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Archive for August, 2011

How Forbes Magazine Became A Joke

Posted in Editorials on August 16th, 2011

Fobes published an article last week entitled “How Feminism Became A Joke.” Susannah Breslin writes that Feminism is a joke because:

  • Gloria Steinem approves of Mad Men but not a new television show about the Playboy Club.
  • Her film studies professor explained a phallic symbol in a way that went over her head.
  • Feminists point out ways in which patriarchy harms women. When we don’t believe that Hugh Hefner is a guru of spiritual enlightenment, this makes us “hypocrites.”
  • No one is a feminist anymore.

Her arguments about Steinem and hypocrisy were too convoluted to follow, and I haven’t seen “Working Girl” so I can’t comment on Sigourney Weavers symbolic penis. However, the tired cliches about feminists not having a sense of humor and feminism being dead are so patently false, that I don’t know if anyone who espouses them actually knows what feminism is, or what has been going on in the past 20 years or even the past 5.

In terms of feminists who have a sense of humor, there’s Amanda Marcotte, Twisty Faster, Julie Klausner, Sady Doyle, Greta Christina, Jen McCraight, the entire Jezebel blog… there actually hasn’t been a feminist blog I’ve read since I’ve started reading feminist blogs in 2005 that hasn’t made me laugh at least once. Of course it can’t be all fun and games, there are serious and sometimes tragic issues to discuss. But feminist ladies (and dudes) do know how to crack a joke when appropriate. There’s also a rich history of funny ladies who are also feminists – Sarah Silverman, Maria Bamford, Sarah Haskins, Kristen Schall, just to name a few.

As far as “No one’s buying it anymore,” I’m not sure how anyone with an internet connection could not notice the Slutwalks being planned by people all over the world. Or the thousands who marched across the United States in defense of Planned Parenthood earlier this year.

Whether Breslin is dishonest or clueless doesn’t matter. This kind of dreck is published (and solicited) by Forbes to remind everyone what the rich and powerful think of women. And that’s the cruelest joke of all.

I’d Rather Vote For Janet Rhodes

Posted in Editorials on August 15th, 2011

On Monday morning, I experienced a moment of clarity – a long moment of clarity. I was reading Fire Dog Lake.

I thought, I have voted Democratic all my life. I have been a campaign volunteer for local candidates every year since 2006.  I have always followed current events closely. I am disillusioned by President Obama’s refusal to see the Republicans for who they are – bitter hateful people intent on destroying the country – not allies who just happen to have a different letter after their name.

I gave a good chunk of my money to Barack Obama in 2008. I will not vote for Obama again. In November 2012, when I step into that voting booth, if I see the name, Obama, on the ticket, for the first time in my life, I will vote for a write in candidate. If I can remember how to spell “Janet Rhodes”, then I will vote for Janet Rhodes for President of the United States.

This is when the long moment of clarity occurred.

I immediately called the White House switchboard.

I gave the White House volunteer my background info. And then I said, “I want Obama to resign, effective immediately.”

Since making that phone call, I’ve honed my voting strategy. I’ve been reading the comments at Pandagon, Alas A Blog and the Angry Black Lady. Several people have pointed out that it’s most effective to vote for whomever you truly believe in, whether it’s a third party candidate or writing someone in. No matter what I say, voting for Janet Rhodes would be interpreted as an endorsement of the moonbat, purity troll agenda. It would also reinforce the assumption that throwing a temper tantrum is an effective way to get what you want.

My husband also weighed in, asking me quizzically. “Who are you, and what have you done with the reasonable, pragmatic woman I married?”

But I don’t care. All that matters is  my number one political goal: to show everyone that I am smarter and more liberal than they are.

When I step into that voting booth in November 2012, I will vote for someone who is not Barack Obama. When I experienced that moment of clarity, I realized that my vote is a weapon. And I intend to use it.  I intend to use it for the forces of spite, cynicism, pettiness and acting like a toddler who has missed her afternoon nap. This is the America I was raised to believe in. One where people brandish their rights like firearms, or nuclear missiles, ready to send anyone who calls for dialogue, compassion or incremental change straight to hell.

Book Review: The Price Of Motherhood

Posted in Book Reviews on August 14th, 2011

The Price of Motherhood: Why The Most Important Job In The World is Still The Least Valued by Ann Crittenden

The Price of Motherhood was an alarming book, and an important one for anyone who is thinking of becoming a parent or who already is. I do not have any children, but I would like to one day. The idea of “mommy wars” always seemed too simplistic to be valuable, and my suspicions were correct – there seem to be few if any differences between children whose parents work, and those who are cared for at home.

Crittenden shows that no matter what choice women make, they’re in for a raw deal. It’s not just that a gap in employment could lead to lower wages and difficulty finding a job when returning to the workforce, there is a penalty for having children at all – even if they return to work very soon after giving birth.

The idea behind the Price of Motherhood is that our society undervalues child care, whether it is provided by parents or outside the home in day care centers. The most astonishing part of the book was that even husbands of working mothers face a penalty:

A survey of 348 male managers at twenty Fortune 500 companies found that fathers from dual-career families put in an average of two fewer hours per week – or about 4 percent less – than men whose wives were at home. That was the only difference between the two groups of men. But the fathers with working wives, who presumably had a few more domestic responsibilities, earned almost 20 percent less.

A 4% decrease in hours worked led to a 20% loss in income. For men.

This book is an important one for everyone to read. Crittenden presents a fascinating case of what a divorce settlement would look like for a family where the husband works and the mother stays at home with the children where the income is divided in such a way that keeps all people at the same percentage above the poverty line as they were when the marriage was in tact. The amount the husband has to pay is sizable, and the anecdote makes it clear why divorce often leads to poverty for women and children.

I felt an overwhelming sense of doom when reading this book. The truth is that no matter what, in the United States it is not easy to raise a family. I think that this book is valuable for answering questions that a lot of young women have before starting a family but are unsure where to look for answers. Many women were raised to believe that since motherhood is rewarding and natural, everything will work itself out in the end, and might feel that our financial concerns are not valid. They are. Securing resources is a part of taking care of children. I would recommend this book for anyone curious about or planning for the financial aspects of parenthood.