Thursday, December 22, 2011

Badvertising: Merry Christmas


Happy Holidays! The floor's covered in pine tree needles and it isn't going to vacuum itself.

Now go get Santa some milk and cookies.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday's Five Feminist Friends

1) Ms. has feminist gift ideas for the holidays

2) Exploring second trimester abortions with Jezebel

3) The Root suggests a natural Barbie for Christmas

4) Christians won't sell controversial Pink Bibles, says The Frisky

5) Salon covers Vermont frat boys rape-y questionnaire

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Can't Pray the Gay Away




"Praise God, I've been set free from drugs, and alcohol, and lesbianism."

Ex-gay testimonials were abundant Tuesday night at Busboys and Poets, a popular restaurant, bookstore and meeting place in the District of Columbia. Individuals who had participated in same sex attraction rehabilitation therapy gathered to expose the damaging pseudoscience, sharing hilarious and heartbreaking anecdotes as they described the latest tactics of the anti-gay movement.

Nearing the 38th anniversary of the American Psychological Association declassifying homosexuality as a perversion, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal firm "fighting hate and teaching tolerance," sponsored the event along with Truth Wins Out, an organization pushing back against homophobia.

Together, these groups have been recording survivor stories and pursuing the religious extremists offering faith-based propaganda as medical fact. And Tuesday's presentation was a chance for concerned citizens to get more acquainted with the main characters of this modern day tragedy.

Growing up Mormon, Sam Wolfe, a Staff Attorney for the SPLC leading the LGBTQ Rights Project, encountered reparative therapy first-hand. According to Wolfe, most participants don't buy it. But the silver lining, especially for youth, is a shared experience and an opportunity to make friends-- even date.

The kids are confused, feeling that pressure to change. Even worse is the expectant look on parents faces. Everyone is desperate for therapy to "work" and the afflicted to be "cured."

Unfortunately, conditioning heterosexuality is a pipe dream for all parties involved.

Wayne Besen, the founding executive director of Truth Wins Out, has pursued groups like the National Association of Research & Therapy of Homosexuality and International Healing Foundation for years. He watched closely as fundamentalist organizations took a more manipulative approach to undermining gay rights and leaders like Richard Cohen, author of Coming Out Straight, awarded themselves titles like "certified sexual reorientation coach."



Much like pregnancy crisis centers offer volunteers instead of nurses, these rehabilitation facilities provide doctors of theology instead of real psychologists. The tactics are questionable and the therapy is as dangerous as it is dishonest.

Here are some pearls of wisdom from Cohen's book:
Having an artistic nature may also be a burden if the family rejects or misunderstands the child's gifts. The sensitive child in an insensitive environment experiences undue stress on his mental, emotional and spiritual development.
 Yes, artistic or creative children are doomed to be gay. But also:
A more masculine girl or a more feminine boy, by nature, may also be the subject of ridicule by parents, siblings, peers, and society. It is the square peg in the round hole effect, causing the child to doubt his or her original nature. These characteristics are defined as "gender non-conforming" behaviors. The child will grow confident in his talents when he is understood, accepted and encouraged. If he experiences or perceives criticism, the results will be psycho-social-biological damage. Society’s differential response to "sissies" and "tomboys" may be one reason for the difference in numbers between male and female homosexuals.
This so-called expert brags he has recovered from "unwanted same sex attraction" himself. But his affirmations are merely assumptions deeply rooted in archaic notions of gender roles-- which may explain why therapeutic exercises are athletic for men and domestic for women. Nothing portrays these dichotomous pink and blue absurdities more accurately than the campy indie film But I'm a Cheerleader.



Like most dark humor, these representations of conversion therapy are funny because they're true.

Men play football and change oil. Women scrub floors and change babies. And supposedly, this will reorient their sexual orientation.

Other theories for "healing" homosexuality are equally doubtful. According to Cohen and his followers, if you get the love you need from the parent of the same sex, then you won't be gay. If you somehow missed this opportunity as a child, you need to be cradled. Or, you and a partner can remedy your parental detachment with non-sexual naked hugging.

Misguided ex-gay facilitators have been in motion for almost two decades, reactionary to the LGBTQ community's increased visibility. During an explosion of gay and lesbian individuals coming out in the early '90s, opponents decided the best way to combat the "gay agenda" was to create programs shame it back into the closet.

In 1998, the year Will & Grace premiered on network television, 15 DC organizations had spent one million dollars advertising the notion that people could "pray away the gay." The following groups are still operating with the same goals, hoping to disqualify people as well as their feelings and relationships:

That's an overwhelming amount of organizations denying people life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to the APA, there is no evidence reparative therapy works. In fact, it's hurting its participants, causing anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behaviors including suicide.

In the midst of such a pervasive and alarming phenomenon, the SPLC and TWO have been capturing survivor stories, hoping to reach those bullied into conversion before it's too late. Nick Cavnar, a survivor and YouTube sensation, spoke at Busboys and Poets about finding his way back.



Cavnar said these programs "keep people stuck in a state of unreality" while telling them "what's really going on with you doesn't count." The mantra is fake it until you make it-- but you never will.

Furthermore,these "therapists" are promoting stereotypes surrounding homosexuality. Patients are told if they continue with their alternative lifestyle, they will catch a disease, become addicted to drugs and alcohol, and they will struggle with monogamy. In short, they are doomed, they will fail, and they won't ever be happy.

These men and women are driven by fear to do something unnatural. But no one is really changing-- they're just agreeing to live in denial. But that's what happens when a line is drawn between faith and sexuality, and people are asked to choose.

Besides the obvious, there are several reasons to be upset, like tax dollars paying for these programs.

Also frightening is how bad science can influence politics and prolong discrimination. As long as same-sex attraction can be cured, same-sex marriage can be illegal. As long as homosexuality is a psychological disorder, presidential candidates can publicly oppose gays in the military.

On a national level, these special interest groups are standing in the way of progress and they're targeting kids. Only after Change.org started a petition did Apple rethink the ex-gay app for the iPhone.

And internationally, they're capable of so much more. While they might be failing here, Uganda has embraced their ideologies and seems capable of legislating their hate. The same is true anywhere civil rights have less protection than the United States.

These programs cannot continue to operate unchecked. Lies cannot continue to be offered as facts. People's lives cannot continue to be ruined by homophobic nonsense.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Worst Campaign Video Ever Made

Rick Perry has a frighteningly homophobic special message for all of you--



But will we use the Gays in our military to help fight the war on Christmas? Let us pray...



Yup. Rick Perry is the Devil never going to be President. Jesus said so. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

After the Morning After Pill


photo by jaredjhansen

A startling decision by the secretary of Health and Human Services reversed the FDA's approval for wider availability of emergency contraception, and women over 17 years old are still asking pharmacists for the over-the-counter medication.

With the help of obstetrician/gynecologists and pediatricians, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. was ready to have Plan B in the open, without restrictions and within the reach of all who might need it:
I reviewed and thoughtfully considered the data, clinical information, and analysis provided by [Center for Drug Evaluation and Research], and I agree with the Center that there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential.
Plan B, and it's generic associates, are the gray area between the birth control pill and the abortion pill. Emergency contraception contains a larger dose of levonorgestrel, the active ingredient in oral contraception.

Yet, using the authority granted by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius slammed the FDA decision. The official statement she released last Wednesday centered on this argument:
The average age of the onset of menstruation for girls in the United States is 12.4 years. However, about ten percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age. If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age.
Many questioned Selebius's logic. If a girl's body is mature enough to menstruate, wouldn't a hormonally induced period be lady business as usual? And a morning after pill could pose no more danger to an 11-year-old than carrying a pregnancy to term.

Feminists were shocked. Sebelius, usually a champion of reproductive rights under attack for sympathizing with "abortion extremists," flipped her script.

Demonized for her connections to the late abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, religious conservatives thought Selebius unfit for her current position. No one anticipated she would roadblock, putting Plan B on the shelf next to other forms of contraception where it belongs.

After trumping science with politics, Selebius's motives were clear. Assuming she took one for the team, the Obama administration was attempting to gain outside approval on the brink of a re-election year.

It's no secret the GOP are struggling for a front runner. And with Republican candidates dropping like flies, the remaining few seem to think social issues are the way into the undecided hearts of those who pledge red.

But that doesn't mean democrats can't play their game too. Caring about the kids, especially young girls and their budding sexualities, is an excellent strategy to win the support of those who wouldn't normally be so supportive-- until they were left without a leader.

Available to consumers since 1999, Plan B is still confused with RU-486 and often referred to as the abortion pill, even though it cannot terminate an already existing pregnancy. The real abortion pill contains mifepristone and can be taken up to 9 weeks after after the first day of a woman's last period. Emergency contraception is effective for 72 hours following sexual intercourse and merely delays ovulation.

But factual inaccuracies and misconceptions won't keep the anti-abortion movement from opposing Plan B as strongly as they would an abortion clinic.

Obama, once hailed as a protector of women's rights, was the feminist hope for change. Now, as another election approaches, women are the first thing to be offered as a political sacrifice. And as the president struggles to maintain control, so do we.

Even though a team of medical experts deemed the restrictions completely unnecessary, women under 17 still need a prescription from a doctor to obtain Plan B. If they don't have health insurance, or cannot get an appointment within the 72 hour window, this scientific advancement is just another missed opportunity.

And for women over 17, their access continues to be arbitrarily restricted by a pharmacy's business hours.

Others are still empowered as the gate-keepers; not for health or safety, but for ideology. Doctors and pharmacists, as well as politicians and special interest groups still determine whether women can prevent pregnancy or not. Women's fertility is in their own hands-- only after it has passed through everyone else's.

Monday, November 14, 2011

#MenCallMeThings

courtesy of stevegarfield
Anything exciting happen last week?

Oh yeah, feminist blogger Sady Doyle started a revolution... on Twitter.
#MenCallMeThings brings the worst of internet sexism into the open where it belongs. Finally, the words haunting women bloggers' and columnists' and all varieties of outspoken ladies' subconscious have gone public. At last, those privileged enough to cast judgement on the "shrews" and "harpies" of the web can be judged themselves.

Doyle writes for Tiger Beatdown, In These Times, and Rookie. But most importantly, she is a feminist attracting a lot of positive attention for all the negative attention she's received in the past.

"Prematurely haggish. You're an ugly fucking cunt. Bitch glasses. That smirk is why God invented anal sex," are the initial insults Doyle offered to get the hashtag "Men Call Me Things" rolling. And for the past week, fellow tweeters have come through with their own heinous contributions.

While some were told they "weren't worth the effort of murdering," others were labeled "unrapeable"-- but left with the implication their critics would follow through anyway.
Immediately trending, the topic resonated with many women whose presence is predominantly felt on the internet.

Said Megan Gibson of TIME, "I write chiefly about pop culture and the Internet, but I’ve still been called a 'bitch' and a 'hoe.' And though I’ve been spared sexually explicit insults, one particularly irate commenter told me he hoped I would be run over by a truck. It seems no one’s immune."

Even I received this well-meaning word-vomit in Slutty Feminist's comment section:
Hey lady, why are you so angry? The world has moved on from the war of the sexes. Ironic how a search for Chris Brown led me to you. Btw, it ain't cool to call yourself a feminist slut. It would be like me calling myself a man-whore. I love women in general. I have 3 of them in my family. These women also love and respect men in general. We have great, loving, and respectful parents. So they are good role models for us siblings to gauge what a good man and woman should be like. If your parents are loving and respectful, I don't see why you would disenfranchise them by setting up an embarrassing blog like this one. It doesn't serve any purpose other than justifying your ideals which may or may not be valid. However, this blog is still embarrassing to say the least. It really doesn't highlight any of your positives, and I am sure you've got plenty of them. Just leave all the anger behind and stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Be the happy lady that you want to be, because there is no man in this day and age who will get in your way in achieving just that. I am sure you can't deny this. Hey...live and let live and be happy. Peace.
Um, what? I don't know that those are linear thoughts, Akinyemi. But thanks for your two cents.

Anyway.

Besides being reduced to caricatures of "angry feminists," women are targeted in even more predictable ways. Suzanne Moore of The Guardian, often a target of sexist criticism herself, made this very important observation-- "Arguments are not refuted; instead, a woman is judged on her attractiveness."

Yes, rather than prepare an well-researched counter-point, it's much easier to attack a woman's physical appearance. That'll shut her up.

Online commenters are ruthless. Just look at YouTube. In fact, internet trolling has seemingly become part-time work for some. But the comments circulating #MenCallMeThings aren't just mean-- they're misogynist.

Sexist cyber-bullying utilizes violent, hateful, gendered insults intending to hit women where it hurts most; their second-class citizenship. This frightening speech reminds women they are defined first and foremost by their sexuality. And nothing else they say or do will ever matter.

For instance, according to these men, women bold enough to occupy intellectual online space are in desperate need of a dick in their mouth or... elsewhere.

But womaness is a double-edged sword. While one commenter may focus on her enticing lady bits, another may describe how she has failed to arouse him. Either way, these women deserve to be raped. Or killed. Or both.

Meanwhile, whatever she said has long been forgotten.

Moore believes the answer lies within the tweets, as well as real life discussions about the way we talk to one another:
I am afraid misogyny is not confined to one place or one sex and I am happy to name it and shame it. It cannot be banned or magicked away in the online world any more than it can in the real world. As difficult as it is, I want discussion opened up not shut up. This is a conversation we needed to have a long time ago.
The internet is no longer a separate entity. It is as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe. We would be lost without it, yet when it becomes polluted, it can kill us.

Perhaps the internet is the final frontier for feminism. As women fight to occupy cyberspace and the resistance is documented for all to see, the pursuit of gender equality is undeniably relevant. The battle is new, but also strangely familiar.

"When we all speak up, it doesn't sound like self-pity any more, and it's not hurt fee-fees. It's structural oppression," tweeted Doyle.

This virtual consciousness-raising has revealed yet another shared experience amongst women. It's not just you. It's not just me. It's all of us-- so pay attention.
  
After witnessing the overwhelming participation in #MenCallMeThings, Doyle confirmed "none of us are really alone" and "the insults are about what we are, not who we are."

Indeed. No truer statement has ever been tweeted.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Satireday-- "Hey Girl."




Move over, Jo Calderone.

It seems Disney has defied traditional gender roles with a reinvention of Belle, the Beauty who would capture the heart of a Beast.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Books from the Feminist Bookstore


It's that time of year (back to school) and we all know what that means-- gotta get our Women's Studies text books from the feminist bookstore!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday's Five Feminist Friends

1) RH Reality Check promotes HPV education

2) Yes Means Yes recognizes Rape in BDSM

3) The F-Word is looking for Feminist Lawyers

4) Bitch decrees "Sizest" Southwest Airlines Douchebag Status

5) FBomb credits Ke$ha with disrupting Gender Roles

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Michele Bachmann Sandwich


"That's a good question. I'm gonna have to think about that."


"I think my views are clear."


"We are people who are obsessed with marriage."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"I am a Slut"



Luce Tomlin-Brenner is a slut.

Or maybe she's a tease.

Either way, she's hi-lar-i-ous-- and here's proof from her latest appearance at Washington D.C.'s own SlutWalk.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SlutWalk DC


Washington D.C.'s SlutWalk was a phenomenal success. After marching from Lafayette Park to the National Mall participants gathered near the Washington Monument to lift the blame from victims once and for all.

22 speakers lined the stage, many representing organizations like NOW, the FMF, and HIPS-- a non-profit dedicated to helping sex workers stay safe.

Other speakers brought their stories of surviving sexual assault, including several men, reminding everyone sexual violence affects people of every age, race, sexual orientation and gender identity.

And though it rained throughout the event, the crowds spirit could not be dampened.

While SlutWalk is heavily criticized by those who "just don't get it," there's nothing more inspiring than watching a community rally around such a worthy cause and fight for what is right. And with thousands of people in attendance, DC did not disappoint.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Proud Sluts Walking

Photo by sahlgoode

Earlier this summer, Sabrina L. Schaeffer expressed several concerns about SlutWalk's "mixed messages" from her conservative soapbox over at the Hill. Like most hoping to (further) shame SlutWalk's participants, she accused the goals of the protest and the principles of feminism of contradicting each other.

These assumptions are founded in a predictable post-feminist attitude. But when it comes to our current political arena, antifeminists like Schaeffer keep describing the historical movements of the 70's-- rather than investigating what modern activists are hoping to accomplish today.

In the midst of the twenty-first century, feminism is arguably riding it's third wave with a new set of priorities. If the first wave is associated with gaining the right right to vote and the second wave with obtaining reproductive rights, the distinguishing factors of the third wave are fostering a global consciousness and criminalizing sexual violence without punishing its victims.

Toronto launched the first SlutWalk in response to one police officer's unnacceptable response to sexual assault. In April of this year, Michael Sanguinetti told the young women of York University to stop dressing like sluts to avoid being victimized.

And there it was-- the harsh reality that law enforcement treats sexual assault differently than other crimes because the victim is somehow responsible.

Sanguinetti's words were representative of a widely accepted misconception many women are ready to change-- with radical action. Taking to the streets, those who believe responsibility falls solely on the rapist started a tradtion that would be recreated in every major city across the United States.

But this phenomenon could not be contained by North American borders. Globally, the SlutWalk has stretched as far as India. Women across the world are reclaiming public space and the words attempting to keep them out of it. 

However, some aren't thinking so progressively.

In Schaeffer's victim-blaming column, she said "Just because rape is illegal and not socially acceptable, it doesn’t mean certain behavior might not put women at a 'higher risk of assault.' In short, if women dress like sluts, they might be putting themselves into dangerous situations — whether we like it or not."

But who will act as the official fashion police? 

Slutty is subjective. One woman's shirt is another woman's lingerie. And women are victimized while wearing pajamas, jeans, abayas, and eveything in between. This fact is well represented by the diverse attendants of any SlutWalk.

Furthermore, assuming rape is a man's primal reaction to physical temptation degrades men as well as women. This flawed logic suggests all men will rape when exposed to someone who sparks their interest when, in reality, most are capable of respecting social norms that demand consent be given before a sexual encounter. And those who choose to break this or any other law are criminals.

Rape is a crime-- and placing fault on the victim is a pardon rapists do not deserve.

In a completely egalitarian society, wearing a short skirt would not be a risk. Even in our obliviously sexist environment, the amount of skin one reveals should not correlate with the amount of danger one should expect to encounter.

But some women naively trust a turtleneck and a self-imposed curfew to keep them safe while pointing fingers at those who know better.

Schaeffer continued her critique explaining that SlutWalk is misguided and "Women shouldn’t dress like 'sluts' not only because it’s foolish, but more importantly, because it undermines so many of the educational and professional accomplishments women have made in recent decades and redirects the conversation back to women’s bodies."

While entirely missing the point of SlutWalk, Schaeffer managed to bring up another excellent point.

As women, each of us has a brain and a body. They work together to make up our personhood-- the "total package," if you will. 

Yet society only allows one to be showcased. And women having to dress androgenously to be taken seriously is as problematic as women being faulted for harassment or assault when their clothing is supposedly too sexy. It's merely the flip-side of objectification. And fighting to be recognized as someone, rather than something, is an ongoing feminist battle SlutWalk illustrates beautifully.

Schaeffer goes on to accuse feminism of undermining femininity, courtship and marriage. She misquotes Gloria Steinem and then paints young feminists as ignorant followers, rather than informed activists. 

"Yet in all the marching and screaming, this contradiction appears to have eluded the women of SlutWalk. And in many ways, the effort has become almost a parody of itself. Instead of women burning bras, now young feminists are carrying signs that read, 'Slut and Proud' or 'Sluts Say Yes,'” Schaeffer said.  

It's always embarassing when critics take on topics they know nothing about. For starters, no bra was ever harmed in the name of feminism. They may have been left behind, but they were never set ablaze.

Secondly, the word "slut" is used to control women. It's not so much a style as it is an attitude.

If a woman is uninhibited, expects sexual pleasure outside of marriage, has male friends, stays out after dark, dresses in a way that draws attention to herself, or exemplifies any number of bold behaviors, men (and women) will use slanderous language to describe, but more importantly discourage her actions.

By reclaiming the word set by others' standards on an impossible sliding scale, women are taking back their confidence and their lives. Why should a junior high insult keep us from enjoying and expressing ourselves? Pride is the cornerstone of every SlutWalk.

And saying "yes" is all about consent-- the missing piece in sexual assault. Smart women who like sex and understand the law believe "yes" is a very important part of foreplay.

But Schaeffer doesn't seem to be familiar with any of this.

"Really? Are the participants so young that they don’t even recognize the irony — or just stupidity — in all of this? This supposed provocative effort is just the opposite of what the second wave of feminism claims to be all about," Schaeffer said. 

Antifeminist women like Schaeffer are more than willing to criticize feminism-- or at least a stagnant and dated interpretation of what feminism was at one time. They are completely unaware young activists are in the midst of a third wave that sometimes finds itself at odds with second wave expectations even when employing similar tactics to gain personal freedoms.

But the rest of us know there's still work to be done. And marching never goes out of style, especially if it brings us a few steps closer to political, economic or social equality.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Women's Health Check-Up

PhotoDu.de

Medical science is advancing every day, helping us prevent the worst-- but several diseases are still getting the best of us.

1 in 2 sexually active people will contract HPV in their lifetime. Some strands can lead to cancer and should be identified as soon as possible.

However, a recent study suggests HPV tests are a waste of money.

MSNBC reported doctors are testing patients more frequently for human papillomavirus than guidelines suggest. While attempting to control outbreaks in patients, the HPV test gives doctors very little information about their health.

With more than 40 strands of HPV, only a few are known to cause cancer-- typically in the cervix or mouth. Others can produce genital warts, while some are completely symptomless with no health consequences.

HPV tests administered by a physician can cost $30 or more, with no real indication of the effect the sexually transmitted infection is having on the patient. A pap smear is still the only sure way to know whether a woman has cervical cancer.

Unnecessary charges are piling up at the doctor's office and women might be over-spending on mammograms as well.

U.S. News and World Report explained one size does not fit all when screening for breast cancer. "The timing and frequency of mammography to detect breast cancer is a decision best customized for each woman, based on such factors as age and breast density, new research suggests."

While deciding how often to get tested, the patient and physician should consider how high her risk. Breast density and family history can help determine whether a woman is more likely to develop breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends women over 40 get tested every year. Other organizations suggest women over 50 get tested every 2 years. But recent studies stress preventative treatment should be more personal, taking multiple factors into account.

While women work tirelessly to protect their breasts, many don't realize they are at higher risk for heart disease. And according to the Boston Globecardiac tests are still missing warning signs in women.  

The number one female killer, "one in 30 women’s deaths in 2007 was from breast cancer, compared to about 1 in 3 from cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association."

Not only are women's symptoms different from men's but women are more likely to die the same year as their first heart attack. When it comes to understanding heart disease and gender, the lack of understanding keeps female fatalities sky high.

So remember to stay informed, ask questions and keep what little autonomy you can in a paper dress because while doctors are focusing on our lady parts, they might be missing other maladies with very grave consequences. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trafficking Still Costly in 2011

This is what investigative journalism looks like:



Yesterday, the U.S. State Department released the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report. The document rates 184 countries and their reaction to the modern day slave trade.

This year 23 countries exist on Tier 3 (the lowest ranking) because their "governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so."

Business is booming for traffickers and many nations have given up, nearly doubling the amount unable to meet U.S. standards. Last year only placed 13 on the bottom rung.

148 countries have signed the Palermo Protocol, the United Nations international agreement to combat trafficking.

2010 made history when the United States finally included itself in the TIP report. After a decade of denial and judging others on an official scale, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally admitted the sale of American citizens occurs within our own borders. Since then the United States has ranked itself as a Tier 1 country, complying with the minimum standards to fight this unthinkable exploitation.

"Trafficking isn’t just a problem of human bondage; it fuels the epidemic of gender-based violence in so many places – here in our country and around the world," said Clinton, recognizing this tragic reality affects women and girls disproportionately.

She estimated some 27 million people are currently involved in human trafficking with roughly 100,000 of them living in the United States.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Big (Gay) Apple Playlist

Marriage is so gay. And in honor of the largest state win for LGBT rights thus far, my friend Matt Liasse has created the ultimate soundtrack-- featured this weekend on his incredible music blog Chaotic Tunage.

On the right track, baby,

I was BORN THIS WAY!!!


Last night, gay marriage was legalized in New York. Below, find a gay-themed playlist for any celebration anyone with equality on their mind can enjoy.


Have a song in mind that didn't make the cut? Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Five Feminist Friends

1) Bitch-- A Douchebag Decree for Scott Adams and "Natural" Rape

2) Feministing investigates Racist Anti-Choice Film "Gates of Hell"

3) Ms. asks readers "Would Your Rape be Counted?"

4) Our Bodies, Our Blog-- FDA report on Silicone Breast Implants

5) Feministe wonders "Where are the Lady Rappers?"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blow Me


Yeah. Blow in her face and she'll punch you in yours.

And it's not so much following as it is "tracking down"-- for the punching.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Chick Rocks: Rihanna





She's come a long way from "Pon de Replay"-- which was my jam in 2005.

A year later Rihanna was sending out a distress call from the dance floor with "S.O.S."-- the obvious favorite from her second album "Girl Like Me."

Losing her inhibitions in 2008, the world began to understand what this Barbados bombshell could really do. After teaming up with rap legend Jay-Z, splashing her way through "Umbrella" and getting a little crazy in "Disturbia," the good girl had officially gone bad.

Her edgier, sexier image came with a shocking new hairstyle and a seemingly perfect relationship. She and Chris Brown confirmed rumors of a romance by dancing together at the MTV Video Music Awards. The show-stopping performace dubbed the new couple hip-hop royalty.

But in February of 2009 the two made headlines when Brown assaulted the queen of pop.

That Fall Rihanna's fourth album was already pushing boundaries. She flipped the script with songs about unbreakable self-esteem. "Hard" and "Rock Star 101" exemplified a new confidence usually reserved for male artists.

Gender issues were aggressively surfacing as Rihanna's music took on a feminist tone. "Rude Boy" not only expressed a woman's sexual desires, but demanded her male counter-part walk his talk-- if he's "big enough."

And then "Te Amo" explicitly depicted a lesbian encounter between Rihanna and a dark-haired woman wearing leather. An startling transformation was taking place.

After a very public break-up with her abuser, Rihanna emerged as a force that only vaguely resembled Breezy's girlfriend. While Brown's career suffered, she was successfully releasing one hit after another.

With every song Rihanna grew stronger. "Love the Way You Lie" directly addressed the domestic violence she had lived through. Exploding in 2010 with powerful lyrics from Eminem, the duet was the beginning of this diva's creative healing process.

"Loud," her most recent contribution to senses of sight and sound, tackles more issues and continues to raise eyebrows. Rihanna becomes more and more controversial with every note she sings.

"Only Girl (In the World)" demands everyone's undivided attention, as do her fiery red locks. Drake joined Rihanna for the hot and steamy hook-up anthem, "What's My Name?" And "S&M" fetishizes her own relationship with pain and the press.

She said it herself-- she might be bad, but she's perfectly good at it.

But the real story concerning Rihanna and censorship came with the release of her latest song "Man Down"-- which was banned from MTV, VH1 and BET.

Bob Marley shot the sheriff; one of his most recognizable songs. Jimi Hendrix told the tale of a man willing to kill his "old lady" for infidelity; a classic rock hit. Eminem described killing his ex-wife in vivid detail on multiple tracks and his deep emotional reveal is applauded.

But Rihanna shoots her rapist in a real portrayal of gendered violence and somehow it's too much.

Industy Ears, "a new generation nonpartisan think tank aimed at addressing and finding solutions to disparities in media that negatively impact individuals and communities" called the musical confession "an inexecusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song."

However, Terry O'Neil, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), told MTV the singer is simply "working out personal issues through her art" and did not find the video exploitive at all.

Others support Rihanna's efforts but think her message is muddled by the nonlinear story. Many have questioned whether her skimpy clothing and suggestive dancing resulting in sexual assault will encourage victim-blaming instead of urging audiences to fault the rapist.

Only one thing is for sure-- Rihanna is a fearless crusader for women's rights both on and off stage. The adversity in her life has only emboldened her to test the limits and speak her mind. She continues to inspire us while topping the charts and giving women everywhere something they deserve-- a role model.

Rihanna's fluid reinvention incorporates a certain depth that demands respect. She is the voice of the voiceless-- loud, proud and unashamed. Her soulful lyrics paired with electric beats move your heart and your feet.

Six years ago she promised to make the DJ turn it up-- and she certainly has. Believing in this survivor's staying power, feminists only ask that Rihanna keep 'em coming because we all identify as the girl from the dancefloor wanting some more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love the Way You Lie




In response to rumors Chris Brown tweeted Rihanna a nude photo, here is the Velvet Hearts neo-burlesque performance of Rihanna and Eminem's powerful rap ballad "Love the Way You Lie."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Women and Wal-Mart: The Final Word

Photo by Eurofruit

The outcome would determine if feminism had reached a new era of advancement in the workplace-- or if big businesses would continue to marginalize women, leaving the glass ceiling firmly in tact.

Wal-Mart v. Dukes was argued on March 29, 2011. Three months later the verdict is in and "the Supreme Court has ruled for Wal-Mart in its fight to block a massive sex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of women who work there."

This reverses a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The corporation's alleged sexism is in direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While several women across the nation have accused Wal-Mart of failing to offer them equal employment opportunities, the high court decided these injustices were isolated incidents.

Any similarities in the stores' (seemingly unfair) practices were merely coincidental.

After a spring filled with speculation and uncertainty, the Supreme Court agreed a class action suit would be "too big" and evidence was "too vague" to proceed. The trial could have involved 1.5 million women, costing Wal-Mart billions of dollars in damages.

The plaintiffs can still file their claims independently-- and settle for significantly less money. But the individual outcomes are unlikely to influence future policies.

Even though Wal-Mart training materials said men seek promotions more aggressively, and there are consistent wage and promotional gaps between male and female employees reflecting this self-fulfilling prophecy, the judges said they could not find sexist policies in place.

Five members of the bench upheld the interests of big businesses while four appeared to be on the side of civil rights. Justice Scalia wrote the final opinion stating the class did not have common questions of law or fact.

But Justice Ginsburg said the cases were obviously related-- "Wal-Mart's delegation of discretion over pay and promotions is a policy uniform throughout all stores." Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayer, and Stephen Breyer were in agreement.

While no Republicans have commented yet, Democrats are disheartened, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) who offered this:
Today’s ruling is yet another bad decision from the Supreme Court for women, and I am very disappointed. It is a blow not only to the employees who filed this lawsuit, and have been fighting for equal pay for over 10 years, but to the millions of women across the country facing workplace discrimination every day. This decision is about fairness, about the world’s largest private employer paying over a million women less than their male counterparts — and while it is certainly a setback, we will continue fighting.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said "Today's ruling underscores the need to act boldly and strongly on behalf of women's rights." Representatives like DeLauro promised they will continue to pursue the Paycheck Fairness Act in an attempt to remedy this unfortunate situation.

Down, but not out, former Wal-Mart employees Christine Kwapnoski and Betty Dukes have vowed to keep fighting.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In Defense of Sex Work and Feminism

This piece was submitted by a faithful reader--


I am a stripper. A feminist stripper.

Much thought has gone into my past five years in this line of work. I could write an entire thesis about why I do what I do. Never has it conflicted with my personal and/or feminist convictions in any way. In fact, I would love to enlighten people about my job, the incredible women I've met, and the very positive things I've taken away from it.

I'd also appreciate an opportunity to debunk any harmful stereotypes.

Over the years, I've become pretty close with plenty of my co-workers: women who served in the Army; women who are Pre-Law and about to graduate with honors; Paralegals; women with multiple college degrees; women working in group homes; women on the verge of being published; and countless loving, devoted mothers.

Last but not least, I had the privilege of meeting a fellow feminist stripper. This college-educated, brilliant and funny woman minored in Art and majored in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. She single-handedly created a group called "Stripper Army," and recently published the group's first 'zine.

Then there's me. Define me however you like, I know who I am.

I am an unapologetic advocate for sex worker's rights. Sex work is an umbrella term, coined by the activist Carol Leigh in 1980, covering strippers, phone sex operators, dominatrices, porn starts and prostitutes.

Prostitution is particular case. It should be legalized and regulated to keep the women as safe as possible.

As a feminist stripper, I do not judge or shame the women having sex for money. My only complaint arises when women prostitute themselves from within the club-- do that on your own time, please.

The economy is down, it affects everyone and strippers don't make nearly as much as people think. It's a struggle. 

But I'm not trying to compete with that. Why would a "gentleman" purchase a plain old dance if he could get a hell of a lot more for the same price?

I was inspired to tackle this subject by someone who recently asked if I'd be interested in joining a call-girl service since he had a "hook."

"It's not some dirty ass place, it's high class, it would mostly be basketball players."

He also said it's just a step beyond dancing. While both professions are stigmatized and most people (comfortable in their ignorance) see them as one in the same, let me assure you, it's not.

I have nothing but love for prostitutes. But for me, the step is not so small.

I've been offered a lot of money to simply touch my breasts, and declined. I've been offered thousands for parties in hotel rooms or "private shows." Again, I declined.

I've been accused of being a prude stripper, but prostitution just isn't for me.

But that's the beauty of feminism-- I draw the line when and where I want. I can use my body however I see fit and make choices based on my own comfort level. Others are not so lucky and that's why feminism is anything but over.

Women all over the world, especially in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, are being kidnapped and trafficked, facing a lifetime of physical and sexual violence.

Women are stoned to death in the Middle East and elsewhere for being raped, or "dishonoring the family name." More forgiving parents force these "tainted" victims to marry their rapists.

Female genital mutilation is illegal in most places but still regularly practiced. Young girls are forced to partake in crude surgeries where their vaginas are mutilated in various ways with unsanitary instruments (like razor blades) without anesthesia.

In the United States women's reproductive rights are constantly threatened by Republicans, Christians, and the pro-life agenda. The freedom granted by Roe v. Wade is anything but guaranteed and access to birth control and abortions are becoming a class privilege.

Autonomy over one's body is a luxury many women are not afforded. But every woman deserves consent, sexual pleasure and contraception. Until this is our reality, feminism is far from dead.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's Five Feminist Friends

1) The Fbomb-- Some advice from a Dusty Third Worldling

2) BUST-- Sign up for Feminist Summer School (in the UK)

3) Jezebel-- Could a Mom have written Go the Fuck to Sleep?

4) Towards Harmony-- Confessions about Body Image

5) Gender Across Borders-- UN approves LGBT Rights Resolution

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Work Hard, Look Cute


At long last the relationship between housework and appearance is revealed. I too, thrive on cooking, cleaning and dusting-- therefore I am super cute.

Apparently hardworking women can live off cereal and nothing else.

Well even when I do, my cereal of choice is Cinnamon Toast Crunch-- mostly because those crazy squares have no gendered expectations concerning what I will use my vitamins for.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do We Need a National Man Day?




Happy National Man Day!

Yes-- it's a thing.

Two years ago the Longanecker brothers dubbed June 15th "National Man Day" with the help of Facebook and even started a petition to get it on the calendar.

While campaigning the brothers told an Indianapolis reporter it was a day to chop wood, drink beer, eat steak, watch Rambo and scratch. One brother said this about his new favorite holiday;
The other 364 days a year are when you be a man, be a good dad, go to work on time. You take responsibility for everything," said Josh Longanecker. "Man day is that one day a year to give men that outlet they need.
Ohhh, I get it-- on National Man's Day you get to be a bad dad and come to work late. But then what about people who are already doing those things?

The official Facebook page confirms National Man Day is about violence, destruction and heteronormativity, insisting it's time to quit being a sissy and "take back the crown of masculinity."

Ahhh, patriarchy metaphors.

National Man Day has its own website complete with bad science encouraging men to reassert their God-given authority and defend their actions with nothing more than testosterone. A "doctor" specializing in essentialism assures readers masculinity is the opposite of shame and men should never have reservations when demanding exactly what they want from their bosses and women.

There's nothing wrong with celebrating the things that make you uniquely you. And there's nothing wrong with celebrating a shared experience with others. But dedicating an entire day to stereotypes and nonsense is counter-productive.

But what about all the stuff women get?

Women's History Month happens every March to make up for the fact that women have been all but erased from American History. Dedicating 31 days to learning about women's accomplishments teaches students that "Women's History" is more than Betsey Ross sewing a flag and Amelia Earhart flying a plane. It's valid and necessary.

International Women's Day, also happening in March, is a "global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future." Surely no one would begrudge the women of Egypt, China, Darfur, Brazil and every country around the world one day to come together and dream of equality.

These existing days prove there a time and a place to celebrate gender-- if your gender has been oppressed based on the notion that its somehow inferior.

National Man's Day is ridiculous and undeserved. According to the National Wildlife Federation its also Nature Photography Day-- and hopefully most people would rather celebrate that on June 15th.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

License Plates Fund Pro-Life Agenda


Photo by woody1778a

"Choose Life" has a simple message with an even simpler goal-- sell license plates to fund pregnancy crisis centers across America.

President and Founder Randy Harris started the campaign in the 90's. Florida was the first to sell the license plates with Governor Jeb Bush signing the legislation in 1999. Since then the state has sold over 338,221 plates, raising more than $7.7 million to talk women out of having abortions.

Half of the United States are already selling the license plates.

Last week, North Carolina joined the list of states where the "Choose Life" license plates are available. For an additional fee of $25 at the DMV, residents can tell the world they're anti-abortion and $15 will go to the state's pregnancy crisis centers.

The "Choose Life" website offers an interactive map where visitors can see whether the license plates are available in their state. Ohio even lists the recipients of their money. Almost $12,000 goes to the Pregnancy Decision Health Centers in Franklin and Fairfield counties. These "health centers" feature prayer lists with cases like this;
14 yr old; had ultrasound; is 18 wks; is being pressured by her mother to have an abortion even though she does not want to do this; she said her abortion is scheduled for this Monday or Tuesday; please pray the image of her baby and the message she received with us will touch her through the Holy Spirit.
Funding supports religious institutions imitating medical establishments.

These "health centers" refuse to discuss abortion as an option. If a woman mentions she is considering terminating her pregnancy, volunteers (not nurses or doctors) will try to talk her out of it with an ultrasound and "abortion consultation," which could also be described as guilt, intimidation and misinformation.

Here's another example from the scrolling prayer list;

Woman had ultrasound appointment; declined to come back; had abortion consultation this past Saturday; please pray she will call or come to our office for assistance.
Assistance means convincing her not to go through with it-- because a woman's choice shouldn't be respected. One of the biggest decisions of her life should be left up to a bunch of strangers. And the first place she should go for reproductive help is a fake medical facility full of lies and manipulation.

It's completely unnacceptable that half of the United States are allowing money from a mandatory government procedure to be siphoned off for these Pro-Life endeavors.

Pregnancy crisis centers, no matter what name they're operating under, are dangerous and should be illegal. And they certainly shouldn't be receiving any financial support through the state-- especially when Planned Parenthood and people who tell women the truth are being stripped of their funding.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sex Scandal Summer


Photo by David Boyle

It's a cruel, cruel summer for politicians, their significant others, and the "other" women they have sexualized and objectified.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, had a long, eventful affair with his housekeeper of 20 years. In October of 1997 Mildred "Patty" Baena gave birth to their secret love child Joseph.

Schwarzenegger's "public" family found out in May (along with everyone else) as the shocking news broke.

This isn't the first time the Terminator has found himself in hot water for questionable behavior. When campaigning for Governor, several women accused Shwarzenegger of groping them or otherwise acting inappropriately.

Once she learned of the relationship, wife Maria Shriver separated from the movie-star-turned-politician.

Christopher, a son she shares with Schwarzenegger along with three other children, was born just five days prior to his half-brother. Baena and Shriver were pregnant at the same time while Baena worked in the Shwarzenegger home.

Commentators jokes focused on both Baena and Shriver's appearances, suggesting Baena was less attractive than Schwarzenegger's wife who was already an acquired taste-- especially without make-up.

Then on the East coast, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, plead "not guilty" to attacking an employee in the Sofietel hotel in New York City, while prosecutors said DNA evidence on her clothing proves otherwise. Strauss-Kahn allegedly forced the 32-year-old woman to perform oral sex when she attempted to clean his suite.

Pundits and comedians couldn't help but liken the unthinkable situation to the IMF "fucking" developing countries all over the world-- an obvious and unfortunate metaphor.

Several women used Strauss-Kahn's trial as an opportunity to demand better working conditions for those in the service industry. This is not the first time a woman has been assaulted on the job by a guest.

''Some rich people think that because we work at a hotel we are poor and that we would sell ourselves for a few extra bucks,'' said Lena Thompson, who has worked in the Plaza Hotel for 14 years. ''I am a room attendant, not a maid. I work with integrity to support my family.''

Strauss-Kahn was released from jail on a $1 million bond and the trial will proceed in July.

Also in New York, democratic representative Anthony Weiner has become a walking punchline after tweeting photos of his "weiner" to several younger women. Many fellow democrats calling for his resignation. President Barack Obama admitted he would resign if he was in Weiner's situation. According to experts at the Hill, he is expendable and Nancy Pelosi wants him out to regain democrat's momentum with Medicare.

Weiner's sexting occurred before and after his marriage to Huma Abedin in July of 2010. Abedin is the Deputy Chief of Staff and Aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Rush Limbaugh recently insisted Weiner's infidelity was caused by hanging around women who attack masculinity and testosterone. Men who feel like "weak, worthless, wimp, sissies" can blame liberal women-- and then cheat on them to try to regain their manhood.

Limbaugh's logic is obviously flawed. Weeks earlier Shwarzenegger was making headlines for his own sexual shenanigans drenched in hypocrisy as an outspoken republican committed to "family values."

While Limbaugh's suspicions are biased and apologetic, the rest of us may have learned something this summer.

Cheating and sexual misconduct cannot be cut by party lines. It can't be determined by city, country, or even continent. It's a social issue that continues to affect everyone equally.

When people question whether feminism is still necessary, this is a fitting example why it most certainly is.

But when men who supposedly support women's issues treat women like means to an end, it feels different. It's not that they've committed a greater offense, but it's more disappointing.

The common thread throughout each of these scandals is that no matter how progressive their agenda, powerful men feel entitled to women, their attention and their bodies. Paired with the meager numbers of women in business and government, it's difficult not to feel like the weaker sex.

Extensive media coverage of one terrible incident after another just adds insult to injury.   

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Badvertising



Quiet down everyone! 

These girls are talking about tampons-- you know, invisible sanitary protection.

And I was super curious what "the blonde" had to say, since she's apparently wearing tap shoes with her swim suit.

Yeah. That girl's really got it going on.

Use tampons. Keep your secret safe. And identify yourself by your hair color.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's Five Feminist Friend

1) Bust <3's Beyonce's apocalypse-- when girls run the world

2) Stop Street Harrassment condemns the Charlie Chaplin

3) Jezebel examines the crumbling industry of Girl Scouts

4) Abortioneers cheers glitter bombs and gay activism

5) Womanist Musings-- "We're all immigrants" is not an excuse

Thursday, May 19, 2011

For Your Personal Use


"Stimulating."  "Refreshing."  "Fits in your hand."

"Improves circulation."  "Makes a different and useful gift."

Despite what this dentist is suggesting, you might not want to put the "Vibra-Finger" in your mouth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Always a Bridesmaid(s)



Did you hear that? That's the sound of another glass ceiling shattering thanks to a movie about (of all things) a wedding.

May marked an historical event as the summer's must-see comedy filling cinema seats across the nation closely resembled (gasp!) a chick flick. And with all the hysteria surrounding the hillarious lady business, feminists dove in to make the final call with opinions ranging from "best" to "worst" movie ever made.

The anticipation was killing me. I waited four months for Bridesmaids: the cast alone had me salivating after the first preview.

For starters, I love Maya Rudolph, who plays Lillian-- the bride.

Rudolph was a staple cast member of my favorite Saturday Night Live era. She was especially excellent (and especially pregnant) returning for a special Mother's Day episode alongside host Tina Fey.

And I really love Kristen Wiig, who plays Annie-- Lillian's maid of honor. 

Wigg is the best part of three of my favorite movies: Forgetting Sarah Marshall as the yoga teacher, Knocked Up as the jealous co-worker and Whip It as the wise, yet hilarious roller derby mentor.

As the two played off each other's undeniable talents, Bridesmaids blew everyones' minds.

Supposedly this is the first women-centric film able to compete with dudetastic films like Superbad and Pineapple Express. Writer, director and producer Judd Apatow, the man responsible for all things Seth Rogen, had a hand in the wacky wedding and fans are singing its praises-- almost predictably.

Complaints about flat female characters convinced Apatow's boys club to step out of the spotlight and the move was met with rave reviews. But I'm not cheering. Though I hate to bring the celebration to a screeching halt, I have to say I wasn't that impressed.

Of course I "laughed out loud" from time to time. And I appreciate the amount of tickets sold and the records broken. However, with Rudolph and Wiig at the wheel, I expected more from the Bridesmaids bus as it crashed into theaters last weekend.

Still, there are plenty of nice things to say about this movie. 

For starters, Rudolph's husband was played by Tim Heidecker of "Tim and Eric"-- yet he barely spoke.  While the well-known groom could have very easily stolen the show, he was a quiet and courteous husband-to-be, leaving the leading to the ladies.

And Bridesmaids received endless kudos for portraying the strongest female friendships since Sex and the City. The emotion is sincere and we believe these women are deeply committed to one another.

Some have been besties since back in the day. Others are forming new bonds. But no matter the length, these are representations of legitimate affection between women who have each others backs-- instead of talking behind them. 

But it's not all good in their Chicago neighborhood.

Wiig's character is a failed entrepreneur. Her bakery went out of business, indicating the beginning of a losing streak. Apparently she's a heck of a baker, but not very business savvy. Why couldn't Annie, the "maid of dishonor," have a more nontraditional career?

And speaking of traditions, I am always annoyed by a happy ending establishing a romantic relationship for the heroine, even though her love life was not the central conflict.

The action follows Annie, who feels she is losing Lillian's friendship, but patching things up with her BFF is not the resolution. Instead, leaving the wedding with her new boyfriend is the final scene intended to fully satisfy the audience.

Additionally, there's a noticeable lack of diversity. Even though Lillian is a woman of color, her cousin, best friend, husband and everyone around her is white. Her father is the only other non-white speaking character in the entire movie.

Lastly, the fat jokes are abundant. Waify Wiig is a stark contrast to roommate Brynn and fellow bridesmaid Megan. Even commercials promoting the film seemed to focus on Megan's awkward "fat girl" antics, whether she was trying to seduce a reluctant passenger on the plane or suggest a fight club as a bachelorette party.

But what concerned me the most was the film recycling a lot of lesser known comedy. For those familiar with the originals, this pulled attention away from any real character development.

Years ago, the quotable Jan Brady claimed to have a boyfriend, complete with flowers and fake phone calls. When the family wanted a name, Jan panicked and said "George... George... Glass." Similarly, when Annie's "fuck buddy" was drinking from a glass and pressed for her other suitor's name, she came up with George Glass. While it might have been a shout out to the ultimate female underdog, it felt more like plagiarism.

But this wasn't the only coincidental repeat.

The Wilson Phillips song "Hold On" is the climax song of Spring Breakdown-- the straight to DVD movie with Wiig and Rudolph's SNL sisters Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch. Oddly enough, the same song accompanies the wedding finale in Bridesmaids.

Is there no other nostalgic coming of age song to end a film about 30-year-old women? Or maybe with Spring Breakdown completely missing the box office the SNL co-workers agreed to give the joke a second chance?

No one owns comedy-- but it's insulting to be exposed to a do-over in a new movie when you were expecting fresh material. And with Bridesmaids being the innovative masterpiece critics are suggesting, you would think it would have a more original feel.

Or maybe that's just it. 

Perhaps Bridesmaids doesn't mark the first time a predominantly female cast has been funny, but the first time the mainstream has been receptive to the kind of humor smart women comedians have been producing all along.

Chelsea Handler was hilarious on Girls Behaving Badly years before Chelsea Lately. And it's not that she got better-- it's that the world was finally ready for a woman to host a late night talk show.

So even though I won't be going back for a second viewing of Bridesmaids or rushing to own it a few months from now, I support what Rudolph and Wiig accomplished with their groundbreaking project.

Women are no longer the "shrews" setting up their male counter-parts. They're making jokes instead of encouraging them.

Wives, sisters and girlfriends aren't doomed to be secondary characters anymore. Rather than serving a "bridesmaid" function, they proved they can be the center of attention.

And with this endeavor, others are finally realizing what most of us have already known-- a movie starring women making themselves laugh can entertain the masses because women are funny too.