Archive for ‘historical’

February 21, 2011

Planned Parenthood is not synonymous with abortion

by d
Picture Of Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral contraceptive...

Image via Wikipedia

Planned Parenthood has a really descriptive name. It does exactly what the name implies. We don’t talk much about “family planning” these days, and we should.

Before modern science kicked in, conception was, for the most part, a game of roulette. Folk remedies and leather condoms weren’t nearly as effective as people wanted them to be, but they kept trying. All it took was some observation and life experience to see how inconvenient–and dangerous–the lack of control could be.

When a woman gives birth too young, she and the child suffer. (18 is the minimum recommended.) If she has children too close together, she and both children can suffer. Doctors and midwives knew these things; parents knew them. But what do you say to a couple who have had the number of children they want? Spend the rest of your lives together in separate beds? More babies happened.

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s first president, was a remarkable woman who saw the effect this had on people, particularly poor people and women. She also saw this suffering as, at best, unnecessary. At worst, it was a deliberate means of keeping women in subjugation.

In 1912, after a fire destroyed the home that William designed, the Sanger family moved back to New York City, where Margaret went to work in the East Side slums of Manhattan. That same year, she also started writing a column for the New York Call entitled “What Every Girl Should Know.” Distributing a pamphlet, Family Limitation, to women, Sanger repeatedly caused scandal and risked imprisonment by acting in defiance of the Comstock Law of 1873, which outlawed as obscene the dissemination of contraceptive information and devices.

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January 30, 2011

Women Protesters of Egypt

by d

Egypt is being rocked from the bottom up.

Al Jazeera (which has had its Cairo office shut down by the Egyptian government) reports:

9:27 am [Egypt local time]: Making the rounds on the social networking site Facebook is an album compiled by user Leil-Zahra Mortada, who is collecting photos of women in the Egypt protests.

Mortada, the album‘s compiler says:

For everyone who has been asking where the women of Egypt are! I´m trying to compile all the photos with Egyptian women in them.

A homage to all those women out there fighting, and whose voices and faces are hidden from the public eye!

You’ll need a Facebook login to see the full album. If you don’t have one, here are some highlights.

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January 20, 2011

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly

by f

Since I mentioned I couldn’t write book reviews, I’ve been doing nothing but writing book reviews. I’m going to crosspost this with another blog. I won’t make that a common thing. Obviously I don’t want my identity catching up with me, but this was too much to resist. Besides, it took me forever to write; I might as well get my bang for my buck.

*

As soon as I saw Revolution, I knew I had to buy it. There’s something haunting about both young women featured on the cover. (Whomever the cover artist was, they did a bang-up job.) Jennifer Donnelly previous YA novel, Northern Lights,  was based on the same real-life events that inspired Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.  Donnelly’s prose prose is very emotional and rich. I had high expectations for Revolution as a result, and the first few pages — hastily glimpsed at the Union Square Barnes and Nobles — didn’t disappoint.

Revolution’s protagonist is a damaged young woman, Andi.  Threatened with expulsion after an uninspired performance at her fancy-pants Brooklyn private school, her absentee father comes home from Paris to take her back there with him. He plans to supervise Andi as she writes her senior thesis, the one thing that stands between her and total scholastic ruin. She plans to write about the (fictional) French guitarist Mahlerbeau, with an emphasis on his connection to contemporary music.

Andi stays her father’s friend, G, in his Parisian loft. G, a historian, asks Andi’s father to investigate an urn he believes might contain the heart of King Louis XVI’s son, Louis Charles.

As Andi explores G’s loft, she finds two treasures: a priceless guitar, and a locked box containing a two-hundred-year-old diary.  The diary belongs to seventeen-year-old Alexandrine Paradis, an actress suddenly thrust into the politics of the revolution and royalty. From the moment Andi starts reading the diary, she feels a deep bond for its author.  The consequences of her find runs deep, and compose most of what is so wonderful about this novel.

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January 15, 2011

Politics Gone Berserk

by V
Guarding approach to mills, Lawrence, Mass. (LOC)

via Flickr

This is probably not all that appropriate, since its mostly just a rant. But, I don’t care. I feel that I need to say something. And, I feel that this is a way to reach many people.

Yes, this is a rant about the recent shootings in Tuscon, AZ, and the violent rhetoric and imagery that foreshadowed it.

Its normal in any country for the politicians and other leadership to be unable to satisfy all of the people all of the time. That’s something that can’t be got away from. And that means there will always be civil and/or political unrest of some sort. That’s normal. That’s healthy for a nation.

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January 2, 2011

Untitled, by Marilyn Monroe

by f

I found this gem while looking through the excellent Fragments while at Barnes and Nobles today. The picture of Marilyn on that cover is arresting, but her mind seems to be as beautiful as she was.

December 30, 2010

The HPV Vaccine and You

by d
Pathology: EM: Papilloma Virus (HPV) Electron ...

HPV. Image via Wikipedia

If someone came up to you, out walking with your young child, and said, “Hey there, I have a vaccine that will prevent your child from ever getting a black eye!” would you say, “How insulting! My child will NEVER have a black eye! I am raising him/her properly and they shall never get into any sort of a scuffle! We use our WORDS in this family!”

(This would, of course, be followed by an incident where your child has an accident that gets them not one, but two black eyes.)

Of course you wouldn’t say this. You would recognize that accidents happen, that even if your child is an angel other people are not, and that your little darling might have a moment of poor judgment at some point in the future. You might still refuse the vaccine, but you wouldn’t act as though this sales rep were trying to blacken the family name.

That’s why I don’t understand statements like this:

“I was greatly offended that Merck suggest I vaccinate my nine-year-old daughter against an STD,” says Kelley Watson, a mother of two in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.

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December 10, 2010

Politics and Outrage: 12/09/10

by V
via David Horsey

via David Horsey

Management would like to introduce a segment called Politics and Outrage. This segment will link newsworthy items along with commentary. We SHOULD care about the news. We hope this segment will spark lively discussion in the comments.

This segment will run as often as V will write it for us.

Fox News advocates murder and assassination on air — This is mostly a video, and at first I was only going to show the YouTube link, but I liked what the blogger had to say about the video. Nothing like calls for murder and the stifling of free speech to start your day, right Faux Fox?

Sign of the Devil…or perhaps just encouragement — Apparently, some people (and school officials) in a Utah town dislike the idea of their elementary school kids seeing the word, “suicide” on someone’s signs on their own private property. At first, this makes sense. Until you stop and think for a moment, and realize that even elementary school kids can and have committed suicide before (although perhaps not necessarily for THIS purpose) and the man has his eye on the future — starting positive messages NOW rather than waiting until its already too late.

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November 17, 2010

A Royal Rush to the Altar

by d
The Badge of the House of Windsor (the ruling ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s finally been made official: Kate Middleton and Prince William of Wales are getting married. You know what that means, don’t you?

WEDDING FEVER!

Even better:

PRINCESS WEDDING FEVER!

I can see it coming on the horizon, and I want it to stop before it even starts.

When Prince Charles of Wales became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer, the world swooned. The crown prince, marrying a might-as-well-be commoner! And wasn’t she just so beautiful and gracious? What a kind heart! She became a media darling, and their wedding–a lavish affair by any standard–was watched by 750 million people worldwide. It was a fairy tale come true.

Well, we all know how that turned out. It was essentially a marriage built on rocky ground that went against Charles’ prior affection for another woman, and the marriage ended in divorce–SCANDAL! The world was so terribly sad–but they did so love Diana! That adoration didn’t do much to help Diana herself, though. And it all ended in tragedy, the princess dying in a car crash in France. (Conspiracy theories abound, but it was probably just alcohol.)

Everyone loves a good story, and we love to romanticize anything with a hint of fairy tale. We turned Diana into Cinderella though true love evaded her. What will we do with Kate Middleton, who has had eight years of love and friendship to solidify her match with William and decide for herself whether or not she is ready to take on the role of princess–perhaps someday queen.

The wedding will be this coming spring or summer and already people are speculating. What will Kate wear? Where will it be held? How big will it be? What flowers? How much will it all cost? Will her shoes be a gift from a designer? Will she wear jewels from the royal collection? (Her engagement ring was Diana’s engagement ring and jewelers are already inundated with orders.)

You know what? I DON’T CARE (that much). I’m interested, I admit. I will look for the wedding photos after the event and ooh and aah with everyone else. But I DO NOT CARE enough(!) to spend the next 6+ months daydreaming, obsessing, and hunting down every tidbit of rumor the internet has to offer.

And you know the internet and the mainstream media will provide.

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November 3, 2010

Class Reflection: Sex in the Victorian Era

by feyruhan
Cover of "Tipping the Velvet: A Novel"

Cover of Tipping the Velvet: A Novel

Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality

Class reflection: Sex in the Victorian Era.

There was *sex* in the *Victorian Era*?  Gasp!

I had heard of John Ruskin before, in a literature class at my previous college.  We were assigned an essay of his, I believe it was Lilies and Sesame Seeds, and I had a hard time getting through it because I found Ruskin’s message so infuriating.  Later, when we discussed the essay (and the essayist) in class, the professor (or maybe it was one of the students? Hm…) shared with us that poor old John had run away from his wife on their wedding night when he found, to his horror, that she had pubic hair.  It was bad enough that his wife had pubic hair, but the concept it implied was even worse: women, in general, had pubic hair.  Pubic hair was notably absent from all images of women he had ever seen, and the absence of it somehow epitomized to Ruskin the un-sexed nature of the “fairer sex.”  What could possibly be more mortifying to a man who so deeply perceived women as nonsexual, child-like in their simplicity, purity, and power of reasoning, than to discover—on his wedding night—that women, his simple play-thing, are in fact whole and sexual beings?

There was a lot of noise made, in the Victorian Era, about homosexuality: its wrongness, its rightness, its illness and its naturalness.  That is, the wrongness or rightness of male homosexuality.  Has anyone read or heard of Tipping the Velvet?  It’s a novel, a historical romance novel of some four-hundred and eighty pages, written and published in the last ten years—which should mean it has no relevance to this discussion, since it’s a work of fiction, right?  Wrong-o!  The book takes its title (Tipping the Velvet) from a term of the era in which it is set, the 1880’s—late Victorian times—a term referring to cunnilingus (oral sex performed on a woman); the term itself, which deceptively sounds like a boring aspect of millinery, was used by women of a sapphist persuasion.  That is to say, lesbians.  Victorian Era lesbians.  Yes, the Victorian Era had its lesbians, and they had their own hidden, under-the-radar, legally reprehensible but not legally recognized (that is to say, there were sodomy laws for homosexual men but no laws set out for homosexual women; Queen Victoria is supposed to have dismissed the possibility of female homosexuality when it was brought to her in legal concerns; “female homo-what?” was more or less her attitude), sub-culture.

The Victorians, thanks to England’s Queen Victoria and others, were known for a reserved attitude towards sex, sexuality, and all things involving the (female) body.  It’s interesting to notice that a (modern/contemporary) leading lingerie company—the opposite to a reserved attitude on sex, sexuality, and all things involving the female body—is named Victoria’s Secret.

October 27, 2010

What Women Want: Shaving?

by roxythekiller

Art by our own Roxy

Fear of my bodily hair consumes me— and rudely interrupts my sexual fantasies: I slide off my panties, and the sexy, shirtless guy lounging on the bed says in Antonio Banderas’s husky accent: “That’s not a pussy, that’s a Persian cat!”

Yikes.

Most men will never know why their girlfriends aren’t up for sex: shaving. Yes, shaving— female shaving: a time-consuming ritual which includes scraping hair off the armpits, crotch, butt, and vaginal regions. Although some women enjoy shaving, just as some men enjoy plucking their eyebrows, most of us shave for one key reason: Fear. Specifically, fear of rejection… that we won’t land that job, that guy, or worse, the acceptance of our friends and family. Although fear of rejection is about as old as mankind, and fundamentally human, the fear which compels women to shave their bodies is a recent one, encroached in disturbing double-standards and prejudice that dehumanize us.

Where the hell did this custom come from?

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