Dear Pixar: Girls Like Movies Too…

Monday, NPR’s Linda Holmes issued an open letter to Pixar asking for a movie about a girl who “isn’t a princess.”  Titled “From all the girls with band-aids on their knees,” Holmes’ piece asks Pixar to make a movie about little girls and things that happen to them, just like they’ve made movies (a lot of them– 10) about little boys and the things that happen to them.  I thought this was interesting, even if the “open letter” format leaves a little to be desired.  However, when I sent the link on to my partner, he informed me he thought this was “a stupid request” because Pixar does organic story development and doesn’t really have a “writers room” or whatever.

I’m not going to lie, this really pissed me off.  Of COURSE he didn’t think this was interesting because HE had lots of media about adventerous boys doing cool things and meeting all kinds of magical creatures.  Me?  I was stuck with princesses.

Sociological Images (a great, great blog about representations of people and their impact on society) has been following this Pixar and gender thing for a few months now.  While there is only 1 member of the Pixar writing team that is a woman, I find it difficult to believe that Pixar would have a hard time recruiting top female writing talent (also, it looks like a few future films will have female writers).  Continue reading

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Filed under Feminism, Images of Women, Sexism and Media

Defining Terrorism: Anti-Choicers to Al Qaeda?

Vigil for Dr. Tiller in Lawrence Kansas (image from the Lawrence Journal-World)

Vigil for Dr. Tiller in Lawrence Kansas (image from the Lawrence Journal-World)

Many members of the pro-choice community have urged the Justice Department to treat Sunday’s events as an act of domestic terrorism.  At first, I thought “of course!”  As I’ve done more reading and heard the perspectives of some constitutional law scholars interviewed in the media I’ve become considerably more ambivalent about this.  Make no mistake, I feel that Dr. Tiller’s death is deeply tragic, but I remain unsure about labeling this event as “terrorism.”  I have two concerns about the expanding definition of terrorism, one is tied to civil liberties and ‘thought policing’ and the second is more political.

First my concerns about calling Dr. Tiller’s death terrorism:  On Monday, Rachel Maddow interviewed George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.  He suggested that under the Bush administration the definition of “terrorism” expanded to include many, many crimes.  Turley also feels that murder or assination are not exactly the same thing as terrorism especially given that the Supreme Court has protected violent speech.  Perhaps a better category would be to call Roeder’s crime a “hate crime” defined as:

Hate crimes… occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation.

A “hate crime” can take two forms: “hate crime” generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by hatred of one or more of the listed conditions. The second kind is hate speech, which is speech defined as crime. While hate crimes are rarely debated, the hate speech concept is controversial, as criminalizing speech can be seen as impugning freedom of speech. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters.

Continue reading

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Filed under Discourse, Pro-Choice, Thought Provoking

Dr. Tiller’s Death

I’ve been thinking about re-starting this blog for some time, 6 months is longer than I thought I’d be gone.  However, the tragic events of this past weekend motivated me to come back to this space.  I’ve cross posted this at my crafty/personal blog, BashfullyDesigned.

You can watch the entire segement at the Rachel Maddow show website (I couldn’t get the MSNBC video player to embed).

The news of Dr. George Tiller’s death shocked me. After an incredible and peaceful Sunday with friends the news came up on my Twitter feed and my first thoughts were “no no no.” There is little commentary for me to add to the many moving and touching tributes paid to Dr. Tiller in the past two days. I will say only this– in the summer I spent working for Planned Parenthood I never met anyone motivated by anything other than a deep compassion for women and their families. So much hatred and invective gets spewed at brave men and women who have chosen to help women in desperate circumstances.

I am deeply upset that in 21st century America women need to be escorted into clincis for routine medical procedures (abortion only makes up about 2% of Planned Parenthood’s services), that compassion for women is now a political act, and that moral cowardice characterizes a group of people who claim to have God on their side. How dare they kill a man in his own church! How dare the anti-choicers claim that this is a justifiable act. Anyone who thinks that doctors “talk women into” aborting a fetus has never spent time with the doctors, nurses, and abortion counselors who work in American clinics. They listen to terrible stories of abuse, of cancer and fetal deformity, of families on the bring of bankruptcy and they hold these women’s hands, keep their stories, and support the choices of all women without judgement.

After the jump I’e posted some links to a variety of stories on Dr. Tiller, his death, and how the new generation of pro-choice activists need to confront this challenge. Please consider donating to Medical Students for Choice and/or Physicians for Reproductive Choice. As they say, “without providers there is no choice.” You can also ask President Obama to revive the National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers. Continue reading

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Back Soon… I think

Back Soon” from Frengo2.0’s Flickr Stream.  Licensed under the Creative Commons.

The semester is just about over, the election is behind us, and I’m feeling confident that Barack Obama is going to keep the world’s uteruses safe (for the time being).  I’ve so enjoyed sharing this space with you all and having to form (what I hope are) cogent thoughts on American political issues.

I’m finished with the class I started this blog for and am trying to decide what to do with the space.  The content here doesn’t easily fit into my personal blog, BashfullyDesigned, but I am not sure that I can keep up a commitment to this space too…  In the next few days I’m planning to figure out just what this space will be used for– in many ways it is as much a part of my life as Bashful but there are ways in which the tone I take here is hard to keep up– that kind of perpetual criticism is exhausting, don’t you think?

Stay tuned, I wont leave you hanging like this, I swear.  Plus, there are all sorts of rumors and speculation swirling about the inauguration and I’ll be following those like crazy.

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Filed under Class Work, Thought Provoking

A Social Networked Protest in India

Each week about this time I report in on how social networking technologies (usually Facebook) and politics (usually Planned Parenthood) interact.  This week, I’m still going to do that, but I’m going to point to an article I heard last night on NPR’s All Things Considered.  Referencing the work of Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs, Phillip Reeves interviewed a number of Mumbai citizens using txt messages to organize a mass protest Wednesday (today).

Reeve notes that the texts urge people to consider holding the Indian government accountable:

The real terrorists are not only those who have come through boat but those who have come through vote.  We can change the system, if America can why can’t India?  Please pass it on.

Although I’m so sorry to hear about the events in Mumbai last week, I suddenly felt this huge sense of relief.  America is, again, a model for peaceful transitions of power and the potential for democracy to hold the powerful accountable.  Suddenly, I know America made the right choice.  Obama is the person we need to show the world and just moving away from the policies of the Bush years is already restoring some of America’s standing abroad. Continue reading

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Filed under Class Work, Social Networking

Interface The Future

Neal Stephenson & J. Frederick Georges Interface

Neal Stephenson & J. Frederick George's "Interface"

I think that the Seattle Weekly got it right. Interface is “a Manchurian Candidate for the Computer Age.”  In fact, the whole time I read the book I kept thinking that the plot had kind of been covered in that movie a number of years ago.  This isn’t to say that I don’t adore Stephenson. When I finally got around to reading Cryptonomicon, thanks to the nagging of my partner, I adored it: really brilliant, enthralling, and exciting.  What attracts me to Stephenson’s work is that it is Sci-Fi but not the kind of Sci-Fi with spaceships and aliens, it is a world that looks just like this one except for one little thing… and that one little thing, which always seems like a good idea at the time (i.e. brain implants for stroke victims) turns out to have huge consequences.

Stephenson and George successfully indite the media-savvy political process of the late 20th and early 21st Century.  I think they’re also right about how it will be medical technology that get people to surrender at least some of their rights to a computerized network- after all, who wouldn’t want their father back from a stroke he was never supposed to have. Continue reading

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Boob Job Piggy Bank.

Oh good lord…  via BoingBoing, a Boob Job piggy bank?!  Sold at an online store specializing in girls’ room decor!  I can’t even tell you how worked up this got me.  Plus, after that long post a few days ago I’ll keep this one oh so short.

On one hand, I try to remember that sometimes things are funny and even if they’re a little bit sexist or mean… well, sometimes that is part of humor.  So, while I might laugh at this if it was in an adult friend’s bathroom or on her desk I might also ask wonder just how tongue-in-cheek it really is.  I’m not sure its actually funny to imply that dissatisfaction with your body is normal.  Well, I mean… disatisfaction with your body is a normal part of growing up life but “fixing” it with plastic surgery is a fairly drastic step.

Could you even imagine a piggy bank for girls that said something like “ice cream,” “books,” or– God forbid– “birth control.” (Frankly, with the way things are looking in DC girls might need to save for the pill– unless a friend gets them a certificate to Planned Parenthood for Xmas).

Frankly, when I was a teen girl the last thing I needed was for my parents or friends to give me something that implied I needed a different body.

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Filed under Discourse, Feminism