OK. I moved. The blog, that is. If you would like to continue the discussion, head on over here:

Grand Central Blog

Topic from class discussion:
great article concerning the woman who wanted to have a vaginal delivery for the birth of her child but was being forced into a C-section:

Mom fights, gets the delivery she wants

disturbing statistics here: 1 in 3 babies are delivered by C-section

I was trying to find a current image of the Duggar Family to place into this post.

But then I realized that each picture I found had me questioning if the latest Duggar child was present in the shot.  Since the purpose of this post to alert you all to the fact that the 19th Duggar was born—three months premature—just today, means that finding a current image will be a futile google search.

I doubt that the American media, and especially TLC, will advertise the image of a baby that weighs only 1lb, 6oz and is currently in stable condition in neonatal intensive care as the representation for celebrating babyhood.  I cannot imagine that the baby has that newborn glow that we are constructed to “ooh” and “awe” over (even though many newborns actually look like odd amoeba-like sausages).  Sadly, at only 25 weeks, this child is in for a possible lifetime of health issues.

There will be a lot discussed about this latest Duggar baby from many communities, from the conservative Christian Right to the far leaning Left and everyone in between.  After all, it’s less than 24 hours since baby Josie Brooklyn was born and I am already blogging about her arrival.  One of the first articles I read was on Salon.  I found it interesting because it actually is about Michelle Duggar and how her health can be affected by this latest pregnancy.  You can hit it up here:

The Duggars’ quiver grows fuller

Here are the source articles from most of the small tidbits and facts I dropped all semester long. Many of you will find some fantastic supporting material for your Final Projects in this post. I also want to remind you to hit up the Resources tab here on the blog as there are other great links posted there. And don’t forget that you can also use our chat transcripts as a source.

Feminism is not your expectation.
This link for links to many, many feminist related blogs and articles.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
Video: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Forces Woman to Give Birth While Shackled

New Oklahoma law will publicy post details of women’s abortions online.
On Nov. 1, a law in Oklahoma will go into effect that will collect personal details about every single abortion performed in the state and post them on a public website.

New guidelines push back age for Pap smears
Women in the United States should start cervical cancer screening at age 21 and most do not need an annual Pap smear, according to new guidelines issued on Friday that aim to reduce the risk of unnecessary treatment.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America Applauds Passage of Women’s Health Amendment
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today hailed the passage of the important Women’s Health Amendment, offered by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), to the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The amendment will guarantee health insurance coverage for women’s basic preventive care and screenings at no cost to the patient.

Abortion Battle Shifts to Clinic in Nebraska
The national battle over abortion, for decades firmly planted outside the Kansas clinic of Dr. George R. Tiller, has erupted here in suburban Omaha, where a longtime colleague has taken up the cause of late-term abortions.

The Evolution of Birth Control

Mail-Order Abortions
In August 2004, Gabriela Flores, a 22-year-old farmworker in Pelion, South Carolina, learned she was pregnant. Flores already had three children—one living with her and two back in her native Mexico—and told a friend that she did not want to have another baby. Less than two months later, according to police reports, she took five pills that her sister had sent from Mexico. Six hours later, she miscarried her five-month-old fetus in her bedroom.

Purity Ball (Colorado Springs)

Did the Pro-Choice Movement Save America?
In her new book, How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex (Basic Books), Cristina Page boldly declares that the pro-choice movement is “doing a better job at what the public understands to be the pro-life agenda than the pro-lifers are”: that is, not only dramatically reducing the number of abortions in the United States, but also putting forth (and achieving) a truly pro-family, pro-child vision of life in America.

Screening for Breast Cancer
The USPSTF recommends against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years. The decision to start regular, biennial screening mammography before the age of 50 years should be an individual one and take patient context into account, including the patient’s values regarding specific benefits and harms.

Pregnancy, STDs on the Rise Again Among U.S. Teens
Birth rates among U.S. teens increased in 2006 and 2007, following large declines from 1991 to 2005, according to a new U.S. government study.

Improvements in Sexual and Reproductive Health of Teens and Young Adults Slowing
After a period of improvement, trends in the sexual and reproductive health of U.S. teens and young adults have flattened, or in some instances may be worsening, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

BOY CULTURE
I’m Too Sexy for My Onesie
The raunch culture that’s inundating our boys from babyhood

Exposure to chemical may feminize boys’ play
Preschool boys exposed in utero to high levels of certain chemicals called phthalates (prounounced “thal-lates”) may be less likely to play with male-typical toys and games, such as trucks and play fighting, according to a small pilot study published in the International Journal of Andrology. Girls’ play behavior was not associated with phthalate levels in their mothers, the study found.

WOMEN AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Unveiling the revolution
The world has been shocked by young Iranian women fighting on the front lines, but their rebellion is nothing new

Icons of the New Iran
As Iran’s government lashed out today at its foreign critics, people around the world were lighting candles and laying flowers at makeshift shrines to the political opposition’s first “martyr” in the battle against the hardliners of the Islamic Republic. In every way the unwitting victim, Neda Agha-Soltan, has become a powerful if tragic icon of a new Iran. She was a young woman of 26, and she died Saturday wearing tight jeans and running shoes, her head uncovered as she fell from the gunshot that killed her. Male strangers rushed to help her, ignoring draconian religious taboos.

Iran’s Women’s Revolution
An underreported part of the Iranian protests is that women are leading the way. Dana Goldstein on why Iran’s feminists decided they’d finally had enough.

The dos and don’ts of defending Muslim women

While the defense of the rights of Muslim women from all faiths and from all corners of the globe is laudable, it’s important to call non-Muslims out on their privileges and prejudices about Muslim women’s lives and manifestations of faith, and the arrogance in how they speak about and interact with Muslim women.


Is There Feminist Discourse Beyond The Veil?

Yemeni Child Bride, 12, Dies in Labor
A 12-year-old Yemeni child-bride died after struggling for three days in labor to give birth, a local human rights organization said. Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died of severe bleeding on Friday while giving birth to a stillborn in the al-Zahra district hospital of Hodeida province, 140 miles west of the capital San’a.

GIRL CULTURE
Ridiculous Life Lessons From New Girl Games
Some parents worry that videogames might cause their children to become violent and antisocial, but what if the opposite were true? What if games could make kids exceedingly likable and fashionable? A wave of new games for tween girls seeks to do just that, serving up innocuous gameplay designed to let players become perfect little princesses. Aimed at that lucrative, Hannah Montana-fueled intersection of childhood and adolescence, these games might give 8- to 12-year-olds their first experiences with fashion, make-up, popularity … even boys.

Is the princess stereotype harming our daughters?
Lizzie Gorham is in love. Her passion influences what she wears, how she decorates her room, and her dreams. Sounds scary? It depends who you ask. After all, Lizzie is not yet 4. She’s also not alone. Lizzie’s world — like that of so many other little girls — is full of royalty, tiaras and beautiful dresses. And, like the other girls, her focus is not the prince, but the woman he woos: a Disney princess.

GENERAL

Fox Anchor Cries Foul On Fat-Shamer
Stuart Varney had “anti-obesity advocate” MeMe Roth on today to talk about Northwest Airlines’ flight attendants’ fight to get uniforms larger than a size 18. And then he did what every sane person longs to do: he publicly shamed her.

Forced to Be Fat
In Mauritania, where big is beautiful and stretch marks are sexy, young girls are brutally force-fed a diet of up to 16,000 calories a day–more than four times that of a male bodybuilder–to prepare them for marriage.

A (Chat) Room Of One’s Own For India’s “Third Sex”
In Tamil, “Thirunangai”, means “most respectful woman.” Which is still a distant hope for India’s “third sex.” But the world’s first transsexual marriage site is hoping to change that.

NB hockey team battles homophobia on the rink
In early 2009, the Woodstock High School Lady Thunder hockey team was undefeated on the ice, but after word got around that two of its players were gay, taunts and harassment toward the team flooded the rink and the internet. Right-winger and assistant captain Sierra Paul, 16, and centre Alyssa McLean, 17, told their teammates about their sexual orientation and received nothing but support. Another team in the league, however, posted anti-gay messages on Facebook and refused to shake hands after games.

A Disease for Every Pill
An anonymous woman tries to disentangle a shopping cart from an interlocked row of them, outside a suburban store. She is frustrated and angry. She becomes even more exasperated when another shopper enters the frame, calmly unhooks a cart and glides smoothly on her way. Watching this TV advertisement unfold, it might look like the woman is experiencing little more than a normal bout of tension or stress. But the folks at the drug company Lilly know better. This woman may need a powerful antidepressant because she is suffering from a severe form of mental illness known as PMDD. “Think it’s PMS? It could be PMDD,” intones the voiceover.

Sex In America

Sex sells as the saying goes. American society is obsessed about sex. Through advertisements, magazines, television shows, Saga chatter, porn, it seems as if sex is here, there, and everywhere. Yet at the same time it appears as though a “line” of sexually “appropriate” material remains that cannot be crossed, who makes this line and how is it determined???? And it seems that for certain people/groups the line is more rigid. A general uproar ensued after the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction that exposed her breast. If a man in this case Justin Timberlake’s but cheek was exposed would there have been the same type of response??

A fury erupted after Adam Lambert’s sexually charged performance at the American Music Awards last month. If it had been a man and a woman dancing sexually together would people have reacted in the same way?  I don’t think they would have. I think women in our society today face strong and contradictory pressures to not only be virtuous and pure but also dress in a revealing way in order to be attractive to men. And men are told that in order to be “real men” they must have lots of sex with women. Gideon and Merrill’s posts further show how women are portrayed in a certain viewpoint but if women deviate from this norm such as Hillary Clinton she is demonized. What the hell??? Any type of overt physical contact between two people of the same sex is also both deeply frowned upon and at times repressed from the public view. GMA dropped Adam Lambert from their program but invites Chris Brown to perform. Again, what the hell???

So my question for all of you is, how should sex be discussed today in 21st Century America? Having comprehensive sex ed at a wider level in the U.S. today would be a start for sure. Should there be a line to determine sexual appropriateness in our media without stigmatizing certain sexual activities??? I am very much pro porn, what are your opinions on pornography? Can it be used in sex education? Sex is all over the place and in our face constantly but we don’t seem to be able to address it constructively let alone talk about it. And if it is talked about and acknowledged productively, the ideal remains between a married straight couple. People freak out when a woman in her 60’s Sue Johanson has her own show where sex is openly talked about.

I absolutely think it should be discussed as an activity that is healthy and fulfilling for individuals to seek pleasure and know their bodies better with a partner or partners if done in a safe and healthy way. Unfortunately too often sex is either not discussed at all or if it is discussed it’s done so in a misguided manner at the expense of our youth. How should we talk SEX?????????????????

The Innocence of Amanda Knox

I wanted to write this blog entry partly in response to Gideon’s guest blog about Hillary Clinton and partly to bring up a new subject, so decided to write my own guest blog entry.  First, in response to Gideon’s entry:

Women in politics have to walk such a thin line between being taken seriously and being construed as an overcompensating bitch.  If Hillary were to act more womanly by societal standards, she would be viewed as a weak and vulnerable politician.  However, when she or any other woman in politics “lays down the law” so to speak, the media and other politicians jump all over her labeling her as a stone-cold bitch.  So what’s a girl to do??  I think that it is this exact reason why, like you brought up Gideon, it is hard to tell Hillary Clinton’s stance on feminism.

This brings me to the second part of my entry: Speaking of Hillary, I just read about her newly developed involvement in the Amanda Knox case.

Just as a brief summary, Amanda Knox is a 22-year old American college student who is accused of killing her flatmate Meredith Kercher, a 21-year old British student, while the two were both studying in Perugia, Italy.  The murder is alleged to have occurred during a sex game between Knox and her Italian boyfriend, (and the victim is believed to have been attacked for her lack of desire to participate).  Kercher was found 2 days after the murder in her bedroom stripped partly naked, with her windpipe crushed and her throat slashed.  The case is laced with concerns of anti-Americanism, but I think that it is only one aspect of this debate.

Crimes involving Americans on foreign soil happen every day, but why is this case so heavily publicized??  I strongly believe that the fact that Amanda is a young woman adds greatly to the case’s media portrayal.  If the suspect were a 40-year-old American male, you’d better believe that there would be much less public concern.  Knox, at the beginning of the case, was so heavily assumed to be innocent, I think it came as such an extreme shock when there was evidence found pointing toward her involvement in the murder that people automatically began looking for loopholes in the case.  I am not trying to speculate about her innocence, but I do think that the case is being handled differently because of Knox’s gender.

Anyway, the reason I went off on that tangent is because I think that Clinton is choosing to now involve herself in the case as her form of being involved with “women’s issues”, even though this case is considered important just because of the fact that a woman allegedly was involved with the murder of another woman.  The Italian judicial system is being called unjust and anti-American for keeping this young woman in an Italian prison when there is “not enough” (according to American officials) evidence to place Knox as the killer.  (As if Knox’s DNA on the handle of the knife isn’t “enough”?!?)  I title this response “The Innocence of Amanda Knox” because of the phrase’s multiple meanings to the case: her literal innocence in relation to whether or not she committed the murder, and her perceived innocence as a woman.  Women are much less often believed to be capable of this type of violence, and this fact I think is the largest contributing factor to the case’s presence in the public eye.

Is Amanda Knox innocent? This is a difficult case no matter what country you’re in…and I think that the US is framing the Italian imprisonment of Amanda Knox as an anti-American bias because the story fits so well into the mold of “look at those tyrants holding that poor little girl captive”!  Knox has been reported to often cry for hours on end in her cell…further reinforcing her vulnerability, and highlighting the fact that she is a woman experiencing the emotional trauma of being in prison.  The fact that she is so distraught means nothing in view of her guilt or innocence…the experience must be awful regardless.  However, what if she DID do it…?  American authorities think they could perform this investigation better and provide a more unbiased judgment of the case.  In my opinion, aren’t we already biased in this case because of Knox’s socially-constructed female innocence?

Hillary Clinton

If Secretary of State Clinton serves for President Obama’s first full term in office, she will have completed a 20-year run on the forefront of American politics from 1992 to 212. The first eight were spent as arguably the most influential First Lady in American history, the next eight as one of the most important members of the Senate, and the next four in her current position. If Obama wins a second term she could stay on four another four years at State. In 2016, she could run for President, win, and serve two terms. All this is very, very conceivable. In a poll released today by CNN, Clinton was voted the most qualified out of probable future contenders for the White House (“CNN Poll: Palin Not Qualified for Presidency”). An eight-year Hillary Clinton presidency would lead to an unprecedented thirty-two years at the top of American politics. Of course she would also be America’s first female President. Obviously, there is something very, very special about Hillary Clinton.

One of the most interesting things about Secretary Clinton is the intense feelings she provokes. Many conservatives believe she is the devil. This lead one man to ask John McCain at a campaign rally “How do we beat the bitch?” (sexist much?) when it looked like Clinton would skate through the primaries. Conversely, many liberals believe Clinton is the devil as well. I believe one of the reasons for this intense rejection of Clinton is sexism: we many cannot stand nor accept seeing “a woman in charge” as Carl Bernstein has described her. These people are used to seeing our leaders be men who often have personas as “tough guys” and will only stand for seeing men being in charge.

Further, these people can’t stand seeing a woman with such intense ambition.  What concerns me most is that many Democrats were turned off by her ambition.  John Heilemann of New York Magazine has written, “Hillary’s greatest political vulnerability has always been the sense among many voters that she is ambition incarnate. That she’s forever shimmying up the greasy pole. That everything she does and says is all about her own advancement (“Hillary Reborn”).The modern Democratic Party has never been averse to electing Presidents with huge ambition—JFK, Carter, Bill Clinton, and Obama. When Hillary Clinton ran for President in 2008, she had more experience than each of these Presidents. Yet throughout the primaries we heard discussion that Clinton’s candidacy was all about herself and her ambition. The scary thing about the people who didn’t support Clinton for these reasons are not people in our society who we outwardly call sexists. These people are supposed to be liberal: the people who believe in acceptance and the greater good. Yet many had an irrational fear of all things Hillary Clinton.

People also don’t like Clinton because they claim she is who she is only because she is Bill Clinton’s wife. No one can deny this has its benefits. However, in Carl Bernstein’s biography of the Secretary of State, A Woman in Charge, (a good read) he presents the case that Hillary would still be Hillary even if she never married William Jefferson Clinton. Bernstein asserts with ample evidence that Hillary was already on the fast lane of political success before she met WJC. Before she met WJC she was already nationally known and was on her way to becoming one of the most influential students in the history of Yale. Further, Bernstein even deliberates whether or not Hillary would have been more successful than she is if she didn’t marry the 42nd President.

One of the debates that have always surrounded Clinton is whether or not she is a true feminist, or even a feminist at all. Her time as Secretary of State has answer the questions and the answer is yes. Clinton has made women’s rights and equality one of her top issues as America’s number one diplomat. In particular, Clinton has focused on women’s rights in Africa and developing countries. Carol Hymowitz of Forbes has written “Clinton’s championing of women, and her efforts to meet large numbers of women outside government who don’t attend ministerial meetings, suggests she will put her own stamp on the Obama administration’s foreign policy. She also hopes to redefine the effort toward gender equality as a goal needed to reduce poverty and promote global democracy and peace” (“Secretary Clinton Presses For Women’s Rights”). As Secretary of State, Clinton herself has stated “I happen to believe that the transformation of women’s roles is the last great impediment to universal progress — that we have made progress on many other aspects of human nature that used to be discriminatory bars to people’s full participation. But in too many places and too many ways, the oppression of women stands as a stark reminder of how difficult it is to realize people’s full human potential (Lander).

Agree with her policies or not, it is impossible to deny the importance of Hillary Clinton. I am of the belief that the economy will get better in the next year or so and that Obama will handily win a second term. If this happens I fully expect to see our first woman President elected in 2016.