Activist Mommy

{August 17, 2007}   Blog Action Day

What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day?

Blog Action DayThat’s the idea behind Blog Action Day. On October 15 bloggers all over the web will join together to write about the environment and the issues surrounding it. Bloggers can write a post on their own blogs focusing on the environment and they can also choose to donate their earnings from ads for that day. It’s a great way to get more info out there, share your thoughts/ideas/plans, and be a part of something huge. And maybe even inspire you to keep on blogging about issues that matter.

The Action Blog has a post on Why Bloggers Will Change the World and I couldn’t agree more. That is part of the reason why I blog here, to make my voice known and hopefully make a change. Getting my words out there on the web, instead of just ranting on the couch like I used to, I can generate awareness and make issues seen. And so can everyone else. Blogging is the new activism, and I am glad to be a part of it.

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{August 17, 2007}   Profits Before Safety

Made In ChinaEvery one it seems is talking about the dangerous products made in China. I’ve seen several blogs across the web swearing off anything made in China from their homes. For parents such as myself the toy recalls can be an big blow. How many toys that we buy come from China? Do you know which ones are safe? Do you know if they are really safe or jsut claimed to be? Melissa & Doug is a favorite in this house, but even they are made in China. So are Melissa & Doug toys safe? They say so, but we’re really only hoping it’s true.

 One thing that disgusted me is getting online last night. There on was a huge ad, soft blue skies with light clouds. It seemed so tranquil, so calm. And the words “Mattel cares about kids…” starting coming across the screen. I wanted to vomit. Because Dirk Star rants it better than me I’ll just point you over to his thoughts while I try to regain my composure.

What is the cheapest way to produce our widget and how much can we compromise the quality of materials going into it to maximize our profits. Where is the cheapest labor available? Where are the pollution laws more lax than in our own country? Where are labor laws, tax laws, safety laws, consumer protection laws or any laws more favorable to producing low cost goods and services?

First the Chinese food scandels, now toys. Living completely self-relient and off the grid sounds better and better every day.

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{August 16, 2007}   I Need Some Pick-Up Lines

Day 2 of the Go Green challenge is to line dry your landry. I already hang the diapers out, but tend to machine dry everything else. So today I carried the basket of toewels out and hung them up.

And then a strey dog torn them down. So once I’ve rewashed them, it was muddy in the yard, I’ll hang them back up.

I was tagged by Isil of Veggie Way to share 8 random things about myself. I’m not sure I’m interesting enough to write 8 things, but I’ll give it a go.

  1.  I had completely natural birth with both my kids and recommend them for everyone. It’s not as bad as everyone says, especially if you jsut relax and let go. And the healing time is so much quicker.
  2. I love to eat Boca burgers on wheat bun with a spoonful of salsa. I could eat an entire box if I didn’t stop myself.
  3. Activist daddy and I are happily unmarried and staying that way.
  4. I never expected to have sons. Honestly I had planned for girls and had so many ideas of all the thigns I would teach them. But being in a house full of guys has been more fun than I ever expected.
  5. When I get stressed I get flakey and tend to hide out until I’m feeling calmer.
  6. We homeschool. I made the choice after reading Dumbing Us Down. We don’t do it to remove kids from society, we do it because we feel that society does not exsist inside four walls filled with kids and 1 adult.
  7. We’re a mixed lot food wise. I don’t eat meat, dad always eats meat, and the kids eat whatever we’re having. I try to limit their meat consuption a lot, but some days it’s hard to get them to eat veggies when dad is eating a steak and fries and nothing else.
  8. I’m a feminist. But a lot of my choices puts me in areas with people who are anti-feminist. So I’ve learned to bite my tongue in real life, then let it fly at the computer. I never expected that choosing to stay home would somehow make me seem safe to talk about the ‘dangers of feminism”. They always seem so shocked when I disagree.

Now to tags some who haven’t done this yet: Living Without Meat, Nature Mom’s Blog, A Brain Like Mine
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{August 15, 2007}   Are You Taking Up the Challenge?

Today starts the 2 week Go Green challenge at Eco Steet. To join just read their blog every day for the next two weeks and follow along with the green actions they suggest each day. I’m going to joining in, are you?

Today is day 1 and the challenge is to stop drinking bottled water. That’s not a hard change for me as we don’t buy bottled water anymore. When we’re walking around with a bottle of water you can guarentee that the bottle is at least two years old or older. I have a nice collection in the fridge that I keep filled and chilled for walks, trips to the park, and long car rides.

Six black students at Jena High School in Central Louisiana were arrested last December after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole. The fight took place amid mounting racial tension after a black student sat under a tree in the schoolyard where only white students sat. The next day three nooses were hanging from the tree. Read more>>>

Why is this not on the news? Why is CNN not covering it? Why am I hearing more about dog fighting than I am about 6 young men being railroaded because they were born black? And where the hell are the people in power who should be stepping in and stopping this?

If you care make phone calls. call your local news stations, your local news papers, polititians and lawyers and anyone with a hint of power. Talk about it on your blogs, take up a collection, sign the petition, and make it news. Make people listen, make people see this, make people care.

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{August 13, 2007}   Being a Woman Is a Messy Lot

I read a great article over the weekend over at The F-Word. The article, Skirting The Issue, is a great piece on marketing products towards women and trying to sell more stuff we don’t really need. All in the name of feminie hygene. Products like panty liners, to keep your underwear clean from “daily natural discharge”. Or, as Harriet Reuter Hapgood put it in the article

At some point it was decided that underwear was no longer a functional item to prevent your clothes from being soiled; underwear itself was promoted to the level of clothing, or fashion, and must therefore be protected. Enter the pantyliner. The logic behind the product is simple: if you can only sell sanitary towels and tampons to women one week in every four, you need a new product to fill those remaining three weeks.

As she points out there are a few thousand different products on the market for “feminie hygene”. Or “what can we make to both convince women they are dirty and make a few billion in the process?” We can’t exactly be exiled to the red tent for a week anymore, so they have to find a new tactic to make sure we know that our bodies, and their normal processes, are dirty. So dirty that not only do you need to buy their products to keep it all cleaned up, but they won’t even mention what “it” is. What exactly is “daily natural discharge”? They won’t say, but you need to buy their pantyliners to stop it from soiling your panties. Like your mother telling you to make sure you are wearing clean underwear in case you get into an accident, you want to be wearing clean panties in case (fill in the blank here).

In fact, most sanitary products adverts carefully avoid any mention of periods, vaginas, menstruation or vaginal fluids. The fluids usually used in the adverts (if any at all) is often the same as nappy adverts, a clear blue liquid that bears no resemblance to anything that ever emerged from a vagina.

The article ends with some notes on the alternatives women can use. Cloth pads (which several of my friends use and adore), sea sponges, and menstrual cups are a few of the alternative choices. I know that many women aren’t at all comfortable with using any of these. Goddess knows I used to be one. But now I love how freeing it is not to sneak around in the “feminine area” looking for something that will cover any smell or spots or trace that I might *gasp* have a period.
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{August 12, 2007}   Women In The News

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Two interesting and unintentionally connected pieces of info came across my inbox today thanks to Google. The first was a plea from Jill of Feministe to stop obsessing about what women wear.

Women’s bodies are politicized enough as it is. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s awfully sick of women’s clothing choices being used as a bat to beat other women over the head with.

Interesting she should say that. Because the next thing across my inbox was a news story out of Africa. Women protest against pants ban. In the ultimate show of policing what women wear the male residents of Umlazi T-section have created a rule that no woman can wear pants in that area. Women have been stripped naked, their clothing burned, and their homes destroyed for it. For daring to wear pants. I hunted around and found and older article about the same topic, Women: Don’t dare wear trousers in Umlazi.

“There seems to be a conflict of values here, where it’s the old versus the new. If one looks at South African societies, they are all patriarchal and it is difficult for people who assume authoritative roles in homes to adjust to women assuming their own roles and status within society.”

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Did anyone else see the news report about the baby videos? Apparently letting your baby park it in front of the tube, even if it’s called “educational” isn’t that great. Who knew?

Baby Einstein videosUmmm, even with a name like Einstein how on earth could any parent think that spending hours zones out on TV be a good thing? I mean already the average American watches 4 1/2 hours of brain numbing TV every day, and that’s usually slumped down as a family. So you may think that by substituting some of that time with something “educational” you could make it better. Well, no. Kids don’t need to be watcvhing TV, videos, movies, etc… The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that older kids not watch more than 1–2 hours of TV or video per day, and that kids under age 2 not watch any television. And that includes those annoying Baby Einstein videos.

But they play classical music and show kids shapes and colors.”

Great. So pop on a CD and pull out a couple books that you can read or look at together. Problem solved, without the talking picture box doing the parenting for you. I know, I know. I’m up on my high horse again. It just bothers me when we go to visit friends and the kids are zoned out on the TV. Every. Damn. Time. Even worse when it’s these so-called “educational” videos because then the parent thinks they can go off and leave the child to watch the video on their own. It gives them a fasle sense of security that their kids are learning without them having to do anything like, you know, interact with their own kids. Part of me wants to go on a tangent about how that attitude leads to parents pushing their kids off to school and assuming that they are getting an education without actually having to be a part of it. But I’ll keep that rant for later. 

Next time you think about plopping your angel down in front of the boobtube think about how TV affects your child and how to have healthy habits for TV, video games and the internet.

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