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May 29, 2009

Why Is Bristol Palin's Sex Life My Business?

I know everyone is sick of reading about Bristol Palin and frankly so am I. (Especially when the latest news is over whether Todd Palin offered Bristol a new car in exchange for dumping Levi). But yet, here I am, writing about her yet again. Honestly, the ESC kind of loves Bristol - or at least, we love the Bristol that we think is in there somewhere, behind the PR-clutches of Sarah Palin and Co.

We love the Bristol who said that abstinence is "not realistic at all" much more than the Bristol who claimed the quote about abstinence being unrealistic was taken out of context. Because really, what other context can you take it in? She was quoted referring to abstinence as "the harder choice, but it's the safest choice". Yeah and it's totally realistic to expect teenagers to go for the harder choice.

No one is suggesting that abstinence doesn't work to prevent teen pregnancy. If you don't have sex - you won't get pregnant. It works pretty damn well. What doesn't always work is the getting teenagers to practice abstinence part. It is unrealistic for most teenagers and that is why abstinence-only education is such a
huge failure. Not because using contraception is somehow safer than not having sex, but because it is way safer than having unprotected sex.

And take it from Bristol, because she knows. I want to know if Tripp was conceived because her birth control method failed (broken condom?) or if Tripp was conceived because she wasn't using any form of birth control. Not my business? But it is. If Bristol is going to stand up there and tell the kiddies not to have sex, then she has to be honest about whether it was just sex that resulted in her unplanned pregnancy - or if it was unprotected sex. Most likely, she got pregnant not just because she didn't practice abstinence... but because she didn't practice abstinence or safe sex.
Although Bristol refuses to get into the specifics of exactly how she got pregnant, baby-daddy Levi Johnston has revealed in interviews that they used condoms "most of the time" but not always.

You can argue that Bristol Palin's sex life (past, present and future) is not our business and normally you'd be right... except... she is making it our business. When Sarah Palin was running for Vice President everyone was told to leave poor Bristol alone and I agree that Bristol Palin's private life should've been exactly that - private. But now that she is repackaging herself as the poster girl for abstinence and asking teenagers to learn from her experience, it is becoming our business. No matter how many times she says "I'm not here to talk about my personal life," she's wrong. That is exactly the reason she is there. Do you think anyone would care what she has to say about abstinence or teen pregnancy if it wasn't for her personal life?

The entire basis of her "ambassadorship" for the Candies Foundation is what happened in her personal life. And her entire spiel for the foundation is based on her experiences in her personal life. Seriously. She's got that whole 'trust me, teen parenting is super hard, I know, I'm doing it' shtick and also the 'do as I say, not as a I did' angle... all the while with her personal life sleeping in her lap.

Pretty much, Bristol Palin is evidence that abstinence-only education doesn't work. It just doesn't. In fact, you could argue that abstinence-only education causes teen pregnancy, because if/when those teens inevitably do have sex they will be less likely to protect themselves from pregnancy. For some reason it has to be all or nothing with the GOP, who often act like comprehensive sex education is "pre-abortion training". Even Meghan McCain will tell you that birth control isn't abortion... it prevents abortion by preventing teen pregnancy.

Todd Palin has admitted that he never talked to Bristol about sex or birth control because she "had enough information out there." Apparently not, Todd. Yet for some reason he keeps referring to the "mistake" that Bristol made. Yeah, you and high-profile Sarah Palin had nothing to do with it. (Also, Bristol has made it clear that although being a mother is "hard work" she considers her son a blessing, "not a mistake").

My daughter is only 9 and she already knows where babies come from. (Well, she knows the basics and I will continue to build on that over time). It reminds me of a discussion I had with an acquaintance back when Jamie Lynn Spears had just given birth... Her daughter saw a magazine cover in the supermarket and asked "how did Zoey 101 get a baby?" Unsure how to answer, she told her that she "borrowed it from her sister Britney Spears". When I heard that story, of course, I knew that the only thing she taught her daughter that day was that her mom is a liar. If you ask my daughter how Jamie Lynn Spears got a baby she will tell you "because she had unsafe sex".

And that's how Bristol Palin got a baby too... no matter how much she wants to pretend that the details don't matter.

Cross-posted at SexGenderBody.com

May 27, 2009

Kay Bailey Hutchison Is A Whore

At least, that's what one Republican adviser seems to think. The comment came in an article about Senator Hutchison's upcoming challenge to current Texas Governor Rick Perry in next year's gubernatorial primary. Hutchison and Perry are both Republicans, but our girl Kay is apparently one of those moderate Republicans that the right-wingers hate so much. Since Texas is Republican-dominated and the primaries tend to draw lots of Christian conservatives and others who are pretty far right, Hutchison is trying to improve her chances by emphasizing economic rather than social issues and going for the more centrist 'big tent' thing to increase turnout and bring in some new voters. Like a big old whore.

Hutchison's political team believes its campaign would benefit from a higher turnout and is targeting center-right voters, including suburban women and economic conservatives.

"What Hutchison is saying is that what most of us are looking for is a party that has core fiscal principles – Republican principles that include people who may or may not agree on the social issues," said Rich Galen, a GOP political consultant and one-time Hutchison adviser.

Hutchison supports embryonic stem cell research and abortion rights, though she backs restrictions on abortion such as a ban on federal funding for organizations that perform abortion and a ban on late-term procedures.

Perry political consultant Dave Carney said the Republican governor agrees the party should welcome new voters.

"But that doesn't mean you take your principles and throw them out the door and become a whorehouse and let anybody in who wants to come in, regardless," Carney said. [The Dallas Morning News via Think Progress]

Actually, Mr. Carney, whorehouses don't let in anybody who wants to come in. You have to be able to afford it, and in that sense it's pretty similar to the GOP, right?

Okay, dumb sarcasm aside, isn't a comment like that a pretty clear message to Republican women, and to center-right voters in general? He didn't choose to use the "whorehouse" comparison randomly or by accident. Something tells me he wouldn't have gone with that term if Kay Bailey Hutchison was conservative on every issue except, say, the environment or gun control. It's all about those evil slutty pro-choicers. It's very selfish of Hutchison to try to reach out to moderates or economic conservative/social liberal types, because then more pro-choice people might sneak in and that will surely mean the death of a party that is riding such a massive wave of popularity right now, with "whorehouse" being the natural conclusion, because if pro-choice people lack principles, then sex workers can only be the pure embodiment of immorality and depravity.

A group of Republican women in Texas have written a letter asking that Governor Perry apologize and repudiate his adviser's remarks, but the response from Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner was just this: "Dave Carney, a national political consultant and former White House Political Director, was commenting on a story concerning the state of the national Republican Party. He was not commenting on the 2010 Texas Governor's race and does not speak for the Governor."

I am curious, though. Where's the GOP's Sarah Palin Sexism Squad on this one? It seemed like so many Republicans discovered a deep passion for calling out sexism sometime around August of last year, so I'm surprised they weren't all over this one. Bill O'Reilly became such an anti-sexism crusader that he started taking feminists to task for not defending Palin enough, so I'm confident that he'll be sensitive to the concerns of the Republican women who are speaking out against this "whorehouse" analogy. And Palin herself, who has already given Rick Perry her endorsement, expressed surprise about the sexism she faced on the national stage after her arrival from the sexism-free state of Alaska. (Of course, she's dangerously delusional about that, but we'll go with it for the moment because it's what she claims to believe.) So I'm sure that she'll give her good friend Rick a call and explain to him how important it is to repudiate such unnecessary and potentially offensive comments when they come from his advisers. We can all just sit this one out and let the people who really know about sexism handle everything.

May 26, 2009

Super Quick Hit: Today's Mixed Feelings

Yeah, so we're having some mixed feelings today faced with both good news and bad news all at once. We're pissed off that the ban on same-sex marriage in California was upheld. We're relieved that the 18,000 couples who were married between are still married. And we're disconcerted that the ban was upheld by a vote of 6-1, yikes.

We're excited about President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court and also nervous that the GOP will do whatever they can to stop her.

The main feelings we're having right now though are laziness and exhaustion... but don't worry, we will be sure to write more in depth on both of these topics pretty soon.

May 23, 2009

Choosing a Musical Instrument

My daughter is just getting to the point in school where she will need to choose a musical instrument. (Not being so musically inclined myself, I've many times considering signing her up for private instruction as well). So it got me thinking about women in the music industry... more importantly how we care so much about the Beyonces and the Britneys and not enough about the Kathleen Hannas or the Claire Dalys.

My daughter's first choice was going to be the drums. Ah, youth. The drums are always everyone's first choice... but unfortunately a band only needs so many drummers and more often than not they end up being male. I don't know if this is true to all schools or unique to the one that I went to, but I don't recall a single female drummer in our marching band. I don't know if it comes from the generalization that men are stronger and therefore "better equipped" to lug big drums around a field or if it was just coincidence. Either it way, it pretty much stinks and part of me would love to push her into percussion for that reason alone. I definitely think it'd be sweet to raise the next Sheila E or Gina Shock.

I'd also love to see her play something like the saxophone or trumpet. Why? Not only would they take up a lot less room than drum set, but knowing how to play a jazz instrument could be pretty damn cool, inside or outside the school band. Especially considering that when you think about women in jazz, you almost always think of singers only. There are so many female jazz musicians that often go overlooked, but totally kick ass... like Ingrid Jensen or Ingrid Laubrock (apparently women named Ingrid are especially good at jazz).

It's really too bad that the school doesn't offer lessons in guitar or sitar or djembe. That would be awesome!

I don't know what instrument my daughter will actually end up choosing. Even if it's something that feels stereotypically female, like the flute (no offense to any flutists out there) I will be happy, but I can't deny that I'd love to see her kicking butt in a male-dominated area of music. Who are some of your favorite women breaking ground in music?

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May 20, 2009

My unpopular opinion on the Daniel Hauser case

A Minnesota judge recently ruled that Daniel Hauser, a 13-year-old cancer patient, must be evaluated by a doctor to determine if the boy would benefit from restarting chemotherapy over his parents' objections. If it is determined that he would benefit, then the judge will order him to undergo treatment. If his parents refused, he would be placed in foster care.

Update: We learned today that Daniel and his mother, Colleen Hauser, have disappeared; an arrest warrant has been issued. (For court transcripts and other information on this case: Minnesota Judicial Branch.)

Now at first look most people wouldn't see anything wrong with this ruling. The general consensus would be "those crazy parents need to save their son's life!" And I can't say that I totally disagree with you. But the issue I have with this case is the potentially dangerous precedent it sets. By ordering this boy to undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation, the judge is overstepping into some areas where I don't think the courts belong.

I admit that it's very hard to look at this particular case and see the bigger picture. Who wouldn't want to save this boy's life? I completely accept that my opinion is not the popular opinion (nor is it necessarily the opinion of the entire ESC), but this case brings up a few different serious issues for me...

The Right to Religious Freedom

Daniel Hauser and his family are members of the Nemenhah Band, a Native American religious tradition that does not belief in modern medical intervention (they use only natural remedies) because of a basic tenet to "do no harm". There are several religions that do not believe in certain forms of medical treatment although the most commonly known is Christian Science. (You all know how I love me my Mary Baker Eddy!) I won't presume to say that any one religion is wrong or right... but I do know that this country was founded on the fundamental right to practice your own religion as you see fit.

The Rights of Parents

The child's court-appointed attorney referred to the decision as "a blow to families" as it "marginalizes the decisions that parents face every day in regard to their children's medical care. It really affirms the role that big government is better at making our decisions for us." Even though in this particular case, maybe the judge's opinion is the right/better one (maybe) I worry about what the potential outcome of this case.

Parents have a constitutionally protected right not to have the state interfere with decisions they make regarding the upbringing of their children, including decisions about medical care. Obviously that has its limits. My concern is that this ruling will use an extreme case to further limit parental rights, even in less extreme cases.

The Right to Body Autonomy

This goes beyond what Daniel's parents would choose for him... according to court transcripts Daniel does not want to undergo chemotherapy again. He really doesn't want to
. Adults have always had the right to refuse medical intervention, decline invasive procedures, and sign DNRs. Just because you're under 18 doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to make important decisions about your own health, especially if those decisions are supported by your parents or guardians.

This past November, a British 13-year-old won the right to refuse a heart transplant
even though she faced the risk of dying without it. (She suffered from a hole in her heart that was caused by the strong drugs used to treat leukemia
). The chairman of the British Medical Association's ethics committee declared that children her age should be considered legally competent to make informed decisions about their health as long as they understand the issues and consequences.

I don't know if Daniel Hauser is competent to make his own decisions about his health and his religion... but I know that I don't want the right to do so taken away from those who are competent. And I'm not completely clear on how exactly competency (in this meaning) is determined. Hopefully this ruling was worded in such a way that it will not obstruct the rights of any other children (or adults)

Discrediting Alternative Treatments

Doctors have said Daniel's cancer has up to a 90 percent chance of being cured with chemotherapy and/or radiation. Without those treatments, doctors say his chances of survival are 5 percent. Now I find those 90%-5% odds to be rather misleading. First of all, it's not actually a 90% chance of "survival" but a 90% chance that the tumor will shrink. (You can argue that the tumor shrinking equals survival, but only if the side effects of the chemo and radiation don't deteriorate his health even more).

I'm not going to debate whether chemotherapy and radiation are actually helpful in shrinking cancer tumors and saving lives. I know there are a lot of people who consider chemo to be ineffective, but we would be here all day if we got into that debate and I'm definitely not qualified to argue either side. The validity of the 90% was questioned by Daniel's parents at trial while I think they made some interesting points that I'd love to look into someday in the future, let's just assume that the 90% odds that the tumor will shrink and/or disappear are accurate.

They still can't possibly have any grounds to claim that there is only a 5% chance without the chemotherapy. Those odds suppose that if they do not do the chemo/radiation, then they are doing nothing which is clearly not the case. They are currently treating the cancer with natural and alternative treatments (with which they have already allegedly had some success). Maybe not 90% odds, but 5% isn't fair either - I don't think you can actually predict odds on something without doing some research into it. Just because the U.S. mainstream medical industry doesn't find it time-worthy or money-worthy to even attempt to study these methods, that doesn't mean they don't potentially work (at least more than 5%).

I think it's a dangerous precedent to set when the numbers really can't ever be argued fairly because mainstream medicine will never accept alternative medicine as viable. There is a clear bias against non-mainstream methods - just look at how every article on the subject has put quotation marks around the terms "alternative treatment" or "alternative medicine" as if it's some made-up concept.

There is still more to consider. Remember that chemo isn't exactly a quick and painless flu shot. It's loaded with both short and long term side effects (something even the biggest chemo proponents won't deny). Some studies have found that for many patients, although the chemo may have shrunken their tumors or eliminated their cancer cells, it did not extend their life span any longer than patients who left their cancer untreated due to complications related to their treatment.

Chemotherapy is considered to be very effective at curing Daniel's particular kind of cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma) however studies have shown that patients who underwent chemo for Hodgkin's were more likely to develop other cancers after their remission. According to a study of over 10,000 patients, those who underwent chemo were fourteen times more likely to develop leukemia and six times more likely to develop cancer of the bones, joints and soft tissues than patients who did not. Children who were successfully treated for Hodgkin's were 18 times more likely to later develop secondary malignant tumors.

The Slippery Slope...

This time, a judge has ruled that a 13-year-old must undergo chemotherapy because of the alleged 90%-5% odds. What is next? What if the patient is 14? 16? What if the necessary "life-saving" treatment isn't chemotherapy but something even more risky? What if the odds are 75%-25%? 50%-50%?
Where does it end?

I don't blame Colleen Hauser for disappearing with her son Daniel. I can't say that I think she's making the right decision, but I know that she believes she is acting in the best interest of her son. The case refers to neglect and abuse, but I refuse to believe that the Hausers were acting out of anything but love for their son. I think they truly believe - based on information they have received from their religion's elders, studies on chemotherapy, and natural health advocates - that the toxicity of the chemotherapy will do more harm to their son than it will do good. (And maybe they have a point... it may very well shrink his tumor but you cannot deny that chemotherapy comes with a wide array of side effects. If it is their opinion that the cons outweigh the pros, who are we to tell them they don't?) Who knows, if put in a similar situation - one where I truly felt that my child was going to be put in danger - I might disappear as well. You can never really tell what you would do in a situation like that, until you've actually been in a situation like that and I'm grateful every day to have never had to face such a decision in my life.

But at the same time, I am worried. If Daniel Hauser's health deteriorates any more, then the courts will feel vindicated. I do not suggest that they will be happy, but simply that they will be able to say "see, I told you so... we were right". And that has dangerous consequences as well. It will only help further break down the line between religion and law... between family and government.
I do not agree with this ruling, not because I think Daniel Hauser is going to be fine... but because of the precedent it may set. I don't want Daniel to have to undergo treatment that he and his family and his religion are all against. Just as I don't ever want to have to be put in a similar situation where I or my child am being forced to go against our beliefs. But obviously no one wants to see Daniel die either.

My greatest hope that Daniel will become healthy again without the use of chemotherapy or other invasive mainstream methods. Wherever Colleen and Daniel are, I hope that they still have access to the alternative treatments that they feel will help him and I hope that they actually do help him. I don't know if that is actually going to happen... but since I do believe in the power of words, the power of thoughts, and the power of prayer (or whatever word your religion uses) I have a proposal for everyone reading this. No matter what your opinion is of this case or of the Hausers, the more we insist that he's going to die without chemo... the more likely he will die without chemo. Those are my beliefs - that what we say and think and do does affect what happens. (I'm not saying that it's the only factor or the most important factor, but I do believe that it plays a role).

So let's put our thoughts towards Daniel's health, wherever he is... instead of waiting for the chance to say "I told you so". And let us all be thankful for our own health and the fact that we are not in his place right now.

May 19, 2009

How Not To Talk About Racism

A few weeks ago I got into a really stupid online fight with someone about use of the word "Mexican". (I know what you're thinking, "stupid online fight" is redundant, because all fights online are stupid). It stemmed from a discussion about the swine flu and it got me thinking about how some people are just incapable of talking about racism in a civilized way.

It was recently suggested to me (in an unrelated conversation) that someone shouldn't be offended over something "that's clearly not attacking them personally in any way". That point of view is really really problematic for me. It goes against pretty much my entire belief system and much of what I feel some of the best activism is based on. Where exactly is the rule written that you can only be offended by something that's directed at you personally or the "group" that you belong to? We have said time and time again that women's rights issues or gay rights issues, etc... are human rights issues and therefore should be important to all human beings. If something does affect you personally, then it simply means you have even more of a responsibility to speak out about it.

Usually the real problems arise when you don't know how to talk about these subjects. Before I get to the actual fight, I want to bring up a point that was made near the end of the argument...
Everyone says/does something that offends someone. It is impossible to communicate in any form without doing it. The important thing is how you and they react to it. [emphasis mine]
I don't actually think they were on my "side", but either way they made the point I'm trying to make here. Some people just don't know how to talk about sensitive subjects like racism. People can get really defensive when it comes to being called out on racist language or behavior. We already learned that lesson in the comments of the teabagging blog, so I was very careful in selecting the words I used in this case.

Taking the advice of Jay Smooth on how to tell people they sound racist, I didn't accuse this person of being racist. Nor did I necessarily think that she was truly racist deep down, but what she said rubbed me the wrong way and I felt compelled to say so. (Of course, she interpreted that as me calling her a racist anyway, so I might as well have just fucking said that... but at least I tried).

Just to give you some context, her original statement:
[...]on my last flight home, our boarding was delayed because a little Mexican boy who's [sic] family boarded first horked all over the place. They had to clean it up and move them and stuff. The captain claimed it was "Not the flu" just an "upper respritory [sic] infection." ...isn't that the flu???
Obviously, I had two follow-up questions: one, how did the captain know that it wasn't the flu? and two, how did she know the little boy was Mexican? I got a satisfying answer to only one of those questions, care to guess which one pissed me off...
I saw the family on the plane, and they looked very Mexican...facial features and skin tone and what not. And they were all wearing sombreos [sic]. Ok, not really wearing sombreros. In my line of work, I see a lot of different nationalities, so I can usually spot them by looking.
When I mentioned my objections, she went into immediate defense-mode and proceeded to list a bunch of generalizations about various races and ethnicities. A few excerpts:
Mexicans...they just look Mexican to me. Darker skin, rounder eyes with some almond. Some are more almondy than others.

Russians, although white, have a pretty distinct look. Their eyes are big and round, teeth are sometimes spaced apart and they are often big boned (not fat, big friggin bones--strong like ox). They are often tall

Blacks can be harder, but the Carribeans
[sic] look different too. Darker than the average and their features are different. Noses aren't as flat and eyes are different. The biggest difference is the skin tone. It's very dark and very even.

if you get full blooded anything of a certain nationality, most often yeah, I can tell. This family looked every inch pure Mexican.

I had no intention of being racist, if you were implying that
[...] It was no different than saying "Oh, that Russian dude" based on the fact that he looked Russian.
Now I won't argue against the fact that certain groups of people have traditionally had similar physical characteristics... so maybe she does have a small point. But that still doesn't mean that assuming someone's nationality based on physical generalizations is okay. (Especially since there's a difference between "nationality" and "ethnicity" in the first place). I think that when people - knowingly or unknowingly - perpetuate stereotypes, even "minor" ones, it needs to be pointed out.

Side note: I also think it's funny that her defense for why those assumptions didn't make her racist was because she doesn't it to white people too. That's almost up there with the, "I'm not racist, I have a black friend" type of defense.

I tried to lay out my case, calmly and without accusation... so she'd understand why I objected to her assumption. Didn't work apparently, but this is some of what I wrote throughout the "debate":
I wasn't implying that you are racist. But I think it's a generalization/stereotype to assume people's nationalities based on looks no matter how "good at it" you think you are. So even if it wasn't your intention, it does come off as kind of racist. While not everyone would be offended, I know many people who would be.

And as the mother of a "Latina", I am always a little offended when white people throw around words like "Mexican" or "Puerto Rican" to classify any brown person who looks like they may speak Spanish.

[...]your original statement (before you clarified) made it seem possible that you did that. There's a big difference between my calling you a racist (I'm not) and saying "hey, that thing you said makes you sound sort of racist" (it did). Your clarification assured me that you are not racist but it still doesn't make your assumptions any less offensive to those who would be offended.

[...]I don't see the relevance in labeling people unless we're specifically talking about their heritage for some valid reason. I also think that white people have a tendency to want to label anyone "non-white" in a way of making them "the other".

If he had looked Russian instead of Mexican, would you have felt the need tell us his (alleged) nationality? Or was it simply because of the swine flu's association with Mexico, that it somehow seemed relevant. Like, "not only did he have flu symptoms but he's Mexican too! It must be the Mexican flu!"
There's already been a lot of racist blaming so I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way.
I wasn't deeply offended by what she said, but that doesn't mean I agree with her saying it. I had hoped that it would've ended with just "oh, didn't realize that would offend you, sorry" or even "I never realized that was offensive, now I know" but nope... she continued to defend what she said and accused me of just wanting to pick a fight, of being oversensitive, and of having too much concern for political correctness.

I won't bore you to tears with the entire endless, mindless, infuriating conversation... To summarize the rest: she repeatedly went on and on about how what she said was totally okay and kept insisting that she usually will just ask if she's not sure and no one has ever been or would ever be offended. (Which, sorry, I could disprove those points right then... because she didn't ask in this case and she did offend someone - me). She also became fixated on the fact that the family in question didn't hear what she said, so therefore it's not offensive... because she apparently also belongs to the school of thought that the only people who are allowed to be offended by ignorance or racism are the subjects of it. Since she wasn't questioning my ethnicity then it's not my business and I'm not allowed to care. But if she was, then I still wouldn't be allowed to care because no one else has ever cared and because she's really good at guessing so she'd probably be right anyway.

A few people who self-identified as "Latina" responded that they would be offended if someone assumed they were a nationality or ethnicity that they weren't. Of course, she ignored them and continued to focus on me and produced some lovely sarcastic gems like:
In what way is "Mexican" taken in that context offensive? Unless you have something against Mexicans, then I guess that's YOUR issue, not mine.
and no matter what I tell you, you will continue to assume I am a card carrying KKK member with a passion for lynching all non-whities

and I've learned so much here this week about the way we should handle our brown neighbors. I am so enlightened. How ever did I live so long without offending a brown person?
It doesn't matter if you agree with how I feel about this issue... but you should respect my right to feel that way. And I would've been much more likely to "forgive" her slip if she'd not insisted that I wasn't allowed to be offended. What she said offended me. It did. Not a lot, but it did. I'm sure a lot of you reading this probably don't agree and that's okay. Maybe I'm oversensitive or overly PC or just stupid for feeling that way, but that's how I felt. As far as things go on the racism-scale, it was pretty low by my standards... but that doesn't mean I had to ignore it.

And yes, I understand that many many people would not be offended. In many contexts I wouldn't even be... As someone who is a big fan of certain brands of "offensive humor" I definitely recognize that sometimes maybe it is okay. For instance, someone else (Peruvian) commented that she and her friend (Mexican-American) often joke about their heritage and made "Mexican flu" cracks recently. But coming from someone I'm not friends with - on a public message forum, without any humor or relevancy - it wasn't funny, it was ignorant.

A few years ago my gut reaction might have been to call her an ignorant racist asshole but I know better than to say that (or to even necessarily think that) anymore. Instead I gave it some thought and determined that she probably didn't mean it in a bad way. So I simply explained why I was offended and mentioned that other people might also be offended, even if she had never personally encountered anyone who had been. I didn't call her a racist or say that she committed a horrible unforgivable offense.

If her reaction had been different then it would have been a totally different discussion. But instead of just a "oh, didn't mean to offend you" it was all about how she's allowed to make assumptions because she's almost always right and no other person ever has been upset and she has so much tact and she's not racist...

I know I have said or written things that offended people over the years. For the most part, I try to be better about it. But it does happen I'm sure.
I've managed to eliminate a lot of negative language that I grew up with from my vocabulary, although some stuff does accidentally slip out from time to time. It's an ongoing, evolving struggle to shake old speech patterns but I'm working on it. Even if I truly don't believe that what I've said or done was wrong, I still try to take the other person's feelings into consideration. I might explain myself or my intentions (just to make it clear that I didn't mean to offend them) but in the end... if it offends them, it does. No amount of defending myself is going to undo that. The next time someone tells me I've offended them, I'm going to try to learn from what they said to me... not blame them for it or try to say that their feelings aren't legitimate.

So that is my advice to you all.

Dumb Things Guys Say: "That Jew"

File this one under 'how NOT to dig yourself out of a hole after saying something stupid'. Arkansas state Senator Kim Hendren, a Republican, is challenging Democrat Blanche Lincoln for her U.S. Senate seat in next year's elections. At a campaign event last week, he expressed the fact that he was mad at Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for using the phrase "hard right" to describe conservative Republicans by using the phrase "that Jew" to describe Schumer. Oops!

But don't worry. There's a very good explanation.

Hendren excused his remark by pointing to his reputation as a gaffe machine.

"I don't use a Teleprompter, and occasionally I put my foot in my month," he told Tolbert, then inserted it a little farther.

"I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on 'The Andy Griffith Show,'" Hendren said.

"I made the mistake of referring to Sen. Schumer as 'that Jew' and I should not have put it that way, as this took away from what I was trying to say."

Defending himself again to the Arkansas News, Hendren went further, saying he didn't know why the words "that Jew" came out of his mouth. He added that there is a Jewish person in history he admires - Jesus. He's also partial to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.

"I ought not to have referred to it at all," Hendren told The Associated Press Thursday. "When I referred to him as Jewish, it wasn't because I don't like Jewish people."

That just got better and better as it went along, didn't it? (And please, nobody break the news to Senator Hendren that The Andy Griffith Show was...a show.) I guess this is the type of thing that could happen to anyone. I mean, I've never accidentally called someone "that Jew" when what I meant to say was "I disagree with this person's characterization of a certain segment of the political party that I belong to". But I guess it's not that unlikely. Maybe. Okay, not really, it was just a dumb thing to say.

My favorite part is his use of the old 'I'm not racist, I have a black friend!' routine, only his 'Jewish friend'? It's Jesus, of course! Who else? Jesus makes everything better.

May 18, 2009

Field Report: Yes, Guys Are Still Dumb

The Evil Slut Clique, here... reporting from behind enemy lines, bringing you the latest developments on the Dumb Things Guys Say front.

We would like to report that guys are still dumb and saying dumb things to us at bars. They are still using the shy friend line and the faux-birthday line. Last week both lines were used in combination, for the double whammy: "My friend is really shy and it's his birthday". (Contrary to popular belief, using two lines at once is not twice as effective. In fact, they sort of cancel each other out.) Also, if you are going to pretend that your friend is shy, pick a believable friend. The guy in the loud t-shirt talking to 3 girls at once... we're not going to believe he's shy.

A never-before-heard brand new line was discovered: "Does this shirt hide my beer belly?" Our hypothesis is that this line will not become popular nor will it ever generate many positive results.

Wordless approach: The creepy stare will not get you anything more than a "you're creepy". Unfortunately, we found that the "you're creepy" does backfire. We moved to another area of the bar to get away from Creepy, but Creepy's cousin (we'll call him Creepy Sr.) followed us. Apparently "you're creepy" wasn't clear enough, because he thought we were into his cousin Creepy. We made it clear, that no, he's creepy... "come, let's go make fun of him then". Yeah, because we really want to go back to the creepy. We humored him for a few minutes, while he repeatedly called us beautiful... until he "accidentally" touched my boobs. Yeah. So we told him to fuck off and turned our backs to him.
Creepy Sr: "You're ugly anyway!"
Evil Sluts: "You just called us beautiful."

Creepy Sr: "You have no respect for people."
Evil Sluts: "Well, you have no respect for boundaries, so I guess we're even."

Creepy Sr: "You're just ugly bitches."
Evil Sluts: "Then why are you still here?"
A growing phenomenon: The "are you girls fun?" line. Probably about three or four people have already asked us that question in the past few months. (It must be in the newest edition of The Game or something). Now this really begs the question - does anyone ever answer "no"? Don't we all think we're fun, even if we're not? Or wouldn't you at least claim to be fun, even if you didn't think you really were? (The obvious exception would be if you're just saying that you're not fun in order to get rid of the dumb guy who just asked you if you're fun.)
Dumb Guy: "Are you fun?"
Evil Slut: "No, I'm incredibly boring and kind of a bitch".
We noticed another classic Pick-Up Artist approach in action... "Can you settle an argument...? Do drunk 'I love you's count?" (At least it was better than "Do you floss before or after you brush?") Our answer: If you're just tipsy - maybe. If you're fall down puke in the street drunk - no. During sex - definitely not. In fact, I don't think you can be held accountable for anything you say drunk during sex.

We got such a textbook PUA routine from these guys that we started looking around for hidden cameras and tall men in furry hats. Seriously, we're talking the whole shebang: peacocking, negs, kino escalation, leading, even an attempt at a number close. And we're sorry for dropping all that stupid slang, but we're very advanced in our "Seducation"(Seduction Education - I'm totally trademarking that term).

Actually, at one point I performed a little test just to confirm that we were, in fact, dealing with a group of guys that had many episodes of The Pickup Artist still saved on their DVRs at home. After I touched him or he touched me or something or other (it was a very scientific experiment, but there was Corona involved so I don't remember exactly, but the guy looked like Pete Wentz so it might have been after I touched his elaborate hipster hair sculpture, but I digress), I jokingly said, "that was like that pickup artist technique where you make an excuse to touch the person. There's a name for that but I don't remember what it is." Without missing a beat, he replied, "it's called kino!", which of course I already knew, but that answer told me everything else that I needed to know.

Pete Wentz also did something that we knew was an inevitable development but still made us kinda sad. Instead of asking for a phone number, he went with "hey, are you on facebook? I'll add you from my phone!" Ah, the sweeping romance.

Inevitable outcome of revealing that we're bloggers: "You write a blog? Are you gonna blog me?" Really, most guys ask if we're going to blog about them, but this guy - who requested that he be known as Frank the Exotic Fisherman on the blog - kept using it in that way. "I've been blogged before... Am I going to get blogged again?" Sorta makes it sound a little dirty, doesn't it? Apparently, in his last experience with a blogger he was tricked into believing that the young woman he was talking to was (and I quote) "a female butcher". Wow. Exciting stuff. Anyway, congratulations "Frank" - you got what you wanted. You've been blogged.

The winner this week of the absolute-worst-thing-you-can-say-to-a-woman-at-a-bar...
Dumb Guy: "Are those real or fake?"
Trust me guys, no actual woman is going to answer: "they're real! don't believe me? feel them!" More likely you're going to get a slap in the face or a drink in your lap. In my case, I looked down at my drink... thought about it for a minute... and then said "I just paid for this, so I'm not going to waste it".

Okay, now that we wrote about our night out at the bar last weekend... we can write off those drinks we had as a business expense. Right?

May 16, 2009

Reminder: NYC Marriage Equality Rally Tomorrow

Just a reminder for the New Yorkers - there's a marriage equality rally happening tomorrow in Manhattan from 5-7 PM. And don't forget to keep contacting your state Senators to encourage them to support equal rights for all New Yorkers.

May 12, 2009

Gay Marriage in New York?

So same sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa. (And will be in Vermont and Maine by September 2009). We're really happy for those states, but also pissed off that our own state of New York hasn't followed suit yet.

In April Governor David Patterson introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage (one that a majority of New York voters support). The bill would amend the Domestic Relations Law to give same-sex couples the opportunity to enter into civil marriages, qualifying them for state rights on issues such as property ownership, inheritance, healthcare and insurance coverage. (Note: it specifically says "civil marriages", so all those bullshit lies about how priests could go to jail for not performing same sex weddings don't apply).

The bill has just passed through the New York State Assembly by a bipartisan vote of 89-52. Yay! Getting it through the Senate might be a little trickier. (A similar bill passed in the Assembly in 2007 with a vote of 85-61, but couldn't pass in the Senate).

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has stated that he won't bring the bill to the floor of the Senate unless he' s sure it has sufficient votes to pass. As of now it still seems like the numbers come up short, so what can we do about that? Although Republican Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos opposes marriage equality, in April he stated that members of the Senate Republican Conference will be free to vote their consciences rather than pressuring the GOP to vote against the bill.

Recent articles in New York magazine and the New York Times broke it down on who the swing voters might be. Some of them are "undecided" on the issue (or just haven't spoken out publicly about their stance) while others are against the bill but worth the time to try to convince them to change their minds! So we think it'd be a good idea to get in touch with those Senators and tell them how important it is for them to support same-sex marriage.

  • Thomas P. Morahan (R-Rockland County) - He has said that he's "not going to come out one way or the other" on the issue.
  • Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau County) - He told the Times that although he's inclined to oppose the bill, it "deserves serious consideration".
  • Vincent L. Leibell (R-Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess) - He prefers civil unions to marriage, but said that he might not make up his mind until the last minute and that "society changes over time". (Interesting piece of info: His law practice does estate planning for gay couples).
  • James S. Alesi (R-Rochester) - "My public opinion has not been stated yet, and it probably won't be for a while". (Possible factor: He attends a church that blesses same-sex unions).
  • Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Hamptons) - Gay rights advocates consider him "open" to considering a yes vote.
  • Elizabeth O'C. Little (R-Queensbury) - Gay rights supporters believe she is "within reach". So um, let's reach out to her, shall we?
  • David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) - He was quoted in April: "I don't think that that's an issue that should be at the forefront of the Senate agenda and I would be very surprised if it was anytime soon." He would not say whether he himself supported the bill or not.
  • Shirley L. Huntley (D-Jamaica) - She opposes the bill largely based on her religious beliefs and that she's had a "large influx of calls and letters from constituents who asked me not to support it." Hm... sounds like it's time for a large influx of calls and letters from constituents who do want her to support it?
  • Brian X. Foley (D-Suffolk County) - He has yet to voice a decision either way.
  • Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester) - She's said that she's reserving judgment on the issue. Good sign:"I always try to believe that I'm an open-minded person." Bad sign: "This is an issue that challenges the fundamental believes that people have and that's not easy."
  • John L. Sampson (D-Brooklyn) - He went from no to undecided, saying "I can't impose my own religious beliefs in a situation like this".
  • George Onorato (D-Astoria) - He might be the biggest problem of all the Democrats... Apparently he has pledged to vote against marriage equality for reasons of "faith" and being "old fashioned and so far little progress has been made with him. There are already have been organized attempts to change his mind, so feel free to jump on board, especially if you're from his district.
You can contact the New York Senate: here or here.

Maybe you think it's a waste of time... but look at U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), who no longer supports the Defense of Marriage Act, despite voting for it in the past. And here in New York, Assembly member Joe Lentol initially opposed gay marriage, but voted for the bill in 2007, and there are several members who voted no in 2007 but changed their votes to yes this time around. The point is that politicians do change their minds - and it's up to us to help them get there in time for this bill to pass.

For more information on which district you live in and what you can do in your area: Marriage Equality New York. (If you're in NYC this weekend, you might also want to check out this event May 17th).

And of course, if you are going to try to go head to head with your senator, some myth-busting tips might help you counter any anti-gay arguments.

May 11, 2009

Homophobic Douchebag Throwdown

Okay, pop quiz. Which one of these ridiculous homophobic statements is dumber?

In this corner, we have rapper Bow Wow. During a live chat with fans last month, he talked about feeling uncomfortable around gay people and shared a lovely story:
He talked about a time where he needed a haircut and had his people go and find him a barber. But after noticing the barber was gay he told them that he didn’t want the haircut anymore. He said he didn’t want a gay barber touching his head.
[BET.com via Queers United]
As the BET blog points out, homosexuality isn't exactly contagious. So it's a little silly to be worried about a gay man touching you, especially when he's a barber and he's only touching you because it's his job. Does Bow Wow think that he's such an irresistible hunk of man that any gay man who comes within five feet of him just won't be able to control themselves?

And in the other corner, we have Joe the Plumber, who still refuses to go away. In an interview with Christianity Today, JtP was asked about same-sex marriage:

Q: In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?

JTP: At a state level, it’s up to them. I don’t want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it’s wrong. People don’t understand the dictionary—it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do—what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we’re supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they’re people, and they’re going to do their thing. [via Think Progress]

Very creative use of the dictionary to justify your homophobia, Joe. (Of course by creative we mean bottomlessly idiotic.) But here's a helpful hint for you, Joe. If you wouldn't allow someone near your children just because they're gay, that means that they're actually not your friends, and more importantly, you're not their friend. But you are a bigot and a moron.

Don't worry, you don't really have to choose because we know that would be impossible. But be sure to tune in for the next edition of Homophobic Douchebag Throwdown.

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! We thought we'd do a quick Random Mommy Link Roundup for today...

The United Nations Population Fund is stepping up their efforts to save mother's lives.

This article about new mothers taking anti-lactation medication meant for HIV women for "social reasons" pisses me off for two reasons. One - the title is "Breastfeeding mothers taking anti-lactation drug meant for HIV women in a bid to maintain their figures" (emphasis mine). While many women are using the drug for convenience, no where in the article does it mention women who want to "maintain their figures". Two - While I do agree that "breast is best" and don't love the idea of using drugs without a real medical need, it's kind of shitty to shame women who do not choose to nurse.

Bristol Palin went from calling abstinence "not realistic" to promoting abstinence as an ambassador to the Candies Foundation. (If there was ever a good time to wear your "Free Bristol" t-shirt, it's now).

PLAN B: Single Women Choosing Motherhood -- Don't let the name fool you, this documentary is not about Emergency Contraception. It's the story of women who enter single motherhood by choice and also features the point of view of sperm donors and grown children of single mothers.

And what better way to honor a mother you love than with a gift in her name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America?

Yeah, we know this blog is a little short but we have our own Mother's Day shit to do... so have a happy day!

May 9, 2009

Protect the Children from Flaccid Penises

Here's our latest piece from SexGenderBody. If you missed the big announcement, SexGenderBody is a new collaborative blog on sex, gender, and body-related issues, and we've joined as feature writers. Go check it out!

Apparently there's a bill that has been reintroduced in Congress that will protect our fragile, delicate children from the horrors of old men talking about Viagra. Yes, the Families for ED Advertising Decency Act would ban advertisements related to erectile dysfunction from TV and radio during "daytime" hours (between 6am and 10pm). Obviously I have some mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I am sick of seeing constant commercials about four hour erections (and it only seems fair to ban these ads if they're already pulling certain condom ads)
but are they really indecent? And are they any more indecent than a lot of other television that airs between 6am and 10 pm? More indecent than soap operas or reality shows like Rock of Love? More indecent than the O'Reilly Factor? (We know how much Bill O' loves Viagra!) And how about the many episodes of Law & Order or CSI that are on all day long that often contain some kind of violent rape? That is probably much more disturbing to children than a guy trying to throw a football through a tire swing.

Which brings us to another issue: the glaring sex/violence disconnect. All day long there are cop shows and forensics shows and medical shows depicting graphic violence, crime, and medical conditions.
In some cities re-runs of the Sopranos air as early as 9 am. Previews for gory horror films interrupt tween flicks on ABC Family. So where's all the legislation on that? (For the record - I'm not arguing whether or not there should actually be laws about that; just pointing out the double standard).

Why are we so horrified about exposing our kids to sexual content but are totally okay with desensitizing them to violent imagery? Oh no! Sex is sinful and dirty and bad! We must protect our children from the sex! Or really, we must protect them from trains going through tunnels and old dudes singing "Viva Viagra" since most of the E.D. commercials really aren't exactly what you'd call erotic.

And then of course there's the precedent that a decency law like this would set, opening up the potential for lots of other things to be deemed "indecent" or inappropriate for daytime hours.
That's one slippery slope I really don't want Congress to go down right now.

There are plenty of legitimate arguments for why erectile dysfunction drugs shouldn't be on TV but it has nothing to do with decency. I don't particularly think that prescription medications should be marketed directly to consumers through TV and radio, not just the ones that deal with flaccid penises. (The U.S. is one of the few countries that allows such advertising and the subject has come up in Congress a few times). And not to get into the dreaded X-Y debate, but do these members of Congress realize that the whole fucking country is falling apart? There are millions of children with no healthcare and the unemployment rate is at a terrifying point... who cares about Cialis commercials!? If an issue centers around panicking about sexual "morality" or "decency", chances are it's nothing but a distraction from any real healthy discussion or problem-solving.

The FCC can fine a station up to $325,000 for every violation of its indecency rules. Then they donate all of the money to ED research. No, they don't. (They totally do.)

May 7, 2009

Stupid Protest: The Million Moms Against Miley

That Miley Cyrus is at it again and this time she's really outdone herself. She has made some extremely inflammatory and offensive remarks. You'll be just shocked by these quotes.

"everyone deserves to love and be loved and most importantly smile :)"

"i believe that EVERYONE deserves to be happy."

Hmm, actually those don't seem all that...oh wait, we found the problem.

"gods greatest commandment is to love. and judging is not loving. thats why christians have such a bad rep.

jesus loves you AND your partner and wants you to know how much he cares! thats like a daddy not loving his lil boy cuz hes gay and that is WRONG and very sad! like i said everyone deserves to be happy

i am a christian and i love you - gay or not. BECAUSE you are no different that anyone else! we are all gods children! i am not saying this so [you] would be nice [to me] on your site (though that would be nice jk;) but because the LORD has spoken "love cuz god loves"

Yes, our Miley has gotten herself in trouble with the right-wingers for coming out in support of equal rights for gay people via her twitter account. Her comments were in response to a question from Perez Hilton about gay marriage in the wake of the whole Miss California drama.

Miley also said that she agreed with Heidi Montag's answer to Perez's question: "God says in the bible that we should love our neighbor and he created us all as equals. I know in my heart that gays and lesbians should have the same government rights that Spencer and I will when we get married. So, yes, this blonde Christian believes in gay marriage and I hope to one day go to YOUR wedding, Perez!!!" (If Heidi can figure this shit out...)

All of this love and tolerance and acceptance was too much for the group One Million Moms (which was created by our besties at the American Family Association), who sent out an email blast criticizing Ms. Cyrus. (Interestingly, the action alert has since been removed from their website, but it was picked up by a bunch of blogs before it disappeared, and a search of the google cache produces the page. )

Here's their action alert:

Miley Cyrus said what?

"Hannah Montana" star Miley Cyrus recently made statements supporting gay marriage.

Her comments were in response to a question posed to Miss California Carrie Prejean in the April 19 Miss USA Pageant. Homosexual celeblogger Perez Hilton was the pageant judge who asked Prejean her opinion of same-sex marriage, to which she responded that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Outraged by her response, Hilton began blasting the beauty queen and asked for celebrities to share their thoughts on gay marriage.

Miley Cyrus responded to Hilton through her Twitter.com account with the following comments:

  • "Everyone deserves to love and be loved and most importantly smile."
  • "Jesus loves you and your partner and wants you to know how much he cares! That's like a daddy not loving his lil boy cuz he's gay and that is wrong and very sad!
  • "Like I said everyone deserves to be happy."
  • "God’s greatest commandment is to love. And judging is not loving."
  • "I am a Christian and I love you - gay or not - because you are no different than anyone else! We are all God's children."
Such statements will send the wrong message to our children who are influenced by this teenage megastar. Parents need to realize that Cyrus is not the positive role model she was once thought to be.

Take Action

Send Miley Cyrus a letter stating that you do not approve of her comments.

Clearly she is confused and does not understand the Bible. Please pray for the Lord to open her eyes to the truth.

Shortly after this action alert went out, Miley posted this update on twitter: "love is the lords greatest commandment. i understand the bible just fine!!! :)" So we kinda love her now.

Let's see if we're clear on the right-winger party line on this one. Carrie Prejean is a lovely and brave young woman and a good Christian who is being attacked by horrible bloggers like Perez Hilton and the evil liberal media for speaking out in support of a definition of marriage that excludes people and denies them equal rights under the law. Miley Cyrus is a confused young woman and a horrible role model because she spoke out in favor of love, equality, acceptance, and compassion. Yeah, we're sure that Jesus would totally be with the Million Moms on this one. He was so into judging and excluding and marginalizing.

You know, when a 16 year old pop star can call you out on your hypocritical bullshit in 140 characters or less, you should probably rethink...well, everything.

May 6, 2009

Sex Workers Are People Too

[via Figleaf]

This is a PSA produced by the workshop Speak Up! Media Skills for the Empowered Sex Worker.

“Speak Up! Media Skills for the Empowered Sex Worker” is a day-long seminar offered by the New York-based organization Sex Work Awareness (SWA). The workshop is based on $pread Magazine’s successful “Journalism for Sex Workers” training, which was developed by two of SWA’s founders in July 2006 for the “Revisioning Prostitution Policy: Creating Space for Sex Worker Rights and Challenging Criminalization” Desiree Alliance conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The impetus for developing the seminar was based on a real need expressed by members of our community for more resources and skills training on how to (a) respond to media requests effectively and safely, (b) engage with the mainstream media in order to get a particular message out, and (c) create our own media products. Sex workers, like many other marginalized communities, find the mainstream media a crucial site of resistance due to the harmful misrepresentations and stereotypes that it promulgates. This is especially true when the job the sex worker does is illegal and becomes further compounded by factors such as race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, relative poverty, drug use, family status, immigration status, and age. All too often, sex workers simply choose not to engage with the media due to potential social and legal repercussions or sex workers get in over their heads and are unwittingly exploited by the media without getting anything out of it.

For more information about Speak Up!, email info@sexworkawareness.org. For more info on sex work, check out SWA's public education site Sex Work 101.

May 3, 2009

Pam Anderson is Not Cosmopolitan

Quick announcement - We're going to be lending our many talents to the brand new blog SexGenderBody. SGB is a new collaborative community blog that will be exploring issues related to...yes, sex, gender, and body. The site operates from this idea: "I define my sex, gender, body. You define yours." Go check it out and if you have something to say, register and post your own diaries. We're going to be feature writers so you can catch us over there a couple of times a week, but we'll also try to cross-post most of our stuff here so you don't miss any evil sluttiness. Below is our first SGB piece, "Pam Anderson is Not Cosmopolitan".

We have a confession to make.

We read the May issue of Cosmopolitan. Okay, and the April issue also. We went on a trip at the end of March that involved long boring train rides! We’ll try not to let it happen again, especially since we’ve learned that for all of their willingness to talk openly about sex and encourage their readers to have a lot of it, the editors of Cosmo can also be pretty judgmental when it comes to expressions of sexuality that break their arbitrary rules.

There's a section in the front of the magazine called "Cosmo News", which I can only assume means "here in Cosmoland we think this information qualifies as news", because it's all stuff about Zac Efron and random studies about kissing and the new trendy style of sandals among celebrities. On the "Hot Sheet" page, there's a little sidebar on "What's Not So Hot", and the victim this month is Pam Anderson:

What's Not So Hot: Acting Age-Inappropriate

Dear Pam,

You can still be hot in your 40s. You cannot, however, do it by acting like you did when you were in your 20s.


This little love note is accompanied by a couple of images of Pam wearing a revealing bathing suit/bodysuit/sparkly thing, and one of them is captioned, "Her sons must be psyched."

[Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images via Zimbio]

Now first of all, this is Pam Anderson we’re talking about. If ever there was a woman who is just never going to be stereotypically “age appropriate”, it’s her. One of the listed occupations on her Wikipedia profile is “sex symbol”, for fuck’s sake. So to even write something like this about someone like her just strikes me as the laziest form of bitchiness. It’s like writing an open letter to Charo asking her to tone down the sparkly perkiness already.

Then there’s the fact that the photos Cosmo chose to use are from Pam’s surprise appearance on the runway during the finale of the Richie Rich show at Fashion Week earlier this year. It’s not like she was randomly walking down the street in this outfit, although for Pam I suppose that wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility. Here’s the context that this lovely Dear Pam letter left out – Richie Rich, formerly of Heatherette, is known for fun, wild, crazy, glittery, over-the-top clothes and shows. The tagline for this one, Rich’s first solo show, was “Blondes Have More Fun!” He's also collaborating with Pam on a new casual line called Muse and said about her, "Pam is an outdoorsy and summer kind of girl who I have been friends with forever. We share the same wild and crazy aesthetic. And she has long been my inspiration." So these photos that Cosmo found so inappropriate are of Pam doing a job that she’s uniquely qualified to do for a client that, from the looks of the video, is pretty damn happy to be sharing the stage with his fun, wild, sexy, over-the-top, crazy blonde inspiration and friend.

So what’s the problem? If the finale of the show had featured a 22 year old model in the same outfit acting the same way, would anyone care? Would the photos have even been on Cosmo’s radar? I doubt it. Apparently, according to the editors of Cosmopolitan, once you reach a certain age you’re not allowed to be too sexy or show off your body too much. Hmm. I wonder how they felt about those Helen Mirren bikini photos that made the rounds a few months ago. Or maybe those are okay, because they were from a private vacation, while Pam’s crime is being too public with her body and her age inappropriate sexuality.

Which brings us to the “her sons must be psyched” photo caption, which is probably the most annoying part of this. There’s the fact that the editors of a dumbass magazine like Cosmo feel that it’s their place to sit in judgment. And then there’s that not-at-all-dated idea that mothers aren’t allowed to be too sexy, because what about the children? Of course, her sons are little boys, so I doubt that they’re attending their mother’s fashion shows or Las Vegas performances or anything where she would be dressed this way, since that wouldn’t be age appropriate for them. I also doubt that, at their ages, they have particularly strong opinions about their mom’s sexuality. They probably care more about the fact that she, you know, loves them and takes care of them and stuff. Hell, maybe she’s even taught them that a woman’s value as a person shouldn’t be determined solely by her sexuality or what she does with her body. And hopefully she’ll also teach them that when they’re old enough to date, they should be suspicious of women who believe everything they read in Cosmo.