Help save a feminist bookstore

I saw this posted at Feministing and thought I should spread the word. In Other Words is the last non-profit feminist bookstore in the U.S, and they need to raise $11,000 by the end of December or else they’ll have to close in March. According to their website, they’ve already raised nearly $7,000. You can help by making a donation, visiting the store in Portland, or shopping at their website.


December 17, 2008 Posted by | Feminism | | Leave a comment

Target Women: Jewelry

Another Target Women segment is here, and as usual it’s hilarious and spot on.

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FYI: If you’re thinking about buying a diamond but want to make sure it’s produced under ethical conditions and not being used to fund war, you can find resources at The Conflict Free Diamond Council.

December 14, 2008 Posted by | Comedy, Feminism | , | Leave a comment

Taylor Hanson and Natalie Have Fourth Child

Taylor Hanson and his wife Natalie

And the Hanson family keeps growing!

Taylor Hanson, 25, and his wife Natalie, 24, welcomed their fourth child, Viggo Moriah, on Tuesday, December 9, 2008. The couple told PEOPLE, “Viggo is doing great. He is the perfect early Christmas gift. We look forward to being home to enjoy the holidays with him and his very excited brothers and sister.”

The newest Hanson baby will have plenty of company, including siblings Ezra, 6, River, 2, and Penelope, 3. The baby’s cousins include Isaac and Nikki’s sons Everett, 1, and Monroe, 5 months, and Zac and Kate’s son Shepherd, 6 months.

According to PEOPLE, Hanson is planning to head back into the studio and release a new album by the summer.

December 10, 2008 Posted by | Hanson | | Leave a comment

Yes, We Did

I just came across this video posted by Jay Smooth about Obama getting elected. He eloquently expresses both the symbolic nature of this achievement and the importance of making sure we continue working to bring about change. Also, the cat in the video is really adorable.

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December 10, 2008 Posted by | politics | | Leave a comment

Ani DiFranco: “November 4, 2008”

Here is a video of Ani DiFranco’s new song, November 4, 2008, performed live at Babeville on 11/29/08:

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Music, politics | | Leave a comment

Target Women: Vampires

In her newest Target Women segment, Sarah Haskins visits a “Twilight” poster signing to find out why teenage girls want to date vampires. I only heard of the “Twilight” phenomenon recently, but apparently the series is extremely popular. The movie, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, earned $70.5 million its opening weekend, making it the biggest opening weekend for a female director in history. A blogger at OverThinkingIt pointed out that once “Twilight” grosses over $187 million, it will become one of the top 100 highest grossing films in the U.S.

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December 9, 2008 Posted by | Comedy, Feminism | , | 2 Comments

Jon Favreau and the Facebook Incident

The Washington Post)

Jon Favreau, Barack Obama's chief speechwriter, and a friend pose with a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton. (Source: The Washington Post)

For about two hours on Thursday afternoon, the picture on the right was posted on Facebook. It could be a scene from a frat party, except look more closely and you’ll notice that the man on the right is wearing a shirt that reads “Obama Staff.” On the left is 27-year-old Jon Favreau, Barack Obama’s chief speechwriter. The two are shown posing with a lifesize cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton. Favreau is shown cupping his hand over Clinton’s breast while the unidentified person on the right is pulling back her hair, placing a beer in her face and giving her a kiss.

Since the photo first surfaced, I’ve seen reactions ranging from outrage and calls for Favreau to be fired to apathy and “boys will be boys” type justifications (see blog posts about this issue here, here, here and here). According to The Washington Post, Favreau “reached out to Senator Clinton to offer an apology.”

The Washington Post reported that “Clinton senior adviser Philippe Reines cast the photos as evidence of increased bonhomie between the formerly rival camps.” Reines stated that “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application.” Campbell Brown criticized Clinton for not taking the incident seriously after having denounced sexism throughout her campaign. As a blogger pointed out on Shakesville, it’s possible Clinton responded this way to avoid being labeled a “humorless feminist,” or maybe she really doesn’t see it as a big deal. Either way, I think the blame should be placed on the men in the photo, not Clinton.

The photo could be easily dismissed as silly, immature behavior at a party, but I think more should be expected from someone with a high profile position in the Obama administration. It shows a lack of judgment on Favreau’s part, and I don’t think it’s overreacting or being a “humorless feminist” to call him out on it. Of course there are other pressing issues to be concerned about, but excusing actions like this sends the message that it’s ok to disrespect women. Just because sexist behavior is often normalized in our culture doesn’t mean it should be viewed as acceptable.

December 9, 2008 Posted by | politics, Sexism | | Leave a comment

Cloud Cult: Cambridge, MA 11/13/08

Cloud Cult Cloud Cult is one of those bands that you need to see live to fully appreciate. I’ve been listening to The Meaning of 8 and Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) ever since I first read about the band on the music blog The World Forgot. Cloud Cult’s music is beautiful, eclectic, and brimming with hope and optimism. Many of the songs were written as a way for Craig Minowa to deal with the unexpected death of his son Kaidin in 2002. On the band’s website, Connie Minowa writes, “Cloud Cult is a uniquely beautiful entity created and shaped by my husband Craig. Many of Cloud Cult’s songs are intensely personal to me. They are literally our journey through grief and loss. I find sadness and beauty in them and look forward to each new song and look forward to each new day.” Through his suffering, Minowa created passionate, uplifting music with honest, insightful lyrics. The band has enjoyed critical acclaim and, judging by the crowd at the Middle East Downstairs earlier this month, has a devoted following. The band members are also extremely environmentally aware and release their albums through Earthology Records, a non-profit environmental record label created by Craig Minowa in 1998. They tour in a bio-diesel van, carbon offset their tour, and use recycled paper for their CD liner notes.

I was expecting an amazing performance when I went to see the band for the first time on November 13, and the show definitely met my expectations. The band opened with “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” from their 2005 album Advice From The Happy Hippopotamus. They sang a variety of songs, including beautiful renditions of “Chemicals Collide” and “Everybody Here Is A Cloud,” which the crowd loved. Other highlights included “Journey of the Featherless,” one of my favorites, “Love You All,” a very sweet and uplifting song, “Story Of The Grandson Of Jesus,” which the audience energetically sang along with, and “The Tornado Lessons,” an intense song that was incredible to hear live.

Cloud Cult’s energy and passion was matched by the audience, who cheered, danced and sang throughout the set. At one point, I had to reposition myself for fear of getting clobbered by an enthusiastic couple dancing in front of me. Craig Minowa was visibly happy and appreciated the enthusiasm of the band’s followers, telling the crowd that it was awesome to hear us singing louder than him. He recounted a story of the band playing at a small venue in Boston when they were first starting out, and he seemed grateful to have come this far and to have people appreciate his music. When the band left the stage at the end of the set, the audience began loudly chanting “encore, encore” until the band happily reappeared for another two songs, closing with “Take Your Medicine.”

Throughout the show, Connie Minowa, who Craig referred to as the love of his life, and Scott West, a friend of Cloud Cult, were stationed behind the band in front of two easels. Craig explained that they were musicians playing “visual instruments.” They each created original paintings during the performance, which was a beautiful addition to the show. At the end of the set, people stayed to admire the paintings and place bids, with some people bidding over $400 by the time I left the venue.

The show left me feeling incredibly happy and energetic despite the late hour. If you have a chance to see Cloud Cult live, I highly recommend doing so. The band is planning on taking a hiatus after their tour ends, and it’s unclear whether another album will be in the works. They explain on their website, “After touring extensively for the past five years, and releasing a new album annually, the band plans to take a short respite to focus on family in the latter part of 2008 and into 2009.”

Here is a YouTube video I found of Cloud Cult performing “Everybody Here Is A Cloud” at the November 13 show:

You can find a download of “Take Your Medicine” at Cloud Cult’s website and “When Water Comes to Life” at Pitchfork. You can watch the video for “Everybody Here Is A Cloud” here and “Chemicals Collide” here.

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Environment, Music | , | 2 Comments


Below are some videos and links to check out before the presidential election.

A reminder from hip-hop video blogger Jay Smooth (a.k.a. Ill Doctrine) to resist becoming complacent.

This inspiring video was created by the Obama campaign and includes excerpts of Obama’s closing argument speech. Via Feministe.

The New Yorker published a very informative, comprehensive endorsement of Obama that you can read here. The authors eloquently summed up why Obama is the most qualified candidate to lead our country:

At a moment of economic calamity, international perplexity, political failure, and battered morale, America needs both uplift and realism, both change and steadiness. It needs a leader temperamentally, intellectually, and emotionally attuned to the complexities of our troubled globe.

Whoever you are voting for, be sure to make an informed decision and encourage your friends not to stay at home.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | politics | , | Leave a comment

National Novel Writing Month

Every year since 1999, aspiring writers have undertaken the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. I first heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a few years ago and thought it was a great idea, but the task seemed too daunting to consider. However, I like the concept of encouraging writers to get words on paper without worrying about producing a work of genius. According to, over 15,000 people completed the challenge last year. NaNoWriMo began today, November 1, so to all the participants, good luck and let the writing begin!

If you need inspiration, I recommend reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. I found the section on shitty first drafts particularly helpful.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Lykke Li: Boston 10/23/08

On Thursday night, I saw Swedish indie pop artist Lykke Li perform at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. After a set by Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Lykke Li emerged onto the dimly lit stage in an oversized black hoodie and launched into a captivating performance. She sang a mix of songs from her debut album Youth Novels along with some covers, which she said were fun to sing. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a cover of Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” During “Little Bit,” she switched up the lyrics and exclaimed, “I’m a little bit in love with Boston.” She was full of energy and charmed the audience with her beautiful voice and cool dance moves. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she explained, “I just move, I wouldn’t even call it dancing. It’s just letting go of emotions.” Whatever it is, it definitely works. Here is the video for her first hit, “Little Bit”:

Lykke Li recently released an alternate video for “Breaking Up” that you can find here. You can also find a free download of “Tonight” at her official website and a remix of “Little Bit” at Pitchfork.

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Music | , | Leave a comment

Hanson: Foxboro 10/19/08

The Walk Around The World Tour (from night was a reminder that no matter how I feel on the day of a Hanson concert, I can’t be anything but insanely happy once Isaac, Taylor and Zac walk out onto the stage. It’s been a little over a year since my last Hanson concert (Philadelphia, 9/27/07). Over the past 11 years, I have continued to be amazed by Hanson’s passion, talent and dedication to the music and their fans, and the show in Foxboro on Sunday night did not disappoint. The set list was amazing, Hanson seemed to be having a blast, and nothing can match the energy of a room full of Hanson fans singing along to a band we’ve been following for over a decade. After opening with a few upbeat songs, Hanson toned it down a notch and played a beautiful acoustic set. Taylor took the opportunity to share some of his experiences traveling to Africa and introduced a song based on his trip. Several times throughout the show, Taylor thanked the fans who took part in the walk and urged the audience to take action to fight poverty in Africa. After Zac and Isaac’s solos, Hanson launched into Yearbook, which was introduced into their set last year and was definitely one of the highlights of the night. Other highlights included Get Up and Go, Blue Sky, and SoulShine, an amazing cover that I hadn’t heard before. For the encore, the two opening bands, Everybody Else and Dave Barnes, joined Hanson onstage for Long Way to the Top. One of the guys did a handstand, Taylor jumped off of his piano, the crowd went crazy and most of the fans probably lost their voices. It was a great end to a memorable night.

Here is the set list (taken from here):

1. Somethin Goin’ Round
2. Hole in my Life (cover)
3. Great Divide
4. Get Up and Go
5. Follow Your Lead
6. Higher (cover)
7. Penny and Me (acoustic)
8. Deeper (acoustic)
9. Lay Me Down (acoustic)
10. Where Did It Start (Zac solo)
11. Everyday (Isaac Solo)
12. Yearbook (acoustic)
13. Blue Sky
14. Minute Without You
15. Can’t Stop
16. SoulShine (cover)
17. Running Man
18. Been There Before
19. MMMBop
20. Cried
21. If Only
22. Hey

23. Long Way to the Top (w/ Everybody Else & Dave Barnes)

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Hanson, Music | , | Leave a comment

Obama and McCain: The Final Debate

Tonight’s debate between Obama and McCain was very heated. No fist fights, but McCain was aggressive and kept pressing Obama. Obama remained calm and logical, and I think did a better job overall. Joe the Plumber seemed to be the focus of much of the debate. Some thoughts I jotted down while watching:

I really like the split screen. Great reaction shots.

Obama is wearing a red tie and McCain is wearing a blue tie. Is that intentional?

McCain keeps claiming that Obama will raise taxes. Obama sets the record straight and responds that “even Fox News disputes” McCain’s claim, “which doesn’t happen very often when it comes to accusations toward me.”

McCain gets aggressive when Obama talks about George W. Bush. He exclaims, “I am not President Bush.” I’m sure we’ll be seeing this clip replayed later.

In response to a question about negative campaigning, McCain says that Obama declined his request to do town hall meetings, as if that justifies McCain’s attack ads. Both candidates claim the other is running too many negative ads.

Obama says we need to have “tough, vigorous debates” and not “characterize each other as bad people.” McCain responds by bringing up Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers and ACORN. Obama explains why McCain’s allegations are ridiculous.

McCain calls Palin “a role model for women” and “a reformer.” I’m not impressed.

McCain says that Joe Biden is wrong on many foreign policy issues. Obama looks amused. Does McCain really think Palin is more qualified than Biden?

McCain repeats that Obama wants to spend more. Obama looks amused.

Obama gives a thoughtful response to a question about reducing our dependence on foreign oil. He states that we can’t “drill our way out of the problem.” McCain criticizes Obama for saying he will only “look at” offshore drilling. Drill, baby, drill.

McCain brings up Joe the Plumber yet again. I wonder what Joe is thinking right now.

Obama talks to Joe the Plumber. McCain looks shocked and then amused as Obama talks about health insurance. Obama attacks McCain’s plan. McCain is annoyed and talks to Joe again.

On Roe v. Wade, Obama talks about right to privacy and says that women are in the best position to make a decision.

McCain refers to a “pro-abortion” movement. He continues to say “pro-abortion.”

Obama refutes McCain’s claim that he voted “to withhold life-saving treatment from an infant.” Obama voted against the bill because the law was already in effect. This has already been covered before. Why is McCain still bringing this up?

Obama and McCain both think that having more charter schools will help create competition, but they disagree on vouchers. McCain talks directly to Obama about vouchers in a patronizing tone. Obama says data doesn’t show that vouchers help solve the education problem. McCain laughs.

McCain brings up town hall meetings and autism, which “Sarah Palin knows better than most.” McCain says “reform” a lot.

I like the moderator’s final words: “Go vote now. It’ll make you feel big and strong.”

Update: Joe Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber, has been contacted by The Associated Press about his reaction to the debate. He said, “It’s pretty surreal, man, my name being mentioned in a presidential campaign.”

October 15, 2008 Posted by | politics | , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin

Since John McCain announced his vice presidential pick on August 29, Sarah Palin has risen from relative obscurity and caused a media frenzy. Here are some blog posts and articles relating to Palin and feminism that I found interesting:

Shelly Mandell, President of NOW’s LA chapter, has endorsed Sarah Palin for Vice President. Feministe posted a video of the endorsement and made the following comment: “Having women in positions in power is crucial to empowering women more broadly; but when those women are anti-feminist, it’s not a feminist move to elect them.” Mandell states that Palin is an advocate for women’s rights, but she doesn’t give much evidence to support that claim. She mentions that Palin supports equal pay for women, but Palin told Katie Couric she is against the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Mostly, she just says that Palin will shake up Washington, which doesn’t seem likely considering her stances on feminist issues. Mandell’s statement was a personal endorsement, and NOW PAC officially endorses Obama/Biden.

An analysis of SNL’s VP debate skit. I found Aviva’s blog post via Feministe. I think the SNL skits parodying Palin have been hilarious, and I agree that it’s both funny and scary that some of the dialogue is taken verbatim from Palin’s interviews. Femiste remarked, “Next week, SNL is just going to overdub a laugh track on clips taken directly from the campaign trail.”

Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin. In this TIME article, Belinda Luscombe argues that some women loathe Palin for three reasons: she’s too pretty, too confident and could embarrass us. Luscombe bases her opinions on her experiences at an all-girls’ high school, and refers to women as “weapon-grade haters.” I really hope she’s not being serious.

Sarah Palin: Not a Feminist. Evil Slutopia details why Sarah Palin’s policies are anti-feminist.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Feminism, politics | | Leave a comment

Target Women: Cleaning

I think this might possibly be the best Target Women segment yet.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Comedy, Feminism | | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Ani

In honor of Ani DiFranco‘s 38th birthday, here is a video of 32 flavors, from Ani’s 1995 album Not A Pretty Girl.

I admire Ani for her independence, passion, and of course her amazing musical skills. She’s inspired so many people, and her lyrics are brilliant. She recently recorded 4 tracks on, two of which are on her new album, Red Letter Year. I’m really excited about the album and hope I’ll be able to see her in concert again soon.

September 23, 2008 Posted by | Feminism, Music | | Leave a comment

Target Women: Chick Flicks

The seventh installment of Target Women, which was up a few weeks ago, is dedicated to chick flicks. I love the photoshopping, and the Colin Firth mention.

September 8, 2008 Posted by | Comedy, Feminism | , | Leave a comment

PETA fails, again

Feministing posted about PETA‘s newest attempt at advertising. Apparently, PETA is petitioning the U.S. government to post advertisements on the U.S.-Mexico border to encourage immigrants to choose a vegan diet. The message on the billboards would read (in English and Spanish): “If the Border Patrol Doesn’t Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will — Go Vegan.” I don’t understand why anyone would think this is a good idea. If they’re just trying to generate controversy and gain publicity, it looks like they are succeeding. Miriam at Feministing pointed out that the fences interfere with migration patterns of animals living in those regions, but PETA doesn’t seem to care about that.

Of course, this isn’t the first time PETA has made poor advertising choices. They continue to rely on sexist advertising that objectifies women. In PETA’s letter in The New York Times last month, the president of PETA defends their advertising by arguing that “sex sells.” She acknowledges that “animal suffering and human suffering are undeniably interconnected” and insists that PETA is concerned about both. However, by continuing to use offensive ads, PETA is sending the message that they respect animals more than they respect people. I don’t think that alienating feminists who support animal rights is going to help their cause.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | Sexism, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Rachel Maddow gets her own show

MSNBC’S Keith Olbermann announced on Daily Kos yesterday that Rachel Maddow will be getting her own show. Shortly after, the news was announced in The New York Times and numerous blogs. We need more intelligent voices like Rachel’s on television, so this is great news. She will be continuing her radio show, and her television show will start on September 8 on MSNBC at 9 pm Eastern Time.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | politics | | Leave a comment

Patriarchy and the Olympics

Some articles and blog posts I’ve been reading:

In Grand Olympic Show, Some Sleight of Voice. The Olympics organizers faced a dilemma when choosing the child to sing “Ode to the Motherland” at the opening ceremony. While they decided that seven year old Yang Peiyi had the best voice, they didn’t think she was as “flawless” as nine year old Lin Miaoke. The production team decided to use Yan Peiyi’s voice and put Lin Miaoke on stage. General music designer Chen Qigang justified this decision by explaining that “we must put our country’s interest first.” What a terrible message to send to both of the girls involved. One girl is told she’s not pretty enough, and the other is told she’s not talented enough. Peiyi told China Central Television that she is ok with it and is just happy that her voice was used in the performance. Miaoke’s father said that his daughter wasn’t upset by the news and that she “doesn’t care who sang the song, as long as she performed.” He added, “I don’t care about this either. The only thing I care about is that my daughter will not get hurt by this. She’ll understand when she grows up.”

Hoyden About Town blogs about the objectification of female athletes in the Olympics. The side by side comparisons of men and women athletes show that there is definitely a double standard when it comes to uniforms for male and female Olympians. As Lauredhel points out, “It’s not about faster, higher, stronger. Women in sports are promoted as sexualised bodies for ogling; men are promoted as performers.”

Olympic medal-winning women called “gold-diggers.” According to Feministing, Sydney Morning Herald published a picture of the Australian women’s 4×200 relay swim team with the caption, “Shock Result for Aussies Gold Diggers.” They have since changed the caption to “The Fab Four.”

Over at the Feministing community blog, there is a post about the sexualization of female Olympians. Another blogger wrote this post analyzing Buzz Bissinger’s “Creep Show” article in The New York Times.

The XY Games. This New York Times article examines the practice of subjecting female athletes to tests to verify that they are women. Jennifer Finney Boylan examines the difficulties in attempting to define gender in rigid, binary terms and arrives at this conclusion: “Maybe this means that Olympic officials have to learn to live with ambiguity, and make peace with a world in which things are not always quantifiable and clear.”


Slate posted this article about women’s uniforms in the table tennis competition. According to Yahoo Sports, the vice president of the International Table Tennis Federation is telling women players to wear skirts and shirts “with more curves” to attract viewers. Of course, he isn’t requesting that the men change their uniforms. It’s not right to ask the women players to change the way they dress since it obviously has nothing to do with functionality. The players should be able to wear whatever they choose, and the focus should be on their performance.

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Feminism, Sexism | , | Leave a comment