Women’s History Month Quiz

(via Feministing)

Deborah Siegel, over at Girl w/ Pen, is trying to start a little infectious blog quiz. If you’ve got one, paste these questions and add one of your own, then post it up at your blog so we can spread the knowledge.

1. In 2009, women make up what percent of the U.S. Congress?
A. 3%
B. 17%
C. 33%
D. 50%

2. How many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are female?
A. 12
B. 28
C. 59
D. 84

3. Who was the first First Lady to create her own media presence (ie hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column and a monthly magazine column, and host a weekly radio show)?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt
B. Jacqueline Kennedy
C. Pat Nixon
D. Hillary Clinton

4. The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress in:
A. 1923
B. 1942
C. 1969
D. 1971

5. Who was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
A. Phyllis Wheatley
B. Alice Walker
C. Toni Morrison
D. Maya Angelou

6. What percentage of union members are women today?
A. 10%
B. 25%
C. 35%
D. 45%

7. What year did the Griswold v. Connecticut decision guarantee married women the right to birth control?
A. 1960
B. 1965
C. 1969
D. 1950

8. The only person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different sciences was both female and Polish. She had a relative who won one as well. Those people are:
A. Marie Curie & her daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie
B. Marie Curie & her husband, Pierre Curie
C. Marie Curie & her son in law, Frederic Joliot-Curie
D. All of the above

Answers after the jump… & thanks to Prof. Megan Pickett for my question. Continue reading “Women’s History Month Quiz”

Another Reason to Crossdress

It’s a good reason for lizards, anyway:

Charlotte von Mahlsdorf

Young male lizards in South Africa imitate females to fool aggressive older males into leaving them alone, in an example of transvestism in the natural world, according to South African and Australian reaseachers. They found that young male Augrabies flat lizards (pictured) delayed

displaying the extravagent coloration of sexually-mature males until they were able to defend themselves adequately.

Of course in the natural world that means dressing down, as the males wear the bright colors and the females are something like dun.

Then again, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf seemed happy enough in her plain black house dresses.

More Wow

It’s really incredible: watching the Obamas walk hand-in-hand (which is beautiful in & of itself) to the White House just blows my mind. I’m not sure it’s actually sunk in yet that we actually pulled this off. Damn.

& What a mess he inherited, but still it’s incredible.

Here are some of the references made today, either directly or indirectly:

  • Lowery opened with the words of what’s called the “negro national anthem” – called “lift every voice and sing” – originally written to introduce Booker T Washington.
  • tanks into tractors = swords into plowshares. Interesting choice for a wartime president.
  • the reference in the poem not just to picking cotton but to picking lettuce, which was a reference to the UFW & Cesar Chavez.
  • Feinstein mentioned the ballot or the bullet, which is Malcolm X’s most famous speech.

Anyone catch any others?

Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba died on Sunday right after she finished a concert in Italy. She was a South African singer who I first discovered on a collection of music from the tv show Northern Exposure (of which I was, & am, a huge fan).

The Best of Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks – recorded in the 1950s – is one of my all-time spirit lifters; I have no idea what I’m singing but I sing along whenever these tracks come on. (I’d highly recommend this one, especially, to anyone who loves rocksteady.)

She had such a sparkling, clear voice – the kind that makes you think of beautiful sunny days.

Trans for Obama: 12 Days

Goal Thermometer

The Trans for Obama campaign continues! It’s your time to stand up & be counted, trans democrats, independents, and republicans! If you’re voting for Obama, why not make your vote count twice?

First, here’s a reminder of an event way early in the campaign that has been forgotten by the “they’re both against gay marriage” set: Obama made a point of shutting down homophobic sentiments when he could have just let the moment pass. For those who think that them both being against gay marriage means there’s no difference between them when it comes to LGBT issues, please remember that McCain chose a running mate who is for “ex gay” therapy.

Then go look at these photos. I love that this photographer just kind of knew – as did Richard Avedon (watch till the end) – that Obama would become President Obama. Look at the one of his shoes. Of him cleaning up the drips from his ice cream. At the faces of the young people listening to and looking at him.

My firm belief is that Obama is an extraordinary president for extraordinary circumstances. That we are in the latter is in no doubt, considering this week’s economic news; there are lay-offs happening in all sectors of the economy. That the former is true – that Obama is the right president for this time – is only something I can be sure of in my head and heart. His decision to run when he did, his unbelievable good planning with making it to the nomination = all of these things, the odds he’s beat, tell me that his time is now.

And now it is yours. Go out and vote – early, if you can, to avoid the lines, or on November 4th.

Trans for Obama: Obama Pride Says Thanks

Trans folks and partners and allies: you did good with the Trans for Obama campaign, so good, in fact, that the Obama campaign has blogged about our efforts:

Obama Pride is honored by the enthusiastic support of so many in the transgender community and we congratulate all the participants in Trans Blog for Obama day for their huge success!

We’re very proud of us, too, and of Obama Pride for keeping LGBT issues visible for us all.

What’s even more important is that one of my favorite bloggers has written a remarkable piece about Obama from the perspective of someone who is female, African-American, and trans. Monica Roberts is a shining star in this community, and wow is that apparent from this current post of hers. My apologies that she did not hear about Trans for Obama Day until noon on Monday; the event’s organization happened very quickly, and while I tried to get to everyone – and tell them to let everyone else they knew to get on board – Ms. Roberts should have gotten her own invitation.

Sara also has a new post up about why she’ll vote for Obama now instead of voting for Kucinich in protest. & That’s exactly what Monday – and indeed this whole Trans for Obama week – was all about.

More Death Shows: Cold Case

I watch a lot of death shows, as I call them – the forensics, the procedurals, the investiigation shows. I’m a big fan of Cold Case, especially: the premise is that they have to take on a cold case – a case where the leads died, mostly – and solve it. So there’s a kind of historical quality to it, and some of the early shows I saw involved a woman who got an abortion when it was still illegal, and another about a gay bashing. Every episode I’ve seen involving LGBT folks is sympathetic, like the one my mom saw about an FTM, and “Best Friends,” which I saw recently, about an inter-racial lesbian relationship in 1932; Tessa Thompson played the African American half of the couple, and wore some natty suits.

But I find this show’s real appeal is the cultural history & the music: because it’s historical, they play a lot of good shit when they’re recreating a scene in the 1950s, or 60s, or 1978, or 2004. Lo & behold, someone has compiled all of the music from all the different episodes. Like Episode 21, “Torn,” which has music by Bessie Smith and Jelly Roll Morton, or Episode 6, “Static” with Gene Vincent and Little Richard.

Musicheads, do check it out. They show hours & hours of it late at night on TNT.

NC Robo-Calls

I was recently in the running in a “Top Ten Female Bloggers” contest sponsored by WVWV.org, which, as it turns out, is the organization that seems to be behind some baffling robo-calls to voters in NC (amongst other places).

Now Women’s Voices is plunging North Carolina into the same confusion. State officials tell Facing South they are still receiving calls from frustrated and confused voters, wondering why “Lamont Williams” is offering to send them a “voter registration packet” after the deadline for mail-in registration for the primaries has passed.

In correspondence with North Carolina election officials, Women’s Voices founder and President Page Gardner merely said that the disruptive timing was an “unfortunate coincidence” — a strange alibi for a group with their level of resources and sophistication.

There are other questions about Women’s Voices’ outreach efforts. Although the group purports to be targeting “unmarried women,” their calls and mailings don’t fit the profile. Kevin Farmer in Durham, who first recorded the call, is a white male. Many of the recipients are African-American; Rev. Nelson Johnson, who is a married, male and African-American, reported that his house was called four times by the mysterious “Lamont Williams.”

Please let anyone you know in North Carolina that these robo-calls are probably illegal & contain misleading information. How much WVWV’s intent is to buck up Clinton’s chances in the primary remain to be seen, but in a state where something like 45% of the voters are African-American, sending voters confusing and wrong information is anti-democratic. If it’s intentional, then I’d call it racist, too.

White feminists, you’re really fucking up here.

(via Daily Kos).

Fuck Seal Press?

I came back from visiting Betty upstate to find out that there is a huge mess involving Seal Press (my publishers) which came right on the heels of BFP’s departure last week.

So without pointing out every phrase and person involved, I’ll just say a few things as a white feminist who really only consciously became a feminist after reading Michele Wallace, and who, for nearly 10 years, worked for author Walter Mosley, who has written and talked about the absence of POC in the publishing industry, specifically.

The under representation of WOC in publishing has been a problem for a long time. The under representation of POC has been as well, in general. It’s not just chronic; it’s really fucking awful. Continue reading “Fuck Seal Press?”

Race + LGBT

I heard Jasmyne Cannick speak at the Bodies of Knowledge conference at USC Upstate, and the focus of her talk was race and the LGBT community. She made a couple of important points about the failures of the white LGBT set in dealing with black LGBT people. I use “black” because she did; she mentioned that she dislikes the phrase “people of color” but didn’t explain why exactly.

One of her main issues was that minorities are often used to trump up “diversity” numbers for primarily white LGBT organizations but aren’t then given any real power to choose issues within those organizations. Gay marriage in particular was way down on her list of priorities, after things like universal healthcare, jobs, access to education, immigration, access to power/politicians, and other issues of poverty. Her point was that in LA, it’s the white LGBT who live in West Hollywood, but that black LGBT people tend to live in their neighborhoods of birth: Compton, East LA, etc., exactly because of the issues of dicrimination and access.

As she put it: “Just because someone doesn’t agree with you that gay marriage is the most important issue doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be at the table.” Continue reading “Race + LGBT”

He Can Say It

From The Stranger:

Obama’s rally in Beaumont today was the highest-energy of this Texas swing, with a crowd that was about three-quarters black cheering at almost every turn.

An interesting moment came when he was asked a question about LGBT rights and delivered an answer that seemed to suit the questioner, listing the various attributes—race, gender, etc.—that shouldn’t trigger discrimination, to successive cheers. When he came to saying that gays and lesbians deserve equality, though, the crowd fell silent.

So he took a different tack:

“Now I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday,” he said, to a sudden wave of noisy applause and cheers. “I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian,” he said, and the crowd seemed to come along with him this time.

(Do notice the comment left by Dan Savage. It’s #9.)

Being LGBT Globally

This list was compiled by Chuck Laird from information he found at Wiki.

Algeria – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Angola – Labor Camps
Antigua and Barbuda – 15 Years in Prison
Bahrain – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Bangladesh – 10 Years to Life in Prison
Barbados – Life in Prison
Belize – 10 Years in Prison
Benin – 3 Years in Prison
Bhutan – 1 Month to 1 Year in Prison
Botswana – A Fine to 7 Years in Prison
Brunei – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Cameroon – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Cook Islands – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Djibouti – 10 to 12 Years in Prison
Dominica – 10 Years in Prison
Egypt – 5 Years in Prison
Eritrea – 3 to 10 Years in Prison
Ethiopia – 10 Days to 3 Years in Prison
Gambia – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Ghana – Not Known
Grenada – 10 Years in Prison
Guinea – 6 Months to 3 Years in Prison
Guinea Bissau – Labor Camps
India – A Fine to Life in Prison
Iran – Death
Jamaica – 10 Years Hard Labor
Kenya – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Kiribati – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Kuwait – A Fine to 7 Years in Prison
Lebanon – A Fine to 1 Year in Prison
Lesotho – Not Known
Liberia – A Fine
Libya – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Malawi – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Malaysia – A Fine to 20 Years in Prison
Mauritania – Death
Mauritius – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Morocco – 6 Months to 3 Years in Prison
Mozambique – Labor Camps
Myanmar/Burma – 10 Years to Life in Prison
Namibia – Not Known
Nauru – 14 Years Hard Labor
Nepal – A Fine to 1 Year in Prison
Nicaragua – 1 to 3 Years in Prison
Nigeria – 5 Years in Prison to Death
Niue – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Oman – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Pakistan – 2 Years to Life in Prison
Palau – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Palestine – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Papua New Guinea – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Qatar – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Saint Kitts and Nevis – 10 Years in Prison
Saint Lucia – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Saint Vincent and Grenadines – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Samoa – A Fine to 7 Years in Prison
Sao Tome and Principe – Labor Camps
Saudi Arabia – Death
Senegal – 1 Month to 5 Years in Prison
Seychelles – A Fine to 2 Years in Prison
Sierra Leone – Life in Prison
Singapore – 2 Years in Prison
Solomon Islands – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Somalia – 3 Months in Prison to Death
Sri Lanka – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Sudan – 5 Years in Prison to Death
Swaziland – A Fine
Syria – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Tanzania – A Fine to 25 Years in Prison
Togo – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Tokelau – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Trinidad and Tobago – 25 Years in Prison
Tunisia – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Turkmenistan – A Fine to 2 Years in Prison
Tuvalu – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Uganda – A Fine to Life in Prison
United Arab Emirates – Death
Uzbekistan – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Yemen – Flogging to Death
Zambia – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Zimbabwe – A Fine to 1 Year in Prison

Black Men Can’t Read?

It turns out young black men have a better chance of getting made fun of for reading books than for playing sports. Not news, I know, but the commentary on how that fact intersects with gender is:

John Thomas, superintendent of the Aliquippa School District, said the notion that black men who read books are less masculine is one that should be dispelled in the African-American community. “It’s just as powerful to carry a book as it is to carry a football or a basketball, because the power of knowledge is in the books,” he said. “If we prepare our bodies for the gridiron or the basketball court, to me it’s just as important to prepare your mind to survive in society. The body will soon wear out for athletic competition, but knowledge you have will carry you through life.”

What’s interesting to me is that the cultural forces that would discourage black men from learning – because being brainy isn’t considered “masculine” or “strong” – are exactly the opposite of the ones at play that have historically kept women from learning, who are/were told that being too brainy makes a woman “unfeminine.”

& When cultural forces say being smart isn’t masculine to one group, & too masculine to another, you know there’s something rotten in Denmark.

I’m Your Girl.

A woman on Hardball keeps referring to Hillary Clinton as a “radical feminist.” Um, for the record, Hillary Clinton is not & never was a radfem. Nope. Not. At. All.

What’s interesting is seeing an African American woman defend the use of the word “girl.” Interesting because I can’t imagine her defending an African American man being called or calling himself “boy.” For damn good reasons.

If Chris Matthews says “spunky” one more time I’m going to stuff a bra in his mouth.

I don’t care what Hillary calls herself. It was her vote on the war in Iraq that’s the problem.


I was talking to my friend Maurice when I got to see him recently, and commented that African American people are often quicker to clock trans women more easily or more often than others.

About a day later, he came up with the idea that perhaps that’s because hair doesn’t have the same gendered connotations for African American people as it does for white folks: as he pointed out, African American women will often have buzzcuts, or very short hair, or hair that is cornrowed close to the head – i.e., not the kind of hair that often indicates woman-ness in white culture. Likewise, African-American men sometimes have that long flowing hair – in the shape of dreadlocks – so that his theory was that they may not respond to hair as a gender marker as strongly as white folks due, & see through to other kinds of gender markers that white folks – distracted by hair – might not notice.

& Yes, Maurice is African-American.

Nawal al Saadawi

Nawal al Saadawi’s latest book, God Resigns in the Summit Meeting, was destroyed by her publisher. You might know her as a woman who spoke out about female genital mutilation, as both a doctor and victim. She was a political prisoner for many years. Complaints were made that the book was irreligious and offended religious sensibilities.

Simultaneously, she is talking to the general prosecutor in Egypt on behalf of her daughter, Dr. Mona Helmi, who suggested that children be named after their mothers & not their fathers, which resulted in her being accused of renouncing religion.

Not since Mary Wollstonecraft and Frankenstein author Mary Shelley have their been a mother-daughter pair like these two.

No Love Lost

I’m really astonished at the remarks Tim Hardaway made, in public, as a public figure. I’m glad to hear he got canned from the All Star game as a result, but I’m just really surprised. I probably shouldn’t be: after all, it was the jocks who often made me nervous in high school because I was different. But I also knew a lot of jocks who were really cool guys & who used their status to stand up for people who were different.

But wow. Tim Hardaway is a bigot. For some reason, that’s always so much more disappointing when it comes from a woman or a person of color or whatever other form of minority. & Yet years ago, when I was working at City College, bell hooks told me she’d never teach a class about James Baldwin again because she was so horrified by the homophobia expressed by her (largely African-American) students. I hope she has, & does, anyway.

I hope someone sat him down to watch Brother Outsider by now, at least, and that John Amaechi sells a truckload of books and educates as many basketball fans as Hardaway represents.

White Guilt

I made a cool & unusual discovery the other day: the channel that broadcasts a lot of sports & specifically the Yankees’ games, called the YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports) Network, also shows old episodes of the show White Shadow at 1am NY time. You folks who are as old or older than me remember it, don’t you? I loved it when I was a kid, but I was kind of surprised to hear it first ran when I was age nine until I was 12. Did I see it in reruns, or did I just not understand a bunch of the jokes?

It’s dated in certain ways – tight, short shorts on basketball players – but it’s a lot better than a lot of crap that’s on now. Little did I know, but it was the first ensemble drama on TV that had a predominantly African-American cast. Only one other show (Showtime’s Soul Food) with a predominantly African-American cast aired for longer, but the current show The Wire is only now about to beat them both.

& That’s pretty damned shocking, imho: only three dramas with African-American casts that had more than a couple of seasons since 1978? That’s just messed up.