Sunday, May 31, 2009

Japan Should Become A Champion Of Human Rights

The story below came from Human Rights Watch and was written last year. I am posting it up because I found the article interesting and the writer of this article is encouraging Japan to advocate for human rights. It's good to hear stories about human rights all over the world, so I thought I'd post this up on the blog. Feel free to comment on this story. As you can see, I rarely post news stories in this blog, but this one caught my eye last year.

Japan Should Become A Champion Of Human Rights
June 11, 2008

Each day brings news of a new human rights crisis. Even focusing only on our Asian neighbors, countless civilians are being killed in conflicts in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka; governments are crushing protest movements in Burma, Tibet and Uzbekistan; security forces and armed groups are abducting, torturing and killing people in Sri Lanka, North Korea, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines, while the military government is compelling people to vote in Burma with no respect for the rule of law. Japan's goal to make the 21st century "a century of human rights" seems wishful thinking.

And how is the Japanese government responding to these human rights crises all over Asia? The Japanese government's position has often been vague and slow when it does raise its voice about human rights concerns in other countries. Japan has rarely demonstrated leadership in the international community to speak up for those being oppressed by their own governments. Only in the case of North Korea has Japan certainly taken the lead in pressuring the North Korean government on abductions of Japanese nationals. But this has more to do with protecting Japanese nationals than protecting universal human rights. Proof lies in the fact that we hardly ever hear about Japan speaking out about ordinary North Koreans who face every day abuses of human rights

The Japanese media often nonchalantly reports on "Western governments" protesting human rights violations abroad. Broadcasters report on such acts as if protesting human rights violations were a duty reserved solely for the West, and not Asia. True, Japan is not alone in its relative reticence to speak about human rights violations in other countries; it is a common trait found in almost all Asian governments.

Being Japanese, we are quick to count ourselves among Western democratic nations as far as the economy is concerned. Yet why are we so indifferent and allow ourselves to lag behind in the area of human rights? It's not as if Japanese people do not possess a basic sense of social justice.

Respecting human rights is not only about asserting social justice for all, but it is also in Japan's national interest by promoting regional stability. For example, many foreign affairs experts say China and North Korea pose the biggest threat to Japan's security, because these countries do not share basic values with Japan and their governments lack stability, which in turn makes it difficult to predict their future stance towards Japan.
But what if China and North Korea were rights-respecting nations where the rule of law protected the interests of all individuals without fear of oppression and societies in which people had the freedom of expression to openly discuss their problems and seek solutions even on politically "sensitive" issues? China and North Korea would then become genuinely stable societies, and neighbors in which Japan could place greater trust.

Japan has the potential to be a leading Asian nation that advocates the protection of global human rights. Certainly that leadership comes with a responsibility to clean its own slate, too. The human rights record of the Japanese government will come under scrutiny. But that is an honor. It is more dishonorable to maintain relationships with other countries when neither party ever brings up their shared stake in human rights, or their roles in preventing human rights violations.

For a long time now, the Japanese government has been extremely cautious in taking stands on various human rights issues that arise throughout the world. As Japan recovered from its war-torn economy and reconstructed itself as a rising star of Asia, the Japanese government tended to prioritize its business interest than the welfare of individuals in partner countries. But Japan is now economically advanced and the Japanese people have grown to value not only economic well-being but the welfare of people - including those of foreign countries. Some are skeptical as to whether the Japanese government is eligible to speak out on the human rights record of its Asian neighbors because of Japan's atrocities during World War II. While the Japanese must sincerely acknowledge its past and take steps to address it, embarrassment over human rights abuses in the past cannot be a reason to ignore the victims of human rights abuses today.

Now is the time for Japan to revise its foreign policy and become a nation that advocates for human rights in a more public and vocal manner. As the biggest aid donor to many Asian countries and some African countries, Japan is in a unique position to do so. Its words carry weight with recipient countries. The Japanese government has the potential to exercise considerable leverage to relieve the suffering of many people in various countries. As Japanese nationals, we should urge our government to use that leverage and demand that it strives to become a champion of human rights.

The writer is Japan Consultant for Human Rights Watch.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

DIY: Know The Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer

How to Know the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Ovarian Cancer. It is a chilling and unmatching result of words that no one should ever put together. This type of cancer affects only women and it is much worse than breast cancer or any type of cancer for that fact. It is deadly and have killed at least or more than 15,520 women as of this year. Most of the deaths have been caused due to the fact the women did not know they have ovarian cancer. Do you not want to be one of those women?


  1. Recognize the following symptoms:
    • Bloating
    • Pelvic or abdominal pain
    • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly after you begin eating
    • Urinary symptoms, such as urgent or frequent feelings of needing to go to the bathroom/restroom
    • Abnormal bleeding from your vagina, especially after menopause if you are not using any hormonal medicines
    • Pain or bleeding during sex or after sex
    • Decrease of energy
    • Fatigue and/or fever
    • Back pain
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as gas, indigestion, nausea, or changes in bowel movements)


  • Go to a local doctor if you experience five or more of these symptoms within two weeks.
  • Get tested as soon as possible. The sooner you get tested, the better the results will be.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Know the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tips For Effective Activism

This was taken from SpeakOut.

Tips For Effective Activism

1. Know What You Want (Figuring Out What You Want)
2. Know Who To Ask (Figuring Out Who To Talk To)
3. Know What You’re Talking About (What You Want…Policy Resources)
4. Be Polite, Personal, Thoughtful, and Rational (Delivering Your Message)
5. Pick a Method of Communication that Works for You and Your Message (Delivering Your Message)
6. Know When to Ask (Legislative Process)
7. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Staff (Who to Talk To…Staff)
8. Follow Up (Delivering Your Message)
9. Understand the Limitations of the System (Key Themes)
10. Have fun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Few Feminism Facts

The facts below were taken from here.

Essential Facts

1.) Seneca Falls, New York, was the location of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1848 speech, “A Declaration of the Rights of Women,” which called for full political and social rights for women.
2.) Margaret Sanger began advocating for women’s reproductive rights in 1912 and is the founder of what is now known as Planned Parenthood.
3.) The National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed in 1966 and is the largest feminist organization in the United States. Betty Friedan was its first president.
4.) In the United States, feminists helped push through Title IX legislation in 1972, which gave young female athletes the same opportunities and access to funding as their male counterparts.
5.) Feminists still hope to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which would guarantee protection under the law. The ERA has been before every session of the U.S. Congress since 1982 but has yet to pass.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Punk Feminist

The article below was taken from here and was written by Jeannie Gynarchy.

The Punk Feminist

I make all my decisions based on my feminist and punk beliefs, whether it be what gas to put in my car, what I eat for lunch, or what I’m going to do about a crisis. I go to a “liberal” university and no one gives a fuck what anyone else is doing, so they don’t care what I look like. It’s much different when I have to venture out into the “real world”, people stare, point, whisper, security trails behind, but I’m used to it. I feel sorry for people like that, whose lives are so mundane that something as simple as pink hair throws their whole life into turmoil. Being a girl alters the way I see the world in that I see everything in an oppressive light. I’m more aware of oppression of myself and of every other womyn. I am also aware of the oppression of other groups, such as gays and African-Americans. I know that society wants me to look pretty, keep my mouth shut and my legs wide open but I refuse to let that happen. I fight that everyday and in everything I do. Feminism means to me not playing the part our society has written for us. I don’t want my daughters growing up with the same shit I had to grow up with. Playing with perfect Barbie dolls and wearing pretty dresses and having only kitchen sets and Betsy Wetsie for toys. Feminism means doing whatever the hell you want to and not having someone say you can’t do that because you are a girl. Feminism provides an outlet and an answer to the anger and frustration I feel every day. It provides sisterhood, shelter, and defense for me. But, because of feminism I come off abrasive and pessimistic. I can’t just sit back and relax and let sexist things slide. I can’t just take a joke. I become more and more disgusted by day at what we allow to happen in our culture and world.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This article was written by: Kathleen Hanna in the early 1990's in a zine.


i will never be a rockstar.
i will never be rich.
i can't take back my tenth birthday or the love i felt for you. there are no words for the hands that're running all up with a liars veins, voice, words moist, so moist i believed. i believed that my best friends wouldn't lie to me.
i will never be what the world wants me to be or have sex right. i will never open my door cuz in the eyes of the law it means i just spread open my legs and closed my eyes and said "c'mon in." and i will never explain this to anyone i like cuz it'll get used against me. the fact that i am not dead makes me an open target for murder. i swallowed your pride, i swallowed your heart, i swallowed your cum, guess that's all part of it. there's no justice and i'm really mad that people keep acting like there is. i don't want to be a girl eaten up by your world, how can i watch girls eaten up by your world? how come i get hit and no one sees it? how come, bloodied, i am explaining to the man who hit me what he has done? why am i taking care of him, why oh why do i still love him...?
if you took away this lipstick would i still have a mouth underneath? is it true i'm only crying because i'm afraid to go to sleep? i will never be rich, not cuz rich doesn't matter, but because i am crazy because i am full of hate... crazy means you don't give a damn what anyone thinks.
when i was little my parents sent me to charm school and ballet. i don't remember what recital it was fat-stomached and eight years old i was getting photographed in a bikini and a crown. now i'm crazy, fulfilling the american dream and being hated for it, they are just jealous. i don't care.
i am in protest against the whole world. my body says it, slung into my clothes. i won't stop talking, i'm a girl you have no control over. there is not a gag big enough to handle this mouth. i'm gonna tell everyone what you did to me. and sometimes i'll tell it dramatic and sometimes i'll blurt it out. and the hand you laid on my bare ass will be invisible as it spills right out of me. i will still bear the brunt of it, your smell. they will tell me i am inappropriate with their eyes. i'm not writing to please you, i'm not giving you a clean little hole to stick your dick in, a nice smooth arrangement.
pick me up, open me, put me down.
so sorry, i'm no hemingway, i'm writing for survival, my kind is being killed off, in fact i'm not even sure i exist. these words on this page mean something, if only that i was here and my fingers made this mess. i don't know luxury, what it is to be carefree. that was your fantasy, remember?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Equal Rights Amendment

This was taken from here. This is very short and I’m sure most of you that read this blog support equal rights. This is a reminder that we have not achieved equality yet.

Equal Rights Amendment

SECTION 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

SECTION 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification

Sunday, May 24, 2009

DIY: How To Defend Yourself

How to Defend Yourself

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

The difference between walking away and becoming tomorrow's newspaper headline is how well you are prepared to protect yourself in a bad situation. By keeping this information in mind you will know what can be done before and during an attack.
There are various types of confrontations:
  • The 'wind-up', the argument before the fight erupts,
  • The 'duel' an arranged meet to resolve a dispute between conflicting parties or the ambush.
  • The brawl will usually be only after the verbal "woofing" has been exhausted and someone throws a punch.
  • An ambush is usually premeditated and one or more assailants will attack when they feel the timing is right, usually after distracting the victim with a question e.g. "Have you got the time?".


  1. Think about potential situations in which you will need to defend yourself. No two attacks are the exact same, so think about what you could do if attacked from different sides or in different situations (large numbers of people, alone, at night or at day, assailant is armed or not armed, size of assailant, assailant's intentions). By thinking about it beforehand, you will not be as likely to become shocked and panic during the real thing.
  2. Take a self-defense course. Actually being able to run through potential situations and consult with an expert will help you immensely. Try taking a form of martial arts.

  1. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, try to leave the situation. In an uncomfortable social situation, this can be as simple as firmly asserting yourself ("Back off right now!"). Take all verbal or directional paths to non-confrontation; actual physical confrontation should be your last line of defense, although sometimes it may be the only.
  2. Try to stay standing with a wide base, both left-to-right and back-to-front, so that your feet are diagonal from each other (a typical martial arts fighting stance). This will lessen your likelihood of getting knocked or pushed over.
  3. Assess your potential assailant: tall/short, stocky/thin, male/female. Look at their hands. If they were about to attack with their hands, they would have their hands out. However, if they are concealing a weapon, they will have them hidden or at their side.
  4. The best tactic in any confrontation is to RUN.

Preparing for a confrontation
One simple step to judge when a confrontation has passed the point of a verbal exchange is when the person starts to invade your personal space. To mark this, you put up a fence. A fence is simply putting your hands in front of you in a conciliatory/peaceful gesture (palms out). If the assailant tries to move past your fence, you are entering a physical confrontation - what other reason would they have for getting closer?. The general (but unpalatable) consensus at this point is you have to end the fight as quickly as possible by striking first, striking hard, and striking as many times as you can, then escaping. This goes against the oft quoted 'bushido' or warriors code and our innate civilised sensibilities, however not many assailants care for either of these.

Defending yourself from the front
  1. If the attacker is trying to punch you or grab you from the front, put your hands on your forehead in a "Not in the face!" sort of gesture and your arms tight on your body. This may look like a weak defensive position, but that is to your advantage since it brings your opponent's guard down. In addition, this position protects your face and your ribs, two places you'll likely want to protect.
  2. From your "Not in the face!" position, when you are close in on your assailant, lift your elbows into your opponent's lower ribs or right below his pectoral muscles. These are sensitive spots and can cause a lot of pain.
  3. If your assailant's upper body is far from you but you are still at risk (e.g. your opponent is choking you), attack their legs. This is especially effective on larger attackers because the bigger he/she is, the more stress he/she has on his/her legs and knees. Do not deliver a typical Karate Kid style kick; instead, kick his/her shins soccer-style (with the instep of your foot). This is a quick and painful kick. In addition, if his/her legs are close enough, lift your knees into their inner leg (femoral nerve), outer leg, knee, or groin. These will break down your attacker and may disable him/her, as only 12-16 pounds of pressure are needed to break a knee.
  4. If your opponent has his/her head in reaching distance (which is often the case when you attack his/her legs), you will want to attack it. Try to poke or press on the eyes, as no one can resist an eye poke no matter how big he/she is. Clapping on the ears can stun or, if done perfectly, breaks the eardrums. Striking the cheekbones can cause bruises or broken bones. Striking the nose causes nosebleeds and temporary blindness.
  5. In some cases you may also want to attack your attacker's neck (usually open when the head is). To effectively choke someone, do not do the typical Hollywood "hands around the entire neck," but instead just put your thumb and fingers around his/her trachea (especially easy to find on men with large Adam's apples). Also, right below his/her trachea is a notch in his/her neck. Dig, drive, and sink your fingers into this notch and they will experience intense pain and probably fall down.

Attacks from behind
  1. If an attacker tries to attack you from behind to choke you, press his/her forearm against your collarbone instead of trying to pull it directly off (which doesn't work well). Put one hand above his/her elbow (on the forearm) and one hand below it (so your hands are on both sides of the elbow). Then, in one strong and determined movement, step and swing your entire body around like the arm is the hinge to your body acting as a screen door. This will get you out of his/her choke and leave his/her head, ribs, and legs wide open to your counterattack. (Also note that, when your attacker is behind you, his/her shins are right behind your legs and primed for your stomping and raking.)
  2. If the attacker is trying to pick you up from behind, drop your hips quickly and violently as if you were plopping down on a love seat. This will make you harder to pick up and give you an extra moment to attack them and fend them off (stomp on their shins).
  3. If the attacker is trying to choke you by wrapping his arms around your neck, bring the ball of your foot forward, as if you just kicked a soccer ball, and fast and FORCEFULLY, slam it into the area of their leg between their ankle and mid-leg. This will, (if done hard enough) break their leg.

Other potential situations
  1. If you fall, try to fall on top of your attacker. While falling, keep the pointy parts of your body pointy (your knees and your elbows) and aim for your attacker's groin, ribs, and neck.
  2. If your attacker is wrestling with you on the ground and has you pinned under him/her, grab his/her body by unlocking his/her arm joints, or pin a hand to the ground. Then, put one leg firmly on the ground, push off of it, and swing your hips over. This will have you falling on top of your opponent, which should be done with a good amount of pointedness.
  3. If an attacker attacks with a weapon, know where the weapon is effective. If he/she has a knife, try to stay out of stabbing range, and if he/she has a gun, don't count out running and dodging left to right. Also, note that the attacker invests him/herself on that weapon and can leave him/herself open to grabbing/pinning the weapon hand or a different attack.
  4. If you get a chance to leave safely, go for it. Be sure that you're safe from your opponent when you decide to stop defending yourself.


  • If someone is attacking you, you are right and the other person is wrong. Their motivation is probably wanting your money or possessions or body, while yours is self-preservation. This means that you can fight without rules, since your cause is "righteous". In all likelihood, there will be a point in time, somewhere between the knees to the groin, elbows to the ribs, and strikes to the nose, that whatever he/she wanted before isn't nearly as important as stopping the pain you're dishing out.
  • In a self-defense situation, take a "not me" attitude: don't let yourself be the one they see in the paper the next morning. This starts before the fight, since experienced rapists and muggers will choose their victims not by what they are wearing or who they are, but how they act. If you are confident, you will not be the one they target.
  • If you get the opportunity, talk with your friends about how one would defend one's self in a dangerous situation. If possible, run through potential situations and where to target on someone's body and what seems to work and what doesn't.
  • If you think that you may be entering "a bad neighborhood" or any place where an attack could possibly happen, keep some pepper spray with you. This could be an invaluable lifesaver. Never keep a potentially lethal weapon such as a firearm or a knife with you as you may turn a mugging into a fight to the death, especially if the assailant is armed.
  • Threatening an assailant with a weapon like a knife or firearm is a bad idea unless you fear for your life. It is not worth going to jail for murder, manslaugter or getting killed over your wallet. Remember, the assailant is most probably stronger and more experienced in fighting than you or he would not have chosen you.
  • If this is any sort of domestic situation, you may be wondering at what point it becomes bad enough to warrant you defending yourself. By legal standards, any unwarranted contact is an assault. It doesn't matter if he/she "only" pushed you, it's still an assault, can still be dangerous, and you still deserve to defend yourself.


  • Don't get in fights over trivial things like disagreements in a bar about beer/girls/sports teams. Be the bigger person and walk away. You're better than that.
  • Don't comply with someone who has you under duress (in other words, if the attacker says, "Get in the car," don't get in the car. The attacker wants to move you probably because he/she doesn't want to do what he/she intends to do in your current situation. You have a much better chance of surviving if you resist as soon as possible, however, if you do not escape at that moment, the attacker will probably kill you and take the keys.
  • In many cases, you can end the situation immediately by giving the attacker your wallet. This is a logical choice, especially if at knife- or gunpoint. Your life is worth much more than the cash and cards you have on you. toss the wallet away from you and run.
  • This plan does not cover every situation, but it's rather a brief overview of what you can expect. By no means are you completely safe; however, after reading and understanding this you have a better mindset if a situation does arise. Above all, remember that you are right and you can decide if you're not going to be the victim.
  • Only carry a weapon if you have sufficient training to use it legally and effectively.

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Defend Yourself. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What Is A Riot Grrrl? And Why Is A Male Writing About It?

This article was taken from here.

What Is a Riot Grrrl? And Why is a Male Writing about it?
Written by: Ronnie Hogart (of Lucid Nation)

To understand what a riot grrrl is, you should know that May 21, 1997 CBS News reported that rape occurs every sixty seconds in the United States. Every sixty seconds a female's life is shattered, along with the lives of her loved ones. Usually when such statistics are mentioned, chauvinistic males claim they are grossly exaggerated. Well, the FBI compiled 16,000 reports by law enforcement agencies and the number of reported and confirmed cases has risen 128% since 1972; they arrived at one rape every five minutes. The National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census reported one rape every three and a half minutes. When the Crime Victim Research and Treatment Center conducted their National Women's Study they found that only one out of six rapes is ever reported. Whatever the statistics, I suggest you conduct a survey of your female friends so you can be shocked by how many have been victims of this crime. To understand what a riot grrrl is, you should know that in our allegedly free capitalist economy, women are paid seventeen cents an hour less on average for the same work, and of course that's educated white women (unless they work in the arts where they are even more underpaid). The average african american or other ethnic minority woman makes thirty cents or less to the dollar. Outside our borders women work for pennies an hour or day, consistently underpaid. Growing up in a world where all media shows an extremely narrow band of stereotypes they must fit or be ridiculed, 150,000 American women starve themselves to death yearly, so hypnotized are they by a stereotype they feel they can almost achieve. On the CD player Snoop calls them "bitches" and in every high school they are treated as such. Meanwhile, Midol is confiscated as a drug. What a bleak life most young women have to look forward to. Love and children are offered as the saving creed, but domestic abuse is one of the most under-reported and frequent crimes. Riot Grrrl happened in Olympia, Washington as the eighties turned into the nineties. Some students at Evergreen College, all female, mostly white, began applying feminism to the arts. Bands were formed like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Excuse 17. A zine revolution was born as scissors, a glue stick, a typewriter, and a friend at a copy shop or in an office with a xerox machine, were utilized to create mini magazines circulated at first by friends and then all over the world. Poster artists, poets, and every other kind of artist joined together to talk about the truth of their lives in an oppressive and dangerous society. Supposedly, the term Riot Grrrl was born when a young woman pointed out that if any other group of human beings were so viciously treated, and suffered as much violence, and across the board discrimination, there would be riots in the streets. Thus: Riot Grrrl, a girl who lives her life knowing she's in a war, instead of waking up to a day when tragic horror shatters denial. Riot Grrrl became so popular in the next couple years, the media began to report on it as a hot new trend. The leading figures of Riot Grrrl, or at least the most popular, were so completely misquoted, misrepresented, and merchandised that they called for a media black out. The entire movement disappeared. Predictably the media announced that it was a fad that died. But in fact with great discipline it retained its independence. In the summer of 1996 there were nine Riot Grrrl conventions in the U.S., gatherings of hundreds of mostly high school and college girls to hear their bands, to learn self defense in two hour workshops, to share secrets and resources and the inspiration of discovering so many allies. There are Riot Grrrls in Spain now, in Guam, Argentina, and Taiwan. Some places like Washington D.C. have highly active and organized chapters which keep archives. L.A. has a loose confederation of Riot Grrrl sympathizers who meet at certain band's shows, trade e mail from across the country, and white girls are the minority. RG music has evolved in new ways, with Olympia favoring primitive punk or lilting harmonies, often with an ironic midwestern style, while L.A. prefers a more punk/metal flavor. This is, of course, an oversimplification. Riot Grrrl has been marginalized as fashion, it has been dismissed as a dyke dating pool, and ridiculed as the whining of unpopular girls who didn'tget enough attention when they were children, but Riot Grrrl really is the beginning of an evolution, as for the first time in history a great nation's women are beginning to stir and communicate and realize that they have the right and the power to demand and achieve a society of greater equality, with sensitivity to ecology, and respect for individuality.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Riot Grrrl Guide For The Perplexed

This article was taken from here.

A Riot Grrrl Guide For The Perplexed

So what the heck is Riot Grrl? Depending on who you ask, it is:

* a music movement that has its roots in punk rock, and must be understood within that context. Defining Riot Grrl is much like defining Punk--there is no central organization, no authoritative definition, just an attitude concerned with pointing out social hypocrisy and empowering people do "do it themselves", creating a culture of their own when they see that the mainstream media doesn't reflect their concerns or provide outlets for their efforts.

* it is activist music, zines, and other activity that builds a supportive environment for women and girls and is concerned with feminist issues such as rape, abortion rights, bulemia/anorexia, beauty standards, exclusion from popular culture, the sexism of everyday life, double standards, sexuality, self-defense, fat oppression, racism, and classism.

* the network of zines that are produced by girls and young women who identify with the music that is associated with Riot Grrl. The zines are often intensely personal, but that personal outlet is translated to larger political action when the zines are available to the public, bringing people together for conventions and consciousness-raising activities

* i've heard one feminist define Riot Grrl as any feminist activism that is done by young women. Discuss?

* the ethos of Riot Grrl is about supporting each other, empowering each other, and making things happen without backstabbing, competition, and more-grrl-than-thou-ness. Grrl power is not about what the boys think, grrl power is about separate space when we need it, and including supportive boys when we need that--but the choice is ours.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Me And Riot Grrrl

This article was taken from: Grrrl Love Is Good Love, an old riot grrrl website that was made by Jeannie Gynarchy and the article was last updated on January 5, 1998.

Me And Riot Grrrl

i wrote all of this at one point or another. some of it is from my zine, some is from an essay i wrote about riot grrrl. the first part is kinda choppy because i was writing off the top of my head.

i think that riot grrrl and feminism are similar in the way that a square and a rectangle are related. riot grrrl is feminism like a square is a rectangle, but feminism is not only riot grrrl, just like a rectangle is not only a square. riot grrrl is a type of feminism like a square is a tape of rectangle. that may seem like a silly comparision but that's the best way for me to describe it. i think that riot grrrl is to be taken as it was created, a punk feminist movement. riot grrrl can only exist in the punk scene. once you move it out it becomes invalid to the real world. that's not to say that punk is not part of the real world, it's just a small part of the world. riot grrrl could not have existed at any other time in history except maybe in the 1970's during the first punk revolution. and i think that riot grrrl will die when the punk scene dies. so it's up to us to make sure that never cease to exist. riot grrrl incorporates feminist ideals and uses them to de-gender the punk scene. punk rock is not just for boys anymore. feminism and riot grrrl can become sexist of course... saying man = evil, man = rape etc. the true meaning of riot grrrl is equality. no man is better than a woman and vice versa. riot grrrls may lose sight of that sometimes. another problem i see with riot grrrl is becoming homosexualist for lack of a better word. there is nothing wrong with being straight. there is nothing wrong with being gay. there is nothing wrong with being bisexual. on several occasions i have felt guilty for being bisexual and having a boyfriend. riot grrrl preaches choice and i choose to have a boyfriend and that should be respected, not condemned. along the same lines i feel guilty sometimes for having a child. that i am a breeder. that the revolution has no place for me when i have to take my son along with me. riot grrrl should embrace everyone, not just single, white young girls. too often riot grrrl becomes a single sexed, single raced group.

i think that feminism today speaks more to women in the workforce and not to girls in school or around that age. women who don't work. in that respect i see that riot grrrl is a good way to teach young girls that they aren't dumb, they don't have to be quiet, they don't have to smile and look pretty, that they are important and demand respect. high school and college-aged women have a better chance of reaching younger girls in elementary school and even younger. younger girls need a strong female role model to look up to and i think that women my age make great role models. elementary school girls can relate better to college/high school age women better because there isn't the age gap there is with women past the college years. i think we as a gender and a society can benefit a whole lot by women in their 30s and 40s and beyond but we can also benefit equally from women still in high school and college. each have experiences that can be shared and learned from.

i definitely think that riot grrrl makes feminism much more attractive to younger women. when a girl reads about feminists of the seventies and the radical actions taken, she may be thrown off because there is no way to compete with such direct action. although i believe strongly for direct action, i don't necessarily feel that it's the way to get things done. you have to infiltrate the system from the inside, you aren't going to change much by spraypainting, flyering, etc. riot grrrl definitely opens the door for girls who don't want to risk jail and working in the middle of the nite undercover. zines are an incredible tool for feminists/riot grrrls, if they are distributed properly. you can't change much if you are preaching to the already converted. zines need to get out to people who don't know what's going on in the world. it's very difficult to accomplish that task though. the same goes for music. it's too bad radio stations don't play grrrl rock. that would be a huge way of getting out to people who don't know.

i don't really think there is a difference between feminist and femuhnist. to me femuhnist just seems to have more force behind it, like when you say it out loud. you are taking the feminine out of feminist and putting in power and strength. that's the only reason why i use the word femuhnist instead of feminist.

the lack of any sort of riot grrrl organization or even contacts where i live presents a problem for me, that i can only do so much. i write a girl punk zine, i am in various women's groups, i have webpages on riot grrrl, i am starting a distro for other riot grrrl/feminist zines, etc. but i am still lacking the organization that i want. somehow i want to incorporate all of my projects into one, perhaps in a riot grrrl chapter of my own. i am not sure what other riot grrrrl chapters do at their meetings, but i want to do something that not only benefits myself but also benefits the community. perhaps working at a shelter or a soup kitchen, holding a convention for everyone, not just riot grrrls. i see a lot of problems with conventions these days... why convert the already converted? i want to bring more people into the revolution. i think that is the only way to make a difference.

i consider myself a riot grrrl because riot grrrl was something that spoke to me, it gave me that voice that i spent so many years looking for. i heard a bikini kill record when i was 16 and i said, this is what i have been wanting to say forever, i want to learn more. so i went out and found all i could about riot grrrl (at that time there was very little) and read everything i could by kathleen hanna, bought all the records i could, and learned about as much as my head could manage. riot grrrl just fit perfectly with my already formed ideals, beliefs and morals.

i can relate to getting pissed off at the world, at the patriarchy, at shit that happens to my friends because of their boyfriends. not only the bad things, but the idea of sisterhood, as long as we don't forget that we are all different and we can't overlook our differences. i like the idea of girl love and the system of support i have found within the riot grrrl community as a whole.

i have problems identifying with riot grrl because i think it's more of a young girl's movement, like around 15 or 16, and i still haven't grown out of it since i was that age. i don't like the fashion dilemma of denying femininity and redefining it for ourselves, but still wearing baby doll dresses and acting like little girls. no one is going to treat us seriously if we don't look and act like it. i guess i never really got into the clothing bit, just because i was a punk first and i will always put punk above riot grrrl. i also don't like that motherhood is completely forgotten in the whole revolution bit. it's such a beautiful thing although i wouldn't recommend it to someone as young as most riot grrrls, but i think a lot of grrls can learn a lot from those who have children and have been around for a while. that didn't come out the way i wanted it to, i would just like to see motherhood addressed more often in the riot grrrl community. now that i think about it, i also don't like the idea that every riot grrrl knows all there is to know about the revolution and the meaning of riot grrrl. i never go for defining riot grrrl anyways because to me it's always changing because i am always learning more and more about riot grrl and if i make a definition of riot grrrl, i would automatically exclude a grrl that didn't fit in.

you know what's funny? i was reading my women's studies homework and it was talking about how barbie is bad and i started thinking about how riot grrrls are supposed to be feminists and all but we all idolize girlie icons like barbie and rainbow brite and punky brewster. i thought it was sort of hypocritical. mike reminded me last nite that it was about being a strong female and although riot grrrls wear baby doll dresses and carry strawberry shortcake lunchboxes, we are still strong women. i guess that's what riot grrrl is all about.

someone, whose name shall not be mentioned, asked me how i can bee a riot grrrl and like bands such as rancid, 311, bad religion, green day (yah, i dig old skool green day) etc. i love riot grrrl bands, too. bikini kill, the frumpies, bratmobile, sleater ~ kinney, slant 6, h2b, etc. riot grrrl does not encompass my entire being. riot grrrl is a PART of me. part of the whole. in my mind, i have my grrrl values and beliefs, but there is sooooo much more to me than just a grrrl. and according to some people i'm not even a grrrl because i wear make~up and i prefer skate clothes to anything else. yes, i am a riot grrrl, but i am also a skater, a punk, a nerd, a mother, a snowboarder. each of these things contribute to my beliefs. riot grrrl is a support network for me. i can tell my grrrrlsanything and they will listen, respond, react. i have no fear of being criticized, cut down, patronized, etc. i find more love from my grrrrls than i do in my family and from my other friends. and it is unfortunate that they all live so far away. but i have been sent more hugs, kisses, wipings of tears, over this toy of mine called a computer than i have gotten in an enitre year from anyone else. these grrrrls listen to others problems and then offer their support and understanding.

O+ womyn are a silent majority. over half of the world's population is made up of womyn. white, black, hispanic, poor, wealthy, disabled, straight, gay, bisexual... we are all womyn. embrace womyn and sisterhood and the common bonds between us womyn but do not forget the differences that make each one of us a separate and individual womyn. stand up and fight. riot. riot loudly. riot quietly. just riot. take the tape from your mouth that society put there and fucking riot. don't lie down and let this patriarchal system use you for a doormat. +O

I tried very hard not to sound stuck-up, self-righteous or elitist in this article but I’m afraid it comes across that way... I apologize. I was called a riot grrrl even before I knew what it was. Then one day I found some stuff written by riot grrrls and I was hooked. At the time I bought into the whole riot grrrl image, writing “slut” on my stomach, wearing cute little barrettes and short baby doll dresses and screaming “suck my left one” to every guy that I made contact with. I was everything that I hate in riot grrrl now. I was a man-hater, not a womyn-lover. I was the stereotypical riot grrrl. But then over time my attitudes changed and I changed my hair and my clothes and started spending my time actually reading about riot grrrls. What I learned changed my outlook on many things, life, love, hate, sexuality, almost everything. I no longer looked at riot grrrl as a fashion statement or shock culture. I saw it for what it was meant to be, a punk-feminist movement, pushing for equality for both men and womyn. The term riot grrrl has come to mean something negative, and although many riot grrrls bitch about why everyone hates them, it didn’t come out of nowhere. There are still the “grrrls” that call themselves riot grrrls because they saw it in Sassy magazine or MTV did a special on it. The same goes for the term “straight edge”, but I’ll save my comments on that for a future issue. But a true riot grrrl understands the politics behind the lunchbox and pigtails. There are many bands that are riot grrrl bands, such as Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Cold Cold Hearts, the Frumpies, and the list goes on. But not every females band is a riot grrrl band. Not every punk womyn is a riot grrrl. Just because a womyn listens to Bikini Kill does not mean she is a riot grrrl, and you do not have to be a riot grrrl to listen to Bikini Kill. I absolutely hate when people call my best friend a riot grrrl. Although she and I are alike in many ways, she feels that the term “riot grrrl” is offensive and does not want to be called a riot grrrl. I, on the other hand, am proud to be a riot grrrl and don’t mind being called one. Riot grrrl is not a club. You do not have to send $20 to the riot grrrl headquarters to get your membership card and free T-shirt. You don’t have to wear your hair in barrettes and have on a cute little frilly dress. You don’t have to know all there is to know about Kathleen Hanna. Riot grrrl is not something that is right for everyone. But it’s right for me and that’s all that matters. Next issue I am going to try and do the history of riot grrrl and provide info. about grrrls.

that's all i have for now. when i write more or i find more of my stuff i will post it. thanks for listening to me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What You Can Do With A Women's Studies Degree

Transform The World

by Nikki Anyanna Stewart

a) Become the first woman president of Harvard University
b) Win a Rhodes Scholarship to study sexual civil rights
c) Advocate for domestic-violence survivors while starring on TV’s Survivor
d) Teach the next generation
e) All of the above, and more

It's a typical question from parents, fellow students and even faculty: What can you do with your college degree? In an era of conservative impediments to progressive liberal arts education, a field such as women’s studies seems a particularly common target for that query.

Recently, we have had at least one excellent role model to point to: Drew Gilpin Faust, the first woman president of Harvard. She may have earned her Ph.D. in American civilization, but she was formerly chair of the women’s studies program at the University of Pennsylvania and founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Under her leadership, Radcliffe—Harvard’s former women’s college—has become an interdisciplinary research center supporting “transformative works,” with a special commitment to studying women, gender and society. In a simlar fashion, many women’s studies majors tend to intermix their fields of concentration in order to craft distinctive careers aimed at transforming our world.

How many women’s studies grads are we talking about? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2003–2004 academic year U.S. institutions of higher education granted 1,024 bachelor’s degrees, 135 master’s degrees and five doctoral degrees in women’s studies. These statistics, however, are suspect, given that the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) has documented 750 active undergraduate and graduate women’s studies programs in U.S. colleges and universities.

“It is very difficult to get a picture of women’s studies as a field,” says Allison Kimmich, executive director of the NWSA and a Ph.D. in women’s studies from Emory University, “particularly the number of graduates now out in the workforce and the kinds of career paths those graduates have taken. Women’s studies has not historically collected that data on itself.” A clearer picture of women’s studies programs should begin to emerge, however, as NWSA has embarked on a Ford Foundation-funded project to map women’s and gender studies in the U.S. In the future, the association hopes to collect data on graduates’ career paths.

Earlier studies of women’s studies graduates, such as that by Barbara F. Luebke and Mary Ellen Reilly in their 1995 book, Women’s Studies Graduates: The First Generation (Teachers College Press), were similarly concerned with documenting the value of such degrees. They found that the fact that women’s studies majors and graduates were persistently asked what could be done with their degrees reflected a continuing ignorance about women’s studies as an academic discipline. In their study, Luebke and Reilly were also able to document a unique set of skills learned through women’s studies programs: empowerment, self-confidence, critical thinking, building community, and understanding differences and intersections among racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, ableism, anti-Semitism and other types of oppression.

Moya Bailey, a B.A. in comparative women’s studies at Spelman College (the first historically black U.S. college to offer a women’s studies major) and now a Ph.D. student in women’s studies at Emory University, has already been able to use some of her women’s studies skills in community action. While at Spelman, Bailey participated in “The Nelly Protest,” a nationally publicized demonstration against misogyny in hip-hop music and videos.

That and other protest actions were so meaningful to her that, as a doctoral student at Emory, she has studied how “intentional communi-ties”— like the nurturing spaces often created by women’s studies programs— assist marginalized groups to develop much-needed critical and political perspectives. Within 10 years, she hopes to be teaching women’s studies at a historically black college or university, “adding gender, class and sexuality as important pieces of the conversation within an African American community context.”

Similarly, Harvard undergraduate Ryan Thoreson hopes to develop a career focused on the intersection of multiple concerns. As a dual major in government and women/gender/sexuality studies, Thoreson believes that women’s studies will enrich his planned practice of international sexual civil-rights law. “In my government courses I learned about political theory, but I found the political theory I learned in my women’s studies curriculum to be much more broadly applicable,” says Thoreson, a Rhodes Scholarship winner. “If I had only majored in government, I would not come to legal and policy questions as thoughtfully, wanting to understand the social and cultural context of groups affected by the law.”

Maria Bevacqua, associate professor and chair of the Department of Women’s Studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato, believes that women’s studies has carved out a niche in the area of applied theory and practice. Like many programs, Mankato’s women’s studies curriculum includes internships in feminist organizations and collective action projects for course credit. Bevacqua —who has her own women’s studies Ph.D. from Emory—has seen her program’s graduates do everything from working in human service agencies to opening feminist businesses. Moreover, women’s studies graduates act as “ambassadors of feminism, bringing the women’s studies perspective into the rest of the world.”

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, founding di-rector of the Women’s Research and Resource Center and professor of women’s studies at Spelman, has increasingly seen students take women’s studies into the public sphere. “In the early years, women’s studies graduates tended to work on gender-specific issues, getting jobs in battered-women’s shelters and rape crisis centers,” she says. “But more and more we have students going into public health, international policy, journalism, electoral politics, film-making, K-12 education and other careers that allow them to effect large-scale change.”

Guy-Sheftall has also seen students increasingly desire to be public intellectuals and media producers, so much so that Spelman has incorporated digital media production into its women’s studies curriculum. “I think we are going to see many more women’s studies graduates going into film and television, and many of our students already produce documentaries— even if they choose to do something else as a career.”

Deborah Siegel, author of the forth-coming book Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, has noticed the same thing. She observes that in the 1970s, “women’s studies was about bridging the divide between scholarship and activism. This current generation is bridging scholarship, activism and media.”

Becky Lee is representative of this new generation. After acquiring a B.A. in women’s studies from the University of Michigan in 2000, Lee went on to law school and then worked as an advocate for domestic-violence survivors. While doing this work, she was approached to audition for the popular reality TV show Survivor. Thinking it could serve as a good platform for her cause, she joined the cast, and while she found that most of her statements on domestic violence got left on the editing floor, she has used the Survivor experience to expand her advocacy.

“I came in third and used my $75,000 prize to found a fund for domestic-violence prevention with a special focus on immigrant women from marginalized communities,” she says. “Now when I make public appearances for the show, I talk about the fund as a way to raise the issue of domestic violence for mainstream audiences.”

So what can you do with a degree in women’s studies? Perhaps transform enough minds through feminist education that this question is no longer asked.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ain't I A Woman?

The article below was taken from here.

Written by: Sojourner Truth
Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio

Ain't I A Woman?

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of
kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North,
all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's
all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted
over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into
carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?
Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into
barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and
eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And
ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to
slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me!
And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member
of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with
women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours
holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as
men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did
your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down
all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it
right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to

Monday, May 18, 2009

10 Things Men Can Do To End Sexism And Male Violence Against Women

The article below was taken from here.

10 Things Men Can Do To End Sexism And Male Violence Against Women

1.) Read about yourself. Read articles, essays, books about masculinity, gender inequality, and the root causes of sexual violence. Educate yourself and others about the connections between larger social forces and the conflicts between individual women and men. Resources: R. W. Connell, Gender and Power; D. Gilmore, Manhood in She Making; M. Messner, D. Sabo, eds., Sport, Men and the Gender Order; J. Stoltenberg, Reusing to Be a Man.

2.) Understand how your own attitudes and actions perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them. Examples of typical sexist/abusive behavior:
Pressuring a woman to have sex (includes Rape, Date Rape).

-Taunting or whistling at women, following women around,
embarrassing women in public (Sexual Harassment).

-Controlling women by using threatening gestures, by outshouting
women, blocking doorways, driving recklessly (Intimidation).

-Verbally assaulting women by name calling, swearing, mocking, ridiculing, criticizing, accusing, trivializing (Psychological Abuse).

3.) Confront sexist, racist, homophobic and all other bigoted remarks or jokes. Boycott comedians such as Andrew Dice Clay who verbally assault women in their acts. Boo in comedy clubs when male comedians tell sexist jokes.

4.) Recognize homophobia and speak out against gay-bashing. Discrimination against lesbians and gays is a key way in which we're all confined in restrictive gender roles. See: Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price, by W. Blumenfeld; Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism, by S. Pharr.

5.) Don't fund sexism. Don't purchase any magazine, rent any video or buy any piece of music that portrays women in a sexually degrading or violent manner. Protest sexism in the media.

6.) Support candidates for political office who are committed to the full social, economic and political equality of women. Actively oppose candidates who are not.

7.) Support and fight for increased state and federal funding for battered women's shelters and rape crisis centers. Volunteer where men are needed in public schools, youth outreach centers and political lobby groups.

8.) Support or propose curriculum changes, at every level of the educational system, which mandate courses and programs dealing with sexism and sexual violence. Urge coaches of boys' and men's athletic teams to require their players to attend workshops and seminars on sexism and male violence against women.

9.) Organize or join a group of men, in school, at your workplace or among friends, to work against sexism and violence.

10.) Support feminists. Commit yourself to ending oppression in all its forms.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Is Activism And How Can I Be An Activist?

The following information was written by me and is posted on the "Activism" page on my Riot Grrrl Online website.

What Is Activism?

Activism is any intentional action to bring political or social change. This action is in support of, or opposition to, one side of an argument. The word "activism" is often associated with "protest" or "dissent". Activism can take a wide range of forms, from writing letters to newspapers, protesting, boycotting, blogging, and a number of other tactics. Activism means getting involved in causes or issues that affect you as a person. Activism can be considered DIY or do it yourself as well. There are many ways to get involved in activism.

35 Ways You Can Get Involved In Activism
1.) Make a or in real life. (DIY as well)
2.) Make a zine or in real life. (DIY as well)
3.) Submit articles, submissions, classifieds, etc. for a zine.
4.) Create a Ladyfest in your area. (DIY as well)
5.) Support and join ladyfests
6.) Help organize a ladyfest. (DIY as well)
7.) Make a blog, start up a journal, message board, or website. (DIY as well)
8.) Participate in websites, message boards, blogs, etc.
9.) Protest about something you are for or against. (DIY as well)
10.) Sign or start or in real life. (DIY as well)
11.) Vote in elections. (DIY as well)
12.) Start a real life. (DIY only)
13.) Make an online group, such as on yahoo, msn, myspace, etc. (DIY as well)
14.) Write a book. (DIY as well)
15.) Make your own recipes. Don't go traditional, try to make your own food and desserts. (DIY only)
16.) Start your own non-profit organization. (DIY only)
17.) Start a band, write songs, and/or play an instrument. (DIY as well)
18.) Visit websites of important causes/issues and visit click-to-donate websites.
19.) Make art and be an artist. (DIY as well)
20.) Make pins, patches, shirts, clothing, jewelry, stickers, and/or buttons (DIY as well)
21.) Donate blood to the Red Cross and donate an organ to somebody that needs it. You can also donate organs when you die, to be used for research. This involves signing a paper and leaving the request in a will.
22.) Visit a hospital and/or a nursing home. You could be making someone's day.
23.) Donate money to charity or to a non-profit organization.
24.) Write the government or elected officials a letter.
25.) Start your own record label. (DIY as well)
26.) Make and hand out flyers. (DIY as well)
27.) Start your own riot grrrl chapter or join a riot grrrl chapter. Hold riot grrrl conventions. (DIY as well)
28.) Make posters. (DIY as well)
29.) Start a support group, such as for survivors of cancer, abuse, etc. (DIY as well)
30.) Share your stories with others. Others stories can inspire us and can remind us that we are not alone in what we are going through.
31.) Write about causes or issues that are important to you. This is also called ranting, if you share your opinions about the cause or issue. You can also write essays on a cause or issue.
32.) Find your passion. There are lots of causes and issues out there that could inspire you and be your passion. I can't make a list because it would be never ending. You can find some causes and issues on, under "Society". It is a web directory. You can even do a search for "causes", "issues", "get involved", "list of causes", and "list of issues".
33.) Volunteer at a shelter.
34.) Create and/or Organize a fundraiser. (DIY as well)
35.) Advocate for a general cause or issue.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm Sorry....No I'm Not

Written by: Kathleen Hanna for a zine in the early 1990's

I'm Sorry....No I'm Not

I'm sorry I don't believe it.
I'm sorry that I care.
no i'm not.
I'm not sorry that i still believe we are capable of creating something. that i don't think punk is just a big joke and that we should be little and make fun of ourselves for still believing that everything we do makes a difference
i don't care that it's no longer punk to have fun anymore. that it's no longer punk to criticize the society we live in.
what if i keep talking about abolishing wage-slavery while i keep working. it fucking beats the hell out of writing songs or zines about how we are all hypocrites and all our actions are worthless.
we are all hypocritical superwimps (?). we are never (?)
I am a fucking idiot. I still think we can change the world.

Friday, May 15, 2009

DIY: How To Defend Pro-Choice Beliefs

How to Defend Pro-Choice Beliefs

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

When a woman becomes pregnant, sometimes, for some reason or another, she wants to abort the pregnancy. This action has become a "hot topic" for discussion over the past few years, with almost everyone choosing one side or another on the abortion issue. There is the Pro Life side, which argues abortion is wrong, and the Pro Choice side, which argues that, while abortion isn't a wonderful thing, it isn't wrong. Here is how to defend your choice if you choose to agree with the Pro Choice side of the abortion issue.


  1. Explain that even if abortion was illegal, it would be impossible to enforce such laws. The procedure used in performing abortions is identical to the procedure used to investigate bad pap smears. This is how abortions were covered up in the past.
  2. Explain that abortion laws, such as the one mentioned in Roe vs. Wade, were not about the moral implications of abortion. They were about safety.
    • Modern Medicine and Sanitation practices are relatively new medical concepts. Doctors were literally using medical instruments to remove infected tissue and then using the same equipment to perform abortions. Women were dying more frequently from physician performed abortions than from self-induced abortions. The law overturned in Roe vs. Wade did not outlaw abortions, only doctors performing them. The Supreme Court ruled that the reasoning behind the law was no longer valid (The law was written before sanitary practices were instituted.)

  3. Try and find a middle ground with the other person. If they say abortion is wrong in all cases, try and find a case in which they agree it would not be wrong. Cases of rape, incest, and cases in which a birth of the child would kill the mother are often good middle grounds.
    • Try and stretch the middle ground. If they agree that cases of, say, rape, would be fine for an abortion, ask if it would be okay if the woman received an abortion if the fetus was not going to live after birth, and she knew. Generally, just try and find more ways in which they agree abortion should be allowed.
    • Continue to push different cases. The person with whom you are debating should realize, after they've agreed to a few scenarios in which abortion would be allowed, that maybe abortion isn't as horrible - after all, it deals with legal, emotional, and physically traumatizing events. If they don't realize this, mention it, but only after they've agreed on a few cases in which abortion should be allowed. If they think war can justify murder of adults as the lesser of two evils then why not abortion?

  4. Mention the mother's well-being. Ask if they believe the birth of an unwanted child to a young, promising woman would hinder her life. They will agree that it will; it is obvious. They might mention, at this point, that if the woman didn't want to have a child, she shouldn't have had sex. Mention cases of rape, leave it at that.
    • Ask about cases in which the mother could be seriously harmed by the birth of the child, or even killed. This is also something good to mention when you are trying to find a middle ground with whomever you are discussing abortion with - even the most die-hard Pro Life supporter normally will agree that abortion should be allowed in cases in which the mother will be killed by giving birth.

  5. Emphasize the magnitude of damage to children of being born to unwanting parents.
    • If they mention giving up the child for adoption, simply counter with the fact that orphanariums worldwide are overflowing with too many children, and it would very possibly be even more damaging to the child to be left in an orphanarium for eighteen years, which happens to a very large portion of children given up for adoption.
    • Dropping a mention of the homeless rate is also a good idea for defending abortion. There are too many people in the world to force parents to have children when they are nowhere near ready, or when there is only a mother.

  6. Ask them to consider the following question: if we cannot decide at what point life actually begins, can we decide at what point life ends? If they cannot answer, talk about brain death, and how doctors pronounce a patient dead when the brain stops sending pulse signals to the body. Ask them if they know when the brain actually begins to send signals. The answer is eight weeks into pregnancy. Use this argument to show that since life ends when the brain stops, shouldn't life begin when the brain starts?
  7. If they insist that life begins at fertilisation, point out that up to two weeks after fertilisation, that clump of cells could split up into identical twins. Where did the second life come from?
  8. If they insist that life begins at fertilisation, ask what they think about cloning? Assuming that human cloning takes place - probably a matter of time - no fertilisation takes place at all, the new person has the exact same genetic information as the "donor", yet they are clearly distinct individuals.
  9. Remind the person that pro-choice people are not "pro-abortion" - they understand the gravity of the decision and none of them think abortion is all sunshine and puppies. But they also realize that legal or not, there have always been unwanted pregnancies and a demand for abortion, and when abortion is not legal it does not stop happening, it just becomes a lot more dangerous and even deadly. Being pro-choice means wanting to keep abortion safe, legal and rare.
    • Ask them to consider societies where abortion was illegal such as Communist Romania and watch the film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. The same rate of women attempted to have an abortion, but maternal mortality rates and child abandonment rates soared.


  • Make sure your arguments can be supported by logic and/or scientific evidence.
  • Be polite. Just because you disagree with the other person's opinion on abortion, don't interrupt and shout at them. Calmly explain your point, and allow them to do the same.


  • If you mention religion too much, be prepared as this may turn in to a never-ending argument.
  • Understand that this is a very touchy issue for most people, and that it can break friendships, and cause grudges. Stay away from "hot button" issues such as abortion if you feel it may cause a fight or create a rift between two people.
  • Don't expect to change anyone's mind in five minutes. If you feel very strongly about this, then they probably feel just as strongly about their own opinions. Allow them time to think about it, and never push too hard. Pushing will only cause the other person to feel antagonized, and you will get nowhere.
  • Pro-lifers use extremely graphic images usually of late term abortions which are a tiny proportion of all abortions.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Defend Pro Choice Beliefs. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

She Is My Best Friend

The article below was written for the "Riot Boy" section of my Riot Grrrl Online website. The article was written by Deshawn and he lives in the United States.

She Is My Best Friend

he was never my first love, she was and her name was riot grrrl. she entered my life as a 15 year-old boy still lost in his emotions and still learning what it was to live. out of this desire to be "different" from the "different" kids at school grew the love of a "different" way of life among the "different", a movement called riot grrrl. of course, at the time i was just beginning to experience and appericate this new found way of life, the media had already did their job of mislabeling and fucking up something so meaningful just a few years before. but, i knew if i still had felt what i felt at that time, so did others and i assumed correctly.
after feeding my new addiction daily, the internet, i would spend days on end reading about bands like bikini kill, building my vocabulary with new words such as feminism, and falling in love with such radical women like kathleen hanna. it wasn't until i was 16 when i first got my hands on a real bikini kill cd, the cd version of the first two records. at first listen, it was very intense, nothing like anything i was listening to at the time. bikini kill's sound was raw and jagged and their words blunt, very blunt. i began to take in the literature that i was reading online and the words in the cd booklet itself to heart.
at that time in my life i was experiencing, almost on a daily basis, domestic violence (physcially and emotionally), witnessing my mother being degraded in such a manner by someone who they had the god given right (literally) to do so because he was a "man". battling and coming to terms with my sexuality. straight? bisexual? gay? gay and that face that stared back at me in the mirror. yes, enough to drive anyone crazy in this openly image crazed society called america. instead, i learned to accept myself for who i was, learned that i do have rights as a human being, and somehow keep on livin'.
almost five years have passed since my discovery of riot grrrl and what an impact to this very day that it has shaped me into this black, queer, survior of abuse, pro-choice, feminist, activist, d.i.y., artist, aka ME, that i am today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tobi Vail's Words On Bikini Kill

The article below was written by Tobi Vail from an old riot grrrl zine in the early 1990's, when Bikini Kill was still together. I got the article from my Riot Grrrl Online website.

Tobi Vail's Words On Bikini Kill

We have been written about a lot by big magazines who have never talked to us or seen our shows. They write about us authoritively, as if they understand us better than we understand our own ideas, tactics and significance. They largely miss the point of everything about us because they have no idea what our context is/has been. Their idea of punk rock is not based on anything they have ever experienced directly or even sought an understanding of by talking to those who have, yet they continue to write about it as if their stereotypical suraface level view of it is all there is. A lot of times we have been asked why we don't do interviews very often if we are so concerned with being misrepresented. To us this seems obvious... it is mostly based on our experiences. As a rule we don't do interviews with mainstream newspapers or magazines. In the few cases where we did do them we feel like we were totally fucked over by the way our words were framed to back up ideas that weren't our own. Quotes were taken out of context, we were made to look like we were dissing other women in bands when that wasn't our intention and in the worst case scenerious our confidence was totally violated by having stuff we told the individual writers NOT to focus on exploitatively (abuse histories, where we work/have worked, etc.) turned into the main focus of the article. We have constantly told writers to leave out personal information about us (our last names, who we go out with/used to date) out of articles and they always are sure to include it if we tell them not to. We always try to include perspectives of different band members but often times the writer only puts in quotes by Kathleen, our singer. When she has done interviews by herself as an indivudual it is often seen as an interview with the whole band even tho she continually says she is only speaking as an individual member of Bikini Kill whose opinions do not necessarily refelct those of the whole band. When we have granted these sources interviews it made us look like everything they said about us was done with our co-operation. The times when we have asked to see articles or edit them before they come out it has never really worked out. One time in particular we were told by N.M.E. in the U.K. that we could write our own articles and they would not in anyway comment on it or edit it. When the articles came out Kathi's was not included, but was rather taken out of context and cited to back up their ideas about us in the introduction they wrote to my article (something that to our understanding they weren't going to do). They laid it out in a way that included catty remarks bigger than our own words and put in a bunch of dumb pictures that we didn't send them. This was the last time we ever tried to co-operate with a big magazine but they have continued to write stuff about us. This is really frustrating but what is even more frustrating is when people who should know better, other punks for instance, believe these takes on who we are as being based on reality rather than on conjecture and in most cases on ill intentions of the writer/magazine. (when you refuse to grant interviews people get really insulted and make a point of going out of their way to use their influences to elaborately dis you--usually this is to the point of spreading deliberate lies or saying really naive sexist things in an effort to provoke a response from you) I want to make it cleat that we do not give a shit what people think of us, that is not what we object to in all of this, it is not about us being pissed off because of a bad review... it is about feeling like no matter what we say or do there continues to be this media created idea of 'Bikini Kill/Riot Girl' that has little or nothing to do with our own ideas and efforts... we want to be an underground band, we don't want to be featured in Newsweek magazine... maybe this sounds like a weak complaint to some of you who have worked really hard to get people to hear about your band, projects, record label, ideas, etc. and would appreciate any kind of publicity... we recognize that different strategies are totally valid for different situations... we are not trying to set any kind of 'correct' standard, we are just trying to present our views on what our experiences with the media has been in order to start to comment on how it has affected us as a band... we stopped doing interviews altogther for while mainly because we felt that we didn't need any mroe publicity but also because these experiences led us to not feeling like talking about our ideas atall... sometimes not even to each other, but fuck that you know and right now we are making Nu fanzine(s) about this whole weird machine media spectaclization process we have been going thru and so you should look forward to that ...
Oh yeah and please address all correspondence to Bikini Kill c/o kill rock stars (120 N.E. State Ave. #418/Olympia, WA 98501).
One huge misconception for instance that has been repeated over and over again in magazines we have never spoken to and also by those who beleive these sources without checking things out themselves is that Bikini Kill is the definitive 'riot girl band'... We are not in any way "leaders of" or authorities on the 'Riot Girl' movement. In fact, as individuals, we have each had different experiences with, feelings on, opinions of and varying degrees of involvement with 'Riot Girl' and tho we totally respect those who still feel that the label is important and maningful to them, we have never used that term to describe ourselves AS A BAND. As, individuals we respect and utilize and subscribe to a variety of different aesthetics, strategies and beliefs, both political and punk-wise, some of which are probably considered 'riot girl' . . .
You can get back issues of Bikini Kill fanzines (issues #1 and #2) from riot girl press for $2 each. They are a girl run girl fanzine distribution network, write to them and send them $1 for their catalog which contains brief descriptions of stuff available thru them as well as info on how to get involved in what they're doing. Please note that these fanzines are way outdated--both were made in 1991 and also that although both have contributions by other band members most of the stuff in them was written by our singer, Kathleen, this is not to say they aren't informative but rather to make an effort to posit them more exactly with regards to the factors of history and subjectivity . . . R.G.P. P.O. Box 73308/Washington, D.C.20009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What If Men Could Menstruate?

Gloria Steinem wrote the article below. I got the article from

Written by: Gloria Steinem, 1978
If Men Could Menstruate

A White minority of the world has spent centuries conning us into
thinking that a white skin makes people superior-even though the only
thing it really does is make them more subject to ultraviolet rays and
to wrinkles. Male human beings have built whole cultures around the idea
that penis-envy is "natural" to women-though to have such an unprotected
organ might be said to make men vulnerable, and the power to give birth
makes womb-envy at least as logical.

In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever they may be, are
thought to be better than the characteristics of the powerless- and logic
has nothing to do with it.

What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate
and women could not?

The answer is clear-menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy
masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood,
with religious ritual and stag parties.
Congress would fun a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp
out monthly discomforts.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course, some
men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as John Wayne
Tampons, Muhammed Ali's Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jock Shileds - "For
Those Light Bachelor Days," and Robert "Baretta" Blake Maxi-Pads.)

Military men, right-wing politicians and religious fundamentalists would cite
menstruation (MEN-struation) as proof that only men could serve in the Army
("you have to give blood to take blood"), occupy political office ("Can women
be aggressive without that steadfast cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be
priests or ministers ("How could a woman give her blood for our sins?"), or
rabbis ("Without the monthly loss of impurities, women remain unclean.")

Male radicals, left-wing politicians, and mystics, however, would insist that
women are equal, just different; and that any woman could enter the ranks if
only she were willing to self-inflict a major wound every month, recognize the
preeminence of menstrual issues, or subordinate her selfness to all men in
their cycle of enlightenment.

Street guys would brag ("I'm a three-pad man") or answer praise from a buddy
("Man, you're looking GOOD!") by giving fives and saying, "Yeah, man, I'm on
the rag!". TV shows would treat the subject at length ("Happy Days": Richie
and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still "The Fonz," though he has
missed two periods in a row.) So would newspapers. (SHARK SCARE THREATENS
(Newman and Redford in "Blood Brothers").

Men would convince women that intercourse was MORE pleasureable at "that time
of the month." Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself-
though probably only because they needed a good menstruating man.

Of course, male intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguments.
How could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space,
mathematics, or measurement, for instance, without that in-built gift for
measuring the cycles of the moon and planets-and thus for measuring anything
at all? In the rarefied fields of philosophy and religion, could women
compensate for missing the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of
symbolic death-and-resurrection every month?

And how would women be trained to react? One can imagine traditional women
agreeing to all these arguments with a staunch and smiling masochism.
("The ERA would force housewives to wound themselves every month?" Phyllis
Schlafly. "Your husbands blood is as sacred as that of Jesus - and so sexy
too!" Marabel Morgan.) Reformers and Queen Bees would try to imitiate men
and PRETEND to have a monthly cycle. All feminists would explain endlessly
that men too needed to be liberated from the false idea of Martian
aggressiveness,just as women needed to escape the bonds of menses-envy. Radical
feminists would add that the oppression of the nonmenstrual was a pattern for
all other oppressions. (Vampires were our first freedom fighters!). Cultural
feminists would develop a bloodless imagery in art and literature. Socialist
feminists would insist that only under capitalism would men be able to
monopolize menstrual blood...

In fact, if men could menstruate, the power justifications could probably go
on for ever.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Girl Love Is...

The following is from the zine Tennis and Violins and it was written by Kristy Chan. It is taken from here:

Girl Love Is…

* treating all girls with respect
* hugging your girlfriends and being there for them
* protecting each other and providing a feeling of safety when we walk down the street or go out
* making space where women/girls feel unthreatened and unintimidated
* talking about abuse and rape when no one else will listen
* making other girls feel unafraid to eat in public or around others
* making other girls feel comfortable in their bodies
* being kind to your mom and not expecting her to wait on you
* not judging women/girls on their looks and/or hating them for being pretty
* not competing for boys’ attention
* not looking/acting dumb on purpose so boys will like you
* not picking your new boyfriend over your old girlfriends
* calling people on their shit, including your girlfriends because it helps us to stay aware of things we do that are fucked up and things we need to change
* not feeling homophobic around your girlfriends and refusing to touch them
* learning and teaching each other how to do stuff and be active
* screaming in public
* knowing that girls can do anything boys can do
* stopping jealousy
* realizing that girls who have sex aren’t “sluts” or bad and respecting their sexual choices as something that you might not understand of have any business speculating on
* being pro-choice
* knowing that you are connected to all girls and the way you view yourself is related to their self-image as well
* sharing resources with other girls
* helping each other see our beauty and build our own culture around what we see
* wearing make-up and tight clothes because we want to
* being sexy and powerful
* being honest and straight-forward with your girlfriends because mind games suck and keep us divided
* talking about our feelings
* holding hands
* feeling okay about being naked around each other * having sex and making out (if you want to) and liking it
* understanding that girls that we may not like are people, too and are affected by the same institutions that affect all of us
* not letting the words “feminist”, “slut”, “whore”, “bitch”, etc. be used as insults against us
* refusing to let companies prey on our insecurities in order to get our money (how many times have you bought some low-fat diet shit because you feel insecure about your body or bought make-up to hide your face that you think isn’t pretty?)
* trying to understand how oppression and the status quo work and how we fit into it
* reclaiming our customs and rituals (hanging out in the bathroom, slumber parties, shopping, the color pink, whatever we fucking want)
* self-love

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Herstory Of Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Here is some history of Mother's Day. After you read the article below, you will find my commentary about the article.

I found this article here:

The History (AKA Herstory) Of Mother’s Day

Celebrating motherhood is a historical tradition dating back almost as far as mothers themselves. A number of ancient cultures paid tribute to mothers as goddesses, including the ancient Greeks, who celebrated Rhea, the mother of all gods. The ancient Romans also honored their mother goddess, Cybele, in a notoriously rowdy springtime celebration and the Celtic Pagans marked the coming of spring with a fertility celebration linking their goddess Brigid together with the first milk of the ewes.

During the 17th century, those living on the British isles initiated a religious celebration of motherhood, called Mothering Sunday, which was held on the forth Sunday during the Lenten season. This holiday featured the reunification of mothers and their children, separated when working class families had to send off their young children to be employed as house servants. On Mothering Sunday, the child servants were allowed to return home for the day to visit with their parents. The holiday’s popularity faded in the 19th century, only to be reincarnated during World War II when U.S. servicemen reintroduced the sentimental (and commercial) aspects of the celebration American counterpart.

In the United States, Mother’s Day experienced a series of false starts before eventually transitioning into the “Hallmark” holiday that we celebrate today. In 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis was the first woman to hold an official celebration of mothers, when in her home state of West Virginia, she instituted Mothers’ Work Day to raise awareness about local sanitation issues. During the Civil War, she expanded the scope of Mothers’ Work Day to include sanitary conditions on both sides of the battlefield.

Meanwhile Julia Ward Howe, author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” attempted to institute a national celebration of mothers that honored women’s inclinations toward peace (rather than cleanliness). In 1872, she initiated and promoted a Mother’s Day for Peace, to be held on June 2, which was celebrated the following year by women in 18 cities across America. The holiday continued to be honored by Bostonian women for another decade, but eventually phased out after Howe stopped underwriting the cost of the celebrations.

Then in 1905, Anna Reeves Jarvis passed away and her daughter, Anna Jarvis, took up her mother’s torch. Anna swore on her mother’s gravesite that she would realize her lifelong dream of creating a national day to honor mothers. In 1907, Anna launched her campaign by handing out white carnations to congregants at her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. In 1908, her mother’s church acquiesced to Anna’s request to hold a special Sunday service in honor of mothers – a tradition that spread the very next year to churches in 46 states. In 1909, Anna left her job and dedicated herself to a full-time letter-writing campaign, imploring politicians, clergymen and civic leaders to institute a national day for mothers.

In 1912, Jarvis’ efforts met with success: Her home state of West Virginia adopted an official Mother’s Day; two years later, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, signed by President Wilson, establishing a national Mother’s Day emphasizing the role of women in their families – and not, like Julia Ward Howe’s campaign, in the public arena. Ever since, Mother’s Day has been celebrated by Americans on the second Sunday in May.

Perhaps the country’s greatest proponent of motherhood, Anna Jarvis ironically never had children of her own. Yet that didn’t stop her from making the celebration of Mother’s Day her lifelong mission. In fact, as the holiday took on a life of its own, Jarvis expressed frequent dismay over its growing commercialization. “I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit,” she is quoted as saying.

My Comments: I have to say that like Anna Jarvis, I do not have any children either. I am not a mother. I agree with Jarvis that mother’s day is now commercialized and about profit, thanks to the media. I do celebrate mother’s day to an extent. I celebrate my mom for mothering me, but I do not go overboard about it. I think that everyone should have their own way of celebrating mother’s day.

Here are a few ways you can show appreciation of your mother: buy your mother a card, take your mother out to eat, buy your mother something, or tell your mother how much you love and appreciate her. Remember, Simple gestures go a long way and the message gets across.