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.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Truth about getting Pregnant

SEX - Here is a wee tidbit for you. I am thinking about having a child. Not adoption either. Via a sperm bank. No sexual acts required.

Let me explain... I am in my 30s. My (egad) biological clock is ticking. I have no intention of marrying a man, but I would be tempted to get married to my partner. I might even propose to her when the time is right. Regardless, the choice to have a child would still be mine to make. I know my partner also wants children, although we do differ on the number (she wants 2, I prefer 1).

Future Note: She could pull a fast one and get pregnant too, thus we would each have 1. It would be entirely her choice.

But you see therein lies an important truth. I am planning to get pregnant. In contrast for many women it seems to happen by accident. Often causing the need for an abortion if the woman is financially unable to support a child by herself.

Now there is nothing wrong with wanting to have children. Its a choice like any other. There's also nothing wrong with adoption.

For me its nothing to do with blood or genetics. I don't care about that. I am really quite fascinated however with the concept of bearing a child and going through the whole pregnancy process.

I want the morning sickness. I want the mood swings. I want people telling me I look radiant. I want people asking me when the baby is due. I want to discuss all my options with a doctor. Call it part social experiment / part maternal need.

And once the child is born I want to go through the whole breastfeeding process, the weaning, the raising, the whole teenage years and eventually empty nest syndrome. I want it all. (I may eat these words later, but for now I am willing to say 'em.)

And because I can plan my pregnancy it also means I have complete control over my circumstances. I know how much savings I have. I know I can depend on my partner for emotional and financial support, especially if we get married. I can research government support and heck, even government research grants since I am a bio-chemist. As a scientist I can monitor my health throughout the pregnancy and report on my status (I may need to make a separate blog for this).

I should note that I will need to find a doctor who can cope with me being 'a difficult patient' to work with. I know a little too much about the inner workings of the human body, the various hormones and chemicals at work, and how they effect the childbearing process.

To be continued...

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Truth about 50 Years of Coronation Street

ENTERTAINMENT - If you love British television, you probably also love Coronation Street. It is after all, 50 years old, as of December 2010.

In addition to being popular and being able to stand the test of time, Coronation Street, as a pop culture icon, has also been the subject of feminist debate for generations.

Right from the beginning Coronation Street became known for its portrayal of strong female characters, both good and bad ones. Strong female characters like Ena Sharples, Elsie Tanner, Annie Walker, Hilda Ogden became household names in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s.

Despite criticism about stereotypes (the writers of Coronation Street maintain they set the mould years ago, so if there is any stereotypes its because "Corrie" was the first to do it, and everybody else is copying Coronation Street) the show has created a realistic portrayal of relationships, domestic abuse, affairs, child rearing issues, and so forth.

ie. A recent story line about breast cancer and breast implants, and the parents responses to their daughter wanting breast implants.

What you have to remember is that Britain is birthplace of modern feminism. From A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to the Spice Girls, Britain is a constant source of girl power.

The Truth about the Montreal Massacre

CANADA - 21 years ago today (December 6th 1989) 14 women were shot dead by 25-year-old gunman Marc Lépine. He was carrying a Sturm, Ruger Mini-14 rifle (he bought it legally 15 days earlier) and a hunting knife. He shot 28 people before he killed himself.

Marc Lépine arrived began shortly after 4 PM in the afternoon at the École Polytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal. At first he went to the registrar and sat there for a time, rummaging in a plastic bag. He later left and went to the 2nd floor mechanical engineering class of about sixty students at approx. 5:10 PM. He walked up to the student presenting and asked everyone to stop everything, ordering the men and women to opposite sides of the room. When nobody moved at first he fired a shot into the ceiling.

With 9 women on one side and 50 men on the other, Marc Lépine ordered the men to leave. In French he asked the women if they knew why they were there.

"Non," the women replied.

"I am fighting feminism," Marc Lépine said.

"Look, we are just women studying engineering, not necessarily feminists ready to march on the streets to shout we are against men, just students intent on leading a normal life," said one of the students, Nathalie Provost.

"You're women, you're going to be engineers. You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists," Marc Lépine said.

Marc Lépine then opened fire, shooting each woman once. He started from the left and went to right. 6 of the women died from their wounds. 3 were wounded and survived.

He then stopped and wrote sh** twice on a student's project.

Marc Lépine then went into the 2nd floor corridor where he shot and wounded 3 more students. At one point he stopped in the staircase and reloaded.

He then went back towards the room with the 3 injured women, but they had locked the door. He shot at the door 3 times but it stayed locked.

Marc Lépine then went along the corridor, shooting at more people and wounded another. He stopped at the financial services office where he shot through the window of the locked door and killed a woman within.

He next downstairs to the 1st floor cafeteria. He shot a woman near the kitchen and wounded another student. People were fleeing in all directions.

He entered a storage room where two women were hiding. He shot and killed them both.

He told two students, male and female, to come out from under a table. He let them go.

Marc Lépine went to the escalator that goes to the 3rd floor. He shot and wounded another woman and shot 2 male students as well.

Lépine then walked up an escalator to the 3rd floor where he shot and wounded one

On the 3rd floor he entered a classroom and told 3 students to "get out". He shot and wounded Maryse Leclair. He fired at students in the front row. He shot and killed two more women who tried to escape out the door.

He moved towards a group of women, wounded three and killing a 4th.

Maryse Leclair was crying for help. Marc Lépine took out his hunting knife and stabbed her three times, killing her.

He then took off his hat, wrapped his coat around his rifle, said "Oh sh**!" and then shot himself in the head with his rifle.

The attack had lasted 20 minutes.

Approx. 60 bullets remained in the boxes he was carrying with him. He had killed 14 women (13 students and 1 employee) and injured 14 other people, including 4 men.

Why? Because Marc Lépine hated feminists and he blamed feminists for ruining his life. His suicide letters contained a list of nineteen Quebec women whom Lépine wished to kill because he considered them to be feminists.

Lépine's father was an abusive woman-hater and later became a deadbeat dad. His parents later separated and his mother had to work constantly to pay for her children. Marc Lépine tried to join the Canadian Army in 1980-81, but was rejected according to his suicide letter because he was "anti-social". According to a police biography released Marc Lépine was intelligent but troubled, and hated feminists, career women and women in traditionally male occupations, such as women in the police force.

Lépine applied to the École Polytechnique in 1986 and in 1989 but lacked two courses required for admission. He completed 1 course in the winter of 1989, 9 months before the massacre. He could have taken the other course needed to get into the program and eventually succeeded in his career goals.

But instead he got frustrated and decided to take his frustration out on women.

THE AFTERMATH

The Montreal Massacre was the largest attack in Canada specifically aimed at women. The day (December 6th) is now commemorated as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The incident led to stronger gun control laws in Canada and introduced tactical changes in police response to shootings, something which benefited the police response to other shootings. (See Killer Goth in Montreal.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Truth about Rozsika Parker

FEMINIST ART HISTORY - British psychotherapist and feminist art historian Rozsika Parker has died... which means it is now an opportunity to bring her work to the younger generation and anyone interested in feminism, art, and women artists. Rozsika Parker was a pioneer... She was a feminist art theorist and activist from the 1970s and was active well into the 1990s, often collaborating with famed feminist / art historian Griselda Pollock.

Take the book "Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology" as an example, which Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock wrote together, one of the most important books of feminist art theory and history that you may ever read.

Parker and Pollock examined how art history as a discipline had misogyny at its core... like how most male art historians focus on male artists and give only token attention to women artists, and how art history as a discipline has a tendency to push women down and "smack down" anything that was remotely feminine.

In order words male art historians were basically b***h-slapping women artists down for being too uppity, but doing in such a way that it looked like they were just ignoring them because "women artists aren't important enough". Which they are, but when all the male art historians say you're not important it becomes a vicious cycle. Basically its a glass ceiling for female artists.

Parker and Pollock's second collaboration, "Framing Feminism: Art and the Women's Movement 1970-1985" was and still is a great source of information about the feminist art movement in Britain (which often got overwhelmed by the American Women's Liberation Movement).

Parker's "The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine" is also a very good book, informative and relevant. Its not like embroidery changes much in the last couple decades. You might take it for granted that knitting or embroidering or weaving were not previously accepted forms of high art, but read this book and you might change your mind. There is a lot of work and detail that goes into embroidery.

Parker's personal life was a bit of a mystery. She was a bit of a mysterious figure for who was largely unknown in the USA and even in Britain where she was still into feminist activism and working as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.

Its difficult to say what she was like as a person. In her books you don't really know where Griselda Pollock left off and where Rozsika Parker began. Many of their beliefs evidently coincided.

She liked had a fierce feminism, was compassionate, very focused on her work and wanted to make the world a better place through both activism and writing. It was a very different era when she began writing in the 1970s, back when women were born instead of culturally constructed (a concept which grew in the 1980s).

"Old Mistresses" and "Framing Feminism" have long been out of print. Maybe in the future they can be re-issued.

Or maybe someone sneaky and intelligent could archive her writings online... for all the world to see and learn from.

Feminist Bloggers Wanted

You:

Feminist.

Articulate.

Able to research topics about "truth, justice and the feminist way", or similar topics.

Enjoys writing / ranting for the fun of it.

You don't take s*** from nobody, but you can take editorial advice.

If so, contact suzannemacnevin{atsymbol}gmail.com

:)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Suck My Ovaries

FEMINIST - Repeat after me... Suck My Ovaries.

Say it proud, say it strong.

Check out http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22suck+my+ovaries%22

At the top of the list you will you find the following blog: suckmyovaries.blogspot.com. Definitely worth checking out.

Especially the following posts:

Female Fronted Bands

Yeastie Girls

Libertarias/Freedomfighters Fim

:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Truth about Rape Trials

FEMINISM - Fact: Only 49% of sexual assault trials in Canada end in convictions.

It doesn't take a genius to realize similar statistics likely exist in the USA.

But here is the kicker. Most sexual assaults don't even go to trial. Only 9 to 10% of sexual assaults in Canada are even reported to the police.

According to Statistics Canada there is approx. 26,000 sexual assaults reported to police each year. But because Canadians only report 9% to 10% of sexual assaults that means there is between 260,000 and 286,000 sexual assaults per year.

Lastly only 20% of those include physical injuries.

Thus for 80% of cases sexual assault is very difficult to prove. And for the 20% that does have physical injuries, there is still no guarantee it will go to trial.

What is also known is that you are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone you know, a friend, co-worker or even a relative, not by a stranger. Sexual assaults by strangers is actually pretty rare. However because women are often assaulted by friends, family, co-workers, etc. this is why so few people report it to the police.

Once it does get reported however the police are (generally speaking) very thorough. They interview the woman multiple times, comparing her story to make absolutely certain she isn't making it up. If there is any doubt the charges end up being dropped.

Thus the percentage of false claims that make it to court is so small its not even a percentage point. It is 99.99% or better truth.

Which means its practically a fact, but the problem is how do you prove it?

And that is where the he-said-she-said system comes into play. Without secondary witnesses and character witnesses, how are we to know who is telling the truth?

He says it was consensual. Or claims they were both drunk. Or whatever excuse he can think of. ie. She seduced him and just wants his money. Seriously, whatever lie that sounds plausible is the one that he will use in court.

She says it was rape. There was nothing consensual about it. She said NO and she meant it. She wasn't playing around. She wasn't seducing him or flirting with him. She was tricked, cornered, fooled, abused, assaulted, and then dismissed like yesterday's garbage.

It would be wonderful if someone could invent a lie detecting machine which is 100% infallible and allowable in a court room. Perfectly accurate. It measures their vitals, their heart rate, their hormone levels and brain activity.

And then the liars would be caught and put behind bars for their crimes. The system would be so much simpler with a lie detecting machine which works perfectly.

See Also
The Vagina on Trial
Stop Rape
Abortion, Rape and the American Way
Gender Violence in Mexico
The 10 Worst Countries for Women

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Truth about Feminomics

FEMINIST - A woman's work is never done.

And likewise trying to calculate the value of woman's work is infinite. Let me explain why...

When a mother teaches their children a skill and that skill is passed on to future generations, even if the skill changes over time, evolves, it ends up being of infinite value to the descendants who follow. ie. The ability to cook your own food, something which every human should know.

But how does women's work get calculated into the wealth (GDP) of a nation? In theory all that food that is grown, harvested and eaten at home has value that is being ignored when calculating the GDP of many countries, even European and Western countries.

Instead GDP is usually measured in dollars changing hands, like BP oil or the Alberta tar sands (and totally ignores the damage to the environment which will cost future generations billions to fix, let alone the damage to the health of people living near these environmental disasters).

GDP also ignores birthing, nursing, diapering, cooking, baking, nurturing and teaching that most mothers do (and if they don't then their nanny does it).

Political economist Marilyn Waring, a former New Zealand cabinet minister and now professor of public policy at the Institute of Public Policy at AUT University in Auckland believes we should be calculating the value of women's work. “The market wouldn’t survive if it wasn’t able to survive on the backbone of unpaid work," she says.

So its not just women's work we are talking about. Its also the value of being a father (teaching, nurturing and so forth) and even chores done by children. ALL UNPAID WORK.

Waring calculates that the largest source of unpaid work in any economy is performed by women.

In 1988, Waring’s book "Counting for Nothing" (known now as "If Women Counted" introduced the idea that the way we calculate wealth is flawed because it ignores the well-being of work done at home.

Lets take for example a person living in northern Canada. If they build, using their own two hands, a huge home made of stone and outfit it with a source of electricity from a local river and a waterwheel, what is the GDP value of the home?

Zero.

Because they didn't sell it.

Its like trying to keep track of barter, another source of "unpaid work". People perform barter on a regular basis without realizing it. Women's work is really just a form of barter. They cook, clean and nurture children in exchange for a roof over their head, food and spending money (we can ignore the love and intimacy factors that should be involved in such a relationship).

In 2005 StatsCan calculated that men perform an average of 2.5 hours of unpaid work per day while women do 4.3 hours. (This includes time spent doing volunteer work for the community.)

(Honestly I also wonder what does blogging count as... I am after all performing a free public service. But the value of informing other people of the worth of various truths is difficult to calculate.)

Feminomics therefore is a very tricky thing to calculate... but I'd argue trying to calculate it in dollars is a moot issue because its not paid in dollars. IT SHOULD BE MEASURED IN HOURS.

Suzy's Feminomics Value of Women's Work (or FV)

FV = Hours per Annum per Capita.

ie. In 2005 Canada the FV was 1569.5 hours / Capita.

But if we went to a country where most women don't have careers, like Afghanistan, the FV might be closer to 3000 hours / Capita.

The idea here is that if we actually want to calculate women's work that we need to be using a different yardstick.

What are YOUR feminist truths?

Do you have something really profound you'd like to share with the wider feminist community? Here's your chance to say something.

Leave a comment or email me at suzannemacnevin[at]gmail.com (all comments will be kept anonymous by default).

Also, if you have a topic you'd like me to write about, let me know about it.

Cheers!
Suzanne MacNevin


Examples to get you started:

1. Poverty is the main deciding factor in abortion. If anti-abortionists really wanted to stop abortion they'd fight poverty first.

2. Weightlifting doesn't make you look like a man. Steroids do.

3. There is no excuse for laziness. Don't make being female an excuse for why you can't "Just do it!" yourself. This applies to everything.

4. If you start telling yourself you can't do something because you're a woman then you need to go out there and prove to yourself that you CAN do it.

5. Don't do something because its "the feminist thing to do", do it because its the right thing for you to do.

6. Even men ask for advice. There is no shame in it.

7. Womens sports have a long way to go. Be patient, but always strive for more.

8. Unpaid "women's work" is the backbone on which our economy survives. If it wasn't for women teaching their children, child rearing, making meals, etc. our economy would collapse over night. But that doesn't mean every woman is destined to be a mother. Some women just don't have the maternal spirit, or they choose to delay that aspect of their life until later so they can better provide for themselves and their children.

9. Feminomics is the Future, the Past and the Present.

10. When push comes to shove most women choose love first. Your feminist beliefs are not about restrictions. Its about the freedom to choose what YOU want to do.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Canadian Feminists divided over Prostitution

SEX - Prostitution is legal in Canada, but there are a lot of things which restrict how a sex worker is allowed to ply their trade in Canada. Recently Justice Susan Himel of the Ontario Superior Court struck down the following sections of the Canadian Criminal Code:

Section 210, which prohibits maintaining, owning or being a member of a “common bawdy-house.” The result is that brothels are no longer illegal in Canada.

Why is this important? Because brothels are safer than walking the streets or answering outcalls. With brothels comes security and bouncers for kicking out the rowdy men who don't follow the rules.

Section 212(1)(j), which affects those living “wholly or in part on the avails of prostitution of another person.”

With this struck down, prostitutes are able to support dependents, including children and partners. It also means that if they run a brothel they can pay to have a bouncer, an accountant, desk clerks, etc.

Section 213(1)(c), best known as the “communicating law,” which prevents street prostitutes from screening clients before putting themselves at risk.

With this gone prostitutes can now screen individuals they choose to have sex with, often because they don't feel comfortable with the person. Examples: Too creepy, scary looking, is a member of the NRA, or even just plain ugly.

The constitutional challenge was made by members of the Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC) because they felt these laws were unfair and dangerous to the lives of sex workers, regardless of their intent.

Justice Susan Himel agreed and these laws were struck down because they endangered the health and safety of sex workers.

There are those feminists out there that argue that allowing brothels and screening will lead to an increase in pimping (which is still illegal in Canada) and organized crime / trafficking of women.

In major Canadian cities prostitution is not only common, its easy to find. Just open a NOW magazine in Toronto, flip to the back pages and you'll find advertisements for both male and female sex workers. You can also go to Craigslist or Kijiji. Or you can walk down one of the less reputable streets in the middle of the night.

For feminists however there is a huge ideological gap.

  • In the right corner we have the anti-sex-trade feminists, who believe prostitution should be completely illegal and that prostitutes should essentially be rounded up, forced to go to university and get decent jobs like the rest of us.

  • In the left corner we have the pro-choice feminists, who believe prostitution is going to happen regardless of what laws we implement because women sometimes just get desperate and are in a bad situation. They believe sex workers need to be protected, given more options for their personal safety and given choices so they can decide for themselves what they want to do with their lives.

    Its actually very similar to the whole "women have the right to a safe abortion" argument. On the right side we have people who oppose abortion entirely. On the left side we have people who believe abortions are going to happen regardless and thus we should try and make it as safe as possible.

    This isn't so much about "right and wrong", its about ensuring the safety of women who make those decisions, because they're going to make those decisions anyway regardless of what laws are out there. They're desperate enough to try anything.

    Justice Susan Himel of the Ontario Superior Court struck down as unconstitutional the bawdy house provision, which by preventing sex workers from sharing premises that ensured their common safety, increased their risk of exposure to violence.

    The “living off the avails” section, which criminalizes those being supported by a sex worker, was meant to target pimps, it also affects a prostitute's live-in family, including partners, parents and children, as well as security guards or bouncers who might protect her.

    The communication law was declared unconstitutional because experts all agree the greatest danger to street sex workers is their inability to safely screen johns before jumping into their cars.

    “For me it's not complicated to understand why there's a divide: it's two visions,” says Diane Matte of Montreal's Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation, who has a street-level view of the sex worker industry. “The SPOC women do not hide the fact that they want to open brothels,” says Matte.

    That much is certainly true. SPOC wants to open brothels and make prostitution a lot safer through government regulation and private security. The brothels would be owned by the prostitutes themselves, not by pimps.

    Matte wants a Nordic model, such as the laws currently in place in Iceland and Sweden, which has decriminalized sex workers while criminalizing their clients. But all that does is cause prostitution to driven further underground, where violence is more likely to happen.

    “As a criminologist I can guarantee you that that doesn't work because it doesn't remove the criminal element from prostitution,” says O'Doherty, who teaches at the University of the Fraser Valley. Making demand illegal only serves to drive sex workers underground, she says.

    As the world's oldest profession prostitution will never be eradicated until we've eradicated poverty entirely. And even then we will have another problem, women who don't have sex for money but instead just "slut themselves around willy-nilly for kicks". (For reference being slutty isn't a sin per se, but doing so without regard to personal safety, the safety of others, and ignoring the feelings of others is a cause for concern.)

    And lets face it, there's way more sluts than there is prostitutes.

    The primary difference however is that sluts have the option of screening their sexual partners and can have sex in the privacy of their own homes if they choose to. They can be safe about it.

    Which is what sex workers want to. Safety.

    Eventually they will hopefully find a different job, go back to school, etc. There is no pension plan when you're a sex worker. Eventually even sex workers have to start thinking about retirement.
  • Thursday, October 7, 2010

    The World's 100 Most Powerful Women?

    POLITICS - According to Forbes the list down below shows the world's most powerful women in 2010.

    However this list is extremely Americentric. 70% of the women are Americans, quite a few of them are entertainers (ie. Does Lady Gaga really deserve the #7 spot? Or Katie Couric #22?)... And to be honest, most of them you probably have never even heard of because they're not that famous.

    A lot of the non-American women are presidents, CEOs or First Ladies of their countries, with very few exceptions. One of them is just a presidential candidate in Brazil... so apparently just running for president in a country makes you one of the top 100 according to Forbes.

    A few are supermodels or athletes. Seriously, how does that make them powerful? By selling lingerie or tennis raquets?

    Its all utter nonsense.

    So BOOOOOO to Forbes and their phoney baloney list. They are just like making lists apparently to fill space, satisfy their idiot readers and get attention. Boooo!

    1
    Michelle Obama
    First Lady 46 United States

    2
    Irene Rosenfeld
    Chief Executive, Kraft Foods 57 United States

    3
    Oprah Winfrey
    Talk show host and media mogul 56 United States

    4
    Angela Merkel
    Chancellor 56 Germany

    5
    Hillary Clinton
    Secretary of State 62 United States

    6
    Indra Nooyi
    Chief Executive, PepsiCo 54 United States

    7
    Lady Gaga
    Singer and performance artist 24 United States

    8
    Gail Kelly
    Chief Executive, Westpac 54 Australia

    9
    Beyonce Knowles
    Singer, fashion designer 29 United States

    10
    Ellen DeGeneres
    Talk show host 52 United States

    11
    Nancy Pelosi
    Speaker of the House 70 United States

    12
    Angela Braly
    Chief Executive, Wellpoint 49 United States

    13
    Janet Napolitano
    Secretary, Homeland Security 52 United States

    14
    Cynthia Carroll
    Chief Executive, Anglo American 53 United States

    15
    Sheila Bair
    Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 56 United States

    16
    Sarah Palin
    Political maverick and commentator 46 United States

    17
    Mary Schapiro
    Chair, Securities and Exchange Commission 55 United States

    18
    Ellen Kullman
    Chief Executive, DuPont 54 United States

    19
    Sonia Sotomayor
    Supreme Court Justice 56 United States

    20
    Ursula Burns
    Chief Executive, Xerox 51 United States

    21
    Angelina Jolie
    Actor and UN Goodwill Ambassador 35 United States

    22
    Katie Couric
    News anchor 53 United States

    23
    Kathleen Sebelius
    Secretary, Health & Human Services 62 United States

    24
    Anne Lauvergeon
    Chief Executive, Areva 51 France

    25
    Elena Kagan
    Supreme Court Justice 50 United States

    26
    Patricia Woertz
    Chief Executive, Archer Daniels Midland Co. 57 United States

    27
    Melinda Gates
    Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 46 United States

    28
    Arianna Huffington
    Founder and editor-in-chief, Huffington Post 60 United States

    29
    Madonna
    Singer, fashion designer 52 United States

    30
    Ho Ching
    Chief Executive, Temasek Holdings 57 Singapore

    31
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Supreme Court Justice 77 United States

    32
    Maria Ramos
    Chief Executive, Absa Group Banks 51 South Africa

    33
    Chelsea Handler
    Talk show host and author 35 United States

    34
    Tina Brown
    Cofounder and editor-in-chief, The Daily Beast 56 United States

    35
    Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
    First Lady 42 France

    36
    Lynn Laverty Elsenhans
    Chief Executive, Sunoco 54 United States

    37
    Elizabeth Warren
    Assistant to the President and Special Adviser to the Secretary of Treasury 61 United States

    38
    Ana Patricia Botin
    Chair, Banesto bank 49 Spain

    39
    Heidi Klum
    Model and producer 37 United States

    40
    Meredith Vieira
    Co-anchor 56 United States

    41
    Queen Elizabeth II
    Monarch 84 United Kingdom

    42
    Carol Bartz
    Chief Executive, Yahoo! 62 United States

    43
    Christine Lagarde
    Finance Minister 54 France

    44
    Sallie Krawcheck
    President, Global Wealth & Investment Management, Bank of America 45 United States

    45
    Sarah Jessica Parker
    Actor and fashion designer 45 United States

    46
    Diane Sawyer
    News anchor 64 United States

    47
    Meg Whitman
    Gubernatorial candidate, California 54 United States

    48
    Marina Berlusconi
    Chair, Mondadori and Fininvest Group 44 Italy

    49
    Stephenie Meyer
    Author 36 United States

    50
    Rachel Maddow
    Talk show host 37 United States

    51
    Carly Fiorina
    Senatorial candidate, California 56 United States

    52
    Guler Sabanci
    Chair, Sabanci Holding 54 Turkey

    53
    Maria Shriver
    First Lady, California 54 United States

    54
    Carol Meyrowitz
    Chief Executive, TJX companies 56 United States

    55
    Serena Williams
    Athlete 28 United States

    56
    Anna Wintour
    Editor-in-Chief, Vogue 60 United States

    57
    Andrea Jung
    Chief Executive, Avon Products 52 United States

    58
    Julia Gillard
    Prime Minister 48 Australia

    59
    Abigail Johnson
    President, Fidelity Personal, Workplace and Institutional Services 48 United States

    60
    Venus Williams
    Athlete 30 United States

    61
    Suze Orman
    Author and personal finance guru 59 United States

    62
    Tarja Halonen
    President 66 Finland

    63
    Marjorie Scardino
    Chief Executive, Pearson PLC 63 United States

    64
    Mary McAleese
    President 59 Ireland

    65
    Annika Falkengren
    Chief Executive, SEB 48 Sweden

    66
    Sheryl Sandberg
    Chief Operating Officer, Facebook 41 United States

    67
    Cathleen Black
    Chair, Hearst Magazines 66 United States

    68
    Cristina Fernandez
    President 57 Argentina

    69
    Anne Sweeney
    Co-chair, Disney Media Networks 52 United States

    70
    Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi
    Minister of Economy 51 United Arab Emirates

    71
    Chua Sock Koong
    Group Chief Executive, Singapore Telecommunications 51 Singapore

    72
    Gisele Bundchen
    Model and fashion designer 30 Brazil

    73
    Christiane Amanpour
    Anchor 52 United States

    74
    Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned
    First Lady 50 Qatar

    75
    Susan Ivey
    Chief Executive, Reynolds American 51 United States

    76
    Queen Rania Al Abdullah
    Monarch 40 Jordan

    77
    Nancy McKinstry
    Chief Executive, Wolters Kluwer 51 United States

    78
    Rachael Ray
    Talks show host and author 42 United States

    79
    Nikki Finke
    Founder and blogger, Deadline Hollywood Daily 56 United States

    80
    Johanna Sigurdardottir
    President 67 Iceland

    81
    Jing Ulrich
    Managing director and chair, China Equities and Commodities, J.P. Morgan Chase 43 United States

    82
    Laura Sen
    Chief Executive, BJ's Wholesale Club 54 United States

    83
    Laura Chinchilla
    President 51 Costa Rica

    84
    Mary Callahan Erdoes
    Chief Executive, Asset Management, JP Morgan Chase 43 United States

    85
    Janet L. Robinson
    Chief Executive and President 60 United States

    86
    Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
    President 71 Liberia

    87
    Amy Pascal
    Co-Chair, Sony Pictures Entertainment 52 United States

    88
    Tory Burch
    Fashion designer 44 United States

    89
    Shikha Sharma
    Chief Executive, Axis Bank 49 India

    90
    Sun Yafang
    Chair, Huawei Technologies 54 China

    91
    Vera Wang
    Fashion designer 61 United States

    92
    Chanda Kocchar
    Chief Executive, ICICI Bank 48 India

    93
    Danica Patrick
    Race car driver 28 United States

    94
    Maha Al-Ghunaim
    Cofounder and chair, Global Investment House 50 Kuwait

    95
    Dilma Rousseff
    Presidential candidate 62 Brazil

    96
    Donna Karan
    Fashion designer 61 United States

    97
    Angela Ahrendts
    Chief Executive, Burberry Group 50 United States

    98
    Ellen Alemany
    Chief Executive, Citizens Financial Group 54 United States

    99
    Martha Stewart
    Lifestyle Guru 69 United States

    100
    Dominique Senequier
    Chief Executive, AXA Private Equity 57 France

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Leslie J. Sacks' Ten Commandments

    FEMINISM - We received the following list from Leslie J. Sacks in an email. The ideas are certainly worth a read. Editor's Note: I've edited some of the wording of the commandments to make them more palatable.

    "In these uncertain and consequential times, I humbly suggest that we put aside our penchant for iPods and immediate gratification and consider my 10 new commandments [below]." - Leslie J. Sacks, L.A. California.

    1) Men should learn to think more with their brains and not their genitals.

    2) Women should focus more on their intellects and temper their hearts.

    3) Never use violence and intolerance except to defend liberty.

    4) Morality exists only in behavior and actions. Preaching morality doesn't make it so.

    5) Women are ALWAYS equal.

    6) Freedom and democracy are both rights and irrevocable responsibilities that must be protected.

    7) Each individual has the inalienable right to their political and religious beliefs.

    8) No institution or belief should take precedence over any one person.

    9) No path to happiness is exclusive or worthy of domination over any other.

    10) People who seek to dominate, control, subvert or destroy the freedom of other people do not deserve the respect of the free world.

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    The Truth about Women and Gun Control

    POLITICS - Gun control is actually a gender issue. Why? Because when you compare the percentage of men who support gun control and the percentage of women who support gun control you see some startling differences.

    Support Gun Control
    U.S. Men: 51%
    U.S. Women: 64%

    Against Gun Control
    U.S. Men: 46%
    U.S. Women: 30%

    Undecided
    U.S. Men: 3%
    U.S. Women: 6%

    (Source: Pew Research Center / 2008)

    Education is also another big factor in who supports gun control (people with a college or university education are over 25% more likely to support gun control), as is race. 75% of African-Americans support gun control, but only 54% of Caucasian-Americans support gun control.

    In Canada and the U.K. we have stricter gun control and it shows in our much lower crime rates.

    For the purpose of this blog post however we're going to look at the example of Mavis Moore who was 4-years-old when she first had a gun pointed at her. She and her mother were picking up a newspaper in their small Saskatchewan town of Crown Butte when a neighbour decided to point his .22 at them and threatened to kill them both.

    Mavis Moore was so frightened she remembers dropping her blue mitten in the snow.

    “You can't imagine what it's like, this adult man having a gun on you and threatening to kill you and your mother,” says Mavis who is now 72-years-old. Her mother picked up her daugher and the mitten and left immediately.

    She also recalls how decades later, while out hunting (Mavis is now an avid hunter) how a fellow hunter suddenly aimed his cocked rifle at her in the northern Saskatchewan bush. He claims he had mistook her 5-foot-4 frame, draped in red, for a moose.

    Guns are a constant threat in the lives of rural Canadian women. Many rural Canadian families have guns in their homes (from my perspective, my family had 2 that I knew of).

    Mavis Moore, who grew up in Crown Butte, Saskatchewan, says she is incensed at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attempts to scrap the Long Gun Registry in Canada. Mavis is an avid hunter even at the age of 72, but she strongly supports the Long Gun Registry.

    “That makes me so mad,” says Mavis, who still owns three licensed and registered long guns. “It's not a matter of rural versus urban. It's a public safety issue. How many women and children in rural Canada are threatened in their own homes with a gun? More than we want to know, I think.”

    According to a Harris/Decima research poll released on Sept. 8th the difference between urban and rural men who support gun controlis very little.

    48% of Canadian men say its a bad idea to abolish the Long Gun Registry.
    42% of Canadian men support abolishing it.
    10% of Canadian men are not sure.

    There is only a 2% difference between whether the people polled who live in the city or the countryside in terms of support. [It should be noted only 18% of Canadians live in rural society.] So gun control support has very little to do with where you live.

    49% of Canadian men who live in cities support the Long Gun Registry.
    47% of Canadian men who live in rural society support the Long Gun Registry.
    41% of Canadian men who live in cities support abolishment.
    43% of Canadian men who live in rural society support abolishment.

    In contrast
    49% of Canadian women who live in cities support the Long Gun Registry.
    47% of Canadian women who live in rural society support the Long Gun Registry.
    30% of Canadian women who live in cities support abolishment.
    40% of Canadian women who live in rural society support abolishment.

    Overall 48% of Canadians support keeping the Long Gun Registry, while 38% support its abolition.

    (Harris/Decima interviewed just over 1000 Canadians. A sample of this size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.)

    Meanwhile 81% of Canadian police officers support the Long Gun Registry and say they use it help protect the public. Officers consult the registry before responding to domestic violence 911 calls to see if there are guns on site, and also for murder and criminal investigations.

    Over 1,500 Canadians were refused gun licenses between 2006 and 2009 because background checks determined they were a criminal risk.

    6,093 gun licenses were also revoked during the same period due to continuous screening, court orders and public safety complaints.

    Police and criminal psychologists all agree these revoked gun licenses and refusals to grant gun licenses have saved lives, but unfortunately it's hard to document prevention. We have no way of knowing how many lives the Long Gun Registry and similar gun control measures have saved.

    What is documented is that 69% of homicides, suicides and accidental deaths in Canada involved long guns in 2004, a drop from 72% of firearm deaths in 2001. More drops are expected in the future as more statistical data becomes available.

    And what is also known is that rural and farm women are more likely to encounter domestic violence involving long guns.

    “Rural and farm women who experience violence in the home describe a cycle of intimidation with guns . . . which makes it really difficult for women even to report what's going on, “ says Jo-Ann Brooke, director of the Women's Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County in Pembroke, Ontario.

    Domestic abuse victims say they support the Long Gun Registry because it takes the responsibility for reporting the presence of guns out of their hands, and alerts police to the guns if they are called to a domestic violence incident.

    The $4-million annual price tag for running the Canadian Long Gun Registry is worth it.

    See Also
    Gun Control in Canada
    Handguns in Canada
    RCMP Report vindicates Long Gun Registry
    Canada needs to keep Long Gun Registry
    Stephen Harper's Gun Raffle
    Jordan Manners and the C.W. Jefferys Massacre
    Killer Goth on the Rampage in Montreal
    German gunman kills 11 women, 4 men

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    The Truth about Eileen Nearne, aka Agent Rose

    POLITICS - Eileen Nearne died alone on Sept 2nd at the age of 89. Nobody in her neighbourhood knew that she had been an WWII secret agent in France, spying on the gestapo and the German military during the German occupation. It was only after documents and photographs were found in her apartment, and her story was determined to be already listed in several historical books about WWII spies, that the truth about Eileen Nearne came out.

    What had seemed an old woman destined for a pauper's grave is now being hailed as a British national hero. With no known relatives authorities searched her apartment looking for evidence of family... Amongst the things she left behind they found a treasure trove of medals and documents which referred to her as "Agent Rose", a wireless operator during Germany-occupied France and a member of the secretive Special Operations Executive (SOE).

    At the age of 23 the brave young Nearne had flown into France under the cover of darkness in March 1944 to work as an undercover agent helping coordinate resistance fighters and spies.

    She was arrested by the Gestapo in July but thanks to her fluent French was able to hide her British identity. Her family had lived in France during her childhood. She was arrested again weeks later and imprisoned at Ravensbrueck concentration, then transferred to a forced labour camp in Silesia. She and two French girls escaped the camp in April 1945 but were caught days later.

    She was later released when Nearne convinced their captors of their innocence, claiming they had only joined the French Resistance because it was exciting.

    After WWII ended, Nearne was awarded with a membership in the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services. She lived most of her life with her sister Jacqueline, who had also served in the SOE.

    The Royal British Legion has taken over the funeral preparations, scheduled next week. (Personal Note: I am planning to attend the funeral myself, if the general public is allowed in.)

    On Tuesday a relative of Nearne was found living abroad, a niece who says she visited her aunt regularly and “she was always cherished by the family.” She added her aunt wanted her ashes to be scattered at sea.

    Eileen Nearne’s story is well remembered by historians, including M.R.D. Foot in his popular book about the SOE in France (SOE, The Special Operations Executive 1940-1946, published in 1984) who writes:

    "Eileen Nearne of WIZARD, who had transmitted a good deal of economic and military intelligence besides helping in the routine work of arranging drops for SPIRITUALIST, was caught at her set in July. She brought off a dextrous bluff, and persuaded the Gestapo she was only a foolish little shopgirl who had taken up resistance work because it was exciting; they never discovered she was half English. But they took her away to Germany all the same."

    Later in the book, Foot recounts Eileen Nearne’s amazing escape from a Ravensbrück working party in April 1945. There are at least five other references to Nearne in the book. Foot’s book is not obscure either. Its quite popular. Eileen Nearne also apparently appears in Marcus Binney’s popular book "The Women Who Lived for Danger".

    So Eileen Nearne's, aka Agent Rose's, story will be remembered by many.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    White Flowers and Wild Geese, Poetry by Mary Oliver

    White Flowers

    By Mary Oliver

    Last night
    in the fields
    I lay down in the darkness
    to think about death,
    but instead I fell asleep,
    as if in a vast and sloping room
    filled with those white flowers
    that open all summer,
    sticky and untidy,
    in the warm fields.
    When I woke
    the morning light was just slipping
    in front of the stars,
    and I was covered
    with blossoms.
    I don’t know
    how it happened ---
    I don’t know
    if my body went diving down
    under the sugary vines
    in some sleep-sharpened affinity
    with the depths, or whether
    that green energy
    rose like a wave
    and curled over me, claiming me
    in its husky arms.
    I pushed them away, but I didn’t rise.
    Never in my life had I felt so plush,
    or so slippery.
    or so resplendently empty.
    Never in my life
    had I felt myself so near
    that porous line
    where my own body was done with
    and the roots and the stems and the flowers
    began.

    Wild Geese

    By Mary Oliver

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting,
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    See Also: Answers - Poetry by Mary Oliver.

    Brought to you by the Feminist eZine and Isla Mujeres Women's Retreat.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    The Truth about Feminism in Britain

    By Suzanne MacNevin - September 2010.

    FEMINISM - I've been living in Britain for awhile now (on and off thanks to the fact I have dual citizenship) but one of the things I've noticed is that so-called British feminism suffers from a duality of problems.

    #1. British feminism has a lot of history and there are a fair number of feminists here who support that history and stand on the shoulders of feminists who have come before them... the problem however lies in that they seem to have lost their spirit and have become more... academic. Its feminist historians arguing back and forth, very little activism.

    #2. Girl Power is strong here (Spice Girls anyone?), but its done in a very post-feminist way... ie. they're selling their sex appeal at the same time. Sexy Feminists and Girl Power kind of leaves a bitter taste in your mouth after awhile. (Pun intended.)

    I met earlier this week a few feminists from Oxford and I was astonished by how cynical and... for lack of a better word... complacent they were. They didn't think they would see major change in their life times. As one girl put it "its two steps forward and two steps backwards. We're not getting anywhere."

    The feeling is that their message isn't getting across to young women out there so why bother trying? I disagree. The problem is that they're promoting the wrong message.

    Its a bit like you're trying to sell a car. You don't try to sell the car based on whether you can get to work in it. You sell the car with the lifestyle and freedom that comes with it.

    Same thing goes with feminism. Its not about corporate climbing and breaking the glass ceiling. Its a LIFE STYLE of freedom from sexual persecution. A woman's goal should be to ignore love and only pursue her career, the idea is for her to have the freedom to do everything she sets her mind on, whether its career, politics, family, education, hobbies, sports, whatever she wants to do. Her sex and gender should not interfere in those goals.

    My advice to the women of Britain, and the rest of the world: Stop thinking of feminism as a means to an ends. Think of it as a philosophy of life and don't hinder yourself based on what people say you can and can't do... because if you choose to have a career AND a family there is no one stopping you but yourself.

    Let your heart think big and follow it always.

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Ack! The Truth about Cathy

    ENTERTAINMENT - Love her or hate her the popular comic strip 'Cathy' is ending on October 3rd 2010. Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite is ending the comic strip after 34 years of what she calls the "four basic guilt groups" of food, love, mothers and work. Oh and shopping, don't forget shopping.

    Cathy was a groundbreaking comic strip. When it first appeared the vast majority of comic strips were male-dominated... ie. Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, etc. Married female characters like Blondie were hardly pushing the envelope... and then along came Cathy, a single woman with no children, trying to find love, unable to resist the urges of chocolate and shoe shopping, while juggling work and the generational gap between herself and her mother.

    At its peak Cathy was in 1,400 newspaper funny pages. In recent years its dwindled to 700, not because she's not still popular, but because newspapers have been making cutbacks in recent years as the internet becomes the new medium of choice. Cathy Guisewite, 60-years-old, decided it was time to focus on her own family and other creative pursuits.

    “Nobody is more shocked than I am, believe me," says Cathy Guisewite in her California studio. "If you read the strip, you’ll know that I don’t make decisions lightly. I go to 400 malls to buy one pair of socks. So it was a very big decision for me to give this up."

    The cartoon started when Cathy Guisewite was working at a Detroit ad agency (a bit like Mad Men) and was sending cartoons home to friends and family depicting her troubles at work / etc. It was her mother who convinced her to send the strip to Universal Press Syndicate, now known as Universal UClick. Her mother even threatened to go there herself with "a cover note from Mom." (Thus it was the same pushy mother who made Cathy a reality.)

    What followed was 30 books and hundreds of pop culture references in many shows thanks to Cathy's infamous catchphrase: Ack!

    But not everyone likes Cathy. They don't get the humour in making fun of female stereotypes like chocolate and shoe shopping. Its a bit like the male obsession with meat, cars and power tools, except men don't get upset about that stereotype. If anything men embrace that because it reinforces their masculinity.

    Some women, including a few feminists, just don't understand the humour that comes from being self-deprecating. ie. A man who jokes about his small penis is waaaaaay more funny than a man who brags about the size of his. Not only is it more humourous, but it also means he's not worried about trying to impress women and that shows more confidence.

    In Cathy's case its rather autobiographical. The cartoon does reinforce stereotypes about women, but its also making fun of those stereotypes at the same time, which for the cartoonist are very personal.

    Typical themes in her cartoons include women who ruin their finances by overshopping, treating nice guys like crap even though she knows they make better marriage material, the horrors of being single... all the anxieties that women have and often don't get to express them.

    Sometimes Cathy is empowering and other times she is filled with self-doubt. She's human and not afraid of her faults.

    To Rina Piccolo, creator of the cartoon 'Tina’s Groove' and part of the all-woman team behind 'Six Chix', Cathy Guisewite was a trailblazer. "All the female characters were like Blondie. They were either a housewife or a glamour girl. Cathy totally changed the page. Here’s a young woman talking about, basically, her fat ass and how she couldn’t fit into a swimsuit or that she had had it with her boyfriend and all the little neurotic things that a lot of women go through in day-to-day living. She was the first female character to really let loose and say what a lot of women were thinking at the time," says Piccolo.

    After four decades Cathy Guisewite ran the gag into the ground. There was nothing more for her to talk about and make fun of. She had done it all. For those that don't like the comic strip the shtick had gotten old and people were starting to get sick of it.

    Even the classic "Who's On First" is only funny the first couple of times you see it. It stops being funny and just becomes moronic after you've seen it 5 or more times. Its entirely possible many of Cathy's jokes just aren't funny any more because they've become a cliché.

    And if they're that classic that they've become a cliché... well then its probably a good time to retire anyway.

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    The Truth about Crisis Pregnancy Centres

    FEMINISM - If you don't know what a "crisis pregnancy centre" is go to your local abortion clinic... and then go to the 'friendly' place right next door to it. Its not an abortion clinic, in fact its not even affiliated with it... but they try really hard to convince women who are confused about what to do.

    "Pregnant? Confused? We can help." says the pamphlet.

    Once inside they usher you into a soft-lit room with a comfortable couch, a coffee table, scale models of fetuses nestled in a womb... they offer you water or tea. Not coffee however because they don't want to damage the baby.

    These counselling rooms are setup via registered pro-life charities. The women who work there are often paid, not necessarily volunteers. They've made it their living to convince women to have babies instead of an abortion. The charities sometimes also gives away baby clothes, cribs and diapers.

    And yes, its still your choice, but they will bombard you with a series of lies designed to make you rethink your decision.

    Lie #1: Terminating a pregnancy is dangerous. You could die during the procedure.

    Lie #2: You may suffer permanent damage and never be able to get pregnant again.

    Lie #3: Abortion clinics sell "pieces of babies" to medical research, describing in detail how "a big truck arrives and all the fetal parts are collected in a bin and put up for sale".

    Lie #4: A terrifying description of the abortion procedure, with pictures of bloody aborted fetuses handpicked to look as horrible as possible.

    Lie #5: Abortion is always - ALWAYS - the wrong decision because its unnatural.

    Lie #6: You will become hardened, lose part of your soul and suffer from 'Post Abortion Depression' for the rest of your life.

    Lie #7: Terminating a pregnancy will increase your chances of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer by 80%. (Any idiot can tell that statistic is a flat out lie, but the few gullible people out there might fall for it.)

    Such misleading information is designed to discourage women from choosing an abortion. When asked they will claim to be pro-choice and non-judgmental support, but in reality they're feeding you as much false information as they can in an effort to scare you.

    The modern abortion clinic is a clean, professional atmosphere. There is no pushing women one way or another. If they're there in the first place it usually means they've already made their decision. The 'crisis pregnancy centre' next door is there preying on the confused and promoting free pregnancy tests and free counselling to promote the other options of adoption and single-parenthood, all the while promoting the idea that abortion is something to be avoided at all possible costs.

    Now don't get me wrong, I support adoption and single mothers. I think people who adopt are fabulous people and every child would be lucky to have such loving parents. And single mothers are the bravest, most courageous people I can think of.

    But it ultimately comes down to the choice of the individual. Trying to scare and trick someone into choosing a different option is immoral. Let people think for themselves and they will always pick the course of action which is right for themselves.

    These centres are run by compassionate people who clearly believe what they're doing is right, and they firmly believe lying to convince women towards adoption and single motherhood is an 'acceptable sin' from their religious perspective.

    Throwing false statistics at women in such a case could arguably be worthy of suing a crisis pregnancy centre, but I have yet to hear of a case of someone suing such a place. They don't make any promises to help support the women. Their goal is to convince a woman towards a different decision and then move on to the next confused woman.

    Crisis pregnancy centres are here to stay however. The era of protesters picketing outside abortion clinics is gone. Humiliating doctors, threatening violence, blowing up abortion clinics with explosives... some of this still happens but its become more rare. The focus these days is to trick women into walking into the wrong building and convincing them that they've made the wrong decision.

    And the biggest lie they will tell you is: “We’ve seen so many women that said, ‘Oh my goodness, I wish I had been told the truth and if someone would have told me, I would have kept my baby.’”

    And they can say that because there's nothing to back it up. No statistics. No quotes from actual women.

    And I know it to be completely false because I know plenty of women who have had abortions over the years. Not a single one regrets it. True, there might be a few women out there who do regret it (ie. they became religious later in life and became convinced that the abortion they had years earlier was murder), but these born-again Christians are - excuse my French - often full of shit and willing to say anything to promote their new found religion.

    All of this misleading information just makes it more difficult for REAL family planning centres (which offer advice about abortion, adoption and single motherhood but are not judgemental about it). They end up spending a lot of their time trying to explain the real statistics, dispel the myths being promoted by the crisis pregnancy centres and be reassuring and supportive of whatever decision the woman chooses to make.

    Here's a fact for you: The chances of having complications during or from an abortion is so low you're more likely to have a fatal car accident between the time you decide to have the abortion and the three days later when you finally do. The technique is ridiculously safe (and if it wasn't it wouldn't be allowed in the first place).

    There are 17 crisis pregnancy centres in Toronto alone, paid for by 14 local religious charities. Across Canada there is an estimated 197 centres spreading misinformation, including 83 in Ontario alone... in contrast there is only 151 abortion clinics in Canada (36 in Ontario)

    But that is nothing compared to the 4,000+ crisis pregnancy centres operating in the United States where they often get funding from Republican party members, and local state funding depending on who is the governor at the time.

    In Canada they receive zero funding from provincial and federal governments. Health Canada has no role in telling women what to do with their own bodies beyond asking people to try and live in a healthy fashion.

    Obviously you shouldn't go to a crisis pregnancy centre for information about abortion because they're only going to give misinformation. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR INSTEAD. Doctors are trained to be non-judgemental in these matters, to do otherwise would lead to malpractice suit. The doctor can refer you to people who can give you more information and that info will be accurate.

    ABORTION MYTHS

    There are three main risks that crisis pregnancy centres claim are associated with abortion. According to medical experts they are just myths and exaggerations.

    BREAST CANCER

    Depending on which centre you visit they might claim the increased risk of breast cancer is "as high as 80%".

    The U.S. National Cancer Institute convened a workshop of more than a hundred leading international experts in 2003 to review the existing studies and concluded that neither abortion nor miscarriage increases the risk of developing breast cancer. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society both support this conclusion. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recommends that women be reassured that there is zero risk when they seek information about abortion from their doctors.

    EMOTIONAL TRAUMA

    The centre will claim abortion can cause negative psychological effects ranging from sadness and guilt to substance abuse and suicidal thoughts, claiming this is based on first-hand knowledge of talking to people but with no statistics to back it up. They will mention post-abortion support programs, which tend to be Bible-based and lead women toward asking for forgiveness for terminating a pregnancy. They describe it as “Post Abortion Stress” or “Post Abortion Syndrome”, sometimes referred to simply as PAS.

    The American Psychiatric Association does not list either “Post Abortion Stress” or “Post Abortion Syndrome” in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered the authoritative index of mental illnesses. The association issued a statement in 2008 noting the lack of evidence linking abortion to psychiatric illness.

    “A woman may have many emotional reactions to an unwanted pregnancy and abortion – most commonly relief, but also sadness and a sense of loss. These feelings can coexist and, like feelings about any important life decision, they can vary over time,” said the statement, adding that negative feelings are often associated with the circumstances that led the woman to choose abortion, and not the procedure itself.

    FERTILITY PROBLEMS

    Crisis pregnancy centres say abortion increases the risk of future miscarriages and premature births, often with counsellors telling stories of women they had met who had chosen to terminate their pregnancies in the past and were now suffering because they are infertile.

    The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the United Kingdom reviewed induced abortions and concluded there are no proven links between terminating a pregnancy and subsequent infertility. They did note a tiny increase in the chance of future miscarriage but noted that the evidence is inconclusive. The relative risks are extremely rare and more influenced by the age of the mother, which becomes more infertile as their biological clock keeps ticking.

    Minor damage to the uterus happens less than once per 1,000 procedures, but the damage is so minor it only requires corrective surgery less than once every 10,000 procedures. This is according to 'A Clinician’s Guide to Medical and Surgical Abortion' (Churchill-Livingstone, 1999).

    Thus the risks are so low it becomes self-evident these stories have been ridiculously exaggerated.

    "Given time an exaggeration becomes a rumour, a rumour becomes a myth, a myth becomes a legend and then legend is misconstrued as fact." - Suzanne MacNevin.


    See Also
    Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Media Messages that Kill

    The following is a Guest Post by Dr S. Jeanne Bramhall - June 2010.

    I obsess (and blog) a lot about pro-war and anti-civil liberties messages in the media because they are easiest to recognize. As a woman, I am far more concerned about the stereotyped treatment of women in the media. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist I worry particularly about the culture of extreme thinness in our society – which is one hundred percent media driven.

    How Feminism Shapes My Views

    I confess I am also a feminist. This is an embarrassing confession. Feminists, gays and dark-skinned people are subject to much ridicule and scorn in contemporary society. In my opinion the controversy stems from confusion around the definition, which has somehow been associated with an irrational hatred of men. I use the word feminist in its broadest sense – to describe women who refuse to automatically subordinate their own (or their children’s) needs to men, the male power structure or a male-oriented view of society. I happen to like men. Some of my best friends are men. As a feminist health professional, I am enormously concerned that young girls are continuously bombarded with messages from TV, movies, music videos and youth and fashion oriented books and magazines that leave them with a distorted – and dangerous – view of themselves and their bodies.

    Romantic Love is Dangerous to Your Health

    Among the most pernicious is the constant emphasis on being young, thin and attractive to men. It relates, in large part, to a carefully crafted myth that romantic love is the highest ideal a woman can achieve in contemporary society. It is so powerful that the majority of women grow up believing in a highly stereotyped version of romantic love, as well as a self-concept that they are utterly worthless without a man to love them. This myth, like Santa Claus and the diamond engagement ring, are creatures of an elaborate and sophisticated marketing industry. It bears little relation to real life. In fact the myth hurts men almost as much as women because it is largely to blame for our high rate of divorce and broken families.

    On Being Young, Attractive and Dead

    As a health professional I am most distressed by the extremely narrow and stereotyped standard of attractiveness – young, perfectly chiseled and starvation thin – necessary to succeed in the fashion, TV or movie industry. There is no question media marketing deliberately aims these messages at teens and pre-teens who lack the critical thinking necessary to differentiate what they see on the screen from real life.

    This strategy is immoral and should be illegal. All women exposed to this stuff learn to hate their own bodies. This universal self-hatred is responsible for an exponential increase in potential fatal eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

    The U.S. Statistics Speak for Themselves
    Eating disorders are a major cause of death for women age 15-24.

    4% of American women are afflicted with a life-threatening eating disorder.

    Approx. 10% of American women with eating disorders die within 10 years of developing the disorder.

    20% of American women with eating disorders die within 20 years of developing the disorder.

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    Answers - Poetry by Mary Oliver

    By Mary Oliver.

    If I envy anyone it must be
    my Grandmother in a long ago
    green summer, who hurried
    between the kitchen and orchard on small
    uneducated feet, and took easily
    all shining fruits into her eager hands.

    That summer I hurried too, wakened
    to books and music and circling philosophies.
    I sat in the kitchen sorting through volumes of answers
    that could not solve the mystery of the trees.

    My grandmother stood among her kettles and ladles.
    Smiling, in faulty grammar,
    she praised my fortune and urged my lofty career.
    So to please her I studied - but I will remember always
    how she poured confusion out, how she cooked and labeled
    all the wild sources of the brimming year.


    Brought to you by the Feminist eZine and Isla Mujeres Women's Retreat.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    The Truth about Female Rites of Passage

    Do you remember your first period? Was it embarrassing or were your proud of it?

    Well, be thankful you live in a modern civilized part of the world... some regions have some pretty strange Rites of Passage for young women experiencing their first period. Some of these are done for religious reasons, some are mostly harmless traditions.

    Genital Mutilation

    The Massai tribe of Kenya uses female circumcision to completely remove the outer parts of the female genitalia. This results is complete deprivation of sexual sensation, increased susceptibility to HIV and may cause life-threatening infections. Crude tools and no anesthesia. The Massai tribe is not the only group that does this. Every year 2 millions girls are forced to undergo genital mutilation.



    Burning Hands + Biting Ants

    The Carib Tribe of Suriname burns the hands of young menstruating girls using a handful of burning cotton to symbolize their future "handiwork" as women. They're also forced to wear a mat/skirt covered with a breed of stinging, biting ants.

    Abdomen Slicing

    The Tiv Tribe of Nigeria slices young girls across the belly four times (or more) leaving deep scars to signify her womanhood and her fertility.

    Fattening Ritual

    The Okrika Tribe of Nigeria has their young girls experiencing their first period enter a hut called "fatting rooms" where they feast on rich local foods until they've gained sufficient weight. Its intended to be a spiritual and physical metamorphosis.

    Three Months in Isolation

    The Ngoni Tribe of Malawi secludes the young girl in a flooded tent for up to three months. Her face and body are daubed with white flour as a sign of spirituality. Inside the tent she must sit in a pool of water until the women of her tribe determine she is finally a woman (which can take up to 3 months).

    Swimming to Shore

    The Nootka Natives of the Vancouver Islands in Canada used to take young girls who experience their first period for a canoe ride out to sea... and then leave them there to swim back to shore. This is no longer practiced.

    Buried Neck Deep in Sand

    The Luiseno Tribe of Southern California used to bury girls up to their neck in sand and then have an older woman of the tribe give them a stern talking to about "the birds and the bees" and the proper behavior of a woman and wife. This is no longer practiced.

    Four Days of Running & Rituals

    The Navajo Tribe of the American Southwest have their girls wear heavy buckskin outfits in a four day ritual involving a foot race, making food for all their relatives and sitting upright on the first night of the ritual. The Apache tribe have a similar ritual shown below.



    I have a hunch many mothers these days simply take their daughters out for a day of shopping, food and buying their first tampons / pads. Not quite the status quo, but close enough.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Spreading the word!

    This blog is dedicated to getting the word out to other feminists to become active and promote feminist activism. More to come.

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Being Raped? There's an app for that

    FEMINIST/TECHNOLOGY - Over a year ago Apple's iPhone came out with the slogan ‘There’s an app for that’, essentially the idea of a little program built into the SmartPhone which allowed you to do everything from calculate tips, play the piano, count calories, learn French or looking for the nearest washroom.

    Looking for the nearest store that sells dental floss? There's an app for that.

    But during that process of designing all these applications they neglected to create one for if you're being stalked, being creeped out by some guy on the subway and you're suddenly wishing you had taken some self-defense classes... See Self Defense Against Rapists.

    Well, now there's an app for that. It just took awhile for someone to create it.

    No, not an app for learning self-defense, although you could always look into that... the app is the YWCA Safety Siren app. Its free to download from iTunes.

    Basically its a combination of functions:

    #1. A rape whistle, available with a choice of three ear-splitting wails.

    #2. An automatic email function to contact preset emergency numbers/email addresses for the authorities, complete with sending a Google map of your current location.

    #3. Tips on how to avoid trouble, smart and safe ways to meet people, how to avoid guys who are potentially dangerous.

    #4. A map which shows you the nearest health and rape crisis centres.

    There are other apps available too, one for if you're being assaulted, one for finding the nearest safe location, one for telling you what streets are less safe to walk alone, etc.

    But frankly all of this is AFTER THE FACT. Its a bit like the Morning-After-Pill. Chances are likely you won't think to use such applications until after you've been raped or assaulted. With luck you might be able to use the Rape Whistle function during the actual attack, but frankly I put more stock in a good solid kick to the balls (which will give you more time to activate the device on your iPhone as you run away).

    If you really want to prevent rape you need to do several things:

    #1. Walk with confidence. Rapists target shy, mousy women because they're less likely to struggle, shout or put up much of a fight.

    #2. Take up jogging, running and go to the gym regularly. Boxing, kick boxing, self defense classes would be good too. Not only will you be more likely to outrun an attacker, but if you're more athletic your ability to fight back and escape will be dramatically improved.

    #3. THINK FAST! Keep your head on your shoulders and don't panic. Keep your wits about you as quick thinking may be the difference that saves you. ie. You could rip the condom. Rapists typically use condoms these days because they're worried about leaving DNA evidence behind. Its safe to assume they only brought one and their plan will fall apart if it gets ripped.

    #4. Keep your hands free. Carry your purse or bag on your shoulder or on your back.

    #5. Avoid uninhabited places. Busy streets are better.

    #6. Be prepared, get your keys out early when going to your car or building.

    #7. Men have several vital points: Genitals, eyes, nose and neck. Kick the genitals, poke their eyes out, punch their nose or neck. A punch to the nose can stun him. A good solid punch to the neck can actually kill a man.

    None of this of course will prevent you from being raped by the Apple company with their bills however.

    See Also:
    Stop Rape
    The Ten Worst Countries for Women

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    The Truth about the Sexual Revolution & the Pill

    SEX - 50 years ago tomorrow (it was first approved on May 9th 1960) a miraculous pill appeared on the market that prevented pregnancy 100% of the time if used properly. Sometimes mistakes were made or women forgot to take their pill for the day, but otherwise it was an ingenious little tool for freeing the libidos of women both young and slightly older.

    Some people however tend to blame/credit the Pill with the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. Oh how wrong they are.

    The truth of the Pill is statistically it did nothing to the abortion rate. Women kept getting pregnant when not on the pill, often due to inexperience and some men not knowing how to do the "pull out at the last minute routine". Thats the routine men were doing prior to the Pill and it apparently was working at least part of the time.

    The little compact case and the "magic pills" it contained was somewhat synonmous with the 1960s: Peace, love and rampant sex in the mud at Woodstock.

    But what would have happened if there had been no pill?

    Peace, love and rampant sex in the mud at Woodstock, that's what. People still would have been having sex, the difference would have been a lot more couples using the pull out technique instead and couples would have been getting less enjoyment out of sex.

    So thats the truth right there. The Pill resulted in couples being able to enjoy sex more. It did very little it stemming unwanted pregnancies because all too often people made mistakes with the oral contraceptive and got pregnant anyway.

    And the other truth of the matter is that it wasn't all hippie chicks who rushed out to take the Pill. It was mostly married women in their late 20s, 30s and even early 40s. They already had several kids and didn't want any more. Thus this sexual revolution was more in the married bedrooms than the single bedrooms.

    “Within the first five years of its release something like a quarter of all married women of reproductive age had used the Pill, so clearly there was a big shift and a concomitant decrease in the proportion of women using diaphragms and condoms,” says Elizabeth Watkins, author of "On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950-1970" and a professor of history at the University of California, San Francisco.

    Before the Pill came on the market there was already a sexual revolution going on. Between 1940 and 1960 the number of single mothers had tripled. Women were having sex, getting pregnant, and probably have a good time during the process.

    It was after all the 1950s Baby Boom period. Everyone was having sex, women were getting pregnant whether they were married or not and it wasn't until 1960 when the Pill became available that they realized they could have even more sex and didn't have to use the pull out method any more. Married women and men no doubt celebrated with a rousing bout of hide the weasel in the bushes.

    Thus the Sexual Revolution was already in full swing when the Pill arrived. It just gave the revolution an extra push.

    Its also known that the Pill was rather expensive when it first arrived. A bit like Viagra is today (I'll get back to the Viagra topic later) and thus married/working women were the only ones who could easily afford it.

    There are other things that pushed the Sexual Revolution too.

    In 1947 Professor Alfred Kinsey founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University. Kinsey's research about human sexuality during the 1940s and 1950s was groundbreaking and the first of its kind. His books "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" in 1948, followed in 1953 by "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" reached the top of bestseller lists and turned Kinsey into an instant celebrity.

    In 1950 Ernst Grafenberg, a German gynecologist, discovered the G-Spot.

    In December 1953 Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Magazine featured Marilyn Monroe as its first cover girl and nude centerfold in the premiere issue.

    In 1959 The Immoral Mr. Teas was directed, produced and released by Russ Meyer. Meyer was a pioneer in the porn industry, creating softcore porn (he even created the term) in films like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) and Vixen! (1968) and pushing the limits of censorship in America. He continued making films well into the 1970s.

    And there are hardly the only things.

    What the Pill did really was allow women to more fully enjoy sex, right up to moment of orgasm and even afterwards for round 2 or 3.

    “Polls taken at the time indicated that single women who were already sexually active were enthusiastic about the Pill because it allowed them to enjoy sex more fully,” says Elizabeth Tyler May, professor of American studies and history at the University of Minnesota, is the author of the just released 'America + The Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation'.

    It wasn't until 1967 that Time magazine dubbed the Pill the “miraculous tablet”.

    “If the Pill can defuse the population explosion,” the magazine theorized, “it will go far toward eliminating hunger, want and ignorance.”

    But that never really happened. The Catholic Church pushed the agenda that the Pill was a sin to use, thus while population growth rates have declined unwanted pregnancies still exist because the percentage of women on the Pill never reached a "breakthrough level" where it became the driving force behind population control. Instead women kept getting pregnant by accident, men kept using the pull-out method and it wasn't really until STDs like AIDS appeared that people started taking condoms more seriously.

    The Pill was more of a contraceptive stepping stone in legitimizing the use of other contraceptives like condoms, diaphragms, injections, patches, rings, the Morning After Pill, Lybrel, a continuous low-dose period-free pill with no placebos, etc. It created a Contraceptive Revolution... but it was hardly the cause of the Sexual Revolution which was already in full swing anyway.

    And it also kickstarted the sex-pill revolution... Pills like Viagra, Cialis and what will eventually become the Viagra 4 Women pill (or whatever name they choose) are a growing (sometimes disturbing) trend. Just this past week Britain released a new pill called Prilogy which cuts down on Premature Ejaculation and allows PE sufferers to last 3 times longer.

    Just wait they'll invent pills that cause instant orgasms, feelings of love, induce abortion without the need for surgery, allow men to orgasm without releasing semen, make women more sensitive so they can orgasm easier, pills to make us younger, more energetic... Disturbed by the possibilities yet?

    And frankly it will all become a bit disturbing because it won't be just the younger generation popping pills, it will be the older generation getting it on. There's nothing more disturbing than our parents and grandparents having booty calls.

    Search Feminist Truths