Why we keep fighting, Reason #4,561

Via Feministing, an anonymous reader, who happens to be a pharmacist at an unidentified Wal-Mart, brings up a behind-the-pharmacy-counter horror story.

Here’s a bit of background: We have a male pharmacist who works at our store and he is a fundamentalist, Conservative (yes, with a capital ‘C’) Christian. We have 2 female pharmacists and our former manager was male. All of the pharmacy techs at our store are women, ranging in age from 25 to 45, most married/divorced with children.

When Plan B went over the counter a couple of years ago, the Conservative pharmacist brought in a couple of things he had found on ‘pro-life’ websites that said Plan B was an abortifacient. He had talked to our manager at the time about his feelings on the matter and the fact that he didn’t want to dispense Plan B, citing his religious beliefs.

Okay, you say, we’ve heard this story. Guy’s a fruitcake zealot.  One at every pharmacy, right?  Is he the only person behind the counter?  Why, as a matter of fact, he is not.  None of the other pharmacy employees, all women, had a problem with dispensing Plan B.

And neither did the store manager.

And as some of you may already know, Wal-Mart has an official policy for this situation:

Wal-Mart’s official policy, however, is that even if no one in the pharmacy wants to sell Plan B, we have to have it stocked on the shelf.

So, what’s the problem? Emphasis below, mine.

The manager did not have a problem selling it, but he thought that the best thing to do would be to not stock it at all, that way the Conservative pharmacist wouldn’t be put in a situation where he felt compromised.

The women in the pharmacy, despite our political and/or religious beliefs, all agreed that we had no problem selling it, if for no other reason than the fact that there may be a girl or woman who needs Plan B because she has been raped. But this one particular pharmacist has blocked it. We are not allowed to order it, and if some does come in our order from the warehouse, he immediately arranges for it to be sent back to the warehouse. If someone calls asking for Plan B, we’re supposed to say that we’ve run out of stock. Im ashamed to admit that I have told people this, but I do always refer them to one of the many other pharmacies in town (there are literally about 30 others, ranging from small independents to large chains, some that are open 24-hours) that definitely carry it. We had a woman bring in a prescription for her 16-year-old daughter for Plan B, and we had to tell her to go to another pharmacy.


I also wanted to say that it’s not just Plan B that pharmacists will refuse to fill/dispense. There have been 2 specific occasions that I can recall where women have brought in prescriptions for Cytotec (misoprostol) and a pain pill, which is often used when women have had a miscarriage to pass any tissue that may be left. This pharmacist immediately began to question the doctor’s prescription and whether it was being used to cause an abortion.

As truly odious as that last bit is, I still think the real villain in this piece is the manager.  Guy violates a company-wide policy, changes the supply situation, instructs employees to lie, and refuses a vital service to deserving customers.

All this to accommodate one pharmacist w/ a personal religious issue.

Oh, and, in the why-am-I-not-surprised department,

This pharmacist apparently has NO problem dispensing birth control or Viagra/Cialis/Levitra, however.

Eat It!

Stumbled across this over at the fabulaire Shapely Prose. I laughed so loud I think I scared the office’s student admin.

The video was originally produced by InfoMania, on the current_.com site.


Like most everyone else on the innawebs, I read a lot of stuff online every day, some days more than others. The last few days, most of what I’ve read has been either depressing or infuriating, or both. (ABC News, I’m looking at you.)

The thing is, given the online neighborhoods I hang out in, I guess I kinda take for granted that most of what I read will ultimately have that effect. Not that being cynical and wary and on-guard at this point in time, in this country, in this culture, is an unsound response, but sometimes I don’t realize how much I’ve shielded my soft spots till I run right into something that melts those shields right away.

Such a thing is this tender and beautiful post from fashionablenerd over at her newly-revamped blog Hyde and Seek

I Saw Myself Today

In the mirror, after my shower, I saw myself.

No different than any other day…except…

I saw beauty. Not ugly.

My skin, the color of caramel sauce, draped over a shoulder that’s uplifted many a friends head

And provides a cuddle-spot for my nephew when he hugs me

Is covered in stretchmarks, and scars from falls

But I wasn’t disgusted, for once.

My belly, with all its rolls and lines

Looks soft and warm…not deformed or horrid, as I once believed

Many a lover’s hand has spanned and rubbed this belly

Lips have kissed the heart-shaped scar on the left

While stroking the tender skin on the right.

(read the rest)

Thanks to fashionablenerd for making this spring day even more sunny.

And on that note, It’s as good a time as any to let on that virgotext will also soon be undergoing revamping herownself, actually more of a “movin on up” to my own dee-luxe hosted domain in the sky. More will be forthcoming as that draws closer but the point here is this: when I was first thinking about making that move, I had to also start thinking about rededicating myself to providing more consistently substantive content. After finishing up (for the time being) over at NuPac, I’ve been kind of just drifting along on the current here at home, lots of “I do this I do that” posts.

And every time I started thinking about what I wanted to blog about in my new digs, the first thing was body acceptance, about size discrimination, about the din from that tower of corporate babel that condescendingly tells me I have a personal fucking responsibility to adopt buy a healthy lifestyle their diet/product/program/book/ crackpot theory/ conformist cultural bias, etc. Along with accepting their bald-faced lies that say I’m nothing more than a suicidal, stupid, lazy, gluttonous, crazy, asexual, ugly, shameful, and ironically enough, invisible, mistake.

Oh my. Writing about that stuff certainly wasn’t what I had planned, or even wanted necessarily, but it’s what kept coming up, it’s what that annoyingly perceptive little voice that I’ve come to realize is usually right was telling me. So, I said “Enough already, okay, I’m listening! Okay, I’ll do it!” and the voice left me alone to blunder along in my usual convoluted way. (Damn, for once, I wish it would be more useful, like tell me where I left my other pair of glasses, or how big my next raise is going to be, or if my dog really does resent me …)

Yeah, so anyway, alert the media, virgo’s gonna fatblog.

It’s not all I’ve got planned to do at the new place. Trust me, I’d be bored shitless if I only ever blogged about one thing, no matter what that one thing is. It’s just that it’s definitely on the list.

More on the rest of the list later.

“We keep them quiet”

I’ve written and re-written, then deleted and re-deleted an actual post on why you should go read this magnificent piece by Molly Ivors. I was trying to explain, without being self-indulgent as well as too self-revealing, why this is so important for me right now. But things are too recent for me to wrest coherence from the experience.

For another thing it’s Monday, I’m on lunch break at one job after working at another all weekend,  I’m trying to also write a Wire piece for the other blog, and also, I can’t really add to anything Molly’s already said better.

Lastly, none of us should have to stop and explain why it’s important to us, now or anytime. It should be one of those self-evident truths. Go read.

Tweety’s little problem

Nellie McKay

“Mother Of Pearl”

Dedicated to misogynistic fucktards everywhere:

After Clinton won the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Matthews asserted: “[T]he reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around.” He described her performance at a debate last Saturday as apparently “good enough to seem good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway.”

Pride Post XIX: “A patriot is not a weapon” — Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich

About Rich’s work, the poet W.S. Merwin has said, “All her life she has been in love with the hope of telling utter truth, and her command of language from the first has been startlingly powerful.”

Rich has received the Bollingen Prize, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship; she is also a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

In 1997, she refused the National Medal of Arts, stating that “I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration.” She went on to say: “[Art] means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage.”


A patriot is not a weapon. A patriot is one who wrestles for the soul of her country
as she wrestles for her own being, for the soul of his country
(gazing through the great circle at Window Rock into the sheen of the Viet Nam Wall)
as he wrestles for his own being. A patriot is a citizen trying to wake
from the burnt-out dream of innocence, the nightmare
of the white general and the Black general posed in their camouflage,
to remember her true country, remember his suffering land: remember
that blessing and cursing are born as twins and separated at birth to meet again in mourning
that the internal emigrant is the most homesick of all women and of all men
that every flag that flies today is a cry of pain.

Section XI, An Atlas of the Difficult World

No women were harmed during the shooting of this magazine cover

Stating the obvious here, but there’s a narrow societal spectrum for what a woman’s body should look like and for how she should feel about that. (I’ll leave the myriad causes for that aside because that’s a whole other encyclopedia). On one side of the spectrum is perfection, in the middle is average/normal/compliant/conformist/passing and on the other end not making the grade but having the decency to at least try to fit in or acknowledge your failure/shortcoming. It’s no secret that this standard does more harm than good to women (especially young women and girls) and to their physical and mental well-being.

Which brings me to Beth Ditto. Most of the negative comments I’ve seen about Ditto, her body, her size and her propensity for flaunting it, usually fall into two camps. The flat-out “That’s disgusting. WTF is wrong with her?” and the “What about her health? She’s advocating bad health.” I find it worth noting they almost always have a blaming/shaming component, focusing on a failure on Ditto’s part, rather than simply stating the commenter’s opinion.

It’s my guess that we’re going to be seeing a lot of that as people react to her nude cover portrait on the new NME.



This is really about power. And as usual, I say more power to Ditto. More power to any woman who celebrates her power, her sexuality, her body as is and herself as she is.

And I challenge those who disagree to show me how and why Ditto’s message is a threat, compared to the effects of the constant, overwhelming prescriptive standards for physical perfection forced upon women by the majority society/culture/media. Which is doing the most harm?

Drive by grab bag


Buh bye, Abu:
Going, going, Gonzo!

Win a date with Alan Greenspan:
Charity or pathetic cry for help? You decide, but if you go, don’t let Andrea bogart the Merlot.

Check it out and bookmark:
Feminism 101, a recently launched – and exhaustively researched – blog by tigtog. Excellent resource for feminism newbies, dudely dudes who don’t get it, and well, anyone. Includes a FAQ, Introduction, clarifying concepts, and much more.

(image: Michael Costello, House of Cards #2)

More power to Beth Ditto


I mean I don’t really know why they want The Gossip to do things for them, I don’t understand because if they saw me in the street they’d never give me the time of day. I like me, I think that other girls like me, they need people like me, people who feel really strongly and will say no.”

Via NME, that’s Beth Ditto on turning down a request for The Gossip to do a series of in-store performances for British apparel store Topshop. Named Number One on NME’s annual Cool List this past year, the 210-pound lesbian, feminist, fat activist and vocalist extraordinaire turned down the promotional opportunity on the grounds that, while Topshop wants to use her and The Gossip for advertising, the store does not sell clothing in larger sizes. She apparently in turn offered to design such a line for Topshop.

All of which I respond to with a “Hell yeah!”

I have come to claim Marilyn Monroe’s body

by Judy Grahn

I have come to claim Marilyn Monroe’s body
for the sake of my own
dig it up
hand it over
cram it in this paper sack
hubba hubba hubba

Look at those luscious long brown bones
that wide and crusty pelvis
ha ha
oh she wanted so much to be serious
but she’ll never stop smiling now
has she lost her mind
Marilyn be serious
they’re taking your picture

And they’re taking the pictures of
eight young women in New York City
who murdered themselves for being pretty
by the same method as you
the very next day after you
I have claimed their bodies too
they smile up out of my paper sack
like brainless Cinderellas

the reporters are furious
they are asking me questions
what right does a woman have to Marilyn Monroe’s body?
and what am I doing for lunch?
ha ha they think I mean to eat you
their teeth are lurid and they want to pose me
leaning on the shovel, nude
don’t squint
but when one of the reporters comes too close
I beat him
bust his camera with your long smooth thigh
and with your lovely knuckle bone
I break his eye

Long ago you wanted to write poems
Be serious, Marilyn
I am going to take you in this paper sack
around the world, and
write on it: —the poems of Marilyn Monroe—
Dedicated to all princes,
the male poets who were so sorry to see you go,
before they had a crack at you.

They wept for you
and also they wanted to stuff you while
you still had a little meat left in useful places
but they were too slow.

Now I shall take them my paper sack
and we shall act out a poem together:
“How would you like to see Marilyn Monroe,
in action, smiling, and without her clothes?”
We shall wait long enough to see them make familiar faces
and then I shall beat them with your skull.
hubba. hubba. hubba. hubba. hubba.

Marilyn be serious
today I have come to claim your body for my own

Edward the Dyke and Other Poems

Oakland Women’s Press Collective; 1ST edition (1971)