here's another interesting article about birth control. it discusses the pill's original maker, John Rock, his relationship with the Catholic Church, and how menstruation has increased dramatically since women have started having kids later in life.
So I just came across this article that discusses the birth of the Pill, which is what we had talked about briefly at the meeting as wanting to find out more. Sanger was interested in women's rights and was working with the immigrant community, but she was also a eugenics enthusiast as it was a major fad at the time. The article states that pill was developed to solve issues of overpopulation rather than help "emancipate" women. I think I have a bit of difficulty with that diction since it's still a hormonal contraceptive that you need to take everyday. It also adds to the medicalization of female bodies. Here's the article I was talking about that discussed the sterilization of Puerto Rican women.
Here's Loretta Lynn singing The Pill, a song about how the pill helped liberate women from patriarchy (to an extent). woot!
So I read this really great article with some pointers about discussing racism on blogs, which I found very helpful. It was written over at Jezebel, which is a pretty fun, feminist pop culture blog. A lot of the things that it talked about are things that I have encountered and I'm sure you have also. Here's one of the first pointers.
"1. Remember that it's not about you personally. Discussions of race often revolve around systems that have developed throughout history - not what one individual has chosen to do or experienced. A post on, say, black Barbies and the fact that certain populations have not seen/are not seeing their realities represented in popular culture is not the place to complain or point out that you were sad as a child because there were no red-headed Barbies. Wait for a post on red-headed Barbies." *
The rest are also pretty awesome and in a similar vein dealing with openness and compassion as a means to better understand race when we don't consciously experience race.
As for my own side note on redheaded Barbie's, my sisters had Midge and I had a few Ariel, little mermaid imitation Barbie's.
There was recently an article in Newsweek about women getting IUDs. It used to be that women who hadn't had children yet were not allowed to get them for fear of sterilization. There is also the problem that if one gets an STI, the IUD can get caught in the scar tissue, hence leading to sterilization or other health problems.
However, more research has led to IUDs being offered to more women these days. While there are two different kinds of IUDs--copper or hormonal, it can actually be a really good alternative for women who do not wish to use a hormonal form but want protection from unwanted pregnancies.
I read this article about Jaclyn Friedman's take on fucking while feminist(read here). She's one of the co-editors to Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape. I thought it was really interesting since she talked about how she deals with men who aren't feminist. As we've all mentioned before, we all deal with different forms of patriarchy in our relationships while simultaneously trying to act with feminist principles and hope that our partners will do the same. She said something along the lines of not really expecting a lot of men to identify as feminists since they haven't been exposed to it. Anyways, I recommend reading it since it's pretty interesting
Despite the kind of lame name she gave herself (my opinion), I really enjoy reading the Professor Foxy posts on Feministing. They are Q&A posts that readers contribute questions to, and she answers as best she can. I don't even have any idea what her qualifications are, but I think a lot of the topics relate to what we discuss - sexuality and feminism. Here's an example: http://www.feministing.com/archives/020619.html
Topics like these could be good things for us to discuss as well. If you want to read more, I'd suggest going to Feministing and typing in "Professor Foxy" in the search bar.
Tonight we shared food together and talked about the direction of our women's collective. Lots of brainstorms about zines, topics to discuss in more detail, advise on our relationships at work and home and the future of our blog. It had been awhile since we'd met, so it was nice to see everyone. My daughter, Caroline, sat on my lap for most of the meeting and passed to others arms during the night. It feels good to identify as a feminist, but now as a feminist mom. :) I saw that my friend Cate, who is a regular blogger and mother of two, was on a radio show recently called the Feminist Breeder. I am excited about blogging more (sort of why I decided to blog tonight before bed). I read blogs sometimes, but I'd like to read more. I'm trying to wean myself from Facebook, so I can replace it with the blogosphere. I am still uncertain sometimes about how casual or candid to be in my posts. Is it ok if I type in it like a journal? Or should it be more formal with good grammar and no sentence fragments or runons? I've mostly typed in blogs before as a stream of consciousness, just to get thoughts out onto a page. But who wants to read that!? Anyhoo, the baby is stirring. Nothing to groundbreaking in tonights blog. Though I did find an article about a radical sex group's plans to "change the way Americans think about sex". You can find the article here. I found it when I Googled "radical sex toy parties". Haha.
This past Wednesday, feminist author and blogger/founder of Feministing, Jessica Valenti, came to JMU and was amazing. I know a few people (in our group) said that it was great, but they didn't feel any more enlightened, but her book, The Purity Myth, goes in more depth and also elucidates some really important points.
It was really inspiring to see a feminist reaching out to a younger generation, informing us while also making us feel like our voices matter. Since I was lucky enough to spend a good portion of the day wit her, I was able to ask her lots of questions to which she gave me satisfying answers. In the midst of this, I realized that there were a lot of questions that she couldn't answer--BIG questions that are part of that on-going feminist struggle. It was kinda cool to realize that we're all in this together--she's fighting the same battles as me and we know the emotional burdens that feminism brings.
Having a very public feminist icon/idol here has made me once again consider the importance of female mentors. Though Jessica has been influential in shaping my feminist paradigm, several of my professors have also done this for me. Julie Caran and Dr. Melissa Aleman were really instrumental in making the whole event happen, encouraging and supporting me in these ventures. Dr. Mary Thompson has also been extremely supportive with Sister Speak. These women have not only helped give me the tools to accomplish these things, but they've supported & encouraged me, while respecting me as an individual. This is something of major importance that is often given lip service, but nothing else. I think we need more older women to start taking some action of their own while also showing younger women that they respect them as individuals, that they respect their ideas, and that they're on the same team in order to bring about some change.