In just six days 26-year-old Era Al-Sufri, a Diplomatic Officer at Brunei's Ministry of Foreign Affairs who loves math and is passionate about the environment, will embark on a dream vacation... of sorts. One of eight women from eight countries picked to participate in the Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition, Era (aka Polar Girl) and her cohorts underwent an intensive training in order to complete a 40-day, 900km ski through blizzards and subzero temperatures (up to -40 degrees) with the goal of arriving at the South Pole on January 1, 2010.
This Monday's episode of Gossip Girl stirred up controversy when a menage-a-trois was featured--the act was last on a list of fifteen things to do before you graduate from college. Teasers for the episode had the Parent Television Council ("Because Our Children Are Watching") up in arms, calling airing the subject matter "reckless and irresponsible." The scene ended up being pretty tame, but is still making OMFG waves where parents are concerned. But is there a right way to watch it?
Miranda July starts her recent Vice photo spread with the following note:
Do you ever feel like an extra in your own life? It seems like I'm
forever stuck in the background, watching other people say and do all
the things I feel inside. One day I'm gonna surprise everyone with my
talents. They will be laughing and crying and texting me so often that
I will be annoyed.
Ableism is a central concept in disability rights. The term was originally popularized by Thomas Hehir, a special education scholar who defined it as "'the devaluation of disability' that 'results in societal attitudes that uncritically assert that it is better for a child to walk than roll, speak than sign, read print than read Braille, spell independently than use a spell-check, and hang out with nondisabled kids as opposed to other disabled kids.'" There are many varied manifestations of ingrained ableism in contemporary society and pop culture, but I see it most often in uncritical use of language based on ableist assumptions - even by speakers or authors who are progressive and who are against ableism as a concept.
Glee, the show we either love or love to hate, depending on who you ask, is back tonight after a several-week hiatus. Are you going to tune in for the diverse cast and catchy dance numbers? Or has the misogyny and stereotyping of Glee danced its way out of your heart?
If you tuned into Dancing With The Stars last night, you got a real (feminist?) treat – and I'm not talking about Donny Osmond's Viennese Waltz. I'm talking about the cheesy cover of "Standing in the Way of Control" by feminist fave The Gossip!
The word bitch is a controversial one for many people. We love it (surprise!) but many find it to be problematic to say the least. Well, the folks at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences must be bitch lovers because they awarded it an Emmy! Well, OK, they awarded a news segment on the word with the Emmy, but still! YAY bitch! And as an added bonus, Bitch contributor/blogger/friend Veronica Arreola is the segment expert! Check it:
You've got eight more days to bid in The 6th Annual Chevy Chase Green School Auction, a fundraiser for Jayni Chase's beloved MGR Foundation GREEN Community Schools initiative that aims to "transform school buildings into centers for green development" by "spread[ing] environmental literacy and awareness." While the proceeds from the auction definitely will support a good cause, this year's prizes fail to impress an overall valuing of social justice.
As Sesame Street turns 40, the media is brimming with think pieces about the groundbreaking show. From its educational impact to its unprecedented portrayal of racially diverse urban life, the show changed the face of not just children's TV, but the medium of television in general.
There's a lot to talk about when we talk about Sesame Street, and people are doing just that. Time magazine postulated that Barack Obama is the first "Sesame Street president," writing that "The Obama presidency is a wholly American fusion of optimism, enterprise and earnestness — rather like the far-fetched proposal of 40 years ago to create a TV show that would prove that educational television need not be an oxymoron." (The show's creator, Joan Ganz Cooney, is happy to support this theory, saying "I like to think that we had something to do with Obama's election). NewsweekponderedSesame Street's global reach, reporting that among the world's Sesame-friendly regions are Kosovo and the Palestinian territories; the South African SS features an HIV-positive character. And New York magazine revealed that 75-year-old Carroll Spinney, who has played Big Bird for all 40 seasons, spends his days with one arm raised above his head, manipulating the puppet's eyes and beak and not even once grumbling that he could be playing shuffleboard on a Carnival cruise ship.
And then there are the videos -- like "Women Can Be," a hilarious feminist ode to the world of beyond-nurses-and-ballerinas careers that I was reminded of this morning, courtesy of my friend Tina. (Rita Moreno, voicing the surgeon, is especially awesome.)
On Saturday night the House of Representatives narrowly passed a health-care reform bill, changing the way Americans will access health insurance. Included in the bill was an amendment from Bart Stupak (D-MI), which "prohibits federal funds for abortion services in the public option." Women seeking insurance coverage for abortions must seek a plan outside the enrolled companies. Sixty-Four Democrats voted to include the amendment.