Friday, October 16, 2009

High School Yearbooks and Gender Performativity

Ceara Sturgis is a lesbian student at Wesson Attendance Center in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition to being gay, she chooses to express her gender in a traditionally masculine way. One example? She wears boys' clothing.

At Wesson Attendance Center, students take yearbook pictures in formal attire- tuxes for boys, drapes for girls. Clearly, the high school imposes a strict gender dichotomy upon students; females are to present as women, and males are to present as men.

Ceara Sturgis refuses to follow this tradition- she wants to wear a tux. Why can't she blur the gender lines a bit? School authorities won't allow her to appear in the yearbook unless she wears a dress.

Ridiculous. If Sturgis wants to wear a tux for her yearbook picture, her decision should be respected. Likewise, if a male felt more comfortable wearing a drape for his senior picture, his choice should be honored. In a world where gender exists in a continuum, Wesson Attendance Center's rules are simply too limiting.

Click here for more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Food AND Feminism: House Party for The Advoctes for Human Rights

Today I had the privilege of attending an open house fundraiser for The Advocates for Human Rights. The event featured State Representative Michael Paymar- a key player in the recent changes in sex trafficking laws- as the main speaker. Rep. Paymar also recently served an important role in the Battered Women's Justice Project.

We listened to Rep. Paymar's inspiring speech- a call for further action- while sipping warm mulled cider from large mugs. Upon further exploration of the quaint buffet table, I discovered the most delicious artichoke dip I've ever tasted. Accented with black olives, it was the perfect combination of creamy and tangy.

Overall, the afternoon proved to be a wonderful success- the Advocates raised a good heap of money to help fund upcoming Women's Human Rights projects, I met several key people in the community, and we all enjoyed the delicious home cooking of our generous hosts.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Double-Daring Book for Girls

There has been a continued craze with The Dangerous Book for Boys series. Inside the first book were fun, constructive activities and lessons for young boys- how to build a tree house, how to tie a variety of useful knots, and short lessons on famous battles in history. The book was well received by parents and young boys alike.

Ten months later, the publishers came out with an edition for young ladies- The Daring Book for Girls.

Come on. Dangerous vs. Daring: which would you rather be? Shouldn't we be pushing girls more towards the dangerous end of the spectrum (and for that matter, bringing boys back toward daring end)?

As if the titles weren't bad enough, the contents of the Girls' book is horrifying; how to frost a cake, secret note-passing skills, and how to turn a perfect cartwheel...
Reviews of this book were less than stellar (we can thank the well-educated, enlightened consumers for lambasting this edition).

My confidence in American progress returned when they introduced The Double-Daring Book for Girls. (Okay, so the title is still lame). Inside lay a treasure of knowledge: how to run a magazine, how to say "no," even how to become the President of the United States.

"This," I thought to myself, "is a book I will let my future daughter read."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ruben Rosario make a good point.

Read this, and remember...

"...until women can move freely and think freely in their homes, on the streets, and in the workplace without the fear of violence, there can be no real freedom."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My New Favorite Pizza

So I have been absent for a little while. I've been studying for the GRE and getting back to classes... but now I'm back! And I'm here to share with you a little secret that Gesta discovered in Dinkytown:

Mesa- Pizza by the Slice

This amazing little pizza parlor has an incredible selection of the most imaginative pizzas possible. Their menu includes such delectable choices as Southwest Taco pizza, Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza, and Macaroni and Cheese pizza. Of course, they always have staples like cheese and pepperoni for the less adventurous. For $3 ($2 for the basic cheese or pepperoni), you get a freshly warmed giant slice of pizza to enjoy while people-watching out their big storefront windows. Or, if you live in or around the U of M area, you can have your Mesa pizza delivered. Mesa Pizza most definitely makes it on my elite list of Twin Cities True Value Meals.

Click here for the full menu.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Police Women

While I don't so much enjoy TLC's Todders and Tiaras (a heinous show about young children and their pageant-crazed parents), I fell in love with the channel's Police Women of Broward County. The show features four of Miami's most dedicated police women arresting sex offenders, working undercover to break up drug rings, and somehow always finding time to care for their children. It is without a doubt one of the most real, empowering, and inspiring shows I've found. Finally, a show that holds hard working women in high regard!

Monday, August 24, 2009

We've come a long way....

Even though we still have a LONG way to go, at least commercials like these aren't commonplace anymore.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Minnesota Laws

Effective August 1 of this year, Minnesota will be enforcing harsher penalties for sex trafficking. Minnesota has also changed the definition of sex trafficking and has increased the fines for trafficking.

See page two of this document for the whole story.

Let's hope these tougher laws help make a positive difference!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's About Time!

Reparative therapy, in use since the late 20th century, is a form of “therapy” aimed at changing homosexuals into heterosexuals. Research has shown that such therapy is not only ineffective, but can be harmful as well. Although the American Psychological Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses (DSM-I) in 1973, it has still encouraged mental health professionals to refer troubled homosexuals to reparative therapy.

On August 5th, 2009, the APA adapted a new resolution officially rejecting the effectiveness of reparative therapy. This resolution declares that “Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation” (Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD). Instead, therapists are encouraged to work with clients in more creative ways to address concerns about homosexuality and religious conflict. This is a small, but important step toward ending discrimination toward homosexuals and increasing acceptance of homosexuality. And it’s about time it happened!

See the articles below for the full story:

New York Times

American Psychological Association

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Alright foodies, here's one for you.

If there's anything I love more than food, it's free food. And guess who's giving it away?! Arby's is giving away freebies every Wednesday till the end of the summer!

August 12th- Free Roast Chicken Club with soft drink purchase
August 19th- Free FruiTea with sandwich purchase (these teas are awesome!)
August 26th- Free Roast Beef 'n Cheddar with soft drink purchase

Enjoy it while it lasts!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Problem with Pageants

“Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good looking, good tempered, well groomed and unaggressive” -Leslie M. McIntyre

The other night I watched an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras, TLC’s show detailing the lives of several young children involved in pageants. While I’m sure quite a few viewers would agree that placing your four-year-old daughter in a pageant is a waste of time, money and an unnecessary stress on the family, I’m worried about the deeper implications of the pageant.

The Miss Universe Organization, owned by Donald Trump, holds a number of pageants each year, including the well-known Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants. While the Miss Universe Organization website boasts that the group has become an “international organization that advances and supports opportunities for… young women,” one has to wonder just what kind of opportunities this organization holds. Let’s look at a Ms. magazine article:

“[To compete in the Miss USA pageant,] today's "delegates" must be between the ages of 18 and 26, single, and willing to parade in a swimsuit. They can't be engaged, previously married, or have children. Each must cover her own expenses (sponsorships defray some costs). The winner receives a trophy, cash prizes and sponsorships totaling about $200,000, luxury digs in New York City for a year, and she must represent the organization during her "reign." The other 78 contestants get to pay for their plane tickets home.”

Hmmm. Is this the kind of ephemeral fame and fortune we want to raise our daughters to lust after? Let’s read on. 

“The real winners are, of course, Donald Trump and CBS. After tallying the more than $10 million extracted from the host country, the seven-figure exclusivity deals given to pageant sponsors, and the sale of broadcast rights to roughly 110 countries, the final score is at least $100 million for Trump and CBS, and zilch for 78 of ‘today's women.’ ”

Ms. magazine, 2000

Don’t you think the thousands of dollars contestants spend on pageants could be put to better use? What about the months’ worth of pageant events contestants are required to devote to proving themselves worthy of the top prize? Couldn’t this time be better spent?

Let’s be honest. If the Miss Universe Organization was truly concerned with advancing and supporting young women, they would be giving prizes to worthy women all over the globe regardless of their age, marital status, or how they look in a swimsuit. Pageants like those held by the Miss Universe Organization are most interested in the money these women can bring to the Organization, not in the positive difference each of these intelligent, talented (and, by chance, beautiful) women can make in the world.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lucia's Restaurant

For over two decades, Lucia’s Restaurant has graced Uptown with its presence. Situated on the corner of W 31st St and Hennepin Ave in Minneapolis, Lucia’s dwells beneath understated blue awnings. If you happen to drive by in the winter months, it’s easy to overlook Lucia’s behind the snow banks. But take a stroll through uptown in summer and you won’t miss the ebb and flow of patrons through Lucia’s blue door.

Inside, the sights are simple; pure ivory walls, bright oak floors and royal blue accents clear the visual senses of unnecessary distractions and prepare the palette for a journey of its own. The menu, created weekly, features fresh, locally grown and seasonal foods carefully prepared to satisfy even the most discriminating of tastes, all presented by the most professional and knowledgeable of wait staff. On some nights, owner Lucia Watson may even stop in to pay a visit to your table.

I had the privilege of dining at Lucia’s last night. First, I enjoyed the freshest of mixed green salads drizzled in the house vinaigrette. For my entrée, I enjoyed curried chicken served with jasmine rice, steamed vegetables and three summer chutneys. Each of the chutneys was Indian-inspired and added a lively kick to every bite of chicken. I finished with a deconstructed German chocolate cake. While the goo was a little sweet for my taste, the chocolate cake and plain whipped cream were a marvelous combination. Overall, a wonderful meal.

If you visit Lucia’s, be prepared to spend $30-40 per person (this estimate includes an appetizer and entrée). For us college folk, this makes Lucia’s more of a special occasion indulgence than an everyday meal. That said, make your reservations several days in advance. Lucia’s has a come-as-you-are dress code, but as is often the case, better dress = better service. After dinner, stop at Lucia’s Wine Bar (next door) for a fine glass of wine, then head over to Magers & Quinn Booksellers to browse great books at discounted prices. You won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Go Kan Mon

Can the practice of consuming food help bring us closer to the people we truly desire to be? Perhaps it can. Regardless of our religious beliefs (or lack thereof), I think we can all benefit from some principles based in Buddhist thought. “Go kan mon,” or the five outlooks, are printed on the menus of several Buddhist establishments in Japan. The five rules regarding food harmony are as follows:

Respect the efforts of all those who have toiled to cultivate and prepare your food

Live your life committing good deeds worthy of such nourishment

Come to the table without negative feelings toward others

Eat for both spiritual and physical well-being

Be serious in your pursuit of enlightenment

While these outlooks may seem a bit lofty for some of us, they can be summed up in one simple phrase: We eat to live, not live to eat. That is, we should eat with our life and well-being in mind. Remember these outlooks at your next meal, notice how delicious your food becomes, and take note of your progress toward becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Want to know more? Look for this book at your local library.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

On Criticism

Last spring, I took a creative writing class from an excellent professor. He was smart, had a pointed sense of humor, and was a great writer himself. Just before class one day, a fellow student was discussing her work with him. She had put months’ worth of effort into preparing a project that exposed sexism in classic literature. While her professors were proud of her work, her family was not. “My uncle called me a feminazi,” she lamented. Our professor responded simply: “Well, you must be doing something right.”

Here's to the crazy ones.

The misfits.

The rebels.

The trouble-makers.

The round heads in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules.

And they have no respect for the status-quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.

But the only thing you can't do is ignore them.

Because they change things.

They push the human race forward.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

(Apple Ad)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting Dressed

Our only hope for the redemption of woman from the thralldom of dress lies in the belief that her hitherto limited sphere of activities has been so insufficient for her intellectual occupations that she has been forced to expend her thoughts in decorating her person, instead of enlarging her mind. ~Mercy B. Jackson

Every time I put on a pair of high heels, part of me begins to feel guilty. This morning was no exception. Is a feminist woman allowed to look like the prototypical American woman? Would a real feminist woman wear heels? Can a feminist woman wear make-up if she chooses? What about shaving her armpits? Letting her hair grow long? Wearing the color pink?

These and other questions plague me every time I find myself wearing a dress. Am I a walking contradiction? I am an advocate for equality, yet I love wearing the very things that distinguish women from men (and, some would argue, the very things that further enforce a male-female dichotomy). How can I rightly acknowledge my fondness for fashion while striving to be a progressive, enlightened feminist? Is wearing “feminine” clothing undermining all the things I work and pray for? Perhaps Mercy B. Jackson is right; maybe instead of expanding my mind, I’m wasting it on decorating my body. Let’s hope there is another side to this argument…

There is a fine line between art and decoration. Some things should be both. And some things should remain one or the other. As a feminist, my choices in clothing, shoes, and jewelry should be artistic in purpose- not decorative. That is, clothing ought to be chosen with “deliberate thought to aesthetic, and, on a deeper level, with the desire to communicate something” (Beth Peterson). Whatever we wish to communicate, the thought and intention given to our choices in apparel allow us to take power in how we present ourselves. Rather than dressing to serve a decorative purpose, we use dress as one small way to express our intentions and ourselves.

What is appropriate dress for a feminist? Every feminist woman must choose for herself. The way I see it, a feminist who deliberately avoids “feminine” fashions is equivalent to a feminist indicating that only those dressed in “masculine” clothing can be trusted and worthy of respect. By dressing in “feminine” clothing yet demanding equal treatment and respect, we teach the world to treat all women like human beings, no matter how they look.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


While I seem to recall promising myself that my blog would not turn into a place for me to rant angrily about the unjust treatment of women the world over, something has recently hit very close to home and has caused me great anger. Hoss Gifford, a so-called industry professional, gave a highly offensive, inappropriate presentation at a professional Flashbelt conference in the Twin Cities last week. You can read the city pages blog for the full story.

I am disgusted, angered, and, quite frankly, pissed off at Gifford for his inappropriate presentation, pissed off at Flashbelt for their acceptance of Gifford's weak apology, and pissed off that I was not in attendance at the conference; I promise you, had I been at the conference, things would have turned out differently- especially for Gifford.

I encourage you to join the conversations already out there and to speak out against Gifford

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Dock Café

Recipient of this year’s Minnesota Monthly Reader Award for Best Outdoor Dining and Best View, the Dock Café easily lands a spot on my top ten. Located in quaint Stillwater, MN, this jewel of an eatery sits right on the water, affording the guest breathtaking views of the St. Croix river and surrounding bluffs.

A short while ago, I spent all day on a solo vacation in Stillwater. Looking for a place to lunch, I tried to get seated two other restaurants before stopping at the Dock Café. These first two restaurants (which shall remain nameless) were both clearly befuddled and bemused by the thought of a young lady wanting to dine alone. Tired of waiting to be approached by the ineffective hosts of these establishments, I walked over to the Dock, where my unescorted presence was given a hearty welcome.

My partner in romance and I made a trip to the Dock again last night. We were by far the youngest couple in attendance that evening. (I’ve learned that being the youngest person in a restaurant isn’t a rare occurrence when you acquire a taste for finer fare).  Despite the age discrepancy, we felt every bit as welcome as the older diners.

While my friend enjoyed a seared tuna sandwich with Cal-Asian dressing and sprouts, I relished an open-face salmon sandwich with red peppers and cucumber-dill cream cheese on ciabatta. (So eager to dive into our dishes, we completely forgot to capture a photo of our food for you to enjoy.) For desert, we had a rich flourless chocolate torte drizzled with homemade raspberry sauce. 

While the torte was average at best (I’ve been the lucky consumer of many a flourless chocolate torte, giving me quite a discerning taste for these cakes), the raspberry sauce was absolutely the best I’ve ever had. Perfectly tart and not too sweet, this sauce made the dessert.

I’ll definitely be going back to the Dock soon to sample their asiago encrusted scallops, key lime pie, and, if I find myself a wad of cash, a gondola ride: The Dock Café and Gondola Romantica have teamed up to offer a special package. For a hefty (but still Feminist-Foodie-reasonable) fee, you can enjoy a five-course meal at the Dock and a one-hour gondola ride on the St. Croix River. See for more info. 

Above: A partially enjoyed flourless chocolate torte. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Taming Men?

As many of you know, I’m in the midst of a summer Collaborative Research project called “The Latino Culture of Honor and Attitudes toward Domestic Abuse.” It’s a work in progress (and will remain “in progress” for the next year). While reading an article related to my research, I came across a bothersome idea: The notion that marriage was created to tame men. This is not a new idea by any standard, but it is no less disturbing each time I come across it in my studies.

Let me make this clear: I am a feminist because I care about men. Not because I hate men, as many may automatically assume. So it’s no surprise that I am concerned by this notion of taming men. As a firm advocate against the inappropriately strong socialization that occurs from the moment a female child is born, I am bothered by fact that this idea of “taming” places the burden of yet another responsibility on women’s shoulders: the supposedly “natural” ability to “tame” men.

What responsibilities am I talking about? The unreasonable notion that women must always serve as morally superior beings. The unfair expectation for women to be the sole protectors of their bodies against men. The expectation that women’s lives should center upon the ultimate goal of being “claimed” by a man.

And add to this the expectation for women to lure men into the trap of marriage and keep them “tame” for years on end. 

This idea not only places an unrealistic responsibility on women, it also belittles the intelligence and capabilities of men. You see, when society expects women to “tame” men, men are socialized to ignore their responsibility to moderate themselves. Next thing you know, a husband cheats on his wife and society looks down upon her for her inability to tame her husband. Or a woman is raped and society attributes the crime to her sex appeal—in other words, her inability to tame the man. Or a woman is beaten and society attributes the crime to her provocations—in other words, her inability to tame the man.

Let’s get our facts straight: There have been no solid studies suggesting that raised levels of testosterone cause greater levels of aggression or sexual interest in humans. It’s time to stop attributing male aggression and promiscuity to unproven scientific notions. It’s time to stop attributing male crimes to women’s irresponsibility. It’s time to move the burden of creating socially responsible men off of women’s shoulders and on to men’s. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Almost-Free Lunches

Flashback to Wednesday: There’s $5.35 in my wallet, and lunch is long overdue. Something quick, something tasty, and something thrifty, yes? Sure, $5.35 will buy you six days’ worth of sodium and fat (not to mention bloat) at your average fast food chain, but much finer fare can be found if you know where to look. Here’s a list of my favorite almost-free St. Paul lunches.

Lunches under $5!

New Asia 474 Lexington Pkwy N St. Paul, MN 55104

Between the hours of 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, you can buy an entire meal for $4.95. This includes an entrée (I recommend chicken with broccoli), white or fried rice, and your choice of soup, cream cheese wontons, or an egg roll. Take care to notice the stuffed animals, bead curtains, and wild horse mural that add to the classic St. Paul Midway atmosphere. Just bear in mind- it’s not the service that keeps me coming back.

Java Train 1341 Pascal St. St. Paul, MN 55108

This adorable, snob-free coffee shop serves up great deals on lunch throughout the week.

With specials like Wednesday’s Turkey Artichoke Panini at only $4.50, you can afford to get that large iced mocha to get you through your afternoon. Or, spend that extra change on an itsy-bitsy ice cream cone for just .75 in flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy. Check out for a full menu including daily specials.

Above: Java Train's Tuesday Lunch Special

Cleveland Wok 767 Cleveland Ave S. St. Paul, MN 55116

Get the area’s best lunch buffet to go. Located in an area a bit more quaint than New Asia, this restaurant draws customers from all walks of life to their 11-3 pm lunch buffet. For $3.99/lb, you can stuff Chinese take-out boxes full of buffet food. Or, for a little over $5, you can dine in and enjoy multiple trips to the buffet. Parking is on-street and scarce, but the walk will be worth it!

Acme Deli 1552 St. Clair Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105

Acme deli lets you customize your sandwich using a clear, foolproof, pencil-and-paper ordering system. Meat sandwiches start at $4.60, veggie sandwiches at $3.90. (Mustard aficionados beware- only yellow is available.) For an extra $1.50, Acme will deliver your sandwich to any location in the St. Paul area. Fast, convenient and delicious. See for the complete menu.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Beginning

The Feminist Foodie began rather simply...

While working my PCA job earlier this afternoon, tantrums and squeals couldn't distract me from my growling stomach. Work wouldn't be over for another hour, meaning two things: 1) The kids would probably spend most of my money before my shift ended, so... 2) I would need to find something to quell my hunger on the cheap. 
By shift's end, I had a measly $5.35 left in my wallet, a stomach growling like trucks down-shifting on the highway, and less than half an hour to spare until it it was time to hit the books again.
Now how many times have I been in this situation- with $5 or less left in my wallet and nothing but stale cereal and black bananas back at the apartment? I needed something quick, something tasty, and something thrifty. 

Pause. This is where The Feminist Foodie is born. I'm a college student with a love for good eats at dirt cheap prices and a passion for empowering women. No need to keep the news to myself!
Now how do feminism and food intersect, you ask? Simple. We renounce post-meal guilt, embrace our bodies' needs for fuel and step forward as healthy, nourished women ready to take on the patriarchal paradigm. The two are inextricably linked. 

And this is the birth of The Feminist Foodie.