Photo: Eve Ekeblad

This week, the blogosphere brought us change-making women from Hollywood to the Web to Wisconsin, including a challenge to women moviegoers from veteran actress and soon-to-be-movie-star Octavia Spencer.

  • We never thought of former House and Garden editor Dominique Browning as a community organizer, but it appears we were mistaken. This week, she writes about her work with Moms Clean Air Force, an alliance of mom-bloggers mobilizing in support of the government’s new clean air rules. She lays out the terrain: “Clearly, Americans want cleaner air. Parents are especially passionate about fighting air pollution — it hurts fetuses, babies and toddlers the most. […] Many responsible coal plant executives have already installed filters on their plants — it hasn’t hurt their profits or cost them jobs. But many polluters, and their lobbyists and political allies, are fighting these improvements. They are calling for repealing the Clean Air Act and gutting the EPA’s budget so that it cannot enforce any regulations. Our work at Moms Clean Air Force is far from done.” Click over to see how you can get involved.
  • Meanwhile, at Girl! Get Me Started, Jill Nelson meditates on a question our Eleanore Wells has raised at WVFC: When is a pet just a pet? Nelson muses about the kind of questions raised by the issue: “Some people won’t eat animals but draw the line at enrolling them in college, others eat animals but won’t wear them. Some shout wearing fur is murder but think testing them for drugs to save humans is OK. It seems all of our politics around the role of pets in our lives stand in opposition and at times extreme contradiction. … Some people fight dogs, those people I think are also just rodents, all pests. Call Orkin. Some cultures eat the pets we domesticate. We say gross they say yum. Who is right? Where does our humanity intersect with our obsessions and projections?” And when do they get invited to the wedding?
  • On Tuesday, the state of Wisconsin witnessed an unprecedented number of recall elections of state legislators — unprecedented in more ways than one, with five of the six challengers being women. At The American Prospect, Pema Levy interviews Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, about many women are especially outraged by Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Shriock says: “When Governor Walker comes in and says, ‘We’re going to dismantle collective bargaining for these union members,’ these union members he’s talking about are teachers and nurses. These are unions with massive women’s membership. I mean, nationwide, elementary school teachers are 90 percent women. Nursing is 95 percent women. So we only make 78 cents to the dollar now, what’s going to happen if those union members can’t bargain collectively?”
  • Verbal sparring with potential boyfriends is one thing, but it grows tiresome once they attack your level of education, writes Cruntastic in She Got A Big Ego?: Thoughts on Dating with a Doctorate at Crunk Feminist Collective. “Although I’m tired of  used to — and normally unphased by — these inanely conceived verbal jousting matches that dudes engage highly educated women in in order to see if we are really as smart as our degrees seem to indicate, this time I was pissed,” she writes. “When I questioned his logic, he got defensive. When I further exposed the flaws in his arguments (skills courtesy of my humanities education), he explained that he would not ‘back down,’ or ‘give in’ even though he could admit that his opinion “wasn’t well thought out,” because he knew that this is what I was used to men doing…Projection, anyone? What I’m actually used to men doing is attacking me once they start intellectual fights they can’t finish.” Click over for one of the most honest, ballsy rants we’ve read this week.
  • Melissa Silverstein’s Women&Hollywood has a bounty, including a guest post from Jennifer Frost about notorious gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. But we were especially taken with her interview with actor Octavia Spencer, star of the new movie The Help. Asked about the difficulty of women-centered films, Spencer puts some blame on us: “But here’s the reason why that’s perpetuated. We as women have a voice and we are decision makers in what film to see. We always support our boyfriends and husbands by going to see the male dominated films, but we don’t compell them to see films with female casts. And I think that has to change because there is power in numbers and if we don’t change then we won’t continue to see these types of movies. So I say be a decision maker, be a part of the solution. I think its important to have a voice.” Watch below as Spencer and the film’s director talk about where The Help fits in: we certainly want Spencer’s voice.

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  • dominique browning August 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you so much, Pat, for the shout out to Moms Clean Air Force. I hope your readers learn that this is an urgent time–and that our kids need our protection. Polluters have power and political influence, but moms have love–the strongest weapon of all! xDominique