Feminist Friday: Today We Are All Caterpillars

Happy Friday! What’s ahead for your weekend? Word to the wise: You want to make some room for awesome books by smart, funny broads. Rachel Maddow’s Drift, of course, made its debut at on the New York Times bestseller list at #1 this week and is knocking reviewers dead from awesome.

If you or some loved ones haven’t picked it up yet, I believe our own Heather Hogan will have some words for you on that point next week.

But what do you do once you’ve finished it? (I know that’s a rhetorical question: You finished it days ago, didn’t you?) Fortunately, the always fantastic Rachel Dratch has a book out too, a memoir enticingly titled Girl Walks into a Bar… In it, Dratch mentions that after SNL and a very brief stint on 30 Rock, the only roles she was offered were “Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians.” (Personal to Ms. Dratch: You should take one or two of those. Play them as well as we know you can, and you’ll end up with a fan base for life.)

Rachel told us, exclusively, why we’ll love it: “Well, comedy ladies will like it because it talks about my path from Second City to SNL and beyond being a lady in comedy. But, on a deeper level, I’ve been finding that ladies in their late 30s or early 40s seem to light up when i tell them of my pregnancy tale because they are used to so much negative information. Also, I’ve lived on both sides of single lady-trudging to baby showers, and of being a ‘surprise mom’ and becoming a ‘baby person’ later in the game.”

And Daily Show co-creator/comedian/writer Lizz Winstead has announced that her memoir Lizz Free or Die will be released on May 10. If you haven’t been following her on Twitter, I recommend it. She is hilarious and out there defending your ladybits.

Speaking of ladybits, goodness gracious. We started off the week with the news that the Illinois House of Representatives moved an abortion bill through the Agriculture Committee – agriculture as in livestock – and Georgia passed a bill criminalizing abortion after 20 weeks. This is a so-called “fetal pain” bill, even though scientists agree that fetuses don’t have the neurological systems in place to feel pain until at least 25 weeks. After a protracted fight, exceptions were finally made for “medically futile” pregnancies and for cases when the mother’s life might be at risk, but not for the mother’s emotional state, because who gives a rat about that unless it means dinner is going to be late?

Oh, and when do you start counting those 20 weeks of pregnancy? Arizona would like to start at the first day of the mother’s last period. In other words, when the woman is demonstrably not pregnant, and is most likely incapable of becoming so for another couple of weeks. I guess the Arizona legislators got into one of those websites that has awesome surefire pickup lines.

Fortunately, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has announced that the GOP is totes not waging a war on women and it’s all made up, so don’t worry your pretty little heads about it. He said – and this is for real, not me being puckish or anything – “If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we’d have problems with caterpillars.”

Which makes total sense except for the part where the assault on reproductive freedoms is not so much a totally made-up thing as a sustained and coordinated effort.

“Reince Priebus” is an anagram for “Pubic Ire Sneer,” so draw your own conclusions. Rachel Maddow had a better argument than that. (I wasn’t going to put two Rachel Maddow bits in the same week, but what the hell, it’s a great piece. The excellent Karen Finney also had some choice words for Mr. Priebus.)

Still got your dander up? Lawrence O’Donnell welcomed Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, writer Michelle Godlberg, and my new hero and secret bestie Ohio State Senator Nina Turner to talk about this bushwah with refreshing anger and gusto.

Let’s reinvigorate ourselves with some awesome, shall we?

First off, my new favorite thing in the world is the Texts from Hillary tumblr. Because when you recognize a photo of supreme bad-assery, you roll with it. This is my personal favorite, but there are plenty to choose from.

Also amazing? The Mary Sue had a piece on 17-year-old Marian Bechtel, who, no big thing, came up with a low-cost way to detect land mines.

And, because apparently the Internet wanted nerds to just flip the hell out with joy this week, it served up this fantastic picture of Nichelle Nichols and President Obama giving the Vulcan “live long and prosper” sign. If you get that tattooed on the inside of your eyelids so you can always be reminded that the universe is a wonderful place, no one will blame you.

Hey, did you want to take the edge off that unabashed bliss with some mixed feelings? Well, maybe, sure It’s best to ease into these things. This essay, called “Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls” was getting passed around Facebook this week. The author has some wonderful, dead-on things to say, and then one or two that are… maybe not so much. I particularly want to hear your thoughts on items 1 and 5. Hit the comments to discuss.

Oh, and hey, were you aware that there are still golf clubs that don’t admit women? For example, the Augusta National, home of the Masters Tournament. Which is tricky lately, because the new CEO of IBM, the biggest sponsor of the Masters, is Virginia Rometty, a woman.

The club’s president was curt about it when he talked to the press. There’s a clip in that link, but I refuse to watch it because it might destroy the made up clip in my head of an elderly bewhiskered man popping out his monocle as he screams, “A woman? A woman?!”

Both President Obama and, later, Mitt Romney, released statements that the He-Man-Woman-Haters Club should give it a rest, because criminy. Our own Lucy Hallowell notes that the first black Augusta National member was admitted in 1990, so, awesome. There are easier ways to do the Time Warp, fellas. It’s just a jump to the left…

Speaking of jumping, I cannot think of a better place in all the world for 15,000 ladies to jump the fence and have a spontaneous Dinah East gathering than the Augusta National, can you?

…Or you could blow off steam at the Michigan Womyn’s Festival instead. They just announced their performance roster so you have a few months to get properly stoked for it. Hey,Elvira Kurt is performing!

If you’re in (or heading to) the UK instead, check out the Go.Go Festival for 72 straight hours of women-centered music and partying.

How many dance dares will you take on while you’re there?

Speaking of Ellen, we’ve mentioned Mo Isom’s spring tryout to be the kicker for the LSU football team before. While Isom didn’t make it this round, she can take another shot in the fall. Isom dropped by Ellen’s show to chat about it.

Also in the breaking boundaries department? Transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talakova and, whoa, Bill O’Reilly, who surprised me by supporting her. My apologies for making assumptions about your point of view, Mr. O’Reilly, and thanks for your own progressive thinking.

Let’s swing by Hollywood before we go skipping off into our weekends, shall we? Nekisa Cooper, the producer of Pariah, just got a nice mention in The Wrap’s piece on producers who are making a difference, and FilmCritic.com had an interesting article on “5 Movie Characters who Changed How We View Women.” I was surprised by some of their choices, but I liked them all.

Have a great weekend, and have fun changing the way someone views women yourself.