Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Republicans attack feminist-friendly NPR & PBS

Two feminist-friendly media are under attack as Republicans propose measures to cut funding for Public Broadcast Service and National Public Radio.

Democrats, along with PBS and NPR supporters, are mounting a counter attack in support of these institutions that bring us so much valuable programming, along with different points of view, that just aren't available anywhere else.

The Kansas City Star ran a great editorial on Sunday, Feb. 20.

The state of Kansas is looking at cutting its funding for public broadcasting as well.  The Star says, this would be a huge loss to rural areas of the country -- like Kansas' High Plains region -- where " ... Public Radio is as much a part of the landscape as the limitless horizon and brilliant night sky."

The Star hits the nail on the head when it says:

"We mention High Plains because it embodies the very notion of public broadcasting — to serve those who would not otherwise be served.


"Serious efforts to cut spending and reduce the deficit have our full support. However, the money saved from cutting all Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds — $430 million — would be barely a rounding error in the federal budget. But the cost to rural America would be enormous."

Of course the Republican solution would be to turn PBS and NPR over to the free market, adding that it would increase merchandising income.

Yet, according to an article by Chris Moody of "The Daily Caller," supporters of public broadcasting say:

"... ending government funding to public broadcasting would eliminate the programs, and that the market could not be trusted to provide quality broadcasting for children or news content for adults.


"'Reverting to only free-market, consumer-driven broadcasting would be “like treating the Library of Congress as an amusement park rather than as a seat of knowledge,' said Rep. Paul Tonko of New York."

Closer to home, WEMU, General Manager Molly Motherwell told AnnArbor.com that federal funding is 20 percent of that station's budget.

... but it’s a very significant 20 percent,” Motherwell said. “It pays for one full-time person ... and it pays for two-thirds of our network programming. If we were to lose that, probably what would happen is we would have to wipe out all of our locally produced music programs on the weekends and in the evenings, because the majority of our listening is between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays. ... We would lose a lot of our unique flavor because of it. We probably would have to reduce our news staff.”

PBS and NPR are the closest thing to a feminist media we have.

Need proof?

Here are some of my posts that are based on or include information from PBS or NPR:
  • Where are the women in Egypt's uprising?  Feb. 2011
  • Islam, Women and Agency, Feb. 2011
  • An economy based on feminized labor, Nov. 2010
  • A Murder of Crows:  More proof of intelligent life on Earth, Oct. 2010
  • Depoliticizing stem cells, Oct. 2010
  • "Diana:  A strange autobiography" dared to tell the truth, Aug. 2010
  • And then there's "The Real Girls," June 2010

    So what can we do -- speak up and let the Republicans know they cannot silence the American voice. Go to 170millionamericans.org to find out how.

Heart-a-facts: Hot off the press -- "Saving Women's Hearts"

With this book -- just released this month -- Dr. Martha Gulati might do for women's hearts and heart health  what Dr. Susan Love did for breasts and breast health.  The book is "Saving Women's Hearts:  How You Can Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease with Natural and Conventional Strategies."

Dr. Gulati is a cardiologist at the Ohio State University Medical Center where she is the director of preventative cardiology and women's cardiovascular health.  Gulati coauthored the book with Sherry Torkos, a holistic pharmacist, author, fitness instructor and lecturer.

The Gulati-Torkos combination presents "the latest information on both the conventional medical approach and the role of natural medicine in preventing heart disease," according to the center's website.  That's a truly holistic approach.

Gulati says the book "examines the unique gender differences for women and provides valuable insight into the screening procedures, diagnosis, treatment options and prevention of heart disease."

“The statistics for heart disease in women are alarming, " Gulati says. "It is the number one killer of women, accounting for one-third of all deaths in women.
Dr. Martha Gulati

“Our goal with this book is to separate the facts from the many myths surrounding heart disease, while encouraging women to become more proactive in guarding their heart health.” 

If there's only one thing you do for your heart during February -- get a copy of this book.  Just click the link on the right.  It would also make a caring gift for girlfriends, moms, grandmas, cousins etc, etc.

This could become the definitive book on women's heart health.

Pass it on and make the red dress as recognizable as the pink ribbon.



"I Advocate Feminism ... a mini-blogzine" is a proud Amazon Partner.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sexism is at the root of girl-on-girl crime

Tina Fey lectures on girl-on-girl crime in "Mean Girls."
One of my on-going themes for perpetual exploration is what I've dubbed "girl-on-girl crime."  Simply defined, it's the ugly way women treat each other in social, business and political situations that result in a sabotage of success.

So, just why do we do we treat each other this way?  We use derogatory terms like bitch, cunt, bimbo, hag and the like.  We are jealous of other women's successes, so we talk them down through malicious gossip.  Girl-on-girl crime also goes beyond the verbal to direct acts of violence and petty tricks that are sometimes under the guise of jokes.

The answer is actually very simple:  We are socially conditioned to do so, and the culprit is sexism.

That's right. I said sexism.

Here's an example from my own experience.

In a newsroom, I overheard a male reporter say, about an alleged crime suspect, "He's been bumping off chicks since before I was born."  I labeled him sexist.

I also encountered a female editor who treated me with disdain from day one.  I got the whole package:  dirty looks, snide remarks, attempts to sabotage work and refusal to help.  Classic girl-on-girl crime.  I labeled her a bitch.

While both assessments might be true, the reality is that are both sexist -- and so am I in this case.  None of us are immune to this social conditioning.

This was an epiphany for me, and underscored the need for constant self examination.

In her book "Feminist Theory from Margin to Center, Second Edition," feminist writer bell hooks says this:

"Between women and men, sexism is most often expressed in the form of male domination, which leads to discrimination, exploitation, or oppression.  Between women, male supremacist values are expressed through suspicious, defensive, competitive behavior.  It is sexism that leads women to feel threatened by one another without cause.


"Sexism teaches women woman-hating, and both consciously and unconsciously we act out this hatred in our daily contact with one another."

If sexism is defined simply as, "behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles," this is what hooks is talking about.  Men and women internalize sexism differently.  Between women, it manifests itself through girl-on-girl crime.

So what's the answer?  Again, hooks makes it so simple:  We must unlearn sexism and its ensuing behaviors.  She says:

"To build a politicized, mass-based movement, women must work harder to overcome the alienation from one another that exists when sexist socialization has not been unlearned, e.g., homophobia, judging by appearance, conflicts between women with diverse sexual practices.  So far, feminist movement has not transformed women-to-woman relationships, especially between women who are strangers to one another or from different backgrounds, even though it has been the occasion for bonding between individuals and groups of women. 

"We must renew our efforts to help women unlearn sexism if we are to develop affirming personal relationships as well as political unity.
"

In other words -- we need to get over ourselves.  And that requires a constant effort of self examination, because none of us can do it perfectly.  But, recognition is the first step towards change and a redirection of the negative energy of sexism to the positive energy of sisterhood.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pay gap growing for women MDs

from the Associated Press:


Starting salaries for women who become physicians are significantly lower than men's, and the pay gap has grown over the past decade, a study reports.

The pay differential, which was 12.5 percent in 1999, increased to nearly 17 percent by 2008, according to the report, published Thursday in Health Affairs.

The growing gap could not be explained by women's preferences, the authors said. While women on average do choose lower-paying specialties and shorter workweeks than men, those disparities were less pronounced in 2008 than in 1999. Yet the pay differential has widened.

"That was the part that surprised and puzzled us," said one author, Anthony T. Lo Sasso, a professor of health policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "As you start moving forward in time closer to the present day, your ability to explain away that difference between men's and women's salaries essentially evaporates."
The research looked at more than 8,000 new physicians in New York State. In 1999, the women earned $151,600 on average, compared with $173,400 for men; by 2008, the figures were $174,000 for women and $209,300 for men. (The study adjusted for inflation.) After accounting for differences in their practices, the study concluded, the pay gap had increased to $16,819 in 2008, from $3,600 in 1999.

Heart-a-fact: Another reason to consume less meat

It's good to see that women are being included in heart health studies.  This one, "Major Dietary Protein Sources and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease," by Dr. Adam Bernstein of the Harvard School of Public Health included over 84,000 women ages 30-55 and specifically looked at meat consumption over a 26-year period. 

According to the study, women who consumed two servings per day of red meat, as compared to those who consumed only half a serving per day, had a 30 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. Compared to eating one serving each day of red meat, women who substituted other protein-rich foods experienced significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease:
  • 30 percent lower risk associated with eating one serving per day of nuts;
  • 13 percent lower risk associated with eating one serving per day of low-fat dairy products.
These findings led the researchers to an important conclusion:

"These data suggest that high red meat intake increases risk of [coronary heart disease] and that [coronary heart disease] risk may be reduced importantly by shifting sources of protein in the U.S. diet."

From Cherie's Desk:  In addition to nuts and dairy products, the study also recommended chicken and fish as alternate sources of protein -- but who wants to see anybody get killed?  By avoiding these animal proteins, we can also care for the health of our figurative hearts and unburden our consciences of cruelty.

Courtesy of ToYourHealth.com

Just for Fun: Red lips speak for heart health

Cherie's favorite red -- get it while you can.
This month I'm encouraging the "wearin' o'the red" to promote awareness of women's heart health.

Personally, I like to wear red lipstick.  But, selecting a shade can be daunting.  Here are a few tips from Ladies Home Journal to help find your perfect shade:

Consider if you look better wearing silver or gold jewelry. 

If you chose silver, try a cool red with blue undertones.  LHJ recommends Estee Lauder's "Rich Red" or Bobbi Brown's  "Hollywood Red."

If you chose gold, try a warm red with peach, coral or orange tones.  LHJ likes Estee Lauder's "Spanish Red" and Bobbi Brown's "Vintage Red."

If you're fair -- like me -- you might want try a sheer red that builds on your natural lip color.  Deeper skin tones can use a full coverage formula.

CHERIE'S PICK:  I once heard that actress Sophia Loren bought out the remaining stock of her favorite lipstick shade when it was discontinued.  It might be the same with my tube of red that I've had for quite awhile.  Almay Ideal Lip Color #255 Red is hard to find.  I love it because it's sheer and bright.  I found a limited quantity at BuyMeBeauty.com.  Get it while it lasts.

The Angel of Grace wears red

Anna Strem and Linda Craik of Shelby Township, Mich. make awareness bracelets as fundraisers for a variety of causes. I interviewed the two women today for an upcoming Patch.com feature on their organization, Angel of Grace.  

Heart Disease Awareness Bracelet available at angelofgrace.com
This is their heart disease awareness bracelet.  It sells for $10 on their website.  

The hand-made bracelets are available in small, medium and large sizes.

What a great way to show support for heart health by wearing a little red -- anytime.

Buy one for yourself, and several for girlfriends.

Angel of Grace has a history steeped in friendship, awareness, love and giving.  Look for my story soon.

Arianna Huffington swings the liberal feminist pendulum

Arianna Huffington
It has been said that Arianna Huffington herself is AOL's greatest asset in its recent acquisition of the Huffington Post.

It's no secret that Huffington has swung her personal political pendulum  from  conservative to  liberal as reflected by Meghan O'Rourke in the Slate.com article titled "The Accidental Feminist" back in 2006.

O'Rourke said:

"In "The  Female Woman" (1973), Huffington argued that the 'frenetic extremism" of the women's liberation movement was seeking 'not to emancipate women, but to destroy society.'  A heatedly conservative position in the era of liberal feminism, it put Huffington on the map (she was then 23). Today, though, she calls herself a feminist."

Theres goes Huffington's pendulum -- but did it swing far enough?  In 2006, Huffington  published a book titled "On Becoming Fearless." 

O'Rourke continues:

"Arianna's current Weltanschauung is decidedly liberal and even feminist. In "On Becoming Fearless," Huffington scolds women for being careless and clueless about money ("Even in the liberated workplace of today, a surprising number of us still think that it's the man's job to make and understand money"). She recounts the cautionary tale of a writer, Carol Hoenig, who dallied in leaving an unhappy marriage because, as a stay-at-home mom, she had no source of independent income. She makes it clear that she thinks what keeps women out of top positions isn't evolutionary aversion to risk-taking, but rather internalized fears and a culture that is conflicted about female leadership."  (emphasis mine)

Well, Huffington gets it ... almost.  I like that she encourages women to take fiscal responsibility in their lives and to overcome their fears of risk-taking.  (I need to work on this myself.)  Yet, is the workplace truly "liberated" when women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns?  And yes, our culture is conflicted about female leadership, but Huffington falls short of naming the real cause:  patriarchy.

O'Rourke says Huffington is still a little clueless:

"At other times, though, Huffington seems actively to misunderstand her own privileged position. A typical example involves her friend Caroline Graham, who lost a job at Talk when the magazine was shut down and who went through a jobless period of "shame and fear." Then Graham "rallied" and started a new consulting firm, having got on the phone and found out she had 'more friends and knowledge than I had imagined.' Great—and all quite understandable. The only trouble is that most people's problems are a little less grandiose. Interspersed within the book are personal testimonies from other Huffington friends and acquaintances, including Nora Ephron, Diane Keaton, and former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing. Huffington explained to me that 'these were not superwomen—they are successful, sure, but they are women to whom the ordinary woman can relate.' But it is one thing to offer inspiring examples of bootstrapping; it is another to point to Diane von Furstenberg, a Belgian √©migr√© who was once married to a prince, and tell middle-class American women that their fears are much like hers. Some differences merit being treated as real.

Here is where Huffington, like the early feminists she now claims to embrace, misses the point.  The early liberal feminist movement assumed sameness.  It assumed that all women saw work as a way to liberation and wanted the same thing -- equality to compete with men in the workplace.

I'm not devaluing the issue of pay equity, or the efforts of the feminist movement on its behalf.  The fact remains that the early movement targeted and benefited white, educated women of the upper middle class -- think "The Feminist Mystique" -- and many women felt left out on the basis of race and class.  

The good news is that O'Rourke "gets it" when she says, "Some differences merit being treated as real."

Betty Friedan's thinking changed later in her life -- so perhaps there's hope that Huffington's pendulum to swing just a little farther.

Worth another listen:

My podcast "Liberal Feminism Today"
       

                       
   
Podcast Powered By Podbean
   

    
Worth another read:

"What Betty did write"

Monday, February 14, 2011

TV's original "Police Woman" rejected the feminism of her time

"I don't look fantastic.  I look my age."

Angie Dickinson then (left,) and now (right.)
That's how TV's original "Police Woman," Angie Dickinson, 79, responds to flattery.

She applies that same no-nonsense approach to the feminist movement of the '70s in recent interviews for PBS' "Pioneers of Television" series and in an interview with the American Association of Retired Persons.

Her response probably wasn't what the movement was looking for from an actress who played a strong female lead in the NBC series "Police Woman" from 1974-1978.

Back in the days before "CSI" and "Law and Order," it was "still unique to see a woman in uniform," Dickinson told AARP.

Her role was new ground for women and television.  Dickinson was the first woman to head the cast of a successful television drama.

And yet, says AARP:

"Her distinction, however, didn’t make her a feminist. 'I never felt the need for feminism,' she says. 'I never felt competition with men, which I really believed started the movement. ...

'When I was up for a role, I didn't compete with men; it was a role for a woman.' And, as for the historic inequity between what Hollywood paid men vs. women? 'I was content with what they gave me,' " she says.

But Dickinson was no sell out.  Says PBS:

"Dickinson embraced a character that exuded sex appeal and brains in equal measure. But she eschewed the sex kitten image of contemporaries such as Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, favoring roles that meshed well with her one-of-the-guys real-life persona. She even disallowed the studio to lighten her naturally dark hair beyond a honey blonde shade. She reveled in a character that made her a household name."

It is true that the liberal feminism of the '70s could be construed a "one-size-fits-all" movement that left many women feeling alienated, rather than part of a sisterhood.

One of the movement's biggest mistakes was assuming every woman wanted the same thing -- legal equality  and competition with men.

Even today, every woman is not a feminist by virtue of her sex, or her gender.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Heart-a-fact: Why the red dress should be as important as the pink ribbon

Because heart disease is the leading cause of death in women* -- period.

That's why.

Everybody loves the pink ribbon -- which has become synonymous with the fight against breast cancer.  Yet less people are aware of the red dress and its association with the fight against women's heart disease.

I want to change that with my own "Heart-a-facts" campaign during the remainder of February in conjunction with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign.


There used to be an assumption that women didn't have heart disease, and heart disease studies focused almost exclusively on men -- so I like that this campaign makes it a women's issue.

Now that you have the first "heart-a-fact," here are three things you can do:

1.  Go to the Go Red for Women web page and "Tell 5 Save Lives."  You can share heart health news with five friends and receive a free heart health kit and free red dress pin.
2.  Drop by my fund fund raising page.

3.  Wear a little red everyday.  I like to wear red lipstick ;)


*Lloyd-Jones D, Adams R, Brown T,. et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2010 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee.  Circulation. 2010; 121:e1-e170.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A metaphor of matrimony: "The Michaelangelo Marriage"

from Healthy-Marriage.com

According to the “Michelangelo Phenomenon,” you and your spouse can sculpt each other, through affirmation and support, to more closely resemble your ideal selves. In doing this, you and your partner will be happier, as will your marriage.

The key to helping your mate achieve their ideal self is supporting them in a way that is consistent with what they dream of becoming. In doing so, a relationship “functions better and both partners are happier,” says Eli Finkel, associate professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.

Summarizing this concept, Pat Vaughan Tremmel says,"Just as the sculptor chisels, carves and polishes away flaws in the stone to reveal the ideal form, so do skillful partners support their loved ones' dreams, aspirations and the traits they hope to develop, such as completing medical school or becoming more fluent in a second language or more sociable."

It is also important to note that couples can jeopardize their relationships by encouraging their partner to be something different from what they envision as their ideal self. Therefore, get to know your spouse (or fiance) so that they you can better understand who exactly that person wants to become. This is especially important for those of you who are dating or engaged. Learning who your sweetheart wants to be in 10 years will give you more insight to your life-long compatibility.

Finkel concludes, “When our partners can chisel and polish us in a way that helps us to achieve our ideal self, that's a wonderful thing."

Where are the women in Egypt's uprising?


From "The Takeaway:"

Egyptian women are, and have been, at the forefront of that nation's political protests. This conversation with Mona Eltahawy, a columnist and speaker on Muslim and Arab issues, explores women's experiences and what the future could hold for them:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Will the real Cleopatra please stand up?


This Greek coin could be a fairly accurate depiction of what the legendary Egyptian ruler looked like.

According to "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stacy Schiff, she:

"Sported a smaller version of her father's hooked nose, full lips, a sharp, prominent chin, (and) a high brow ... Her eyes were wide and sunken."

Appearance shouldn't matter, but if this description is accurate, Hollywood's depictions couldn't be further from the truth. Here's Elizabeth Taylor from 1963.ee

You might also like this post:  "... Stacy Schiff gives the legendary queen historical perspective."

News worth noting

Angelina Jolie could play Cleopatra in new film

from Entertainment Weekly:

A new film about Cleopatra, based on the book "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stacy Schiff, has been in the works for four years and might be approaching the starting gate.

It's the project of producer Scott Rudin ("True Grit" and "The Social Network"), who says: "The story of Cleopatra has historically been told by men, starting with Cicero. This is a very different look at this woman. Cleopatra was a politician, warrior, soldier and strategist -- as opposed to just a seductress."

Reportedly, Rubin bought the story based on Schiff's proposal before the book was written.

Rudin's choice for the lead is Angelina Jolie ("Salt"). "Who else could play it?" Rubin said. "Who do you get if not her?"

Author Schiff agreed, saying, "This is a figure where you have to have someone who is almost larger than life -- a goddess."

Frank Sinatra: Misogynist?

from WNYC's "Soundcheck:"

"I cannot clear him on the charges of misogyny," says Sinatra biographer James Kaplan, who has written a new book titled "Frank: The Voice." At nearly 800 pages, it traces the first half of the singer's life.

"Women were drawn to him, but he wasn't always nice to them," Kaplan said.

Kaplan says Sinatra's relationship with his mother, Dolly, influenced his future relationships with women.

According to Kaplan, Sinatra told Shirley MacLaine, "She was a (expletive) I never knew if she was going to hit me or hug me. "


Travels with Tofurky 30th Anniversary Contest

To mark its 30th anniversary, Turtle Island Foods, Inc., the maker of Tofurky, is sponsoring a "Travels with Tofurky" photo contest. The winner will be featured on a tofurky box AND receive a $1,000 gift card good for travel on one airline, train line, busline, or shoe line of choice.

The contest ends April 20, 2011 at midnight. Visit www.tofurky.com for details and rules.

A different view of "The Willendorf Project"

Professor Louisa Ngote introduced me to the "Venus of Willendorf" back in the fall of 2010 in her Introduction to Western Art class at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.

So, of course I was excited to be able to make the ancient art connection in "The Willendorf Project," an "installation art project" currently on display through Feb. 18 at the River's Edge Gallery in Wyandotte, Mich.

The exhibit is meant to be a critique of the diet industry and a statement about society's view of physical beauty.

Artist Brenda Oelbaum uses donated diet books in the construction of her project, but it also features Oelbaum's replicas of the Venus of Willendorf.

When I shared the Patch.com article -- "Artist Starts a New Year's Revolution -- with Professor Ngote, she had a different perspective:

"I wish they would look at the original (above.) These modern images are a travesty of the original," Ngote told me via email.

When I asked her to elaborate, she said: "I guess I don't like really nice art abused in such a fashion. I really don't think she (the Venus) should become a poster girl for obesity. I was also not very happy with the fake replica. You know the real figure so you can see how they've distorted it and totally lost any sense of the aesthetics and beauty found in the original."

Professor Ngote is a special lecturer in art history at OU and has a master's degree from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Although we don't know the exact purpose of the Venus figure, also called "figure of woman," it might have been to acknowledge and revere women's fertility and life-giving ability.

Given this context, perhaps it would have been appropriate to include a different perspective/opinion of the project in the original article. It always pays to look deeper for a true feminist perspective.

Want your own "Venus of Willendorf?" I like this one from emuseumstore.com for $34 plus shipping.

You might also like these posts:
The Willendorf Project:  Art that speaks volumes
Ancient people revered the sacred feminine




Updated Feb. 25, 2010 to reflect the correct spelling of the artist's name.