ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: reproductive justice

Gender, Race and the Executive Order for Equal Pay

There’s been a lot of talk about equal pay and the gender wage gap the past week and half. It was widely reported last week and the days leading up to it, that President Obama would sign an executive order that would ensure equal pay for a large sector of the workforce. According to NPR, the executive order will 1) prevent federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries with each other and 2) federal contractors would also be forced to give the Labor Department data about their employees’ pay along with their race and gender, under new rules the president is instructing the agency to adopt. This executive order is important. The gender wage gap exists and it’s hurting a lot of women and families. This order… Read more »

No More “White Knights”: On Plans for a Steubenville Movie and Silencing Survivors

Circling the feminist and progressive blogosphere the past few days has been the news that Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment, is apparently making a movie about Steubenville—from the perspective of Anonymous, not Jane Doe herself. There was a considerable amount of dissent over the notion of a survivor being silenced in her own narrative, and it’s been discussed in detail about why making the members of Anonymous who raged a social media onslaught concerning the case the “heroes” (the subset of anonymous which the work operated under is known ironically as the “white knight operation”) is problematic. Yet there were afew voices that considered the angle of “White Knights” to be an acceptable one.

Five Things I Want to See More At Social Justice Conferences

I adore social justice conferences. I love the spaces, the atmosphere, the fact that I know I have something in common with every person in the elevator. I almost always feel safe to be who I am at conferences. I will acknowledge that attending them and feeling safe at them is often a privilege, no matter how accessible they tend to be. I have been very fortunate that I have attended so many throughout college, but I have noticed that some of them fall short when it comes to really implementing inclusive spaces. These are some of the observations I’ve made about how to make them more inclusive. 1. Child care/child-friendly This is something I rarely see at conferences! Having kids in social justice spaces is so essential to keeping… Read more »

3 Things You Can Do for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is sexual assault awareness month. If you are a college student, you might be aware of this because April is when campuses host Take Back the Night. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “the month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.” This year’s SAAM campaign is about “healthy sexualities and young people.” Studies have shown that young people are not immune to sexual violence. The 2013 NO MORE Study, which “explored attitudes toward, and experience with, dating abuse/violence and sexual assault among teens aged 15 to 17, and among young adults aged 18 to 22”… Read more »

Bodily Autonomy and Red Lipstick: On Being Femme, and Reclaiming our Bodies

I own 13 shades of lipstick. I also have, according to my latest tally, 20 dresses, 16 skirts, 5 pairs of heels, and 18 pairs of earrings (and counting). I hardly ever wear sweats to class (minus finals week), I follow a number of fashion and beauty blogs, I rock a pretty rad wingtip on occasion, and I own maybe too much of various shades of pink. A fairly high feminine aesthetic, all around. I’m also super queer. Oh, and super feminist. And a dedicated reproductive justice advocate. And that’s highly tied to—not in spite of—my femme identity. Femme, if you’re not sure, is a queer gender performance that embraces much of what has been called “traditionally feminine”. Mascara, high heels, floral prints, and on, and on. Often femme women… Read more »

Challenging Ableism: Autism and the Conversation about Vaccines

Recently there has been a debacle in the public health field about the connection between vaccines and autism. The Center for Disease Control will tell you there is no connection, while plenty of Americans and Jenny McCarthy believe that there is a definite link between the two. First off, there is such a range of autism. I will be using the term autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to cover the range of them, including Asperger syndrome, since there is rarely the distinction around this conversation. If you are not familiar with ASD, check out what information the Center for Disease Control has. But I am not here to debate with you about whether vaccines “cause” ASD. But here’s the thing: Why are we so afraid of autism and children with disabilities?

In Defense of Bossy Girls

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer and the author of the famous Lean In, is calling for a ban on the word bossy. Sandberg argues that words are powerful and that the word bossy discourages girls from taking on leadership positions, ultimately holding them back long-term. I love the message this campaign sends to young women as well as those who help raise them. Words do matter, they are incredibly powerful, and the way they’re used when we’re growing up helps to shape the way we interact with the world around us. “Bossy” girls are often strong-willed and opinionated, two of my favorite attributes in any person and vital skills that we need in the workplace and in society. 

4 Reasons Why the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case is a Big Deal

Recently, there has been a huge uproar over Arizona’s discriminatory bill contrasting religious freedoms and LGBT discrimination. Fortunately, Arizona’s governor vetoed the bill. However, not many of those who opposes the Arizona bill are talking about the Supreme Court case involving Hobby Lobby, a for-profit arts and crafts store. The company is facing legal matters in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby where the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) is used as a standard the company to deny its employees health care coverage for contraceptives. We heard the same debate used during the Obamacare debate, but using the First Amendment’s religious freedom argument to drive a wedge is taking it to another level. Here are 4 reasons why this case should be a no brainer: 1). Insurance, not medical care

2 Things I Learned About Sexism While in a Mental Hospital

In 2013, I had the very interesting experience of spending five days in a mental institution. I’ll be really upfront and say that it extremely different from what movies and TV make it out to be like. I mean, there wasn’t even a Native American trope to rip a sink out of the wall. But I did learn some really interesting things while in that hospital. I learned a lot about myself, and the causes I fight for. I learned a lot about how people see women in conjunction with mental wellness. And I learned that even though a bunch of people are in a mental hospital, some will still find time to be sexist dickbags. 2.) It’s Really Subtle (And It’s Everywhere) I was one of the younger patients…. Read more »

Negotiating The Vagina Monologues with Intersectional Feminism

It’s that time of year – when college campuses and communities host The Vagina Monologues. This is the third year I have been involved with my Choice USA chapter’s production of The Vagina Monologues.  The Vagina Monologues is the play written by Eve Ensler, inspired by interviews with over 200 women about anatomy, sexual violence and intimate partner abuse, sex work, birth, and other issues among women*. Unlike other years, I am feeling more and more conflicted about my chapter’s involvement with the play and V-Day. This scathing and incredibly poignant critique of the play has still stuck with me the last few weeks. Basically, Eve Ensler’s cissexist, white feminist point of view has been inadequate for feminists everywhere. This is something my chapter members and I have discussed extensively… Read more »