Women Empowerment meeting tonight!

Sorry for the late notice, all, I somehow forgot about this incredibly important tool in feminist activism. But! There is a meeting, tonight, of the Women Empowerment club! It's at 5 in the Lucas Room, RAGS 301. Please come and bring your friends!


NPR: Do Private Colleges Favor Male Applicants?

NPR reports that in recent years, private colleges have admitted a significantly larger number of males than females to their incoming freshman classes.

St. Edward's gender breakdown is split 40 to 60 percent, favoring females.

Listen to the story here.


Op-Ed: Trading Women's Rights for Political Power

Kate Michelman (former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America) and Frances Kissling (former president of Catholics for Choice) have an op-ed piece in The New York Times on the Stupak-Pitts amendment.

Although certainly under this administration many strides have been made for women, they echo my disappointment that what could have been a great victory for women's health has instead fallen off the proverbial wagon.

"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." - Maureen Dowd


Arranged Marriages in India

Wanted to post this story from the Times on arranged love marriages, from the perspective of a young Indian woman. I think it really illustrates the gaps than occur between mothers and daughters as gender expectations change through the generations, and it definitely made me tear up.



Women in the Arts: Unsung Muses

Robert J. Hughes has written an interesting article on the contributions of composers' wives to their music (both as inspirations and collaborators) and to the preservation of their works, which often go unnoticed. Finally, these great women (such as Constanze Mozart, left) have been granted a small portion of the honor and recognition they deserve.

Here's the link, in case you're interested. It's worth a read.


From the front lines of the global fight for equality...

Evening, all! I promise you I've not completely fallen off the face of the earth. As fate would have it, SEU Feminist's only male blogger is also its least prolific poster. *Cue the wailing, ashes, and sackcloth of repentence* Seriously, though, I'll be better about that in the future.

Anyhow, just wanted to share this beautiful ad from Ireland that's sure to render some conservatives speechless. Slainte!


Women in the Arts: Hildreth Meière

The Times has a piece up about 1930's art deco muralist Hildreth Meière, probably best known for the round plaques that adorn Radio City Music Hall.

“It drives me wild to be spoken of as ‘one of the best women artists,’ ” she wrote to a friend in 1936. “I’ve worked as an equal with men, and my rating as an equal is all that I value.”

Read the full piece here.


Welcome Back SEU Feminists!

Welcome back SEU Feminists!

I'm excited for this year, and I know everyone else is too! I thought I'd start an open discussion thread so we can share what we want to accomplish this year- I'll start:

1. Get more posts cross-posted (or primarily featured in) the campus newspaper, especially if they are campus-related and not just op-eds. The Hilltop Views is also launching their online edition sometime in October.

2. Start the SEU Feminist Book Club

3. Bring in more guest writers and more campus-related posts. I think we've had two guest writers and only a few campus-related posts so far. Let's bring some more variation in!

4. Keep up with posting in general (guilty.)

That's all I can think of at the moment. Even if you're just a reader, feel free to chime in on what you'd like to see and how you think we can improve. Ready, set, go!


¡Sí, se puede!

Sonia Sotomayor, third woman and first latina ever to become a Supreme Court justice, was sworn in today.

This subject has already been talked about so much on feminist blogs and blogs that promote racial equality that I don't really feel like I have anything new to say about it, but check out this insightful post from Stuff White People Do on her hearings and how "white" and "male" are considered neutral conditions (by white males and the white male-run corporate media, that is).

Congratulations, Justice Sotomayor!


The Secret and Feminism

So I just watched The Secret with my dad, and he's been trying to get me to watch it with him for about a year now, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to make him happy. After we finished the movie, I couldn't help but feel both skeptical and a little intrigued, because it made a few really good points. I don't know if I feel like I can believe that all of the people I've known who have died of cancer, lost their jobs, or had awful relationships brought it upon themselves by not understanding their thought processes, but I can definitely get down with this whole "when you focus on the negative, it gets the attention" thing. I think this definitely applies to feminism.

As feminists, we talk alot about how things are and how they should be. We talk about how elementary schools and pre-school programs are already coding children with social expectations and gender norms, how men are still making seventy five cents to the dollar, how the pro-life movement gives us all indigestion and the quiverfull movement makes us angry, anxious, and confused all at once. We talk about the sexists, the racists, the bigots, and everyone who stands in the way. We talk about the patriarchy, advertising, consumerism, and female sexuality in the media. These are all important issues and they are all relevant to our cause, but this movie really made me start to think about how much of my thoughts are spent on the things that I really don't like about society and how few are spent imagining society the way I wish it was and the way I think it could be.

I'm not saying that educating people who aren't already aware of these issues isn't worthwhile, because it's hard to get people to understand the urgency of change when they don't think change is necessary. As an activist I almost see The Secret's focus on thinking positively as a challenge. How can I channel all of my passion about conflicts, prejudice, and societal norms into a positive vision for the future? Is it possible to be, instead of anti-war, pro-peace? How can I turn aversion for the Palestine-Israel conflict, proposition 8, and Fox News into positive and affirming future realities? Is that even possible?

I started thinking about how much time I spend talking to my friends about all of the things in the world that stress me out and upset me, and how most of my plans and visions are focused on eradicating something I don't like. According to this movie, because I am focusing on something I don't like (even though I'm focusing on ending it) that thing will still remain because it is my focus. So how do I change my way of thinking to be positive? Take for example the Quiverfull movement. There are too many things to list about this stuff that make me upset and anxious, so I won't, but the point is, how do I focus on a positive reality apart from the Duggars? I think the answer is to think of a reality without that option, such as, households where the mother and father are equal and loving, where birth control is used as a result of education, and where loving and unbiased attitudes are encouraged as a part of a conscious lifestyle.

I don't know how much merit The Secret has, but I do think that in the area of positive thinking it can offer activists a challenge to stop focusing on the negative areas that they are fighting against, and instead focus on a world where those things do not even exist and then make that world a reality. I can't hurt, can it?

as always,


Benefit for Midwives' Alliance of North America

Just a quick hit!

Sam Beam (better known as Iron & Wine) is playing with Glen Hansard at the Paramount July 27th to benefit the Midwives' Alliance of North America.

Tickets pre-sale this Saturday, June 20.

Here's the event page on the Paramount website!


These Are a Few of My Favorite Things #1

Occasionally while traveling through the vast and confusing world of the interwebs, I find awesome things that pique my interest that I bookmark and consequently never post about. Fear not, dear readers, for I shall deprive you no longer! Here are a few gems I've been meaning to share.

1. The Belly Project
Right here in Austin, Texas, St. Edward's graduate Dr. Karen Rayne and midwife Christy Tashjian are focusing on a part of our bodies most of us are all-too-aware of: the belly. The Belly Project consists of a compilation of photos of the stomachs of real women and a brief accompanying medical history. While it is incredibly fascinating to see the wide differences in how each belly has changed in reaction to pregnancies, hysterectomies, abortions, c-sections, plastic surgery, miscarriages, menopause, you name it- looking through I can't help but feel a sense of relief. In a way, The Belly Project sort of cements that everyone is different and beautiful and oh! This is what people look like! I never thought I would be in my underoos on the internet, but this was for a good cause.

2. From Feministing Community: How Men Can Be Better Feminists/Allies/Partners
I know the post is a bit old, but it is without a doubt the best commentary I've read on the debate of male roles within the feminist movement, written from a male perspective no less. Do we need any more proof that men shouldn't be discouraged from involvement in the feminist movement on principle alone?

3. Ligerbeat (NOT work-safe)
I think we can all agree that porn is awesome, but definitely male-dominated (and not the sexy kind, either.) I haven't seen the mag with my own eyes, but porn for women by women sounds a-ok to me. The ladies of Ligerbeat are sassy and smart, their blog material ranging from "cliterature" to raving about how much they want Flight of the Conchords' Bret and Jermaine to make a special (naked) appearance in their pages. And they don't care if you call them sluts, either.

4. Asylum
Asylum is a men's magazine I hadn't heard of until an article posted by one of my friends showed up in my facebook feed. I browsed around and was pleased to find articles such as, "Hot Plus-Side Model Gets Sexy Magazine Spread" that opened with the sentence, "Here at Asylum, we have a policy of love for all ladies -- black or white, short or tall, slender or voluptuous." YES. YES YES YES. In some ways, Asylum remains a stereotypical men's magazine, but it's definitely further along than Maxim. Bravo, Asylum. Bravo.

5. A Softer World
One of my most-favorite webcomics (if you can even call it a webcomic) that offers quirky, macabre comments on the subjects of homosexual relationships, gender-bending, pregnancy, sexuality, female masturbation, and self-esteem.. among other things. Like zombie apocalypses and kittens.

Happy readings!



I dreamed a dream... no, this is not another susan boyle post.

Ladies and Gents,
Today I was talking to a friend online about how another friend wanted to stage a hunger strike. In explaining why I didn't take him seriously, I pointed to a mental graveyard where activists' idealistic dreams so often go to die for lack of many different kinds of things. In this visit, I remembered one of my own activist dreams, which was to start a magazine that was accessible to teenage girls, incredibly cheap (if not free), and completely and totally against the mainstream idea of what a girls' magazine is supposed to be. I wanted something like bitch, or Bust, or Ms. for my little sister. There are some options, such as New Moon, which offer both an online community and a bi-monthly magazine, but most (as this one does) cost money.

Even my hallowed bitch costs money, I know, but I guess I just had a dream of a fun, smart, sassy zine that was everything I, and my feminist (and femAnist) peers wanted to say to our tweenage selves that all girls could have access to, despite access to money. As I re-read an old issue of Seventeen through my new, chic, feminist lenses, I started to realize how much insecurity and social conformity resided in the pages where my younger self so often sought validation. I will admit that the magazine has come leaps and bounds from where it was to address issues like the experiences of the transgender community and to give real, honest answers to sexual questions. These good parts are overshadowed by the astounding amount of negative information in the form of ads, beauty/fashion tips, and "how to get your man" articles that are always present in this magazine and others like it.

I've done my research, and I've found that most if not all of the magazines available for girls seem to come from a perspective that assumes that tween girls will be attracted to a certain kind of magazine... a magazine that reminds me a lot more of my old issues of Highlights than cosmogirl. It seems to me that if you really want to get these girls to listen and to care about what the magazine says, you have to get past that wholesome idea of what a tween "should" want to see and accept what they're actually looking for. The biggest problem, aside from the fact that I have no idea how you actually make a magazine, or even a zine for that matter, is that most magazines get that pop and attractive factor from the money brought in through advertising. So, how does one get around this problem to make a fun, interesting, honest, and accessible option for tween (and teen) age girls?

I really don't know, but I think its worth discussing.

Stay shiny,

**Note: if any readers know of a publication, online or in hard print, that fits this bill, please feel free to call me out and let me know that it exists. I would be ecstatic even while wallowing in my researching abilities' shame. :)


A Personal Endorsement Born of a Love Affair

Today I received a wonderful, amazing package in the mail from my mother. Before I go into that, let me go a little into one of my favorite sources of information and entertainment: bitch magazine. I stumbled across this while reading the book that started my own personal feminist journey, Courtney Martin's "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters", where she mentioned her transition from COSMO to magazines like bitch and BUST. After being inspired by her book to become a more conscious participant in my identity as a woman and a human being, I immediately went out and bought the newest additions of both. BUST is a fantastic mag, and I would never want to rag on something that promotes hip, savvy, feminist culture, but it is bitch that has truly captured my heart. I've invested in every issue since my first, which was the Lost and Found issue from Winter 2008. When bitch went through a financial crisis last semester, I pledged that as soon as I was no longer saving for my time in Estonia, I would put my money where my mouth is: in the recycled pages of bitch.
I found soon after coming to Estonia that, not only is bitch not distributed here, but I can't even get the magazine shipped. This I blame on my decision to come to a former Eastern Bloc country and not on bitch. Anywho, surprise of surprises when I find out that my new status as a bitch sustainer (although on the lowest rung of that ladder) got me the new issue of bitch at my mother's house! This was the package I got today, and it could not have come at a better time. Though I have been keeping up a constant stream through the twitter page of bitch, I'd been dying for something to really sink my teeth into.
Every issue challenges my thought and opens my mind, and the magazine has led me to find new authors, organizations, and ideas that have since become indispensable in my life. I highly encourage anyone looking for a shot of hard-hitting, quirky, feminist lit to pick up this season's issue of bitch. bitch endeavors to tackle topics both tame and controversial in the feminist conversation which can lead to some hot discussion (which is always fun to read in the first pages of each issue), and it is just this thought provoking character that has me hooked!

You can grab a copy of bitch at the borders on westgate, or if you'd like to support a local endeavor, just drop by MonkeyWrench Books to get your copy. Not in Texas for the summer? Check this nifty list for a bookseller near you.

Stay Shiny!


Funny Feminist Friday: RIP Bea

As you've probably heard by now, the wonderful Bea Arthur passed away last Saturday. Known for her roles in Mame, Maude, and The Golden Girls, Bea Arthur was never afraid to discuss controversial topics from a feminist point of view. One episode of Maude that aired in 1972, before Roe v. Wade had been decided, even had her character struggle with whether to get an abortion and ultimately make the decision that she was too old to have a baby and abortion was the safest option.

Of course, she is best remembered for her comedy, and as I'm sure we all need a little comic relief before finals, here is a clip of the fantastic reading she gave at Comedy Central's roast of Pamela Anderson (definitely not safe for work):

Thanks for all the laughter, Bea, and of course, thank you for being a friend.


Survey on Name Changing and Marriage

Hey everybody, I'm conducting a survey on name changing and marriage to use for a paper for my Gender Communications class. I'm hoping to get an idea of people's views on name changing and whether this is still a societal norm.

Click here to take survey!

I would really appreciate everyone's responses (and maybe I'll blog about my findings)! Thanks!


Things A Savvy Woman Can Do For Her Mother (Earth, That Is.)

So there's just a few minutes left until Earth Day 2009 is officially over. What's a gal to do? Luckily, your enthusiasm for our planet's well-being doesn't have to be limited to just one day! I've come up with a few things that are (more or less) unique to women that we can change in our everyday lives to make a difference. Feel free to suggest your own ideas in the comments!

1. Use alternative menstrual products. This one's a biggie, as they say. We have a ton of links on our sidebar, but just in case, here's the lowdown: commercial tampons and pads take up landfill space and have harmful chemicals like dioxin that you shouldn't want anywhere near your garden in the first place, know what I'm sayin'? Besides, why buy a box of tampons every month when you could use a menstrual cup (which fit inside a shotglass, folks, just to give you a size comparison) made of silicone or latex that will last you a year or longer? The most popular options for menstrual cups are the Diva, MoonCup, and disposable Insteads. Other alternative menstrual options include the ever-friendly (although not vegan) sea sponge, and cloth pads. Lunapads offers some great ones, or you can DIY!

2. Not all women wear makeup, but if you do, try re-usable makeup containers. Aveda makes some very pretty ones.

3. There's other things within the realm of beauty you can change while you're at it, by ditching such items such as but not limited to: disposable razors, razors in general (if you're so inclined, I happen to be biased), items with excessive packaging and beauty products containing petrochemicals and carcinogens. And lay off the hairspray.

4. Recycle! In 2009 Origins became the first company to offer recycling for some of their products' containers. Hopefully others will follow suit in time. In the meantime, look to buy products that use recycled materials for their packaging. I know I get a little smile every time I look down at the tube of my trusty Burt's Bees chapstick (that virtually everyone owns, don't even try to pretend like you don't have a tube of this miraculous stuff) which is made from 50% post-industrial recycled plastic.

5. This goes for the dudes too: thrift! Next time you decide to go shopping, whether it's for new clothes or a new couch, check out a secondhand store. There's no good reason to not thift, especially in Austin, where we have a plethora of stores containing perfectly usable items that would otherwise be in a landfill to choose from.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, first female president in Africa

Here's The Daily Show's recent interview with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia and first female president of ANY African nation.

Sorry we haven't been posting much lately. I'm hoping it will increase once we're all done with finals!

Happy Earth Day, everyone!


Women's Rights Take a Hit in Afghanistan

April 5, 2009
Karzai Vows to Review Family Law

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai ordered a review on Saturday of a new law that has been criticized internationally for introducing Taliban-era restrictions on women and sanctioning marital rape.

The president defended the law, which concerns family law for the Shiite minority, and said Western news media reports were misinformed. Nevertheless, he said his justice minister would review it and make amendments if the law was found to contravene the Constitution and the freedoms that it guarantees.

“The Western media have either mistranslated or taken incorrect information and then published it,” Mr. Karzai said at a news briefing in the presidential palace on Saturday. “If there is anything in contradiction with our Constitution or Shariah, or freedoms granted by the Constitution, we will take action in close consultation with the clerics of the country.”

If changes are needed, he said, the bill would be sent back to Parliament.

Human rights officials have criticized the law, in particular for the restrictions it places on when a woman can leave her house, and for stating the circumstances in which she has to have sex with her husband.

A Shiite woman would be allowed to leave home only “for a legitimate purpose,” which the law does not define. The law also says, “Unless the wife is ill, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.” Critics have said that provision legalizes marital rape.

The law also outlines rules on divorce, child custody and marriage, all in ways that discriminate against women, said Soraya Sobhrang, commissioner for women’s rights at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

While the law applies only to Shiites, who represent approximately 10 percent of the population, its passage could influence a proposed family law for the Sunni majority and a draft law on violence against women, Ms. Sobhrang said. “This opens the way for more discrimination,” she said.

Mr. Karzai signed the law last week after a vote in Parliament last month, Ms. Sobhrang said, adding that she had seen a copy of the law with his signature.

However, the presidential spokesman, Homayun Hamidzada, would not confirm that the president had signed the law and said only that the he was still reviewing it.

Mr. Karzai’s decision to review the law came after a storm of criticism in recent days. Canada called in the Afghan ambassador for an explanation, and NATO’s secretary general questioned why the alliance was sending men and women to fight in Afghanistan when discrimination against women was condoned by law.

Asked about the law at a news conference in Strasbourg, France, on Saturday, President Obama called it “abhorrent.”

“We think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture,” he said, “but we also think that there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle.”

Also on Saturday, Italy’s defense minister said Italy was considering a temporary withdrawal of the women serving in its force in Afghanistan to protest the law, Reuters reported.

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said the law represented a “huge step in the wrong direction.”

“For a new law in 2009 to target women in this way is extraordinary, reprehensible and reminiscent of the decrees made by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the 1990s,” Ms. Pillay said in a statement posted on her agency’s Web site. “This is another clear indication that the human rights situation in Afghanistan is getting worse, not better.”

In addition to the clauses on when women may leave the home and must submit to their husbands, Ms. Pillay said she was concerned about a section that forbids women from working or receiving education without their husband‘s permission.

Ms. Sobhrang, who has been working on the issue for the last two years, said women’s groups and the human rights commissions had worked with Parliament to introduce amendments but then the law was suddenly pushed through with only three amendments. The bill as originally drawn up by Shiite clerics barred a woman from leaving the house without her husband’s permission, she said. The parliamentary judicial commission amended that provision to say that a woman could leave the house “for a legitimate purpose.”

Mr. Karzai cited that provision in a news conference on Saturday, pointing out that the final version of the law did not ban a woman from leaving her house. But Ms. Sobhrang said even as amended the law contravened the Constitution, which recognizes equal rights for men and women. The term “for a legitimate purpose” was open to interpretation, she added.

She said Mr. Karzai had supported women’s rights in the past but seemed to have given that up in recent months. Some Western officials have speculated that he signed the law to win the support of conservative Shiite clerics in coming presidential elections.

Yet the leading cleric behind the Family Law, Sheik Muhammad Asif Mohseni, complained last week that he was dissatisfied with the amendments that Parliament had made to his original draft. Speaking on his own television channel, Tamadun Television, he objected to the introduction of a legal age for marriage, “16 for women and 18 for men,” saying that people should be able to decide for themselves.

Human rights officials consider raising the marriage age a critical step toward ending the common practice of forced marriages and the marriage of young girls.

Another amendment gave women longer custody of young children in the case of divorce. In the original draft, women could have custody of a son until he was 2 years old, and a daughter until she was 7. The amended version raises the ages to 7 for boys and 9 for girls.

Ms. Sobhrang criticized both versions for not taking into account the interests and desires of the children.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

For more information on the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, visit their site.


A little something fun I stole from feministing :)

I saw this while perusing feministing today, and I though it was a fun little way to check up on our women knowledge... I got 4 out of 7 right. Good luck!

"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

ANSWERS: 1:B, 2:A, 3:A, 4:A, 5:C, 6:D, 7:B"


Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Green beer and apparel-based pinching may have their place in the hearts of Irish-for-a-day-Americans, indeed, "Plastic Paddys" the world over. But this day holds a greater and dearer significance to those who faithfully honor their Irish descent, like myself and millions of others in this country. Saint Patrick's Day is not merely a day for drunken revelry and offensive stereotypes. It is an occasion to remember the history of a people oppressed, who bravely broke the bonds of tyranny. It is a time to consider whether a nation divided can stand, even as the latest, most P.C. incarnation of British Empire stubbornly continues to rule in the North. It is a feast of the Catholic Church, when we venerate a great saint. But, perhaps most importantly, it is a day to appreciate and revere the authentic spirit of Ireland, and what it means to be Irish.

On this national and patronal day of Ireland, I think it's important also to celebrate the great strides made by women on the island and their descendants. Let's remember that the Republic has had not just one but two female presidents. I've forgotten exactly how many female presidents we've had here, but I seem to recall a smaller number than that (please excuse the sarcasm). In the video below, current President of the Republic of Ireland, Mary McAleese speaks about women's empowerment both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. It's a bit long, but very interesting and inspiring. Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all!


Happy Women's Day from Estonia!

I loved the post by Rachel about International Women's Day, because it totally captures the spirit of that day in Europe... with a few exceptions.

Across the continent, women were given discounts in stores and restaurants and handed free flowers everywhere, from the shopping malls in Tartu to airports in Vienna. I was hiding out in my room doing homework, so I did not get to partake in these festivities, but my friends here did and so I heard all about them.

I thought I would research what this incredible holiday was about. It is recognized by the United Nations, and in some European countries it is a national holiday. According to the UN history site, it officially started in 1909 with the American Socialist Party. Then, it was an effort to recognize the value of working class women across America, and to break down the discrimination and prejudice that women faced in their daily lives. Today it is a day to celebrate simply being a woman, and for everyone to celebrate the women in their lives.

I love this holiday.

In the former USSR states, it is a very big deal. My roomate, Olesea, is from Moldova and it was partly her idea to have a dinner in our flat in celebration of women's day. She was explaining the traditions in her home country to me while she cooked (it took her about five hours and the food was incredible! I'll post the picture once its up on facebook). In Moldova, it is incredibly important that the guys give all of their female friends (especially their girlfriends) small gifts on this day. In high school, she said, you would walk into the classroom and the boys would already have put presents on the desks where the girls usually sat.

It is celebrated now especially as an opportunity for women from all countries to be strong in the face of a history (and present reality) of oppression because of our sex, and for men to push against their own stereotypes by celebrating women just as they are.

I was thinking that I would love for this holiday to get big, and I mean BIG, in the USA. This thought came to me because I remembered my dance teacher from Elementary school, and how in church on Mother's Day sunday, all of the mothers would get carnations, and I always gave her one, too. She didn't have any children, so she didn't have a day to celebrate her womanhood, and I believe that being a mother is not the only thing that gives a woman value and I know you ladies (and gents) reading this blog agree.

Further, I set out a challenge. A year from now, we should put on a fundraiser for March 8. We should sell carnations and rec velvet cupcakes for students, faculty, and staff to give out to the important ladies in their lives. And we should take the money from this fundraiser and give it to a cause that impowers women, such as a microlending program or Care. That way we can help to encourage a pro-fem spirit on campus and work to empower women across the world.

Also in the spirit of women's day, an update on one of my favorite pro-peace groups, Code Pink.

A delegation from Code Pink of 100 people was allowed to cross the Egyptian border into Gaza. This is a huge deal, as this border has been closed since 2007. They brought with them messages of hope, peace, and pink Women's Day baskets for 1000 Gaza women. They also used this opportunity as a chance to speak out and urge the Egyptian government to open up these borders, because without free movement of goods and people a peace will never last, and the people of Gaza won't be free.
Check out the pics of these fantastic ladies on their flickr:

Much love from Estonia,


International Women's Day: Personal Perspective

Happy International Women's Day! As the website states, International Women's Day celebrates the social, political, and economic achievements of women throughout history; in some countries it is treated as a sort of Valentine's Day/Mother's Day hybrid holiday. There is much to be said when it comes to the amazing women we've come to admire for their strength, from Abigail Adams to Michelle Obama. In the spirit of the day's more personal meaning, I'd like to acknowledge the woman who I've come to realize has positively shaped my life in more ways than I ever previously thought.

Dear Mama-
Of course it's you. I realize that for some women, their mothers may not be first on their list of people who gave them strength, or even in their lives at all. For that alone I feel I've been lucky, but I have to thank you for some other things. When I told you I wanted to be president but I didn't think I could because there hadn't ever been any women presidents, you told me I should be the very first one. You gave me a pink baby blanket and a toy kitchen set, but didn't correct when brother cooked a plastic egg over-easy while I built a LEGO house. You let me look at art books that held drawings and photos of nude men and women, and it wasn't something shameful to be hidden, just beautiful and natural. You talked about "your cycle", not your monthly curse, with confidence and ease whenever I had questions about my period. You never told me I looked fat in what I was wearing. In fact, I can't recall you ever saying those words about your body, either. You refused to let me wear makeup in middle school (I still did- I washed it off before I came home!) and made me wait until the eighth grade to shave my legs, a long year after everyone else got permission from their moms. I was too young to start having to do that stuff, you said, and of course you ended up being right. As I came into being a young woman, you asked me if I wanted to get on birth control "just in case", and shared your story with me. I talk to you about sex as freely as I do with my best girlfriends- mostly because you ARE my best girlfriend, my rock, and the foundation for the strong woman I am today. I love you, Mama, mostly for what you've done, but especially for what you didn't do. Thank you.

I acknowledge the historical figures that paved the way for the feminist movement, and the profound impression Sylvia Plath's poetry, seeing the Vagina Monologues, and reading Cunt (among other things) made on me as a young feminist. But who knows if I would have even come to discover those things, without having this foundation so solidly built for me? At the basest level, beyond all of our feminist heroes, we all have a woman in mind. So today, write a letter to let them know you appreciate them. They may be responsible for more than you realize.


Feministing blog authors coming to SXSW

Feministing bloggers Samhita and Ann will be speaking at the SXSW Interactive panel Sunday, March 15 about the unique challenges they face as feminist bloggers. They'll also be joined by controversial blogger/author Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon.net, who attended SEU in November.

For those of you over 21 [I'm assuming you need to be over 21 for this event] they're also joining forces with Pandagon Monday, March 16 for a feminist blog extravaganza at Beerland! Here's the Facebook event page.

I'm definitely attending the panel at the convention center. I figure since I am a feminist blogger, it couldn't hurt to get some tips on how to, as described on the event page, "survive the anti-feminist internet". ;)


Follow us on Twitter!

In light of this recent post on Feministing giving props to Twitter as an important networking tool and one of the fastest-evolving ways to share ideas, SEU Feminist now has a Twitter of our very own! This way, if you'd like to comment or give us feedback, you don't have to have a BlogSpot account. Follow us for special exclusive updates, and laugh at my expense as you watch me try to figure this thing out (get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!)


More sexist bullshit from Hollywood

As you may know, the Academy Awards were tonight. Here's a (not-so-fun) fact from the Guerrilla Girls: no woman has ever won the Oscar for Best Director. In fact, only three have even been nominated: Lina Wertmuller in 1975 for Seven Beauties, Jane Campion in 1993 for The Piano, and Sofia Coppola in for 2003 for Lost in Translation. I also found out via Feministing that Entertainment Weekly named their top 25 directors, and not a single woman appears on the list. If you're interested in learning about some great female directors, check out the discussion going on at Feministing, or post your own favorites here.


American Apparel ads offensive, not sexy

"American Apparel ads offensive, not sexy"
Published in the St. Edward's University Hilltop Views, Volume 25, Issue 4, Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Presented in its entirety EXCLUSIVELY on SEU-Feminist!

By Lucinda Indian and Anna Whitney

Prominently displayed on page two of The Austin Chronicle, the pinnacle of capitalist sexual objectification in the form of obscenely bare and flashy pubescent flesh begins to make our blood boil. A young girl is wearing American Apparel’s nylon on her knees, forearms resting on the floor, tongue suggestively pointed toward a puddle of spilled milk, the image forever imprinted on our brains. Preying on younger and younger women, pop culture has gone wild. The subjugation of women through advertising permeates all levels of society. Marketing attempts to solidify women’s role as mere eye candy. Why do we allow the constant devaluation of our bodies by the media to continue unabated? Women, we must lift our voices and redefine what is acceptable and what is appallingly offensive.
What does advertising tell us about how to act and how to be attractive? At a subconscious level, we learn what society wants from us and how to behave from those seemingly innocuous images. The pornographic positions and bedtime faces of the models used by American Apparel reconfirm to young women that what we look like is more important than who we are. By portraying their models as meek, passive, and vacant, American Apparel encourages an unengaged, glossy-eyed, waifish stereotype. How much money would they lose if they actually represented women as strong, courageous, and empowered??
After reading Joelle Pearson’s account of “American Apparel ads sexy, not exploitative” published Dec. 3, 2008 in the Hilltop Views, the collective jaw-drop of every self-respecting woman was audible at the description of American Apparel’s models as “short, chubby, freckled, oily, unshaven, uncut, and untouched.” No airbrushing is necessary when the models are already conventionally gorgeous regardless. Pearson says she is proud we can display ourselves as American Apparel models do, but as women should we even aspire to look this way?
American Apparel gained status for being progressive by using real employees as models and being hip to environmental causes and labor laws. The CEO, Dov Charney, uses a group of untrained and ethnically diverse people as models for his advertisements. This Los Angeles-based company does not use sweatshop labor and uses its storefronts to promote various social causes such as immigration reform. Although there have been some disputes over union-busting, Charney pays his employees almost twice the minimum wage on average and gives them health benefits. And their clothes are comfortable, too.
For these reasons, we want to love American Apparel.
But it is Charney and his mindset that are the real problem. Frequently ambling about the office in nothing but his underwear, he uses sexually explicit language, brags that he has slept with numerous young, subordinate employees, photographs scantily clad women, and claims that all of this promotes an innovative, creative work environment centered around freedom of expression. We really want to believe that American Apparel advertisements are just “sexy” as Pearson claims, instead of demeaning, soft-core pornographic objectifications.
But we cannot. From print advertisements, billboards, and photos on the online store, everything seems to be covered in “a thick coat of demoralizing sleaze,” as feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon.net puts it. Perhaps it is that Charney’s employees find it difficult to reject his sexual advances when their jobs are at stake. Or because Charney has been quoted as saying that “women initiate most domestic violence... and this has made a victim culture out of women.” Maybe he spouts this gibberish to rationalize the five sexual harassment cases that he has been charged with. Charney’s obvious misogynistic attitude directly translates to the photographs that American Apparel uses as advertisements, some of which he takes himself. Under the guise of promoting sexual liberation, Charney has been able to objectify women in a way that makes people think it is okay, and that is the real crime.
Our closets may not be strangers to their label but we cannot sit idly by while American Apparel perpetuates overtly sexual stereotypes of women. If American Apparel wants self-respecting women to stay their customers, they should listen when we denounce their advertisements for objectifying women’s bodies. Until then, we will refuse to buy into the idea that we are walking hangers for garish garments.


Greetings from Estonia

Hello all! I made the commitment to myself and to the blog to keep my eyes and ears open for new, thought-provoking international perspectives. So far, I must admit, its mainly been a lot of crazy drunken Estonian nights. These don't really lend themselves to intense political discussion so much as intensely spastic European dancing. But, a few days ago, my roomate from Moldova noticed what I call my "Social Justice Sheet" on my bed. Freshman year, I did a speech about civil marriage for my speech class. I used a sheet to display in written form all of the 1,138 rights guaranteed by the constitution that were dependent upon a citizen's marital status and, therefore, denied to all LGBT citizens. After I did the speech, I kept the sheet and had it displayed in every room I have occupied since then. This is to remind me of a struggle that is still present, and injustices against Americans that are happening right now. She saw the sheet and asked what it was about, so I told her. She looked a little surprised when she asked me, "So, are you... for it?" I didn't know why she would be surprised, since everything about me screams liberal progressive, but I went for it anyways. She did not agree with me. She also thinks that the reason that a lot of Moldovans are coming out right now is American television. I told her I had to disagree, and that I thought that if anything American television might have given people the security to come out when before they had felt too afraid or alone to do so. She also believes that gay marriage and gay adoption are wrong, on the basis of the nuclear family. This was, obviously, another topic on which we disagreed.

Finding people who are surprisingly socially conservative, especially when it comes to gay rights, isn't anything new when you come from Texas. The new thing, though, was talking to someone who could bring a completely new perspective. One of her main problems with gay rights activists in Moldova wasn't what they were advocating. In her country, there is only one main city that is relatively industrialized (Chişinău*) and the rest of the country is made up of little villages that still use coal and wood for the most part to stay warm in the winter. Many of the people in these villages make 500 euros (644 USD) a year, and still maintain a family-focused village life that is rarely seen in the US. The parents take care of the children and the grand-children, and work either outside the country or in traditional jobs in the villages. In this situation, she said, there is no room for thinking about a place for gay and lesbian people. She told me that it was frustrating for her that someone could be trying to create a "community" for LGBT people when villagers still can't get gas to their homes to properly heat them.

Of course I've heard, and said, the cliche that being a human rights activist is a luxury. It means that you have enough food to eat and a place to be sheltered so that you are not just trying to survive. i had never actually met someone, though, who embodied the opposite. What is the role of activism in developing nations? And also, how can we, who are in a position to be concerned with these issues, work to further the understanding of human rights in countries that struggle with basic needs? Is it possible for us to be the change in bringing people's awareness out of this mindset that my roomate shows?

I don't know the answer to this question, but it is definitely one that has been on my mind since we had this conversation, and I'd love to get your take on this.

Nagemist! (That's good-bye in estonian)

*Thanks to the anonymous poster for setting me straight on my European capitols. :)


Courtney Martin on Bill O' Reilly

It's safe to say that here at St. Edward's, Courtney Martin is one of our favorite feminists. She's attended campus twice- once last year to speak about her amazing book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, and last semester to coach a small group of us in op-ed writing as a part of The Op-Ed Project. Check how amazingly she stands up to Bill O' Reilly, starting at about 4:30 (sorry for the title.)

You rule, lady. 


Swagger like M.I.A.

Normally I'm not a big fan of awards shows. The culture of celebrity worship is ridiculous and whenever I hear about red carpet events like these I find myself wondering why I should care. The shows themselves rarely offer anything new-- I'd much rather see the movies or listen to the albums up for awards than find out whether they won something. And the formal attire required by the fancy events calls for strictly enforced gender roles, not to mention that the men all look the same in their tuxedos while the women's choice of gowns is under constant scrutiny. So I didn't watch the 2009 Grammy Awards, which happened this weekend, but, as it turns out, something happened there that was definitely worth seeing.

M.I.A., best known for her hit single "Paper Planes," performed "Swagger Like Us" (which samples "Paper Planes") while nine months pregnant. She was actually due on the day of the performance and she still managed to hold her own with T.I., Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne, and even flaunted her beautiful pregnant body in a sheer mini dress. I am in absolute awe.

And to think people used to say that women were the weaker sex.


Funny Feminist Friday: Excedrin for Racial Tension Headaches

Happy Friday! Funny Feminist Friday is back, and to celebrate Black History Month, here's a clip from Saturday Night Live of the fabulous and funny Queen Latifah:


"My time will come": Another milestone in the global struggle for political equality

Yesterday, former Icelandic Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security Johanna Sigurdardottir became her nation's first female prime minister and the world's first openly gay head of government. This comes after months of widespread malaise in the country, and many look to her as a sign of better times to come.

She entered politics in 1978. Since then, she has held several prominent positions in Iceland's government. Much has been made of her former occupation as a flight attendant, perhaps not without cause: her rise to power is all the more inspirational considering where she began. In 1995, she ran for her current position without success. "My time will come," she famously remarked.

Along with the inauguration of President Barack Obama, her election has made January one of the most groundbreaking months in the history of the fight for human equality.

For more information, there's a great article at TIME.com on the subject.


Instead of jail, maybe Blagojevich should be sentenced to wash his mouth out with soap.

If you've been following the Blagojevich scandal, you may have already seen this interview, or clips of it on cable news:

It's a long clip, and I'm not going to go into detail about all the extremely arrogant statements he makes (did he really just compare himself to Mandela, King, and Gandhi?), but check out what he says about three minutes into the clip:
"If you can hear the whole story, I think the whole story will tell a story of a governor who's on the side of the people, who takes on powerful interests, expresses frustration, and uses some language that, frankly, had I known somebody was listening, I wouldn't use, and I'll point out, when some of that language was used, there were no women on the phone" (emphasis mine).
Seriously? Does he really think he's on trial for using bad language? And as for his defense that there were no women on the phone, WTF? (Make no mistake, by the way-- I have just as much of a foul mouth as Blago. I'm just using the acronym to avoid offending you ladies.) Remind me again, what century is this?


Mmmm, sexy food

I was watching TV at a friend's house tonight when I saw this ad:

I know this is meant to be funny, but it just left me wondering, why is there only one female M&M cartoon, and why is she always presented in such a sexual way? I know sex sells, but would it hurt to even things out and have a sexy male M&M? Or a funny, normal female M&M? And does anyone else find sexually anthropomorphized (or, I guess I should say, gynecomorphized) food somewhat disturbing? Is there anything the female body isn't used to sell?


Passing the Gauntlet

I've been meaning to write this post for around a week now, but I simply haven't had the time or, strangely, the drive. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to drive across the country and stand with 2 million other people on a day that was literally freezing and watch the 44th president being sworn in. I wanted to communicate the importance that day and that trip had for me, because I feel that as feminists we are called to be politically active on behalf of equality for all. Today, I received an email from an ex-aunt who I have always looked up to. My mother forwarded my mass family email about the inauguration to her, and she felt moved to contact me regarding my involvement. I'd never talked politically with my aunt Carol, and that side of the family has a tendency to be incredibly conservatively Catholic so I was more than a little nervous about what her response would be. Instead of the telling-to I was expecting, I found a brief but poignant email expressing her thanks for my political involvement in my country. As a young woman in the 70's, she was incredibly active in the feminist movement and considers herself lucky to have had the opportunity. She closed by telling me, "Taking action is the only way to show real patriotism and to ensure that our democratic system does not disappear." She is completely right. Like so many others, I felt myself swept up in the tide of the Obamanation excitement, and I quickly felt the anger I had held inside toward our government for the last eight years dissipating. It was an incredible feeling, to listen to the Flobots, "Still Waiting" by Sum41 or "American Idiot" by Greenday and not be filled with righteous anger towards my president and the government allowing him to strip me of my civil liberties and kill innocent civilians in a useless war. I felt liberated. I rejoiced when I heard him promise to close Gitmo within the year, and I almost cried while reading his memorandum to the heads of the executive agencies regarding the Freedom of Information Act and how he expected them to abide by it and utilize new technology to make governmental information more readily accessible for the public. But, I am starting to realize, we shouldn't only become active because he is asking us to. Barack Obama is only one man, and he has the hopes and dreams of everyone who voted for him on his shoulders. With that many expectations, it seems he is bound, inevitably, to fail. But we, the people, are not. Each of us, as an individual, has only ourselves to answer to. President Barack Obama has called each of us to action, I think, because he recognizes this in his presidency. He has so many issues that he has pledged to solve with a bipartisan approach that it would be impossible for him to create all of the radical changes we rallied around when we elected him the next president. We must pick up the gauntlet that has been passed to us and remember the women who came before our time, who are now counting on us not to let our sisters (and brothers) in the struggle down.

With that in mind, I also don't think its a problem to recount the fabulosity (yes, I just made that up, I hope that's ok with ya'll) of the inauguration itself. I was really lucky to be with a group of people who also appreciated the historical significance of our route to the capitol, so we stopped in Little Rock at Little Rock Central High School and in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel. Those two stops, and spending MLK day next to the Reflection Pool at the capitol really help drive the importance of Barack Obama's inauguration home. That night we caught "Look Who's Coming to Dinner" with Sidney Poitier, and in it he says that his white fiance believes that one day their mixed-race children could be president, and I really felt like the entire experience was complete.

It wasn't all serious contemplation, however. There was the 2 million plus crowd on the national mall dancing to Garth Brooks singing "Shout" as the sun came up that morning, and the walk to Virginia that we took along with thousands of others due to closed metro stations to lighten the mood. And, in a crowd of millions crammed into spaces never meant to hold those numbers, there was the excitement and positivity that refused to turn to mob madness or frustrated anger that continually reinforced the good vibes infusing this administration.

I'm going to try to add some pictures if I can. Wish me luck!


The Big V.

There's a good three weeks to go until Valentine's Day, but since it always has a sneaky way of creeping up on me, I've decided to take the confrontational approach. My perception of this day seems to change every year. Last year? I was a willing participant. The year before that? Inconsolably cynical about the whole disgusting, consumerist charade. And now? Well, I'm not quite sure.

Since I was in elementary school, my parents have always made sure I felt loved on this day, gifting me chocolates and a card signed "XOXO, Love Mom and Dad". Though they're divorced now, I still get separate cards and candy from both of them, which even at the more cynical age of nineteen still makes me smile. As I came to know Valentine's Day as just a day to tell someone you love them, no matter what kind of love that may be, that all changed as I grew older. The proverbial "V-Day" soon evolved into a holiday sacred to those who held romantic love between them. As I longed for my first kiss and my first boyfriend, I (as any girl would in my situation) began to feel left out of what now seemed to be an integral part of enjoying this holiday: having a lover, a partner. Chocolates from my parents just added insult to injury.

To rationalize my non-participant status that plagued me year after year, I quickly renounced the practice of Valentine's Day. Created by Hallmark! Fueled by capitalism! Designed to make us feel terrible about single selves! After all, I am a strong feminist woman, and I don't need no man... right? Yeah. That didn't last long. No matter how I tried, it was still in vain. After all, Valentine's Day will probably never go away, which made trying to renounce it somewhat of an exercise in futility. And so what if chocolate-covered strawberries fuel the capitalist machine? I still wanted them- they taste good!

In any case, I don't think we should blame Valentine's Day for all the trouble it may cause us. Like many things originally good, it's simply become misinterpreted and polluted over time. So I've decided to just take it back, and make it my own. A day to eat ice cream in bed alone with my dog, a day to bake cookies for all my friends and watch terrible romantic comedies, a day to be glad I don't need diamonds or a boyfriend---

For what I need, and have, is love. In any way, shape, or form it happens to take.


"The facts were these": the empowerment of women (and men) in Pushing Daisies

When you think of portrayals of women on television, what comes to mind? I'd bet you picture scantily-clad, shockingly promiscuous, terribly cast vixens. Sex sells, and nobody knows this better than film and TV industry fat cats. Put a piece of flesh in front of America, and you'll have 'em banging down your door.

But there's at least one show that treats women as more than the sum of their parts: Pushing Daisies. The series, created by the visionary Bryan Fuller, is now in its second season. It depicts its female characters as strong, compassionate, independent, and good-natured. And now ABC has decided to cancel it.

For the uninitiated, here's the very least you need to know: In this romantic comedy/fantasy/detective drama, Ned, a shy, kindhearted pie maker (played by the amazingly talented Lee Pace) has a gift. He can bring the dead back to life with a single touch of his hand. But there are two catches. If he touches that formerly deceased person a second time, they will return to their posthumous state forever. If he should leave a person alive for more than a minute, however, someone else will die in their place. Enter private investigator Emerson Cod (played by the very entertaining Chi McBride). He discovers Ned's ability, and employs him to revive murder victims in order to find their killers and collect the reward money. One such victim turns out to be lonely tourist Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (played by the gorgeous, skillful British actress Anna Friel). She was Ned's childhood friend and first kiss, and hasn't seen him since. Upon waking her, Ned realizes that he has feelings for her, and so keeps her alive indefinitely. The two fall in love, becoming the sweetest, most charming fictitious couple to hit the small screen in decades. This turn of events takes place much to the chagrin of Ned's co-worker and secret admirer, Olive Snook (the delightful Kristin Chenoweth of Wicked fame), who is made to believe that Chuck faked her own death. Of course, despite their increasingly intense love for each other, Ned and Chuck can never touch. Every episode follows a different whimsical, often themed, murder mystery case, while simultaneously developing the characters' relationships with each other and expanding on their personal stories.

Aside from this show's many other admirable qualities, it is one of the most groundbreaking programs in years, in terms of gender issues. Our heroine, Chuck, is not a desperate housewife, nor a desperate anything for that matter. She is independent, smart, courageous, inquisitive, and vibrant, refreshingly far from the traditional wilting violet of yesteryear, yet maintaining the elegance of the classic ingenue. As evidence of her liberated womanhood, she has absolutely no qualms about bearing a traditionally male nickname. And, yes, she can be all of these things while still maintaining her role as hopeless romantic, and without stooping to promiscuity or indecency. Olive's character also breaks traditional gender stereotypes. She is determined, vivacious, and eager. She was a jockey for several years, entering into a sport generally considered an "old boy's club" and "the sport of kings". And without being even the slightest bit risqué, she is not afraid to assert her sexuality and sensuality. Her love for Ned, one could argue, may possibly be even deeper than Chuck's, and yet, she gracefully steps aside. She can also belt out a song when the mood strikes her, and there's nothing more liberating than that.

The fellas (such as yours truly) can also look to this show for good examples of authentic masculinity defying antique boundaries. Ned, our protagonist, is sweet, gentle, kind, caring, sensitive, and (dare I say it?) adorable. He's secure enough in his "maleness" to be himself, which includes making pies. Yes, contrary to popular belief, anyone can enjoy the wonders of pie.  None of this impedes his debonair abilities to sweep his lady love off her feet. Equally notable is Emerson Cod's case. He presents himself as a strong, no-nonsense crime-fighter, but privately loves to knit and has unresolved issues with his long-lost daughter. Guys in America need to be reminded that masculinity, just like femininity, is not found in mere conformity to an arbitrary set of social norms. And this show attempts, through the efforts of its amazing creator, to do just that.

Any discussion of gender roles and Pushing Daisies would be tragically incomplete without at least a brief mention of Chuck's aunts Vivian and Lily (played by those great and venerable stars of stage and screen, Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz, respectively). They are former synchronized swimmers, who once formed a duo known as The Darling Mermaid Darlings. The share a love for fine cheese, and a sadness for their niece's presumed passing. Lily in particular refuses to be bogged down by stereotypes; she tends to enjoy shooting trespassers and other shady characters with her trusty rifle, for example. Both aunts are strong women, though crippled by a social disorder, who accept that they cannot be what society wants them to be, but only who they truly are. 

We can all take lessons from this brilliant show. Though our genders are a significant part of who we are, we shouldn't let artificial constructs and stereotypes prevent us from living our lives as we see fit and being the people we truly must be.

With all that in mind, I think ABC's decision is outrageously stupid. And that's all I have to say about that.

Indulge your obsession (or cultivate a new one, so that you too can join in the sadness of PD's cancellation):