Tuesday, January 30, 2007

From "If Men Could Menstruate" by Gloria Steinem

"What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?
The answer is clear--menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with relgious ritual and stag parties.
Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out monthly discomforts.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as John Wayne Tampons, Muhammad Ali's Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jocks Shields--'For Those Light Bachelor Days,' and Robert 'Baretta' Blake Maxi-Pads.)
Military men, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation ('men-struation') as proof that only men could serve in the Army ('you have to give blood to take blood'), occupy political office ('can women be aggressive without that steadfast cycle governed by the planet Mars?'), be priests and ministers ('how could a woman give her blood for our sins?'), or rabbis ('without the monthly loss of impurities, women remain unclean').
Male radicals, left-wing politicians, and mystics, however would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could enter their ranks if only she were willing to self0inflict a major wound every month ('you must give blood for the revolution'), recognize the preeminence of menstrual issues, or subordinate her selfness to all men in their Cycle of Enlightenment.
Street guys would brag ('I'm a three-pad man') or answer praise from a buddy (Man, you lookin' good!') by giving fives and saying, 'Yeah, man, I'm on the rag!'
TV shows would treat the subject at length. ('Happy Days': Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still 'The Fonz,' though he has missed two periods in a row.) So would newspapers. (SHARK SCARE THRETENS MENSTRUATING MEN. JUDGE CITES MONTHLY STRESS IN PARDOINING RAPIST.) And movies. (Newman and Redford in 'Blood Brothers'!)
Men would convince women that intercourse was more pleasurable at 'that time of the month.' Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore lif itself--though probably only because they needed a good menstruating man.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Something I learned while studying for Psych

"In 2001, Turkey's health minister announced that high school girls training to be nurses must be virgins. He also said that the virginity test he was authorizing would protect the nation's youth from prostitution and underage sexual intercourse. The regulations allow principals in state schools that train nurses, midwives, and other health workers to expel girls who have had sexual intercourse. Virginity is highly valued in mainly Muslim Turkey. Forced virginity tests were common until the practice was banned in 1999 after five girls took rat poison rather than submit to the test. However, in 2001 the health minister again authorized use of virginity tests (Turkey says only virgins can be nurses, 2001)."

This is taken from my Human Sexuality textbook. I was completely shocked when I read this. Things like this make me thankful I live in the US.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Sad Day for College Eaters

"Inventor of Instant Noodles Passes Away at 96"

Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles and founder and chairman of Nissin Foods passed away on January 5, 2007 of a heart attack. Born in Taiwan, a Japanese territory at that time, he moved to Japan when his parents died when he was young. He had a varied career over the first half of his life, and even served two years in jail for tax evasion. It was in 1958, when he was 48 years old that he perfected a flash frying method of drying noodles so they could be quickly re-hydrated and eaten. He had spent many years inventing food products after the food lines he saw in Japan post WWII.

Chikin (Chicken) Ramen was the first of the instant noodle products released and originally it was an expensive, luxury product that cost six times as much as normal, slow cook noodles. Soon production methods dropped the price and we ended up with the inexpensive food eaten by nearly every college student and struggling bachelor the world over.

These days we're familiar with these noodles under a variety of names like Top Ramen (ramen means "noodle" in Japanese), Oodles of Noodles, and Cup-a-Soup. It was back in 1971 when Nissin first released the cup of noodles products. There were tons of advertisements on TV and I begged my mom to get some. Many years later when I was in my late teens and I was first living on my own I would stock up on the noodles when I saw sales of 10 or 12 packages for $1. Then later, in college and afterwards when I could afford to eat differently, I still kept a few dozen packages around for quick snacks for me and my friends. It was one of the few easy to prepare foods I could make in my dorm room, and was great for those midnight munchies and study breaks.

In 2004 it is estimated that 70 billion servings of instant noodles were sold and in 2005 85.7 billion were sold. Just a few days ago I read that a recent research survey of the Japanese public felt that the invention of instant noodles was the most important invention of the last century.

In July 2005 they released Space Ram, instant noodles that can be cooked and eaten in space, so that the Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi could be insured that he would be able to have some tasty noodles to slurp while in micro-gravity. This was something important to him because he says he has always been a ramen fan. The noodles were designed to fit his mouth, and made in some of his favorite flavor combinations; miso, curry, tonkotsu (pork), and soy sauce. He is said to have commented that "They came out just like they do on Earth. It was very relaxing to be able to eat a good ramen in space." I can honestly say that more than anything else in this world I would love to join Noguchi in some of those noodles while looking down on our brilliant blue planet.

If you're ever in Osaka stop by the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum for a great little educational tour on instant noodles and the importance they have played in Japan, Asia, and the world over the last fifty years. You can also make noodle dough by hand, use a machine to make it into noodles, deep fry them, pick various soups and toppings, and have it packaged for your very own personalized cup of noodles in one of 5460 possible flavor combinations.

So everyone please raise a cup of noodles to the late Momofuku Ando, as he looks down on us happily slurping away.