Tag Archives: Feminism

Friday Fragments, 11/22

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I have made no progress on re-arranging my arts and craft supplies this week. I was hopeful that I had some good momentum going after last week, but I ran out of energy a bit. I do have some time off next week, though, and in addition to cooking for Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas, I am hoping to get a bit more shifting and de-cluttering done.

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One thing I have done thanks to my bout of book organizing and general re-arranging last week is to pick up several books that I have been meaning to read. I have been picking up classics of feminist science fiction in used bookstores for a while now, and I have read several of them, but lately I have been too hooked on my Nook to actually dip into that treasure trove. This week I read Still Forms on Foxfield by Joan Slonczewski and Zenna Henderson’s Pilgrimage: The Book of the People.

Both books are remarkable in their own right as examples of great science fiction written by women, but I was also struck at the strong role of religion in both books. Without getting into the actual religious messages, I found it interesting that I would randomly pick two science fiction books out of my collection and find that they both have such strong religious themes, as that is not terribly common in sf books.

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I really want to go to WisCon in May. I am so sad to have missed Joan Slonczewski and Jo Walton last year, but this year N.K. Jemisin is one of the Guests of Honor, so that sounds awesome, too! I am not sure how the money will work out, though. I will need to start saving now.

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Despite the fact that Christmas is coming, I haven’t been very inspired to work on my projects. I am taking today off, but I have to get major work done this weekend. After I make some coconut candies, of course.

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This post will be shared at Half Past Kissin Time. How was your week?

Encouraging Girls to Hack and Make

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I love this idea! I have been looking around at Maker Spaces online, because I love the idea, but it seems like there are a lot of men that go to these spaces and not many women. That makes me a bit nervous, honestly, and I am a grown woman. Young girls must feel even more nervous at the whole idea. DIY Girls is a great idea!

How cool is this?

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Today’s Google doodle celebrates Rosalind Franklin, a British biophysicist who was the first person to successfully photograph DNA. I am sadly not surprised to read that Franklin was not given credit for this until much later, with a hostile fellow researcher passing the picture on to Watson and Crick, who subsequently got all the credit for discovering the structure of DNA. But it is good to see the credit where it belongs now!

Because I Love My Body

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Today is Love Your Body Day. As I have been going about my day, I have been thinking about what loving my body means to me. I dont always love everything about my body. It doesn’t always look the way I want it to look, and now that I am 41, it isn’t as reliable as it used to be. A few weeks ago, one of my knees just started hurting for no reason that I can think of, and I have had to take it easy for far longer than I would like to get it back to normal. When I sit for longer than an hour or so, it takes me a few seconds to get going again when I stand up. I have weird aches in bad weather.On the other hand, my body grew two entire new human beings, which is pretty damn awesome.So, I started thinking about what it means to love my body on a practical level. How does one treat a body that they love? Here is what I came up with.

Because I love my body:

  • I eat healthy foods. They make me feel good. I eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can, I try to make most of my grains whole grains, I usually avoid fried foods. This helps me stay healthy, and keeps my energy up throughout the day.
  • I do not diet. I eat when I am hungry. I keep my focus on health outcomes rather than appearance outcomes, because that is better for me. I know that starvation is just as unhealthy as binging.
  • I forgive myself when I have a day (or even a couple of days) when I don’t meet my usual standards of healthy eating. I don’t beat myself up over it and give up on ever eating healthy again because I am a failure at it, obviously. Not that I have done that in the past or anything. I, um, I hear that is something some people do. But I don’t. At least, I don’t now, and if I did in the past, well, I forgive myself for that, too.
  • I exercise regularly. Again, this makes me feel good. When I use my body, it becomes stronger, I have more energy in general, and, while I may not lose weight, at least the weight that I have rearranges itself in more pleasing ways. I put on muscle fairly easily, and I like that feeling of strength.
  • I teach my children that they should take care of their bodies. They should eat healthy foods and get regular exercise. They should limit treats. They only get one body, so they need to keep it in good enough shape to last them for as long as possible. I worked hard creating those bodies for them, with a healthy diet while I was pregnant, exercise, and regular medical care, not to mention all the cooking and chauffeuring to sports activities I have done since they were born, so they should respect their bodies.
  • I do not look in the mirror and complain about my weight. I don’t say (anymore), “I hate this big belly.” Sure, I’d love for it to be smaller, but hate is a pretty strong word. I am able to look at it now and think that it might be healthier if I didn’t have quite so much belly fat, but I realize the looseness of the skin and the layer of fat at the bottom of my belly, underneath my belly button–the looseness and fat that have been there since my second pregnancy–are probably never going away, and I don’t really care. I grew two whole entire people in there. A little fat and loose skin cannot remove the awesomeness of that.

What do you do to show your love for your body?

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival

I am Moderating a Chat!

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Come join me on Twitter this Sunday, 10/16/11, from 2:00 ET/1:00 CT about two feminist cyberpunk stories:

If you have never done this before, it is a fun time. We get together on Twitter and do a chat using the hashtag #FeministSF. This past week, we did a chat on Cyberpunk and Feminism in general terms, and it was a big discussion, so we decided to continue this week with some specific stories.

Anyone that is interested in co-moderating with me is totally welcome, just let me know. But if you don’t want to moderate, just come and hang out. In theory, we chat for an hour, but it usually goes over, because this is an interesting group of people, :).

Also, you would never guess that I spend a lot of time online by the way I do these chats: I use regular Twitter windows, with one set on the #FeministSF hashtag search, one set on the page for @ me mentions (I have two monitors), and my phone nearby, because for some reason, @ replies come to me more quickly on the phone than the computer. I know that there are places you can go to make this easier (Tweetdeck? some kind of Tweet chat set up?), but I never have think to research this until the chat is starting, and then I don’t have time. So, if anyone wants to give me directions on how to do this better, they would be gratefully accepted.

Women in SF

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As I think I mentioned before, I am volunteering to do some statistics on women in SF for Broad Universe. We are trying to get some more detailed and current information than what is on the site now. As you can imagine, this is a very time-consuming process, but it is interesting. A few quick thoughts:

  • I am looking at the Nebula Awards now, and it is interesting to note how many years there are no female nominees at all. If there were any years with no male nominees, I wouldn’t think that was necessarily a sign of bias–maybe some years the men were just stronger. It defies belief, though, to think that could be true and it would never be the other way around.
  • I have been spending a bunch of time on Wikipedia, checking the gender of authors that are not immediately clear from the name (androgynous names like Chris or Alex, initials instead of names, vague ideas I heard that might be a woman–that sort of thing), and I find that I really wish I had more time to flesh out the entries of the female authors. There are a few stubs for male authors, but there are a lot for the women.
  • People who put up big websites with big websites with lots of information, like http://feministsf.org/ must really love what they doing–this stuff takes a lot of time! It is great to have an SF community with people who love it enough to provide all kinds of information on their own time.
I have spent a lot of time on the Nebulas alone, and there are a lot of awards out there, so I am not sure when all the data will be up to be seen on the site, but I am finding it an education to look through the nominees and winners in detail like this. I am one of those people who think that if data is good, more data is awesome, so this is a fun way to contribute for me. I will keep you posted as I get further along.

My Planned Parenthood Story

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I sat in the office, looking at a list of expenses, disturbingly long compared to the very small number on the income line. In fact, the numbers did not reconcile at all. Despite a ridiculously small food budget, cheap rent, no clothing or entertainment budget, and certainly no health insurance premiums, the total expenses were higher than the income. The financial counsellor reviewing the application for aid with me was not judgemental at all, but when she asked me to go over what I had written, I started to cry.

“I know these don’t match, and I honestly don’t know how it works.” My voice rose at the end, as I tried to keep myself from breaking into full sobbing. I was humiliated and frustrated. I had five years of college under my belt, but no degree. I was working as a waitress, trying to figure out why my post-college life was so different than what I had pictured it would be. I didn’t have a regular budget, because it was too depressing to look at the numbers.

The counsellor was soothing, understanding. She wrapped up our session quickly, telling me that Planned Parenthood was there to help, and I would get the care I needed. They would be able to give me a heavily subsidized rate for both my physical exams and my birth control prescriptions. When I turned out to have an infection, they were able to give me the antibiotics for free. What I valued most, though, was the feeling that someone was caring for me, and thought I was worth their time. Someone thought that I, like everyone, deserved access to health care that could save lives or even just improve quality life. I loved that I had this one area of my life under control, like a normal person. When you are totally broke, and cannot afford many of the basics of life, much less any extras, something as simple as having a regular gynecologist is incredibly helpful to the self-esteem. I had gone to Planned Parenthood and applied for aid. I had made something work for me.

That was a long time ago for me, and I now have a job with great benefits, including health insurance that allows me to get all of my medical needs met. I still value my experience with Planned Parenthood, though. I don’t remember all of the details, because I try not to think about that period of my life much, but I wonder if I would have my two wonderful children if I hadn’t had the reproductive health care I needed then. I also think about all of the people that are still helped by Planned Parenthood every day, and the people who work there because they truly care about getting reproductive health care to those that need it. This seems especially important here in Missouri, where it is very difficult to get any kind of medical aid. In fact, to qualify for state aid, you have to be a child or already be a parent . There is no aid for people who want to avoid becoming parents through good medical care and birth control. Except there is, because Planned Parenthood provides it.


The blog carnival is being hosted at What Tami Said and Shakesville. You can find a bunch of wonderful stories here.