Category: feminism

Hey everyone!  This is Jenny, posting from my new collective house in West Philly.  I wanted to share with you a crappy NYTimes article that was written about collective living and features my house.  Several of my housemates participated in a long and thoughtful interview with a reporter to explain why we wanted to live in a space that was actively anti-oppression, the most important reason being our physical safety (we are two POC, two trans people, lots o’ queers and ladies, etc).  Unfortunately the reporter took a very condescending attitude towards our politics in the article.  You can read the original here, a response about anti-abelism here, and my housemate Emili’s experience at the end of this Philebrity post.  In response to the article, Emili is planning a book about collective living and why/how we resist oppression in our environment.   When the call for submissions goes out, I’ll make sure to send a copy to Batten– I know you all would have a lot of awesome things to say.

Hope everyone is well! I miss Batten like crazy.  All  my best ❤

Abs-only?! WTF.

From Philly IMC:

Gov. Rendell is going to apply for funding for ABSTINENCE ONLY Education for Pennsylvania for the first time in four years??!?!?!

Join ACT UP this Thurs. August 28th at 10:00am in front of the Bellevue 200 s Broad St. to tell Rendell – Don’t be blinded by the Abstinence money to the bad science.

Four years ago, Rendell joined California in rejecting harmful federal abstinence funding. Next week, Rendell will formally make the application for abstinence money again. We can still prevent Rendell from making this embarrassing and harmful plea for funds, but he needs to hear that Philadelphia is outraged.

Evidence proves that comprehensive sexual education prevents the spread of HIV and encourages people that are having sex to have SAFER sex. Abstinence Only education promotes shame. It has also been disproved as a method of preventing the spread of HIV. Shame on Rendell.

His bad policy decison will effect the future of sexual education in Philadelphia, and we can stop it. Join us this Thursday at 10am at the Bellevue Hotel (where Rendell keeps a Philly office) to tell him to not be blinded by money to the bad science.

For more information, contact Sam Sitrin from ACT UP Philly at or 215.870.7741.

For more about the decision:

For the IMC article:

For ACT UP Philly:

For Governor Rendell’s contact info:

Nicholas Kristof wrote a thoughtful op-ed the other day about animal rights and an upcoming animal-rights related referendum on the presidential ballot in CA.  He says:

In a world in which animal rights are gaining ground, barbecue season should make me feel guilty. My hunch is that in a century or two, our descendants will look back on our factory farms with uncomprehending revulsion. But in the meantime, I love a good burger.

This comes up because the most important election this November that you’ve never heard of is a referendum on animal rights in California, the vanguard state for social movements. Proposition 2 would ban factory farms from raising chickens, calves or hogs in small pens or cages (full text).

I found the article interesting because although Kristof recognizes the intelligence, autonomy, and right to humane treatment of non-human animals, he simply can’t bring himself to stop eating them.  This made me skeptical of Kristof’s praise for Proposition 2, and after some research I realized that (surprise) it’s really just a proposal to make the cages bigger.

How could this possibly be a “victory” for animal rights?  Sigh…

mort au patriarcat!

…which hopefully means “death to the patriarchy” in French. This photo is of a woman attaching a beard to a statue in Paris as a part of a demonstration by the feminist gropu La Barbe (the beard) to protest the dominance of male managers in the workforce (from The Washington Post’s express edition I got on the metro yesterday).


Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm is widely considered one of the foremost female orators in the United States. With a character that she has described as “unbought and unbossed,” Chisholm became known as a politician who refused to allow fellow politicians, including the male-dominated Congressional Black Caucus, to deter her from her goals. In 1969 her first statement as a congressperson before the U.S. House of Representatives reflected her commitment to prioritizing the needs of the disadvantaged, especially children: she proclaimed her intent to “vote No on every money bill that comes to the floor of this House that provides any funds for the Department of Defense.” While Chisholm advocated for black civil rights, she regularly took up issues that concerned other people of color such as Native Americansand Spanish-speaking migrants. She also delivered important speeches on the economic and political rights of women and fearlessly criticized the Nixon Administration during the Vietnam War… (more).

When she ran for President in 1972, Chisholm won 152 delegates — the most ever by a woman before Clinton. “Chisholm said she ran for the office ‘in spite of hopeless odds, . . . to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo.'”

I’m only now learning about this remarkable woman. Before I get too down on how such an accomplished politician could be completely left out from my education, I thought I should try and tell some other people about her, and let them tell some more people, and so on. For even more interesting reading, check out this list of women who’ve run for the US Presidency: Wiki.

Hey hey! Ho ho!

To all Battniks (past, present, and future),

Happy May Day!

Here’s some pictures from the Batten Library!  About half of the house-owned material has been cataloged on-line ( with even more on the way!


Video Clip

I just found a Youtube clip of my favorite comedy group, Kids In The Hall, discussing women’s issues. Or rather, wymyn’s issues. Enjoy!

Love, Alison

“Iron Ladies of Liberia”

A new episode of Independent Lens called “Iron Ladies of Liberia” premieres March 18th on PBS.

“Outsourced Wombs”

Americans and Europeans are paying Indian women to have babies so that they can adopt with fewer legal costs and restrictions. Is this empowering for the women who might not otherwise have a job, or is this a nuanced variation on sex slavery?

“‘The human body is not lent out, is not rented out, is not sold,’ France’s highest court ruled back in 1991, when it outlawed surrogate motherhood. In the United States, lip service has long been paid to the notion that women can’t be instrumentalized as baby-making machines. Indeed, one of the ways that surrogacy survives here is under cover of the fiction that the women who bear other women’s babies do so not for the money – which would be degrading – but because they ‘love to be pregnant.’ But our rules of decency seem to differ when the women in question are living in abject poverty, half a world away. Then, selling one’s body for money is not degrading but empowering. And the transaction is not outsourcing of the basest nature – not modern-day wet-nursing taken to the nth degree – but a good deal for everyone concerned. ‘There’s nothing wrong in this,’ Priyanka Sharma, another surrogate, concluded the Marketplace segment. ‘We give them a baby and they give us much-needed money. It’s good for them and for us.’”

Surrogate mothers are seen at Kaival Hospital in Anand, India, in 2006. Photo: AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

The article, as well as the very very very interesting comments, can be read here. (Only slightly related, but, has anyone seen Juno? It’s pretty good [though the abortion-clinic scene is problematic] and the soundtrack is fantastic).