sarahmichigan: (Default)
I have been a long-time reader (and one-time contributor of an article to) "Freethought Today," the newsletter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I was tickled by their memoriam for Vashti Cromwell McCollum on several levels. First, I love older people who are non-conformists and hell-raisers. Second, I love women who were progressive and kicking ass well before the radical 1960s. Lastly, I love the symbolism of her name!

http://ffrf.org/fttoday/2006/oct/vashtimccollum.php

According to the FFRF's obituary for her:
"Vashti became "a very unpopular woman," as she put it, for taking and winning the first case before the U.S. Supreme Court to halt religious instruction in the public schools. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 212 (1948) is the lynchpin of Establishment Clause law keeping religion out of public schools."

She also wrote her memoirs, "One Woman's Fight," which I think I will have to read at some point this year.

If you know much about the Bible or Jewish history, you probably have heard of Queen Esther, but you may not remember or know about the woman she replaced, Vashti. Vashti has become something of a feminist icon for her refusal to "show her beauty", which probably means "to dance naked," in front of the king. Her refusal got her deposed as Queen and paved the way for Esther to become the Queen and save her people.

It seems fitting that the woman who said, "No, you're not going to indoctrinate my fourth-grade son in your religion during school hours," is named after another woman who stood up to the powerful and said, "Nope. Not going to do that."
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I do consider myself a feminist, and I have a lot of the same beliefs and the average "feminist on the street" as well as agreeing with much of the cultural analysis in academic/intellectual feminism. However, one area that I rarely ever agree with other feminists on is the area of sexuality, especially the public depiction of sexuality, from porn to stripping to prostitution, to how sexuality is used in advertising. Any topic on which the Christian Right and radical feminists agree, such as "porn is bad and degrading to women" is one which I tend to find myself clashing with other feminists.

It just seems to me that there can be no depiction of sexuality involving women, either in words, pictures, or video, that some feminists won't have a problem with. There's buzz-words like "objectification" and "the male gaze" and on and on. It can never be as simple as, "People like sex and are curious about depictions of sexuality." If you take this kind of criticism to an extreme, it seems like certain feminists are saying that sexuality and sexual desire are not appropriate topics for movies/photos/stories, or that there's no way to show women's sexuality in certain media that isn't degrading or demeaning to the women that do it.

With the Christian Right, there's this sense of paternalism and condescension, that women need to be saved from themselves, even if they don't feel degraded or demeaned by the sex work they do or the sexuality they are portraying.

Feminist theory uses different terminology, but there often feels like there's an ugly subtext that any woman who feels empowered by doing any kind of sex work is deluded, naive, or not very evolved. There's also the subtext that women who do sex work or who feel empowered by expressing their sexuality are somehow abetting the patriarchy or are letting the whole of the Sisterhood down. I also find myself offended by some of the assumptions about what men think and want as portrayed in many feminist critiques of sex work and sexual imagery.

I feel like I have more to say about this, and more examples and specifics I could detail, but I think I need to let this percolate a bit longer...
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I found that many Ms. Magazine stories are archived on-line! These were some of the ones that were the most fun or interesting, in my estimation:

How a male feminist got a portrait of feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft out of a closet and on display (includes a link to the full text of her treatise "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman"):

http://www.msmagazine.com/fall2004/liberatingmarywollstonecraft.asp

Why viagra or nasal sprays are NOT the answer to women's lack of libido or "sexual dysfunction":

http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/viagraoranrxforsex.asp

Did you know the suffragettes used bullwhips to beat back their enemies? A history of women and whips:

http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/takingbackthewhip.asp
sarahmichigan: (Default)
Since Sarah Michigan: My Life As An Amateur Porn Star is the place you come for a little something guaranteed to offend at least one person on my friend's list, here's a fab link I picked up from someone on the LJ birthcontrol community. It talks about how many Pro-Lifers end up having abortions, thinking that they are "special cases," all the while still believing that every abortion provider and every other abortion patient is still a murder.

http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml

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