There’s nothing like a weekend of family, friends, fall, and football. Celebrating the few hours left in the day drinking a Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, munching on jalapeno potato chips, and refreshing my football pick’em page. Oh, and reading some of the fantastic writing and thought that came out this week. Below are my favs – enjoy!
From the Facebook Page of One Million Vaginas
The Reproductive Health Access Project is hosting a screening of the award-winning documentary filmAFTER TILLER on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm. After the screening we will moderate a Q & A with the filmmakers, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson.
We’ve reserved a block of tickets for our friends and supporters. Purchase tickets from us and portion of the proceeds will go towards supporting our work.
When: Thursday, September 26th, 7:00 pm
Where: Film Society at Lincoln Center, 70 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023
Tickets: $13, includes movie screening and Q & A with the filmmakers. Buy tickets here.
Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, there are only four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions. We were moved by how beautifully the film captures the complexity of the decisions women make and by the compassionate care provided by all four physicians. AFTER TILLER reaffirms for us the importance of having trained, caring clinicians able to provide quality care for women.
Here is a link to the film’s website, you can watch a preview: http://aftertillermovie.com/
We hope you can join us.
Poor, Black and Hispanic Women Are More Often Counseled on Emergency Contraception – Hope Reeves at The New York Times
“…Eleven percent of white and Hispanic women and 7.9 percent of black women reported having used emergency contraceptives at least once, but Hispanic and black women were more than twice as likely to have had their health care provider discuss emergency contraceptive options during routine pap smears and pelvic exams. The survey found that 18 percent of Hispanic women, 12 percent of black women and 5.7 percent of white women were given such advice by their clinicians.
Women with household incomes at or below the poverty level were also more likely to have been counseled on using the medication: 13 percent of those who reported income below 101 percent of the poverty level said they had received information about emergency contraceptives, compared with just 4.9 percent of those who reported income 251 percent above the poverty level. Women who spent some time without health insurance were twice as likely (14 percent) as those with continuous coverage (7 percent) to have received such information.
The survey asked women who had received a pelvic exam or a pap smear in the last 12 months if their provider had discussed certain topics. “We found no big differences about whether they talked to women about birth control, but we did find differences about who providers talk to about emergency contraception,” Dr. Martinez said. “It’s an important point who a doctor chooses to discuss these topics with.”
Asked to hazard a theory as to why providers are more likely to advise certain populations of women about emergency contraception, Dr. Martinez refused.
“Oh, no,” she said. “I don’t speculate, I just talk about the data. I think you’d have to talk to a clinician about that.”…”
“…Toys “R” Us announced Friday that its U.K. stores will stop labeling toys “boys” and “girls.” New standards will be set for in-store signage and images will show children of both genders playing with the same toys.
The change comes in response to a campaign from the group “Let Toys Be Toys”asking retailers “to stop limiting children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.”
“We’re delighted to be working so closely with a major toy retailer and believe that there is much common ground here,” Megan Perryman, a Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, said in a press release. “Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are ‘for’ them, while others are not. This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become. We look forward to seeing Toys ‘R’ Us lead the way to a more inclusive future for boys and girls.”
Toys “R” Us has attempted to put aside stereotypes in the past. In 2012, the U.S.-based company’s Swedish branch gained attention when images in its Christmas catalog challenged traditional gender roles.
According to the Let Toys Be Toys release, other U.K. retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, The Entertainer and TJ Maxx have agreed to remove “boy” and “girl” signs from their stores in response to the campaign…”
Stop Saying “I Have A Boyfriend” To Deflect Unwanted Attention – Alecia Lynn Eberhardt at xoJane
“…Yes, this may be the easiest and quickest way to get someone to leave you alone, but the problems associated with using this excuse far outweigh the benefits. There is a quotation that I’ve seen floating around Tumblr recently (reblogged by many of my amazing feminist Tumblr-friends) that goes as follows:
Male privilege is “I have a boyfriend” being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another male-bodied person more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest.
This amazingly puts into one sentence what I have been attempting to explain to ex-boyfriends and friends (male and female) for years, mostly unsuccessfully. The idea that a woman should only be left alone if she is “taken” or “spoken for” (terms that make my brain twitch) completely removes the level of respect that should be expected toward that woman.
It completely removes the agency of the woman, her ability to speak for herself and make her own decisions regarding when and where the conversation begins or ends. It is basically a real-life example of feminist theory at work–women (along with women’s choices, desires, etc.) being considered supplemental to or secondary to men, be it the man with whom she is interacting or the man to whom she “belongs” (see the theory of Simone de Beauvoir, the story of Adam and Eve, etc.).
And the worst part of the whole situation is that we’re doing this to ourselves.
This tactic also brings up the question of the alternative. If the woman in question was boyfriend-free, would she automatically be swooning in the arms of the creep harassing her? Unlikely. So why do we keep using these excuses? We’re not teaching men anything about the consequences of their behavior (i.e., polite, real conversation warrants a response while unwanted come-ons do not). We’re merely taking the easy exit, and, simultaneously, indicating to men that we agree, single girls are “fair game” for harassment.
So what can we do? I think the solution is simple — we simply stop using excuses. If a man is coming on to you (and you are not interested — if you are, go for it, girl!), respond with something like this: “I’m not interested.”Don’t apologize and don’t excuse yourself. If they question your response (which is likely), persist — ”No, I said I’m not interested.”…”
The ‘Pullout Generation’ Is Here. What Do Sex Educators Think? – Martha Kempner at RH Reality Check
“…An article published last week onNew York Magazine‘s The Cut is making waves among feminists and sex educators alike, as it describes a new generation of women unapologetically using withdrawal as their primary method of contraception. Though the headline dubs these women the “pullout generation,” writer Ann Friedman talks mostly about a specific subset of women: 30-somethings in long-term relationships who have been having sex with the same man for years, trust him, and are less than terrified of getting pregnant. These women are tired of the pill and other hormonal methods, skeptical of intrauterine devices (IUDs), and dislike condoms. So they arm themselves with period tracker apps that let them know what days not to have pullout sex, condoms so they can have sex on those days, and packets of emergency contraception in case something goes wrong.
These women seem to have done exactly what I hope every student of sexuality education would be able to do: apply what they have learned about efficacy rates and side effects to their own relationships and lifestyles and come away with the birth control method they think is best for them. So why does their decision make the sex educator in me so uncomfortable? Does withdrawal really work well enough to be someone’s primary method of contraception? And even if it works well, shouldn’t we be steering women toward methods that work even better?…”
Welcome back to school, girls. And mind those breasts! – Nancy L Cohen at The Guardian
“…On night two of the new school year, my daughters’ high school principal sent out the following email: “kids” were not to show “the three Bs: No bellies. No buns. No breasts.”
Lucky me. The educational authorities were on the clothing case. Our collective parenting failure to enforce proper dress fobbed off on the public school system. And yet, something was missing. Oh right, male body parts.
A well-intentioned new principal, brought in to close the achievement gap in an ethnically and economically diverse public high school in Los Angeles had instituted the sexual double standard as official school policy. Over 1,500 14 to 18-year-old girls were told, never mind aiming for top grades or a track medal, your female body is “distracting” and it must be hidden. Stupid me. I had neglected to teach my daughters about the male gaze and its female enforcers.
The principal’s email got me thinking. Across America, were families receiving a similar Danger-Zone-Girls-At-Work message in their welcome back to school greetings? As this episode unfolded, I wondered, was it even possible to devise a nondiscriminatory, genderneutral dress code? Throughout history, what girls have been allowed to wear has been intimately related to what they have been allowed to achieve. But hadn’t all that changed?…”
The Amazing People Who Are Changing How Low-Income Moms Give Birth – Catherine Pearson at The Huffington Post
“…In the absence of broader coverage for doulas, there are hundreds of programs around the country that piece together public and private funds to provide doula care for low-income women at little to no cost. Woolward participated in By My Side Birth Support, a program that ensures free doula care for women in five ZIP codes in Brooklyn whose income qualifies them for government nutrition programs — at or under $21,000 for a one-person household or $27,000 for a two-person household. Between 2010 and 2013, the rate of breastfeeding initiation for women in the program was 94 percent — 14 percent higher than the 2011 New York state average — according to internal data By My Side shared with The Huffington Post. And their C-section rate was 31.6 percent, compared to 34.2 percent statewide.
According to DONA, the doula’s core mission is to help women carry out whatever their birth plans are. For community programs, that can mean dealing with broader social, economic and environmental factors. Regina Conceicao, a doula with By My Side who also works with private clients in wealthier Brooklyn neighborhoods, said her low-income clients have similar expectations for their birth experiences — whether they should have a certain birthing soundtrack or if they plan to have an epidural — but they often have to address basic needs first.
“The stress of not having a crib or a safe sleeping place, not having diapers or clothing, not knowing how they are going to get to the hospital … those are the things we have to address,” Conceicao said.
Maritza Jimenez, 32, lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn and gave birth to her daughter last year. She said the greatest benefit of having a free doula was that the doula could answer basic questions about what to expect when she arrived at the hospital. Jimenez also appreciated the emotional, in-the-moment support from her doula.
“She was there cleaning my sweat, saying, ‘Whatever you want me to do — [if] you want me to hold your leg, if you want me to curse somebody out,’” Jimenez chuckled. “You know, she would have done it.”…”
Birth World Caricatures – BirthingBeautifulIdeas
“…We all wear a particular lens when we view not just birth advocacy, but the entire world. And I honestly don’t think we ever view the world through “naked eyeballs”: we are always already bound to some unique perspective, some unique set of life experiences, some unique type of expertise, even some unique type of ignorance.
All of this philosophizing is simply to say: my thing is nuance, alongside a sincere appreciation for personal (and relational) autonomy.
It’s partly why I started this blog in the first place.
And this is why any and all “caricatures” that persist in any form of birth advocacy really, really, really bother me. Any sort of sweeping generalizations. Any sort of hasty conclusions that impede dialogue and discourage critical thinking.
For though I’ve succumbed to these sorts of logical mistakes in the past–avoiding nuance is easy, and being a part of a group that thinks more shrilly than carefully is exciting–I’d like to avoid making these mistakes in the future:
All midwives are spectacular
It’s true that evidence tends to support the idea that midwifery-led care is an excellent model of care for most pregnant women. And in many cases, midwives are spectacular.
But this doesn’t mean that every midwife is the right care provider for every woman.
It doesn’t mean that all home birth midwives are created equally.
It doesn’t mean that all certified nurse midwives are created equally.
It doesn’t guarantee that a woman choosing to give birth with a midwife will have a vaginal birth, or an intervention-free birth, or even a safe birth.
It doesn’t even guarantee that every person who is a midwife practices in a way that is typically described as the “midwifery model of care.”
Like each individual woman and each individual labor, each individual midwife is radically unique. To suggest that all midwives are any one uniform things runs the risk that women will choose a care provider who, because of their skill levels or practice styles or any other characteristics, might not be a great fit for them after all…”
Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity – Jodi Kantor at The New York Times
“…The country’s premier business training ground was trying to solve a seemingly intractable problem. Year after year, women who had arrived with the same test scores and grades as men fell behind. Attracting and retaining female professors was a losing battle; from 2006 to 2007, a third of the female junior faculty left.
Some students, like Sheryl Sandberg, class of ’95, the Facebook executive and author of “Lean In,” sailed through. Yet many Wall Street-hardened women confided that Harvard was worse than any trading floor, with first-year students divided into sections that took all their classes together and often developed the overheated dynamics of reality shows. Some male students, many with finance backgrounds, commandeered classroom discussions and hazed female students and younger faculty members, and openly ruminated on whom they would “kill, sleep with or marry” (in cruder terms). Alcohol-soaked social events could be worse.
“You weren’t supposed to talk about it in open company,” said Kathleen L. McGinn, a professor who supervised a student study that revealed the grade gap. “It was a dirty secret that wasn’t discussed.”
But in 2010, Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s first female president, appointed a new dean who pledged to do far more than his predecessors to remake gender relations at the business school. He and his team tried to change how students spoke, studied and socialized. The administrators installed stenographers in the classroom to guard against biased grading, provided private coaching — for some, after every class — for untenured female professors, and even departed from the hallowed case-study method…
And yet even the deans pointed out that the experiment had brought unintended consequences and brand new issues. The grade gap had vaporized so fast that no one could quite say how it had happened. The interventions had prompted some students to revolt, wearing “Unapologetic” T-shirts to lacerate Ms. Frei for what they called intrusive social engineering. Twenty-seven-year-olds felt like they were “back in kindergarten or first grade,” said Sri Batchu, one of the graduating men.
Students were demanding more women on the faculty, a request the deans were struggling to fulfill. And they did not know what to do about developments like female students dressing as Playboy bunnies for parties and taking up the same sexual rating games as men. “At each turn, questions come up that we’ve never thought about before,” Nitin Nohria, the new dean, said in an interview.
The administrators had no sense of whether their lessons would last once their charges left campus. As faculty members pointed out, the more exquisitely gender-sensitive the school environment became, the less resemblance it bore to the real business world. “Are we trying to change the world 900 students at a time, or are we preparing students for the world in which they are about to go?” a female professor asked…”
50 Shades of BS – How to Tell The Difference Between Kink and Abuse – Joey at Scarleteen
“…As a woman who often enjoys being sexually submissive and as someone who has moved in kink circles, I set out many times to start reading the book, but shied away from it again and again. BDSM, in all its variations and manifestations, has a pretty bad rep: a lot of the time when we meet characters in books or on TV who engage in BDSM, they are either leather-clad outsiders (who are also often involved in sex work – think Lady Heather from CSI Las Vegas), or deeply damaged individuals purportedly acting out a bad childhood.
It is rare to see people who practice BDSM depicted for who they most commonly are: completely regular folks like you and me.
Aside from being annoying and frustrating for those of us who identify as kinky, these flawed and often downright false representations can also be dangerous: for someone who is only vaguely familiar with distorted media-images of what kink looks like, it could be easy to wind up in relationships that are ostensibly kinky, but are actually abusive.
50 Shades is a perfect example of that…”