I probably don’t have tell anyone here that last night was pretty great for vaginas.

Let’s get into the details.

  • For starters, the obvious. We have a pro-choice,
    pro-equality President for the next four years. We also have four Supreme Court
    justices well over the age of 70. (I predict we will see far fewer
    anti-abortion laws floated on the state level, because the pro-life movement’s
    hopes of one of those laws making it to the SC and being used to overturn
    Roe v. Wade just got turned upside-down.) http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/30/opinion/la-oe-chemerinsky-scotus-future-20121030
  • A record number of women will serve in the US Senate next
    term; 20, up from 17 this term, and more than double the number that served 15
    years ago. The new senators include the first openly gay woman (Tammy Baldwin,
    Wisconsin), the first female combat veteran (Tammy Duckworth, Illinois), and
    the first Asian-American woman (Mazie Hirono, Hawaii) to serve in the Senate.
  • All six female Senators who were running for reelection won; Maria Cantwell
    (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar
    (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
  • Female Senate candidacy broke records as well; Almost half of the 33 Senate
    races this year had serious female candidates, and in two races, both final
    candidates were female.

“Free to Be You and Me’ Turns 40

It’s hard to overstate the influence this album had on who I am, and I am endlessly grateful for it.

The first script I ever memorized came from it. My belief
that I can be anything I want to be came from it. It is one of my favorite
gifts to give expecting parents.

And it is still progressive and necessary.

This article is long, I haven’t read all of it yet – but I’m
thrilled to have the chance to learn more about the grown-up side of something
that did so much to shape me as a child.

Fifty Shades of Infuriating

Ok, this PISSES ME OFF.

The two candidates for US Senate in
New York are women. During their debate on Wednesday night, both were asked if
they’d read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’

Kirstin Gillibrand graduated magna cum
laude from Dartmouth, speaks Mandarin Chinese, and is an attorney who clerked for
the Second US Court of Appeals. She heads the Women’s Leadership Forum for the
DNC and served as special counsel for the Secretary of HUD during the Clinton administration.

In 2006, she beat a 4-term Republican incumbent to represent her district in
the US House of Representatives, and was reelected in 2008. When Hillary
Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, Gillibrand was appointed to fill her
US Senate seat, and won the 2010 special election to keep it. She was the first
member of Congress to publish her official schedule, earmark requests, and
personal financial statement. In 2008, she became the sixth woman to have a
child while serving in Congress, and worked up until the day of her delivery.

Wendy Long has never served in public office, so there’s
less information available about her. But she studied at Dartmouth,
Northwestern, and Harvard. She’s also an attorney who worked for two Senators
and for two courts, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, and
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

So why ask these two candidates, these particular two, if
they’ve read this book? I’ll tell you what I think the answer is. Because we as
a society are still unable to de-sexualize women long enough to take them
seriously as professionals. Because we are both titillated by reminding women
of this, and ashamed of ourselves for feeling that way. We want them to say yes
so we can think of them as dirty, and we want them to say no so we can think of
them as ‘good’. We are collectively caught up in a cultural ‘madonna/whore’
fantasy that leaves us with a political process that’s about as mature as an
episode of Beavis and Butthead.

I dearly hope some renegade debate moderator in the next
week asks two male candidates somewhere if they read Penthouse, and brings this
shit up when people freak out.

http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/10/18/1043261/kristen-gillibrand-wendy-long-fifty-shades-of-grey/

The Science of Women Silencing Themselves

This past June, Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown was barred from speaking on the House floor after she used the word “vagina” while debating a proposed anti-abortion bill. It was one of the stories that led to the creation of Vagina News.

I felt a strong connection to the story – not initially because of the word “vagina”, or the fact that it’s unquestionably relevant to a discussion about abortion – but because I’m all too familiar with the experience of being pressured into silence in a predominantly male group. I suspect most women are.

A recently published study puts science behind that shared
experience. Researchers found that, in collaborative group settings, “the time
that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional
representation—amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke.”
It also found that groups reached dramatically different conclusions when
making decisions by secret ballot vs. open voting, suggesting that women are
often pressured into siding with the male majority.

I have not read the full 15-page report, but I plan to;
Google “Gender Inequality in Deliberative Participation” if you’d like to join me. You’ll also find a number of interesting articles about it by Googling ‘American Political Science Review woman speak less.’

For my part, I’m going to keep speaking my mind in spite of
pressure to the contrary, and thank you in advance for cheering me on when it
gets me into trouble.