Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Calling All Shaker-Uppers

You may have heard about one of our newest books, The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life — if you haven't, it's chock-full of ideas to get out, get involved, get going, and generally add some life back into your life. All the ideas in The List, from #13 Run for Office to #60 Kiss a Total Stranger to #92 Have a Baby Late in Life, are based on real stories from women who've come up with creative and often outrageous ways to do something new. You'll read about women who've biked across the US, played ice hockey, started charities, lost 50-plus pounds, gone commando, and mounted art exhibits, to name a few. But we know there are many, many more ideas out there than could ever fit into one book . . . and that's where you come in!

If you have a great shake-up story or an idea for one, we'd love to hear about it. Email with your name and a description of your shake-up. The Lister with our favorite story will win a free copy of the book! Deadline is November 30, so make sure to get yours in this weekend!

To learn more about The List, visit the website at

Monday, November 24, 2008

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

A while back, I heard the name of a film and knew exactly what it would be about. I added it to our netflix and my boyfriend and I watched it over the weekend.

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is set in Communist Romania in 1987. It tells the story of two students, roomates in the dorms, who help each other arrange an illegal abortion for one of the girls. This film brought up a lot of feelings for me because the idea of overturning Roe v. Wade always seems to be of question or concern. As a young woman who believes in every woman's right to choose, this movie made me think of the consequences of what would happen in the United States if abortion were illegal and girls and young women were forced to do terminate pregnancies in hidden places, with unsterile things, and under horrible circumstances. This movie brought those images to life. It opened my eyes to a place where girls will go to jail if they accidentally become pregnant and make the choice not to have the baby. A world where in order to even have an illegal abortion and perhaps die from it, women sometimes endure rape, just so they can pay for it.

It's difficult to believe that choice is still in question for some in the world. That because you aren't ready yet, or made a mistake, that you may have to risk your life. But I'm thankful to live in a country where I am still able to choose, and I hope it stays that way.

This movie is hard to watch at times, but really worth it.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

the F-word is still a dirty word

According to a new Daily Beast poll only 20% of women are willing to use the word “feminist” about themselves and only 17% of all voters said they would welcome their daughters using that label.

When you run in feminist circles, you think that numbers like this can't possibly be true. The very fact that "feminism" is a dirty word to so many people, a label that women would reject because of the stigmas attached to it, is evidence of how much power---personal, social, political---we give up, over and over and over again, as women. I'm not a conspiracist. It's not like I think The Man, or The Right, or women like Sarah Palin are in cahoots to keep women in their places. But each of these entities (and hundreds of organizations and ideological groups and individuals just like them) certainly distorts feminism, so much so that feminism is really just an interpretation: home, life-saver, threat, joke, dirty word.

I remember seeing this quote by feminist Paula Kamen: "A natural response is to change the word feminist to a word with fewer stigmas attached. But inevitably the same thing will happen to that magical word. Part of the radical connotation of feminism is not due to the word, but to the action. The act of a woman standing up for herself is radical, whether she calls herself a feminist or not."

The act of a woman standing up for herself. A radical act, indeed.

via Broadsheet


Monday, November 17, 2008

Thomas Beatie, pregnant man, on Good Morning America

This morning Thomas Beatie appeared on Good Morning America with his wife, Nancy, and their daughter Susan. He discussed his new book, Labor of Love: One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy, and how it feels to be the world's first pregnant man. Check out the video here! Also read the first chapter of Labor of Love at the ABC website.

Saturday's rallies

Tens of thousands of people across the U.S. attended rallies over the weekend to support gay rights. Although the passing of 8 was a hugely disturbing event, it's amazing and awesome to see how much it's mobilized people.

For a little levity, and just to bring light to the ridiculousness of what happened here in California, I want to share Julia Serano's post "Eliminating People's Rights," which reads:

As of today, I refuse to acknowledge 52% of Californian's rights! I will do so randomly, at my choosing. I have deemed myself the ultimate arbiter of rights! After all, as a California voter, I have a God given right to decide who is entitled to "rights" and who is not.

Thus, by the powers vested in me as a California voter, I declare that:

1) Freedom of religion has been eliminated for all of the Mormons and Catholic who funded the "yes on 8" ads.

2) Freedom of speech has been eliminated for anyone who voted for prop 8.

3) And if you fall into class "1" or class "2", then too bad, because I am eliminating your right to marry too. Ha!

special transsexual bonus:
While I'm at it, I refuse to acknowledge the gender identities of anyone who won't acknowledge mine. So watch out Ms. Blanchard and Mr. Jeffreys....

Here are a couple of shots, mine from Oakland and my friend Brendon's from Chicago.




Thursday, November 13, 2008

Barbara Walters Exclusive tomorrow night

Everyone tune in to watch Thomas Beatie, author of Labor of Love, and his family on Barbara Walters tomorrow night.

ABC has announced today that Thomas is expecting again, and we can and will find out more tomorrow night. We at Seal extend our heartfelt congratulations to Thomas and Nancy, and to baby Susan, who's going to be an older sister pretty soon.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Buy books as gifts this year!

I realize that most of our readers are book lovers, but for those of you who aren't tapped into the industry, these are scary times. They're scary times for a lot of people, needless to say, but a story in yesterday's New York Times points to some pretty stormy times ahead, including news that we've known for a while: that Borders is probably going out of business (or at least trying to sell itself).

So what can you do? Buy books this holiday season! If you normally already do, consider buying books for people you don't usually buy for. Books are an amazing gift, and you support publishing and booksellers while you're at it.

Two recommendations on Seal's list for the holidays:

For your mom or your best friend, check out The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life, by Gail Belsky.
---This is the perfect holiday gift to spark some fun ideas for New Year's resolutions, or just ways to spice things up a bit. Specifically geared toward women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, this book has some fantastic suggestions for challenging yourself and/or the women you love.

For anyone who's interested in a memoir unlike anything they've read before, consider getting Labor of Love: the Story of One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy, by Thomas Beatie.
---Thomas has been getting a lot of attention in the media, but his memoir is worth the read. The book is an experience unlike anything you may have read or seen thus far, as it grapples with the tough challenges and amazing rewards that Thomas and Nancy encountered on their journey to conceive and give birth to their beautiful little girl.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Repeal Prop 8

For those of you who haven't checked out the Courage Campaign, do so now.

Sign the pledge to build the Marriage Equality Movement

With enough outrage and enough momentum, this proposition truly has the potential to be overturned, which would be a beautiful beautiful thing.

Say no to amending a constitution with a simple majority. Say no to inequality. Say no to ignorance and hysteria.

Say yes to Marriage Equality.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Tango on West Coast Live and A Matter of Taste

Camille Cusumano, author of Tango: An Argentine Love Story, will be appearing on West Coast Live this Saturday, November 8th. West Coast Live is a live radio show in front of a studio audience that showcases music, books, performers and more all interviewed by the fabulous Sedge Thomson. West Coast Live airs from 10am to Noon PST time and you can listen to it at KALW 91.7 FM.

She'll also be on A Matter of Taste, Sunday November 9th from 11am to Noon!

Listen in to either of these shows this weekend to hear Cusumano discussing music, love, travel and Tango!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the would-be utopia

First of all, thank God! To have had Barack Obama announced the president-elect before 9pm PST was truly an amazing thing to behold. It's a stunning victory, and one that we at Seal revel in along with so many of our fellow Americans.

In California, though, Prop 8 has passed. It was hard to watch the Yes on 8 Campaign in Sacramento celebrating their "win" while the party-goers in the Castro promised to keep on fighting. Meanwhile, Prop 4 at least has failed, and Ann at Feministing has a thorough rundown of all the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-immigrant, and anti-equal opportunity legislation that was on various ballots across the nation yesterday. Some victories, and some shockingly regressive decisions.

It's strange to come to work today with such elation and such disappointment. I'm holding onto the inspiration and hope that Obama carries for so many, though. Congratulations America! Eight years of waiting for it to be over, and we've finally made it!!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day

I come to work extremely hopeful this morning. There was already a line down the block at my polling place this morning, at 6.50. It was amazing to stand among the diverse group of people: gay and straight couples; black, white, and Latino voters. It was the first moment I've had where hope has overridden doubt---and that in itself is something to savor.

Just to savor the moment a little more, I'm going to allow myself to dream of what tomorrow might look like. Obama and Biden have been up late celebrating their victory, and Californians wake up to the results on Prop 8 and Prop 4. Neither have passed.

I heard from a close source that a valid fear about gay marriage is that it would alter the very social fabric of our society. The ironic thing is that I think that's true, and I say bring it on. The social fabric of our society is more interesting and beautiful with diverse expressions of love. I grew up not feeling comfortable sharing with my friends that my dad had a partner who I loved as much as I loved my parents. I wonder how different my experience would have been if I had been able to say he was my stepfather. Because that's indeed what he was to me. Tomorrow I imagine a world without Prop 8, and a world where gay partners can call each other wife and wife or husband and husband and where kids of gay parents aren't ashamed or confused or vague about their parents' and parents' partners roles are.

I have a close friend who's voting yes on Prop 4 because she wants to be able to "weigh in" should her daughter get pregnant. My interpretation of weigh in: make the choice on behalf of her daughter. In this girl's case, there wouldn't be a choice, though, because abortion would not be an option. For those parents who would vote for Prop 4, here's a simple request: Talk to your kids about sex. Wouldn't that be a wonderful proposition to put on the ballot? Prop Talk to Your Kids about Sex. Reduces teen pregnancy! Takes into account that kids are going to have sex whether you think it's a sin or not! Acknowledges the actual world we live in, where kids are bombarded by messages about sex---and so they need more information, not less! Tomorrow I imagine a world without Prop 4, where teens are able to seek out the information they need (including info about birth control!) and make choices about their own bodies.

So now I'll just sit back and wait to see if dreams really can come true.