Blog update

As you might have noted, I haven’t posted anything here in awhile.  It’s not for lack of sheroes, just lack of time.  What I’ve decided to do, at least for now, is focus on the Feminist Peace Network blog.  I will continue to post about sheroes there, so I hope you’ll check that out.  Hopefully at a later date, I’ll be able to revive this blog as well.


A Catholic Nun speaks out about those pesky Monologues

Sr. Mary Eve has written a beautiful defense of the Vagina Monologues because as she eloquently says, they celebrate “the beauty of the vagina, in direct contrast to the message that women have often had to internalize – that it is dirty and not to be touched.”

Her essay contains a wonderful quote from Eve Ensler, author of the Monologues explaining why they are so important,

“Slowly, it dawned on me that nothing was more important than stopping violence toward women – that the desecration of women indicated the failure of human beings to honor and protect life and that this failing would, if we did not correct it, be the end of us all. I do not think I am being extreme. When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury, and terrorize women, you destroy the essential life energy on the planet. You force what is meant to be open, trusting, nurturing, creative, and alive to be bent, infertile, and broken.”

Sr. Mary Eve suggests an alternatve response from the Catholic Church which would honor the lives of women:

“Taking our cue from Jesus, if the Church stopped protesting the Monologues and instead started engaging women in an honest, healthy and mature dialogue, perhaps “The Vagina Monologues” would no longer be necessary. Until then, I’m afraid we women will have to remain content with a monologue and pray that someone is, at the very least, listening.

Why keeping the vagina in Valentine’s Day is important

Now that I’ve got your attention…Jessica Valenti and Ann Friedman have put together some outstanding commentary about the far right’s efforts to trash V-Day. Check out Jessica’s video and Ann’s written critique.

Jocelynne Scutt on exclusion of women in group investigating coup in Fiji

Human rights lawyer Jocelynne Scutt has a wonderful opinion piece out about the importance of including women in the Eminent Persons Group that has been tasked with investigating the recent coup in Fiji. Prior to the coup, women were a very important part of the effort to stop the government takeover. It is quite ironic that the name “Eminent Persons Group” is gender-neutral but yet no women are included, which is all too typical in commissions of this sort. Scutt writes,

“Not a single woman figures in the Eminent Persons Group lineup. To anyone living in the 21st century, this should be an obvious omission for many reasons.

Not the least is that many wise and powerful women are a part of the Pacific nations making up the Forum. Equally obvious, Fijian women – wise and powerful themselves – have a right to know that their issues, concerns, perceptions and understandings vis-à-vis the coup, their country and the way for the future will be paid proper attention.”

Scutt goes on to explain very eloquently why this is a violation of United Nations Resollution 1325 which mandates, “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building” and why it important that this be rectified.

Sheroes of the free press

Last week I attended the 3rd National Conference on Media Reform.  The number of women speakers and panelists as well as the recognition of gender as a media reform issue was significantly better than the last conference where gender issues were invisibilized and women’s representation among presenters was token at best.  This conference started off with a wonderful women’s networking breakfast and included a number of wonderful, dynamic women such as Helen Thomas, Amy Goodman, Malkia Cyril, Sonali Kolhatkar, Jennifer Pozner, Deepa Fernandes and many more.

Perhaps the highlight in terms of putting gender on the media table was Jane Fonda’s plenary speech Continue reading

Lynn Woolsey’s Plan for withdrawal from Iraq

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) has come up with a comprehensive proposal to withdraw our troops from Iraq. Her plan includes the following points:

  • Withdraw all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq within six months from the date of enactment.
  • Accelerate, during the six-month transition, training of a permanent Iraqi police force.
  • Prohibit the continued funding, except for the redeployment of troops currently in Iraq, of combat troops to Iraq.
  • Prohibit any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. (Despite official denials, bases are under construction, including one that includes a miniature golf course and a Pizza Hut).
  • Authorize, if requested by the Iraqi government, U.S. support for an international stabilization force, which would stay no longer than two years.
  • Prohibit U.S. participation in any long-term Iraqi oil production sharing agreements before the enactment by the Iraqi government of new regulations governing the industry.
  • Authorize an array of non-military assistance in Iraq, including reconstruction of a public-health system; destruction of land mines, recovery of ancient relics; and distribution of compensatory damages for civilian casualties.
  • Honor the sacrifice of our servicemen and women by providing full funding for every health-care treatment, and benefit that they are entitled to under current law.

Please write to your representatives and let them know that you support the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act!

Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf brings positive change during first year of her presidency

Here in the U.S. we have this ongoing idiotic debate about whether this country is ready for a female president.  Yet with far less resources at her disposal, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s first year as president of Liberia makes clear that the real question is what are we waiting for?  After years of war and terror under the rule of Charles Taylor, who is under indictment from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, Johnson-Sirleaf has managed to turn the electricity back on in parts of Monrovia, fired corrupt officials and shored up Liberia’s economy, most notably by  negotiating a major  iron ore mining concession with Mittal Steel.

Imagine if we tried that kind of constructive government in the U.S., what a concept!