First, a confession: I want to like Lady Gaga and be able to enjoy her music, ideally as something of a pop confection--sweet, not very long-lasting, and ultimately disposable. As a person who listens to a wide (and admittedly weird) variety of music, this is something that I would like to strive for. As a person with disabilities, however, I am left wondering about what, exactly, I should find at all progressive about Lady Gaga's representation of (temporary) disability in the video for "Paparazzi." Other bloggers--most notably Wheelchair Dancer--have covered the now-infamous 2009 MTV VMA performance of this song; however, the promotional clip is also worth examining at length, particularly due to its messages about (temporary) disability, race, and the public/private binary.
This week's shiny golden douchebag statuette goes to Robert
Rector of the Heritage Foundation. A recent article published in The New York
Times reported that the number of people living in households lacking
consistent access to adequate food his risen to 49 million Americans. In the 14
years that the Department of Agriculture has been collecting these statistics,
these are the highest ever.
A bit more data from the survey to put this in perspective:
of those 49 million, one third of respondents reported that they are "outright
hungry" meaning they experience frequent hunger pains, are forced to skip meals
or reduce portion sizes.
The households facing the most dramatic food shortages are
usually headed by single mothers. In the last year, the numbers of households
reporting severe food insecurity that also contain children has swelled by
almost 200,000 to top out at 506,000. Of those 506,000 households, 37% were
headed by single mothers as opposed to 14% that reported married, two-parent
Now this is where the d-bag factor increases exponentially
in relation to the food insecurity data.
One of the lesser-discussed hassles of identifying as feminist is that
people often think you'll be super-delighted to engage in some good
old-fashioned man bashing. Those men, you know? What's up with them
never being able to pick up their damn socks? And the belching? And
like I care about whether the Red Sox will ever be in the World Series
again. I should totally just get a dog—at least he'll be satisfied
licking his own balls, instead of whining that I never do. Amirite,
So it's important, every so often, to stress that feminism does not
equal female chauvinism. I was reminded of this when the review copy of
Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or
Having Sex arrived at Bitch Media HQ.
Undateable does not bill itself as a feminist text. It's a dating
manual: As authors Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle write in
its introduction: "There's an unspoken list of things men say, wear, or
do that will pretty much guarantee that the girl you just took out to
dinner won't ever want to see you again."
So, basically, it's the real-life version of Liz Lemon's "dealbreakers"
book, only not funny, and also instead of urging the ladies to shut
down relationships for sensible (if insane) reasons—he's appeared on To
Catch a Predator, he's wearing a giant diamond "Open Marriage"
necklace—Undateable encourages them to be shallow, closed-minded, and
It's simply not true. I didn't realize she'd take it personal that I never saw Transformers (or its sequel) and I was one of the few that bought tickets to see Jennifer's Body opening weekend. But the latest New York Times magazine cover woman claims that women hate her.
Do a quick search on the Internet and you'll see that there are lots more people waiting to adopt a healthy newborn these days than there are babies out there ready to be adopted. Gone are the (ahem) "good old days" when a pregnant woman finding herself in less than optimal circumstances could be shamed, coerced or forced to give up her baby as a matter of socially accepted course (for more on THAT history, check out Ann Fessler's The Girls Who Went Away). Access to safe, legal abortion (while awesome when it occurs) has done a real number on the adoption industry.
I didn't realize that in my quest to be up on YA literature and be able to have thoughtful discussions with my Kid about her reading adventures that I would encounter something so wrought with this many problematic themes. Or that I would find it all wrapped up in the charming red ribbon of the most Epic Love Story Evah! With Fangs.