We feminists and midwives are not hard to shop for. Depending on the person, there is knitting, nail polish, buttons and magnets, books, and donations galore that will thrill our work, minds, and hearts. There is fantastic swag out there, you just have to know where to find it! Grab a hold of my fav items from 2013 before they’re gone – there’s plenty of time to surprise those in your life before the end of the year, for whatever reason you’d like!
Anything at all from Bitch! Media. Thanks to the talent of feminist thought and writing for Bitch! Magazine and their shop of goodies, I feel more in touch with the fem2.0 community. Bring that joy to other feminists in your life!
Kiva – The gift that keeps on giving! Give a loan in someone’s name, and every time it is repaid, they get to give it again! A family member gave me this gift a long time ago, and about every month I am able to redistribute the money to another individual or group or cause of my choice.
Call the Midwife! The books or the DVDs, it’s all pure midwife gold!
For the busy birth worker or feminist advocate, give an unlimited monthly online yoga subscription! At only $18 per month, it’s a steal compared to yoga classes one can only barely make it to or stay completely through. Enjoying my first foray into YogaGlo so far with their 15 day free trial! And loving their tagline: Find your center, wherever you are!
Feminist as Fuck cards, tshirts, stretch canvas, etc. Clearly- and briefly-stated brilliance.
Art! My favorites this year are Nikki McClure and Erika Moen! (Amanda Greavette is also a mainstay favorite – I have two of her prints hanging near me currently!)
Jill Filipovic at The Guardian put together a list of 2013 feminist gifts (though I don’t really connect cat shoes or multi-pocketed travel gear with feminist thought, it’s a fun write-up). She concludes by smartly stating: “Of course, the best gift you can give is a sustained commitment to gender equality.” Right-o!
Wrapping presents that will soon be opened is one of my favorite winter activities, and has filled a lot of time this weekend. Looking forward to giving surprise, thoughtful gifts to family and friends in the coming weeks! Also, cracked up to these aggressive carolers this morning – enjoy!
“3. Miscarriage is more common than most people know.
When researchers with Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx polled a group of more than 1,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 69, they found that they grossly underestimated how common miscarriage, or the loss of a fetus before the 20th week is: More than half said it occurs in fewer than 6 percent of all pregnancies, but estimates suggest it actually happens in roughly 15 to 20 percent. Moreover, many respondents wrongly identified the major causes, citing stress, oral contraceptives and physical exertion, when, in fact, chromosomal abnormalities are most often to blame. The study wasn’t meant to stoke fear, but rather to point out how much misinformation there is about miscarriage, and how that can leave the women and men affected by it feeling very alone.
4. Maternal exercise benefits newborns’ brains.
Exercise is, understandably, the last thing on many women’s minds when they’re exhausted, sick and can’t remember the last time they saw their toes, but one study showed that just a bit of moderate exercise (in addition to helping with things like mood and sleep) might also boost babies’ brain activity, by contributing to a healthy fetal environment. Babies born to women who clocked at least 20 minutes of moderate cardio three times a week appeared to be better at processing certain sounds, which may have implications for overall brain development. “Our results show that the babies born from the mothers who were physically active have a more mature cerebral activation, suggesting that their brains developed more rapidly,” the study researcher told HuffPost…”
“…With a single viral photo, Gisele Bundchen may have just forwarded the cause of breastfeeding more than years of effort from groups such as the World Health Organization. On Tuesday, the supermodel posted a snapshot of herself swathed in a white bathrobe nursing her 1-year-old daughter, Vivian, while being fussed over by a manicurist, makeup artist, and hairstylist. It was accompanied by the note, “What would I do without this beauty squad after the 15 hours flying and only 3 hours of sleep #multitasking #gettingready.”
In 24 hours, the picture has received about 100,000 likes on both Instagram and Facebook and generated a heated debate. “Kudos to Gisele for starting the conversation,” Ricki Lake, actress and producer of the upcoming documentary film, “Breast Milk“, tells Yahoo Shine. “So many women look up to her—she makes [breastfeeding] look effortless. I thought the photo was breathtakingly beautiful.” Breastfeeding can use all of the publicity it can get. Despite a huge amount of researchtouting the benefits of breastfeeding and recommending that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months and then nursed at least part-time for another six or more, only 49% of babies in the United States are breastfeeding at all by the age of 6 months. In some states such as Mississippi (19%), Arkansas (24%), and Alabama (29%), the numbers are even lower…”
Visit the link to the full article to read the interview.
“…When Peter Brownlie arrived in Kansas nearly 15 years ago to become the head of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, he knew he was forging into a fray. Brownlie had worked with Planned Parenthood for most of the past 40 years, serving as an administrator in Michigan, Indiana and Texas.
Then he went to Kansas, which had long been considered the main battleground of the so-called abortion wars. In 1991, anti-abortion activists laid siege to Wichita in what they called the Summer of Mercy, in which thousands of anti-abortion activists led a weeks-long protest and attempted blockade of abortion access in the city. Most of their attention was directed at the clinic run by Dr. George Tiller. Two years later, he was shot by a woman who had been part of those protests. Tiller returned to work the next day.
Leading Planned Parenthood in that climate made Brownlie one of the most visible (and targeted) pro-choice advocates in Kansas – a circumstance he would feel acutely when his colleague Dr. Tiller was murdered while at church in 2009.
After Tiller’s death, Brownlie says, the stakes were higher, but the locus of fighting had also shifted. He spent much of the last decade in court rooms – fighting restrictive anti-reproductive rights legislation and defending his chapter of Planned Parenthood in a grand jury investigation and a lengthy criminal case. (All charges were dropped last year, and the law license of the attorney general involved in those cases got suspended.)
Brownlie says that 40 years after Roe v. Wade, the country is nearing the end of this fight. “We have not won yet politically,” he says, “but we will.”
Last month Brownlie, now 68, announced that he would retire next year. MaddowBlog had the opportunity to talk to him about his long career. An edited transcript of the interview is posted below…”
“…The glass ceiling may have fewer cracks in than previously thought – a survey found that women still aren’t filling boardroom roles and, predictably, stereotypes about women being less rational and more emotional than men are partly to blame when it comes to the recruitment process. The survey, as with any discussion on boardrooms and getting “women on top”, will attract a lot of attention and debate. Corporate feminism is easy to sell and is unchallenging, as issues go – it became almost impossible over the summer to find a news site that didn’t feature the author of Lean In, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg. As a branding exercise it works – personal stories about women who have climbed the corporate ladder and smashed the glass ceiling play well. Mary T Barra, the new head of General Motors has, the New York Times tells us, “completed a remarkable personal odyssey” in becoming the company chief, despite being a woman.
Few women will sit in boardrooms in their lifetime, and adding a few“golden skirts” in places of high responsibility doesn’t translate straight to a hastening improvement in women’s rights and quality of life. As comforting as the idea of “trickle-down feminism” might be, it’s never borne out in reality – the four most powerful jobs in Norway are held by women, yet politicians are considering allowing doctors to refuse to perform abortions. The slowly shrinking gender disparity of MPs is constantly held up as a marker of progress, yet at the same time, Rachel Reeves promises to be “tougher” than the Tories when it comes to savaging the welfare state.
Corporate feminism tells a story that is convenient to capitalism – if you just try, if you aspire, you and your hardworking family can have that great job and home life that Sandberg and Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer sell to us. Focusing on individual success stories, rather than structural inequality, is politically helpful to the Conservative squeeze on living standards. So if you’re languishing at the bottom of the corporate ladder rather than hammering on the glass ceiling, well, that’s because you didn’t want it enough…”
“…Now, all of this is interesting, as far as it goes, but it really does elide the larger question: Given that Republican congressmen are being trained to talk to women voters as though we are their wives and daughters, what can women voters learn about how to talk to Republican congressmen?
Stop and consider: Maybe the reason the GOP has been so inexpressibly deaf to the wants and needs of women constituents over the past few decades is because we have been attempting to address them as co-workers and colleagues and doctors and bosses and neighbors and friends. When all along, we should have been talking to them in the manner of wives and daughters. Sure, you may balk initially, at the idea of having to importune your own elected representative the way Gloria and Edith once cajoled Archie Bunker. But there are real lessons here, my sisters. And we should learn them and employ them. If we can master the basic skills required in order to Talk to Your Republican Congressman, we may finally be heard on Capitol Hill.
So, for instance, you have perhaps become accustomed to asking your Republican congressman to respect your reproductive choices when it comes to matters of birth control and abortion. You may have been attempting to make logic-based arguments about bodily autonomy and the right to control your own economic and professional destiny. But next time you talk to a male Republican member of Congress, try this one instead: “Daddy? Can I please borrow the keys to my uterus?”
Or let’s say the GOP stands poised to cut funding for food stamps this week, thus ending nutrition aid for 47 million poor people, including 210,000 children’s school meals. As a woman, or even a human, you might want to talk rationally to your Republican congressman about the moral failure or fiscal shortsightedness in allowing the poorest Americans—many of whom are working—to go hungry. But knowing that rational policy arguments from women are apt to fall upon deaf ears, might I suggest the following simple substitution? “Honey? May I have $82.5 billion? There’s a HUGE sale on food stamps at Neiman Marcus this weekend?” (I’d accessorize this one with a dry martini, a French twist, and a short, red manicure.)
Just imagine that you’d like to have a meaningful conversation about sexual assault in the military, or NSA surveillance, or the judicial vacancy crisis, or the economic recovery, or health policy, or equal pay, or the environment, or any other policy matter that vexes you. It seems clear that marshaling thoughtful analysis, meaningful statistics, and good arguments would be a complete and utter waste of your time, given that the men of the GOP are being trained to talk to you like you are still strapped into the Dora the Explorer booster seat behind them. So next time I find myself in conversation with a Republican congressman I am going to bust out a foot stamp, a hair toss, and an “It’s not fair.” Then I will hold my breath. And I am going to repeat those moves over and over until I get my way. Join me?…”
“…When a female reporter asked Mallika Sherawat to defend her comment that India is “regressive and depressive,” she ripped her apart. “As a woman, I should lie about the state of women that’s in our country?” the actress replied. When the reporter wouldn’t give it up, the Bollywood actress just started dropping knowledge: ”With female feticide, infanticide happening on an almost daily basis; with gang rapes making the headlines of almost every newspaper; with honor killings …” Her response came only a few weeks after the head of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation said if rape can’t be prevented, it should be enjoyed…
In an interview with Parade magazine, Mindy Kaling made a brilliant point about the assumptions we make about women. “I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”
“…In the previous post in this series, I introduced the big picture of nursing education in sexual and reproductive health care. This section discusses the extent of training that currently exists within nursing education programs in U.S., including a student-led elective that was piloted at UCSF this past year.
Both APC and pre-licensure nursing students still face a fairly bleak picture in terms of standard SRH training and education. In a preliminary review of existing curriculum and educational programs, the results demonstrate a significant need for further study and development of curriculum. Most importantly, we have zero baseline data regarding the content in RN (or“prelicensure”)
programs in terms of sexual and reproductive health. Without this information, we can only operate on assumptions to make the case for improvement or plans for curricular change.
The sole national survey of APC programs (conducted in 2001 and not updated since) demonstrated that only 53% of schools in the U.S. offer didactic instruction in medication or aspiration abortion, and a mere 21% offer clinical training in these procedures (Foster et al 2006). This is all despite the fact that “professional associations and accreditation bodies have repeatedly identified the need to include reproductive health in the standard curricula” including The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), the AAPA, and the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), all of whom have “…developed guidelines that recognize the need for their graduates to possess competence in providing care related to sexual and reproductive health” (Taylor et al., 2009). Even at UCSF, with the passage of AB154 a firm reality, CNMs only receive two hours of comprehensive options counseling training, and two didactic hours of instruction on medication and aspiration abortion*. Contraception is a very basic, pharmacology-focused online course.
In conversations with other nursing and medical students at UCSF, I have found a shared sentiment of disappointment in this educational gap. Nursing students at all levels are eager for more training and education in sexual and reproductive health specifically focused on abortion…”
“…So back to the word whore. My hashtag was “stopactinglikewhores.” Key word, acting. Like I said, I’m not criticizing anyone’s real sex life; as George Michael tells us, “Sex is natural, sex is fun.” But the poles, the pasties, the gyrating: This isn’t showing female sexuality; this is showing what it looks like when women sellsex. (Also, let’s be real. Every woman’s sexuality is different. Can all of us really be into stripper moves? The truth is, for every woman who loves the pole, there’s another who likes her feet rubbed. But in pop culture there’s just one way to be. And so much of it feels staged for men, not for our own pleasure.)
I understand that owning and expressing our sexuality is a huge step forward for women. But, in my opinion, we are at a point of oversaturation. It’s like when TV network censors evaluate a show’s content. Instead of doing a detailed report of dirty jokes or offensive words, they will simply say, “It’s a tonnage issue.” One or two swear words might be fine; 10 is too many. Three sexual innuendos is OK; eight is overkill. When it comes to porn imagery and pop culture, we have a tonnage issue.
And then there’s this: What else ties these pop stars together besides, perhaps, their entangled G-strings? Their millions of teen-girl fans. Even if adult Miley and Nicki have ownership of their bodies, do the girls imitating them have the same agency? Where do we draw the line between teaching them freedom of sexual expression and pride in who they are on the inside? Are we even allowed to draw a line?
Some people think not. Sinéad O’Connor got blowback after writing an open letter to Miley Cyrus, warning her of the dangers of her constant sexual imagery: “The music business…will prostitute you for all you are worth…and when you wind up in rehab… ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body, and you will find yourself very alone.” Miley responded by basically calling her crazy…”
“…Today, the Peace Corps rescinded its discriminatory policy that prevented pregnant Peace Corps volunteers from continuing their service. Previously the policy reflected a presumption that pregnant volunteers could not continue to serve in the Peace Corps; Peace Corps volunteers with other medical conditions were not subject to this presumption. The previous policy also required Peace Corps supervisors to determine whether a pregnant volunteer could continue to serve effectively after the birth of a child while no such inquiry was required to be made of expectant fathers. The National Women’s Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union had advocated for the Peace Corps to rescind this outdated and unfair policy.
The following is a statement by Emily Martin, NWLC Vice-President and General Counsel:
“We are gratified that the Peace Corps has finally ended its antiquated and discriminatory policy that forced volunteers to end their service simply because they were pregnant. It’s long past time for all employers, including the Peace Corps, to reject any presumption that a woman is not capable of doing her job simply because she is pregnant. We urge the agency to make sure that this policy change is implemented effectively in the field so that pregnant volunteers are able to continue their work as long as there is no medical reason for them to end their service.” …”
“…The Michigan state senator who spoke up against a new “rape insurance” law — in part by revealing she is a rape survivor — promised MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Thursday that the Republican-backed law will be challenged as soon as possible.
“I’ve spent the better part of my life trying not to talk about that and not to think about it,” state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) told Maddow. “But it became very clear that the Republicans were not listening to any women in our state. They didn’t hold a hearing where women could testify. They didn’t pay attention to any of the editorials that were all against this extreme petition language.”
The bill, which was passed through both houses of the GOP-heavy state legislature, will require women to purchase separate insurance riders if they want abortions covered under their health care plans. However, it does not allow women to purchase the policies after becoming pregnant, even in cases of rape or incest. Maddow pointed out that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) had vetoed similar legislation, but lawmakers were able to side-step both him and calls for the bill to be put on the ballot following a successful petition drive by the evangelical group Right To Life.
“I’m about to tell you something that I’ve not shared with many people in my life,” Whitmer said during the debate. “But over 20 years ago, I was a victim of rape. And thank God it didn’t result in a pregnancy, because I can’t imagine going through what I went through and then having to consider what to do about an unwanted pregnancy from an attacker. And as a mother with two girls, the thought that they would ever go through something like I did keeps me up at night. I thought this was all behind me.”
Maddow pointed out that following her remarks, Whitmer — who has famously clashed with Republicans regarding reproductive rights and other issues in the past — called her father to share her story with him for the first time…”
December always feels like a culmination: the official end to any lingering fall days, the official start of winter with incredibly colder days, a cluster of holidays, and remembering a past year while considering the next. While often culminations feel celebratory, other times they are overwhelming. Here is hoping that if you are also culminating, there is a wealth of celebration!
I did have a chai this morning, of which I gulped down a few sips during Board Report, but then found it thrown away when someone cleaned off the provider’s desk while I was at Bedside Rounds. Thank goodness for those first few sips!
As we sit down with our chai, I would share with you that today is my birthday! Typically I am pretty sentimental on this day: being hard on myself for what I should have accomplished, how much older I feel, how much I miss family and friends. This year I feel a bit better, more content with life as it is and fewer feelings of pining for something else. Usually I am most emotional to hear on one day from so many people I love: cards, emails, messages, phone calls… To me, birthdays always feel like an incredibly warm ray of sunshine for no deserved reason other than reminding me that I am loved and missed – and that makes me overwhelmed with joy and brings on gushes of happy tears. Perhaps this year I am feeling more celebratory than most, because I’ve already planned two nights out dancing this week – one for a Hall and Oates dance party, and another a Y2K blowout: I will be GETTING DOWN. I’ll be honest – this is the last year of my twenties (I am thankful for youth and health!), and I am going to find ways to live it up! All of my family celebrates birthdays in December, so happy birthday to all of them, also!
I am thrilled to share my special day with National Human Rights Day. Thanks to 4000 Years of Choice for these great graphics celebrating reproductive rights on this day!
Perhaps ordering another chai after I gulp down the first, I’d tell the tale of how I have caught one baby so far today. I had hoped for a lovely birth on my own delivery day, but unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards for me or her. I really shouldn’t have caught that baby: thanks to this effed up system where I work, I was arguing with the MD on the phone about her having an abruption, while he mansplained/doctorsplained to me from outside of the hospital that she wasn’t abrupting and he wanted her to have Nubain for the pain. Two minutes later the Resident and I caught her preterm baby, born with an illicit drug-induced abrupted placenta. And then the doc walked casually onto the floor and spoke directly with the Resident. So then I bought myself this hospital cafeteria piece of “birthday” cake. Sigh.
With still chilly hands around my warm mug, I’d show you that this was the temp and wind chill when I took out the dog this morning. Enough said.
Raising my glass to cheers, I’d celebrate how I worked hard for my recertifications last month, and am thrilled to have these done for the next two years. My next project is CEU calculation to ensure I have enough for completing my two years of licensure in this state- an upcoming blog post for sure after the nightmare of even trying to begin to figure this process out!
Remembering where I was two years ago when I first certified in NRP and ACLS, I am already thinking about where this ever-exciting career will have me two years from now. I am really heavily debating whether to sign for another year of the NHSC at this site, given not only what happened at the hospital today (described above, an indicator of regular political and social drama) but for many other reasons. A major one of which is my international work love hitting full cabin fever status. Because, you know, this.
Also: No-chip manicures are the solution to healthcare workers fancy hands needs. I’m on number two and love them!
Many thanks to my friend Lizzie for posting this affirmation card for my birthday today!
At the end of our chai, I would make sure I have caught up with all your stories. Any personal celebrations? Any difficult work circumstances? Favorite new finds and experiences? Already working on big plans for the next year? Tell me everything!
Hope you all have a fabulous month!!! See you in 2014!
To anyone also suffering with this never-ending cold: stuffy nose, cough, heavy chest, sneezing… I’m on day 8 and less than thrilled. Sending you thoughts of vitamin C, zinc, garlic, and long naps. Happy Sunday!
“…Today the Supreme Court announced it will hear two cases concerning the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that companies’ insurance plans cover birth control. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties claim the mandate violates their belief against certain kinds of contraception—pitting female employees’ right to a nondiscriminatory health plan against a company’s religious freedom. (I also fervently hope these companies are fighting as hard to ensure that their unmarried male employees don’t have access to sin-pills like Viagra.)
Most American women—99 percent—will use birth control at some point in their lives. Twenty-seven million women are being covered by this provision right now. So I have to wonder what companies that don’t want to cover birth control will tell their female employees should the contraception mandate be struck down. Abstinence? Aspirin between the knees, perhaps?
There’s also an incredibly slippery slope here—if employees’ health plans have to adhere to company owners’ religious beliefs, what happens if your boss doesn’t believe in vaccinations? Or as Guardian columnist Jill Filipovic tweeted, “What if your blood transfusions violate your employer’s religious beliefs? No surgery coverage?” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said in a statement, “Allowing this intrusion into personal decisions by their bosses opens a door that won’t easily be shut.”
Judy Waxman, vice president of health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center, says these scenarios are real possibilities. “What if an employer believes women should be subservient and doesn’t believe in providing the same wage and hours for them as male employees?” She relayed one case where a private school denied health insurance to married women, because school management believed husbands are the “head of the household” and should provide for their wives…”
“…DISCLOSURE: I’m a dude on the Internets. As a dude on the Internets, I’ve always taken for granted how easy I have it, being a dude. My female co-workers at Upworthy constantly get creepy messages that go far beyond the messages I get from strangers. They have it much harder than I do simply because of their gender.
Emily Graslie, the host, writer, and producer of “The Brain Scoop”, a science news and education show, has had enough of it. So she’s reading comments on air. And explaining what women have to go through. And how we can help. So hear her out. She remains far calmer than I would…”
“…A reproductive health-care clinic that was recently forced to close due to stringent restrictions passed by the Texas legislature has once again opened its doors to clients after a doctor affiliated with the clinic obtained admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Whole Woman’s Health in Fort Worth, one of five Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) clinics in the state, announced Tuesday that it would reopen. This leaves the WWH clinic in McAllen as the only one of the five clinics to still be closed.
The Texas legislature passed several restrictions on reproductive health care this summer. After a 13-hour filibuster by current gubernatorial candidate Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), the legislature reconvened later in the summer and passed HB 2, which created a slew of new restrictions on abortion care, including a mandate that doctors affiliated with clinics providing abortion services obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO at Whole Woman’s Health, told RH Reality Check that “yesterday was a victory mainly because we can now serve women again and I can bring my great staff back to work.” As she explained, WWH was forced to lay off 34 employees at multiple clinic sites in the past three weeks due to the new regulations…”
“…While the practice of hiring birth doulas, whose services can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 out of pocket, has typically been done by a fraction of middle- to upper-class professional women in their 30s, a recent nationwide survey by Listening to Mothers indicates that the percentage of women hiring doulas for labor may have risen in recent years, from three percent of births in 2006 to six percent last year. Anecdotal evidence also suggests a positive trend, with more doula training and certification programs cropping up around the country, more women getting certified as doulas and more doula volunteer organizations that provide doula care at minimal or no cost.
The issue is likely to increase in visibility as some states pass legislation to cover doula care through Medicaid and other states consider following suit. In Oregon for example, doula services can be reimbursed through Medicaid since doulas are considered non-traditional health workers. In July of next year, Minnesota will begin Medicaid reimbursements for doula care as part of its Omnibus Health Bill.
But does the research on the efficacy of round-the-clock empathy during labor justify splurging on a privately hired doula or covering the cost through state Medicaid programs?
“There’s really good data documenting that continuous emotional labor support leads to positive birth outcomes, with the strongest effects coming from someone who has specialized training and who is not a family member, friend, or employee of the hospital—meaning someone like a doula,” says Katy Backes Kozhimannil, an Assistant Professor at the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota. In the 2012 study she’s referring to, women who had continuous support experienced shorter labors; were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births; and were less likely to report dissatisfaction, have a caesarean section, or a have baby with a low five-minute Apgar score, an indication of a newborn’s health (based on appearance, pulse, grimace/cry, activity and respiration) that ranges from zero to 10…”
“…When Wood saw the R-rated theatrical version of Charlie Countryman, her new indie action-comedy, she noticed a conspicuous absence of cunnilingus. According to Wood, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) forced director Fredrik Bond to cut images of Shia LaBeouf‘s character performing oral sex on Wood’s character in order to secure an R-rating for its November release (as opposed to an NC-17 rating, which can tank the commercial viability of a film). Over several tweets, Wood took aim at the ratings board’s double standard on female sexuality and pleasure on-screen. Via the Los Angeles Times, here’s what Wood said in her tweets:
After seeing the new cut of Charlie Countryman, I would like to share my disappointment with the MPAA, who thought it was necessary to censor a woman’s sexuality once again. The scene where the two main characters make “love” was altered because someone felt that seeing a man give a woman oral sex made people “uncomfortable,” but the scenes in which people are murdered by having their heads blown off remained intact and unaltered.
This is a symptom of a society that wants to shame women and put them down for enjoying sex, especially when (gasp) the man isn’t getting off as well! It’s hard for me to believe that had the roles been reversed it still would have been cut or had the female character been raped it would have been cut. It’s time for people to grow up. Accept that women are sexual beings. Accept that some men like pleasuring women. Accept that women don’t have to just be fucked and say thank you. We are allowed and entitled to enjoy ourselves. It’s time we put our foot down. Thanks for listening.
The MPAA, which serves as the de facto censorship board for American cinema, has a well-documented double standard when it comes to things like gay sex and certain aspects of female carnality (when comparable scenes of a heterosexual or male-centered nature will usually slide by with an R-rating without a hassle). For instance, the 2010 drama Blue Valentine was slapped with an NC-17 rating due to a scene in which Ryan Gosling’s character performs oral sex on Michelle Williams’ (the ruling, however, was overturned). And, yes, Wood was right to point out the MPAA’s peculiar views on sex vs. extreme violence. The MPAA did not respond to Mother Jones‘ request for comment regarding Wood’s criticism…”
Definitely visit the link above to see the incredible tattoo work, Montgomery glands and all!
“…“It’s just Art 101,” Vinnie replied, leaning up against the parlor’s pool table. “Light and shadow. It’s hard for me to believe that nobody else ever thought about this before. You know a lot of the other cosmetic tattoo artists, they just hold up a circle template and color it in. They’ve got three colors. They’ve got chocolate brown, bubble gum pink, and salmon. Whichever one you’re closest to, that’s what you get. Most of the white women get salmon.”
“So they don’t draw in the Montgomery glands?” I asked referring to the little bumps of the areola.
“They don’t even draw in the nipple most of the time,” Vinnie exclaimed. “They’ll do a circle and then they’ll maybe do a darker colored circle. Maybe. You’ll get a chocolate-colored circle inside of a salmon circle.”
“And most of the time they can’t even get the nipples in the right spot,” Richie lamented. “You almost wonder if they just close their eyes and point…”
Another aspect that Vinnie finds criminal is the typical doctor’s fee for cosmetic tattoo work. “It’s easily a couple thousand bucks,” he notes, “and insurance doesn’t cover it. Here, we charge the same amount for an areola as we charge for any other tattoo of the same size. Why should we charge more just because it’s a nipple?” At Little Vinnie’s, the price is $400 for one breast or $600 for both…”
“…Recruiting mostly women and a few men of various sizes and shapes, Hagen photographed her models in two separate poses. In the first frame, her subjects stand in conventionally sexy positions, usually accentuating the curves they themselves deem acceptable while covering up the “unattractive” sections they wish to hide. In the second frame, the same models were asked to strike an unflattering pose; to let their bodies fall into postures we don’t usually see in the glossy pages of magazines, regardless of how unsexy it might seem.
“‘Illusions of the Body’ was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like,” Hagen pointed out in an email exchange with The Huffington Post. “Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering.”
The result of Hagen’s experiment is a striking collection of visual contradictions. The male and female bodies on display go from one extreme to another, showing just how malleable our forms can be, while challenging the rigid beauty ideals we’ve constructed at the same time.
“The media shows us the most attractive photos of people,” Hagen explained. “Don’t compare yourselves to those images. They aren’t realistic. Everyone is a different shape and size. There is no ‘normal.’ Celebrate your shapes, sizes and the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird and beautiful thing.”…”
Welcome to Feminist Midwife! I'm a midwife working in urban America. Currently in my first year of practice, I'm constantly considering the roles of reproductive rights, women, and healthcare in the States and abroad. I hope to find in this blog a space to process, learn, and grow. I'm fired-up, emotional, excited, and thrilled about it all. Join me!