General Motors has named Mary Barra its next chief executive, making her the first woman to head up a major automaker. Ever. Barra, 51, GM's current head of product development, will take the reins in January, culminating a 33-year career at the world's second largest automaker.
It shouldn't be, but this is kind of a big deal. After decades of gender "equality," only 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Perhaps after a few more decades of equality, headlines like the one on this post will be reduced to being merely offensive instead of ironic?
This Sunday, the all-women comedy night Wine Shots is throwing a special holiday edition of their sorta monthly, free-wine-shots-featuring standup night: a Golden Girls–themed show with special guests all the way from PDX—comedy troupe Lez Stand Up, which sounds promising. Cienna's written about past editions of Wine Shots here and here (you should click those if only for the fucking amazing posters).
As always, the city's premier Michael Bolton tribute band, Lightning Bolton, will be making an appearance, as will organizer Elicia Sanchez's "re-enactment of Phoebe Cates' monologue about Santa from Gremlins." Or so says Sanchez. Also featured: Free cheesecake slices with the wine shots. If you're in the throes of a horrible wintertime breakup, and also if you are human, there is likely no better place in the city for you to go. Booze? Cake? Laughing? Gremlins? Make a note of it: Sunday, Grotto at the Rendezvous, 8 p.m., $5.
A Montana judge says he doesn't deserve to lose his job for commenting that a 14-year-old rape victim appeared "older than her chronological age" when he sentenced her teacher-rapist to just a month in prison.
Let me restate: District Judge G. Todd Baugh, who is 72, thinks that implying a rape victim deserved to be raped because she looked like a grown woman isn't cause for losing his job. The rape victim wasn't available for comment because she committed suicide before the trial began. Baugh, who whined about his status as "kind of a lightning rod" due to the case, also said in a letter to the Judicial Standards Commission that the rapist has recently demonstrated "morally good conduct."
The ACLU is suing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and a Catholic hospital in Michigan, on behalf of a woman who says she was forced to endure a painful miscarriage at a Catholic hospital was never presented with the option to terminate her pregnancy. The details of her miscarriage go from sad to horrifying when you take into account the care she received:
The case involves Tamesha Means, who was rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon in December 2010 when her water broke after 18 weeks of pregnancy. The hospital sent her home twice, even though she was in “excruciating pain;” there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed a significant risk to the mother’s health, she alleged in the lawsuit.
But because of its Catholic affiliation and directives, the hospital told Means that there was nothing it could do, and it did not tell her that abortion was an option, she alleged in the lawsuit. When Means returned to the hospital a third time in extreme distress and with an infection, the hospital still tried to send her home, but Means began to deliver while staff prepared her discharge paperwork.
This is enraging but it comes to no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention to this issue—in fact, it's consistent with the Catholic bishops' directives, which ban abortion under any circumstances, even when a woman's life is in danger. I'd love to have a Catholic Bishop explain to me why pregnant women should be left to suffer through painful miscarriages on their own, or risk infection, or die for the sake of a nonviable fetus. Does it all circle back to sluts and Eve? Or because letting women die is God's Plan? Truly, I'd like to know. We have the technology to plant a pig heart in my uncle—Catholic hospitals aren't condemning aortic valve replacements, as far as I know—but when it comes to medical procedures and women, prayer trumps science. That doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't make any fucking sense.
If you need a refresher on how the fight between Catholic hospitals and their patients is playing out in Washington State, go re-read this piece.
Hey there! If you're a woman who has sex and doesn't want to have a baby, and so relies on at least one form of birth control to keep your body from baking a November surprise, you need to go read this rather startling piece on Mother Jones about how the morning after pill—an emergency contraceptive that women take when their first form of birth control fails—is completely ineffective for women who weigh more than 176 pounds, and only kinda works for women who weigh more than 165 pounds:
The European manufacturer of an emergency contraceptive pill identical to Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, will warn women that the drug is completely ineffective for women who weigh more than 176 pounds and begins to lose effectiveness in women who weigh more than 165 pounds. HRA Pharma, the French manufacturer of the European drug, Norlevo, is changing its packaging information to reflect the weight limits. European pharmaceutical regulators approved the change on November 10, but it has not been previously reported.
This development has implications for American women. Some of the most popular emergency contraceptive pills sold over the counter in the United States—including the one-pill drugs Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, and My Way, and a number of generic two-pill emergency contraceptives—have a dosage and chemical makeup identical to the European drug. Weight data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that, at 166 pounds, the average American woman is too heavy to use these pills effectively.
It's pretty distressing to realize that the Plan B packets I have stored in my bathroom are about as effective as prayer when it comes to preventing pregnancy.
"The only limitations on you are the ones you impose," Sive announces in one chapter. "Lead with your strength, even if it's perceived negatively by some," she instructs in another. Obviously, this isn't particularly gendered advice for aspiring elected officials. Nor is it particularly illuminating. Even the gendered chapters, like "Men are your enemies (except when they're your friends)" are pretty benign. These common-sense slogans could just as easily be applied to a lonely woman's love life as running for office.
And, like every self-help book ever created, it contradicts itself to cover all its bases. "The key to winning an elected or appointed office isn't staking out positions and advocating for them, regardless of the practical realities of getting those positions adopted," Sive explains early on. This is practical advice (that I happen to disagree with, but whatever). Several chapters later, Sive doubles back to explain that "compromise and negotiation don't work if your principles aren't firm... it is your duty to lead with the strength of your convictions and your willingness to manage the effects of acting on them." In other words, stand by your ideals but never stake out positions.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that Charlotte Laws has done an amazing service for humanity (especially the vagina-having half): She spearheaded an effort to shut down a revenge-porn website that featured a stolen photo of her daughter, and in doing so, helped many other victims of the site and helped spur California into adopting anti-revenge porn legislation.
Laws tells her story on XOJane. It's a teeth-grinding, rage-inducing, occasionally melodramatic account from an amazingly nonjudgmental, uncompromising mom:
Within a week, I had spoken with dozens of victims from around the country, and my findings were astonishing. A full 40 percent had been hacked only days before their photos were loaded onto Is Anyone Up? In most cases, the scam began through Facebook and ended when “Gary Jones” gained access to the victim’s email account. Another 12 percent of my sample group claimed their names and faces were morphed or posted next to nude bodies that were not theirs; and 36 percent believed they were revenge porn victims in the traditional “angry ex-boyfriend sense” (although some of these folks were on good terms with their exes and thought the exes might have been hacked). Lastly, 12 percent of my sample group were “self-submits.” The "self-submits,” of course, are not victims at all; they are individuals who willingly sent their images to Moore. In the end, it was disturbing to realize that over half of the folks from my informal study were either criminally hacked or posted next to body parts that were not theirs.
Everything about this unfolding story is alarming:
A 30-year-old British woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old Malaysian woman are believed to have walked to their freedom from a property in south London after media coverage on forced marriages gave them the courage to contact a support charity.
A man and a woman, both aged 67, were arrested at the home on Thursday morning as part of the investigation into slavery and domestic servitude, Scotland Yard said.
Freedom Charity, which supports victims of forced marriages or honour-based violence, contacted police after receiving a call from one of the women following television coverage on forced marriages
She told the charity she had been held for 30 years.
The women are reportedly highly traumatized—police are even investigating if the 30-year-old victim was born into forced servitude. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the women had "some freedom" and that "officers said there was no evidence of sexual abuse." Stay tuned.
Are you someone who checks in on a regular basis to see if Anita Sarkeesian has posted another video in her "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series? Well, then let me save you the trouble, because here's the newest one:
If you've forgotten about Sarkeesian, here's a bit of back story.
This newest video in the series came out a couple of days ago (the internet is a race, etc.) and it's the start of analyzing a new trope. While the first three videos were about the Damsel in Distress archetype, this starts to talk about what Sarkeesian dubs the Ms. Male Character trope, in which female characters are just male characters with a pink bow on their head. (Or eyelashes, or lipstick, or jewelry, or all of the above.) There's a detour into Personality Female Syndrome and the Smurfette Principle, she compares Eve to Ms. Pac-Man, and there's an old-school Lily Tomlin cameo. What more do you need?
This is one where you really need to watch the whole thing to get the full argument Sarkeesian is making—after 10 minutes, I wasn't sure I understood her approach, but by the end I got the larger concept and I needed to have gone through all the beginning stuff to get there. And this one seems particularly academic and less goofy; I wonder if that'll turn some people off.
A sharply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state's clinics to stop providing abortions.
The justices voted 5-4 to leave in effect a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The court's conservative majority refused the plea of Planned Parenthood and several Texas abortion clinics to overturn a preliminary federal appeals court ruling that allowed the provision to take effect.
The four liberal justices dissented.
The case remains on appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. That court is expected to hear arguments in January, and the law will remain in effect at least until then.
An Argentinian car mechanic has created an invention that'll suck the baby right outta you, inspired by one of those tools that extracts stuck corks from wine bottles. And apparently, it works so well that health experts are hopeful it could save the lives of thousands of women and babies who have difficult births:
Mr. Odón, 59, an Argentine car mechanic, built his first prototype in his kitchen, using a glass jar for a womb, his daughter’s doll for the trapped baby, and a fabric bag and sleeve sewn by his wife as his lifesaving device... With the Odón Device, an attendant slips a plastic bag inside a lubricated plastic sleeve around the head, inflates it to grip the head and pulls the bag until the baby emerges.
Doctors say it has enormous potential to save babies in poor countries, and perhaps to reduce cesarean section births in rich ones.
“This is very exciting,” said Dr. Mario Merialdi, the W.H.O.’s chief coordinator for improving maternal and perinatal health and an early champion of the Odón Device. “This critical moment of life is one in which there’s been very little advancement for years.”
It's exciting to see someone create a tool so basic and fundamentally useful. I only wish the babies came out with a satisfying "pop" and celebratory gush of cabernet. GET ON THAT, NEW MOMS.
Being "pro-life" (aka, anti-choice) seems to have become a tenet of Christianity, the two terms are so tightly entwined in the media. But obviously, not all Christians scheme to take women's reproductive rights away—just a small, screamy faction of Christian extremists who would also probably revoke women's right to vote, own property, or drive cars if they could.
The vast majority of Christians aren't like that. In fact, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, religious leaders are currently banding together to defeat a citywide initiative that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, otherwise known as late-term abortions. Think Progress has the details:
Early voting on the ballot initiative has already begun, and the anti-choice community is currently pulling out all the stops to drum up support for the 20-week ban. One local activist is driving around a huge truck plastered with graphic images of bloody fetuses, for instance. But the reproductive rights community is fighting back. They have formed a group called “Respect ABQ Women,” and they’re drawing on support from local faith leaders.
Led by the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a wide range of people of faith are working to defeat the proposed abortion restriction in Albuquerque. Members of Catholics for Choice — an international organization representing Catholic people who support reproductive freedom — have joined the effort, too. This week, Catholics for Choice is placing radio ads on several local stations to highlight the religious members of the community who oppose the ballot initiative. The group will also run a print ad that includes several quotes from pro-choice Catholics in the area.
More stories like this, please.
After seeing Gravity on Sunday, all I could think about was umbilical cords. I Googled "gravity movie umbilical cords" and this has already been written.
I was not expecting much from Gravity. I went in without a single warm feeling for Sandra Bullock or outer space. I came out completely converted. Probably, I admit, this is because at almost every single other movie I watch, I have to check my gender loyalty at the door—especially action movies. Thanks for writing directly about gender loyalty and camera angles this weekend, Manohla: "The truth is, if I were hung up about every predatory director or every degrading image of a woman, I couldn’t be a film critic. So I watch, loving movies that don’t necessarily love or even like women."
Is Gravity the least macho action movie ever to become a Hollywood hit? It certainly felt astonishing to me. A female lead holding the screen alone for almost the entire time? Not one shot fired? Have I entered outer space?
Yesterday, the New York Times ran a piece about a 28-year-old Wisconsin resident named Alicia Beltran, who found herself handcuffed, arrested, and shipped off to a 78-day drug rehab center she insisted that she didn't need, against her will.
Why, you ask? She's pregnant:
[Alicia Beltran] was 14 weeks pregnant and thought she had done the right thing when, at a prenatal checkup, she described a pill addiction the previous year and said she had ended it on her own — something later verified by a urine test. But now an apparently skeptical doctor and a social worker accused her of endangering her unborn child because she had refused to accept their order to start on an anti-addiction drug.
Ms. Beltran, 28, was taken in shackles before a family court commissioner who, she says, brushed aside her pleas for a lawyer. To her astonishment, the court had already appointed a legal guardian for the fetus.
“I didn’t know unborn children had lawyers,” recalled Ms. Beltran, now six months pregnant, after returning to her home north of Milwaukee from a court-ordered 78-day stay at a drug treatment center. “I said, ‘Where’s my lawyer?’ ”
Under a Wisconsin law known as the “cocaine mom” act when it was adopted in 1998, child-welfare authorities can forcibly confine a pregnant woman who uses illegal drugs or alcohol “to a severe degree,” and who refuses to accept treatment.
Beltran was ordered to complete the rehab program. She lost her job in the process.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is against laws like these because they say threatening arrest doesn't prevent women from abusing substances—if anything, it simply makes women wary of telling medical professionals their full medical history, which doesn't help either the mother or her child. But of course, this law isn't really about helping women, it's about punishing them. “If the mother isn’t smart enough not to do drugs, we’ve got to step in," the law's co-author tells the NYTImes. In other words, women are too stupid to know what's good for them and so they deserve to have their autonomy taken away.
The good news, if such news can be gleaned from a situation like this, is that Beltran is now at the center of a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Wisconsin law on the grounds that it "deprives women of physical liberty, medical privacy, due process and other constitutional rights," the NYTimes reports, and because it's "based on faulty information about the risks to newborns and ultimately does more harm than good... by scaring pregnant women away from prenatal care."
The bad news is that similar laws exist in Minnesota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota—and anti-choice groups are pushing similar laws all across the country because they promote the rights of the fetus at the detriment to women everywhere.
Have you seen this ad campaign from UN Women? It uses real Google searches—ones where when you type in words and it fills in popular searches to save you time—to demonstrate that sexism's nowhere near dead. (This one's for you, person who complains that feminists are whining about nothing!) Hey, what are people searching for that begins with "Women shouldn't..."? According to the ads, they often finish that sentence with "have rights," "vote," or "work."
The ad campaign is really effective messaging, especially with those big, beautiful photographs, and their goal is just to start conversations, to make the case that there's more work to to be done when it comes to fighting sexism globally. But surely they must've been edited, I thought. And doesn't Google know you a little bit as a user, maybe take your search history or your profile into account? I mean, shit, if I type "Women should..." into Google, if it has any computer-brain at all, it should fill in "destroy the patriarchy," "make more art out of menstrual blood," or something like that.
Nope. I get this:
As if that's not enough, try looking at results for both men and women. Cienna was looking at this same story, and yelled across the office: "Jesus, try it with 'men.'" So I did.
Gavin McInnes ranted all over a Huffington Post video chat in the most tired, men's rights-y way imaginable:
Women are forced to pretend to be men. They're feigning this toughness. They're miserable. Study after study has shown that feminism has made women less happy. They're not happy in the work force, for the most part. I would guess 7 percent [of women] like not having kids, they want to be CEOs, they like staying at the office all night working on a proposal, and all power to them. But by enforcing that as the norm, you're pulling these women away from what they naturally want to do, and you're making them miserable.
McInnes says that the "natural" order is that men are tough and women are on earth to shape life, which is basically just religious talk without the God thrown in, a lazy argument gesturing toward evolution by someone who doesn't understand evolution. And in any case, has humanity ever been interested in doing what's natural? Show me naturally occurring pants and then we can talk about humans being interested in following nature.
I've never been a fan of the Vice aesthetic as imagined by McInnes, and I hated his memoir with a burning passion, but this douchey rant really identifies McInnes as someone to be safely ignored. If he's throwing around flimsy ideas like this, he's got nothing left to offer.
Are you aware that Geek Girl Con is happening this weekend? I was down there today with an entourage of 8- and 9-year-olds so I didn't make it to any panels, but we did see plenty of costumes, explored the DIY Science Zone where the kids made slime and learned about genetics and DNA extraction, and checked out the vendors and artists.
The con continues 9 am-7 pm tomorrow, and there are still a limited number of passes at the door as well as select comic and gaming stores. Check out the Geek Girl Con web site for more details!
And here are a few of the fabulous costumes from today (I apologize for the occasionally crappy quality of my sad little point-n-shoot):
Photographer Hannah Price lives in Philadelphia where she takes photos of men who catcall her in public places. Her work is thoughtful and noticeably un-angry:
... she says she doesn't know how the project will affect the behavior of the men depicted: "I don't think it makes them re-think catcalling. 'Cause I'm just one person and we're all different people and we come from different places. I don't know in their experiences if they've had any luck with their catcalls. They probably have, depending on the person, so I don't think my one instance ... makes them re-think about what they're saying."
Price's process went like this: Someone—a man—would catcall her, and she would either snap their photo at that instant or she would ask to make their portrait.
Price says that taking photographs of the catcallers was a way to address and confront the people who catcalled her. "I'm in the photograph, but I'm not. Just turning the photograph on them kind of gives them a feel of what it's like to be in a vulnerable position—it's just a different dynamic," Price says. "But it's just another way of dealing with the experience, of trying to understand it."
The series also tracks with themes common in Price's work. The photographer, who is Mexican and black, gravitates toward photographing subjects whose ethnic identities overlap with hers.
The internet is a dumping ground for strong emotions and reactions—I'm most often compelled to blog about misogyny when I read or experience something that causes steam to shoot out my ears, and I'm certain that others are, too. What I like about Price's interview, and her work, is that the topic is familiar and uncomfortable (most women can recall their own experiences and emotions with being catcalled by looking at the portraits) but Price holds back on the details that might inform our stronger reactions to her work.
We only know that each photograph is the result of unwanted attention from a stranger. We don't know if that stranger said something overt like "I'd like to fuck you," or something subtler, like "Where are you going and can I offer you a ride?" In fact, we don't even know if the unwanted attention manifested in words, whistles, or gestures. Her experiences, and the resulting portraits, rest in a gray area that makes me to think about my everyday interactions with strangers—the guy who complimented my dog and then asked where I lived, the guy who said he liked my tights, the guy who said, "I like what you're wearing—I'd like to be wearing you," which was creepy and hilarious and somehow didn't manage to offend me.
In other words, it provokes me to think about nuance—the mundane borders of an inflammatory topic, and where those borders lie in my own brain. I like it.
Thanks, Slog tipper Emily Nokes!
Conceived by comic artist and memoirist Alison Bechdel, the "Bechdel Test" judges a work of fiction on one criterion: Does the work contain at least two female characters that talk to each other about something other than a man?
Tonight, some of Seattle's top burlesque artists take the Bechdel test to the stage, where they'll "gather to celebrate female fandom through the art of striptease....all without having conversations about their boyfriends!"
It's a great concept, stripping burlesque of all male-centric notions of "naughtiness" and titillation and somatic advertising. Plus, beautiful and hilarious women with stage-ready racks! Full info here.
Dan ruined your Monday morning with the story about a Missouri woman whose 14-year-old daughter was allegedly plied with alcohol and then allegedly raped by a high school football star, while her daughter's 13-year-old friend was allegedly assaulted in another room. The horrific details dog piled on one another: The woman lost her job after she and her daughter went to the police, the county prosecutor dropped criminal charges against the suspects, and the family's home was burned to the ground.
Yesterday brought a spot of good news to this horrific story. Thanks to international attention (and most likely pressure from the hacker group, Anonymous), the county prosecutor tied to the original case announced that new charges could be filed against the suspects:
In a news conference outside the county courthouse in Maryville, [Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert L.] Rice said he had asked a judge to appoint a special prosecutor in the case...He said he decided to ask for the special prosecutor after witnesses in the case said this week that they would cooperate with the investigation.
“Until that time,” Rice said Wednesday, “the witnesses never told me they were willing to cooperate and testify after they invoked their Fifth Amendment right in a deposition under oath.”
Rice’s account of the witnesses’ cooperation differs from that of Melinda Coleman, mother of one alleged victim, who contended in a story in The Star on Sunday and other media appearances this week that she had willingly spoken with authorities until Rice dropped the two most serious felony charges in March 2012, two months after he’d filed them.
Coleman was happy to hear that the case would have another look.
“I feel like that’s just so great,” she told The Star after Rice’s announcement. “Because at least we’re getting a fair shot. At least our story’s getting heard and not just swept under the rug.”
On Tuesday, Missouri State Attorney General Chris Koster asked prosecutor Rice to join him in requesting the US Circuit Court to convene a grand jury to review the case and determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
Suzanne Rivecca wrote a very long essay for the Rumpus about why men shouldn't write about Mary Gaitskill.
At the heart of these queasy, pedantic male polemics on Gaitskill, there is something defensive and tormented, something that feels an awful lot like fear. There’s plenty of gynophobia, yes; but it’s not just fear of vaginas per se. It’s fear of what vaginas can see. Pico Iyer, in a Time essay whose title—“Are Men Really so Bad?”—is as idiotic as its content, says that Gaitskill’s characterization of men in Two Girls, Fat and Thin is just as objectionable as Brett Easton Ellis’s much-maligned descriptions of women being butchered by a serial killer in American Psycho. He charges the public with hypocrisy and “reverse sexism” for failing to condemn Gaitskill’s defamation of the male character. “It is to be hoped,” he says, “that the outrage would be no less if Ellis’s monster had been a woman, or more of its victims men.”
In response to the essay, Mary Gaitskill wrote an open letter. Now, there have been a lot of open letters lately. Musicians have been writing open letters to other musicians, poets have been writing open letters to poets and to foundations. But Gaitskill's delivery, as always, is impeccable:
Opinions about my work vary wildly, but I haven’t observed that it’s predictable along gender lines, and in truth some of my best support has come from men. George Garrett in the New York Times was the first man to speak on Bad Behavior, and he was more than generous. When Two Girls came out, it was Greil Marcus who gave it a great review in the L.A. Weekly, contrasted with a very nasty piece of work by Elizabeth Benedict in the L.A. Times and an ambivalent one in the New York Times by Ginger Danto.
Do I think that male reviewers occasionally make mistakes when writing about female authors? Absolutely. I'm sure I'm guilty of that. I think about it a lot, I try not to be a douche about it, but I'm sure I've made a gendered assumption or used an inappropriate word when reviewing a book written by a woman. Do I think that reviewers should hew along their own gender lines when they're reviewing books? Absolutely not. How are we going to learn how to talk to each other, unless we talk to each other? I do think that because she writes so frankly about sex, male critics are more likely to make a sexist mistake while reviewing Gaitskill's fiction. When that happens, those critics should absolutely be called out for their errors, as Rivecca did. But I'd hate to think that I couldn't share my enthusiasm for Gaitskill's work because of my gender.
(Thanks to David for the tip.)
Good news, via the New York Times:
SAN DIEGO — Bob Filner, the former San Diego mayor forced out of office in a storm of sexual harassment allegations, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a series of false imprisonment and battery charges involving three women, according to the state attorney general.
The California attorney general’s office said that Mr. Filner, who resigned in August with a defiant speech denying that he had violated the law and saying he had been the victim of a “lynch mob,” had been charged with one felony count of false imprisonment by violence, fraud, menace and deceit, and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
Under the terms of a plea bargain announced Tuesday morning, Mr. Filner was to serve three years of probation and to undergo treatment at the directive of a mental health professional.
His punishment is three years probation and counseling, though—really? Filner should at least be forced to acknowledge, in writing, that he's been the victim of the most courteous lynch mob in American history.
I was going to buy you a "Happy Ada Lovelace Day!" greeting card with "Happy Ada Lovelace Day!" spelled out in pink binary code (OF COURSE) but they were all sold out when I went to the greeting card store.
So instead you'll have to make do with this article on a few of the wonderful things that women have invented but have received little credit for, thanks to their inverted genitals. We'll start with Lovelace, although I'm sure you already know all about her. Right???
The daughter of Lord Byron, Lovelace was steered toward math by her mother, who feared her daughter would follow in her father’s "mad, bad, and dangerous" literary footsteps. Luckily, she loved the subject, and remained devoted throughout her brief life—she died in 1852 at age 36, soon after an ambitious, proto-Moneyball attempt to beat the odds at horse racing by developing mathematical models to help place her bets.
When she was barely 20, she started collaborating with the inventor Charles Babbage at the University of London on his "Analytical Engine," an early model of a computer. In 1843, she added extensive notes of her own to a paper on Babbage's machine, detailing how the Engine could be fed step-by-step instructions to do complicated math, and trained to work not only with numbers but also words and symbols "to compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."
The notes are considered the first descriptions of what we now call algorithms and computer programming, and for decades, historians have argued over whether Lovelace came up with them herself, or Babbage was somehow the real author. "Ada was as mad as a hatter, and contributed little more to the 'Notes' than trouble," writes one historian, and a "manic depressive with the most amazing delusions about her own talents." But Babbage's own memoir suggests she deserved credit for the "the algebraic working out of the different problems," and more recently she's been honored with, among other things, a British medal of honor, a Google Doodle, a tunnel boring machine in London, and her own annual celebration. In 2011, the Ada Initiative was founded to help promote women in computer science and open-source technology.
Here's another great article on Lovelace, courtesy of Slog tipper Karen.
NOTE: SORRY I BROKE SLOG SILENCE, BUT LINDY.
Last night onstage in New York, Jane Fonda handed Lindy West an award while Lily Tomlin and Gloria Steinem cheered. ME, TOO. YEAH!
Lindy won the 2013 Women's Media Center Social Media Award. From her acceptance speech:
“I hear a lot these days about the lazy, aimless ‘millennials’ — about how all we want to do is sit around twerking our iPods and Tweedling our Kardashians — and I also hear people asking, ‘Where is the next generation of the social justice movement? Where are all the young feminists and womanists and activists?’ Dude, they're on the internet. They're working their asses off. And if you can't hear them, it's because you're not listening.”
Do it, L. West. Thank you.
If you haven't watched L. West's video in which she reads aloud every rape comment she got after she suggested that hey, maybe rape jokes aren't so funny, you must. Must.
The other 11 nominees are utterly impressive humans, fighters all. But as we here at Slog know well, nobody makes social justice fun like L. West. I'm stupid proud and excited for her.
Below is a seasonal favorite from Lindy. After you watch this, if you would like to see Lindy West Vs. Candy Corn Oreos, you will find that Halloweenness here.
Apparently, according to the head of animation on an upcoming kids movie, it's because "animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty."
He goes on to complain:
So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna being angry.”
Jesus, two female characters in one movie? Someone get this guy an Oscar or a Purple Heart, already. I can't imagine what a nightmare that must've been.
Conservatives can, and have, shut down abortion clinics. They can, and have, cut funding to reproductive rights organizations like Planned Parenthood and blocked sex education from being taught in schools. BUT THEY CANNOT TAKE AWAY OUR PHONES:
One goal of the national Planned Parenthood organization is to be there for those young people—to, as Leslie Kantor, vice president for education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, put it “reach them in their urgent moment of need.” Their solution was to offer live counselors able to answer questions either by text or through online chat, and their research, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, shows that the new program has been successful, reaching more than 250,000 people since it began in September 2010.
On Monday to Thursday, from 9 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. to midnight (all times Eastern), 20 well-trained staff members take questions. “Our staff have to be very good at assessing the question behind the question,” Ms. Kantor said. “Frequently people present with an anxiety that may be based on misinformation. They’re assuming they’re already pregnant when the condom broke 10 minutes ago.”
You can view the Chat/Text here and you can ask questions by text to 774636. This is the best use of text messages I can think of.
On Tuesday, I reported that the state's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) would stop funding things like baby food, fruits and vegetables and milk and protein vouchers for over 195,000 women, infants, and children on October 9, thanks to the federal government shutdown.
But! Good news! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has apparently reallocated funding to cover WIC's costs for the entire month of October.
WIC provides nutrition assistance and health referrals, along with breastfeeding support to pregnant women and their children up to age five, whose family income is at or below 185 percent poverty level. The state Department of Health contracts with local health organizations and tribes to provide WIC services in all 39 counties in Washington. The program also authorizes certain grocery stores to accept WIC vouchers for the purchase of approved healthy foods.
That said, if the shutdown continues through this month, women and children are shit out o' luck come November.
“WIC helps low-income families feed their children. We hope a budget will be passed and this important program can continue beyond October 31,” said Janet Jackson Charles, director of Nutrition Services at the Washington State Department of Health, in a press release today.
Don't we all.
ThinkProgress.org reminds us that, along with "nonessential government employees," i.e. most federal employees, it's poor mothers and their children that will be feeling the immediate effects of today's government shutdown:
Unlike Social Security checks and many other safety net programs that can continue to operate under a shutdown, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will cease issuing payments, leaving state governments scrounging for leftover funds from other programs that could be used to pay WIC benefits. Nearly 9 million at-risk mothers, infants, and children stand to lose their government-provided food money should the government shut down, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Saturday.
Some states might be able “to continue operations for a week or so,” but “no additional federal funds would be available” to the program, according to the USDA memo on shutdown contingency planning. “States can probably shelter families receiving WIC from the effects of a shutdown for a short period, but it could be a real problem if it lasts more than a few days,” one analyst told the Huffington Post.
Here in Washington, WIC reaches over 195,000 women, infants, and children in 205 clinics across the state each month. That's one third of pregnant women in our state, almost half of all babies born, and one quarter of children under five who receive nutrition-rich foods and other vital help from WIC. We're talking baby food. Breast feeding assistance. Fruits and vegetables and milk and protein vouchers. Help with medical and dental care.
Fortunately, Washington's funding hasn't run completely out—health department spokesman Tim Church tells me their office has enough funds to continue serving its client base for about another week.
"Basically, we did not spend all of our money from the federal grant that ended yesterday," Church says. "Right now, we are still providing services but that will only last until October 9. We're certainly hopeful that this is settled before then because if not, we won't be able to continue serving those on WIC... to help moms give birth to healthy babies and help those healthy babies grow into healthy toddlers."
On a related note, please enjoy this awkward exchange, courtesy of CNN host Ashleigh Banfield, who confronted two Republican representatives—Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)—to see whether they would be willing to furlough their paychecks in solidarity with most other federal employees:
This morning a Page Six reporter outed herself as the woman behind 300sandwiches.com, the blog that documents her efforts to make her boyfriend 300 sandwiches in exchange for an engagement ring.
The story begins (emphasis mine, because WTF?):
My boyfriend, Eric, is the gourmet cook in our relationship, but he’d always want me to make him a sandwich.
Each morning, he would ask, “Honey, how long you have been awake?”
“About 15 minutes,” I’d reply.
“You’ve been up for 15 minutes and you haven’t made me a sandwich?”
To him, sandwiches are like kisses or hugs. Or sex. “Sandwiches are love,” he says. “Especially when you make them. You can’t get a sandwich with love from the deli.”
I started with the easy things. My second sandwich after the turkey and Swiss was a two-second ice-cream sandwich constructed from Anna’s ginger thin cookies and blackberry currant ice cream. My early thinking was quantity, not quality.
Ten sandwiches or so in, I did the math. Three sandwiches a week, times four weeks a month, times 12 months a year, meant I wouldn’t be done until I was deep into my 30s. How would I finish 300 sandwiches in time for us to get engaged, married and have babies before I exited my childbearing years?
I made sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. I made sandwiches to get myself out of the doghouse — like No. 67, a scrambled egg, smoked salmon and chive creation that combined some of Eric’s favorite things to make up for my being 45 minutes late for dinner the night before.
Even after covering movie premieres or concerts for Page Six, I found myself stumbling into the kitchen to make Eric a sandwich while I still had on my high heels and party dress.
Sigh. I know worse people have gotten engaged for dumber reason, but this is insane. I love cooking food for and with my husband. I certainly don't think a woman can't prepare her partner a meal without first considering whether or not she's supporting archaic gender roles, but to take the stupid "Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich," quip and turn it into a "cute" little game with the reward of something as serious as marriage at the end is just gross. (As a counterpoint to this madness, please see Jessica Hopper's "This Is What a Feminist Cooks Like" in the most recent issue of Lucky Peach.)
Although, I do wonder what happens after she gets the ring. Will she have to do 300 loads of laundry for a honeymoon? Or maybe she will have to clean 300 toilets to earn a baby! So many possibiities!
I'm not worried about this sandwich woman, though. I'm sure if she doesn't end up with a happy marriage she will at least get a book deal, a (made-for-TV) movie deal, and plenty of money on the talk show circuit. How many carats does baloney buy, anyway?