Not In Her Shoes

Stand up for women’s body autonomy.

Have you heard about the Not in Her Shoes project? It’s part of the This Is Personal Campaign, a movement to make sure the world knows that a woman’s medical decisions are her own and nobody else’s damn business. It’s a Tumblr blog that gives women a voice without sexualizing them or focusing on how they look—save for their shoes.

That’s right—you share your shoes. Just take a photo of them (with you in them preferably, but I’m sure you could take one with them empty if you prefer) and share why no one else walks in your shoes, no one else knows you personal situation, and no one should make your personal decisions except you.

I love this idea because it’s so easy to participate and get so many voices heard in a single, simple platform. Any bloggers of any ages can participate, and it’s really fun to read the stories and share what it means to make our own decisions as women together. Plus, while I’m not a shoe person myself, I know lots of people do like to admire shoes, which I’m sure makes it fun, too.

You can share a photo alone, or as long of an entry as you like by visiting Not in Her Shoes.

Man, I feel like a woman

And if these billboards are any reflection of that, what a sad thing to be in the world…

You might think that I hate being a woman. Freud certainly thought so about pretty much every female, anyway. And I did spend those early years of my life dressing like a lumberjack and wishing I were a boy so my mom wouldn’t make me wear dresses… Still, I love being a woman and I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished in my life as one.

But driving into the city today, I realized that if you were an alien from another planet—or even another country—and you took a peek at the billboards on your journey, you might think that my gender is a sorry thing to be. First, there’s the casino ad with an ecstatic old man sandwiched between two scantily-clad, buxom women shoving their assets in his face. Hmm. A woman must be a prize or part of what you get if you go to this casino, right?

Cue next billboard: an anti-abortion ad. Well, since women are the only beings who can get pregnant on this planet but there are ads telling them what to do with their bodies, that must mean that they are owned by the public. Further research would indicate that laws mirror this statement.

The next billboard isn’t as bad. It’s a Halloween costume shop advertising fun Halloween opportunities to play dress up. However, upon the alien’s further inspection while visiting said shop, he/she/it sees lots of fun costumes meant for men—as indicated by the photos on top of the costume packaging—while all of the costumes designed for women are just like the first billboard, allowing them to display their bodies as objects—even the little girls’ costumes. (Note: I’m all about being sexy when you want to be. But I’m also all about having the choice to be scary or just plain fun, too—and for NOT making little girls into objects!)

My almost seven-year-old daughter was in the backseat and all I could think about was how she was interpreting these signs. Like me, she often says she’d rather be a boy. She doesn’t like the “girls toy aisle,” and she would rather be a werewolf, vampire, or cat for Halloween—the kind that bites and has blood, not the kind with a teeny, tiny skirt. All I can do is talk to her about these and get her thinking critically—while hopefully teaching her she is worth so much more than her body—while fuming that I have to in the first place. I love my job and don’t mind teaching her about anything, but I also demand a better world for half the people who inhabit it.

Straw developed to prevent date rape

While every tool like this is helpful, it doesn’t even begin to address the problem at its heart.

Two scientists—both male scientists, which might be interesting to know—are working on a date rape prevention straw. I kid you not.

The straw will apparently glow if you dip it in your drink and a date rape drug is present in the liquid. So now, in addition to whistles, pepper spray, a monkey wrench, and a taser, we women are expected to bring our own straws to the party.


Look, it’s not that I don’t appreciate this device; thank you to the two scientists who are looking out for our drinks and our well-being. You have good intentions in mind and when you can’t prevent something from occurring, well, at least you have this as a backup.

But prevention is really what we have to focus on, and aside from making women carry around this entire backpack of gear to help protect themselves from being raped, we have not yet focused on that yet. Prevention is super easy, by the way; it goes like this:

Don’t rape.

It’s really that easy! Anyone can do it! Yet we aren’t having this conversation. It’s 2012 and we’re still telling women to travel in groups, to wear conservative clothes, to wear a whistle, to be prepared. And if you tell people to shove it when they give you this advice—even women who are conditioned to follow it since birth, as our parents are obsessed with us not getting raped based on our gender alone, which then leads us to be obsessed as well—they get defensive!

“There’s nothing wrong with being prepared!” they’ll whine. No, no there’s nothing wrong with that at all. If I’m out for the day and I think I might go swimming, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a towel. But if I go swimming and forget my towel, people aren’t going to point fingers at me and scream, “You’re all wet! It’s your fault because you didn’t bring a towel!” like they do at rape survivors who didn’t travel in a group, or didn’t have a whistle, or just had headphones on while they were attacked.

There IS something wrong with blaming a victim for being raped and not even bothering to address the wrongfulness of rapists themselves—let alone run their rape kits and prosecute rapists. And until we stop trying to design straws and whistles and pepper spray for these people and start actually focusing on the rapists themselves, rape will continue to occur as the epidemic it already is.

Rush Limbaugh's Top 5 Misogynistic Moments

Limbaugh's recent "slut" attack is just one sound bite in a long history of anti-female rants

Rush Limbaugh caused a dustup recently when he referred to a female activist who implored Congress to mandate that birth control to be covered by all insurance companies in all states a "slut" and a "prostitute."  Limbaugh is really going to be pissed when he realizes chastity belts were tossed a long time ago and that women have been having unbridled sex when they want with whomever they want for years.

Gee, I don't remember anyone calling men sluts when they enjoyed their Viagra being covered by insurance.  (By the way, only about 28 states require insurance to cover contraception  -- and that number increased only after Viagra got prime treatment).

Really, I'm not surprised Limbaugh has a problem with universal coverage for birth control. Given his history of slights against women, I'm sure he thinks we should keep our legs closed, only speak when spoken to, and only have sex when we're married and trying to conceive.

In case you missed Limbaugh's past litany of insults against women, here's a tawdry review of the worst five:

1990s - Rush Limbaugh coined and popularized the derisive term "Feminazi" to refer to feminists. Sadly, it  became a big hit on his radio show.

1994 - Limbaugh releases the "Undeniable Truths of Life."  At #24 on his original list, is the following statement: "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society."


2006 - Limbaugh calls woman who declared herself a victim of gang rape, a "ho."  Now, years later, we know this woman as the liar who falsely accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team of rape. At the time, however, Limbaugh had no basis for his denigration.

2007 --  During Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Presidency, Rush Limbaugh suggested Clinton might be unpalatable to voters who may not be ready to "watch a woman grow old in office."  Yeah. Because George W. Bush was so handsome to observe. Rush tried to cover his comments by saying that's how America treats women, as is demonstrated in Hollywood with aging actresses who are ignored.  Guess I missed something: didn't know Hillary's campaign was a film audition.

2007 - After Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, Limbaugh reflected: " I wonder when she loses next if she'll go back to the kitchen."


Rihanna's reunion with Chris Brown

... is actually a GOOD example for women and young girls.

No, I am not betraying sisterhood when I say I am excited about the prospect of Rihanna reuniting with her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. When news broke this week that RiRi had made two new songs with Brown, who was charged with assaulting Rihanna in 2009, people went crazy in the media and on Twitter, denouncing her as a poor role model and a pathetic example of womanhood.

Rihanna's edgy videos and songs clearly reveal she likes to live on the wild side where there are few rules and she can do whatever she wants. One only has to follow her Twitter, which is frequently updated with seemingly drunken tweets filled with expletives, to see that she is a raw , irreverant soul. She doesn't care about being society's precious proper Barbie. She has the guts to follow her instincts even if it infuriates everyone else. I don't want her to be harmed, but to me she is NOT dealing with a serial criminal here.

I recall when Chris Brown came on the music scene when he was just 16 years old, singing "Run it." He was a smiley, clean-cut kid who loved to talk about his mama. He was nobody's threat. He wasn't some street thug. He wasn't a criminal. He hadn't sold drugs. He was a just a good kid with a good voice and crazy dance moves.

In a music industry where former drug dealers and gangsters get forgiven and invited to the White House and on Oprah, I find it nauseating that there is no forgiveness for Chris, who committed a horrible abuse of power while a teen healing from days of  seeing his own mother beaten by her husband. Should he be labeled and shunned for life  or should we see if his counseling and anger management reformed him? The latter would be a better example to show the world.

The reality is there are some love bonds that are explosive and heady, filled with too much adrenaline, jealousy and obsession. Sometimes, that love can be the greatest and the most reckless. So, Rihanna, I understand the attraction.

To me, Rihanna set the greatest example by following through with prosecution and by giving Chris a chance to prove he's a new man, after three years of exemplary behavior. She didn't let him off the hook. She took the matter through the justic system and even got a restraining order against him. Give her some credit.  Maybe, just maybe, she believes people can overcome their demons.

I believe in reform. That's a good message to send. I believe people are not just their bad moments. I'm glad Rihanna is showing the world she's willing to grant second chances to someone who has earned it.

Until he's a serial abuser (which I hope is never), I'm not ready to write Chris Brown off as a lost cause. He's too young and he has too much potential.  Be honest. We all have had Jekyll and Hyde moments, but most of us haven't had TV cameras and media to sensationalize them for life.


Demi Moore's fall as a pop culture female warrior.

News that Demi Moore had to pull out of the movie Lovelace in which she was set to play feminist icon Gloria Steinem is symbolic.

The woman who once was synonymous with pop cultural sheroism has become an imposter.  Way before Angelina Jolie started pumping men full of bullets, Demi shaved her had bald and starred as G.I. Jane, showing she was tough enough to handle a military full of boys.

Then, she did the sexually liberating “Striptease.”

 Where has that Demi gone?

As her allegedly cheating husband Ashton Kutcher enjoys his pre-divorce period by partying out of the country and tweeting about women sleeping over, Demi is apparently mourning the loss of this half-man by reportedly getting high and checking herself into a facility for treatment.

Furthermore, she is still embarrassing herself by using her unchanged Twitter handle: @MrsKutcher.

The real Demi Moore would have never gone by that handle anyway. The real Demi Moore would not still allow her public image to be branded by the name of a man who betrayed and disrespected the marriage vows he made to her.

I want the old Demi back. The one that was a role model for young girls and women.

It’s not like Ashton is some sort of prize. He’s a goofy insensitive playboy who is overrated both as an actor and as a hunk.  I don’t know what Demi saw in him in the first place.  

In December, Demi actually got mad at Twitter fans who wrote to ask why she was still using the handle “Mrs. Kutcher.”  She asked if it was a problem.

Yes, Demi! It’s a big problem! Have some self-respect.  Have some pride! You’re only Mrs. Kutcher for a few more months. Somebody else is screwing your husband.

Take a clue from your ex-husband Bruce Willis who obviously still pines for you.  Did he go around publically trying to claim an attachment after the marriage fell apart? No. He just went and got a woman who looks suspiciously like you.

I’m not saying that’s not-pathetic . But on the pathetic-meter, he’s about 10 points above you.  

Will the real Demi Moore please stand up.

Penile Superiority Complex: Gov. Christie insults female detractors with bedroom joke

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie managed to prove himself even cruder than Snooki earlier this month when he used a sex joke about oral gratification to try to put women hecklers in their place at an event where he campaigned for Mitt Romney.

Do they not teach manners in Joisey?

Some females at the function loudly yelled and suggested that jobs had been lost under Christie's tenure as governor; they were chanting something akin to "Jobs are going down!"

Instead of ignoring them, Christie responded -- wait for it -- "Something might be going down tonight, but it ain't going to be jobs."

Wow.  Ugh. The imagery. My eyes!


It's not the tortuous mental image of some poor woman fitting her lips around Christie's disgusting manhood that is most appalling here.

What's appalling is that Christie absolutely would not have said this to a man. He could have addressed the women's concerns about jobs. Instead he focused on their gender and tried to debase them, telling them figuratively that their place was on their knees on the floor in some submissive position -- servicing him.

Don't tell me I'm reading too much into this and injecting unnecessary feminist venom into a harmless situation.   There is absolutely no other purpose or benefit for Christie to connect a chant about jobs to oral sex -- except to embarrass and reduce the status of women who dared to question him.  How dare this governor, a leader of the state, resort to such a chauvinistic quip.

I wish the women had responded something like "Something's going to get hacked off tonight, unless you hack down the unemployment rate!"


Hillary as VP? Please! Let the Head Man in Charge stew in his own failures!

Why the renewed interest in Clinton as VP? This woman is too talented to be in anyone's clean-up crew.

Despite Hillary Clinton's repeated assertions that she plans to exit politics and not seek another public office, various media columnists are still speculating about how effective a Clinton-Obama ticket would be in 2012. Cue the hoping and praying.

I sympathize with Obama needing a secret ingredient to rally voters around him for a second term, but Hillary Clinton should not be used as such a token.

Obama is an incredibly intelligent and seemingly compassionate man who would love to improve America (when he fully learns what the American ethos is) but who lacks the expertise and political shrewdness to get anything done in Washington, D.C.

This is precisely why Hillary Clinton told voters “he’s not ready” during the 2008 campaign. Hillary, on the other hand, was ready and remains ready – but the days are over for highly qualified women to play second fiddle to men who are less qualified. Don't expect her to take a domestic broom and join Obama's clean-up crew.

Clinton understands the underpinnings of politics and how to negotiate in the ferocious waters of partisan politics – unlike Obama who simply capitulates and shifts his position.

Had he agreed to be HER vice-president in 2008, he could have learned from a family of experts, built the right connections and learned the Clinton-perfected Machiavellian techniques of political warfare that aren’t taught in academia. Then, he could have run as a more seasoned politician in 2016. Instead, he was naive and believed good intentions could make an impact in Washington.  There is no room for naiveté in American politics.

Hillary proved to be a noble woman when she took over the Secretary of State position, but she cannot bail Obama out this time. Let him keep the bumbling Joe Biden and stew in his bad 2008 decision.   

And let voters, who dismissed the brilliant Hillary Clinton as some ball-breaking b*itch trying to run on her husband’s history, reap their just rewards, as well.

Catholic Church May Be Influencing Obama's Decision Regarding Health Insurance Providers and Birth Control

Women need more access to affordable birth control.

A few months ago I was chatting with my gynecologist about the new law which would force health insurance companies to pay for birth control with no co-pays beginning in 2012; as a woman currently fighting with my insurance company over their refusal to pay for my birth control, I was ecstatic about the news that the United States was moving forward in respect to women’s health. 


My relief might be short-lived. 

Cosmo Magazine is reporting that the Obama administration may be partially reversing their earlier decision about requiring health insurance companies to provide birth control without co-pays. It appears that Obama and company may be capitulating to lobbying efforts from Catholic hospitals and schools who are offended that health insurance companies might have to pay for birth control. If enacted, the concession won’t be for everyone, but would allow certain organizations the option to refuse to give birth control to women based on the religious beliefs of the organization. 


The problem with allowing the “religious exemption” to take effect is that many Catholic women are in favor of birth control and presumably would want coverage for their own birth control. The “religious exemption” would hurt any woman employed by a Catholic institution’s ability to gain access to birth control at all. 


As I discussed with my gynecologist, it is difficult to support the Catholic position on birth control. How can any organization in this day and age still truthfully advocate abstinence as the best birth control when there are so many effective birth control methods and such a large number of unplanned pregnancies in the United States and other countries? If the numbers reported in Cosmo are correct, more Catholic women are in favor of the changes made by the Obama administration than are against it. 



The reality is that people have sex and that the less access there is to birth control, the more unplanned pregnancies there will be. 


As I’ve mentioned before, there has been WAY too much influence by religious organizations on government policy, laws, and mandates. Refusing women access to birth control is draconian and will cause more problems for the women seeking contraception. 


It’s time for the United States to enter the twenty-first country when it comes to birth control and women’s rights. Women need affordable reproductive health care options.