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a road trip, a blog, a book

TV and abortion: some good news and bad news…

January 27th, 2010 · No Comments

I’ve never forgiven television’s hesitance to shy away from the word “abortion.” Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, it’s a reality, it’s an issue a lot of people care about…and it’s not like women are going to go rush out and have an abortion just because they hear the actual word and not some “shmashmortion” substitute. I understand the fear of the pro-life lobby, and let’s not even get into the fact that nobody actually has an abortion on TV. But come on–are we so puritanical that we have to muzzle even the word?

Happily, this seems to be changing. The week of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (last Friday the 22nd), there were two, count em two shows! that wrestled with abortion in (according to Women & Hollywood blogger Melissa Silverstein) a respectful and nuanced way. SPOILER: one teen has an abortion, one doesn’t. But still–progress. I’m sure the pattern of most women either choosing to carry, conveniently miscarrying (remember Kelly’s miscarriage on the old 90210?), or feeling horrible guilt (like Claire from Six Feet Under) is not going away. But at the very least it seems like there are honest discussions going on about young women and the reality of their sexual choices.

Now for the bad news: as you may have heard, Focus on the Family, an anti-choice group, will run the first-ever anti-abortion Superbowl ad since Sunday. It features Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, who cleverly (and maddeningly) is framing it as a noble, personal choice: “Some people won’t agree with it, you know, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe,” he said.

The thing is: I wouldn’t be so mad if CBS had a habit of airing advocacy ads. But they don’t. In fact, they have a strict policy not to. They’ve rejected ads for being “too controversial” from, PETA, and the United Church of Christ, the last of which is the most benign religious ad I’ve ever seen! (Watch the ad after the jump.)

SO: up until this week, television shows were afraid to even say the word abortion–but CBS can make room for an extreme rightwing organization’s ad condemning it.

I know, I know…it’s all about money. But damn. I was trying to be less cynical in 2010.

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→ No CommentsTags: Young Women in the Media

Back! And plans for 2010

January 26th, 2010 · No Comments

Soooo yeah, I couldn’t quite make it in Brazil in terms of posting…wow did I need that vacation. Also, the internet wasn’t at my beck and call. Ahh, the days without a Blackberry….

Anyway, I will write a real post tomorrow, but I wanted to tell everyone my plan for 2010: Guest-bloggers. Lots of them. Consider this an invitation to write three posts (or more) on some issue or topic affecting young women, feminism, and/or youth activism. Not only is maintaining a blog all by your lonesome a very time-consuming task, but it also completely violates the spirit of Girldrive! I’m feeling like “Your 2 Cents” is not enough–I want to include longer, more detailed, focused posts from young women, preferably those who don’t yet have this kind of venue to express their thoughts. I also want to hear from men and older generations, as long as you have something to say about young feminism!

Email me at if you’re interested in this. It’s about time mirrored Girldrive the book a little bit more!

→ No CommentsTags: Girldrive News

Brazilian vacay time!

January 8th, 2010 · No Comments

I won’t be posting much at all until January 25, when I get back from chilling in Salvador Brazil! I spent some time there in 2007 and loved it so much that I’m back for more. BUT I’ll have internet there, so I’ll probably put up a few posts–maybe some Brazilian feminist perspectives!

→ No CommentsTags: Girldrive News · Roadtripping

Your 2 Cents: Annie

January 6th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Note: I frequently feature readers’ answers to one or more of the questions Emma and I asked on our road trip. Find out how to submit here. This entry features an L.A. lady in honor of my appearance today on KPFK radio at 7:30 p.m. PST! Tune into 90.7 FM or stream here.

Annie: 22, lives in Los Angeles, web host for SHETV’s G.I.R.L, rape prevention educator, writing workshop facilitator for homeless women in Los Angeles, band mate, Feminist Majority Foundation intern, student.

Do you consider yourself a feminist; why or why not?

Yes! And very much so. I identify as a feminist because it has added so much to my life. All through my life I have had feelings of insecurity and fear of being myself. It took me a long time to realize exactly how I define myself, and what I believe in (as is the case for most young women I assume). When I found feminism in college I saw it as a word to describe me. I believe in equal rights for everyone, I believe everyone has a right to be who they are and define and change themselves any way they want to. But how feminism really touched me was in the work of how young women are socialized by the media. I saw that we do not really get a chance to define ourselves when we are processed by this machine. When I began to see just how much this effects our lives, I was able to connect my feelings of never feeling good enough or not knowing who I am, with this image I was choking on. Now that I have feminism I can breathe. On top of that it stands for some great issues I believe in.

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Your 2 Cents

Your daily fill of Aronowitz family radio

January 5th, 2010 · No Comments

I will be on Pacifica KPFK tomorrow at around 7:30 p.m. PST, talking about Girldrive on the station’s Feminist Magazine show. This is my first specifically West Coast engagement–hopefully there will be more with my Bay Area Girldrive readings coming up! Be sure to tune into 90.7 FM tomorrow or stream here.

Also, I don’t talk much on this blog about my dad, professor of sociology, radical political activist, and labor organizer Stanley Aronowitz, since my mom was the more explicitly feminist of the two. But my dad’s books and activism center a lot on social justice issues, cultural studies, education, economics, etc. etc. which obviously affects and encompasses feminism. Tomorrow, he will be on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show (which I was on a couple months ago!), to talk about the future of manufacturing jobs. Although my father sometimes depresses me with his too-true-for-comfort reality checks, he knows a shitload about this stuff and spells it out in layperson’s terms, so you should definitely tune in at around 11:25 a.m. tomorrow at 93.9 FM or stream here.

P.S. It’s his birthday tomorrow, too, so if you want to call in and embarrass him, feel free!

→ No CommentsTags: Generations · Girldrive News · Grass Routes

Q & A with Heather Corinna, pro-sex feminist and activist

January 4th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Continuing with my sex ed series (which I didn’t realize I was doing, but I guess I am!), may I present a convo I recently had with the pro-sex feminist bad-ass, Heather Corinna. Heather is the thirtysomething director of Scarleteen, the most popular sex-ed web resource for teens, a veteran feminist activist and author of S-E-X. Here, Heather recalls her feminist and sexual awakening and tells me what she hopes for the next generation of women.

P.S. I tried to get this up for the New Year in time for the official Scarleteen fundraiser deadline, but I’m sure they won’t refuse your money now! Seriously, Scarleteen needs to survive–it is an essential resource for teens, considering all the false and harmful info there is out there. (Miriam Grossman, I’m looking at you.)

How did Scarleteen get started in the first place?

I launched the site in 1998. It originally started as a website called Scarlet Letters, focusing on women’s sexuality. At that time, there were very few things about sex online at all that weren’t porn. So I launched this site and started getting questions from younger people. I’m a teacher by background, so I thought, “Let me at least find somewhere to refer these kids to,” but there wasn’t any place. So I just went ahead and started Scarleteen.

When did you start relating to feminism?

I’ve been a feminist for a while. I did some Women’s Studies in college, but it was just kind of the era in which I grew up. Title IX passed when I was 9. I grew up in Chicago, in a poor but progressive community, so it was tough for us to really miss feminism, which was up front and center. I absolutely walked into the door doing Scarleteen as a really active feminist. [Read more →]

→ 3 CommentsTags: Generations · Girls with Drive · Grass Routes · Sex Ed Series · Stop chastising young people

Girldrive on Womanist Musings

January 4th, 2010 · No Comments

Even though Emma and I were always hyper-aware of interviewing a diverse cross-section of women for Girldrive, so far I’ve noticed that the feminist press covering the book has appeared on relatively mainstream spaces. So I was glad when I got a chance to talk with Renee from Womanist Musings and Monica from TransGriot last night, and really delve into issues of race, disability, and other forms of marginalization and tensions within gender activism.

As I mention in the last part of the interview, my hope for the next decade is to break down the echo chamber a bit–feminists and gender activists need to get out of their comfort zones and confront invisibility issues head-on. We need to follow the lead of women like these, stop allowing the mainstream media to narrow down the definition of feminism, and expand this conversation to everyone–not only minorities but everyday non-professional activists, men, Republicans, rural women. Everyone.

Check out our convo here (not sure how to embed it).

→ No CommentsTags: Girls with Drive · Grass Routes · Redefining Feminism

Girldrive on “Anyone But Me”!

December 29th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Girldrive is stealthily featured on this week’s episode of “Anyone But Me,” a teen web show that just started its second season this month. It’s probably the first queer-themed show aimed at teenage girls, a kind of baby L Word (Susan Miller, one of the creators, also wrote/produced the L Word) that follows New York City teenagers dealing with sexuality and other dramas-of-the-moment. It’s addictive–I watched the whole first season in a row–and clearly has excellent taste in books!

Girldrive appears at around the 2:50 mark:

→ 4 CommentsTags: Girldrive News · Young Women in the Media

Newsflash: young women can think for themselves

December 28th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Excuse me, but why are there still  articles like these coming out about how young women neglected to vote for Hillary Clinton? The latest, in WaPo this past weekend, recounts how former vice-presidental candidate Geraldine Ferraro lost it when her daughter didn’t vote for Clinton. An excerpt:

Ferraro was livid, and distraught. What more did Hillary Clinton have to do to prove herself? How could anyone — least of all Ferraro’s own daughter — fail to grasp the historic significance of electing a woman president, in probably the only chance the country would have to do so for years to come?

…Mothers and grandmothers who saw themselves in Clinton and formed the core of her support faced a confounding phenomenon: Their daughters did not much care whether a woman won or lost. There was nothing, in their view, all that special about electing a woman — particularly this woman — president. Not when the milestone of electing an African American president was at hand.

Didn’t it ever occur to Ferraro that young women can think for themselves? Ferraro’s daughter undoubtedly did grasp the significance of a woman president. It’s just that Clinton wasn’t the woman for her. Not because, as the article hypothesizes, “[s]he was the wrong woman at the wrong time; she was a Clinton; she hadn’t gotten there on her own; a woman could be elected another year.” Most likely because she pondered the candidates’ policies and campaign promises like any other normal person. (As I write this, I still can’t believe I have to clarify that.) This piece eerily echoes the opportunistic language of the GOP and other off-the-mark journalists, who criticized feminists for not supporting Sarah Palin just because she was a woman. It doesn’t quite take that plunge, but it’s dangerously teetering.

Personally, I didn’t vote for Hillary because she endorsed the Iraq War–an inexcusable move that went against my core value system. And that’s only one of the many factors I weighed when I voted in the primary. I did believe that Hillary would be an advocate for women’s rights, but, based on his campaign, I felt the same way about Barack.

It’s also disturbing that the author of the piece assumes young women privilege race issues over that of gender. And yeah, some people feel that way, including some of our Girldrive interviewees. Still, I know I’m not alone when I say that I don’t think of them as competing issues. I think of race as intertwined with gender, that sexism worsens racism and the other way around. That’s the thing about our generation–we’re holistic, intersectional, and adverse to boxes. We’re the generation trying to break down the unproductive cycle of the oppression Olympics.

This isn’t the first time the Washington Post has made me livid with a piece chastising young people, with an extra-special focus on females. These kinds of articles insult the intelligence of young women everywhere, and I’m starting to get really damn sick of them.

UPDATE: Katy and Jessica are equally pissed.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Generations · Stop chastising young people · Young Women in the News

Chicago: Feminist tweet-up tomorrow

December 27th, 2009 · No Comments

Courtesy of the Undomestic Goddess’s Amanda and Small Strokes’s Ashley, there will be a Chicago Feminist Tweet-up tomorrow (Monday) at 5 p.m. at Elephant & Castle, 111 W. Adams St.

I’m excited, since I’m an extremely firm believer in face-to-face convos being mandatory for feminism, as great as the Internet is. Some awesome feminists will be there, including Girldrive interviewee Veronica Arreola and one of my personal fave sex-ed advocates, Shelby Knox, too. RSVP here, or just show up.

→ No CommentsTags: Grass Routes · Overheard in Chicago