Posted by: Donna
“Hey, Gratehouse, do you think this Victoria’s Secret catalog is sexist?“, he asked me.
It was twenty some odd years ago and this was in the break room at the torpedo maintenance facility where my interlocutor, Torpedoman’s Mate Third Class Lee, and I worked in Yokusuka, Japan. This was in the dark days before online ordering was the norm and most of the women at the torp shop subscribed to the eponymous catalog. Not because we were lingerie junkies, but because by that time Victoria’s Secret had become a purveyor of a wide range of stylish and affordable women’s clothing, from the famous undergarments to jeans and boots and coats. Basically if you wanted more options than what was on offer the Navy Exchange or at the expensive stores out in town, you ordered from VS.
Needless to say, the frequently arriving catalogs were quite popular with some of the guys in the shop, as they featured (then, as now) the top supermodels of the day in underwear and bathing suits. The guys would pass them around (often without asking permission) and remark loudly on the attributes of the women within. There was more than mere male appreciation of the (very conventionally) attractive female form going on. It was shit like “boy, my wife sure doesn’t look like this!” It was a lot of very loud and very pointed commentary directed at whatever women were within earshot, with the intention clearly to remind us that we mere mortal women had failed to be as boner-inducing as were the Victoria’s Secret goddesses. Not that any of those guys were hot shit themselves but they knew society didn’t demand the kind of physical perfection from them as it demanded from women and they were not going to let us forget it.
Generally we women tried to ignore or laugh off the jerkoff behavior of the guys but every so often the baiting would get to one of us. Well, by “us” I mean “me” mostly, since I was on my way to becoming fiercely feminist by that point. Yeah, sometimes I’d say something. And it usually didn’t go over well (duh) and I’d feel somewhat awkward objecting to their behavior in the first place (because wasn’t I kind of, you know, asking for it by getting that catalog?) but I’d say something anyway sometimes. Because fuck those guys. Then again, sometimes I did say something catty (bad feminist me!) about the “unnatural” thinness of the models, because I was in my twenties and wanted to feel that I was pretty too.
Of all the guys in the torp shop, TM3 Lee was the grossest and most obnoxious. He not only made it a point to announce, loudly, that he was about to go ogle the Victoria’s Secret catalog, but he usually did so on the way to the shitter (the literal name for the commode in the Navy, to you civilians). And that one day he emerged from the shitter with the catalog (that no one wanted to touch by then) and stuck it up to my face and demanded to know if I thought it was sexist. There were probably a thousand better answers for me to come up with than the one I did, which as “uh, yes?” but I was caught off guard by the question and (I guess) forgot briefly whom I was dealing with and answered it as if it were a legitimate question and not a “gotcha” one.
I remember that Lee smirked as he walked off, undoubtedly feeling very much the victor of the exchange, and that I felt like a schmuck. Because it wasn’t the Victoria’s Secret catalog itself was sexist, since I ordered a bunch of stuff from it, but rather that it did promote unrealistic images of women to both women and men.
For some reason I remembered that when I watched Gloria Steinem, the 81 year old feminist icon, give her now infamous and cringe-inducing answer to Bill Maher’s badgering question to her, of all people, for why young women prefer Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton. He was baiting her, and she took it, responding that maybe it was because they wanted to be “where the boys are”. (Facepalm!)
What Steinem should have told Maher was that he should ask young women directly about that, if he was really interested in the answer. But instead she treated it as a good faith question, though there was no reason to think that it was. Bill Maher is a sixty year old wealthy Hollywood “bachelor” and it is not difficult to think of reasons why he might feel that young women are the ones who matter most, despite Hillary Clinton winning decisively among other age groups. In case it’s not obvious, I’ll just recall that Maher recently complimented a female guest nearly a decade his junior that she was still “fuckable at 50″.
Maher has been on quite a tear of late about how Western feminists need to be doing more (god knows what that would be) to combat the treatment of women in strict Muslim cultures. Of course he brought that up to Steinem and she pushed back on it pretty well by reminding Maher that there are active feminist movements in those countries. Steinem also pointed out that young women in America are actively engaged in politics and feminism and that they are dealing with issues now (such as crushing student loan debt) that their feminist forebears didn’t have to.
But she did fuck up with that one answer, wherein she should have instead told possibly the smuggest talk show host in America to stop trying to pit older women against younger ones like a smug dick. Steinem apologized but people are still flipping out about it and acting like it somehow erases all the work she’s done for women’s rights for the past fifty years. Well, if that’s the case then I guess we better all give up on this feminism thing because the forces arrayed against us are never going to stop shoving what are essentially the rhetorical equivalents of TM3 Lee’s shit-encrusted lingerie catalogs into our faces to bait us into “admitting” that it’s all been a mistake. (And sometimes we’ll just say dumb things unprompted! I know I do.)
We feminists are sometimes going to suck at it, often and especially if we are older and white. If younger women are rejecting a Presidential candidate we consider to be a feminist icon (Clinton) then we should find out why from them and not draw our own possibly unfounded conclusions about it. And we need to recognize that some people in the media are trying diligently to draw us into an “old hags vs young bimbos” narrative and resist it.
Posted by: Donna
So I have no problem with this per se:
It’s perfectly their prerogative for several Democratic legislators, county supervisors, and council members to endorse the Presidential candidate of their choosing. It’s even alright for the three people who listed their positions in the state or county parties to do so. I’ve never believed anyone was required to refrain from making an endorsement as an individual. What I don’t care for is the double standard. Maricopa County Chair Steven Slugocki tells me that he has been given a very hard time for doing things like simply appearing in a photo with Hillary Clinton supporters or “liking” a positive Facebook post about the Democratic Presidential candidate. I have a strong feeling that the animosity toward Steve goes well beyond disapproval of the appearance of impartiality by a party official or policy differences between the two Democratic candidates. No, it’s looks more like white-hot hatred for Hillary and her supporters.
And again, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with a bunch of Bernie Sanders supporters in, ahem, prominent Democratic elected and party positions putting out a press release and holding a press conference to express their support for Senator Sanders, there is a certain inescapable irony in it. Does it neutralize your being part of the odious Democratic “establishment” when you are supporting the “anti-establishment” candidate? Is that how that works?
Posted by: Donna
Until people quit murdering their children, abolitionists should go everywhere! https://t.co/1cpcEvq6SW
— Devan Lindsey (@DevanL3791) January 15, 2016
Some of them really do earnestly describe themselves as “abolitionists” and, yes, they do want to treat “suspicious” miscarriages as murder.
The Arizona Legislature is in session and, as sure as the sun rises in the east, the GOP majority has some anti-choice bills in the hopper. One that warrants highlighting is SB1474, put forth by the famously fetus-fetishizing Senator Nancy Barto. It would prohibit the use of fetal tissue for any research purpose, even if it were donated fully free by the woman the abortion was performed upon:
36-2302. Human fetus or embryo; prohibitions; definitions
A. A PERSON MAY NOT USE A HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR ANY PART, ORGAN OR FLUID OF THE FETUS OR EMBRYO RESULTING FROM AN ABORTION IN ANIMAL OR HUMAN RESEARCH, EXPERIMENTATION OR STUDY OR FOR TRANSPLANTATION, EXCEPT FOR EITHER OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. DIAGNOSTIC OR REMEDIAL PROCEDURES FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE LIFE OR HEALTH OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR THE MOTHER OR FOR PRESERVING THE LIFE OR HEALTH OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR THE MOTHER.
2. A PATHOLOGICAL STUDY.
B. A PERSON MAY NOT EXPERIMENT ON A HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO WHO IS INTENDED TO BE ABORTED.
C. A PERSON MAY NOT PERFORM OR OFFER TO PERFORM AN ABORTION FOR WHICH PART OR ALL OF THE JUSTIFICATION OR REASON IS THAT THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR ANY PART, ORGAN OR FLUID OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO MAY BE USED FOR ANIMAL OR HUMAN RESEARCH, EXPERIMENTATION OR STUDY OR FOR TRANSPLANTATION.
D. A PERSON MAY NOT KNOWINGLY SELL, TRANSFER, DISTRIBUTE, GIVE AWAY, ACCEPT, USE OR ATTEMPT TO USE ANY HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR ANY PART, ORGAN OR FLUID OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO RESULTING FROM AN ABORTION IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.
E. A PERSON MAY NOT AID OR ABET THE SALE, TRANSFER, DISTRIBUTION, OTHER UNLAWFUL DISPOSITION, ACCEPTANCE, USE OR ATTEMPTED USE OF A HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR ANY PART, ORGAN OR FLUID OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO RESULTING FROM AN ABORTION IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.
F. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:
1. “ABORTION” HAS THE SAME MEANING AS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 36-2151.
2. “EXPERIMENTATION” MEANS THE USE OF A HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR ANY PART, ORGAN OR FLUID OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO RESULTING FROM AN ABORTION IN ANY TRIAL, TEST, PROCEDURE OR OBSERVATION CARRIED OUT WITH THE GOAL OF VERIFYING, REFUTING OR ESTABLISHING THE VALIDITY OF A HYPOTHESIS. EXPERIMENTATION DOES NOT INCLUDE A PATHOLOGICAL STUDY OR A DIAGNOSTIC OR REMEDIAL TEST, PROCEDURE OR OBSERVATION THAT HAS THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE LIFE OR HEALTH OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR PRESERVING THE LIFE OR HEALTH OF THE HUMAN FETUS OR EMBRYO OR THE MOTHER.
3. “PATHOLOGICAL STUDY” MEANS THE EXAMINATION OF BODY TISSUE FOR DIAGNOSTIC OR FORENSIC PURPOSES.
The bill is obviously in response to the (now thoroughly discredited) “sting” against Planned Parenthood conducted by anti-choice zealots last summer. Anyone found in violation would be guilty of a Class 5 felony, which carries a minimum prison sentence of six months. In itself, this is a cruel bill because research on fetal tissue is vital to the development of a wide range of medical advances. AZ Republic columnist EJ Montini was appalled enough by it to characterize it as “anti-life”.
But this is also part of an ongoing effort by anti-choicers to elevate dead fetuses over the lives and health of living women. A few weeks ago there was a disturbing story out of Pasadena, TX, where a high school student allegedly had a miscarriage or stillbirth (length of the pregnancy was unknown) in the school’s bathroom. The fetus was found by a janitor and an investigation ensued.
It was unclear whether the authorities were focused on the girl’s well-being or on punishing her but, on her Facebook page, well-known abstinence advocate Pam Stenzel and several (though not all, thankfully) commenters minced no words about their own assumptions about the girl. She was a heartless, selfish, callous, probably murderous whore as far as the (obviously) anti-choice people commenting on the situation were concerned.
To many anti-choicers, a young woman who is terrified, wracked in pain, and probably in shock should know exactly the correct protocol for what do while she’s in the midst of miscarrying a pregnancy and she should definitely prioritize the treatment of the recently expelled contents of her uterus over her own safety and health. Because of course she should, and if you think I’m exaggerating, behold this model legislation from Americans United for Life (emphasis mine):
Section 1. Title.
This Act may be known and cited as the “Unborn Infants Dignity Act.”
Section 2. Legislative Findings and Purpose
(a) The [Legislature] of the State of [Insert name of State] finds that:
(1) Deceased unborn infants deserve the same respect and dignity as other
(2) The laws of the State of [Insert name of State] do not ensure that
miscarried, stillborn, or aborted infants receive proper burials or final
…(b) Based on the findings in subsection (a), the purposes of this Act are to:
(1) Ensure that the mother of a deceased unborn infant is given the
opportunity to bury or dispose of the bodily remains of her infant with
dignity and respect;
(2) Require institutions where deceased unborn infants are delivered or where
unborn infants are aborted to provide a dignified final disposition of the
bodily remains of these infants;
(3) Require fetal death reports for all fetal deaths as defined in this Act;
(4) Ensure that parents of all stillborn infants are offered the opportunity to
obtain a [Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth];
(5) Prohibit the sale, transfer, distribution, or other unlawful disposition of an
infant, an unborn infant, or bodily remains resulting from an abortion;…
Some of that language seems to be about compassionate concern for grieving parents of lost babies and it’s certainly a nice idea to offer such people death certificates and other services. But the parts I have put in bold are how they telegraph the intention to criminalize both abortion providers and women who fail to make “dignified” arrangements for whatever the anti-choicers deem to be a “baby”. They’re going to get you one way or another.
Posted by: Donna
— Sal DiCiccio (@Sal_DiCiccio) January 31, 2016
Someone’s being politically correct about this and it’s probably the guy looking in the mirror at you, Sal
Those wily Satanists have struck again! This time, they have requested to lead the prayer at the Phoenix City Council chambers. Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Kate Gallego have, smartly, not opposed them but other members of the Council have not been so prudent. Councilman Sal DiCiccio has taken it on as his personal mission to demonstrate clearly the point the Satanists (who openly admit to not being true believers in Satan) are making about what a farce “religious liberty” is, as publicly practiced by conservatives. It’s difficult to argue that you’re not favoring certain religions, and even going so far as to establish them as “official” religions (contra the First Amendment) when you deny some religions access to a public prayer because you don’t like their message.
Of course, consistency has never been a strong suit of reactionary conservatives, which is why we get garbage decisions like Hobby Lobby, where a boss’s
butthurt over uh I mean “sincerely held religious objections to” female employees using birth control gets codified into law. But if you want a clue as to why people, especially youth, are abandoning organized religion in droves, look no further than the way conservative politicians have hypocritical conniption fits whenever the Satanists show up. Sal DiCiccio et al should try taking a chill about it instead.
Posted by: Donna
Robert Robb makes a logically consistent, persuasive, and correct argument (sort of) in favor of the 2016 Top Two Primary initiative in Arizona:
The principal objective of the top-two primary initiative shouldn’t be sugarcoated.
It isn’t to increase voter turnout or eliminate discriminatory barriers to independent candidates. Those might be desired byproducts. But they are not the main event.
The principal objective, the main event, is to reduce the influence of conservative Republicans in state government and politics. Those who don’t like the outcomes of Arizona elections want to change those outcomes by changing the rules.
It’s really about reducing conservative power
Plainly stating the principal objective shouldn’t settle the argument, even for conservative Republicans. For there is something else that should be plainly stated: The current system of partisan primaries doesn’t fit today’s political demography in Arizona.
Under the current system, state law establishes conditions for having a political party recognized. Taxpayers pay for recognized parties to hold primary elections to select their general election candidates. Parties get other advantages, such as preferential access to the voter roll.
Robb is correct that claims of Top Two increasing turnout or helping “independent” candidates get elected are howlers to people who pay anything resembling close attention to Arizona elections but possibly plausible to those who don’t, hence such claims being at the forefront of selling the initiative to the general public and certain gullible pundits.
And Robb is on point with his assertion that the traditional primary system does not reflect current registration figures (a third of the state’s voters are not officially affiliated with any party) and the case he makes for removing taxpayer funding of partisan primaries is a solid one. It is objectively the best argument for changing to an open primary system.
So far, so good, but here’s where even Robb, who has thus far evaluated the initiative in the most clear-headed manner of anyone in the news media, gets it wrong:
It’s really about reducing conservative power
Nope! While it is true that many supporters of the measure who are “in the know” like the idea because they feel jungle primaries would moderate the more conservative elements of the GOP, that does not appear to be the top priority of the people behind Open Primaries. In my previous post I demonstrated how the Top Two organizers are engaging in strategies and rhetoric that do not appear to be directed at remaking the Republicans in Arizona so much as at demolishing the Democrats.
If you want to replace the John Kavanaghs in safe suburban Republican districts with Bob Worsleys, then it simply makes no sense whatsoever to be doing outreach in urban Democratic districts to convince the voters there to abandon the Democrats. Assuming they succeeded, how exactly would increasing the number of Republicans in the AZ legislature to a percentage far beyond veto-proof do anything to moderate the Republicans? You’d have a giant GOP caucus of conservatives with a small caucus of “moderate” Republicans within it that would have no more ability to check the right wingers than the Democratic caucus currently does, and probably less because they wouldn’t be an organized opposition.
But what you would have is a whole bunch of very “business friendly” legislators putting forth little to no resistance to the agenda of the public pension-plundering hedge fund managers, private prison lobbyists, and any other corporate hangers-on who are very eager to get this Top Two thing passed.
I’m sorry, but any plan to moderate the Republicans here that doesn’t involve electing more Democrats to force that to happen (because they’d have real competition!) is doomed to fail in that endeavor. It is especially galling that Top Two has been paired with Terry Goddard’s Dark Money initiative in such a way that Democrats are expected to participate willingly in their own destruction.
Posted by: Donna
As I drove home Wednesday evening I caught the tail end of a recorded segment on the radio about the Top Two Primary initiative. I heard a man telling KJZZ host Steve Goldstein (I’m paraphrasing) about how Democrats have little power in state government so Hispanic voters would do well to stop aligning themselves with them. I rolled my eyes and continued on but I saw this summary of the interview when I got home:
Arizona’s Latino community is gravitating away from either major political party.
Those were the findings of a recent survey by an organization hoping to reform elections in the state.
About 40 percent of Latinos in Arizona are Independent, a trend that becomes even more pronounced among millennials. According to the survey, more than 75 percent of respondents said Latinos should register as Independent and eschew the established parties. This is good news for supporters of a ballot initiative that would allow independents to run in the primary.
Danny Ortega is a co-chair of the Open and Honest Elections Coalition.
He said Latinos, who were once loyal to democrats, are increasingly disillusioned with the party’s inability to make meaningful progress on immigration, education and other issues.
“They don’t see the party as effective, number one,” Ortega said. “Number two, every state office is controlled by Republicans. The legislature is controlled by Republicans, and so Latinos don’t feel like they are part of the end game.”
Pay careful attention to all the wording there: Arizona Latinos, they say, are increasingly becoming “independent” voters and the majority of Latinos told a pollster (and I’d be really interested in seeing how the question was phrased) that not registering for either party was in their best interest. This is because Democrats suck! Republicans are somehow held harmless in all this, despite them being the ones responsible for SB1070, Sheriff Arpaio’s reign of terror, and an endless, nationwide stream of anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic vitriol. Amazing. That’s even worse than the “both sides are to blame!” false equivalence. Ortega is literally blaming Democrats for what Republicans did.
Ortega points out, correctly, that Republicans control the state government. Yet he does not propose that “independent” Hispanic voters could elect Independent candidates, nor does he explain in any way how rejecting Democrats will increase their power in Arizona. The only possible conclusion to draw from his statement is that Ortega thinks Hispanic voters, “independent” or not, should throw their support to Republican candidates, who will presumably be the “moderate” kind who support “meaningful progress” on immigration, education, etc. Unlike those worthless Democrats!
This is interesting because I’ve been told for years by supporters of this Top Two thing that the goal was to elect “moderate” Republicans in heavily white districts, such as Scottsdale, where no Democrat has a chance. But now it appears that even in heavily Hispanic districts that traditionally elect Democrats, the Democrats are targeted for elimination by it. Which makes sense considering Chuck Coughlin, who helped orchestrate the passage of SB1070 in 2010 to ensure GOP election victories, is heading up the initiative effort with Paul Johnson and considering who else is taking an interest in this initiative.
Houston indictments of anti-choice smear merchants show how their claims fall apart under the slightest scrutiny
Posted by: Donna
— Center for Arizona P (@azpolicy) January 25, 2016
Center for Arizona Policy, not dealing well with Monday’s news
So many anti-choicers were having a bad day on Monday with the announcement that a Republican witch hunt of Planned Parenthood in Harris County, Texas had gone hilariously awry, with the perpetrators of the video “sting” being indicted by the grand jury while Planned Parenthood was cleared, that it’s difficult to pick just one to highlight but I’ll go with Andrew Napolitano of Fox News. Napolitano, a former judge, had a meltdown over a Republican prosecutor not just going after Planned Parenthood out of opposition to legal abortion irrespective of whatever evidence came forth in the case.
“The grand jury does not turn around and indict your witnesses, the people who brought you the case, without the prosecutor wanting this to happen!” Napolitano exclaimed.
He continued: “So, why would this prosecutor, appointed by Gov. [Rick] Perry, a former judge, a Republican woman, why would this prosecutor want to do this other than to send a message like, ‘I might be a Republican but leave Planned Parenthood alone’?”
“Leave it alone?” Napolitano shouted. “They’re using tax dollars to kill babies and sell their body parts!”
Anti-choicers are now in full martyr mode, and continuing to make their lurid claims, despite no evidence turning up of these sales of fetus parts for profit, let alone Planned Parenthood using tax dollars to facilitate them, in multiple investigations in several states, because the right wing base will continue to believe them. But that Andrew Napolitano feels confident to make the bald-faced admission that the attacks are purely politically motivated makes it all the more maddening to imagine how easily the same mainstream news people who were duped by David Daileiden’s con job will fall for the next one and give it undue credibility.
And you definitely don’t have to subject every outlandish anti-choice claim to the level of scrutiny that a grand jury would to see what really motivates the movement! A trio of filmmakers recently created a virtual reality project so that people could see and hear what anti-choicers say to women as they enter clinics:
Today (Jan. 22), on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I went to Planned Parenthood. I sat in a room, bright and sterile, with a distraught woman as she recalled the trauma she endured just minutes prior — when she was verbally harassed by dozens of protesters outside the health center’s doors. She was visibly shaken and upset.
Then, I walked outside and witnessed first-hand the kind of tasteless vitriol that was being said. As I neared the Planned Parenthood’s doors, I was called a “whore” and a “wicked jezebel feminist.” My morals were questioned. I was told repeatedly that what I was doing, by accessing my right to safe and accessible health care, was the devil’s work. I felt sick to my stomach.
And then it was all over. Their threats were silenced, and I was left in the dark. I took off my virtual reality headset and went on with my day. But for millions of women across America, they’re not so lucky. They don’t get to just walk away from that distressing experience; they live through it. I’ve never been aggressively harassed by a group of strangers while walking into my local Planned Parenthood. But now I know, just a little bit, what that feels like — and it feels pretty sh-tty.
“Across The Line” is a five-minute immersive virtual reality experience that places viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. I had the opportunity to demo the harrowing project at the Sundance Film Festival.
Using real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes and documentary footage, filmmakers Nonny de la Peña, Brad Lichtenstein and Jeff Fitzsimmons created a powerful depiction of the often toxic environment that many patients must walk through to access health care on a typical day at Planned Parenthood. Virtual reality is often referred to as an empathy machine, and experiences like “Across The Line” best demonstrate its strength as a storytelling tool.
For about the millionth time, I can’t for the life of me understand how any damning “evidence” about Planned Parenthood produced by such angry, female sex-punishing freaks would be deemed worthy of a minute of respectful news coverage, let alone giving such conspiracy garbage prime op-ed placement in national newspapers. Of course, being treated as credible when they should never be probably goes a long way toward explaining why David Daleiden and his partners would feel it was just fine to commit various crimes in the process of “trapping” Planned Parenthood in the act of doing what they just know Planned Parenthood is guilty of.
And I seem to recall quite a few local news figures in Arizona having quite a lot to say when news of the fetal parts “sting” broke last summer, leading to an investigation by Governor Ducey that revealed (you guessed it!) no wrongdoing whatsoever by any abortion providers in the state. They seem to have forgotten all about it and none seem to have noticed this Texas story. Which is odd because I have a strong feeling that if the Texas grand jury had gone the other way, indicting Planned Parenthood, it would have gotten more attention here and maybe a local reporter or two at Planned Parenthood AZ’s door. But this? Crickets. So I guess it’s safe to predict that when they pull this bullshit again in a year or two, they’ll lap it up again.