Feminist Friday: Lisa Henson Brings the Felt Hurt to Chick-Fil-A


This Week in Questionable Poultry Products

You’ve doubtless heard about Chick-Fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, proudly saying that he is against same-sex marriage. It wasn’t a huge surprise – the chain has donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups, including one that the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group. Seriously, they suck.

What was a surprise to many was how quickly the Jim Henson Company, the company that created the Muppets, responded, immediately pulling toys and merchandise from Chick-Fil-A. Their statement, released on Facebook, is a thing of beauty.

The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors.

I’ve seen this portrayed in the press as corporations diving into politics, but the writers who do that are forgetting that the Muppets are more than just a business. Millions of kids grew up with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. Sesame Street’s careful attention to diversity isn’t just about ticking off boxes. They want all kids to feel included, everywhere. These are the people who gave tiny kids a difficult, faintly sad song like “Bein’ Green” because they knew that one day soon a lot of those kids would need to understand how important it is to see the beauty of exactly who you are, even if it’s not who other people expect you to be.

The Henson Company statement actually made me tear up a little bit when I first read it. This is not just a corporation taking a political side. This is a company saying no, we make shows for all kids, not just some of them. They could have stood by and shrugged and kept dropping Muppet toys into greasy Chick-Fil-A kids’ meals, and who would have said anything? But instead they said no – the people at Henson wouldn’t turn their backs on members of the LGBT who grew up loving them. You can rest assured that Kermit still has your back.

It was a bold and compassionate move. And let’s take a look at the rest of that statement.

Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD

Not only are they severing their ties with Chick-Fil-A, they refuse to even keep their money. Lisa Henson, you are a fair-minded, swift-acting paragon of feminist bad-assery. Thank you.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

SheWired pointed us toward this video by Jackson Pierce, who seems kinda great, and who is willing to put aside her love of Chick-Fil-A because she loves not being a creep more.


In addition to Ms. Pierce’s glass-of-water day on August 1, one hears of a planned same-sex kiss day at Chick-Fil-A on August 3.

And don’t worry, Ms. Pierce, Hilah has you covered. Behold the Chick-Fil-Gay


This Week in People Trying to Control Your Ladybits

Care2 ran an informative piece on the 95 new abortion restrictions that have been passed by states in the last six months. There are glimmers of hope – public umbrage stopped Mississippi’s personhood law and Virginia’s attempt at forcing women to get medically unnecessary ultrasounds – but still, yikes. If your uterus is feeling out of its normal shape lately, it’s because it keeps getting used as a political football.

And in South Dakota, always at the forefront of new and exciting ways to lock down your ladybits, a court has ruled that it is totally OK for the state to force doctors to actually lie to women who are seeking abortions. The state law requires doctors to tell women that getting an abortion will increase their risk of suicide, even though there is no reliable study showing such a thing. The court ruled that forcing South Dakota doctors to lie was not a violation of the doctors’ free speech. On which planet? Oh, and what about the live human females who are being lied to? Once again, they don’t seem to be a point of consideration.

And, yes, in case you were wondering, the Violence Against Women Act is still held up in Congress.

This Week in Thinkiness

Irin Carmon has an interesting and troubling article in Salon on how far-right groups are imposing American political fights over abortion, contraception, and LGBT rights on Kenya.

Slate ran an article on the new gender testing system for the Olympics (Spoiler: Gender isn’t simple and the system kind of blows.)

Ilyse Hogue mused on the way the media talked about Sally Ride’s life and orientation – and on the way Eddie Griffin gets away with talking to and about lesbians.

Eesha Pandit dissected the argument that men are more violent in Feministing.

My mom pointed me toward this infuriating interview with Bishop Leonard Blair, who does not seem to care for awesome nuns who fight for what’s right. Prepare to be even more firmly on the nunwagon.

A dude named Joe Peacock wrote about the scourge of our age: Pretty women he claims are “pretending” to be geeks for attention. (Male attention, duh.) Yes, I know you’re already annoyed. But his dumb, sexist article produced two good feminist smackdowns, one by a woman and one by a man.

This Week in Generally Awesome Women

Annie Lennox spoke at the opening ceremony for the AIDS Memorial Quilt on the National Mall and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the International AIDS conference. Clinton announced that the U.S. is committing an additional $150 million in funding dedicated to ending mother-to-child transmission.

Salon’s Karrin Anderson noted that Time managed to feature cover images of female athletes looking like athletes instead of sex objects.

Three fantastic high school students have started a petition calling for a woman to moderate a Presidential debate.

This Week in Fun

For those who are new to this whole thing but tantalizingly curious, The Mary Sue gave us a starter list of feminist-friendly anime – and at least a couple of the entries have queer themes. Yay!

Sasheer Zamata dealt with a flasher.


And Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley not only carried the Olympic torch, they did so in character as Patsy and Edina from Absolutely Fabulous. God, I love them. You do too. It is mandatory.


Have a great weekend. Get out there and be your own kind of fabulous.

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