I have found myself thrilled virtually every day this month by all the wonderful posts I am reading around the "femosphere." There have been SO many wonderful posts that I can't keep track of them all, but here are some that I can think of and find right now.
-- Dr. Violet Socks at the Reclusive Leftist publishes some shocking statistics (provided by the lovely Will, a frequent commenter here) regarding the paucity in the U.S. of facilities where abortions are performed. I should note, per my prior post regarding my preference for women OB/Gyns, that this is one area where we don't necessarily have the luxury to choose a female over a male doctor. I say hear, hear to all the doctors who are brave enough to risk violence and picketing and censure and other hassles in order to provide this service that is so necessary to the freedom, autonomy and dignity of women.
-- Twisty crystallizes the nature of the debate on choice: It is incomprehensible that politicians . . . have the slightest say in the manner in which a private citizen decides to dispatch a clumps of cells infesting her own personal bodily tissues.
-- Amanda at Pandagon (who has been a major influence on my thinking about abortion) sums it all up here. I especially like her discussion of late-term abortion, which is an issue I haven't focused on sufficiently:
Late term abortions provoke quite understandable anxiety, which would be why they are quite rare and performed mostly because the pregnant women are sick or the fetus is dead or dying, and continuing the pregnancy is a very bad idea. But the anti-choice campaign about late term abortions was about grossing people out by lingering over the details and then implying that evil women and doctors actually seek out this procedure out of some sort of sick baby hatred. But the main purpose behind the late term abortion ban had nothing to do with saving babies, especially since so many of the babies invoked were already dead or had brains on the outside or something. The main purpose behind getting the law passed was to challenge the health exception clauses in abortion restrictions, the hope being, I suppose, that by distracting the public with alarming stories of late term abortion parties, they would be able to hide the fact that they are actively fighting for laws that make it so even “good” women who want to have babies should have an option if their pregnancies are going south and quickly, because they know full and well the American public doesn’t support forcing women to give childbirth against their will, and it’s fairly easy to argue that a woman who’s fixing to die or go blind or give birth to a stillborn should be able to terminate.
-- Nick Kiddle (a new mother herself) at Alas (a blog) answers the question "What if your mother was pro-choice?" (Mine was and is, by the way.)
-- Ampersand at Alas (a blog) posts a variety of thoughts about the conservative squawking over Larry Summers, including a round-up of links that critique the Larry Summers transcript. Ampersand's post goes beyond the specifics of Larry Summers to talk more generally about different styles of debate. Great stuff!
Islamic Feminism rocks (Hat Tip: Mind the Gap!)
-- At Known Turf, Annie Zaidi, a Muslim from India, questions the conventional wisdom (in Islamic circles) that Islam is the best possible deal for women. (My two cents: I also grew up hearing that Mohammed was a feminist in that he advocated vast improvements in women's roles and rights. The problem is we're talking vast improvements given the situation fifteen hundred years ago! Unfortunately, the view of women's rights in much of the Islamic world has remained stuck in that time period or has even regressed.)
-- At Nzhinga's soap box, an American Muslim woman living in Saudi Arabia insists that she should have the right to question and criticize misogynist and sexist rulings by Islamic clerics.
-- The Religious Policeman takes down the Saudi Parliament's refusal to act to allow Saudi woman to drive. (Yes, you read that correctly. Women are not allowed to DRIVE in Saudi Arabia.)
Feministe calls out a dirty old man, 84-year old Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for publicly humiliating a 24-year old woman assistant based on her sex. More disturbing to me than this guy's failure to see this woman as a human being with a right to some dignity (after all, he is quite elderly and therefore the product of another era that I like to think is dead) is the fact that members of the audience laughed and the governor of Maryland failed to acknowledge the problem.
I have to admit that there are very few feminist thinkers with whose work I am familiar-- and bell hooks is one of those with whom I am unacquainted. I have also had a slight prejudice against her because she doesn't capitalize the letters in her name-- and yes, I know that's dumb of me. But Hadhifa Sofia's posts on a recent lecture hooks gave at Reed College made me realize that I need to learn more about hooks. See the excellent blow-by-blow of the lecture here and here.
A place for men in feminism
Holly at Self Portrait As . . . discusses the role of men in feminism: No righteous cause (and I use that term advisedly) ever truly succeeds until even those who benefit from an unjust system begin to work to overthrow it. Slavery would still exist were it not for the efforts of those who were NOT slaves. She also touches on what men shouldn't do during a feminist discussion (i.e. derail it).
Some of the reasons Hollywood is irritating
Peacebang takes on the oh-so-cute habit public figures have of manhandling women stars in Hollywood. She then critiques the ugliness of the recent Vanity Fair cover featuring a nude Scarlett Johannssen, a nude Keira Knightly, and a fully-clothed Tom Ford. At least, Scarlett feels comfortable displaying her non-anorexic nude body, so that's a silver lining of sorts.
Gosh, I could go on and on. I haven't given a shout-out to my pals at The Galloping Beaver or Lawyers, Guns and Money or Cellar Door lately, and I have also been meaning and meaning and meaning to update my blogroll (I hope next weekend). I am a BAD citizen of the blogosphere. Enjoy!