Robson on “Dressing Constitutionally”

Robson on “Dressing Constitutionally”.


Coming to your library soon!

At this time, this book is not published. Coming soon!

What Liquor Ads Teach Us About Guys

2013 Socially Conscious Consumerism

Updated for 2013!

Some folks already have everything they need and you just don’t want to add to their load of stuff. Consider making a donation in their name to a good charity. If you don’t have a favorite local, national, or international charity, use the Charity Navigator to find one. It lists a great many — like Oxfam, Women for Women, Care, and many more. It also rates these and lets you see how much of their money is spent on salaries, expenses, if they hire fundraisers, etc.

If you’d like to be a more socially conscious consumer, here are some organizations, some local , some online, where you can purchase gifts while making a difference in the lives of real people. Avoiding the “big box” stores is a place to start. Buying from local merchants (Co-ops, CSAs, Farmer’s Markets, etc.) benefit our local towns, population, and small businesses. Think again before buying fruit from places thousands of miles away. When was it picked, how much petroleum was used to get it here, is there a local alternative? The more we demand local produce, the more will be grown by local farmers. How cool will that be?  What’s not available locally, look for fair trade. It’s putting your money in good hands.

These suggestions come from our UConn faculty who teach and embody the ideals of these organizations. The sites are listed alphabetically! No order intended. If you have some other suggestions, please add them via a comment to this blog. And pass these on to your friends and family!

common good market:

Our Vision for New England
Our vision for Common Good Market is to re-connect you to the people who actually make things – beautiful, useful everyday items for the home. Buying locally made products helps build more resilient local economies, leads to improved environmental outcomes, and a better future for our children.

Common Good Market is committed to promote locally made, environmentally responsible products through our e-commerce site and at regional events. We want to help foster a renewed reliance on locally sourced raw materials, supplies, and labor for new and creative endeavors — the foundation for a revitalized, more sustainable New England.

In the end, our personal choices- how we spend our money, what products we buy, and how we support the efforts of people in our community through those choices – is the only way we can begin to reshape our economy and our future…one local purchase at a time.

Dean’s Beans (fair trade coffee):

We only purchase beans from small farmers and cooperatives, largely made up of indigenous peoples working hard to maintain their culture and lifestyles in a hostile world. We do not buy beans from large estates and farms. We’ve been there, and have seen the conditions of chronic poverty and malnutrition within which these farms produce those other coffees. Look in your kitchen – do you know where your beans come from? Each player in our cycle of production and distribution, from the farmer to the consumer, participates in socially just and environmentally responsible trade. We hope that all other coffee companies will follow our lead. We are proud to be a founding member of Cooperative Coffees, Inc., the first roaster’s cooperative created to buy direct, Fair Trade coffee from farmer coops, and make it available to any small roaster who wants to participate in the Fair Trade movement. We are also active members of the Fair Trade Federation, an international organization of dedicated Fair Traders (no poseurs allowed).

Green America

Green America (formerly Co-Op America) is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1982.
Our mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.
Our Vision: We work for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the bounty of the Earth is preserved for all the generations to come.

Heifer International

Heifer’s Mission to End Hunger Heifer envisions… A world of communities living together in peace and equitably sharing the resources of a healthy planet. Heifer’s mission is… To work with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth. Heifer’s strategy is… To “pass on the gift.” As people share their animals’ offspring with others – along with their knowledge, resources, and skills – an expanding network of hope, dignity, and self-reliance is created that reaches around the globe. Heifer’s History This simple idea of giving families a source of food rather than short-term relief caught on and has continued for over 60 years. Today, millions of families in 128 countries have been given the gifts of self-reliance and hope. Read Heifer’s blog.


Mission We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow. At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe. We want you to know about who you’re buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it. In the spirit of the Internet, let us bring you together. NOVICA. The World is Your Market.


SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.

For more than 60 years, SERRV has worked to eradicate poverty through our direct connections with low-income artisans and farmers. We market their crafts and foods, find joint solutions to their challenges, and help them grow and embrace the future. One of the first alternative trade organizations in the world, SERRV is a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (formerly IFAT) and a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF).

We strive to enrich lives around the world and to inspire real change for the better.
Our work encompasses more than just buying and selling.
We offer prepayments so our partners can sustain their business.
Create new designs so they can build their markets.
Teach new skills so they can develop their craft.
Provide grants so they can expand their resources.

We support equal rights for women.
Guide sustainable development.
And of course, pay a fair wage.

10,000 Villages

Fair trade provides under- and unemployed artisans with an opportunity to earn vital income and improve their quality of life by establishing a sustainable market for their handcrafted products. Ten Thousand Villages is a founding member of the WFTO – the World Fair Trade Organization, a global network of more than 350 fair trade organizations in 70 countries.

As one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages has spent more than 60 years cultivating long-term buying relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to unique gifts, accessories and home decor from around the world.

WTFO key principles of fair trade

Tropical Salvage Old wood. New use. Positive change.

Tropical Salvage practices a simple business model. We salvage old deconstruction and rediscovered wood and put it to new imaginative use. In doing so, we contribute to positive economic, social and environmental change. Old wood, new use, positive change. The disappearance of old-growth tropical forests in the developing world is largely influenced by the developed world’s demand for exotic wood products, its demand for wood pulp to supply industrial paper production, and its demand for industrial commodity quantities of agricultural products whose cultivation converts biologically diverse ecosystems into vast monoculture plantations. Salvaged wood provides all the same benefits, without the high environmental costs. Tropical Salvage offers a conduit to access accurate information about logging industry practices in southeast Asia and an opportunity to buy responsibly, thereby choosing reform of needlessly destructive policies and practices.

Fair Trade Federation Fair Trade Federation

Shira Tarrant speaking at UConn Storrs: Pornfed: SexySmart Choices in a XXX World

Shira Tarrant will speak at UConn Storrs campus during  2011’s  National Women’s History Month events.  She is an “expert in gender and sexual politics, pop culture, and masculinity” and is a prolific author on these topics.

Here’s the scoop on her Storrs CT appearance:

Shira Tarrant

Shira Tarrant speaking at UConn Storrs

WHEN:  Wed 3/23/2011, 7 pm

WHERE: Student Union Theater, University of Connecticut, Storrs CT

TALK TITLE: Pornfed: SexySmart Choices in a XXX World

Event is free

Tarrant is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach, CA,

Her most recent publication is below, posted on AlterNet.

AlterNet / By Shira Tarrant

Pornography 101: Why College Kids Need Porn Literacy TrainingMobile technology and abstinence-only guarantee that more young people get their sex ed from pornography. Its time to talk to them about what they’re watching.

via Pornography 101: Why College Kids Need Porn Literacy Training | Media | AlterNet.

Here’s How to Avoid Roses That Support Violent Labor Abuses This Valentine’s Day – Culture – GOOD

One good thing a day.”

New to me. Seems like a great place for socially conscious thoughts and actions and — like the article below — socially conscious purchasing. I’ll keep my eye on this on and sign up for their daily email alert. Copied the entire post below or link to the Good entry.

Here’s How to Avoid Roses That Support Violent Labor Abuses This Valentine’s Day

  • February 9, 2011 • 2:00 pm PST

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and that means a spike in American flower sales. Unfortunately, despite their romantic connotations, a lot of flowers sold in America have ugly, cruel, and, occasionally, violent origins.

In Ecuador and Colombia, for instance, which furnish a large bulk of America’s flowers, many flower farm workers—most of them female—are subjected to sexual harassment, poor wages, and unsafe working conditions. One worker interviewed for Frontline documentary about flower abuses said her employers used to fumigate greenhouses while she and her colleagues were still inside. They also refused to pay her when she became pregnant.

On Kenyan flower farms, workers have reported being forced to work 12-hour days for less than a dollar in wages. Others say they’ve been raped while on their dangerous, dark routes to work at five in the morning.

On Kenyan flower farms, workers have reported being forced to work 12-hour days for less than a dollar in wages. Others say they’ve been raped while on their dangerous, dark routes to work at five in the morning.

What makes these abuses particularly upsetting is that they needn’t exist. There are many fair-trade flower producers in business around the world, and they’re creating sustainable flowers while offering workers competitive wages, daycare programs, and safety. The problem is getting major flower distributors to sell them.

Currently, 1-800-Flowers offers not a single fair-trade stem, nor will the company tell activists where its wares originate. And a search of FTD’s website also returns nothing fair-trade certified.

This Valentine’s Day, if you want to make sure your token of affection doesn’t also support violence against women in the third world, try getting roses from one of these companies, which stamp all their flowers with the “fair-trade certified” seal: One World FlowersWorld FlowersInbloom Group

Help spread the love.

Culture Editor

photo (cc) via Flickr user Andrea Guerra

Also see Calling All Conscious Crafters: Put a Cap on Infant Mortality

Water—On Women’s Burdens, Humans’ Rights, and Companies’ Profits – Monthly Review

Water is a basic human need. There is no life without it.  The UN and other humanitarian organizations have worked years to bring critical consciousness to those of us who have rarely if ever been without water. For many, the availability of water every day is invisible, as expected as sunrise. And if we’re out, we think nothing of stopping at a convenience store and purchasing it.

In an article from the Monthly Review by Zuhal Yeşilyurt Gündüz, associate professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Baskent University, she illuminates in very clear and understandable language the impacts of the commercialization and privatization of water. The US/EU economics vs. the UN and Human Rights. Public vs. Private. And the extreme effects this is having on the women and their families — those who live in the poorest countries.

  • 884,000,000 people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water
  • More than 2.6 billion people (or 40 percent of the global population) do not have access to basic sanitation services
  • Every year, 3.5 million people die from water-related diseases
  • Diarrhea caused by lack of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and poor health and nutritional status, is the second most important cause of death among children under five
  • Around 1.5 million children die of diarrhea each year
  • Every twenty seconds, a child dies from a water-borne disease such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, guinea worm, and hepatitis

Water is now, first and foremost, a commodity, and the public ownership of water is the major block to the massive profits that can be gained through privatization by large neo-liberal conglomerates who see water as the “twentieth century oil.”

After a bottled water company opened a plant in Java/Indonesia in 2002, it consumed such a high amount of spring water, only twenty meters away from the region’s main water source, that farmers had less and less irrigation water, and their wells started to run dry. Several farmers lost their livelihood and had to stop farming. Coca-Cola, after exploiting the groundwater reserves, turned parts of Kerala/India into a desert. Entire rivers have been sold in India. (emphasis mine)

Read this excellent article by Zuhal Yeşilyurt Gündüz, associate professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Baskent University (Ankara/Turkey).

Water—On Women’s Burdens, Humans’ Rights, and Companies’ Profits – Monthly Review January 2010, v62 n8.

AlterNet: Sex R Us: The Rise of Enlightened Sexism

Sex R Us via AlterNet: Sex R Us: The Rise of Enlightened Sexism.

I know this may not sit right with some of my readers, but many young women have been totally snowed by the patriarchy into thinking that dressing in the skimpiest of clothing is empowering and equalizing while it is neither. How many men do that? The male gaze is having a feast and not having to put in any effort on their part. Dr. Douglas explains this so clearly in her new book (excerpts below, more at AlterNet). Wake up, girls.

The following is an excerpt from Susan J. Douglas’ new book, The Rise of Enlightened Sexism (St. Martin’s Press, 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Susan J. Douglas

Here’s the twist that emerged. Some young women wanted sexual equity with men: that’s a claim for equal power. They didn’t want to be mere sex objects, they wanted to be active sexual agents. But while true and total sexual equality between men and women is still too threatening, it has nonetheless proved lucrative to flatter women that they have it. So the media began to highlight this message: it’s through sex and sexual display that women really have the power to get what they want. And because the true path to power comes from being an object of desire, girls and women should now actively choose—even celebrate and embrace—being sex objects. That’s the mark of a truly confident, can-do girl: one whose objectification isn’t imposed from without, but comes from within. You have to admit, this is a very slick contortion.

The best way to gain this kind of power is to cater to what men want. And you’re not acquiescing to men or to patriarchal sexual requirements: by submitting, you’re in the driver’s seat! Thus, in the hands of, say, Cosmo, the sexpert appreciates the ultimate requirement to please him (even at her expense or discomfort if necessary), to reassurehim about his performance, and to constantly monitor and refine her ability to look sexy and to do what he wants and needs. This persona of the sexpert is almost always white, young, heterosexual, slim, busty, beautiful, and middle- or upper-middle-class (i.e., the media’s target demographic). She is ideal for the age of enlightened sexism because she is a hybrid of empowerment and objectification. In this way, women’s hopes for sexual equity have become wrapped up in glossy images that sold jeans, underwear, magazines, music videos, and TV shows and allowed Victoria’s Secret to conquer the malls of America. And as the image and prevalence of the sexpert colonized more media outlets and hailed ever and ever younger girls, her image polarized women and men, especially along generational lines.

To check for this book in a library near you, here’s the link in WorldCat

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