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.