Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fair's Fair

This is what needs to be stopped.

Call to action, please redistribute widely.

The Stop Porn Culture Slide Show Training Program includes a script, tips for conducting the session; it also includes the power Point Visual presentation, which contains pornographic material. They are saying that this slide show falls under the preview of Fair Use.

However, as it can now be watched, downloaded, viewed, reproduced, and yes, even sold, the creators of Stop Porn Culture, or anyone and everyone else who wishes to showcase, distribute, or otherwise use the material in the slide show is in violation of Federal Law 2257.

Never mind that not a one of the performers featured in this “educational tool” were asked their opinions, or for their consent, nor were the companies that originally produced the images…but now see, there are questions of a Federal Law which applies to Pornographers, and as these people have essentially made themselves such, the law also applies to them. Any person exhibiting pornography, even if it is free, is beholden to 2257, this includes SPC, and those who run this seminar. You will note, at the end of the presentation, there is a claim of copyright over images already subject to copyright, and used without permission.

You will also note, their attempts to keep this material out of the hands of minors are scant at best.

I encourage everyone to write a letter of protest the organizers of the SPC Training Program, inform anyone and everyone you know who is pondering doing one of these sessions of the lack of 2257 compliance and lack of consent on the part of the performers and owners of the images, and if necessary, alert legal authorities to the use of this slideshow where ever it may occur.

Oh, and I am curious, are people CARDED before attending one of these events? Viewing the slideshow on line? If not, then anyone and everyone involved in this program is guilty of showing pornography to minors…oddly enough, John Stagliano is in court for such things… do the same laws not apply?

Enough. If Pornographers must comply with 2257, so must their adversaries.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Implicit Bias

The Bigot in Your Brain.

Subliminal Stereotyping - Key Concepts

* All of us hold unconscious clichéd beliefs about social groups: black and white, female and male, elderly and young, gay and straight, fat and thin.
* Such implicit bias is far more prevalent than the more overt, or explicit, prejudice that we associate with, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis.
* Certain social scenarios can automatically activate implicit stereotypes and attitudes, which then can affect our perceptions, judgments and behavior, including the choice of whom to befriend, whom to hire and, in the case of doctors, what treatment to deliver.
* Recent research suggests we can reshape our implicit attitudes and beliefs—or at least curb their effects on our behavior.


Ashley Ann got me thinking about marriage again. For some reason the threads that pop up on Feministing always seem to come up with the most diverse set of opinions. And that always gets me thinking.

It's especially interesting for me to see how other people conceptualize marriage. See, I definitely noticed the incredibly sexist conditions under which the institution of marriage has and continues to thrive. The thing of it is though, it seems like a lot of people thus feel that the institution of marriage is consequently fucked. That their options are to have THAT kind of marriage and wedding, or none at all.

That's not my conclusion.

My basic premise: marriage is beholden to the people undertaking it. Therefore it is as malleable as the people who are getting married. The traditions surrounding it are symbols. And symbols require people to give them meaning. Therefore the symbols are just as malleable as the people invoking them.

My husband and I, our marriage is exactly what we want it to be, and designing the wedding ceremony to reflect that was incredibly important to us. And design we did, from start to finish, including the vows. The fact is it never even occurred to me not to do so. A wedding ceremony is far too important to ever attempt a "cookie cutter" version.

Traditional elements that were included:

Engagement ring. I got a wedding set from an estate case (woot recycling!). My husband paid for it, I felt that was important because it was for me a sign of commitment. I also got him a ring sometime earlier which he felt served the same purpose.

Asking dad. We did not do this. I thought it would be "cute" in a very ironic sort of way given how untraditional both my relationship and my family was. But it didn't happen. What I suppose I was more looking for was the two men I cared most about to sit down and have a heart to heart, for my dad to be able to trust my husband and for them to be on the same page. I am a Daddy's girl, and I wanted them to get along. Turns out they ended up having that without the "asking for" thing included. That's even better.

Walking down the aisle. We did not do this either. And I told my Dad right from the beginning we wouldn't be. I am not a fucking parcel to be given away, no thank you. I understand why the engagment ring is looked at as a dowry or down payment or something and why some people are against that, but this giving away shit was just too much for me. Husband and I walked down the aisle together. We both felt that was far more appropriate, I mean we're undertaking this life together, right?

Name change. Didn't do this. We talked a lot about it. He'd prefer to take my name as he has no attachments to the family his last name comes from. We also discussed both changing our names to his mother's maiden name, as that is the family he is connected to. Honestly, I doubt either of us will actually change our names unless we have kids, I dislike the way our names would look hyphenated.

"Mrs". Yes, I use this. I like it. I've seen arguments against it, and I understand them. But I still like it. It's a spiffy new title. Honestly I think it's stupid that guys don't get their own new title! In the name of equality I think we should come up with one!

I guess my point is, you can take one symbol and it can mean something to you and something to other people. I think what disturbs me about marriage and weddings as general concepts is that people take what is one of the most important commitments of their life and simply use the symbols laid out for them. They don't talk about their wants and needs, what traditions are meaningful to them, what exactly they're vowing to... Without that people are adopting essentially meaningless symbols, or worse, symbols with deeply ingrained meanings for those around them, which they have no real interest in, never understanding that they're missing the entire point. Ending up unhappy in that situation seems a no-brainer to me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Perhaps there is SOME justice in this world...

Convictions were overturned for two of the New Jersey 4!

Transgender Discrimination in the Workplace

Congress today held the first ever hearings on work place discrimination for transgender people and Quench zine is liveblogging it.

There are some things in the live blogcast that made me laugh, so I want to share them!

1:03: What about white supremacists? Should they have the right to refuse to hire a person of color, if they held deeply held religious beliefs about white supremacy? Lavy says no. Hypocrisy! The Chairman wants to know why, if we do not hold allow religious beliefs to excuse racial discrimination, we should allow religious beliefs to excuse discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. Mr. Lavy says the issue isn't that simple. It's about "deeply held religious beliefs." The "race issue" is something that has been determined already, apparently.

1:23: Shannon Minter is annoyed by all these restroom questions. C'mon, let's listen to "medical protocol and common sense." Transgender men and women are men and women, and coworkers will quickly come to recognize that. This is a straightfoward issue. Ms. Miller says that maybe it would be a good idea to look at policies about bathrooms that already work. What a novel idea!

1:30: Rep. Hare takes issue with Mr. Lavy. Excellent. He reminds Mr. Lavy about this guy from a long time ago who hung around with those people who no one wanted to associate themselves with. I think you know who that is. He also believes we can legislate "what is right, what is just and what is fair."

I'm pretty sure that guy's name was JESUS. For anyone who didn't make the connection.

5th FCSFA!

The Fifth Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy is up at Amber Rhea's place. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WTF is the AP doing to Fair Use??

Read the whole article at The Wild Hunt.

But now the Associated Press would want me to pay them $50 in order to quote them quoting me.

"In the name of "defin[ing] clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt" the Associated Press is now selling "quotation licenses" that allow bloggers, journallers, and people who forward quotations from articles to co-workers to quote their articles. The licenses start at $12.50 for quotations of 5-25 words. The licensing system exhorts you to snitch on people who publish without paying the blood-money, offering up to $1 million in reward money (they also think that "fair use" -- the right to copy without permission -- means "Contact the owner of the work to be sure you are covered under fair use.")."

Not surprisingly, this new policy has shocked and angered the blogging community, and the AP is now sitting down with the Media Bloggers Association in order to negotiate some guidelines. However, any deal struck may well fly in the face of our already established rights and freedoms as journalists.

"I suggest it’s better described as yet another attempt by a big media company to replace the established legal and social order with with a system of private law (the very definition of the word “privilege”) in which a few private organizations get to dictate to the rest of society what the rules will be."

I personally think this payment scam is a horrible idea by the AP which flies in the face of established copyright law. Even worse, if you do pay them, you aren't allowed to criticize AP reporting!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Muslims in Pictures!

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”

Awww wtf. :(

Monday, June 23, 2008

Docs to Women: Pay No Attention to Stories of Home Birth

Ladies, the physicians of America have issued their decree: they don't want you having your babies at home with midwives. Research evidence be damned, the doctors want to mandate you to go to the hospital. They don't want you to have a choice.

read more | digg story


Wow. This band is really a surprise. I've heard "Handlebars" on the radio and thought it was on ok song, it did not prepare me for the rest of their album. Check this shit.

Somewhere between prayer and revolution
Between Jesus and Huey P. Newton
That's where you find Johnny Five Shoot shootin
Water guns at the audience while you’re scootin'
Your gluteus max due to the fact that I'm tootin'
On the horn gonna warn you that I'm rootin'
For the other team in the culture wars
So I stab the beast belly as the vulture snores
Let it blow with convulsive force
‘Til walls fall off their false supports
‘Til Jericho's aircraft carriers alter course
And all brave young Americans are called ashore
Cause we've already lost the war they keep wagin’
Splattering the streets in battles that keep ragin’
Bloodyin’ each page of the story that we're studyin’
Each day the same just the names keep changin’

Saying the same things over again
Repeatin’ the same slogans we don't know where we've been
We've been all over the globe on our government's funds
Leavin’ man, woman, and child dead bloody and numb
Saying the same things over again
Repeatin’ the same slogans we don't know where we've been
We've been overthrowing leaders with legitimate views
Democratically elected but we didn't approve....

(verse two)
How many times can the line divide
How many wars to uphold your pride
These fears uncontrolled just swoll the tide
Of blood in the streets while the people die
I'ma keep on tryin’
Longs as suffering's multiplyin’
And why not
These souls get tossed and left out to rot
My backs broad enough to help left your cross
As long as you help with mine
The process of healing will take some time
To see the pain in your face is the same as mine
It's not a game or a race but the stake is high
We maintain our mistakes for the sake of sides
As long as it takes I’ll say it one more time
As long as it takes I'll say it one more time
As long as it takes I'll say it one more time


Same thing
U.S. is not us
Same thing
And us is not we
Same thing
And we are not satisfied
Same thing
We’re tired of the same thing
Same thing
And we’re ready to make change
Same thing
Are we ready to make change?

(verse three)
We need money for healthcare and public welfare
Free Mumia and Leonard Peltier
Human needs, not corporate greed
Drop the debt and legalize weed
We say 'yes' to grassroots organization
'No' to neoliberal globalization
Bring the troops back to the USA
And shut down Guantanamo Bay

Who let ‘em overthrow Jacobo Arbenz
Who let ‘em overthrow Mohammad Mosaddeq
Who let ‘em assassinate Salvador Allende
I didn't let ‘em but they did it anyway
Who let ‘em overthrow Kwame Nkrumah
Who let ‘em overthrow Aristide
Who let ‘em assassinate Oscar Romero
I didn't let ‘em but they did indeed!

Don't let them assassinate Hugo Chavez
Don't let them assassinate Evo Morales
And bring back Martin, Malcolm, Medgar,
Hampton, Schwerner, Goodman, Chaney

Sayin’ the same things over again

Revolutionary lyrics, instruments instead of beats, cellos and violas and horns grooving alongside black and white rappers... That's just awesome.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rape and False Accusations

Just A Girl had a really thought provoking post up today about how we as feminists approach and deal with victims of rape and sexual assault and also false accusations of the same. My reply got so long I figured I should post it here instead.

This is a really sensitive issue for me. As someone who has had friends raped. And acquaintances tell me stories that definitely were rape but that they didn't report...

And as the wife of a man who, when he was 18, was falsely accused of rape, but convinced to plead "no contest" to "illegal sex with a minor" when it was shown there was not enough evidence to convict him. She was 15. The sister of a friend he went to high school with. They had sex at a party. Somewhere along the lines she believed her parents would find out she was sexually active, and she had been cheating on her boyfriend. He happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I know my husband. He's no fucking rapist. He can barely even get rough in bed when asked. It makes him uncomfortable. I've seen steam coming out of his ears when a co-worker friend of ours was drugged and raped at a party. I've seen it when his niece was molested by her father. And when he was the second person I'd ever been in bed with and was coming out of a long and complicated relationship, any hesitation of mine was met with his immediately stopping what he was doing, reassurance, and absolutely zero pressure to start up again.

He's not capable of it.

I don't think other innocent men deserve to be treated the way he is when he goes to register. I don't think other innocent men deserve to be treated the way he was during the trial. And yet the absolutely disgusting manner in which rape victims are treated makes me just as angry. Maybe more angry. And false rape accusers like his give defense attorneys of guilty men excuses. They cast doubt on real victims. And men like my husband can be permanently branded, while real, violent rapists, even when there are witnesses or videotapes(!!!!) can walk free.

Our system is fucked.

Unbelievably fucked.

And I ask myself that same question. In the face of all this, and my life experience, what can I do?

I think there is no other example like this one to show us how unbelievably fucking important the concept of innocent until proven guilty really is.

And she's so right. Because I've had that concept thrown in my face in rape discussions. But yes, yes, IT GOES BOTH WAYS. The accuser is innocent until proven guilty too.

Our law enforcement and medical community and legal community and viewers at home need to learn how to suspend judgment. We all need a better understanding of what rape victims experience, and how they are likely to react and behave. Legalities need to be made clear and we need to be taught growing up exactly what rape is, how it can happen in all sorts of contexts and how to prevent it. Not just "don't do it" which is the prevailing wisdom for all topics related to sex right now.

Believe me.

That's powerful.

Is it possible to believe them both? The woman who was raped and the man who says he didn't do it? We know the stats. We know the likelihoods (as best we can). Until the facts of each case can be examined thoroughly...can't we believe them both?

And when I say believe them both, I mean be there. Don't respond to the denigration of rape victims with the demonization of men. Hug them. Listen to them. Don't judge them. Believe them.

Do you think we can?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just when you think... can't hate Fox any more than you already do. TA DA!

Check this shit

As seen all over the place, but thanks to BFP for the story linked.

Happy Loving Day!

'Loving Day' Personified in Presidential Race

Morning Edition, June 12, 2008 · June 12 is celebrated by many interracial couples and families as "Loving Day." It's the day in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the laws banning interracial marriage. The day is named for the couple who brought the case to court, Richard and Mildred Loving. Commentator John Ridley has a remembrance

You can listen to the entire article at the link

And for those who can't listen....

Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states citing "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause," .[1][2][3] In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were state laws banning interracial marriage, mainly forbidding marriage between non-whites and whites. Loving Day is not an officially, government-recognized holiday, but is celebrated by a growing number of people throughout the United States, especially by those involved in interracial relationships.
The "Loving" side of the U.S. Supreme Court case consisted of Mildred and Richard Loving. Mildred Jeter was 11 when she and 17-year-old Richard began dating, and she became pregnant a few years later. They got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Reportedly, Mildred didn't realize interracial marriage was illegal, and they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," and avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. They moved to Washington, D.C. and began legal action by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Mildred Loving died May 5, 2008 at the age of 68. Richard Loving died years earlier in a car accident. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples

Loving Day

Monday, June 09, 2008

Why the Expanded Mann Act is Bad for Women


The federal anti-trafficking law already defines anyone under 18 who is involved in commercial sex acts, and anyone in prostitution who experiences force, fraud or coercion—regardless of immigration status—as a victim of human trafficking. The law does not prevent anyone from being arrested for prostitution, since most trafficked persons are not identified immediately. Changing the definition of trafficking so that law enforcement does not need to look at a person’s age or experience of coercion (the heart of the trafficking crime) is not going to help victims be identified—in fact, it is just going to create more problems.

The proposed change is based on the notion that all sex workers are victims, and that work in prostitution is inherently victimizing, even when no actual incident of violence or psychological abuse occurs. Sex workers actually do want help from the police when they are victims of violence—46% of the sex workers we interviewed in a 2005 study had been victims of violence during the course of their work —but often find the police ignoring their needs when they try to file a complaint. Broadly categorizing all prostitutes as trafficking victims means that police will go looking for victims who look and act like “victims,” allowing for even less focus on prostitutes who really have been abused in some way, but who have made the decision to enter into sex work for reasons far more complicated than a local police department might understand.

As law enforcement look for more victims, they will inevitably arrest more sex workers—because arresting people is the way that police reach them. Arrests can have a devastating effect—a recent arrest of sex workers affected a woman trying to get professional credential. Arrests drive people away from mainstream work and toward sex work. Our clients express incredible fears of being arrested and having their neighbors or family find out about their other life.

Read the rest at Feministing.

I know this has been talked about before, but it's still going on.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Remember the First

Even in my happiness with Obama's getting the nom, and the historic climate we are voting in this election cycle, it's important to remember who came before. Especially for people of my generation, who didn't live through it, the media presents these two like they are original. But they're not.

Hat tip to Sylvia

Birth Plans

OK, so the Hoyden's own contribution to the before mentioned new Carnival was eye opening. Well, my eyes were open, but, certainly widened by it. Check out some clips...

In this thread, OBs discuss amongst themselves the issue of women forming their own birth plans. (Quelle horreur!)

Easily panicked control-freak Steven Richman opened the proceedings:

hello listers…….very busy day today and last pt. presents me with her “birth plan” at 36 weeks. The plan was entirely reasonable and certainly within the scope of how we practice……As I was tired and she was only 18, I kinda freaked and told her that we would not honor the plan and that the Dr/pt relationship requires mutual trust etc. etc…. With over 20 yrs of experience I truly feel I have gone along with the ebb and flow of obstetrical practice and procedure …….But I object to being put in a position where the “well-informed customer” feels it necessary to dictate the mode of operation.

Nice huh?

Eberhard Lisse:

I use the Ontario ANC record and it has a check item “Birth Plan”. When I reach the item I say “We don’t do that here.”, tick it off and move on.

Dr Anna Meenan:

I would not look on it so much as “dictating the mode of operation” as expressing her preferences for the way she hopes the most important event in her life will be allowed to proceed. I find that quite reasonable and wonder why anyone else wouldn’t, especially if the plan was quite reasonable and well within the scope of your practice. You speak of mutual trust. Does that mean she must trust you to know what her preferences are? Most docs I know do not have ESP. I wonder, if her birth plan called for induction at 39 weeks, early amniotomy, high-dose pitocin, forceps, and a midline episiotomy, would you accuse her of dictating the mode of operation?

Eberhard Lisse, responding to Dr Meenan:


Blah Blah Blah.

Jesus Christ, remind me to stay the fuck away from doctors. o.o

New Down Under Feminists Carnival!

Some great posts to be read at The Hoydens who are hosting the Inaugural edition of this Carnival! Go by and check it out.

Hat tip to HellOn for the link.

I might be pointing out some of my favorite posts later, right now I gotta finish reading!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


My candidate, is THE candidate.

How fun. :D

Monday, June 02, 2008

Fourth FCoSFaA


Fourth Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy is up at Audacia Ray's Waking Vixen!