I blame the Scots

Certainly we can agree that Ewan McGregor is all man

Oh, the fundies are going to be in an uproar about this...

A male high school student can wear a skirt to school after the American Civil Liberties Union reached an agreement with school officials.


Coviello first wore a costume-style dress but high school officials told him to go home and change. The district’s superintendent then advised the Coviello to purchase everyday dresses and skirts at a retail store, which Coviello did, the ACLU said.

But after a few days, he was sent home with a note from his principal saying if he wore a dress, kilt or skirt, he could no longer attend school.

Oh dear! What’s next, girls wearing trousers? Oh, wait...

The Concerned Women for Patriarchy America have already weighed in, proclaiming the decision another win for the gender confusionists—you know, the same people that created that Barbie website. What they have missed, of course, is that the student, Michael Coviello, was only wearing the skirt to protest the school’s no-shorts policy. You see, he’s not a tranny in the making, he’s the Che of the Great Short Pants Revolution. The Avec Culottes, if you will.

Seriously, though, I’m looking for a little insight here, and maybe our dear BOMT readers can shed some light on this issue for me. The CWFA seems to think that men wearing skirts will somehow emasculate them, or at the very least, generate some kind of gender confusion which obfuscates the very real differences between men and women. My question is this: What is inherently female about a skirt? Is there something about the vulva that requires airing? Let’s assume that I see Mr. Coviello walking down the street wearing a skirt, what is the greater social implication of my confusing him with a woman? Does this cause some kind ripple in the space-time continuum? Will the world as we know it end? It’s winter in Michigan, and despite an unseasonably warm January, I wear pants everyday. I’ve never been mistaken for a man. Granted, I have long hair, jangly earrings and tits, so those are pretty good indications that I am a woman, but I’m willing to bet that Mr. Coviello wasn’t pairing his protest-skirt with a lacy blouse and heels. So, enlighten me my non-radical feminist friends, ‘cause frankly I’ve read too much gender theory to even pretend to understand why this is even an issue*.

*I’m going to clarify this: as a radical feminist who has a read a good deal of gender theory, I understand what the big deal is—the gender binary, and its conflation with biological sex, is a necessary underpinning of a patriarchal system. As long as we believe that men and women are inherently different (in ways other than basic reproductive biology) and that gender is a natural and normal occurrence which always correlates with biology, then we can continue to justify gender discrimination and oppression. Makes sense, right? However, I’m pretty sure that your garden variety misogynist/homophobe doesn’t tread too far into the theoretical waters gender politics. What I want to know is, why does your average guy/gal on the street freak out at the notion that a man might wear a skirt? And how do they avoid cognitive dissonance when they ignore women in trousers? What do they see as the inevitable consequence of ignoring gender mores? I see liberation, but I have a feeling that’s not the popular opinion.


annamaria at 1:08 PM

6 spoke


FRT: AG Hearts EC

The only Elvis that matters

Please excuse my light posting these past couple of weeks. I spent last week getting ready for my trip to LA, and spent this week catching up on work and sleep after LA. And I managed to get my right index finger mangled by my car door the other day. It's ugly and painful, and the massive amount of gauze and tape my doctor put on it is making it really difficult to type. The good news is that nothing is broken; the bad news is that the latex finger covering my doctor is forcing me to wear makes it look like I'm constantly ready to give someone a prostate exam.

I'm not sure what's up with my random ten this week, because it's not even remotely random--there are four Elvis Costello songs on here! Granted, three are covers, but a 40% EC list is excessive even for me. Also, I am including a link to the Eef Barzelay song that's #1 on my list...listen to the first verse and you'll understand why it's my new favorite song.

  1. Ballad of Bitter Honey - Eef Barzelay (MOKB)
  2. Riot Act - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
  3. Bad Girl - Detroit Cobras
  4. Girls Talk - Dave Edmunds
  5. Joanna - Scott Walker
  6. Stop! - The Bens
  7. Try a Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
  8. Indoor Fireworks - Laura Cantrell
  9. Clementine (Live @ KEXP) - Colin Meloy
  10. Hidden Shame - Johnny Cash

Your turn!


annamaria at 9:25 AM

6 spoke

Filmmaker rewards “moral” films; Annamaria yawns

I can imagine that Angelina Jolie is relieved that she’s unmarried and pregnant in a year when three whole movies with gay themes were released—certainly distracted the Quayle-ites from going after her, didn’t it?

I hope she remembers to add Michael Class to her Christmas card list…
An independent filmmaker, tired of the praise and awards heaped on films opposed to traditional values, is calling on others to join in the establishment of the American Values Awards for Movies and Television.

Filmmaker Michael Class says the awards seek to honour films and television that feature, "stories of love, honor, commitment, good versus evil, and the triumph of the human spirit."

Class is disgusted that Brokeback Mountain, the film about two cowboys who give in to homosexual tendencies while working as shepherds, has four Golden Globe awards and is likely to clean up at this year’s Oscars. Class, head of the independent studio, Magic Picture Frame Studio, calls Brokeback “morally confused” and says this is typical of big budget Hollywood films. “Brokeback Mountain? What's positive about a film whose main character's sexual behaviour destroys a family?”

Good lord, you’d think that Brokeback Mountain was the only movie released last year the way these idiots go on about it. Yes, it’s about adulterous gay cowboys…get over it already! Where was the outrage when Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix won Golden Globes for their portrayals of June Carter and Johnny Cash in Walk the Line? What, adultery is only offensive when it’s homosexual in nature? Mary Louise Parker picked up an award for her role as a suburban drug dealer in Weeds, no outcry there. But she’s not a lesbian, so I guess we can overlook her crimes, right?

In any given year, most of the films and performances nominated for the Golden Globes or Oscars offend me—because they are banal pieces of crap not worth the $8 a ticket at the local cineplex. The difference between me and people like Mr. Class is that I am apparently capable of turning off the TV, changing the station on the radio, and not buying tickets to see movies that don’t appeal to me. And I’m also capable of accepting that some people want to see the 40-Year Old Virgin, and I don’t have the right to stop them.

The above-linked article has this to say about Mr. Class: “This refrain from US conservatives is as old as Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee but Class has taken a more pro-active approach to the problem.” Only the far right can compare someone to McCarthy, and mean it as a compliment.


annamaria at 9:02 AM

2 spoke


What's the matter with Kansas?

Phill Kline

Kansas AG Phill Kline is at it again. Not only does he want to violate patient privacy and demand the medical records (including any anecdotal evidence of sluttiness they may include) of women who obtain abortions—in an effort to prosecute child molesters, of course—but now he wants to take away abortion funding for rape victims while he’s at it. I guess he figures if he can’t shame women after abortions, be can do his damnedest to make sure they go broke trying to pay for one:

A Kansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Phill Kline for the state legislature concerning taxpayer funded abortions in cases of rape or incest. The judge dismissed the suit against pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius saying she couldn't be held accountable.

Shawnee County Judge David Bruns ruled that federal law requires the state to pay for abortions in such cases under the state's Medicaid program.

Notice that Lifenews characterizes Gov. Sebelius as “pro-abortion” rather than pro-choice. Because, as you know, we women are just waiting in the wings to wantonly kill babies whenever we get the chance. In fact, I’m going to join Pharmacists for Life and demand that women stop taking birth control, that way they can get knocked up more frequently, and I’ve got more babies to murder. But I digress…

According to the Kansas City Star, the state of Kansas spent a little less than $2,000 in Medicaid funds for abortions last year. Sebelius contends that refusing to pay for abortions would jeopardize the $1.32 billion Kansas receives from the federal government for Medicaid funding. Surely our fiscally-aware rightwing friends would see that preventing the seven abortions Kansas paid for last year is hardly worth the loss of that much federal funding.

But beyond that, the federal guidelines are just good law. No woman should be forced to carry to term a pregnancy that is the result of a sexual assault, or one that would put her own life at risk. Please tell me the compelling state interest in encouraging more unwanted babies to be born. I’ll help you out—there is none. Kline is fairly consistent, and representative, of his anti-choice brethren—his intent isn’t to prevent abortions and save lives. He doesn’t particularly care if there are more happy little bouncing babies in the world. People like Kline have one interest—they want to control women’s sexuality, and by extension, their lives. That’s why he’s going after medical records for 15-year-old would-be mommies. He’s not going to prosecute child molesters; his aim is to inform women that their right privacy will not be tolerated. If you want to slut it up ladies, remember that he’s watching. And when the decision to terminate a pregnancy is already fraught with uncertainty and the threat of exposure by anti-choice groups who are not above garbage picking for names and addresses, the knowledge that the government is going to get their grubby little fingers into your medical records is more than enough to give women pause.

This issue is no different. Kline isn’t concerned about taxpayers funding abortions despite their own moral qualms on the issue. He’s concerned about women getting a free pass, and controlling their reproduction without having to pay for it (financially, socially) at all. The next time you hear one of these reactionary, rightwing fuckwits bloviating about saving the babies, stop and listen to the subtext. Then look around for any evidence that the speaker has done one damn thing to better the lives of women and children. It’s easy to say that you want babies to be born, but it takes a better kind of person to make sure that their world is worth living in.

Edited to add that Arjet did a much better (and more passionate) job of discussing the real anti-choice agenda on his blog yesterday. Go read it.


annamaria at 10:55 AM

0 spoke


Happy Birthday to me....

...and Kerri!

Last year, January 24th was declared the most depressing day of the year by a British psychologist. Gee, thanks. As if getting older isn't depressing enough. And this birthday is pretty damn depressing, folks. You see, yesterday I was in Los Angeles, basking in the sun and heat, and today I am at work and it snowed. Snow, people! It was in the 60s in LA and people were acting like they were living in the arctic.

LA was wonderful. My dear friend Clint was an extraordinary tour guide, taking me to such wonderful places as Skid Row and the Sunset Strip. No studio tours for this Detroit girl!

Please excuse the grainy photo from my cheap camera phone

We saw Colin Meloy on Saturday night, and he managed to live up to all of my expectations. He's as quirky and adorable as I want my nerdcore rockstars to be, adorning his stage with a small table filled with useless bric-a-brac. There was a skull named Shelley (Clint informs me that the skull was actually named Shirley, I mean Sheryl), a small model boat named Maya Angelou, and a plushy sheep that we in the audience dubbed Erik-with-a-K. I'm wondering if he's going to add other tchochkies as the tour progresses. The tour only CD (Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins) is mine, mine, mine and you can't have it (oh, alright, I suppose I can make some copies for evaluation purposes only; Capital Records please don't sue). Colin assured us that any fear that my dear Decemberists have sold out should have been alleviated when he hand-folded 3,000 copies of the tour CD. Is it terrible that the fangirl in me thought "Omigod! Colin totally touched this CD!!!!"

Don't answer that question, I'm fully aware that I am so unbearably uncool.

Okay folks, I promise less self-centered posts this week, after I finally wade through the pile of work that was waiting for me on my desk when I got in this morning. I really wish I was still in LA.

PS--Clint, email me those photos you took at the show, mine suck!

annamaria at 8:58 AM

3 spoke


Randomness abounds

Ages ago (alright, a week ago) my good friend Jay tagged me for the "Five Random Things" meme. I'm finally getting around to completing it. So, in the interest of getting to know your blogger, here are five totally random and not even remotely interesting facts about me:
Random Fact #1: I am a rockstar in my car. I turn the radio up really loud and sing along, making hand gestures and silly faces until all the other drivers on the road take the time to point and laugh. This wouldn’t be so horrible if it weren’t for the fact that terrible 70s AM rock is most likely to make me bust out the vehicular vocals—damn you Gordon Lightfoot!

Random Fact #2: My first name also happens to be my sister’s middle name (though hers is inexplicably spelled Anna Maria). We jokingly refer to it as "the name so nice, mom used it twice." My mother has never given us a satisfying explanation as to why she recycled the name; her excuse is, and I quote, "I just like that name." The name redundancy has caused some problems though—my information has ended up on my sister’s credit report and vice versa (despite wildly different social security numbers), and when my sister got married, people read the invitation and assumed the wedding was for me. Imagine my surprise when checks starting rolling in from distant relatives!

Random Fact #3: Speaking of sharing names, my last name has some interesting associations as well. There is a crime family, a chain of drug stores on the east coast, and an infamous murder victim. I’ve also learned that it is the name of a brand of coffee, an agricultural equipment retailer, and a variety of basil. I share a name (but not necessarily a philosophy) with scholars Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese. n.b.: It is pronounced "jen-oh-vay-zay" not "jen-oh-veez."

Random Fact #4: My hair color is naturally jet black, but I’ve been an artificial redhead for about ten years. When your skin is as pale as mine, you do anything to temper the goth factor—it was cool at fifteen, not so much at twenty-eight.

Random Fact #5: In middle school, I was a two-time state champion in the Science Olympiad. How’s that for geek cred?

Kurt and Kerri--it's your turn!

annamaria at 11:03 AM

4 spoke

Need another reason to hate Alito?

Follow me to the funniest caption ever.

annamaria at 8:45 AM

1 spoke

Friday Random Ten


I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain yet. I feel as if I have failed in my duties as a member of the Vast Homoabortionist Conspiracy™ by putting off seeing this important film for so long. After all, with the way that the fundies are talking about it, the movie is like a training manual for liberalism and homosexual activism. I’ll make every attempt to see it this weekend, and hopefully reinstate my fag hag credentials; since Queer as Folk went off the air, I’ve been missing my weekly missives from the homo-front.

So, in honor of Brokeback Mountain, and the insanity it has inspired among the fundies, Rich and I coined the term homoprop. Like agitprop, homoprop art seeks to fundamentally alter public perception by such diabolical means as portraying gay men and women as human beings capable of leading full and productive lives, and thus being deserving of respect and basic human rights. Any mention of gay men and women in love, in loving relationships, and/or having anything remotely resembling a sex life—particularly if references to their sex lives are in the context of said loving relationship and not in the back of a seedy bar all hopped up on meth—is evidence of a pro-homo bias and an insidious use of homoprop, with the intent to destroy the American family, make the baby Jesus cry and...um...kill puppies.

So in honor of our new terminology, allow me to present the Friday Random Ten, Homoprop Edition:

  1. Guns Before Butter - Gang of Four
  2. Cinematic - Erin McKeown
  3. We’re All in this Together - Ben Lee
  4. Dead Womb - Death From Above 1979
  5. This is Hardcore - Pulp
  6. My Only Friend - The Magnetic Fields
  7. Me & Mia - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
  8. Jackie - Scott Walker
  9. Talking in the Dark - Elvis Costello
  10. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Gil Scott Heron

And a bonus I’m Going to See Colin Meloy in Eight Days track: Southern Girls (live)


annamaria at 7:21 AM

3 spoke


I doubt that's what Maradona had in mind

When I read things like this, I’m reminded why I am neither a sports fan nor a Christian commentator:
Many would call Christians divisive and even dangerous to the world's well-being, but let me illustrate that falsity of that notion. You've got two teams on the football field, fighting it out. There is physical and mental conflict being waged, division if you will. Would anyone argue that these teams should stop, line up on one side of the ball, and together forge ahead toward the end zone unabated? How ridiculous. That's not the purpose of sports, because that does not resolve the conflict.

There is a very real spiritual battle taking place, and Christians should not seek unity with the enemy. We should seek to bring those on the enemy's side to our side, which through God's ineffable grace is possible. But never should we abandon our convictions for the sake of a disingenuous peace. Not even if we like the same team.

Do I really need to comment on the fact that the world isn’t a football game, and it need not operate on the assumption that it is good and just for there to be winners and losers? Must I actually point out that when one team wins a soccer match, they may bruise the egos of their opponents, but they don’t actually oppress them or destroy their communities? Surely we can all see that at the end of the day it might be great to win that baseball game, but to do so at the expense of the other team’s humanity hurts us all—even the winners?

annamaria at 9:12 AM

6 spoke

Stupid, stupid, stupid....

So, yeah, I completely forgot about the Friday Random Ten. It's not really my fault, though! You see, I didn't have to work on Monday, which means that Tuesday felt like Monday, and I assumed today was Thursday...my whole life is off by a day! Of course, my forgetfulness should not ruin your fun, so feel free to leave your own Random Tens in the comments, and I'll update this when I get home tonight with mine.

In the meantime, you can check out what other bloggers are listening to (but only if you promise to come back!). Lauren, our FRT leader, reminds us not to skips the bad songs, and then gives us a list without a single embarassing song on there--damn her! Amanda at the newly redesigned Pandagon has Toussaint McCall and Gogol Bordello, officially making her list the strangest I've ever seen. Finally, Norbizness has abadoned the self-audit for the time being, allowing his readers to rate his random eleven for him--go over there and tell him how much Tears for Fears sucks.

annamaria at 8:24 AM

2 spoke


It's for your own good

There is one thing that is guaranteed to send me into a fit of righteous anger every time, and that is people (usually men) who try to restrict my behavior under the guise of "It’s for your own good." This is the strategy employed by the worst kinds of anti-choicers—the ones who truly believe that by telling women to submit to their role a breeder cows for the human race, they are actually doing us all a favor. Abortion-restricting legislation like 24-hour waiting periods and parental and/or spousal consent laws are the usual means by which the anti-choice crowd force women to conform to their way of thinking—if you’re going to slut around, you’ll need to be as inconvenienced and degraded as possible before you can assert your rights. These laws are infantilizing and patronizing, and serve only to further the belief that women are not fully-functioning adults; we must be coddled and have our hands held, all while being told that we are incapable of making important decisions without good, rational men to guide us.

The latest tactic is the abortion-depression link study that has been floating around. Seems some researchers have concluded that women who have had abortions have an increased risk of mental health disorders, and as a result, pro-life groups in the United States and New Zealand are seeking to require doctors to inform women of these findings prior to terminating a pregnancy. I’m all for informed consent, and believe that everyone should be apprised of the risks associated with any medical procedure, be it abortion or appendectomy. The problem I have is when anti-choice activism parades itself as academic research.

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the Fergusson study is correct—there is a correlation between abortion and depression (I refuse to accept a causal relationship—there are far too many other factors at work to make that assumption). Even if the Fergusson study proves an increased risk of depression for women who abort, there are two very important questions that it disregards: 1.) what is the risk of depression among women who go through with an unwanted pregnancy and 2.) what effect does social stigmatization of women who abort have on their continued mental health?

The first question is something the anti-choicers don’t want to consider. In their world, there are only two kinds of women: the evil sluts who fuck around and refuse to pay the consequences and the kind-hearted mothers who sacrifice all in the service of loving their children. While this dichotomy might be convenient, it’s hardly reality. A study conducted by Schmiege and Russo (abstract here) shows not only are claims of an abortion-depression link inconclusive, but the mental health effects of carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term outweigh any negative psychological effects of abortion. And it’s not only women that suffer from unwanted pregnancy; according to a study by the Transnational Family Research Institute, children who are the result of an unwanted pregnancy suffer serious physical and mental health risk as well:

Both unintended and unwanted childbearing can have negative health, social, and psychological consequences. Health problems include greater chances for illness and death for both mother and child. In addition, such childbearing has been linked with a variety of social problems, including divorce, poverty, child abuse, and juvenile delinquency. In one study, unwanted children were found less likely to have had a secure family life. As adults they were more likely to engage in criminal behavior, be on welfare, and receive psychiatric services. Another found that children who were unintended by their mothers had lower self-esteem than their intended peers 23 years later.

The adverse health consequences of teenagers' inability to control their childbearing can be particularly severe. Teenage mothers are more likely to suffer toxemia, anemia, birth complications, and death. Babies of teenage mothers are more likely to have low birth weight and suffer birth injury and neurological defects. Such babies are twice as likely to die in the first year of life as babies born to mothers who delay childbearing until after age 20.

It’s fun to pretend that the second a woman choose not to (or is prevented from) terminating a pregnancy she is suddenly transformed into Susie Homemaker and the World’s Greatest Mother, but this little fantasy simply has no basis in reality. The work of pregnancy (and it’s work, people, not the passive state the anti-choicers want you to think it is) and child rearing is severely trying for women who desperately want their children—imagine the consequences of being forced to do that work against your will.

But since I agreed to suspend reality and accept for a moment a correlation between abortion and depression, what could be the cause? Maybe it’s the social stigma that follows abortion, the belief that a woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy has murdered her child for selfish and capricious reasons. Even those of us on the Left, people with pro-choice credentials make these assumptions. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve said something along the lines of “Well, one abortion I can understand, but two or more just shows that you’re irresponsible.” Why do we assume that women are allowed one get out of jail free card, and all subsequent pregnancies can be prevented by the simple fact that they’ve had an abortion in the past? Do we suddenly become infallible after an abortion, and if we have to go back to the clinic it’s obviously because we forgot to act like the sainted creatures that we are?

As long as society continues to shame women who choose abortion, disregarding their lives, ambitions and daily realities as inconsequential, these women will be at risk for depression. So the “pro-life” groups in the US and NZ are seriously interested in passing legislation to protect women’s post-abortion mental health, maybe that’s a good place to start.


annamaria at 11:19 AM

3 spoke


Barbie: Gender Revolutionary

Barbie says 'Fuck You, Patriarchy!'

I always find it humorous when I agree with the basic premise of a far-Right argument, only to be utterly confounded by the reasons they use to come at their conclusions. For instance, the basic premise is "Barbie is evil." I can get behind that. The reasoning, however, a little suspect: "A poorly-worded poll on the Barbie website promotes gender confusion and will lure your children into the hedonistic world of the homoabortionists*." Yeah, I’m not so down with that.

Concerned Women for Patriarchy America spent some time at Barbie’s Malibu Mansion, and found a poll which suggests that America’s favorite doll** wants to turn your babies gay. The poll started out innocuously enough, asking children to enter their gender from a drop down box; unfortunately, the nefarious web designers betrayed their true intentions by offering up three gender choices: girl, boy and I don’t know. Obviously, by offering up a third choice (which rumor has it was originally "bear daddy" before being changed to the more gender-inclusive "I don’t know"), Mattel are intimating that it is perfectly acceptable for children to usurp the gender binary, spelling doom…DOOM!...for the American way—you know, traditional families, apple pie and kicking the queers while they’re down.

CWA’s Robert Knight (a man!), had this to say:
"It’s the idea that well, maybe people aren’t born a particular biological sex, or they are but that shouldn’t determine their gender identity," Knight said. "And that’s a very big component of the homosexual activist agenda now."

The acronyms for the movement used to be limited to L and G, which stands for lesbian and gay. Then they added the letter, B, which means bisexual. Now it’s LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and some even add Q, which stands for questioning youth***, Knight pointed out.

"In other words, any kid who’s not sure about who he is, he’s fair game to try to persuade to have same sex acts," said Knight.

Holy leap of logic, Patriarchy Man! I can imagine the scenario right now:

Little Timmy (or perhaps Tammy) logs onto the Barbie website to answer a poll about whether Ken or Blaine is the better man for Barbie (we’re going to leave aside the obvious fact that any man named Blaine is gay). Timmy/Tammy looks at the drop down menu and realizes that a third choice is available—a beacon of light and hope for the youngster who has been questioning his/her gender identity of late, due mostly to a predilection toward shooting guns while wearing high heels. Timmy/Tammy grows up, consoled by the knowledge that Barbie understands his/her true state of gender ambiguity, and promptly joins a homoabortionist sect, where he/she is lured into homosexual acts by leather daddies/bull dykes, who capitalize on Timmy/Tammy’s gender confusion and keen fashion sense. They all live happily ever after. No wait! I mean, Timmy/Tammy flounders without the oppressive weight of binary gender distinctions keeping him/her from floating off into space and burning up in the exosphere. There, that’s better.

*I’ve decided that “homoabortionists” is the funniest word I’ve ever made up, and will continue to use it whenever fundies talk about “the gays.”
**Anyone know if the story about the Lilli doll, on which Barbie was based, being a sort of German gay counterculture icon is true?
***As an aside, the Q in LGBTQI (and unwieldy acronym that I’ve never actually heard anyone use) stands for Queer or Questioning. Only Bob Knight seems to think that “Questioning” implies youth; anyone who’s taken a Queer Studies class, or, you know, actually knows someone who’s gay, would know otherwise.

Labels: , ,

annamaria at 11:57 AM

0 spoke