This Week in Ladybits
I sometimes wonder about having this section every week. And then we have weeks like this one, and it reminds me why I decided to do this. The debate about reproductive rights has very little to do with reasonable debate from the anti-choice side lately. It’s about controlling women and their fertility. The goobers are exhausting and depressing, yes. Which is exactly why we can’t stop pointing out that they are goobers.
Case in point: The breathtaking casual cruelty of Representative Louie Gohmert (R – Republic of Gilead), who believes that women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term. Even when the fetus has no chance of surviving long outside the womb, and even if that baby, when born, would have experienced constant pain for the short time it was alive. Only a tiny percentage of women choose to abort after 20 weeks, and when they do, it’s almost always because the life of the mother is in danger or a devastating medical issue has been discovered in the fetus. In other words, these kinds of abortions are usually the result of wrenching decisions made about wanted pregnancies. Gohmert and his ilk want to ignore every last bit of the medical and emotional realities of that and step between the pregnant women, her family, and her doctor so that the Gohmerts of the world get to say who stays pregnant. And the logic of it only works if you’re willing to ignore the fact that women are thinking, feeling, valuable human beings.
The upshot of this women-don’t-quite-count-people/every-pregnancy-before-anything-else line of thinking? Well, there are charming little side effects like Mississippi considering prosecuting women for stillbirths and miscarriages. And, if one follows Gohmert’s logic to its conclusion, you get a case like this one from El Salvador: A pregnant women has been denied an abortion that would save her life — which means that both she and her fetus will most likely die. The rule that is supposed to “protect” life is considered more important than actually protecting a life.
This is not an idle extrapolation: Gohmert and his pals Todd Akin and Paul Ryan and countless others at the state level have been doing that in a flood of legislation over the last few years — legislation that is designed to remove exemptions for rape, incest, and the mother’s health. I’m sorry if this section bums you out every week. But there needs to be more shouting about it.
At least Indiana’s state supreme court has stepped up: The state will not be able to block Planned Parenthood from getting Medicaid funds. Which is good, because education and access to contraception prevent abortions, you ridiculous Planned Parenthood-blocking people. Way to let bloody-minded determination get in the way of actually working toward the thing you want! I hope that is some comfort while you’re grousing about how sane people on your court stopped you.
This Week in Thinky
Caitlin O’Donnell of Drake University reminded us of why we still need feminism.
O hai, dumb-ass gender-based assumptions! Turns out women may have more trouble with monogamy than men. It’s just that when men have trouble with monogamy, our culture calls it “natural” and women do, we say she needs a pill to get in the mood.
Speaking of gender roles, SheZow is a superhero cartoon in which the hero turns female to fight crime. Cue transphobic freakouts. (OK, yeah, but is the show any good? And what about the way it portrays boys and girls? Check out the always super Heather Hogan’s review.)
Facebook has been under fire for the last couple of weeks for leaving up pages that featured “funny” content advocating rape and violence against women. (I’m dropping in a link to BuzzFeed’s collection of this garbage, but I warn you that it’s upsetting.) Facebook has since caved to the public outrage — thanks in no small part to Women, Action and the Media — and to the bristling of advertisers who don’t want to be featured next to these appalling images. Now that that’s happened, another faction wonders if a corporation should be trying to police hate speech at all. What do you think? Should a company that regularly nixes breastfeeding photos leave up pages devoted to roofies? Or should it step back from both kinds of banning? Hit the comments with your thoughts.
Selene Luna gave us tips on how not to be a dick to a little person. I can’t believe we need these, but we really, really do.
Amelia Earhart’s plane might have been found. (Not amidst an island colony of bad-ass Amazon pilots, alas.)
And Lean In asked what you would do if you weren’t afraid.
This Week in Ugh
Oh, good. Another “bold thinking” douche who thinks being “provocative” might mitigate that rape.
Nigeria’s House of Representatives has passed an anti-gay bill that would punish members of the LGBT community with up to 14 years in prison. I can’t help but wonder if The Family did any nudging in that regard.
Oh, hey. Did you want to watch some Fox dudes freak right the hell out over the fact that women are the primary breadwinners in 40% of American households? OK, yes, they’re all being idiots, but it’s worth watching for the sheer number of directions in which they manage to go completely bugnuts. Lou Dobbs seems to be picking random conniption-inducing topics from out of a hat. He’s like a short-form improv game called ConservaBluster. Long story short, A WOMAN OUTEARNING A MAN = IMMINENT PILLARS OF FIRE and women earning money to feed their families in general is THE END OF EVERYTHING GOOD. And, I’m guessing, the end of these fellows’ abilities to muster a one-eyed salute, which I’m guessing is the real issue for them here.
I don’t know why I’m still surprised by sexist freakouts like this, but here I am, surprised. I saw that 40% stat early in the week and ignored it because it seemed kind of snoresville. But not for these dudes. WHAT IF LADIES START DRESSING FOR COMFORT AND SASSING BACK NEXT? Also, gentlemen: This is an upper-middle-class debate and always has been. Poorer women have been working since roughly forever, so your point has been moot since the establishment of the City of Ur.
Oh, and Erick Erickson? I have an anglerfish I’d like you to meet.
And the state of Louisiana has a bill up that would block same-sex couples from surrogate parenting. Not that parenting is necessarily easy for same-sex couples in LGBT-friendly states. Jen Abrams explained why it cost her family $3,000 to be queer this month.
This Week in GET ON THIS, ILLINOIS
The Illinois House has one day (today) left in the session and thus one day left to vote on marriage equality. Get on the horn and taunt them about how Iowa is still kicking their butts at being cosmopolitan and progressive.
There is some pretty cool news out of the Land of Lincoln, though. My faithful correspondent Bisera alerted me to the fact that the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois will now cover gender reassignment surgery in its health plan.
This Week in Awesome
Fiona Mutesi has gone from living on the streets in one of Uganda’s worst slums to becoming an international chess champion.
Robin Wright talked about acting while female and in your late 30s. (Have you seen her in House of Cards? If you haven’t, close this window and watch two or six episodes right now. I am so not kidding. If you have something to do in the next couple of days, prearrange for a friend to come over with a mallet and make you stop watching. Do not let your friend see the screen or your plan will fall apart.)
BlogHer ran a feature on 10 Amazing Asian Women. (Thanks for the tip, Madabip!)
Oh, and did you need another reason to love Dolly Parton? Because she’s been making sure thousands of kids have books to read.
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