Ultra Violet teamed up with Daily Show co-creator and producer, Lizz Winstead about what's at stake on the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. I'm on my way to a Planned Parenthood event where Sarah Weddington will give the address. She was the lawyer who took Roe to the Supreme Court.
On November 27, House Speaker Boehner probably had his own plans for December One, World AIDS Day. What do you think he had in mind? Greater funding, a call for more increased Congressional focus on HIV prevention?
Whatever....seven AIDS activists, women and men, preempted him by appearing unannounced four days before the designated Day. Without clothes, decorated with painted messages on their bodies. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
"Budget cuts are really rude. That's why we have to be so lewd," they chanted. The men eluded police but four women were arrested. This gave them the "opportunity" to give more details about funding cuts. Jennifer Flynn of Global Health Access spoke for the group to WAMU Radio.
"We're having everything ripped off of us. We're going to be left with nothing, people with AIDS in this country and around the world need to have PEPFAR funded — the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief."
The protesters represented many organizations worried that more than $1 billion in budget cuts could hit HIV and AIDS programs if pending budget cuts aren't diverted before January.
Since December 1, 2007, when my other blog, Knit a Condom Amulet began, I've wondered about its usefulness as a message about HIV awareness. But when I check my stats on how many times people click on it, seems it's still relevant.
Five years later, reports appear about the rise in HIV cases in young gay men in urban areas, more cases in financially troubled Greece and 200 new cases each day in Russia. And women? Learning in 1995 about growing numbers of HIV in women over 50 was the startling information that initially grabbed my attention. According to the 2012 Kaiser Foundation on HIV/IDS policy:
...women represented 8% of diagnoses in 1985, 20% in 1995, and 27% in 2000, a similar share as today.
Condom amulet pictured above is a close-up of the conveniet pocket on the ManThong designed by New York artist Amanda Gale. One of John Boehner's naked visitors might knit one and appear next in his next locker room--before one of his frequent golf games.
Only one antibiotic left to treat gonorrhea we heard yesterday on local NPR station. Scary news. Another 20th century problem--like birth control, women's right to choose, equal pay--that we thought were secured.
Did you know gonorrhea can kill you? It can, and it's also tragically effective at making women infertile. According to her journals, my great aunt Mabel was "barren," and my grandmother always told me it was probably from gonorrhea. The only reason we don't hear about these awful complications more often -- and we instead think of it as a little oops of an infection ("Can I still drink on these antibiotics?" "Yes." "Cool.") -- is because we've been able to kill it early with relative ease.
Back into my public health mode, here's a copy of a page from my other blog, Knit a Condom Amulet, originally posted in 2007, when I still lived in New York City. Its purpose was and is to share pattern ideas with knitters for a way to begin conversations about safe sex. Original focus was on HIV awareness for women over 50--a problem we learned about in 2005--its applicability is unlimited.
Condom designs may be different now (NYC iconic package has changed but FREE availability still holds). 56,000 page views since Knit a Condom Amulet began. Many more through its group at Ravelry.
In 2012, will we talk to our grown children about talking to their children, our grandchildren?
CONDOM SIZES FOR KNIT AMULETS
Because there are a variety of sizes and shapes to condoms, this is a general guide. Sometimes this will determine how you knit an amulet. There are so many knit designs yet to be explored--by you.
These are variations on the most familiar size, 2-1/4" x 2-1/4" squares.
Another square one--lights up in the dark--packaged in a 3" x 3" box.
From a dispensing machine (North Carolina, unisex rest room), the "Black Jack" measures 2" x 1-1/4". Just 50 cents but not latex.
Round condom, 2-1/4" circumference.
Lengthwise, smaller container,1/2" x 1" suited to this double-knitted amulet with beads to be worn around the neck. Or, it could have a pin back.
And the largest package contains the female condom, measuring 3-1/4" x 4-3/4". The condom itself is smaller, so the package can be folded up at bottom. It will then fit into an amulet like this one. Funky yarn here is a excellent re-use for yarn mistakenly purchased for a garment. Many possibilites for many gifts of Condom Amulets for friends, family. neighbors--room for several condoms too.
Its bright colors and loop make it easy to locate in a purse. Or, hang it on your bathroom wall--tuck the female condom behind a Post-It pad if discretion is a concern. Kay Gardiner, designer of the Ballband Key Chain Amulet, suggested this alternative use.
Earlier today I lifted the headline and You Tube video from The Blog that Ate Manhattan. Dr. Peggy (how I wish she had been my doc when I lived in NYC) is one of my role models as a blogger and has been on the list over at the left for some time.
The balance is just right between her cooking life, recreational outdoor doings, and her POLITICS (yes, the caps go against certain rules). In another life I too would have it together in a similar manner. Here's her own year-end summary of 2011 in The Year in Health Blogging--plus Two Songs on a range of medical thoughts from mammograms to how to get a doctor's appointment faster.
And a delicious recipe, slightly over the top, Summer Corn Pudding. Another younger feminist who gives me hope. Thanks, Dr. P. for directing attention to the group we need to hear more from--"Stand Up, Men."
With all the recent downers for women's reproductive rights, the appearance of Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University law student in Washington, D.C. offers us old lady feminists hope for a better future.**
Listen to her speak to this issue which goes far beyond reproductive ones. The blog, this black sista's page, adds more to the conversation. We're all in agreement: Once women and men give decision-making power to politicians on related issues--end of life choices, for example--we might as well be receiving "care" from car mechanics.
Did your newspaper do a "not-in-our precious pages" on this Doonesbury cartoon? For all the people who think PDX is a progressive, modern city, here is The Oregonian on March 9, in its own words:
Gary Trudeau, in our judgment, went over the line of good taste and humor in penning a series on abortion using graphic language and images inappropriate for a comics page.
While we rarely pull strips for taste reasons, this was a clear call for the editors of the paper and for some other papers around the country, including the Los Angeles Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Thanks to Feminema for posting this today under the title "Please take a seat in the shaming room."
Received my order of ten more 17% buttons from the Feminist Marjority. If there's a Democratic woman running for the House or Senate where you live, I'd be glad to send you a button. I only ask that you wear it ALL the time. Amaze family, co-workers, and friends who ask what that number represents: the percentage of women in Congress. Still amazes me!
**Following her Congressional testimony, Sandra Fluke was added to the speakers for "Women, Money, Power Summit and National Young Feminist Leadership Conference" in Washington, D.C., March 29 to April 2. Timely that the Feminist Majority could add her voice to those of other young leaders-- the women us old ladies count on for an improved 21st century for our daughters and granddaughters.
Last month in my Cultural Geography class at PSU, a grad student used this womanpower image, new to me, in a presentation referring to International Women's Day, March 8. [Thanks, Blanca] Dating back to the early 1900s, it was observed until recently mostly in Europe. In the U.S., the official start of Women's History month was March 1987.
Thanks to Hattie's Web for inadvertently creating this post mash-up. She mourned how feminists might respond to women followers of Ladies against Feminism, a Christian blog "under the oversight" of a male minister. Not content with its misleading title, its true spirit hides by only using the initials LAF in its banner. Yes, pretty funny--and sad.
The War against Women has been alive and well while some too many women think otherwise. Why the nasty turn in the public space of Congress without complicity by women? A Facebook friend of Feminema wants us to use our inside voices about anti-abortion efforts:
“I don’t like to use hyperbole like ‘war on women, “I just don’t think liberals should respond with the same overwrought language as conservatives use.”
"Battered Barbie," commentary and image,** appeared in last week's Portland State student publication. I was about to write about it when I read Hattie's post. Unknown to those of us outside academe (because it had not been reported), a local community college experienced a creative effort to raise awareness about domestic abuse. According to the article, Becca Ellenbecker, a student,
"...admitted she was looking to shock and awe her audience..by using abused Barbies and dispersing them throughout the campus."
Guestbooks for student and staff responses accompanied the Barbies. The reaction at Rock Creek Community College was "the display was going too far.” Becca was very courageous. The Portland State Women's Resource Center could not give the columnist a "concrete answer" about doing something similar on the PSU campus. What images will work?
This has been my own challenge. Unlike Becca, my choices are not dark, they're quirky--like this Bra Condom Amulet from my other blog, Knit a Condom Amulet. Does it matter, does the content skew the attention of our hoped-for audience more than the style used to craft our images? I'd once considered offering the PSU Women's Center a workshop on how to KNIT A CONDOM AMULET. The amulets started as my way to get conversation going around a difficult topic: HIV in women over 50. Of course, the notion works for all ages. Start with Princetonian from College Series, move on to regional
"Mormon Feminists, LDS Church Unite" is a headline from last week's Salt Lake City Tribune. And I was reminded of another case of the "F" word being applied to women with no clue to the goals promoted by second wave and first wave Feminism. The story tells how Tresa Edmunds, "Mormon writer, activist and blogger" decided to engage the followers of the blog, Feminist Mormon Housewives, to raise money. To help a divorced Mormon mother of three finish her final term of college. She'd been abandoned by her LDS church's support--ended one presumes because her marriage did also.
"Terrific" you think. Have you ever read FMH? Few years ago I discovered it in the statistics for Knit a Condom Amulet. They seemed interested in these. Great. But when I read the blog, it was unclear why. Same as reading the Tribune story is confusing about how the LDS Church supports the fund-raising for a woman whose divorce it could not condone. Made my head spin. Similar to LAF, Feminist Mornons Housewives, an apparently well-educated group, live in some universe very far away. Tell me if you undertand the post, "13 Articles of Healthy Chastity."
There's also a blog called Feminist Ryan Gosling: more girls wasting time IMHO. How will we get your attention about the War on Women unless you give up your focus on men for a minute or two?
**"Battered Barbie," PSU Vanguard, written by Emily Lakehomer, illustration by Elizabeth Thompson.
Missed Rachel Maddow Show last night or I'd have learned about that PAC in Virginia:
Will women in other states start a similar, bi-partisan Women's Strike Force? The brand new group raised $10,000 in its first day of operation.
Alabama could use one. Today legislation similar to the one that claimed everyone's attention in Virginia, a “State Mandated Rape” Anti-Abortion Bill , will be debated in the state senate. The anti-choice, Republican governor of Alabama could be looking toward some challenging days ahead similar to Virginia's governor.
There are others-- Oklahoma and Georgia. Little of this has been covered in what I read. Only through Google searches about "states with anti-abortion legislation" did I discover much of what's posted here.
Most hidden and most disturbing is a bill in Congress, "District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," pushed forward by an Arizona congressman. Where did it come from? It is modeled on legislation promoted by the National Right to Life organzation. Mike DeBonis has a blog on the WaPo, that describes the bill while reminding me that D.C. needs statehood for crying out loud.
Knitters, concerned and good-natured women with a sense of the humor, contributed to an the idea I had pre-Portland, when I lived in New York. When I finish this post, I'll contact them with the surprisng proof it worked: use provocative knitting to raise awareness about HIV. Like this one, The Princetonian, the first of my college amulet series.**
Knit a Condom Amulet, the title I'd been using for a little paper zine give-away, became my second blog -- 7 amulets by 5 knitters. It was beautifully designed by a woman in New Jersey I only knew online and the phone.
The debut post featured my friend Annette's hand adorned with Lisa Daehlin's copper wire Condom Amulet Bracelet. It appeared Decemer One, 2007, to highlight that year's World AIDS Day.
The image at left is a screen shot of the statisitics for the blog that I check once in a while to see if it still has visitors all these years later. After the initial outing, viewership has been low. Once a very kinky crowd, definitely not fiber folks, were entranced by some of the content.
A couple of the amulets ---Man Thong, Bra & Breast Pouch (pink one here by Lisa Daehlin) -- are especially so. Comments on the blog are closed; simply out there hoping to be discovered.
October 13, 2011, was the all-time big bump of 2,356 visitors, October 14 another 564, October 15, 223, the next day, 296. And another 192 for the finale. Five days, close to 3,000 hits on a blog that usually has 20-30 daily visitors! Turns out this time it was by our target group--knitters. These were from Knitting ParadiseSM - Knitting and Crochet Forum whose membership is in the thousands. [We also started a group on Ravelry, an even larger online knit and crochet community.]
It began with "Deb," an active Forum member. She linked to our site and noted, "No, I'm not kidding. Hey, someone might want one of these!" And then the deluge.
Culturally the Forum knitters appear different from those on Ravelry but, without a rigorous study, who knows? Judging from their photos, they are generally older women than most on Ravelry. Many were shocked: should this even be happening? Some, amused. Others thought it just might be a way to "...begin talking with my granddaughter..." That's it, ladies! Referring to Michelle Edwards' beaded amulets from corn silk yarn, one poster was ambivalent:
first amulet is very pretty & COULD be used for something else...but someone might recognize it from this site. LOL
I plan to join Knitting Paradise (could use some extra magic with current projects on the needles) to thank "Deb" for introducing our site to her fiber friends. Forum member "Jenna" the Ball Band Condom Amulet (Kay Gardiner design) would be just the thing for people she knew, "Christmas gifts for single girlfriends, holds at least three condoms."
In the past, when I've heard from an knit amulet enthusiast, the knitter wants to find out if their creations could be sent to me:
"I work for the AIDS Resource Group in Evansville, IN and love your idea... inspired by patterns and made a few amulets for the "environmentally concious" condom user out of "plarn" (plastic bags made into yarn). Is there an address that I could send them to?"
My response is that we hoped the person's own circle would provide ideal recipients, that the primary idea behind our project was more personal: gift someone close to you--like "Deb" and "Jenna." You know, the personal is always political, as we used to say back in the day.
** College series includes: Oberlin, Columbia & Oregon State Universities, send in yours for posting here.
UPDATE...On December One, 2011, an email arrived with a reminder. Here's a poster you might copy to your own blog and a plea you can sign from The Feminist Majority.
Ask President Obama and Congress to fight AIDS with science and medicine, not ideology. Condoms must not be an afterthought. Click on the link below to sign.