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.

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: 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.

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: Roe v. Wade at 40, Clothes Make the Woman, Fetishes, and more

My Body My Choice: Roe v. Wade turns forty this week, and co-creator of The Daily Show Lizz Winstead teams up with Ultraviolet in a catchy video about the creeping erosion of our right to safe, legal abortion. Guttmacher Institute offers five detailed, elegant infographics about the decision’s continued importance, while This Is Personal offers a visual Q&A about what its erosion means to you.

Reacting to Roe: The Washington Post covers a new study which says most Americans support Roe v. Wade. Meanwhile, Supreme Court journalist Jeffrey Toobin offers a favorable polemic as the leadoff Comment in the New Yorker’s Talk of the Town.

I Can’t Even… : Cutting up your vagina to look like Barbie.

Clothes Make the Woman: A sociology professor tells us what’s so awesome about this viral image.

Feminist Fetish: Our friend in feminism, Jessica Wakeman, wrote a great exploration of what “kinks” and “fetishes” are, and why they’re too often used incorrectly.

Latest Anti-Choice Loophole Puts Virginia Women At Risk

On Friday, the Virginia State Board of Health reversed an earlier decision to exempt existing abortion clinics from a 2011 bill which enforces the same building requirements on these clinics as on hospitals. The 15-member board voted 13-2 in favor of reversing a “grandfather clause” approved in a 7-4 vote in June which would have exempted existing clinics from new and costly renovations in order to comply with the bill. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had refused to certify the June approved exemption, and had warned board members regarding their legal liabilities if the exemption remained. As a result of the decision reversal, existing abortion clinics will be responsible for physical plant requirements such as hands-free faucets and corridor dimensions. Such regulations could put some clinics in danger of closing their doors, according to operators.

While the Attorney General’s engagement with the State Board of Health in the decision process clearly merits attention, the decision reversal should also serve as an opportunity to consider whether it is necessary for abortion clinics to meet new building requirements designed for hospitals. [Read more...]

Women’s Health Update: What You Need To Know Before You Vote

This campaign season has seen a flurry of women’s health issues come to the forefront of political debates, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming to keep track of which women’s health issues are being discussed, where proceedings stand, and what the major implications of decisions are. Here’s a quick guide to what matters most when it comes to bureaucrats governing your lady parts.

Michigan passes abortion “superbill” in the House. In early June, the Michigan State House of Representatives passed a bill (HB 5711, 5712, and 5713) which puts severe restrictions on abortion clinics and services. One of the most notable provisions of the bill mandates abortion clinics performing six or more abortions per month to become licensed surgical centers, even if they only perform non-surgical abortions. The bill awaits a Senate vote (likely in September) and discussion on further provisions, such as criminalizing abortions, even in the case of rape or incest, after 20 weeks. Notably, two female Michigan legislators were banned from speaking on the House floor after Rep. Lisa Brown used the term “vagina” while discussing the bill.

[Read more...]

Could ‘Women’s Issues’ Be a Thing of the Past?

Once again, we have The War on Women to thank. No, really, we’re serious: Now that ladies’ rights have emerged as a wedge issue in the upcoming presidential election, there seems to be a new movement toward actually finally acknowledging that women’s issues are everyone’s issues. It seems too good to be true, but we’re cautiously optimistic. President Obama’s recent push for equal pay (we cannot believe this has not been achieved yet!) focused on its benefits to “families,” not just to women. It should be a “duh” moment, but apparently it requires explanation in our skewed world. See, if the woman in the house makes more, everyone wins! More money = more money, no matter the gender of the person making it. High math, we know, but, look! Even as girls, we understand it.

[Read more...]

In Defense of Single Mothers

Single mothers have always been picked on. Not only are they doing the hardest job in the world on their own, critics call these women morally bankrupt, their “choice” a disgrace to family values and they often times find a way to link single parents to rising rates of poverty and crime.

But now we know that women have more earning power than ever (though we still have a long way to go)—more than men in some professions, and that many are postponing motherhood so that they can invest in themselves, establish a career, and offer a stable life for themselves and their children. And haven’t we finally killed that antiquated mindset that marriage is the ultimate end game for all women?

Apparently, no. A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that  most of the nation thinks single-parent households are detrimental to society.

Detrimental to society? Really? War is detrimental to society. The constant assault on women’s reproductive freedoms is detrimental to society. “The Bachelor” is detrimental to society. Loving, capable parents—one or two, gay or straight, multicultural or homogeneous—are about the best damn things our society has. We need to start supporting them in real, effective ways. Not pointing a finger of shame at them is a start. Offering affordable child care, not discriminating against working mothers, and offering them flexible job training and after-school programs for their kids are just a few others.

Studies like this always piss me off. The focus group is a tiny sliver of society (2,961 people in this case) but media attention makes these opinions speak for all of us (they don’t). And they’re hardly objective. This poll cites data that shows children who grow up in single-parent households have a greater likelihood to commit a crime or not go to college. Conduct the study a different way and you’ll see the reasons behind these trends are more directly linked to the lack of social welfare programs needed in certain low-wage, high-crime areas, the lack of adequate women’s health care and birth control, and the overall victimization and neglect of our most needy members of society.

Women become single parents for so many reasons. It’s the perfect family for some, a necessity for others. So let us cheer on the women who consciously, responsibly and excitedly choose to have children on their own—how lucky is that kid to be so wanted and loved? And let us support the women who find themselves with an unexpected pregnancy they choose to keep, and those who end a relationship for the betterment of themselves and their child. These women have a challenging road ahead and deserve the supportive Village that’s so often quoted as being necessary to raise a child, not the critical one that seems to turn its back if the baby doesn’t come from a happily married couple.


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