Links for Sexy Feminists: Hindu Goddesses, What is a Woman? and more

Goddesses Under Siege: A PR campaign aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence in India by depicting Hindu goddesses as victims of abuse has recently become a source of controversy.

What is A Woman?: A charming collection of watercolors of realistic female nudes paired with some hella empowering text. Probably NSFW.

Male Ally: A man talks about how he plans to tell his son about respecting the women around him in a very sweet and moving essay.

Feminists Prank Playboy: Some internet feminist activists successfully pranked Playboy, with total awesomeness ensuing.

Sexual Abuse Recovery: A thought-provoking first person perspective on why negative reactions to childhood sexual abuse can be at least as damaging as the abuse itself.

Love and Transgender: This cis person who married a trans individual will make you think twice about your assumptions about transgendered persons.

War on Women, Ground Floor: We’re unfortunately not surprised to hear this awful tale of a Texas woman who now drives four hours to Planned Parenthood after an uncomfortable experience with her doctor.

Your Women’s Health Checklist

May is Women’s Health Month. Here’s an essential checklist for every woman:

Get a pap smear and breast exam.

Get a mammogram if you’re in your 40s or above; immediately if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.

Have your cholesterol checked, eat heart healthy, exercise and reduce your stress. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women.

Support public health programs for women, advocate for and donate to Planned Parenthood, and contact your lawmakers to tell them you’re so not down with the government trying to diminish healthcare for women.

The next time you visit the doctor, do your research, seek second opinions and ask tons of questions. Advocate for your body’s well-being and health; it’s the only one you’ve got.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Contraception, the male gaze, porn on planes, and more …

Chris Piascik sums up the contraception/Planned Parenthood debate in a drawing: “If this doesn’t describe out of touch with Americans, I don’t know what does.”

Jezebel’s Lindy West gets transcendent picking apart a douchey Globe and Mail piece: “Titled ‘Why men can’t—and shouldn’t—stop staring at women,’ the piece attempts to make a reasoned argument for why the male gaze isn’t creepy (in fact, men are doing society hella favors!), but instead reads like an episode of Law & Order: SVU (one of the ones where Liv uses her sexuality as a weapon and it backfires and Elliot has to rescue her).” Her evisceration only gets better from there.

We heart mentoring young feminists: And we kinda want to take this debate workshop that Ms. talks about here even though we’re grown women.

An interesting women-in-tech mini-controversy: Two recent semi-public sexist incidents in the overwhelmingly male programming industry prompted a swift and decisive outcry — refreshingly, not from feminist agitators, but from the industry itself, as reported by blogger Brian Curtin. This seems like good news — if one company is so quick to denounce another for “hiring women to bring you beer,” that means lots of these places genuinely want to welcome women to their high-paying, in-demand ranks.

Yeah, we’re gonna have to support a no-porn-on-planes rule: We’re neither prudes nor Miss Manners, but it just seems rude to peruse porn when you’re crammed into those tiny seats so close together. YourTango has more on one women’s crusade against such antics.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Breast Cancer Group Snubs Planned Parenthood, Title IX Celebrates a Milestone, and more …

The Susan G. Komen Foundation buckled under pro-life pressure to stop contributing to Planned Parenthood: Jezebel wonders if the change was due to the addition of anti-abortion activist Karen Handel to the breast cancer awareness group’s upper ranks.

YourTango is launching a “Break Up With Your Ex” Campaign: And what better month to shed your emotional baggage than the month of St. Valentine?

Sexy Feminist co-founder Jennifer Armstrong has launched a blog about The Mary Tyler Moore Show while she researches the show for her upcoming book: Check it out for posts on Mary’s house, fashion, and feminist principles.

Can you change the way you talk to change the way people perceive you?: And should you? A recovering Valley Girl debates the issue on RookieMag.

NOW’s blog wishes Title IX a happy 40th: And so do we!

On Pap Smears At Walgreens (And Other Republican Blunders)


Hm. Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy of “Fox & Friends” specifically said on TV that Planned Parenthood was unnecessary because you could get pap smears, breast exams, and other non-abortion related services at Walgreens. But when I moseyed on over there and asked how I would go about getting my ladyparts examined, the cashier looked at me like I was crazy! But I didn’t want to resort to going to Planned Parenthood — oh no. Glenn Beck said that only hookers go there!

Really though, this is far and away the most absurd and infuriating part about the ongoing war on Planned Parenthood: the blatant misinformation that Republicans have been spreading (whether deliberately or ignorantly) in order to demean the importance of Planned Parenthood and the services they provide. Do those Fox guys even know what a pap smear is? It’s difficult to gauge which is worse — giving idiots a time-slot on a major channel so that they can do nothing but spout mindless, unproductive drivel (especially when the channel knows what a huge influence said drivel has on much of the country), or being a United States senator and just deciding to cite arbitrary, made up statistics in a speech — statistics that are not even remotely close to being near the ballpark of accurate. Yes, we mean you, Senator Jon Kyl — did you really think you could get away with claiming that “well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does” is abortion, when abortion actually only constitues 3% of their services? Oh, excuse me. That “was not intended to be a factual statement.” Do we need to have a disclaimer every time Jon Kyl intends to lie on the Senate floor?

Sure, this kind of unapologetic ignorance is pure gold for the comedy world, but now and again we have to remind ourselves that this is real life. This is what the Republican party (not all Republicans, but most) has come to: trying to sabotage women’s rights in a sleazy attempt to secure office once again, and resorting to lying in order to get people on their side. Just because it’s well-known now that many right-wingers, whether on television or on Capitol Hill, don’t concern themselves much with fact-checking doesn’t make it acceptable — especially when, with every lie, so much is at stake for millions of women.

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College Kids Speak Out in Favor of Planned Parenthood: 'We Have Sex!'

A fine argument for Planned Parenthood and sex ed that goes beyond abstinence education:

Five Things You Can Do to Stand With Planned Parenthood

This handy primer comes courtesy of the folks at Planned Parenthood themselves:

What actually happened?
The House of Representatives voted last Friday to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding.  Here’s what that means:
  • Over 800 Planned Parenthood health centers provide primary and preventive care to millions of women, men and teens every year: lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control, HIV testing, STI testing and treatment.  These services account for 97% Planned Parenthood’s work.
  • Certain federal funding streams – Medicaid (reimbursement for services), Title X family planning funding and related 340B drug pricing (loosely speaking, funding for supplies and education) – make Planned Parenthood an affordable, safety-net provider for millions who would otherwise forgo primary and preventive care (which costs all of us more in the long run).  This funding is what Friday’s vote would bar.
  • This funding has nothing to do with abortion: legislation has prohibited federal dollars funding abortion since most of us were children.  Abortion accounts for 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.  And yet, of course, it has everything to do with abortion: the same people who say they are opposed to abortion are putting massive effort into undermining delivery of vital education and resources that help prevent the need for it.

SF Talking Points: Crazy Things Can Happen When You're Fertile, A Site For Lady Journalists

Are We Really “More Like Mammals”? Adding to the recent evolutionary psychology trend, the study of “relationship maintenance,” an experiment conducted at Florida State University revealed some new things about how males react to ovulating women. According to the results, single males find fertile women more attractive, and men who are in a relationship with another woman find them less attractive. John Tierney of the New York Times wrote about it at length, taking it upon himself to draw quite a few conclusions from the bit of data available. Like, the men in relationships didn’t find the woman as good-looking as the others did, “…presumably because at some level they sensed she then posed the greatest threat to their long-term relationships. To avoid being enticed to stray, they apparently told themselves she wasn’t all that hot anyway.” This seems a bit dicey, because really, who knows why they didn’t find the woman attractive? They weren’t asked. Tierney goes on try to make sense of this, saying,

“Natural selection favored those who stayed together long enough to raise children: the men and women who could sustain a relationship by keeping their partners happy. They would have benefited from the virtue to remain faithful, or at least the wiliness to appear faithful while cheating discreetly.” [Read more...]

Why We Need Planned Parenthood: They're There for Us When No One Else Is

I will now tell my one Planned Parenthood story.

When I moved to Seattle in the mid-90s I first lived in a small prefab house behind a bigger, older house in the Judkins Park neighborhood, which, at the time, was a bit of a no-man’s land. I have no idea what it’s like now, but in 1995 it was all fast food joints and car dealerships and one really amazing Goodwill, and then a bunch of houses that were sketchy enough that you wouldn’t want to walk around late at night, though it was definitely not worse than the neighborhoods I had lived in Baltimore during college or DC after that. But our rent was dirt cheap – I want to say it was $750 for the house – and there were three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and we had a backyard, and there was this sweet foliage-lined walkway you could wander along and peer over all your neighbor’s fences. One of them had an old horse who would come over and eat dandelions out of your hand. So I guess when I moved in there, at least for a little while, I didn’t think it was that bad.

I don’t know if I had the power at that time to judge if a situation was good or bad anyway. I was fully in transition. I had no clue what I was doing with my life. I was half-assedly temping for the city, and going to rock shows every night, and writing extremely bad poetry. I shared the main floor of the house with a woman who worked at Elliott Bay Book Company, and she was smart enough to keep her nose in the books when necessary. There was also another roommate who lived in the basement, this young ex-military guy from Minnesota named Peter. Our relationship quickly disintegrated, and when we fought he called me Princess repeatedly. I found him physically intimidating.

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20-somethings Not Using Contraception: One More Reason to Support Planned Parenthood

Debate has raged aplenty recently over teen pregnancy — and whether girls are getting knocked up just to get on TV’s Teen Mom (even though studies say the show’s companion series, 16 and Pregnant, is more likely to scare kids into contraception, and teen birth rates are dropping). But there’s another concerning, if less scandalizing, birth rate that’s on the rise: that of 20-somethings who have unplanned pregnancies.

Yes, they’re technically adults, and they don’t have to walk through high school halls with swollen bellies. Sometimes, they have jobs, and maybe even apartments, which helps a little. But among unmarried women in their 20s, a full 7 out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy — which means their own future plans are cut short, their relationships with the fathers are often forced, and their babies are affected by it all. Especially at a time when many 20-somethings are still living with their parents and undermployed, at best, this fact is almost as serious a problem as teen pregnancy.

[Read more...]

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