The Lady Speaks

Strike | Dance | Rise! To end violence against women

“One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution.”

Violence against women is an unchecked epidemic. According to the United Nations [PDF], 1 in 3 women worldwide will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. One billion women. Gender-based violence causes more deaths and disability among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined.

Violence against women isn’t a local issue, or a cultural issue, or a national issue. It affects every woman in every country on the planet. It is a widespread pattern of women being devalued and dehumanized, regardless of where they live.

Victims of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, religious violence, economic violence, environmental violence, war zone violence. Rape and sexual assault, domestic abuse, incest, female genital mutilation, acid attacks, war crimes, child marriage, sexual slavery, forced childbirth, dowry murders, honor killings, murders of female infants, girls and women, lack of education, substandard or non-existent medical care, high unemployment, lack of proper housing or nutrition.

V-Day began in 1998 as a “global movement to end violence against women and girls.”

On February 14, 2013, the 15th anniversary of V-Day, women and men who support them — grassroots activists, writers, celebrities, politicians, artists, and ordinary citizens around the world — will join together and dance as a form of protest, until there are ONE BILLION RISING.

Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and creator of V-Day:

“When One Billion bodies rise and dance on 14 February 2013, we will join in solidarity, purpose and energy and shake the world into a new consciousness.

Dancing insists we take up space. It has no set direction but we go there together. It’s dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive. It breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere at anytime with anyone and everyone. It’s free. No corporation can control it. It joins us and pushes us to go further. It’s contagious and it spreads quickly. It’s of the body. It’s transcendent.”


Watch the trailer:

TRIGGER WARNING for violence, abuse.

Learn more at www.onebillionrising.org

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September 27, 2012 Posted by | Feminism, Human Rights, Planet Earth, Violence Against Women, War On Women, Women | Leave a comment

Sexism and The Media

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

At Shakesville today, I learn that irony isn’t just dead, but has been staked, shot, knifed, and garroted.

In case you needed any motivation for Assignment: Teaspoon below, CNN—yes, the same outlet currently running the question “Do you agree with Sen. Hillary Clinton that the press has ignored sexism in the campaign?” without a trace of irony, unless their position is: “No, we’re not ignoring it; we’re fomenting it!”—yesterday featured a panel debating whether calling accomplished attorney and advocate, former First Lady, two-term Senator, and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a “white bitch” is appropriate.

And there’s video.

Yes indeed. “The most trusted name in news” debates whether or not Hillary is right about sexism, and – to prove she’s wrong about sexism in the media coverage of the campaign – one panelist (a consultant for the GOP, no less) says it’s okay to call Hillary Clinton a bitch, because with “some women … it’s accurate.”

“Has the press ignored sexism in the campaign?”

Oh, no, dearies, you haven’t ignored it. You’ve done a pretty good job of fostering and fomenting it and giving it a platform with which to beat one candidate over the head for having the audacity to run for President while female. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

From this, I think we can see that CNN and Castellanos would approve of a poll asking, “Has the media ignored racism in the campaign?” while a panel debated whether or not it was acceptable to call Senator Obama a “n*gger” because “for some … it’s accurate.” *

– – –

* No, I am not saying it is acceptable, ever, by anyone. What I am saying is that if you substitute racism and a slur against African-Americans, you see how unacceptable “bitch” is.

I am also saying that sexism and misogyny are well-entrenched in the media. So well-entrenched that a man not only called a sitting US Senator a bitch, but claimed it was an “accurate” depiction. As Jeffrey Toobin points out in the video above, the same would not happen with regard to race.

May 21, 2008 Posted by | America, Clinton, Election '08, Media, Politics, War On Women, Women | 1 Comment

Happy Belated Mother’s Day

Yep, evil liberal blogger that I am, I failed to produce a post honoring mothers and motherhood and all those who aren’t mothers but step in to fill the breach. I’m sure it’s because I’m an anti-family, abortion-forcing, pants-wearing, male-hating feminazi. (Yes, I got an email cursing me for my failure to post and accusing me of just that. And no, it wasn’t from my mother. 🙂 )

Or it could be because I spent part of the day cleaning the house in preparation for my trip to Ohio this week, (I leave Wednesday.) and part of it reading several books from the TBR pile that’s been building up, instead reading blogs and other such.

It was a lovely Mother’s Day. I reaped my gifts from two of my three children (all of whom shall go unidentified to protect the guilty party who forgot what day it was and didn’t come home till after midnight) – a beautiful pot of narcissus and a card that made me cry from one child and an amethyst geode from another who knows her mother’s love of rocks and crystals. I also received pink and white pansies in coffee mugs from my niece and nephew, and a neat little book, “Who Else But A Mother?” and another card from my mom. In addition, I was treated to breakfast Saturday morning.

But for all those who were irritated by my failure, this one’s for you:

Continue reading

May 12, 2008 Posted by | America, Children, Family, Mother's Day, Parenting, Women | 4 Comments

But You Have To!

From Political Ticker, via Tennessee Guerilla Women:

Do you know how difficult it is for women to stand up and say we are the best at anything? The Democratic Party has to know that women are the core, women have to be at the table and women are going to be heard as we continue in these contests until they finally end.”
— Hillary Rodham Clinton

I’m in a rather interesting mood. Pissed as hell and depressed.

I’m starting to allow my heart to realize that Hillary may not win the nomination. She’s not giving up, though, so I’m not either. Hope springs eternal, and I’m going to keep fighting for her as long as she’s willing to keep fighting.

However, I’d be stupid not to look to the future and ask myself just what I’m going to do come November. The question on everyone’s minds is: “Will the Hillary supporters become Obama supporters once the nomination is decided?”

In my mind, there are two questions: Can I support the Democratic nominee if it’s not Hillary, and can I continue to align myself the Democratic party at all after witnessing, reading, or listening to hundreds (or thousands) of misogynistic attacks on Hillary and her supporters by other members of the party ?

I can’t answer for anyone else, and I will make no attempt to dissuade anyone from their own decisions about this, but — at this point, unless something completely changes my mind between now and November — I’ll vote for Barack Obama if he’s the nominee. Any Democratic candidate is – theoretically – better than any Republican. [Theoretically meaning: what’s happened since January 2007 that is different from what happened between 2001 and 2007? Besides more hearings.]

However.

I will no longer be a registered Democrat. I am leaving the party and those members of it who have used hateful language against a Democratic candidate and against fellow Democratic voters who had the temerity not to jump on their bandwagon.

June 2008 will mark the 20th anniversary of my becoming a registered voter. I have not missed an election since I became eligible to vote, and I have always been a Democrat. Until now.

I’m done.

But apparently, that’s just fine with certain parts of the party who tell me they don’t need my vote. Just ask Donna Brazile.

I’m just one of those typical, white, blue-collar, traditional Democratic, over-30 but not quite 40, women to whom $30 in gas savings means a lot (like, a month’s worth of one of my prescriptions, or one month’s phone bill payment, or 15 days’ worth of school lunches for one of my younger kids), who wants clear and direct answers about how a candidate intends to bring our troops home (and when!), solve the economic crisis, restore America’s reputation abroad, close Guantanamo and end America’s human rights abuses, help families who are losing their homes, end our oil dependence, secure women’s full reproductive rights, create equality in the workplace (and every place) for women, minorities, GLBTQs, create jobs, end our financial dependence on China – among many, many other vital issues. In other words: no one important or anything.

Yes, yes, I hear the cries of: “She’s pandering!”

Fuck yes, pander to me! Over the past 7 years, we’ve watched politicians pander to one – and only one – constituency: the rich and powerful. Now — Goddess forbid! — someone wants to pander to the poor, the middle-class, the families, the small businesses, the women? Well, hell yeah!

But Hope and Change© apparently means not pandering to the people in this country who are struggling and need relief from the high cost of food, gasoline, utilities, and every other goddamned thing out there. Hope and Change© aren’t about helping those who — forget making ends meet — can’t even get the ends within sight of one another.

So, when it comes time to cast my ballot, if the nominee is Barack Obama, I’ll suck it up, hold my nose, and press the switch – as an Independent. And I’ll probably, in my bitterness, proclaim as I do so, “May the Goddess have mercy on my soul.” (Yes. I am bitter. I’m bitter because I actually thought Democrats were the party of women, of labor unions, of blue-collar laborers, of the underdogs of society, and boy, I’ve been proven wrong this year.)

But between now and the nomination, I’m going to light my candle, and I’m going to use my teaspoon, and no matter how this turns out, I’m going to know I did my damnedest to elect the first female President of the United States of America.

May 8, 2008 Posted by | America, Clinton, Election '08, Government, Life, Politics, Voting, War On Women, White House, Women | 1 Comment

My Vote

I have been on the fence for some time now as to which candidate I would support in the upcoming primary. My preferred candidate, John Edwards, left the race before Super Tuesday. Those who were left didn’t impress me much.

So I kept reading, kept studying. I listened to the opinions of those I trust, asked myself what “features” I want in a candidate, and was bombarded with blogs voicing one opinion or the other.

As time has gone by, I’ve found myself increasingly frustrated by the sexism and misogyny directed at our first viable female Presidential candidate. While I didn’t agree with many of her positions, and certainly was angry about several of her Senate votes – notably the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment – I was just as disappointed by Barack Obama.

Actually, I’ve been more disappointed by Obama. Hillary only had to convince me she wasn’t as bad as I thought. Obama convinced me almost from the very beginning of his Presidential campaign, but – over the past 16 months or so – his lack of concrete policy details, and his supporters’ eagerness to revile Hillary Clinton in sexist and misogynistic language as well as accuse her of nearly every evil, short of actually calling her the Anti-Christ, turned me away and kept me away.

In the beginning, I was thrilled by his candidacy. I read The Audacity of Hope. I paid attention to what he was saying, and I tried to see exactly where he stood on issues that concern me.

And that might have been the problem. My paying attention, that is. Because the more Barack Obama spoke, the less inclined to vote for him I became. He has some great soundbites, slogans, and ear-worms, but very little to offer, other than the now-ubiquitous Hope and Change.

Hope and Change alone aren’t going to restore America’s image around the world. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to end the war in Iraq. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to insure the uninsured or make healthcare costs more affordable. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to reduce emissions and slow global warming. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to provide desperately-needed jobs. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to protect human rights. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to stop foreclosures. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to strengthen the dollar, reduce the trade deficit, or pay off America’s trillion-dollar debts.

I want a detailed plan that tells me how a candidate is going to deal with the very serious problems facing America. I don’t have to agree with the nitty-gritty so much as I want to see what a candidate considers important, and I want to see what their goals are, and what steps they want to take to accomplish them.

I want to know that a great deal of what I consider important – as a mother, as a woman, as a Pennsylvanian, as a citizen of the US – is also important to my candidate.

So.

Here we are a week before the Pennsylvania primary, and I’m not going to flip a coin or write in John Edwards. Both of which I’d considered, right up until Obama told a bunch of rich donors that we in small-town America are bitter and cling to our “guns, religion, and antipathy” due to the failures of our government.

[Hell, yes, I was insulted, and my choices became one fewer: Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. Certainly my vote isn’t going to the guy who said frustration with our government leads small-town people to guns, God, and hatred. Perhaps said frustration doesn’t lead to said clinging in larger, more urban settings? Except, of course, that wouldn’t explain the amount of violence, megachurches, and gang warfare one finds in the average American city.]

But in the last two hours, my decision became clear.

What happened in two hours, you ask? Only that I read this via eRiposte at The Left Coaster: Hillary Clinton’s speech to the Newspaper Association of America.

In particular, the portion of the speech in which she talks about what she will do in her first 100 days as President: [all emphasis mine]

But the question before us is deeper than how the next president will restore our government and our Constitution. The question is how the next president will employ our government. I am here and I am running for president because I have seen the promise of America and I do understand the promise of the presidency and on day one I will bring my hard won experience, whatever strength and knowledge I posses to fulfill that promise. I will start by trying to live up to the model described by Teddy Roosevelt – “All that in me lies to do will be done to make my work a success.” And I plan to hit the ground running starting on day one and throughout my first 100 days.

During that time I will call on congress to send to my desk the bills the president vetoed, from supporting stem cell research to expanding Children’s Health Care and I will sign them, allowing scientists to better explore the promise of new cures for disease- diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and so much else. And we will provide health insurance for millions more of our children as a down payment on achieving health care for all Americans with no exceptions.

My administration will call together meeting of mortgage lenders, banks, community organizations and regulators to negotiate an immediate freeze on foreclosures, because so many Americans are hurting and the projection is that more than 2 million families will be foreclosed on this year. I will call for a timeout on new trade agreements and review all existing trade agreements and I will call on Canada and Mexico to work with me to renegotiate NAFTA.

My budget to congress will restore fiscal sanity while cutting taxes for middle class families to the tune of 100 billion dollars a year, ending tax breaks for oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, Wall Street and others to the tune of 55 billion dollars a year.

I will work with Congress to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill.

My administration convene a summit within 100 days to negotiate a new climate change treaty to replace Kyoto and one that includes China, India and other rapidly developing and very big green house gas emitting nations. I will work with the Congress to submit a comprehensive energy bill that will move us toward ending our dependence on foreign oil and increasing the percentage of renewable fuels we use to produce electricity.

I will overturn the global gag rule to allow nongovernmental organizations to practice free speech and use other funding sources to provide women with access to the full range of reproductive health care around the world.

I will call a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and demand that the Pentagon draw up plans to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq responsibly and carefully starting within 60 days of my inauguration. I will reach out to the rest of the world and ask distinguished Americans of both parties to be emissaries on our behalf traveling across the globe telling both governments and people that the united states is willing once again to work with you to try to find common ground on our problems from global warming to global terrorism to global epidemics.

I will sign executive orders ending the war on science, ordering the closure of Guantanamo, reversing many of the anti-labor provisions that President Bush adopted and looking very clearly at what we have to do to rebuild a strong and prosperous middle class in our country.

In short, starting from day one, the Bush-Cheney era will be over in name and in practice. We are fortunate in our country that we get to overturn our government peacefully and thoroughly. The question is the path we select at such an important juncture. I know this campaign has gone on a long time, but elections do end and when the campaigns conclude and the banners are town down and the speeches are finally finished, all that’s left is the choice we have made.

Come election day, I will be casting my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

April 17, 2008 Posted by | America, Clinton, Election '08, Government, Pennsylvania, Politics, Women | 6 Comments

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon – Feminist Edition

What is a feminist?

The answer changes from person to person. The MRA’s tell us women are out to dominate the world and reduce men to babbling pink and lavender shells of their former selves. There are women, like Phyllis Schafly, who have made careers out of telling other women not to have careers – but don’t anyone think about telling them to get back to the kitchen. There are patriarchy-haters who see anything associated with men, marriage, and/or children as evil. There are feminist-haters who see all change and progress after the 1950’s to be evil.

So, what exactly is feminism? What separates a “feminazi” from a “feminist”? Who draws those lines that say “this” is okay, but “that” isn’t, and “that one” is in the murky gray area?

The problem is the lines change depending on who’s drawing them.

Conservatives drive me batty because every single line they draw is contradicted by another line they draw.

You have those who say women shouldn’t work, that they should get married, stay home, raise their children. But, show a woman who does that and needs the help of a government program – SCHIP, for example – and suddenly she’s drawing fire for spending time at home.

That’s just one example, but it applies to nearly everything “they” believe about what women “should do.” If you’re well-to-do or even wealthy because of your educational and career choices, then your ass belongs at home raising and nurturing your children. If you’re poor because of a lack of skills or lack of jobs above minimum-wage, then your ass belongs in the workforce.

Except, it’s not that simple, because some study is going to come out showing children of fulfilled career mothers do better in school or something, and then another will come out that says children whose mothers work have lower self-esteem or something, and then another comes out that says children do better in school if their mothers stay home and teach them happy little songs, and then another comes out…. Well, you know the drill. No choice we make is ever going to be the right one.

And that’s just the motherhood example. The “debate” between those who are childless by choice and those who choose motherhood (or had it chosen for them by failures in birth control, etc) can be even more vicious, but trust me, there is so-called “debate” over every possible choice a woman could possibly make about her life.

So, you’re asking, what do I call a feminist?

Follow me below the fold for more

November 11, 2007 Posted by | Daughters, Feminism, Politics, Sisters, Women | 1 Comment

Scranton Police Now Language Cops

There’s a reason or a hundred why I hate the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area, most of them relating to the roads and highways which seem to have been designed and built by drunk, one-eyed men with inner ear problems.

But this takes the cake.

A woman was cited for disorderly conduct — for cursing in her own house.

From the Scranton Times-Tribune, via Shakesville:

A West Scranton woman could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300 for allegedly shouting profanities at an overflowing toilet while inside her Luzerne Street home.

Dawn Herb, whose potty mouth caught the attention of an off-duty police officer, was charged with disorderly conduct recently, prompting her to fire off a letter to the editor and vow to fight the charge.

“It doesn’t make any sense. I was in my house. It’s not like I was outside or drunk,” said Ms. Herb, who resides at 924 Luzerne St. along with her four young children. “A cop can charge you with disorderly conduct for disrespecting them?”

[snip]

Patrolman Gerald Tallo responded and charged Ms. Herb with disorderly conduct.

The citation accuses the defendant of using obscene language or gestures “with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly (creating) a risk …”

Reading farther, I discover that “The use of obscene language or gestures is an offense under the state criminal code.”

What?!

Goddamn. I am in some fuckin’ trouble…. Oops!

October 17, 2007 Posted by | America, Pennsylvania, Whacko Nut Cases, Women | 2 Comments

Teaching Our Daughters To Love Themselves

TRex had a great Late Night post at FDL last night, which I missed until tonight, and since it’s a tad late to be commenting there, I figured I’d post my thoughts here. (That is why I have a blog, right?)

From TRex:

I can’t imagine what it must be like to raise a daughter in this media climate. I just can’t.

[snip]

I don’t think I need to run this down for you guys. You know the deal. The world of fashion and fashion publishing (and the movie industry, and TV, and music videos, and on and on) present an ideal of “beauty” that is an image of sickness, of starvation.

He also quotes author J.K. Rowling writing at her website last year.

From the Telegraph:

Waif-like models were condemned by JK Rowling yesterday as “empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones”.

The author of the Harry Potter novels said she did not want her daughters, Mackenzie, one, and Jessica, 12, to emulate women whose only function was to support the trade in “over-priced handbags and rat-sized dogs”.

[snip]

“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny a thousand things, before ‘thin’.”

Amen and hallelujah.

I have a beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter. She’s everything I – and J.K. Rowling – could want in a daughter.

This is one of my favorite photos of her, from this past spring. I just love that expression. You can tell she doesn’t suffer fools lightly. (She was trying to take a nap while Mom kept snapping pictures and annoying her with the flash.)

Gorgeous, talented, intelligent, kind, thoughtful… she’s all of that and more.

But, she thinks she’s fat.

Why? Because she’s 5’7″ (and still growing!) and 130 pounds. She is no Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-sized pixie, folks. She’s strong and active and, yes, she can take on both of her older brothers, including the football player. I call her my Amazon princess. But, fat? Hardly.

Unfortunately, despite what I say, despite what her dad says, despite what her grandparents and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins say, despite what her doctor says, despite what the boys who want to date her (ugh!) say, she believes she’s fat because she’s not an anorexic twig.

Gee, thanks, ultra-thin-obsessed media. Bad enough that our “news” media spends more time talking about Paris and Nicole and Britney and Lindsey – rather than actual … y’know … news.

But this kind of nonsense doesn’t help:

This is the cover of the newest issue of a women’s magazine (name and other items blacked to prevent the possibility of lawsuits) .

What’s the first thing you notice? That big-ass cake, right? And what’s right above it? Yeah, that headline.

Anyone else ever notice this? Magazines marketed to moms or the over-30 woman do this every month. Big dessert taking up half the front cover, while “LOSE WEIGHT” headlines dominate.

Can you say, ‘mixed message’? I thought you could.

Then of course, there’s the checkout-line tabloids, with covers pointing out every little flaw in various swimsuit-clad celebrities. (This, after other magazines have air-brushed and Photo-shopped them within an inch of their lives to eliminate those very same flaws.)

I think the best things we can do for our children, but especially our daughters are:

1) Eliminate or severely restrict television viewing. I can tell you, the Disney show Lizzie McGuire did nothing but teach my daughter to be an air-head more concerned with popularity than getting good grades and being a kind person. Getting rid of the TV was the single most-effective way of eliminating that “role model.’

If you do allow TV, talk to your kids about what they’re seeing. Counteract the negative messages that anorexic models are sending out while pimping make-up and clothing.

2) Stop buying women’s magazines! You think your daughter doesn’t get the messages that you’re also being sent? “Eat cake, but…” “Only thin girls get the boy.” “Be sexy at an early age – preferably before you even hit puberty!”

3) Teach your children to be loving and kind and empathetic – and praise them for showing those traits! “What a kind boy you are for sharing your crayons with _____!” “What a great grade! I’m so proud of what a smart girl you are!” “What a good helper you are!”

4) Teach your daughters that being a “good girl” has nothing to do with being submissive, or silent, or accepting of bad things or bad behaviors. That it doesn’t mean acting like a brainless twit or never sweating (popular when I was young – a caution against being ‘too physical’) or being emaciated.

5) Teach your daughters to be proud of their accomplishments in academic and physical activities.

6) Teach them to stand up for themselves – even when it causes you headaches. (Yes, nothing is worse as a parent than when your daughter stands up for herself against you, but dear goddess, it’s a blessing when they stand up against injustice and against the abuse of themselves and others.)

7) Teach your daughters that it’s what’s inside that is beautiful. And that beautiful insides create beautiful outsides.

Shorter me: Teach your daughters to be more like Hannah Lundquist and her classmates.

 

 

October 2, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Daughters, Family, Life, Parenting, Sisters, Uncategorized, Women | Leave a comment

What Our Childrens is Learning…

I hated my high school, and most of the teachers in it. I still dislike most high schools and most of the teachers and administrators in them. (School choice? Doesn’t exist in Bradford County unless you want to pay an outrageous amount of tuition.)

I’m sure it all stems from being whacked on the head with my 6th-grade teacher’s big-ass paddle – the one with air holes drilled through it so it would hurt more when it hit your ass. (How did it hit my head? Well, there’s his story – that it slipped out of his hand – and my theory – which is that I was leaning my chair back again and reading in class, so he decided to “remind” me not to do that.)

Or it could be from the time the school mandated that girls (and only girls) had to wear tube socks with their gym clothes. Ugh! Did anyone in high school in the mid-80s wear tube socks? Apparently wearing shorts exposed too much skin, so they decided we should cover our lower legs?

Or it could be from the time I was unjustly given a D-minus grade because my “potential” was so much higher than the other students that it wasn’t “fair” to them if I received an appropriate grade – because the material was so much “easier” for me than for them; they’d put more “effort” into getting their B’s and C’s.

Acckk…the flashbacks!

Anyway….

Schools are about one thing and one thing only – teaching children to be unquestioningly compliant with authority. Nice if they learn the three R’s and a little more, but really, it’s about teaching obedience.

As anyone who’s ever attended high school knows: Kids have no rights. None.

Here’s a lovely example of idiocy run amok: (via Pandagon and Slacktivist) Tri-Valley Central School in Grahamsville NY created a “no backpacks or bags” rule. (Supposedly for security reasons, as well as to prevent back injuries among students caused by excessive homework loads and/or tripping hazards.)

And then…

From the Times Herald-Recorder’s recordonline:

Several television news crews from New York City are camped outside the Tri-Valley Central School following the story in today’s Times Herald-Record about what question a school security guard asked a 14-year-old female student.

The girl was called out of class by a security guard during a school sweep last week to make sure no kids had backpacks or other banned bags.

Samantha Martin had a small purse with her that day.

That’s why the security guard, ex-Monticello cop Mike Bunce, asked her The Question.

She says he told her she couldn’t have a purse unless she had her period. Then he asked, “Do you have your period?”

Samantha was mortified.

She says she thought, “Oh, my God. Get away from me.” But instead of answering, she just walked back into class.

At home, she cried, and told her mother what happened.

It appears that at least a few other girls were also asked the same question. [my emphasis]

OH MY GOD!

Can you imagine asking any woman that question – especially a “newbie” one?! Teen girls are already going through enough what with hormones going every which-a-way and the complete and total fear of being humiliated in front of their peers – and some man asks if she’s having her period, so she can justify carrying a purse?!

I was a terribly shy student in 9th grade. Even as a senior, after the worst of the paralyzing shyness ended, I used to hide my tampons in a zippered folder in my binder, because carrying them in your purse was an invitation for someone (Candy K., you bitch) to steal your purse and empty its contents on the floor in the front of the room. (I once abandoned a small purse with my extra pens, change, a ticket stub from a Foreigner concert, and – yes – my tampons, because the witch dumped it on the teacher’s desk.)

If someone in authority had asked me this question when I was that age, especially a male person, I would have wanted to die right there, and it would have taken my mother literally dragging me by the hair to make me go back there.

The girls at Tri-Valley Central are tougher cookies than I was at that age, though:

The small Sullivan County school has been in an uproar for the last week. Girls have worn tampons on their clothes in protest, and purses made out of tampon boxes. Some boys wore maxi-pads stuck to their shirts in support.

After hearing that someone might have been suspended for the protest, freshman Hannah Lindquist, 14, went to talk to Worden. She wore her protest necklace, an OB tampon box on a piece of yarn. She said Worden confiscated it, talked to her about the code of conduct and the backpack rule — and told her she was now “part of the problem.”

Goddess love ya, ladies! And gents, too! I can’t imagine even one of the young men in my high school being willing to even acknowledge the existence of tampons and maxi-pads, much less wear them stuck to their shirts in a show of support against a school regime gone completely off the tracks.

October 1, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Education, Health, War On Women, Women | 6 Comments

For the Cure

Today is the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Over the next month, people all over the country and all over the world will race, walk, ride, dance, bake, and blog for the cure, to name a just a few.

For our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our aunts. For real-life friends and online friends.

To support those fighting for their lives. To honor those who’ve won. To remember those who’ve lost.

For WhyMommy. For Jane.

October 1, 2007 Posted by | Breast Cancer Awareness, Friends, Health, Life, Women | 3 Comments