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Feminist Friday Fun: Kids Pose as Iconic Figures in Women’s History

Enrique Jones has expanded his “Because of Them, We Can…” series to Women’s History Month, and the results are wonderful.

A few highlights:

Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Child!

Julia Child would have turned 100 years old today, and my social media feeds were abuzz all day with delicious recipes (like this one. and this one. and this one…), funny YouTube videos (like this one), and clips from Julie & Julia (like this one).

But there was also quite a bit of discussion about whether or not Julia advanced feminism or set us back. This boggles my mind. The thought process, it seemed was that since Julia was a woman cooking on TV, and making cooking and being in the kitchen her primary business, she turned the clocks back a few years.

I understand the thought process – really, I do. But I don’t agree with it – not one little bit. Here’s why.

1. Julia wasn’t exactly your average stereotype of a meek Holly Homemaker. At 6 feet tall, Child was  a formidable life force. She was vivacious, with an appetite for life – it just so happened that her greatest passion was great food.

2. Julia didn’t play into gender stereotypes. Sure she loved to cook, but she also never had children; finding fufillment in her career, friends, and marriage to her completely adorable husband (seriously, if you haven’t yet, read My Life in France – THEY ARE THE CUTEST EVER)

3. Julia built an empire. Talk about a savvy businesswoman! Child wrote a number of books and was the star of a syndicated TV empire from the 1970’s until her passing.

4. Julia was FEARLESS. She walked into a culinary world in a foreign country that was entirely male-dominated and made it her own. She de-boned ducks, cooked live lobsters, and sliced up fish with the best of them – heck, some days I’m still grossed out by stuffing a roast chicken! Julia revolutionized the world of food in American culture. Speaking of which…

5. Julia not only made it OK to spend time in the kitchen again, she made it an art. Just watching one of Julia’s TV shows makes you marvel at her culinary prowess and ease in the kitchen. She was a strong, independent woman in the kitchen and in life, and her enjoying cooking had no bearing on her capabilities outside the kitchen. This is also the issue I take with the idea that if you’re a strong independent woman, you can’t be a good chef also. I love to cook and love to be in the kitchen, but part of why I love being there is because society places less of a pressure on me to fit into that conventional role of homemaker than it did on my grandmother or mother. Julia helped create that divide – that food and cooking should be enjoyable, a treat, not a chore.

So happy 100th, Julia! You were an incredible woman and one of my biggest role models. You taught me to love food, enjoy preparing it, and above all to enjoy life. I hope you were pleased with my celebration of your life – cooking your roast chicken recipe, watching an episode of your old cooking shows, and drinking a tres large glass of wine with my meal.

Ah, Rush. So We Meet Again.

I’m sure you’ve seen Rush Limbaugh’s face all over the news yet again this week – this time, for saying:

“What does it say about the college coed [Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University law student scheduled to testify before congress on contraception] … who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.”

Now, this is not out of the ordinary for Rush. He has quite the history of saying degrading, patronizing, and downright disgusting things about women in the past. And Rush apologized, as he has rarely done before. But this time is different, and I’m not going to lie to you – I’m pleased as punch about it.

Limbaugh is not being let off the hook this time. Oh, don’t get me wrong – the right-wing media rushed to his defense as always, and Rush was as defiant as ever when the scandal first broke. But as time went on, the incident didn’t just blow over – people fought back.

President Obama called Sandra Fluke to make sure she was okay after the extremely slanderous and personal attacks, the Georgetown University President condemned Limbaugh, and Fluke herself spoke up and  essentially outlined why Limbaugh’s comments were so ridiculous; nothing that she expected some criticism over the issue but nothing on the scale of personal attacks that Rush had issued against her; and many articles noting that this kind of language was the kind used to keep women down and “in their place” for centuries. And best of all? Advertisers began pulling out. And that got through to Rush.

Limbaugh finally issued an apology on Saturday, defending his comments as “humor”. But even Ron Paul saw right through him, noting that the apology came only because he was too concerned with his “bottom line”. The apology was too little, too late – many of his advertisers decided to still pull their ads from his show.

Aside from the ability to do a little happy dance over the news that Rush is getting a little less money to gold-plate another microphone or huge seat or something with his name on it, I am absolutely thrilled that we finally have an instance where public attention and outcry around an offensive comment from a conservative radio show host has made a difference. HALLELUJAH! Let’s keep it going – keep writing letters to businesses sponsoring shows like Limbaugh’s that focus on derogatory comments towards women and minorities, posting links to the crazy things these people say, and encouraging an intelligent debate on issues instead of just screaming one-sided into a microphone.

UPDATE: 46 advertisers have pulled out of Rush’s show, and he closed his first hour with dead air this morning. The sweet sound of silence! 3/8/12

An Open Letter to Rick Santorum

Dear Mr. Santorum,

Recently, you wrote in to the Wall Street Journal in a letter called “My Fight for Life.” In it, you discussed your feelings on the controversial topic of abortion. I just wanted to take a moment to talk a few of your points through with you.

Firstly, I take issue with the idea that you are fighting for life while, conversely, those of us who support a woman’s right to choose must be fighting for death. In reality, I am fighting for life in a far more meaningful way than you are – the right for women to live life the way that they choose; for children born into this world to always feel wanted and welcome in their own families.

Second, your invoking your “Creator” in the same sentence as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence is counter-intuitive. Our founding fathers felt strongly that citizens should not feel that they have to abide by the rules of any one religion. Americans are a diverse group racially, culturally, and spiritually. Not all feel the same way you do about the rights divined by your “Creator”. If you are campaigning to be the President of the United States of America, please remember that America is a very large country.

Your quote that “40 million babies” have died from Roe v. Wade discounts the importance of women’s lives. Approximately 50% of all maternal deaths resulted from illegal abortion during the first half of the 20th century, and abortion has been going on for centuries – whether or not it was legalized. Roe v. Wade has allowed for women to go to real doctors and clinics to get this procedure done safely.

The 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “life, liberty and property” applies to citizens, not groups of cells that are barely an organism; and President Obama’s recognition of civil rights extends to a woman’s reproductive rights and support of LGBT rights – which is far more than I can say for your sorry butt.

Mr. Santorum,  I believe staunchly in women’s reproductive rights, and I also want children one day. I want my children to grow up in a world where they are wanted, and loved. I don’t want to have them before I’m ready. Effective birth control – which, yes, may have to include abortion – will ensure that I can stick to my own plans. Not that you’re listening to any of this, anyway.

Disgusting news of the week: Dominique Strauss-Kahn case to be made into a Porno

Apparently, the details of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s sexual assault case are now the inspiration for a film coming soon to an adult video store near you.

This is the most aggravating thing I’ve heard all week. The porn culture in general is overall very degrading to women, but this is a whole new level of gross – the idea that a sexual assault case can be interpreted to become a sexy and desirable thing is offensive, and completely delusional. Sexual assault may have the word “sex” in it, but it is anything but sexy. I can’t believe it, but I think that PORN just hit a whole new level of skeeze.

Rick Santorum Clearly Can’t take a Joke

Rick Santorum complained he felt “bullied” by the left after seeing SNL’s “Yet Another GOP Debate” sketch on Saturday night, saying:

The left, unfortunately, participates in bullying more than the right does. They say that they’re tolerant, and they’re anything but tolerant of people who disagree with them and support traditional values.”

Then Santorum added “I welcome the criticism, go ahead.”

Get over yourself, Rick Santorum. SNL is a cultural institution that takes digs at all politicians. When Obama had difficulty gaining support for the healthcare bill, SNL did a scathing sketch about the effects this could have on Democrats and whether or not this is something people want them to do:

SNL makes fun of our political process and our politicians. That’s what they do. And they’ve done an astonishingly good job over the years of making fun of both conservative and liberal politicians; and at finding a middle ground between the two extremes – a middle ground, by the way, that includes most of Americans.

Quit being such a whiny baby, Santorum. If you’re going to be so anti-gay marriage and gay rights to the point where you say nothing when the audience boos a gay soldier (and don’t lie – there’s no way you didn’t hear them) then you’re going to be made fun of for it by comedy shows. Period. End of story.