Feminist Friday: Making a Better World Through Legislative Sarcasm


It’s Feminist Friday, and wow, have our nation’s legislators been focusing on our ladybusiness. I know it’s enraging and depressing, but you never know when your own state (or national) laws will go oopsie, so it’s important to keep looking. 

Speaking of keeping looking, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett pointed out that mandatory ultrasound/sonogram bills that say a woman has to be shown the screen are no big whoop because hey, all you have to do is close your eyes, amirite, ladies? Har! Well, at least until the new round of Clockwork Orange ultrasound bills go through next session. 

My friend Jamil Smith over at the Melissa Harris Perry Blog begged to differ on the “no big deal” part. 

Heather Michon also posted a maddening piece on how hard – if not impossible – it is for Native American women to get Plan B after a sexual assault. 

Meanwhile, Arizona’s Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed a bill that would essentially allow employers to demand proof that your birth control bills are not for controlling birth. And if you are using them for dirty, bad, sex resulting in only the amount of children you feel you can properly care for, and your employer objects, he can fire you. Better legal minds than mine say the bill won’t pass and couldn’t stand if it did, but the fact that it’s being proposed at all is troubling. 

Also troubling? Wonkette noted that Georgia state representative Terry England compared women to farm animals. He did so in proposing a bill that would make abortions illegal even if the fetus is known to be stillborn. Because why worry about a walking baby incubator’s feelings or well being? 

As nauseating as the current round of anti-woman legislation is, it is ushering in a golden age of hilarious counter-legislation. 

Your new hero/bestie is Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, who introduced legislation requiring men seeking prescriptions for Viagra get psychological screenings, cardiac tests, and an affidavit from a sex partner confirming the man’s erectile dysfunction. 

I love her. And hey! Here she is on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell Thursday night talking with Lawrence O’Donnell and Senator Jeanne Shaheen on the recent craziness over attempts to restrict women’s health care and the completely insane GOP balking at the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

Turner is a hilarious master of deadpan sarcasm and I want her to run for national office immediately. 

Also not having it? The constituents of Virginia State Senator Ryan McDougle, who is a jerknut who supported the state’s vile transvaginal ultrasound bill. This week, some hilarious Virginia women decided that if he really wanted to know that much about their vaginas, they were going to tell him. 

On his Facebook wall. 

Daily Kos posted as many excerpts as they could get before McDougle and his staff locked down his page. The screenshots are possibly NSFW, lavishly detailed, and really, really funny. 

More brutal truth in comedy came from the comic strip Doonesbury this week, which took some refreshingly savage hits at the Texas ultrasound laws. The strips were widely censored, which means, of course, they’ve also been extensively passed around. Good. Start with Monday’s strip over here

You may know that TV news and political shows use bookers who have to come up with guests at pretty short notice. Which means they don’t always do a thorough check, which is why you sometimes see some creep who normally spreads hate under the mainstream radar suddenly showing up on TV playing nice as a “commentator” on issues of The Gay. 

GLAAD is on the case with the Commentator Accountability Project. They are dedicated to making it clear that anyone, for example, who says he’d rather see you dead than gay, doesn’t get to pop up on TV as a “reasonable” other side to the marriage equality argument. GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick summed it up tidily: “Hate is not an expert opinion.” 

From a good first step, let’s move on to some burgeoning awesome, shall we? 

The Mary Sue featured Lori Anne Madison, who became the youngest competitor to ever enter the Scripps National Spelling Bee… At six years old. The fun (and pressure) starts May 29. Good luck, Lori! 

If you want an early taste of Spelling Bee tension, joy, and heartbreak, not to mention some terrific kids, I command you to see the documentary Spellbound. It’s incredible. 


Also incredible? 17-year-old Katy Butler, who thought it was ridiculous that the documentary Bully received an MPAA rating of R, meaning the kids who could get the most good out of it couldn’t see it. 

So she started a petition to get the rating changed to PG-13 and delivered more than 200,000 signatures to the MPAA. As of this writing, Butler’s change.org petition has more than 305,000 signatures. For her good work, Butler will be getting a special GLAAD Media Award on March 24. 

In other heartening media news, the Daily Beast had a piece on how NPR managed to foster so many high-caliber female journalists, and out country star Chely Wright took a somewhat lower-caliber journalist to task on twitter. #thatladyknowshowtouseahashtag 

And, hey, cool, a movie you already want to see! Viola Davis, fresh off her Oscar nomination, is developing a movie about Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, who was the first Southern African-American woman elected to Congress, a lesbian, and a general bad-ass. Make it now!

Finally, a little something for you feminist femmes who are wondering if you can still cut a commanding figure while wearing heels: Yes. Yes, you can. As long as you are wearing heels inspired by Alien

Whatever shoes you’re wearing, get out there and kick some butt.

And have a great weekend.

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