#KnowYourHistory: Women of color have been moving beyond “pro-choice” for decades

A group of black women holding signs at the Free Marissa march in Jacksonville, FL last weekend

Marching for Marissa Alexander’s freedom. Photo credit: First Coast News

On Tuesday, the New York Times published a feature on reproductive health advocates moving away from the language of “choice.” An important and interesting topic, the potentially illuminating piece instead served to obscure the history of the move away from choice language, completely erasing women of color’s crucial role in developing the reproductive justice framework that set the stage for this move by the larger and more well-funded (and, ahem, white-lady-led) reproductive health organizations. Since then, women of color in the reproductive justice movement have been hollering a collective WTF.  Read More »

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Quote of the Day: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her SCOTUS colleagues’ blind spot

In an interview with Katie Couric, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses her amazing dissent in the Hobby Lobby case and the blind spot of the boys’ club of the Supreme Court.

Affirming that contraception is something women must have “to control her own destiny,” she said she didn’t think the five male judges who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby really understood the ramifications of their decision. They seem to have the same kind of (suspiciously woman-shaped) “blind spot” the court had when it ruled against Lilly Ledbetter in 2007.  Read More »

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Feministing Readz: Dorothea Lasky’s Rome

RomeThese days, it seems like wound talk is everywhere. Throughout the blogosphere, feminist writers have explosively reopened public discussions of how to articulate and theorize their pain. In April, Leslie Jamison sketched an expansive topography of wounded women of poetry and prose, challenging the frequent dismissal of female pain as condescendingly lumped into the genre of “confessional.”

Though Jamison’s essay was a viral sensation upon its release, she is not the first writer to grapple publicly with the problem of writing woundedness and womanhood. As early as the 1970s, Toi Derricotte confronted the belittlement of her candid poems on black identity as a reaction against “what is real and what people do not want to hear.” Beginning with Emily Dickinson, spanning Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, and most recently applied to Anne Carson and Tracy K. Smith, the term “female confessional poet” has been used to inscribe women poets throughout history with what Laurie Penny recently called the feminist writer’s dilemma: the challenge of justifying female pain to an audience prone to dismiss its public expression as narcissistic, trivial, and unseemly.

This summer, Dorothea Lasky’s new collection of poetry Rome arrives as a thunderous contribution to these cavalcades of wounds. Like Carson and Smith, Lasky, too, has often been passed a torch she didn’t quite reach for. Since her first collection, Awe (2007) critics have celebrated her “ferocious confession” and positioned her as heir to Plath, Sexton, and other “personal” poets of the ‘50s and ‘60s. In one of Rome’s first poems, “Never Did Amount to Anything,” Lasky riffs on this critical tendency by staging the comparisons as something like a lame role play scene with an ex: “I would have been ok being Plath/ but instead I’m Sexton.”  Read More »

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“It’s hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”

Willie Parker

(Photo credit: Maisie Crow/Esquire)

Esquire has a wonderful profile of Dr. Willie Parker, one of the two doctors who flies in from out-of-state to work at Mississippi’s sole embattled abortion clinic. Parker, whose decision to become an abortion provider is deeply rooted in his Christian faith, quit his obstetrics practice to do the procedures full-time after Dr. Tiller was assassinated five years ago. These days, he travels around the country providing abortion care in areas where access is most limited and is an eloquent advocate for reproductive justiceRead More »

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Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet

Today a bipartisan group of Senators introduce legislation to combat campus rape.

Oklahoma moms stage mass breastfeeding protest in a public park.

“Telling victims of domestic abuse to consider how they can prevent further violence is as ludicrously redundant as telling a tightrope walker he should think about how to prevent falling.”

No shit study of the day: Fathers can care for children just as well as mothers.

An awful tale of a rape at a Keith Urban concert.

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