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open letter to lt. dan choi: DADT doesn’t make you right

By: C. D. Kirven, Contributing Writer & LGBT Activist

“Cautious, careful people always casting about preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.” — Susan B. Anthony.

Dear Dan:

As a member of the LGBT community fighting against bigotry, I understand the depth of your passion and also empathize with the difficulties you’ve endured fighting to expose the injustice America so openly projects to the world during a time of war recklessly turning its back on LGBT soldiers who’ve sacrificed for their country.  In 2009, women made up 14 percent of the army but accounted for up to 48 percent of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s discharges. “Harry Reid is a pussy,” you angrily said after the failed Senate vote last month, vowing to speak out, and “he’ll be bleeding once a month.”   Your comment is almost too insulting to take seriously but needs to be publicly addressed in order for us to move forward as one unified …

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sexism is making a comeback

Image from jezebel.com

Everyone’s seen good old-fashioned sexist images like the one on the left, right?  There’s no shortage of ads that reference America’s earlier, less enlightened era when women stayed in the home and their sole social function was to support their husband and kids.  It was a good, simple time, when women had nary a thought in their little heads and and could be easily appeased with new kitchen appliances.  At least, that’s how ads from before women’s liberation would have you think.

Now that women are rocking out in almost all spheres of business, politics and law (haven’t touched the presidency yet, have we?), things in advertising are a bit different.  It’s no longer considered socially acceptable to overtly compare women to objects or to imply that their only worth lies within domestic spheres.  In theory, the strides that American society has made towards equalizing opportunities in education, jobs and politics are reflected in modern advertising…but everything is ok if it’s ironic, right?

The good ol’ boys club, where a certain level of bonding resulted from the exclusion and …

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aren’t women part of the family too?

‘Americans watch too many movies and tv shows’ – I see this as a statistic all the time, in many different forms, and therefore know it to be true.  The exact percentages are always changing a little bit, as is the focus of the study, but whether it’s that kids are spending an average of four hours a day watching tv or that 52% of young people have a tv in their bedroom, it’s clear that tv and movies have ample opportunity to influence our youth.

What young people aren’t seeing in this deluge of media are positive role models of women.  Or in fact, any women at all.  In Newsweek article  “The Shame of Family Films,” Julia Baird cites some rather alarming statistics about the absence of female representation in popular movies aimed at young people.  Of the fifty top-grossing films in 2006-2009 aimed at families, a mere 29.2 percent of characters were female and 25% of female characters shown were in “sexy, tight, or alluring attire.” As Baird points out,

It is a disgrace that we are still teaching girls that they should be onlookers in a world where boys do interesting …

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this week in gender bending: focus on feminism

“Feminism,” says the mighty voice of Wikipedia, refers to “political, cultural, and economic movements aimed at establishing greater rights and legal protections for women”. There are endless branches and eras of feminism, and like with any significant political movement, the feminist movement has had to struggle with issues of inclusion and with its very definition. What I see of the feminist political and social movement these days is mostly good. There’s still some fake feminists like Sarah Palin, who attempt to rally while still engaging in classism and sexism, but overall the movement seems to be inclusive of diversity. Below I’ve linked one of my favorite news blogs, Feministing, which I appreciate for its frequent updates of fascinating articles and for its trans, genderqueer and LGBTQ positive attitude.

Feministing.com – A blog that keeps up with any and all news and pop culture related to gender and women’s issues.

The Brontesaurus – An action figure that tackles sexism in literature!

Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists – A new anthology that explores what it means to be a feminist and have a feminist identity.

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