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Lately, Jane Fonda is everywhere on my pop culture radar. She posts frequently on Twitterand on her blog. These posts have focused on exercising and well-being, not surprising themes given Fonda's past. Fonda recently posted a TED talk.
One of the dilemmas I sometimes experience is between my love for pop culture (including, but not limited to fashion magazines, CBC's Being Erica, the films of Queen Latifah and Robyn) and my commitment to gender equality.
I think many people think the feminist critique of popular culture is that it is bad for women or demeaning to women. A lot of the time I don't feel that way at all. I think it is okay to take pleasure in make-up, fashion, TV and the like. I think popular culture is fine because most people know that there is a difference between reality and idealized images, and have figured out whether they care. It is also the case that images of women in popular culture are more nuanced now than they were -- say -- 30 years ago...
If people do not think there is a war against women, think again. Brian Vallee’s book, The War on Women, is still compelling in light of recent events on our “domestic battlefield.” In the last two weeks, Ottawa has been the scene of two fires at two women’s residences. The first, occurred on Nov. 8, 2009 at the Cornerstone women’s shelter, killing a 61-year-old woman. The second, on Nov.
Gloria Steinem's Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem (1992) closes with a personal affirmation for the reader:
"We are so many selves. It's not just the long-ago child within us who needs tenderness and inclusion, but the person we were last year, wanted to be yesterday, tried to become in one job or in one winter, in one love affair or in one house where even now, we can close our eyes and smell the rooms. What brings together these ever-shifting selves of infinite reactions and returnings [sic] is this: There is always one true inner voice. Trust it."
Female news anchors around the world have welcomed two new members to an exclusive primetime club. Diane Sawyer was recently appointed as anchor to ABC's World News in the U.S. Sawyer follows in the footsteps of CBS's Katie Couric, who became the first solo female anchor in the U.S. three years ago. And in Australia, Chris Bath is set to become the first solo female news anchor in that country.
"Ladies, wouldn’t be wonderful if our pussies were detachable?" An interesting consideration. Wanda Sykes continues her joke with the observation that women would no longer have to be afraid of jogging alone at night. When a predator jumps out at you all you have to say is "Sorry, I left it at home!" The audience is roaring at this point. I’m thinking this is social commentary in its most inclusive form.
In a recent article in the Globe and Mail it was argued that women's sexuality is "malleable," but that men are "either/or." McGinn did include quotes from researchers who argued that this difference is cultural (societal seems more accurate), but these points are given only cursory attention, presented as unknown and impossible to prove. The alternative argument, the argument that women are "more intrinsically bisexual" and that men are "category-specific", is given the majority of the article, and presented more or less as fact. And worth noting, although unsurprising, is the fact that all of the research
Last year when I was a medical student I did an elective in a sexual health clinic that provides pre- and post- abortion care for women undergoing therapeutic abortions (TAs) at a nearby hospital. One of the patients I met was a Latin American woman in her thirties. She came to the clinic with her mother for the insertion of a laminaria tent -- a device that is used to dilate the cervix -- before her TA that afternoon. This procedure takes about fifteen minutes and usually causes moderate menstrual-like cramping.
Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien has never been my favorite politician. When I lived in Ottawa, I volunteered with the campaign of Alex Munter (the mayoral candidate who should have won), and came very close to tears of sadness and disbelief on the night O'Brien won the mayoral race he never should have entered. I have often said he is the George Bush of municipal politics, so similar is O'Brien's shoot-from-the-hip, proud-to-be-a-political-simpleton, my-money-got-me-into-politics style to that of the former President.
Friday’s news that the BC Supreme Court has dismissed a bid by a group of women ski jumpers to compete in the 2010 Olympics is a blow to the women ski jumpers themselves, who hold the same Olympic dreams as their male counterparts. It is also a blow to all Canada’s women, who have been led to believe that outright discrimination against women won’t stand up in our courts.