Friday, November 30, 2007

Finally, a Doll!

Here's a doll I like. I've been seeing a lot of toys for girls lately while Christmas shopping for my nieces. My mom suggested that both girls (sisters, 2 & 5) like Groovy Girls. I've been scared to look at what a Groovy Girl is for fear of just another big-headed, emaciated body with far too much makeup and lip/cheekbone surgery for anyone let alone what is supposed to be a little girl. The skimpy outfits and platform shoes sexualize the girl dolls and just really really piss me off. I am scared for little girls growing up with these images. Answering to a friend who asked, during a Bratz rant, "What's wrong with girls thinking about sexuality?" I think Bratz dolls are not so much responsible for heightened awareness of sexuality (short skirts and platform heels with plumped up lips and over-sized eyes is not necessarily sexual), but of girls thinking about their own appearance in a comparative way and questioning how they feel about their own face and body. Granted, I played with Barbie Dolls until I finally packed them up at age 14, but I can't help but feel that Bratz dolls have just gone TOO far. I see little girls wearing make up at younger and younger ages; fashion seems to be a big concern for some 5 year olds (or their parents, who are buying the stuff), and it just seems rare to see a 12 year old not plastered in make up. My partner and I saw two girls about grade 6 the other day on a venture out to the mall and these girls had glasses, no makeup, wore clothes that didn't scream "Trend" and were just busy having fun being kids. They looked happy in their bodies. It was so refreshing and we both noticed what a rarity in the place surrounded by more pre-teen foundation and lipstick than I could comprehend. I couldn't help but thinking of these make-up fashion fiends, "you have so much time..."

So back to Groovy Girls. These dolls have my vote! They have simple, realistic-sized eyes and a simple line smile on their soft plump faces (and they actually have ears!). Their bodies are soft, supple, and realistic in the sense that these girls actually appear to have flesh without the starvation and botox. I breath a sigh of relief for my nieces, a proud feminist auntie who is going to get on the phone and thank their parents for raising such cool kids!

P.S. Groovy Girls gets a standing ovation from me for having a couple groovy guys as well! If they added more boys to the line this could be a very successful gender-friendly line of toys that also boasts a huge range of variety of styles, from Punk Rock to Prissy, as well as race.

She is no alderMAN.

November 30 Update: Yesterday City alderman Dale Hodges began the debate of changing alderman to councillor. So it begins and so I will be writing to my ward representative. It's interesting that the herald notes two of the women on council as saying there's no point to changing it. Shame on them.

(November 21, 2007) I just received an exciting email. I have long been a proponent of changing Calgary's councillors' titles from Alderman to something a little less sexist. Granted, there are issues like poverty and infrastructure to be concerned with but language change garnishes consciousness raising and changing Alderman to Councillor is an important step in consciousness raising here in Calgary. Here is the email and op ed I received.
Colleagues and friends, There has been an article submitted as an op-ed that will likely be published in the Calgary Herald today on the "about time" change of name for our Calgary Council representatives to "Councillor." This change would bring Calgary into the 21st Century.We are asking like-minded supporters to push for this move.Regards, Janice Attached and below is an op-ed that the Herald says they’ll publish next week. (Thanks to Lynn Gaudet for taking the lead on this.) Knowing that there will be the usual ‘who cares’ responses, we’re asking you to send your own response once the piece comes out and also to circulate the piece and the request to others who might do likewise. (Don’t forget the supportive men!) We’re also asking everyone to phone or email their Council Rep and ask them to support a motion for change. We’re asking Joe Ceci and Bob Hawkesworth to bring the motion forward – they supported it last time around.Thanks for your help!An Open Letter to the New City Council

SHOULD “ALDERMAN” JUST BE FORGOT: Language and elected representatives

With fresh faces on Council, it’s time to do the right thing by women in this town. We challenge the new City Council to fix a historic wrong and change the title used for our civic representatives. Since 1977, citizens have tried to persuade Council to replace the outmoded alderman with the modern term councillor. Enough gnashing of teeth. Let’s just do it. OK, so it’s “small potatoes”; nobody is clamoring for it. OK, so changing this title will not put food on the table of a disabled mother on welfare. It won’t stop the violence; it won’t cure the cancer. But neither did Rosa Parks when she refused to sit at the back of the bus. Some things you just have to do on principle. And sometimes language changes first, and attitudes follow. Remember postmen and policemen?

Read the Full Op Ed here and contact your ward representative and others to push for this change to move City Council towards a less sexist rhetoric.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Not Even a Face for Radio

Jim Blake of Concerned Christians of Canada likens Stelmach's reluction to approve Criag Chandler's MLA nomination papers to, get ready for this: a witch hunt. Wow. Poor gay-hating Chandler, utters vitriol on public radio against homosexuals and now his political acumen is being questioned? 'How dare they! Marginalized! Marginalized! We poor evangelists, we poor people of faith being discriminated against.' There is a difference between having faith, sir, and lashing out with self righteousness against homosexuals.
May I remind Jim Blake, Craig Chandler and the rest of the concerned christians, who was responsible for a witch hunt that spanned nearly 3 centuries in Europe and executed hundreds of thousands of women? Oh yeah! It was the Christians!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One in Three.

A woman is dead after her boyfriend shot her in the head at her workplace at a Houston Mall.

An apprpriate time, I think, to mention that yesterday the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has launched an internet campaign aimed at pressuring governments around the world to make violence against women a top priority.

Going for the Glory

Ah, Beuaty Pageants. We love to hate them, don't we? And for good reason. One reason why I so despise them is their perpetuation of women competing against each other physically. It's rare to walk down the street and come across a woman who smiles back at me. There's usually avoided glances, the "up and down," and a furrowed eyebrow if I make eye contact and smile (and once in a while an utterly surprised look of recognition and a big grin, back). We need to stand together! We need to care for each other and encourage one another and honour the way we all look; fat, skinny, tall, short, pimples or porcelein.

Puerto Rico's representative for the Pageant, Ingrid Marie Rivera, had her clothes peppersprayed by jealous contestants in an effort to discourage her from continuing. Ultimately the chemical caused a rash which, incidently, did not stop Rivera. Good for her... she continued on smilin' and won the pageant (and off to Donald Trump's Miss Universe she flies). Something of interest I note in the article, though, is this:

The 24-year-old broke out in series of ugly blotches and a rash after coming into contact with the contaminated evening dress.
Were they blotches or ugly blotches? What a slanted, leading comment!
And there's there's this little note:
The part time model had to strip off her clothes while assistants applied the treatment.

Oooh! You mean the beauty queen got neh-kid!? And HOT - assistants applied a treatment! Just imaGINE! That face... getting a naked treatment. Excuse me, but is this necessary journalism? Talk about sensationalist writing. Sabotaged Pageant leads to sexy nude backstage rubdown!

This is just a gross article that misses the point that competitions like this only perpetuate the problem of woma(e)n vs woma(e)n.

Start a Revolution! Love eachother! Let's smile at eachother and celebrate our bodies and our talents and our friendships.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Bursting's Better Than Dying"

Guilty Pleasure of the 90's: After-school Canadian show "Ready or Not", with friends Amanda Zimmerman and Busy Ramone toughing out the struggles of being a pre-teen!

Overcome with nostalgia lately, I've been watching episodes on Youtube. "Model Perfect" is a great episode that deals with girls and dieting, the dangers of starvation and the powerful effect our mother's have on our views of ourselves. Reminds me of a quote by Naomi Wolf:

“A Mother Who Radiates Self-Acceptance Actually Vaccinates Her Daughter Against Low Self-Esteem.”

You, too, can watch the episode "Model Perfect" on Youtube:

More Racism in Calgary against Muslim Women

Update: The president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada reacts to the referee and ASA's decision.
Update: A Calgary Herald Reader reacts with an eye glasses anecdote; also a bending of the rules sited below.

Making front page headline on the Calgary Herald's online edition this morning, this is just infuriating! A 14 year old girl was suspended from her soccer game on Saturday when the referee would not allow her to play. She has never had a problem before and has been wearing her head scarf while playing indoor soccer all year. This is the second time (that I'm aware) in a month that hijabs are being considered a safety issue for women in Calgary. This also isn't the first time this has happened:

In February, a girls soccer team made up of Grade 6 students from Nepean, Ont., forfeited a tournament in Laval, Que., when one of the players was ordered by a referee to remove her hijab. Four other teams from Ottawa also forfeited their games in protest.

Seems it's safe to wear a hijab in the boxing ring, as well as rugby, a much more agressive game than soccer. What's the difference between wearing a head scarf and having long hair!? A pony tail is also a safey concern but girls aren't being asked to whack those off or get off the field.

It's unbelievable that the Alberta Soccer Association is standing by the referee's decision. But wait a minute!!! I just read this on ASA website under the "Rules and Regulations":

Iv) (2006) Jewelry and Non-compulsory Equipment
a) (2006) In District and provincial competitions leading to national competitions, no player will be permitted to wear any jewelry, as outlined in the jewelry policy of the Canadian Soccer Association, with the exceptions that bandanas and sweatbands will be allowed for religious or medical reasons, and prescription eye glasses will be permitted.
b) (2006) In all other competitions in Alberta, the wearing of jewelry by players will be ermitted as long as it is taped to the satisfaction of the referee. This is not to be interpreted to mean that all jewelry is allowed provided that it is taped. The referee shall not allow anything to be worn by any player for any reason if the referee determines that it is a potential danger to another player.

How can the ASA support the referee's decision when this explicitly says the "exception that bandanas and sweatbands will be allowed for religious or medical reasons"? A hijab poses NO THREAT to the safety of other players or the player herself. There is no reason for the referee's call except explicit racism. Shame on the ASA for supporting it.

We can support 14 year old Safaa Menhem by contacting the ASA and tell them what we think of this hypocritical and racist decision!

Here's the link to the the contact info.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I Heart Beckie Newton

Ugly Betty (my fav t.v. show)'s Amanda sings, "Milkshake" in this hilarious clip from last week's episode...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How Cute

I'm not sure what the hell to make of this video; nor can I tell if it's real. Here Heidi Klum celebrates her great, um, "knockers" (she also calls them Hanz & Franz) but the video gets very strange at the laugh clips. What's going on here? I just feel uncomfortable that it's a topless rich ($12 Million in the last 12 months) white skinny woman... Is this meant to be self-love promotion to get me to buy a Victoria's Secret Bra? Someone please explain this video to me!!!!!

Update: Himbly has a great diatribe on this over at her blog. Check it out; the commenting dialogue is hilarious. Might I add that I've concluded that I'm uncomfortable with this because of how much I despise the fashion industry and the giant role supermodels play in the damage to girls' and women's self-esteem. Super models are never funny. Ever.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Behold the Rupture

Very strange story in the Guardian today about Rupturing bladders not only in men but in women, too, after a night out drinking.

Bitch on Bitch

I found my favourite feminist magazine four years ago after reading it cover to cover on a road trip that ended with a shockingly beautiful red sunset across a dusty prairie horizon (I was passenger). Bitch magazine caught my attention with an article about girls in horror cinema, an in-house illustrating artist, and an absence of wasted pages of advertising. Since then, I've tried to buy every issue and I absorb it with as much voracity. Feministe directed me to this article in the Washington Post by Bitch editor Andi Zeisler. Here's an excerpt:
Bitch is a word we use culturally to describe any woman who is strong, angry, uncompromising and, often, uninterested in pleasing men. We use the term for a woman on the street who doesn't respond to men's catcalls or smile when they say, "Cheer up, baby, it can't be that bad." We use it for the woman who has a better job than a man and doesn't apologize for it. We use it for the woman who doesn't back down from a confrontation.

The reclamation of pejorative words is a powerful process and an important evolution.
If you're interested in what else Zeisler has to say, you can read the whole article here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

200 Lashes for a Rape Survivor

The note on this image from the website:

President Bush meets with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in the Oval Office Sept. 20. "The President, from the first day, has been very satisfied with the actions of the Saudi government and the Saudi people," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

The Girl from Qatif has been sentenced to more than double the number of lashes she was sentenced to last year following an appeal of her original sentence. Her charge: being in a car with a man she was not related to. She was to be married at the time and met with her ex-boyfriend to receive some pictures (because she was getting married) he had of her from their relationship. The innocent meeting turned gruesome when two men got in the vehicle and drove to a secluded area where 6 men raped the woman, 3 of whom raped her companion.

She is sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 months in prison.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally, my Lulu Rant.

Lululemon pisses me off. Its homepage philosophy:

“creating components for people to live longer, healthier, more fun lives.”

What is healthy or fun about spending $125 on a pair of sweats!? I believe the Yoga philosophy is about impermanence and detaching from material things; Lululemon has nothing to do with Yoga and everything to do with marketing to a sucker demographic to make a lot of money. When you pay $79.00 for a sweater to warm up in after doing Yoga I don’t see a perpetuation of non-attachment. People love their Lulu and Yoga is becoming a trend for the privileged because if you’re not wearin’ that certain logo you’re not really doing Yoga. Notwithstanding the high price of Lululemon gear, Lululemon targets, especially, young skinny women. I get it that the tight fit is part of the science of sweat, but promoting thinness is not necessarily a promotion of good health and wellness. We all know the dangers of being too thin. We all know that dieting can be dangerous. Eating disorders are rampant but being “fat” is viewed as disgusting. And if you’re fat, you better not try to squeeze into a pair of Lulus and head to your closest studio; because such actions are reserved for the tight asses who binge with their wallets but starve themselves to feel good!

This is why I was pleased to read this article today in the Financial Post. What? There isn’t REALLY seaweed and nutrients in Lululemon’s over-priced sweat shirts for your precious skin to absorb!? Really!? What about positive universal energy? Is there THAT?

I wonder if they are going to claim next that there are weight loss herbs in the fibers of the so-very high tech cloth.

Living healthy is a personal subjective experience. It’s about expressing yourself in whatever way you want. It’s about being happy with your body and exploring your health and quietness of mind without any cultural or financial pressures.

For more information on Lululemon’s founder (who thought it would be funny to hear “Lululemon” said by the Japanese), Chip Wilson, and what he has to say about outsourcing manufacture to Asia (that’s right – not so Canadian-made anymore), CLICK HERE.

Status Quo

When are we going to see the beauty industry take a step away from its statusquo of exclusionary bullshit? The Independent reports today about Black and Asian women being largely ignored in the beauty industry.

This ignoring/isolation issue is reminiscent of one of my last trips to Wal-Mart in University years ago with my roommate at the time, who was a fan of the corporate giant. She is a black woman and she needed some product for her hair. Wandering up and down the hair care isle we couldn't find "black hair" shampoo. She had extensions and she needed a special formula for her braids. Finally we had to ask an employee and this is the answer we received:

"It's in the next isle beside the Sunscreen and Cotton Balls."

I am not kidding. It was unbelievable and revolting. Sure enough, there it was; black-people shampoo next to the sunscreen and cotton balls. This is one of the many many many reasons that Wal-Mart sucks and I won't be seen walking through the doors of that plague.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pretty Properties and Lipstick!

Let's face it. Monopoly is HARD. All that investing and big bucks and jail time... commercial real estate; it's a white collar man's business. Good thing Hasbro has come out with Monopoly: Pink Boutique Edition!! We gals like to hit the malls and talk on cell phones while putting on lipstick in the car between our business deals! We'd rather buy a clothing shop than Park Place or Broadway; it's a better investment for us ladies.

"This is Monopoly like you have never seen it - dressed up in pink and all about things girls love! Buy boutiques and malls, go on a shopping spree, pay your cell phone bill, and get text and instant messages. You and your friends will adore the funky tokens, cool buildings, and cute illustrations. Best of all, the game is stored in a beautiful keepsake box which doubles as a jewelry box. Cool game features include: 8 collectible tokens just for girls, keepsake storage box with removable tray and mirrored insert, pink gameboard with fun properties, pink and purple translucent boutiques and malls instead of houses and hotels, Instant Message and Text Message cards instead of Chance and Community Chest, pink Title Deed cards, redesigned Monopoly money, flocked banker's tray, 2 pink dice, and instructions. Paint the town pink with Toys R Us Exclusive!"

For $29.99 all this sexism can be yours! Or for $10.99 you can play the original "boys" version. Price disparity unfair? Suck it up, Princess.

Via F-Email Fightback

Now you can have more sexist fun playing Pink Poker, too!

In Times of Introspection

Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer series is nestled deep down in my heart and very existence. I think I've watched the entire series through 7 or 8 times; I own a Willow doll, Spike Doll, Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale: the Philosophy of Buffy book; The Watchers Guide, and a Buffy X-Box game. I'm a bit of a fanatic. Well, with the very exciting news of Whedon's new series launching next fall with the lovely Eliza Dushku, I completed my second of the BTVS Inspirational Poster series. When it comes to struggles in life, I look to my favourite female heroes: Buffy and Willow.

EVENT: Art Show & Sale in Support of Pie Activists

When: Friday November 16 from 10:00am - 9:00 pm

Where: Calgary Opera Centre; 1315 7 st S.W.

Who: Calgary Anarchist Black Cross & Community Artists

$3.00 Cover Charge, all proceeds going to the cause.

What is the cause?

Lily Phan is being charged with public mischief for the attempted "pie-ing" of priemier Ed Stelmach in July 2007 where she smeared cream instead on a body guard.

Donna McPhee has been charged with "Assault with a weapon" for successfully chocolate cream pie-ing Calgary Mayor Dave Bonconier in the same month.

These women's actions were in protest of Alberta's inaction on homelessness and poverty. The proceeds of the cover charge and selected portions of the art sales are contributing to these women's legal fees.

November 20, 2007 - Transgender Day of Remembrance

Next Tuesday, November 20th take a moment in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thailand in Pink

This is interesting. Three months ago I posted about Thai Police Officers forced to wear Hello Kitty armbands to shame them from committing petty crimes like littering. This month the country is swarming the malls to buy pink shirts. Women, children, and men are swimming in pink to honour their King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who recently emerged (Wednesday, November 7) from the hospital wearing a pink blazer, shirt and tie. Apparently this was somewhat confusing to the Thai solar calendar, pink is associated with Tuesday. Normally Thais wear yellow to honor the King, the day of Monday, on which he was born. Pink, however, can be assocated with the english expression, "In the Pink," meaning, in good health.

Perhaps as the shame of Hello Kitty is to feminize naughty cops; pink apparently doesn't carry a feminizing stigma for men. I suppose if Thai prison walls are painted pink it's for a whole other reason than in North America.

Good Health to you.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Can't Touch This

I love watching men dance. There's a lot of them that are just so BAD at it. My favourite is the choo choo train. You know the one… the steam engine-powered arms turning those wheels; elbows at a right angle, fists curled in that relaxing way; and the little boogie dance bending at the knees, up and down up and down… I mean come on guys, get a little more creative! I gotta say, though, not all men are so lacking in the body expression department, my partner being one of them. He's got the rhythm. He's got soul. He's got confidence that brings out MC hammer dances and moves that I can't touch. It's true in my experience that there is attraction in great dancing. Last night we both got a little lesson for on the dance floor. Check out this Bird of Paradise, the male Carola’s Parotia and his sweet moves. He clears a dance floor and at 2:08 the show really begins.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I Quit Facebook to Start a Blog

I quite Facebook around the same time as I started up Lilith Attack. I'm one of the few citizens I know who doesn't have a television plugged in for the purpose of television. I watch films, yes, and lots of em... I even watch some choice television on the internets; but for the same reasons why I don't have t.v. connections I quit facebook after a few weeks. Time waster. Everyone admits it's like crack (although most quantify that's what they imagine crack to be like), wish they'd spend less time creepin', and yet continue to get sucked into the wall messages, the application gimmicks (which facebook didn't yet have when I was on), the free drink "gifts," and oh, those GROUPS. Facebook Groups were my guilty pleasure. Serving no purpose, I'd join the few groups there were I could identify with and some of the cult classics like Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (may I be blessed by his noodly goodness). But as discussed on Salon's Broadsheet today, a troubling group is the "30 Reasons Girls Should Call It a Night." group I'm pleased to never have noticed in the ol' days. So this facebook group features photographic candid shots of self-proclaimed drunk 'it's time to go home moments'. Here's the thing about these public postings showing up in National Newspapers: a) why is facebook group of drunk women making national newspaper news (it's not news); and b) these women are in control of their actions (the action being the posting of the photo, not necessarily the action being comitted in the photo). I think a more interesting group would be "Getting' Drunk in Front of Facebook and Posting a Photo of Being Drunk in Front of Facebook!" Oh wait a minute, that would be about as interesting. As far as understanding why anyone would post humiliating photos of themselves passed out with their faces against public bathroom toilets for other people who are posting humiliation shots similar is beyond me. Let's all get drunk and look at humiliating pictures of eachother and then do it again!

Maybe there's a real sense of community I'm missing out on. Now don't get me wrong, I love getting' drunk as much as the next gal; I love sluggin' em back and having a grand old time. I love taking and looking at those party pictures of friends with our arms around eachother laughing and featuring some crazy knee and belt buckle dancing. The Facebook article discussed in Broadsheet today has me wondering, though, about who the intended audience is of these photos and what is the real purpos. Are they for a laugh? Or do they pick at women's dignity like scabs on scraped knees? Yeah, I think they do. I think they do a lot and that what I find so disturbing about this group. Instead, let's be women who are proud of ourselves and uplifting to eachother. And when we like to have a lot of fun that can sometimes lead to "exhaustion"; lets use our brains we've got and the compassion we carry to look out for eachother with honesty and integrity… and put the cameras away for the night.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Remember Remember the Fifth of November

I'm thinking about Guy Fawkes today and who's sentiment was repeated in V for Vendetta, adapted from Allan Moore's graphic novel, "People shouldn't be afraid of their government, a government should be afraid of its people."

Friday, November 2, 2007

Beans Beans the Sexual Fruit

The more you eat them the more you... ah, you know how it goes. Today I read that in Ethiopia condoms are being sold with the infused flavour of coffee in them. This is great news for a nation with high rates of HIV. The condoms are being sold "in packs of three for 1 birr, or about 5 pence - about half the price of a cup of coffee in Addis Ababa's cafes, and much cheaper than most other condom brands." (1 birr is the equivalent of approximately $0.12; think about the price of a cup of coffee in North America and then consider that non-fair trade coffee farmers are being paid approximately 1 birr per 1 kg of coffee beans). DKT International, the charity organization distributing the condoms, is proudly responsible for approximately 90% of all condoms distributed in Ethiopia. This new and creative campaign is very exciting; in the first week alone 300,000 of these java condoms were sold.

This isn't the first time DKT International has promoted flavoured condoms in target demographics; in Indonesia in May 2003 an additional fruit flavour was added to the already popular banana, strawberry and mint: Durian. I've tried Durian. It is one sick smelling, strange tasting fruit that is reminiscent, as my partner who grew up in Malaysia says, of dirty socks and mouldy ice cream. Some love the stuff, though, and for those with the same tastebud response as Lilith Attack, the most appealling thing about the durian flavoured condoms, is that it really got people talking about contraceptives. DKT International claims:

This was particularly useful because it was considered humorous. The ability to make people laugh when talking about condoms served to break the ice during educational events and also reduced the stigma around condoms (The Fiesta Durian condom has continued to sell well and has spurred two competitors to launch durian flavoured variants as well).

If coffee flavoured condoms, imaginably better-tasting than durian, generate similar dialogue about condoms, then contrary to conservative catholosism's claims that it's "inappropriate," DKT International and the rest of the world can be encouraged that rates of HIV in Ethiopia will continue to decline.

Have a chuckle the next time you pass up a Starbucks coffee for a fair trade cup o' joe from Ethiopia. And practice safe sex.