July 14, 2012
Jackson Women's Health Organization, Mississippi's Sole Abortion Clinic, May Not Survive

If I was a woman who lived in Mississippi, I would move immediately. I hate how pro-life groups try and hide their anti-choice agenda under claims of “improving women’s health and safety.” 

That’s such a lie. They don’t care about your health. Do you see them standing up or lobbying for women’s rights or equality in women’s health insurance? 

Nope.

They hide behind a noble guise, but in reality all they’re trying to do is force their beliefs on you. 

July 9, 2012

I CALL MALE CHAUVINISM AND MISOGYNY! 

A woman would make a much better president then most men, particularly you, Mr. Pat Buchanan. A woman knows how it feel to be under-appreciated, a woman is more empathetic, a woman has more tact. 

It’s your kind's sexism that's holding the country back, preventing it from growing socially and economically. 

If we could just get you and your generation out of politics and the media, the country would be in much better place right now.

July 7, 2012
Taliban Execute Woman Accused Of Adultery, Officials Say

This just upsets me so much. I grieve for those women who live under Taliban rule and influence. 

Salangi said two Taliban commanders were sexually involved with the woman in Parwan, either through rape or romantically, and decided to torture her and then kill her to settle a dispute between the two of them.

It’s devastating to hear that people in the world are willing to kill someone else to settle a dispute. Particularly when the person killed wasn’t even the one they were in the dispute with.

It’s like two spoiled brats fighting over a toy, and a parent decides, “Well if you can’t share, why don’t we just remove the problem?” and takes the toy and throws it away. 

It’s objectifying people, it’s objectifying women. It’s wrong, disturbing, and heinous.

That these men would do this just once again shows how subhuman they consider women, less than people. Something to be used and discarded carelessly. 

The Taliban could not be reached for comment.

Oh really? I scoffed when I read that. Of course they couldn’t be reached for comment. 

I wish there was more I could do to reach out and help these women, who often don’t even realize the oppressive and horrific circumstances that they live in. Sometimes I want to grab a shotgun and just…

You can’t change an entire population’s mindset overnight. I realize that, and I hate it. I despise that the women of their culture will have to experience generations more of this abuse, and even then it may be a century or two until the underlying stigma is eradicated.

Probably even longer, as gender stereotypes and stigmatization still exist everywhere.

It’s true when people say that ignorance is happiness. I almost recall those days with fondness. Almost, because the longer you are ignorant, the harder it will hit when you realize just how much the world hates you for who you are. 

June 20, 2012
Iowa GOP Targets Abortions For Low-Income Rape, Incest Victims

Hello everyone, it’s been a while. Sorry about that, my job is taking up most of my time.

Anyway, moving on:

WHHHAAAATTTTTTTT?! Seriously. What. I just can’t even. Blub blub blub. Hhhhrrrrggghhhhh. 

REPUBLICANS. I’m not even sure what to say (that excludes a generous amount of cursing). 

Basically this is what’s happening: Republicans in Iowa are trying to prevent Medicaid from reimbursing women who have had abortions due to rape, incest, or severe fetal anomalies. 

Let’s think about this. If someone is on Medicaid, it generally infers that they have a low income. So they probably can’t afford an abortion without the reimbursement. But, if they can’t afford a abortion, how on earth are they going to be able to support a child?

It’s not “just put them up for adoption.” There aren’t enough families looking to adopt as there is to support all the orphaned and abandoned children. By making it harder for people to get an abortion, we are throwing more kids into the system. Kids who won’t necessarily get the attention, affection, education, finances, and nutrients that they need to grow up into physically or psychologically healthy adults. (I’m not trying to offend anyone who may have been adopted or raised in a foster home or orphanage. I’m just looking at this from a psychological viewpoint.)

So then we have these kids who are messing around and making mistakes and creating more kids, that they can’t support or care for. And the cycle keeps going and the numbers keep growing. 

I’m pulling out my hair and banging my head against the wall in frustration, Republican lawmakers. When all these policies come back to haunt you, I’ll laugh and laugh and laugh. Then I’ll cry even longer, because the effort, time, political games and money that’s going to be needed to fix your mess will be devastating. 

May 29, 2012
How we were sold on patriarchal religion: reason #316

According to the description on the website the author’s purpose is: “Having converted to Islam way back in the ‘80’s, I’ve had time to think about it.”

The article focuses on how the muslim men grow up under the mindset that, “’Women are blessed to have been given such an easy way to enter Paradise! All that they have to do is to be good wives by obeying their husbands, as well as to pray and fast and give zakat and do Hajj (if they have wealth). Unlike Western women, Muslim women have been freed of the responsibility of going out and earning their own living. While Muslim men are burdened with so many responsibilities such as providing for their families, praying in the mosque, going to Friday Prayer, being leaders, fighting in the path of God, women are free to concentrate on what they naturally want to do, on what God created them to do best—to care for their husbands and children, and make a home.’”

However, in reality women are no more than essentially sex slaves and broodmares.  They are expected to provide their husbands with sex whenever he so desires, and however he so desires in exchange for this allegedly “blessed and honored life” they lead.

They are expected to pop out child after child, or miscarriage after miscarriage, as their husband controls their access to contraceptives. So regardless if a woman is ready for, or wants a child, they have no choice in the matter.

It’s not inferior if it’s “God’s way”. It’s not insulting if it’s “Biblical”. It’s not demeaning if you just “have the right attitude”. It’s not insulting, inferior, or demeaning if you put on a smile and pretend it’s beautiful, fulfilling, and satisfying. And then call everyone who isn’t very good at pretending, a “feminist”, “selfish”, “worldly” and “an enemy of God” and “hater of God’s design”.’”

May 29, 2012
A Message to Girls About Religious Men Who Fear You

I think this is a truly inspirational article, though a bit extremist. I’m posting the entire article because I think it’s something every woman should read and take to heart.

Dear Girls,

You are powerful beyond words, because you threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.

In the United States last week there were people who wouldn’t let boys play a baseball championship final because a girl was on the opposing team. She’d already had to sit out two games because of their demands. Why? Did she, a competitive athlete and a member of her team, choose to? Was she being good and respectful when she acceded to their demands? Why were they not asked to forfeit their games? What messages were sent to her and her teammates? This is not complicated. It sent the wrong messages. Confusing messages. Incoherent messages. You need to know that she should have been allowed to play and not have had to sit out two games. These people, and others like them, all over the world, led exclusively by religious men, are scared of you and will not let you be. You worry them constantly.

If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.

It doesn’t feel this way, I know. If that were true, you think, I would not have to sit out baseball games out of respect for religious beliefs that require my subservience and call it a gift. I would not be turned away from serving God with my brothers. I would not be taught that I’m an evil temptress or the virtue keeper of boys. I would not have virginity wielded as a weapon against me and my worth determined by my womb. I would not be spat on and called a whore by men when I am eight because my arms are bare. I would not be poisoned for going to school. I would not be forced, at the age of 9, to carry twins borne of child torture. I would not have to kill myself to avoid marrying my rapist. If this were true, they would pursue my rapists instead of stoning me for their crimes. I, and thousands others, would not be killed for “honor.”

Girls, these things happen because there are men with power who fear you and want to control you. I know that I have equated relatively benign baseball games with deadly, honor killings but, whereas one is a type of daily, seemingly harmless micro-aggression and the other is a lethal macro-aggression they share the same roots. The basis of both, and escalating actions in between, is the sameTo teach you, and all girls subject to these men and their authority, a lesson: “Know your place.” I also know that there are places where girls are marginalized and hurt that are not religious. But all over the world these hypocritical, pious men, in their shamefully obvious wrongness, represent the sharp-edged tip of an iceberg, the visible surface of a deep and vast harm. They employ the full range of their earthly and divine influence to make sure, as early as possible, that you and the boys around you understand what they want your relative roles to be. Where there are patriarchal religions girls, in dramatically varying and extreme degrees, disproportionately suffer. Understand these men for what they are: bullies. Do not internalize what they would have you believe.

Your very existence makes them anxious. And their anxiety is particularly high because you have something no generation of girls has had before — globally connected communities of men and women who support your equality and freedom. Like guns, germs and steel, this transformative technology, which enables me to write to you here, alters geography, changes societies and dismantles systems of control — it makes theworld a smaller place and it creates, even if slowly in some places, positive change for girls like you. You see, until now, these men could count on, indeed they could ensure, that you and the women around you were house-bound and isolated. Many of you still are. But now, there are millions and millions and millions people who are thinking about you and challenging these men every single day. You have the speed of light on your side and unless someone permanently turns the lights out, those days are gone. So, although you might feel like you are alone, you are not.

How do you threaten them? A girl, alone? By being ablestrongconfident and yes, shameless. You may not “naturally” be interested in domesticity, piety, purity and submission, and they rely on your commitment to those things to order their worlds. Their actions, from one end of the spectrum to the other, are designed to fill you with self-doubt and, ultimately, fear — either bodily or spiritual — because otherwise you, and the young boys around you, will be fully aware of your strength and potential.

Because of this, they single-mindedly focus their attention on you, your body, your clothes, your hair, your abilities, your physical freedom. When their “manners” and “morals” are not universally applicable, but different for boys and girls, you can be sure that this is why. They seek to teach you, subtly, through small slights and gendered expectations, that you are “different,” weak, unworthy, incapable. The sadness is that, in their perception, if you are none of these things, then they are not strong, worthy and capable. This is not an excuse, but an explanation. It’s why they find infinite "benevolent" ways to undermine and disparage you, all in the name of “God’s word.” When that fails, they resort to violence. All over the world, their anxiety is manifest in a spectrum of actions ranging from mild paternalism, respectful of “proper boundaries,” to deadly enforcement of their rules.

Fear is why these men "officially" investigate Girl Scouts while perversely shielding child rapists. It’s why they obsess over your “purity.” It’s why theysegregate you in public and private spaces. It’s why they instruct girls and boys that girls’ bodies are either shameful and dirty or sacred and belonging to men. Fear motivates them to teach that you pollute others by your very nature. It makes them intent on making sure you stay home and not be fully engaged in the world. It leads them to sanction marriages of 8-year-olds to old men. It convinces them that rape and its consequences are a “gift from God.” It’s why they empower others to stone you to death and disfigure you with acid.

Even “beating the gay" out of children, especially boys who are "more like" you, is aimed at you. Because if boys are "more like girls," something these menbelieve is fundamentally inferior, then you can be “more like boys.” That causes ambiguity and destroys their carefully defined hierarchies and that is intolerable to them.

Fear is why they insist there is something fundamentally wrong with youDon’t believe them. Fear is why they want you to cover your bodyThere is nothing wrong with your body, and your body is not to blame. Whether you choose to expose your body or to cover it up, consider the degree to which either choice is defined by a reduction of your character to narrow sexuality by a culture that refuses to hold men accountable for their actions and requires you to either radically display ourself for men’s pleasure or withdraw from the world and be held in reserve. Either way, ask who is defining your worth and by what measure. Fear is why they tell you you are so different from boys. You, and the boys you know, understand that your bodies are different, but that you are far more alike than dissimilar. Threatened, insecure, adult men say otherwise. Don’t give in. Even if you’re quiet. The differences these religious authorities exaggerate are simply pillars of oppression used to teach boys and girls that women’s subjugation is “natural” and “divine.” Reject them and their ideas.

This is hard to do. It requires that you, individually, be bravestrongdeterminedfearless and confident. It requires that you demand that the adults around you pay attention and change their behaviorThis is even harder.

First, and perhaps the most difficult to understand as a girl, is that women who love you and care for you often enable these men. This is what people say, “It’s not JUST men!” And they are right, women support them, individually and in groups, in ways that have private, public, political and societal consequences. But, make no mistake — although women are the enforcers of rules, they have no real, systemic authority in conservative religious hierarchies, and they know this. Yes, without their support these men could not continue, but until these women are truly free — bodily, economically, physically, politically — and their practical and spiritual salvation is no longer mediated by these very men, they will continue to support them. Enforcing the rules is a rational choice that enables them to survive, the world over, in unjust environments. You scare them too, because you call in to question their own complicity and cause conflict within.

Second, it is confusing that these men say they do what they do for your own good. They talk about respecting you and your dignity. You want to believe them; they have power and authority over you, your parents, your community and your access to God. They are often kind and benevolent and they love you. So, they must be right. But they are not. They demonstrate their own hypocrisy over and over and over again. They say they know what is best.They do not. You do. Don’t believe them when they teach you in hundreds of ways, through sacred textcareful wordscherished traditions, hiddenthreats and frightening examples, that you are inherently more sinful, base and corrupt, less worthy and in need of constant male guidance. Reject them.

The adults around you may not appear to support you when you take your humanity to its logical religious conclusions. Do not let them off the hook. Do not let them use “tradition” as an excuse or say it “really doesn’t matter.” Do not allow them to get away with asking you to “sit out games,” “be a good girl,” “don’t make a fuss,” and “put something on.” These are micro-aggressions that result in macro-aggressions. Adults often don’t think these things through. Sometimes it’s scary to them, too.

You can say: “There is nothing wrong with me. There is something wrong with you and your world.

Otherwise, when you get older, these same men, the ones who fear and hate you, will continue to undermine you. They will seek to control your body, keep you out of the public sphere, subjugate you in the name of a narrowly defined “family,” create impediments to your equality, shame you at every turn and justify your continued oppression in convoluted ways that defy reason and morality. They will investigate you for being strong, violate you, stone you to death, charge you with witchcraftpunish you in every conceivable way to set an example for … your children.

So, know that you are strong and powerful. Use your reason. Trust your instincts. Seek out those that would support you and, yes, know your place: on the field, in the street, on the bus (in the front), in school, at work and in public office.

You are not alone and you are brighter than the sun.”

May 6, 2012
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Signs Planned Parenthood Funding Ban

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill to cut off Planned Parenthood’s access to taxpayer money funneled through the state for non-abortion services.

Arizona already bars use of public money for abortions except to save the life of the mother. But anti-abortion legislators and other supporters of the bill say the broader prohibition is needed to ensure no public money indirectly supports abortion services.

Planned Parenthood Arizona claims a funding ban would interrupt its preventive health care and family planning services for nearly 20,000 women served by the organization’s clinics. The organization says it will consider a legal challenge.

The measure targeting funding for Planned Parenthood for non-abortion services was one of several approved by Arizona’s Republican-led Legislature related to contentious reproductive health care issues this session.”

If I lived in Arizona I would either kill myself or go on a murderous rampage. Actually I’d probably just move to Canada, but one can dream.

If I had the time or energy to go on an angry rant, I would.

May 2, 2012
Why Women Handle Job Interview Stress Better Than Men

Oh goodness. I have a job interview in about two hours. I’ve been using my awesome googling (haha, wow my browser acknowledges that as a word) skills to figure out how to prep and dress. It’s a bit difficult though because this is just a lowly part-time temporary cashier job at a bookstore and most information out there is for interviews in professional fields. 

I’m a bit stressed out about the whole thing, but according to the linked article in the title “…women, although typically more stressed about interviewing, performed better than their male counterparts in interviews thanks in large part to the way in which they coped with stress.”

How do we cope with stress differently?

 ”They would do things like seek social support from loved ones, friends and colleagues about their anxiety and do practical things like practicing mock interviews with their friends. Men, on the other hand, reacted with more maladaptive coping strategies. They would pretend it was not happening, ignore it, watch TV and do things that relieved stress, but hindered performance later.”

Oops. I think I pulled a bit of a man here. I did talk about it a bit with someone I trust though, and am reading through common questions asked at interviews. I think I’ll be able to wing it pretty well though, I become almost neurotically polite and sensitive when dealing with strangers, particularly those in positions of authority. 

I’m mostly worried about what I’m going to wear. I don’t own a suit and most of my nice clothing I left at my mother’s house. I didn’t shave my thighs so I can’t wear shorts, and I have a blister on one of my heels and I’m afraid any of my nice shoes will aggravate it. 

I have a few pencil skirt sand dresses, but no nice trousers, only jeans. Most of my dresses aren’t really appropriate for a job interview (not that they’re too revealing, they’re just too casual). 

Also, glasses or contacts? Such a difficult decision. And obviously I’m going to need to wear make-up, which is a pain. 

Aghhhhh. 

May 1, 2012
Appeals court allows Texas to exclude Planned Parenthood

Just as we thought we were getting somewhere.

An appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the state of Texas can exclude Planned Parenthood from a state health program for low-income women because the organization performs abortions.”

Why, why, why?!

I just don’t understand. I literally feel like crying. I don’t want to live in this country anymore.

I really just don’t know what to say except that I am horrified, anguished, and ashamed. 

Why can’t people realize that you can’t force your personal views on others? It’s morally wrong. Why can’t women be recognized as autonomous human beings capable of making their own decisions?

Why are they trying to return to the time when a woman sat on a pedestal and allowed a man to make all of her decisions for her?

Why are they trying to cause a return to often fatal back alley abortions? Abortions will happen. You can try to outlaw them, but they will still occur. Just like many people have tried marijuana even though it’s illegal, or have had alcohol under the age of 21. 

We need to keep abortions safe and clean to prevent death. Ironic isn’t it?

But here come politicians with signs that say, “Bring out your metal coat-hangers ladies.”

May 1, 2012
Federal judge stops Texas from banning Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds

For those of you out of the loop, Texas recently passed a law prohibiting any organizations that have affiliations to abortion clinics from receiving state funding. In consequent, the federal government cut off funding for women’s health in Texas because “the rule violates federal law by restricting women from choosing the qualified medical provider of their choice.”

Really, this is just a law targeting Planned Parenthood. I honestly can’t understand why conservatives have this huge vendata against Planned Parenthood. Well I actually I can, I just can’t understand how people can be so ignorant and closed-minded. 

Abortions only make up 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides. (1*)

Interesting tidbit: A fertile woman is more likely to get pregnant during unprotected sex (~25%)(2) than Planned Parenthood is to provide an abortion out of all their services (3%). 

Apparently that’s enough to take away all of the other wonderful services this organization provides. For the love of science, women, and equality for all, get these people out of office.

It’s just a temporary ruling until a full trial. But I’m angry. All women should be angry. These politicians are throwing our health care away like a pawn in their political power plays, trying to mold us to fit their insidious beliefs. 

Guess what? Pawns can become Queens, the most powerful piece on the playing board. 

We sat guised as pawns until you enraged us. Now we reveal ourselves as Queens. 

We are Women, we are powerful, we will retaliate.

We will be heard.

Sources:

(1) Planned Parenthood Services *PDF, may cause download

(2) What is Ovulation? BabyHopes.com