education


It’s the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Blog for Choice Day 2010!

This year’s Blog for Choice Day question asks us “What does (the late Dr. Tiller’s simply put) ‘Trust Women‘ mean to you?”

To me, trusting women is about believing women. It’s about listening to women. It’s about acknowledging and appreciating women.

Trusting women means you do not presume to know what’s best for them. When you trust someone, you acknowledge that their choices are made with thoughtfulness and care.

A lack of trust is being told by someone you’ve never met what to do with your body. A lack of trust is the assumption that you cannot make rational decisions about your own reproductive health. A lack of trust imposes your religious beliefs on my medical decisions.

Trusting women promotes choice, but it must also promote justice. Because many women do not have a choice.

Miriam at Radical Doula notes:

As Ive talked about before, choice isnt enough.

Choice doesnt recognize that we dont all have a choice. That often times our choices are impacted by what others want, by what we can afford, by what we will allow ourselves to do.

Our choices are mediated by politicians, religious figures, our paycheck this month. Our choices are limited by our family members, our lovers, what we see on TV and who is close to us when we have to make a decision.

Our choices are determined by the color of our skin, the language that rolls off our tongues, the restrictions of our bodies, the gender we identify with and the people we love.


With that in mind, trusting women is viewing us as more than our ability to reproduce. Our health is a much more complex issue than the issue of abortion. Trusting women acknowledges the whole woman, one who is capable of making a whole host of decisions.


Good advice from Ellen’s ‘common cement’ speech at Tulane:

Life is like one big Mardi Gras

But instead of showing your boobs, show people your brain

And if they like what they see, youll have more beads than you know what to do with

This Mother’s Day, let’s remember the true intentions behind this holiday.

“Arise then…women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own. It says: Disarm! Disarm!” Julia Ward Howe, Mother’s Day Proclamation, 1870

In honor of the peaceful sentiment of this day, mothers who have lost children in Iraq and Afghanistan will be holding a 24-hour vigil in front of the White House.

This Mothers Day (May 10), thousands of mothers will mark this occasion with tremendous loss mothers whose children have been killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. Mothers from all over the country will gather in front of the White House for a 24-hour-vigil to honor the war dead and demand an end to the wars.

What can you do? Send a Mothers Day rose to Washington, D.C., and let the mothers of the fallen and wounded soldiers know that you stand with them against war. Roses will be presented to the mothers and tied to the fence outside the White House as a memorial to the dead and a call for peace.

For just $3, thanks to CREDO, you can join the anti-war efforts by sending a rose. Wage peace!

It turns my stomach to think that I have had to work  nearly four months this year to equal my husband’s wages from last year. We have the same education and qualifications, but our work is not valued the same.

Why April 28? The typical woman worker had to toil all of 2008 and through April 28, 2009 to earn the equivalent of her male counterpart’s earnings in 2008 alone. (Center for American Progress)

Check out several great posts from the National Women’s Law Center’s Blog for Fair Pay Day 2009 here.  For a great Equal Pay primer, check out “Why Arent’ We There Yet?

As RobinNWLC points out, women often have no way of knowing if we are being paid fairly. That’s why we need the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The Act would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the EPA and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. The bill also allows women to receive the same remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subject to discrimination based on race and national origin. (NWLC)

Click here to urge your senators to support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responds passionately and eloquently to Rep. Smith’s concern that the Obama administration supports women’s reproductive freedom abroad. Michelle Goldberg calls it thrillingly unequivocal. You can read a transcript of the exchange here, via Shakesville.

On a side note, why is Hillary Clinton referred to as “the gentleman” on several occasions?

h/t Courtney @ feministing

Deborah Siegel, over at Girl w/ Pen, is trying to start a little infectious blog quiz. If you’ve got one, paste these questions and add one of your own, then post it up at your blog so we can spread the knowledge.

1. In 2009, women make up what percent of the U.S. Congress?
A. 3%
B. 17%
C. 33%
D. 50%

2. How many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are female?
A. 12
B. 28
C. 59
D. 84

3. Who was the first First Lady to create her own media presence (ie hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column and a monthly magazine column, and host a weekly radio show)?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt
B. Jacqueline Kennedy
C. Pat Nixon
D. Hillary Clinton

4. The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress in:
A. 1923
B. 1942
C. 1969
D. 1971

5. Who was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
A. Phyllis Wheatley
B. Alice Walker
C. Toni Morrison
D. Maya Angelou

6. What percentage of union members are women today?
A. 10%
B. 25%
C. 35%
D. 45%

7. What year did the Griswold v. Connecticut decision guarantee married women the right to birth control?
A. 1960
B. 1965
C. 1969
D. 1950

8. More women than men have voted in every U.S. election since:

A. 1964

B. 1972

C. 1976

D. 1988

Click “more…” for answers

(more…)

When I check the stats on my blog I can see what search terms brought people here. More often than not those searches include “boobs.” Really. “Fake boobs,” “animated boobs,” “beautiful boobs,” and of course, a celebrity’s name with the word “boobs.”

It’s not news that our society is obsessed with women’s breasts. Recently I shared this great article by Samara Ginsburg with friends and family and the responses I got were incredible. Many people had similar experiences to the author or knew someone who had. It made me wish we had more of a dialogue through which women could talk about how they are measured.

Women’s complex relationships with their bodies, especially their breasts, become even more complex when illness is involved. As if it were not enough to deal with the health implications of breast cancer, women often face aesthetic questions about their breasts that have nothing to do with health. As Amy DePaul describes in her article Replacing Things Lost, it is often assumed that women will want to increase their breast size after a masectomy. Check out this excerpt:

So it was off to the plastic surgeons officenot a place I had ever envisioned myself, to be honest. My husband accompanied me for moral support, and we idled in the waiting room and then the exam room; he was reading Breast Cancer Husband while I flipped through a magazine. The doctor walked in, introduced himself and sat down on a stool with wheels that allowed him to scoot around the office at lightning speeds to snatch papers and files as needed. A chatty and energetic sort, he explained early on that no one has to undergo reconstruction, which I appreciated, but that if I wanted to, he would help me determine my options. I told him I was certain I wanted to reconstruct.

He pulled out his pen and opened his file and began asking questions, looking over my medical information: Do you smoke? No. Did they find cancer when you had your cervical cone biopsy? No. Good, he said. And then: What is your current bra and cup size, and what would you like to move up to?

Huh?

No, I thought. No, he didnt just imply that I am an obvious candidate for breast augmentation, though some might argue that I was. I looked at my doctor and then my husband, both of whom studiously avoided eye contact with me. In the awkward silence, it occurred to me that my husband might be tempted to weigh in favorably on the augmentation, a move I would have found highly uncool. After all, its one thing for a plastic surgeon to point out your supposed anatomical shortcomings, but its quite another to hear it from the guy whose laundry you fold and put away.

Similarly, the breast cancer awareness movement has turned into an emphasis on “Saving the Boobs” rather than “Saving the Women.” What if we valued women as much as we valued their breasts? And what if we valued women’s health as much as we valued them as decorations? Several examples of advertising that sexes up breast cancer are here, here, and here.

Sexualizing breast cancer will only discourage young women from becoming familiar with their bodies, what is healthy, and what is natural. It trains women to think of their breasts as something for men to look at, or as Ginsburg mentions, objects that don’t even belong to them. Our dialogue surrounding breast cancer should be person-centered not breast-centered, as we are not hosts for our breasts, but rather they are a part of us.

Most of the time I hear Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice, I change the station. It irks me how he always seems to be joking about things I do not find funny. It’s a trait George W. possessed as well. I think it betrays their inability to discuss the situation at hand intelligently, like the class clown who acted out because he couldn’t read.

Californians are suffering. The budget has been hung up for months, over what increasingly looks like Republicans’ failed ideological stance against raising taxes. They even ousted their leader last night, during their budget nightmare sleepover that failed to reach an agreement. Due to the lack of one Republican vote, 20,000 people are getting pink slips in our state. Those are real people who probably would have chosen to pay a few more cents on the dollar in taxes to losing their jobs and their abilities to support their families.

Why is it that when it’s time to find places to tighten our belts, the first programs to go are those that benefit women and children? Who decided that education, health care and the Violence Against Women Act were pork? ThinkProgress notes that the proposed cuts to make the bill more “stimulative” (which of course leave tax cuts untouched, contrary to Economics 101), disproportionately affect women and children.

These cuts would include:

$150 million cut to the Violence Against Women Act

$50 million to the Victims of Crime Act

$25 million to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces

$1.1 billion to Head Start

$50 million to Teacher Quality Partnership Grants

$5.2 billion for Prevention And Wellness (including diabetes screening and HIV testing)

$13.9 billion for Pell Grants

$2 billion for Child Care Development Block Grants (ThinkProgress)

Basically, the conservatives have decided that anything that isn’t tax cuts is “pork.” So, like President Obama, when you hear their criticisms just ask yourself, “Are these folks serious?” What I want to know is, how are they planning to face their constituents after voting against programs like Headstart and Pell Grants in these tough times?

Today President Obama signed his first piece of major legislation

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act!

He reminds us that we’re all created equal, and each of us deserves a chance to pursue our own version of happiness.

Thank you, Mr. President. This is long overdue. And it is not lost on the world of feminism that this was the first (major) bill you have chosen to sign.

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