ChoiceWords Blog

Posts By: Guest Blogger

The Birds and the Bees – and Plan B

By Callie Otto, Choice USA intern  My 16 year-old brother got his first real girlfriend a few months ago. As the sex-obsessed one in the family, I’ve decided it’s my job to make sure he knows everything he needs to know about sex. Truthfully, I’d prefer it if my brother waited until he was 30. I don’t want to acknowledge my little brother as a sexual person, but on average, teens have sex for the first time by age 17. So chances are, now’s the time he’ll be needing my lectures the most. Yes, it’s going to be uncomfortable. And I talk about sex all the time, so I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable it would be for a normal person. We live in a society that tells young people that sex… Read more »

What Facebook Continues To Tell Us About Violence Against Women

Cross-posted with permission from Fem2.0  **Trigger warning – This post contains strong language and graphic descriptions.** There is a photograph being shared in Facebook of a woman cowering in a corner, eyes downcast, as large man standing in the foreground swings his fist at her head. The caption reads, “Women deserve equal rights. And lefts.” AT&T, American Express, Cubesmart and Ancestry.com are among the page’s sponsors today. This image has been reported to Facebook repeatedly. Their response is: “Thanks for your report. We reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate Facebook’s Community Standard on hate speech, which includes posts or photos that attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition.” The “joke” isn’t offensive. What is offensive… Read more »

Bro-Choice Links

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  As a part of this week, we want to highlight some of the fantastic work done by others on the topics of men, masculinity, sexual assault, and reproductive justice. Below are some of our favorite writing about these topics from others. Stay tuned throughout the week for more and nominate your favorite articles in the comments. [many of the posts linked to in this series come with a trigger warning] Steubenville: Humiliation Was The Point Of The Exercise, Thomas MacAulay Millar, Yes Means Yes Blog An earnest letter to guys about the problem with rape jokes; It’s not about being PC, Leah, Talkin’ Reckless Toxic Masculinity, Jaclyn Friedman, The American… Read more »

Steubenville, Rape Culture, and Male Responsibility

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  In the aftermath of Steubenville, pundits and reporters have been discussing the different factors that drove the perpetrators to commit such a terrible crime. Some have suggested that it was a lack of parental involvement. Others have wondered if teen drinking is to blame. One factor that has not been discussed in great detail – and one that our society is reluctant to ponder – is our cultural definition of masculinity. One of the ways privilege functions is that we don’t question the socialization of those with power. For instance, when white men commit violent acts of terrorism the news media classifies them as “lone gunmen” who… Read more »

Masculinity and Care

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  I’m in the seventh grade; a shy kid with a stutter, and short for my age, sitting by the front of my school long after the final bells have rung. It’s mostly empty, so I notice when that this kid, even smaller than I am, is stumbling through the parking lot, towards the front of the school. He’s carrying this black, big-ass tuba case, and I laugh–he can hardly walk–before I realize he’s crying. A nose running, chest heaving, proud-hurt-boy cry, blood running down the side of his left leg, soaking his white shin-high socks. I stop laughing. I start running. As I reach him, I realize… Read more »

Some Guys Burn Their Bras Too!: A Trans* Guy’s Experiences with Privilege, Violence, and Sexual Assault

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  **Trigger Warning – this post includes violence, sexual assault, and explicit language** Picture this: A bony, almond-eyed, lanky tomboy with a terrible haircut is playing kickball outside of her house when an unrecognizable car comes driving slowly down the street. Annoyed that she has to put her game on pause the tomboy walks to the side of the road waiting for the car to pass, except it doesn‘t, it pulls up right next to her. The man driving the car is going on and on about his lost dog. The little girl apologizes because she hasn‘t seen any dogs wandering around her neighborhood. Before the man drives… Read more »

A Woman’s Issue, RIP.

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  My name is Travis Ballie and I am writing to announce the death of the “woman’s issue.” It died June 4, 1988, when an asthmatic brown boy was born into an opinionated and ambitious immigrant enclave of women. It died when that brown boy’s mother, grandmother, and aunt pooled their funds, love, and wisdom to raise him to never feel foreign in this new land of America. It died when that boy walked across the stage as the first member of his family to graduate college, the women in his life being too busy raising him to ever consider the option for themselves. That… Read more »

Rapists: You Don’t Get To Stay Anonymous

By Callie Otto, Choice USA intern  Her name was Rehtaeh Parsons. She was a survivor of rape who was shamed, harassed, and denied justice. She went to the authorities, but they wouldn’t bring charges against her rapists. The police said it was a matter of “he said, she said.” Two years later, Rehtaeh committed suicide. Anonymous, the same hacktivist group that blew the whistle on the Steubenville rape crew, is once again taking things into their own hands. And I approve. The official statement from Anonymous says, “Our demands are simple: We want the N.S. RCMP to take immediate legal action against the individuals in question…We do not approve of vigilante justice as the media claims. That would mean we approve of violent actions against these rapists at the hands… Read more »

Write for ChoiceWords!

Do you want to write about reproductive justice and get PAID for doing it? Choice USA is looking for student journalists for the 2013-2014 school year! As a part of the program you will write for ChoiceWords, travel to Washington DC for training, and attend a national conference as a representative of Choice USA. The program also comes with a $500 stipend per semester. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a college or university in the following states: California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, or Texas. Applications due April 19th, 2013! Apply here: http://bit.ly/YTo9IA

On Privacy and Reproductive Health: California’s Confidential Health Information Act

Elizabeth McElvein is a member of the Choice USA chapter at Scripps College The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health plans and insurers to offer coverage to dependent children up to age 26. While the expansion of health care coverage is a momentous step forward, the ACA leaves matters of patient privacy relatively ambiguous; consequently, it is up to state lawmakers to mediate the conflict between maintaining appropriate health plan and insurer communication and protecting patient confidentiality. This tension is of concrete significance to women and young people for whom patient confidentiality translates into freedom to pursue sexual and reproductive health care services. Imagine a high school senior sitting by herself in a doctor’s waiting room. She contemplates telling her doctor that she is sexually active and dreads the… Read more »