Chances are, you don’t need me to introduce you to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861). In the Victorian era she was famous, a literary superstar whose first poems were published when she was just fourteen, and a serious candidate to succeed William Wordsworth as Britain’s poet laureate upon his death. Unless your heart is made of stone, you know her most popular piece, one of the best-known love poems in the English-speaking world from Sonnets from the Portugeuse (1850):XLIII How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everyday’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love thee with a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
If you weren’t lucky enough to see the circus that was the Anthony Weiner press conference yesterday, do yourself a favor and watch the video. As I sat listening while I worked, I was more shocked and disappointed as awkward moment after awkward moment dragged on.
The US media really made an ass of itself yesterday. Between inane and too-personal questions, no one bothered to care that Weiner’s personal life has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not he can legislate.
In situations like these, I think feminists are in a bit of a hard place. As women, we’re sort of grossed out and annoyed by the fact that he would send anyone a (hopefully solicited) picture of his junk, but ultimately, I think we realize that it’s just another part of the role that patriarchy has created for men. [Read more...]
Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes from Lindsay Marie MacAllister. Lindsay Marie works for an anti-poverty non-profit agency as the Program Coordinator. She attended the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counselor and Advocate program at George Brown College as well as school for Psychology at Queen’s University. Lindsay currently lives in a small town in Northern Ontario in Canada with her two dogs and partner. You can follow her on Twitter @LindzMcAllister.
Since I am getting married in two weeks, and at this point, can barely go a few minutes without thinking of something I still need to do, it would be the most appropriate topic for me to write on. When my partner and I decided to get engaged, I knew I would need to incorporate my feminist beliefs into the ceremony and planning process. As I mentioned we decided to get married together, there was no pressure for a huge proposal on my male partner or expectation that I wait quietly and patiently for him to propose when I was not willing to do so. We knew we wanted to spend forever together and that was all that mattered to us. We both got each other an engagement ring, only fair really, and went about sharing the news with our friends and family, together.
Planning a wedding involves a lot of compromise between the bride and groom; it is a big day for both people, not just the Bride. In our case, my partner cared about one thing beyond the two of us spending the rest of our lives together, that his parents and siblings be there at the ceremony. Through discussion we decided that if I gave up my dream wedding in Jamaica on the beach and had it locally, the rest of the details could be my choice. We chose to go with a toned down Scottish themed wedding, a rustic outdoors affair, with brown as the main color, a favorite for both of us. [Read more...]
Jackson Pollock has long been my favorite artist, but it was not until I saw the 2000 film Pollock that I realized his wife, Lee Krasner, was just as accomplished an artist as Pollock. My experience was not that uncommon, unfortunately; as Krasner herself pointed out in a 1973 interview, “I happen to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock, and that’s a mouthful. The only thing I haven’t had against me was being black. I was a woman, Jewish, a widow, a damn good painter, thank you, and a little too independent.”
Born in New York in 1908, Krasner grew up with her Russian immigrant parents and siblings in Brooklyn. She trained at several art schools in New York, and graduated from the National Academy of Design in 1932. Two years later, she was employed by the Public Works of Art Project (one of the New Deal projects), working primarily for the Federal Arts Project until 1943. While Krasner and Pollock’s paths crossed during these years – they were both working for the Federal Arts Project – it was not until both were invited to participate in an exhibit that they began their relationship.
The big news from the release of The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America 2010 was that marriage is becoming a less important fact of American life. Worse, for the pro-marriage crowd that includes the groups behind the study, The Center for Marriage and Families and The National Marriage Project, it’s no longer just the left-leaning, latte-sipping cultural elite who are losing faith.
Class is no longer a reliable predictor of marital attitudes. Less educated Americans are now abandoning the institution of marriage at the same rate as their more educated brethren.
Conservatives, both fiscal and social, predictably see this as a sign of the apocalypse. If the good old Middle Class can’t embrace an institution as unapologetically bourgeois as marriage, what will become of the children? That is, after all, the biggest and best argument supporters of marriage have: American children do best growing up with two married parents living in the same household.
Fair enough. I’m not math-minded enough to argue with their statistics (though others are). The study has a much bigger problem: the decline in religious observance—also much lamented by the right—has left the National Marriage Project leaning harder on marriage’s secular and civic virtues. But they haven’t realized those virtues demand a different gospel. [Read more...]
I’m from the South. Weddings are part of our shtick. Daddy pays for a Barbie dreamland wedding, you go on a fabulous honeymoon to Jamaica, and return to your freshly-purchased-by-Daddy house where you live happily ever after.
Or not. In my reality, the nature of a wedding is entirely capitalist. Thousands of dollars are spent on dresses, venues, flowers, gifts, rings, food, and festivities, and a glamorous trip to some place in the tropics. For those that can afford it, of course.
For something that should be about love, mutual respect, and the connection of two people, it sure costs a lot of money. This is perhaps the reason why a study conducted by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and New York’s Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values raised such a stink.
According to this study, millions of Americans (especially those without college degrees, or the “moderately educated”) are choosing to not marry. Others who are married, report declining levels of satisfaction in their union. Also “shocking” were the numbers that suggested that people are no longer embarrassed about having children out of wedlock. [Read more...]
Feminist Conversations is a weekly column at Feminists For Choice. We spotlight feminist activists from across the interwebs to find out what feminism means to them. Today we’re talking to Yasmin Nair. Yasmin is a Chicago-based writer, activist, academic, and commentator whose work has appeared in publications like GLQ, The Progressive, make/shift, The Bilerico Project, Windy City Times, Bitch, Maximum Rock’n’Roll, and No More Potlucks. She is part of the editorial collective Against Equality and a member of the Chicago grassroots organization Gender JUST (Justice United for Societal Transformation). Nair’s work can be found at www.yasminnair.net.
1. When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what contributed to the decision?
That’s an interesting question because I don’t often refer to myself as a feminist, for reasons I’ll go into in a minute. The word does help to describe my sense of gender politics, and it provides a counterpoint in situations where gender is clearly an unspoken and unacknowledged factor.
I don’t know if I necessarily had an “aha” moment where I recognized myself as a feminist or identified as one. That being said, there have been moments when I have been made aware of the sexism that pervades the world. I once took a computer programming class run by an incredibly sexist man, and there were only two in the class. The men were really friendly until it became apparent that I was kicking their ass, frankly, and the instructor went into a panic and tried to change the grading scale so that I wouldn’t be at the top of the class. So, yes, moments like that have reminded me of the ways in which my gender is perceived as less than or threatening but my response has simply been to, well, kick ass, and fight back.
I see that kind of gender dynamics even in the organizing I do. I’ve organized a lot of events and forums and actions, and there is, as you know, a great deal of thankless work that needs to be done months in advance. Far too often, the majority of the organizing committee ends up being women and the men—even if they’re gay/queer—who show up have tended to try to slide away from their responsibilities and leave the work to us “girls” (whether trans or cisgender)—and then tried to take the credit. [Read more...]
To quote Gloria Feldt, “Media portrayals, real or fictional, don’t merely inform us — they form us.” In this series, I will be examining five films – classic, mainstream, independent, foreign, and pre-Roe – and five television shows – daytime soap, drama, pre-Roe, critically lauded, and teen-oriented – that address unexpected pregnancy, to examine how past portrayals can influence and reflect society’s view of abortion.
Oh, I so wanted to like Waitress. I have a soft spot for independent films, a long-standing affection for Keri Russell, a love of pie, and a Southern heritage. So really, all the elements were in place for me to love this movie.
Instead, I became so frustrated with how the lives of three small-town waitresses were depicted that I turned the movie off halfway through and only finished watching because I kept hoping that at some point, Russell would turn to the screen, wink, and say, “Just kidding!” Because really, how else to account for a film in which the main character staunchly continues a pregnancy after flatly and repeatedly stating that it will ruin her life, and one of her friends not only falls in love with an almost-cartoonishly creepy man who promises to stalk her until she will marry him – but does, indeed, marry him? [Read more...]
In an Act of Blatant Homophobia, Tim Pawlenty Vetoed the Gay & Lesbian Death Rights Bill on Saturday
I reported some fantastic news last week that the Minnesota house approved death rights for gay and lesbian couples. Unfortunately, homophobic Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty, vetoed the bill on Saturday. His justification: to protect “traditional” marriage. According to Pawlenty, gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t have the same rights as married spouses.
Under Minnesota law, only married surviving spouses can decide what to do with the remains of a loved one. The bill would have extended such rights to domestic partners. It would have also allowed a partner the right to sue to recover funeral and hospital costs in the event of a wrongful death.
In vetoing the bill, Pawlenty, a Republican, said the bill “addresses a nonexistent problem” because gay and lesbian couples have the option of drawing up a living will. [Read more...]
Why is Taking it Up the Butt Becoming So Popular? – Bitch Magazine
A Brief History of Gender Testing in Sports – Tenured Radical
Former KS Attorney General to Face Charges For Investigation of Abortion Clinics – WIBW
Without Tiller, Anti-Abortion Militants Adrift – Sacramento Bee
Boys Beware: Porn Turns You Gay – Salon.com
Gendered Differences in the Brain Aren’t So Clear-Cut – Feministe
Is There Room in Feminism for Marriage? – Adventures of a Young Feminist