There are many things to thank Gloria for, but one is her constant support of young women. Yesterday, in an interview with Katie Couric, she said this:
“If you ask young women if they support the women’s movement, 90 percent do, as compared to about 70 percent of older women. I think young women should sue for libel, frankly, for the misrepresentation of their views.”
A sound bite from this article about the supposed ambivalence of young women over abortion:
Younger women have a more complex view of abortion, and they don’t view the issue as passionately as their mothers. “If you ask them if they support abortion rights, they say they don’t know or they don’t want to answer that question,” says Jen Bluestein, Emily’s List communications director.
The existence of the Abortion Gang blog proves this point completely false. Again, another article that talks about how young women view abortion WITHOUT TALKING TO A SINGLE YOUNG WOMAN.
Want to give Emily’s List a piece of your young feminist mind? Send them a message.
One of the biggest contrasts between the pro and anti choice camps is how we behave. Chances are high that any violence or aggression with respect to abortion is coming from the anti camp. They show up at our clinics to yell at our patients and show them gruesome pictures. They are aggressive, loud, and rude. They kill our doctors, they threaten our staff and they send death threats to politicians (there’s and ours). Their violence knows no end.
Then there is the pro-choice camp. We man phone lines, fundraising for abortion or soothing panicked women. We house women who travel for hours so they can comply with mandatory waiting periods. We defend our clinics, and once and awhile, we march. We blog. We write about our experiences and we try and normalize abortion; the word and the procedure. And, at least in the U.S., I think, we are losing. Everyday another state enacts another anti-choice measure. Everyday it gets just a little bit harder to get an abortion. Everyday another woman is forced to carry her pregnancy or seek an unsafe abortion.
So I wonder. I wonder if maybe we are doing it wrong. We are good people. All we want is for all women to have control and choice and respect. We are fighting the good fight; and yet, we are losing. So I have to ask, are we too nice? Would we be more successful if we were aggressive and violent like the anti’s? Would people start paying attention if we stopped being so nice? What if we put up billboards of women who died from botched unsafe abortions? What if we protested outside of anti-choice churches? What if we sent angry letters to priests and pastors and politicians? Would we stop losing? Would we start winning?
There are days as a pro-choice activist that I close my computer, go sit down on my bed, and cry.
Truth be told, there’s nothing the anti-abortion movement can do that really surprises me after eight years of doing this work. I know how it feels to have “baby killer” screamed menacingly from across the parking lot and to wade through protesters with gruesome signs to give a speech about sex education. I know what it’s like to hide my trembling hands in my pockets and look calm and resolute for the cameras as I evacuate a pro-choice meeting because of a bomb threat. I’ll never forget what it’s like to cry with a room of advocates, gathered to celebrate a woman’s lifetime of service to the movement, after learning that yet another doctor had been gunned down for trusting women.
I know the more political ins and outs, too. I know that after the anti-abortion movement figured out that America really is a pro-choice nation and it would be harder than they thought to overturn Roe, they turned to chipping away at access state by state. TRAP laws. Parental notification and 24-hour waiting periods. Legislating the denial of access to reproductive health services for poor and military and Native women. The list goes on and on.
So no, I’m never surprised anymore. But that doesn’t mean that each and every time, it doesn’t make me overwhelmingly, incredibly sad.
The particular instance that set off the waterworks recently was hearing that Louisiana became the 13th state to pass a law mandating ultrasounds before abortions – paid for by the woman. This one stipulates the ultrasound must be performed even in cases of rape.
This story is making me rage.
Let’s get this out there: as a Christian, I do not believe what this school did was in any way Christian.
For those who don’t want to click links: A teacher at the Southland Christian School in St. Cloud, Florida has been fired from her job for getting pregnant three weeks before her marriage.
This women already had five children and her first husband had died. It’s not like she’d never had sex before. But that’s besides the point.
Thanks to the awesome women at Soapbox, I spent last week with a bunch of young feminists from across the US. We met with different feminist leaders, activists and organizations all over New York City. A major goal of a lot of the women in this program is to figure out exactly what to do with their women’s studies degrees, that is, how the hell to be a professional feminist. I’m not an expert on the subject by any means, but I want to dispel a few myths.
1. If you’re asking the question, you probably already live the answer. Being a professional feminist doesn’t mean you’re getting paid for it. Unfortunately, this is a reality for a lot of us. We have jobs that pay our bills and ALSO volunteer on the side as a clinic escort, on our abortion fund’s hotline, canvassing/phone banking for choice, you name it, we’re there and doing it for free. In a dream world, someone (who?) would fund this, but just because you’re working somewhere else to make ends meet doesn’t make you a traitor to the movement. We’d all love to get paid to do what we’re passionate about, but that’s not reality. Feminist orgs are hurting right now, and even in the center of the feminist world (NYC, in my opinion), they just can’t employ all of us with a strong head on our shoulders.
I’m thinking of George Clooney. Angelina Jolie. Bono. Rosario Dawson. Cynthia Nixon. Even Tori Amos. I’m thinking of celebrities, but more than just that, celebrities with an easily identifiable cause. Clearly I err on the side of human rights and women’s health, but it would be right within that cross-section that one should be able to find a celebrity advocate for reproductive justice. And they are just not there. So why is it that the case? Do we really care who represents RAINN or V-day or UNICEF?
We live in a celebrity-saturated culture, and I’m certainly not here to judge. I check Gawker as much or more than I do the Times. Don’t you? And that’s my point. This fact of life is more than something we need to recognize in ourselves, we must leverage it as advocates… just like everybody else.
So why hasn’t empowered sexuality and reproduction attracted a sexy celebrity to play face to the cause? Now I know six degrees of Kevin Bacon may get all the fame, but I believe it is the degrees of Kevin Costner holds the key. Now I know what you are thinking Kevin Costner, really? Hear me out.