“I’m no feminist, but…”

Ya know what pisses me off? Women doing feminist things while saying they aren’t feminist. So often these days, “anti-feminist” women will use a platform they’ve earned to disavow any and all self-identification with feminism as if it is some man-hating branch of the KKK. A lot of times an anti-feminist will take a stand against what he or she perceives as misogyny – such as internet harassment – while at the same time disowning feminism. I doubt the anti-feminist even realizes she is calling out of rape culture – a purely feminist act!

I’m not sure when feminism became a bad word. Feminism has affected women’s lives in ways many of these anti-feminists don’t begin to appreciate. A woman can have a bank account and a credit card in her own name. Women are able to vote. Married women can own property. These are all things that would not be possible but for feminism.

Some of the anti-feminists claim that prejudices against women are a thing of the past. However, women have a long way to go to truly be equal to men in our society. Though laws to the effect have been struck from the law books, to this day a woman’s word in court is not as credible as a man’s. Women are stripped of their autonomy by patriarchal governments while making pregnancy decisions. Women in abusive relationships are in some states legally prohibited from leaving an abusive spouse. And, in theory, women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. But in practice, girls are discouraged from breaking with gender stereotypes at an early age, and women are passed over for promotions in favor of men. So, at this point, feminism is very NECESSARY!

Therefore, to the anti-feminists I say, “get on board my feminist bang wagon!” We have cookies.

The Feminist Double Standard

When we talk about the influence of feminism on women’s rights, we often enter into the conversation about the double standards women are held to by society. Whether it is in our sex lives, our work/life balance, or our looks, feminists object to any unequal application of restrictive convention on women as a matter of basic principle. And the fact that we women are often judged by our looks over our intellect is a very sore point in that exchange.

So when President Obama introduced his good friend Kamala Harris this week during a DNC event, along with another elected official, many people were quick to call his remarks out as sexist.

“Congressman Mike Honda is here.  Where is Mike?  (Applause.)  He is around here somewhere.  There he is.  Yes, I mean, he’s not like a real tall guy, but he’s a great guy.  (Laughter.)

“Second of all, you have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake.  She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country — Kamala Harris is here.  (Applause.)  It’s true.  Come on.  (Laughter.)  And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years. ”

What is really wrong here is that, by chastising President Obama for remarking on Attorney General Harris’ looks (as opposed to the same about Mike Honda), we are really imposing a feministic double standard on him. President Obama makes flattering (or not so) comments about the physical appearance of accomplished and good looking people as a matter of habit. And for the most part, those accomplished folks upon whom he has heaped compliment have been men. President Obama is an equal opportunity flatterer.

Obama remarked over Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s appearance last year.

“A couple people I want to thank for their outstanding work. First of all, our Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, is in the house.  (Applause.)  He’s the guy in the nice-looking hat.  Not only does it look good, but it protects his head, because the hair has gotten a little thin up there.  (Laughter.)  He is a good-looking guy.”

If President Obama’s comments on Harris’ looks crossed the line, so should comments about every other politician’s looks he has ever made. The fact that Harris is a woman should not render comments or compliments about her looks taboo. Such a rule, in itself, is a double standard. To hold President Obama to a different standard when the subject of his praise is a woman undermines the goals of equal treatment, equal rights and equal opportunity for women and men.

I compare this situation to the flawed logic of me getting offended when my male coworkers fail to censor themselves in my presence. The fact that they would curse up a storm or tell jokes in casual conversation with me shows me that they do not view me in a different light. Some people may think they should watch what they say in front of a lady. But I say, “SCREW THAT! I want to hear the joke about the polar bear walking into a bar too.”

If the President’s remarks about good looking people are evenly uttered about men as well as women, I see no reason to censor the handsome conversationalist for the sake of feministic ideals.

Marissa Mayer’s Disregard for Feminism is Feminist

Marissa Mayer has sure got a lot of haters. It seems every feminist enclave across the internet has had to put in its 2 cents regarding Mayer’s reluctance to call herself a feminist. In a recent interview for the PBS Documentary, “Makers,” Mayer equated being feminist with negativity and having a “chip on the shoulder.” Ouch.

Many feminists and mommy bloggers criticized Mayer’s choice to work throughout her maternity leave, which lasted exactly the two weeks she said it would. Some took the opportunity to reproach her for not fully realizing how important and gushy motherhood is supposed to be. Mommyish straight up called Mayer out for her example saying, “people will use this as ammunition to say that maternity leave isn’t necessary.”

On top of this, the internet is now rife with criticism of Mayer’s move to abolish full-time work-at-home arrangements at Yahoo!. One Feministing contributor calls Mayer’s policies “anti-feminist” adding, “I’ll say it again: I think Mayer’s rejection of feminism is whack and her remote work policy is harmful.” Another article I came across even seeks to criticize Mayer’s get-your-butt-into-the-office policy for contributing to future air toxicity. Seriously?

There is an expectation in feminist circles that female leadership, in turn, foster female development. I counter that expectations of special treatment from women who have succeeded in business and in leadership positions is counter to feminist goals. For all the good feminism has created, there is an equal amount of detriment that can come of the expectation that women who attain great power should act preferentially in the better interests of women entering the workforce.

What Marissa Mayer has done with Yahoo!’s new work arrangement is two-fold. It serves to weed out inflexible and under-productive employees, as well as inject efficiency and freshness into an ailing business. Yahoo! has been on the after-burner of innovation; and playing catch-up for years. For all the complaining coming from journalists and bloggers (who likely do not work in STEM fields to begin with), there is plenty of circumstantial evidence of the effectiveness of face-to-face collaboration as compared to remote interactions.

In essence, Mayer’s  elimination of remote work arrangements is an action feminists should embrace. Mayer didn’t come in and go, “Oh. I am the boss now, so I’d best ensure my policies are family and woman friendly, or I might offend someone.” No. She said, “I am the boss now, and I am going to turn this company around, entitlements be damned!” She pulled a punch; and didn’t sweat the fallout. Mayer has a reputation for making decisions based on statistical evidence. And in top Mayer-form, she made a tough business decision, proving she has just as much business chutzpah as any other Fortune 500 CEO on the beat.

If that’s not feminist, I don’t know what is.

The Superbowl, Beyonce and Sexism

During the Super Bowl every year, feminist bloggers and tweeps take to the intertubes for the opportunity to analyze – not the game itself, mind you, but – the commercials that fill the gaps between squashed third down conversion attempts. These women and men, for the most part, are not looking to enjoy the commercials for the art of ad making. No way. The real point is to ferret out and expose the sexism embedded in every single ad.

Tide-loving Baltimore Ravens fan = sexist assumption of women’s role in the home.

Audi kiss the prom queen kid = he didn’t get consent sexual assault guy.

Two Broke Girls pole dancing = ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME???!!!

Go Daddy beautiful (dumb) model and nerdy (smart) man = WHOA! That one was PRETTY SEXIST. And pretty freaking GROSS, by the way.

Super Bowl commercials – commercials in general – tend to scrape the bottom of the barrel in the feminist thought department. (Except for this pretty awesome Best Buy commercial featuring the always rib-tickling Amy Poehler.) What I didn’t expect was for one of these femi-tweeps to disrespect one of the richest, most successful women in the entertainment industry today.

Really, dude?

Wow. Not only does this woman’s tweet completely belittle and disregard the image that Beyonce has nurtured through her hard work and dedication to excellence, the follow up purports that somehow football is different from other sports because the MALE players try to dominate each other. THAT right there – that’s sexism.

This woman conveniently ignores two factors. The first is that ALL contact sport is based on violence (at some level) and physical domination. I played soccer for 13 years. (And softball for 7 years before that.) Personally, there was not a game I played in where I did not attempt to intimidate, out-muscle, out-foul, out-jostle, and generally demoralize my opponents. The desire to physically dominate ones opponents in sport is not a gendered trait – it is a human trait! The desire to win is innate to sport in general. And life without sport is a prison camp.

The second inconvenient truth? Describing Beyonce’s performance as nothing more than “spreading their legs” is insulting and just plain sexist. Even if this tweep were implying that the Super Bowl big-whigs would only allow a female act on stage that included scantily clad women doing suggestive dance moves, she would be highly mistaken. While I didn’t see The Boss take off his clothes (though I would not have complained). Nor did the Rolling Stones or Tom Petty. And even Madonna – though fully clad – had half-naked humans of male and female gender on her stage – fun for everyone!

The real fact is, Beyonce is a feminist role model who has used her body to create a BRAND that has made her MILLIONS of dollars, landed her a Super Bowl halftime show, and allowed her to sing for the President of the United States on several occasions!!! The fact that she looks absolutely spectacular in a lace-trained leotard is secondary to the fact that – at this point – she answers to herself, she makes her own rules, and she didn’t need a man to make her fortune for her.

Except her papa.

Because we all need a man for something.

Wanted: Party Pal. Must be Hilary Clinton

She’s a bird. She’s a plane. She’s Hilary. And she knows how to throw down!


Soldier for women’s rights (HUMAN rights!) across the globe. Crusader to end violence against women. Influential voice in the struggle for feminine equality. Secretary of State by day. Dance floor diva by night. She’s a bird. She’s a plane. She’s Hilary. And she knows how to throw down!



I want to party with Hilary. Seriously, I need someone to show me the ropes. And when we get tired of talking about beer, boys, and housekeeping (which will take about two seconds), we can move on to career choices, improving maternal health, equal education and foreign policy.

Hey girl! I’ll clear my book. Just send me an Outlook meeting notice.

I really love reading Christiane Amanpour‘s insightful commentary about the Middle East, especially with regard to women’s rights and parity. If the subject interests you also, do take a few minutes to read this Q&A with Christiane.

Faking #Antichoice

Once again my favorite(?) feminist periodical has failed me. Ms. Magazine came out today

with a blog article railing against a bill recently passed by the Arizona legislature. The bill sitting on notoriously antichoice Governor Jan Brewer’s desk would ban abortion after 20 weeks except in the event of a woman’s imminent death. As if women don’t have enough to worry about, now the Arizona legislature wants to ensure a woman is on her death bed before she can make her own medical decisions about her body. But the editors at Ms. have once again stepped out of the realm of journalism into the funhouse halls of sensationalism.

The Ms. Magazine article “NEWSFLASH: Arizona Law Says Life Starts Before Conception” claims Arizona lawmakers are trying to declare life begins before conception by defining the gestational age of a fetus by the date of a woman’s last menstrual period.

This is the second article in a week Ms. has released that is based on complete hogwash. Gestation is widely measured within the medical community from the date of a woman’s last menstrual period. If you are a woman reading this, just try to remember the last time a doctor asked you, “When did your ovaries last release an egg?”

Human pregnancy comes to full term in 40 weeks starting from the last menstrual period. Just ask WebMD:

Baby: Your baby is still just a glimmer in your eye. Although it’s confusing to think about a pregnancy starting before your child is even conceived, doctors calculate your due date from the beginning of your last cycle since it’s hard to know exactly when conception occurred.

Or ask the Mayo Clinic:

It might seem strange, but you’re not actually pregnant the first week or two of the time allotted to your pregnancy. Yes, you read that correctly!

Conception typically occurs about two weeks after your period begins. To calculate your due date, your health care provider will count ahead 40 weeks from the start of your last period. This means your period is counted as part of your pregnancy — even though you weren’t pregnant at the time.

Even better yet, go ask a freakin’ doctor! Seriously! Call one up!

I am as prochoice as it gets. I’m a clinic escort for goodness sake. But portraying common, medically accepted practice as antichoice subterfuge to make your point reeks of “prolife” deception and is straight up dishonest journalism!