Tag Archives: feminism

Are You A Feminine-ist?

Have you ever heard of Karen Salmansohn? Neither had I, until I read an article of hers on Oprah.com, Googled her, and then discovered she had written 29 freaking books, including one called How To Be Happy, Dammit. Sounds like an expert on, uh, something right? On Oprah.com, Salmansohn has written a piece called “Are You A Feminist Or A Feminine-ist?” which has led me to conclude she is an expert in being idiotic. “Feminine-ist” and “feminine-ism” are terms she’s desperate to get in to the lexicon, but she doesn’t make much of a case for their inclusion, in my opinion. For starters, there’s her definition of feminine-ism: “This energy of simply being by indulging in a meditative and self-nurturing manicure, a facial or a hot bubble bath.” So feminine-ism is about going to a spa? And why is “feminine-ism” so desperately needed? She explains:

“I see too many women these days rushing around trying to do it all, but meanwhile they’re not being it all! They’re not being their fullest, best feminine selves. Instead, they’re being tougher than they’d like to be as well as more exhausted, strident and irritable, thereby feeling unattractive inside and out. All while suffering from guilt over the stuff they did not manage to squeeze into their over-booked schedules.”

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Why Women Should Be Concerned About Men’s Rights Groups

We write often about domestic abuse issues here on The Frisky and the discussions get quite heated. Those of you readers who get very passionate about the subject absolutely must read the story “Men’s Rights’ Groups Have Become Frighteningly Effective” by journalist Kathryn Joyce on Double X, about the rise of the “men’s movement.” Many men’s rights groups sound innocuous enough at face value. Who’s against men’s rights? Who’s against reporting domestic violence accurately? Who’s against letting dads see their kids? But on closer inspection, writes Joyce, their causes are pretty sleazy: they often seek to discredit women who report abuse and advocate for sharing custody of children on principle, regardless of prior criminal history of the father. Some of these men are utter nutters. One men’s rights blogger Joyce interviewed for her article told her he would refer to her not by her name but by the title “Feminist E,” because he does not use real names for feminists. He thinks men “must verbally oppose [them ]… until our flesh oxidizes into dust.” Uh-huh. Right. Keep reading »

Would You Live In A Women-Only Apartment Building?

An article in the New York Times this week about women-only apartment buildings in New York City brought back memories of my first college dorm way back in the mid-’90s. It was the only remaining all-girls dorm on campus and I was in the last class of freshmen to live there before it became co-ed. I didn’t choose the dorm and I wasn’t happy when I was assigned to it; I remember feeling especially frustrated that I’d finally escaped the clutches of my over-protective mother only to be stuck in a place where I had to sign-in every male guest, escort them in the halls and elevators, and make sure they left the building before 11 p.m. Lame! Of course, back then basically the only guys who were interested in hanging out with me were my plethora of gays who liked to watch “Ricki Lake” on my tiny 13-inch TV and gossip about our mutual friends. What can I say? I was a hag at a young age. I doubt it was any coincidence that the next year, when I moved into a co-ed dorm, I finally branched out and actually started dating straight guys who liked making out with me instead of just counseling me on how to wear my hair. All this is to say I couldn’t imagine living in an apartment as a grown woman where the same rules that I had to abide by when I was 18 applied. Keep reading »

Today’s Lady News: Is Emma Thompson Finally Off Team Polanski?

  • Emma Thompson initially signed a petition calling for Roman Polanski’s freedom, but has she had a change of heart? A reader at the blog Shakesville may have convinced her to remove her name from his list of supporters. [Shakesville]
  • An Illinois judge has blocked the enforcement of the state’s controversial parental notification law, which mandates that a physician inform a parent or guardian if a minor age 17 or younger seeks an abortion. The law was blocked through a temporary restraining order by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. [Chicago Breaking News]

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Today’s Lady News: Illinois’ Parental Notification For Abortion Law Is Delayed

  • Illinois’ controversial parental notification law for minors seeking an abortion has been delayed at least until Wednesday morning as officials meet to verify that girls can waive the notification process by petitioning a judge, who has 48 hours to rule on it. The parental notification law does not give parents consent, but requires that they be notified. An exemption is made in the case of a medical emergency or if a girl puts it in writing that she was sexually abused. [Chicago Tribune]

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Gail Collins’ 5 Most Significant Yet Overlooked Moments For Womankind

Here at The Frisky, we spend an awful lot of time reflecting on, pontificating about, and debating the state of things for women of the world today. How would things be different without feminism? Did it even work? Are we better or worse off than our grandmothers? Mothers? But no dialogue can be complete if not placed within the context of history. That’s why I am so excited about journalist Gail Collins’ new book, When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, which is currently on the bestseller list. Not only was Gail the first woman to be an editor at The New York Times, where she continues today as a columnist, but now she has penned the new must-have text for modern feminists. Her simple message to our generation: We must not take our astounding journey for granted. While we all know the big moments in women’s history—getting the right to vote, appointing the first woman to the Supreme Court, etc.—I’ve wondered what smaller moments Gail thinks had a huge pull on who we are today. After the jump, Gail breaks down for us the five most historically significant moments for women that no one knew were huge at the time. It’s an inspiring herstory lesson. Keep reading »

Overweight And Underweight Teen Girls More Likely To Have Risky Sex

Here’s a strange study for you. Gynecology professor Aletha Akers just led a study about the sexual activity of teenage girls, surveying almost 7,200 girls about risky sexual behavior. The survey concluded that girls who are underweight, healthy weight, and overweight are equally as likely to have had sex. But apparently girls in the overweight and underweight categories are more likely to have had risky sex—they’re more likely to fail to use condoms, have sex while drinking, and to have had sex with more than four partners. Akers believes that this effect has more to do with a teenager’s self-perception than with the actual number on the scale. Women on the ends of the spectrum may feel dips in their self-esteem, which maybe leads to some of these behaviors? Also interesting, the type of unsafe sex can be predicted to a certain extent by the girl’s race. For example, overweight Caucasian girls are less likely to use condoms than Caucasians of normal weight, and African-American teenage girls who are underweight are less likely to use a rubber. Why on earth is there a difference? [Salon] Keep reading »

Today’s Lady News: 6 Bodies Found At Cleveland Rapist’s Home

  • Six women’s bodies were found at the home of Anthony Sowell, 50, of Cleveland, Ohio, when police arrested him on a rape and felony assault warrant last Thursday. Sowell already served 15 years in prison for a 1989 rape of a 21-year-old woman. Although the bodies have not yet been identified, at least two women who lived within several blocks of Sowell went missing over the summer. [CBS News]
  • Illinois’ parental notification law, which requires physicians to inform a parent or guardian when a girl under the age of 17 wants an abortion, will go into effect tomorrow. The parent or guardian will not be allowed to give consent, but he or she must be notified about the abortion. Girls can bypass notifying their parents by going before a judge, but the judge has 48 hours to rule. Parental notification also isn’t required in the case of a medical emergency or if the girl declares in writing that she is the victim of sexual abuse. [Chicago Tribune]

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For Female Soldiers, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Is Very Real

I’ve been pretty fascinated by the New York Times‘ series “Women at Arms,” about lady folk in the military. Yesterday’s front page story might have been the most interesting so far. It looks at the lives of women who’ve returned from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now dealing with the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. Obviously, this affects dudes as well, but the article makes the argument that it can be even more severe for women, who feel such a disconnect between who they were before and after war that they isolate themselves from friends and family, sometimes for years. One woman in the story describes feeling paranoid of her kids. Another says she beats her husband in her sleep during especially intense combat dreams. Yet another woman reported wanting to jump over the counter and attack an Arab store clerk the other day, for no apparent reason. Experts at the newly formed Women’s Center at the VA Hospital in Tampa, Florida, explain that these are classic PTSD symptoms, but that women feel a whole ‘nother level of insane for having these thoughts because they are so typically “unfeminine.” And to add another layer to this story, these women feel ultra misunderstood because most people assume women in the military don’t see actual combat, when in truth many of them witnessed explosions and saw friends die. This year, more than 8,500 women have been diagnosed with PTSD, and those are only the ones who sought treatment through the VA. The VA expects that number to double over the next year. Anyway, read the whole article. And make sure to give it up for veterans, of both genders. [NY Times] Keep reading »

Women Fleeing Beatings From Their Husbands Could Get Asylum Here

Rody Alvarado Peña, now 40, was 16 when she got married in her home country of Guatemala. Her husband severely beat her for more than 10 years—pistol-whipping her, using her head to smash windows, chasing her with a machete, dragging her down the street by her hair, and kicking her repeatedly in the stomach in hopes of aborting their baby. In 1995, Rody ran away to the United States and sought asylum. See, generally, asylum here is only granted to people who are part of social group that is persecuted—abused women traditionally do not count. But lawyers in Rody’s case argued that they should, because women in Guatemala are persecuted in a targeted way—more than 4,000 women in the country have been beaten to death by their husbands in the past decade, and only 2% of the cases were ever solved. Still, Roday has spent the past 14 years in constant court cases and hearings, trying to get asylum officially granted. While lawyers and immigration officials debated her case, she has been able to stay in the United States—she lives in California and works as a housekeeper at a home for elderly nuns—but she never knew if she’d have to pack up and leave. Finally, the Obama administration has taken the bull by the horns and recommended that Rody be granted asylum. Which is awesome. But of course, this case has much larger implications than Rody continuing her life here. This sets a precedent that battered women are a persecuted group and qualify for asylum. This could be big news for women horribly abused in other countries where domestic violence is part of the culture. [NY Times] Keep reading »

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