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I was just reading CNN online when I noticed an article about a court ordering two men to have their noses and ears cuts off. Obviously, a story like that makes you do a double take.

So I click on the story and as I am reading about these “poor” Pakistani men, I then get to the part of the article where the men were sentenced this very specific punishment because they committed this same act on woman.

Apparently, a young woman and her family refused an offer of marriage from a young man (maybe because they knew bad medicine when they saw it?) and in retaliation, the young man and a friend attacked the woman, strangled her, and performed this truly heinous act upon her.

It’s incredible how an opinion can turn a 180 on a situation, because while I at first exclaimed “WTF? We’re allies with these people?” as soon as I read the rest of the story, I more or less was saying “Well done! Bravo!”

Of course, if you at all follow the news, this is also coming from a country where last year three young women were beaten and buried alive for daring to choose their on husbands and three women who came to their defense were murdered as well. And four years prior to that, a woman was savagely gang raped when coming to the verbal defense of her brother falsely accused of a crime…And these are just the stories that somehow make the world media. Imagine how many are left untold?

I know, I know, turn the other cheek, and an eye for an eye makes us all blind, but here’s the thing: It pretty much sucks to be a woman on about 75% of this planet. So if a country wants to make an extreme example out of a pair misogynistic bastards who commit a horrific violent act against a woman, I am perfectly content to let them do so.

Merry effen Giftmasukah.

For two reasons:

#1: It was freezing last night so I was able to open up all the windows and actually SLEEP!

#2: The US Womens Sabre Team whooped ass and swept the sabre fencing event!!!

Way long time ago, in the before time, back in the “dream time”, I used to be a fencer. I learned as a tike and was often an object of curiosity because no one know what the hell fencing was and why I wanted to do it. I fenced through college and retired after thoroughly trashing my feet after many long years of the sport.

Back in that time, the US was able to produce some decent individual fencers, but never a team of note. I remember pretty regularly getting my butt kicked by Germans, Polish and fairly snotty Italian fencers, all my old teammates of course. And they all said the same thing: Americans will never be a fencing force.

The last few Olympics thought have witnessed the rise of the US fencer, and now that the broads have kicked fanny in Beijing, I find myself emailing all old fencing buddies and going:

NYA-NYA-NA-NA-NYA!!!

Some girls just are.

They really just are. From a very early age, they like make up, they like having their hair done, they’re obsessed with nail polish, and Barbie dolls, and boys. They just instinctively know how to flirt and manipulate to get their way. They understand that they look differently, better, than other little girls and use that to get their way.

But those girls are very few and very far between. Sure we have the parent-constructed “princesses” and that kind of crap, but for the most part, little girls are androgynous little beings looking to run, play, jump, and exert.

I remember growing up with one of those girls however. She lived around the block and I didn’t get her. No, she didn’t come from an abusive home, nor was she under subversive influences, she was just one of those girls who from a very early age is instinctively sexualized. And Dog knows, her parents did everything short of sending her to a convent to tone that down.

Twenty years later, I came across one of those girls again. She was daughter of my sister’s neighbor in Maryland and I remember quite clearly overhearing the argument between a six-year-old little girl and her mother over the wearing of a bikini. Little girl wanted the bikini and the mother most certainly did not.

“But it shows more tan!” She wailed, loudly, for the neighborhood block to hear. She was definitely one of those girls and as often as I am around to little girls, I have not run across one of those girls since.

Hence, it disturbs me greatly when I read about retailers selling padded-bras geared towards girls who do not even merit the label “Tween”, not that selling padded bras towards that age group is any better.

From Feministing: read for yourself and be prepared to vomit, just a little, or a lot, your choice.

The new Spanish cabinet has been revealed and for the first time in the country’s history, the women outnumber the men.

To quote John McClane, “YIPPEE-KAI-YAY-MOTHER-EFFER!!”

To think, the idea of equality is not yet dead in the world! The mere thought of it makes me all giddy and ready to turn cartwheels and handsprings. And that, in itself, is still a sad commentary on the world.

Of course, we know the reasons why for the inequality: women opt of out high powered careers for sake of family and children, women are passed over in favor of men by nature of their extra X chromosome, and women in most places of this planet are still deprived of their most basic human rights, or to put it another way, the men in those regions are still afraid of the vagina.

So while 9 women in the Spanish Cabinet outnumber the 8 men who have been appointed, you still have to balance that 9 against the following:

World wide, at least 60 million women and girls are “missing” from their native population.

4 million women and girls are trafficked annually.

An estimated 1 million children who are female in majority, enter the sex trade each year.

90 million women and girls in Africa have suffered female genital mutilation.

So yes, I’m still freakin’ thrilled that the women in the Spanish Cabinet outnumber the men. It’s an important number to remember. But then so are the others.

It’s an unspoken rule that most couples have: The 3. The three people with whom you receive an automatic Get Out of Jail Free Card from marital fidelity should you ever, in this sphere of existence, get the opportunity to shag one of the people on your list.

Last we spoke/joked about it, Sailor Man’s three were: Lauren Graham from “The Gilmore Girls” (he’s got a thing for her nose, I don’t ask), pop-star Gwen Stefani, and culinary Diva, Nigella Lawson.

If you’re not familiar with Nigella Lawson, she’s a British food editor, cookbook author, and cooking show host, who’s all curvy gorgeous and has the saucy personality that suggests pulling one into a the pantry for a quick tryst whilst making a fabulous chocolate torte. I totally get Sailor Man’s attraction. Watching Lawson’s midnight raid of the refrigerator during the credits of her show is darn near pornographic.

So I’m feeling rather protective/defensive/p-o’d regarding the recent scrutiny of Lawson’s decision to hire a personal trainer. No, she’s not been out drunk driving, shooting up heroine, cheating on her spouse, or being miserable to her employees, she’s hired a trainer and this somehow opens her up to attack.

This one particular article about the subject was written in such a way as to suggest being positive and supportive, but really, with the picture and article content (they pull out a picture of her now and nearly 10 years ago), the author clearly means to jump on the slam-wagon.

I don’t know why I’m so pissed about this so hang on while I go on a rant here for a minute: First, there’s dozens of reasons one hires a trainer and it doesn’t all revolve around concern of thigh circumference. Second, so freakin’ what if she has? If I wanted to learn tennis, I would hire a tennis pro, if I knew nothing about exercise, I would hire a trainer. It’s the damn smart thing to do. Third, Lawson’s of the age where most women have entered menopause. I can’t tell you how many women I used to train during “The Pause” because exercise is known to provide many women relief from their symptoms. Not to mention, weight bearing exercise also helps ward off osteoporosis which at the age of 48, Lawson could certainly be concerned with.

And really, look at the pictures again. Everyone looks bigger and heavier in a photograph, especially when you’re hunched over (like Lawson is) and wearing knits. Hell, I’m a big, muscular type of girl and I look like a cow in most pictures of myself. I think many people would be surprised to meet Lawson in person and see she isn’t as “heavy” in person.

madonna.jpgnigella129.jpgHere’s a thought, let’s compare pix with another London-based celebrity of the same age: Madonna. Sure, you could bounce a quarter off her ass, but she looks drawn, tired, dry, and she looks like she really needs to eat a water buffalo, okay, two. For a woman whom most of the world sees as decadent, she looks to me like someone who doesn’t get much joy out of life. Looking at a “now” picture of Lawson, and I can’t get past the gorgeous face, amazing hair and lush skin. This women glows and no doubt, with pleasure.

I admit I balance on the edge of that knife. I get older and keeping the weight off gets trickier, but at the same time, splitting a slice of “chocolate bomba” while making “9 1/2 Weeks” jokes with Sailor Man is simply a sensory delight I won’t deny myself. Most days I practice moderation and on rare occasions, I practice outright gluttony. I think I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather kvetch about the 10 pounds I’d like to lose as opposed to skipping the extra glass of terrifically yummy red wine.

And it works for Sailor Man. So what else do I need?

So let’s end this on a hypothetical note: If you could have an amazingly hot body until the day you died but would have to give up your sense of smell and taste buds (I mention both because they are so intricately linked) would you do it? Is that a sacrifice worth making?

My late, womanizing, family leaving, chain smoking Uncle Don somehow was awarded the job of classifying me and my siblings with nicknames. Like a fungi or a plant or an animal, my uncle, who upon first meeting me or my sibs when ever he happened to blow into town, named us to a Kingdom, Phylum and Sub-phylum with the clever use of a single word or phrase. And then he blew right back out of our lives. Why my parents ever took moniker advice from a man who littered fatherless children across the US like Johnny Appleseed confounds me to this day.

But bygones being what they are, the nickname I acquired at the ripe old age of 4 was “Broad”. Of the Kingdom “Mouthy Dame”, Phylum “Feminist in Training”, Sub-phylum “Skirts Who Grow Up to Be a Problem”. Considering what my other sibs are called, I think I got off rather easy. But it gives you an idea how far back my trouble making ways date themselves.

I can honestly say that that nickname has somehow defined my life. It gave me an odd sort of guidance. It provided me with a very distinct center early on about what kind of girl I was and what kind of woman I could expect to be. The fact that I was discovered, tagged and released by my misogynistic uncle truly goes to show how much a bitch fate can sometimes be, and it also gives a queer sort of validation to it all.

So as a Mouthy Dame, I find I’ve only ever been drawn to my own kind. I have little tolerance for other women and their obsession with window dressings, chick movies, and all things girly. After moving, yet again, for what? The 12th time in the last decade? I came across a small treasure from my early teens. My “Broad Box”.

In this box are articles, pictures, notes, trinkets and other paraphernalia about strong women who inspired me as a young girl. And as I go through this memorabilia during Women’s History Month (yes, it coincides with Black History Month), I am shocked and pleased that these women still hold a strong influence over the woman I am today. They are as follows:

Dorothy Parker, writer, wit

Katherine Hepburn, actress

Mae West, actress,

Heddy Lamar, inventor (and also a famous actress)

Nina Simone, singer, songwriter, woman extraordinaire

Janis Joplin, singer

Eleanor Roosevelt, human being extraordinaire

Margaret Sanger, nurse, activist, founder of Planned Parenthood

Jeanette Rankin, politician (first woman elected to congress and worthy of note for having voted against US entry into WWI and WWII)

Babe Didrikson, athlete extraordinaire

The Yale Women’s Crew Team of 1976

It’s a small list to be sure, but I was only 13 at the time. I am happy to say that if I were to re-do that box now, it would be the size of a cargo container with all that I learned about women’s history and their contributions to the world at large.

What really pisses me off though, is that after all these years, that kind of knowledge about women in history is still something you have to seek out on your own time and at your own inclination. I learned nothing about any of the women on that list, or the women who would be on my list today, in school. While I received a first-rate education growing up, by the looks of it, you’d never would have guessed that women accomplished anything in the entire history of the world they way they present these things in the educational system.

My sister has a daughter in the fifth grade. I asked her to look through her daughter’s social science book and point out how many women are specifically studied. The answer? Five. And the men? Seventy-two. Yup, you’re not reading this wrong, women merit a big whopping 5.

So I ask: How is it that women, who make up half the population of this planet, still miraculously don’t make up half the written history? How do we as women justify telling our daughters they can accomplish anything when we barely provide them with any written evidence of such? How do we call ourselves educated women when we only receive half the story?

Wow, it’s weird to think that Roe v. Wade is exactly as old as I am. I take for granted that there was a time when women couldn’t choose. We forget these things, when in fact, we really need to remember.

So, today to celebrate a landmark decision that recognized a woman’s autonomy of her own body, I am participating in Blog for Choice Day.

We don’t live in a perfect world. If we did, yeah, sure every fetus would be a wanted event, but such is not life. I don’t disparage Anti-Choicers because they have their beliefs and I assume their beliefs work for them, but I have my beliefs as well and as such, declare the following as what I believe to be true:

1. People are idiots in the throes of passion. Seriously, barely a step above chimps in that situation. Always have been, always will, and that’s not likely to ever change.

2. Not every sexual encounter for a women is an agreed upon event.

3. Given #1, sex education should be taught to all persons if not tattooed directly on their persons.

4. Given #1, #2, and #3, contraception should be made readily available to all persons.

5. No one organization does more to prevent abortions than Planned Parenthood. The operative word here, people, being the word “planned”.

6. No amount of praying is going to change the reality of #1 or #2.

7. Additionally, given #1 and #2, I find it simultaneously laughable and horrific that the decision of what women may do with her body is largely in the hands of the Supreme Court, which at last count, had only 1 woman justice.

8. Given #7, my belief is that if you are not in possession of a vagina, you should not be given a deciding vote in the matter. Vagina trumps Penis.

9. It’s a tough life and people are not perfect. As I can only walk in my own shoes, I will not judge another woman for walking in hers.

So that’s it. Love or hate it, I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind in this matter. If you want to comment, by all means do, HOWEVER, any ensuing nastiness will be deleted. Civilized conversations only. If you don’t like it, get your own blog and post your nastiness there.

I have a cadre of old friends I keep up with via this handy invention called email. We rarely see each other, hell I haven’t seen some of them in person in over 9 years, but we keep each other informed on life’s banalities and that suffices until the next high school reunion.

Included in this mass emailing is a peripheral friend. A transitional logic friend. A person who is friends with my friends, hence maybe we’d like each other if actually knew each other, but we don’t. It’s not acrimonious, I mean hey, I just don’t know her. I’ll admit my disinclination as she’s always been a girly-girl and I am decidedly not. I know of her, she knows of me, and we’re better than acquaintances because we’ve known a lot about each other and of each other for so long, but I would never go as far as to say we’re friends.

So Periphery Girl just had her breasts lobbed off. The Big DM. And she has opted out of all the reconstructive and boob-adding hooplah that normally follows such an event. And my friends who actually know her are going positively ape-shit.

Apparently she had fairly malignant tumor in one breast and given that she has lost her maternal grandmother, mother, all of her aunts and two sisters to this disease, she decided upon a pre-emptive strike. And I really hate to admit it, but after knowing of her for 20 years, I suddenly find her fascinating. So, given our long status as transitional friends, I dropped her a line offering support.

Well, that little act blew off the cover of a well spring that was bubbling within her, because we’ve had two weeks of constant one-on-one email conversations that have certainly taught me to not judge a book by its’ cover.

But this is not about her, this is about our friends.

I am floored and dare I say a little bit disgusted by my friends and their opinion that Periphery Girl is somehow “denying herself a full life” or “killing her chances at getting married” and that she is somehow not a real woman because she opted to go scorched earth on a disease that has claimed the better part of her family. I have read everything from “she’s in denial” to PG is obviously “deeply depressed” and is inflicting “greater damage” upon her person.

Bullshit ladies, utter bullshit.

To the contrary, she has chosen life. She has chosen freedom. She has denied vanity in exchange for a sense of self. To her, having a double mastectomy isn’t so much a courageous decision as it is a fairly typical act of survival. And who the hell are any of us to condemn or say otherwise when we are not the one walking in her shoes?

I’ll be the first to admit PG had the most impressive bod in high school. She was that girl who first wore a bra in school. She was the one that could fill out a sweater like no one’s business. She was the one the guy would always comment about and follow around like the drooling little puppies they were. She was that girl.

And yet, I have come to discover she is a hell of a lot more than a pair breasts. It may have token me 20 years (I’m a little slow on the uptake), but you girls, as her friends, ought you not know that by now?

PG is a tad busy undergoing massive amounts of chemo, barfing her innards outs, and generally clinging to life while dealing with the other loss of vanity-her hair- so I dare say, having a pair of plastic balls inserted into her chest cavity that seeminlgy serve only to make you feel better about yourselves is probably really low on her list of priorities.

I made the joke last night that I would be happy to perform the time-honored female tradition of holding her hair while she puked, but she emailed me back this morning to say that so much had fallen out that she had to shave her head last evening.

So the first of you who dares to tell her to keep a stiff upper lip because cancer is “crazy sexy” is going to find my boot so far embedded in your keister, you’ll have to open your mouth to untie the laces. Dog almighty on a bun with sauce! How about a little sisterhood? If you really think breasts are what make you a “real woman” in this life then you need to sit in front of a mirror and have a little chat with yourself.

PG, hat’s off to you, sister. Be well, be strong, and thanks for reminding me what insipid, self-absorbed, and vain little nimrods we women can still be. Let’s make a date: 5 years from now, I fully intend to treat you for a well-deserved Girls Night Out, complete with barfing in a toilet while I hold your hair, if so desired. Because you’ll be here. I’m betting on it.

Ho.Le.Crap! I couldn’t believe it when I read a news story this morning about a Wisconsin Right to Life group mailing over 40,000 plastic fetuses to local Racine residents to mark the anniversary of the legalization of abortion.

What the ever livin’ hell was that about? Aside from it being a religious expression of facism…

One resident on the receiving end of these plastic political action figures remarks how offended she was by the act while the project chair of the group had hoped that residents would take it “in a positive way”.

Are you kidding me??? In what way is mailing a plastic fetus to someone of whom you know nothing about, personally, politically or otherwise, considered a positive act?

I support free speech in all forms, even when I find it to be utter bullshit and reprehensible, but some one is going to have to explain to me how this stunt is covered under the First Amendment.

Oh, crap, another female libido drug is currently being tested by medical facilities across the country. For Dog’s sake, people! When are researchers going to give up on this nonsense? Not every problem can be “fixed” by pharmaceuticals.

Every time I hear about another one of these drugs being tested, it reminds me of this guy on my college fencing team who believed this bullshit story about a man who would, while having sex with his wife, touch her breast whenever she had an orgasm and proceeded as such so that eventually, all he had to do was touch her breast (sans sex) and she would have an orgasm for him.

Uh, can you say Urban Myth?

I remember the first time my teammate laid that story on me, I told him that clearly he had never had sex with a women before. Seriously, because no sexually active man in his right mind AND in a healthy relationship is going to buy into that garbage.

My point being: You can’t treat the female orgasm like it was Pavlov’s Dog! If science (and women themselves…unless they’re faking it, and then shame on you, girls!) hasn’t proven by now that female arousal is infinitely more complicated than that of a man, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Sorry, gentlemen, but you’re just going to have to do the work. You too, ladies. Anything else is just lazy, and quite frankly, bad manners.