Here's all the feminist news on our radar this morning.
• The Senate votes on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act today, which would ban discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. President Obama urged support for the bill last night, writing, "Americans ought to be judged by one thing only in their workplaces: their ability to get their jobs done. Does it make a difference if the firefighter who rescues you is gay?" [Feministing]
When Mercedes Smith (above) first came home from prison, she was able to sign up for Medicaid. Then she got a part-time job, which pushed her over Medicaid's low-income guidelines. Unable to afford insurance even after getting a second part-time job, Mercedes has gone without health care for the past three years. When she needs urgent care, she goes to the emergency room. Otherwise, health care is a luxury she can't afford.
I started to listen to music a little differently after becoming a parent. It wasn't just about shielding little ears from raunchy talk and grown-up lyrics, although when my four-year-old started asking to listen to "Stacy's Mom," I realized I still had plenty to learn about this editing process. But I also found myself becoming much more attuned to songs about children and parents, and realizing that songs I'd listened to with neutral ears in the past were becoming almost unbearably sad to hear now. Case in point: Iron and Wine's "Upward Over the Mountain," sung from the point of view of a deadbeat son to his stalwart mother, made me tear up from the opening line and had me in full sobs by the end. So from joyous to cautionary, wistful to bittersweet, here's a selection of songs that capture parent-child relationships in all their lovely, messy, and overwhelming humanity.
For many kids of the nineties, Halloween film Hocus Pocus is a favorite: there are ghosts, black cats, Bette Midler, and a whole lot of virgin jokes. What more could you want? This year is Hocus Pocus’s 20th anniversary (yes you’re that old) and I rewatched the film, wondering how the movie I loved as a kid would hold up.
Costumes aren't just a Halloween thing for a lot of Americans. Bitch Creative and Editorial Director Andi Zeisler talked with cosplayers at Seattle's Geek Girl Con this month, including Chaka Cumberbatch, about why they think costumes are powerful and what role dressing up plays in their lives.
Before I saw those pictures of her online Monday morning I didn’t know who Julianne Hough was. Even after Googling her, I’m still not entirely sure. Ballroom dancer and country music singer? Which is it, Julianne, did you have a hit song or were you just on Dancing With the Stars?
• The National Advocates for Pregnant Women is filing the first federal lawsuit challenging fetal endangerment laws on behalf of Alicia Beltran, a pregnant Wisconsin woman who was court-ordered into 78-day stay at a drug treatment center to protect her fetus from an addiction she had already ended. [Feministing]
Slumber Party Massacre comes off as yet another sensationalistic and gory ‘80s slasher. I picked it up recently mainly due to its ridiculous title and the fact that most of the characters were female. Upon viewing it, what shocked me was not so much the gore and violence, but the film’s clever humor, the funny characters, and most of all the incredibly veiled feminist satire.
• A new study finds that the two HPV vaccines currently available don't cover the strains of HPV most prevalent among black women. Merck, the creators of Gardasil, are in the final stages of developing a new vaccine that will cover those additional strains. [NBC]
• This is the first year that the LGBT film festival in China was not disrupted by the police. The Advocate asks if this symbolizes progress for China, where TV shows and movies with LGBT themes are censored. [The Advocate]