Feminist Conversations: An Interview With Lesbian Icon Ann Bannon

Ann Bannon, the queen of lesbian pulpFeminist Conversations is a regular feature here at Feminists For Choice. Ann Bannon, in my opinion, is the queen of lesbian pulp fiction. Her books in the Beebo Brinker series served as a roadmap for many lesbians in the 1950s and 1960s. I was introduced to Bannon’s work in a Women’s Studies class at ASU. Bannon’s novels helped me navigate my own coming out process. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I was given the opportunity to interview her.

1. What was your initial inspiration for writing the Beebo Brinker novels?
I began by falling in “fascination” with the first original lesbian pulp novel, Spring Fire, by Vin Packer. It’s a story of two young women who meet in their college sorority house and fall in love—not a terribly original premise these days, but a dangerous and thrilling one then. The consequences of being outed in the 1950s were appalling, and I had been close enough to a similar disaster in my own sorority to empathize with the girls in Packer’s novel. I knew I wanted to write, and it turned out that this little pulp paperback I had found on a newsstand shelf was the creative trigger. [Read more...]

Abortion in Advertising

I read a ridiculously high number of fashion magazines for someone that doesn’t wear makeup and considers a new pair of Levi’s a major splurge. But what caught my eye while flipping through the latest batch of glossies was the advertisement for Kenneth Cole that appears to the right of this post.

Ads seeking to make a social or political statement are nothing new. In the 1980s and 1990s, the clothing company Benetton used striking and often controversial images in its advertisements. From the famous image of AIDS activist David Kirby on his deathbed surrounded by family; to a picture of a white child, hair in blond ringlets, grinning next to a black child, hair in devil’s horns; to an array of multi-colored condoms, Benetton made a point of tackling the hot-button social issues of those decades.

Though Kenneth Cole’s new abortion-themed ad is part of the company’s recently launchedWhere Do You Stand” campaign, which also addresses gun control, gay marriage, and war, this isn’t the first time that the fashion company has combined advertising with social awareness. A handbag ad from 1997 includes the words “It is a woman’s right to choose. After all, she’s the one carrying it”; other ads from that decade focused on AIDS, homelessness and, perhaps most amusingly, Dan Quayle. [Read more...]

President Obama Finally Steps Up to the Plate on the Defense of Marriage Act

The LGBTQ community has been criticizing President Obama for his position on the Defense of Marriage Act for quite some time now, and it looks like the pressure may have finally gotten to him. President Obama told the Department of Justice that the Defense of Marriage Act, as applies to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the fifth amendment, and should no longer be defended by the DOJ.

The Defense of Marriage Act is a horrifying piece of legislation that completely undermines the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples in the United States. It’s about damn time that the President stepped up to the plate and argued against the constitutionality of DOMA.

On a different but similar note, I’m sure Speaker Boehner really enjoyed opening this letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. this morning. [Read more...]

New Polls Reveal that Support for Same-sex Marriage is on the Rise!

Looks like public opinion on marriage equality in the U.S. is beginning to shift for the better. For the first time in 15 years of Pew Research Center polling, opposition to gay marriage has fallen below the 50% line.

Polls this year have found that more Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally than did so just last year. In two polls conducted over the past few months, based on interviews with more than 6,000 adults, 42% favor same-sex marriage while 48% are opposed. In polls conducted in 2009, 37% favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally and 54% were opposed.

[Read more...]

The Devin and Glenn Solution to Hedonism and Sexcapades: Support Gay Marriage

Welcome to the Devin & Glenn solution for all those who fear the “gay lifestyle.” Apparently, only the gays party, have sex, and run around flaunting their sexuality in public. Oh, and if you really want to get all those slutty, lady gaga loving, pink truck driving, gay men off the streets and into the nuclear household — well, just support gay marriage. That way, they can also gain weight, masturbate to porn, fight with their spouse all the time, watch endless television, and live happily ever after. Just like the heterosexuals do it. Ugh.

You can thank Will Speck and Josh Gordon for this utter failure of an attempt to promote gay marriage.

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...]

Wednesday Click List

Laura Bush: Pro-Gay Marriage? – Gay Politics
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Could Still Be Repealed This Year – Gay Politics
Would You Sell Your Ova to Make Some Cash? – Tenured Radical
Is Elena Kagan a Lesbian? – Mother Jones
Liberals, Conservatives, and Abortion – New York Times
The AIDS Epidemic Enters Old Age – Poz Magazine

Progress for Gay Marriage in Argentina Continues

Looks like gay marriage is one step closer to becoming a reality in Argentina. The next big step is for the legislation to be considered in the Senate.

The House of Deputies approved same-sex marriage by an ample margin Wednesday and sent the legislation for consideration in the Senate. President Cristina Fernandez has promised not to veto the measure if it reaches her desk.

Gay rights activist Esteban Paulon calls it historic — the first time a gay marriage initiative has been debated in a national legislature in Latin America.

Five gay and lesbian couples already have been married by Argentine judges who say the country’s constitution supports freedom of choice for couples. But other judges have overturned some of those marriages as illegal.

The Roman Catholic Church strongly opposes the legislation.

Wednesday News Roundup

Demand for Home Births Rises – My Best Birth
Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Abortion Bill Unconstitutional – Feminist.org
Abortion Tweets Met with Death Threats – Broadsheet @ Salon.com
Arizona Senate Passes Bill to Ban Abortion Insurance Coverage – AZ Capitol Times
Mexico City Approves Gay Marriage – CNN
No Surprise: Teen Birth Rates Fall After Comprehensive Sex Ed – Sacramento Bee

The Gays in New Hampshire Took Full Advantage of the New Year

I definitely called it on this one. I knew that gay couples were going to flood the statehouse this morning at 12:01am in New Hampshire! It was a historic moment for gay and lesbian couples in the United States, as New Hampshire’s move to legalize same-sex marriage was officiated with dozens of couples tying the knot in 20 degree weather. Reuters reports,

Gay and lesbian couples rushed to marry in New Hampshire on Friday when at the stroke of midnight it became the fifth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage, reversing some setbacks for the polarizing national movement. [Read more...]