And I am not ashamed


It was 1983 and I was a sexually active 18-year-old young woman. One night, in the back of a Shelby Cobra (I have always been somewhat of a car nut), I was in the middle of what can only be called a couple of hour stand, when, unbeknownst to me, the condom broke. It wasn’t until after the deed was done that either of us realized what had happened, but at that moment, I knew I was pregnant. I have no idea how I knew, but I knew. I also knew right away what option I would choose and never had a second thought about it.

The wait until I missed my next period seemed endless. Finally, when I was absolutely positive Aunt Flo would not be visiting, I went to my doctor and had the test. The results were positive, as expected and I immediately scheduled an abortion. There was only one hitch. In Canada, you had to be 19 years old (the age of majority) to get an abortion without parental consent. So, I had to tell my Mother. I told her that I was pregnant and without taking so much a the tiniest of breaths, I told her that I wanted to abort and that I had the procedure already scheduled, and that all I needed was her signature. To my mother’s credit, she was extremely supportive. She drove me to the appointment and was waiting for me when it was over. She even made my favourite dessert (witches nut cake) and had me stay at home with her for a few days until the tenderness and the bleeding was under control. She never made me feel guilty or judged.

I look back on my decision to have an abortion as one of the best decisions I ever made. I was in no way ready to have a child at that stage of my life. Having that baby would not have been fair to either myself or the baby. It could be said that my decision was selfish. To that I say, yes it was, and what is so wrong with being selfish? After all its my life to live as I see fit and I am free to do as I choose with my life and my body. I have not, for a moment, regretted having an abortion and I am not ashamed. Would I have preferred that the condom had done its job? Of course, but I am extremely happy that there was an alternate option available to me as that was not the case.

It has been said that no woman wants  an abortion. I can tell you that when I found myself with an unwanted pregnancy, there was nothing I wanted more.

There has been a lot of hoopla recently from Conservative politicians who want to ban abortion. The conversation has been derailed slightly due to some incredibly ignorant quotes about abortion in the case of rape, so that now all we are focused on is rape, when what we should be talking about is the necessity for abortion. Women’s reproductive rights are just that… rights, hard-fought and earned. Even entertaining the question of whether or not a woman should have those rights just proves to women that you do not see us as human beings capable of thinking for ourselves.

There seems to be only one American politician who gets it.

I couldn’t agree more. Male legislators need to stay far away from women’s uteri. If you don’t have one, you shouldn’t get a say.

Women who have bared it all


The hosts of The Talk

There seems to be a trend of late where famous women are showing the world their bare… faces.

From Teri Hatcher and Tyra Banks to Oprah Winfrey and the hosts of The Talk, famous women are showing us what they look like without make up and the media is touting them for being so brave.

Teri Hatcher

When I was growing up, I never saw my Mother wear make up. To this day, the most glam she gets is when she paints her nails for a fancy evening out to dinner. She never had any trouble finding or keeping a man. She married my Father when she was 22 and they never parted. As most girls who enter their teens, I rebelled against the kind of woman my Mother was. I was very into make up and fashion. Of course it didn’t help that throughout my entire childhood I was teased and criticized for being ugly. I hit my teen years with little to no self esteem. My Mother understood that make up was something that I desperately wanted to play with, so, since she couldn’t teach me about it herself, she took me to the local beauty salon and had one of the experts give me a lesson, then bought all the product that were used on me. I am still very grateful to her for encouraging me to follow my own path, even though it was not her path.

As I grew into my twenties and thirties, I never left the house without a full face of make up. Even just a trip to the corner store required, at the very least, concealer, mascara and lipstick. It wasn’t until I hit 40 that I realized that my face is beautiful without a stitch of make up. That’s the ironic thing about being a young woman. When you are at your most beautiful physically is when you are your most insecure. There are times when I have wished that I could have it to do over again with my newfound confidence and priorities along for the ride, but you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to my twenties without all of the wisdom I now have. Now, I maybe put on lipstick once a month. I haven’t worn a full make up application in over 4 years and I don’t see it as bravery, just as a shift in self perception and priorities. I am single and still get plenty of male attention. The attention I get now is different, though. It’s no longer whistles and hoots from afar (which I hated). The attention I get now, without make up is more of a real interest in who I am. I have heard from men, on more than a few occasions, how attractive and sexy my confidence is.

Oprah Winfrey

So, while I applaud these famous women for ditching their masks and showing the younger generation that you can be beautiful with your naked face, I resent the fact that they seem to be doing it for less that altruistic reasons. I also resent the media for making it seem like such a big deal. In the video below, the anchors of The Showbiz Countdown are reacting to the hosts of The Talk recently doing an entire episode of their show without make up.

It also bothers me that they all had to be wearing robes or towels during the episode, as if to say that the only appropriate time in which to be sans make up is before you are fully dressed.

In the wake of one of the world’s most powerful women, Hillary Clinton, being vilified for going without make up this just seemed like a stunt for ratings. When Hillary Clinton goes without make up, she does it because she has more important things to think about. She has also reached an age where she is more worried about who she is and what she is accomplishing than what she looks like, and for that I say Brava!

Hillary Clinton

It’s sad that women, in general, have yet to reach a stage where we are no longer judged first and foremost by what we look like and second by our accomplishments. The fact that the media jumped down throat of the Secretary of State for going without make up speaks volumes about how far women have yet to go before we are truly equal.

The Great Rape Debate


In the wake of Todd Akin’s now infamous comments about “legitimate rape”, there have been quite a few rather offensive and uneducated bon mots in the news on the subject of rape.

Krista Ford

In Canada, the niece of the Mayor of Toronto, Krista Ford got into the debate via her twitter account by giving this bit if advice to women. “Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defence classes & don’t dress like a whore. #DontBeAVictim #StreetSmart,”  Never mind that it is illegal to carry mace or pepper spray in Canada unless you work in law enforcement, or that not everyone can afford to take a self defense class. The fact that Krista Ford, who is famous for playing football in her underwear and teetering around Toronto in stiletto heels and mini dresses so tight that it looks like she’s trying to get toothpaste back into the tube, had the nerve to say don’t dress like a whore would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. This kind of slut shaming and victim blaming has got to stop. Why are we not teaching men not to rape, instead of preaching to women not to dress provocatively. This boys will be boys attitude is not helping the situation. 

Chief Prosecutor Paul Richwalsky

Then there is a case out of Louisville Kentucky where a 16 year old girl was sexually assaulted by two boys who thought it would be funny to get her drunk, expose her breasts and genitals, penetrate her with their fingers and take pictures of the event with their cell phones. The two boys plead guilty  to charges of first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and misdemeanor voyeurism. For their crimes they are required to do 50 hours of volunteer work and attend treatment. As if the 16 year old girl’s violation and humiliation was not enough, the Chief Prosecutor of the case, Paul Richwalsky, actually told the girl, when she complained about the plea agreement being too lenient, to “get over it and see a therapist. … The jail was for ‘real’ rapists, murderers and robbers.” This from the man who was hired to serve the best interests of the victim! 

Victoria Jackson

SNL alumnus and Tea Party darling, Victoria Jackson, came out in defense of the aforementioned Todd Akin’s legitimate rape comments. She was quoted as saying, “The Todd Akin thing was so blown out of proportion — it’s a joke. How many times do people get pregnant from rape? It’s point zero zero one percent. It’s a joke. I read lots of articles. I know people, because I’m 53. I’ve know a lot of people, and I’ve actually never known anyone who got pregnant from being raped.” She went on to say, “If I got raped, I would have the baby. And if I didn’t want to keep it because I had these [mocking tone] horrible nightmares, I would adopt it out. But I think that God can turn a bad thing into a good thing. And that, if I got raped and a beautiful baby who was innocent was born out of it, that would be a blessing. The DNA of a baby is individual. It’s not the mother’s DNA. It’s not the father’s DNA. And that’s why I believe abortion is murder, because it’s not the woman’s body. It has it’s own DNA. If there’s a boy baby inside of me, he has a penis. That’s not my body.” Good for you, Ms. Jackson, but not every woman feels the same way. To deny others a choice just because you think that everyone should believe what you believe is the antithesis of what the pro-life movement should be doing more of… live and let live.

With a tip of the hat to Bill Maher, I would like to suggest my own New Rule. Unless you are a woman or a man (yes, men get raped too) who has been through the violation, humiliation and emotional toll of the crime of rape, you must keep your pie hole shut. All you are doing with ignorant statements like the ones above is opening wounds and putting the responsibility for the crime on the victim instead of the criminal. It’s attitudes like these that make rape the most unreported crime on the planet. You are only showing a lack of compassion, empathy and humanity when you vilify a victim of rape, not to mention giving rapists the message that you are on their side.

A sad week for women


Helen Gurly Brown

This week started off with the loss of a true pioneer of the sexual revolution, Helen Gurly Brown, whose groundbreaking 1962 book Sex and the Single Girl taught women to seek financial independence and sexual satisfaction. While I was not necessarily a fan of her magazine, Cosmopolitan, because it consistently preached how to find, please and keep a man. I am a fan of her attitude that women should not be embarrassed about their sexuality and that women could be whatever they wanted to be.

Women in Saudi Arabia 

This week also saw the announcement of a women only city in Saudi Arabia. The official reasoning for this city (along with four more like it in the works) is to allow more women to work and achieve greater financial independence while still maintaining gender segregation. I fear there is something far less progressive about to happen. I fear these women will be subjected to sub standard working conditions, sub standard pay and yet even more ostracism than they now must endure. I have a feeling this is being done in order to offset the need for foreign workers in the country and that these women will be seen as whores by their own countrymen, just as their Olympic counterparts were.

The Russian Punk Band, Pussy Riot

On Friday a group of three female musicians who call themselves Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years each in a Russian prison for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” because they dared to sing a song in which they criticized Vladimir Putin’s increasingly autocratic hold on power – and his regime’s increasing suppression of protest speech – from the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral in February of this year. I find it ironic that the Russian government has turned to religion to help them fulfill their agenda, but any port in a storm, I guess. I admire these women for their strength of character. Just today, these women announced that they will not be asking Putin to pardon them. Their actual quote was,  “Let them go to hell with their pardon.” Even though the sentence is what I would call harsh, I am truly inspired by their willingness to fight for what they think is right.

Lastly, this week brought us a new term… legitimate rape. Republican Senate Nominee from Missouri Todd Akin when asked if he supported abortion in the case of rape was quoted as saying, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.” He claimed that he had heard this pack of lies from doctors. Doctors of what? Divinity? Certainly not medical doctors.

Really? What about the emotional and physical punishment the woman who is pregnant with her rapist’s baby would have to endure by being forced to give birth to that child? Spoken like a true American right winger, a clump of cells has more rights that the fully formed human being that they are growing in has. Apparently women are just a vessel for men’s seed and should have no say in what happens to their own body.

And what of the term legitimate rape? You should know that this came from the mind of a man who, in 1991 questioned an anti marital rape law over his concerns that it might be misused, “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband”. (to his credit he did vote FOR the anti marital rape law) According to Akin the only “legitimate rape” is forcible rape. It just sickens me that the Republican right still claims they are not waging a war on women, then they have the nerve to come out with bombshells like this one.

Rep. Akin did ‘apologize’ for this. Here is the apology along with my commentary (in red).

“As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.

Misspoke?!! He might has well have said, My bad. When running for office, every word is carefully planned, scripted and put before a focus group. I have no doubt that he meant to say what he did say.

“I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.

 No kidding he won’t have their support.

“But I also believe that this election is about a wide range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren. We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs. That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.”

And he’s right back on the Republican talking point after a half-assed apology. 

I will leave you with the perfect visual representation of what I think must be done to this man.

Rep. Todd Akin (R. Mo.), so stupid he doesn’t realize this sign is about him.

Good news and bad news for women at the 2012 Olympics


I don’t generally pay much attention to the Olympic Games. For me, it seems like a lot of money spent on an event that could bring the world together, but instead creates yet even more nationalistic behavior. This time around, however is a different story. The feminist in me is thrilled to see history (her-story) being made. This year marks the first time that all the attending countries have women athletes competing. This is a particularly encouraging step for women in Arab countries.

Saudi Arabia has two women in the games. Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar.

Sarah Attar

Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani

Qatar has one competing woman, a swimmer by the name of Nada Mohammed Wafa.

Nada Mohammed Wafa

Even Brunei has entered a female athlete with runner/hurdler Maziah Mahusin.

Maziah Mahusin

There are women from every imaginable background in London this year. One of the most inspirational and controversial has got to be Malaysian shooter, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi who is eight months pregnant. Sadly, she recently ended her bid for the gold when she finished 34th in the qualifying rounds.

Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi

Yes, it seems women are making great strides in sports, a field once dominated by men and this is a wonderful thing. But just so women worldwide don’t forget that we are, first and foremost, objects to be lusted after, Yahoo Sports posted an article praising the Dutch women’s field hockey team for being the best looking female athletes at the Olympics… complete with photo gallery. Now I expect men to notice a pretty woman, but to make this a news story is just plain insulting. Yes, it’s another case of one step forward, two hundred years back. If you want to read what the yahoos at Yahoo have to say on the subject, click here

I wish every woman at this year’s Olympic Games the very best of luck in their respective competitions and say to them, thank you for inspiring the next generation.

Vagina Schmagina. This means war.


Rep. Lisa Brown

The Republicans in America have been vehemently denying that they are waging a war against women. They claim it’s a Democratic red herring. All the while they are trying to legislate away the rights of American women. Recently, in Michigan, there was proposed legislation on abortion regulation that would make the rights of a fetus past the age of 20 weeks override the health of the potential mother and female house democrats were understandably fighting against this. Two of those women, Rep. Barb Byrum and Rep. Lisa Brown were subsequently blocked from further speaking on the house floor because they did not respect the “decorum” of the house.

What was it that these two women did that was so horrible that got them barred? In Barb Byrum’s case it was the possibility of saying the word vasectomy (she never actually got to speak, so she never actually got to say the word). In Lisa Brown’s case it was saying the word vagina.

Republican men seem to have absolutely no problem drafting and passing legislation that tells women what they can and cannot do with their vaginae, but turn into sniveling little babies when a woman dares to speak the word aloud in their presence. If they really don’t want to hear the word, then maybe they should keep their laws out of the vaginae of American women. Without further going into my own opinion on the matter, I will instead show you their rebuttal, as they say it so well.

Just how stupid do Republican men think women are? We know that men speak with their actions. It’s actions like this, the silencing of women, who, by the very nature of their elected off ice are perfectly within their right to speak, that make it clear that, not only are they waging war on women, (who make up 50.8% of the population) but that they have no idea just how hard women will fight back.

A while ago I posted a blog entitled Is it just me? in which I stated that I think the Republicans don’t really want to win this time around. It is stunts like this that make me continue to think that this is true.

Bridesmaids Revisited


The cast of the movie Bridesmaids

I’m past the age where I go to see movies in the theater. Instead I wait for them to come out On Demand (if I’m really looking forward to seeing it) or on cable. When the movie Bridesmaids first came out, the chatter about this movie was overwhelmingly positive. It touted an all female ensemble cast, which is rare for a comedy. It was written by two female writers, which, to my feminist sensibilities, was encouraging. I admit to being unfamiliar with Kristen Wiig… I stopped watching Saturday Night Live long before they began calling it SNL… still, all in all,I had relatively high hopes for this movie.

What a complete waste of 125 minutes of my life. This movie was a slap in the face to me as a woman and a complete insult to my intelligence. I will say this movie would have been palatable if the actresses were still in their early twenties. A younger age would have somewhat excused the behavior of the characters. Women in their mid to late thirties acting like jealous teenagers is, not only unseemly, but UNFUNNY.

Take the lead character of Annie, granted her life is a mess, but wouldn’t you think she could step back and allow her best friend’s wedding to be about… oh, I don’t know… HER BEST FRIEND? Instead she whines and moans and engages in a jealous feud with her friend’s other friend like a child would. I understand that women nearing 40 want people to think they are younger than their age, but there’s absolutely no need to surrender your last scrap of dignity and act like a 2 year old with a case of the ‘mines’. If I were the bride, it would not have taken me more than 5 minutes to cut this woman from my bridal party. Melissa McCarthy’s character was cute, and I generally like her as an actress, but this part was not worthy of an Oscar nomination.

It’s bad enough when movies show women in a jealous feud over a man, but over a friend? Most people by the time they reach their late 30’s have grown past this kind of behavior. I guess that’s why it’s supposed to be ‘funny’. Unfortunately, the very behavior they are lampooning in this movie is the kind of behavior that girls in their teens will think it is normal to exhibit when they hit 35 because of movies like this.

I would think that two female writers who wanted to make a movie about women could come up with something a little more aspirational and a little less insulting. Or maybe I am being naive to think that such a movie would get the funding in the first place.