Wednesday, August 29, 2007

work vent

a certain foundation for women in town has decided to take on economic empowerment...after other direct service (or more knowledgeable) organizations have been pretty much saying the same thing for years now.

(who knows this landscape better?: heartland alliance, united way, my organization, the eleanor foundation who at least did original research to earn their street cred, the urban league, women employed, the wbdc...what are these organizations? chopped liver??)

ok, it's a little bit of a peeve. but i can't help it!
last year they launched a $2 million dollar PR campaign about what it will take to stop violence against women (a project with doubtful impact since it just seemed to be about hosting kickass events but whatever) but now they're jumping on the economic empowerment issue - like they're the ones who discovered the issue! it so makes me mad.

this is what burns me up about them. they clearly have great media outreach (and i would be lying if i wasn't envious of that for the sake of my own organization) but they also come off like plantation mistresses. (yeah, i said it.)

they want to be known as THE advocate for women's issues - all of them. but they sort of just stand on the shoulders of the small, store-front organizations in communities of need (usually staffed by overworked and underpaid women of color) that actually do the WORK. they want the credit for being an advocate for women's issues but all they do, really, is hand out money and get great PR. let's not confuse that with getting the work done.

they're like that mad tv sketch about the 'nice white lady'. (thanks, feministing!)

but what's even worse about this foundation for women is they're the advocacy version of a big cock block; the attention that should be going to the organizations who do the work gets sucked up by the foundation that has nothing to do with the work other than the fact they want to co-opt it. as a result, smaller and needier women's organization have to fight for the crumbs the foundation deigns to brush off the table.

clearly, i'm not a fan. i don't care how many appearances a certain foundation makes on Chicago Tonight.


how many times can one man say 'i am not gay?' - Transcript: Sen. Larry Craig - Politics Republican Party Democratic Party Political Spectrum

in other news, this is the transcript of sen. larry craig's press conference yesterday that had me and Roomie laughing our asses off while we were driving home yesterday listening to NPR.

i love his second-to-last-sentence.

'Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay.
Still, without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, the Statesman has engaged in this witch hunt.
In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis because of the stress the Idaho Statesman investigation and the rumors it has fueled all around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake and I apologize for my judgment.
Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and I should have told my family and my friends about it.
I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have anyway, because I am not gay.
I love my wife, my family. I care about friends and staff and Idaho

cue uproarious laughter.

holy discipline! - World - Hubby charged in minister's beating

so. bishop thomas w. weeks (the 3rd) put the beat down on his wife, gospel singer/televangelist, juanita bynum in a hotel parking lot. he chokes her, 'stomps' on her, flees the scene, she ends up in the hospital, he's arrested and released on $40,000 bail, and then he goes to church.

his supporters, instead of fleeing a so-called spiritual leader who has poor impulse control, have instead chosen to circle their wagons and say totally sheeplistic, insane things like:
"There are three sides to every story. Nobody has the right to judge anybody. God is in the midst of that and will work it out."
"We all make mistakes. He deserves another opportunity."
"Let's love and pray they stay together! It may be a blessing to us all!"

and then there's this love letter from a commenter on an aol board:
"He might have a short fuse. He was obviously tryna walk away from the situation and SHE followed him. A man can only take so much from a nagging ass wife."

ah, yes. the 'nagging ass wife.'
in my community she's the mouthy, back-talking, sassy, 'don't know her place' emasculating jezebel that all men must beware.

according to church folk, here's the lesson for all us single church gals out there:
if our man has a 'short fuse,' it's no one's fault but our own nagging ass self for making him stomp us so hard in the face a parking lot attendant has to pull him off us.

i hate ignorance. i really really really do. and ignorance crossed with self-hatred and misogyny? even worse.

it's making me flashback to my old church where attitudes like this grew like rotten fruit on a tree.
more than slightly related to holy folks smacking around women, this morning i came across a piece discussing Christian Domestic Discipline!

it made me a little mad. i really can't take the church's fascination with disciplining women. the official CDD site is apparently not open to the public anymore thanks to all the attention it's been getting lately; but there are plenty of other blogs talking about, including feministing.

i love how the CDD folks make a point of saying this activity is consensual but i think there is a huge difference between consent and acquiescence. one implies enthusiastic participation, the other implies more than a hint of coercion.

let's repeat that: consent = enthusiastic participation

it's a useful distinction that could shed light on all sorts of situations, don't you think?

Monday, August 27, 2007

i am a sucker

shh. i have a confession: i am obsessed with the Weddings & Celebrations - New York Times section.

every day, i check on it, scrolling down through the newly-nuptialed couples (concentrating on the couples of color or interracial couples, of course) and after i cathect a little, i put it away to research things like domestic assault. sometimes the 'how they met' stories make me laugh (like the one about the couple who met during yoga and babbled on about their 'third eye' connection); sometimes, they make me tear up (like this one about the ex-con and the ex-drug addict who found each other and finally got married in their middle life.)

this one made me mist up a little. i mean, it's so freaking perfect, you know?

i would attribute all this misting and choking to last week's coaching residue, but i've been reading this column longer than i've been in coaching/therapy/whatever. so that doesn't work.

it's a little incongruous; the girl who's too emotionally blocked to fall in love or have an intimate relationship moons over stories of true love well met.

or maybe it's not so incongruous.

[a few minutes later...

ok, i just read this one and now i cannot finish my letter to the editor about domestic abuse in professional sports. i actually slipped into a brief fugue state wherein i imagined i was getting married to...well, married! bizarre! weird! incongruous!
it must be my new birth control doing this to me. all those freaking hormones.]

Sunday, August 26, 2007

on the move

i think i wrenched something.

my back is all stiff from bending at awkward angles and lifting boxes.
i stink.
i'm covered in dust and grime.
i really stink.
my hair looks like i've been pulled through the underbrush.
the apartment is totally jacked up.

i got a text message from a boy wanting to get together later today/tonight.
there's no way in hell that's going to happen.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the road to intimacy

eesh. coaching/therapy (whatever) was really tough today. came close to tears more than once and would RATHER not be forced to think about the years between 1984-1989. there's a REASON i don't talk about it, lady! but now that's she's honed in on my weak spot, guess what we'll be talking about for a while?


i know our past plays a part in how we become who we are but who knew that my past was quite so ... present. complete blowage.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

in case anyone was wondering, the Summer of 3 is over. it was a nice experiment and forced me to actually give a shit about being a bit more social; i never attained the holy trinity of boy-wrangling but i Made an Effort.

S-, a player in the Summer of 3, was a summer-long demonstration of diminishing returns; not only were his ED issues never resolved, after a while even the fantastic foreplay became...perfunctory. lest you fill your imaginations with visions of a rambunctious ding and her anonymous booty-call, imagine, instead, two half-clothed people talking about their issues. we'd repose on my bed with some XRT on my stereo, we'd sip water and chat for 90 minutes about why relationships failed us. (the irony was not lost on us. we're not dumb.) we'd romp a little more (he was a very skilled kisser) then go back to talking. at the end, i'd walk him to the door, we'd sort of shrug and say 'see ya!' and he'd walk downstairs, my door already closing behind him.

as for the other points of the triangle...well, the less said the better.

the summer is almost over and the Autumn of 1 approaches.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

am currently lost in the weeds trying to compose a sternly worded, yet non-inflammatory, letter to a network about an unfortunate choice of words in one of their shows.


all i want to do is send them a postcard that says, "we think you suck!"
am also preparing to go home and begin packing.
yesterday, i came home to find that Roomie had practically built a fort of boxes and had filled the apartment with so much Oust (to cover the stress smoking) that i could taste it. i could barely see Roomie's head over the top of the fort.

'hey, lady,' i said. 'building a fort?'
the boxes were so high i just heard a mumble.
then came the pitiful reply from Roomie:
'mumble mumble ... tired.'

it had begun, people. the slow, exhausting process of extricating two people from one domicile to move into another. (don't even get me started on how long i've taken to choose my paint colors for my bedroom and bathroom.)

Monday, August 20, 2007


Jenna Bush gets engaged -

(unworthy, i know. but i can't help it.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

much as i hate to admit it, a war goes on

anyone catch the Daily Show last night?

there was a really sobering moment when jon stewart confronted the author of dick cheney's new biography and it was a thing of beauty.

earlier, he'd played the clip of Cheney being eerily prescient, but then he said that the difference between the liberals and the conservatives on the iraq war was that the right lied and used their lies (even when they admitted they knew the truth) to brand those who didn't believe their lies as traitors and un-American. then he wondered why we should believe anything this administration, especially cheney, has to say about their accomplishments when they've been wrong about everything.

when the author tried to mitigate all this and say that the right never really did any of those things, they just have a different way of viewing solutions, he was booed by the audiience and Jon Stewart got super serious:
Stewart: Let me say this: I think there's a real feeling in this country that your patriotism has been questioned, by people in very high-level positions, not fringe people. You know, I myself had some idiot from Fox [News Channel] playing the tape of me after September 11th, very upset, and them calling me a phony, because,
apparently, my grief didn't mean acquiescence. So, I think that it's a fair point to say—
Hayes: I think we can agree that we shouldn't be questioning other people's patriotism; on the other hand, I think it's totally legitimate to talk about different ways of handling the war on terror and for them to make their case.
Stewart: If they were to make their case on that, I'm saying to you, I think we'd have a fair argument and agreement on how to move forward. They haven't done that, and the evidence that they haven't done that is, he made that case in 1994, he knew those were the problems, and they never brought it up in the run-up to the war. (snip)
the segment was very sobering. no laughing. no jokes. just really disappointed resignation that our administration just screwed the pooch for the past 6 years and turned against its own citizenry to do so.

you can find a transcript here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

my nappy nappy hair

'Glamour' Editor To Lady Lawyers: Being Black Is Kinda A Corporate "Don't" - Jezebel

1. does that even look like latifah on the cover??
2. i thought a secret memo went out to everyone - don't tell a black woman what she should/shouldn't do with her hair. period.*

and 3. really, Glamour, really??

[*since i'm always telling folks to pick up a frakking book before asking really stupid questions, here's a selected bibliography on the politics of black hair, taken from Kitchen Tales: Black Hair and the Tension between Individual Subjectivity and Collective Identity, Shawan M. Wade:

Ashe, Bertram D. “Why Don't He Like My Hair?: Constructing African-American Standards of Beauty in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.” African American Review 29.4 (1995): 579-592.
Banks, Ingrid. Hair Matters: Beauty, Power and Black Women's Consciousness. New York: New York University Press, 2000.
Benthall, Jonathan, and Ted Polhemus, eds. The Body as a Medium of Expression. London: Allen Lane Penguin Books, 1975.
Bundles, A' Lelia. On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker. New York: Scribner, 2001.
Byrd, Ayana, and Lori Tharps. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001.
Cade-Bambara, Toni. The Black Woman: An Anthology. New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Chinzera, Ayoka. Hairpiece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People. 1982.
Clarke, Cheryl. Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women. Second ed. New York: Kitchen Table Women of Color Press, 1983.
Cleage, Pearl. “Hairpeace.” African American Review 27.1 (Spring 1993): 37-42.
Cobbs, William H. and Price M Grier. Black Rage. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1968.
Craig, Maxine. “The Decline and the Fall of the Conk; or, How to Read a Process.” Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture 1.4 (December 1997): 3999-419.
Davis, Angela Y. “Afro Images: Politics, Fashion and Nostalgia.” Critical Inquiry 21 (Autumn 1994): 37-45.
Dent, Gina, ed. Black Popular Culture. Seattle: Bay Press, 1992.
Driskell, Murray and James E Webster. “Beauty as Status.” American Journal of Sociology 89.1 (July 1983): 140-165.
Gates, Henry Louis. “The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black.” Representations 0.24 (Autumn 1988): 129-155.
Gayle, Addison, ed. The Black Aesthetic. Garden City: Double Day and Company, Inc., 1971.
Harris, Juliette, ed. Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories. New York: Pocket Books, 2001.
hooks, bell. “Appearance Obsession: Is the Price too High?” Essence August 1995: 69-73.
hooks, bell. “Back to Black: Ending Internalized Racism.” Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. New York: Routledge, 1994. 173-182.
Kelley, Robin D.G. “Nap Time: Historicizing the Afro.” Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture 1.4 (December 1997): 339-351.
Mercer, Kobena. “Black Hair/Style Politics.” Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures. Eds. Russell Ferguson, Martha Gever, Trinh T. Minh-ha and Cornel West. New York: The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1990.
O'Neill, John. Sociology as a Skin Trade. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1972.
Piess, Kathy. Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture. New York: Metropolitan Books Henry Holt and Company, 1998.
Riggs, Marlon. Black Is, Black Ain't. 1995.
Rooks, Noliwe M. Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture, and African American Women. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996.
Rushing, Andrea Benton. “Hair-Raising.” Feminist Studies 14.2 (Summer 1988): 325-336.
Sagay, Esi. African Hairstyles: Styles of Yesterday and Today. London: Heinemann, 1983.
Smith, Feilpe. American Body Politics: Race, Gender, and Black Literary Renaissance. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 1998.
Ture, Kwame and Charles Hamilton. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation. New York: Random House, 1967.
Tyler, Bruce M. “Black Hairstyles: Cultural and Socio-political Implications.” The Western Journal of Black Studies 14.4 (1990): 235-250.
Wade-Gayles, Gloria. “The Making of a Permanent Afro.” Pushed Back to Strength: A Black Woman's Journey Home. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.
Walker, Alice. “Oppressed Hair Puts A Ceiling on the Brain.” Living by the Word. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1988. 69-74.
Ward, Margo Okazawa-Rey and Tracie Robinson and Janie Victoria. “Black Women and the Politics of Skin Color and Hair.” Women Studies Quarterly 14.1 & 2 (Spring/Summer 1986): 13-14.
Welsh-Asante, Kariamu, ed. The African Aesthetic: Keeper of the Traditions. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993.
White, Shane and Graham White. Stylin': African American Expressive Culture from its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998.
Willis, Susan. “I Shop Therefore I Am: Is there a Place for Afro-American Culture in Commodity Culture?” Changing Our Own Words: Essays on Criticism, Theory, and Writing by Black Women. Ed. Cheryl A. Wall. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989. 173-195.
Wolfe, George C. “The Hairpiece.” The Colored Museum. New York: Grove Press, 1988. 19-23.

or you can just search 'black hair politics' in google scholar and see for yourself.]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

isn't vera wang the chick who also turned her snooty nose up at sarah jessica parker and her Bitten line in an interview with the nytimes?

well, it seems that ms. wang has been bitten (heh) by a slavering need for cash and has chosen to cater to the previously snitted-against middle america masses and created her own line for Kohl's (also debuting in O Magazine).

Inexpensive Shit: Simply Vera Leaves Us Simply, Um, Excited? About Fashion? - Jezebel
in other shopping news, i was with my sister yesterday (sniff, she went back to LA) and we stopped in GAP on michigan avenue, where i haven't shopped in a really long time. they changed the place around some and their early fall stuff was already on the floor.

some thoughts:
1-sporty is back. we saw some cute rugby-inspired shirts that we remembered from the early 90s or late 80s but this time they're snugger, less sporty looking and more 'girly'.
2-80s nostalgia isn't always a good thing. my sister, a size 2 or 4, tried on a striped button down that had a ruffle down the middle and we both gagged. we totally wore that same shirt in 1982; remember, if you're old enough to have worn the trend when it first came out, avoid it now!
3-their sizing changed. hard to believe but i think something happened. i found a cute military styled jacket and sniffed that the their XL is never big enough for me. 'why can't they just add another X?,' i snitted. well, i tried it on and it FIT. my arms didn't get stuck in the arm holes, the jacket could close over my boobs (which are a 40D, thank you) and my sister even said, 'looks cute.' (she never says that.) either they changed their fit models or i lost some weight in my whole upper half of my body and i don't think i did.
4-patent leather handbags for fall might just be necessary. maybe. perhaps.
5-their maternity section is totally cute. yes, i said maternity! where else can you get a nice fitted, stretchy t-shirt that hugs your girly curves and goes down far enough so your belly doesn't show? or where can you get a dress or shirt with an empire waist that has enough room for the boobs?

snort. are you a 'special snowflake'?

'The Pick Up Artist': Extreme Makeover Edition - Jezebel

believe it or not, i found this through another church gal.
i was at work so i couldn't laugh as loud as i wanted to.

EC in Illinois: pharmacists still pushing to refuse to dispense

Feministing has a corrected post about a federal court case to decide whether pharmacists have the right to refuse to do their jobs and dispense emergency contraception.

there is a chance proponents of reproductive health access can still win this one but it means that we still have to be really vigilant about our (women's) ability to have access to the medication we need when accidents happen (because they do!).

i, for one, would be really pissed if, because a condom split/tore/got jammed up in my girly parts/slipped off, i needed EC and some asshat refused to dispense because of his asshat church beliefs. really really really pissed.

like, psycho-pissed.


that's like having a ticking bomb strapped to my uterus and some smug baptist tells me i can't cut the wire. that's enough to make a grown woman wanna take a hammer to someone's penis.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Orange Tangerine: Skinny girls

this post from Orange reminded me of a reality tv show with petra nemcova called a model life in which she hand picks 6 very young girls to put them through their paces while dangling a modeling contract in front of them as a prize.

on the surface it's a less campy version of America's Next Top Model; it's supposed to have a gushy heart at its center but i think the heart that beats inside this show is more of the same hard-nosed misogyny that makes up the whole of the fashion industry. (and the more i watch shows like this, that hardened, cynical, sexist face becomes more visible.)

while the people who inhabit the world of NEXT modeling are, in typical fashion, shallow and bitchy, there is a level of conscious hatred for natural female bodies that seeps through and makes my mouth purse in a really distasteful moue. the two 'handlers' for the girls end every show with stern words of advice for the week's winners and losers ("your photo shoot went really well and you can really pose" or "you're stiff and need to do whatever the photographer tells you") but they also enjoy a private review session that is an object lesson in How to Make a Woman Hate Herself (a paraphrase):

[two unlovely new yorkers looking at a photo of a pretty girl in a red bathing suit showing lots of cleavage]

BitchyBritishGuy: ugh. lucy. she's cute - incredible eyes - but there's just nothing there. she's so bland.
BlackBitchyGirl: yeah. she's just...ok. and her body...
BBGuy: yeah, a lump. unacceptable. she really needs to tone up.
BBGirl: yeah. she needs to learn that if she wants to make it in this business her body has to be know.
BBGuy: yeah. fashionable. we have to want to wear the clothes. but i look at her body and all i see are curves and tits. unsubtle.
BBGirl: exactly. we need to see the clothes. she needs to learn that. let's tell her to get with a trainer, like, immediately. we need to take care of it. NOW.

[photo switches to pale genocide victim in a bathing suit]

BBGuy: well, no curves to speak of here. love it.
BBGirl: me too. she photographs so high fashion. this might not be the best suit for her but it still screams 'editorial', you know?
BBGuy: exactly. she's so unusual looking. you'd think it wouldn't work but it does. we should bring her in and tell her to keep doing what she's doing. i can't wait to see how she progresses.
BBGirl: me too.

[they smirk at each other]

the most disturbing thing about this show is its cognitive dissonance. maybe it's not cognitive dissonance. maybe it's just plain hypocrisy. the industry folks clearly prefer the two most sickly looking girls because they photograph 'high fashion' but are brutal to one girl because she's a (gasp) out of shape size 2; even so, they make a feeble stab at encouraging 'healthy' body images.

in an earlier episode, the woefully thin michelle was berated by their fitness trainer for having the lowest BMI he'd ever seen and lucy was declared 'perfect' for having a BMI that fit in her range for her height, weight and age. michelle insists she's normal and has always been like this (which she may be but it's not the point) and lucy is excited that she received approval. but by the end of the episode, fashion reasserts itself (not normalcy) and we see lucy chastised for being 'out of shape' and borderline fat while michelle moves up the list of frontrunners.

in this horrifically crazy world, size 2 = horrifically obese and unacceptable.
where can women go if a 2 is considered obese??

i don't think this whole thing can be laid wholly at the feet of those who choose or 'create' the image of the model. the designer is an active collaborator. while part of me (the part that watched Project Runway) can sympathize with the practical struggle to make fabric hang in a pleasing way, we need to stop using the designer's struggle as an excuse to shield an industry that consistently proffers a really whacked image of female bodies. the designer has no concept of women, real or otherwise. and any enterprise that ellides the presence of the woman i call misogynist and patriarchal.

their vision (and ours as well because we see through their lens) is becoming skewed in such a way i'm afraid the designers, critics and all the attendant folks in the fashion industry won't be satisfied until there's just a hank of hair and a pelvic bone moving down the runway.

Orange Tangerine: Skinny girls
Focused Ultrasound - Uterine Fibroids - New York Times

oh, if only the Agathas of the world would just go away permanently.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

are you ready for superbad? i am.

if Roomie and i were to have a buddy film, it would be something like this:
it's a day in the life of two 30-something women who spend their time watching old peter o'toole movies about incest and madness, buying comic books, grilling everything in their refrigerator because Roomie bought a new grill, drinking beer, 'solving' crimes at the museum of science CSI exhibit, maybe going to the arlington race track to 'bet' on the ponies and drinking more beer while wondering where the boys are.

exciting, no?

anyway, Superbad. get ready, ladies. i sense a group outing.

It’s, Like, a Buddy Film by, Like, Buddies - New York Times

Monday, August 06, 2007

i rock.

no, no. it's true. they told me.

today, at a regional conference, i totally rocked my panel presentation (How Advocacy can be a Tactic in Your Overall Internal/External Strategic Communications Strategy.) barely looked at my hastily cobbled notes, delivered my message, kept the energy level up, elicited some laughs and made my office look really really good.

i. rock.
of course, i'm also horribly cash poor right now (thanks to bad budgeting math) so my head won't get too big anytime soon.

thank goodness my Roomie lent me cab fare, or i'd be in northbrook, selling my blood to get back to the city.

Friday, August 03, 2007

wow. prayer really DOES work


my doctor's office just called and told me my surgery (which i was totally freaking out about below) has been cancelled!


because, apparently, i'm so freaking anemic (6.8 out of 11 scale) it scared them and now i have to spend the next 4 months raising my blood levels.

mysterious ways, folks.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

a last hurrah before agatha-extraction: the simpsons

how much do i love a.o. scott?

“The Simpsons Movie” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has what the official advisory describes as “irreverent humor throughout” as well as brief cartoon nudity. Won’t somebody think of the children?

The Simpsons Movie - Movie - Review - New York Times