Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lessons for Girls

Here's a really cool meme I just discovered and now love. It's called Lessons for Girls and it's an ongoing series about life issues for women, with contributions by various bloggers. Click this link to read the whole thing, but just for instant gratification's sake, here's the basic list:

1. Anger
2. Opting Out

3. On Pity
4. Independence
5. Trust Your Instincts

6. No Apologies
7. It’s okay if not everyone likes you
8. You don’t have to be a mom
9. You can say no
10. Don’t peak early
11. Love your body
12. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
13. You are not what you wear
14. Don’t just ask, insist on help (even if it makes you feel weird)
15. Girl School
16. Romance is for your pleasure and enjoyment

My favorite, I think, is Girl School.

Try it. This stuff is gold. From the blog Historiann.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Victory Tastes Like Defeat

Health Care Reform passed last night, due in large part to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's determination and guidance (yay!). This morning, President Obama signed an executive order applying the Hyde Amendment (ongoing ban on public funding of abortion) to the new legislation (BOO). Initial reports from the feminist front indicate that this is not simply an affirmation of the status quo (which sucked to begin with), but an actual rollback of reproductive rights and expansion of Hyde's influence. And, oh yeah, it's extra disheartening coming from a supposedly pro-choice president, who has continuously denounced Hyde altogether.

Remember this cover of Ms. magazine? I'm not so keen on it now.

And this guy? This Democrat? He needs to fall. off. the face of the earth and take his abortion bargaining chip and all the Republicans who were obnoxious heels throughout this whole process with him.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

CBS = Couldn't Be Shittier (To Women & Gays)

This week, CBS rocketed to the top of my network shitlist (And I really didn't expect NBC to get knocked off that quickly, but so far 2010 has been a banner year for networks pissing me off) when they stuck by a Focus on the Family anti-abortion ad set to air during the Super Bowl. If that wasn't bad enough, they also denied air space to a pro-gay dating ad.

Just lovely. Really, really lovely.

So, is this just about the money, or does CBS have a far-right agenda? Complain to the Couldn't-Be-Shittier network here. Or, even better, sign this petition.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On the Generational Divide and Being an Orphaned Conan Fan

As is fairly common knowledge, Conan O'Brien's last night on The Tonight Show was this past Friday. As so many other Conan fans of a certain age can probably attest, losing Conan after all these years makes me feel a bit like I've been orphaned. Since 1993, Conan has always been there -- even if I didn't watch him every night, he was there, goofing off in the subconscious of my adolescence, then my young adulthood, and now my adulthood. It's hard to articulate how baffling it is to have him ripped away in this manner. Bye, bye, he's gone?

Still, I don't mean to make the whole thing more dramatic than it already is -- obviously there are a million problems out there worse and more deserving of attention than whoever is currently hosting The Tonight Show. But on a more superficial level that pays homage to the pop culture of my generation, Conan is a huge part of that collective history, and I can't help but be pissed off at the way he was treated -- by Jay and by NBC.

Part of this feels like the generational divide at work (and by that I mean the lack of respect that exists between the generations) -- and really, at least in some small measure, how could it not be? We see this gulf all over the place, from mass media to the workplace to politics to feminism. In all of these arenas, it's hard not to notice that the older generations often fail to respect (or even attempt to understand) the cultural perspectives of Generation X & Y (i.e. the Millennials, if that's your cup of tea). I can't even count the number of times I have turned on Public Radio to hear some caller bitching about those vapid, technology-obsessed young people, who, according to many, are on a constant texting,
sexting, hook-up binge... and by God, why aren't they more ashamed of it?

It's moments like those that I feel that even though we are a society obsessed with youth culture and youthful appearances -- and older people certainly do have a right to be critical of that -- as a whole we have very little respect for the younger generations or their points of view. Sometimes we fail to recognize that they even HAVE a point of view.

This was felt so much during the 2008 election. People could not get over the fact that young people actually cared about politics and wanted a say in who got elected. Yet their support for Obama and/or Hillary was usually undermined by commentary about their impulsiveness, lack of attention span, and/or vulnerability to (and perpetuation of) so-called Internet fads.

This same phenomenon of undervaluing younger opinions is also felt in feminism, usually when 2nd-wave feminists start
complaining that young women just aren't that interested in feminism anymore. Um, what? It usually turns out that these older feminists are simply looking in the wrong places. Because yeah, we are HERE. And here. And quite often that means on the Internet. As Conan would say, Dear Internet... how come many older feminists often fail to notice we are here? (Some others, however, DO get it.)

So what does this have to do with Conan and Jay? It might just be another symptom of the same problem, but these last two weeks the whole overexposed drama really held my attention. Even though there were things about Conan's show that I wish were different -- does he have any women writers? -- it was hard not to see him as the underdog and Leno as the self-entitled bully (and also, Letterman as the gleeful I-told-you-so guy, more interested in bettering his own recently scarred image). Especially when Conan signed off in a way that was so
classy and generous. But Jay? What could he be thinking? I mean, how much internalized privilege do you have to have in order to believe you have the right to take back The Tonight Show? Certainly part of his thought process, whether he would admit it or not, must be based on a sense of seniority, the feeling that his audience is the only audience that matters. Otherwise, why would he be so rigid, so unwilling to step aside?

But as with the Obama phenomenon and the determination of young feminists, when there's a sense of urgency about something, young people tend to STEP UP. The Conan fiasco was no exception. NBC studios were
mobbed with Team CoCo supporters, and ratings were huge (7.0! for the final show!), so much so that by the second week Conan was killing Letterman in the 18-49 age bracket. Yet, the first article I came across today was one from CNN wondering if Conan fans have the attention span to stick around if he does indeed pop up on another network. The underlying assumption of the article is one I have seen so many times before, which is that young people lack the capacity to be genuine in their support of anyone. Which is, quite frankly, insulting. The comments beneath the article say as much.

However, in the face of all this cynicism about America's young people, what did perhaps shine a light on the attitudes of Generation X & Y was the authentic and look-on-the-bright side manner in which Conan himself
exited the show. After everything, after all the shit that went down, he actually pled with his young audience NOT to be cynical. And really, I think that is the most telling thing of all. Somehow, despite all the crap and bad times the younger generations have grown up with and through, including the older generations' lack of faith in us, I still believe deep down we are a pretty hopeful, creative, and genuine group. And, maybe the best quality of all -- we love to LAUGH.

See you on the other side, CoCo.

Crossposted at Library Cat.