Roundup: First Blog Carnival on Privilege

29 03 2010

Welcome to the First Blog Carnival on Privilege!  First, thanks to all the bloggers who contributed to this first round of the carnival.  I was excited to see all the different takes on privilege represented here, and the diversity of those who submitted.  You can see all the entries below the cut, and follow links through to read the complete posts.  I also want to announce that we will be having a second carnival, since this first round was so successful.  To give everyone plenty of time to think about submissions, the second carnival entries will be due Sunday, May 23rd.  The topic for the second carnival will be White Privilege, so start thinking about race and racism for your posts.  I would also accept posts for the second carnival that deal with other sorts of racial privilege, for example if you want to write about a community where one group is privileged based on the color of their skin, but that group isn’t “white,” that’s perfectly fine.  Submissions again can be e-mailed to judithavory@gmail.com.  If we get a lot of submissions again, then I’ll probably switch over to a monthly format, and perhaps ask for other hosts for future carnivals.  Also, because this came up a couple of times in this round, I do prefer new posts, but if you want to submit an older post for a carnival and not rehash an issue, that’s also fine.

And now, on with the carnival!

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Reminder: Blog Carnival on Privilege

22 03 2010

Don’t forget, submissions are due this Sunday for the Carnival!  (Scroll down this blog to see all the details).  We’ve got a ton of great submissions so far, so thank you if you’ve already submitted.





Framing the Abortion Issue

19 03 2010

I touched on this topic in my Blog for Choice post this year, but I wanted to go into it a bit more, because I think issue-framing is something crucial that we sometimes ignore in our debates.  I’ve noticed that pro-choice people often use the argument, to try to look less “scary,” that no one wants abortions, or that both sides want fewer abortions.  Whether it’s true or not, this is a problem.

The problem is that this argument makes the debate about should women have abortions? I don’t think we want to go there.  Once we go there, then the point of contention becomes “how do we reduce abortions?”  And we know we disagree on this.  One side thinks the answer is abstinence-only education, crisis pregnancy centers, and making abortion illegal.  The other side thinks the answer is sex education, combating rape culture, and fighting systemic issues that take away womens’ effective right to choose.  Certainly, that’s a debate we need to be having, but not while the legal right to have an abortion is under attack.

What we should be asking is not should women have abortions, but should abortions be safe and legal? Abortions will happen.  Even if we “want fewer abortions,” we’re never going to get it down to zero.  We need to focus on the medical trauma that women go through when they go to unsafe providers.  We need to focus on how provisions like the Hyde Amendment and any number of state laws make it impossible for poor women, many of whom are indigenous women and women of color, to get a safe and legal abortion.  We need to focus on the costs to the system when women try to abort without proper medical attention, and then come in for emergency care.  We need to put that stark picture in pro lifers’ faces and say “is this what you want?”  Then, we need to address the issues that underlie abortion.  We can do this simultaneously, advocating for sex education, for enterprise programs in poor neighborhoods that give women more options, for an end to racist policies, for anti-rape messages in schools, for all these things that will in the long run decrease the number of abortions.  But we can’t make our argument about whether women should have abortions, or we stand a high chance of losing.





International Women’s Day

9 03 2010

I don’t actually have much to say specifically this year for International Women’s Day, but here are some suggestions of easy things you can do to advance the rights of women.

  • Arm yourself with information.  Read a book about a group of women you’re not familiar with, or about a particular area of women’s rights, or read up on an activist organization working to advance the rights of women.
  • Volunteer with a local organization. Planned Parenthood often does phonebanking or needs volunteers to serve as escorts.  Women’s shelters are always looking for folks to serve food, clean up, or serve in more long-term capacities.  If you have some extra time, consider a long-term volunteer gig or unpaid internship where you can develop skills and contribute simultaneously.
  • Get creative with activism. Identify an a cause you can get behind at school, at your workplace, or in your community.  Maybe it’s raising money to get clean birthing kits for refugees through the Marie Stopes Foundation.  Maybe it’s lobbying for unisex bathrooms to support transgendered individuals at work or on campus.  Maybe it’s distributing information about safe sex.
  • Talk to your family. Speak up about women’s rights issues with your loved ones.  If someone says something sexist and doesn’t know, call them on it.  If you’re a parent, teach your children (male and female) about consent and sexuality.  Defeating rape culture starts at home.