Feminism in the Classroom–Folly or Fantasy?

Schools in America are open to a tremendous amount of criticism.  Much of it is even deserved.  However, the increasingly tight control of curriculum based on political correctness is an area that is worthy of conversation.

It’s kind of an open secret in education that we sanitize the hell out of things that don’t portray us in the best light.  The Civil War was fought because those fine, noble northerners found the idea of slavery morally reprehensible (forget the economy).  Lewis Carroll had a fabulous imagination that really resonated with children (redact the pedophilia).  Our involvement in Vietnam was a success (I’m not really sure how we’re able to keep that whopper floating–probably by arguing that we’re not all a bunch of communists–but somehow the myth perpetuates).

Therefore, the idea of facing head-on a subject that will without question raise controversy and–oh, my stars!–make kids think is invigorating.

That Feminism falls under that umbrella, though … I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I recently attended a fantastic training on inquiry-based instruction and assessment in an English Language Arts classroom (a fancy way to say “good English teaching”).  The presenter, who teaches at an inner-city school in New York City, shared lots of great strategies, techniques, and resources.

What stood out the most to me, though, was a unit she shared focused around feminism. It was absolutely mind-blowing … everything from evaluating the degree of impact made by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen to analyzing the philosophies of Mary Wollstonecraft to ..

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Paul Ryan: A Legitimate Danger to Women’s Rights

Photo of Paul Ryan
I have to admit, I was pretty shocked when Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate.  I’d been almost positive his veep candidate would be female, in large part because Romney’s ratings among women are pretty abysmal.

Playing that card failed miserably for John McCain four years ago, but believe it or not, Sarah Palin almost seems sort-of-kind-of-at-least-a-little-bit acceptable when you take a closer look at Paul Ryan.

I knew relatively little about Paul Ryan when the news broke, other than that he’s a Congressman from Wisconsin and something of a golden boy in the Tea Party.

I received a forwarded e-mail from my mother today, however, that concerned me.  Deeply concerned me.

Now, the subject line was “5 Facts About Paul Ryan and Women”, and since I know what side of the political spectrum my mother hails from, I wasn’t surprised by its existence.  I get mass e-mails from all directions of politics (someone–I’m pretty sure it was my brother despite his denials–signed me up for Rick Santorum’s mailing list), and it’s always interesting to see rhetoric at work, to observe two completely different spins on the same issues, the same numbers.

In other words, I read all political mailings with a grain of salt.

Usually.

The e-mail I received today, though, a forward from Ultra Violet, was a bit different. It had the usual hard-swinging, attention-catching lines, but it also included footnotes … in other words, the wild accusations against Paul Ryan’s political stances on women’s issues are well-documented.

1. He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Think women deserve to earn the same pay as men for the same work? Paul Ryan doesn’t. And the pay gap costs women and their families close to $431,000 over their lifetimes.

In a nutshell, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is, as its name suggests, legislation intended to ensure that women have the same compensation opportunities as their male colleagues. It is, to be fair, very complex and not as clear-cut as Ultra Violet would have you believe.

That being said, The National Review admits that “many conservatives question the existence of a wage gap in the first place” and that “instead of helping workers, the Paycheck Fairness Act could actually make their jobs harder by increasing costs to the businesses that hire them.”

2. He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. It’s not just that Paul Ryan has voted 59 times against a woman’s right to choose—which he has. He would even rather let a woman die than allow her to have an abortion. He’s supported a bill to allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to a woman, even if she could die without it.

Yes, this is also true. Frightening as hell, but true. In fact, Paul is not averse to women being prosecuted for having abortions. Prosecuted.

From The Daily Beast:

This disregard for the exigencies of women’s lives—the dismissal of their choices as amoral exercises of “arbitrary will”—was thrown into high relief during his 1998 run for congress against Democrat Lydia Spottswood. Both candidates backed a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, but Spottswood believed there should be exceptions in cases where a woman’s life or health is endangered. “Ryan said he opposes abortion, period,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He said any exceptions to a ‘partial-birth’ abortion….

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Same-Sex Couples: Just Like You and Me

Slogan "Being Gay Isn't a Choice but Being a Bigot Certainly Is"

I have a story for you.

My younger daughter, my boyfriend, and I recently went away to stay with a couple for a mini-vacation weekend. We went out to breakfast, had our cook-out rained out (but it worked out just fine inside), went to a children’s museum together (my princess was the only “child” per se, but we all had a blast), went hiking with the dogs, and laughed a lot.

This couple also arranged for me to go on a special tour that basically fulfilled a lifelong dream, and they took care of my precocious, always-talking, perpetual motion third grader (I call her Belle on my personal blog, so I guess I’ll go with that here, too) so that my boyfriend could go with me. It was an experience I will never forget, and the fact that they arranged it, paid for it, and took on the fastest talker in the east meant the world to me.

While taking Belle to the grocery store (an event that is not for the faint of heart), the possibility of Belle having a sleepover with them came up. Belle was thrilled at the prospect, and later that night I tucked her into an unfamiliar house with a couple she’s known and loved for years while my boyfriend and I went back to the hotel.

The next morning, this saintly couple called to see if we could meet for breakfast a little bit later.  Turns out there was a dollhouse in the guest bedroom where Belle had slept, and she was in seventh heaven playing with it.

We had an amazing, relaxing, and fun weekend, and our hosts went way above and beyond what they needed to.  I loved every minute of our venture (except possibly the long drive), and I know that my travel-mates felt the same way.  I can’t wait to do it again, to explore their very cool house, to go for more hikes, to check out their neck of the woods.

If I told this story to the masses, I suspect the general reaction would be, “Oh, how wonderful!  It’s always nice to have a little vacation, and your hosts sound nearly saint-like.”

So why is it that the response would change when I stated that this strong, committed, loving couple are lesbians?

And make no mistake … it would.

Forget the fact that the vast majority of pedophiles are heterosexual.  Pretend that it’s okay for heterosexuals to participate in everything from Fifty Shades of Grey-type behavior to swinging to bestiality, and don’t-ask-don’t-tell is the status quo.  Spout off passages from …

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Articles Intended to “Improve One’s Sex Life” Continue to be Asinine

Photo of Awkward Sex Moments
I always find it entertaining (and more than a little bit disheartening) that people are so quick to read glaring headlines like “5 Things Wrecking Your Sex Life” because, let’s face it, most of it is either a) obvious, b) for the vast minority, or c) set up for shock value (a la the whole Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon).

So yeah, according to My Daily Moment, here are five areas of concern when it comes to snafus in your sex life.

1. Getting Grossed Out – Let’s face it – the human body doesn’t always produce the sexiest smells, areas of hair or secretions. If you flinch at the hint of a little B.O. down there, an untrimmed bikini line or the thought of bodily fluids touching you anywhere, you could be turning your partner off, or even worse, offending him or her.

There are a few ways you can overcome the “ick” factor – only have intercourse in or right after a shower, turn the lights off to avoid looking at things you don’t like and keep plenty of towels or tissues on hand for liquid mishaps.

So, basically, you should plan your sex life based on the shower?

And maybe I’m totally off-base here, but if you’re flinching at bodily fluids, you have bigger problems than your sex life.  And furthermore, isn’t implying that sex should be a lights-off activity sort of implying that there’s something wrong with your body?  I know a lot of women that hate having sex with the lights on because they have body image issues … way to reinforce this, Daily Moment!

2. Being Afraid to Experiment – Instead of laughing in his or her face the next time your partner suggests a sexy cowgirl getup or edible underwear, give it a try. You could find it silly, but it may increase the pleasure your partner experiences and rejecting him or her could kill the mood. Unless it’s something you morally object to or might cause you harm, go for it. Who knows — you might even discover that being “Nurse Betty” is your thing.

Before I met my current boyfriend, I met some very bizarre men on the dating circuit, which is kind of a tough playing field when you’re in your almost-mid-thirties.  One of them asked, on our first (and, needless to say, only) date, if he could pee on me during sex.  Now, getting peed on is not something I morally object to and it probably wouldn’t cause me harm … but I do find it disgusting.  According to this, maybe I should have given it a try??

I also believe that, by implying the word “experimentation” in a sexual context involves things like cowgirl outfits and edible …

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