ChoiceWords Blog

Posts By: Sarah

Postpartum Cancer and The Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention & Treatment Act, or, Two Reproductive Justice Things I Learned About By Simply Having A Conversation With My Sister

My medical history is something I’ve always been vague on. Aside from a smattering of recessive traits and bad teeth, I don’t really know what disorders or diseases to which I may be genetically predisposed. As a woman, this has always concerned me, particularly as the gap between my 20s and 30s begins to close. Not only am I becoming more interested in having a family of my own, but it’s no secret that women become more susceptible to reproductive cancer and hormone fluctuations as we age. My half-sister Christie is one of few relatives who offer clues to my medical history. A breast cancer survivor who underwent chemo, radiation, and a double mastectomy this summer, Christie has made a fairly speedy recovery – much to my relief. Naturally, I… Read more »

Congressional Fail: What Happened to the Violence Against Women Act

2012 was full of fascinating–and occasionally terrifying–reproductive justice dialogues. Beginning in February when Rush Limbaugh made disparaging comments about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke’s congressional speech in support of mandated insurance coverage of birth control, it became clear that the “war on women” and reproductive agency was in full swing. Less than a month later, President Obama issued a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation where he asserted that “the prevalence of sexual assault remains an affront to our national conscience that we cannot ignore.” As the presidential election approached, Republican candidate Mitt Romney stated that Roe v. Wade–the case which legalized abortion–should be overturned. He also voiced a similar stance on the Affordable Care Act. After the election in November, things seemed to be on the up and… Read more »

How to be an Ally: Notes on Lending a Hand to a Movement which Isn’t Yours

Back in October, my university’s Gay-Straight Alliance hosted a National Coming Out Day panel. Instead of the usual format–which generally entails queer folks sharing their coming out stories– this panel included an equal amount of queer and straight “ally” participants, all from varied backgrounds. After having our interests piqued, several of my Choice USA chapter’s members and I attended the panel. For us, allyship comes with the reproductive justice territory. We understand that there is overlap between LGBT discrimination and reproductive inequality. That said, we only stand to benefit from exposing ourselves to these conversations about the queer experience, right? So the four of us Choice USAers journeyed to the student union theater. We took our seats, shut off our phones; my co-president offered me her usual reminders to stop… Read more »

So… Where Are All the Millennial Feminists?

Last month, Taylor Swift’s “I’m not a feminist, lol it’s not about boys against girls” comment springboarded a lot of Internet feelings and commentary. Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart pulled her hair out and congratulated Swift for missing the point of feminism. Meanwhile, a writer over at XOJane used Swift’s anti-feminism to justify her own tragically limited worldview. Personally, I sat back and patiently waited for Swift-related headlines to stop appearing in my Google Reader. I mean, I didn’t exactly expect a singer-songwriter who once waxed poetically, “So tell my friends that I’m obsessive and crazy/that’s fine/I’ll tell mine that you’re gay” to be a card-toting member of NOW or anything. Just when I thought the “Taylor Swift is not a feminist” horse had been beaten to death, CNN has picked up… Read more »

Rape Culture: A Case Study

Rape culture. Even if you’re not familiar with the fancy new wave feminist lingo, you’ve probably witnessed at least example of it somewhere in day-to-day life. Simply, rape culture is an environment where sexual violence is taken lightly and seen as the norm. When rape culture is present, we may be told that assault is an inevitability or given, or even–get ready, here’s the real kicker–that someone may be “asking” to be raped just by dressing a certain way. Marshall University’s Women’s Center offers the following, super concise definition: Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s… Read more »

Lesbians in Primetime Television: Coming Out Is Not The Only Issue

This post is part of a series about reproductive justice and the media done in partnership with Women, Action, & the Media. Given that television’s primetime line-up consists of Glee, The New Normal, and Modern Family, it’s surreal to think that same-sex moments on television were once considered scandalous. But not too long ago, the mere rumor of homosexual content in a program was justification enough for a station to pull its broadcast. Even in the late 90s and early 00s, homosexuality was still very much a Wildean “love that dare not speak its name” in the television world. When “The Puppy Episode” of Ellen aired in 1997, numerous sponsors–from JC Penny to Wendy’s–dropped their support. A Birmingham affiliate of ABC refused to show the episode. In 2005, the US Department… Read more »

Pop Goes Sex Positive: Now With 0% Slut Shaming

When Christina Aguilera’s new single “Love Your Body” dropped several weeks back, I made the point to check it out. The artist has gone through as many unique phases as a chameleon, from teen pop royalty to blue-eyed soul icon. I was interested to see what the artist formerly known as Xtina had up her sleeve this time around. What I discovered was not just a really catchy pop song, but one with a sex-positive message. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cfCgLgiFDM

Juno, Choice, and Stigmatizing Teen Pregnancy

When Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman’s Juno premiered five years ago, it became an immediate critical and theatrical success. Oprah, barometer of all things of-the-moment, called the indie dramedy “fresh.” Legendary movie critic Robert Ebert hailed it as “the best movie of the year.” What makes this all the more fascinating is that Juno isn’t just a little quirky independent film in a similar vein as Garden State and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. It’s also a film about a pregnant teen, and her remarkably solitary quest to deal with her pregnancy accordingly, in a way that works for her. Simply put, Juno is all about choice. One of the most remarkable things about the 2007 film was that it put the power back in the hands of a pregnant youth…. Read more »

Why Does No One Talk About Sexual Assault in the LGTBQ Community?

For the most part, I exist within two realms: That of American women and that of LGBT Americans. When a friend makes the playful joke that my life is “sooo gay,” I can only agree. But it’s also “sooo feminist,” too. These communities aren’t mutually exclusive, though. There’s a lot of overlap between that which is feminist and that which is queer. There is no need to choose sides. If anything, this sort of dual existence has a lot of perks. I have a heightened awareness of the ways gender, sexuality, and privilege all play out in my “gay-to-day” existence. Because I care about reproductive justice, I also care about sexual freedom. And because I care about sexual freedom, I also care about consent, and the things that compromise it…. Read more »

Review – The Education of Shelby Knox

If you’re fortunate enough have a free evening this busy fall semester, I recommend grabbing a box of Swedish Fish and watching The Education of Shelby Knox on Netflix Instant. Centering around one 15 year-old girl’s fight to bring comprehensive sex education to her abstinence-only high school, the film really gets to the heart of what it takes to inspire progress in communities where few things ever change. Setting is everything for a movie, and documentaries are no exception. Shelby Knox is a student in Lubbock, Texas, a town that—while overwhelmingly conservative and religious—has given birth to several rebellious progressive voices, including Natalie Maines and Buddy Holly. Over the course of The Education, you’ll witness Knox begin to follow in their footsteps of independent thought.