Friday, March 9, 2012

In the 'News'

Aaaand we're back with another segment of "In the 'News,'" which I'm going to start putting in quotation marks because the links I post aren't always "news" in the traditional sense. More often than not, they resemble snack items for your analytical brains to munch upon. Let the noms commence!

First up, an organization in the UK which supports male survivors of sexual assault has started up a poster campaign to raise awareness that yes, in fact, males and men can be (and are) sexually victimized. It's controversial in the UK, of course, because Heaven forbid we a) talk about sexual assault, b) admit males can be victims and c) admit that any male can be a victim, not just "the gay ones" (sarcasm fully intended). It's about time we started expecting the public to deal with it, though, so I say carry on.

Next, another example of the power of social media (aka The Internet) comes from the Lakota nation, where several youth have put together a video campaign targeting negative stereotypes about Native Americans (and the Lakota community in particular). This is what I love about the Internet: it's so much easier for otherwise-marginalized groups (Lakota, adolescent, rural, etc.) to have an impact on the world.

Another thing I love about the Internet? How much easier it is to connect with people who are willing to show you a new-to-you perspective on the world. An example I bring you today is Christine Miserandino's Spoon Theory, which gives able-bodied people a great tool for building sensitivity (read: empathy) for the factors that have to go into decision-making when your body's resources may be limited. It's a great "a-ha" piece for those of us who can go through our days without having to worry if we'll have the energy to do the things that we often take for granted- like showering.

The downside of getting multiple Internet perspectives is that sometimes you find things that are sad, angering, or traumatizing. One such piece from this week details a doctor's experience with an emergency response to a back-alley abortion. I think this is a very important piece to read, however, because it brings back some truths that have become lost in contemporary abortion debates: abortions are medical procedures that should be done by trained professionals, not random people with card tables or even by doctors with no gynecology experience. We live in a world where not every pregnancy is wanted, let alone safe, and where people will continue to make the choice to terminate their pregnancies. We also live in a world where even the most would-be helpful pregnancy and childbirth support organizations aren't accessible to nearly enough people. I am a pro-abortion-rights feminist for these reasons. I know many readers of this blog are in total disagreement with me, which is fine, but I challenge you: actively help us find solutions for these problems. Don't just sit on your thumbs. Push for legislation that punishes those quacks who attempt abortions without proper training. Donate your time and energy to pregnancy support centers, mental health centers, food banks, childcare centers, and housing projects. Don't hate on someone who makes a different choice than you would or did. And above all, please educate yourself about how abortions work and why sometimes second-trimester terminations are important (hint: if your foetus doesn't develop a renal system, your uterus will literally crush it to death during the second trimester.).

Speaking of stupidity becoming entangled in political debates, Michelle Bachman has come up with yet another gem: instead of death panels for the elderly, Obama's health care laws will create birth panels for the fertile. Wait, what? Her hypothesis, which I suspect originated somewhere on the lunatic fringe, is that a government that makes contraception accessible for financial reasons is a government that's planning to force you to use it. I'm not making this crap up. Go over it with me again. She says that if birth control is free, the government will try to save money by forcing you not to have children. Not only is this a spectacular logical fallacy, but it's also a remarkable demonstration of her terrible grasp on U.S. jurisprudence. If you're too lazy to click the link, I'll summarize for you: the U.S. Supreme Court declared that fertility is, in essence, "a basic liberty."

Finally, a quickie from Polytical raises the issue that some of us face when we realize we're madly in love with someone. Okay, that's a bit simplistic. What it briefly addresses is the disjunction that can occur for the women who were raised on Disney and the subsequent message from our mentors that we didn't need a man to be happy, but who now find themselves in a relationship that's so (positively) powerful and influential that they have difficulty envisioning their lives without that partner. I'll admit- I find myself in that position with my partner today, although I'll save my philosophizing for another day. For now, I leave you with this question: how do you envision yourself (or find yourself) handling that difference in expectation and reality?

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