I just finished Orange is the New Black. Just. Finished. That would be why I have gotten very little done in my personal or blogging life in the past two weeks. While I feel apologetic, I also feel like I finished something on my list, and that feels like accomplishment. Or rationalization. Have you all watched that? Would love to hear your insights. I’ve been scouring others’ thoughts about why they watch or not watch, what they think about the blatant racial stereotyping, etc. I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts about it at some point, but would love to hear yours!
How the ‘Opt-Out Revolution’ Changed Men – Bryce Covert at The Nation
“…This is not the first example of family arrangements heavily influencing men’s views of women.A recent study found that men who have stay-at-home wives also bring a different outlook to the office. Researchers found that compared to men in more equal arrangements, these husbands “are more likely to exhibit attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are harmful to women in the workplace.” In other words, it makes their views toward female colleagues take a turn for the sexist. They more frequently deny promotions to qualified women, view women in the workplace unfavorably, think that more female workers make things run less smoothly and find organizations with women in charge less attractive.
Another recent study goes back even further, to childhood. Researchers found that boys who grow up just with sisters are 15 percent more likely to be conservative in their views of women’s roles. Why? They speculate that these boys grow up watching their sisters be assigned more housework, thus learning that chores are women’s work. Boys who just grow up with brothers share the load. Family structure when these boys are young informs how they view women later in life…”
Mothers are not ‘opting out’ – they are out of options – Sarah Kendzior at Aljazeera
“…Corporate feminists like Sheryl Sandberg frame female success as a matter of attitude. But it is really a matter of money – or the lack thereof. For all but the fortunate few, American motherhood is making sure you have enough lifeboats for your sinking ship. American motherhood is a cost-cutting, debt-dodging scramble somehow interpreted as a series of purposeful moves. American mothers are not “leaning in”. American mothers are not “opting out”. American mothers are barely hanging on.
Careers in this economy are not about choices. They are about structural constraints masquerading as choice. Being a mother is a structural constraint regardless of your economic position. Mothers pay a higher price in a collapsed economy, but that does not mean they should not demand change – both in institutions and perceptions.
Erasing stigma – whether of hard-working, impoverished single mothers branded as “lazy”, or of wealthier mothers whose skills outside the home are downplayed and denied – does not cost a thing.
The irony of American motherhood is that the politicians and corporations who hold power do have a choice in how they treat mothers and their children. Yet they act as if they are held hostage to intractable policies and market forces, excusing the incompetence and corporate malfeasance that drain our households dry.
Mothers can emulate them and treat “choice” as an individual burden – or we can work together and push for accountability and reform. This option is not easy. But we are used to that…”
Report Surveys Abortion Restriction Landscape One Year After Akin’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment – Jessica Mason Pieklo at RH Reality Check
“…On Friday, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) quantified those efforts in a new report, Shut That Whole Thing Down: A Survey of Abortion Restrictions Even in Cases of Rape. The report looks at abortion legislation in the states and Congress from the first half of 2013 and finds that:
- 86 percent (235) of the 273 provisions that politicians introduced in state legislatures to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.
- 71 percent (27) of the 38 state provisions restricting women’s access to abortion enacted by the states apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.
- 72 percent (18) of the 25 bills introduced in Congress to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.
These restrictions include forcing a woman who has been raped to carry her pregnancy to term, denying her insurance coverage for an abortion, forcing her to undergo a physically invasive ultrasound or listen to a fetal heartbeat, allowing hospitals to refuse to provide her an abortion, or forcing her to receive inaccurate and biased information designed to dissuade her from having an abortion…”
A Chat with Mikki Kendall and Flavia Dzodan About #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen – Jia Tolentino at The Hairpin
“…Early this week, Mikki Kendall started the hashtag#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen as a way of calling out the imbalances in feminist online media that permitted the micro-infamous Hugo Schwyzer to “target” (stalk, insult, try to erase the writing of) women of color while keeping his place on major platforms at these women’s expense. Wanting to open up the resulting discussion, I talked to Mikki as well as her fellow feminist writer Flavia Dzodan. Mikki, this was your initiative: did I get it right, and what else were you intending to draw attention to?
Mikki: That’s partly it. I was definitely pissed and naming names. But it wasn’t just that after the first few tweets. The more I typed the more things sprang to mind because I’d been looking at a lot of major issues that just go unreported in magazines that were theoretically by women, for women. Somehow the survival, safety and security of WOC (cis and trans), of poor women, of disabled women, of undocumented women, of anyone that wasn’t a white middle class/upper middle class woman felt unimportant relative to creature comforts and makeup choices. Jill Filipovic probably feels like she caught some hell that isn’t hersand that’s true. I’m addressing the system that enables some and disenfranchises others.
Jia: I have to say that Jill was one of the very first people in media to reach out to me when I started writing online, and we’ve got zero network connections (I’d just started, and I don’t live in New York and I’m not a white upper-middle-class woman). I think she in particular is very generous and thoughtful with her platform, but I understand what you’re saying. What do you each identify as the root of why online feminism would prioritize Schwyzer? The power that white masculinity still has in the media landscape and in America generally? An ethos in contemporary feminism that places easy battles above hard ones (an ethos that I espouse quite often, in many areas, myself)? A tradition of insularity that hasn’t been broken yet?…”
Why #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen Has Been So Meaningful To Me, And Why It Must Never Be Forgotten – Lauren Walker at xoJane
“…My mother took me to a church that was populated entirely with upper-middle class black Americans, both to form a community for both of us as well as show me that black people were so much more than what we saw on the news. Most of the other children my age there relentlessly bullied me to the point of suicidal ideation. I took blackness to mean delinquency at its most typical, and cruelty at its best.
In what I’m now realizing was a deflection from confronting the issues I had with myself, I chose to strongly embrace another aspect of myself instead: my femininity. If it was impossible to be anything as a black person, I thought, I could at least be something as a girl.
Feminism became my lifeblood from those extremely early years onward. I voraciously read every young adult novel with female protagonists – all of which were white – and would critique my favorite television shows for their treatment of their female characters.
Even though it hurt to not see girls like me in my favorite shows or books, I would brush it off; why would they have girls that looked like me in them? Black people were unworthy of inclusion, because otherwise we would have already been included, right?
My extremely intuitive mother must have noticed how intensely I idolized Gloria Steinem, and how I acted as though the civil rights movement had no value because of its misogyny, where feminism was for all women. She took me to womanist conventions to show me what else feminism could be, which I scoffed at.
If white women weren’t involved, I thought, it had no worth. To my mind, white women created feminism. If women of color were involved, they’d have work to talk about, and since we never talked about the works of women of color, they were clearly nonexistent…
…I watched as Gloria Steinem wrote an op-ed that pitted race against gender, as though the two could never coexist, and I experienced people denigrating the civil rights movement’s misogyny without paying any mention to feminism’s racism. I heard the exact words that I had lived by as a child repeated back to me, and realized:
They were vile. They were racist.
Oppression in the guise of liberation for another group is still oppression. I had spent so much of my young life hating a part of me on a level that a Klan member would be impressed with, and I was seeing that same hatred coming from the mouths of women who I thought were my sisters in struggle.
It was that year, with the work of women of color being stolen by white feminists, with our experiences being both erased and appropriated at Slutwalks across the country, and with women who looked like me being called “nappy headed hoes” with nary a peep from feminism at large, that I decided that I was done.
Feminism had proven to me that it was for women, but their idea of womanhood didn’t include those who weren’t white. There was solidarity, but it was only for white women and those that refused to criticize them. The illusion had been shattered, and the reality was too alienating for me to continue supporting.
Solidarity was, and is, for white women.
Solidarity is for white women when the contributions of women of color to feminism’s founding are completely ignored…”
More Proof That Midwives Should Be a Viable Option for Pregnant Women – Jessica Grose at Slate
“…There’s a new study from the Cochrane Collection about midwife-led care for pregnant women in the United Kingdom. Researchers looked at 13 different studies of more than 13,000 pregnant women with both low-risk and increased-risk pregnancies. They found that there were no downsides for pregnant women, even high-risk pregnant women, who were cared for by licensed midwives. There was no difference in the percentage of cesarean sections performed, but pregnant women who had doctors as their main providers were more likely to get induced and to get epidurals and episiotomies. Women who went to midwives had a lower chance of preterm birth and an equal chance of miscarriage as women who went to doctors.
In the U.K., almost 70 percent of births are attended by midwives, while in the U.S., that number is around 8 percent. So what does this study mean for women in America? It’s proof that licensed, trained midwives can provide quality care for pregnant women.
A recent systemic review of American midwives has shown that care by certified nurse midwives is safe and effective. That study, published in the journal Womens Health Issues in 2012, pointed out that, as in the U.K., midwives use fewer medical interventions than doctors do.
So what’s holding midwives here back? Eileen Beard, the senior practice adviser at the American College of Nurse-Midwives, described to me a recent phone call she got from a Texas physician who wanted to add a midwife to his practice. That doctor told Beard that at his hospital the “C-section rate was really high, and he thought his colleagues were intervening too much. He really felt if he could have a midwife, that would improve his practice, but when he tried to get a midwife credentialed in his hospital, they said no.” The hospital did not give him a reason why they would not allow it. Beard says she hears stories like this all the time…”
Mark Ruffalo defends reproductive rights, talks about his mother’s illegal abortion – Katie McDonough at Salon
“…Ruffalo sent his remarks to a reproductive rights rally in Mississippi, where new regulations threaten to shutter the state’s last remaining abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization…
‘I am a man. I could say this has nothing to do with me. Except I have two daughters and I have a mother who was forced to illegally have an abortion in her state where abortion was illegal when she was a very young woman. It cost $600 cash. It was a traumatizing thing for her. It was shameful and sleazy and demeaning. When I heard the story I was aghast by the lowliness of a society that would make a woman do that. I could not understand its lack of humanity; today is no different.
What happened to my mother was a relic of an America that was not free nor equal nor very kind. My mother’s illegal abortion marked a time in America that we have worked long and hard to leave behind. It was a time when women were seen as second rate citizens who were not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough to make decisions about their lives. It was a time that deserved to be left behind, and leave it behind we did, or so it seemed. We made abortion and a woman’s ability to be her own master a right. That right was codified into law. That law was the law of the land for decades.
My own mother fought to make herself more than a possession; she lived her life as a mother who chose when she would have children, and a wife who could earn a living if she so chose. I want my daughters to enjoy that same choice. I don’t want to turn back the hands of time to when women shuttled across state lines in the thick of night to resolve an unwanted pregnancy, in a cheap hotel room just south of the state line. Where a transaction of $600 cash becomes the worth of a young woman’s life.
So that is why I am lending my voice to you and your movement today. Because I actually trust the women I know. I trust them with their choices, I trust them with their bodies and I trust them with their children. I trust that they are decent enough and wise enough and worthy enough to carry the right of Abortion and not be forced to criminally exercise that Right at the risk of death or jail time’…”
The Shocking Graph That Should Scare Every Pro-Choice American – Ajana Sreedhar at PolicyMic
“…The website shows two maps of the U.S., one showing bills introduced and the other showing bills passed. Each map is staggering, reflecting the intense increase in abortion restriction legislation. Eighty percent of America has introduced or passed some kind of legislation.
Each map was created counting legislation with certain key words, including: fetal heartbeat, post fertilization, 20 weeks, and others. The map showing us bills introduced shows the intensity of anti-abortion sentiment by depicting the number of bills introduced in each state. At least 15 bills were introduced in Texas, the most noted of which included the bill that Wendy Davis filibustered against. The “bills passed” map may not look as threatening, but it still brings up two important questions: What kind of restrictions are being brought up, and why?
Many restrictions deal with late-term abortions (abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, more commonly known as the point of viability), counseling, mandatory ultrasounds, and clinical regulations. Some even require doctors to lie to their patients about the possible side effects after abortion takes place.
Why it’s occurring may seem baffling at first, but we should realize that it is an attempt to revitalize the more conservative base of the Republican Party’s platform. As the demographic make up of the country is slowly changing, so is the political ideology. While, in some cases, the country may be shifting to a more conservative stance, they might also help keep the Democratic Party in the lead, which could be a reason for this aggressive campaign…”
A Midwife’s Road to the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Is Paved One Signature at a Time – Akoshia Yoba at The Huffington Post
“…As a young girl growing up in Uganda, Esther Madudu knew she would dedicate her life to bringing babies into the world. Little did she realize, how her early inspiration to become a midwife would put her on the path to a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for her work exemplifying the dedication of midwives throughout the continent, who are positively impacting the health and well-being of millions of women for whom, childbirth remains a life and death issue.
A midwife for over a decade, Esther Madudu is the face of AMREF’s Stand Up for African Mothers campaign. Her nomination for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize is a symbolic expression of the life-affirming capacity of all African midwives. It is a lofty, yet noble goal that will only be accomplished by obtaining 100,000 votes of confidence — in the form of signatures — from supporters from around the globe.
In countries like the United States where the availability of basic medical care is often taken for granted by even the most disenfranchised residents, lack of such access is the primary contributor to the devastating maternal mortality statistics in sub-Saharan Africa…”
What happened when I started a feminist society at school – Jinan Younis at the Guardian
“…A group of men in a car started wolf-whistling and shouting sexual remarks at my friends and me. I asked the men if they thought it was appropriate for them to be abusing a group of 17-year-old girls. The response was furious. The men started swearing at me, called me a bitch and threw a cup coffee over me.
For those men we were just legs, breasts and pretty faces. Speaking up shattered their fantasy, and they responded violently to my voice.
Shockingly, the boys in my peer group have responded in exactly the same way to my feminism.
After returning from this school trip I started to notice how much the girls at my school suffer because of the pressures associated with our gender. Many of the girls have eating disorders, some have had peers heavily pressure them into sexual acts, others suffer in emotionally abusive relationships where they are constantly told they are worthless.
I decided to set up a feminist society at my school, which has previously been named one of “the best schools in the country”, to try to tackle these issues. However, this was more difficult than I imagined as my all-girls school was hesitant to allow the society. After a year-long struggle, the feminist society was finally ratified.
What I hadn’t anticipated on setting up the feminist society was a massive backlash from the boys in my wider peer circle. They took to Twitter and started a campaign of abuse against me. I was called a “feminist bitch”, accused of “feeding [girls] bullshit”, and in a particularly racist comment was told “all this feminism bull won’t stop uncle Sanjit from marrying you when you leave school”.
Our feminist society was derided with retorts such as, “FemSoc, is that for real? #DPMO” [don’t piss me off] and every attempt we made to start a serious debate was met with responses such as “feminism and rape are both ridiculously tiring”.
The more girls started to voice their opinions about gender issues, the more vitriolic the boys’ abuse became. One boy declared that “bitches should keep their bitchiness to their bitch-selves #BITCH” and another smugly quipped, “feminism doesn’t mean they don’t like the D, they just haven’t found one to satisfy them yet.” Any attempt we made to stick up for each other was aggressively shot down with “get in your lane before I par [ridicule] you too”, or belittled with remarks like “cute, they got offended”…”