Category Archives: Feminism

Interested in Volunteering for Secular Woman?

 

Secular Woman Logo

As a board member and VP of Programs at Secular Woman, I’ve got a lot of projects on my plate. Today I was talking to the other board members about our committees and our volunteers, when I realized that I only have one person on my committee! And this is a pretty big committee for Secular Woman: we oversee most of the projects created by the organization (conference grants, the speakers bureau, and other specific programs).

So, I’m putting the call out to anyone interested in becoming a volunteer for an awesome (IMHO) secular organization. If you’re interested in helping organize and have the time and skills required, please consider joining Secular Woman’s Programs Committee. To be considered for this committee, you must be a member of Secular Woman and submit an application through our website (choose “Programs” in the “Select Committee” category).

I’m looking for people with skills or experience with the following:

  • grassroots movements (secular or not)
  • organizing local/regional/national groups (secular or not)
  • organizing or participating in conferences/conventions/rallies (secular or not)

If you don’t have experience with any of those things, but think you’re capable of helping, feel free to submit an application anyway. I look forward to hearing from some really awesome people!

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Filed under Atheism, Feminism

A National Women’s Secular Group

Yes, you read that title correctly. That’s what we’re talking about here. Why, you ask? Well, because one has just launched and I helped create it! It’s called Secular Woman and we plan to do big things! Our mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. You can read our values and more about us here.

This logo is based on the radium atom, an element discovered by Marie Curie (a kickass secular woman).

This group has taken a lot of work and love to put together, especially since there are only four board members (including me) at the moment! If you want to know more, visit our website, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, and read our press release!

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Filed under Atheism, Feminism

A First Step to Ending Harassment at Conferences

At the beginning of this month, I was appointed to the Humanists of Florida Association’s board of directors. It’s pretty awesome (and, yeah, I’m the youngest board member). This occurred just in time for me to take a major role in organizing our annual conference coming up this fall. We’ve got a great speakers list and I’m really excited about it.

Recently, as some of you may know, there has been a lot of talk about sexual harassment at conferences [see 12, 3]. One of the ways suggested to make conferences safer and more comfortable for women is to introduce an anti-harassment policy at conferences. So, that’s what I’ve done for this upcoming HFA conference. This policy will be in every packet handed out to attendees and it will also be given to speakers. I cannot describe how happy I am to be in a position to effect some real change in our community and I hope that every participant at our conference feels safe and welcome.

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Filed under Atheism, Feminism

United Against the War on Women!

Tomorrow people around the country will be out protesting, rallying, and marching to end the War on Women. I’m sure you all understand the need for something like this (if you don’t, just click on the “Feminism” section of this blog). If you’re free tomorrow, why don’t you participate in a rally/march near you? Most of them will take place sometime between 10 am and 2 pm. I’ll be marching around my city from noon to 2 pm. Hopefully I won’t get a sunburn!

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Filed under Feminism, Politics

Happy International Women’s Day

Lolololol! It’s funny because many of the people in charge of this country seem to hate women!

Sorry. I’m just going a bit crazy lately. The news just seems to be one story after another about how much the right hates women. With the whole Sandra Fluke thing, another attack on Rebecca Watson, all the anti-abortion laws being pushed, it’s enough to make any rational person lose their mind! Perhaps I should stop reading about it. But ignoring it won’t make it go away. So I’ll just have to keep reading about it and being an angry, raving feminazi. At least then I can feel I’m doing something about it. I think I could live with that.

I guess the moral of the story is this: Keep fighting the good fight! (But maybe take a break today; you deserve it.)

EDIT: Here’s another awful story for you. Sorry, but I have to share.

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Filed under Feminism

Another Bill to Fuck Over Women

Me counter-protesting the GAP. Why? Because it makes me feel better.

*Sigh*

I can’t even go a week without seeing this kind of stuff? I guess not. Here’s another battle in the current War on Women.

It looks like the Arizona (and should we be surprised that it’s Arizona again?) Senate passed a bill that allows doctors to withhold information from women if they think that that information will lead to an abortion. This includes information about ectopic pregnancies and other life-threatening conditions. Under this new law, if a doctor withheld this kind of information, s/he could not be sued for what happens as a result (like the death of the woman or the fetus). So much for all those “informed consent” laws.

So, if you’re a woman who lives in Arizona, you might want to check what kind of person your OB/GYN is. If you see crosses and bibles versus or you hear your doctor go on about Obamacare-this and Santorum-FTW-that, RUN AWAY.

This message brought to you by one very tired feminist. 

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Filed under Feminism, Politics

Abortion: Myths and Misconceptions

I cannot count the number of times I’ve talked about abortion with someone and they got something so very wrong, and I’m not just talking about wingnuts. Even my friends who are pro-choice don’t fully understand what abortion is and what it means for many women. So I’d like to take some time to correct these myths and misconceptions about abortion.

The Procedure

First off, let’s learn a bit about what abortion actually means, medically speaking. How many times have you heard some crazy bullshit from conservative christians about how awful and bloody it is? Just the other week, I was arguing with talking to a Tea Party lady who claimed that an abortion is when a doctor induces birth and then kills the baby by putting a nail through its head (“partial birth” abortion is the only kind of abortion, dontcha know). Honestly, these people have very active and gruesome imaginations; I think it’s all that bible reading they do (Srsly, have you guys read that thing? Crazy!). Anyway, that’s definitely not how abortion works.

There are two common types of abortion: medication abortion and in-clinic abortion.

Medication Abortion

This procedure can occur up to 9 weeks after the first day of a missed period. It’s called a “medication” abortion because an abortion pill, called mifepristone (or RU-486), is what is used to terminate the pregnancy. This pill  blocks the hormone progesterone, without which the lining of the uterus will break down.

There are three steps in this procedure:

  1.  A women will take the pill at the clinic, and then will be given antibiotics to take afterwards.
  2. A second medication, called misoprostol, will be given about three days later (usually at home). This causes the uterus to empty. This part is probably the worst part (but not nearly as bad as some would like to claim). This will cause heavy bleeding and cramping: like a really bad period. This will last a few days at most, but spotting can last for a few weeks afterwards.
  3. Two weeks later, there will be a followup to make sure the procedure was successful. This includes an ultrasound and a blood test.

And that’s it. Not so awful, is it? It’s just a safe, effective medical procedure.

In-Clinic Abortion

In-clinic abortions are usually performed 9 weeks or later. There are two common kinds of in-clinic procedures: aspiration (aka: vacuum aspiration) and D&E (dilation and evacuation). The first is usually performed from 9 to 16 weeks, and the latter after 16 weeks.

Aspiration:  The woman’s uterus is examined prior to beginning the procedure. She’s offered pain medication and possibly some form of sedation. Then a speculum is inserted into the vagina and numbing medication would be injected. The cervix is stretched with dilators (possibly several hours to a day before the procedure) and/or medication. A tube is inserted into the uterus and it is suctioned until the uterus is empty. Sometimes an instrument, called a curette, will be used to insure that the uterus is empty. Antibiotics will be given, like with a medication abortion. This procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes to perform, but more time will be needed to prepare the cervix.

Dilation and Evacuation:  This procedure is similar to an aspiration abortion in many ways. The main difference is that, with later second trimester abortions, a drug may need to be injected through the abdomen to ensure fetal demise. This procedure takes 10 to 20 minutes, with additional time needed to prepare the cervix.

The few days after these types of abortions will be similar to after a medication abortion. Some bleeding and cramping may occur, lasting a few days.

And that’s that. Nothing scary or gruesome or dangerous. It’s just a simple, safe medical procedure.

How Women Feel

You’ve probably heard something like this before (actually, Santorum just said something like this): women are emotionally damaged by abortion; it ruins women’s lives; etc. etc. This just isn’t true. As Planned Parenthood puts it:

You may have a wide range of feelings after your abortion. Most women ultimately feel relief after an abortion. Some women feel anger, regret, guilt, or sadness for a little while.

Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are about as uncommon as they are after giving birth.

Most sources I’ve seen say that most women just feel relieved. Any post abortion emotional problems are rare and usually pass quickly. If you’d like to read more about it, Planned Parenthood has a good explanation of several studies on the topic here [pdf] (it also cites sources!).

Other Misconceptions

A lot of pro-choicers will say things like “I’m not pro-abortion; no one is pro-abortion, but women have a right…” Well, I’m here to say that I am pro-abortion. I am absolutely for a safe, effective procedure that gives women the ability to control their own reproduction. That’s not to say that I’d prefer women get abortions rather than properly using birth control. But, hey, shit happens, even with the proper use of birth control. And I’m certainly not going to make moral judgments on a woman because she’s had an abortion (or even multiple abortions).

Another misconception floating around is that a woman must have a really good excuse to have an abortion. She must be a victim, unable to financially support a child, or have a medical problem. Well, fuck that shit. The only reason any woman needs to have an abortion is that she either doesn’t want a child or cannot safely have a child. That’s it. And if she doesn’t want to explain herself to you or someone else, then she doesn’t have to.

One thing really bothers me is how the media sometimes reports about abortion. Have you ever been watching a report about something abortion related and seen the stock-footage they use? It’s just fucking stupid. They always show women who are hugely pregnant; ones that are clearly in their late third trimester. Or they show ultrasounds that are similarly from later in a pregnancy. As if indicating that this is what women who get abortions look like; this is what their fetuses look like. Well, it’s not! Abortion that late in pregnancy just doesn’t happen. It’s not even legal in the US! I mean, I doubt they’re (usually) pushing an anti-choice agenda. They’re probably just lazy and have grabbed whatever stock-footage they found first.

These are just some of the myths and misconceptions floating around these days. There are many more, but hopefully, my dear reader, you’ve come away from this with more knowledge about this “controversial” topic.

If you’ve heard any myths about abortion that I didn’t get to, please leave a comment.

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Filed under Feminism, Politics, Science, Skepticism

Even Feminists Can Miss Sexism

This comic has been making the rounds because it’s pretty cute and makes a good point. However, some people noticed something in it. If you’ll take a look at the original comic, you may notice that one bunny (the irrational one) has on a dress and has pink speech bubbles, while the other (rational) bunny has on pants and has blue speech bubbles. I’m pretty sure most people in the western world can agree that these are fairly clear indicators of gender (not that they should be, just that they are in our culture). But apparently they’re not clear enough for a lot of people in this thread from Pharyngula, including PZ himself. As PZ Myers puts it:

Of all the…dear god, they are cute little toy bunnies. I refuse to consider their sex until they are stripped, flipped over, and I get to poke around with a teeny-tiny toy speculum.

That’s perfectly reasonable. I know that when I see a person in female clothes (in a way that indicates that’s what they normally wear, or they’re not cross dressing for fun) I ask that person to show me their genitalia before I accept that s/he’s female [/snark]. But how about we keep this in terms of toys: gender among dolls is generally indicated by clothing (e.g. female = dresses and pink; male = pants and blue); toy makers usually don’t like to make miniature genitalia on their children’s toys.

So, after everyone had moved beyond debating weather or not these bunnies have genders, we move on to the next annoying argument: Well, maybe the artist just picked gender at random (it’s a 50/50 chance, hurr durr derp). First of all, even if they did pick at random, that doesn’t mean that subconscious sexism didn’t play a role in the choice. Secondly, there’s no reason one had to be male and one had to be female. Both could have been male, or both could have been female. Or they could have had no gender identification at all: no clothes and different color bubbles would be easy enough. But apparently that would take out all the “visually interesting elements“.

Now, some of you might be wondering why I’m concerned about the reaction of people on the internet (SIWOTI syndrome?). Well, the problem lies in the fact that some of these arguments were made by PZ Myers, owner of Pharyngula and a feminist to boot, not some random MRA troll. I don’t want you all to be getting too up in arms about my criticism of PZ, though. I agree with PZ most of the time and I love Pharyngula (I spend way too much time there!). But no one is above this kind of criticism (or any kind of reasonable criticism). But I certainly wouldn’t want this to turn into an Elevatorgate situation. However, it shouldn’t. It was revealed that the artist who created this comic is a sexist ass! And PZ changed his mind about it when this new evidence came to light (because that’s what awesome people do).

This whole thing just goes to show that even feminists can miss sexism sometimes.

I’d like to end this post on something that a commenter said over there that I thought summed this up pretty well:

Nude adorable toy bunnies, green/yellow/purple/peach speech bubbles, and we’d have all agreed on a cute comic being pretty excellent.

Sexism is why we can’t have nice things.

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Filed under Feminism