I could not have been more annoyed when Sarah Palin called herself a “feminist.” It wasn’t because I think a hairy-legged, Diva Cup-loving separatist in Berkeley should get to decide what a feminist is. (I am quite sure she would take one look at my mani/pedi and send me back to the gallows for more pubic hair braiding.) No, it pissed me off because, while there are some aspects of Palin’s life that actually are rather feminist—she’s a woman in a traditionally male job, she’s a working mom with a mostly-stay-at-home husband, etc. — she went co-opting the word “feminism” as if its hers and hers alone. As this clip of Palin appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” illustrates, she uses the term “feminist” to suit her needs while at the same time trashing “women’s rights groups … and those [who] do not empower women.” Oh, so now you’re telling us what feminism is, lady who believes abortion should be illegal, gays and lesbians shouldn’t marry, and youngsters should be taught abstinence instead of comprehensive sexual health?
Thankfully, the feminists of America need not worry our pretty little heads about the next arch-conservative swooping in: Michele Bachmann has already come right out to say she is not a feminist. Keep reading »
Rep. Michele Bachmann formally announced on Monday she is seeking the Republican nomination for President. The feminist within me says, “Yay, someone with a vagina running for president!” Followed by a vehement, “OH HELL NO.” Just because a woman is running for president does not mean all women should support her. Just like Sarah Palin did, Bachmann painfully illustrates this point: She is bigoted against gays and lesbians, opposes legal abortion, and spoke out against a change in the IRS code to make breast pumps for nursing mothers tax deductible. Those are just a few of the policy reasons why Bachmann would make a terrible president. Keep reading »
A few weeks ago, on a first date, a guy told me about how watching his mother — a strong, intelligent woman who held the family together — made him into a feminist. Then he asked me what it was that made me start caring about women’s equality. I’m sure he expected that I was going to tell him a traditional “how I became a feminist” story: Dad hauled me to my first pro-choice march kicking and screaming, or my parents were radical separatist lesbians, or Mom was a famous liberal journalist and progressive ideals were in their blood.
Not. At. All.
My blood is the thick, viscous fluid of dirty martinis. My parents contributed to me becoming a feminist, sure. But it was only because as I was a young sprout blossoming into a beautiful flower, they were … kind of sexist. Keep reading »
“I feel like there’s this weird thing that as a feminist band you get put in this role as ambassadors. Certain people are like ‘Oh, here come the Feminazis!’ You end up acting 10 times nicer than you even need to be, to be the opposite of the stereotype like ‘You’re the man haters!’ We’re always bending over backwards being extra nice. And I don’t know if being nice is my legacy. Johanna [Fateman, my Le Tigre bandmate] and I talked about it a lot. Both of us wish that we would have broken out of the mold sometimes and just be jerks more often.”
—Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre on giving interviews as a feminist musician. While I’m not sure I’d ever condone being a “jerk” — the world has enough jerks! — I can also relate to feeling responsible for ‘making feminism look good,’ so to speak. The “feminazi” stereotype is so pervasive that lots of people don’t understand what feminism actually is. Thanks a pantsful, Rush Limbaugh. But proving that we don’t hate men — which is completely untrue, obviously — is a waste of our valuable time and energy. [Spinner] Keep reading »
Saturday June 18 will be a creepy evening in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: it’s Daddy-Daughter Date Night at Chick-Fil-A. Dads and daughters can RSVP for tables at participating restaurants on DaddyDaughterDate.com, a site so festooned with red hearts, filigree and curlicue script that it wouldn’t look out of place on Valentine’s Day. Even though June 18 is the day before Father’s Day.
Anyone else got a case of the icks yet? Keep reading »
Perhaps is not such exciting news now that we live in an era when 8th graders go to Hooters on a field trip, but a new Playboy Club opened this weekend in Mayfair, London. Hugh Hefner first brought a Playboy Club to London in 1966, but it closed after 15 years. The new Playboy Club in London features “bunnies” ages 19 to 40 who’ll work in either the cocktail lounge or the casino while they wear Playboy’s iconic bunny costumes. And if men’s enthusiasm to visit the Playboy Club in any way rivals women’s enthusiasm to work for it, Hef won’t have to worry: 3,000 women competed for 80 positions to don a Playboy Bunny tail!
Alas, not everyone is so happy about the new Playboy Club. Keep reading »
“Baking is the less applauded of the cooking arts, whereas restaurants are a male province to be celebrated. There’s something intrinsically misogynistic about decrying a tradition because it has always been female. I’m not being entirely facetious when I say [her book How To Be A Domestic Goddess] is a feminist tract.”
—Nigella Lawson makes a good point that women’s work in the domestic realm, especially the kitchen, is often devalued, even though baking takes a lot of skill. That’s the same point Debbie Stoller, author of the Stitch ‘n Bitch knitting guides, made when I interviewed her earlier this year. Stoller said, “I was thinking, ‘Why does knitting get this bad wrap?’ The only conclusion I could come to is that it’s been traditionally done by women. Unfortunately a lot of the things that women do, our culture tends to devalue.” I wholeheartedly agree with both these ladies. [Guardian UK] Keep reading »
kills her rapist
in her new music video, “Man Down,” a reggae-influenced song about a woman who gets revenge on “somebody’s son” “in front of a crowd.” It’s a head-scratching song and music video from a woman who is perhaps most famous for getting the crap beaten out of her. Is this supposed to be “feminist” Rihanna who murders the man who hurts her? Sorry, RiRi, but I don’t think perpetuating violence is “edgy,” even for a survivor of domestic violence
] Keep reading »
Like many women before her, Maria Shriver is doing the rounds as the disgraced political spouse. She’s on the cover of People magazine — “Maria’s Broken Heart!” trills the cover line — and she’s a guest on one of Oprah’s very last shows. (In fact, on Tuesday night when the identity of Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s mistress and his love child were revealed, Shriver was spotted out on the town with Oprah at dinner.) I would bet money on it that Shriver eventually writes a memoir about this time of her life, like Elizabeth Edwards and Jenny Sanford before her.
Let me be clear: I don’t mean to make light of any heartbreak Maria Shriver and the Schwarzenegger children — they’ve got four, ages 13 to 21 — are most assuredly feeling or of the humiliation of their dirty laundry being aired in the public eye. No one deserves this and I hope they are all as tough as elephant hides as they deal with it.
And yet … I have a hard time feeling sorry for Maria Shriver. Rumors of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s infidelity and sexual harassment have been going on for years. Arnold’s wandering penis (and hands) pre-dates his governorship of California, a role that staunch Democrat and Kennedy scion Maria Shriver helped him win. So, while this situation undeniably sucks, I’m not boo-hoo-hooing for her. Keep reading »
There are feminists in Hollywood after all: the Tumblr blog WellsBones unearthed a letter Vogue published written by a 17-year-old Zooey Deschanel, long before she was famous. Without context, I don’t know what Zooey wrote to Vogue in response to. But to be honest, the question she posed to Vogue — “Why would you want to limit the spectrum of beauty to an ‘ideal’ when you, as a popular women’s magazine, have the opportunity to expand it?” — could apply to any issue of Vogue, really. Zooey tweeted her delight at the letter being dug up: “wrote this letter to vogue when I was 17 & someone found it! proud of my feminist teen self.” Zooey Deschanel: twee princess and angry teenaged letter writer? It’s too good to be true.
[Twitter] Keep reading »