Welcome to Feminist Truths

We are reborn! Getting shut down by lawyers working for the mafia (it is a long story) hasn't put an end to Feminist Truths.

The good news is that Feminist Truths is back and I have made it my quest in life to deliver truth to the masses.

Friday, December 19, 2008

George W Bush's New Contraceptive Rules

FEMINISM - In the waning days of the Bush administration, George W. Bush has issued a federal rule reinforcing protections for doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions or provide contraceptive information because of religious or moral objections.

The rule will limit a patient's right to get medical care and accurate information. For example, a pharmacy clerk could refuse to sell birth control pills, AIDS medication, condoms and face no ramifications from an employer.

Despite multiple long-standing federal laws on the books protecting health care providers from participating in abortions or sterilizations, the Bush administration argued that the rule was needed "to raise awareness of federal conscience protections and provide for their enforcement."

What it actually does however is make it harder for women to get services such as contraception, birth control or counseling in the event they are pregnant and want to learn all of their options, and not just the ones the religious wacko on the other side of the counter is pushing.

Several medical associations as well as a group of 13 attorneys general were among the many thousands who wrote to the department to protest the new rules after it was proposed. Opponents didn't like the rule any better after it was finalized.

"In just a matter of months, the Bush administration has undone three decades of federal protections for both medical professionals and their patients, replaced them with a policy that seriously risks the health of millions of women, then tried to pass it off as benevolent," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Several lawmakers have promised to take up legislation that would overturn the rule once Congress reconvenes in January. Another option is for the Obama administration to issue new regulations that would trump it.

Making birth control more – not less – accessible is the best way to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce abortion. Its not only ridiculous, its dangerous when you consider the fact AIDS is still very strong in the United States, and more unwanted pregnancies raises both the abortion rate and the suicide rate.

NOTE: If anti-abortion people were really serious about cutting back on abortions they should be PROMOTING condoms and working to get rid of poverty in America.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Truth about Women's Work

FEMINISM - How much are women paid in Canada and the United States?

In Canada the average woman earns 72.5 cents for every dollar a man earns.

In the United States the pay equity is 77.8 cents, but only only 71 cents for African American women and 58 cents for Latinas.

Both countries have pay equity laws, but the differences is actually the type of work men and women generally do. Men gravitate towards high paying factory work or management positions, whereas women tend to get jobs in the service industry and are overlooked for promotions into a managerial position.

Although truthfully, some women also reject promotions because they choose their families over spending more time on their career (see the Career and Family Dilemma). Some of them might even be single parents and thus don't really have time for a highly demanding career. Nothing wrong with that, if anything its a moment where we should criticize men for taking promotions and becoming a neglectful father.

Some promotions, I believe, should be given to people who are single and don't have children to worry about. Of course, some parents might argue against this idea because they're also thinking of terms of more money, better job security and hopefully providing more for their child's education/etc. Evidently it is a balancing act and open to personal interpretation.

Then there is a different matter... unpaid women's work. Or more specifically, domestic work such as cooking and cleaning (because technically a stay-at-home dad could also do those tasks). Its notoriously difficult to track domestic work, and its not just "cooking and cleaning". It could also cover gardening, home repairs, renovations and car repairs for those who like to do-it-themselves. Some economists have tried to measure what the economic contribution such things are...

But frankly I think its impossible to measure and wholly inaccurate. There is a dramatic difference between domestic partners who stay at home, cook, clean, fix the car, renovate the house, grow tomatoes/potatoes/peas/corn, sews/mends their clothes and darns their socks... and the type of person who just sits at home watching TV or playing computer games all day. One is evidently an economic benefit to the family unit... whereas the other is dependent and seemingly incapable of making themselves useful.

And then there's the value of parenting itself. Teaching your children life skills and morals. How do you put a price on that?

By that time you get to that, and assuming the person isn't a neglectful parent, you realize their value becomes incalculable and how important good parenting is.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hockey player suspended over sexist comment

FEMINISM/CANADA - Hockey agitator Sean Avery, the NHL's most hated player, was suspended indefinitely today because of comments he made:
“I just want to comment on how it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about. Enjoy the game tonight.” - Sean Avery, referring to his ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert.
Actress Elisha Cuthbert is currently dating Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf and the comment was considered to be a shot below the belt both at the fellow player and just plain inappropriate.

The comment certainly does reflect badly on the notoriously sexist National Hockey League (NHL), but things are trying to change.

“This is a situation where he’s painted our organization with a brush nobody wants to be painted with,” said Avery's coach Dave Tippett. “I know from a personal standpoint, that’s not the way I want to be perceived as an organization and as a team.”

There has only been ONE female hockey player in the history of the NHL: Her name is Manon Rhéaume and she has only played in two exhibition games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Exhibition games are only for show.

So when will women ever be taken seriously in the NHL? Its nice that they're curbing the bad language against women, but its past time women athletes broke the glass ceiling.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pakistani Teen murdered and her baby tossed into canal

FEMINISM - Right: Zakara Bibi Solangi holds up a picture of her murdered daughter Tasleem Solangi.

Taslim Solangi, an 8 months pregnant Pakistani teen from Khairpur, was forced to give birth prematurely and then was thrown in front of a pack of dogs, all of this because her father-in-law claimed that the child she was expecting was out of wedlock.

The baby, meanwhile, was disposed off in a canal.

Father-in-law, Zamir Solangi, who is responsible for this gruesome act, took the pregnant girl from her mother’s and subsequently swore of the Holy Quran that he wouldn’t harm her. Evidently he lied. Feeding her to dogs is still murder.

Zamir Solangi has yet to be captured by the local police even though the accused has openly made threats about killing the lynched teen’s mother.

Domestic Abuse in the USA

In the United States child abuse is reported on an average of every 10 seconds and
3 children die every day as a result of such abuse.

Domestic violence is the #1 cause of birth defects according
to the March of Dimes.

67% of abusers also abuse their children.

30% of all murders are women being killed by their partners.

1 in every 3 women is a victim of domestic violence
at some time in their life.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women
age 15 to 44.

In 87% of violent homes, children witness the battering.

15 - 25% of pregnant women are battered.

Up to 50% of all homeless women in the country are fleeing
from domestic violence.

75% of emergency room visits by battered women occur
after they have been separated.

A Woman is beaten every 9 seconds in the U.S.

According to the U.S Dept. of Justice almost 54% of all men
experienced physical assult as a child at the hands of an adult

About 2,000 of America's infants and young children die each
year due to domestic violence.

1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by age 16 31% of sexual
abuse victims under the age of 6 are male.

See Also:

The Ten Worst Countries for Women

Femicide in Guatemala & Canada

Monstrous Domesticity

Self Defense Against Rapists

Rapists are typically stronger than the women they target. Rapists prefer to pick targets that are smaller, mouse-like, has long hair and easy to rip off clothing. Their goal is to overpower you with pure strength, speed and surprise. You need to outsmart them.

1. When the rapist puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. This isn't just painful, its likely to drive the man to his knees.

2. After the initial hit, always go for the GROIN. It is extremely painful for men to get kicked in the crotch. You might think this is risky because it will anger the rapist, but it is much more likely to give you the extra time needed to run away.

3. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the rapist either under the arm (between the elbow and armpit) OR in the upper inner thigh VERY VERY HARD. Pinching extremely hard can even rip out muscle in this vulnerable area.

4. If you carry pepper spray carry it an easy to reach location and aim at the rapist's eyes. Hold it away from yourself so you don't accidentally hit yourself. The last thing you need is to get blinded too.

5. Carry an umbrella is a deterrent and anything like that helps. Trying to use your keys to scratch a rapist doesn't work well. Your teeth and nails are significantly sharper and more useful.

6. Stay aware of your surroundings. Tripping, pushing or knocking the rapist can be very useful in your efforts to get away. A classic way to trip someone is to stick one foot behind his leg and then push against his shoulders or chest, causing the rapist to fall backwards.

7. If his groin is too well protected his eyes won't be. A quick jab with two fingers to the rapist's eyes can both hurt and blind him.

8. A punch to the rapist's neck can also be very effective. It hurts his ability to breathe properly and this attack can also be fatal if you collapse his windpipe and he suffocates.

9. Punching just under the jaw and pushing upwards is a classic move that can knock the rapist down, but it will only be temporary.

10. RESIST. Don't give up easily. Rapists usually figure out in the first minute whether their target is worth the effort.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Korean Women: Not allowed to Pregnant

RELIGION/HEALTH - What does this sign mean?

Based on my friend's limited Korean it means pregnant women shouldn't sit down.

Where was this image found? On a subway? We're not sure. We're guessing it might be to prevent miscarriages from bumpy rides... or is it discriminatory against pregnant women?

Korea has some unusual superstitions. ie. If a pregnant woman miscarries she has to wear lots of clothes for 2 weeks so she will heal faster; babies can't be taken out of the house until after their "baek-il" (one-hundred-day) party; leaving a fan on in a closed room will suffocate the occupants; having sex with the lights on will cause infertility; refrigerators should be filled only 60% to prevent food poisoning; the number four sounds like death; you can't write your name in red ink because it was the colour used to write the names of the dead during the Korean War; and its bad luck for a man to sit beside a woman in a car whom he is not married to.

Fan death is by far the most amusing, as the South Korean government still issues warnings about the dangers of fan suffocation.

Please remember we're also talking about a country where women still use squat toilets and men use normal toilets. Toilet protectors for women aren't commonly found over there.

Virginity, Chastity and Muslim Beauty Queens

DIVORCE - A Muslim couple in France are still married tonight because the husbands request for annulment was turned down by a French tribunal.

The problem started in 2006 when on their wedding night the husband discovered that his wife was not a virgin (or at very least didn't bleed when her hymen broke, which is known to happen). He immediately stomped out of the bedroom and into the still active wedding party and demanded the vows be undone.

The case provoked wide outrage as an attack on male-female equality. One female government minister called the original tribunal ascent a "fatwa against the emancipation of women."

The issue of virginity amongst Muslim women is so controversial that some women either "fake their virginity" or have surgery to have their hymen restored.

Annulments in France have been granted for impotence, sterility, a criminal record, foreign nationality undisclosed, prostitution, and discovery of a previous divorce. The French tribunal saw this for what it was: Denunciation of a woman for having sex outside marriage (while the husband in question had previous sexual experience), discrimination based on anachronistic traditions, and imposition of religious values on secular law. The tribunal made the following comment:

"Virginity can in no case constitute an essential quality. It is not possible to obtain an annulment on such a discriminatory basis; this motive is an attack on male-female equality, the right to dispose of one's own body, and human dignity. It would be contrary to public order to grant an annulment on the grounds of non-virginity."

The couple can still apply for an annulment on more legal grounds, such as if they don't love each other and never did.

Meanwhile lets back up a few years and go to Germany... the 2005 Miss Germany was Asli Bayram, the first Muslim to be chosen as Germany's beauty queen.

Born in 1981 Germany Asli's father was killed by a Neo-NAZI when she was 12 years old, and unlike stereotypical beauty queens Asli is serious about her career as an actor, but also spends a significant amount of time trying to be a role model for young Muslim women.

There's also a rumour that she might end up guest starring on CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie as she is currently touring Canada.

Evidently its not just Muslim women who need role models. Its Muslim men who need better role models and need to understand that virginity only effects one night of your marriage. GET OVER IT.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Truth about Botox

HEALTH - Its bad enough that the advertising industry lies to us regularly, but pressuring women with the idea that its safe to use botox...? Scary. I seem to recall the breast implant industry using the same tactics. Its amazing the number of women willing to go under the knife for the sake of fake beauty.

Of course these days the beauty industry tries to be more sophisticated, but they're not above preying on the fears of women, and one of our biggest fears is growing old and becoming ignored.

I found this excellent video which illustrates the lies used by the botox industry... and I will point out that REAL doctors don't recommend botox, but slimy money-grubbing estheticians do... and it will only cost you $299.99 to inject your face with needles.

Scary? Not half as scary as the women hired to smile for the camera while being injected. Its like they don't even have souls any more...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Disney Princesses, Capitalism and Feminism

ENTERTAINMENT - Disney princesses don't slay dragons, play sports or go to university. Higher academics, athletics don't seem to be on their list of things to do.

Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan and newly added Tiana and Rapunzel... they have all perfected the art of being the damsel in distress. Even the bookish Belle, the runaway Jasmine and the resourceful Pocahontas... they all are beholden to having a man rescue them. Mulan is the only one that actually gets a sword.

Girl power? Don't make me laugh.

As a franchise Disney has done very well at selling clothes, toys, dolls to your kids. As cute as the little dresses are Disney's primary goal is your wallet.

You may laugh when your daughter says she wants to be a princess when she grows up, but what is she really aspiring to? Wearing pretty dresses and being rescued all the time? We all know there's no knight in shining armour. REAL relationships are about communication, mutual respect and spending time with each other.

There's also the health issue... all the Disney Princesses are anorexic. Do we really need to encourage our daughters to emulate the super thin?

Fairy tales have been around for centuries, little girls have always liked pretty dresses, and its no surprise little girls like them. But should parents be going out of their way to buy their kids all the Disney crap? Does the Disney Corporation really need more money?

Why not buy something that is good for your daughter's health and education?

This Christmas, I encourage parents to go out and buy their kids some sports equipment. Or something that will stimulate their brains.

The Disney Princesses may have beauty, but our daughters need more brawn and brains.

Sometimes Women just say NO to Kids

FEMINISM - Motherhood isn't for everyone. Its not really a feminist issue. Its just a matter of choice. (Its the ability to have a choice [or a vote] is where feminism comes in.)

Some women don't hate children, but they don't want them either. That's why some women decide to get her tubes tied. They KNOW, for whatever reason, that they are just not the mothering type. This is a difficult concept for some people, including myself who adores kids (and have dedicated my life to teaching them) but eventually I came to the realization that this was HER CHOICE. She had made the decision she didn't want kids, and even if she changed her mind later she could always adopt. Arriving at this decision can be difficult, but once the decision is made "getting fixed" is the easy part.

There are a variety of techniques for those sexually active women out there who want to neuter themselves. If you're curious about them I suggest researching the different techniques, their benefits, whether they can be reversed, possible side effects and of course talk to your doctor (who will ask you a series of questions to check your seriousness, like "What if you met a billionaire who wanted to have kids with you?").

Telling your parents might be the most difficult part. They have a tendency to cry when they realize they will never have grandkids.

(NOTE: According to a male friend some guys also think about getting fixed too, and he even discussed the matter with his parents and they were vehemently opposed to it. He has yet to do it, but he was seriously considering it apparently because he believes strongly in adoption.)

So when you think about it choosing not to have kids is not really a feminist decision. It doesn't make you a heartless bitch either. Some women just don't feel like being mothers. Some want to get married and have kids. Some even prefer to be single parents.

Feminist Perspectives on Reproduction and the Family

Wombs for Rent

A Woman's Choice - Abortion and the Right to Choose

Top 10 Ways Sports Illustrated Disrespects Women

10. Sports Illustrated disrespects women through sex-discriminatory coverage of women's sports. (Fewer than 10 percent of Sports Illustrated pages are devoted to women's athletic achievements.)

9. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by displaying demeaning stereotypes of female sexuality. The swimsuit issue features women models posed not as athletes of strength, skill, and endurance but as playthings--in costumes no one could possibly swim in competitively.

8. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue disrespects women by showing women's primary value to be their value as sex objects.

7. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by photographing their bodies as if they are merely body parts--breasts, buttocks, and crotches.

6. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by encouraging boys and young men to view women as sex toys and by turning voyeurism into a sport.

5. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue disrespects women by imitating an idea of women that originates in pornography. Mimicking magazines like Playboy and Penthouse, Sports Illustrated spreads out women's bodies on the page for male "readers" to ogle at.

4. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by numbing men to women's humanity.

3. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by exhibiting women to men as the "other"--as if women were a different species from the "real" athletes who are men.

2. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by sending a message to girls and young women that no matter how much they excel in athletics, all that matters is how they look to men.

1. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue disrespects women by directly contradicting Time-Warner's corporate hype, which claims the magazine stands for serious sports journalism and respects the ability and dignity of women and girls in athletics. If that were true, where is the magazine with all the scantily clad men wearing nothing but Speedos?

Women and Sports:

Sport in A Masculinist World

Gender Biases in School Sports

You Throw Like A Girl!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Woman Rescues Two in House Fire

CANADA - A Toronto woman is being considered for a fire service award after she rescued a 19-year-old disabled woman and the woman's brother from a house fire in the city's northwest yesterday.

Natalia Harispuru, 29, a special education teacher at Msgr. John Corrigan Catholic School, was in the school's office at 4 p.m. Monday when a colleague burst into the room and announced that a house across the street was on fire.

Together with principal Blanka Matulic, education assistant Anna Marincola, and day care supervisor Karen Leroux, Harispuru raced across the street where smoke and flames could be seen pouring out from the backyard of a neighbouring home.

"I jumped up onto the fence to see over, and saw that fire had engulfed the entire back of the house. There was smoke and flames everywhere," Harispuru said. "Then I heard the brother yelling 'Help! Help!'"

Harispuru and colleagues then ran around the front of the house, and while some ran to phone 9-1-1 and warn neighbours to evacuate, Harispuru went to the front door and kicked it in.

Harispuru rushed in, found the two injured people and pulled/carried them to safety. The female was on the top floor of the semi-detached home when the fire started and her brother, who is in his early 20s, was on the main floor.

"She put herself in a life-threatening situation to assist with this rescue," Toronto Fire Capt. Mike Strapko said. "She put her life in peril and went above and beyond. There's nothing official, no paper work yet, but the firefighters have been talking and she could be recognized with a civilian citation at our annual Rescue and Merit Awards."

"There was heavy smoke and a lot of heat," Mike Strapko said, explaining the severity of the fire. "Even the fire alarm was mostly melted, the kitchen was completely gutted and the fire spread throughout the attic."

Still suffering a pounding headache, sore chest and raspy voice, Harispuru has taken the rest of this week off to recover. The reluctant hero was quick to credit her co-workers for their lifesaving teamwork today.

"I want to stress that even though I was the one crazy enough to go into the house, it was a team effort. Being such a small school, it really does feel like a family and we always work together. We wouldn't have been successful without everyone's cooperation," she said.

"Everyone's calling me a hero, but I don't see it that way. I saw the need, I was in the right place at the right time, and I had a lot of help. I was glad to help the family."

"They would have died for certain had she not been there," said one of the firemen on the scene.

PERSONAL NOTE: Normally I don't cover topics like this, but I found it interesting that she just kicked in the door and saved them both from the fire.

Lesbians Attacked in Hate Crime

A lesbian couple in Oshawa were brutally assaulted in front of their six-year-old son and his classmates on November 3rd by a stranger. Mark Scott, 43, also of Oshawa has been charged with two counts of assault causing bodily harm. He was released and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec 16. Police are also deciding whether to charge him with a hate crime.

CANADA - Anji Dimitriou and Jane Currie were picking up their three children up from Gordon B Attersley Elementary School when a fellow parent attacked them.

Currie says they had just parked their truck and Dimitriou had gotten out when she saw Mark Scott — who has verbally harassed them in the past — approaching.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw this man whom we've had run-ins with in the past. He made a beeline straight for Anji. I can see him getting him angrier and angrier. He said to Anji, 'Which of you two men spoke to my kid? Fucking dyke lesbians.' I jump out and just as I come around he spits right in her face. She wiped the spit off and he punched her in the face and hit her again in the back of the head."

"She was yelling obscenities and another father tried to shoulder him out of the way. Then he smacks me. My cheek burst with the force of the impact. He's about 6'4" or 6'5" and 250 pounds and we're both about 5'2". His fist was probably half the size of my head."

"My face was bleeding profusely everywhere. All these children who had just finished school had to see all this blood. They were screaming, including my own son who was up close and personal. They were devastated, hysterical. His own child saw this."

Currie says their two daughters, ages six and seven, came out in time to see their parents' bloody faces. "They were terrified. They didn't know where to go."

Currie says Mark Scott was collecting his children and preparing to leave when the principal came out and told him to wait in her office until the police arrived.

"He said, 'Fine.' He didn't think he had done anything wrong."

Currie says she and Dimitriou were taken to the hospital and the man was arrested by Durham Regional police based on eyewitness testimony from teachers, students and parents present. "But the worst is the mental side and the children. We took them to see a therapist on the Wednesday."

"We have to show them every night how the alarm will go off," she says. "We went to Zellers and they didn't want to get out of the truck. 'What if he's in Zellers?' they asked. 'What if he comes back to the school and comes after us?'"

Dimitriou says the assault has also been devastating for other children at the school and parents. "The principal says he's done more damage than just beating us," she says. "Parents and students are terrified."

The Oshawa school has placed Mark Scott under a no-trespass order which requires him to stay 200 metres away from the school. The police have also obtained an order requiring him to stay 500 metres from Dimitriou and Currie.

Dimitriou says she and Currie have each had a previous encounter with the man, in which he has blocked their access to a parking spot and called them "fucking dykes." She says the man has also been verbally abusive to other parents, but that everybody has let it slide.

"Teachers know about him," she says. "Nobody wants to talk to him because he's a psycho. This is a town of soccer moms and nobody wants to open their mouths."

Sgt Paul McCurbin, the media relations officer for Durham regional police, says the police will ask the Crown attorney to approach the case as a hate crime.

"If the evidence shows that the only reason these two ladies were attacked was because of their gender or sexual orientation that evidence will come forward," he says. "We don't appreciate anybody being assaulted in our community. The police did what they're supposed to do, we arrested the bad guy."

But area residents say the police have been useless in helping to stop homophobic incidents in Durham region.

"My partner and I actually had to sell our house because we were being discriminated against so much," says Udana Muldoon, the chair of Durham Queer Parenting. "We had poo thrown at our house, water in our gas tank, we were called names all the time. The police officers said, 'If it's such a big deal, you should probably stay in your backyard."

Muldoon says she, her partner and their three-year-old are moving from Oshawa to a smaller town on the outskirts.

Peter Richtig, the executive director of the AIDS Committee of Durham Region, says the assault is not isolated. He says there have been homophobic assaults in the past.

"There have been other incidents, some even more violent. We have clients who have been forced to move out of the region, who have lost their housing after they were outed. Some have been outed by the police, some have ended up in psychiatric wards because of psychological harassment."

"Because of situations like this people are very closeted. They're afraid to be out."

"I'm angry," she says. "I just moved up here two years ago. I lived in Toronto my whole life. I never had anybody call me a dyke or make remarks to my children."

She says the couple is considering a civil suit against Mark Scott.

About Lesbianism and Feminism:

Lesbianism and Feminism

The Woman Identified Woman

1970s Lesbian Feminism

Big Dyke on Campus

Sarah Palin sour over election results

POLITICS - In an interview aired today Sarah Palin tried to blame other reasons for her party's defeat:

"We didn't get the Hispanic vote." (After all why would Hispanics vote for a party that is so anti-immigration? They didn't get the black vote either as less than 4% of black males voted for McCain/Palin and 0% of black women.)

"We were outspent so tremendously." (Not true, the Republicans spent just as much.)

"The anti-incumbency sentiment that was spread across the land and our ticket representing the incumbency." (In other words, the Anti-Bush effect.)

Sarah Palin is trying to keep the focus off how she is the #1 reason the Republicans lost so dramatically. She was quite simply a scandal magnet. Palin's various gaffes, her daughter Bristol's pregnancy and shotgun wedding, the prank call from two Quebec comediens, the Saturday Night Live spoof, Troopergate, the Hustler spoof, and a slew of other scandals.

McCain's loss to Barack Obama last week was an Electoral College landslide that dramatically reorders the divided political map that's been the norm during the last two U.S. elections. Obama even won in traditionally Republican states like Indiana and gained ground in just about every demographic group, including the fast-growing Hispanic bloc that Republicans have courted.

Asked about rumours of problems between herself and running mate McCain toward the end of the campaign, Palin said: "We had a great relationship ... There was never any inkling of tension between the two of us."

Amid speculation she'll run for president in four years, Palin said she prayed she wouldn't miss "an open door" for her next political opportunity.

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door," Palin said. "And if there is an open door in O-twelve or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."

Palin also said it wasn't fair for people to suggest she brought the ticket down.

"I think the economic collapse had a heckuva lot more to do with the campaign's collapse than me personally," Palin said. "Sure, I'm upset that people are blaming me, but I'm trying not to let it bother me."

See Also: Sarah Palin is NOT a Feminist

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Is Gay the new Black?

UNITED STATES - Now that America has elected Barack Obama President, who happens to be an African American, many believe we’re well on our way to moving past the struggles of the civil rights era. It appears the egalitarian democratic republic our Constitution hoped we would someday become has arrived.

Except it hasn’t.

Across the nation homosexuals (and single parents for that matter) took a hit on November 4th. Proposition 8 - which bans gay marriage in California - and similar initiatives in Florida and Arizona have dampened the mood. America can rejoice that President-elect Obama embodies all that it has become since the arrivals of settlers in Jamestown and Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock - the good and the bad - but even he has faltered on the topic of homosexuality. While perhaps necessary for election, toeing the line on gay rights is a sham and a shame. Full rights should be granted to all law-abiding members of the United States of America.

Full, unalienable rights.

Marriage and the option to adopt a child in need of a caring home should one be mentally, emotionally, and economically fit for the task - notice I didn’t say straight or married - are two of these rights. They are not privileges granted to the elite or the predominant. They are unalienable. Just as we now look back at slavery, Jim Crow, and institutionalized, tolerated, widespread racism, we will look back at these acts of hatred just the same when times change.

Just as we cringe when our grandparents show the ignorance of their day by using offensive or hateful words such as "Chinaman" or "Colored," our children and grandchildren, ashamed, will look at us in disbelief for allowing this mistreatment of American citizens. Next time you hear a friend or even yourself calling something or someone "queer," "homo," "butch," or worse, think about that.

Barack Obama can win the presidency as a biracial man, but rest assured he would not have won as a homosexual.

It’s time the call for equal rights for all Americans takes center stage. Gay is the new black.

And don't think for an instant that George W. Bush hasn't been pushing gay rights too.

Bush was the first Republican president to appoint a gay man to serve in his administration, Scott Evertz as director of the Office of National AIDS Policy and he also nominated Michael E. Guest as ambassador to Romania, who became the first openly gay man to be confirmed by the Senate as a U.S. ambassador.

And lastly, whats with all the kissey faces with the Saudi Arabians? Don't forget Bush kisses men regularly as part of his job. He also kisses Saudi butt too, but thats because they invested money in his oil company Arbusto years ago... but that is another story.

See also: TheCall to stop Homosexuality

Friday, November 7, 2008

Abortion or Single Motherhood?

FEMINISM - Some women are up to the task of single motherhood and on the other hand some women are not financially capable of taking care of a kid (or another kid). In the United States:

  • 66% of women who have abortions are not married.

  • 60% of women who have abortions already have 1 or more children.

  • 73% of women who have abortions are living below the poverty level (earning $9,570 or less per year).

  • Black women are three times more likely to have an abortion and Hispanic women are twice as likely to have an abortion.

  • 75% of women who have abortion cite lack of money to raise a child as one of their reasons for having an abortion.
    I respect women who choose to become a single parent. It is a difficult task, no doubt about it and they deserve that respect. But at the same time we also have to respect the wishes of women who due to poverty reasons decide to have an abortion.

    Choosing to have an abortion is a difficult task, for many women they don't really have a choice. They simply can't afford another kid. There is this stereotype that women who get abortions are "rich, upper-class and white", but in reality the statistics show that its impoverished people, often black or Hispanic women.

    THUS the anti-abortionist lobby should really be discussing the issue of poverty amongst women.


    See: Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists
  • Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Iron Jawed Angels

    FEMINISM - Iron Jawed Angels recounts for a contemporary audience a key chapter in U.S. history: in this case, the struggle of suffragists who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment. Focusing on the two defiant women, Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Frances O'Connor), the film shows how these activists broke from the mainstream women's-rights movement and created a more radical wing, daring to push the boundaries of political protest to secure women's voting rights in 1920. Breathing life into the relationships between Paul, Burns and others, the movie makes the women feel like complete characters instead of one-dimensional figures from a distant past.

    Although the protagonists have different personalities and backgrounds - Alice is a Quaker and Lucy an Irish Brooklynite - they are united in their fierce devotion to women's suffrage. In a country dominated by chauvinism, this is no easy fight, as the women and their volunteers clash with older, conservative activists, particularly Carrie Chapman Catt (Angelica Huston). They also battle public opinion in a tumultuous time of war, not to mention the most powerful men in the country, including President Woodrow Wilson (Bob Gunton). Along the way, sacrifices are made: Alice gives up a chance for love, and colleague Inez Mulholland (Julia Ormond) gives up her life.

    The women are thrown in jail, with an ensuing hunger strike making headline news. The women's resistance to being force-fed earns them the nickname "The Iron Jawed Angels." However, it is truly their wills that are made of iron, and their courage inspires a nation and changes it forever.

    Women who marched for the right to vote were arrested, starved, force-fed, beaten, tortured.

    This is the kind of thing they endured. It comes from an email about the movie:

    Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

    They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

    They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.

    Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

    Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

    For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their
    food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

    When I talk with women who say they can't be bothered to vote, or they don't know enough about the issues, I wish they were more aware that all this happened less than a century ago.

    Again: Many battles have been won but the war for equality is not yet over.

    Women Voters Proved YES WE CAN

    FEMINISM/POLITICS - In yesterday's presidential election women turned out to vote and what is interesting is that there was more female voters (53%) than male voters (47%). Whats more, 56% of women voters cast their vote for Barack Obama.

    According to exit polls black women in the USA voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, with a total of 96%. 68% of latino women also voted for Barack Obama, along with 46% of white women and 63% of women of other races. 53% of white women voted for McCain/Palin. 1% of all female voters voted 3rd party.

    This says something about democracy and feminism. Women value their power to vote. Men, apparently, do not value their own vote and don't care about politics as much as women do.

    It also bodes well for the future first female president. While we may be disappointed by Hillary Clinton's failure, we have to admit Barack Obama's win is a momentous occasion.

    See Also:

    Sarah Palin is NOT a Feminist

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Obama is the new US President

    Congratulations to Barack Obama!

    Lets all hope he works to help further women's rights and feminism around the world and also at home. God bless Obama! God bless Feminism! God bless America!

    (I'm not even religious, but I'm very happy right now!)

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Sexually Active Teens watching racy shows

    SEX/ENTERTAINMENT - Groundbreaking research suggests that pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who watch a lot of TV with sexual dialogue and behaviour than among those who have tamer viewing tastes.

    Sex and the City was one of the shows used in the research.

    The new study is the first to link those viewing habits with teen pregnancy, said lead author Anita Chandra, a Rand Corp. behavioural scientist. Teens who watched the raciest shows were twice as likely to become pregnant over the next three years as those who watched few such programs.

    Previous research by some of the same scientists had already found that watching lots of sex on TV can influence teens to have sex at earlier ages.

    Shows that highlight only the positive aspects of sexual behaviour without the risks can lead teens to have unprotected sex "before they're ready to make responsible and informed decisions," Chandra said.

    The study was released Monday in the November issue of Pediatrics. It involved 2,003 12- to 17-year-old girls and boys nationwide questioned by telephone about their TV viewing habits in 2001. Teens were re-interviewed twice, the last time in 2004, and asked about pregnancy. Among girls, 58 became pregnant during the follow-up, and among boys, 33 said they had gotten a girl pregnant.

    Participants were asked how often they watched any of more than 20 TV shows popular among teens at the time or which were found to have lots of sexual content. The programs included Sex and the City, That '70s Show and Friends.

    Pregnancies were twice as common among those who said they watched such shows regularly, compared with teens who said they hardly ever saw them. There were more pregnancies among the oldest teens interviewed, but the rate of pregnancy remained consistent across all age groups among those who watched the racy programs.

    Chandra said TV-watching was strongly connected with teen pregnancy even when other factors were considered, including grades, family structure and parents' education level.

    But the study didn't adequately address other issues, such as self-esteem, family values and income, contends Elizabeth Schroeder, executive director of Answer, a teen sex education program based at Rutgers University.

    "The media does have an impact, but we don't know the full extent of it because there are so many other factors," Schroeder said.

    But Bill Albert, chief program officer at the nonprofit National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, praised the study and said it "catches up with common sense."

    "Media helps shape the social script for teenagers. Most parents know that. This is just good research to confirm that," Albert said.

    Still, U.S. teen pregnancies were on a 15-year decline until a 3 per cent rise in 2006, the latest data available. Experts think that could be just be a statistical blip.

    And Albert noted that the downward trend occurred as TV shows were becoming more sexualized, confirming that "it's not the only influence."

    Psychologist David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, cited data suggesting only about 19 per cent of American teens say they can talk openly with a trusted adult about sex. With many schools not offering sex education, that leaves the media to serve as a sex educator, he said.

    "For a kid who no one's talking to about sex, and then he watches sitcoms on TV where sex is presented as this is what the cool people do," the outcome is obvious, Walsh said.

    He said the message to parents is to talk to their kids about sex long before children are teens. Parents also should be watching what their kids watch and helping filter messages sex-filled shows are sending, he said.

    The national average for American teen pregnancy is 23%.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Sarah Palin is NOT a Feminist

    FEMINISM - If Sarah Palin is a feminist she's not a very good one. Oh sure, she believes in equality but does she fight for it? Sure, she believes women and mothers perform an important role in society, but does she respect the right of women to make their own choice?

    Sarah Palin is an extremist. By extremist I mean she forces her beliefs onto other people. She is a Christian Crusader and her primary interests for getting into the White House (either in 2008 or 2012) is so she can push for banning abortion, ban gay marriages, ban books that support gay rights, feminist rights, etc. and basically do whatever the Vatican and conservative Christian minority wants.

    So taking those facts in stride, can we still consider her a feminist? No. She's an anti-feminist which is a very complicated term.

    If you thought feminism was complicated you haven't encountered the sheer complexity of ideas and backwards logic that is anti-feminism. Anti-feminism believes (essentially) that feminism is inherently wrong, that feminism is about "male hating" and "female supremacy", etc. Anti-feminism works a bit like the KKK blaming everything on the Jews, except in anti-feminism they blame everything on the feminists. According to anti-feminists we "fem-nazi-bitches" want to destroy marriage, families, promote abortion/divorce, convert to socialist communism, practice witchcraft/wicca and turn everyone into lesbians.

    "[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
    - Pat Robertson (being sarcastic), Feminist Quotes

    Women like Sarah Palin like to preach the philosophy of Traditional Womanhood, which basically pushes that women should pursue motherhood first, careers second and essentially be subservient to their husbands demands. In other words a virtual slave in their own home. Its not wonder women in the 18th century got "hysteria" so often, they were driven mad (or at very least really pissed off) from their over-demanding, over-controlling husbands.

    There's also something called Conservative Feminism, but frankly its so close to anti-feminism in its ideals the lines become a bit blurred. Conservative Feminism also promotes the idea that women belong in the home first and foremost. Conservative Feminism also promotes Pro-Life when it comes to abortion and promotes Traditional Womanhood/Motherhood. Hardly any differences except women are more likely to identify themselves as Conservative Feminists and men are more likely to call themselves anti-feminists. No big difference at all.

    Postfeminism says that women have a choice. They can choose to have abortion or not, they can choose to have a career or not, they can choose to wear skirts or pants, they can choose to wear lingerie if they want to, they can choose to get an education, they can choose to get married/divorced, they can choose to run for public office. Does this make Sarah Palin a postfeminist? No, because she wants to get rid of some of those choices. She still wants to run for public office evidently, and she's not about to get rid of divorce... but she is in favour of denying women a choice when it comes to abortion.

    So evidently Sarah Palin falls into the category of Conservative Feminist/Anti-Feminist, and there's very little distinction between the two.

    Now what was that I said about 2012? Oh yes, lately Sarah Palin has been trying to distance herself from electoral partner John McCain and has even been arguing with him over several key election issues. Why? She wants to distance herself from him and run for president herself. Currently all the polls are predicting Barack Obama to win 49% to 48% with an estimated voter turnout of 59% (in 2004 voter turnout was 56% and in 2000 it was 51%). Voter turnout is expected to be higher in 2008 thanks to Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

    Indeed these days it seems more like Republican voters are voting for Sarah Palin, not John McCain, as quite a few people expect the 72 year old John McCain to kick the bucket sometime soon.

    I know there's a lot of women out there who seem to think Sarah Palin is a feminist, but really she isn't. She's just an Conservative extremist. There's a huge difference. If people still think of her as a feminist it will only serve to give feminists a bad name (as if feminists don't already have enough problems being called "a bunch of baby-killing lesbians").

    Admittedly there is a minority of women in the United States who support the idea of banning abortion and no longer giving women a choice in that matter. But is there enough Pro-Lifers to push Sarah Palin into office in 2012?

    I certainly hope not.

    Remember the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher? She was Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990 and the first female Prime Minister of England. She was very good at it too, but there's a problem. She had a lot of feminist support when she first got into power and as soon as she was in power she cut funding to women's groups such as women's shelters, programs to promote literacy and education amongst women, etc. It struck a tremendous blow to women's rights in England. She was a good leader and well respected in some respects, but she wasn't called the Iron Lady for nothing.

    If Sarah Palin should run for president in 2012, and win by some ill fate, she needs a moniker that would more effectively describe her Conservative extremist background. How about the Palinbomber? It would reference the willingness of Pro-Lifers to bomb abortion clinics and reference her pro-war stance on the Middle East.

    See Also:

    A Woman's Choice - Abortion Privacy and the Right to Choose

    Womens' Rights in the United States

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Women in Sports: Lies, Sexism & Selling Out

    FEMINISM - If you look at women in sports what do you usually see?

    Actually you probably don't see a lot unless you're looking in a men's magazine like Sports Illustrated and what you will see is a lot of skin and the emphasis will be on sex, not sports.

    Men have so dominated the sports industry that when women try to get attention in the business they have to resort to doing something other than their actual sport... namely posing scantily clad. Take Ana Kournikova for example. She makes more money from doing photo shoots than she does from tennis. She's actually not even that good of a tennis player. She's a complete sell out.

    The good female tennis players, Serena Williams and Venus Williams, meanwhile are widely ignored because they're black and there's the belief in western culture that black isn't beautiful. Complete nonsense of course, but thats the situation.

    "How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete?" - Feminist Quote.

    Just recently Billy Jean King was on Oprah and then talked about the historic moment in 1973's "Battle of the Sexes" when she defeated male champion Bobby Riggs. Billy Jean King won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women's doubles titles and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. King has been an outspoken advocate against sexism in sports and society.

    And she's absolutely right. There's a tonne of sexism in the sports industry and a lot of it shows up in the mass media in the form of women athletes (who aren't wearing very much).

    And you will note quite a few of them are in Billy Jean King's profession: tennis. Also a lot of swimmers and golfers too who are willing to show a lot of skin. Check out the list at: Female Athletes, who takes them seriously?

    Frankly there's a lot of myths and lies about women and exercise period. Like the myth that women's weightlifting will make you look like a man.

    And the mass media/men's magazines certainly don't help by publishing images that show women athletes as sex objects.

    Its bad enough that men's magazines are dictating who are "best" female athletes based on how good they look in a bikini, but they're also setting beauty standards for a new generation of women (and in particular women athletes).

    Not every woman falls into the Sports Illustrated ideal of what is beautiful, and certainly not every female athlete falls into that either. Its simply unrealistic.

    How about more images of women athletes doing what they do best? Being athletic. Lets see more shots of them lifting weights, running, swimming, jumping.

    Relaxing on the beach in a bikini or wearing white shirts and getting soaked in the rain hardly seems on topic and certainly isn't going to inspire the next generation of female athletes.

    Women like Billy Jean King, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Thats what we need more of.

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    The Good Wife's Guide and Advice for Young Brides

    Like checking out what people thought of marriage and women years ago? Here's some good topics:

    The Good Wife's Guide

    Advice for Young Brides

    Aristotle: On a Good Wife

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Are High Heels a Detriment or a Benefit?

    We had a young journalism student named Sarah contact the Feminist eZine today asking about whether we thought high heels was a detriment or a benefit. Here is some of the excerpts from our conversation, reorganized a bit:

    Are High Heels a Detriment or a Benefit?

    It really depends. Are you asking with respect to careers or relationships or something else?

    ie. A single mother wearing stilettos? Trying to care for a baby and maintain your balance? Think again.

    We took a moment to dispel that fashion myth about high heels being invented by men and checked who really made them. Reputedly it was invented by a rather short French duchess, Catherine de' Medici of Orleans, in an effort to look taller. The shoes in question apparently looked like platform shoes. The shoes caught on, styles changed rapidly and we can all blame the French.

    As a modern phenomenon we don't think high heels are a "sartorial extension of patriarchy"... and here's our justification:

    #1. If men were trying to force women to wear high heels they'd be wanting to go into shoe shopping with women and help them pick out a pair. If anything its the opposite. Men avoid women's shoe stores like the plague and find them very boring. (In contrast you could argue lingerie is a "sartorial extension of patriarchy" because men do actually go to lingerie stores, will even buy lingerie as gifts and depending on the type of lingerie is certainly catering more to men than to women.)

    #2. When was the last time a man bought a woman a pair of high heels as a gift? Men, clueless in many ways, have long ago figured out that shoe shopping is a rather personal choice for women, that its more about comfort and looks, and that as men they really don't have a clue how our feet feel, realize that, and therefore don't consider high heels to be an ideal gift.

    #3. As you've pointed out, its women who make the active choice to purchase high heels and also choose the length of the heel. Price is certainly a factor as well because a nice pair can be really expensive. We also think personal height might be a factor and it would be interesting to see a chart of how tall average high heel buyers are.

    #4. Does Hillary Clinton have to wear high heels all the time? We personally have never seen her feet without her ever-present-high-heels. So evidently she wants to make herself look taller and professional. The same can be said for men wearing ties. There's no rule saying businessmen have to wear ties, but many do in an effort to look professional. Its a societal expectation that politicians and business people try to look professional.

    High heels are essentially about trying to look taller, professional and deserving of respect. Why do prostitutes wear high heels? Because they want more respect and to be treated as a higher class.

    Do you remember the Glamour magazine editor who said that Afro hair was unprofessional and a bad look? White society expects black women to straighten their hair in order to look professional, but frankly we disagree with the notion that its unprofessional in the first place. We think afro hair looks just beautiful the way it is and black women should be encouraged to stand up for their natural hair. Whats wrong with society is the shock value of afro hair. People in corporate life aren't used to seeing it regularly but that belief will change over time as more black women go natural.

    Are men forcing black women to straighten their hair? There could be an argument for that too. A lot of rap videos do show women with straightened hair, suggesting thats what men seem to want. Frankly we think its all about people bending to society's expectations.

    The same goes with high heels. People expect career minded women to wear high heels. Are they a detriment or a benefit? Only if people notice them. If someone's on a first date and wears high heels its because she wants to make a good first impression.

    So are high heels a detriment or a benefit? At this point we're going to say neither.

    We definitely think Crocs would be a detriment, regardless of how comfortable they are.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Bus driver molests boy, gets away with it

    When I was 11 years old our school bus driver (whose name was Ralph) in Prince Edward Island started letting one of the boys sit on his lap while he drove us all home. He swore us to secrecy because we all knew the boy wasn't supposed to be sitting on the bus driver's lap...

    Over a period of a month the bus driver Ralph started molesting the boy, who was about 7 at the time. He started fondling him sexually right in front of us.

    We (the older kids) knew that we should be telling our parents, our teachers or the police... but the bus driver knew where we lived and reminded/threatened us. Some of us were also thanking our lucky stars it wasn't us up there on driver's lap being molested. Our previous promise was part of the issue for the smaller children, who were very confused as to what was going on, but for the older kids it was a matter of indecision. We wanted to tell someone but the threat of violence and whether anyone would listen brought serious doubts.

    Eventually Ralph became so confident he pulled his penis out of his pants and instructed the boy to stroke it for him. He had to stop the bus at one point because he couldn't concentrate on the road enough.

    After that incident myself and several other students went to the principal to complain. Ralph was arrested, but oddly enough never charged. He was fired, shunned in public and people stopped talking to him (or when they did talk it was to shout insults at him).

    Ralph eventually moved to British Columbia and we never heard from him again. He was never charged, never listed as a sex offender and for all we know could be driving bus again or coaching baseball for young boys.

    The boy, Michael or Mikey, went to psychologists for several years and by the time he was a teenager was a goth and a drug addict. He was messed up for life. Last I heard he moved to Montreal.

    My point is thus: Mikey's life was essentially ruined by what happened and Ralph got away with it. I personally still have nightmares about what happened and I'm fairly certain other people involved have been disturbed as well.

    What boggles my mind is how Ralph managed to get away scot-free. We had many witnesses and a seriously confused molested boy.

    Is that the state of our child protection laws in Canada? That sex criminals get away without even being charged? It makes me sick to my stomach.

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    Black Womanhood in Art

    Wellesley College’s Davis Museum and Cultural Center

    Right: DOUBLE FUSE: Wangechi Mutu’s playful razzmatazz makes reference to the past but lives in the present.

    “Black Womanhood,” the exhibit at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum and Cultural Center, must have seemed like a sharp idea when it was being put together. It examines the ways in which “contemporary artists are challenging historic and often stereotypical images that present black women as the alluringly beautiful Other, the erotic fantasy, or the super-maternal mammy.” By now this is familiar, if still urgent, stuff; what makes this outing special is that it gathers more than 100 objects — traditional African art, Western colonial photos and postcards, and contemporary art — that connect today’s dissectors with the origins of the ugly stereotypes they’re working to take apart.

    Barbara Thompson, who organized the show for Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art in New Hampshire, does a good job of mapping the territory. But it’s an uneven show with a dour vision that leaves a mediciny taste in your mouth — and, I think, offers signs of a generation gap among curators.

    The art of African women was traditionally pottery, beadwork, basketry, textiles, and the decoration of their own bodies (tattoos, scarification, hairstyles, body paint). But Westerners collected primarily African sculpture, masks, and costumes — which tended to be made by and for African men. The women’s portrayal of themselves was more abstracted, less obvious than their men’s literal, if stylized, depictions of women. The show presents women-made pots with bumps and patterns that make reference to women’s physiques and body scarification. The women’s pieces emerge directly from their work and their rituals — like a leather skirt beaded by an adolescent girl in her seclusion as she made the traditional passage into womanhood.

    The most charged part of the show surveys early-20th-century Western photos and postcards of African women. Western attitudes are apparent in images that treated the women as curious ethnographic specimens and pin-ups — either untamed, sexually available African primitives or Oriental harem girls. Photographers tailored their shots to different audiences by photographing the same models elaborately garbed or in various states of undress. A postcard of a young topless Temne woman lounging on a rug was published around 1910 as “Timnie Girl, Sierra Leone.” When it was republished in the 1920s, the caption read, “Just you and me. Sierra Leone.” These postcards could be the foundation of an electrifying stand-alone exhibit.

    Right: HOT-EN-TOT: More of the contemporary work should have Renée Cox’s crackle and swagger.

    But “Black Womanhood” — primarily work by black women, with some contributions by men and whites — deflates as it moves to the art of today. Sokari Douglas Camp’s 1995 sculpture Gelede from Top to Toe is an African woman turned into an armored tank of steel and chicken wire with wooden breasts that jut out like battering rams. In Renée Cox’s giant 2001 photo self-portrait Baby Back, she imitates Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 1814 painting La grande odalisque by reclining, with nothing hiding her brown skin except for red heels, on a gold chaise longue. Cox asks how race colors our notions of beauty, and she teases black-white, male-female hierarchies. Ingres’s naked white lady is an imagined harem girl holding a fan; Cox has a whip.

    More of the contemporary work should have Cox’s crackle and swagger. It should sadden, celebrate, anger. You’d think Kara Walker’s bawdy, violent versions of ante-bellum paper-cut silhouettes would be just what this show needs, but the 1997 pop-up book that’s here is too tiny to convey the fierce beauty of her best work.

    The then-and-now focus favors artists whose work is built on looking back — but many artists seem hemmed in by their historical references. And the theme pigeonholes art that is more expansive, like María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s 1994 self-portrait When I Am Not Here/Estoy Allá. The photo shows her naked body from her chin to her belly, everything painted with blue waves. Slung over her shoulders and hanging over her breasts are a pair of baby bottles. Milk seems to drip from the bottles and her breasts into a simple wooden boat that she cradles. A black Cuban native who lives in Brookline with her white husband and their son, Campos-Pons often makes reference to the African diaspora and traditional African art. But her explorations of motherhood, race, and much else have their own rich mysterious symbols, and they’re planted in the present by her sculptural and symbolic use of hair extensions and beads.

    These are highlights among contemporary works that are mostly dull, didactic, and rote — like a 1990-’91 photo from Carla Williams’s How To Read Character series that pairs a diagram of the parts of a cow with a photo of the nude artist. It’s art focused more on being good for you than on engaging you. “Global Feminisms,” a survey of recent international feminist art that was organized by the Brooklyn Museum and appeared at the Davis last fall, was similarly full of dour art. This eat-your-broccoli didacticism seems at least a decade behind the times.

    In “Black Womanhood,” that’s partly because much of the newish work is at least 10 years old. But it also seems to represent a generation gap among curators who haven’t picked up on the changes in this area of art over the past decade or so. These curators know black and feminist art of ’80s and ’90s, which often took the form of pared-down didactic critiques. What they’ve missed is emerging women artists and artists of color who while continuing to berate the straight white guys who’ve kept their people down also create exuberant visions of what the future can hold. And they’ve embraced lavish beauty — often for its own sake. Among younger black artists, this trend tends to show up as vivid psychedelic colors, glitter, and patterns and fabrics that make reference to traditional African art as well as ’60s and ’70s Afro soul. These artists remain engaged with the past, but in terms of the themes and styles of their childhoods, when the transformations of the civil-rights movement, feminism, and post-colonialism began to be felt.

    The single example of all that here is Wangechi Mutu’s 2003 collage and ink drawing Double Fuse. It depicts weird futuristic glam twins with hands made of motorcycle parts and glittering skin-tight outfits with blond hair as epaulets. The patterns recall African art, but the goofy, cheeky, playful razzamatazz is more about beauty than a comment on the past.

    Where are Chris Olifi, Mickalene Thomas, Lorna Williams, Laylah Ali, Saya Woolfalk, Yinka Shonibare, El Anatsui, and the Chicago artist Nick Cave? The show would benefit from flashbacks to Betye Saar’s acid 1972 assemblage The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, which gave the icon a broom in one hand and a rifle in the other. Or cartoonist Robert Crumb’s notorious ’60s caricature Angelfood McSpade, which was inspired by racist comics of the 1920s and ’30s.

    And though it doesn’t fit the show’s then-and-now focus, I wish “Black Womanhood” had a place for pseudonymous Chicago artist Lo (see www.livingoprah.com), who is spending this year following, as closely as she can, the advice Oprah Winfrey gives on her television show and her Web site and in her magazines. If that doesn’t tell us something deep about black womanhood today, what does?

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