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Photograph by Nicole DeVito
Copyright © 1999 The Register-Guard

56 percent of those contracting AIDS in Africa are women, according to reports that were publicized on World AIDS Day (December 1). Today, the World Health Organization reports that 500,000 women still die in childbirth every year, and 10.6 MILLION children die before age five.  (Think about that figure for a moment.)

So, sit back and fasten your seatbelts. I feel an inarticulate rage-driven rant against the Right-to-Lifers coming on, but I swear, after it's over, I'll share one small thing you can do to make life better for an AIDS orphan.

It's no accident that women are the majority of those who are infected in Africa: while we mouth bullshit affirmations such as "Just Say No," women who are powerless to say no to their husbands, or who are raped as a tactic of war, are infected with AIDS. Statistics show that it's single women in Africa who are less likely to contract the virus; the rate among married women is climbing.

Whenever one of my female students tells me that she's not a feminist, I've come up with a pat response: "So, what exactly is it about the idea that you're not entitled to the same rights as men that you object to?" The conversations are mind-numbing. "Oh, I don't have a problem with equal rights. I just don't identify with feminism--I mean, I shave my legs and I like boys."
Christ on a Crutch. At this point in the conversation, I usually point out that this person has allowed herself to buy into the Right's interpretation of feminism. She's allowed the enemies of women to tell my student, who usually considers herself a free-thinker (after all, she has tattoos and multiple piercings), that she isn't a feminist because she shaves her legs. And, since many of my closest friends are lesbians, I'm deeply offended by the idea that being considered a lesbian is an insult. If I didn't like boys so much, I'd be a lesbian in a heartbeat.
The next time some "right-to-lifer" tells me that women who have abortions are selfish, or murderers, I'll point out to them that women die every fucking day giving birth. Being pregnant is not a risk-free stroll in the park.

It's this sort of hijacking of the terms of human rights that continues to contribute to the AIDS epidemic around the world. Without the power to control one's own body, one cannot protect oneself. If you have no legal rights to stand up to your husband, you cannot prevent him from fucking you without a condom even though he's HIV positive.
If you cannot control your own body, you cannot make decisions about whether to bring a child into the world. Right-to-lifers who claim that they are doing this out of love for the fetus, but then turn around and refuse to care for the children brought unwillingly into this world, will sit in the inner circle of hell. Right-to-lifers who teach women that they are nothing more than vessels for bringing children into the world do not love women. They hate women, and many of their number are self-haters.

If you cannot take care of your own body as a woman, you cannot take care of the body of your child. You will pass on AIDS because you were not able to protect yourself.

So, back to those 10.6 million children who will die.

18 percent of those children die from diarrhea. I think about that today because in 1998, my 10-month old contracted rotavirus and had to be hospitalized despite efforts to keep her hydrated. Simple sugar water, infused into her veins, kept her alive. For hundreds of thousands of children world-wide, there will be no such help.

Three percent of those children die from AIDS. And how do they acquire AIDS? Through their mothers.

In Africa, orphans roam the streets. Deprived of their parents by AIDS, war, and famine, forgotten children have nowhere to go. The situation is overwhelming, and there are days when I feel helpless. But, there is a tiny thing you can do. There is a small AIDS orphanage called Makindu , where children have a refuge from the brutality of the streets. A donation would go a long way. (full disclosure: my former father-in-law played a part in founding this orphanage.)

The Register-Guard did a series of articles on Makindu. You can read them here:
For a Child's Smile


For heart-breaking photos of what happens to the children left behind because of what happened to their mothers, go here:
The Children Left Behind

For more information about the World Health Organization's focus on women and children today, and the resolutions it is pushing to sharply reduce the numbers of maternal deaths and childhood deaths, go here:

Originally posted to lorraine on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:47 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sorry (4.00)
    Sometimes, I can't help myself. I'm pissed at the state of the world today.
    •  I put this diary (4.00)
      on my hotlist so I can donate when I get paid.  


      "Get your American flag out of your blind spot, bitch!"

      by KB on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:50:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  While I may be in danger with this (4.00)
      I found myself vowing to never be a Catholic after I released that the Church would not allow it's affliated Aid Groups to hand out Condoms and teach there use.....They have alot of resources and respect in some parts of Africa and turning a blind eye to the benifit of condoms when so many people are dieing is horrible.

      We need to work with programs that work not with programs that are unproven and don't work....Bush Tieing Foreign AID to ABC teachings was the morally worst thing he has done as president and probly caused more deaths then what he has done in Iraq.

      •  I don't get it (none)
        The church does not approve the use of condoms in order to save a life, but when the pope is dieing they don't hesitate to shove a tube up his throat.  

        If you want me to go back to the place I was born , tell your companies to leave my country (Leon Gieco)

        by cruz del sur on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 09:25:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No need to apologize (none)
      Great diary and very well-written, thanks.

      "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

      by ssundstoel on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:32:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ditto (none)
      and ditto a hundred time more
    •  You lied to us! (none)
      I thought you said this was going to be inarticulate!

      With any luck, we should have the entire 20th century repealed by 2008

      by aschupanitz on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:53:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Beautiful diary, Lorraine (none)
      and on a topic that concerns me very much.  Thanks for posting it.  Trust me I will be involved in these issues and organizations.

      Things like this just break my heart and continues to point out the absolute hipcracy in this country.

      Great job, as always.


      "Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."

      by shirlstars on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:02:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's really hard not to be. (none)
      I think most of us are pissed at the state of the world today.  Good on you for having the courage and  strength to channel (rather than drown in) your anger and work to make tomorrow better.  Thanks for the diary.
    •  Pissed at the state of the world (none)
      today and every other day.

      Wonderful diary, Lorraine, as always. Thanks for giving us all the chance to contribute.

    •  Have a statistic (and a well-desrved 4!): (4.00)
      In regards to women dying during pregnancy vs. during abortion procedures:

      I remember reading this a few weeks ago but, for the life of me, can't remember where the hell the source was.

      odds of dying giving birth: 1 in about 13,000
      odds of dying from an abortion: 1 in about 200,000
      odds of dying from an illegal abortion: 1 in about 3,000

      Remember, the ones who want to force women into the streets for abortion are the ones that call themselves "Pro-Life".

      Does George Bush remember he put his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution, and not the other way around? -- Bill Maher

      by ragnark on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 04:13:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hm... (none)
        Are those numbers supposed to be international, or?

        Having had two babies in the past four years, I took an interest maternal death rate numbers, among others!  I have no math skills, but the USA maternal mortality rate is 12 in 100,000, and the odds of becoming a maternal mortality rate statistic in a USA woman's lifetime is 1 in 2500.  Not the prettiest odds.

        "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

        by sarac on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 08:15:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't be (none)
      What you see is a result of "misplaced priorities" just like those down thread that hijacked your well written plea: You see, and ask to help those who need it and end the cycle of ignorance that creates this sorrow, yet some turn it into a political bout. Sick. This is the sickness that created this in the first place, people! You can argue about the politics of it all you want, but your discourse changes nothing. Get your head out of the fog and do something. Be a person who values the welfare of their fellow human. Be a person who will protest against those who will spend billions on war and pennies on aid, who will lie and feed their own greed at the expense of the rest of humanity. Be a person who will do something- be the person who picks up the shovel when there is a ditch to be dug.

      This picture is what is wrong with the world, and it upsets me too. A society that treats its children like this does not have the right to exist.

    •  Again you speak the truth (none)
      so eloquently.

      Some day people might actually listen. Unfortunately (and this is meant only as an observation of behavior, not a disparagement of character) many if not most people here have or will read this diary, recommend it, and move on to the "important issues" we face.


      •  it feels (none)
        as if our energies need to go in so many directions. when i wrote this post, my energy was in Africa, and if perhaps, a few kids get fed at Makindu because I wrote this post, that's great.
        It may be like shoveling sand. But my sense is that moving a little bit of sand is better than ignoring it. So, I keep an eye on Africa, and what our shit-for-brains politicians are doing here, and I react as often as I can. As we all do. But at least we react. Thanks for reading this and commenting. I appreciate it.
  •  Feminism = victim of framing (4.00)
    Equating feminism with hating men, not shaving, and being a lesbian has been right-wing S.O.P. for 30 years--and counting. Unfortunately, it's one of their best examples of framing.

    In politics, sometimes the jackasses are on your side.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:49:45 PM PDT

    •  and (4.00)
      the are STILL fucking getting away with it. These women consider themselves liberated but are scared to death to call themselves feminists.

      I have no problem saying it. I am a feminist.

      •  I'm a feminist (4.00)
        But I fit the stereotypes.  I don't shave my legs and I like girls.

        Oh yeah, I also have a penis.  Beat that with a stick!  (Figure of speech.  IT'S A FIGURE OF SPEECH!  PUT DOWN THAT STICK!  OW!  OW!)

        Thanks, Lorraine.  Makindu is on my bookmarks list.  Once I get a job, I'll donate.

        A world where the everyday is inspirational, and the inspirational is everyday.

        by mkrell on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:06:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  guffaw (none)
          Thank YOU for the laugh. I'll restrict any stick-inspired puns from escaping me, but man, am I tempted.
        •  Another feminist with a stick (4.00)
          I occassionally wear my "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" t-shirt, even when I'm teaching.  A lot of people give me this very puzzled look when they see that.  The oddest reaction I got was, "But you're gay."  I still haven't figured that response out.

          Just wait until the Drambuie and sleeping pills kick in.

          by MAJeff on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:59:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Heh (none)
          I also have a penis.  Beat that with a stick!

          Watch it.  Some of us gay guys may misinterpret.

          "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

          by fishhead on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 04:31:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Me too. (none)
        and thanks for the reply to women who say they are not, but take advantage of the advances feminists fought so hard for. This never fails to raise my ire.

        Besides being a feminist I love men. Why can't the two co-exist?

        ...and another thing. I think when a man does a wrong in society his wife should pay half the penalty and take some of the responsibility. It's time to stop women from supporting the bastards, it's enabling them.

        A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

        by Little Red Hen on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:06:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another perspective (none)
        I used to be really active in the abortion rights movement. Eventually I quit because I was within an inch of blowing my stack at the next person who said "Men are rapists -- except maxomai." These days I give my money to PP and NARAL and that's it. Any further involvement puts me in contact with incessantly irritating college radicals, and that's a burden I'm not willing to assume for the cause right now.

        It's one thing to believe in equal rights. The problem is that Feminism, which is these days primarily an academic discipline, has become a cesspool of conflict theory; and that gets in the way of any kind of honest discourse about sex and gender roles or any other kind of problem solving.

        I'm not sophisicated enough to understand the hows and whys of deconstructing culture to reveal its innate phallic biases. And frankly I don't care, because the bottom line is that I'm more than willing to treat any woman as a peer. Just as long as they can produce something.

        Rant off.

        •  re: men are rapists except... (4.00)
          There are a LOT of good guys in this world.

          But stop and think for a minute.  The average level 3 sex offender admits to 100 assaults.  In other words, one pervert messes up 100 people.  There are a lot more abused women out there than there are men doing the abusing.

          There are also a fair number of otherwise reasonable guys that get drunk and think that "no, not now" actually means "yes, but wait 30 seconds."  (Think Kobe Bryant.)  While guys like this aren't that common, neither are they likely to stop after one mistake.

          Do people over-generalize when they've been abused?  Yupper-do!  It's understandable.  And it's also understandable when the Good Guys don't like being tarred with the pervert's brush.

          I'm going to suggest something to the Good Guys here.  Actually, a couple of somethings.

          1. When you run into one of the man-haters--don't take it personally.  Somebody else set off that particular landslide, and you just got too close.  If you think it might do some good, point out the numbers, and then get out of the way.

          2. Take a new listen when there's guy talk.  Notice just how much of it puts women down.  And then speak out.  Even if all you say is that "Real Men aren't afraid to lose to a woman sometimes."  Or "the men I know don't do that."

          Target what you say to the situation, but SAY something.  You just might be the reason some guy thinks twice before popping his girlfriend in the face.
      •  For me (4.00)
        it's as infuriating as it is heartbreaking to hear young women say, "I'm not a feminist, but ..." without a glimmer of awareness that the lives they are privileged to live today are a gift from the feminists of yesterday -- yesterday being 15 minutes before they were born.

        Without the Baird, Casey and Roe decisions, and without the ongoing struggles of those who continue to defend the legacy of those decisions today, these young women would have no access to equal education, no access to equal employment and financial autonomy, and damned little hope of changing that restrictive reality.  

        Like Sir Isaac Newton, they see as far as they do because they are standing on the shoulders of giants -- but at least he wasn't too pitifully ignorant to realize and acknowledge it.

        •  I had this conversation with my sister (4.00)
          A couple of months ago, I had this exact conversation with my baby sister. I'm in my mid-30s, and she'd just turned 24.

          Her take on feminism being passe for her and her generation was, "Well, I've never been a victim of sex discrimination." And I was just gobsmacked that she would say such a thing. "Why do you think that is?" I asked. "I'll tell you why that is. It's because of my generation and your mother's generation and all the work that all of these women have done so that we--and you--could enjoy a better life with equal opportunity. Besides, just because you've never been directly affected by it doesn't mean you haven't been indirectly affected, not to mention the point of the fight for equality not necessarily being all about you. If anyone's still suffering from institutionalized inequality, then it's still everyone's problem. Ain't nobody really free 'til everybody's free."

          Sigh. I keep hoping she'll grow out of this crap but every passing year I get more worried. I'm the only progressive in my family. It's frustrating.

          •  I understand (4.00)
            Many of my coworkers are under 30, and listen in open-mouthed amazement to my stories of everyday life as a woman back in the Dark Ages.  

            • No credit for a married woman unless her husband signed his name to the application.

            • Sex-segregated job listings in the classifieds for men and women -- because there were many jobs women just couldn't have, and the ones we could have always paid less.

            • No chance of a single woman getting a prescription for birth control unless she bought a dime-store "wedding ring" on her way to the doctor's office, and filled in the name of her nonexistent "husband" on her patient information form when she got there.

            • Male-only colleges that a woman couldn't even apply to, and separate rules of behavior for male and female students at the schools a woman was allowed to attend.

            Some get it, but others react as though they're hearing, "I walked seven miles to school barefoot in the snow -- uphill both ways."

            They don't even know how they became who they are.

        •  I know several nurses who said things like this (4.00)
          I asked them if they ever played sports in high school. "Sure. Had a scholarship, too." Well, that didn't happen until FEMINISTS fought for it.

          How about birth control? They use it. Without feminists, they wouldn't have that.

          Right to vote? Ditto. And on, and on.

          They reap the benefits, but they refuse to even know that they should be grateful to those who came before them.  Ignorance! I get so fucking mad.

          •  Who's ever grateful... (none)
   those who came before them? This ain't just a problem with feminism. The comment above that referred to the 'walking to school in the snow seven miles uphill both ways' thing nailed it on the head. When you start with that 'do you realize how hard we fought blah blah' stuff, you sound like 'Mom on a rant' <G>.

            Believe me, the above paragraph wasn't meant to be critical to you. I understand, working with a bunch of kids half my age as I do. Ah, the Generation Gap--ain't it wonderful?

            "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

            by ChurchofBruce on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 09:06:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  they have been very successful with (4.00)
      as a result this lesbian seven sisters recent grad has never considered herself to be a feminist.  i grew up in the era of the feminist backlash.  it was a dirty word and it was never pressed upon me to try and reclaim the word against the right-wing frame.  instead in my womens study classes we were told that it was perfectly acceptable to say one "advocates the goals of feminism".  thus, short of a movement to take rightful ownership of it i still do not say to people i am a feminist.

      now on the other hand, i freely use the word queer.  we did not have GLBT clubs but rather the Queer Coalition.  that one i am more than willing to use as a descriptor.  anyways thats my 2c.

      Yeah the revolution starts now..So what you doin' standin' around? -Steve Earle

      by juls on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting (4.00)
        I'm hetro male with no bone to pick in this fight, so I've stayed away from it.  Reading this, however, reminds me of how the word "liberal" has been similarly trashed.

        I like calling myself a liberal.  I distinctly remember a time when I was boy when the word had absolutely zero negative connotations--it was just the oppostie label of conservative.

        Well, I'm not giving up calling myslef a liberal.  Thanks for the diary and the comments, I am out of my league here, but it's always good to learn.

        •  no (none)
          You're not out of your league here at all. It's clear you understand the issues involved.

          "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

          by catnip on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:39:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well.... (none)
            I feel out of my league because I was forced to take a sex education class as a senior at the U.  I swear to God it just wasn't me--for some reason, Lord knows what it was/is, the feminist faction in that class instantly, viscerally disliked me upon sight.

            Tall white male, not bad looking, so I've been told.  Their looks and body language said it all--beat it, Male,  I never said a word but it was defintely there.

            I objectify women sexually--I shouldn't, but I do.  I've also had approximately fifty partners (one for the last ten).  I knew my behavior would enrage them if they knew about it, and they didn't like me anyway, so I was out of my league.  I'm pretty sure I still am.

            •  Objectification (4.00)
              in some ways, is unavoidable.  We are always, to some degree, an object to others.  Sexually, we are always, to some degree, an object for our partner's(') pleasure.  The bigger issue is, How do we deal with that responsibly?

              Just wait until the Drambuie and sleeping pills kick in.

              by MAJeff on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 04:02:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  hope this isn't too far OT (4.00)
          the word "christian" has been similarly trashed.

          one time I was at a religious gathering and said something about being a liberal.  the woman I was talking to spluttered her coffee in a literal spit take and apologized saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, you caught me off guard, for a minute there I thought you just said you were a liberal."

          "I did."

          "You don't actually mean that, do you?"


          "You mean, politically?"

          "Yes!  Why not?"

          Good thing I didn't get into the meaning of feminist with her.

          Where I am from, one of the most disrespectful things anyone can do is "call you out of your name" which means to call you a name that is not your name or call you anything you do not want to be called.

          But there is a backhanded form of this--someone (more powerful than you) insisting that a name or title you have chosen for yourself does not mean what you say it means, but rather has some negative meaning they choose for it.

          That is how I feel about wrongwingers maligning the labels "feminist" and "liberal".  I also get pretty p!ssed when they claim "patriot" and "christian" only for themselves.

          I guess this doesn't rise to the level of "hijacking the terms of human rights" but if our side were framing the debate in general maybe we could get more attention paid to world issues affecting women.

          two cents from a very proud feminist liberal christian patriot!

          Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:32:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I really like the sount of this this (none)
            even tho I think highly of Jesus.. I'm not christian.

            Feminist Liberal (Judeo-) Christian Patriots - unite! - I'd join that group!

          •  Right (none)
            As in, I've had that experience as well.

            "You're a Democrat? You can't be. You're too nice."

            "Liberal? You know what the liberal agenda is, and you call yourself a liberal!?"

            See, no one has a copy of this 'liberal agenda' except Rush listeners, I guess. I've never gotten one. I am told, however, that it means I'm for teaching children to be gay, or something.

            A funny Canadian woman once told me that the liberal agenda is "world domination!"

      •  interesting (4.00)
        thus, short of a movement to take rightful ownership of it i still do not say to people i am a feminist.

        Wouldn't such a movement begin with every women/person who believes in equal gender rights stating that they are a feminist? I guess I'm wondering what you're waiting for.

        I'm in my mid 40s and grew up during the women's revolution. I left the Catholic Church at age 16 because of its treatment of women. I have never been embarassed to call myself a feminist in the face of critcism, just as I have never backed down from proudly stating that I am French Canadian regardless of the fact that I grew up in western Canada where there has always been much animosity towards the French. In fact, because of all of the teasing and scorn I faced as a young person for being French and for being a feminist, I developed a very thick skin. Because of the opposition to these aspects of my personhood, I grew to embrace them more and never backed down from my identity.

        When you believe in something or are something, you have to stand up for it or your opponents claim and define your identity for you. So, I ask again, what are you waiting for?

        "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

        by catnip on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:37:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i guess that i have (none)
          never been particularly involved with "womens issues" and more government as a whole.  like i stated above i without a lack of pressure or a real movement to change the status quo there is little momentum pushing me to change my behavior.  now i could always change it because that is the right thing to do, but at the same time the right wing frame does exist and would have social implications.  in this instance doing the right thing for the sake of doing it has not won out.  

          Wouldn't such a movement begin with every women/person who believes in equal gender rights stating that they are a feminist?

          well no actually it takes something greater than that to give women a reason to fight for gender rights.  i believe in them, but what would saying that i believe in them do without some sort of other actions going on behind it in support do?  i can shout from the rooftops that women should earn as much pay as men, but what would that do?  the pro-choice organizations are increasingly realizing that their base is aging.  they are fighting pretty hard to engage my generation, but clearly there is a big difference of attitude from my generation to yours.  the ERA is a far off impossible goal to me.  to you it was a narrowly lost battle.

          Yeah the revolution starts now..So what you doin' standin' around? -Steve Earle

          by juls on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:50:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The battle isn't over (4.00)
            The ERA has been ratified by 35 of the states needed.  Three more state legislatures where it is under consideration are Arkansas, Florida and Illinois.  Check it out:
            Equal Rights Amendment  They say that once a state has ratified, it can't be undone.  So - does anybody still care?
            •  isn't it too late? (none)
              i think there is a clause in it saying that if it isn't adopted by a certain date it's invalid
              •  There's a question whether that's legal (none)
                After all, the 27th Amendment took 227 years to ratify.

                If three more state ratify ERA, we'll likely see a court fight to determine if it's actually an amendment to the Constitution - scary, huh?

                A world where the everyday is inspirational, and the inspirational is everyday.

                by mkrell on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:40:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  It amazes me (4.00)
      how successfully they destroyed the word feminism.  I honestly think that the conservatives have put more effort, time and money into creating this one frame than any other single one.  Powerful women scare the hell out of these folks.  

      I think it will take a full scale effort over the course of a couple of decades to truly rehabilitate the word feminism.  And it is a damn shame because it is a great word.  Riot Grrrls just does not carry the same weight.

      •  Are they really scared? (4.00)
        I don't think so.  I think they hate the thought of losing power and authority.

        I remember William Bennett describing his wife as the "protector and nurturer of hearth and home."  What bullshit.  Billy just wants someone around to do all his shit work--the dishes, the laundry, the cooking and cleaning--and who will have sex with him on demand.

        They're not scared.  They're selfish, mean and small, with no ability to change.

        •  Maybe both (4.00)
          You have a very valid point, selfishness is a huge part of this.

          However, I have seen some of these guys when my wife - no shrinking violet - confronts them.  They get visibly uncomfortable and look sheepish.  Sometimes they can't even talk to her! One time a guy chased me down to yell and scream at me that I let "my woman" do my fighting for me.  At the time I didn't even know she had confronted him!

          I told him that yes, she was "my woman" but first she was her own person and could do as she pleased.  He was dumbfounded.  The idea that I let her fight her own battles just baffled him completely.


        •  More than that... (none)
          ...they have a very narrow, specific idea of what home life should be.  Any way of living that deviates from that set pattern is a threat to their way of life (because it presents alternatives to their offspring that may make them go astray).
        •  No change at all.. (none)
          I realize I'm hoping in late, but last night I watched this program from the CBC archives - era 1969. It was a revelation. Same argument without the liniguistic gymnastics...

          Legalizing contraceptives...worth watching.

          It's not hypocrisy - it's unadulterated evil.

          by wabegg on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:48:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And that what was done (4.00)
        For those of us feminists over 50, who grew up in a world that we thought we could change: We are now non-armpit shaving, non-leg-shaving crazos.

        I have never dared asking my 16 y/o daughter if she is a feminist. She is WAY more into lookin' good and actin' stupid and has bought into the entire conservative way.

        I hope than I can bring her around, she works as a clerk in a drug store, she has a boyfriend, and she lived for almost 2 years away from our house due to her bad choices and her parents' easy response to an horrific family situation.

        She used to be an angry young girl, and I think that that is still underneath, wating for her point of righteous indignation to find her old, 6 year-old past.

        I saw a seminar last week by virgina velian (not sure of spelling right now, but she is at Hunter College, and you can access her website about how feminism has failed (No, actually about why it will continue to fail due to human observations that we all make at young ageand therefore can't buy in). It is all at the personal psychology level, the things that we are raised to believe ( and I don't mean by parents, but the view of our lives).

        Liberalism and feminism have both gotten the dirty word knocks. And it is one and the same. I could include multiculturalism and probably more -isms under the same. Those in power want to stay in power, and denigrate threats.

        I can't believe that the ERA never passed at the state ratifying level, and that is years ago. I suspect that the vast uninformed majority think that it did.

    •  My mother (none)
      Worked in a progressive women's health clinic.
      She retired about 7-8 years ago.

      It used to drive her crazy that the people, mostly women, who worked there would not use the word feminist to describe themselves.

      She called it the new "f" word.

      I always thought that apt.

      I've been calling myself a feminist since highschool (70s) and dealing with self satisfied females who disdain the word while they reap the benefits feminists fought for and died to give to them, since then too.

      I worked in an office once with a guy whose last name was McClung.  When I asked him if he was any relation to Nellie McClung, his face lit up.  No one had ever asked him before.  Most likely had no clue as to who she might be either.

      Google his grandmother.  She was a grand woman too.

      Don't forget, ePluribus Media isn't them, it's US. That means you too.

      by Bionic on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 04:41:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The ultimate sadness (4.00)
    is that children can be almost 100% protected from getting AIDS from their mother. In San Francisco and, I think, NYC mandatory screening of expectant mothers and treatment with anti-AIDS drugs before the birth has eliminated new cases of AIDS in babies. Get that...eliminated. I don't expect a for-profit biotech company to give away all the medicine it would take to accomplish this throughout Africa, but a collaboration of the US, UN and pharmaceutical industries could ELIMINATE transmission of AIDS from mother to child.

    But wait, there's more. Child mortality can be cut even more throughout the poorest nations IF THERE WAS A POLITICAL WILL...and it might not cost that much. From the journal Nature: (link may not be available to everyone). Here are excerpts:

    Published online: 4 March 2005; | doi:10.1038/news050228-17

    Millions of babies' lives could be saved

    Erika Check (Washington Biomedical Correspondent)

    It wouldn't cost much to dramatically reduce infant deaths in poor countries.

    ...According to studies published in the medical journal The Lancet1-4, each year four million babies under a month old die, and three-quarters of them die in the first week of life. But the research shows that most could be saved through 16 basic interventions, such as encouraging mothers to breast-feed and providing antibiotics for sick babies.

    ...About two-thirds of infant deaths occur in ten countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and the United Republic of Tanzania...The majority of these babies die from infections, premature birth, or problems during the birth itself, says Paul, and that most of the preventive measures are very cheap and simple. For instance, 500,000 babies die every year from tetanus infections. But these deaths could be prevented if their mothers received tetanus vaccinations, which only cost 20 US cents per shot. And most premature babies simply need extra warmth, feeding and prompt treatment of infections, which requires proper training of midwives, mothers-to-be and their families.

    ...It is estimated that breast-feeding could prevent 1.3 million deaths worldwide each year. Other cheap interventions promoted by Save the Children include clean delivery kits, which contain soap, a clean razor blade and piece of string for cutting and tying the umbilical cord, and a plastic sheet to place on the ground under the baby. These measures aim to prevent babies from catching infections in the crucial minutes during and just after birth, Tinker says.

    Delenda est Sinclair!

    by mole333 on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:53:05 PM PDT

    •  In canada (4.00)
      We have started a bill called Bill C-9 it allows generic drug Companies to break patents of innovator drug that they can get cheaper drugs to Africa.....Bono helped convince us.
    •  if only (4.00)
      If only people could put their energy there, instead of spending so much time fighting over the fate of a woman in a persistent vegetative state.
    •  this is what the (none)
      religious right should be working on instead of banning abortion.

      A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

      by Little Red Hen on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:19:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (none)
        It also probably should take up more of OUR attention as well. Might not be a bad idea for liberals like us to circulate this information and, as church groups, DFA groups, etc. try to get our local communities into saving the world's children.

        Reminds me that my local DFA group is joining as a team a local AIDS run. Won't be able to do it myself, but this is the kind of feel-good, high profile thing we need to do some more of. Sure, the so-called "Culture of Life" Death fanatics should focus on this, but maybe we can upstage them. If DFA and local Dem clubs do a big push based on this idea, I think suddenly their whole Terri Shiavo passion play will seem like a big circus act in comparison.

        Delenda est Sinclair!

        by mole333 on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 05:04:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  when I still attended church (none)
          When I was a Unitarian in Seattle, the congregation gave sanctuary to political refugees and opened an AIDS house. That seems to me to be a heck of a lot more productive than holding up signs calling women at clinics baby-killers.

          Yes. Just think about what would happen if congregations, schools, etc., would each adopt some small portion of the suffering and attempt to ameliorate it. How cool would that be?

  •  Helping women, fighting fundamentalism (4.00)
    Two of my favorite groups are apropiate for this diary.

    EngenderHealth has for decades helped women (and men) with family planning, maternal and children's health, and AIDS related issues worldwide. They have many campaigns, but one includes getting men involved to support women's health. They also train doctors worldwide in family planning, maternal and children's health.

    The Global Fund for Women is a grantmaking foundation supporting women's rights organizations and women's economic development organizations worldwide. They help out women's rights organizations even in some of the more oppressive religious nations around. I consider a donation to them to be a contribution to the war on international fundamentalism.

    Check these groups out and help if you can.

    Delenda est Sinclair!

    by mole333 on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:01:16 PM PDT

  •  Horrible situation (4.00)
    I did a paper on child soldiers, and a BIG concern was the rape and subsequent infection of AIDS in these poor children.  As if being forced to fight in a fucking war like they were less than even animals weren't enough, even if they SOMEHOW managed to escape, they were almost guaranteed death sentences.  Children as youn as 3 or 4 were being kidnapped, raped, and forced to fight. Yet, how many people in this country even KNOW about it, or worse yet, care?

    There's no point for democracy when ignorance is celebrated...insensitivity is standard and faith is being fancied over reason.-NoFx

    by SairaLV on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:02:16 PM PDT

  •  big difference (4.00)
    between a "sex and the city" upper-middle class educated gal like myself, who has endless "freedom" and options and money and knowledge about birth control, and an impoverished woman in Africa. I have no problems with abortion in that context (or the context of 50 years ago in the U.S.). i have a moral dilemma when it comes to women such as myself, who have been granted freedoms and privileges unimaginable for women a generation ago, being able to claim "it's my body and i can do what i want with it, damn the fetus." Just becasue i have this moral dilemma doesn't mean i think abortion should be outlawed, but i think it means that the moral and ethical concerns of pro-lifers should not be easily dismissed (and many pro-lifers, including a lot of Catholic ones, are progressive on economics and want a robust social welfare state and aid to the poor). The right-wing wackos are as loathsome as you say they are, but do not paint all pro-lifers in that light. just as pro-choicers hate it when they are portrayed as selfish bitches by pro-lifers, we should not stoop to their level of gutter rhetoric.
    •  while I appreciate your point (4.00)
      Many who call themselves "right to life" also want to ban the teaching of contraception in schools, the selling of Plan B contraception, and other agenda items that make it more difficult for women to prevent pregnancy.

      Also. I have been extremely fortunate to never find myself pregnant except by choice. However, I have watched friends whose contraceptives have failed (including getting pregnant with IUDs inserted or while on the Pill).
      I respect your moral dilemma. I really do.

      But even for white middle-class women, abortion must remain an option.

      •  agreed (4.00)
        that's one of the main reason I was able to break the "liberals want to kill babies" frame.  it is about "sex should lead to pregnancy and should only occur in marriage."  ask a social conservative about "personal responsibility", they will admit it. this goes for both democrat and republican social conservatives I know.  this is also why they think society should not accept public homosexuality.

         most of the prolife people I know are also against the death penalty, including Republicans.  I can respect them for being consistent and still fight them for trying to impose a theocracy (you can also make many American social conservatives admit they want to make all our laws based on the Bible).

        also, the women I know who had abortions aren't happy about them. I had an essay from somewhere about "a right that ends in sorrow".  I do think talking about choice sounds callous and selfish in many situations, and sometimes its more selfish to not have an abortion. Ever read that story about the person hooked to the dying violinist for 9 months?  This is America, we have the right to be selfish.  Each American still has to deal with their conscience alone.

    •  I (more or less) agree (4.00)
      I am not religious. I am a scientist. I cannot say that life does NOT begin at conception. Upon conception the fetus is indeed a unique genetic individual (barring identical sibs). It isn't an inedependent organism however. It is, in fact (in a scientific sense) parasitic on the woman. Of course one could argue the same thing for most teens.

      I am pro-choice mainly because I a.) feel that I can't have much of a say over a situation I will never be in, and b.) feel that a nation has to consider the right of an adult to control his or her own body over the right of an unborn person to be born. Why? Because the idea of the government controlling our bodies is abhorant in the extreme.

      I understand the view of an anti-abortion person. I cannot tell them definitively that it ISN'T in some sense murder. So a reasonable person who is anti-abortion (and pro-birth control) AND anti-death penalty AND anti-war may well be more logically consistent in their beliefs than I am. Still, a person's right over their own body is about as fundamental as you can get.

      Delenda est Sinclair!

      by mole333 on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:22:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have a right to believe what you see fit. (4.00)
      I ALSO have a right to believe what I want, and we both have a right to make the decisions best for us without being controlled by outside parties.

      It's not that I dismiss the concerns of's the anti-choicers that won't get a hearing from me.  There are important differences between the two.

    •  The thing is (4.00)
      someone who is objectively pro-choice insists that there are no circumstances under which the mother has the right to abortion.

      And, then there's extreme "right to life" position that holds "every sperm is sacred," i.e., that birth control is bad even when the use of condoms, for example, prevents the transmission of AIDs.

      When you say you're pro-choice for yourself -- that you would take responsibility for your own pregnancy based on your priviliges, well, that's admirable. And I agree that there's a moral choice implicit in the situation you describe.

      In my view, women who engage in consenual sex (as is their right) who also have

      1. money
      2. education
      3. access to birth control
      4. access to a support network should they end pregnant
      5. some measure of intelligence and emotional maturity

      should make use of contraceptive devices and not consider a d&c their method of birth control.

      But, firstly, not all women -- even in the US -- have all those pre-requisites. And, secondly, even if they do use birth control, it can still fail.

      And while there may be some woman out there who has had all those benefits, and who has nonetheless gone on to get pregnant and had nary a qualm about having an abortion -- well, it's not something I jump up and down for joy about, to be certain.

      But, frankly I'm a little tired of how we divorce the moral aspect of business decisions -- using child/slave labor; dumping pesticides; [insert corporate money-saving policy] -- and get all exercised about this particular moral choice. Not to mention military decisions that include the bombing of civilian targets and the use of weapons that leave radioactive waste in their wake, even in "trace" amounts.

      The right likes to concentrate on "the right to life" when it comes to birth control/abortion not just because they want to impose constraints on woman's place in a patriarchal society but because the causal relationship is so clear that it's an easy black-and-white issue for the not-so-deep thinkers to wrap their heads about. Bring up the cost of labor or health insurance or what-have-you and the not-so-deep thinkers either don't grasp the complexities or just don't want to expend the energy on understanding them.

      And, finally, "gutter" rhetoric doesn't bother me. For me, it's not so much a matter of stooping as venting.

      [Also, just a tip -- more than 5 -7 lines in a row gets hard on the eyes. Stick in a paragraph break.]

  •  I am (4.00)
    and always will be a feminist.  Once I was asked if I had experienced discrimination as a woman in the legal profession.  Yeah, I have, but I am so goddamn stubborn and pig-headed, I just ram right through it.  But when I got accepted to law school in the 70's, some drunk guy at a party ranted at me I was taking HIS place and he had a family to support.  I was so astounded.  I started to respond that admissions criteria didn't include marrying early in life and having kids, it depended on testing, essays and your grades in college.  But then I saw his face get really red, and I got scared.  I really didn't want to get hit, so I left the party.

    As for your subject, it is just incredibly sad.  I do try to contribute to various organizations that I know are trying to help, but the need is just so vast.  And, as has been pointed out here, it can all be so cheaply remedied.  But instead, we have an Administration that insists tying its foreign aid to restrictions that allow this kind of epidemic to continue.  And the pharmaceutical companies hand out a pittance, and then whine about their patents being abused by generic drugs.  I agree with you, Lorraine, I know there is a circle of hell for these guys- luckily, they can't escape death.  

    We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

    by Mary Julia on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:21:30 PM PDT

    •  thank you, Mary Julia (none)
      How frightening that experience must have been. Thanks for your wisdom. I've come to treasure your words. Thanks for sharing them.
    •  Discrimination in Law School Admissions (none)

      I recently read a survey taken by the NY State Bar of its members.

      Of those attorneys who responded, 22% of the male attorneys who were married had wives at home who did not have paid employment.

      0% of the women who responded indicated that they had house-husbands.

      The drunken guy at the party was no doubt out of line, but if you are (straight and) male, having a career and a good income means much more to your sexual and marital prospects than if you are a straight woman.

      "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

      by proudtinfoilhat on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:34:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (4.00)
        Sorry, I sure has heck don't follow your point here.

        And it is not just lawyers or any other specific career choice, it is out there in every work place of every kind in America.  I have been in a wide variety of work situations over my lifetime and there were always the "you're taking a job away from some guy who is trying to support a family" guys in the work force.  God these old ideas die hard, don't they.  Like I made a choice to go to work when after all I could just laze around the house and let some guy support me.  WTF is that?  I have heard it all of the 50 years I worked.  

        And before I retired a couple of years ago, it was the YOUNGer men that held this concept more strongly than anyone.  Along with some much more disturbing racist ideas about who else was "taking jobs away" from some young newly married white guy.

        Sometimes the American culture just confuses the hell out of me.

        "Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."

        by shirlstars on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:58:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I had a boss once who straight up told me (none)
          that I should quit and give a man a job.   After biting my tongue on what I really wanted to say, I replied "Show me a man who can do this job better than me, then maybe I'll think about it."
          The day he retired was one of the best days of my career.

          The scary thing, Shirlstars, is that these attitudes are not so much "old ideas die hard" as they are "old ideas reintroduced" by the VRWC.  

          The American culture is the product of four decades of behind the scenes manipulation and mind control via advertising.  Before the advent of commercial advertising, lying wasn't accepted behavior.  I remember being soundly spanked once, and my mother told me she wasn't punishing me for what I did, but for lying to her about it.
          But I digress.

          It is also no accident that bigotry and mysogny are resurgent in our youth.  They are bombarded with it in their music and media.  Women are bitches and ho's, and the girls don't even object.  All the while, the corporate cash registers ring with all the purchases we make of things they have convinced us we need.

          Our obsession with electronic media, from 1950's television and radio to the myriad distractions of the twenty-first century, has made the indoctrination
          increasingly easier.  Pundits decrying immigration and enforcing racial stereotypes feeds the pitting of the populace against one another as the corporations reap record profits outsourcing jobs and feeding the war machine.

          Bigotry is the lifeblood of fascism, and as in "1984", our culture has evolved from "all men are created equal" to "all men are created equal but some are more equal than others".

          •  Well said jwal. . . (none)
            Unfortunately all things I am aware of as well, and I'm glad you stated them so clearly for everyone to consider.

            Doesn't make me hate it any less.  I've never been able to tolerate bigotry, maltreatment, or any other of these hate-filled agenda's and I guess I am a bit on the extra sensitive side today as I think about the needless death and starvation of millions of our brothers and sisters in Africa, today and every day as we go about our self-satisfied, over fed, over indulged lives quibbling over nonsense in the land of the free and the home of the "safely brave."

            It makes me ashamed that I personally haven't done more.  But I have put an end to that today and I will do what I can do and as soon as I can do it.

            I appreciate your comments.


            "Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."

            by shirlstars on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 08:54:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  so you are saying - (none)
        Women shouldnt enter law, because in doing so , they are ruining some guys marriage prospects?

        or that?

        Male attorneys make enough money to have stay-at-home spouses, while female attorneys dont have that luxury....?? or are too busy to be able to have kids?

    •  Hmmmmmmm (none)
      I'm sure the whole reverse discrimination thing was started in a California law school.

      What the hell was that guy's name again?  Bakka?  He was eneraged a woman took his slot.

      Got to protect those slots of proesperity for men only, I guess.

  •  I am not a feminist (4.00)
    I am not a feminist because I believe that feminism focuses too much on "Separate but equal". As long as the dialog is still about men and women and not about equal rights for all PEOPLE I can't in good conscience be a part of it. It's kindof like how there are some people who are fighting for civil unions for gays and some people who are fighting for full marriage rights. The civil union crowd sees themselves as being a step in the right direction but the marriage crowd sees that as being a compromise that will in the end hold back the event of full rights. That's how I feel about feminism - it's a compromise that doesn't go far enough for me. I'm not a feminist - I'm a humanist.
    •  feminisms (4.00)
      There are many kinds of feminism. There are those who believe in essential differences, there are those who do not. Feminism, especially academic feminism, can argue for hours about what feminism means. For me, I accept that there are "feminisms" and that for me, the truth of the matter is, I believe that men and women are entitled to the same rights.
      I'm not sure what you mean by "separate but equal.' I also consider myself a humanist, but part of being a humanist for me is being a feminist. If I truly believe in inalienable rights for all human beings, those rights include women.
    •  that's a cop out. (none)
      Women don't have equal pay for equal work. In what way are men more equal than women?

      Men don't need your support, women and children do.

      You can be a feminist and still support men (who are needing of it) but since they have an unfair advantage why are you so concerned about them?

      A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

      by Little Red Hen on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:34:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think this is a red herring (none)
      And I think it's some kind of odd semantic corner you've backed yourself into.

      There is a material difference between a civil union and a marraige.

      Where is the difference in rights for men & women vs. people. Rights for children?

    •  I agree. (none)
      And I've had this conversation before.  I believe in human rights for all.  The way I look at it, calling myself a feminist is saying women should be "more equal" than men.  I think we should have the same rights and responsibilities regardless of gender.

      i've seen kingdoms blow like ashes in the winds of change but the power of truth is the fuel for the flame -- emily saliers

      by rose quartz on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 07:12:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  AIDS in South Africa (4.00)
    I had the privilege to work in South Africa in 1990, teaching computer publishing to anti-apartheid newspapers.

    One of the subjects that "struggle" (ANC-leaning) activists kept coming back to was AIDS. They knew, even then, even before it had happened, that one of the results of more opening of South Africa to the rest of the continent would be much more AIDS. Now it is here -- some say 25 percent of South Africans are infected, mostly not white.

    And even then it was obvious how it would go. Among the Xhosa people with whom we worked, a married woman was not supposed to look her husband in the eye, much less ask him to use a condom or question what he did while working away from home. These were NOT timid women (some were brave ANC activists) but their traditional society was homo-social: meaningful interaction was sharply divided by gender, with cross gender interaction very much circumscribed by formal rules.

    As most probably know, subsequent ANC leaders (Mandela and Tutu very much excepted in this) have not done well at responding to the challenge of AIDS -- and we here can't claim to know all the problems they face. But I do know, the existing cultural forms didn't help, especially the traditional roles that bind women.

  •  Great Diary, Lorraine (4.00)
    Empowering women to have control over their sexuality is the only way to make any inroads into the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and other developing nations.  All the money, relief, contraceptives in the world can only make a dent if women in any given society do not have the right or are not empowered to say a) I don't want and can't have any more children b) I don't want to have sex with you c) I won't have sex with you unless I have access to contraception and you wear a condom.  

    As I mentioned in my very controversial diary last weekend, over a half a million women die every year in childbirth, most of them in Africa, leaving millions of orphaned children.  

    I have little hope, given the hegemony of so many competing anti-feminist organizations and governments that I'll ever see any real progress in my lifetime.  This is truly one of the most depressing facts of life.  

    Wake up and smell the jackboots, sheeple!

    by lightiris on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:39:31 PM PDT

    •  sometimes (4.00)
      I feel that same depression. But I have two daughters. So what choice do I have? We fight on.
    •  Yes, I faced this one (4.00)
      I have little hope, given the hegemony of so many competing anti-feminist organizations and governments that I'll ever see any real progress in my lifetime.  This is truly one of the most depressing facts of life.

      and with considerable grief several years ago. We will not live to see it and that truth still breaks my heart.  But then I remember my grandmother who was one of the suffragists and my mother and I look at the children and grandchildren and remember the long view and that this is the work of generations of women and, increasingly, men and remember patience.
      But it still makes me cry that we won't live to see it.  

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 05:13:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Lorraine (4.00)
    for this diary and for showing us a way to make a small difference in these childrens lives.  Just read about Makindu and Winnie Baron and sent them $100.00.  Food and love-two of the main staples for a child and this woman is trying to provide both.  What a wonderful person.  My money will give 100 kids enough milk for a month, if I ever get rich I can send a child to high school for $350.00 ( that includes room and board)-what a deal!  I just wish I could send the hugs thru as well.  Nothing better than to hug a child.

    This problem of AIDS and death in Africa seems overwhelming, but since I sent the check, all I can think of is MILK!!  lol.  Maybe these small things do add up.  Thanks again Lorraine, you helped to make my day better.

  •  Can't abandon hope (4.00)
    with Africa, even though the problems seem insurmountable. I know. I see the haunted look on my husband's face when he comes home from trips there, where he assists health surveys, clinical trials of AIDS drugs. He visits villages where there are only old people and small children. No "parent age" adults - all dead.Kids raising each other. Still, I feel that people do realize the importance of the empowerment of women, of making prevention possible in a reality-based way. I feel leaders like Mandela have gotten the message(sometimes through loss of their own children) that this is an issue that must be addressed publicly instead of pretending it is not happening.A vaccine must be found.The orphans must be raised in a better way.Just because America is stumbling does not mean the rest of the world is asleep.
    And I am still a feminist, raising a son,a former orphan himself, to treat all fairly and to support the dreams of all.And to stand firmly on the side of the weak, and against those who bully.

    I donated to ePluribus Media. I would have sent homemade cookies if they had asked.

    by Chun Yang on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:07:30 PM PDT

    •  Hunger and Dirty Contaminated Water and TB (4.00)
      Are the biggest killers in Africa. All the reterovirals in the world will not change that.
      •  And Malaria (4.00)
        Study: Malaria may be more deadly worldwide than AIDS

        The number of cases of the most serious type of malaria around the world has increased to an estimated 515 million, according to a study in the journal Nature, making the disease possibly more deadly than AIDS.

        The study, which counted nearly twice the number of cases than the number estimated by the World Health Organization, said most of the cases are located in sub-Saharan Africa and nearly a quarter of the total are in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. The Guardian (London) (3/10), The Times (London) (3/10), BBC (3/10), (3/9)


        ...Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things....

        by PhillyGal on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:57:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the numbers for children (4.00)
          according to the WHO report I've linked to above:

          acute neonatal conditions: 37 percent
          lower respiratory infections: 19 percent
          diarrhea: 18 percent
          malaria: 8 percent
          measles: 4 percent
          HIV/AIDS: 3 percent

          Most of these are easily treatable or are preventable.

          Clean water is a human right.
          I agree with both of you.

  •  I am a Feminist & I am a Woman.. (4.00)
    I am a Christian and I love men.  I have close girlfriends and close boyfriends.  Some are straight.  Some are not.  I love children...yes even poor children, dirty children, parentless children, dying children, soldier children and illegal children.

    I love dresses and makeup and I hate shaving my legs but I do it anyway because they look great in my dark business suit.  And goddamnit, I love feeling sexy.

    I want children but begrudge no one their right to another choice, another route, another way, another life.  Who am I to judge what their life can or cannot bear?  Financially...Emotionally...Physically...

    I've spent half of my life figuring out who the hell I am - more than meek wife, more than emotionless lawyer, sexpot, athlete, nerd, "good girl", gringa.  More than fiery red hair and soft heart.  More than anger and tears and frustration and apathy and hope.  

    I get angry.  I've been told to "calm down".  I've been told to hush.  And sometimes I have and sometimes I haven't and each time it mattered.  

    I hate hypocrisy.  I love truth.  I love honest people who do something, however small.  

    And I love Africa.  

    I hate that every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday.

    I hate that more than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as cholera and infant diarrhea.

    I hate that everyday HIV/AIDS kills 6,000 people and that another 8,200 people are infected with this deadly virus.

    I hate that every 30 seconds an African child dies of malaria equalling to more than one million child deaths a year.

    I hate that each year, approximately 300 to 500 million people are infected with malaria, a preventable disease. That approximately three million people die as a result.

    I hate that more than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day...300 million are children.

    I hate that AIDS spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling.

    I hate that more than 40 percent of women in Africa do not have access to basic education.  

    I hate...that a woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy, as compared to a 1 in 3,700 risk for a woman from North America.

    I find hope in the fact that all these things are preventable...with political and social, male and female will.

    I am a feminist.  And I am a woman...  Neither are dirty words.

    More dangerous are the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.

    by Titian on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:13:27 PM PDT

  •  I call those students of yours (4.00)
    the "I'm not a feminist but..." crowd.

    "Whenever one of my female students tells me that she's not a feminist, I've come up with a pat response: "So, what exactly is it about the idea that you're not entitled to the same rights as men that you object to?" The conversations are mind-numbing. "Oh, I don't have a problem with equal rights. I just don't identify with feminism--I mean, I shave my legs and I like boys."

    I first noticed this backlash, as Susan Brownmiller called it, in the early 80's shortly after I graduated from college.  By the late 80's it was epidemic.  Having worked for some powerful feminists (some of the most powerful in the country, no names please) who had been my idols in college, I can honestly say that they didn't help change that perception.  They were angry at men, treated them like shit when they worked for them, and treated women like me who were feminists, were putting their money and energy where their mouths were but also "liked boys" and "shaved our legs" - like equal shit.  My images of these women were shattered, as I've never been treated more cruelly in a workplace situation - but I still hold them to have been essential in changing things for all women during feminism's most vocal days.

    I think women are afraid to admit they're feminists for fear of offending men...which is such bullshit.  These women don't remember a time when women weren't allowed in so many of the industries they are allowed in now; they didn't have days (like I did in elementary school) when their mothers had to go to the town council to allow their daughters to wear PANTS to school (even in the middle of freezing winters!).  

    You are SO on the right track when you put feminism in a global context.  Young women who (erroneously) believe there's nothing wrong for women in the US can be energized by looking at the situation for women in the rest of the world.  Hopefully, this will awaken them to their own identities as women in this society - second class still, even though we've gained a notch or two on the rung.

    GREAT DIARY - highly recommend!

    "I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!"

    by hopesprings on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:24:59 PM PDT

    •  fear of offending men (none)
      I think it's vital that men also publicly reject the idea that they find feminism offensive. What should be truly offensive to a man is the assumption that he would be afraid of a woman who considered herself his equal.

      Those who don't remember the future are doomed to repeat it.

      by Abou Ben Adhem on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 10:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't imagine not being a feminist (4.00)
    I was about 9 or so when the ERA fight was all fired up here in the US, and I remember buying myself a t-shirt that read: A woman's place is in the House...and the Senate. It made my essentialist-sexist father insane. An argument began that year between us that goes on to this very day.

    Feminism is definitely a plural word. There are so many factions and different kinds of feminisms, but from my perspective, the core overlap in the overwhelming majority of them seems to be the notion that one's sex is irrelevant in determining one's worth. My particular brands of feminism are probably more accurately referred to as 'humanism', but as a general rule, I try not to get all hung up on labeling issues as I feel it detracts from action.

    •  you and I are around the same age (none)
      I was 9 in 1972 and in fifth grade. The topic of the ERA came up, and our teacher explained that if it passed, girls would be drafted. Well, we didn't want that. So our class started a petition. All the boys signed the petition to pass the ERA so girls would have to go to war, and all us girls said "no" to ERA.
      'Course, 1972 was the year that I told my father he had to vote for Richard Nixon because I believed Henry Kissinger when he said "Peace is at hand" and promised it would be over by  mid-November.
      I think the fact that the war wasn't over by November 15 forever soured me on the notion that politicians told the truth.
      •  In 1972 (4.00)
        I was 26. Had not been subject to the draft, so never had to "take my place on the great mandala..." Always I felt that somehow I had no standing to participate in the most important argument of my generation. So I wrote the following:

                "Peace is at Hand"
        Called to serve his country,
        My brother served two years
        His draft card's ashes
        Stung my father's eyes.
        My brother faced his demons
        Screaming in the night.  I
        Read in the paper somewhere
        In Asia there is a war.

        Orchids nestled in a greenhouse
        Cannot grow beyond the glass.
        Tangled wild orchids
        Grow to wrestly with the wind.
        My brother perished in the jungle,
        To end the endless war.

        They had the nerve to tell us that we couldn't have the ERA because it would mean women could be drafted. And now it seems that if the draft is reinstated, women will be drafted. But we still don't have the ERA.

        For it is your business when the wall next door catches fire. --Horace

        by marylrgn on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 05:36:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Infant rape as AIDS protection (none)
    Thank you for this post.  It needs to be up forever (so I'm recommending it in hope it's up for a few hours, anyway).  The situation in Africa is so horrifying because of lack of education as to prevention that even infant girls are raped and infected with AIDS.  Why?  Because of a widespread belief that sex with a virgin is protection against AIDS.  I could not believe it was happening when I first heard of it from a friend in South Africa.  But it has been backed up again and again; see and google to other stories of rapes of infant, toddler, and other young girls.

    That is how bad the situation is in Africa.

    •  actually the horrifying misconception (4.00)
      is that sex with a virgin cures AIDS, so a lot of these young girls are being raped by men who know they are HIV+.

      a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  it is unfortunately just a short "telephone game" step from "you can't get AIDS from a virgin", to "sex with a virgin cures AIDS."  Why is the wrongwing doing everything they can to fight education programs to teach people otherwise??!!!

      I won't bash the RC church since John Paul's funeral is tomorrow, but if they can't give out condoms they could at least use their far reaching networks to help spread better information.  All these so-called pro-lifers could be using their vast resources and influence to teach men that this horrible misconception about virgins curing AIDS is a lie.

      If they were really pro-life they'd do more to protect the innocent lives of these young helpless girls.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 04:40:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is just alarming. (none)
      And I also recommended in hopes this diary stays on the front page.  Thanks Lorraine, for the diary and the links.  I will try to give when i can. OT did anyone here see Nick Kristoff's column?  It was in the local rag today, so must have run in the NYT yesterday.  It was about Darfur, of which he has written eloquently, and often.  Anyway the most disgusting part of the article is about how these young girls and women who are raped and tortured by the Janjaweed and are impregnated, are now being arrested and jailed for being unmarried and pregnant.  That situation is just getting worse, and continues while our elected officials and those of other countries are in Rome basking in the glow of one man, who would I'm certain much rather they spent the time trying to remedy this out of control situation.  Yes the state of this world is terribly depressing just now.  Sorry if i changed the subject, but it seems related to me.  Heartbreaking how so many women are forced to live.  I'm so glad this community exists, where people like you and so many others really do pay attention and try, in small ways to help.  

      Pennachio for Pennsylvania

      by skptk on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:49:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The pope (none)
    The late pope is responsible for much of this situation. If the Catholic Church were a moral institution, the new pope would devote, say, half of its wealth to African AIDS relief in attempt at atonement. If he doesn't do this, I would hope all people of good conscience will join in supporting political action to confiscate the wealth of this deadly "religion."
    •  "religion"? (none)
      Not sure what this means.  Criticizing the politics of the institution is fine (and in my opinion, necessary), but it is offensive to insinuate that Catholicism is not a real religion.  Bigots have defamed Catholics for years by calling them cultists.
  •  Wait One Tick... (4.00)
    The next time some "right-to-lifer" tells me that women who have abortions are selfish, or murderers,

    My right-wing hypocrisy alarm just went off. Let me get this straight.

    Women who get abortions are selfish, and this is a bad thing. Presumably because it leads to an innocent death.

    Yet over here in Soviet Economistan, the Republicans are trumpeting the virtues of "enlightened self-interest", which has been Randroid-speak for "selfishness" for decades. Even if this selfishness leads to cutting corners and killing or harming hundreds or thousands of people with defective products, it's still good.

    So which is it, Mr. Republican? Is selfishness good, or is it bad?

    (As an aside, I don't happen to think that abortion is a selfish choice. This just happens to be a very good example of both the innate contradictions of conservative doctrine and a potential way to cause Republican heads to explode.)

    Monsters think it's all right to be a monster, after all. - Hitherby Dragons

    by RHunter on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 04:00:10 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for the opportunity (none)
    to send some money to the orphanage.

    God, the world sucks sometimes.

  •  The Point Is (none)

    That most people are, at least for a substantial part of their adult lives, in marriages (or cohabiting).

    In many married households, one spouse works outside the home and provides all or nearly all of the income, while the other has a part-time job, or no job, producing income.

    Among married New York lawyers, or at least those who responded to the NYSBA survey, while many lived in two-income households, all of the respondents who did not were husbands supporting the wives, and not the reverse.

    Among people of all occupations, it remains a fact of life that while -- to be sure -- women cannot (and may not wish to) rely upon a man to support them, nevertheless many married men are sole breadwinners, and few women are.  And where you do see a wife supporting an able-bodied husband, usually he has been "downsized," or has inherited money, or an internet business or something that, although unorthodox, provides income.  There are exceptions, but they are relatively few.  And it cannot be ascribed totally to enduring discrimination against women in the workplace, as we don't see women lawyers supporting their husbands, do we?

    And, while it is not fair to say that women pick husbands based only on income and property, those are greater considerations in most women's thinking than in men's.

    Yeh, the culture confuses me, too.

    "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

    by proudtinfoilhat on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 04:39:49 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for crediting photo (none)
    Nicole Devito has done wonderful work, and we Eugeneans have been the grateful beneficiaries!
    •  the photos (none)
      are breath-taking. You guys are lucky to have her. My former father-in-law lives in Brownsville, used to run Sharing Hands, which became the US support station for Makindu.
      The R-G did an amazing job of telling Winnie and the children's stories.
  •  Yes, in Context (none)

    Yes, I thought it was understood that I was saying that married women seldom consent to be sole or primary breadwinners, whereas many men do.

    Feminist groups advocate for continuance of the mom-not-quite-automatically-gets-custody following divorce, in part because under federally-imposed guidelines, it entitles Custodial Mom to 17%, 25% or 33% of the ex-husband's gross (plus "add-ons") after divorce, which is usually initiated by women, and often without traditional "fault" grounds like adultery or abuse.

    Women who choose to bear children without husbands have, given the availability of abortion, elected what for many of them is economically an unwise course.  

    More ex-husbands pay more child support than is often acknowledged, but yes, there are divorced women who do not get child support.  That's bad, but in passing it may be mentioned that most divorce lawyers tell Dad that if he really wants custody (and Mom isn't in the advanced stages of alcoholism) he'd better give up any expectation of child support from the git-go, since even Moms who don't greatly want the kids are very resistant to paying child support.  I don't know any noncustodial Moms who pay child support.  No doubt there are a few.

    But my primary point was that a lot of women aspire both to enjoy job equality and pay equality with their male peers, AND marriage to (to be followed, if she wishes, by divorce from) a husband with sufficient income to provide for a family of four or so single-handedly.  And yes, married women supporting non-disabled husbands exist, but in my 54 years I have known only a handful.

    High pay and a spouse with even higher pay falls into the "nice work if you can get it" category.  I know many women don't get that.  Almost no men do.  Those who walk the "real equality" walk are entitled IMHO to talk the talk.  Those who don't, aren't.

    "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

    by proudtinfoilhat on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 05:20:40 PM PDT

    •  This and your previous post suggest (4.00)
      several false or misleading assumptions.

      First, you  are assuming that a higher value should be placed on the wage earner who contributes the most financially to the family or marital unit. One example that would prove this assumption false would be an inner city school teacher married to an architect. Suppose the architect earns $100K/year to put up office buildings on previously protected open space while the teacher earns $20K/year teaching math to 9th graders. Suppose the teacher holds tutoring sessions 3 evenings a week to assist teen moms with GED preparation but with no compensation....that's one.

      We will have a more civil society when we stop using an out-dated white male model as the measuring stick for "valuable" and "normal"

      I could actually go on at great length on this subject, but I am responsible for overseeing homework projects, bath and bedtime for 4 young children after which I'll have to prepare all the materials necessary for "colonial days" at elementary school where I'll be volunteering my time tomorrow. My husband is away for several days each week on his important and well-compensated work...he hasn't pressed his own shirt or packed a tie in 4 years, but where's the value in that?
      My master's degree certainly has come in handy with all the childbirth and breastfeeding I've been doing. Come to think of it, it sure did help a lot when, pre-kids, I worked full-time to send him back to school......I'm such a gold-digger.....

      America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.--Oscar Wilde

      by rcvanoz on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:51:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, Actually I Agree (none)

        I agree that "value" is greatly distorted, and that caring for a home and children, and doing many jobs that are not very well-paid, are important tasks.  Teachers, I agree, are underpaid -- although, forgive me, as a 60-hour-a-week Dad who does appreciable housework and a LOT of childcare, that summer off looks pretty good to me.

        The fact remains, moreover, that if you're a straight male, and you elect to become a nurse, a social worker, or an elementary school teacher, most women will assume that you are gay, and only a few of the rest of them will have any interest whatsoever in dating you.  (I worked my way through law school as a legal secretary.  I know whereof I speak.)  You'd better be drop-dead gorgeous, Jack, or have a trust fund, or expect a big inheritance, if you want to get laid -- let alone married -- and you have a "pink collar" job.

        So respectfully, I demur:  it's not just a "white male" model, it's a "distorted societal model."  So long as men prefer, as greatly as they do (at least after their early 20s promiscuity phase)  to sleep with, bear children by, and marry men who make a lot of money, the man who says he thinks all of the women really and truly should make as much as all of the men is either (1) gay; (2) himself sitting on a pile of cash (think Alan Alda) or (3) a god-damned liar.  And the woman who complains that women make less then men, but requires a potential mate to make double what she makes is, well, let's just say not being entirely fair.

        To avoid giving the wrong impression, I don't think wives have to earn as much money as husbands.  Nor do I think allowance should not be made for women spending, as most do, more time doing housework and childcare.  Not at all.

        But if you read women's magazines -- sometimes I do -- when careers are promoted for women, it's usually as a backup (should the husband thing not work out), or a way of delaying or avoiding marriage if that's what she wants, or even as a means to get access to higher-earning men.

        I almost never see women writing for women, or on talk shows addressing women, saying that as husbands have a duty (and I firmly believe we do, and I walk the walk I assure you) to take a significant part of housework and childcare, making a significant contribution to the household -- whatever it is IN ADDITION to this -- is also, in some measure, a wife's duty to her husband, and to her marriage.

        I know many women, wives and mothers, who work tough jobs and hard schedules.  Usually, however, if they're married, it's to men as driven, or more driven, than themselves.  And I DO know women home with kids who have a LOT more free time than their husbands have.  I know NO men home with kids, although I am aware there are some Out There.

        "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

        by proudtinfoilhat on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 08:33:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, man semi-home with kids here (none)
          I work nights.

          Which means I have it harder than a complete stay-at-home parent.

          Here's my schedule: Mondays 10pm-7am. Tuesdays 10pm-7am. Fridays 10pm-7am. Sundays 3pm-10pm.

          I go from 7am Monday until about 7pm Wednesday--60 hours--on a total of about six hours sleep--three hours before I go in on each of Mon and Tues. This will change when my youngest goes to school, and I can sleep while she's in school--but that's a year and a half away.

          So, now, having told you that--I can tell you why I don't consider myself a feminist. I want out of my miserable marriage. If I left, I'd still be responsible for the kids during the day, getting the older one to and from school, having the younger one all day, and not sleeping. They'd go with their mother for the evenings and sleep there. My wife makes 2 1/2 times what I do. Since the custody would be by definition joint, and her income is that much larger than mine is, and I've sacrificed my career for the kids (by mutual decision, by the way, she was all for this at teh beginning), one would think spousal support would be a no-brainer.

          According to three different lawyers I have talked to, it would be--if I were the woman. Because I'm the man? "You might get lucky, but judges in MA almost never order spousal support for the husband. Even when it's clearly warranted." From three different lawyers (and backed up by my law-student sister.) So, I'm stuck here until the little one goes to school and I can get a second job during the days I don't need to sleep. I can't afford to move out on what I make.

          When men stop getting screwed in divorce and custody issues, then I'll be a feminist. But not before.

          "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

          by ChurchofBruce on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 09:32:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You certainly are a Feminist (none)
            if one or more of your children is a female.  This is a hard time for you.  But the incalulable upside of this will come when your children will grow to be fine adults.  You'll have to live through the adolescent years of course.  But you are teaching your children lessons now they could not get at any ivy league school -- believe me -- you will never regret this time.  Don't give up.  Don't give in to anger.  Don't forget you are making a real difference every minute you spend with your children.  Was I a good parent?  Not particularly.  Am I paying for it now?  Damn straight.  My son is fine but there are issues.  We can't go back.  We only have now.

            It sure the hell is heavy, father -- it's my grandchildren's share of the birth tax

            by xanthe on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 05:18:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Both are daughters (none)
              And, honestly, I think a lot of feminists would consider me a feminist, because I speak out when I think women are being screwed. Which is lots of the time.

              However, I consider myself an Equal Rights Activist, because I think that goes both ways. I'm not going to shut up when I think men get screwed. Which is not nearly as much as women, yes, but does happen--especially in divorce/custody issues.

              One thing that will absolutely make me scream is the all-too-commonplace myth of the Indespensible Mother and the Superfluous Father. Not just a feminist myth, I understand--too many wingnuts buy into that one, too--but it makes me see red wherever I see it. Having a vagina does not make you a better parent. It makes you the only person capable of carrying around the developing fetus, yes--but after the kid is born it doesn't make you a better parent. There's only two things my wife has ever been better than me when it comes to those kids: discipline, and breastfeeding. I'm the soft-hearted parent, I'll admit it. But I almost have to be, since 95% of her 'parenting' is screaming, yelling, nagging, bitching, punishing for stupid shit, etc. She's better at that than I am. And I didn't have the anatomy for breastfeeding. Everything else? I win. Even if I am a Superfluous Father.

              "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

              by ChurchofBruce on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 08:40:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're not superfluous (none)
                You're hurt and you're tired.  And so is your wife.  I hope you both get thru this time and your children don't suffer too much.  It is hard being a family in today's culture, not to mention the economic realities.  But it is done every day -- with small revelations and miracles.  You need sleep is probably a lot of what's going on with you.  I gather from your tagline you don't want my prayers -- but I send immense energy to keep your children safe.

                It sure the hell is heavy, father -- it's my grandchildren's share of the birth tax

                by xanthe on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 12:12:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Many men object (none)
      "Yes, I thought it was understood that I was saying that married women seldom consent to be sole or primary breadwinners, whereas many men do."

      From what I have seen, most men object to their wives being the sole or primary breadwinners, while I have seen lots of women that would like to take over that role if the men would take over the child care.

      The men seem to think it is emasculating to be house-husbands so don't like it. A lot of that is from being harassed by other people for it, so you can't blame the men for not wanting to be harassed.

      The key is that it is not only the women that want it that way, the men pretty much insist on it because it gives them more status and power.

      •  Status and Power (none)

        OK, we have agreed that the women "want it that way," which is to say that women (most women) want husbands to be sole or primary breadwinners.

        You say the men insist on this also, because it gives them status and power.  Well, I think, if 75% of divorces are initiated these days by women, more often than not without "fault" grounds, custody is still awarded not quite but almost automatically to the women, and women have selected you as "husband" in the first place based largely on your earning power, if as a male you don't tote the barge, lift the bale, you go from being insecure in your "status" as husband to almost laughably dispensible.

        I make about 95% of our household income.  It doesn't make me feel powerful, even though it's in six figures.  It makes me feel vulnerable, because my wife refuses to make substantial money.  If I were to lose my job, we'd lose the house.  I consented to enroll two daughters in private school, based on an express agreement by my wife that it meant she'd have to continue working.  ("I'm reneging," she said one day, with no hint of apology.)  So, I'm paying almost $12,000 in after-tax dollars just for that, plus a mortgage obtained when my wife made $48K plus free family health and dental care for three days' work per week.  We could not have gotten that mortgage on my income alone.  And, we had to refinance it, because we ran up quite a lot of credit-card debt, about 70% of that "hers" and I was unexpectedly laid off and unemployed for 4 months a cuple of years ago.

        This means we save little, can't afford vacations, I can't spend money on myself (I'm not talking big money, either).  I had planned on working to age 70, but now any retirement seems unrealistic.

        Er, what would become of me if I simply refused to have paid employment?  Do you think I'm getting hot meals, 1950s style, and being met at the door with the martini and the negligee?  Not.  

        Yes, staus and power.  That's what we men are rabidly guarding.  Nice of you womyn to accommodate us!

        "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

        by proudtinfoilhat on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 05:04:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Done (none)
    Donation made.
  •  I didn't know that advocating to a woman (none)
    to say no to their condom rejecting lovers to protect themselves from AIDS means that I am a feminist.

    OK, I am a feminist then. The fact is that I can be as much a feminist as I want to, I still haven't solved the problem.

    I have nothing much to say when it comes to how two people have sex with each other. I also can't intervene in an African woman's life and tell her to reject her husband, if he isn't playing by her rules, as much as I would encourage her "to give him hell", but ... it's not my marriage, so me being feminist isn't really relevant here. Would you listen to what someone else tells you of how you should deal with your lover/husband? I guess it would be pretty tough, wouldn't it?

    I also don't believe that it is just a matter of lack of education. After so many people having been dying, I don't think anybody ignores it.

    The problem is that American feminists don't have an answer to solve the situation without asking the African women to separate from their male family members. Before you argue that we all need to be strong feminist, I would suggest we walk then the talk and try to walk in the shoes of an African woman who lost her last resort, her male family member's support.  

    The solution to encourage preventive measures AGAINST sexually transmitted AIDS lies in the male African. If it doesn't come from him and he doesn't understand that he has to protect the African women for him to survive on the long run, there is nothing much what an American feminist can do.

    Instead of American women asking to be feminist, why not asking American men to "have a talk with their African brothers". It's a men's business most of the time for them to straighten each other out.

    I think I heard once a report from Shirley Hunter-Gould about kids being raped in South Africa for the reasons you mentioned. What I still remember was Bishop Tutu's horrible lame answer to the problem at hand. I couldn't believe how he belittled the issue and since then "he is crossed out" in my books.

    I was willing to forgive the Pope for the meaninglessness of his teachings considering birth control and contraceptiva, but I am not willing to forgive Bishop Tutu to not care about young African males raping young infants and kids for whatever idiotic reasons. This was though a couple of years ago. May be "he has come to his senses" by now.

    Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

    by mimi on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:42:23 PM PDT

    •  I think the Governments... (none)
      can do the most good in their own countries through public health education.  Real, honest public health campaigns are needed. I agree that going after the least powerful about sexual politics to stem the transfer of HIV is naive.  Not that women in developing countries don't need economic opportunities, health care and education to free them from depending on bad families, but 'don't sleep with your husband' is not going to fly.

      Some African nations refuse to discuss HIV/AIDS at all out of sexual puritanism, even though their citizens suffer terribly from the epidemic.  People actually don't understand the illness, how it is transferred, how to protect against it - sexual education is at the 'keep one foot on the floor' level.

      I lived in Senegal for almost three years, where there was an active anti AIDS health campaign, particularly on the radio (they had 10 percent literacy). In their even more liberal neighboring country, the Gambia, I saw billboards promoting condoms.  No HIV epidemic in either country.  

      "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

      by sarac on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 08:31:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Children Left Behind (none)
    This made me cry.  Thank you!  I have e-mailed this to all of my friends.  
  •  To think of all the money (none)
    that we have spent on this obscene war when it could have been better spent to saving lifes rather than taking them.  
  •  Thanks Lorraine! (none)
    Your posts are always worth a read. I made a donation and would like to suggest one's called women for women... Here's the link

    America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.--Oscar Wilde

    by rcvanoz on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 07:31:51 PM PDT

  •  Serious discussion (none)
    This is a wonderful rant, and the comments are exceptional. I like this kind of discussion, a civil and intelligent exchange of ideas and opinions. Nothing is more helpful to a diary. Nothing so destructive as the kind of out of control anger (and I confess to contributing some of it), that is too often the case on political blog, this one included.

    Thank you, Lorraine, for the information. I will try to dig up some money to help. And thank you for inspiring a serious discussion of a complex subject.

  •  Lorraine: (none)
    I didn't want to jump in right when you posted, but here's some stuff I've written on pretty much the same subject that may be useful.
    •  thank you (none)
      I'm sorry your diary slipped away--the information in it is incredible. Great research. Thank you for sharing. You should contact SusanHu--she has a network of people who she could distribute that info to.


  •  asdf (none)
    I loathe and detest Blair, but one thing he said after the tsunami is worth repeating, and repeating, and repeating: there are a tsunami's worth of deaths every week in africa.

    My view is that the tsunami got everyone contributing because it fitted the 3-second attention span and TV dependent mentality of most of the developed world. Many individuals and charitable trusts diverted funds from their usual chosen charities to the tsunami: in itself, a very good cause - but so many are suffering elsewhere.

    I am a feminist, though I didn't call myself when I was younger. I think that one cannot be truly aware of the suffering and injustices in the world and not be a feminist: so much of the burden of suffering falls on women's shoulders.

    Got to get off to work now - more to say later

    •  africa (none)
      Yes. Africa is a mess. Whether it's the result of colonialism or not, I don't want to stick my foot into something that's going to start a war, is irrelevant at the moment.
      The point is. 11 years on, we cringe when we remember Rwanda. But Darfur, Uganda, the Congo, are awful places right now. And still. We lack the will to do anything. We invaded Iraq, but you know in your heart of hearts that there could be genocide taking place somewhere in Africa, and, unless it involved white people, we wouldn't do anything.
      The topic overwhelms me. Really. It's why I went back to small. One orphanage. One small thing I could do to make one child have a better life.
      I'm intensely humbled by the response to this post.
      •  working small (none)
        Lorraine, thanks for this diary. I did not mean to ignore in my earlier post the facts of Africa - how so many die from malaria, etc. - just that my husband's focus now is on AIDS and this is where much of my information is. He previously worked on surveys of family planning clinics there. As for me, I too help in small ways by maintaining a contact with my son's Chinese orphanage, raising money, helping with small projects(will visit there in the summer). I think the most important thing I do is to help my son gain compassion for the world, in an every-increasingly selfish society.
        And yesterday, as I read this, I asked him, "Is there anything you can think of that a boy can't do, when he grows up? Or a girl can't do, like a job or anything?" and he could NOT think of anything for either. Yep, I would call that a feminist. Of course, he has a problem with single people. "You have to get married when you grow up, so you will have somebody who loves you!" he tells me. I think it is a deep need for him - to belong to a family. Can't imagine someone alone in the world, as he once was.(Well, okay, he was the spoiled brat of his orphanage,overfed and cuddled,  and the director kisses his photo when I send it, but that is just a lucky break in a world filled with the ghosts of loss.)

        I donated to ePluribus Media. I would have sent homemade cookies if they had asked.

        by Chun Yang on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 06:14:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks and a minor quibble. (none)
    Whenever one of my female students tells me that she's not a feminist, I've come up with a pat response: "So, what exactly is it about the idea that you're not entitled to the same rights as men that you object to?" (emphasis added)

    I think this makes a lot more sense if you leave out the word not.  I am quite sure that your point is to define "feminism" as the idea that "Women are entitled to the same rights as men."  If so, then I will gladly accept the label of feminist.

    In any case, thanks for sharing the links on Makindu.  I will share this info with my wife later today and I am sure we will find a way to send a few dollars to such a wonderful cause.  


  •  Some good news (none)
    Daily Kos :: Senate votes out Bush foreign aid cuts to family planning

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Senate voted 52-46 to allow US foreign aid to fund family planning groups that perform or advocate abortion..

    The [current] Bush administration had this "gag rule"  covering the entire State Department budget, more than eight billion dollars.

    W is NOT for women

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