Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How Dare I be Jewish During Christmas Time!?

I stopped by the Christmas Tree Shop yesterday on my way home from work. I thought, "maybe they have a Chanukah corner? Even grocery stores give us a quarter of an aisle..." And they did! They had a whole section of Chanukah stuff and because it was already the second day of the holiday, it was all 50% off! Score. I picked out a few things and went to the cash register. I got in line behind two shoppers, one who asked for a price check that took forever, and one who paid by check. While we waited to pay, the four of us (the cashier and the two other women) were joking around, talking about the craziness of the holidays, the lines, small talk. Then came my turn. As soon as i put my basket down on the counter, the cashier's face and tone completely changed. During the whole wait my basket was on the floor, by my legs, so no one saw what i had. But as soon as i started pulling out Chanukah plates the cashier went from jovial to flat affect and then to rude. It started with an "Oh!"

"Oh what?" I thought. I realize i'm a bit more hyper-sensitive to discrimination than the average person so i thought i might be reading into it. I kept up a friendly demeanor. As she starting ringing up my purchases i realized the items weren't going through as 50% off. I told her so. To which she responded, "Ugh! Of course!" Here i couldn't help but wonder what she meant by "of course." Did she mean, "Of course, you're Jewish, buying Jew products, Jews are cheap, and you want a discount!" Or did she mean "Of course, way to hold up the line, lady!" I would have absolutely defaulted to the latter had i not been in line after the other two shoppers that held the line up for WAY longer than me. One waited on a price check that took 10 minutes and the other paid with a personal check... The cashier's "of course" could have been in reference to customers always having an issue in her line... or it could have been anti-semitic. There's no real way to know.

I told her, "there's a sign, right there, it says '50% off,' i can see it from here"
"I can't see it! I don't have my glasses" She snapped back
"Oh ok, sorry about that... do you think you can ask someone to check, please?" I was half upset at being treated so rudely, half still wondering if i was reading into it more than i should.
She asked the manager to check and wouldn't make eye contact with me while we waited. The manager told her it was, indeed, 50% off and she rung me up. I paid for my purchases and said "Happy holidays" as i walked away. She grunted back, "Merry Christmas!"

Ok, i get it, there are people who think it's all my fault they can't have Christmas trees up in public places and have to wish each other "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas." But honestly, living in a predominantly Christian country i am WAY beyond carrying if someone wishes me a "merry Christmas." I don't correct them, i don't wish them a "happy Chanukah" back, and i certainly am not bothered by it. I swear, I don't interfere with your Christmas spirit. I sing along to carols on star 99.9, i wear lots of red, and i really love eggnog. Though i avoid the malls this time of year like the plague, i am very not bothered by Christmas spirit, in fact, i enjoy it when (IF) people are slightly nicer to one another. I wonder if that's what the cashier was annoyed by? That i had the audacity to shop in the Christmas Tree Shop and purchase only Chanukah items! Maybe it wasn't Jews she had a problem with but me, for representing the politically correctidness that she now has to trouble herself with? Who knows. I don't. Because maybe she was just anti-semitic.

Either way, treating me differently, and rudely, for being Jewish was wrong and discriminatory - i don't care what her rationale for it was. I wish i had the chutzpah* to have said something, or to have asked to speak with a manager. But again, i couldn't tell if i was being overly sensitive or if it was prejudice at its best. But i guess that's a lot of what discrimination is. Trying to figure out why what happened is wrong and how to rationalize it.

The only other time i was taken aback by blatant antisemitism was the first week of college, freshman year. We went to the dining hall with some new friends from the floor and one of them told a Holocaust joke. I just sat there, baffled that people still did this. I grew up in a very Jewish community, these types of things didn't happen. Everyone laughed until one of my gentile** friends from high school said, "that's not funny." The person who told the joke said, "yes it is! It's just a joke." And my friend said, "No, it's not. Not when you have a Jewish person sitting at the table, and not ever in general." They never said anything anti-semitic around me again for the four years i knew them.

I walked away from the Christmas Tree Shop experience thinking, "yes that sucked, but it's pretty easy for me to hide being Jewish if i really needed to, like if my life was in danger." Many other minorities don't have this option.

*chutzpah: gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, guts.
**gentile: non-Jewish

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Fellow Highway Drivers,

Please clear the snow and ice off your roof before going on your merry way. Being pummeled by the sheet of ice at 70 miles per hour on I-95 is terrifying (and dangerous). I don't want to die because you're lazy.

Happy Holidays :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Light of International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Sarah made me aware that today is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. As such i'd like to repost a comment that a woman made, in regards to how she's been feeling post her attack.

Last week a University of Michigan Law School student sought help from the police after being assaulted by an associate professor at the university, Yaron Eliav.

Not only were the police unsympathetic to her, stating that she herself engaged in criminal activities by selling sex services, but many members of the community have spoken out, against the law student, through Above the Law, a law school online network.

Like Feministe, i think her voice deserves to be heard. She needs a safe forum to speak up and tell her story. No one deserves to be assaulted. Sex workers are human beings with human rights who deserve to be safe, in all situations, whether or not they are engaging in sex work. This is why i am reposting her comment here. I wish her all the best and truly feel for her in this difficult time:

Dear Law School,

I’m the girl who got into the mess with the professor. I posted a version of this in the comments on ATL, because using my uniquename email on lawopen means outing myself, which gives the press permission to publish my name. Fortunately, one of my classmates has offered to transmit this message to you on my behalf. Those of you who don’t know who I am yet will find out soon enough.

Most of you probably don’t know what it’s like to push a boxcutter into your own wrist and neck. Or what it’s like to walk home from the psych ward, and set to the task of cleaning a room covered in your own blood. Or how humiliating and degrading it is to be penetrated against your will. You probably read the newspaper story, but you should know that it contained factual errors, and that it omitted significant details from the police report. I had no idea what I was walking into, and I’m lucky that I’ve made it through alive.

A month after I was assaulted, I attempted suicide over the whole mess. I’ve been unable to sleep or study, for fear of this story being published. I’ve had PTSD rape dreams. Everything I’ve worked for my entire life, personally, academically, professionally, has been harmed, and I’ve spent $20,000 trying to put it all right again. And I have, in fact, been prosecuted and will be required to pay a debt to society. All I can hope is that the bar will see that this was an aberrant moment in the life of a severely depressed, suicidal, isolated person.

Reading some of your comments makes me want to go crawl under a rock and never come out. But some of your comments have made me think that maybe I can show my face again. It’s difficult reading all of these things written about me without being able to offer an explanation/defense/vignette:

I worked my way through undergrad on my own, doing crazy hours on top of a full course-load. In fact, I’ve worked every kind of menial, low-paid job since I was 15; I’ve never thought I was above any kind of work, or better than anyone else I worked with, because we were all there together. But last semester I’d been so depressed that I could barely even get myself to class, let alone keep up with my finances. In April I realized I couldn’t pay the rent for May, and my parents weren’t an option. Nor was anyone else, because there weren’t really very many people in my life at that time. The housing crisis made it so that I couldn’t get an additional loan without a co-signer. I should have found some other way, but at the time none of my thoughts were very healthy.

I love the law just as much as you do, and I like to think about the ways that it shapes the world we live in. I watch a lot of movies, and go to the gym when I can. I have dear friends at other law schools who I try to keep in touch with. I’m a quiet, introverted, sensitive person; I think I’ve read every post on lawopen and ATL, and taken them all very personally. I used to be a proud atheist, but now I know that God saved my life the night I tried to take it. I also know that God kept the man in that hotel room from killing me, because he was completely out-of-control.

I went to the police the following morning because my vision was blurred from having been hit in the face. The bruises from his belt didn’t go away for a week. I later found out that this man had targeted other sex workers, making him a serial sexual sadist. Violent men target sex workers because they know sex workers are isolated, fearful, and ashamed, and won’t go to the police.

Going to the police seems like a stupid move, as many of you have pointed out. But I was afraid for the next woman he “contracted with.” And I felt so worthless and used that I didn’t care about throwing everything I’d ever worked for. I felt so terrible, and I thought that the police would make it right… that’s what the justice system is about, right?

It’s clear to me now that the AAPD thinks this is funny. That’s why they’re not going through with the assault charge.

What I did was wrong, and I’m a criminal for having done it. But if this had been any other misdemeanor like drug use/possession, DUI, public intoxication, open container, gambling, vandalism, petty theft, or simple assault, there wouldn’t have been a two-page article in the paper. And if you got rid of all of the lawyers who had done one of the above at some point, there’d be a severe shortage.

I also feel compelled to say that despite what many of you have expressed, I am not disease-ridden; my lifetime number is still under 20. I consider myself to be well-informed in the area of reproductive rights and health, and I think everyone has a responsibility to inform their partners of their sexual history, not just sex workers. I’m recently tested, and I don’t have AIDS, herpes, Hep B, syphilis, the clap, or chancroid. And I don’t judge those people who have contracted an STD at some point, because if you’re not a virgin, you take a calculated risk every time you have sex. If you have had sex with more than one person and you don’t have a viral STD, it’s because you’re lucky.

I’m not writing because I want pity. I’m writing because the future lawyers who read this need to understand that the answer is seldom ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but often ‘it depends.’ Good people do bad things sometimes, for a variety of reasons. The reason we have ‘bright line’ rules is because there is so much gray out there. And it’s only through compassion and understanding that anyone is able to make sense of it all. My crime was a cry for help.

Finally, I wish to apologize for having brought negative attention to this prestigious law school. But I expect that every amazing thing you do will outshine my mistake- it really is an honor to be a member of such an accomplished community of people. I hope that you won’t shun me, or completely expel me from social/academic/service life at the University. Many seem to think about this as if it were some complicated hypothetical on a Torts exam. But, I’m still the same girl you knew before. And right now I’m struggling with the reality of public humiliation. I haven’t directly talked to any of you about this because I imagine some of you will want to distance yourselves from me, and I don’t wish to impose myself upon you; I don’t really know who I can still call a friend, but I’ll find out soon enough.

- That 2L Girl (’A’ & ‘384′ on ATL)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

That's So Gay PSA

"When you say 'that's so gay' do you realize what you say? Knock it off."

I was watching Degrassi reruns this morning (don't judge me) and this public service announcement came on. I was really glad to see it.

Dave wrote a guest post here last winter about gender roles and "that's so gay" being used as a negative, i'm glad people are starting to finally listen.

Just please don't read the comments. I realize that youtube comments shouldn't be taken seriously but most of the ones for this video are about the PSA being "so gay." And those are the comments that have +'s next to them. The one comment that resonated with me was:

"This gave me so much hope. People never think about the ways that we (queer youth) get hurt when we hear peers say "that's so gay" like it's something bad or wrong or gross."

However, that comment has a few -'s by it...

Seriously, ya'll better knock it off.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Target Women

I'm having a bad day today. But Sarah Haskins always cheers me up :) I should have known better than to watch this while drinking my coffee, i literally choked and almost spit up on my keyboard at the journalist joke! As someone who makes and sells jewelry, i found this Target Women especially hilarious!! Thanks, Sarah, for always brightening my day!! :)

With that said, wanna buy her (or yourself) some jewelry? ;)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Racism is Over!


And, since i missed my 1 year "blogiversary" back in November, i'll pretend it's today and link you to a post i wrote exactly one year ago. Last year today i took on a MRNer* - this was before i learned not to engage trolls :)

Because it's Friday, let's make this into a meme. As such, i'll challenge some fellow bloggers to answer this question:

What did you blog about last year at this time, and is it still relevant?

Sarah, Lindsay & Amelia, Renee, Have at it ladies!! :)

Happy Friday!!

*"Male Rights Network"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gorgeously Green: A Book Review

It's been a while since i last wrote a substantive post. I can make tons of excuses for the lack of time (finishing grad school applications, fulfilling holiday orders, trying to get to the dogpark before dark) but non are really good enough. Activism doesn't wait and though my life is full of hobbies, projects, and activities, this blog is by far my favorite and most important. I have no excuse for not making it a priority. Now, onto that substantive post i promised... riiiiiight

I got a book for my birthday. And I read it. Cover to cover. Though that was an extremely difficult feat. This wasn't just any book but a ridiculous joke of a book that teaches women how to be "gorgeously green" while they do all those tough girly things like picking out lipstick, buying groceries, gardening, making dinner, and picking out that "hot new outfit!" I kid you not, those are the chapters... Because obviously women have no real agency other than the trite pursuits of Stay-at-Home-Barbie. Don't get me wrong, i am all about reclaiming femininity in a "gorgeously green" way but when a book teaches me that the ONLY focus women should have on eco-consciousness are stereotypically feminine activities, i can't help but fume.

I got all the way through the third paragraph of the introduction before i understand how much i would despise this book:

"Women like me tend to be more interested in their compact than their compost. We never forget a hair appointment yet always forget our reusable tote... Yoga and recycling were as far down the environmental food chain as i was willing to go. There was no way that i was going to stop dyeing my hair and painting my nails; and my gas-guzzling SUV was just fine, thank you very much!... But I felt too lazy to walk down the hall to the recycling bin - well, a girl needs to conserve her energy for the really important things in life, like sitting down in front of the TV to find out who has been voted off the island..." and on she went...

I instantly knew this book was not for women like me.

I get that she's trying to be cutesy (or at least i pray to god that's what she's doing) but i hate it all. I hate the tone, i hate the impression that women should relate to her, and i hate the lack of genuine responsibility women are empowered to claim in our planet. I also hate that she continuously refers to women as "you girls."

Like i said, this book was a birthday gift... so i kept reading. Truth be told, the content got *a bit* better, but the tone remained the same. I quickly realized it was just this cutesy, inane, benevolently sexist tone that made me want to punch her in the face, even though i understand violence that is never the answer...

Aside from the tone, her constant contradictions and lack of basic grammar made me want to suffocate myself with a cloth tote (don't worry, cloth is too porous). She instructs "us girls" to stay away from certain ingredients only to recommend products with those ingredients as safe solutions. On her website she rationalizes this hypocritical writing by telling us that there are "shades of green" and you don't have to be totally "granola crunch green" if it doesn't fit into your lifestyle... Also, she mentions avoiding the microwave so to not molecularly alter her food but later writes that microwaves are the most eco-friendly way to cook because they use the least amount of energy. The last contradiction i'll mention is her recommendation for bamboo clothing, which must travel hundreds of miles, wasting an unnecessary amount of fossil fuels, before it reaches her white picket fenced doorstep.

I especially hated this book for the incredibly privileged angle from which it was written. She suggests $80 skin moisturizer bottles and 2 ounces of an organic perfume at $775. Seriously? There must be more fiscally responsible solutions for green cosmetics. In fact, there are. Combine her white/class privilege, erroneous writing skills, and vast contradictions and you've got yourself a D+ self help book...

I hate it even more because she succeeds in making a complete mockery out of the genuinely "granola crunch green" way my partner and i try to live our lives.

Yet, this post is a great opportunity to link to The Story of Stuff.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Favorite Feminist Quotes

I am following in Amelia's lead and asking for tattoo idea help ;) I'm looking to get another tat, this one i want to be text. What's your favorite feminist/equality quote? Or inspirational quote about equal rights, activism, strength, or progress...

I'm looking for something meaningful but on the shorter side, i can't tattoo a whole novel on my foot ;)

Leave your quotes and suggestions in comments!! Thanks in advance for your help :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Donald Duck v. Chuck Norris

Floridians (is that a real term?) strongly preferred Hilary Clinton as president (234 votes) over Jesus (23 votes). Also, Donald Duck beat out Chuck Norris (3 votes to 2), which i highly doubt is accurate b/c Chuck Norris can pretty much kick anyone's ass ;)

See more results at Feminist Law Professors

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Humor Me Edition :)

Humor me, pretend it's last Friday (i know, i know i'm a slacker). I'm even more of a slacker because i got this email from my friend Mark on Saturday and STILL waited until today to post...

"I know you've posted a lot of happy news lately - Obama winning, the global gag rule to be lifted, gay marriages in Connecticut - but I still think there should be a feel good Friday. I thought this one might do."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Congratulations CT Newly Weds ;)

May your lives together be filled with love, happiness, and health :)

NEW HAVEN — Bunches of white balloons and giant sprays of long-stemmed red roses festooned City Hall here Wednesday morning, as one of the eight couples who successfully sued the state to allow same-sex marriage became the first to obtain a marriage license as the law took effect.

“Today, Connecticut sends a message of hope and promise to lesbian and gay people throughout the country who want to be treated as equal citizens by their government,” said Ben Klein, a lawyer with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a Boston group that litigated the Connecticut case. “It is living proof that marriage equality is moving forward in this country.”

Sarah Palin is Stalking Me!

... How else would she have known that i wrote this post about her while in my pajamas, and from my parent's basement?! The others were written from my own home, or from work (during my lunch break, of course), and surely not in my pajamas... teehee ;)

Which of your Palin Posts were written in your PJs or from your parents' basements?! Leave links to them in comments :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Olbermann: Gay Marriage is a Question of Love

If you watch nothing else today, please watch this:

My favorite part:

With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it.

via season of the bitch

Monday, November 10, 2008

Undoing Some of the Damage

The new Obama administration has put together a list of over 200 policies and executive orders that they hope will begin to undo some of the damage the Bush administration has caused. They hope this will begin to move our country into a more progressive direction. These new actions include administration on climate change, stem cell research, and reproductive rights to mention a few. The one that is especially exciting to me is President-elect Obama's commitment to lifting the "global gag rule" that Bush reinstated on his first day in office in January 2001. The gag rule bars speech and action in reproductive health and endangers women's lives.

THIS is exactly why we elected him!

For more steps in the right direction, see this article in the NYT.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Election Night Moments

I've teared up a lot over the past few days... this progression of photos does it to me every time.

Via, h/t Brandi ;)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Yes We Did!"

In June i wrote about a new sense of patriotism. Last night, tearful and hopeful, i watched Barack Obama become elected 44th president of the United States of America. I watched democracy work. I watched hope and change lead the nation to make history. I watched people come together to celebrate a new beginning for our country. I watched elderly black Americans break down in tears because they remember a much different time. I watched children, waving American flags on their parents' shoulders, cheering, "yes we did!" I watched Barack Obama address the nation as our first African American president.

Obama represents more than diversity to our nation. Though his commitment to diversity and equality is key. He represents a different way. Obama became elected through grass roots organizing, youth empowerment, first time voters making their voices heard, and lifelong voters realizing it was time for a change.

He is an incredible symbol for America. One of hope, change, and democracy. Obama shows the rest of the world that the American people are not content being associated with the past 8 years. That the people can make a difference. That we can (and did!) determine the course of history. That we can be trusted to elect a leader to represent us as a nation.

I teared up here:

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

President Elect Barack Obama, that is precisely the reason i campaigned and voted for you. Your commitment to diversity and equality, to change, and to a better and more hopeful tomorrow. Thank you. And um, get to work, because there is A LOT to be done ;)

Thank you everyone who went door to door, who educated their parents and grandparents, who blogged, who spoke up against racism, who volunteered by phone, who stood up against their own party, who handed out flyers, who educated themselves on the issues, who donated money, who stood in lines and in rain to make their voices heard. Thank you. You not only helped get Obama elected president, but also a government that is incredibly conducive to Obama's policies. One in which Obama should be able to accomplish all the instrumental things for which we elected him. And one in which Vice President Elect Joe Biden can work for the issues he's been committed to over the past three decades.

This feels like one of those "where were you when" moments that i am savoring to tell future generations. This is where i was when we elected President Barack Obama. I wasn't just
there, but i helped make it happen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Proud Lapel

PUPPIES! (because i needed a break...)

Can you guess how D and I campaigned for Obama yesterday?

We didn't go door to door. We didn't make phone calls to undecided voters. We didn't even pass out flyers...

We took Beans (our plott hound/beagle mix) to the dog-park and taught him to excitedly bark every time we said "Obama."

Some people thought it was hilarious and cute... others got annoyed. But we LOVED it:

It went something like this:

"Beans, do you want Obama to be our next president?"
"Beans, what about McCain?"
"Do you like Joe Biden?"
"How about Sarah Palin?"

Puppies are the greatest! For a nice break from the election madness and for some canine cuteness, check out these pups supporting Obama :)

And here's Beans, giving you his sad puppy eyes to guilt you into voting for Obama: "BARK BARK BARK BARK!!!"

Also, via:

If the Election Was Run by Dogs

10. Vote tabulation has to be restarted every time someone spots a squirrel.

9. Lots of growling whenever someone mentions that McCain is a vet.

8. Entire election thrown into chaos when it’s alleged that thousands of voters *appeared* to throw ballots into box but actually just hid them behind their backs.

7. Voters even more easily distracted by butterfly ballots.

6. Spaying and neutering drastically reduces number of pregnant chads.

5. “Exit Polling” just a fancy name for butt sniffing.

4. In Pit Bull County, hand counts are taken literally.

3. “Mr. Candidate, please respond to the question: Do you wanna go to the park? Huh? Huh? Wanna catch the ball?”

2. No difference at all: Either way, you end up with a steaming pile of democracy!

1. Finding ballots too confusing? Time to put voter to sleep.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Limited Time Offer: Rape Kits on Sale!

Thanks to reader, Bobbi, for sending me this video with the following message:

"Made me angry, made me laugh...made me ready to vote on Tuesday"

Bobbi, i couldn't agree with you more! Video below shows the ridiculousness of Palin's legislation in Wasilla that required rape survivors to pay for their own rape kits, costing $1,200:

Just In Case

In case you are turned away tomorrow, and told you are unable to vote for whatever reason, make sure you ask for a provisional ballot:

A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there is some question in regards to a given voter's eligibility. A provisional ballot would be cast when:

* The voter refuses to show a photo ID (in regions that require one)
* The voter's name does not appear on the electoral roll for the given precinct.
* The voter's registration contains inaccurate or out-dated information such as the wrong address or a misspelled name.
* The voter's ballot has already been recorded

Don't let them turn you away from the polls. If your eligibility is questioned, make sure to fill out a provisional ballot. This way, your vote will be counted upon verification of your eligibility. The Help America Vote Act passed in 2002, guaranteed voters provisional ballots if they believed they were eligible to vote. I recently changed my address but my driver's license still has my old address so i became nervous that i'd be turned away, this way i know i still have a right to vote...

Also, ONLY IN CT AND RI, if you are not registered to vote but still want to vote for president, you can. Only Connecticut and Rhode Island permit a resident who is not a registered voter to use the presidential ballot. You'll have to go to your local town hall and ask to vote in the presidential election by casting your vote on the presidential ballot.

ETA: Minnesota has same-day registration as well :)

Also, if you're voting in CT: VOTE "NO" ON QUESTION ONE!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obama IS NOT Muslim

Ok i get it, when people are afraid they don't hear logic. It's difficult to be rational, however intelligent you may be, when you are at your core scared over something you are passionate about. I am sure i've been there. I am sure i've been my fair share of stubborn and irrational when faced with something that i felt threatened my core beliefs. I may think i'm progressive and open-minded but when i feel my beliefs, and my rights, are endangered, i find it just as hard as anyone else to stay calm, think through information reasonably, and move forward with logic. This is why i don't take the matter of Obama and Israel lightly. I realize it's caused a few rifts within my family, i realize a lot of my Jewish friends think i am crazy for avidly supporting Obama, and i realize there are people out there that have and will continue to accuse me of being anti-Israel by being pro-Obama... but this is exactly why i won't let it go. I need to say more about the issue, because 2 days before the election it's of utmost importance that everyone realizes Obama is not, and never has been, "a threat to Israel."

I read yesterday that though the Jewish vote has been predictably democratic in past elections, this year it was looking grim. I am confident that the Obama's supposed religious affiliation and his race are at the root of those statistics. But here is the ironic thing: OBAMA IS NOT MUSLIM.

Before i go on, i do have to say that i REALIZE even if Obama WAS Muslim, his religion shouldn't matter... but because i know it DOES matter to some Jews who aren't voting for him because of it, i am stuck here, having to ridiculously justify his Christianity when i know by doing so i am being just as discriminatory as they are. ("They" are those who are not voting for him on the basis of religion.)

Frankly, it is just as wrong to not elect Obama on the basis of his religion as it is to not elect him on the basis of his skin color. Voting for or against a candidate because of their religion is ludicrous. What ever happened to the separation of church and state? What ever happened to electing candidates based on their platform, not based on who they pray to? Obama's platform is very much PRO-ISRAEL. But because i realize Obama's presumed Muslim affiliation is an incredibly important point for Jews, i won't debate the fact that it SHOULDN'T matter anymore. Because it shouldn't, but it does. I won't appeal to people's sense of logic any more by explaining that to not elect a qualified presidential candidate on the basis of his religion is just as discriminatory as to hate Jews for being Jewish... I won't be rational anymore, because it doesn't seem to work. Instead i'll go on the defensive for a second and explain that Obama is not Muslim.

Here's the other thing... does it ever make you feel like like people want to hate Obama because he's black but can't because it's not socially acceptable? So instead they accuse him of being Muslim, because right now, being Islamaphobic is not only tolerated, but perpetuated.

So, let me for a second, pretend Obama's religion DOES matter, i'll reiterate: OBAMA IS NOT MUSLIM and to not vote for him because of an erroneous belief that he is, well, is stupid and naive.

Also, check out these two great articles.

(can you tell i'm a bit frustrated with all this?)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Halloween Baby Cuteness

I'm putting my disdain of FOX News on hold for today to bring you a photo of my baby nephew, Judah, and sister-in-law, Lindsay, featured on Janice Dean's Blog. Let's hope Judah's stint on FOX doesn't determine his future partisanship :)

Judah's dressed up as a little turkey, how cute is that?! :) The photos were taken at a "first Halloween" babies costume event that Lindsay organized. I am so proud of Linds who's been planning amazing events for the "summer moms of Park Slope" group. Really great things from baby CPR to meetings in the park. The group has grown to include over 80 new parents! Being a new parent can be just as daunting as it is exciting and having a social network to experience the ups and downs with is crucial. I'm so proud of Linds for providing this type of support to all the new parents involved! Other babies at the "first Halloween party" dressed as pea pods, lobsters, penguins, super baby, a free range chicken!

Happy Halloween :)

I considered going as Sarah Palin but decided that was far too scary, even for this holiday ;) Instead i'll be going as Angela from The Office, blond wig and all! (Though the only wig i could find was the "Hannah Montana" wig...)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Israelis For Obama

Some of my most intelligent relatives and friends are fearful of Obama because they believe he’s a "threat to Israel." I’ve explained policies, misconceptions, and scare tactics to them with no success. The video below is incredibly moving. Please share it with everybody you know and especially every Jewish person you have ever heard question Obama’s commitment to Israel.

I've written and joked about this in the past, but now it's time to get emotional to appeal to those of you i haven't yet...

I watched this video through tear-filled eyes. I saw courage in the faces of the Israeli citizens and heard hope in their voices. The Jewish people of Israel are ready for change just as much as we, Americans, are.

Let's get Obama elected.

(video via Crucial Minutiae)

Vote "NO"

Here are some important videos and links for voters in various states:

Colorado and South Dakota (but EVERYONE should watch this video):

Oppose Bill C-484, "Unborn Victims of Crime Act"

Vote NO on Question 1 - Lindsay beat me to writing this post :) More info here and here

Vote NO on 4 and 8, here for more

I'll update this as i find more info for various states...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Day to Register to Vote in CT

Today is the last day to register to vote in CT so if you haven't already, please register today! You'll have to go in person but the offices are open until 8pm tonight. Be the change you want to see in the world, vote.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Season of Giving

(This should have been posted yesterday, sorry about that)

I heard on NPR this morning that groups who serve the community are especially struggling right now, since Americans are terrified to open their wallets to donations more than ever. I don't blame them, it's difficult to donate money to charity when you're not sure how much gas will cost tomorrow and whether you'll be able to pay your mortgage or rent this month.

I wanted to write a post about how good it feels to donate. Since starting my jewelry shop in August, I have been able to donate $200 to The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County and am writing another check today for $150. Honestly, i couldn't do this out of my pocket. So i took up jewelry making. I donate 50% of my earnings to the organization and am incredibly grateful for all my costumers who purchase the jewelry knowing half their money will go to such a great cause. It enables me to engage in activism through giving money and also serves as a creative outlet. I love to craft so this really was a perfect match for me. I realize i'm shamelessly self promoting right now but i wanted to remind everyone to give, especially now, because there will always be someone out there who has less than you, no matter how little it is you have.

Please feel free to browse my shop for holiday gift ideas: designsbygalina.etsy.com :)

Where do you give, especially around the holidays? Do you donate money? Food? Your time?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin is a Liar and Rachel Maddow is Incredibly Hot and Talented...

Ok, so what? I have a secret crush...

Maddow asks: "Are we in an alternate universe or is she?!"

Sarah Palin's Hypocrisy & Unnecessary Spending

I may be a little late on this but it looks like Sarah Palin installed a tanning bed at the governor's mansion shortly after she took office in 2007. Now, normally i wouldn't think much of this because even though i choose to stay away from the fake and bake, cancer causing, boxes, who am i to judge, ya know? But unless Palin was suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), installing a tanning bed was both hypocritical and fiscally irresponsible. For someone who claims to do away with unnecessary spending, purchasing something that can cost "up to $35,000 to install in a home, not including parts" is prodigal.

The other irony in all this is "Palin declared May 2007 to be Skin Cancer Awareness Month in Alaska. In the press release, it read, 'Skin cancer is caused, overwhelmingly, by over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from tanning beds.'"

Then again, it's really no surprise that Palin is both a hypocrite and fiscally irresponsible based on the $150,000 she spent on a campaign wardrobe and makeover.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

As Racist as Ever...

To those of you who think we're living in a post-racist nation. Think again. America is still filled with hatred, fear, and most definitely, racism.

Apparently Obama is a "second stringer" because he is black and Palin will make a good VP because she is filled with "the holy spirit."

Some of the other things said about Obama?

"I'm afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over"

"This is a Christian nation! What is our country going to end up like?!"

"When you got a nigger running for president, he aint a first stringer. He's definitely a second stringer."

"He's related to a known terrorist"

"Just the whole... Muslim thing... and everything..."

"Obama and his wife, i'm concerned that they are anti-white and that he might hide that"

"I don't like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash"

"Baby killer"

Thanks Maggie for sending this video along. As difficult as it is to watch, it's important to see...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Street Harassment Survey

Cross posted here by request, Please Take the Street Harassment Survey!

One of the problems with street harassment is that it has been so rarely researched and written about. I recently had brunch with Holly Kearl, who is currently writing a book about street harassment. Rock on girl.

Help her out by completing this quick online survey about street harassment:

The more folks who take it, the more accurate it is, the more that changes in the world. Hollaback survey-style!

Survey via

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Feel Good: CT Equalizes Same Sex MARRIAGE!!!

Today i am proud to be a CT resident! The Connecticut Supreme Court just ruled that the state will now allow same-sex couples to marry. That's right, MARRY :) We're now the third state allowing gay marriage (along with Massachusetts and California).

The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote in the majority opinion that overturned a lower court finding. "To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others," Palmer wrote.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Friday that she disagreed, but will not fight the ruling. "The Supreme Court has spoken," Rell said in a statement. "I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision, either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution, will not meet with success."

More info here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dear John McCain, You Are NOT "My Friend"

Dear Senator John McCain,

First and foremost, you are NOT my friend. Addressing me as such 19 times* does not change the fact that you creep me out a great deal, i disagree with you on a core level, and if you are elected president i fear for your health mostly because Governor Palin is no where close to ready to lead our country. I also would like to give you some advice. When asked a debate question, please try to respond to said question rather than ramble on in an accusatory and condescending tone. Also, be a bit more careful with your "jokes." Mostly because they all came off as bitter and hostile. A joke that fell especially short was the one in which you laughed about needing hair transplants in relation to health coverage. This is not funny because while you may only have to worry about your balding scalp, others have actual, substantial, health concerns that they cannot afford to treat. Also, addressing Senator Obama as "that one" is incredibly patronizing, and may even come off as racist (which of course you are not, right? wink wink). I would also like to offer some math guidance: a "first" priority means that it is number one on the list so when you said, "I can tell you right now the security of your young men and women who are serving in the military are my first priority right after our nation's security" you were a bit mistaken because that would make it your second, not first, priority. Also, the correct grammar is "is my first priority" because you are referring to security and priority which are both singular nouns, not "are my first priority." Lastly, you excitedly stated, "I'll get Osama bin Laden, my friends. I'll get him. I know how to get him." What exactly did you mean by this? Because if you know where Osama bin Laden is and how to capture him it seems a bit unpresidential of you not to speak up sooner. I realize that "debating" and running a presidential campaign must challenging work and as such i would like to end on a positive note. I was very glad to see that you are able to pronounce "nuclear" correctly, unlike Bush or Palin.


wow, writing this made me feel significantly better... who knew? :)

*all direct quotes and "my friends" count via CNN transcript

ETA: Habladora signed on, anyone else in? Don't worry i won't accidentally send him this letter... or will i? hehehehe...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Shana Tova!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, was this week. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are arguably the most important days in Judaism. They are a time to introspect, make amends for the year's mistakes, and plan the changes you want to see in your life for the year to come. This time is called the Days of Awe. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are significantly more imporant holidays than Hannukah, even though most people don't realize this since Hannukah is so close to Christmas.

Enough with the lesson in Judiasm. I wanted to post a quick story that was passed out at services to help you reflect a bit this week as well.

When I was in 8th grade, Mr. Ben Yudin, my comparative religion teacher extraordinaire, asked the class a question. "What are the four words you can say on any occasion?" The answer was, "This too shall pass."

I remember telling my father that night that I would never walk up to a bride and say, "Congratulations, this too shall pass." My father replied that it's precisely the couples who understand that the exhilaration of their wedding day will pass, who go on to have good marriages.

Since then, those four words have become a sort of mantra in my life. "This too shall pass" has gotten me through periods of stress, sadness, even excruciating physical pain. But lately, as the harried working mother of two, I have begun to really understand the value of these words for the joyous occasions, especially those easily missed moments - my son waking from sleep and curling his warm body into my lap; my daughter's face when I come home from work. "This too shall pass," whispers that voice in my ear. Turn off the cell phone, put down the paper, and just be.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Great Schlep

At first i thought this was a joke. Mostly because i find it impossible to take Sarah Silverman seriously. But The Great Schlep is completely legit... although more than a bit ageist, racist, and stereotypical, it may just help get Obama's message out there...

"The Great Schlep aims to have Jewish grandchildren visit their grandparents in Florida, educate them about Obama, and therefore swing the crucial Florida vote in his favor. Don’t have grandparents in Florida? Not Jewish? No problem! You can still become a schlepper and make change happen in 2008, simply by talking to your relatives about Obama."

There are even talking points! (pdf file)

Anyways, watch The Great Schlep here:

Follow Up to my Sexism Masked as Tradition Post

Back in July I wrote about a coworker who was upset with his wife for being pregnant with a girl. I wrote how unfortunate it was for him to be disappointed with his future daughter before she's even born and at his wife for something that the sperm have more "control" over than the egg. I also wrote about the degree of sexism that still exists (in my peers no less!) masked as "tradition."

Today this same coworker's client came into their counseling session with a new baby boy. In the hallway (right outside my door), the counselor said, "Congrats on having a boy!" to his client. The client replied, "I heard you are a new dad too, congrats to you as well." The counselor explained, "Nah man, no congrats here. I had a girl. I wish i had a boy. I just shot and missed, ya know? haha. Hopefully next time."

I thought after his daughter was born he'd change his tune. Nope, guess not. Poor girl.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Which is Funnier?

I can't decide which is funnier, or which is more scary... Maybe you can help?

Actual CBS interview, Sarah Palin and Katie Couric:

SNL skit of Palin/Couric interview, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Feel Good: Celebrating ME! :)

Today is my birthday :) So i'm going to write about myself for a bit. I'm usually pretty modest but i wanted to take today to explain what i've been up to this summer, where i have disappeared lately, and why i won't be dedicating as much time as i wish i could to the blogosphere over the next few months.

I rarely disclose personal info here but i wanted to share a little so bear with me :) Firstly, as much as i love the fall, i can't let go of summer just yet so here are a few photos from my last few months.

Puerto Rico for the CPDD conference:

Michigan for family vacation:

Lots of camping with hot and tired puppies who needed to dig holes to stay cool :)

My nephew, Judah Asher, a few days after he was born :)

and me competing in and completing my first TRIATHLON! Swim, Bike, Run, FINISH!!!!

(yes i realize i need to get back into the weight room and start lifting again... i had to focus on lots and lots of cardio the past few months for training but i can't wait to bulk up a bit more again!)

Ok... Did you feel like you were watching your grandparents' slide show of an old family vacation?

This fall will be tough. I am working on applying to graduate schools - specifically ones that are in line with the work i hope to do within activism. It has been difficult to find faculty that conduct feminist research or research from a feminist perspective and conventional clinical psychology programs have not been too welcoming of my interests. I'm looking for programs committed to multiculturalism and diversity and ones that examine discrimination's effects on mental health and well being. Hopefully i will find a great fit and be in a whole new place in my life next fall.

Thanks for bearing with me as i blog less over the next few months, i promise i will be back on my game in January, once the application process is over. Don't worry though, my Google Reader is always on and i will be keeping up with all of your blogs!

Now back to the presidential debates (what a fun way to celebrate my birthday! haha) My favorite thing so far has been watching McCain fumble over any non-English word/name he tries to say...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Truth Will Set You Free

I realize that campaign ads by nature are designed to be extreme, shocking, and sometimes stretch the truth. The thing is, we don't need to lie or use extreme tactics when campaigning against the GOP since stating the facts is shocking and outrageous enough.

If you have some time, watch these videos. They're all short but you'll gain a whole new perspective on the "straight talk express."

The last video is terrific but the third may be my favorite, here's the dialogue:

Interviewer: "Earlier this week...talked about it being unfair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control..."

McCain (interrupts her) with: "I certainly do not want to discuss that issue"

Interviewer: "But you voted against coverage of birth control in the past, is that still your position?"

McCain: "Looking at my voting record on it, I, uh, I, um, don't recall the vote right now, but i'll be glad to look at it and get back to you as to why, i don't...." (trails off...)

Interviewer: "I guess her statement was that it is unfair that health insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?"

8 second pause

McCain: "I don't know enough about it to give you a* informed answer because i don't recall the vote, i cast thousands of votes in the senate, but i will get back to you on it... i don't usually duck an issue but i... i'll try to get back to you"

*not to be nitpicky but um... it's an informed answer, not a informed answer... geez...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Imposter! :)

Not sure? Watch the SNL skit below in which Tina Fey does a perfect impression of Sarah Palin. The similarities are remarkable! haha

(ok, ok, i'll lay off Palin for a while, i just noticed my last 4 posts were about her...)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rosie the Riveter has been Kidnapped!!! HELP!!

Oh no they DIDN'T!!!!!!!


The GOP has kidnapped Rosie!! Wait, what is this now? They replaced her face with... SARAH PALIN!?!?!?!?! The misappropriations are astounding!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Large Hadron Collider

Ok so this is not at all feminism related but the research nerd in me needed to share this because it is so fucking cool!

Here's a taste:
"If all goes according to plan, the Large Hadron Collider, a gigantic particle accelerator underground near Geneva, could re-create the very moment 13 billion years ago when scientists believe a tremendous explosion known as the 'big bang' created the universe."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sarah Palin's Top 9

I can't believe i didn't see this yesterday while writing about Palin but it is a must read. To pique your interest, below are Sarah Palin's 9 most disturbing beliefs, via the AlterNet. For explanations on each, see the article. Because despite her being gorgeous, hunting moose, and having a child with special needs there are real issues to consider in this election, ones that she has very scary stances on...

1. Despite problems at home, Sarah Palin does not believe in giving teenagers information about sex.
2. Sarah Palin believes the U.S. Army is on a mission from God. (no, for real...)
3. Sarah Palin believes in punishing rape victims. (not just blaming, but punishing...)
4. Who's really not in favor of clean water? Sarah Palin.
5. Sarah Palin calls herself a reformer, but on earmarks and the "Bridge to Nowhere," she is a hypocrite.
6. Sarah Palin believes creationism should be taught in schools. (this is still one of the craziest to me...)
7. Sarah Palin supports offshore drilling everywhere, even if it doesn't solve our energy problems. (what aboutz teh polar bearz?! oh yea, she took them off the endangered species list...)
8. Sarah Palin loves oil and nuclear power.
9. Sarah Palin doesn't think much of community activism; she'd much rather play insider political games.

Any others that ya'll can think of?

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Thoughts on Sarah Palin

My mom called last week and exclaimed, "you must be thrilled McCain chose a woman for VP!" Then she asked me (in all seriousness) who i was going to vote for now that there was a woman in the picture. Up until that moment i didn't think that Palin would earn votes simply for having a vagina. I'll be honest, i am sometimes (usually) sexist when choosing doctors. I always go to a woman because i know that she has worked harder than most men in her class to get there. I also know she had to prove herself not only as a doctor but as a female doctor and that means she is probably more qualified for medicine than most of the men in her field. I know that she has faced sexism and has been overlooked for positions. Truth is, i may be wrong in my assumptions but it makes me feel like i am going to a more qualified, harder working person when i imagine the road that got them to where they are. Sexist? Yes. Accurate? Probably, but also not in all cases. My (il?)logic doesn't translate into politics though. Politicians are carefully bred and hand selected, not necessarily for hard work or qualifications but for fit. This is why i (and many many women) would never vote for Palin solely because she is female. In fact, polls found that women are more skeptical of Palin than men and that the Obama-Biden ticket understands the issues and concerns of women best.

Gloria Steinem wrote an op-ed last week illustrating that, "Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger." Steinem writes:

This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need... So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Although Palin's inexperience scares me, what makes me more fearful is her inexpertness combined with her extreme (and often insane) positions. For example, Palin believes that creationism should be taught in public schools. She also does not believe that global warming exists. She believes that we should face the effects of global warming, but not that humans have been at all accountable for the damage. Her environmental opinions are deplorable: she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, a position that even most republicans disagree with. Palin opposes gun control, you know, because the government doesn't have the right to tell us what to do with our gun... but she supports the government's control over women's bodies. Because though we are smart and freethinking enough to shoot guns (and possibly do damage to other people's bodies), we certainly are not smart and freethinking enough to control our own bodies. There's phallic symbolism in there somewhere...

Another tactic i can't quite grasp is why it is so important to paint candidates as relatable. Palin is your average "hockey mom." Obama is the epitome of "rags to riches." I know it's important to humanize candidates but you know what? I don't want my president (or veep) to be an "average" person, I want my elected officials to be much smarter than me, better decision makers, more qualified to govern than i (or any "average person") would be. Back to my medical comparisons, let's put this in different terms: if i was going to have surgery, i wouldn't want an average person cutting me open; i would want someone skilled with a knife. I would want the best fucking surgeon out there. Just like i want the best people in office, not average hockey moms, because if anything, illustrating Palin as "average" and relatable makes her look even less qualified in my eyes. And her record does that for her already, no trite tactics necessary.

Obviously they aren't average. They are in a position to run for office. Obviously that takes (at the very least) money and power. It's insulting to try and fool me into believing they're average, and suggesting that's a good thing...

But i also think we're underestimating Palin a bit. She's the perfect person for McCain to have chose. A perfect, pearl wearing, no hair out of place, gun shooting, oil drilling, anti-choice supporting, evangelical beauty queen. I'm not being sexist, I'm just illustrating the demographic that they're trying to reach by selecting her. Obviously they didn't take the decision lightly and i doubt they were banking solely on Hilary supporters. Palin isn't being used only to lore women to vote republican, although the GOP is hopeful sisterhood will prevail. Palin was also strategically selected because McCain isn't (well, wasn't...) right-wing enough for the ultra-conservatives and Palin will drive home the message of the Christian-base. As far as the GOP thinking women vote strictly with their vaginas and that Hilary supporters would jump on the McCainmobile because he selected a female, i'm not too too worried. I hope (believe?) that women as a whole are smarter than to fall for that. What i am concerned with is how much further to the right McCain has gone in the last few months and how he may have cemented his position on the far right by selecting Palin. I don't care why they chose her, I do care though that they have both pledged to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade...

And because i can't resist Sarah Haskins, here's her take on Palin:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Crafts, Triathlons, and BBC Radio :)

I'm alive, i swear :) Sorry i disappeared for a bit - i've had a number of things going on which i will share with you now:

Firstly, i started an Etsy shop!! For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy, it's a kickass site that allows you to buy and sell anything and everything homemade! I know for sure i'll be doing all my holiday shopping there this year because i am all about supporting follow artists as well as staying out of the malls during those busy weekends :)

I originally began making jewelry as a way to raise money for a local women's shelter - The Center for Women and Families. It was successful last year between Thanksgiving and the New Year when people felt generous but aside from that i did not have a venue to show and sell, thus to raise money. Etsy gave me the opportunity to set up an online shop where i can display, sell, buy, etc. I will be donating 50% of my earnings to the shelter so when people purchase from my shop they aren't just supporting me but also the health and safety of women and children in Connecticut. I write this not to drum-up business but so everyone knows where their money is going :) It's been such a blast already and a great online community of crafters! I must admit i have only sold one thing so far and i don't know how excited CWFEFC will be to receive a check for $3 but hey, every bit counts! I have been working on that like crazy over the past few weeks and wanted to share.

Second, as many of you know, i'm training for a triathlon... it's very soon (Sept 14th) and i'm freaking out a bit. I had a brief incident (mishap...) with a river last weekend but other than that, it's been smooth sailing. As long as there is no seaweed (my arch nemesis) in the river of the actual event, we'll be all set... i'll have more after the event, for now, send me fast and strong vibes :)

Lastly, I was on BBC's WORLD Have Your Say radio program this afternoon speaking on sexual harassment. The question was "how should women react to sexual harassment?" Although i didn't get nearly enough talk time, it was an interesting conversation to be apart of. Check out their blog and the discussion going on there at WHYS, there are over 300 responses so far! They contacted me via HollaBackCT and asked if i'd be the US speaker in the group. It was actually me and Dr. Pickman from NY representing America :) You can listed to the segment here, through podcast under WHYS: Sexual Harassment. It's a really interesting conversation that brings attention to harassment across the globe and gives voice to women who experience and combat harassment daily. The whole piece is worth checking out but if you're looking for me, i'm only on between 25:55 - 29:40 :)

I wish i had more time to talk. I would have said lots of things starting with the importance and necessity of having these conversations and bringing harassment to light. Too much of the time harassment goes unnoticed or ignored, leaving the target powerless and confused. Harassment is about power, not about sexual attraction. The host asked me if i would be offended if was a coworker of mine and whistled at me during work... um, i don't think it's ever appropriate to whistle at people, especially in a professional setting but him feeling he had the right to do so sets up a power dynamic where he is dominant. I've talked to women around the world who, no matter how they were dressed or what they looked like, have been harassed. Putting the responsibility onto the women to change her appearance will not stop harassment (as some of the callers on the show suggested). What it will do is set up an atmosphere of victim blaming. In my opinion, i don't think women should have to change their behavioral because of others' inability to treat them with respect.

Someone on the segment mentioned that when women dress a certain way, men's "hormonal impulses are triggered" and they can't help themselves. I think that's bogus. That doesn't give men any credit for the ability to control themselves. I know many hetero men that are respectful to women and would never blame their hormonal impulses for an inappropriate response.

The host also asked questions specifically about how women should respond to sexual harassment. One guest on the show mentioned she would "smack" the guy. I don't know if i'd go that far... the host loved her answer because it was so extreme and went around to the group to find out if others thought physical violence was the answer... There are certainly other ways of handling harassment. For example, a tourist in New Zealand was so frustrated by whistles and cat-calls that she was receiving from a group of men repairing on a road that she proceeded to strip out of all her clothes. The police did not approve of her response to the harassment and apprehended her saying that her actions were, "inappropriate in New Zealand" (but apparently it isn't inappropriate to whistle at and cat-call a perfect stranger...) I think asking about appropriate responses neglects context. An appropriate response for an American woman is completely different than one for a woman in Saudi Arabia where women have much fewer rights. Feeling safe is also a consideration. An appropriate response has a lot to do with how safe the target feels to report it or take action, and again, this varies through communities, countries, ethnicities, etc. What are your thoughts?

Check out the segment and pass along the online shop to anyone you think would be interested :)
That's what i've been up to, what have you been busy with these past few weeks?

Happy September everyone!! :)