Thursday, December 28, 2006

First Sentence Meme

Because I thought it was fascinating on some other people's blogs. Turns out it wasn't so interesting here:

New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions. (quote by Mark Twain).

I've read a couple interesting posts lately on what bizarre strings of words people searched to get to your blog.

Well, I have four different blog posts started, but haven't had time to finish any of them.

I don't have much time to blog, having just started a part-time job doing research and writing.

Now playing at Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty Movements. (Carnival of Feminists).

I've been neglecting my blog lately. (Note: is there anything more pathetic than whining about not blogging in your blog? Unless it's talking about blog posts you never finished. My new year's blogolution will be to never start another post like this).

Perhaps prompted by my recent reading of Caitlin Flanagan's critique of compost ("compost heaps in the backyard: moldering heaps of garbage, rich with worms and loamy rot...hideous caches of broken eggshells and wet coffee grounds squirreled away on kitchen counters" p. 143, To Hell with All That), I've been thinking about our compost.

(Poverty, Class, and Lebanon)...are featured in the 20th Carnival of Feminists at Super Babymama.

Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, by Linda R. Hirshman, starts out well enough: If Betty Friedan had lived just a little longer.

Don't Send Twisty a Picture of Your Breasts when you go to I Blame the Patriarchy and read I Got Yer Boobython Right Here...and she'll send a dollar to Breast Cancer Action.

I have lots of books.

The busyness of actual life has been interfering with my blogging. (OMG! Again with the inane lead sentence! Never, never, never again.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

29th Carnival of Feminists

Welcome to the 29th edition of the Carnival of Feminists

What a lot of fun putting this together was! It gave me the perfect excuse to conscientiously read my favorite blogs, to thoroughly explore their links, commenter's homepages, and blogrolls, and then to browse all manner of new blogs, using some of my favorite key words (shown below - try pairing them with gender or feminism for some interesting search results). I discovered all sorts of new bloggers, a number of vile stories and some inspiring ones, hilarious commentary, wicked sharp wit and humor, and a wealth of fascinating and insightful perspectives - all on feminist blogs. If I got paid for doing this, let's just say it would be my dream job.

If any readers and contributors out there are thinking about volunteering to host, I encourage you to contact Natalie. The few weeks that I spent on this Carnival was an altogether enjoyable and eye-opening experience.


In which we look at examples of sexism from all over the world - sometimes blatant, occasionally subtle, often insidious. Some key words for posts in this section: stereotypes, gender bias, toys, pretty, and porn.

Women Come in 12 Flavors: Female Stereotypes in Urban Culture, at luscious life by isis kali.

The utterly amazing Action Heroes in Bangalore is presented by Blank Noise.

From Chaos Theory: a look at Girls and Cars. And, of course, BOYS.

Fergie Sets Women Back a Gajillion Years (complete with YouTube clip) is brought to us from the Daily Hysteric.

In Ready, Aim, Puke, MissPrism of A Somewhat Old, But Capacious Handbag takes on some trite and oversimplified evolutionary psychology. Why don't newspapers ever cite feminist sociobiologists for their science stories? I know they're out there, because I've read their articles in popular magazines like Natural History.

Quite a few well-known feminist bloggers in the US have written about the Discovery Channel's gendered selections for science toys for kids, but in Girls and Science: More Than Just Nail Polish, Dana at Mombian also points you to "online resources for girls interested in science and engineering".

Tara C. Smith writes about Science, Intelligence and teh Pretty in Aetiology (this is may be of special interest if you also like science fiction). This also seems like a good place to put in a plug for the most recent Feminist Carnival of Science Fiction and Fantasy. And then check out Stereotypes and Subtext: A Wee Primer, by Thus Spake Zustra (and take note of her wonderful category labels while you're at it).

Sciencewoman (On Being a Scientist and a Woman) also has some interesting commentary and linkage in Women in Science - A Few Things of Note.

Emily from the Kiwi branch of the All Girl Army (composed of bloggers between the ages of 10-23 years old) adds her perspective on gender bias in Boy Things, Girl Things.

If you haven't already read about the brouhaha over feminist bloggers, Britney Spears porn, and Googlebombing, check out A Brief History of Google Bombing, or: If A Feminist Does It, It's Wrong, No Matter What "It" Is at Screaming into the Void.

Sour Duck adds a thoughtful response to the crotch shot debate at The Feminist Way to "Download Britney Spears Sex Video - FAST!".

I've seen several responses to Christopher Hitchens' Vanity Fair article, but Shark-Fu of AngryBlackBitch had perhaps the funniest one at Fun with Vanity Fair.

And Shakespeare's Sister brings us Men Are Not Babies - a post that makes a few points that are so damn obvious (now that she's said it) that I really wish I'd written it myself. I don't know of anyone else who has explained feminism in everyday life so well though, so go and read and then smack yourself in the head for not saying it yourself, too.

Labor Paid and Unpaid, and Work/Life Balance
In which we look at another aspect of sexism, as it is experienced in the domestic sphere, and how private life interacts with our public life. Or vice versa. Key words: income, glass ceilings, maternal walls, wage gap, crafts and invisible work.

Photo by Ann Rosener, 1942. Library of Congress,
Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, [LC-USE6-D-005878 DLC]

Uma has a short but enlightening (pardon the pun) story on Power Women at Indian Writing.

There's a cogent discussion of Division of Labor, and Income at the Reproductive Rights Blog - a nice follow up to the Work (and Women) post - and some thoughtful comments on Secret Lives of Breadwinner Wives by Rich at Queercents.

Dr. Mom writes about the gender gap in academia in My Postdoc Left.

Amy Tiemann, of Mojo Mom asks Does the Gender Wage Gap Begin at Home? in her blog at

If you don't know who Kiki Peppard is, and you've never heard the term 'maternal profiling', then you need to check out this Update on Kiki and PA from Cooper at been there, who also blogs at MomsRising.

Kiki herself wrote an Obituary for (proposed Pennsylvania state laws) HB352 and SB440, which "are survived by women everywhere who believe in equality and justice and are trying to provide the best they can for their families."

Elizabeth at Monster Blog ponders childcare problems and solutions, and mothers' participation in the paid labor force in "Hurray for Snow Days?" Asks This Mom.

If you live in the US, and you're part of a family, you should definitely read Elizabeth's post on FMLA Input Needed at Half-Changed World.

Artemis at the Feminist Mormon Housewives has a thought-provoking post on Domesticity, examining our stereotypes about craft and crafts, professionalism, and the value of women's work.

Status and Equality
In which we look at some of the social, legal, and political ramifications of sexism. Key words: law, culture, ICT, equality, cutbacks.

Artemis at One Woman Army sums up the situation with Canada's Status of Women program succinctly in Women Are Angry.

Remembering....And Taking Action! on Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence Against Women, is by Inside the Box, who notes that "Women’s chances for equality in Canada are slowing dying - but without youth they’re all but gone away."

And speaking of "young feminists", Online with Zoe has a bit to say about that phrase in Calling All Ages.

FeminisTIC, a bilingual blogger from Montreal, has many fascinating posts, but I was most interested in her participation in Take Back the Tech as described in Me, Moi, Violence & ICTS/TIC . ICT is "information communication technology" - read more at Take Back the Tech about how new forms of communication and representation are influencing women's global status and roles in surprising ways. You might also want to check out Fried Tofu and Scrambled Egg's defense of her ideas at A Take Back the Tech Challenge.

Ann Bartow of the Feminist Law Professors presents a Bloggish Overview of Feminist Legal Theory.

ThreadingWater brings us an update on US federal policy in Pain Killers, comparing the recent failure of the fetal pain bill in the US and federal cuts "to local communities attempting to collect child support money from delinquent parents".

In which we look at sexism taken to its most appalling extremes. Key words: abuse, rape, murder.

Zambian ICT Journalist Brenda Zulu provides an eye-opening look at ICT Tools and Gender Based Violence in Africa (see the section above if you don't know what ICT is).

Susan Loone, a Malaysian activist living in Bangkok, provides her thoughts on recent disturbing events in her homeland in 16 Days of Activism...But Women Bashed in All Directions.

Thinking Girl has an insightful post entitled How to Avoid Becoming a Rapist (with unusually thoughtful commentary, too). Which leads us directly to the next few posts.

Poster from Mind the Gap's Flickr photostream.

I wanted to avoid the most popular feminist bloggers, since so many Carnival readers probably already read them, but the story about a University of New Hampshire student's criticism of a safe sex poster in the campus newspaper (the link and hundreds of appalling comments have since since been removed by UNH) and the resulting flood of online misogyny was too important to ignore. Twisty featured the story in Season's Beatdowns (at I Blame the Patriarchy), and Amanda at Pandagon followed up on it with Giving Boneheads a Bad Name. Read the comments. Although you might think these posts should go in the section on Sexism, the violence that so many commentators threatened puts it unquestionably here.

From Suffolk, England, Ellen Seymour of ProActive PR looks at the recent murder of five women, and then asks her readers What Do Prostitutes Really Want?

Nimue from Notes, Recollections, etc. adds Some Thoughts on Legalising Brothels, and Winter from Mind the Gap examines mainstream media reactions and feminist blog coverage of the killings in Doesn't Everyone Love a Good Femicide?

And don't miss Women Like Me, at Diary of a Goldfish. She sums up the situation very well indeed.

Ourselves, Our Bodies and Our Choices
In which we examine the implications and limitations of our choices about our bodies. Some key words for this section: miscarriage, pregnancy, identity, ambition, family, childbirth, sexuality.

We have three thoughtful and interlinked posts from Australia dealing with the different aspects of childbearing and their sociocultural and psychological consequences.

Kerry at Pavlov's Cat examines the choice to become a mother (or not), and the role her feminism plays in Some Days You Make the Choice, Some Days the Choice Makes You. Ampersand Duck presents Working Through a Few Issues, a powerful post about her feelings on not having a second child following a loss and major surgery. Cristy writes frankly about pregnancy, her future choices, and feminism in A Woman's Work at Two Peas, No Pod.

On a related note, the Oxford University Press blog presents A Few Questions for Rosanna Hertz, the author of Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood Without Marriage and Creating the New American Family.

A Womb of Her Own (what a great blog title!) writes an enlightening post that asks What About the "Community" in "Midwifery in the Community"?

Storm Indigo writes about sexuality and self-acceptance at Last night I dreamed I decolonized my thighs.

Did I Miss Something? presents an amazing and powerful post about real women in Inspired By. Don't miss it if you think that an important part of feminism is questioning your own assumptions. And while you're at it, read A Touchy Subject, by Book Girl at Falling Off My Pedestal.

Books and History
Because I can't blog without bringing up either or both of these topics. Key words: literary review, middle ages, meat, poetry, novelists, women writers.

Erasing Louise Labe describes the controversy over a French poet who wrote so eloquently about women over four hundred years ago at Ellen and Jim Have a Blog, Too.

Soy, Masculinity, Warriors, and Monks: Again, with the Meat is from In the Middle (a Medieval Studies Group Blog), and ties a current soundbite (get it, a sound bite) about soy products in with some interesting thoughts about medieval diet.

The new Feminist Review blog provides interesting commentary (and a couple more books to add to my holiday wish list): there's recent examinations of Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism, by Linda M. Scott, and Convent Chronicles: Women Writing about Women and Reform in the Middle Ages, by Anne Winston-Allen.

The review of Michele Landberg's Women and Children First: A Provocative Look at Modern Canadian Women at Work and at Home at Frieda's Feminist Book Blog brings a book that you may have overlooked back into the limelight (and onto my library request list).

Bitch Ph.D.'s Last-Minute Feminist Gifts has more recommendations for a couple of books that I'm sure many of us would appreciate as gifts.

20th-Century Women Writers at the National Portrait Gallery
, by Natalie Bennett (posting at the My London Your London cultural guide) provides an intriguing look at "the glam and the homespun" portraits of some of my favorite writers, and a couple more authors to add to my reading list.

And Finally
We have a few posts that can't be classified, but are definitely worth reading. Key words: music, language, the blues, and winter.

dogpossum writes about the blues in Just a Couple of Thoughts about Cold, Hot, and Va-Va-Voom.

Laurie and Debbie from the body impolitic tell us about Insults, Profanity, and Metaphor.

Malachi at Feminist Allies writes about teaching Japanese in I Reinforce Gender-Roles.

And finally, Tiny Cat Pants brings us a heart-wrenching but achingly beautiful piece of prose in Tribal Soul Mothers.

Thanks for reading. Happy holidays to those of you that celebrate in the next few weeks, and best wishes for a new year full of diversity and debate in the feminist blogosphere.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I haven't done any regular blogging because I'm having too much fun pulling together all of the posts for the next Carnival of Feminists for next Wednesday.

And in a moment of madness last September, I volunteered to be the "paint parent" at my daughter's Kindergarten every Wednesday morning. Have I mentioned that I hate handprinting and fingerpainting? AND to do the holiday party, which meant planning a couple craft & game activities, and coercing other parents to donate materials and treats for tomorrow. At least I don't have to make cookies for the party now.

I was forced to buy a glue gun. Actually, my husband got it when he picked up the extra foam for the snowman ornaments on Friday. After an exciting Saturday night gluing monofilament to foam circles (which the kids will decorate with buttons and foam carrot noses, etc.), I did have the crafty urge to glue more things, like pine cones and dried seedheads.

The urge went away after I started reading Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, by Bill Buford, and then watched an episode of the last season of Dr. Who (the Daleks!), though, and it hasn't re-surfaced.

I really wanted to write something for the Carnival myself, on the whole Neandertal women hunting vs. archaic Homo sapiens women gathering possible origins of the modern division of labor article in the NYT (now hidden behind their you-must-pay firewall), and went so far as to read the original article in Current Anthropology (also behind a firewall, but you can read the abstract here), but I doubt if I can actually get it done by Wednesday. There will be a lot of other great articles in the Carnival, though, and I urge you all to check back here then.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The 28th Carnival of Feminists

Now up at Diary of a Freak Magnet. There are some very funny posts there, and some very thought-provoking ones. Go read now, about the uproar in Norway about boys sitting vs. standing to urinate, about modesty and rape and a new law in India, about secretaries, and sexism in academia, about porn, on taking your baby to work, about girls, and "dirty words", and socialized stupidity.

I'll be hosting the next Carnival of Feminists here on Wednesday, December 20...just two weeks from now. I'm particularly interested in your posts concerning feminism and motherhood (or parenting), women in history (or prehistory!), and the difference and the contradictions between the feminism we preach or read about, and the feminism we practice in our lives. As the other hosts have mentioned, posts on other topics related to feminism are also encouraged. If it's a good piece of writing, I want it. Please send your submissions to before December 19 - especially if you've never contributed to the Carnival before. And don't be shy about nominating a great post that a friend of yours has written, or that you ran across while you were surfing something obscure.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Busyness of Actual Life

...has been interfering with my blogging. In the last month, both of my kids have had birthdays (complete with ultra-messy chocolate-frosted chocolate cupcakes for their respective classes of 26 and 15 kids, not to mention extra for staff), we've had the always exhausting and enlightening annual IEP (Individual Education Program) meeting, to continue to educate my son's school faculty and staff about Tourette's "Plus" (OCD and ADHD), and to brainstorm appropriate accommodations for a mysterious disability that is as unpredictable as the weather, four children's doctor visits (with one follow-up and a dental appt. coming up), one adult nurse practitioner visit (as a result I am going to buy a nasal irrigator, and hope it's easier to use than a Neti pot), teacher conferences, dead elm tree removal scheduled (only to have it postponed by weather) and driven to Chicagoland for Thanksgiving. If you're driving I-94 across Michigan through Indiana into Illinois, I recommend that you avoid the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. But the Friday afternoon following Thanksgiving is a great time to make the same drive (two and half hours shorter for our return to the Ann Arbor area).

Last week my son was riding his bike to school wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. It was 13°F this morning (with a windchill around 4°F), and we had to shovel an inch of light snow off of our sidewalk.

I haven't had much time for reading, though I did finally manage to finish The Omnivore's Dilemma. I post-it-ed (is that a word? if not, it should be) a bunch of stuff to discuss, but I don't have time to do it now. Interested readers might want to check out Pollan's shorter essays on his website - I was thrilled to find many of my old favorites there, including "Weeds Are Us", "Opium Made Easy" (warning: it's only illegal to grow the wrong kind of poppies if you read this article), and "A Gardener's Guide to Sex, Politics, and Class" (you didn't plant magenta zinnias, did you? Cause that's just so ..... slatternly).