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Gender Discrimination Is Us?
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
October 16th, 2009
Pretty pink princesses or muscle-bound superheroes? Monster trucks or sparkly ponies? Go into just about any toy store, and you’ll notice that half of it is pink with toys for girls and the other half has brightly colored toys meant for boys. Is that really fair? Does our gender really have all that much to do with what kinds of toys we should like? A group of sixth graders in Sweden don’t think so.The students had been learning about gender roles in school and felt that the 2008 Toys “?” Us Christmas catalog portrayed outdated gender images by having girls and boys playing with separate kinds of toys. Boys were featured playing with very active toys in busy settings, and girls were usually pictured sitting and ...

Birth control for depression/healthcare privacy
Scarleteen
October 16th, 2009

New Feminist Disability Blog Launched, and Disability Info on Twitter
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 16th, 2009
A new blog, FWD/Forward, has recently launched.  The About section of the site explains:FWD/Forward is a group blog written by feminists with disabilities. It is a place to discuss disability issues and the intersection between feminism and disability rights activism. The content here ranges from basic information which is designed ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

New Study: "A Woman's Nation Changes Everything"
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 16th, 2009
A lot has changed since John F. Kennedy put Eleanor Roosevelt at the head of the very first Commission on the Status of Women. According to Anthropologist Margaret Mead, who co-edited the final report of that organization, "the climate of opinion is turning against the idea that homemaking is the only form of feminine achievement." But that was more than 40 years ago; since then, we?ve encountered the sexual revolution, the second wave of feminism, self-made female billionaires?even mannies. And in a study to be released tomorrow, Kennedy?s niece, Maria Shriver?who worked in conjunction with the Center for American Progress?will release ?The Shriver Report: A Woman?s Nation Changes Everything.? The 400-page report, according to an essay on ...

Teen pregnancies on the rise for the first time in over a decade
Feministing
October 16th, 2009
Via The Economist, some data about teenage pregnancies in the US:On one point, however, experts agree: when it comes to teenage births, the United States is backsliding. Between 1991 and 2005 the teenage birth rate declined by 34%, according to the National Centre for Health Statistics. Between 2005 and 2007, the last year for which statistics are available, it crept up 5%.A quick and easy blame game points to the Bush era abstinence-only policy, which is scientifically proven to fail. But those working on the issue of teen pregnancy know it's more complicated than that. Access to sex education and birth control are key to preventing teen pregnancies--but not all teen's want to prevent their pregnancies. Some want to be parents, despite ...

Long Past Due: Constitution Protects Women in Prison from Unsafe Shackling During Childbirth
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 7th, 2009
Last week, in Nelson v. Norris, a federal Court ofAppeals held for the first time that the U.S. Constitution protects pregnantwomen in prison from the unnecessary and unsafe practice of shackling duringlabor and childbirth.  Notably,although the American Civil Liberties Union argued the case more than a yearago, the court?s decision comes on the heels of three states (TX, NY, and NM)passing legislation in 2009 to restrict the use of shackles on pregnantinmates.  These three join IL, VT,and CA in restricting the practice. Both the outcome and the history of the Nelson case and the recent legislation demonstrate the dramaticshift that has taken place around this issue. ACLU attorney Diana Kasdan answers a few questions about the ...

Lila Rose: Hidden Camera Videos Raise Ethical Questions
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 7th, 2009
This article is published as part of a partnership between Minnesota Independent, the Center for Independent Journalism, and RH Reality Check. The grainy video, filmed in Bloomington, Ind., last year, features ayoung woman with bleach-blonde hair fidgeting in her chair. As hauntingmusic loops over her small voice, she tells a Planned Parenthood workerthat she?s 13 years old, almost 14. She mentions an older boyfriend.The worker says Indiana law dictates that people 13 years old or underwho have had intercourse must be reported to Child Protective Services.The timestamp in the corner of the screen skips back and forth. Thevideo lingers accusingly on a clip, edited to repeat multiple times, ofthe worker saying she didn?t hear the boyfriend?s ...

Substitute teacher fired because he is transgender
Feministing
October 7th, 2009
Jan Buterman has filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission after he was fired by the Greater St. Albert Catholic school district in Edmonton, Canada. Buterman was fired after disclosing his gender identity and informing the district he was in the process of transitioning from female to male. In the letter of dismissal he received Buterman was told his transition would confuse students and parents. As Cara points out at The Curvature, this is bullshit. Young people and their parents should be learning about trans issues, learning to interact with trans folks in a respectful way, learning about our humanity. Having a trans teacher would be a great opportunity to humanize trans folks to Buterman's students and show them we're ...

No one is invincible without health care
Feministing
October 7th, 2009
I wrote about this group when they first got started, but I continue to be impressed by what the Young Invincibles are doing to send the message that folks of our generation (18 to 34 year olds) care about health care reform, and have a lot at stake in the debate. Michelle's story is one of the many the Young Invincibles are bringing to the conversation. They are organizing events all around the country for folks of our generation to push the health care conversation. There is a lobby day in DC next week on Tuesday October 13, and there are more events and ideas for getting involved here.

The Cutting Room Floor: On Sexting
Scarleteen
October 7th, 2009
With everyone talking about it so much lately, thought I'd reprise the topic with some questions Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com asked me about sexting a few months ago, and the whole of my answers. To see her finished piece, you can meander over here.Q: Where does "sexting" -- or for that matter, taking nude self- portraits or videos that they may or may not share with a significant other, friends or a crush -- fall within teenage sexual development?

In Labor and In Chains
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 7th, 2009
When she became a mother, her body wasshackled. gave birth to her son with her ankles shackled to the hospital bed.Arnita remained shackled as she held her son for the first time and while shenursed him. Like Arnita, most mothers behind bars are restrainedduring labor, delivery and post-delivery as a matter of routine practice in ournation?s jails and prisons.Shawanna Nelson is another mother who wasshackled during labor, but she brought a lawsuit against the ArkansasDepartment of Corrections for cruel and unusual punishment. Thanks to hercourage and the common sense of a panel of judges, the 8th CircuitCourt of Appeals recently ruled and the shackling of prisoners during labor isunconstitultional.In most state prisons and jails, ...

German women's magazine to ban professional models
Feministing
October 7th, 2009
Lately, Europe seems to be eons ahead of us regarding their recognition that the fashion and media having a significantly unhealthy effect on women's body image. The latest is Germany's most popular women's magazine's announcement of their intention to omit professional models from their pages in an effort to combat unrealistic social beauty standards: The editor-in-chief of Germany's bimonthly Brigitte told reporters that, starting next year, the magazine will feature a mix of prominent women and regular readers in photo spreads for everything from beauty to fashion to fitness.Andreas Lebert said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying that they are tired of seeing "protruding bones" from models who weigh far less than the ...

Roundup: Public Option is Alive, National Sex-Ed Week of Action, Is Yaz Safe?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 29th, 2009
The Trains Keep On Rollin' On Health Care Reform...The Wonk Room reports that,  The White House is considering improving the affordability of health care reform by ?exempting more families and individuals on the basis of income from the penalty for failing to buy insurance, a fine that for families could run as high as $1,900.? Senators are debating just how best to ensure affordability for all Americans - most obviously, subsidies - while keeping in mind President Obama's statement that he would not accept a health care bill that would cost more than $900 billion over ten years. According to the New York Times, "subsidies are already the biggest-ticket item."While The Media Consortium's Lindsay Beyerstein writes that "reports of the ...

NYT: Abortion Fight Complicates Debate on Health Care
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 29th, 2009
A front page story in today's edition of the New York Times highlights access to abortion as a potential roadblock to acheiving health insurance reform.  Abortion access opponents are fighting for a provision that would ensure no federal health insurance subsidy money is used to purchase private insurance policies that cover abortion care.  There seems to be enough support from moderate Democrats to make the debate too close to call at this point: Abortion opponents in both the House and the Senate are seeking to block the millions of middle- and lower-income people who might receive federal insurance subsidies to help them buy health coverage from using the money on plans that cover abortion. And the abortion opponents are getting enough ...

FDA Panel Recommends Cervical Cancer Vaccine; Florida Teen Objects to Gardasil as Path to Citizenship
Our Bodies Our Blog
September 21st, 2009
A second vaccine designed to protect against cervical cancer may soon be available in the United States.A Food and Drug Administration panel last week gave its approval to GlaxoSmithKline PLC's Cervarix vaccine, essentially recommending that the FDA approve the vaccine for use in females 10 to 25 years old. The ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

The Debate over Climate Change and Reproductive Health
Our Bodies Our Blog
September 21st, 2009
The medical journal The Lancet has an editorial in its current issue that argues that one way to help ward off climate change is to increase family planning services and reduce unintended pregnancies.The writers of the editorial, Sexual and reproductive health and climate change, believe that family planning proponents might ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Health Reform and Tampons: The New Tea Party
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 21st, 2009
Where to start?Did you know that the future of our country in relation to the deficit (and maybe even democracy and life as we know it on this planet) may rest on your consumption of Kotex, Playtex or OB tampons?  Fox News thinks so.  Thanks to our colleague Lucinda Marshall for calling our attention to this looming crisis.In it's ongoing "fact-based" coverage (as in, "we make up the facts and we report 'em"), Fox News has managed to equate the following: tampons, taxes, the deficit and....freedom. Now, in my many years experience with tampons, I have never seen any interest by any major network in the fact that women pay out-of-pocket for tampons, sanitary pads and other related items every month, without, mind you, any reimbursement ...

VIDEO: All Abortions Should Take Place in the Public Square
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 21st, 2009
Thanks to our colleagues at Right Wing Watch for this tidbit from the Values Voter Summit:Lila Rose--the college student whose claim to fame rests on taking surreptitious videos while posing as a pregnant 13-year old at Planned Parenthood clinics and who has become the darling of the conservative movement--suggested in her speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington DC this past weekend that, until they are illegal, abortions should be performed "in the public square..... until we were so sick and tired of seeing them that we would do away with the injustice altogether....maybe then we would hear angels singing when we ponder the glory of conception." Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose tells the Values Voter Summit audience that ...

Daily Pulse: Women's Health Beyond Pink Ribbons
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 21st, 2009
This article is printed in partnership with The Media Consortium, of which RH Reality Check is a member organization. While the Senate Finance Committee tinkers with the Baucus Bill,First Lady Michelle Obama is taking center stage in the health carereform debate. Obama?s director of communications announced last weekthat the FLOTUS would be focusing on the health care needs of women and children. Mindful of the conservative backlashagainst Hillary Clinton?s crusade for health care reform, Mrs. Obama isexpected to steer clear of policy issues, according to Salon?s JudyBerman.Tying health reform to women?s health is a smart political move. The Far Right lured anti-choicers into a corporatist tax revolt with talltales of tax-payer funded ...

Highly religious states have top teen birth rates
Feministing
September 21st, 2009
A new study shows that states that skew towards more conservative religious beliefs tend to have higher rates of teenage girls giving birth. (Shocking, I know.)Researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh says,"We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."Now, obviously studies like these have the whole correlation/causation issue going on - but from the work I did write The Purity Myth, this study makes sense to me.If you grow up in an area where you're taught that sex is bad and contraception is evil (and that it can kill you), when you ...

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In the Blogs