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Archive for May, 2007

Author Report: Chris Moore

Posted by pocochina on May 15, 2007

Why I love Chris Moore

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on properly defining “real American”

Posted by pocochina on May 15, 2007

Or, the fucking, fucking Confederate flag.

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book report: Full Frontal Feminism

Posted by pocochina on May 12, 2007

So there’s no way I was part of Jessica Valenti’s intended audience for Full Frontal Feminism, a smart, potty-mouthed manifesta for young women with feminist politics who are for one reason or another scared to self-identify as feminists.  It’s more for someone like my sister, or me when I was sixteen.  But I still loved it, and Jessica does the Third Wave proud.

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book review: A Woman’s Guide to Law School

Posted by pocochina on May 12, 2007

So I should’ve bought this book six months ago, but shoulda coulda godiva, so I’m just gonna go ahead and review the parts that that I read.

I think that Hirshman has the rare gift of being able to discuss narrow social issues in privileged language without being exclusive.  Now, I’m saying that as a middle-middle class white college graduate, so I may not be the best judge, but I didn’t have that niggling kind of discomfort that tells you “ooops, this is whitey only material.”  (This also sounds true about her more recent Get to Work, about high-powered corporate women at work, although I haven’t read it yet.)

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suck it….and other tools of the patriarchy

Posted by pocochina on May 12, 2007

This one’s been buzzing my whole adult life.

Sexualized insults are the shittiest thing ever.  Sexualized insults are the tool of the patriarchy.  Sexualized insults are, among all these terrible things, the biggest turn-off ever.  Sexualized insults, especially in the context of both compulsory heterosexuality and actual heterosexuality.

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back to ireland

Posted by pocochina on May 10, 2007

miss d is free to travel for her abortion.

sucks, that reproductive rights can’t be recognized on their own merits.

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Senator HRC

Posted by pocochina on May 9, 2007

This one (had been) cooking for a while.

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Posted in badass women, clinton, feminism, politics | Leave a Comment »

pathologizing the body

Posted by pocochina on May 8, 2007

I’m almost through reading Wake Up, Little Suzie:  Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v Wade by Rickie Solinger.  It’s an excellent book, powerfully written and researched, with tons of stuff to unpack.

Some of those things that are forefront in my mind are good, old-fashioned Sexist Stupidity nuggets.  My personal favorite is the idea that single teens and young women got pregnant through latent lesbianism.  That’s right, they were so gay, they spontaneously knocked themselves up.  And remember, this is decades before Mary Cheney.  (Rim shot!  But that’s a whole ‘nother post.)  While that particular suggestion is worth a good laugh, it’s also emblematic of the conventional wisdom (towards white girls of the era) described by the author.  Female sexuality was just so fucked up, so beyond the pale, so totally pathological, it had to be the worst thing they could possibly come up with – of course, homosexuality.

Another is the beautiful way Solinger deconstructs intersectional identities.  That’s so incredibly difficult, because you just can’t know so many things about something so personal, and yet so public, as identity.  Personal in that it’s wholly yours, nobody lives in your skin but you, but also public – it’s literally written on our faces for everyone to see.  But this book does a fascinating job of teasing apart when society saw these women as women, how their gender mattered, how their race mattered, and to a lesser extent, how their class mattered.  (Cheap shots at retro conservative idiocy aside, there can’t be too much discussion about unintended pregnancy around sexual orientation, although statistically, of course, for some women it would’ve been an issue.)  There’s intricacies of race that I don’t think there was room to deal with, such as the first and second generations of Mediterranean-American heritage, who were “becoming white” at the time, but that’s a so delicate it’s not an argument against the book, just something I found myself getting curious about.  And of course, I’m always uncomfortable when something deals with race as a full category, and then boils down to black and white.  It’s an important discussion to have, especially considering the particuarly vicious treatment African-American single mothers continue to face, but I’d just like to have seen some recognition that Asian, Chicana, and Native women were, in fact, also alive at the time.  But again, more of a space issue, certainly not one that disqualifies Solinger’s painstaking research.

Mostly, what got to me was the description of the maternity home (almost exclusively an option/forced path of action for white girls and women).  I actually forgot I wasn’t reading a description of an ex-gay “ministry” and, to some extent, “fat camp.”  This is what I wrote in my book:

You could actually just change some words around and you’d have a picture of an ex-gay camp, or fat camp.  Having to talk about sex underground.  Confusing rape with sex, confusing date rape with consent.  The level of denial about human sexuality – did anyone actually believe that crap?  I mean, nobody actually went to visit their aunt in LA, did they?  And it can’t actually make you less sexual, just like fat camp can’t possibly fix kids.  They weighed in pregnant women, they fucking weighed them in, ’cause that’s so healthy.  And the definition of femininity in the context of this all-female world is fascinating – the “enforcers” of femininity aren’t feminine at all.  And feminity is distinctly at odds with female reproductive health – getting pregnant makes you NOT a woman.  Any reason not to blame the boyfriend, I guess.  This is a world that treats female friendships so incredibly disrespectfully – must women even liking each other always be resistance?

What I think I was getting at, is the way the maternity homes punished, and punished, and punished the women for being sexual.  They forced the women into “group therapy” a la But I’m a Cheerleader, in order to figure out the tragic, terrible, horrible circumstance that landed them down the Path of Sexy Destruction.  The idea of seculsion from the world, and endless lecturing and shaming, is such a constant in these stories.

Kind of a gentler, but still evil, way to punish people.  Oh, it’s not her fault, she’s just sick.  It’s just another way to marginalize people.

Posted in body image, feminism, i love books, lgbtq, pregnancy | Leave a Comment »

“DC Madam”

Posted by pocochina on May 2, 2007

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the “DC Madam,” is currently under indictment for prostitution.  Allegedly, she runs a “high-class prostitution ring” (thanks, LA Times!).  She claims all activities are strictly legal, massages and escorting.  She also has a bridge she’d like to sell us.

One Bush Administration official, Randall L Tobias, has resigned after Palfrey exposed him for using her services.  I know it’s terrible karma to enjoy this so much, but a Republican shill for abstinence-only HIV/AIDS prevention?  I can hardly handle the delicious irony.  It’s another chink in the wall, a tiny bit more exposure of the blatant exceptionalism that thrives in the modern GOP.  Imagine if a Clinton Administration official had been on that list eight years ago.  My vicious side wants that level of bloodthirsty glee from the Democrats – of course some of our own are on that list, but dammit, nobody remembers Gingrich?  And I do wonder why she chose that particular official, I’m sure he’s not her only abstinence-only hypocrite.

I also feel a bit guilty being so fascinated by the political fallout from this woman’s indictment, because I am a firm believer that sex work should be decriminalized.

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miss d

Posted by pocochina on May 1, 2007

In the grand tradition of punishing women for being, well, women, Ireland and its draconian lack of reproductive rights is on the international stage again.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland, except in instances to save a woman’s life (much like the painful path down which the Supreme Court seems to be attempting to force the US).  Women rarely challenge the ban; when they do, they are punished.

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