Activism

Feminist writer Darrah de jour shares her perspective on the latest in activism and her interviews with world leaders and environmental heroes.

Activists Stand On Shaky Ground

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Activists fight daily against oppression in myriad ways. Whether you are defending the rights of animals; taking sides in the “War on Terror” or trying your damnedest to legalize marijuana, you risk burnout. pattrice jones’s new book Aftershock aims to help pro-active peaceful warriors with activist overwhelm.  It includes practical tips for individuals, organizations, and communities, as well as info about how traumatic events affect our bodies (read: PTSD).

Don’t let your passions break you. As an animal lover and vegetarian since a teenager, I’ve passionately mounted ideas and movements, like environmentalism, recycling, HIV/AIDS fundraising, etc. only to become burdened by the sadness that surrounds these heavy issues. I look forward to delving into Aftershock. If you pick it up, leave me a note and let me know if it helped!

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‘Masterminds & Wingmen’ – New SuicideGirls Interview!

Hi all,

I know I’ve been naughty about keeping in touch! But, I’ve emerged from the ethers. ;) This interview (my first in nine months!) was so worth the wait – I promise! Speaking to Rosalind Wiseman, bestselling author of Queen Bees & Wannabes, the inspiration behind Tina Fey’s Mean Girls movie, was truly eye-opening. This time around, she turns the spotlight on boys. With the help of hundreds of tweens and teens, Wiseman covers the art of social war for guys, including hook up culture, locker room talk, violent video games, and their deep emotional life. Please read, comment and share on your social networks and send it to friends, parents and educators you know. Anybody who has boys in their life!

XOX

Masterminds & Wingmen Author Rosalind Wiseman Talks Hooking Up, Raising Better Boys and How To Deal With Cyber Bullies

by Darrah de jour

Masterminds & Wingmen from James M. Edwards on Vimeo.

Author Rosalind Wiseman’s bestselling book Queen Bees & Wannabes was the inspiration for the film Mean Girls,Tina Fey’s hilarious and dead-on satire of high school hierarchies. Back when Lindsay Lohan could sincerely portray a wide-eyed new girl on campus, we all related as she struggled to fit in, be herself, and decode the oft confusing and conniving girl world. In Wiseman’s latest work, she turns her attention to boys; breaking the guy code for parents, educators and young men themselves. With suicide and incarceration rates of boys averaging five to eight times those of girls, this boy bible is needed more than ever. Revealing their capacity for deep emotional life, Wiseman, a foremost anti-bullying activist, offers an important foundation to better understand and communicate with today’s boys.

Darrah de jour: How did you get started as an educator and social justice advocate?

Rosalind Wiseman: Strangely enough, I started by teaching self defense to girls, shortly after I graduated from college. I fell into it, and started a non-profit. I very quickly got to a place of wanting to address the root causes of violence. I went into where girls and boys were and I ran a non-profit for about ten years. I wrote a curricula for social competence, bullying prevention, media literacy and ethical leadership that’s used in many schools and organizations to this day.

DDJ: I remember taking self defense and it had such a powerful effect on me. It even changed my dreams.

RW: Yes, makes sense to me. It’s so fundamental [to] our sense of power and self agency over our bodies. So, if we change that, and feel better about it, it really changes the way we walk through the world.

DDJ: Something particularly unique about your method of relating to teens is that you provide a safe space for them to share their stories and feelings. I remember after the Columbine shooting, when asked what he’d say to the shooters, Marilyn Manson famously replied, “I wouldn’t say anything. I’d listen to them. Which nobody else did.” What drew you to working with tweens and teens –– especially with relation to hot topics like bullying, self-esteem and cliques?

RW: This has been the only job I’ve ever had. I graduated from college and started working on these issues. Very quickly, as a young person in her early 20s, I was struck by how many adults were giving advice but weren’t listening to the kids. So the advice was not helpful. It was not reflective of what the kids were going through. It could be very patronizing. It’s an amazing thing to have to listen to advice from somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And if you try and argue or present a different point of view it’s perceived by some adults as being disrespectful. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand that we were teaching children but we were not doing our due diligence to present them with the best information possible. That included listening to them.

Read the rest at SuicideGirls Blog.

Reprinted by GirlieGirl Army.

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Girls Rising

On Sunday, June 16 at 6pm PST, CNN will broadcast an original documentary by Academy Award winning director Richard E. Robbins, award-winning Documentary Group, Vulcan Productions and Intel Corporation called Girl Rising – a feature film about the power of education to change a girl — and the world.

Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez and other A-list actresses contribute voice performances to the film, which features original music from Academy Award winner Rachel Portman, in collaboration with Hans Zimmer.

The film spotlights unforgettable girls like Sokha, an orphan who rises from the dumps of Cambodia to become a star student and an accomplished dancer; Suma, who composes music to help her endure forced servitude in Nepal and today crusades to free others; and Ruksana, an Indian “pavement-dweller” whose father sacrifices his own basic needs for his daughter’s dreams. Each girl is paired with a renowned writer from her native country. Edwidge Danticat, Sooni Taraporevala Aminatta Forna and others tell the girls’ stories, all with profound resonance.

The obstacles they have faced are ubiquitous. Like the 66 million girls around the world who dream of going to school, what Sokha, Suma, Ruksana and the rest want most is to learn. And now, by sharing their personal journeys, they have become teachers.

Visit www.girlrising.com to learn how to bring Girl Rising to your local theater and support them on Facebook.


[YOUTUBE]

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Flashback Thursday ~ The Vagina Monologues (Video)

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[Vagina]

Here’s li’l me performing “Because He Liked To Look At It” as part of The Vagina Monologues in ’08 at the Directors Guild of America. Please “like” and subscribe for more of my youtube vids!

Hi guys! Here’s a flashback vid in celebration of the recently passed International Women’s Day. Hopefully, these candid conversation about gender and sex will educate the likes of Poland, Egypt, Muslim countries and the Vatican who are in talks with the UN, using “religion, custom and tradition” as a defense to leave women unprotected against violence. (Talk about an unholy alliance! The Vatican is in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood – let’s take that in for a second.) Think their reasoning is a load of bull? Support TVM playwright Eve Ensler’s charity V-Day, which educates, raises funds and helps women in the global movement for peace.

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White Smoke? Forgive me if I don’t care for the Papacy and Here’s Why

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Wow! Those are a lot of white heads!

Here is a verbatim news telecast from 1989, when over 1.2 million people had died worldwide from AIDS: “AIDS is now the leading cause of death for men under forty in New York and a half dozen other cities. Surpassing homicide and all other diseases. Yet, Roman Catholic Bishops are meeting this week, to publicly oppose the use of condoms as morally unacceptable. This puts them in direct opposition to U.S. public health policy.”

As New York City’s Archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor put it, “The use of prophylactic is immoral in a pluralistic society or any other society.”

In a time when AIDS patients who died in hospitals were placed in black trash bags by hospital staff, and ACT-UP had to fight the FDA tooth and nail for anti-viral drugs, the Catholic Church was busy telling homosexuals and others affected by AIDS to shut up, that they are sinners and to repent. They still insist on hiding their heads in the sand, denying their followers and citizens true public health information, preferring instead to instruct the sheep of the world not to protect themselves against the deadly transmission of HIV and other STDs.

In more positive news~ a new girlfriend of mine in Nor Cal is a progressive Episcopilian priest, and was just offered a killer job that pays well, where she’ll be part of a family of believers that understands and embraces all kinds of diversity. This is perfect timing, as her father is suffering from cancer and she’s taken on the responsibility of caring for him. Please pray for her dad, and celebrate Her today as she leads with light and truth.

Wanna be proud of a group of committed citizens that doesn’t hide inside the Vatican or tax-free institutions? That doesn’t separate men and women, straight and gay, healthy and sick? ACT-UP – New York City’s self-assembled warriors for PWAs (People With AIDS) has spent three decades changing the face of the disease and finding hope where there was none. Because of their humbling and life-altering efforts, AIDS is now considered a disease, instead of a death sentence. And, with new discoveries being made everyday, the cure for HIV/AIDS may come in our lifetime!

Let’s take nothing for granted! Watch the trailer for Academy Award nominated “How To Survive A Plague” below and find out how hard patients fought for trials, experiments and funding. Wanna do something? Donate to AIDS Alliance.org today.

[How To Survive A Plague]

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What’s New in the News?

If Zac Efron Does It?

As promised, I will do drive-by-newsings from time to time to let y’all in on what I’m reading, and what’s happening in this fine world we share!

If Zac Efron Does It?

Here’s the scoop:

Lisa Ling gets kinky on her new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, exploring BDSM’s underworld.

Taylor Swift holds boys accountable for their dating trespasses and Michael J. Fox doesn’t like it.

Leann Rimes yet again discusses her marriage to Eddie Cibrian, their cheating scandal – this time referencing suicide, how pathetic she was, and how her “body wouldn’t let her stop.”

(1) I wonder if public opinion would change if Cibrian appeared alone or alongside her on one of these shows? 2) How much would the public love her more if she had denied his advances or taken the high road and exited the affair even with a broken marriage – her own – ending in divorce?)

Animal rights activist and phenomenal painter Gretchen Ryan appeared on the Ricki Lake show to offer a very public apology to the driver of a Jeep who, years ago, tragically drove off a cliff leaving her paralyzed. She also stars in a viral video called “My Story” directed by Ari Solomon.

A Swedish Toys “R” Us catalog erases gender imbalance in toys. Now girls can shoot plastic Uzi’s too!

Speaking of plastic, here’s more on the photo Zac Efron doesn’t want you to see involving a dildo or five.

In what might be the most awesome stunt ever, two Dutch TV hosts, Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno undergo simulated labor contractions (sans delivery). If only they had to pass a baby the size of a watermelon out a tiny hole…

(For reals, I do wonder if empathy is the missing link in unity between women and men. Fathers have told me that only after they experienced the magic and mystery of their gf’s or wive’s becoming goddess mothers did their opinion of women become fully realized. It reminds me of the episode of The Tudors when King Henry VIII had zero part in the delivery of Anne Boleyn‘s baby, except to check if it was a boy. The polar opposite of what prompted Flea to name Red Hot Chili Pepper’s album “Mother’s Milk” and sit in awe of his wife after the birth of their baby. It’s that front row seat to femininity with her wings spread amass – as opposed to fearing it, or being separate from it – that changes men. And, it’s that uncommon empathy that would make men better lovers and more vocal advocates of protecting women from sexual assault. Really, dudes, your silence on this issue has been deafening. Women need you. You have a lot of power here, so please help us by joining and initiating this conversation!) Off soap box. ;)

Traveling will no longer include flashing TSA your naughty bits.

Closing on a sweet note! Calling all East Coast expatriates! Dunkin’ Donuts plans to open 150 stores in Southern California. Herald the five pounds I recently lost from my hips… :/ Pssst… in case you were wondering… their blueberry muffins with actual bits of sugar on top are forever my vice.

Have a splendid weekend! xox

Leann Rimes Gets Honest About Her Affair in New Song, Borrowed

What do you think? Is Leann Rimes being brave by playing the role of “Super Mistress” and speaking up about the ins & outs of having an affair with a married man? Or, should she shut up already, cuz, she won the man? And… is ex-wife Brandi Glanville’s anger misdirected? Or, should Leann have shown some kind of sisterhood to a woman she never met?

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Red, White and Femme: Who’s Your Guru? Sex Crimes and Small Town Exaltation of Athletes

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By Darrah Le Montre

UPDATE 3/17/2013: The two defendants in the Steubenville, OH rape case have been found “delinquent” on all three charges. Delinquent is the equivalent of guilty in juvenile court. Read the full story here.

UPDATE: I’m honored to announce that my article has been chosen as Recommended Reading for High Schools across the nation!

On August 11/12th of last year, a 16-year old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, was allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulted by members of Steubenville High School’s almighty Big Red Football team. When the story subsequently broke worldwide, it divided a small town and forced us to question the future of our men.

A self-described member of a group that call themselves the “Rape Crew,” Nodianos, or “Nodi” as his teammates call him, starred in an incriminating, vile smart phone video that was posted to YouTube on the night of the alleged assault, then taken down, then reposted to the web by KnightSec and Commander X, who are both affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivist hive. This video features “Nodi” – who clearly borders on sociopathic – maniacally laughing and apparently providing a play-by-play of the repeated gang rape of the 16-year old female victim. During the course of his commentary, he frequently refers to her as the “dead body.”

Events like this force people out of their copacetic, pacified state of separateness, and push us to admit we are all connected. Transgressions like these beg questions about social responsibility, technology’s role in our lives, who is teaching what to our children, what it means to be a father and mother, and why we are even debating whether unconscious means consensual.

Read the rest at: SUICIDEGIRLS BLOG

This article was reprinted by GIRLIEGIRL ARMY.

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Fareed Zakaria, Vandana Shiva and The Future of Food

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During a visit with my dad last week, he turned me onto an incredible CNN journalist/host named Fareed Zakaria. Wow! What an amazing, well-rounded, class act thinker. Zakaria offers a balanced outlook (something we’re experiencing a deficit in with Fox News and Huffington Post as media’s more extreme sides of the pendulum) and he encourages fair debates. I highly recommend listening to his iTunes podcasts, watching his show, Global Public Square, and reading his column in Time. For more info, visit: http://fareedzakaria.com

Moving on… as a thank you and here’s somebody you should know… I showed my family a clip of eco-feminist and twenty-time author, India’s own, Vandana Shiva. You can’t go wrong with putting any thinking individual in front of Bill Moyers, and this interview about GMO’s, Monsanto’s monopoly and international food supply is no exception.

To love, abundance and unity,
Darrah x


[SHIVA]

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V Is For Vitriol: Harper’s Bazaar Dishes on Veganism

vegetable-dress

V Is For Vitriol: Harper’s Bazaar Dishes on Veganism (And It Don’t Taste Good!)
Published on July 27, 2012 by Darrah Le Montre

Too bad a leading women’s magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, took an amazing opportunity to enlighten and educate many of their high-fashion, career savvy, and health conscious readers about the vegan diet, and flushed it down the proverbial toilet! In its August issue (pg. 168), writer Alex Kuczynski skips research and personal testimonies, and chooses instead to play to acrimony amid new mothers, shallow reasoning behind going vegan (skinny celebrities), and then suggests eating a cheeseburger is the answer.

Seasoned fashion writer, Kuczynski, who has written for major fashion mags like Vogue, Lucky and who started her career at The New York Times, uses her sharp pen to shred the good intentions of other women. She offers up stars like Alanis Morissette and Jessica Chastain as the poster ladies of the new dieter “seeking to lose blubber, not save the whales,” the article states. Morissette attributes her “20-pound weight drop to going vegan,” says Harper’s, and Jessica Chastain is quoted as saying, “I used to think about dieting, but I’m vegan now, so it’s not really a problem.”

Los Angeles nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella says, of her vegan clients: “Vanity and weight loss is the number-one thing that’s driving this.”

While losing weight is not an undesirable goal…

———–

READ the rest of the story at GirlieGirl Army.

Please share & leave your comments! Thanks!**

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Thank you!

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I was really happy to receive an email this morning from Lynn Paltrow, the Executive Director of National Advocates for Preganant Women, stating that an Anonymous donation in my name had been made, in celebration of my upcoming birthday. What a wonderful surprise! Thanks so much to whomever gave their time and money so generously, to a cause that I fully support, and that helps women in need – and thus everybody.
You truly brought a smile to my face!!

If anybody else would like to make a donation, visit: http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/ and *please* sign the petition on the front page if you have an extra moment.
Here are other spots I’d love for you to support, if you wish to give me something for my bday!

Love, your faithful Leo lioness,
Darrah xox

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