In this corner, California: home to the Bay Area, which is probably among the most queer-friendly places in the world. Though notoriously "pro-H8," California has relatively comprehensive domestic partnership laws and the Bay Area, in particular, offers a host of legal and health services to the GLBTQ community.
These days everyone seems to be caught up in the Obama Peace Prize hullabaloo: He's only been in office for 9 months! How do we know he deserves it? What if he surges the troops in Afghanistan? Personally, I couldn't care less. By now, the Nobel Peace Prize is right up there with the Grammys in the respectability category (or lack thereof), and the prize has a history of rewarding American Imperialism. The original war-mongering president Teddy Roosevelt won one, for Pete's sake. In the irony category, the prize in economics often seems to follow suit, so my jaded trust in the Scandinavian art of prize-giving was pleasantly proven wrong today when I read that Elinor Ostrom became the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.
This prize is exciting partly because Ms. Ostrom is the first woman to win it, but not just because of that. Her winning this prize will hopefully help to highlight women's voices in a field that is desperate for them, and the noble work this Nobel is rewarding will hopefully change the way we think about economics in general.
You know what? I get it. The G20 is a symbol of everything that's wrong with globalized capitalism. Protesting their gatherings makes a lot of sense to me. This year the G20 is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and we are once again awash in apocalyptic images of police-state riot gear and angry college kids in bandanas getting arrested.
One day's worth of breast milk from a new mother barely reached the first line on a four ounce vial. The freezer that held the thin, yellowish milk was nearly empty, too—the first breast milk donation bank in the Northwest was not officially open for business last week when I stopped in.
The still-humble milk bank, housed in a small room on the second floor of Adventist Hospital in Southeast Portland, will be the 11th official non-profit breast milk bank in the country. In a toy-filled waiting room next to the birthing wing of the hospital, lactation specialist and organizer of the Northwest Mother's Milk Bank, Peggy Andrews, recalled what it was like back when she breast-fed her children in the late 60s, "Only three percent of women were still breastfeeding at three months. And it was pretty much just the hippies." In her time working in hospitals, Andrews says the culture has completely changed—in Portland, 90 percent of women breastfeed their babies, as do 72 percent of women nationwide.
And what has been integral to mainstreaming the image of breastfeeding? Andrews immediately points to media. "Media has played a very positive role in presenting breastfeeding in a positive light, like talking about world breastfeeding week and showing breastfeeding moms on TV. Forty years ago it would embarrass male news commentators to even say 'breast.'"
Personally, I had never heard of world breast feeding week or, to my memory, seen a breastfeeding mom on TV but, come to think of it, that's probably because I don't own a TV.
More on the milk bank below the cut!
How did hormone replacement therapy become so popular for American women going through menopause? Well, it turns out that pharmaceutical giant Wyeth helped write many of the supportive scholarly articles about its own hormone replacement drugs. The New York Times revealed this morning that the manufacturer of drugs like Premarin and Prempro paid ghostwriters to pen research articles about the hormone replacing drugs, which were then signed off on by a doctor and printed in reputable places like The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Sales of Wyeth's female hormone replacing drugs have fallen by 50 percent since 2001, when a Women's Health Initiative study linked menopausal hormone treatment to an increased risk of cancer. But before that damning study, the company sold more than $2 billion worth of hormone drugs to thousands of American women.
A landmark federal bill aiming to put $3 million into research and education about postpartum depression is gathering controversy as it heads to the Senate floor. Advocates of the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act (known as the Mother's Act) say it will save the lives of women and finally help develop decent education about a long-dismissed female health problem. Critics say it will cause more women to take pharmaceuticals unnecessarily. But recently the big debate has been not so much about the bill itself as media coverage of the bill.
Last week, Time ran an article about the Mother's Act which featured an interview with a mother who was prescribed Zoloft after giving birth. The drug made things worse, causing her to have violent fantasies.
Time's story ignited the ire of many who argue that the article intentionally left out pro-Mothers Act voices to push an editorial agenda.
Keep reading for more details!
Beauty company and science scholarship provider L'Oreal surveyed 1,000 Americans this spring and asked them to name a single female scientist. The result was an EPIC FAIL! While 97 percent of respondents believed that women could make significant contributions to science (personal aside: terrible three percent, you're probably that uncle everyone hates. I hope you choke on your sandwich.) 65 percent could not name a sole woman in science.
This is troubling, because while the number of women earning science and engineering degrees has risen to 43 percent of total students (nerdy graphs here), apparently Americans still don't know female scientists are out there workin' hard.
Keep reading to learn more!
I'm always interested in how people in different regions, cultures and religions go about teaching sex ed. While I got the two awkward puberty videos in elementary school and a few "this is a vagina" overhead project lessons in high school, I think almost everything I knew about sex growing up came from Seinfeld.
I recently bought this art book 1000 Extraordinary Objects which is, as you'd imagine, page after page of extraordinary objects. A whole section is devoted to "the body" and lays out artifacts of sex ed from around the world, most of them handmade. I spent a while poring over the pages and think they're worth sharing—their funny, homemade, simple look definitely beats my television and overhead slides for creativity.
Kar Kar and Tak Tak: Designed in 1997 by the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) as part of a sex education campaign, the dolls fit together to demonstrate intercourse. Tak Tak ("tak" means "moral" in Cantonese) and Kar Kar ("kar" means family) have similar faces so children can understand the equality of the sexes. "Tak Tak and Kar Kar can be used to perform a puppet show on topics like giving birth, knowing one's private parts and pubery changes," explains David Cheng of the association. A valuable service: Parents polled in one Hong Kong survey turned out to be too ignorant about sex to teach their children the facts of life. According to a FPAHK 1996 youth sexuality study, 78 percent of children in Hong Kong learn about sex from pornography and mass media.