Thursday, July 8, 2010

Feminists for Life: Refuse to Choose?

In the time of my life before Andrea Smith's Conquest and Jennifer Baumgardner's Abortion and Life, I was one of those 'Against abortion? Then don't have one' bumper sticker-havers that was INYOFACE about my prochoicenss. I've mellowed some since then--to the extent that I'm willing to have a civil conversation or only slightly heated Facebook debate about the issue of life v choice. But really, life v choice isn't what's at hand here--at least not in its traditional political sense. No, what's at stake is the bodies of women--itself a random happenstance of biology--bodily integrity itself. I went through their site and Youtubed their videos, coming to the conclusion that it's about fifty-fifty for trite and legitimacy. Italicized are direct quotes from their official Youtube channel; below are my comments.

Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women.

Acutally, I absolutely agree. Abortion is a product of social problems, NOT the cause. American women face systematic discrimination in terms of birth control; anti-choice pharmacists are not held accountable for "running out" of contraception, nor are birth control methods easily accessible or affordable. Though I don't get the vibe that the Fems4Lyf were going quite in this direction with the quote, but adoption is often not a viable choice for women--prenatal care is hella expensive (just like any other health care in America without upper midde class insurance), and legal action can be taken against women who give up their babies to adoption if they do not have regular check ups. Bull. Shit. This is where CPCs, or "crisis" pregnancy centers (I use the quotes ironically because I do not believe a natural process of women's bodies constitutes an emergency) come in handy, because they do indeed provide women with care, physically and otherwise. My beef with them, however, comes in that they deliberately lie and give women misinformation about abortion, usually from studies done circa the 1970s that have since been disproven several times over (abortion does NOT cause breast cancer. SERIOUSLY. STOP.).

Almost half of all abortions are performed on college-age women.

I technically can neither affirm nor disprove this as they fail to cite their source, but considering that a lack of citation often denotes a crock o' opinionated-rather-than-factually-based bullshit, I'm gonna just go ahead and say women from all walks of life choose abortion. AND THAT MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT AND OTHER FIRST-WAVE FEMINISTS WERE NOT NECESSARILY PRO-LIFE, AS SUCH A POLITICAL CONCEPT DID NOT EXIST DURING THEIR TIME. Plz to stop decontextualizing history to put cherries in yer bowl of non-argument. Kthnxbai.

Without housing, daycare, or maternity coverage, it doesn't feel like I have much of a choice.

Again, I absolutely agree. So what are Feminists for Life as an organization doing to aid women who desire to keep their children? To tell you the truth, I have no idea--their website tells me jack doo except how to purchase bumper stickers and other "covetable stuff." And no, I didn't make the "covetable stuff" part up, they legit have a trademark symbol after it. [Barf.] I can find out how to book speakers--woo hoo! That will solve the problem of the feminization of poverty and the myth of everyone being middle class!

Women deserve better.

You know what? Women do deserve better. They deserve not to be lied to; they deserve health without wealth*; they deserve the right to move within public space wearing whatever they damn well please without threats to their bodily integrity. Most of all, they deserve to be heard--our stories and lives are personally and politically valid, and whether we self-identify as feminist, pro choice or pro life, we deserve a space to be heard. It is only through honest and open discussion that these contentious topics are resolved. And you know, I'm not even sure if that's the right word, resolved...come to terms, perhaps? In current polical framing, I'm pro choice, but within my own conceptions of the implications of abortion, I feel I'm pro life--I'm pro people who are already alive and are struggling to be seen, heard and validated in a society that so belittles them socially and politically. I'm pro universal healthcare and pro public funds for education beyond high schoool, because the most effective way to prevent poverty is through health and education. Most of all, I'm pro choice in the most literal sense of the word: "preferential determination between things proposed; selection, election (OED choice n.1a)."

*In the sense that health is a human right and you shouldn't have to take wealth to have access to basic services. Didn't want to muck up that alliterative brilliance with this explanation. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bewbz and Brahz

Fun fact: something like 90% of American women are wearing the wrong bra size.

Quick poll: who cares?

A couple years ago, that would have been a resounding "Not I." I had smaller, proportional breasts that didn't call unwanted attention to myself**, and besides that, I wore nothing more revealing than parka-esque tee shirts. But wouldn't you know, boobs grow 'till your early twenties.

Ass. Hole.

The star star I put re: not wanting to call attention to myself is something that, as a cisgendered female feminist (mouthful, lawl), I have strugged quite a bit with. I personally prefer to have smaller breasts because a) they're a fucken nuisance when you're trying to lay on your stomach to read and b) I HATE having attention drawn to my body for any reason. Unfortunately, being that the UK is epically less humid than the US, this summer has hit me like a shit ton of bricks, forcing me to bust out the dreaded tank top. And I'm using 'bust out' in the most literal sense.

Since I have copious amounts of free time, I thought a lot on this bust and outing. I felt oh so enlightened because I now knew what it was like on the other side--boobage spilling out of regularly cut v necks and, well, everything else in my summer wardrobe that isn't a tee shirt. As of this writing, the ladies are spilling out of this cute little grey dress I just purchased; I'm not deterred from wearing it because of this fact, but I am hyperaware of how people perceive me as I walk through public (re: not for women) space.

Am I sending the wrong message?

Does this make me look like a slut?

Maybe not everyone has these feelings, and perhaps I'm just hyperaware because it's not something I've ever had to deal with. But I know from professional dealings that large breasted friends of mine have experienced that the realms of boobs and professionalism are mutually exclusive. Which is fucking ridiculous, because boobs are pouches of fat that contain ducts to feed infants.


I would love it if I could one day live in a world where women wouldn't get harassed in the street or fired for work "unprofessionalism" on account of biology.

And don't even get me started on the breastfeeding in public "controversy."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Inexplicable Self

I awoke this morning feeling not like P. Diddy, but myself. The self I have always wanted to be and the self that I am sometimes, the self I want others to know and love and the self that all too often is lost in translation. The self I'm describing is just that; it's me. Perhaps this is a convoluted explanation, but for me, waking up feeling like me again is a BFD (big fucken deal).

My last few posts feel very 10th grade emo throwback to me, so I just wanted to quick update that I'm feeling like myself again and I know I continue to be myself again with a little help from my friends. Whom I love and hold so very dearly. =D

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Proz[ac] n' Conz

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

3,000 miles from ED, depression, academic pressure, everything and everyone I knew.

It was supposed to be a break.

Turns out, no amount of miles can save you from yourself. It's a myth, you know; they tell you that new places and new faces are a fresh start. They'e not. You're just more alone than ever because you don't have the same faces to feel lonely with.

And now, a passage from Elizabeth Wurtzel's "Prozac Nation:"

The brief relief of seeing other people when I leave my room turns into a desperate need to be alone, and then being alone turns into a terrible fear that I will have no friends, I will be alone in this world and in my life. ... I thought it was all going to stop at Harvard. I thought it was just a matter of getting away from the physical site of so much of my depression. Instead it was even worse.

But was it really that much worse? I can certainly attest that having a break from my life was something I needed at that point, but was the break needed from myself or from other people? Sometimes I feel so oppressed by the people around me that I can't breathe, yet it is these selfsame people I cling to in the hopes that they'll love me and never leave me.

Some days I feel I'm completely off my rocker, and other days I am fine--dandy, even. I guess I thought that going to a foreign country for five months would automatically transform me, and that I wouldn't have to do any work to fix whatever it is that's wrong with me. I've stopped the Prozac, it never seemed to help much anyway. The only real affect I feel thus far is that I am much more animated, more uppity and pissoffable.

I'm a work in progress, and I just hope that I haven't used up all my chances of really fitting into a community.

Also I think I've lost my blogging edge from the entire lack of Allegheny College-level writing for the past six months. D: