In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

On Modern Feminism in Late 2019

I’m sure most of us here are onboard with the idea that women are people, deserving of rights.

My own background is in reproductive healthcare, so I can see how women’s health and women’s rights go hand in hand like Michelle and Barack. But even if I didn’t have a degree in healthcare (and student debt to prove it), you don’t need to be a stable genius to see the link between human health and human rights. In a world with 195 nation-states, not a single nation that fares poorly in women’s rights have ever fared well in women’s health.

In fact, a lack of women’s rights is the most reliable predictor of failures in societal wellbeing. For instance, I doubt anyone is surprised to know that Indiana, one of the worst states in America for women’s equal pay, also has one of the highest rates of maternal death and infant mortality in 2019. I doubt anyone is shocked that Indiana experienced one of the worst outbreaks of HIV in the past decade under then-Governor Mike Pence, a misogynist who brags of denying opportunities to female staff for religious reasons.

But let’s think beyond Midwest enclaves like Indiana, beyond the immorality of thugs like Pence. Let’s think of the reluctant social justice warriors like Kathleen O’Donnell. She served in the National Guard and then tried living with her wife in Montana, only to be told by her landlord, “Oh, I don’t rent to your kind here”. Then she was terminated from her job at a car company for being gay. If that sounds familiar, it’s because her case is now before the Trump Supreme Court, which will decide if firing LGBT employees is constitutional.

I’m sure Kathleen will get a completely fair hearing – just like Marie Gallagher, whose school in New York completely ignored her sexual assault on campus. Not even her family knew, until last year a news crew filmed her confronting Senator Jeff Flake over his vote for Predator Kavanaugh. You may remember she said to his face, “I was sexually assaulted, and nobody believed me. I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they should just stay quiet, because if they tell you what happened to them you are going to ignore them.”

That, of course, is what the male Senator did. Fun fact: As of 2018, one-third of men on the Supreme Court are now alleged sex criminals.

Ultimately, the impact of state-sanctioned violence extends beyond American women. This summer, Yazmin Juarez testified before Congress about how the Trump administration detained her 1-year-old daughter and left her to die from an infection she contracted in her lungs. As Yazmin recounted to Congress, “Vinimos a Estados Unidos – we came to America, where I hoped to build a better, safer life for my daughter… Unfortunately, I watched my baby girl die, slowly and painfully.”

Look, these women I’ve mentioned have never met. They have nothing in common, except for the human desire to build a better future. In fact, I imagine none of them expected to face the assaults on their dignity that they’ve endured since the aftermath of 2016. Whether it was the Department of Education repealing Obama-era protections for campus rape survivors, or Predator Trump authorising businesses to deny birth control to women, I think all of us expected more from a society that styles itself as a beacon for human rights and justice.

Now these women and their allies find themselves with targets on their backs, not for what they’ve done but for what they’re not. They’re not straight, white males. They don’t have Confederate statues erected in their honour. They don’t have dirt to offer on the President’s opponents. In the American government’s eyes in 2019, they’re nothing. In the words of the President, “These aren’t people. These are animals.

That’s the bad news for women. The good news is that these women have allies. Those allies are each other.

They might not know each other. Yet the movements that inspire them recognise the intersectionality between their struggles. I remember in the mid-2010s as Title IX activists across America pushed the Obama administration to hold over 500 universities accountable for their coverups and mishandling of campus rape. You and I watched as that energy evolved into the #MeToo movement, holding powerful men accountable for crimes they perpetrated against women for decades. Today we watch as women candidates prepare to fight their way into future elected office, in 2020.

Our strength as activists arises from the knowledge that our struggle is shared. We know we cannot speak of injustice against one marginalised group without speaking of how it threatens the wellbeing of others. As reproductive rights activists in 2019, for instance, we know the right to birth control is meaningless if someone can’t earn enough to afford birth control, or if she’s fearful of violence from a partner who opposes birth control, or if her boss threatens to fire her for accessing birth control.

Everyone knows a woman who lacks workplace protections is less able to close the pay gap with her male colleagues, or to alleviate her student debt, or to leave an abusive partner. We know that women of colour face greater burdens around economic and reproductive health than white women. And we know that when poor, marginalised girls are ensnared in emergencies like hurricanes and homelessness, they face the most disproportionate disruptions to everything from their contraceptive access to their safety from sexual assault.

Sometimes local friends ask what the feminist groups with which I pal around do in the community. What we do is hardly ground-breaking. We unite allies. We educate colleagues on issues. Some weeks our meetings are simply a bunch of us in the sitting room of a retired grandmother, one who remembers the days before Roe v. Wade or Griswold v. Connecticut, as we strategize over effective ways to make one’s voice heard. Above all, we seek to discover who else is willing to fight alongside us.

The things that make the most difference don’t require millions of supporters wearing red hats or waving tiki torches. They simply require those of us who stand with women to be more dedicated than those who want women to suffer. An administration that traffics in exclusion and appoints predators will inevitably falter before a feminist movement which rethinks itself constantly to include those whose backgrounds might be different but whose objectives are the same: To bring equity and opportunity to all.

Kavanaugh for SCOTUS: So how fucked are we?

Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, and Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to take his place on the Supreme Court. This isn’t a small deal — despite being personally right-leaning, Kennedy has tended to be the moderate swing vote for some of the more contentious cases that have come before the court. (Abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action have all had his signature on them.) In replacing him with Kavanaugh, Trump nails down a solid conservative majority to enshrine his agenda into law and gives us our first-ever Supreme Court Justice Brett. So what does that mean for us?

Quick Hit: Debt-free, un-tatted virgins

I wouldn’t normally do this. I wouldn’t normally draw attention to the little-trafficked blog of some fundamentalist Christian mom who just wants to teach the world to walk in truth, and I implore you all not to travel over and start shit in her comments section. That said, any time I see a headline that I’m absolutely certain is from the Reductress, but then it isn’t, my only reaction can be an OH MY GOD, Y’ALL, LOOK AT THIS that can be heard across the whole Internet.

Fundamentalist Trump worship

In my senior year of high school, our beloved Humanities teacher took us through a process establishing that Elvis worship and University of Alabama football are both religions. It was a fun exercise as part of a (thoroughly secular) unit about religious studies, but also… I mean, y’all… Have you ever been to a UA football game?

[Hrmph]teen years later, though, the sanctity of The King and The Tide have been overshadowed by the sanctity of The Donald. And going by an outline similar to the one from that class lo so many years ago, it might be argued that Trumpism isn’t just a figurative cult — it could be a literal one.

On incivility: “I work for a lying, bigoted aspiring dictator” isn’t a protected class

Recently, White House mouthpiece Sarah Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, after committing the unforgivable offense of being White House mouthpiece Sarah Sanders. (Did I make that sound sarcastic? Because I meant it sincerely. What Sanders does is unforgivably offensive.) Since Sanders’s Twitter whine (from her official White House Twitter account), of course, much of the conversation has been focused on the topic of manners and civility. And yes, we still have the responsibility to be civil, we have to rise above it all, and yes, that’s true, but seriously, a person can only go high for so long and honestly just fuck it.

The Trump administration is willfully terrorizing children

The Trump administration is knowingly and intentionally terrorizing defenseless children.

Under their new “zero-tolerance” policy, every undocumented immigrant crossing the border is referred for prosecution, and their children are taken away from them, with no guarantee that they’ll ever see them again. Officials from DHS, the Justice Department, and the White House shift the blame to the courts, the Democrats, the parents, whomever they can, but it’s them, the administration, that’s doing it, and they’re doing it on purpose.

Posted in Law

A note about depression

Trigger warning: depression and suicide

In the past week, fashion designer Kate Spade and chef-turned-traveler Anthony Bourdain both died from suicide — and that’s on top of all the people we haven’t heard about because they’re not deemed newsworthy enough for the public to acknowledge their pain or their passing. I don’t, and can’t, know what was going on in their head, how they felt or why they made the decision they did. But I do know what it’s like to have depression, and what it feels like to be on the edge of that kind of decision.

Lost (“lost”?) children and families torn apart at the border

One of the biggest stories currently under discussion is the Department of Health and Human Services allegedly losing track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children placed with host families. In many cases, the story is that the Trump administration has separated those 1,500 children from their families at the U.S. border and lost track of them. As in most complicated situations like this, there’s some stuff there that’s right, and stuff there that’s wrong, and stuff there that’s conflated with other stuff. On Twitter, attorney Josie Duffy Rice sorts out the details and provides insight on what the hell is actually happening with all of those kids.

Ten people didn’t die in Santa Fe because a girl “spurned” a boy

Last week’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, didn’t happen because a girl “spurned” Dimitrios Pagourtzis. It didn’t happen because she “humiliated” him or “embarrassed” him in front of the class. It was neither “sparked” nor “provoked.” The headline is not that a girl rejected him. The headline is that Pagourtzis harassed her for four months before going on his killing spree.