Friday, April 6, 2012

The GOPs War on Women, Caterpillars, and Lady Business...Oh My!

If you are at all connected with me on social media, you already have seen (5 million times) how I feel about the news this week. The GOP is trying to blame democrats and the media for creating a "false" belief that the republicans are waging a war against women. 

Rachel Maddow from MSNBC really summed it up on her show Thursday night:  
You know, I think there`s just one piece missing from what otherwise is obviously a perfect analogy of women as caterpillars. I think there`s just one thing missing. If Democrats said that Republicans had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media said we had a war on caterpillars, the Republican Party would not then just automatically have a problem with caterpillars. There is a missing piece of this analogy here, right?
In this analogy, what Reince Priebus is missing is the part where the
Republican Party introduces hundreds of pieces of legislation all over the
country attacking the rights of caterpillars, which in his analogy is in
fact what the Republican Party has been doing.
The Republican Party in this analogy has to be seen as a radically,
what, anti-cocoon party? Anti-caterpillar, pro-cocoon -- sacrifice the
caterpillar, save the cocoon? Metamorphosis? I don`t know.
You can view the whole segment by heading over to her show website (seriously go watch the full thing!).

The whole comparing the war on women to a war on caterpillars really isn't as strange as it seems considering who we are talking about. The Republican Party is known for off-the-wall analogies (gay marriage will lead to man & dog marriages anyone?).
The problem is, GOP, that you talk a big talk and you are trying to beat women back into a 1950s ideal of women and their rights, but will not own up to it. As Rachel said, you earned it you did everything in your power to make it happen, so why won't you embrace it?

Oh...what's that you say? You are losing all of the women voters? So now you don't want to talk about all of the measures you've been putting in place to limit us and make us second class citizens?

Grow up. You are adults, seriously, do I really need to point this out? I am a woman, and I will not have a group of misogynistic old men try to govern my body. It is not a piece of land for you to conquer.

Then there is the method of deflection. Not only do they blame the "fake war on women" on others (because they did absolutely nothing to make women feel that way) they also try and assert that women do not care about these issues. They try to cover up gender warfare with half-hearted attempts at pretending they see women as people. They talk about how women care about jobs and the economy (you mean we have brains!?) but say that we do not care about the issue of contraception.

So blaming others, war on women, deflection tactics, undermining women by pretending that we don't care about you setting us back 60 years with regards to our rights, and shaming. Let's not forget the shaming. I am not just talking Rush Limbaugh and his language for women on birth control (wish his mother would have used some), but all of the filth coming out of GOP members with regards to women.

How about Tucker Max and his response to Planned Parenthood's refusal of his attempt at a donation. I wonder what could have made them refuse to take his money? Could it be his very vocal opinions about how he does not support PP. He all but stated that the donation was a tax fluke. Also, his very mature response further proved that PP made the right decision (he very quickly took this post down, but not before someone got a screen shot).

I really am so baffled by the whole situation, but I want to hear from others! What do you think about the war on women? Does it exist? Why won't the GOP own up to their actions? What are you going to do about it?

Monday, April 2, 2012

World War Women

Today I am floored by what I am reading. Every day it becomes more and more apparent to me that the war on women is back with a vengeance. Although we already fought for our rights 50 years ago and we are still fighting for the same rights afforded to men now we seem to be reverting, fighting for the rights WE ALREADY HAVE. I just cannot handle this anymore. I am not a second-class citizen. My body is not land for you to rule over. Trying to promote "life" with violence is terrorism (tell me I'm over-exaggerating all you want).

I never thought that I would have to fight this war. I am tired of hearing that some legislature or politician is trying to govern my body and restrict my rights. I don't see anyone lobbying for a ban or restriction that would affect men (why don't we stop covering Viagra on health insurance!?). Don't tell me this war isn't real, don't tell me that I have the same rights afforded to men, and don't tell us to be quite because we aren't going anywhere.

Here is some of the stuff that has me riled up today.

Wisconsin Planned Parenthood bombed

Two and a Half Men creator Lee Aronsohn  told the Hollywood Reporter that he’s sick of female-centered comedies because “Enough ladies. I get it. You have periods,” and declared that “we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.”

Romney's Assault on Women

Why Women are Abandoning the GOP

Have anything else to keep my blood-a-boiling? Please share and feel free to comment and discuss these articles below I am very interested in other's reactions to all of this.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mad Men Musings

At the very start I am completely shocked to see Betty. Even at the worst times with Don she never let her appearance go, so I am itching to find out what the issues are in her new marriage. I am also intrigued by them addressing the issue of women taking diet pills to 'please men' as Betty's mother-in-law put it.

Of course upon going to the doctor to ask for diet pills they found a lump on Betty's thyroid. There is obviously more than just this going on with her because even before she found out about the lump she was making excuses about doing things (and then made excuses about going to the doctor's). Obviously she has issues not only with the weight. Although she is not my favorite person in the show (in fact I have hated her for a long time) I feel a lot of compassion with her. She went searching for happiness in a new husband and life and doesn't seem to have found it, and unfortunately she does not have a whole lot of options to rectify that.

They are hitting on a topic that has been intertwined in the underbelly of this show from the start—the pressure on women to look a certain way. This was of course addressed when Peggy was pregnant, but to have it happen without that being the reason is new. I hate feeling like I have missed a huge portion of this show during its hiatus. Okay so I just looked it up and the new season started with Memorial Day 1966 and the fourth season began in November 1964, so there's a better understanding of how much time we missed.

Back to this episode. I do not like Harry at all. I think he has taken the place of my least favorite character. It started with how he acted last week and it got even worse this week. He doesn't seem to care about anything anymore, and I remember him being the good guy back at the old office.

I just don't understand. What happened with his marriage? Why is he acting like such a child? When did he become the biggest a-hole on the show? I guess it just frustrates me so much because I feel betrayed by this character—he caught me off guard. Or perhaps I never paid enough attention to him and he has always been like this?

On to another topic. Megan really showed her true colors and immaturity with her reaction to Betty potentially having cancer. 'That sucks, there's nothing you can do, get dressed we are going to hang out with my friends.' She basically threw a hissy fit when Don showed and expressed that he was a bit overwhelmed and not feeling up to it. Don actually cares if Betty is sick or not and how it is going to change things if the worst should happen. He is totally right in being concerned about Megan's age and what kind of responsibility will fall to them should Betty get sick and die. I don't think Megan really grasped the potential reality she is traveling towards.

Maybe I should reconsider when I am writing this because writing it as I go along may be great for sorting my thoughts and making sure I address everything I want, but things change so quickly and it completely makes my previous statements useless. (My response to finding out Betty does not have cancer. Not that I'm upset that she's not sick, just upset I was writing as if she were).

The episode is almost over and I am exhausted. Sorry folks, if anyone is reading, that's all I have for this week. If something completely unbelievable happens at the end I will update tomorrow! Now go drink a martini or an old fashioned or something!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mad Men: Weekly Review

After a YEAR AND A HALF we finally got what we were waiting for, Mad Men's return. I've decided that because I love the show so much I will post my musings on it each week. This will not be so much as a recap as me posing questions and looking for discussion about the episode—I know I have friends who love this show too! I find this show completely fascinating; partly because of my firm belief that I was born in the wrong decade an partly because the gender issues addressed in the show.

In just the first few minutes I am completely frustrated with the fact that they will not let us know how much time has passed. Of course we have to assume that at lease a year has gone by because Jane had only just told Roger of her pregnancy at the end of last season and now she has the baby. Also I have noted a few other changes that have not been explained AT ALL.

1) When / how did Lane convince his wife to come back to the US? Last I remember his dad beat him to the floor and made him go home. Also, if he is indeed back with his wife what was with the creepy exchange over the phone with the random wallet owner's "girl." I know when the separated he saw other women, but when he was with the Playboy bunny it seemed like he was very much a one-woman man. I'm a little thrown and desperate for some more information.

2) Did Harry and his wife get divorced? At Don's surprise party he kept talking about his wife not being able to find a date, and when he was explaining what he would do to Megan—which I will get to how pissed I was about that—he told her Jennifer was very jealous. So on to the conversation of what Harry would do to Don's wife. If I had any doubts of his and Jennifer's separation those comments sealed it. If you didn't watch, trust me you would have been outraged (or at least scandalized—I am adult enough to understand that not everyone would be offended by blatant sexual harassment).

On to things that weren't so vague...

Megan vs. Peggy: I applaud Peggy for being so nice to Megan. If I had worked my ass off for Don for years only to have his new wife come in and just be made a copywriter I would not be graceful about it. Yes, at the party Peggy got back to her impulsively bitchy self, but overall she was very nice about it. Megan melting down on Peggy at work the following Monday was not Megan being very kind though. Obviously she was taking other things out on Peggy, but it makes her a really unlikable character—we all already hate her a little bit for having seemed to change Don, the truth / length of that change is yet to be seen.

Then I am kind of baffled about the whole thing when Peggy went to apologize about her behavior at the party. Don was fine about what she said, but not so fine that Megan got so upset that she left. Then in true Don fashion he made Peggy feel horrible and ran out of the office for the day.

Don gets home only to find Megan in full-blown cleaning mode and then she rips off her clothes and acts all crazy. What the heck!? Has she met Don before? Getting all demanding with him will not result well. Is this a character development ploy—strong willed French woman tames misogynistic ad-man? It didn't seem to work, but I digress.

Wait, one more Megan rant. What is her issue with Jane? Have I just forgotten some key piece of information or was her behavior towards Jane completely uncalled for?

Speaking of Jane. I am so very happy that they addressed the topic of new mothers returning to work—thankfully she hasn't been fired but she still thought she was being fired. For years women had no rights when it came to their job and having a child. While there are now laws in place to protect women there is still a huge issue regarding a working woman and pregnancy. In states like New Jersey there are laws called "no-fault" laws which basically means you can be fired for any reason as long as it is not unlawful. So while, because of federal law, a woman cannot be fired for being pregnant or for taking maternity leave, she can be fired for almost any other reason. I will put this in perspective: you can be pregnant and can't be fired for that, but they can fire you and just say it was for reasons other than that, and nothing will happen. Of course a woman can try to fight it but if they have the smallest evidence of a misstep would be evidence enough that the termination was not unlawful.

And the cherry on the night? The show ran over the two hours! Check in next week for more martini-filled, smokey-room, gender-biased Mad Men fun! Oh, and by the way if you have never experienced the amazingness that is Mad Men catch up by next Sunday (all seasons are on Netflix).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Learning to Love Your Body

Every single day I have conversations with various women in my life where the topic of weight comes up. It may be something as innocent as "I feel bloated," but weight is a constant in our daily dialogue. While this has always been something I have had issues with today I actually took a moment to think about it.

We all know that our society is poison for women and their self-esteem. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements, movies, actresses, models, etc. all telling us how we should look. I would hope that all women know that what you see on those billboards or on the pages of magazines are edited photos. No one looks like that, if they did they would hire those women because they would save a hell of a lot of time and money on retouches. 

Every now and then the issue of women's body images reached the mainstream, national conversation (like we saw recently with the 'Am I Ugly' videos, if you missed out here is my blog on the topic), but it should be rectified not just discussed. We need real action and it cannot wait because every day it is getting worse.

I can prove that it is. Think about pregnancy. Now I have never experienced it but I spoke to a good friend of mine, Lisa, who is pregnant with her first baby (we can't wait to meet you Grayson!) about being pregnant and her body image. Jessica Simpson's cover of Elle Magazine in which she is completely naked just came out and I wanted to hear her thoughts on it. She first explained to me that she would never do something like that, but that aside she did not see a reason to hide it. This would be all well and good if the photo was genuine and not some photo shopped creation to further humiliate and shame women into hating their bodies.

Here is the cover:
Photo credit: Fashion Indie.
Here is her at an interview on the Ellen DeGeneres Show:
Photo credit: Zap2It.
Now call me crazy but there is no way her body changed that much. I am not insulting the real her (the one in the picture with Ellen) I am just baffled as to why she doesn't embrace her body. Pregnancy is beautiful and it is almost worse to allow your photo to be altered when you are pregnant. You are turning something so precious and amazing into something shameful.

Lisa's thoughts were to embrace your reality and not succumb to the way you think you should be perceived. I couldn't agree with her more. I remember when Jessica Simpson first came on to the music scene she was marketing herself as a wholesome singer who wanted to be a good role model to young girls. Correct me if I am wrong Jessica, but what kind of example do you set now?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Day My Feminist Was Born

It is hard to pinpoint when I first discovered the feminist inside. This first thing that I can recall was in fourth grade. My ILA (which was their fancy term for English) teacher was Ms. Britton. It always seemed like she had it out for me. English was always my best subject, but I struggled in Ms. Britton's class—although had it not been for her, I don't think I would know how to spell antidisestablishmentarianism.
Photo credit: My Vintage Vogue.
I have always been partial to hats, and although my school had a policy against wearing them in school I ignored that. My absolute favorite hat was a brown beret of sorts that I had gotten from a friend. One day I wore it to Ms. Britton's class.

"Get that rag off your head, Benzinger," she said. She was one of those teachers that loved to call everyone by their last name.
Now as a fourth grader, you would think that I would have just listened out of fear of getting in trouble but instead I chose to argue my right to wear the hat. I explained to her how there used to be a time where women were required to wear hats in public, but I was choosing to do so. She was so flabbergasted that she let me wear my hat that day, but asked that I not wear it in her classroom again.

A small victory for me. 

To this day, when I ask my mom how I came up with that she swears I thought of it on my own.
I still love the idea of wearing fancy hats when out, although I may be alone on this one.
Photo credit: Fashion Era.