Archives for category: Feminism and Women

Happy World Contraception Day, everyone!

I’m gonna talk about some different types of contraception and sex education today, in order to spread the knowledge!

There are “Barrier Methods” of contraception, which are meant to prevent the sperm from entering the uterus in order to prevent pregnancy. These would include both external and internal condoms (I refuse to say ‘male and female condoms’ because those terms are inherently cis-sexist and support a gender binary), and it also includes Diaphragms, Cervical Caps, and Contraceptive Sponges. These forms of contraception are to be used and then removed in order to prevent pregnancy and the passing of different diseases/infections.

Next, there are “Hormonal Methods” of birth control, which regulate and/or stop ovulation in order to prevent pregnancy. (At some point, I’m going to make a post about the process of ovulation and menstruation, but not today!) The most well-known method is called the pill, which has a combination of synthetic estrogen(s) and progestin(s) (unless it’s the placebo week) and you take one pill a day in order to prevent pregnancy. (There is also a pill that has progestin-only, which thickens cervical muscles to make it harder for sperm to swim around and enter the fallopian tube.) Then there is the patch, which releases hormones to the bloodstream through the skin and should be applied once a week for three weeks. Vaginal rings (NuvaRing) are thin and flexible and are inserted into the vagina for three weeks, and then removed for one week for a period. Then there are shots -Depo shot is pretty well known, and this method lasts for three months. Implantable rods are surgically inserted under the skin of the upper arm, and can remain there for up to 5 years.

After the hormonal methods, there are intrauterine methods, which are commonly called IUDs. There are copper IUDs, which cause an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg, and can remain in the body for up to 12 years. The other option is hormonal IUDs, which can be used for up to five years, and causes the thickening of the cervical muscles, thinning of the uterine lining, and can prevent ovulation.

Now, all of this is, obviously, a very brief overview, and there are many other sites you could go to for more in-depth information about each of these methods. I recommend doing research before starting a new method of birth control, in order to completely understand how effective it is and how to properly use it. Then you can discuss more in-depth matters with your doctor, who will write the prescription for you.

I also wanted to pull your attention to the new Health Care Reform and how that impacts birth control. As you might’ve noticed from above, most of the methods that are available really only impact people with vaginas. Hormonal methods and intrauterine methods only impact people with vaginas, barrier methods are a little more open but still mostly focus on the same. This is to say that birth control and sexual health is commonly left up to the women* to deal with and handle and pay for (even though the best birth control is for people with penises), and now the health care reform is trying to, at least, remedy the cost. If you have a prescription, your birth control should be free if it’s the patch, pill, ring, shot, implant, IUD, or sterilization. This can be extremely exciting and liberating for those of us who have had to pay for birth control methods every month or so for a long period of time.

And, just a general word of advice, please use your method of contraception in the proper way! That means that if you’re taking the pill, you should take one pill around the same time every day -if you miss/skip more than two pills in a single pack, you need to switch methods. This means that if you’re using an external condom, get the right size -there is so much misinformation about how condoms stretch and expand and can fit any penis, but seriously you need to get the size right or there is a bigger chance of it breaking and, thus, pregnancy (it also is bad for the penis if the condom is too tight, and it can slip off if it’s too loose). Seriously, do your research and use contraception properly if you want to avoid pregnancy.

Happy World Contraception Day -I hope you learned something new about sexual health and wellness, and that you spread the information to others as well!

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People, it has been a bittersweet week in America.

First, the good news:

1.) A section of DOMA has been found unconstituational by the supreme court, which will allow gay and lesbian married couples to receive federal benefits like heterosexual couples. Prop 8 has also been overturned, so now California can recognize equal marriage.

2.) An extreme anti-abortion bill in Texas was successfully filibustered by primarily Senator Wendy Davis as well as many others (I would like to personally mention Senator Leticia Van De Putte, because she was amazing and should not be forgotten.) Honestly, this ended as a “people’s filibuster”, because protesters were screaming so loudly that the republican senators could not hear the roll and so could not sign the bill before midnight. This was a good victory.

And now, the bad news.

1.) Texas governor Rick Perry has called a special session, beginning on Monday July 1st, in order to attempt to pass the anti-abortion bill again. In my mind, there is less than a slim chance that this bill will not pass.

If this bill passes, it will prohibit abortions after 20 weeks from fertilization with no exceptions. (Meanwhile, having the age of the fetus be determined by fertilization rather than from the gestational age determined by the LMP (last menstrual period) actually makes the gestational age less than 20 weeks.) This bill will also require doctors that perform abortions have hospital privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. It would also require that the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers. This would effectively shut down almost all of the clinics in Texas which offer abortions, leaving only five in the entire state.

Let’s also be aware that the republican senators attempted to commit fraud in front of millions of people shortly after midnight passed by changing the time stamps on the official record. This has been screen-caped and passed around on social media networks, causing outrage.  Meanwhile, do you think anyone will be held accountable for this? Me neither.

2.) The supreme court has FUCKED UP twice this week. The first was when they declared that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) does not protect a Native father’s parental rights. This article sums it up so well that I will quote from it and hope that you read the whole thing:

Christy Maldonado gave birth to a baby in 2009 whose father, Dusten Brown, is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Because of self-determination, the Cherokee Nation decides who its citizens are—and because Dusten Brown is Cherokee, his baby, named Veronica, is Cherokee as well. Maldonado and Brown lost touch by the time the baby was born, and Brown was never informed of the baby’s birth. Maldonado decided to put the baby up for adoption, and a white couple named Melanie and Matt Capobianco took Veronica into pre-adoptive care.

Just to be clear, although the case is called Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the Copabiancos never adopted Veronica. When Brown was served with Maldonado’s intention to place the baby up for adoption, he immediately fought the decision. A South Carolina court agreed that a non-custodial Native father was, indeed a father for the purpose of the case, under ICWA.

So what does ICWA do? The act was created because of incredibly high rates of white parents adopting Native children; in states like Minnesota, that have large Native populations, non-Natives raised 90 percent of Native babies and children put up for adoption. Those adoptions sever ties to Native tribes and communities, endangering the very existence of these tribes and nations. In short, if enough Native babies are adopted out, there will literally not be enough citizens to compose a nation. ICWA sought to stem that practice by creating a policy that keeps Native adoptees with their extended families, or within their tribes and nations. The policy speaks to the core point of tribal sovereignty: Native tribes and nations use it to determine their future, especially the right to keep their tribes and nations together.

But leave it to the Supreme Court to miss the point altogether this morning. The prevailing justices failed to honor tribal sovereignty in today’s ruling. In writing for the court’s majority, Justice Samuel Alito opened his delivery on the ruling with these words:

This case is about a little girl (Baby Girl) who is classified as an Indian because she is 1.2% (3/256) Cherokee.

What Alito (along with Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas and Breyer) is perhaps willfully missing is that the Cherokee Nation does not classify its citizens in that way. Baby Veronica is not a certain percentage Cherokee—she is Cherokee, as determined by her nation. The high court’s first sentence, based in the colonial practice of blood quantum instead of the way that citizenship is determined by the Cherokee Nation, illustrates that the justices made this case about race—in their mind—and not about tribal sovereignty in the law. By this flawed logic, the high court ruled that Baby Veronica is somehow not Native enough to be protected by ICWA.

So the Supreme Court fucked that one up. And if you think that’s big, just wait.

It also completely gutted the Voters Right Act of 1965. Basically, the supreme court has stated that we have changed as a country, and racism at the polls isn’t relevant. This decision will allow states (that were previously flagged in this act as needing federal approval for voting changes) to change any voting standards or voting districts without the approval of the Department of Justice.It took Texas two hours to declare that it was implementing a voter ID law and that it would be changing the voting districts to a plan that was already deemed by federal judges to be discriminatory to Texas minority voters.

There are already more states joining the bandwagon, and I’m sure this will continue.

So, honestly, readers, I feel like maybe I lied at the beginning of this post. This week has not been bittersweet. It has been horrifying with a few beams of light that will be shut out, or will be attempted to be shut out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that all marriages will receive benefits from the federal government, but the amount of racism, sexism, and discrimination that has been and will continue to be allowed is literally sickening.Readers, do not celebrate our victories too much. We are not done fighting yet. There is still too much to be done for people who are not being heard -for women, for people of color, for Native Americans, for trans* people, and so many others. Please do not forget them.

Please, stay angry. And if you’re not already, where the hell have you been?

I’m writing this to show you that no matter what, you cannot reason with anti-abortion people.

This is a conversation with my father, the original poster. I am the orange highlight.

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I hope everyone can read what this says. I’m too emotionally tired to type it out right now.

By the way, this is the article I referenced. Just fyi.

In case any of you have missed it, this article has been making rounds on the internet.

This is infuriating. Enraging. Hurtful. Shaming. Oppressive.

No one should be told their bodies are not good enough. No one should be allowed to discriminate based on another person’s body size. Until we understand that all bodies are beautiful -no matter what color, what gender, what size, what level of able-bodied ability they have -we will continue to make the non-normative (read: non-white, non-male, disabled, non-straight) bodies “Other”, and thus, oppressed.

This post is a call to action.

My friends and I are starting a protest. We are tired of these messages being sent to women that we are only worth the sizes of our waists. We are fed up with older white men telling us how to appreciate and love our bodies. We want other women to know that they are beautiful, no matter what a CEO of a fashion company says, or what society tells us in media images of models, actresses, and movie stars.

You are beautiful. Your body is beautiful.

If you are in the area, feel free to come to our protest. If you are not, the I challenge you to start your own. It doesn’t have to be like this one -we will just be holding signs. Your protest can take form in any way that subverts these harmful messages. Tell someone that they are beautiful. Let people know that being fat does not mean you are unattractive. You can be both fat and beautiful. Sure, start a protest (but consider the legal constructs as well. I don’t want people getting arrested!) Write a letter. But, please, do something.

The only way we will ever change society is by doing something.

Forty years ago today -January 22, 1973 –Roe vs. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court and abortion was legalized! Women could control their bodies and their lives! Huzzah!

That’s really all I have to say for this post. It’s just a small celebration of history that we are still fighting for in many ways. Yay for choice!