Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fat Rant

Don't have time to blog much right now, but I needed to post about this video. You must watch this video -- it's brilliant. Joy Nash, I love you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Freedom of long as you're Christian

I've never laughed so hard at a letter to the editor before in my life. I mean, you have to laugh right? Otherwise you start to remember that there really are people out there who believe this crap.

I'm not sure which is funnier -- that this person actually uses the fact that our money mentions god as proof that we should all believe in this concept, or the fact that this person seems to think "baptist, catholic, methodist" constitutes a range of religions contained within the concept of "freedom of religion."

via ms. jared
Original photo from styro on flickr

Monday, March 12, 2007

And yet another way to help out via the web

At, they are collecting votes for "A Better World" Awards. You can vote once a day (every day) until March 31, 2007. More than 20 charities will win $5,000, with the grand prize winner winning $100,000. You can check to see if your favorite charity is already nominated and vote for them. If it's not, you can nominate them by filling out the on-line submission form and writing an essay that states why that charity is making the world "A Better World."

At this point, I will take the time to try and persuade you to vote for the charity of my choice. Why should you vote for this one over all of the other deserving charities? Well, besides the fact that it could actually help me out, personally (ahem), The American Domestic Violence Crisis Line is the only crisis line of its type in the world. It is the only service available to US women, men, and children, living in foreign countries who are trying to escape domestic violence and child abuse. US crisis lines, including the National Domestic Violence Crisis Line, can only help those currently living in the US. And DV agencies in other countries (if they exist at all) can only help in very limited ways (if at all), and probably have no way of helping these women (and men) relocate back to the US (and the financial assistance is only one aspect -- the legal issues are even more complex). The US Embassies may be of some help, but that will partially depend on the particular workers that are currently working in that location and how much they know or care about domestic violence.

From the essay posted on ReZoom:
The American Domestic Violence Crisis Line, (ADVCL), 866-USWOMEN, operates the only international toll free domestic violence hotline serving abused American women and children living in foreign countries. The line is currently toll free from 175 countries. Our target population is the estimated 6 - 7 million American civilians and military living in foreign countries. Officially 4.2 million civilians are registered with American Embassies along with ½ million military personnel and their families. To give a perspective of the size of the civilian population we serve, if the number of Americans registered with embassies were placed in one state, it would be the 25th most populous state in the nation. Although no statistics exist for abuse in this population, applying abuse statistics in the USA to our target population, an estimated 57,000 women and 45,000 children are abused annually.

ADVCL began crisis line operations in April 2001 just two years after Paula Lucas, Founder and Executive Director, finally escaped a foreign country with her three children to flee 12 years of domestic violence and child abuse. Frustrated at the absence of services for her and her children while overseas, and shocked at the legal obstacles she encountered upon her return home to be able to keep her American children in their own country, Paula was determined that other American women & children would not need to suffer the same fate. Paula first founded the non-profit organization as an online resource for abused Americans living in foreign countries in September 1999. At that time, she and her children were still homeless themselves, living in a domestic violence shelter.

Since 2001, the organization’s crisis line advocates have served an estimated 1,000 families on the crisis line providing crisis intervention, domestic violence advocacy, case management, safety planning, information & referral. Also since 2001 the organization has provided danger to safety trans-national relocation to 26 families back to the USA, paid 13 legal retainers to enable battered mothers to file for custody of their children in the USA, provided professional counseling to 19 abuse survivors and placed 3 families into a one-year transitional housing program.

In 2006 alone, crisis advocates received 1158 crisis calls and emails, providing services to 248 families in 47 countries. Collectively volunteer advocates volunteered 3,849 hours on the crisis line in 2006. The crisis line currently operates continuously from 9am Monday PST through Friday 11pm PST.
And here's something else to consider, something that separates the needs of this charity from just about every other charity on this list. This valuable and much needed service takes significant amounts of funding (the phone bills alone can cost thousands of dollars every month). At this point in time, due to the inability to provide a concrete "population" (many of the numbers are estimates -- and the exact percentages of DV may vary from county to country), we are unable to gain access to government grants and funds. All of our funding comes from private grants and donations.

If you already have a local charity that you believe is truly deserving of this award, by all means, vote for them. But, please consider voting instead for the ADVCL. Or, perhaps you could switch back and forth each day (again, you can vote once a day, everyday, until March 31).

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Generational Divide?

There's been a lot of good responses to Jessica's feminist sorority post. Upon reading it, my first impulse, frankly, was to laugh my ass off. Not because Jessica's post was funny, but because it reminded me so much of my own feminist writings and arguments from just 5-10 years ago (well, except for the "sex-positive" angle, that is). In fact, I was so committed to this fight at the time that I even started to do write my Master's thesis on this very topic.

I don't know if it was the research I did on the topic, or if it was just getting older, or just realizing that there were so many more important things to worry about, but I lost interest in the argument. But that doesn't mean I don't still have opinions on the topic (even if they are a bit different than they were 10 years ago).

One of the more interesting aspects of this on-going argument is the constantly changing aspect of it. In 2002, about the time I lost interest in the whole topic (as something to fight for or about), I was 31. Younger than Rebecca Walker (arguably one of the leading founders of the Third Wave Feminist movement, and, at the very least, the founder of the Third Wave Foundation). During the peak of this time for me, I was clearly in the "young feminist" category. And yet, now, Ariel Levy, who is 3 1/2 years younger than me, is called out as one of the "older generation." (No, Jessica doesn't specifically refer to Levy as "old," but the inference is clear, after all, she is using Levy as an example of those opposed to the "young feminists" like herself.)

In that since-abandoned thesis, I wrote:

Much of what has led to this hostility seems to be a mixture of truth and fallacy on both sides, the fallacies often generated by a lack of knowledge about the Wave the feminist is not a part of. Second Wave feminists often see Third Wave feminists ignoring their feminist history, eschewing theory and even going against that which many Second Wave feminists had fought for. Third Wave feminists often see Second Wave feminists as being too enmeshed in academic feminism, steeped in identity politics and unaccepting of a broader focus of feminist politics. While all of these assertions hold a certain level of truth, they are too broad to generalize to all feminists within their respective Waves.
While many of my opinions on this subject have changed over the years, the above has not. I know younger feminists haven't completely ignored their own feminist history. Whether through Women's Studies courses, discussions with their mothers and grandmothers (both literal and metaphorical), and their own readings, young feminists have, by and large, made a point to know their history. On the other hand, it has to be more than a little aggravating for older feminists to read younger feminists opining on the "new" internecine feminist battles as though they aren't the same damn battles that have been going on for the last 30 years. The current battles between the "sex positive" feminists and the "anti-porn" feminists have got nothing on the Sex Wars of the 70s and 80s. And sure, there was a lot of exclusion of women of color in the early days of the Second Wave -- but to ignore the incredibly important contributions of women of color in those early days is to also engage in the same exclusion (not to mention the many critiques of racist exclusion that takes place today, even among young feminists).

What it comes down to, in my opinion, has far less to do with a generational divide than with simple ideology. Fact is, when it comes to the never ending Sex Wars, Jessica will have far more in common with Patrick Califia than with Samantha Berg, and that clearly has nothing to do with age.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Speaking of charity...donate while sitting on your ass

Want to donate to charity (and actually know which one), but don't want to take the time away from surfing the net? Everyday there are more and more ways to help with this dilemma. I think by now most people are already aware of The Breast Cancer Site, The Hunger Site, and the other similar sites where you can donate by simply clicking on the designated spot.

And in that same vein comes a new and much needed clicking for charity opportunity: Tamponification!
Women’s shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly, and, while agencies generally assist with everyday necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, and clothing, this most basic need is often overlooked. You and I may take our monthly trips down the feminine care aisle for granted, but, for women in shelters, a box of tampons is five dollars they can’t spare. Here’s some good news: you can help us contribute to rectifying this situation by making a virtual donation below! For each virtual donation, Seventh Generation will send a pack of organic cotton tampons or chlorine-free pads to a shelter in your state.
If actually going to a site and clicking on a link is too much work, how about donating while doing what you would be doing anyway? The next time you need to do a websearch, instead of using Google, use GoodSearch instead.
How does it work?
  • On the GoodSearch homepage, choose from thousands of organizations or add your favorite cause to our list.
  • Search the Internet just like you normally would — the site is powered by Yahoo!, so you'll get the same high-quality search results you're accustomed to.
  • Fifty percent of the revenue generated from advertisers is shared with the charity, school or nonprofit organization of your choosing.
Are the search results going to be as good as the search engine I am using now?

Absolutely. is powered by Yahoo! so you'll get the same high-quality search results that you're currently used to — or better!

How much money could this generate for my charity or school?
We estimate that each Web search will generate approximately $0.01 for the designated charity or school (image, video and news searches are not included). If you think about how many times you search the Internet each year, and then add in all the searches from the supporters of your organization, it quickly adds up!
You can designate a local, national, or international organization to be the recipient of the donation.

Now I can feel good about wasting my time looking up ex-boyfriends and finding out what they are doing now, or, even better, finding out that losing that demo tape from that other ex-boyfriend's band no longer has to stop you from getting all nostalgic.