Monthly Archives: December 2010

What every woman wants for Christmas: A Calendar of Sexually Empowered Biker Chicks!

What to get the girl (or guy) who has everything? A calendar of sexuallly empowed biker chicks of course! As an extra perk all the proceeds go to the Chicago Women’s Health Center.

The calendar called TyK, (aka Though you Knew), is running for its third year. The calendar’s goal is to “empower women by helping them regain ownership of their sexuality, in whatever form they choose to have it manifest.”  It features real bikers who are really sexy.

Buy your feministy friend on today!

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Filed under Events in Chicago, Femtastic Women

The Dangers of Work Emails: When Funny = Chauvinism

Today my work email greeted me with a mass email from a mystery coworker about the joys of giving technology for Christmas. The email started with high-tech applications of the iPod, iPad, iBook and then wound up with this doozy of an image about what the husband got his wife for Christmas:

thank you random work guy who accidently sends me annoying mass emails

The husband got his wife an iRon. How clever random coworker who accidently included me on an inappropriate mass email!

Other than being a waste of my limited inbox space, the email is lame and a sad reminder of how reliant humor is on the gender stereotypes especially between husband and wife. It was also a depressing reminder of the limits of work place etiquette especially when it comes to email. Things people would never say in person somehow become acceptable when in html format.

Although this problem is easily fixed by a email to the sender with a link a NY Times article about women and technology, it still leaves a my inbox feeling wronged for ever harboring such lazy, machismo humor. So my question to everyone is: Am I just being a uptight feminist? or is this mass email really equal parts annoying and macho?


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Filed under Feminist Rant

Abstinence Only Lessons: Girls should keep their opinions to themselves

In Advocates for Youth most recent scary Carebears from abstinence only education youtube video, one rosy-cheeked teddy bear explained to her elder teddy bear how one abstinence only lesson preached the age-old wisdom that girls should be seen (preferably in tight revealing, but not too revealing clothes) and not heard (especially when it involves opinions, shows intelligence or may make a man look stupid).

In this heart-breaking, feminist-cringing lesson, girls are told that the prince leaves the princess after she gives him too much good advice about how to kill dragons. From deadly poisons to the effectiveness of rope over sword, the princess knows the ins and outs of dragon slaying and uses her vast knowledge to help the prince. The prince annoyed by this vast knowledge, leaves the princess for another maiden less vocal in her dragon-killing opinions. We assume the mute maiden and pompous prince live happily ever after or at least until a dragon comes along and kills them both.

image courtesy of

Although I tend to think this lesson is an extreme and probably a product of a bleeding red state, it still emphasizes the harm of abstinence-only education especially in reinforcing gender stereotypes which have not been useful since the days of dragon-slaying.

And more than being harmful to all the little potential feminists of the future it teaches the OPPOSITE of what abstinence only education claims to teach. The lesson tells girls to not express their opinions or use their knowledge when it comes to making life-changing decisions with a partner, like perhaps the decision to have sex. So when a prince says he wants to have sex with the princess she should not protest with her knowledge of potential risks, she should go along with the prince’s decision.

So the moral of this abstinence-only fairy tale is either you voice your opinion and you end up a lonely bitter princess in a decaying tower or you don’t and you end up a knocked-up maiden with gonorrhea. Oh the joys of being a princess.

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Filed under Feminist Rant, Sex, The Politics

Increased Body Issues in Men does not equal a Merry-ever-after Christmas for all

It seems that the RedEye’s columnists are in the need of a little Christmas spirit. In today’s paper there was a lovely reminder of all that is lacking in this modern yuletide season: some compassion and a little bit of common sense.

Contributing editor Katie Donbavand wrote a scathing if not shallow response to the increased focus on male body image titled: “Guys, Welcome to our world.” In the commentary, Katie rejoices in the new found equality of both genders now having to acquire eating disorders to fit today’s rigourous body standards.

“It all seems to me like a little bit of payback. Yes, it’s a bitter pill to swallow but it’s one that we ladies have been coking down for decades,” Katie writes of the increase in male body image issues. And her proof for this sudden dramatic increase? A BBC report that found more men than woman are likely to touch up their facebook profile pictures.

Beyond the fact that this report is just silly, the fact is this is an issue that has been facing men for years. And in no way has the increase in male physical perfection decreased the impossible standards for women.

What Katie seems to have forgotten in this Christmas season is that society is not playing a win-lose game. If anything it is a lose-lose game. Men grow breasts from too many steroids and women lose bone density thanks to aneorexia.

Instead of sticking our tongues out at “the boys” for having to now deal with “our world,” let’s cut the boys and ourselves some slack this holiday season. Those impossible body standards are just that: impossible. We are not in Hollywood and honestly, no one who is worth writing about cares if don’t have a 6 pack or 34D breasts. So go ahead, eat another cookies and remember plastic surgery is getting cheaper every day.

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Filed under Low Brow, Newspapers, WTF RedEye?

Radio: NPR tells her story from South Dakota to Africa

Having long ago decided that neither the Chicago Tribune nor the Sun Times are worthy of my 75 cents, I have become increasingly reliant on Chicago Public Radio and NPR to keep me informed of daily news  without a daily does of stabbings and shootings. What NPR does so brilliantly is balance the depressingly bad of the world with the beautifully good of everyday life and in general give news that is perfectly realistic.

NPR has succeeded again in presenting real life with it’s series “The Hidden World of Girls.” From Native American traditions in South Dakota to the first woman cheif of her African tribe, NPR shows a world of women more relatable than anything the RedEye could vomit out in black and white ink. Check out the growing archive of real women’s stories here:

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Filed under Femtastic Women, Low Brow, Radio

According to Abstinence-Only Sex Ed, Losing Virginity = Drinking a Cup Full of Other People’s Spit

This “lesson” straight a suffer, a mean student, of Abstinence-Only Sex Ed is disgusting, illogical and just weird. It shows why time and time again Abstinence-Only Sex Ed has been proven to not work. This video, created by Advocates for Youth, may be a little low-tech and the animated bears may be a bit too cute for the real message, but it drives home why abstinence-only education doesn’t work and why our state and federal tax dollars should stop funding it.

The truth is the reality of sex is scary enough; there is no need to compare losing one’s virginity to drinking spit or eating used candy. Show a roomful of teenagers the MTV series 16 and pregnant or a series of pictures about the

progression of an STI and you will have more teenagers willing to wait or be safe than if you try to compare their sexual organs to wilted roses.

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Filed under Feminist Rant, The Politics