Gloria Steinem with Katie Couric & Stephen Colbert

Gloria Steinem is on a whirlwind media blitz this week. Here she is talking to Stephen Colbert. Gloria Steinem has some pretty compelling reasons why men need to be more involved with their families: better health, longer life, and better sex. Do you really need a better incentive?

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Katie Couric asked Gloria Steinem to respond to Sarah Palin’s use of the term feminist. Steinem clearly calls out Sarah Palin and others by try to coop the feminist label by saying that you have to promote women’s rights if you want to be a feminist.

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For more Gloria Steinem awesomeness, check out this post over at The Abortion Gang.

Is Body Fat a Feminist Issue?

There’s a recent post over on Womanist Musings that slams the TV show “The Biggest Loser.” The main argument in the post is that shows like “The Biggest Loser” promote unhealthy views about weight loss and self image. While I agree with the general crux of this argument, I also have to add my two cents about obesity, weight loss, and the connection to feminist politics.

I have a very complicated relationship with dieting and body image. I was an anorexic throughout high school, but I am now currently overweight. I would love to be able say that feminism has helped me learn to love my body, but that isn’t the case. There is no outside to patriarchy, and as much as we would like to believe that embracing feminism means that we will learn to love ourselves exactly as we are, that has not happened for me. I am learning to love my body every day, but this will be an ongoing struggle for me until the day I die.

I joined Weight Watchers several months ago, because I want to lose weight and feel better about my body. I am not doing this because I think that I have to fit into some patriarchal standard of beauty. I am doing this because I want to make healthier choices about my food and create a positive self-image. So far, I am doing well. I go to my meetings every week, and meet other people who are facing the same challenges that I am, and I have lost an average of two pounds a week since I joined. This post is not meant to be an endorsement of Weight Watchers. But it is meant to give an explanation of why I feel like weight loss is a feminist issue. [Read more...]

Feminism 101?

Whether you’re new to the feminist movement, or you’ve been around for a long time, there are many questions related to what it means to be a feminist. If you asked a group of 20 feminists what feminism means to them, you’re likely to get 20 different answers. And that’s the beauty of feminism. There’s not one singular way to be a feminist.

We at Feminists For Choice have our own definitions of what it means to be a feminist. Just check out our bios, and you’ll see that we each bring our own point of view to the discussion. Which is the whole point of the blog. We think there’s room at the table for multiple points of view.

However, the multiplicity of opinions can sometimes be overwhelming. The bloggers over at Feministe have been running a series of articles that attempt to present feminism in a nutshell. Here are a few highlights:

Feminism 101 Resources
Why is the Inclusion of People with Disabilities Important to the Feminist Movement?
Preparing a Little Girl for a Sexist & Conformist World

What’s your take on the subject? What does feminism mean to you? We’d love to add your voice to the discussion.

You might NOT be a feminist if…

If you look like this, you might NOT be a feminist

After making anti-women policies a hallmark of her short political career, Sarah Palin really wants to be a feminist.

Sarah Palin is making the rounds of the campaign scene, and trying to invent a “conservative feminism” along the way. While many real feminists are outraged at her audacity, few are willing to take a stand against allowing someone like Palin into our ranks. After all, isn’t feminism “supposed” to be about tolerance of all perspectives and all types of women?

Such a stance will only serve to create a world of feminist relativism, where the word means nothing.

There are certain actions that are simply fundamentally anti-feminist, that is, they threaten the freedom, equality, dignity, or rights of a various group of people. Certainly being “tolerant” and promoting “diversity” among our ranks cannot be more important than promoting standards of true equality and progressive social change.

Just being a woman does not make you a feminist, particularly if your policies and positions are blatantly anti-woman. For those who see Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist and are confused about what feminism really means in 2010, I not only argue, but insist, that Sarah Palin is no feminist. And to prevent further confusion I have come up with four sure-fire ways to know if you or someone you love is NOT a feminist: [Read more...]

The Impossibilty of Tiger Woods’ Racial Identity

I couldn’t help but notice yet another news story about Tiger Woods and his recent “…low speed, zero casualty, minimal injury car crash in front of his own house.” This time, though, the author made an attempt to address, if from another angle, the racist undertones that are so foundational to this story.

Jesse Washington makes several important points about the way(s) that Tiger’s racial identity have impacted this story–from the perspective of the Black community’s reaction to the scandal. For him, the only area of the blogosphere discussing the racist undertones of this story is the black community and then only in terms of their belief that Tiger is both an outsider (not “really black”) and a traitor (a black man who likes white women).

[Read more...]

Predatory Media, Race and Tiger-Gate

I am certainly not the first person to say that there is something WEIRD happening with the media and Tiger Woods’s low speed crash. Even as they obsess over it, mainstream media outlets/commentators ask, “Is it really our business?” or “Should we even be covering this?”. For me, the answer is a pretty simple NO!

But the question I find much more interesting is this: WHY is the media all over this like my dogs on rawhide chews? At first, I was hesitant to even write anything about it. Because I think it really should be a private matter between Tiger and Erin. That was, until, I flipped off of CBS’s Early Show –where I had hoped to get a quick weather update but was, instead confronted with more on Tiger’s burgeoning scandal–and to the Weather Channel *gasp* hoping for the aforementioned weather update and where, of course, they were about to talk about the “storm of a different variety” that was “brewing” at Tiger’s home in Florida.

[Read more...]

Conflicted Feminist Roots for Team Edward

Edward Cullen
I have a confession to make. For me its probably Feminist Confession Number 484. But that’s beside the point. Here goes nothing. Rabid Radical feminist that I am, I have a major crush on Edward Cullen. Yep. The Edward Cullen–dark hero of the Twilight Saga.

This past Saturday, I joined throngs of people and lined up to see New Moon, advance ticket in hand. I loved it, honestly. Just as I did the first movie–Twilight. I will most likely even pay good money to see it again, in the theater. And, no doubt, I will rush out to buy the DVD the moment it hits store shelves.

All this, despite the fact that the radical feminist activist that normally occupies the dominant part of my brain has to be tied, gagged and shut up in a closet somewhere in the dark recesses of my consciousness in order for any Twilight associated joy to be remotely possible. Which brings me to the reason I feel the need to discuss, analyze, confess it here, for all the world to see.

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The Continuing Debate Over the Work – Life Balance

work life balanceI recently went back to working a regular nine-to-five job after scraping by as a freelancer for the past 2 years. I have worked at a desk job since I was 15, so I never would have imagined the impact that going back to work outside of my home would have had on my life.

When I was a full-time freelancer, I could wash a load of laundry in between blog articles. My floors were spotless, because vacuuming is a great change of pace from writing. And I always had a homemade dinner, including dessert, ready to eat when my partner got home. Working from home was the perfect balance for me, because I could fit housework into my daily work schedule, I only had to commute from the coffeepot to my home office, and I could work in my bathrobe if I didn’t feel like dressing up for the day. It was a charmed life.

For the past 2 months, my life has seemed totally out of control. The house is a wreck, we’ve been eating out a lot more because I’m too tired to cook when I get home, and let’s just say that although the sex hasn’t disappeared, it certainly doesn’t happen as frequently when both partners are exhausted from juggling so many responsibilities. Something has got to give, because I cannot sustain a life that is totally out of balance. [Read more...]

What Does More Women in the Workforce Mean for Traditional Gender Roles?

California’s First Lady Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress have released a new report called “A Woman’s Nation.” The report documents how women now make up more than 50% of the paid labor force, and how women’s roles are changing are a result. Shriver will be discussing the report in several segments on the “Today Show” this week. Here she is talking about Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm, and what women in politics have to negotiate with their families.

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I think it’s very interesting that Shriver says women are becoming the primary breadwinners in America as a result of the economic downturn. The sad part is that she doesn’t give any analysis as to why this is the case. I would venture to guess that many companies have cut jobs for men because men are paid more than women. If you’re looking to cut your business’s bottom line, eliminate the higher salaries first. It’s basic math. [Read more...]

PETA’s Response to Feminist Criticism Misses the Mark

hollypetaOne of our readers sent a letter to PETA voicing his concern about their sexist ad campaigns, and he got a pretty surprising response from PETA. David was kind enough to send this in.

Dear PETA,

PLEASE STOP all the sexist ads that degrade and demean women. Women are displayed 3/4 naked or more, ads with vile and suggestive catch phrases, again that include mostly nude women. The most recent ad refers to women as “beached whales. PETA is supposedly a progressive organization; so why then do so many of its billboards-ads and media campaigns depict women in sexist-degrading and offensive ways? you will get NO $$ from me until the sexism stops

Here’s PETA’s response to David. [Read more...]