Hildegard von Bingen was a German Benedictine abbess, magistra, composer, healer and author, one of the first female composers whose works are still intact. In an era where few women were allowed or able to read and write, Hildegard wrote songs, poems, theological texts and medicinal guides and even invented her own alphabet.
It's likely that Hildegard would have been forgotten if she hadn't left such an extensive written record of her thoughts and studies. Nearly 80 of her compositions have survived, along with over a hundred letters to statesmen, emperors, saints and popes. Without her extensive writings, we would know almost nothing about her life, but she didn't even begin writing until a vision she received at the age of 42 instructed her to "write down that which you see and hear."
Laura Wershler is Executive Director of Sexual Health Access Alberta. Recently she wrote a critical response for the re:Cycling blog to a study published in the British Medical Journal which reported that 'Women in the UK who have ever used oral contraceptives are less likely to die from any cause, including all cancers and heart disease, compared with never users.' She has previously served on the board for the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (now the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health) and is a self-described opponent of menstrual suppression through hormonal birth control and advocate of body literacy. In this two-part interview, she discusses the gaps she sees in Planned Parenthood services and the rising interest in non-hormonal methods.
When you have a small child, many conversations begin like this:
Another parent – often the expensively-educated New York Times-reading mother of at least one boy –will say, with the air of someone who is imparting a profoundly original thought, "You know, I always thought gender was socially constructed, but gosh, it's just amazing how different boys and girls really are." Her inevitable conclusion? It's all in their intractable little natures.
Alex Chilton, vocalist and founder of Big Star, died last week.
Big Star hardly sold any records during it's brief 3 album stint, but is now recognized as one of the most influential and certainly under appreciated bands of the 1970s. Big Star was crucial in the emergence of alternative and indie rock in the 80's and 90's, and a key influence of pioneering bands like the Bangles and the Replacements.
South by Southwest had a tribute concert for Alex Chilton, which featured almost exclusively male rockers. That's a shame, since Big Star's music has been covered and wonderfully re-arranged by a huge array of musicians.
Here's a broader sampling of Big Star's legacy from BitchTapes...full track list after the fold.
Can'tstoplisteningtoDessa! The only woman in the highly acclaimed underground hip hop collective, Doomtree, Dessa brings a literary beauty to hypnotic rhythms that left me (re)examining the super old and super problematic feminist consensus that hip hop, even what comes from woman artists, is too caught up with rampant sexism to see outside that bubble. Conscious hip hop, thy name is woman!
While I never thought I'd be declaring someone who doesn't like Bart Stupak anything but a friend, Randy Neugebauer's "baby killer" accusation this Monday on the House floor to Stupak earns him a raging douchebag award, which he gets to share with Senators Stupak and Nelson, and the Tea Party brigade.
We've got a discussion in the works on our Facebook page about the phrase "how's it hanging?" that I thought I'd bring to the blog as well. What's the deal with how's it hanging? (Asked in my best Jerry Seinfeld voice, of course.) Is it sexist? Does it refer to a dangling penis, or is it just a way to say hey? And what other slang terms are we using that are secretly SEXUAL? It's open thread time!
With the Ides of March (3/15), Pi Day (3/14), and Dodge the Drunk Douchebag Day (3/17), in March, you might forget that today's Back Up Your Birth Control Day, started to raise awareness about emergency contraception and the politics behind it. This year the Center for Reproductive Rights is focusing on re-lighting a fire beneath the FDA's butt, since last year they promised to make emergency contraception easier to access for women of all ages. Unfortunately, it's still only available behind the counter and you need to prove you're over 17 to access it. To spread the message, CRR's made a short video that combines some of my favorite things, like talking bunnies and reproductive rights. Video transcript after jump.