Feministing’s Fire in the Belly Series
March 24, 2009 § 2 Comments
I just wanted to take a few minutes to highlight Feministing‘s Fire in the Belly series, a response to the Times asking if young women should be passed the reproductive rights torch and us replying that we are more than up to the task. From Feministing:
Sally Burgess, executive director of the Hope clinic, who is also chairwoman of the National Abortion Federation, said [in the article]: “What I observe for women in their 20s and 30s — there are fewer who really have the fire in the belly for this.” Then it devolved from there with Debra Dickersen over at MotherJones.com, demanding “Tell me exactly what today’s feminists are doing for the struggle.”
As young feminists, we’re unfortunately all too familiar with this blatant ageism. The pervasive stereotype of youth as apathetic, lazy people who take the struggles of those before us for granted is unproductive and destructive to the feminist movement. The time we spend bickering amongst ourselves about who does more for the cause is time we should be spending fighting the good fight.
Here are just a few things that myself, the rest of the Women’s Glib crew, and other young’uns are doing to keep the fire in our own bellies alive:
- We are spending election season talking to our friends and relatives and calling voters in support of pro-choice candidates nationwide.
- We are distributing condoms and information about emergency contraception at subway stops all over the city as part of NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s Back Up Your Birth Control Day of Action (keep an eye out for pictures later in the week!).
- We are starting clubs (Shira and I created Feminist Focus this year at our school; Silvia spearheaded The F-Word at hers) – and blogs! – to make feminism accessible to youth and to amplify our too-often-silenced voices.
- We are talking back to doctors who ask, “What’s the rush?” when we confide that we’re sexually active.
- We are speaking out in support of comprehensive sex education and against manipulative abstinence-only rhetoric.
- We are buying condoms, taking birth control, having sex, and making our own reproductive decisions without shame.
With all that pro-choice goodness in mind, Feministing is bringing us wisdom from five young women working in reproductive justice fields throughout the week. Links and tidbits from the first two women are below; check back with Feministing for the rest.
I had never really questioned before that having an abortion was something that I shouldn’t talk about. But then I thought about what I went though trying to get the abortion–being shunned by my doctor and figuring out how to pay for it. And I saw that the whole process was made to ensure that women are ashamed of themselves no matter how they go about it. And I decided that I didn’t want to stand for it anymore.
While it may be true that some of us haven’t gotten the message that we are under attack in the U.S. –that our rights are being taking away with laws like “parental notification” and “24-hour waiting periods”–there are many of us who are dedicating ourselves to this issue. I think that mainstream reproductive rights organizations are still in the process of recognizing that, and are only now beginning to accept young women, and especially women of color, as strong activist leaders.
Also, it is imperative to redefine what being pro-choice means. Young people are seeing abortion rights differently than those who were part of Roe. For us, abortion is only a piece of the huge puzzle of women’s rights, and ultimately human rights.