Pretty Good, For A Girl

Anne Martens

Nope, it’s not a throwback. It’s not a funny story where we wax nostalgic and laugh our asses off at those quaint times when men (and women) didn’t treat women equally.

It turns out, as evidenced by the tooth and nail battle for control over our own bodies, by the lashing reaction to a refusal to be defined by pregnancy right here on what is supposed to be a happy liberal place, by countless subtle and not-so-subtle references to the body (oooh, boobies) before the brains of a female, it turns out that feminism is still necessary.

Oh, don’t get your boxers in a bunch. This isn’t an accusation or a guilt trip. There will be no epic pronouncements about fish and bicycles. This is not about hating men. We’re not trying to start a gender war; we’re trying to end one.

Feminism is one of those icky ism words that send conservatives into anaphylactic shock, leaving them shaking and sputtering in fear of dinner and combat boots and women with short hair. Feminism is one of those icky ism words that liberals nod to from a distance but can’t seem to recognize up close, like a Monet.

Maybe the “F” word makes you uncomfortable. Maybe Lakoff and every session at every Democratic event all across this great country on “framing” and how words have meaning so we should choose them carefully (indicative of the state of the party that we needed a book and a training on that) argue against all isms. So forget the word, let’s talk about the substance.

We no longer need to demand entry to previously male domains. Sure, women can vote, own property, go to college, work for a living, wear heels with a pantsuit, command respect in certain circles and do all those things that we didn’t used to be able to do. Equality. Wahoo.

But the double standard is alive and well. It is still understood if not spoken that all other things being equal, the man’s accomplishments in any given endeavor are better and more impressive than the woman’s. Women still receive a heightened level of scrutiny and criticism rarely applied to a man. The superwoman expectation of the careerist who keeps spotless house lives alongside the condescending approval of being “just” a mom. The Madonna and the whore compete for attention, but neither address the assumption that a woman cannot be both pretty and smart.

There is no escaping the physical. You know a woman who’s been raped or sexually abused. It happens all the time. And it happens because there are still men who wield power and entitlement over women’s bodies. That sense of entitlement and covetous appropriation extends to the gauntlet of lectures that pass for advice and informed consent on the way to get birth control or an abortion.

Forgive me if I am less than tolerant of the self-congratulatory man who has the audacity to point out that the real difference between the sexes is that only women can get pregnant so we should recognize that. Thanks. Because in fourteen years of taking a pill every single day and for the past few years of paying the pharmacy $40 each month for uncovered birth control, nevermind the actual monthly bleeding, after all that I had somehow blocked out the fact that only women can get pregnant. Good thing that guy was here to remind me. Phew.

It is precisely because only women can get pregnant that anti-discrimination laws and insurance coverage for contraception and access to safe abortions are, at root, not about economics or prejudice or the ever-changing philosophy of when life begins, but about women’s autonomy and right to control their own bodies. Because when women control their own bodies and can determine access on their own terms and pregnancy and motherhood on their own terms, then women can be defined as more than just bodies.

Feminism is still necessary because women are still being attacked and dismissed for wanting the basic right to self-determination that men take for granted. Feminism is still necessary because women still have to work harder to prove their worth. And feminism will continue to be necessary until women have full and unquestioned control of their bodies and definition of their lives.

Comments

  • jami (unverified)
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    good rant. i'd add that feminism is still necessary because when pharmacists in our comfy blue state decide they will only discriminate against women in a "timely" manner, everyone considers that a victory.

  • mconley (unverified)
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    I think my boxers just unbunched. Ahhhh...

    Funny you should mention Lakoff. He's here in Vegas and of course I went to the messaging session he was part of this morning.

    His theory on why women attract so much vitriol when they get into political (or other) arguments is our culture of the "strict father" morality. Sad stats he quoted on women's issues:

    53% of all unwanted pregnancies in this country come from only 7% of active women - I'd venture to guess girls. Maybe our lovely lack of sex education has something to do with that.

    25,000 women get pregnant every year in America due to rape.

    One out of every 6 women of child-bearing years in our country have too much mercury in their bodies to deliver a healthy baby.

    As long as we're living with these stats, it's our responsibility to speak out. Thanks, Anne, for the post. (Not very ranty in my book.)

  • George (unverified)
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    I agree 100%. Women have always received the short end because of what might happen to them. Fathers protect their daughters when they go out for the first time on dates. Instead, young men just get the car keys from their fathers and extra money, a pat on the back and, "make me proud, son.". This type of behavior is ingrained in young men that hey, my why does my sister needs extra protection and I don't. Her curfew is always shorter than the young man because, again, the father wants his daughter in early for fear of her being pregnant!

    In the workplace, the boss ususally gives more money in salary to the men because, "his wife has just had a baby and she needs to stay home while he is hard working." This behavior still goes on even today in some companies. We are always reading about sexual discrimination lawsuits, even in today's society. It doesn't matter to the employers that some women can have thier husbands taking care of the kids while she works. The men still get the raises because there not as "emotional when a crisis happens at work." They cry at weddings and when someone is engaged. They are in tears when they have bad hair days or whenever they call in sick, it's assumed that it must be PMS.

    Your right, women have been getting the shaft when it comes to sexual discrimination, rape prevention, lower wages, loss of power, loss of self esteem. I believe that feminism is the strongest word for women to start being treated equal and men have to realize this concept.

    Equality in the household, workplace and life itself should be our creed and acceptance for who we are. Great article!

    Men can be pro-feminists too.

    GS :)

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    Second wave feminists fought for Title 9. Can we imagine a world where our daughters didn't participate in sports? I remember when girls played half court basketball, could dribble twice, then they had to pass. One player "got" to play the entire half court, the Roving Forward. The rest of the players were stuck behind the line so they actually played a quarter of the court instead a half court.The second wave feminists broke down barriers in most professions and trades getting all women to full court. Tracing women from 'The Our Bodies, Ourselves" days to the present still is an effort. Witness South Dakota's recent ban on abortions. Some issues are just as sexist as they were in the 60's and 70"s, while other issues have become gender blind.

    Young developing women will still struggle with achieving the confidence, pride and belief to say they are a feminist. Should the reaction to the statement be defensive or negative by anyone, it is because those folks are undereducated about the need for gender equality. When your wife goes out to play in her basketball league and leaves you home with the kids, celebrate because she's playing the entire court. These third wave feminists will ensure their daughters will win the game. Perhaps in their daughter's lifetimes they will have complete control over their reproductive choices. Rapes, domestic abuse, and dull arguments about which sex is superior will just be historical footnotes in our evolution as a civilization. A woman born in America is the luckiest woman in the world. Look at the sisters in other countries..a long twisting road winds them forward in their struggle for gender equality. We need to turn around, give them a hand, and pull them onto the full court.

  • Whos DAT Grrrl (unverified)
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    Interesting book review: long, but worth reading, excerpted below:

    Ironically, many of the objectives stated in rap lyrics are the same as those of contemporary American feminism: to encourage girls not to be shackled by the double standard and to abandon modesty as a goal, to erode patriarchal notions of how men ought to treat women, and to champion aggressiveness in girls. It was very possible for a girl in the nineties to have her well-intentioned parents buy her a CD in which she was urged to suck dick and get fucked, and to have a well-intentioned teacher (I was one such) tell her to be as intellectually and verbally aggressive as she could -- that aggression for its own sake was a good thing, because it leveled the playing field in a male-dominated world.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Anne - While the earnestness you evidence in so many of your comments is appreciated, the lack of depth sometimes makes them come across as a self-indulgent trifle more than anything else.

    It's a fact that women are the majority, so women have the numbers to take and exercise political power on important issues in ways that for the most part I think you and I would agree on: pro-choice, pro-marriage with no regard to gender, equal economic opportunity, defense of individual privacy rights, progressive taxation, individuals over corporations, affordable and accessible healthcare and education through college for all, bringing the troops home now, etc. (I'll go even further and say I'd like to see Democratic senators aggressively attempt to introduce a new and expanded ERA as an affirmative statement of values that Dems and progressives stand for in response to the bogus right-wing and MSM charge that Dems just criticize the right rather than stand for anything.) But in recent years, the "gender gap" at the critical time of decision making on key matters that have brought us to where we are now really hasn't been that significant.

    To take just two examples: You can dig into the numbers how many women supported going to war in both Afghanistan and Iraq at the time yourself. With regard to the 2004 election where the most regressive incumbent in recent history ran against a moderate, by NOW's own numbers men voted 55/44 for the criminal-in-chief while women voted 48/51 for him, the smallest gender gap in years. Indeed, Burden of Harvard University finds that "Bush won because of widespread increase in his support among white and married women."(1) While he argues this was due to concern about domestic security, Ansolabehere, Rodden , and Snyder note that "The gender gap, a 5 to 10 percentage point difference between men and women in their support for Democratic candidates becomes statistically insignificant using the ANES once we control for the Economic Issues Scale and Moral Issues Scale." (2) While Burden and Ansolabehere et. al. may appear to disagree about the values women were actually expressing in their voting decision, the disagreement may be less than it appears on a superficial reading (see former Harvard JFK School of Government professor Anna Greenberg's account (3) for a more readable analysis). And although the gender gap may be appear to be widening right now, people are not yet making the critical values choices they do when they actually cast their votes --- which is their actual statement of the society they want to see.

    To the extent progress can be made, it will depend on women making talking to women with some sophistication about positive forward-looking values, rather than insubstantial railing against a simplistic representation of the situation in this country.

    (1)An Alternative Account of the 2004 Presidential Election http://www.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent. cgi?article=1057&context=forum

    (2)Purple America http://web.mit.edu/polisci/research/wip/Rodden.Purple_V4.pdf

    (3)Mind the Gender Gap http://www.prospect.org/web/printfriendly-view.ww?id=8884

  • ASDFJKL; (unverified)
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    "self-indulgent trifle"...

    I will take it one step further: if you're going to crawl out on the the with a sentence like this:

    The Centers for Disease Control has taken a break from containing bird flu to determine that I'm pre-pregnant. By edict.

    Then you have to be prepared to defend your position, or at least wonder why another progressive journalist didn't see the same extremism that you alleged.

    If you throw a grenade over the wall, don't be surprised when those on the other side toss it right back at ya'!

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    On a happier note, in today's O they discuss nationwide and statewide statistics showing that women are graduating college in numbers sifgnificanly higher than men.

    The long fabled Matriarchy is on the way!!!

    Soon we'll be wringing our hands about the oppressed male students who for some unfathomable reason are falling behind in our society. There will be initiatives, targeted education and recruitment of male students by universities.

    Women will run everything in government and industry, but men will be out on the golf courses and motorcycle tours, so we'll still need illegal aliens to do the housework.

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    Good post, Anne. One quick reminder: not everyone who comments here at BlueOregon is a progressive, a liberal, etc. We´ve got plenty of right-wing trolls -- and many of them were the ones popping off on that post.

  • Kevin (unverified)
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    While I have never claimed to be a liberal and have always been uncomfortable with the term "progressive" because some of our most progressive Governors here in Oregon have been Republicans, having met Kari in person at least once I would hope not to get lumped in with the rightwing trolls if I offer a non-liberal point of view here.

    Having been raised in a family where my mother was clearly the intellectual heavyweight (she was tested about 15 years ago with a resulting IQ in the high 160's)... as well as very attractive if my having witnessed everyone from complete strangers to truckers on the highway to my own martial arts instructor hitting on her mercilessly is any indication, she was my mother after all and therefore I have never had a problem recognizing a women's brains on their own merits. And although deeply spiritual from a very conservative Christian worldview, she always struck me as a feminist. She even had a very liberal streak, having unapologetically voted for Jerry Brown in the 1976 Dem primary.

    Because my mother approached feminism from the worldview that she did, I am sure that has colored my own perceptions of feminism and those who choose to apply that label to themselves - my mother never did, btw.

    That said... the point about Lakoff and framing is very relevant here, especially in the context of reproductive rights. Calling the legal right to abortion "pro-choice" is factually incorrect in that it implies some sort of belief in reproductive choice as a principle when in fact it is only women's reproductive choice that has ever been fought for in so far as I've ever been able to discern. The more accurate term would be "pro-abortion" or even "pro-women's rights" as those terms actually encompass the real issues.

    Of course I fully expect to be derisively dismissed because of the preceding paragraph even though I've not once advocated denying a women the right to decide her own reproductive future. This would be far from the first time I've weighed in on this issue and am quite used to being attacked mostly by women for expressing my views. C'est la vie. I'm a big boy.

    Feminism is still necessary because women are still being attacked and dismissed for wanting the basic right to self-determination that men take for granted.

    Interesting way of framing the issue. The biology is pretty straight-forward. Barring incest, rape or dimished mental capacity both the man and the woman have the same choice at the same point - conception. That level of "self-determination" is and always has been perfectly equal between the genders. So, let's not pretend that the real issue here is that one because it's not.

    Oh, and by the by... my employer provided medical insurance pays for birth control pills. It also explicitely excludes any coverage whatever for erectile disfuction medications.

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    "men voted 55/44 for the criminal-in-chief while women voted 48/51 for him"

    How amusing that someone who complains about "lack of depth" would indulge in that kind of sophistry. The conventional and clear way of saying "women voted 48/51 for him" would of course be "women voted 51/48 against him."

    If men are stupid enough to vote to elect "the criminal-in-chief" by a decisive margin, shame on women for not being able to generate sufficient opposition to overcome that.

    Physician, heal thyself.

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    Calling the legal right to abortion "pro-choice" is factually incorrect in that it implies some sort of belief in reproductive choice as a principle when in fact it is only women's reproductive choice that has ever been fought for in so far as I've ever been able to discern. The more accurate term would be "pro-abortion" or even "pro-women's rights" as those terms actually encompass the real issues.

    Sorry, those arguments aren't even slightly compelling.

    You argue that "pro-choice" doesn't work because it's only women's right to choose under a particular set of circumstances that is at issue. Do you also argue against the "civil rights movement" because it was "only" African-Americans' rights that were at issue?

    By your logic 'pro-women's rights" doesn't work either--it should be "pro-women-of-childbearing-age-who-happen-to-be-pregnant's rights". Pro-choice is about the right of women under particular circumstances to make certain choices. It's a perfectly legitimate construction. "Pro-women's rights" is accurate as far as it goes but the issue of women's rights is much broader than abortion--it has included things like the right to vote, get an education, hold a job, etc. You still need something to describe that particular issue having to do with abortion.

    Your suggestion of "pro-abortion" is laughable. "Pro-abortion" is the construction the opposition would like to hang on those who are pro-choice for obvious reasons. It implies (because that's nomally what that kind of construction would literally mean) that they like the idea of abortion and think there ought to be as many as possible. Most people who are pro-choice do not believe any such thing.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Doretta -

    Frankly, you apparently don't know the meaning of the word "sophistry". But since you apparently think you can score points by using it, you might benefit from knowing the correct meaning next time: Sophistry is an argument that is couched to seem correct, but is in fact designed to mislead as to the truth or outright fallacious.

    Saying that "women voted 48/51 for him" is not only technically correct, it was phrased that way to unambiguously establish the exact parallel with the numbers for men, so as to clearly illustrate the accuracy of the point being made that the gender gap was relatively small (7%). There was nothing misleading or fallacious. Furthermore, there was no implication or explicit statement that the majority of women voted for him anywhere in the post.

    Only you can know why you would have preferred that this statistical fact be phrased in what you feel is the more "conventional" way, because your preferred phrasing would not be more clear in the context or with regard to the factually accurate point being made. If it is because you aren't an very agile thinker, manners and charity demand it be overlooked. If it is out of pique, or because you are trying to impute a motive which the plain text doesn't support, that's just childish. If though, it is because you of you are because such "conventional" terminology serves as an appeal to populist emotion in an attempt to obscure the factual point being made, that would be sophistry. Clear enough?

    Kevin -

    Doretta does a good job of responding to you. Just to drive home the bottom line point: "Pro-choice" is the correct usage with regard to the actual matter at stake in real life and in the law. Namely, who makes the specific decision as to whether a woman is obliged to carry a fetus to term? Should it be folks like you whose logic is at best undecipherable, or the woman whose fundamental right to bodily integrity is at issue? I'll leave that choice to the woman.

    The interesting question here is why you feel compelled to make such scrambled arguments. Why don't you just make your bottom line point, whatever it is?

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Of course, the last sentence to Doretta in the last post got a bit scrambled for reasons somewhere between my machine and typepad that aren't all together clear. It should have read:

    If, though, it is because such "conventional" terminology serves as an appeal to populist emotion in an attempt to obscure the factual point being made, that would be sophistry.

  • LT (unverified)
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    OK, folks who argue about labels, let's be clear here. Are you saying that the government should have a process to make some or all abortions illegal? (Is it Atlantic Monthly which has the cover story about what would change in this country if that happened?) If so, and more children are born, is that government responsible for the care and feeding of children born under those circumstances, or is it "ok, they're born, and therefore no longer our responsibility"? (Some groups whose members I have talked with or seen interviewed have that attitude.)

    If someone believes abortion should be safe, legal and rare, what label do you have for that person? If someone had a college friend who married and later died in childbirth,is that person "pro-abortion" for believing in abortion to save the life of a mother? Should a person be called "pro-abortion" for believing that a woman along with her family and her doctor deserves the right to have an abortion for reasons of serious health complications (for the sake of argument, let's define serious as medical opinion questioning whether the mother would be healthy enough to care for the child if the pregnancy was carried to term) or to save the life of the mother, or if the woman is a crime victim (rape or incest)? Or should that decision be taken away from the woman, her family, and her doctor because a government agency knows what is best?

    How would that law be carried out--the woman imprisoned? her doctor? Or is that a detail some don't want to discuss?

    Would there be a jury trial? Would jury selection include questions of whether those in the jury pool have strong views on abortion?

    Many here may not be old enough to remember back a quarter of a century ago. There were bills introduced in Congress in the early 1980s on many facets of this issue incl. one stating that a miscarriage would be counted as an abortion and therefore illegal unless a court could be convinced it really was a miscarriage and not an abortion. There are people who believe a miscarriage is God's way of saying the child was not meant to be born. So, where would you folks have stood on that legislation, or is that a detail you don't want to discuss?

    Those of us old enough to remember the 1970s and before know this is a more complex issue than some would indicate by their rhetoric.

    And by the way, many years ago a friend told me about the AP style manual. Any rally or protest clearly against something was to be labeled anti-- and any group, rally, etc. clearly in favor of something was to be called pro--

    Therefore, a logging company might be called pro-logging, a "save the forest" group might be called anti-logging or pro-forest preservation.

    Therefore, when someone blockades an abortion clinic (or worse yet, vandalizes, shoots up, explodes something at an abortion clinic) they are anti-abortion. When a religious group provides pre-natal and post-natal care and pregnancy assistance (incl. transportation to pre-natal appointments, nutrition assistance, etc. ) and in one case I remember hearing about even arranges baptism for those of a religious faith that includes infant baptism, that is a "pro-life" organization.

  • Jennifer W (unverified)
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    Kevin: I believing that abortions should be much less common than they are today, while remaining legal. That said, I like your nomenclature.

    But you're wasting your time trying to argue the point here at Blue Oregon.

    This is the same website where a dry CDC report on reducing birth defects and infant mortality is (per Anne Martens) simply reduced to:

    defining women as baby making factories?

    On the broader question of feminism and tolerance, feminism is defined by only the most vociferous (and published) proponents of Victimology. Using their criteria, Liberalism is the only path to Feminism: mere equality of the sexes cannot be obtained without first recognizing the role of the male oppressor. Your mother's intellect and personal choices failed to advance the Cause of Feminism in much the same way that Ann Coulter or Liddy Dole have "Uncle Tom'd" themselves at the altar of conservative values. Ms. Coulter and Mrs. Dole are mere puppets of right wing objectification and subjugation of women, and their achievement is nullified by the degree to which they oppose Liberalism.

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    And feminism is necessary until we can teach young women to derive self-worth through their own accomplishments rather than as a reflection of male fantasy.

    The referenced article, which appeared in Rolling Stone, describes how the women of Duke University feel about themselves and sex. Interesting...

    It makes me very happy to have grown up in the 70s when no makeup and no bra meant sexy.

  • Kevin (unverified)
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    askquestions1st - If I had even hinted that woman shouldn't exersize sovereignty over their own reproductive future then your attempted critique might have been worth the effort you took to type it out. As it stands, however, I went out of my way to state that I am not arguing for a woman's reproductive rights to be contravened by me or anyone else.

    Try reading what I actually said.

    "Pro-choice" is a misnomer as popularly used here and elsewhere. If the principle at stake were truly about reproductive choice then a man's choices over whether or not to become a (legally recognized/responsible) parent wouldn't end at conception while a women's continue on. That's a value-neutral statement, btw. I'm not expressing approval or disapproval, per se. I'm simply stating the facts.

    As an aside, livescience.com published a piece several weeks ago which summarized several studies and produced a conservative estimate of 1 in 25 men who are listed on a birth certificate as the biological father, and who fully believe themselves to be the biological father, are in fact not biologically related to the child they believe is theirs.

    In most states those men have little recourse save the courts and expensive legal fees. And even then it is not at all unheard of for the courts to rule that he has to provide for the child regardless.

    "Pro-choice"? Really?

    Seems to me Lakoff is a little late to the framing game. It's been going on quite successfully for a long time. "Pro-choice" is a classic example of it.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Kevin -

    Whether you like it or not, it is a fact that "pro choice" is the proper terminology for the specific legal issue at stake.

    We get it that you are trying to make it seem you have some beef about the rights of men that you want to air. If it is with the custody and support laws in this country, which are screwed up due to the cooperative idiocy of partisans from the right, left, and center, you need to directly address those issues. If it is some substantive values argument, go ahead and make it rather than playing childish semantic games. You might be surprised who agrees with you.

    And no one implied anything about your viewpoint on a woman's choice, so stick your smart-alecky "try reading what I said" comment.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Jennifer W -

    Concerning your learned comment:

    This is the same website where a dry CDC report on reducing birth defects and infant mortality is (per Anne Martens) simply reduced to: defining women as baby making factories?

    Surely someone with your superior verbal and intellectual skills would find that intellectual honesty demands that you also point out how this criminal adminstration has politicized every adminstrative agency AND vets the wording and timing of every single official statement such as this to achieve their political goals. And in what surely must just be a fortunate coincidence, how in service to that twisted, theocratic right-wing agenda, this report calls for a radical --- and frankly unethical --- shift in our concept of women's healthcare away from a focus on the patient and onto a possible fetus for which, as Anne Martens and others have aptly described, the patient is simply a vessel.

    And surely someone with your manifest gifts would have some comment why the article does not mention men and women who either cannot, or simply choose to not, conceive. A healthcare plan which endorses "establishing preconception health screening as part of routine care for women of reproductive age" as "has been discussed in previously published reports" (that's a quote from the report which I'm sure you've read) is at best insulting and condescending. This quote and many others of a piece with it provides the best insight to the actual politics of this report. Regardless of whether the authors were complicit in those politics, or simply politically and socially incompetent when it came to framing their recommendations such that those recommendations could be misused politically (and prefer to believe the incompetent argument until the broader scientific community responds) to this report is far from "a dry CDC report on reducing birth defects and infant mortality" as you characterize it.

  • Feminist (unverified)
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    I'm tired of abortion being a "women's issue." With condoms sold in every convenience store, it takes two people screwing up (usually) to end up with an abortion. There's always abstinence, gentlemen. Perhaps fellows dead set against abortion can wear delicate silver rings to represent their marvelous abstinence pacts.

    When men get half the shame-and-blame that goes on with abortion, maybe we'll actually get more people the education and health care they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the resulting abortions.

    Jenny G., Snow-White syndrome is still going strong in our culture. When I was growing up in the eighties, sure, we'd learn about Sally Ride and muse about whether there would ever be a woman president. The other 99.9% of the time, the message was still that some day our princes would come, so we'd better be impossibly beautiful and compulsively clean the homes of dirty little men. It sounds ridiculous, but when nearly every movie, TV show, book, magazine article, photograph, or song with a compelling female character is about how she's beautiful and oh so tidy and an excellent shopper, it tends to stick.

    If I have a daughter, she can sleep with all the boys she wants, but Jesus Christ she's not watching any Disney movies.

  • Jennifer W (unverified)
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    Feminist says:

    If I have a daughter, she can sleep with all the boys she wants, but Jesus Christ she's not watching any Disney movies.

    It reminds me of the time I said I wanted to marry my Daddy and never leave our house (I was six at the time).

    Your feelings are likely to become more informed if/when you have a child of your own. Disney is much less intimidating than walking downtown, or most of what's on television.

    Education and health care are only half of the abortion reduction equation: personal responsibility is the other half.

  • Dan J (unverified)
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    Feminist,

    That last line may have been the saddest thing I've yet read on Blue Oregon.

    I'm sorry you are so bitter. That is a tough way to live.

    That last sentence perfectly frames why feminists are labled mean-spirited.

    Fortunatly, child-bearing does tend to turn women a bit more conservative.

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    Dan,

    Your entire post may have been the most condescending thing I've read yet on Blue Oregon.

    But anyway.

    Feminist's last comment made me laugh out loud.

    I have a three-year-old daughter who's play-acting her pretty princess side as well as her aggressive Spiderman side. So far I have let her explore both. I'd rather see more Spiderman than princess, because our culture will do a number on her assertiveness once she's exposed to more mainstream influences. In the meantime, I let her shoot webs through her wrist and learn how it feels to be powerful.

    I hope to encourage her to feel good about her sexuality, to own it, to know it, to not let anyone else define it for her or use it for their own ends. It takes a lot of figurative and literal self-defense to get to that place.

    May the laws that allow room for that sexual freedom be as strong in 15 years -- or stronger -- than they are today.

  • Karl (unverified)
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    Kari,

    Why are people who do not march in lock-step with Ms. Marten's opinions now called trolls?

    Sounds like what Anne Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, or Michelle Malkin would do to people who criticized their opinions.

  • Jennifer W (unverified)
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    More Wild Eyed DISCRIMINATION of women from the World Health Organization...

    How come they never ask men to stay home with the baby for six months? If they did, you can bet that maternity leave would be compensated at full salary plus benefits.

  • Harry (unverified)
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    Karl,

    You have not been drinking enough of the cool aid.

    Of course people who do not embrace Anne's every word are right wing trolls.

    What else could the be? Progressives with a mind of their own, and with differing opinions on a variety of topics? Independents who are neither Dem or Repub, progressive or conservative? Puhleeeze!

    Kari knows his trolls, especially his right wing trolls. After all, a troll is just somebody who disagrees with your opinion, right Kari?

  • Harold (unverified)
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    The abortion discussion in this string reminded me of an accurate statement about too many foes of choice: "They believe human life is sacred until birth." In other words, they don't care about humanity, and they certainly don't care about women. They care about a concept -- that being human begins at conception -- and they don't even have to live the consequences of that big lie. People who take my view are labeled "feminists" and "mean-spirited." But sentencing a woman, usually in her teens, to bear a child she neither wants nor will care for? That's not mean?

  • (Show?)

    The basics:

    The "Pro-Life" label obstructs the real nature of the animal, i.e. its really the "Control-the-Ladies" crowd. Why else would this same bunch...

    • oppose contraception
    • allow pharmacists to refuse contraceptive prescriptions
    • oppose the administration of a cancer vacine to young women
    • refuse to acknowledge the reality that when abortions are legal, and contraceptives available, the occurance of abortions is LOWER

    ???????????????????

    While many followers in the Anti-Abortion movement are truly inspired by the notion that they are protecting life, the leaders of the movement never share these basic realities with their flock.

    Why?

    Because their motives are NOT the same.

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