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!
8 Things We Learned In 2013 About Having Babies – Catherine Pearson at The Huffington Post
“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…”
Watch This Shampoo Commercial Break Down Gender Inequality in 60 Seconds – Andri Antoniades at Takepart.com
Gisele Bundchen Rebrands Breastfeeding – Sarah B. Weir, Parenting
“…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…”
‘We haven’t won yet politically, but we will’ – Kathleen Osborn at MSNBC
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…”
Why corporate feminism is convenient for capitalism – Dawn Foster at The Guardian
“…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.
The problem with corporate feminism’s obsession with individual stories of success, and “having it all”, is that many women don’t have much at all. Women have been disproportionately affected by austerity, with single mothers and pensioners particularly affected. A few more women may be MPs or CEOs, but three times as many young women are locked into low-paid jobs than were 20 years ago. The fall in real-term wages affects women more, since they were earning less in the first place. Asking women to “lean in” is far easier than demanding we fundamentally change the way businesses operate, and how we reward and approach work.
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…”
How to Talk to Republican Congressmen: A guide for women – Dahlia Lithwick at Slate
“…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?…”
28 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2013 – Elizabeth Plank at Policy Mic
“…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?'”
Get it, girl…”
Notes From a Full Spectrum Nurse-Midwifery Student, Part II – Holly Carpenter at Nursing Student For Choice
“…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…”
Why Is Everyone Getting Naked? Rashida Jones on the Pornification of Everything – Rashida Jones at Glamour
“…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…”
Peace Corps’ Rescission of Discriminatory Pregnancy Policy is a Positive Step, Says NWLC – National Women’s Law Center
“…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.” …”
Rachel Maddow: Mich. senator who fought ‘rape insurance’ with story of her own rape – Arturo Garcia at Raw Story
“…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…”