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

No, Planned Parenthood isn’t selling baby parts, and here’s why the lie is so toxic.

The anti-choice narrative since Planned Parenthood’s inception has been that PP has been ghoulishly profiting off of abortions, both by dragging in huge amounts of cash for the procedure and (as is currently under discussion) selling baby parts for exorbitant prices. First of all, I have to inject some basic common sense: If you’re hearing rumors that gloriously satisfy your hate-on for an organization while simultaneously sounding like a late-season plot of Charmed, they’re probably not entirely, or even a little bit, valid. “They sell and/or eat dead babies” has been a charge, throughout history, lobbed against the Chinese, Jewish, pagan, and so many other marginalized people, and never substantiated because people don’t do that. Even the people you’d really, really like to paint as monsters.


Amnesty International, CATW, a bunch of celebrities, and decriminalization

[Content note: sex trafficking and sexual abuse]

Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Lena Dunham, Emily Blunt, and numerous other celebrities, along with former sex workers and victims of sex trafficking and women’s rights advocates, have signed a letter from the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) criticizing a policy currently under discussion within Amnesty International. The policy, which Amnesty plans to introduce at a meeting in Dublin in August, promotes decriminalization of sex work to protect sex workers’ rights, health, and safety.

Quick hit: We Bought a Huge Effing House, and Now We Can’t Afford More Kids

An Elle Decor essayist has come out with a horrible confession: She and her husband sacrificed a child to buy their dream home.

(How awesome would it be if that were the actual story? “Our realtor didn’t mention the fiery, bottomless hellpit in the basement into which we have to throw a small child at the peak of the new moon to keep our mortgage rate low. She said it was a walk-in wine closet.”)

Time magazine: I can’t even.

Time magazine’s annual poll of the year’s “worst words” looks for words that make you “definitely cringe,” even “exhale pointedly,” even “seek out the nearest pair of chopsticks and thrust them through your own eardrums like straws through plastic lids.” And it asks people to “vote another word off the island” (and if I never hear that phrase again, I’ll be okay). This year’s poll includes bae, basic, bossy, disrupt, I can’t even…, influencer, kale, literally, om nom nom nom, obi, said no one ever, sorry not sorry, turnout, yaaasssss, and… feminist.

Don’t you get sick of those damned poor trick-or-treaters in your rich neighborhood?

This week, an actual win from advice columnist Dear Prudence:

I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets — mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. … Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?

Quick publicity: Detroit Water Project

If you’ve been following US news recently, you have probably read about Detroit Water and Sewage shutting off water to thousands of homes, some of which owing as little as two months’ worth of bills.  It’s a perfect storm of right-wing class and race war–we’re talking about largely impoverished, mostly black people.  For some unimaginable reason, water has not been shut off to any of the delinquent corporate accounts, even though they owe around 30 million dollars.

So there are thousands of homes in a city in the US in which people cannot flush the toilet, or wash their hands, or even get a drink of water.  And children’s welfare authorities have the right to take children whose homes do not have running water.  What does this have to do with feminism?  Well, feminism is either a social justice movement or it’s not–either the needs and priorities of women without water are the needs and priorities of feminism..or we’re just a special interest group catering to the needs of the middle class and white.

This kind of attack on poor communities, on black communities strikes at the vital work generations of women have done to maintain and nurture those communities’ strength and resistance to racist exploitation and oppression.  So I want to link to two sites.  One, the Detroit People’s Water Board, co-founded by Charity Hicks, whose water was shut off at 6 one morning, does political advocacy work.  The other, the Detroit Water Project, is a direct help site–you can make a donation that goes toward paying off somebody’s water bill so they can have their water turned back on.

I swear, this country would commodify air if it could, and smother those who couldn’t pay the bill.

Poisoning Black Children

Edited because, I’m sorry, I forgot TW: medical racism and exploitation, child abuse.


I just want to make sure that we’re all aware that twenty years ago, decades after the Tuskegee syphilis “experiment,” scientists affiliated with Johns Hopkins partnered with slumlords in order to deliberately cause lead poisoning in black toddlers from impoverished families to experiment with cheaper methods of cleaning up lead paint.

I first read about this three years ago, when the parents filed a class action suit.  I couldn’t think about anything else for days.  I couldn’t sleep.  These scientists deliberately poisoned children.  They lured families in with unusually low rents.  They monitored the kids’ blood lead levels.  And they didn’t do anything to help when those levels climbed and climbed.

This “study” passed Johns Hopkins board of ethics.

When I first found about this, I maintained that if one of these parents decided that a civil suit was bullshit, and instead decided to cut the throats of each and every person with knowledge of what was happening–including that damn ethics board, I would raise money for a legal defense, or a plane ticket to a country without an extradition agreement.  Because this is one of the most horrifying things I can imagine.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be one of those parents, having tried and tried to what was best for my family and  children, and then to find out that I had been bamboozled, that I was complicit in my own child’s poisoning, all so slumlords could save a few bucks.

Black people, poor people, Native Americans, have real reasons for being suspicious of US medical care.  Centuries of being experimented on–of having one’s children experimented on–will do that.

As far as I know, the case is on-going.  I can’t find any reference to a verdict.

David Choe totally hates rapists, is only guilty of bad storytelling

[Strong, strong trigger warning for rape]

In the March 10 episode of his podcast, David Choe recounted in lurid and self-satisfied detail his activities of the night before, in which he raped his masseuse at a massage parlor. On Friday, shortly after the story came out on Gawker and xojane, he insisted on his blog that he was totally joking, that he hates rapists, that his art is controversial, and that all he’s guilty of is bad storytelling. Call me a humorless feminist, but I’m not laughing.

The Dark Power of Fraternities

Can’t say I’m usually a huge Caitlin Flanagan fan, but this investigation into American fraternities is very very good. Frats not only cause a whole lot of serious injury to college students, but they protect themselves quite thoroughly — even to the detriment of their own members. Do read the whole thing. But if you don’t read the whole thing, read the lede, which is possibly the best lede I’ve ever read.