This Week in Ladybits
As you are doubtless aware, many of the laws in the current massive wave of anti-choice restrictions cite “fetal pain” as the reason for making tighter and tighter restrictions on the cutoff date for legal abortions. Funny thing, though: the doctors they’re citing say that their research does not justify the early bans.
Hey, Texas Republicans, remember how you swore that all the cutting of women’s health care options you did was to help and protect women? How about the women who are driving hours to get to the few remaining Planned Parenthood locations to get birth control and Pap screenings? This is literally a life-and-death matter for women. Deaths from cervical cancer have plummeted since the Pap test was developed because it’s so easy and effective. But women have to actually be able to go get the test for it to work. Texas and a raft of other states have made it harder and harder for women to do that.
Our old pal Ken Cuccinelli claims he didn’t try to make getting divorces harder for women, except that he totally did. Way to put the goober in “gubernatorial candidate.” And here’s a stunner: A new Quinnipiac poll also indicates that, even though he is waaaaaaayyyy behind with women, Cuccinelli is only three points behind Democratic candidate Terry McAulliffe overall.
Which is not cool. Cuccinelli is not just of a slightly different political position—he has really, really oppressive, nutso ideas about women. (Video via The MaddowBlog)
So Virginians, I hereby declare this weekend Talk To a Dude about Ken Cuccinelli Weekend. I am not kidding. Make sure the men in your life know exactly how crazeballs (not to mention just plain mean) Cuccinelli’s policies are and exactly how strongly you feel about them. This isn’t something that can be glossed over as an economic issue or just an ordinary party politics horse race. Cuccinelli will actively cause lasting harm to the health and liberty of the women of the commonwealth. If the dude you talk to absolutely has to make a political statement, see if you can get him to write a blog post and vote for the Libertarian or something.
And remind the dude that conservatism didn’t use to mean automatically being a medieval dickbag about women’s health. And it doesn’t have to now. Case in point: Ross Perot ’s foundation is giving $1 million to Planned Parenthood.
Heck, even the new, improved Pope thinks the Catholic Church needs to lighten up on birth control and abortion—and The Gay.
As a reminder that women’s health issues are not just women’s issues, let’s end this section on an up note with some celebrity Men for Choice.
This Week in Everyone Involved with These Ads Can Eat a Bag of Ass
More specifically, they can take that bag of ass to go on their way to Hell. Because these ads are foul, hypocritical, dishonest, and jaw-droppingly heinous at every level.
You can thank the Koch Brothers, who funded this.
The point of the ads is to scare young, healthy people out of signing up for newly affordable health insurance so that the system will be overburdened with less healthy people and (they hope) collapse, and we’ll be back to the old situation of only an elite segment of our society being able to afford health care and untreated illness and routine medical bankruptcies for everyone else. Charming. But the cruel goal of the ads only scratches the surface of the evil and gall here.
1. The people who made the ads know that Obamacare will actually improve people’s overall health. Let’s just look at the first two lines:
And the young woman is coming in for an annual Pap screen. Which means that even the diseased sewer rats that hate Obamacare enough to write the ad know that the Affordable Care Act will help women afford to get crucial preventive health screenings that they wouldn’t get otherwise.
And they still want to stop it.
2. The same charmers that want to stop Obamacare and claim it will result in an Orwellian nightmare of no choices have been actively working to limit women’s health options. If you’re closing a Planned Parenthood clinic, you are stopping women in that area from being able to get affordable access to Pap screens, birth control, and manual breast exams at the venue of their choice. And sometimes just stopping them from doing so entirely.
3. The ad implies that Obamacare means you go to some kind of government doctor or clinic. No, no, no, no, no . That is wrong, and a deliberate and stupid misrepresentation of what the insurance exchanges do. (Hey, Chuck Todd, even though it’s “not your job,” would that really have been so hard to say? Shame on you too.)
What the insurance exchanges do is set up pools of customers for private insurance plans. You can get a better rate on an employer’s group plan than on an individual plan because the insurance company assumes that the low-use, low-cost group members will cushion the impact of those that need a lot of care. So a large corporation can negotiate a better rate.
With the exchanges, you’re part of a pool of health insurance seekers instead of on your own, and thus the government can essentially help individuals get a group rate—and, you’ll note, insurance rates are going to be even lower than anyone expected under Obamacare. But when you go through the exchange, you’re still buying insurance from a private company.
Remember that the Affordable Care Act originally came out of a Republican idea. Though both parties try to downplay this aspect, it is a big, sloppy wet kiss to private insurance companies. Though those companies are currently bitching to high heaven about having to actually care for sick people and not overcharge them, they are also frantically making sure that they are staffed up for the literal millions of new customers they’re going to have once the exchanges open.
There is no freaking reason for Uncle Sam to pop up in that medical office except to make sure that the young woman’s insurance company isn’t charging her for what should be free preventive care.
And we are still not at the most awful thing.
4. As appalling as the implied (lying) rape imagery is here, it’s even worse when you remember that The Koch Brothers are the ones who have been actively working for real government-sponsored rape . That is not an exaggeration and not a metaphor. It’s the Koch-sponsored American Legislative Exchange Council that has been pushing the revolting wave of forced ultrasound laws to state legislatures. As in ALEC literally writes templates of those laws and sends them out to receptive legislators.
An ultrasound is not medically necessary before an abortion.
At the early stages that most women seek an abortion, an external ultrasound isn’t effective, which means a state-required ultrasound mandates that a woman be penetrated with a nine-inch transvaginal wand if she wants to get an abortion.
It is the Koch brothers and the ALEC-connected legislators who want women to be penetrated against all medical advice and against their will.
To repeat: The Koch brothers maintain a group that actively works to impose medically unnecessary, penetrative ultrasound procedures in order to frighten, shame, and punish women who want a legal medical procedure. That is what state-sponsored rape looks like.
And these vile scumbreathers have the gall to imply that it’s Obamacare that will be too invasive and have the government all up in your reproductive health.
Oh, but don’t worry that it’s entirely sexist—they’re threatening men with rape too.
Everyone involved with these ads: You should be ashamed to show your faces, anywhere, ever. I honestly can’t believe any of your loved ones are still speaking to you.
Go probe yourselves.
This Week in Thinky
This piece juxtaposes the lyrics to Robin Thicke’s sleazy hit “Blurred Lines” with things that rape survivors reported their rapists saying. [Trigger warning.] It makes it a lot tougher to bop along to the lifted Marvin Gaye groove while ignoring the lyrics.
Anne Helen Petersen interviewed her mom, the scientist, for The Hairpin.
And Jennifer Landa investigated the pressing question of whether conventions are overrun by fake geek boys who just want to show off their bodies. (Via io9)
This Week in Ugh
The Miss America Pageant is, uh, not a thing I expected to come up in a column about Feminism. But as Lori Adelman pointed out in Feministing, the way dimwits have been treating Nina Davuluri as not “American” enough to win is definitely a feminist issue.
I am all for a new website aimed at women and written and edited by women. (Though I would be even more for it if those women were paid something closer to a living wage.) But when the dudely founder of said website has this level of thinking about women, I have concerns.
The house—and the Web site—is an unlikely setting for Goldberg. “I am a dude,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of overlapping interests with most women my age. I’m really into history. I’m really into markets and finance.” (Wall St. Cheat Sheet is one of his favorite blogs.) “I don’t know a damn thing about beauty, but I don’t need to.
The whole New Yorker takedown is worth a read.
Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin told the National Guard to stop processing benefit requests for same-sex couples. Boo.
And while we’re on that note, a group of House Republicans would like to carve out a loophole for people and organizations that would like to discriminate against people in the LGBT community. Because of “religious liberty.”
And… this isn’t really an “ugh”—I’m happy for the new Saturday Night Live cast members, one of them personally—but five of them are guys, and all six of them are white. Really? If you can’t find any hilarious women of color, it’s time to revamp your scouting.
This Week in Awesome
Looks like an Honor Harrington movie is close to really happening.
This has been around the Web for a while, but I’ve only seen it getting passed around Facebook this week: Artist Meghan Hetrick’s excellent tutorial on how to draw breasteses that look like real breasts instead of softballs that have been affixed to your heroine’s ribcage.
Image via Meghan Hetrick’s Twitter
Holy I-can’t-wait-to-see-this: Billie Piper, every nerd’s favorite English Rose, will be starring in a Victorian Gothic horror series. Yes, please.
Also possible getting her own horror anthology series? Jamie Lee Curtis. (Stop right there with the lazy yogurt cracks, whippersnappers. Until you can deliver a zinger like Curtis does in A Fish Called Wanda and wield a pair of knitting needles like she does in Halloween, you’d best shut it and bow to her awesome.) And speaking of those mad horror movie survival skills, the show sounds like a lot of fun. It’s called Final Girls and will feature Curtis mentoring younger women who have been through their own horrors, presumably based on the old slasher-movie trope of the one smart girl surviving to the end of the movie. As someone who did her senior anthropology thesis on the changing role of women in American horror movies, (Yes, really.) I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED ABOUT THIS SHOW, YOU GUYS.
Photo by Barry King, Courtesy of Getty Images
As we all pine for a Wonder Woman movie—a good Wonder Woman movie—The Mary Sue reminds us of the excellent people who want Gina Torres in the lead role.
And let’s finish off with the pure inspiration of watching someone who’s really good at something. In this case, 6-year-old Terra.
Have a great weekend. Get out there and put your own spin on the world.
Got a tip for Feminist Friday? Tweet Ali.