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Everything on the Evil Slutopia blog is copyrighted by the E.S.C. and ESC Forever Media and may not be used without credit to the authors. But feel free to link to us as much as you want! For other legal information, disclaimers and FAQs visit ESCForeverMedia.com.

July 31, 2009

What To Wear After BlogHer

Okay, so we know we missed the obligatory "What to wear to BlogHer '09?" blog that everyone else seems to to have posted. We have about a year until BlogHer '10 (New York City baby!) so we have plenty of time to obsess over what to wear for that. And since we're the types who are crazy enough to start planning our Halloween costumes...well, now, it's not unusual that we'd already be talking about what to wear to next year's conference. We know, we have issues.

But in the meantime, to get back into the spirit of being at home...here's a little "What We're Wearing After BlogHer" roundup with a sampling of the type of clothing that we're wearing post-conference.

1. Pajamas... Because after an exhausting weekend in Chicago, we need lots of sleep.

2. Swimwear... Because we came home to a really really humid New York.

3. Athletic Wear... Because after all the free food and cocktails, we need to hit the gym!

4. Lingerie... Because after a weekend with almost all women, we need some male attention.

We definitely will be taking the full year to figure out what awesomely cute outfits we're going to wear to BlogHer '10 because we have to represent New York to the fullest! Plus there's the added benefit of not having to pack everything into a giant suitcase and drag it through the airport. But in the meantime, it's back to blogging in pajamas for us.

Our Babeland Wish List

Babeland is having a contest so we were inspired to make a super evil slutty sexy wish list!

Eco-Sexy Kit $59.00

Everyone knows that the ESC cares about being environmentally-friendly and this it, which includes a latex-free/phthalate-free vibrator and a selection of all-natural products, helps us be extra friendly.

Bachelorette Party Kit $18.95

Sometimes we like to go out and pretend that one of us is getting married (complete with fake engagement ring) so we can get lots of attention and free champagne. And also to justify the fact that we're wearing feather boas in the middle of New York City. If only this kit - which includes a tiara, dice game, scavenger hunt, temporary tattoos, photo album and name tags - came with a fake fiance too.

Babeland Condoms $5 (for 6-pack)

You can never have enough condoms. What else is there to say?

Hello Kitty Vibrator $40.00

Honestly, we just want this because there's some kind of awesome perversity to owning a sex toy in the style of a beloved childhood character. Perfect for that naughty school girl roleplaying too.

Blow Job Expert Kit $49.00

We're already experts... but we're interested in what the Ultimate Guide to Fellatio has to say on the subject. Plus we want to check out the yummy flavored lubes and other cool stuff that comes in this kit (which also includes a RingO cock ring, a Nanovibe, and Afterglow "clean-up wipes").

Candy apple wrist restraints $62.00 + cuff connector $3.50

These are just really cute! They also look super easy-to-use and comfortable. Well... not too comfortable (because that would sort of miss the point).

Sweet Body Paints $20

If we feel like letting out our artistic sides... These body paints are fruit-flavored, so we can lick up our masterpieces afterwards.

Nerve Position of the Day Playbook $12.95

This book features a different sexual position for every day of the year... and since the ESC is anything but boring, we're definitely into picking up some new ideas. Although we might need to join a gym first so we can work on our flexibility... some of those moves are probably a little tough to master.

The New Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook $24.95

This is the perfect book for sexy cooking... the recipes cover all the main aphrodisiac foods, like chocolate or oysters. Perfect for evil slutty foodies.

Chemistry DVD $39.95

You know how much we love to hate reality TV... so of course we're dying to check out a "reality" porn. Chemistry is the tale of "seven porn stars picked to live in a house"... and you can figure out the rest.

Red Mini Rubber Whip $16.00

It may look unthreatening... but this super cute rubber whip can offer a range of sensations. Fun!

Under The Bed Restraints $55.00

Now some of us don't have a headboard to get tied to. (Yeah, it totally sucks). With the Under the Bed Restraint system there's no headboard necessary, no need to install hardware, no rope-tying. All I need is a mattress... and a partner... or two.

Silky blindfold $15.00

Silky... pretty... purple... and sexy. What else could you want from a blindfold?

Edible Pasties $5.00

These are adorable and they look pretty yummy! (Plus we're really tired of making our own using cookie cutters and fruit roll-ups. They just don't look right).

Entice lubette $1.50

This tiny tiny lube (isn't "lubette" just the cutest name for it?) is perfect for impromptu sex on the go... fits right into your pocket!

Bondage Tape $16.00

Bondage tape is one of the coolest inventions! It's reusable and totally unsticky - meaning it won't stick to your skin or your hair or leave any yucky residue. It only sticks to itself, making it pretty much foolproof, even for a bondage beginner.

Share the Love Kit $55

And finally... because we want to share the love, we want this kit to be a giveaway prize for one our lucky readers... for the next time they get... lucky. It includes a mini massage candle, dirty dice, the Babeland Pocket Rocket, vibrating Sonic Ring kit, and mini lube. (Also includes a condom and an AA battery - because you should always be prepared).

Disclaimer: Babeland is not paying us to write this "wish list" but if we win their Summer Love Contest we get all of this awesome stuff for free... and then all of our evil slutty dreams come true and we live happily ever after. So even though we admit we have an ulterior motive to posting this wish list publicly at this particular time... we really do want all these items and everything said here about them is 100% totally true. (If we don't win, any of our beloved fans are welcome to send us these things as presents, thank you).

July 30, 2009

You Can Break Windows But You Can't Break Us

We're a little late on this story from The Sexist because of our Chicago trip, but I think it's still worth addressing. An American Apparel store in the D.C. area was vandalized recently, and another nearby store is receiving threatening phone calls. Why? Because they had the nerve to set up a window display featuring some shirts with the slogan "Legalize Gay".

When Kassandra Powell arrived for work at the Silver Spring American Apparel store yesterday morning, she was met with a crowd, a police car, and a broken window. “I was told that the [security alarm] went off at 5:15 a.m.,” she says.

Powell, a store manager, had reason to believe that the early-morning glass-shattering was more than your average retail break-in. Nothing was stolen from the store—including the anti-Prop-8 t-shirts prominently displayed on the opposite side of the glass.

This morning, the Georgetown American Apparel location experienced its own attack from an upset window shopper—this time, over the telephone. Around 10:30 a.m., visual merchandiser Walter Reed fielded a call from a male who was “enraged for no reason.”

“He was like, is this the Silver Spring location? And I said, ‘No, this is the Georgetown location, ‘” says Reed. “He said, ‘You have some Legalize Gay shirts in the window there.’ He said that he and his friends found it offensive, and that if we didn’t take them down, they were going to break it—the window,” said Reed. “I said, ‘Is that a threat, Sir?’ And then he hung up.” [The Sexist]

This is the "offending" shirt, which was originally produced during the protests against Prop 8 last fall.

The display was temporarily removed from the vandalized store, but it was quickly replaced, and the company released a statement in response to the incident:
Yesterday an American Apparel store in Silver Spring, Maryland had a window broken by someone upset over the company's support for gay marriage. Our Georgetown location and others in the areas have received similar threats. We just wanted to use this forum here to announce that not only are they not going to prevent us from speaking out on an issue that is important to this company and our employees but we'll continue to run Legalize Gay advertisements in papers across the DC-Metro area. We'll also send Legalize Gay t-shirts to any group in Washington DC that is fighting for gay rights and will help support any protest or rally for the cause.

We don't find this kind of thing funny and we definitely don't find it intimidating. Thanks to everyone who has reached out to us and if you need anything please contact: Jonny at jonnys@americanapparel.net or (213) 488-0226. [American Apparel]

Is American Apparel a perfect company? No, far far far from it. But in this case, I'd say they're handling the situation in the best possible way. Unfortunately, the people responsible for the vandalism are continuing to harass the stores.
Yesterday, the Silver Spring location received another threat over the phone in regards to the anti-Prop-8 shirts, which an anonymous employee recounts for WJLA: “Why is that T-shirt still in the window? You should take it down or something will happen to you.”

On Wednesday, American Apparel’s Silver Spring store received the chain’s latest threatening phone call in response to its anti-Prop-8 “Legalize Gay” T-shirts.

“Five minutes ago, I just answered the phone and got a death threat from a man with a bad phone connection,” the female Silver Spring employee wrote to superiors in an e-mail. The caller asked the employee why the pro-gay shirts were still on display, then threatened to take action. He said, “If I didn’t take it down, bad things can happen to me, resulting in drastic measures,” she wrote.

A rep for American Apparel says that since the story made the news, the stores have also gotten lots of supportive phone calls. The company is planning to put additional "Legalize Gay" displays (and more security to go with them) into more stores in the area.

I gotta say, how cowardly do you have to be to decide that you're going to stage your big homophobic throwdown against...a t-shirt. On a mannequin. In a closed clothing store. Now, obviously I'm not remotely suggesting that it would be better for this person to target real people instead. But, of course that begs the question - if you're so offended by this shirt that you feel entitled to throw rocks (or whatever the weapon of choice was) through a window where the shirts are on display, what happens when you see someone walking down the street wearing it? Are you going to throw rocks at us too? Or is the upgrade from vandalism to threatening phone calls satisfying enough for you?

This is a lazy and pathetic attempt to intimidate people. It's also a completely unacceptable way to express your opinion. If you don't like the message of these shirts, call American Apparel and tell them. Refuse to spend your money on AA products if you don't like the causes that they support. Use your words and your wallet to get the point across, not rocks and broken glass. Of course, going that route doesn't have that added benefit of the threat, of trying to silence people by making them afraid of what might happen if they speak out.

Of course, this brilliant plan has backfired entirely, now that the media coverage of this harassment has made so many more people across the country aware that these shirts exist. And hey, just for fun, let's see what our friends at the FBI might have to say about a bias-motivated act of vandalism.
A hate crime, also known as a bias crime, is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.

...Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and destruction/damage/vandalism comprise the offense types that the Program considers crimes against property.
Also, sexual orientation is included in both Maryland and D.C. hate crimes laws. So this person should definitely keep at it until he's caught. Any resulting punishment would just give him more fuel for his irrational hatred of gay people, which is apparently all he has in his sad life if this t-shirt crusade is how he chooses to spend his time. I never thought I'd say anything even close to this, but hearing about idiotic and immature behavior like this almost makes me have a little bit of respect for the slightly more reasonable approach of the One Million Moms.


Related Posts:

July 29, 2009

Nikon Does Not Hate Babies

As you know, we have recently returned from the 2009 BlogHer conference in Chicago. The conference was funded by several big name corporate sponsors. Some - like PepsiCo. - were general sponsors of the entire conference. Others simply sponsored one or two specific events. This was the first year that Nikon was present as a sponsor of the BlogHer conference and it may well be the last.

If you had been following the #blogher hashtag on twitter, you may have noticed a #nikonhatesbabies hashtag as well. (It's worth noting that the woman who created the tag, did so as a joke and was never "outraged" over the incident that inspired it. She has now expressed regret over the fact that others are using it in a way that she never intended).

There have been a lot of conflicting accounts of the incident. To be clear we did not attend the "Nikon Night Out" event and were not even invited (and to be clearer neither were many of the people commenting on it, which probably explains why so many of their facts are off). We made our best effort to get all the information and present this issue in the most accurate and unbiased way possible.

What Really Happened

Nikon planned an exclusive off-site event on Friday July 24th for a select group of Blogher attendees. We're not exactly sure how the invitation list was made - clearly there was a huge oversight because we weren't on it - but apparently it was sent out to bloggers who focused on various topics, such as photography, design, parenting, etc. There were about 200 guests. (RSVPS were required. Attendees were permitted to bring one guest each if they wanted to, but those guests had to be added to the RSVP list in advance).

The event - which was billed as a "cocktail party" - was held at the swanky Flatwater bar and restaurant in Chicago. Although only about a 5 minute walk from the Sheraton hotel, Nikon provided stretch limousines to bring the bloggers to the event. At the party bloggers had the opportunity to get their hair and makeup done, get a hand massage, meet Carson Kressley (and get some "stylin' photo tips" from him), receive a gift bag, and of course, check out cool new Nikon products, such as the COOLPIX cameras and D5000.

According to several attendees, Nikon and MWW really did a great job trying to make the event as awesome as possible and it seems their hard work paid off:

"...one of the best parties of the weekend" - [Liz Gumbinner of Mom-101 and Cool Mom Picks]

"The Nikon party with Carson Kressley was AMAZING. I can't stop thinking about it." - [Amy (Mom Spark) via Twitter]

"I had a fabulous time at the party - it was easily one of the highlights of my weekend. You did an anamzing job of treating us to a spectacular time while showcasing Nikon." [Extraordinary Mommy via Open the Dialogue]

"...I chowed down on delicious noshies--my favorite was the bacon wrapped shrimp--specialty drinks and for dessert, homemade marshmallows dipped in a chocolate fountain. Hmmm...decadent!" - [Megan Smith via Megan's Minute]

(Side note: Now we're really pissed that we weren't invited. Bacon and a chocolate fountain? No fair!)

Unfortunately, some of the invited bloggers assumed that because BlogHer is so baby-friendly that the Nikon party would also be. However, the event was "adults only" so a few mothers were turned away when they showed up with their babies in tow.

Nikon was very apologetic and did all they could to make it up to the disappointed women who were unable to attend. And everyone lived happily ever after... almost. It's interesting to note that most of the negative feedback about Nikon was from women who did not attend the event or have any firsthand knowledge of what actually took place. Many complaints seem to be based on a "case study" written by Katie Granju of mamapundit (not to be confused with PunditMom). Her account of events contains inaccuracies and misconceptions, so we felt we should directly address some of the points she made.
It seems that several women attending the conference were literally turned away from the Nikon party to which they had been invited. Why? Because the restaurant at which Nikon decided to hold the party has a “no babies allowed” policy, and these invited bloggers had the nerve to actually show up with babes in arms. Nikon’s people even declined to let at least one of these baby-totin’ bloggers so much as get into the limo that the brand had sent over to the BlogHer hotel to pick up their “guests.”

So to recap, Nikon held an invitation-only, evening event to promote their brand to, and curry favor with high-influence MOMMYbloggers, but then the brand’s event planners literally disallowed women with babies from attending, even though the whole point of Nikon’s party was to make friends with the bloggers and encourage them to promote Nikon products. When planning their party, did Nikon maybe think that BlogHer was actually a conference for 62-year old male bloggers who mostly write about the stock market? Because to be sure, those guys wouldn’t likely have babies with them, or need/want to bring them to a party. But mombloggers? Women who blog about their babies for their readers who have babies? Uh, yeah. Some of these women are pretty likely to have babies on board. Duh. [emphasis hers]
There is definitely some incorrect information presented here. She is mistaken about the point of Nikon's party, as many others complaining about the incident have been. Nikon did not specifically target mommybloggers, nor is BlogHer solely a conference for mommybloggers. Invitees also included those in the photography, style, technology, design, and craft categories and more. We were able to take a look at the original invitation from Nikon and nowhere does it state or even imply that it was a mommyblogger event. We found it interesting that so many of the women complaining had outright assumed that it was.

Yes, the mommy segment of the blogging population is a strong force. Getting your product into the hands - and onto the blog - of the right mommyblogger can have a major impact on your sales. But the implication that Nikon would only target mothers is kind of silly. If this was Gerber or Graco, maybe... but camera equipment is hardly unique to parenting. (And yes, the mommybloggers definitely did outnumber the other attendees at BlogHer, but the suggestions that therefore everything is for them and no one else can be a bit unsettling).

In fact, her stereotypical portrayal of both mothers and BlogHer members is offensive and sexist. Apparently there are only two categories of bloggers - mothers and 62-year-old men who write about the stock market. Apparently all Blogher attendees are women, all women are mothers, all mothers are strictly "mommybloggers", all mommy bloggers always have breastfeeding babies, and all breastfeeding mommybloggers want to bring their babies everywhere. Also, she makes the assumption that men do not spend time with their children, let alone infant children, let alone in public places, and they certainly would never ever blog about parenting or attend a conference such as Blogher or be interested in Nikon products. (And they definitely aren't ever in their 60s).

(And we're not sure why she felt the need to draw a distinction between letting the women attend the party and letting the women ride in the limo to the party. What purpose would it serve to allow the women into the limo, only to be turned away at the door of the venue a few minutes later? Wouldn't that be worse?)

Why Did This Happen?

Some have blamed the restaurant having a "no babies" policy and the state's "21-and-over" liquor laws. Although it seems to make sense, we're not sure how valid that reason is. For one, children are allowed to enter a bar when accompanied by their parents, especially if the bar serves food. However, the owners of the Flatwater are permitted to refuse service to anyone - provided it doesn't violate the Federal Civil Rights Act (which protects against discrimination or segregation based on race, color, religion, or national origin) - and that includes babies. But is that really their policy? We checked out the Flatwater's website and looked at their different packages for special events. Page 2 of their Event Sales Kit contains their Bar Proposal packages. At the bottom there is a "Children's Cost Clause":
Children Under 13, Complimentary
Children 13-20, Charged for 50% of Original Cost
Basically what this means is that they aren't going to charge full price for children to attend a bar party, since they are not legally permitted to drink alcohol. What it also means is that the bar is not always, strictly "no babies allowed". But that still doesn't mean that Nikon hates babies. This particular event was "adults only" for a good reason. It was a dark, small, crowded venue - with expensive camera equipment all around - definitely not the place for strollers and high chairs. According to Althea Haigh, of MWW Group's DialogueMedia, this was due to safety reasons regarding the time of the event, the noise level, the availability of alcohol and the proximity to water [via Open The Dialogue].

Many people have been referring to this as a huge PR mistake, but it's really quite a minor issue in our eyes. Yes, someone made a goof by not indicating on the invitation that the event was adults only... but on the other hand, many people feel that the mothers should have asked first before assuming they could bring their children to any event, especially one that is typically adult-centric like a cocktail party. It seems that perhaps Nikon did overlook one key element of BlogHer.

The baby phenomenon at BlogHer is not typical of the rest of the business world. BlogHer is quite possibly one of the only professional conferences that has such a baby-friendly, mom-centric atmosphere (except perhaps a LaLecheLeague seminar or something like that). Seeing as this was Nikon's first year at BlogHer and most bars are not often frequented by nursing mothers, it's possible that Nikon might not have anticipated that anyone would even attempt to bring a baby to their cocktail party.

I'm sure that if Nikon/MWW had intended to target only women with kids, the event location and other logistics would have been much more family-friendly. Although at BlogHer, the odds that a random blogger will also be a mother are pretty high. It is important to understand one's demographic. While we've already said that BlogHer is not just for moms, there are a lot of mommybloggers there. A whole lot. To the extent that women are permitted - even encouraged - to attend with small children. It's unclear whether or not Nikon or MWW knew this beforehand. If they did not, then it begs the question of what kind of communication there is between BlogHer and new sponsors like Nikon and why no one from BlogHer let them know what to expect.

We understand that this party wasn't an official BlogHer event, and that a lot of the responsibility should fall on the sponsor to do the right research while planning something like this. But if BlogHer doesn't reach out to companies like Nikon to give them some basic info about how this conference may be different from any other they may have encountered before, then maybe this incident should be a learning experience for BlogHer as well. Even though this wasn't an official event, many people will still think of this as "that thing that happened at BlogHer" so fair or not, it does end up reflecting on them too.

At this point I think we all know that Nikon does not hate babies. (It is unfortunate that the original Twitter user chose that as the hashtag. Even though she admits it was only meant to be funny, it certainly sent the wrong message to those who were not in on the joke).

And really, what has Nikon done so wrong? What did they really deny these poor women of - the opportunity to go to a free party and get a bunch of free stuff they don't even necessarily deserve? Do people really believe that they're entitled to free stuff just because they write blogs and attended a conference? (Although, of course, if any companies would like to send us some free stuff, we'd be happy to accept it. No pressure). Nikon did something really nice by throwing that swanky party... it feels really ungrateful to be mad at them over the right to bring your baby to a bar. And by the way, the women who were turned away at the door were apparently still given their free gifts. Just to be clear, by all accounts it seems that the two women who were turned away were understanding of the situation and cool with it. As we said before, much of the complaining has come from people who weren't there.

BlogHer really bends over backwards to accomodate the mommybloggers that brought babies with them. We've been to a few different women's conferences and we haven't seen anyone else try as hard, like offering on-site childcare, a lactation lounge, and tons of free baby items from sponsors like Gerber, Disney and Sprout. Most of the people who attended the Nikon party probably came away feeling great about the company, but there's always going to be someone making mountains out of molehills based on only half the facts. How much of the criticism Nikon received this week was actually from bloggers who were crabby about not being invited in the first place?

So... Now What?

The "incident" has raised a lot of different debates... from the mundane "what is the appropriate etiquette for RSVPing to an event?" to the more controversial "is it ever okay to take a baby to a bar?"

It's our opinion that bars and cocktail parties are not usually appropriate for babies and young children. They can be dark and loud and crowded and full of drunk people (and trust us, we know that babies are not exactly safe around drunk people). But yet, a lot of people have been suggesting that it's never okay to take your baby to any "adult-oriented" setting and even going so far as to say that it's a sign of bad parenting. Really? I've certainly brought my daughter to places that weren't "for kids" (she'd actually been to over five non-children's plays before the age of 3). But I'm adament about expecting children - and adults for that matter - to behave properly for the venue and certain places or atmospheres wouldn't be appropriate for certain children.

So we don't think it's fair for people - with or without kids - to make judgments on other people's parenting choices. It's definitely not typical to bring a baby to a bar - and we'd certainly respect any bar owner who disallowed it - but it doesn't automatically make you a bad parent. While we'd never go so far as to say that it's always inappropriate to bring a baby to an "adult" setting, perhaps it is inappropriate to assume you can bring a baby to a bar and/or be outraged that you can't bring a baby to a bar.

It's unclear what the purpose of Granju's blog entry actually is. She has described it as a "case study" but it feels more like a call-to-arms. Although the blog entry is titled "Nikon's antisocial media relations at BlogHer '09" the original url read "nikon-needs-to-fire-somebody-over-this-PR-bungle"[emphasis ours]. That seems like a crazy overreaction to us. And some mommybloggers have promised a spread of negative publicity. (No offense ladies, but I really doubt your tweets are going to have a major impact on Nikon's business in the long run). Certain commenters and Twitter users have suggested a switch from Nikon to Canon products. But why?

Sure, maybe Nikon's PR team made a tiny mistake, but they certainly spent a lot of time and money trying to do something super nice for the bloggers. What has Canon done? Nothing. They didn't throw us any parties or give any money to BlogHer. (And they might have had a similar "no babies" policy if they did).

Mommybloggers sometimes have a bad reputation... Most of the mothers we've met were very gracious and appreciative of the extra steps BlogHer takes to make it easier on them. Even the mothers who were turned away from the party, had nothing but positive things to say about Nikon after the fact. But in any group there are always a few few spoilsports who ruin things for the rest of the group. (These are probably the same few that don't get up and leave the room when their babies are causing a disturbance). It does give mommybloggers a bad name. And it gives BlogHer a bad name.

We're fairly certain that this has had little-to-no impact on Nikon's sales. (If anything, we think most of the women at BlogHer might be even more likely to support their company). What it may have had an impact on is BlogHer itself. Already we've heard people saying they were turned off to the conference due to this overreaction... and it's hard to imagine any company sponsoring as nice of a party as Nikon did after seeing the immature, ungrateful and dare we say, spiteful, behavior that followed.

So what have we all learned from this? I suppose Nikon and MWW have learned that you can't please everyone, but most people will appreciate it if you make an effort. And maybe they also learned that a little extra research may avoid the wrath of a scorned mommyblogger. But what lesson should the rest of us take away?

1. If you're invited to an event and you're not sure whether your child is welcome - ask first, don't assume. Especially if it's something like a cocktail party or other "adult-centric" event. Even if you don't think it's inappropriate to bring your child, if you think someone else might feel that way... ask.
"it's been said by others, but if your baby isn't on the invite, you should ask if you are allowed to bring them. same goes for any party/wedding/shin-dig. sad thing is, not many people know this rule of thumb." [mommymae via Motherhood Uncensored]
2. The Internet is a powerful tool. Don't misuse it. It only takes one person to turn a joke into a drama and it's very hard to take back. The woman who started the whole thing has repeated many times that she feels terrible about the outcome of her words, but yet people are still talking about it.

"In the end, it was a mistake. A bad, bumbly mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. One that certainly does not warrant trying to declare to Twitter and the world that “#nikonhatesbabies”. Because they don’t. [...] With great power comes great responsibility, and in this case, it’s being wielded about as carefully as a hyper 2 year old with a freshly sharpened butcher knife." [Sara
of Suburban Oblivion]
3. It's important to pick your battles. Think about all of the time and energy and misplaced outrage that went into spreading half-truths and misinterpretations of this incident and that could have been put to much better use.
"Maybe next time we can save our power and influence and #_____hatesbabies hashtags for restaurants that ban breastfeeding". [Mom-101 via mamapundit]

4. If you don't have all the facts, then you're probably just spreading rumors. So shut up until you do.
"This incident just goes to show how powerful and damaging social media can be. I got on Twitter early Saturday morning and saw the tweets and blog post from a blogger who I have been following for years. I thought she was at the event and it happened to her. I trusted her and then retweeted it to over 10,000 of my followers. I think this is a good lesson for everyone. As social media users, we need to check the facts first before we spread the word, no matter what it is." [Jennifer James via Open The Dialogue]

And just as a little disclaimer of sorts: Nikon doesn't know we're writing this, so obviously they aren't paying us. (We didn't even get to attend the party, sigh). One of us is a mother - who breastfed for 2 1/2 years, often in public - and another is very very devoted to her godchildren. One of us has worked in the PR industry and another has worked in the corporate world. This information may or may not make a difference to anyone reading, but maybe it's relevant to you in deciding whether we have a "right" to have an opinion on the subject.

July 25, 2009

Leave Demi Lovato Alone!

Star magazine recently printed photographs of Demi Lovato and a story about how she's allegedly been self-mutilating. The article "Is Demi Cutting Again?" suggests that the Disney actress/singer has been cutting her wrists because she is stressed about her show Sonny with a Chance:

"She's not getting enough downtime because there is so much work involved, and she's always being pulled in different directions." Unfortunately, that constant pressure may lead to destructive behavior.

"Cutting is how she can let go of the stress that has built up inside — when she cuts herself, it's a way to cope," explains Dr. Jennifer Austin Leigh, a San Francisco–based psychologist who specializes in treating teenagers. But there is hope, adds Dr. Leigh, who has not treated the actress. Besides counseling, Demi "needs to surround herself with family and friends who will have a positive impact on her." [Star]

Just to be clear, Dr. Leigh is not Demi's doctor. Her description of self-mutilation and its causes is probably correct, but she is in no position to make claims about Demi in particular. Oh and the source of this story is described simply as "a source" so we know that they're totally credible.

I think stories like this one - which has been repeated every fucking where - are wrong for two reasons:

One -

We don't know if it's actually true. I doubt the authenticity of the story and the photos. Why? Because tabloids are always known for being totally completely truthful and unbiased and reliable and accurate!! I won't go so far as to suggest that the photos are doctored - although I wouldn't put it past Star - but I do think the images are not clear enough to make such a leap as to Demi Lovato's mental status.

If the photos are correct, it still doesn't prove that she is self-mutilating. There are so many ways she could've gotten those marks. (Does Demi Lovato have a cat?) Also, knowing that she is so much in the public eye - her show Sonny with a Chance is the #1 in its timeslot right now and she's about to go on tour with David Archuleta - wouldn't she perhaps cut herself in a less visible area? And wouldn't her handlers - knowing that the tabloids have already speculated about this issue in the past - make sure her wrists were covered?

Lillian Matulic, Demi's rep, described the allegations as "completely false".

Two -

If this is true... is it really our business? If the rumors are true and this is Demi's response to too much stress, isn't it kind of fucked up that we're reading about it as if it's news? If she's really stressed enough to self-mutilate, then isn't tabloid gossip going to make it worse? She's 16 years old - she's a child - this is not our business. This is not news that we should be reading in a tabloid. This should not be fodder for blogs and polls.

The media is always all over young celebs - like Miley Cyrus - for basically being teenagers with the bad fortune to be massively famous. However, that talk is usually about "naughty" things that the celebs have allegedly done. This on the other hand, is very different. This isn't an inappropriate picture or an offhand comment. This is gossip about a potentially serious problem. It's just plain wrong. Demi Lovato is the perfect example of what Disney wants their products, ...er stars... to be. She's a squeaky clean "good girl" - no scandals, no rumors of drugs or sex. If she truly is going through a really hard time and struggling with self abuse - then why are we tearing her down even further?

Leave her alone! Yes she's a celebrity, but she's also a child. Write all you want about her career or her love life, but if she truly is dealing with a potentially dangerous condition then let's not make it worse. So shut the fuck up already!

For more information and support about self-injury: TWLOHA.com or SIsupport

July 24, 2009

She Misunderstood a Song: I Kissed a Girl

We came across a blog the other day bashing Katy Perry's song "I Kissed A Girl".

Now of course, we've all heard plenty of people criticize that song (you know, like a year ago when it came out) but what struck us about this criticism was that it was so totally missing the point. We originally thought about just leaving a comment, but we realized that we have too much to say about it!

An excerpt:
Is it enough that Perry created an entire song about the deplorable commonality of lesbian action for the sake of male enjoyment? This alone makes me sad for the women and girls who hear this song and who, like others, think that female sexuality is not something to be owned by the woman herself, but that is at the disposal and for the benefit of male viewers.

Kissing a girl - like kissing a boy - ought to be a shared experience amongst the individuals involved. Yet for many women of all sexual orientations, kissing a girl is done for the pleasure and excitement of the heterosexual gaze.
[...] a song in which a girl gushes over her illicit kiss with another girl is undoubtedly designed to alter some male blood flow. Perry sings "I hope my boyfriend don't mind it." The implication is that her boyfriend only minded if he wasn't there to witness it. [emphasis theirs]
Um... what? There's nothing about male enjoyment in that song. If anything, it's the opposite. This song is about female enjoyment. I don't know why a so-called-heterosexual woman garnering enjoyment from another woman must automatically be for the benefit of a man. In fact, the author's immediate assumption that that's what it is about (in the absence of any corroborating evidence) is all the more sexist and offensive than the song itself. For example, she says that the "implication" of the line "hope my boyfriend don't mind it" is that he would only mind if he wasn't there to watch the girl-on-girl action, but that's really just a big assumption. It would be just as (if not more) reasonable to say that the real implication is that he might mind it if his girlfriend is kissing someone else, male or female, behind his back and without his permission.

In an interview with The New Gay, Katy Perry explained the song: "I'm not a lesbian, but I can appreciate the beauty of women. That's what the song is about [...] it’s fantasy, it’s a song about curiosity":

TNG: Isn’t that kind of like those straight girls who make out at frat parties to get guys’ attention?
KP: It’s not about that. Everyone takes the song and relates it to their situation, they can see it however they want to see it. Love it, hate it, for me it was about us girls. When we’re young we’re very touchy-feely. We have slumber party sing-alongs, we make up dance routines in our pajamas. We’re a lot more intimate in a friendship than guys can be. It’s not perverse but just sweet, that's what the song is about.
But the author of the blog isn't done. She's incensed:

Not only am I incensed over the way in which this girl-on-girl kiss is promoted as an object of straight male lust, it also sends a powerful message about lesbian relationships in general. "It felt so wrong" Perry coos, "It's not what/Good girls do/Not how they should be behave." Good girls don't kiss other girls or when they do it's wrong? Yikes.

This song celebrates female sexuality only in so far as it is experienced by the male outsider. It is only okay that she kissed a girl because she expressly calls it experimentation. Perry describes it to avid male listeners and sends the message that it's "so wrong," which is meant to add to the excitement anyway.
Okay, now there are a lot of things "so wrong" about that (in addition to the already mentioned "straight male lust" bullshit). I think it shows a clear lack of understanding of irony to think that when Perry sings about how "good girls" should or should not behave that she's suggesting that lesbianism is wrong. Katy Perry was raised in a very strict Christian household (her parents are both pastors) so it's safe to assume that she did grow up thinking that girls kissing girls was wrong. It wasn't what good girls were supposed to do.

From The New Gay interview:

"My closest friends happen to be gay… I came from a very strict household, where any of that taboo stuff was wrong. I don’t say I hate where I came from, I love my parents and was happy to… have that opportunity to grow, but I came from a strict, suppressed household where that was wrong. Now I’ve been in LA for seven years and realizing there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong with anybody. If you love someone and you’re a good person that's what counts."
If you actually listen to the lyrics - all of the lyrics and not just the lines the blog author has quoted out of context - it's clearer. When Perry sings "it felt so wrong", she follows it up with "it felt so right". It's not about denouncing lesbianism... it's about feeling conflicted, which is understandable given her background. It feels wrong, because she's been raised with the belief that it's wrong. But now that she's tried it... hey, it feels right.

As for the next line she quotes, I think it's obvious that she's not actually suggesting that good girls shouldn't kiss other girls.

Just human nature

It's not what good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey
Clearly she's talking about what she's been taught about how good girls should behave and realizing that she can't adhere to those rules anymore. It's not okay because she's experimenting. It's okay because it's okay. Lesbianism is okay... experimenting is okay... kissing girls is okay! The message isn't that it's exciting because it's wrong... the message is that it isn't actually wrong.

And finally... I really do have to ask this. Does Perry actually have many "avid male listeners"?

The video takes this message even further. Just a few seconds of the three-minute video makes it clear that Perry is selling sex to a male audience. It's hard to think how much more you can objectify women than by making them faceless lingerie-clad bodies moving mindlessly in the background.
Perry does not acknowledge her fellow females nor interact with them in any way. Meanwhile, her lyrics describe her female sexual interaction; an interesting contrast, the meaning of which is far from transparent. Is Perry provocative enough to lip sync about kissing a girl but not quite bold enough to take that on screen? Or does this just add to the tease to hear her describe a girl's "soft lips" while touching her own body and not another's?
I think it's time to actually watch the video in order to dispute the rest of this silliness:

Okay, so I'm not going to claim that Katy Perry isn't objectifying women at all... but I think her video is pretty tame compared to... about a million other music videos out there. Not so incensed about male music artists who objectify women every single day, but when a woman does it, oh no!

And why exactly is this selling sex to a male audience? Is the author making the sexist and heteronormative assumption that only men like to look at beautiful women? So Katy Perry can't possibly have any lesbian or bisexual fans... and heterosexual women can't like to look at beautiful women either. Perry has said that the song is about appreciating women and I think the video perfectly portrays that. Call it objectification... fine. But don't pretend that it's somehow worse or different than the objectification done by men on a daily basis.

However, I don't know why she felt the need to refer to the lingerie-clad women as "faceless". I don't know... I saw their faces. Maybe when a woman is wearing lingerie it's hard to focus on their faces instead of their bodies... but that's her issue, not Perry's. And I don't know why the author thinks that Perry doesn't acknowledge or interact with the women in the video. I guess dancing and laughing and pillow fights aren't forms of interaction.

The reason Perry doesn't "take that [kiss] on screen" is two-fold though: One, it's not porn. For someone so concerned with objectification, it's a little odd to suggest that there's not enough girl-on-girl kissing in the video. Two, Perry had revealed in interviews that she has never actually kissed a girl... the song is about fantasy. You'll notice at the end, she wakes up with her boyfriend... the all girl slumber party wasn't real.

Now we've heard a lot of criticism about this song, but most of it was about how it's going to make our daughters turn into lesbians. Being with another woman is a common fantasy for a lot of women... it doesn't meant that they're automatically lesbian or bisexual. There's nothing wrong with appreciating the beauty and sexiness of someone else, it doesn't have to hold some deeper meaning ("don't mean I'm in love tonight" "ain't no big deal/it's innocent") but at the same time, it's not necessarily degrading to the gay community. It's not that our sexuality is malleable, but maybe it is fluid. I think that's where Perry is coming from. That women are beautiful and sexy and touchable and kissable and you don't have to be a lesbian to recognize that.

Us girls we are so magical
Soft skin, red lips, so kissable

Hard to resist so touchable
Too good to deny it

From The New Gay interview: "That’s what the song is about: me opening up a magazine and seeing Scarlet Johansen and saying 'if she wanted to to kiss me I wouldn’t say no.'"

We can't say that we love the song 100% because there are issues with it. For one, the implication of dishonesty and infidelity. We're all about freedom and kissing and female sexuality in any form, but the "hope my boyfriend don't mind it" line implies that she's kissing girls behind his back. And that isn't something the ESC agrees with. Not that she should necessarily be kissing girls for his "heterosexual male gaze" as the blog author has suggested, but honesty is important in any relationship. (Of course, we realize that the song is just a fantasy, so that sort of eliminates that particular issue. You don't have to reveal all of your fantasies to your significant other... but we do hope that if Perry really was kissing girls, it would be because she and her boyfriend had discussed it first and agreed that it was okay).

Now, not everyone is going to take the time to read a bunch of Katy Perry interviews to get a better understanding of what she intended the song to be about, so we'd get it a little more if this blogger was talking about being concerned that people might hear the song or watch the video and jump to stereotypical conclusions or make assumptions about what it means. It is a song that it would be easy to take on a surface level and misinterpret, and like we said, we're not arguing that the song is above criticism. But wouldn't it be a good idea to dig a little deeper before writing such a long angry rant?
In conclusion:

[...] "I Kissed a Girl" is an over-the-top insult to and infantilization of the gay community as well as a despicably direct message to men and women alike that female sexuality is a plaything of men.
When are women finally going to be told, "Your sexuality and your body belong to you and you alone and nothing about that is wrong?"
I think that is the message of Katy Perry's song and video. If only some women could actually get that instead of automatically jumping to heteronormative, sexist conclusions based on their preconceived notions.

July 23, 2009

One Million Moms Want You to Screen It!

The latest action alert from One Million Moms is about how to protect kids from seeing "objectionable content" at the movies this summer.

Here's an excerpt from the alert:

This summer, our sons and daughters have a lot of choices when it comes to what movies are playing at the local theater. It almost seems this year several new movies are coming out each week.

It's clear to me that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) does a very poor job in the ratings department, and an even worse job is letting parents know what objectionable content is in a particular movie.

For example, a young lady I know recently posted on her Facebook page that she was going back to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for a second time. Her parents had no idea that this PG-13 film contains extensive sexual scenes, violence, drug use, and 37 strong profanities. And, her Christian parents were shocked to learn that the Hollywood blockbuster used God's name in vain 19 times!

As moms, it's important that we know what our children and grandchildren are being influenced by. If we are going to trust the MPAA to do it for us, we're in big trouble.

That's why I want to share a website that offers the most complete movie reviews available. Screen It! is an independent website that reviews all major motion pictures and lists every conceivable objectionable element. And it's free! OneMillionMoms staff members have used Screen It! for years and have found it to be the best parental resource out there.

This is not a OneMillionMoms offer or partnership. In fact, Screen It! isn't even aware that I'm telling you about their great website. It's simply a tool I believe will help you as a mom, to control what your children are seeing at the theater.

Now, we have some issues with the MPAA ratings system too, but not the same ones that the One Million Moms have. For example, the way that they treat male and female nudity differently. Or gay content versus straight content. Or how hung up they are on sex scenes while letting lots of graphic bloody violence slide right by.

What cracks me up about this is the mental image of someone sitting through Transformers in the theater just to count the number of profanities and instances of "taking the Lord's name in vain". And I had to laugh at the surprised comment that it "almost seems this year several new movies are coming out each week". Is that really something new and different, especially in the summer?

One thing I'll say for this campaign is that at least in this case they're arguing that the ratings of some movies are inaccurate and make it difficult for them to do their job as parents in deciding what their kids should see. Compare that to their complaints from a few weeks ago about the TV show The Cougar - they were upset partly because the show was on TV Land, a "family-friendly network" that "most parents trust to provide wholesome entertainment", while ignoring the fact that TV Land is not specifically a kids channel and the show was on at 10 PM on a weeknight with a TV-PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) rating.

I also don't think that the idea of a site like Screen It is so horrible. And the creators of the site do make it clear that their goal is to give parents the information they need to make their own choices, not to protest the content of certain movies or to set their own ratings and start telling parents what their kids should see.
Screen It! was created to give parents a way to access the content of popular entertainment their kids are exposed to. It is not intended as censorship. Rather, it is designed to allow Hollywood and Record Labels to continue to produce movies, videos and music while informing parents of the content in them. Some people argue over the moral quality of films while others want to ban certain albums that contain material that particularly offends them. That is censorship, and it's not right for others to decide what you or your children can see. That decision lies with you.

We're not affiliated with any political, social or religious group thus assuring that we'll provide unbiased reviews. By doing so, we allow parents and others to decide whether a movie/video/CD is appropriate for them and/or their kids based on THEIR values.

The one main issue that I have is the claim that Screen It provides "unbiased" reviews. They review movies based on a bunch of categories, from standard stuff like "Alcohol/Drugs", "Violence", "Profanity", and "Sex/Nudity" to more subjective things like "Disrespectful/Bad Attitude", "Imitative Behavior", and "Topics to Talk About". I think it would be pretty hard for anyone to be totally objective in evaluating all of those different categories, and I'm sure that they make judgment calls all the time about whether kids might really want to imitate Behavior X from Disrespectful Character Y.

Here's one example that I stumbled on when I was reading the reviews of a couple of movies that I've seen recently. Screen It rated the movie Star Trek as "heavy" in the Sex/Nudity category. Really? There are a few suggestive jokes and comments, a couple of kisses and one scene with two characters kissing in their underwear, but nobody is ever shown having sex and there's no nudity. I know they're thinking about it in terms of children watching it, but that rating still seems excessive to me.

But this is the part that really bugged me. This is the first item on the list for the Sex/Nudity category:
We see Kirk's expectant mother ready to give birth to him (we see a side view of her with her legs spread, but nothing explicit is seen).

Why is this scene listed in this category? There's no nudity in the scene at all - they admit themselves that all you see is a side view of her legs. Partially bare legs count as "nudity" now? There's also obviously no sex since it's a childbirth scene. I could understand putting this one under "Tense Family Scenes" or "Topics To Talk About", but it doesn't automatically qualify as Sex/Nudity just because there's a vagina involved, and classifying it that way makes it seem like they're implying that there's something dirty or inappropriate about the scene, which couldn't be further from the truth.

I have to thank the One Million Moms on this one, because I think the ESC is going to get a lot of use out of Screen It when we're trying to decide if a movie has enough inappropriate content to keep us entertained.

July 22, 2009

Summer, Sex and Spirits!

We're in Chicago, gearing up for the 5th Annual Blogher Conference... so unfortunately we are going to miss this event. But for those of you in the New York area, please do check it out. It's a lot of fun and for a great cause! We had such a blast last year and are hoping to able to attend again next year.

Tomorrow night is the 5th annual Summer, Sex & Spirits, a benefit for Planned Parenthood of NYC at the Museum of Sex.

Summer, Sex & Spirits
July 23, 2009

8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Museum of Sex
233 5th Avenue
New York, NY

This event is 21 and over.

General Admission ($40 presale/$50 the day of the event) includes after-hours access to one of NYC's most provocative museums, open bar all night, and access to fabulous silent auction prizes. Also: music by world-renowned Donna D'Cruz.

VIP Tickets ($75) also gets you into the exclusive pre-event champagne reception, early access to museum exhibits and silent auction, a gift bag, and a chance to meet some very special guests.

For more information, contact the PPNYC Activists Council: activists@ppnyc.org

July 21, 2009

On our way to Chicago!

The ESC will be on a brief sorta-hiatus while we go to Chicago for the BlogHer conference (and other fun stuff)!

We'll have access to the Internet while we're there, but it may or may not be reliable, and we're going to be very busy! So while we'll try to check in here and there... we've also pre-scheduled a few blog posts for the week that we'll be gone. (In fact... we're probably on the way to the airport RIGHT NOW!) A lot can happen in a week, so we can't promise that they will still be brand new and current at the time they get posted, but either way, we'll be back in a week and will definitely have some great stories to share when we get back!

We will also be updating Twitter a little bit during the trip, so if you're interested in reading all of our annoying updates make sure you're following along at twitter.com/EvilSlutClique. And don't forget, you can still support the ESC's trip to Chicago retroactively... Do it for Debbie! (Please).

Unfortunately... we're going to miss Planned Parenthood NYC's Summer, Sex & Spirits (July 23) but if you're in NYC we definitely recommend checking it out!

July 20, 2009

Friends & Family Discount!

Hey everyone... Zazzle.com has offered us a limited time only 15% discount for our friends and family. We'd like to extend that discount to you - our friends and fans!

Enter code: FRIFAMZAZZLE at checkout to receive 15% off on each qualifying Zazzle product, not including shipping. (This offer ends July 26, 2009 at 11:59pm PT).

Check out our Zazzle store at zazzle.com/evilslutopia to shop right now! You don't have to shop for Evil Slutopia products in order to take advantage of the discount (although we'd love it if you did!)

July 19, 2009

Getting ready for BlogHer!

We're getting ready for BlogHer '09 in Chicago... (Seriously, after this year we're going to be experts at packing and unpacking). It's our first year - is anyone else going?

We're definitely looking forward to spending some time in Chicago (both as part of BlogHer and on our own).

We're psyched to finally meet Blue Gal face-to-face! We're also excited to see (again) the great BlogHer women we met at the Central Park meetup and of course, Veronica from Viva La Feminista. And we're on a mission to find Erin Kotecki Vest, also known as the Queen of Spain, because a) we love her, and b) we want to trade an ESC sticker for one of her Suck It stickers.

While we're in Chicago we're also going to try to meet up with Arvan from Sex Gender Body. And of course, we can't wait to meet all the awesome women of Blogher that we don't know yet!

Clearly we're going to be very busy. But we put aside a few days just to explore Chicago... so if anyone has any suggestions, let us know! Also - it's not too late to help fund our trip to Blogher... Do it for Debbie!

Babeland Summer Sale + Food Drive!

We're missed the first few days of this promotion, but it's not too late if you jump on this today! Babeland is having this Semi-Annual Sale + Food Drive... It started on July 17 (oops) and ends today, July 19... so HURRY UP and order NOW and you can still get 20% off their entire product line. Use Coupon Code: SUMMER20

Donate $5 to their online Food Drive today and get 25% off your order! (Donations will be split between New York and Seattle beneficiaries: Food Bank For New York City and Northwest Harvest).

Bring 5 cans to Babeland retail stores and immediate receive an additional 5% off the Summer Sale. For every additional 5 canned foods you bring in, you'll qualify for additional savings at participating retailers, such as restaurants, cafes, salons, and clothing boutiques.

For details, see these individual Babeland locations:
Babeland SoHo
Babeland LES
Babeland Brooklyn
Babeland Seattle

July 16, 2009

Playing Like Girls?

Two women in Congress, one Democrat and one Republican, have gotten together to start a Congressional women's softball team.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) had had enough. The boys always play baseball together and practice for hours. Though women can join, it’s rare. And so the feisty Floridian, who announced just this year that she had successfully battled breast cancer, teamed up with Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) to create a bipartisan female softball team. They’re set to play their first — only? — game against staff from the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee — benefiting the Young Survival Coalition.

About 15 women have been practicing at 7 a.m. every morning for the past month.

“We have a number of really good athletes. We were all surprised by how much athletic ability there is in the women’s caucus,” Wasserman Schultz says. [Politico via Writes Like She Talks]

I think this is a really cool idea and I hope the team gets to do some more of these charity games in the future. (I also have this hilarious mental image of the teams lined up after the games to receive little baseball trophies and softball trophies like kids get in Little League. Which then leads to an even funnier image of Democrats and Republicans lined up in the House and Senate chambers to collect little corporate awards style trophies for 'Best Teammate' or 'Most Likely to Be Bipartisan' or whatever. But I digress.) At the same time, I also would have loved it if the group of women had gotten together and all joined the baseball team instead, because it has always annoyed me that girls are shuffled off from baseball to softball once they hit a certain age and really for no reason. But it turns out that there was a reason why they chose not to go that route.

The team also wants to have fun, so they use Little League rules and are applying the mercy rule of first to five runs in an inning.
Regarding why Wasserman Schultz has never played baseball with the guys, she tells Shenanigans: “Some of us have thought about playing baseball, but they take it so seriously. If I’m going to commit to be out at 7 a.m. practices, I’m going to want to play at some point. And they’re so damn competitive — I know the odds of one of us getting in the game is slim.” (She’s right.)
I can understand this reasoning because I'm still traumatized from some of the coed volleyball tournaments that I suffered through in high school, where the girls just wanted to play and have fun and the boys were acting as if they were participating in the Olympic trials. (Obviously that's not to say that all of the boys were super competitive and none of the girls were, but the boys were much more likely to take it way over-the-top, especially considering that the prize for winning was...absolutely nothing.) It's kinda disappointing, but not really surprising, to hear that this team full of grown men who also happen to be elected members of Congress is still capable of acting like a bunch of immature teenagers or characters from She's the Man.

I don't know who is on the congressional baseball team, but I highly doubt that every single man on the team is a better athlete than every single woman on the new softball team. So, the fact that Rep. Wasserman Schultz believes, apparently with good reason, that if any women did join the baseball team they would rarely if ever get to play is just sad. I think the best solution would be for the women's team to challenge the men's team to a game - think how much money that matchup could raise for charity!

Update: The game was played on Tuesday night and although the women lost the game to the team of staffers they were facing, the game raised $40,000 for the Young Survivors Coalition, a breast cancer charity.

July 14, 2009

Who's Who in the Obama Administration: Update!

It's been a while since we we wrote about President Obama's Cabinet and other "VIPs" so we figured it was time for an update on who's been confirmed, who declined the nomination, who's been appointed since then, etc...

Note: An asterisk* next to a position indicates that this is a new nominee (i.e., one that we had not previously discussed in our original Who's Who). The date in parenthesis after the nominee's name indicates the date that he or she assumed office. We have included every cabinet member and cabinet-level office, but have not readdressed EVERYONE from the Original Who's Who unless we had something new to say about them at this point in time. Stay tuned for more updates later on...

*Supreme Court Justice: Sonia Sotomayor (TBD)
Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton (1/21/2009)
  • Her confirmation required a Saxbe fix.
  • Confirmed by vote of 94-2.
Secretary of the Treasury: Timothy Geithner (1/26/2009)
  • During Senate confirmations it was revealed at Senate confirmations that he had not paid self-employment taxes for several years.
  • Confirmed by a vote of 60-34.
Attorney General: Eric Holder (2/2/2009)
  • Confirmed by a vote of 75-21.
Secretary of the Interior: Ken Salazar (1/21/2009)
  • His confirmation required a Saxbe fix.
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack (1/21/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
*Secretary of Commerce: Gary Locke (5/1/2009)
  • The former Washington Governor was nominated after both New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Sen. Judd Gregg (New Hampshire) withdrew their nominations.
  • The first Chinese American Secretary of Commerce and the third Asian American in Obama's cabinet (the most of any administration in U.S. history).
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Secretary of Labor: Hilda Solis (2/24/2009)
  • Her confirmation required a Saxbe fix.
  • Confirmation hearings were stalled by Republicans and tax problems with her husband.
  • Confirmed by a vote of 80-17.
*Secretary of Health and Human Services: Kathleen Sebelius (4/28/2009)
  • The Kansas Governor was nominated after Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination.
  • "Unintentional errors" in tax returns came out during the background investigation.
  • "Pro-life" advocates opposed her nomination.
  • Confirmed by a vote of 65-31.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Shaun Donovan (1/26/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Secretary of Transportation: Ray LaHood (1/21/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Secretary of Energy: Steven Chu (1/21/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Secretary of Education: Arne Duncan (1/21/2009)

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Eric Shinseki (1/2o/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Secretary of Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano (1/21/2009)

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Lisa Jackson (1/23/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Peter Orszag (1/20/2009)
  • At 40, he is the youngest member of the Obama Cabinet (President Obama upgraded this office to cabinet-level priority).
Trade Representative: Ronald Kirk (3/18/2009)
  • Confirmed by a vote of 92-5.
  • The first African American to hold this position.
Ambassador to the United Nations: Susan Rice (1/22/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
Chair, Council of Economic Advisers: Christina Romer (1/28/2009)

*Director of the National Drug Control Policy: Gil Kerlikowske (5/7/2009)
  • The Seattle Police Chief has been quoted as advocating treatment over incarceration.
  • Confirmed by a vote of 91-1.
  • Downgraded from Cabinet-level to non-Cabinet level.
Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement: Valerie Jarrett (1/20/2009)
  • Chairs the newly created White House Commission on Women and Girls

*Surgeon General: Regina Benjamin (TBD)
  • The Alabama physician was nominated 7/13/2009 a few months after Sanjay Gupta withdrew his name.
  • The acting Surgeon General is Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson (since 2007).
  • If confirmed, she will be the third African American and the third non-acting woman to hold the position. (Plus, Feministing likes her!)
Solicitor General: Elena Kagan (3/19/2009)
  • Confirmed by a vote of 61 to 31.
Director, National Economic Council: Lawrence Summers (1/20/2009)
  • Was criticized regarding the economic stimulus spending bill, for accepting perks from Citigroup, and for collecting millions from companies that received government bailout money.
Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality: Nancy Sutley (2/22/2009)
  • Confirmed by a unanimous vote.
*Communications Director: Anita Dunn, interim (4/30/2009)
  • The former Democratic political consultant assumed the office when Ellen Moran resigned to become Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Commerce.
  • Previously, she was a top adviser to Obama's presidential campaign.
*White House Advisor on Violence Against Women: Lynn Rosenthal (6/26/2009)
  • This is a brand new position! More info here.