March 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
…are endlessly amusing. At least to me in the midst of the fresh hell that is Winter Quarter finals week? Behold the following email exchange between my friend and her mother:
Sent: Sun, March 13, 2011 12:22 AM
Subject: I’m sorry to seem needy
but can you send me a little bit of money? Pwease?
LUH YOU SOSOSOSOSO MUCH!
Sent: Sun, March 13, 2011 10:13:26 AM
Subject: Re: I’m sorry to seem needy
Good morning. I will be happy to send you a little money, but do you realize that the message you just sent seems to fit squarely within a submissive female stereotype that reminds me of movies from the 1930s-50s? Please explain.
January 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
If I had a hat, I would tip it to Ms. Ellie Grossman, who after sitting through “Willing to Wait’s” program, spoke to the Wyoming Public Schools Reproductive Health Committee, and succeeded in changing the schools programming. WPS now uses the “Safer Choices” program, which was developed by the Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan.
I would also tip my (imaginary) hat to the Wyoming Public Schools, and the Plymouth UCC for recognizing the value of students’ opinions and input. It would have been much easier for the leaders in the school district and the church, in a more conservative community, to say, “Well if we change the programming, we’re going to upset a lot of parents / It’s only one kid complaining / 8th graders shouldn’t know about condoms and birth control / etc.” But they didn’t. They realized that they were doing a disservice to their students by using a program that did not answer their very legitimate questions.
It’s also great that a church is hosting one of the “Safer Choices” sessions. It is very important for religious leaders who are for comprehensive sex ed to speak out in their communities, and show that being religious does not mean having a narrow view of human sexuality.
August 3, 2010 § 4 Comments
by KATIE E.
Before all the gender-policing, right-wing radio tangents, conspiracy theories, OMG WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDRENZ!!11!!, and plain old transphobia start to crop up, I would like to offer my congratulations to Thomas Beatie and his wife on the birth of their third child, and my sincere condolences for all of the crap they get to hear, again. That is all.
June 12, 2010 § 11 Comments
In my Shakespeare class, our final paper was on Shakespeare’s epic Hamlet and out of all the choices of topics we had to write about, I chose Ophelia. During our unit on Hamlet I found myself surprised over and over again by how intensely many people seemed to hate her. (And I don’t use the term hate lightly, I mean they despised her!) “The play would be the same without her!” “She doesn’t DO anything.” “She’s way too passive!” At one point, I ended up in a very impassioned debate outside of class against five other classmates. Guess who the one person that liked Ophelia was?
To be sure, Ophelia is a passive character, but for some reason that fact doesn’t cause me to loathe her. Weird.
I wrote this paper as a sort of defense, if you will. I think that Ophelia’s passivity stems from her environment and that the truly tragic thing about her is that she knows no other way to act. She is one of only two females drowning (forgive the pun–I’m tired) in an overpoweringly large cast of males. She has no support system that encourages her to act on her own and every man around her somehow feels the need to tell her how to behave. But I won’t lay out my thesis right here and now. You can click below to read the full paper.
I figure at least one reader must be a Shakespeare buff. Enjoy!
April 16, 2010 § 2 Comments
Ruth‘s mom, a lactation consultant, passed along this fascinating article on breastfeeding and gender equality.
Breastfeeding, like any practice that involves women’s bodies, is highly political. The simple act of feeding your child is prey to a whole host of issues. Class prevents many women from breastfeeding, because it often requires a carefully planned schedule for feeding and pumping milk; for some women who work full-time, taking breaks to pump milk is not an option. Further, cultural biases sometimes dictate that women who can’t or don’t breastfeed their children are bad moms. On the flip side, another stigma maintains that women using their breasts for any purpose other than men’s visual pleasure is absurd and disgusting.
So yet again, we see many conflicting cultural standards and ideals — and policing women’s bodies is the mechanism we use to hash through them. Just like the Stupak amendment, women’s lives and livelihoods are irrelevent: it wasn’t abortion that was a problem, but healthcare reform overall. Yet again, women are the playing cards, and rarely do we win a hand.
Dr. Paige Hall Smith, Director of the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Center for Women’s Health and Wellness and Founder/Co-Director of the annual Breastfeeding & Feminism Symposia (a partnership between UNC Greensboro and UNC Chapel Hill) says that although breastfeeding is seen as a “lifestyle choice” oftentimes, making some women out to be the “better mothers” and others made to feel guilty for their choices, in truth, “these choices are made within a constrained environment.” Smith says, instead, that we need to look not just “at the decisions made but the constraints and structures in society that shape women’s decisions” in order to understand more about why women do or don’t breastfeed for extended periods of time.
My own mother breastfed me exclusively for many months, and after that supplemented my regular diet with breastmilk until I was three years old. And she was very privileged. She was only 26, just starting her career, whereas my dad was 40 and had a great, stable job, which meant that she took more than a year off from work to stay home with me. She loved breastfeeding; she felt proud that she was able to offer me the healthiest feeding option, and the act of feeding brought us physically closer in my first months of life.
I too plan to breastfeed when I have kids. I look forward to the shared experience we’ll have. But I absolutely do not expect all women to do the same — nor do I bemoan the choices that they make about their own bodies. That’s a fundamental part of being pro-choice.
Dr. Smith says, “We need to give women control…That’s the bottom line. We must create structures in society that give women more control over their bodies. Women who have control over their lives, body, time and space [and I'm talking about private, public and work space] are more likely to breastfeed than those who don’t have that same kind of control.”
It’s the feminist answer — work towards equality and justice and we’ll allow women to make decisions they feel are right for themselves.
November 7, 2009 § Leave a comment
The lovely NARAL Pro-Choice New York has an awesome event lined up.
Wednesday, November 18th
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
NARAL Pro-Choice NY, 470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor, NYC
NARAL Pro-Choice New York in partnership with co-sponsor Spence-Chapin present “Choices: Adoption” on Wednesday, November 18th. “Choices: Adoption” will highlight the work being done to ensure that all people have access to and are supported in the process of adoption.
Presenters will share the work they do to ensure that birth mothers are heard, that professionals are trained to include adoption when options counseling, that the socioeconomic factors underlying transracial adoption are discussed and that all individuals and families, regardless of race, sexual orientation and class are recruited as adoptive parents.
Antoinette Williams, Assistant Director of Domestic Adoption at Spence-Chapin
Marci Lieber, MSW, Healthcare Advocate at Spence-Chapin
Molly HyoJung Bidol, LMSW, Counselor, Coach, Consultant on Transracial Adoption
The event is free, wheelchair accessible, and open to all with RSVP to Lalena Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-520-3506. Bring ID to get into the building.
Keep track of all NARAL’s cool events with their online calendar.