Archive for the ‘Feminist Majority’ Category

TP reports:

[Police arrested 17 women and 14 men at a march outside of the Virginia Capitol while officers in riot gear held the hundreds of demonstrators back with shields. The crowd was protesting the Virginia General Assembly’s approval of a controversial bill on Thursday to require women to receive ultrasounds before abortions. The 31 people arrested […]/p

via Virginia Police Arrest 31 At Women’s Rights Demonstration. ]

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Been Down So Long 

Well, I’ve been down so Goddamn long
That it looks like up to me
Well, I’ve been down so very damn long
That it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don’t one you people
C’mon and set me free

I said, warden, warden, warden
Won’t you break your lock and key
I said, warden, warden, warden
Won’t ya break your lock and key
Yeah, come along here, mister
C’mon and let the poor boy be
Baby, baby, baby
Won’t you get down on your knees
Baby, baby, baby
Won’t you get down on your knees
C’mon little darlin’
C’mon and give your love to me, oh yeah

Well, I’ve been down so Goddamn long
That it looks like up to me
Well, I’ve been down so very damn long
That it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don’t one you people
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon and set me free

The Doors


In 1982, when the Komen Foundation began, lack of sufficient gender specific research towards diseases, was a founding basis. Research, even in gender common illnesses tended to be conducted, and conclusions reached on male subjects. While the Komen Foundation certainly was successful in popularizing the cause of breast cancer research and elimination, I found myself annoyed on several fronts.

Suddenly everyone I knew was concerned about my breasts and was reminding me about them. It was true that my mother had her own adventure with the breast carvers. Her experience theoretically put me in a possible higher risk group. I could understand and even appreciate the health tracts she sent me. At the same time, however, no one was reminding me about the possibilities of an imminent stroke, heart attack, uterine/colon cancer, or celiac disease, industrial toxin based cancer, all of which also have occurred in my families. No one approached me clucking, with that glazed look of concern I received for my breasts, that I should have a heart murmur checked yearly, get tested for bodily damage from my construction job, or have my head examined to see if there was any organic change over my lifelong headaches.

Aside from the personal medical intrusions, I knew that heart disease was, in 1982, and still is, the leading cause of death in women. The symptoms are often different in women. Awareness has grown, yet the publicity level that the Komen Foundation for garnered for breasts has never been achieved for women’s heart disease. Additionally, according the CDC, after the cancer category of all types for women in general, stroke is the third leading cause of death.

We need to eliminate cancer. Breast cancer sometimes spreads, just like other cancer forms. We need to stop that.  Let’s face it, though, we don’t need our breasts to survive, or even bear children, like we do our heart and brain.  We don’t need them the way that we need our unscarred uteruses, kept safe from coat hanger abortions. We don’t need them the way we need free choice and medical help free of unnecessary probings, dictated by the latest paternalist clothed in a religious hair shirt.

Boobs are still the purview of the leering public, and command it’s attention and devotion. Talk about boobs and even the most severely afflicted ADDr will be able to listen long enough to hear the back-story. Mention boobs and the wave of concern over attendant issues will rise more quickly and crest higher. Boobs still belong to the paternalists, sex purveyors and sellers. They remain the bugaboo of disfigurement that we will be less valuable as sex objects in our unfair world. When public boob fomentations are greater than that for the total health of the person holding them up, something is amiss.

As we have learned, all was not what it seemed in the Komen Foundation either. Hiding behind the pink ribbon was the political malignancy of a right wing liar and her helpers. The cancerous breast as the banner of women’s medical need both advanced and divided the cause of women’s equality because it fostered this political infiltration. Grant funds from Komen to Planned Parenthood were intended to provide screening for breast cancer to poor and uninsured women-no more. Yet Komen was willing to deprive these women of this service in order to push the right wing agenda against Planned Parenthood.

What was all this Komen mess about really? In a sense, as opposed to Planned Parenthood, Komen has outlived its use, by continuing to focus on one body part. It caters to the wrong public aspect of who we are as women. Somewhere in it’s evolution the Komen breast became the Komen boob. People who brought our attention to the problem are to be commended. It probably helped that we were talking about boobs.

Beyond the recent issue however, Komen stands as one symbol of the cost of pragmatism and compromise. While progressives and conservatives alike have dragged these words out like shiny new toys, women have suffered their consequences for centuries. Having failed yet to pass the ERA, women have been consigned to grasp and glean tiny bits of freedom and equality. This also necessitates vigilance over a vast patchwork of threaded laws and rulings and makes the work of equality more difficult.

The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) has made an effort to include women; mostly with line items for pregnancy and breast care. I searched the Act in pdf form again recently, and found 142 instances of “women”, 42 for “breast” and 78 for “pregnant or pregnancy”. In contrast, “men” were mentioned twice, and “prostate or erectile” not at all. One of the two lines where men are mentioned is there to assure that medical data will be compiled for both sexes.

I’ve said this elsewhere before; while to have some of women’s specific concerns mentioned in the Affordable Care Act, appears to be an advance, each line item is now a target for removal based on the whims of Congress. Men, on the other hand, being legally the more equal of the two sexes, will continue to have their prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction treated quietly by their doctor, away from the Congressional reductionists.

To my mind the most important line items are the 351 locations, in the Act, of the word “research”. Each one of those items is an opportunity for the future and at the same time, a target. Women will need to defend these as well.

The Komen fiasco has opened  plenty of room for outrage. It’s easy to add it to the list.  There are so many things wrong:

Tom In Paine raised the question as to whether Democrats and Progressives have learned this political lesson of outrage and action and will move forward to defend other fronts.

The ACLU webpage maintains a list of active campaigns, in which they are involved. I counted over ninety at the bottom of the page.  Some are for women.

Ian Welsh’s recent post on justified pessimism is great.

However, my breasts and I, think, that, as has happened too many times before, the Komen fiasco is being subsumed by well meaning but outside progressive interests. It is easy to get pulled away from the core concern. What appears to be a right-left issue is about those who would reduce our rights and those who are telling they should decide when we should be equal, because there are more important things to do. It’s just two faces of paternalism.

Women are not a special interest group. This incident was about 51% of the population, women, and the people who support them. This was a case of women attacking more vulnerable women, pure and simple. The attackers did it to gain favor with the warden. Confinement will do that.

Congress is the warden and the ERA is the key. Until the 1972 ERA passes women won’t see “up”. The sad part is that at least 50% of us weren’t even around yet to see the promise of “up”, or think we are in “up” and don’t know what the hell I am talking about.

This is a teachable moment.

Other links:




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Elizabeth Anania Edwards died on New Year’s Day in the new Lunar Hijri calendar of 1432. That first day in the month of Muharram, where it is forbidden to fight, she stopped and gave up her life to a disease. Though most in the US don’t use the word or embrace the context, she could have been considered a martyr, to the cause of ending breast cancer.

We in the United States often wear blinders when it comes to looking beyond our boundaries, but her death was noted outside our confines. Pakistan Times carried THIS.

I found myself wondering at the complexity of translation from English to Arabic that must have occurred, and fascinated by the resulting translation back to English in the Pakistan Times, I nevertheless recognize the syntax of the press release found in many other publications. It’s a reminder to me that the world really does listen, engage and even honor those it finds worthy.

In looking at the day in Wikipedia, it seems in a mystical sense, all of a piece that her death day was also that of the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Bombing, the day Indonesia invaded East Timor, the day Yassar Arafat acknowledged Israel, the Day the Republic of China moved to Taipei and the day the US first executed a person by lethal injection. Days of tribulation and days of human rights achievements are always linked.

Anania studied law, then, spent her life helping others, struggling for their rights in bankruptcy court and family law. She went to Washington and told our government how the dysfunction of our health system and bankruptcy laws did more than anything in our country to break people financially and kill them.  Anania spoke out for the human rights of others. Maybe there were other reasons, but she did not take the name of Edwards until and in honor of her son’s death in 1996. In another time she would probably have held the stage herself, rather than as a Senator’s wife. A daughter of the 70’s promise of human rights, her life was too short, but she strove to make it worthy. I think she succeeded.

Her death day folds into this week’s UN celebration: International Human rights Day, where this year’s recognition is for those defenders to end human discrimination.  To recognize her is to understand the honorable struggle ongoing in the world.

So, it will be sad and pathetic it will be when these people show up at her funeral tomorrow. My pity is for them. If you wish to send an  honorarium you might send to the Komen Fund in South Florida, (At the bottom of the Examiner page.) or the Wade Edwards Foundation. It’s all of a piece.

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From a feminist’s viewpoint, it makes no sense to consider a woman, (or even a man) for senatorial candidacy who expresses contempt over it’s appellation. That’s what Carly Fiorina is doing when she attempts to belittle Barbara Boxer’s senatorial exchange in the recent September ad.

Must we again remind ourselves that job titles reflect our experience, value, and job worth? One of the very things that keep us on the low end of the job scale monetarily is our inability to properly identify ourselves. Fiorina knows this. She has had no trouble identifying herself as former CEO of Hewlett Packard.

In this botched ad, it appears that Fiorina was attempting to spotlight Boxer’s 28 years as a public servant as being too long, and Boxer’s correction of General Michael Walsh, who’s use of “Ma’am” was inappropriate, even if allowed by protocol. The problem is, the way in which Boxer’s 28 years experience is addressed induces thought. It makes you think of what she has accomplished, rather than her being out of touch. And, does anyone really think that the military should be above correction?

Republican feminists have to be cringing over this ad. Taken along with the earlier hair remarks, Fiorina couldn’t have skewered herself better if she tried. Who even cares what her platform is, when she takes her campaign strategy cues from rabid bat misogynist trolls?

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SacBee is reporting that Judge Walker has lifted the temporary stay on the Prop 8 ruling, paving the way for same sex marriages to resume as early as August 18th. Pending further legitimate action on the dark side, those souls who have already applied for their licenses could be married before the end of the month.



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Geena Davis and Alexandra Gleysteen have both been appointed to the State’s “Commission on the Status of Women”, by Governor Schwarzenegger. The appointments are pending CA Senate confirmation.

I’ll just say to whomever is editing Wikipedia for these two, Geena’s page definitely needs revising to better reflect her activities as a woman’s advocate. Alexandra needs inclusion. Better bios were found on the “appointed” link.

They certainly deserve Senate confirmation.

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It’s always nice when people agree with and say exactly what  you think; especially when they say it so well over at the Confluence:

My $0.02 on Shirley Sherrod

By Wonk the Vote

UTube and all the other media videos deserve the same scrutiny as your local grown fruit.

Ask these questions: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW, and WHY!!! if you can’t answer those questions, you don’t know what you are watching. If you don’t know what you are watching, you can’t make a decision. That sure as heck means you don’t go riling people up and firing them cause, you, Freda, are suffering from information deficit syndrome.

Now, you’d a thunk all those gal’ durned Harvard Grads would know that stuff by now.

Either, they really are a bunch of doofuses, or ?

Try this on:

1) As Wonk alludes, we are a long way from realizing the ageist and misogynist elements of this story. WHO, right now is being asked to take early retirement, or let go in the greatest numbers? Who as a group has earned the highest salary in the last few years, and thus has the greatest impact on the bottom line? If you can’t remove someone because of tenure, what other tactics are used? This is a long running storyline.

2) Liberals, and I am one, should spend a little time pondering a pattern of dispensability of the more liberal political elements and civil rights “Old Guard” on the part of the Obama administration. Van Jones wasn’t the only other example. In case you still don’t get it. Obama is NOT A LIBERAL! He is not on your side. Whatever is wanted must come from you and your actions.

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On my travels through FaceBook today, I came across an astounding announcement over at the National ACLU site. It isn’t yet on their webpage. It said:

ACLU Nationwide: BREAKING: Obama shockingly adds abortion coverage ban to new insurance pools for women with pre-existing conditions. More soon.2 hours ago


Looking for any source, I found two.

Earned Media, a rightist site reported:

Administration Reiterates That No Federal Funds Will Be Used for Abortion

“Despite Claims by Republican Groups, High Risk Pools will not pay for Abortion”


Then there was NARAL:

Pro-Choice America Speaks Out!


Statement on Obama Administration Policy Excluding Abortion Coverage from High-Risk Pools

[Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the Obama administration’s decision today to exclude abortion coverage from newly created high-risk pools wrongheaded and inexplicable….]


Bemusedly, I looked for any announcements from the White House, but there was only one up to the time of this blog, an Executive Order on March 24th.

Now I don’t know about you, but I thought it was pretty clear from the Order in March, even if you didn’t grasp all of the nuances of the , so recently in our memory, that existing conditions for women were never part of the final deal. That’s just one more reason the Act was so heinous for women. In March, over at the Confluence, people were having this kind of discussion about it.

RH Reality check had the best discussion of today’s debate HERE.

So, what is with these groups? Are they really so slow on the uptake? Or is something else going on? If Nancy (I don’t believe in abortion, but I run NARAL and spent big bucks to get Obama elected and drop kick Clinton) is screaming, it must be about something else? Koolaid withdrawals? The start of a new battle?

Hey what do I know, I’m just one of those low information working class voters, with dial-up. Someone out there in blog land, enlighten me.

No enlightenment thus far. Maybe it’s as mundane as basic “Velveteen Rabbit” legaleze. It’s not real until you rub it’s fur off and pull its eyes out, and the PA kurfluffle is a first test. If that’s the case why not present it like that instead of pretending it’s some new horribleness?

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Sign the Petition HERE.

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I suppose it could be argued that breaking into the Footlocker last night and making off with tennis shoes and clothes was some sort of symbolic tribal equivalent to throwing your enemies’ shoes over the telephone lines. For my money, it was not an anarchist statement, as has been inferred in the Sfgate today. Nihilist maybe. Or, maybe as one demonstrator on TV last night said, it was “ignorant”.

Whatever it was that caused the degeneration of a lawful street protest over the conviction of Johannes Mehserle for the shooting of Oscar Grant; it failed. It failed to support, advocate or advance the cause of those who felt they had legitimate grievance in the outcome of the trial.

So, if not legal justice, what did those shoes represent? Tennis shoes aren’t jobs, food or a chance to get ahead. Nor will they solve the inequities of race. Rather, they represent a failure of consumerism.  They are symbols of the oligarchs’ greed, to which so many of us, of all races and gender have fallen. We don’t need them, we only thought we wanted them. Were any of those shoes made in the USA? Did they help to build our country? Did they make us strong?

Grab yourself together and take the shoes, clothes and other items back, apologize and do penance for your actions. Render unto the taxman the coin of the realm, and free yourself from the oligarchs’ bonds. Summer is not yet half over, it’s already hot. There is death in the Gulf air and death in Afghanistan. Our country is in the grasp of the greedy. There is pain and rage everywhere to be found. Hold yourself together, find your strength and, Keep your eye on the prize.

We are all going to need clear eyed vision this summer.

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