What Will Fit in the Feminism Box?

Over the years since the initial feminist movement in America, some change has been occurred for the better. Women have suffrage. Huzzah!

There is still a lot that needs to happen, and three waves later, this is rather frustrating. Social, cultural, political, and legal inequalities abound. Most of these issues are so mind-bogglingly frustrating because they are so common sense. While America is ahead of the curve on a few issues, the nation falls short on so many others.

Give me a political system that notices that all people are people. Men, women, gender ambiguous individuals, children, and those of any sexuality, race, abilities, age, and religion. We all have needs that should not be shirked, should not be denied, and should not be tossed out like day old bread. Lame simile, but you get the point.

With so many issues bouncing around, I do feel like some should be prioritized. You have to pick your battles in this war for humanity. Although the small victories are still appealing and give us hope, other victories change lives.

We pick and choose which fights we want. Who pays for dinner? Are tampons anti-feminist? Are bras? Do I take my husband’s last name? Really, why isn’t it normal yet for a man to take a woman’s last name? Should I be allowed to have an abortion when my life is on the line? Do legal ambiguities and discriminations determine my life’s outcome?

Some of these issues might matter to you. Here, we are Feminism in a Bra, and we have chosen our battles. Sometimes, smaller issues do matter. For the most part, we want the basic human rights that should be common sense. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. When we aren’t free to make decisions for the benefit of our lives that don’t harm others, we must be brave and stand up for what we believe in. I find it a very American idea to be feminist.

People tend to seek out what they find important. This is why there is now a topless book club that meets in NYC’s Central Park. Being able to discuss literature whilst free-boobing may not be your battle of choice, but it can be the inclination of others. This made the cut for their feminism box. Go do you.

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Hey, Ohio–Go F Yourself

While all eyes were on Texas something really awful was happening in Ohio. Gov. John Kasich signed into law the state’s new $62 billion budget that just happened to sneak in a couple of rules. Rules about women, their choices, their health,  and their safety. He just neglected to bring that to the table because…well…because he is a spineless little worm.

Under this new budget comes the following rules: women are required to undergo a trans-abdominal ultrasound before receiving an abortion, regardless of whether or not the ultrasound is medically necessary. The budget also severely guts Planned Parenthood clinics in the state by cutting off $1.4 million in federal funding, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Rape crisis centers will now have “restrictions on what they can say to victims” and if they counsel victims on abortion options their funding can be suspended. If a clinic provides abortion services they will be required to obtain transfer agreements with local hospitals but, the budget bans public hospitals from establishing these agreements. I guess they figure—if you get an abortion and something goes wrong—you deserve to die due to no medical treatment. Just like if you were in a third world country, because lets face it—for women—America is a third world country.

One of two abortion providers in Toledo, Ohio, was forced to close it’s doors do to all the new restrictions. One of two. If the clinics stand this bullying and pressure and manage to stay open, physicians will be legally bound to provide materials informing women seeking abortions of the fetus’ “probable anatomical and physiological characteristics” during various stages of development. Doctors must also give women additional information on family planning alternatives if a heartbeat can be detected. Normally, when you get an abortion they tell you to download a packet and have it in your possession for 24 hours. At least, that’s how it was in the state of MI—but no one asked to see a packet, and no one made anyone look at it.

Here’s another gem from the budget. A “fetus” is defined as the “human offspring developing during pregnancy from the moment of conception,” meaning before the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. This language could be used to make illegal certain forms of contraception, like an IUD, in the state of Ohio. Yup, now you really don’t have a choice. Stephanie Kight, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, in a statement called the provisions “an orchestrated effort to roll back women’s rights and access to health care. The budget is only the latest in a series of restrictive laws signed by John Kasich that have hurt the women in our state who need more access to health care, not less.” This is infuriating. This should never have happened. This is dangerous to women. This is happening in 2013 in our country and are we really going to sit back and take it? These men think they’re saving a child when all they’re really doing is destroying women. But we just sit back and take it, like a good little girl.

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Stand With Wendy

If you get your news from, well, major news outlets, chances are that you have no idea who Wendy Davis is. She is a state senator from Texas who, on Tuesday, spent thirteen hours filibustering a piece of anti-choice legislation. SB5 aims to not only ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation, but to raise the requirements for clinics where abortions can be performed to such a level that the law would effectively shut down all but a handful of the state’s clinics.

Texas has over twenty-six million residents. This is a big deal for millions of American women. With a Republican majority in the Texas senate and Governor Yosemite Sam Rick Perry unlikely to veto any anti-choice measures, the only way to stop SB5 from being passed was with a filibuster.

Each state has its own specific regulations for its state legislature. On a federal level, filibusters can go wildly off-topic (we have all heard stories of entries from a phone book being read) and can even be performed without anyone actually standing and speaking. In Texas, filibustering means speaking on-topic without sitting, leaning against your podium, or taking a break.

So that is what Wendy Davis did. For thirteen hours. She received three “warnings,” being accused of going off-topic (in once case by discussing Roe v. Wade, because, you know, that’s so unrelated to a bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose?).

She was then prevented from filibustering further, but her allies in the senate then began asking questions on procedure and arguing against Wendy being silenced (to stall for time). When the questions failed, crowds of onlookers began chanting so loudly that the senate was unable to call a vote until after midnight (the deadline).

Now, just to clarify, this was not followed by major news outlets. But this was livestreamed. It was all over Twitter. If you don’t take Twitter news seriously, you should know that it’s not just for gossip or Arab Springs or hearing about earthquakes before everyone else. #StandWithWendy was trending, worldwide, above almost everything else.

While there are millions of wonderful, pro-equality, and tech-savvy baby-boomers in the world, this image best represents my thoughts on the livestream:

This is really, truly important. My dashboard on Tumblr is usually full of fandom images, funny images, and occasionally beautiful people in various stages of undress. Tonight, it was all about Wendy Davis, Texas, and the filibuster—from images or a few words of support to my friend’s wonderful thoughts on the filibuster and how people view Southern politics. Twitter was no different. It was beautiful.

We followed the filibuster, we followed the debate on procedures, we followed the protest as the senate Republicans desperately raced against time.

To the collective outrage of hundreds of thousands of people who were viewing this live (I listened to the livestream for hours, like a radio show, while doing other things), the senate “passed” SB5, though it was after midnight. Which is illegal. And they stamped the official time as 11:59. As some people phrased it, they “mansplained time to a clock.”

As if no one would notice.

It was only while I was already writing this post that the closed-door session announced that, despite their best efforts, they could not get away with “passing” SB5. Because, officially, they were determining if it had been passed, but they were actually determining whether or not they could get away with their time-altering shenanigans (time-travel irritates me in science fiction, so you can imagine that I was not delighted to see it used by politicians to break their own rules—rules that had been so important to them when a female senator was breaking them).

But SB5 failed. Thanks, in large part, to Wendy Davis.

The reaction of the crowd of Texans who had gathered was thunderous applause.

Guys, this was a great example. We’re all excited and nervous about today, when we’ll find out how the SCOTUS has ruled on issues of marriage equality. But it is important that we also remember that tonight was a victory for Texas women. Which means that it was a victory for people.

Finally, this post would not be complete without me adapting a Star Wars quote to this situation:

PS: It is 4AM and “Wendy” and “Texas” are both still trending. Worldwide.

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Women’s Rights?

Do you remember a long, long time ago when women had no rights? They couldn’t decide what they should do with their bodies, they really shouldn’t work and if they did no man wanted them and the whole point of living was so a man would want you…do you remember that? Of course you do because it was freaking yesterday.

Fox News went on a tirade about how women should stay home. This was after a PEW report came out saying females are the primary breadwinner. So Erick Erickson, in all his wisdom, had this response, “I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.” Tell that to lions, elephants, penguins, and ALL THE OTHER SPECIES THAT ARE FEMALE DOMINATED. What an idiot. Someone should gag him.

Next up: Representative Franks of Arizona. He banned abortions after 20 weeks, fine—that’s five months. That’s a bit late in the game—but then, at a House Judiciary Committee he added that his bill didn’t need an exception for rape and incest. Um, yes it does. It certainly does. His explanation, “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” NO IT IS NOT LOW. Sorry that needed all caps. This douche is not a doctor—I’m not even sure he’s human. When did it become okay for idiot men to run around spouting fake facts and getting away with it?

Why are they not held accountable? Why are writers and Rachel Maddow the only people standing up and saying, “Excuse me, Asshole. That’s not true and here’s proof. Or let me put it this way—I showed you mine you show me yours you infant!”

I’m sick of this. I’m really sick of it. If you don’t have a vagina, a uterus, or boobs then you don’t get to have an opinion or vote on them.

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