly treated like we are stupid, lazy, gluttonous or hideous? Is it not enough that doctors ignore our legitimate concerns or blame every little thing on fat? Since fat people are more likely to be discriminated against for employment and more likely to live in poverty, how does it even make sense to try and charge us more?

And did you really think we were too stupid to notice? Luckily, my body is on the cusp between plus sizes and misses, so I grabbed a shirt from each department. Someone who is slightly larger might not even know the shirt was made in misses sizes, and therefore wouldn't know she was being charged more simply because of her natural body type.

This price gouging and discriminatory practice must end. I realize that this particular shirt is probably no longer in stores, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not the first or last time you've cheated your fatter customers out of some of their hard-earned money. Therefore I demand that styles be the same price across departments. If they are the same style, there is absolutely no legitimate reason for them to be more expensive in plus sizes. Comparable styles must be comparably priced. Otherwise, you are committing an egregious act of size discrimination. I, for one, will not buy another item from JC Penney until it is rectified, and I will encourage my family, friends, and internet followers (yes, I have some) to do the same.

I encourage you to do the right thing.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A word about Uga VIII

I already posted this to Tumblr, but it needs to go here as well.

I am truly sorry that they have lost their pet, but I hope that the Seilers take a long, hard look at their breeding practices. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I’d rather have a happy, healthy mascot that lives a long life but doesn’t conform perfectly to their standards than one that’s pure white and physically whatever-he’s-supposed-to-be but doesn’t even survive puppyhood.

I mean, maybe two of them passing away young in a row is a coincidence. But I’m not buying it.

(Photo stolen from the AJC)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Writing to Congresspeople about H.R. 3

Judging by this site, my Representative is Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. I think she's pretty lefty and is probably opposed to H.R. 3 anyway, but you never know, so I wrote a letter that I plan to send her. I guess now it counts as an open letter:

Dear Congresswoman:

Let me start by saying that I'm adamantly pro-choice. I believe that if a woman needs or wants an abortion, she should have it, no matter the circumstances. Her family, her partner, her doctor (barring legitimate medical necessity) and certainly the government should not get to dictate otherwise. It's her decision. I also believe that all reproductive health procedures - yes, including abortion - should be covered by whatever insurance the woman has. If it's private, fine, but also if it's government-based care like Medicaid. Even the procedures that make people uncomfortable should be covered.

I think that H.R. 3, which would limit access to abortion funds for rape victims based on the circumstances of the attack, is disgusting.

I'm not, at this point, a rape survivor. Luck has been on my side and I am not one of the 1 in 4 women who has been sexually assaulted.

So far.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where that could change at any time. It's something I think about when I walk home from the subway at night; when I have to cut through a park; when I meet a new man; when I get a drink at a party or a bar. Despite how cautious I am in all those situations, I could be attacked. Simply because I was born female, I have to worry about this.

John Boehner does not.

As a heterosexual, cisgendered man, the new Speaker of the House has likely never dealt with that sort of fear. He has probably never been cat-called on the street or had someone stalk him back and forth on a nearly-empty subway platform. No one will ever tell him he was asking for it; that he shouldn't have been drinking, shouldn't have accepted that ride home, or shouldn't have been wearing such a short skirt.

The same goes for most of the sponsors of the bill -- if you read the list, all but a few are male.

Congress has no business creating a hierarchy among rape survivors. All rapes are horrible, violent crimes by nature. Whether the attacker used physical force, drugs, coercion or some other method doesn't matter. Rape is rape, a crime is a crime, and a survivor deserves the dignity of having all options available to her (I say her, because while men do get raped, they will never need to seek an abortion after).

Sadly, we live in a world where I could rattle off a short list of friends I know to be rape survivors -- and I'm sure there are even more who haven't told me.

I don't know the details or circumstances for all of them -- and I don't need to. Each of them, along with all other survivors, deserves the same -- justice, of course, but also access to all the treatment they need and choose to have, including abortion. No matter how they got there.

And if my luck runs out and I am ever attacked, I would demand the same.

So I urge you to respect all sexual assault victims and preserve their dignity by voting NO to H.R. 3. It is a horrifying, appalling and unnecessary bill that will ultimately harm more people than it could ever help.

I urge everyone to write to their representatives about this. No matter who they are, but especially if you live in a district represented by one of the people who support this bill. Especially if you can inform them that next time you are in the voting booth, where they stood on this bill may influence what lever you pull (or button you push, or whatever).

Also, if you click on the link above and look at the full text, at least four of the sponsoring Representatives are women. That just makes my soul ache.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

#DearJohn - another hashtag of note

This time, it's not horrifying the way #rulesforgirls was.

The #DearJohn hashtag started in response to the HR3 bill - which is on the surface about federally-funded abortion but more importantly would re-define rape to include ONLY instances of force. Rapes that involve coercion or drugs, as well as statutory rape and incest on anyone over 18, would not be covered if they resulted in a pregnancy that the woman wanted to terminate.

Basically, it's a giant clusterf@#$ that serves only to endanger women and empower rapists.

So some awesome feministas have taken to Twitter, much like they did with the #mooreandme tag, to address tweets to Speaker of the House John Boehner, explaining to the self-righteous, overly-spray-tanned disaster of a speaker that HR3 is disgusting, appalling and unacceptable. They are also directed at different members of Congress to urge them to vote AGAINST this terrible bill.

The original call to action (with hashtag) appeared on Tiger Beatdown. They also linked to a site where you can find your representative and write to them.

I don't know if a Twitter campaign can truly change policy. I'd like to think it can - it certainly shows that the people are unhappy with this bill, and theoretically it's the people that Congress was elected to represent. I'd like to think at least some Representatives see what their constituents think and act accordingly. It's also somewhat heart-warming to see people use social media this way. In between idiocy and terrible grammar, people are speaking out about something important.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is my kind of Valentine

This is hilarious. It's a realistic-looking "bleeding heart" cake from Lily Vanilli. It says it's made of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and that the "blood" is made from cherry and black currants.

And there's a good cause involved! So sayeth the baker:
I'm teaming up with Trekstock and donating 20% of the sale of every ╩╗bleeding heart╩╝ to the music and fashion charity that raises awareness and support for young people with cancer.

I'm not sure if it is actually available in the U.S. (it's a British company) but for anyone in the UK, the cakes are only £7, and you have to order by February 12.

I have to say it: eat your heart out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Say Yes to the Dress drinking game (updated)

I am not a big fan of wedding shows. I find that they play into a bunch of super annoying stereotypes and traditions that exist in everyday life and are only exacerbated by weddings. But, my mom is a fan of "Say Yes to the Dress" so I've seen many, many episodes of it against my will. I was half paying attention to it today and I couldn't help but think it is so cliched and formulaic that there simply must be a drinking game for it. I Googled, but there really isn't anything good. So I'm going to write up my own. Here goes nothing.

Say Yes to the Dress Drinking Game:

Take one drink:
-When the consultants have a meeting.
-If the episode has an obvious theme like "fathers" or "curvy brides."
-If the bride has pictures from a magazine.
-If the consultant talks about how difficult it will be to find the right gown on such a tight budget.
-If the bride refers to her fiance as her "soul mate."
-If the bride tries on a gown by Pnina Tourne.
-Every time someone says "special day," "princess," "little girl" or "fairy tale."
-If someone says the dress should have that "wow factor."
-When Randy swoops in to save the sale.
-If a bride brings her father (two drinks if the father cries).
-If a bride brings her fiance (two drinks if he looks bored).
-If a bride argues with her mother.
-If the bride brings more than three people with her.
-If a bride has some kind of sob story.
-If a bride references dissatisfaction with her own figure (two drinks if she mentions how many pounds she has lost or wants to lose).
-If the wedding is going to be on a beach.
-If the consultant brings her a dress more than $500 over her budget (two drinks if she actually buys it).
-If the bride buys a dress that is sheer/looks like lingerie.
-Whenever anyone makes a joke about it being harder to pick a dress than a husband.
-Someone cries.
-If the bride leaves without buying anything.
-If the consultant looks really annoyed with the bride.
-If a bride is buying a second dress because she didn't like the first one.
-If the bride brings along someone incredibly overbearing or controlling who dominates the appointment.
-If the bride falls in love with a dress that's way out of her price range and her parents buy it for her anyway.

Finish your drink if:
-Someone buys a $20,000 wedding dress.

Please comment if you think there's something else that should be here! I'll add on.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My rule for girls is not to listen to sexist hashtags

OK, it's going to seem like a major idea rip-off, because Jezebel now has a post up on this very idea. But I have been rolling it around in my head, trying to think of something coherent to say that wasn't just a string of curse words. But I'll keep it brief, because now it's been covered.

The #rulesforgirls tag on Twitter is disgusting. Appalling. Horrifying. Etc.

And for awhile there, it was trending.

So it's a collection of "tips" for the ladies. That in and of itself is a bad idea - why do women need a whole separate set of rules to follow? I'm not sure if what's worse - the tweets that are deliberately malicious "jokes" or the ones that appear to be sincere.

There's a lot of "fat chicks shouldn't wear leggings/get tattoos/exist in public and be happy" and of course rules on properly conducting yourself regarding the sexytimes, but there are also lots of sad gender role upholding. For example, "cook for him in stilettos" and "don't behave like a dude." (I'm not entirely sure what that even means.)

And it looks like now there's a #rulesformen tag trending. Guess what? It's still pretty anti-woman sounding. It tells men what kind of women to avoid and what to have women do or not do for them. So, no matter who the tags are aimed at, they're still all about what women can do for men.

And don't get me started on why men are men but women are girls. Plus, Twitter grammar makes my soul die a little.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Anti-Flag has to defend themselves because of the AZ shooter

Sigh. Apparently a friend of the Tucson shooter said he listened to Anti-Flag. Cue Anti-Flag having to defend themselves, because of that scary scary name of theirs. Well, OK, it was also because some moronic right-winger decided their lyrics were all anti-America and stuff.

Here's the statement on their website:

It has come to our attention that a purported former classmate of Jared Lee Loughner stated the following about him, "...he was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix, The Doors, Anti-Flag. I haven't seen him in person since '07..." This comment has led to some discussion in the media and elsewhere regarding Anti-Flag and what Anti-Flag stands for.

For well over a decade Anti-Flag has endorsed non-violent progressive change and has lobbied for peace, equality, justice, and health care (including mental health care) for all people of America and the world.

Anti-Flag unconditionally condemns the heinous actions of Mr. Loughner and our heartfelt condolences and best wishes go out to every single person affected by Mr. Loughner's senseless act of violence. Our message is and always has been very clear, violence in any form is unacceptable.

Peace, Anti-Flag

I think this mainly bugs me because it smacks of the whole "OMG, Columbine shooters listen to Marilyn Manson" thing. Bands shouldn't have to be on the defensive because one of their fans happens to be a nutjob. Music doesn't lead to violence. A lot of things contribute to lashing out and to violent behavior, but one punk band that someone happens to like isn't even a drop in the bucket, even if they do happen to be critical of the government.

But I guess they needed something to pull focus from Sarah Palin and her "surveyor symbols."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I can't afford my own taste.

I may have a moderately unhealthy obsession with Fluevogs. I don't actually own a pair, but I have a tendency to stare at them online or press my face against the window if I pass by the store in SoHo.

This particular pair is on sale. Which would be wonderful, except they've only got size 6 1/2 left (not even close) and the sale price is still $149. They have my size in the awesome purple and orange version, but alas those are still full price.

I only buy heels if they are $25 and randomly fall of the rack at DSW as I walk by.