save the children . . .

. . . from the media. Recently there has been an uproar in the media over Chaz Bono being on Dancing with the Stars. The problem? A transgender person where our children can see him! Or her! “We’re so confused–our children won’t know which gender-specific pronoun to use!” Frankly, I think it’s wonderful that people, young and old,  watching the popular show will have to confront their biases and prejudices against trans folk. Chaz has my vote.

Here’s Lewis Black’s onslaught of hilarity against the media’s irrational fear-mongering against Bono. 



Hey you Iowa City football fans!

Alright so I know some of you actually aren’t that interested in football, but a lot of you are interested in helping the world become a better place. Why not vote with your dollar and the next time you buy Hawkeye apparel look into buying from Alta Gracia brand apparel.

Alta Gracia is the first brand and factory of its kind. Located in the sunny Villa Alta Gracia in the Dominican Republic, AG manufactures college clothing. Hawkeye shirts, Duke shirts, U. of Washington, and about 400 other campuses! The really neat about AG is that they pay their employees over three and a half times the minimum wage, that equals out to about $3.83. They also have several different “watchdog” organizations that check in on how AG is doing. These are outside groups that come in to check on how AG is holding up to the standards written by United Students Against Sweatshops and the Workers’ Rights Consortium that keep factories in check to make sure they are keeping a pleasant and worker-friendly environment. They even have ergonomic chairs!!!! After staying up late working on my latest sewing projects I am very happy that these employees have that. My neck/shoulders were sore after only 30 minutes of non-ergonomic action.


So the cool thing is that Alta Gracia is on our campus. Yayyyeeeee Iowa, way to get it. But have you heard about it? I certainly hadn’t until recently. AG is an awesome company and I’m learning about them and would love to talk to you about it! Interested in workers’ rights? Interested Hawkeye gear? Don’t forget, it’s football season so you’ll need to refresh your black and gold duds maybe, I guess. I don’t really wear black and gold, but as soon as I get paid I’m going to bike on over to the old Hawk shop and pick up my worker friendly Hawkeye uniform! (that was not sarcasm, GO HAWKS YAYAYAYAYAYYEEEEE) (The go hawks part was a little sarcastic, at least the enthusiasm.) I hope they have a crew neck sweatshirt in my size!

Also check Alta Gracia on facebook!

Dear Ms. Barr. . .

Dear Ms. Barr,

I hope you are doing well today and that your nut farm is prosperous. I am the current president of The University of Iowa’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA). We are in the process of planning the first (as far as we know) Midwest Feminist Conference. It is just a short 2 months away, on November 4th-6th, 2011. It will be held in Iowa City, on the University’s campus. Our goal is to find the middle ground between academia and activism and hopefully motivate all the young leaders that will attend the conference to go to back to their own communities and spread their new knowledge and network of young progressive folks.

You might be wondering why I am telling you all of this, probably not seeing as how you are a very famous and talented woman. I am asking you to come to Iowa City and talk about your experiences as a woman who has been fought against, but who has still prevailed (so far; keep it up!). We would love to host you in the chilly Iowa November, and treat you to the joys of college town life! You could also briefly discuss your presidential candidacy, as I am sure, people are interested in where you stand, and supporting you.

Please seriously consider coming to our conference and changing the lives of the many young, Midwestern leaders that will some day (soon) change the world. 

I will be trying to contact you through all mediums. Be prepared, for I don’t really go to class so I have some extra time. I just need to figure out the time difference between Iowa and Hawaii.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to. . . potentially stalking and hopefully hearing from you.

In solidarity,

Emily J. Sullivan

mark your calendars . . .

This Saturday (Sept. 10th) is the Iowa Women’s Music Festival! Located in Upper City Park, the day stage is FREE (noon-5 p.m.). The evening performance by Janis Ian will be at the Englert theater. Come check out these wonderful musicians and hear some kickin’ music. For more info about the artists and the event, click here. 

damned if you do. . .

I had quite the discussion with a good friend this past Monday. A poem written by a classmate of hers really struck her as truly vile. I interpreted it very differently and saw it more as a beginning (and extremely limited) critique of pop-culture and the social roles that college-aged women (might) struggle with. Our discussion was fairly heated, and in the end we decided we would both write our interpretations of the poem, or rewrite the poem with our own ideas of what it is about. And lets be honest, the poem kind of sucked despite being able to induce a 45 minute debate over its meaning.

She finished her version last night, and I’m still working on mine. I find it very difficult to describe the battle between the expectations I feel are being put on me from certain aspects of college life and the expectations I have of myself as a strong and intelligent woman. It doesn’t help that she is an English major and I am not terribly poetic. Then I came across an article from the New York Times that Feministing pointed out. It discusses the way women in college are “running circles” around their male counterparts in class, but when it comes to outside the classroom the gender roles seemed to have barely changed since the 1950s.

While the article doesn’t answer any of the issues I’ve been considering this week, the fact that it mentioned the challenge made me feel a whole lot better. Does anyone else see what the article is describing? Do you struggle with these issues?

I know I do.