Holy crap! This weekend, Houston, Texas, elected Annise Parker, an openly gay woman, as their mayor. Parker, a Democrat, celebrated her win with her partner and their three children. Texas, we are sorry we have judged you so harshly in the past. [Houston Chronicle]
Women comprise more than half of the entrants in this year’s Whitney’s Biennial, a showcase of contemporary art, compared with 40 percent of entrants in 2008 and only 32 percent in 2000. [NYMag.com]
Jenny Sanford has filed for divorce from Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who caused a scandal earlier this year when it was discovered he was carrying on an affair with a woman in Argentina. On Barbara Walters’ most interesting people special Wednesday night, Sanford wisely said, “Certainly [my husband's] actions hurt me, and they caused consequences for me, but they don’t in any way take away my own self-esteem. They reflect poorly on him.” Awesome. [New York Times]
Uganda has voted to outlaw female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation. Anyone convicted of the practice faces 10 years in jail or life in prison if the girl dies from it. [BBC]
Who would have thought the largest American city to (hopefully) elect an openly gay woman as mayor would be Houston, Texas? Cross your fingers for Annise Parker, a Democratic Houston City Controller and a lesbian, in the election this weekend. Parker has a small lead in the polls but is struggling against homophobia. One anti-gay activist sent out 35,000 mailers with a photo of Parker that says, “Is this the image Houston wants to portray?” [The Daily Beast]
Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick has appointed the state’s first-ever female Superintendent of State Police. Hopefully, Marian J. McGovern can keep those Ma**-holes in line! [The Boston Globe]
Blogger Amanda Hess at The Sexist braved the snow outside at Sarah Palin‘s Going Rogue book signing in Fairfax, Virginia, to ask all the ladies waiting in line what the ex-guv means for women and feminism. Typical quotes? “[Palin] presents herself feminine…The impression is that feminists are women who don’t like to value their feminine qualities, and they like to put it down and be like a man, and I don’t think that’s appropriate for women. I kind of like her in that regard, that she’s sort of celebrating her womanhood as well.” [The Sexist]
Jon Stewart called out “Fox & Friends” co-host, Gretchen Carlson, for pretending to be a dumb blonde on-air by looking up the definition of difficult polysyllabic words like “ignoramus,” “recession” and “czar.” Carlson’s not an ignoramus, though, because she was actually valedictorian of her high school and attended Stanford, though. Ugh, I hate when women play the ditz card. [Jezebel]
Remember that skeevy soap commercial for Method where a woman gets cat-called in the shower by a bunch of bubbles? Well, Method allegedly pulled it offline after viewers complained, although it’s obviously still here. Anyway, this angered some advertising blogger who insists sexual harassment jokes are hilarious. Steve Hall, a blogger for AdRants, penned a post in which he said, ” … feminist blogging should be outlawed.” Banging my head against the wall. [AdRants] Strategy here? Notice the opposite sex’s outrage over something you yourself have never experienced, counter the outrage with a preposterous and attention-getting statement! Mix well and serve.
Boobs splashed on the cover of Cosmo? Check! Boobs flopping around in shows like “The Girls Next Door” or movies like “The House Bunny”? Boobs feeding a hungry infant? OUTRAGE! Cops in Harper Woods, Michigan, responded to the scene of a ghastly breastfeeding-mother incident at a local Target. New mom Mary Martinez had been stopped by a security guard while feeding her 4-week-old girl. The security guard said breastfeeding in public was against the law; Martinez and her husband said (correctly) that it wasn’t. The police were called and set the security guard straight. Still, Martinez and her husband left the store embarrassed. “They just made a spectacle and a scene,” Martinez complained. [My Fox Detroit]—Thankfully, Target spoke out to say that nursing moms are, of course, welcome at their stores. Here’s hoping this dumb security guard got fired.
A kick-ass new mommy gave birth today at 30,000 feet! The mother went into labor on a flight between Chicago and Salt Lake City and a doctor on board helped with delivery before the plane made an emergency landing in Denver. Congratulations! [MSNBC]
Dr. LeRoy Carhart has started again performing late-term abortions (up to 24 weeks/six months) at his Omaha clinic after the May murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion extremist. In Nebraska, abortions after a fetus is viable outside the womb are illegal, except to save the life of the mother. Still, Carhart has become a new focus of abortion opponents. “[Protesters] have never targeted me more,” Carhart said. “But to me, the most dangerous response would be for me to stop what I am doing. The thought that killing Tiller might also succeed in closing another clinic—that’s my main reason for keeping open.” [New York Times]
France has introduced legislation to bring 50/50 gender parity to French board rooms by 2015. All companies listed on the French stock exchange would be required to stock their boards with 50 percent women. The affirmative action-like plan would begin with women on 20 percent of board seats in 18 months and 40 percent of board seats within four years. Presently, women comprise only 10.5 percent of board members in companies listed on the French stock exchange. Norway enacted similar legislation in 2003. [Guardian UK]—I love this idea of diversifying talent by overcoming institutional obstacles with quotas. And by way of comparison, the percentage of female board members on U.S. Fortune 500 companies—considering it is the year 2009—is a paltry 15.2 percent. What do you think?
Hooray! There are lots of women on The New York Times‘ “Best Books of 2009″ list! Do you think the diverse offerings are helped by the fact that two of the Times‘ three daily book reviewers, Janet Maslin and Michiko Kakutani, are women? [New York Times]
… but today, New York’s State Senate voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Extreme disappointment. The only good thing to come out of the vote was this rousing, passionate, and impressive speech — above — in favor of passing the measure, by NY Senator Diane Savino. It’s funny, as well as moving and worth watching all 7.5 minutes. [New York Times]
“Saturday Night Live” has hired another female writer! Jessi Klein is the third person with a vagina (not including performers) to grace the current “SNL” writing team. [The Wrap]—Could it be that Klein was hired in response to criticism by former “Letterman” writer Nell Scovell, who complained in Vanity Fair about nearly all-male comedy show writing staffs?
John Marcotte, a rabble-rouser with a great sense of humor, is trying to get a measure on California’s ballot box to bandivorce to make a statement about same-sex marriage, which was outlawed in 2008 to protect so-called traditional marriage between straights. Marcotte told CBS News, “Since California has decided to protect traditional marriage … it would be hypocritical of us not to sacrifice some of our own rights to protect traditional marriage even more.” He has a point! [CBS News]