Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good for Body and Sole

As if I needed another reason to buy another pair of hot shoes -- turns out, not just good for your soul, they're also good for your sex drive.

According to a very scientific study, women who wear high heels have higher sex drive and good lookin' legs. Credit cards out, ladies.

In related news, those sad, plastic excuses called Crocs are going out of business. Coincidence? Look in your soul.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Clinton Clinches Honorary Degree

Arizona State may not think Obama is worthy of an honorary degree. But Yale doesn't have that problem with the Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton just picked up an honorary degree from her alma mater. And while sculpter Richard Serra and writer John McPhee also were on the honorary degree list from Yale, not so Obama. Better luck next year.
The Myth Exists

A biography of Helen Gurley Brown seems to have ignited an interest in the bygone era of Second Wave feminism. The biography of Brown reclaims her as a feminist for the office workers who couldn't go out and "burn a bra." Oops, did I just help perpetuate the stereotype of the bra-burning feminist? If so, it's not my fault: It's The New York Times's. And The New Yorker's. 

Both invoked that image in sloppily trying to come up with a contrasting impression of women of the time. And, I guess in the interest of deadlines, they made one up. The New York Time did so with its Helen Gurley Brown quiz on money. ("Bad Girls, Good Sense.") And Judith Thurman invoked the image of the bra burner in her review of the biography of the Cosmo editor, "Bad Girls Go Everywhere." Beyond being factually incorrect (you can see my article in Alternet for details), the assumption perpetuates falsely that protesters and nothing to lose but their bras. 

In reality, feminists made the lives off office workers (and all working women, for that matter) better. Thanks to feminism, we now have: workplace parity, equality in wages (or at least more equity than before), child care, flexible work time, parental leave, and the list goes on.

So why does the myth of lingerie immolation persist? It's an easy short hand. But it's not the truth.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What a Way to Make a Living
File this one in the "eureka" category: Workers in a down economy (who have not been downsized, yet) down their hours. It's for work-life balance, natch. And careers are not made on working around the clock any more, when the clocks are in hock and the boss has been laid off. Women, who have been lucky enough to be stuck in "traditionally female" jobs, like nursing and teaching, have found these professions to be recession-proof. Sorry, construction workers. Hedge fund masters, our regrets. But I digress. Not only are women not getting the ax, they're supposedly kicking back with the kids more, too, according to this Forbes story. 

So here's where it's not adding up: More men without jobs, but the women are the ones cutting back the hours? Really? Somehow, the women with the jobs have also been saddled with childcare (er, quality time) while the guys are out job hunting and beer gathering. That's a sequel I guess we won't be reading in Forbes anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Object Lesson
Hannah Henry is having a photography show of discarded things. The image to advertise the series is a sole strappy sandal, darkly lit, maybe once beloved, then, unneeded. 

I was thinking about all those things I have been collecting (we are all curators of our own closets) that may have once been treasured and now are tossed. It is the wonder of the photographer's eye that I stare at the image, my thoughts drifting from shoe, to my closet, to the nation that was bent on spending till the last shoe was sold. 

Neighborhoods are littered with foreclosed houses, some abandoned by their owners who had no choice but to walk away from their homes. Homes slightly beyond the grasp of a mortgage payment. But, I imagine, with perfectly placed walk-in closets, holding rows of strappy sandals, paid for with money that didn't exist on the promise of value that wasn't there fueled by the intoxicating lure of over-confidence and greed. 

The photograph is beautiful. Our nation's story is ugly. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forming a More Perfect Language
You gotta love the European Union. They are nothing if not efficient. Getting rid of generations of sexist language? Done. That's what seems to have happened relatively overnight, as the EU is banning "Mrs." and "Miss" from the lexicon in order to create gender neutral language.

Women are to be addressed by their whole name. While it may be more difficult for those stuck in the age of Jane Austen to construe whether a lady is eligible or not for dating or marriage, one could always resort to this modern idea: Ask her.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Has the New York Times Lost Its Mind?

I am a big fan of the Times "Style" section. Normally a great break from the grim lockstep of bad news in every other section. But good god, the main story has to be an all-time what were they thinking this past Sunday. A story about a San Francisco sex club that focuses on the female orgasm. Seriously?

Not that there's anything wrong with the female orgasm; I'm all for it. But for a story like this, about an urban commune that sounds left over from the Eselon days but is populated by impressionable people in their 20s, this is not a cute sexy story -- instead it truly comes off as a cult (every morning at 7 a.m. women sit in chairs, remove their pants and submit to their Oming, as it's called). I will leave the rest to curious readers.

Cheap shots on the good city of San Francisco aside (OK, yes, it does have a history of sexual liberation, but nobody is really stopping anyone from having orgasms. . .), I would respectfully suggest that the Times spend a little bit more time pursuing investigative stories of a slightly less titillating nature, and save the sex for the local rags.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Maybe the Octomom's lust for the spotlight will actually result in shining light where one is needed: reining in fertility clinics (and their egg-happy clients).

According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, fewer than 20% of U.S. clinics follow professional guidelines on embryo implantation for younger women.

As the author of "Everything Conceivable" told Terry Gross on Fresh Air today, the uterus is designed to be single occupancy only, and multiple births invariably lead to multiple deaths. What could stem the madness? For one, having these procedures covered by health insurance, which would then mandate the number of embryos that could be implanted. 

This is one case where buying in bulk is not a good idea, short term or long term. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baby Steps
I've been thinking a lot about the Octo-mom lately -- Nadya Suleman, who made horror-freak-show news when she gave birth to octuplets. Then the really bad news started to come out: she had no job, 6 other kids -- and may lose her house. And the kicker -- all 14 births were made possible by a Beverly Hills infertility clinic. This coupled with a story in the New York Times about links between IVF and certain birth defects made me think again about the fertility industry. 

There is basically no regulation of the fertility industry, whose services aren't covered by health insurance, either. The treatments are expensive, causing women to ask their docs to implant them with multiple eggs for the chance that one, or OK, two or three, of the fertilized eggs could turn into that dream baby their body does not want to have on its own. 

Our culture is oddball. It pressures women to have babies, then recoils when they have too many, or not enough cash (Angelina Jolie with a truckload of kids is cute. Welfare moms with same: decidedly not). Or they do it in a way that is medically possible but ethically questionable. 

So then the question is, who is going to start making some of these hard choices? Given the change in administration to a pro-science agenda, my vote is regulation. And fast. With older parents the norm, IVF a standard procedure and multiple births adding to the burden of our hospitals and health systems, and certainly our schools, we need to start paying more attention. And not just the horrified kind. 

Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm Just Not Into That Movie
It stands to reason that when a movie is about to come out, the best clips are selected for the previews. If that's the case, then the movie "He's Just Not That Into You"  is a flat-out embarrassment to the genre, to women, and in fact, to human relationships. You can waste your time watching the coming attractions.

But if it saves you the time watching the movie, then consider it an efficiency. In the previews, the sexiest woman in cinema, Scarlett Johansson, pines for a married man that is so beneath her it's laughable. Drew Barrymore is moused down to look pathetic and yearning. And Jennifer Aniston can't get Ben Affleck to marry her. OK, in what world does Hollywood live in? Maybe these stars took these roles to stretch their acting abilities (I'm sure it's hard to for any of them to imagine that they can't get a date). But why take my word for it? See for yourself. Then don't go see this movie.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again
I know that I should still be feeling the glow of hope and change, and Obama has already done more for women (passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) and children (signing SCHIP into law) in a few short weeks than Bush did in 8 years.

Reversing the global gag rule (allowing funds to international family planning organizations that promote or perform abortions) was yet another stake in the ground to differentiate the Obama years from the Bush years. But this victory feels hollow. After all, the funds get reinstated or stopped depending on which party is in office. If we really want to make change, let's change minds about women's rights overseas. Hillary, I'm looking at you. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wax Away

I've really had it with Bush. I can't stand one more minute while he waxes on about how he's kept the nation safe -- what, did his presidency start on 9/12/01? 

And his disappointments -- that there were no WMDs in Iraq. That's not a disappointment, that's a wrongful war. And what about Enron, Katrina, my civil rights.

Well, there is someone who understands. Bliss Spa sent out a special offer for all the women who want to be rid of their Bush. As they put it: "Say farewell to Bush. . . special 'presidential transitional' savings of 20%." 

With the sad economy, savings for removal of any kind are appreciated.

I'll be glad when the Bush is gone down there, and in D.C.