Guest Post: The High Priestess of Boogie Responds to Billie Hollidaysburg

Disclaimer from the priestess, Erin Fleming, herself:
Yeah, sure, thanks, that’s fine, but I would ask that you add the disclaimer that I was writing back to a bunch of friends who I know really, really well, and who are used to my sense of humor, because if I were on a guest panel or in a more public forum I’d like to think I would temper my cheek just a bit. (Or am I just kidding myself?) And also, I have to say that Angel really had the best reaction, which is how silly it is that we’re all discussing a book that none of us have read. We’re just ranting in order to amuse ourselves and our friends. Probably not unlike what goes on in actual book clubs.

Editor’s note: Or, really, what goes on in the blogging and social media worlds pretty much daily.

Well, as funny as this is, Jen, and as you always are, and as great as it would be for you to post in on the your mom blog, just so that there would at least be some more interesting writing on there, it seems to me that you’re going a long way out of your way to deliberately miss her point. (Or is that Ms. it?)

She is a humorist, after all, so I don’t think she chose the title “How to Be A Woman,” with an actual, earnest, Emily Post type agenda, and I don’t think she’s talking about controlling our vaginas as in stopping them from running amok and getting into trouble without our consent. I think she means controlling it as opposed to letting  others  be in control of it, you know, in the way some others try to do, with their ultrasound legislation and third world clitorectomies and the like. I think that’s the control she’s referring to, not your hilarious blinding nylon vest scenario.

I think what she is clearly challenging is the type of modern woman who is suspicious of using the word feminist to describe herself, because it might put off her more conservative friends, or her controlling husband, or the guy she’s dating who likes to open the door for her, or her boss or her bat shit crazy tea party-ing father. I think she is provocatively challenging the type of woman who shies away from the word feminist because that kind of woman, like many of us, might be embarrassed or offended by what some fearless feminists might say or do. As many of us are, periodically. Pun intended.

I myself, although unabashedly a self-proclaimed feminist, am often offended or embarrassed by what some Americans might say or do, but I don’t shy away from either term as a descriptor. That’s just me. 

I think her challenge is something along the lines of getting women to stop thinking that “feminist” is a dirty, unshaven, word, and I think she uses that line as a funny way to make the distinction. I could hear Tina Fey saying the same thing.

But I am the LAST person to talk you off a ledge if you want to publish what you think. Blog your lady business away.

Guest Post: Billie Hollidaysburg Rants

This is a guest post from my friend Jen. It started out as an email between friends. Jen writes and blogs for the a newspaper in central Pennsylvania, and she was, in her own words, asking us to “talk her off the ledge” of posting the following to her own space on her blog.

Where she lives is an extremely conservative place.

Jen is upfront that she is reacting to the interview of Caitlin Moran, who is a British feminist/humorist, and not reacting to the book itself, which she hasn’t (yet) read. Saucy language ahead.

Lady Business
Yesterday on the radio I heard an interview with the author of a book entitled something like “How to be a Woman.”  I thought having a 4-year-old would have reduced the lightning speed at which I could get pissed off. I thought I’d learned to be patient and listen before launching into full-on fulminating.
Really? I need a book? And I need it NOW? I’m 43! I’ve given birth. Now, I need a book called “How to be a Woman”?  I thought all I needed was a vajayjay and my brain to be a woman, but it appears I need that AND A BOOK. It gets better.
Groovy, book-writer lady closed her interview by saying, “It comes down to this, do you have a vagina and do you want to be in control of it? Then you are a feminist.”  Now I might need a drink, because now I have had this vision that in my sleep, my junk has been running amok. It’s possible to not control my hoo-ha?

Immediately my mind goes rampant too.  Let’s check the news reports because now I think, maybe, in my SLEEP, my chick-stuff has been escaping my underpants and going out committing acts of vandalism or worse.  Maybe in the middle of the night it has been stealing letters off signage and leaving lewd messages in the bushes at major intersections.
Let’s see. “80 year old man bludgeons home-intruders dressed as meter readers.” My bits wouldn’t be caught DEAD in a blinding yellow nylon vest. But they would totally smack the sh*t out of some home intruders. They don’t look 80, though. Okay, safe so far. It wasn’t my marauding vajizzle.
Hmmm… a failed attempt at robbing a convenience store where the suspect was apprehended with 27 dollars and a bag of Doritos. Coulda been the munchies for sure but there don’t appear to be any telltale signs of orange dust. I think I’m still safe.
So, okay, I’m going to go with NO. I think, sadly, my lady-bits go where I do and don’t run away like the gingerbread man or anything exciting like that. I think I AM in control of it, whether I’m a feminist or not. I think if I were writing such a thing it would simply state the following.
a) Be who you are and love that.
b) Find a way that you’re comfortable with to keep your nether regions tidy, and don’t make a big deal of it.
c) Have babies when you’re ready to be responsible for them.
d) You are not required to have babies unless you want them.
e) No is always an answer.
I suppose that’s why I didn’t get a book deal. 
But hey, nice job, groovy book lady. Thanks for objectifying feminism via a body part. Well done. A word of advice? Think outside the box.

Apology Expected

This isn’t about freedom of speech. In this country, you are allowed to say what you want to say. You can have any opinion you want, and you are free to express it.

This isn’t about Twitter or social media. I happen to love social media, Twitter in particular, but it does give plenty of less-than-stellar minds an open forum to vomit out their stream of consciousness.

This is about the outrage I feel that Rashard Mendenhall, the running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has apologized for some idiotic comments and not others.

In particular, he has said he is sorry for sounding unpatriotic in some recent tweets about reaction to Osama bin Laden’s death. He has even gone back and deleted the tweets.

Although he has lost an endorsement deal with Champion because of the unpatriotic-sounding tweets, and he has gotten a pass from the media  — and from the Steelers’ front office — because he’s apologized, I’m still struggling with this.

Because what Mendenhall did NOT apologize for were the tweets that made him sound like a misogynist prick. He has also deleted those, apparently, but you can see the full glory of his former twitter stream at That’s Church.

I’m not calling for Mendenhall’s head — pun intended. I don’t want the Rooneys to trade or fire the guy. He’s a football player, not a brain trust.

But I would, as a life-long, diehard, female fan of the Steelers, like an apology. Mendenhall’s comments about what constitutes “respect” in regards to women was appalling. Ugly. Misogynistic.

After taking the stand I took a couple of days ago in relation to how girls are talked about, I can’t just let this go. I am raising two more female Steelers fans, and I’m tired of the bad behavior.

I know team sports is a big old boys’ club. That’s fine. What is not fine is when, as a society, we continue to give the boys’ bad behavior toward women — punching 20-year-olds in the head in public restrooms, beating on wives and baby mamas — a pass.

If we aren’t going to trade the big boys, the least we can do is make them stand up and say their behavior is wrong. The Rooneys have passed along some less than stellar players who got in trouble in public — Santonio “that’s my weed” Holmes and Jeff “Skippy Skeeve” Reed are two that jump to mind. If they want to make the players with anger that manifests itself in spousal/girlfriend abuse take anger management classes instead of trading them, okay. I’ll deal with that.

But an apology isn’t too much to ask. Or demand.

I’ll wait. I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time.

I am emailing this post to Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette, because his article about Mendenhall’s apology is what really, finally set me off. If Mendenhall still has a Twitter account, I’m going to @ him so he sees the link to this post, too. Not that I expect anything will happen, but I have a voice and I need to raise it.