“We believe that Birth Justice exists when women and transfolks are empowered during pregnancy, labor, childbirth and postpartum to make healthy decisions for themselves and their babies. Birth Justice is part of a wider movement against reproductive oppression. It aims to dismantle inequalities of race, class, gender and sexuality that lead to negative birth experiences, especially for women of color, low-income women, survivors of violence, immigrant women, queer and transfolks, and women in the Global South. Working for Birth Justice involves educating the community, and challenging abuses by medical personnel and overuse of medical interventions. It also involves advocating for universal access to culturally appropriate, women-centered health care. It includes the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy, to choose when, where, how, and with whom to birth, including access to traditional and indigenous birth-workers, such as midwives and doulas, and the right to breastfeeding support.”—
“Just because you have privilege does not automatically make you a bad person, but denying it and actively harming others through your words and actions might. Being an intersectional feminist can be really easy once you consider that we are not all simply just social activists. We all come from different backgrounds. We come from all around the world, have had different experiences, and have different identities. Not everybody is concerned about contraceptives; some social activists are worried about that their sexual orientation or gender will become illegal and ultimately fatal; others that their race and ethnicity will automatically set them back in life statistically.”—
“Men often react to women’s words - speaking and writing - as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper, Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women shrink. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men - control, violence, insult, contempt - that no threat seems empty”—
I have written a post and deleted it many times about my male liberal friends who are trained orators, junior senator types, or my leftist buddies and how difficult it is to engage them in a decent conversation about politics because they instantly resort to patterns of domination and control when speaking to you.
So I shrink, I double-guess myself, I spend a lot of time trying to understand their points of view without getting the same consideration, I get interrupted and harangued, I get spoken over, etc.
Seriously, men everywhere need to recognize this type of behavior and own up to it. I know I’ve certainly been guilty of this in the past without having even realized it at the time, even while I was attempting to create a “safe space” for dialogue and trying to argue from a feminist perspective. It’s terrible, it’s embarrassing, and it shouldn’t be a thing. I’m trying more and more each day to be aware of not just how I might frame a particular discourse but how my tone, body language, etc. might otherwise reify the sort of patriarchal dominance I always argue against.
I’ve asserted myself and I’ve been called a cunt, a bitch, a Crazy Feminist. I defended Iran and Islam (read: Iranian women and Islamic feminisms) in the face of an openly Orientalist, unabashedly Islamophobic white male who said I “wasn’t radical enough” — I’m “not the authority on what constitutes a progressive feminist man” — and then told me to fuck off. I have been in classrooms with white men who colonize queer, feminist, POC spaces, who have opinions about struggles that they will never experience. This isn’t what feminist pedagogy is about. Feminist pedagogy can open up critical dialogues about oppression that invite folks of all backgrounds to engage in/grapple with/synthesize different ways of knowing/thinking/being. Feminist pedagogy isn’t about hierarchy. Feminist pedagogy isn’t about appealing to and/or placating our oppressors. Feminist pedagogy isn’t about the acute reification of raced/classed/sexed power imbalances. Feminist pedagogy isn’t about you stealing and mangling and pathologizing and devouring what we hold sacred.
Yes! You can absolutely have sex during your period. Period sex is 100 percent fine, as long as you and your partner are both comfortable with it. Some women feel especially aroused during their periods, and orgasms can even help relieve menstrual cramps.
A lot of people think period sex must be really messy, but how messy it is depends on how heavy your period is. Having sex on a day when your period is at its heaviest will be messier than having sex when your period is really light. You might want to have sex on a towel, or something else you don’t mind getting stained. Some people also choose to have sex in the shower to keep the mess to a minimum.
Some period sex pointers:
• DON’T have vaginal sex with a tampon in. If you want to use a product to contain the bleeding during sex, Softcups, a kind of disposable menstrual cup, are designed to be useable during sex to reduce mess.
• DO make sure both partners are cool with it. Some people don’t want to have period sex, and that’s fine – respect their wishes if they don’t want to.
• DON’T forget that it’s still possible to get pregnant if you have sex during your period, so protection is important. Which brings us to….
• DO use birth control including a condom! Using a condom can both prevent pregnancy and keep you and your partner protected against sexually transmitted infections.
The following day, I attended a workshop about preventing gender violence, facilitated by Katz. There, he posed a question to all of the men in the room: “Men, what things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?”
Not one man, including myself, could quickly answer the question. Finally, one man raised his hand and said, “Nothing.” Then Katz asked the women, “What things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?” Nearly all of the women in the room raised their hand. One by one, each woman testified:
“I don’t make eye contact with men when I walk down the street,” said one.
“I don’t put my drink down at parties,” said another.
“I use the buddy system when I go to parties.”
“I cross the street when I see a group of guys walking in my direction.”
“I use my keys as a potential weapon.”
The women went on for several minutes, until their side of the blackboard was completely filled with responses. The men’s side of the blackboard was blank. I was stunned. I had never heard a group of women say these things before. I thought about all of the women in my life — including my mother, sister and girlfriend — and realized that I had a lot to learn about gender.
“Fat” is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her
I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…
I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’
‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’
What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
Bills like this require you to look at an ultrasound or have a doctor describe an ultrasound before an abortion is preformed. The purpose of this is to shame or coerce a woman out of the procedure when she is in a very vulnerable state. If you are a responsible person, and go early in your pregnancy, this could mean the doctor is talking to you during a transvaginal ultrasound, extending the time it is jammed up your vagina.
SB913 - This bill would put massive restrictions on pharmaceutical abortions.http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2013/2013R/Pages/BillInformation.aspx?measureno=SB913
Up until about 10 weeks (gestational), you can go to the clinic and get a series of pills to take to induce an abortion, and the pills need to be taken 3 days apart. Many women prefer this option because it is like a miscarriage and can take place while you’re at home.This bill requires you to take both pills with the doctor in the room. Yes, Missy Thomas Irvin wants you to drive from Mountain Home to Little Rock twice for legal medicine, bleeding and cramping profusely while you drive home the second time.
This bill also allows the “father” or a “maternal grandparent” to sue the prescribing doctor. This bill will encourage women to get drugs illegally over the internet, without the supervision of a physician.
more bills trying to be passed in arkansas. please get ahold of your senators and do what you can to keep this from happening.
*not just women are affected. I can get pregnant and I am not a woman, also my boyfriend is terrified that I may become pregnant and we won’t be able to get an abortion or that I’ll have my only form of health care (planned parenthood) taken away from me. These bills hurt everyone
“We [white people] need to accept that when a person of color tells us we’ve fucked up, the answer is not to get defensive. When we get that instinct to say “geez, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way at all,” it’s time to stop right now. It doesn’t matter how you meant it. It really doesn’t. Someone doesn’t have to have racism in their heart to do something racist. And doing something racist doesn’t make you an evil person who can never do good again, should never be an activist, should run off and hide in a hole somewhere. It means you did something hurtful, you made a big mistake, and you need to own that mistake. You need to say “I’m sorry.” Full stop. I’m sorry. And if the person who called you out is generous enough to take time to explain what you did wrong, you need to have a seat and listen.”—
1. Try and put into words exactly how you’re feeling. Is it the pain of rejection? Is it an overwhelming feeling of shame and self-loathing? Is it a sense of disbelief that you’ve been treated so cruelly by others? Is it a sense of utter desperation?
2. Try and find a way of expressing the pain. Sometimes we can tell the person who has hurt us– but often we feel that they won’t be responsive. If that is the case, find someone you can open up to. It’s really important that you have the chance to honestly express what you’re going through. If you feel there’s no-one you can talk to right now, then perhaps try journaling, or using some kind of art, like music or painting.
3. If the pain’s related to something that happened, admit that you can’t go back and change the past. You need to let it go and keep your eyes ahead. You are not defined by what happened to you, and you have what it takes to live a rich, rewarding life.
4. Related to this, forgive yourself and don’t hold on to regrets. Learn what you can – and then choose to move ahead. Don’t be a victim of your past, or other people.
5. Reconnect with the person that you were previously. Think of who you might have been if this had never happened. You can still be that person: they are still a part of you.
6. Focus on the things that bring you joy and happiness, and focus on those people who love care for you.
“I still never talk about rape or rape culture with my dad. I don’t know how to—it feels so hard to even start. In our culture, talking about sex is taboo. Really taboo. We don’t even really have sex education here. When a friend of mine was 20, her mom give her a copy of Cosmo so she could learn about sex from there. It goes that far. I think my dad’s parents never talked to him about this either, so I can understand why a conversation about sex might never happen between me and my dad. Besides, almost all Indonesians are Muslim and we’re taught that sex before marriage is a sin in Islam. Parents here tend to believe that their children are “good” children; they just believe that their kids would never do anything bad, so they don’t talk about it. Parents don’t believe that their child could ever rape–but they could be wrong. We’ll never address these issues if we never talk about them. But at the same time, I feel like if I did try talk to my dad about rape culture, he would worry about me too much. He’d prohibit me from going out late or at all and make me stay home instead. He’d limit my freedom.”—Dee Putri, writing about the endless double bind about starting a conversation with your parents. Who Do You Talk To? (via sparkamovement)
“Half-Changed World,’Half-Changed Minds,” is the critical idea that the psyche is “not a discrete entity packed in the brain. Rather, it is a structure of psychological processes that are shaped by and thus closely attuned to the culture that surrounds them.” We tend not to think about ourselves in this way, and it’s easy to underestimate the impact of what is outside the mind on what takes place inside. When we confidently compare the “female mind” to the “male mind”, we think of something stable inside of the person, the product of a “female” or “male” brain. But such tidily isolated data processor is not the mind that social and cultural psychologists are getting to know even more intimacy. As Harvard University professor psychologist Mahzarin Banji puts it, there is no “bright line separating self from culture,” and the culture in which we develop and function enjoys a “deep reach” into our minds. It is for this reason that we can’t understand gender differences in female and male minds- the minds are the source of our thoughts feelings, abilities, motivations, and behaviour- without understanding how psychologically permeable is the skull that separates the mind from the sociocultural context in which it operates. When the environment makes gender so salient, there is a ripple effect on the mind. We start to think of ourselves in terms of our gender, and stereotypes and social expectations become more prominent in the mind. This can change self perception, alter interests, debilitate or enhance ability, and trigger unintentional discrimination.”—Extract from “Delusions of Gender: How our minds, society and neurosexism create difference.” By Cordelia Fine (via betterthandarkchocolate)
“When athletes are accused of rape - and this is not the first or, unfortunately, the last time - often their teammates and coaches will scramble to defend them. That’s wrong. Athletes receiving preferential treatment is not uncommon and is undeniable at schools across this country, and in the case of Steubenville the safe haven of a team ready to go up to bat to defend two rapists has effectively squashed discussion around the central problem of the case: it doesn’t matter who rapes, or who is raped. It matters that a rape has occurred and that it occurred on camera and on the Internet and with great pride and joy from those allegedly involved. It matters that when these boys were publicly scrutinized for this behavior, which is undeniably tasteless and violent behavior stemming from probably equally tasteless and violent attitudes toward women, their teammates and coaches defended them publicly and privately. It matters because the only way people learn is by being told the truth - and the truth is that Coach Saccoccia and all of the Steubenville Big Red team should have stood in solidarity with what is right, and not who they know.”—
This is a compilation of resources for female-assigned-at-birth (FAAB), non-male identified people who want top surgery. This document will include a list of surgeons who are willing to perform top surgery on genderqueer/non-male-identified people, as well as a list of blogs of people who want top surgery or have had top surgery but are not male-identified.
This information has been collected from a variety of sources. If there is something you see that needs to be added or corrected, please let me know. I want to make this list as comprehensive as possible!
SURGEONS (Those who are italicized do NOT require a therapist’s letter)
Dr. Brownstein – San Francisco, CA – http://www.brownsteinmd.com/ (NOTE: DR. BROWNSTEIN HAS RETIRED. I do not know how Dr. Crane feels about operating on non-male identified people.) – Letter requirements depend on the patient – Has been known to operate on explicitly female-identified people
Dr. Buckley – Minneapolis, MN – Letter requirements unknown
I can feel hurt and vulnerable all I want but “small” is not an option. And by small I mean weak and childish and invisible and scared and unimportant, but summed up specifically by the term small. I could use those words, but the term “small” hits the nail on the head for me. it encompasses all my feelings in one word, yet it doesn’t fit me. Thin women can feel small without ever having to think about how their physique may not match what they’re feeling inside. I can’t say I feel like curling up into a tiny ball without facing some ridicule because my body is not tiny.
I don’t have the luxury of claiming fragility because no matter my emotional climate, my body looks too unlike fragile, more like the protective insulation to prevent breakage more so than something like glass.
My emotions involving weakness and vulnerability and fear and triviality are more subject to invalidation and mockery based upon the size of my body and it’s bullshit. I’m expected to match my size with a big personality filled with gusto and sass.
I may be big, but I am not always powerful. I feel really fucking small today, I do.
“’Slut’ is attacking women for their right to say yes. ‘Friend Zone’ is attacking women for their right to say no.”—And “bitch” is attacking women for their right to call you on it. (via tokyosluts) (via curiouslywrong)
This post may also benefit those without an eating disorder but with body image issues.
These are a ten simple* things that, over the past year or so, have been of great value to my eating disorder recovery. Some of them may be harder to do than others, but mostly they’re actions that can [ideally] be implemented right away. These ideas aren’t anything new, but sometimes it’s helpful to have healthy reminders right in front of you.
*I know that these items may not really-actually be simple, as disordered behaviors can be heavily charged with emotions, but I sincerely urge you to consider making these changes in your life.
Stop counting calories. Refrain from looking on the back of the package, unless it’s at the ingredients for a genuine food allergy/sensitivity. I have been vegetarian for the greater part of ten years, so I tend to look at the ingredients of foods I suspect aren’t quite vegetarian-friendly. Otherwise, eat what interests you - not what you imagine has the lowest calories or fat content. Also: stop measuring your food.
Delete your MyFitnessPal and any other diet, fitness, or triggering ED-related accounts you may have. After several years of use, a few months ago I deleted my MyFitnessPal account. Before that, I justified keeping the account in an effort to ‘save’ my weight history. Conclusion: my weight history doesn’t matter. I don’t miss the website at all - rather, I feel unburdened.
Reevaluate what you’re exposing yourself to. Some people aren’t easily triggered, but others (like myself) may be sensitive to certain TV shows, movies, books, magazines, websites, or even people (though this is only a limited list of possible items to consider). If a character in a TV show makes you feel somehow inferior and/or at risk of using behaviors,stop watching that show. If you know a movie is about a disordered individual or includes an actor you can’t help but negatively compare yourself to (sidenote: try to teach yourself not to compare yourself to others), opt out of watching that movie. Don’t read that largely triggering recovery memoir; donate your copy or sell it on Half.com (I sold my copy of Wasted). Consider how fashion magazines may be influencing your mood. Pay attention to how that low sugar/fat/etc. recipe website makes you feel. Unfollow negative Tumblrs. Realize how the people around you make you feel about yourself. Sometimes, getting someone out of your life isn’t an option, but that doesn’t mean you can’t observe the situation and have a serious conversation with yourself and/or with the individual. Uncover your feelings, figure them out, and react appropriately.
Get rid of your scale. This has been the hardest thing for me to do.Realize that you don’t have to dramatically smash your scale with a sledgehammer or hurl it into the ocean: just get it out of your house/apartment/dorm/what-have-you. Donate it to a thrift store. Ask someone close to you, who you know doesn’t have any nagging body/weight issues, to take the scale off of your hands and to make sure it isn’t in plain view when you come over (I gave mine to my boyfriend). One day, when you’re feeling especially brave, drop it into a dumpster. Just get it away. Also: hide the measuring tape.
Get rid of your ‘skinny’ clothes. You know what they are: the clothes that you cannot fit into unless you are using unhealthy behaviors. That pair of jeans you would have to lose fifteen pounds to fit appropriately into. That dress that’s uncomfortably tight but you still insist on wearing. Donate those clothes. Give them to a naturally smaller friend or family member who you think would appreciate them. Throw them away. Burn them. Whatever you do, just get them out of your sight - they’re not being of any benefit to your mental health. Relics of your eating disorder just shouldn’t be kept around.
Find someone, or several people, to share the burden. When you’re fighting an urge to use a behavior, or if you’re finding it particularly difficult to eat, identify someone you know you can contact immediately (not your therapist - unless it’s an emergency situation).Seriously, this is important. This can be someone you know in ‘real’ life, or perhaps an internet companion. Call them, ask them to come over or to go to dinner with you, text them, email them, Skype with them, message them on Facebook. Go to their place. Allow them to help you. Allow them to see your vulnerability and encourage you. Eating, stopping the use of behaviors - recovery is so much better when you have someone there with you to recognize your struggle. Recover for yourselfand your future, but also acknowledge that your disorder has the ability to isolate you from the people you care about. Talk. Be honest. Don’t hide anymore.
Don’t limit your food options; one food is not inherently ‘better’ than another. If you’re really craving ice cream and not a tub of yogurt, eat the ice cream. Work against guilt and regret; embrace your cravings. Don’t feel as if you have to somehow compensate for your ‘bad’ choice. If you really want potato chips instead of apple slices, have some chips. If that white bread looks softer and fresher than the whole wheat, have some white bread. This is not to say that recovery is about eating ‘junk’ food. You can still crave vegetables or a smoothie or other traditionally ‘healthy’ options; the trick is to listen to your body. Identify what your taste buds don’t enjoy (for example, I don’t especially like olives or eggs or American cheese), but don’t shy away from trying new things (…but somehow I really liked the olive tampenade from Trader Joe’s?). What I’m getting at is this: depriving yourself of foods only enhances feelings of dissatisfaction. Don’t rule out something unless you genuinely don’t like it. Likewise, don’t criticize anyone else’s food choices. If someone is eating ‘junk’ food, let them. Don’t make a face or try to inform them of how ‘bad’ for them it is (I’ve been guilty of this before and I definitely regret it). No food shaming. Everyone is responsible for their own body and their food choices should be respected (interventions for disordered behaviors aside). Refrain from feeling ‘superior’ to someone because you made a ‘better’ food choice or you ate less. Eating is not a competition. Focus on satisfying both your physical and emotional hunger. Share foods that you especially like; be enthusiastic. To shamelessly borrow a popular peanut butter slogan: spread the love.
Identify your interests and work to strengthen them. Not yoga or any type of exercise (sidenote: stay away from gym machines that count calories burned, or perhaps place a post-it over that part of the machine). Not cooking, baking, or anything to do with food. Not fashion, make-up, or anything to do with your appearance. This is not to say that you can’t get some exercise or cook or be happy about a new pair of shoes. These are legitimate interests and hobbies, but (in my experience) focusing on them most likely won’t benefit your recovery. Wait to strengthen any enduring exercise-, food-, and appearance-related interests until after you are feasibly recovered (this is a particularly difficult one for me, seeing as to how trying out new recipes has been a prime hobby of mine for the last several years…). Ask yourself, ‘What do I like?’ Do you want to make a short film? Do you like a certain genre of books? Do you write short stories or poetry? Want to be a journalist? Can’t get enough of marine biology? Dream of being a community organizer? Want to start a band? Do some soul-searching. Find what makes you happy and work at it; figure out a way to heighten your knowledge and improve your skills. This may take some time; not all of us are immediately aware of our interests outside of our disorder. Be patient with yourself.
Do your best to stay organized, productive, and keep your work space neat. I don’t know about you, but when my bedroom/bathroom/kitchen is clean, I definitely have an easier time concentrating. Try to keep a routine; maybe making lists or keeping a planner works for you. When negative thoughts overwhelm you, try to shift the focus to small tasks that need to be completed (e.g. scrubbing the bathtub or responding to a letter). For some people, keeping busy is the best method for warding off disordered compulsions.
Be kind to yourself. Accept that you are talented and thoughtful and beautiful and enough as is. Allow yourself to partake in leisurely activities: take a long hot shower, watch an entire season of Arrested Development, order pizza, buy a new DVD at full price because you want it just that bad. Listen to your favorite music. Dance in public spaces. Do what you love, what will be of benefit to your well-being, not what you think you should do out of influence of others. Know that you are just as valuable and important as anyone else in the room. Make your recovery a priority. Learn to whole-heartedly appreciate the parts of your body you perhaps once abhorred. Really listen to your thoughts and ambitions. Don’t stifle your laughter. Also: be kind to others. Tell people in your life that you love them. Bring them freshly baked cookies or send them “thinking of you” cards. Compliment them on something you know they may be insecure about. Scratch your dog or your cat behind the ears in that place they really love.
I hope this can help anyone, in any small way. Keep in mind that everyone recovers differently. Find what works for you. Write your own rules.
A former United Nations police officer is suing a British security firm over claims that it covered up the involvement of her fellow officers in sex crimes and prostitution rackets in the Balkans.
Kathryn Bolkovac, an American policewoman, was hired by DynCorp Aerospace in Aldershot for a UN post aimed at cracking down on sexual abuse and forced prostitution in Bosnia.
She claims she was ‘appalled’ to find that many of her fellow officers were involved. She was fired by the British company after amassing evidence that UN police were taking part in the trafficking of young women from eastern Europe as sex slaves.
She said: ‘When I started collecting evidence from the victims of sex trafficking it was clear that a number of UN officers were involved from several countries, including quite a few from Britain. I was shocked, appalled and disgusted. They were supposed to be over there to help, but they were committing crimes themselves. When I told the supervisors they didn’t want to know.’
DynCorp sacked her, claiming she had falsified time sheets, a charge she denies. Last month she filed her case at Southampton employment tribunal alleging wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination against DynCorp, the British subsidiary of the US company DynCorp Inc.
DynCorp has the contract to provide police officers for the 2,100-member UN international police task force in Bosnia which was created to help restore law and order after the civil war.
Bolkovac has also filed a case against DynCorp under Britain’s new Public Interest Disclosure Act designed to protect whistleblowers.
As well as reporting that her fellow officers regularly went to brothels, she also investigated allegations that an American police officer hired by DynCorp had bought a woman for $1,000.
Many of the hundreds of women working in Bosnia’s sex industry are lured from countries such as Romania and Ukraine with promises of jobs as waitresses but then delivered to brothel owners who confiscate their passports. Bolkovac claims that Dyncorp officers forged documents for trafficked women, aided their illegal transport through border checkpoints into Bosnia and tipped off sex club owners about raids.
In an email to more than 50 people - including Jacques Klein, the UN Secretary-General’s special representative in Bosnia - Bolkovac described the plight of trafficked women and noted that UN police, Nato troops and international humanitarian employees were regular customers. It was shortly after this email went out that Bolkovac was reassigned.
“So, love the f*ck out of your bodies. Treat them well (you only get one). And to encourage people to get moving & eat better, let’s start focusing on MORE than simply achieving a certain body ideal.”—