Katie Doyle @kdoyle723 ?active 9 months ago
I just love your last two lines. They really do tug at my heartstrings, especially having come from a similar background.
Great commentary. I’m sick of the “this is a free country!” argument being used to justify hateful, uneducated, or incorrect statements.
Freedom of speech isn’t virtuous just because it is free flowing. Actions represent the true meaning behind the amendment when they are ethically and factually sound.
Katie Doyle commented on the blog post Exploding Echo Chambers: Why there’s Still Hope for Feminism 9 months ago · View
I agree with you. I certainly don’t think feminists should promote a malthusian (think Brave New World) reproductive culture wherein women with unplanned pregnancies should ALWAYS be discouraged from having their babies. I don’t think I was ashamed that I had strong affection for unborn babies–just ashamed that I regarded the whole situation as a [...]
Katie Doyle wrote a new blog post: Exploding Echo Chambers: Why there’s Still Hope for Feminism 9 months ago · View
A SYTYCB entry The United States seems to be faced with an unprecedented ideological regression. Outrage and surprise are shown over and over again in the feminist community. We still fear the repeal of Roe vs. Wade? We still can’t pass pay equity legislation? Wait… we may lose access to… birth control ?! The situation feels bleak. [...]
A SYTYCB entry We are apparently still letting misogynistic morons both speak publically about false women’s health information AND run for US Senate. News from the Dominican Republic: Girl faced with both a pregnancy and acute leukemia is dead after failing to receive chemo or abortion services. Okay, okay, women “aren’t asking to be raped,” but they’re definitely asking [...]
In a perfectly feminist world, abortion would be far less needed. As in…it would happen about 95% less often than it does now. “How is this possible?” you might ask. How is this possible when all feminists want to do is kill everyone’s babies so we can all grow into man-hating, bra-burning, lesbian protestors? If my claim seems implausible, pause for a moment to consider the truths of the feminist movement and how—if the feminists had it their way—the instances of abortion could be greatly reduced.
Listed below are five ideals that third-wave feminists are working towards and how achieving these ideals would reduce the need for abortions:
1. Feminists want a world without rape
Abortions following a rape do not account for the greater majority of procedures, but we cannot base arguments around these statistics more than half of sexual assaults go unreported. In any event, women often seek an abortion if they find themselves pregnant after being raped; assumingly, they were not only unprepared to have a child, but also were unaware they’d have to worry about preventing an unwanted pregnancy that would result from consensual sex. Rape—a crime of hatred and power—is not reduced, but rather sustained, by a misogynistic culture. When rape jokes are culturally acceptable, when “mainstream” porn features violence against women, when men and women think silence represents consent, we cannot easily rise above rape culture. As rape culture persists and the onus of rape prevention is put only into the hands of potential victims, pregnancies that result after rape will continue.
2. Feminists advocate for comprehensive sex education
Anyone who watches MTV’s 16 and Pregnant has heard the story. Perhaps the featured high schooler on the show is sitting with her friends after finding out that she is pregnant. A friend will ask her, “Well, didn’t you, like, use anything?” In this case, “use anything” means use protection while having heterosexual intercourse. The pregnant girl will smile, laugh embarrassedly, and say, “Well no, but we didn’t think this would happen.” You didn’t? Really? And why’s that? Is it because a classmate in the sixth grade told you that having sex in a tree ensures that you won’t get pregnant? Maybe you weren’t told how to put a condom on. Maybe you were told that condoms cause cancer and that the pill will kill you. Maybe you just weren’t told anything because voters in your state felt that proper sex education would turn you into a nymphomaniac whore. Whatever the reason, almost all unwanted pregnancies could be prevented if men and women knew about all their birth control options, recognized all of the failure rates for each option, and were provided with access to said options.
3. Feminists think men and women should share responsibility in preventing unwanted pregnancy
If you’re a feminist, you cringe when a friend tells you her boyfriend won’t wear a condom because it “doesn’t feel as good.” In many cases, this essentially means that this boyfriend will not take a simple extra step toward protecting his partner (as well as himself) from unwanted pregnancy. Interestingly enough, millions of women have (for decades!) put up with side effects like decreased libido, weight gain, and hair loss while on the pill so that they can avoid unwanted pregnancy. This doesn’t even mention the fact that oral contraceptives all carry a small risk of deep leg thrombosis—or blood clots—that can travel to a woman’s heart, brain, or lungs, causing serious damage. And a condom makes sex slightly less good for a man? Give me a break. With contraceptive options for women like the pill and the IUD maintaining success rates of 99%, there is usually only a small chance that these methods will fail—resulting in a pregnancy. The male condom, though, is—with perfect use—97% effective. Why wouldn’t a partner add this extra precaution to protect him and his significant other? It probably isn’t a very feminist reason.
4. Feminists want men and women to have healthy sexual (and emotional) relationships
If you’re educated, responsible, and live in a world without rape (or incest), there’s only one more thing that could put you at a greater risk for unwanted pregnancy: an unhealthy relationship. Maybe your partner is coercive. Maybe you began partaking in sexual activity before you felt ready…and your partner didn’t care to realize you felt that way. Maybe your partner is physically abusive, making you afraid to abstain from sexual activity with them. Maybe, though you don’t want to, you sleep indiscriminately with lots of strangers, finding no gratification for your self-esteem along the way. Maybe you’re married and your partner is anti-contraception, making you too afraid to use it and too afraid to confront them on the issue. A feminist would say that if your sex life isn’t on your terms, there’s something wrong in the relationship—something that is also, consequently, anti-feminist and anti-equality. Where there is open and honest communication in a relationship, there is safer sex. When there is no violence in a relationship, there is less coercion, guilt, and fear surrounding sexuality. When safe sex options can be discussed openly, maturely, and without shame, the couple is kept safer from unwanted pregnancy. When partners are supportive of women who find themselves pregnant and do not desert out of carelessness or fear, I can only speculate that many women would carry out their pregnancies, feeling supported in their difficult endeavor.
5. Feminists believe that motherhood should be valued by society and that unwed mothers should not be stigmatized
Prominent third-wave author Jessica Valenti noted in her book a University of Connecticut study in which 1 in 5 mothers reported feeling less valued after having children. She also noted that society shames women who choose not to have children, so it seems—almost—that we just can’t win. Anyone will tell you that teen mothers (or unwed mothers) are systematically shamed. Many young women are disowned by their families and friends after becoming pregnant. In a different way, employers in the US devalue motherhood by paying women less (women are seen as a poor investment because “everyone knows” that a woman will eventually leave the workplace to have her children), not providing women with adequate maternity leave or health insurance (women pay more for health insurance because our anatomy requires more in-depth check-ups than male anatomy; being female, therein, is seen as a preexisting condition), and firing unmarried women who become pregnant (this often happens to teachers, especially in religious institutions). If the world around women doesn’t value motherhood, why would women? If we all supported pregnant women and mothers—instead of shaming them for their “condition,” however unplanned—would the number of abortions not be reduced?
It’s time for the anti-abortion movement to reject the falsehood that feminists hail abortion as a great thing and motherhood as something to be avoided. Feminists want choices for all people—and motherhood is a valued choice. Even the strongest feminist would refer to abortion as a necessary evil. If the ideals listed above materialized into truths, the only reason a woman would need an abortion is if her health was in great danger (and this reason for the procedure only accounts for about 4%–according to the Guttmacher Institute—abortions in the US). Abortion may always need to exist, but imagine if conservatives and pro-lifers realized that working toward a feminist ideal could potentially (again, in a perfect world) reduce abortions in America by 95%!
Here’s a video I made for my Social Media and Culture course about Slut Walk Portland. Just thought I’d share:
As the latest installment of the Twilight movie series is released, it’s been interesting to see the backlash from feminists and other critics. I’ve seen very interesting articles on Twilight as a sentimental novel–a la 17th century romanticism–but more recently read the article linked below:
This posting points out the obvious links between love and violence in the books/movies and leaves me feeling pretty disturbed. A sexual encounter between Bella and Edward that is altogether aggressive–leaving Bella bruised and sore–and a very gory and unhealthy portrayal of pregnancy are not what young women need to see. Such dysfunctional and imbalanced relationships where the female protagonist is asked to make the primary sacrifices should not be romanticized.
Speaking of traditional gender norms…
…anybody see this Tide commercial yet?
“It’s really too bad” that the little girl won’t wear pink or stop building garages. Ha!