Links for Sexy Feminists: Falludi on Sandberg, Choice Worries, and more

Choice Worries: A graphic panel illustrates how insidiously abortion rights are being chipped away in certain parts of the U.S. And a current case in Wisconsin demands attention for raising the uncomfortable possibility that certain state laws privilege the unborn at the expense of the mother‘s current independence mental well being.

Sexism and Race: A thought-provoking article in the Atlantic discusses the double whammy black women face, specifically noting that racial stereotypes work against black girls at suburban public schools.

Lean In Backlash: Susan Falludi on the trouble with Sheryl Sandberg‘s bestselling book.

Straight, Gay, Bi: Told while imagining a child’s questions about sexuality, this essay reveals that our adult understanding of sexual orientation is needlessly limiting.

Men and Sexism: A well thought through exploration of the men’s rights movement and its relation to the issues it purports to care about. And the founder of VICE spews some truly regressive b.s. Ugh.

Question Your Assumptions: New archaeological evidence suggests that a 2600 year old Etruscan couple whose bones were unearthed had roles contrary to society’s current understanding of gender. Imagine that!

Asexuality: A sensationalist article suggests that most Japanese individuals are now averse to dating or forming relationships. But on the flip side, this article points out that similar reasoning could lead one to conclude the same thing about the U.S.

Words to Live By: Beautiful advice on finding true love.


‘After Tiller’: The Lives of the Last Late-Term Abortion Doctors

After Tiller

On May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was shot to death during a church service in Wichita, Kansas.  Dr. Tiller was one of only five doctors in the United States who performed abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.  Now, there are four, and the documentary After Tiller examines their lives and livelihoods in the wake of Dr. Tiller’s death.

These four doctors are regularly harassed by people who proclaim themselves “pro-life,” yet have no qualms about killing – or celebrating those who do the killing – of abortion providers.  The film asks them why they choose to put themselves in harm’s way, why they choose to make themselves social pariahs.  Over the course of the 85-minute run-time, we learn about how these doctors’ lives have been threatened (death threats are a regular part of their daily life), how their livelihoods are impacted (one doctor was forced to relocate after his state outlawed late-term abortions, and he had an extremely difficult time finding a landlord who would rent to him), and how their personal lives suffer as a result of the trials they endure.  That they choose to stand up for their belief that they are providing a needed service and continue their practice in the face of such overwhelming opposition is nothing short of miraculous.

The film uses interviews and footage from consultations with patients to provide a look into the lives of the four doctors.  It’s no secret that abortion is a politically charged topic, but many people, including the doctors who perform them, treat late-term abortions as much more serious than abortions conducted at the beginning of a pregnancy.  As is detailed in the film, the late-term abortion procedure is fundamentally different from the procedure done earlier in a pregnancy, and the line between “life” and “not life” becomes extremely hazy.  But the facts remain that pregnancy is still a function of a woman’s body, and there are numerous reasons why women choose to get abortions, even at such a late stage of the pregnancy.  In one of the most emotionally powerful interviews in the film, one of the doctors states that she believes that she is working with babies, not fetuses, but that the physical and mental health of the mother outweighs the viability of the baby.

Because that is why these doctors do what they do: the health of the mother.  As the anti-choice crowd so often forgets, the health of the mother, both physical and mental, often hangs in the balance when deciding whether or not to get an abortion.  After Tiller’s use of footage from patient consultations proves again and again that abortion is one of the hardest choices women will ever make.  The film shows women who are torn apart by the decision.  The stigma placed upon the procedure by our society certainly doesn’t help with the decision.  These consultation scenes hammer home the importance of the doctors’ work; although the doctors are the subject of the documentary, the most emotionally powerful scenes are the consultations, highlighting why the doctors have made their decisions to continue their work.

After Tiller certainly won’t change any minds about the morality of abortion.  But it is a powerful piece of filmmaking, reminding those of us who support a woman’s right to choose why that right is so important, and how fragile that right is.  Four doctors in the entire country have the necessary training to perform a procedure that is necessary, if not desired, by some women.  And there are many out there working to change that number to zero.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Shutdown Watch, Relationship Woes, and more

Shutdown Watch: Lest we forget that in the background of the Congress-driven shutdown in American government, there is still a fight against women’s equal access to healthcare. Meanwhile, female state legislators gathered across party lines to encourage Congress to resolve its issues.

Women and Policy: On a different political note, check out this report on how women are faring in different U.S. states.

Relationship Woes: A handy guide to help you figure out if your partner’s issue is your problem, too.

Abortion Misconceptions: A new documentary aims to remove some of the stigma and unfair prejudices about doctors who are still willing to perform late-term abortions.

Bollywood: Next week marks the first Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival.

Fashion Week: Every recent fashion week seems to invite discussion about the exclusion of African American women. So we’re really digging Rick Owens’s use of competitive step dancers in place of stereotypical runway models.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Modern Day Lysistrata, Solidarity is for White Women, and more

Solidarity is for White Women: There’s been a firestorm on Twitter using this hashtag. It all started when Hugo Schwyzer had his Twitter meltdown, and now you can hear from Mikki Kendal on sparking the fire. Even better, she’s compiled a highlight reel that’s well worth reading.

Abortion Rights Watch: Speaking of solidarity, it’s worth considering that low-income women are more likely to face abortion harassment.

Geek Girl Watch: Male comics creators dismiss sexism as not their problem. Ugh.

Sexy Feminists Read: For a fun but feminist beach read, may we suggest Lizz Winstead’s hilarious book of anecdotes about her life.

Feminist Dad: A great piece by Livejournal legend The Ferrett on hoping his daughter has positive sexual experiences.

Sex is Power: In a surely-unintentional reenactment of an Ancient Greek comedy, the partners of gang members in Colombia are refusing to sleep with their men as a protest against the violence.

Feminist CurrentsIconic feminist Gloria Steinem will be honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, an act that also honors the past forty years of feminist action. Meanwhile, this ode to “pissed off women” talks about the future of the movement. Lots of progress to celebrate, but patriarchal gender roles are still harming both women and men.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Trayvon’s Friend, Feminist Slurs, Shaving, and more

Feminist or Not?: A male photographer documents the changing role of the sexes in Spain by photographing men in women’s clothes. The premise could certainly be read as feminist, except that he states on his website that he’s concerned about “men’s sense of loss of reference.” Concerned? Weigh in in the comments!

International Dress: An Indian American woman on proudly dressing in her salwaar kameese and dupatta.

Language Games: A fun romp through the dictionary to learn the origins of some common slurs for women.

Moral Abortion: We love this piece by a rabbi about how his Judaism causes him to see abortion very differently than the Christian right.

To Shave or Not: One woman’s take on the age-old feminist debate.

Lesbian Blues: A charming piece on the queerness of 1920′s blues singers.

Hard to Get?: Why playing “the game” plays into the patriarchy’s hand. And an interesting take on rape culture uses an analogy with banks to turn the tables on guys. On the lighter side, we love this excellently written parody on the “pickup artist” movement.

Women Travelers: Which leads us to this fine perspective on being a solo woman traveler.

Trayvon’s Friend: The star witness for the prosecution fell victim to some tired stereotypes about African-American women. Meanwhile, she has already suffered the devastating impact of being the last person to talk to her friend when he was alive. Crunk Feminist Collective gathers some nice notes in solidarity.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Wendy Davis, Paula Deen, and more

Beyond Marriage: Some fresh takes on what the next focus of the gay rights movement should be. And a fine perspective on how the feminist movement can learn from the successes of the campaign for gay marriage.

Camp for Feminism: A weeklong program for girls to explore what feminism means in the twenty-first century points out that being anti-feminist is now more acceptable than being homophobic.

Go Wendy!: In all the hubbub over the SCOTUS decisions on gay marriage last week, we neglected to mention Wendy Davis’s fillibuster. For those who missed this, the Amazon page on the sneakers she wore is now a tribute to her. This article highlights two reviews that speak to very serious aspects of the laws on abortion.

Safe Choices: This woman’s story of a wanted pregnancy and child illuminates why we need to make sure human reproduction remains a woman’s choice. Writing from a delighted father’s perspective, Rob Delaney points out what should be obvious: that no man does the hard part of birthing a child, ever. Meanwhile, those of us in the U.S. face extremely high medical costs for even a normal pregnancy.

Triggering Comments: We were delighted to see Kotaku take a strong stand on comments that target a particular group, such as women or transgendered individuals. Hopefully other sites will follow suit.

In Solidarity: Women in Egypt risk being raped while they protest in Tahrir Square.

Paula Deen’s Scandal: The Southern hospitality mogul’s personal brand has suffered seriously since allegations of her company’s racism emerged. Yes, it is that bad. Yet in the public outcry of support for her, there are interesting insights about what “white America” really thinks about racism–pointing towards ways to change for the better.

Politics of Inclusion: Feminism is not, and should not be, solely about white women.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Feminist Beauty, Pro-Life Feminists, More on Abortion…

Abortion complexities: The New York Times published this fantastic piece on a group of women who were denied abortions. … Meanwhile, two groups have popped up declaring themselves feminist pro-life organizations. We can get behind their message of providing better counseling, financial resources and community support for pregnant women, but can advocating for the lack of a choice ever be a feminist act?

Beauty obsession can be feminist: We’ll be the first to champion the feminist potential in loving lipgloss. But the beauty industry can still be a volatile environment for a feminist. Refinery29′s Annie Tomlin wrote this essay about how she uses her feminism as an advantage to her career as a beauty editor.

Only child judgment: Journalist Lauren Sandler’s new book, “One and Only” explores the social stigma of only children. She was one, she’s raising one, and still she’s faced with searing critique whenever she tells perfect strangers that she’s not having another child. This is an element of the parenting bullying that’s just as offensive as lecturing a mother on the right way to breastfeed. Sandler addresses the assumption that only children are spoiled and selfish in a recent NYT essay.

The trouble with diamonds: The ethical quandaries of blood diamonds notwithstanding, Business Insider examines how the marriage industrial complex hurts men–and supports patriarchy. … Consumption of goods in general can very likely be linked back to someone’s suffering. Check out HuffPost’s piece on World Day Against Child Labor and find out what you can do to stop these horrifying practices.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Ethiopian Child Brides, Self Acceptance, and more

Reproductive Health Watch: Don’t let the recent holiday weekend and heat wave distract you from noticing this picture of eight men discussing women’s reproductive health.

I Need Feminism: So here’s a great piece on the necessity of feminism in current society. And the feminist blogosphere finally got Facebook to rethink its blind eye to pages supporting gender violence.

Brooklyn is Funny: And so is Katie Goodman in Park Slope Episode 1

Women in STEM: National Geographic rounded up six exceptional female scientists you may not have heard of–let’s help them get the posthumous recognition they deserve.

Fatshion: A new clothing line, currently being designed by a Cornell student, is designed to embrace the curves of larger women. Hooray!

On Self Acceptance: Amanda Chatel wants us to accept that she’s dissatisfied with her physical appearance, and her essay raises interesting thoughts for anyone who doesn’t look a certain way.

Women are People: A great piece on how to appreciate an attractive woman without objectifying her. We’re pretty sure these female artists who painted “pin-ups” would agree.

Women in the World: The International Women’s Forum is being held this year in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The UN criticized Iran for suppressing its female citizens’ right to run for political office. And this article spotlights an international aid organization that improves the lives of Ethiopian child brides.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Against “Dieting”, Safer Sweatshops, Women Vote in Pakistan, More

Against the “Diet”: A poignantly inspiring tale of a woman who watched her father waste away due to self starvation and vows to embrace her own plus -ize figure. If you’re ever at a loss for body positivity, may we recommend reading and rereading this compilation of advice from fat women who love their curves. Meanwhile, having broken the “We don’t want fat people” Abercrombie story, Business Insider charts a precipitous drop in the brand’s popularity following the story.

Safer Sweatshops: On the other end of the fashion cycle, we were encouraged to hear that several prominent retailers are committing to improve factory conditions in Bangladesh.

Rethinking Choice: One woman’s interesting take on the semantic argument between “Life” and “Choice.”

Surprise!: Greater access to and education about birth control leads to fewer abortions. Interestingly, education in the study led many women to conclude that an IUD was the right choice for them, suggesting that the long-term solution may be underused.

Sex Positivity: Thanks to Jezebel for this primer on the so-called “looseness” of the vulva. NSFW.

Mommy Life: One woman’s story about coming to terms with postpartum depression and accepting that her husband could be the better caregiver at the beginning.

Activism Works: The Florida teen whose science experiment caused a minor explosion has had charges dropped after internet activists accused the accusers of racism. Meanwhile, though Disney has publicly backed down from its Merida makeover, only time will tell if they’re changing her back.

Women in the World: Pakistani women braved threats of violence to vote this past weekend, while Kuwaiti women are gaining grounds for athletic competition. Coming from a different religious perspective, Israel has struck down the mandate that women and men be segregated on public bus rides through conservative neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Canadian students created this funny and thought-provoking spoof of gender roles in advertising.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Gosnell Abortion Trial, Eve Ensler Tour, Female Sexuality, and more

Gosnell Abortion Scandal: We were horrified to learn about the unsanitary and unethical conditions which plagued a Pennsylvania clinic, and predictably, the right wing is using the case as ammunition.  The Atlantic asks why none of the protesters who prayed outside the clinic ever heard of the awful conditions.  Writing for Jezebel, Katie J.M. Baker points out that the clinic’s conditions show all too clearly the risks of overregulation: women with limited legal options may have no choice but to visit such a squalid clinic.

Go Meet Eve: One of the great feminist icons of our time, Eve Ensler will be touring in support of her latest book, so be sure to check out her site to find out if she’s visiting your city.

Wearing Makeup: Why no feminist has to choose between makeup and feminism, and makeup is about so much more than simply looking good.  On the other side of the beauty spectrum, you will doubtless be hearing about Dove’s “beauty sketches” in the coming weeks, but it may be helpful to keep these thoughts in mind as well.

Pregnancy Empowerment: Don’t tell pregnant women they should worry about getting their old body back; their new body could be an amazing testament to their experience.

Female Sexuality: Think it was always the case that women were stereotyped to want sex less?  Not at all!  Alternet explores how for most of Western history it went the other way, and traces the shift.

Teen Girl Watch: Cyberbullying has compounded the trauma of sexual violence in other cases besides Steubenville, with tragic consequences.


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