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This is the global Feminist Blogs aggregator. It collects articles from many smaller community hubs within the Feminist Blogs network. For stories from particular places, groups, or other communities within our movement, check out some of these sites.

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December feminist shopping at In Other Words!

Wow, did you know that, in the United States, women-identified adults comprise 85% of all consumer purchases?! Yep, that’s a thing. And that means that consumer purchasing is inherently a feminist issue due to the incredible amount of purchasing power we have in consumerist culture.

So, next time we’re out and about looking for just that perfect gift, let’s remember to always strive to shop ethically, responsibly, and with a feminist mindset that supports local artisans and local shops. And what better way to kick it off than by heading on over to In Other Words Feminist Community Center!

We’re open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12PM – 7PM for all your feminist artisan craft and literature needs.  And, for the fourth year in a row, we’re staying open late and hosting a super exciting feminist holiday open house right here at In Other Words on Thursday December 4th! You can get a head start on stocking up on gifts for your friends and chosen families, as well as enjoying some snacks and mingling with friends, new and old!  Our new board of directors will be there to welcome you, as will many of our volunteers.

Are you introverted and want to sprint in the other direction at the sheer mention of “mingling”? Have no fear! We’ve got several comfy couches and lots of great new books and magazines for you to curl up and read.

To whet your appetite and get you excited, here are some little juicy morsels of titilating joy, created and crafted and consigned and for sale by local feminist artists:





PatchesPatches_BiFeministPlayingCards_Pins feministcardsArt_ComeAllFeministPlayingCards_King



Postcard_IOWholidays Print_OneWLightholiday 2012 something greenCards


TOTE BAGS to carry your books and magazines!





In Other Words Feminist Community Center is an all-volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Childish idealism, permeable ego boundaries and identity

Conservative commentator blames single moms and “women’s lib” for police violence

As I mentioned yesterday, it was probably only a matter of time before someone found a way to blame feminism for the police violence that’s taken center stage in the national conversation in the last few weeks. Conservative commentator Dr. Ben Carson’s attempt to tie the murders of black men at the hands of the police back to the “women’s lib movement” and the “Me generation” of the ’60s in an interview on American Family Radio’s “Today’s Issues” is truly a sight to behold. 

“Certainly in a lot of our inner cities, particularly in the black inner cities, where 73 percent of the young people are born out of wedlock, the majority of them have no father figure in their life. Usually the father figure is where you learn how to respond to authority. So now you become a teenager, you’re out there, you really have no idea how to respond to authority, you eventually run into the police or you run into somebody else in the neighborhood who also doesn’t know how to respond but is badder than you are, and you get killed or you end up in the penal system.”

He went on to agree with host Lauren Kitchens Steward that a culture of “entitlement” dominates the young generation — and claims we must have learned it from our selfish, feminist baby boomer mothers.

“I think a lot of it really got started in the ’60s with the ‘Me’ generation. ‘What’s in it for me?'” Carson said. “I hate to say it, but a lot of it had to do with the women’s lib movement. You know, ‘I’ve been taking care of my family, I’ve been doing that, what about me?’ You know, it really should be about us.”

Scapegoating single mothers for every social problem under the sun — and blaming the “women’s lib movement” for convincing American women that they didn’t have to stay in unhappy marriages — is, of course, a favorite conservative tactic. It would certainly be convenient for them if this analysis had literally anything to do with reality and wasn’t instead a way of trying to distract from the fact that the very problems single mothers get blamed for — like, for instance, child poverty — were often created and maintained by conservative policies.

It’s no different went it comes to police violence in communities of color. Putting aside the fact that it’s just untrue that the majority of kids “born out of wedlock” lack a father figure — most “single” mothers have partners and most “unwed” dads are a daily presence in their kids’ lives — if we want to talk about absent fathers in low-income, black communities, we should probably talk about where some of those dads are. We should talk about how conservative politicians launched a racist War on Drugs that’s quadrupled our prison population over the last few decades by disproportionately locking up black and brown men for breaking minor drug laws that everyone in the damn country breaks.

And if we’re going to talk about what happens when black kids “run into the police,” we should probably drop the implicit conceit that this is some random occurrence, when, of course, the police come to you, and they come to black folks in Ferguson more than they do to white people — just like they do, on the individual and community levels, across the US. This creates such enormous racial disparities in Americans’ interactions with the police that while the NYPD is making more stop and frisk stops of black men than there are black men in New York City, in my 28 years living as a white woman in large urban centers of this country, I can count the number of times I’ve “run into the police” on one hand. This is not a game of chance — this is the consequence of policies that have embedded structural racism in the policing and criminal legal system.

And, above all, if we’re going to talk about what black kids learn about how to “respond to authority,” we should probably tell the truth — which is exactly the opposite of Carson’s claim. If anyone understands — on a deep, visceral level — how much learning to “respond to authority” matters to their futures — to their very survival — it is young black men. Even before they learn it through their thousands of interactions with “authority” on the streets and in every institution they encounter, they learn from their parents — those parents that Carson demonizes, those parents desperately trying to keep their kids safe in a world stacked against them — that their lives may depend on it.


New Book Club Selection

This semester’s book club was pretty much a disaster. We all agreed that Teaching Naked is useless and offensive to our sensibilities as educators. The teaching methodologies offered in that book are supremely unsuited to our students. We don’t cater to spoiled rich babies who demand constant entertainment and are enamored of their costly gadgets. After we expressed our dislike for the book, the discussions kind of came to an end because there wasn’t much else to say.

So for next semester, a very different kind of reading was chosen for the faculty book club. Our book club selections are not made by the faculty. Rather, the books get assigned (based on some mysterious principle) by a single staff member in the Office for Faculty Development. Basically, this staff member decides how to develop the faculty members without seeking any input from said faculty. The book chosen for next semester is Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices. What say you, gentle readers? Should I join the club next semester? 

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Gaming journalist forwards rape threats she gets from young boys to their mothers

Remember the woman who received an unsolicited dick pic and sent it on to the guy’s mother? Well, an Australian video game journalist is taking a similar approach to the rape threats she receives in social media — which she’s been seeing an uptick in these days thanks to GamerGate

Pearce had the idea when she realized many of the threats were coming from young boys who didn’t necessarily “know any better.” And who better to have a conversation about why it is unacceptable behavior to tell random strangers online that “i’ll rape u if i ever see you cunt” than their moms?

“It was just a way to try to reach a resolution, to productively teach young boys it’s not okay to be sexist to women, even if they’re on the internet,” she told The Guardian, “that they are real people and that there should be actual consequences for that.”

Well done.


Malcolm X: “We’re Nonviolent With People Who Are Nonviolent With Us”

In the 5min speech below, Malcolm X makes an argument in favor of violence when violence is called for.


We are peaceful people, we are loving people. We love everybody who loves us. But we don’t love anybody who doesn’t love us. We’re nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us. But we are not nonviolent with anyone who is violent with us.

Whatever kind of action program can be devised to get us the thing that are ours by right, then I’m for that action no matter what the action is.

I don’t think when a man is being criminally treated, that some criminal has the right to tell that man what tactics to use to get the criminal off his back. When a criminal starts misusing me, I’m going to use whatever necessary to get that criminal off my back.

And the injustice that has been inflicted on Negros in this country by Uncle Sam is criminal…


(View original at

Fast Posts, 12/2/14: On Child Prodigies, Women in Science and Partisan Gerrymandering in the US

This story about Eugenie de Silva, a sixteen-year-old child prodigy (a Harvard graduate doing a PhD) raises all sorts of interesting questions about child prodigies.  Does the arc of their careers continue with the same gradient or do they peak earlier?  How harmful is it to be so different from your friends of the same age?

But it also has one of those dingleberry seeds which I've had to swallow many times:

It’s these glimpses of typical adolescent behavior that have sometimes made Eugenie a target. Female, and of Sri Lankan heritage, she has been haunted by jealousy and racial and sex discrimination. During her graduate studies, she has had to defend herself and her position on certain arguments – sometimes as the only woman in the classroom.
“More and more men started attacking me even when they were putting forth those same ideas and if I would put forth that idea they would come and belittle my comments,” she says.
It is Isabella Karle's birthday today.  She is 93 and a very famous crystallographer who worked together with her husband Jerome.  In 1985 Jerome Karle received the Nobel Prize for his work.  Alas, poor Isabella did not.  Smells of sexism, if you ask me, though Dr. Karle herself states she didn't mind not getting that one award, given that she received so many others.

That's a nice thought.  But Nobel Prizes are not awarded on that basis.  Nobody looks into your award basket to see if it might already be too full. 

This example does, however, raise an interesting question:  Is discrimination on the basis of race or sex or sexual preference AOK if the person experiencing it doesn't care?

My view is that it is not AOK, because each case that slips through or is condoned will make another case more likely in the future.

A fascinating study looks at the effects of partisan gerrymandering in the US.  A snippet:

In 2012, Democratic U.S. House candidates in North Carolina received 81,190 more votes that Republicans. Republicans received just under half of the votes earned by the two parties. And yet, the GOP walked away with 9 of the state’s 13 congressional districts. So, despite the fact that they earned just over 49 percent of the two-party vote, Republicans won nearly 70 percent of the state’s congressional seats.
That's because of gerrymandering.  But could it be an unexpected side effect of creating districts based on logical criteria:  That they are contiguous, compact and close to the same size in population.

The researchers ran eight different simulations to see how many Democrats and Republicans would have been elected into the US House from North Carolina under each of the scenarios in the simulations.  What they found was this:

Seven of the eight simulations did not produce a single map where Democrats won less than five congressional seats, assuming that every voter who cast a vote for a Democrat or a Republican in 2012 would have cast the same vote under the simulated maps. The one simulation that did produce a handful of outlier maps where Democrats won only four seats did so “in less than 5% of the samples.”
In short, the evidence is pretty strong that the actual redistricting in North Carolina was not based on the logical criteria of contiguity, compactness and identical population sizes, or not on those alone.

Ian Millhiser, the author of the article, suggests that the Supreme Court now has evidence to help it decide when gerrymandering is aimed at blocking the will of the people and could use it to rule better on partisan gerrymandering cases.  But, alas and alack, that is extremely unlikely.

#ILGiveBig on #GivingTuesday

This #GivingTuesday Illinois organizations are asking us to give big - #ILGiveBig. Organized by the Donors Forum, you can search for an Illinois organization where you can donate. But if you don't want to do the searching here is a list of my recommendations:
  • Chicago Abortion Fund: They support women who are in need of financial assistance to make their health care decision to terminate a pregnancy a reality. I served on as the co-chair of CAF's board for a few years and their work is transformational to the women they serve.
  • H.O.M.E.: Simply put, they help seniors stay in their homes, find new homes when necessary and are basically awesome. A dear friend works for them so I am quite familiar with the awesome things they do and trust that any donation goes the distance.
  • Access Living: They foster the dignity, pride, and self-esteem of people with disabilities and enhances the options available to them so they may choose and maintain individualized and satisfying lifestyles.
  • Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana
  • Chicago Foundation for Women: Helping to meet the giving gap for women and girls issues.
I also recommend the Chicago Community Trust, our region's biggest foundation.

The Broad Side also has a list of great orgs to support. 

Have fun!
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#Feminist #GivingTuesday

Yeehaw, it’s #GivingTuesday!

Tuesday, December 2nd 2014 is a global day dedicated to giving back to our communities.  All day, non-profits, families, businesses, individuals, community centers, feminists, activists, and students around the world will come together for a common purpose: to celebrate generosity, and to give.

It’s a simple idea:  think of who/what your community is, who/what is in your neighborhood, who/what you define as your network, who/what you’d like to support.  And then make a financial gift to that who/what, if you’re able.  Additionally, perhaps you could spread the word by writing about it on social media or picking up the phone.

In no small thanks to suggestions from our twitter followers, here is a short list of local places right here in our communities to consider when choosing where to lend your financial gift on Giving Tuesday:

Happy giving!  Regardless of what else you do on #GivingTuesday, please at least do this: turn to the person next to you and ask them if they’d like a hug. If they say yes and consent, then give away a hug!

Have a great #GivingTuesday, Portland. You are valued, appreciated, and worth it!


the volunteers at In Other Words Feminist Community Center

19th Bday Group

P.S. got a suggestion for more places? Let us know in the comment window below and we’d love to add it to the list!

P.P.S. come celebrate generosity and feminist community-building this week at our fourth annual Holiday Party!  

In Other Words Feminist Community Center is an entirely volunteer-run 501(c)3 non-profit.

Reducing Open Enrollment Headaches!

President Obama Signs Health Insurance Legislation Into Law by Pete Souza
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Far too many of my friends are underinsured or have no insurance at all. That is why I was a proponent for the Affordable Care Act or ACA. But I know that just because we have access to ACA things are fine and dandy either. For many people it can be overwhelming to choose an insurance plan. I know when it is open enrollment time for my workplace insurance plan I hid my head because it was confusing enough to select a plan the first time around.

That is why I am partnering with UnitedHealthcare to bring you helpful videos to make selecting an ACA plan a little easier for you. The first thing is to check out their Open Enrollment Guide to help you figure out what you should be thinking about when selecting a plan.

Another aspect of health insurance that you should keep in mind is the differing cost of treatment and procedures. Before ACA, friend of VLF, Kathie Bergquist, Editor in Chief of Ms. Fit Magazine, had been covering herself with the same plan since grad school:
As an adjunct professor, I don't receive health insurance through my employer. Up until earlier this year, I never used my insurance for anything other than routine check-ups. Then, this past winter, I was hospitalized for a severe asthma attack; almost as soon as I was out of the hospital, I received a notice that *former insurance company* was jacking my premium by more than $100/month, from $328 to $430. In the ongoing treatments I required, I came to realize that my exiting plan was pretty terrible. It covered absolutely no diagnostic care; I had to pay 100% of all tests, etc., plus for any doctor visits outside of my annual exam. I never realized how limited my plan was because I'd never really had to use it before, and I had it for a long time. So, I'm getting all these tests and follow up doctor visits, getting billed 100% for them, Also, there was no prescription coverage, and I was put on medicine that costs $300/month. AND I was still paying my insurance premium, and when I turned 45, the raised it again -- to $460, for terrible, useless coverage.

The open enrollment period couldn't open up quickly enough for me.
Through the website, I was able to get a platinum insurance plan with no deductible, PLUS pretty good dental coverage for $100/month less than the monthly premium for my worthless *former* plan. Now I know that I can continue to receive the medical care I need (and some overdue dental work) without having to worry about it bankrupting me or ruining my credit. Such a relief! I'm glad to know that I will actually be getting what I am paying for. 

And if you don't know what a deductible is, you should know because it is an important part of your health insurance plan. 

So hopefully you know a little more about what you should be considering as you go through the menu of options in your state marketplace or the national marketplace. And if you are like me, I have learned that we should also be checking out our deductibles and out-of-pocket fees on a regular basis. I am guilty of sticking with a plan unless I change jobs or a carrier is dropped.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by UnitedHealthcare to create this post. 
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