Tag Archives: reproductive rights

When Does Shock Value Lose its Free Speech Rights?

Traveling the wards on election day in Manchester gleaned some interesting snapshots, such as the one with Elizabeth Edwards at Ward 4; she was a great sport with the picture taking.  But aside from the usual stock of candidate’s sign holders, Ward 6, at St. Pius Catholic Church on Candia Road, had an especially peculiar election day sign holder.

Right at the entrance to the walkway was poised a woman holding a gigantic, nearly 4′ x 5′ sign in front of her.  The picture was so huge that it was visible all the way down the driveway across the large parking lot.  A gigantic graphic photo of what appeared a D and C procedure blasted the viewing space of everyone heading into the polls.

Such images represent a sort of violent assault to one’s senses.  If you notice in the picture, the woman is given wide berth by people doing their visibility obligations.  Such a graphic image is deeply unsettling.  Aside from the fact that a D&C is not a standard elective abortion procedure but used only in medical emergencies, thus such pictures are deceptive, should zealots be allowed to assault voters with such images?  What if anti-war protesters decided to jump on the wagon too and carry graphic signage of children blasted apart by bombs?  While all progressives and even libertarians hold strong anti-war positions, do they do this on a regular basis and if not why?  Imagine such a scene if you will; the polling places would begin to look like a war zone and would possibly repel voters from even making the walk to the polling place entrance.

Click here for the full, graphic horror.

One of the two Democrats who stood holding signs said, “Yeah and whether you’re pro-life or not is such a sign necessary to prove your point; we’re all against child pornography but we don’t carry around images of the act to prove our point.”  Exactly.  The young man said that some of the people even on the Republican side occasionally walked over and tried to stand in front of the woman to at least hide her image from small children.  But the woman would have none of it and would change position accordingly.

As it is, one has to wonder how parents with small children dealt with this imagery.  Its a solid tradition in our country for parents to bring their children with them to the polling place, should voting be associated with graphic images of death, much less dead babies, which can be doubly upsetting to children?  Is this the imprint of the voting experience that we want on children’s minds?

We called the Secretary of State’s office and spoke to the Deputy Secretary of State yesterday, she said that the moderator of the polling place has a lot of leeway in deciding what is disruptive in signage or other activities.  We note that of all the polling places we visited in Manchester (barring Wards 11 and 12 which we weren’t able to get to), this was the only location that hosted this type of signage.

So the question must be asked, does this poster represent a disruption to voters that day?  At what point does “free speech” intersect with the public’s interests for not being visually assaulted? Wouldn’t a poster or sign asking voters to vote pro-life been sufficient to satisfy free speech and get the message to voters?

We offer up here a poll for our readers:

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Yes its Amazing the Society for Cutting Up Men Hasn’t Come Back

Contrary to what most folks are told my radical feminist friends at Rad-Fem Central, do not huddle together in dark, moist, odoriferous corners of humanity, training the next generation of Femi-Nazis to cut men in sixteen pieces just for fun. Real feminists are engaged in the maddeningly repetitious activity of pushing the revolutionary idea that women are human.  These feminists have no problem pointing out the oddly primitive way in which women here in the United States are still held captive by their bodies by a small minority of males and their female helpers who apparently cannot get their head around the idea that women’s bodies are not property, are not vehicles for made for male entertainment or vessels for production of male heirs and possibly units of future production, but just parts of a larger person called a human known as woman.

Thank you Seven Bowie for your thoughts which are welcome at Rad-Fem Central and where we also have this silly idea that even men can be feminists because seeing women as human and deserving of total “liberty” (ask Ron Paul what he thinks about women and their rights to that precious “liberty” he and his libertarian followers like to bleat about so much) just doesn’t seem like that difficult a job to us, even for men.

AMERICAN TALIBAN: WOMEN HAVE NO RIGHT TO THEIR OWN BODIES, BUT THEY’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS.

Yes you read the title correctly. For the past couple of years, women have been subjected to legislative rape, both on the federal and state level as historically high numbers of laws have been passed that thwart their rights to decisions about their reproductive lives and thus to their own self-determination – their rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Scratch just below the surface of all that, and you have what is known as reproductive slavery.

What's next? Burkas?

WHAT’S NEXT? BURKAS?

On the federal level we have Republicans refusing to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because they don’t believe LGBT, students, Native American or Latino women deserve protection from abuse and domestic violence. And in 2012 we had a chamber full of men debating on whether women had any right to birth control whilst they refused to allow any women on their panel or allow any women to even speak during hearings on the subject.

Amidst all these efforts to keep women from having any say about their rights to make decisions about their own bodies are Taliban-like assertions that these same women, while not capable of having any jurisdiction over their own bodies, are somehow responsible for those of men.

Read more here:

American Taliban: Women Have No Right to Their Own Bodies, But They’re Responsible for His

 

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Feminist Porn: PM Gillard Rips Good Old Boys a New One

If you haven’t seen or heard of the Australian Prime Minister’s smack-down of her opposition in Parliament, then sit back and watch and listen (video is below).  Its good.  Its good because women in leadership positions in patriarchy most often turn a blind eye to the garbage that’s thrown at them. Women in leadership positions are forced to play along with the patriarchy and pretend that either they deserved the attacks, commentary or unfounded critiques, or that they just don’t exist.

Remember the unfounded and often cloaked attacks on then Senator Hillary Clinton when she ran for President? She didn’t dress right, she was too emotional, she was a cold ball buster, she wore pants suits (OMG), she wore too long skirts, too short skirts, too low-collar shirts, too high collar shirts, it just never stopped and it all served to trivialize her and dismiss her as incapable of competing with the boyz.

But Hillary had to hold her head up and charge on, ignoring the charges lest she be punished as being too ‘radical’ a ‘feminazi’ or just plain unhinged if she called the shit for what it was; shit.  Oh and to instruct the young ones here, us older folks will never forget the Vice President Bush Senior’s remarks following his debate with Senator Geraldine Ferraro.

There’s a note-worthy write-up of the Geraldine Ferraro/Bush debate by told from the vioew of someone who worked closely with her, Ben Heineman, from his story from which we excerpt here:

The most famous line of the debate, of course, was Geraldine Ferraro’s. The vice president began an answer by saying: “Let me help you with the difference, Ms. Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon.” To which the first woman national candidate in American history replied: “Let me first of all say that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy.” This was the debate clip shown the day after — and to this day. In the years after, I would see Gerry Ferraro at this occasion or that. [snip]

After  the debate was over, Vice President Bush remarked into a still open mic that he had “kicked a little ass.” Given the expectations before the debate, I felt, along with so many others, that it was actually the other way round.

Despite Mr. Heineman’s honest account of the debates, he fails to mention that the press ran with the “kicked a little ass” story over and over again until one began to believe that indeed Bush did kick some ass.  As Heineman tells us, Bush didn’t and at first polls showed no one a direct winner.  But our public was not ready to see a woman get out in charge and assert herself in front of male power.

Denying that misogyny exists, just like denying that rape doesn’t exist or racism doesn’t exist empowers the power structure and allows the press to not bother to vet knee-jerk sexism or other forms of conformity with social injustice in their reporting or writing.  Denial allows the system to perpetuate the injustice and those who benefit from it to go freely along without responsibility.

So, its good when the rare instance comes along for a woman leader to call shit for what it is; mysogynist shit meant to keep women down and punish those who dare to raise their heads up and demand to be counted.  Here Julia Gillard let’s it rip right into her opposition who had staged numerous mysognist attacks on her that you will see her refer to.

But, after you watch the video, you must come back down to earth and realize that women still have a long ways to go.  We still aren’t on an equal footing, even if we can have the freedom to speak out more and call a spade a spade.  We still have to bargain with the devil all too often in order to get that power that still lies in the iron grip of our oppressors. Many of us feminists  expect not only entertaining verbiage, but some back-up in the form of follow-through by supporting policies that lift women out of their subservient economic and social status.

On the other hand, we’ll take juicy bits like this when we can as it feeds us.  You know sugar can be intoxicating in large doses, but it does provide energy when you need it.

Tracy Egan Morrisey on Jezebel:

 Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard is one badass motherfucker. In an impassioned 15-minute smackdown in front of the house of Representatives, the country’s first female leader gave a scathing speech calling out opposition leader Tony Abbott’s extremely misogynistic comments, actions, views on abortion and single women, all while pointing in his face. She basically ripped him a new asshole.

Here’s some history: Abbott demanded that Peter Slipper, the Speaker of the House, step down for allegedly sexually harassing an openly gay male staff member in a series of text messages, one of which apparently compared female genitalia to mussels. I know. Juicy already. Abbott then implied that if Gillard defended Slipper, she would be just as sexist as a gay man who talks shit on vaginas. Abbott said, “And every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”

(Inside baseball: The line about “dying of shame” was a dig at Gillard’s recently deceased father, whom a shock jock said “died of shame” over his daughter’s policies.)

So Gillard let him have it. Here are some choice quotes:

I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. Not now, not ever. What i won’t stand for, what I will never stand for is the leader of the opposition peddling a double standard, a standard he has not set for members of his own front bench.

If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the house of Representatives, he needs a mirror.

I was very offended personally the Leader of the Opposition said abortion is the easy way out.

I was offended by the sexism, by the misogyny of the Leader of the Opposition cat calling across this table at me as I sit here as prime minister [saying], ‘If the prime minister wants to make an honest woman of herself…’ something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.

I was offended when he stood next to a sign that described me as a ‘man’s bitch.’

He has said, ‘If it’s true that men have more power, generally speaking, than women, is that a bad thing?’ [and] ‘What if men, by physiology or temperament, are more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?’

He can apologise for standing next to signs [about me] saying, ‘Ditch the Witch.’

Now he is looking at his watch [which Abbott was] because apparently a woman’s spoken too long.

But, bear in mind as well, that some victories only come in pieces and that the back-story or deeper picture may not follow the trajectory that you or I as supporters of the oppressed might wish.  When we look closer, as another blogger did, what we’ll find all too often is a compromise on the deeper issues of social justice hidden underneath the heated rhetoric and the amazing speeches.

An excellent analysis by Stephanie Convery for Overland

La fille mal gardée

On that parliamentary smackdown

By now, you’ve probably seen the video of Prime Minister Julia Gillard spending the better part of 15 minutes calling the Leader of the Opposition a misogynist in parliament yesterday. But as satisfying as it was to see Tony Abbott get the verbal smackdown long due him (and I don’t deny there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had) it should be put in context.

Abbott’s ‘problem with women’ has been in the headlines for a while now, and it’s hardly out of character for him to attempt to turn a personal attack onto the PM herself. His fall guy was Peter Slipper, whose vile sexist text messages have been put on the public record, and whose career as Speaker was quite obviously on a time limit. Gillard’s speech was a response to that challenge. It is in no way irrelevant that despite it being a smart – and unprecedented – move to speak to the currently running narrative about sexism so bluntly, and to attack Abbott so openly on his quite obvious misogyny, she was doing so in defence of Slipper.

If winning or losing in politics was merely a matter of who had the best one-liners to throw along with their stones, then Gillard won yesterday hands down. But politics is notsimply about whip-smart wisecracks and cutting speeches. It’s about policies and practices, legislation and social organisation.

Yesterday, the Gillard government also passed welfare reforms through the Senate that will cut single parent payments between $56 and $140 a week. This is a measure that will disproportionately affect women, and particularly those in the sectors of society that the Labor Party is traditionally supposed to represent. And yet, when the heavily debated reforms finally came to a vote in the Senate, only the Greens and Independents Madigan and Xenophon voted against it.

It’s been said before but it bears repeating: standing up for women’s rights is not just about calling sexism for what it is. It’s about agitating for specific change. It’s about making concrete demands of society and of the government. So if this is feminism that Gillard is representing in parliament, then I want to know, whose feminism is it? I don’t care how many sharp speeches she makes: her government is making life for some of the most vulnerable women in Australia even harder than it already is, and I want no part in it.

So here’s a call to arms. If we want to stand up for women, let’s start by standing up for these women. Let’s stand in the street and tell the federal government that this is not okay. That we want them to reverse the welfare cuts. That we want them to raise single parent pensions by $140 a week. That single parents undertaking study should be given more support, not less. Because this would make a qualitative difference to the lives of many women in Australia. This would be a win.

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Wanton Feminist Sex at the Colleges Killed My Privilege: Cry of a White Man

“Oh wouldn’t you like to come
Back underneath my thumb
In a Patriarchy’s Garden
In serfdom?

You would know your place,
Below the human race
In a Patriarchy’s Garden
Without mace.”

That and more at Sadly No! where writer Cerberus cuts into David Brooks and commits beautiful slaughter.  Slaughter on Brooks’ pulling out every tired stereotype of women to make a siren call to the men that the wymenz are taking over and they’d better, um, do something.  Like maybe wake up to the fact that the OMG! the roles of women they are a changing and this is nowhere better reflected than in the poor economy.  Well ok, he didn’t say all women are ruining the economy, just the loose ones that go college; the ones who put getting a degree and an education as a top priority.  Brooks laments the good old days where women knew their place and went to college to find a doctor to marry.  Oh the bloody horror! Now with contraception and all, they are having wanton sex, learning things and get this! Getting jobs! Not good paying jobs, that’s not important and not all women, that’s not important either.

When you need to force attitudes that force ridiculous, prejudicial policies that protect a narrow group from another larger group, best to make that group really, really big and scary. Women shouldn’t have reproductive freedom, look, they are all turning into educated sluts! And then taking our jobs!  Wasn’t that the frat boy’s job? The privileged snot getting in on daddy’s dime with his white-boy, super polished shine, who studied and had wild sextapades with willing coed sluts?  Brings to mind a little diddy someone told me long ago, that’s one of those custom made stories that dad’s tell their young stud sons about to embark into the world of teh wymenz:

A little dog sat next to the railroad tracks all forlorn, contemplating his future.  He let his tail fall over the rail.  A train came by and as he felt the pinch on his tail he turned his head and whack!

So unfortunately, the puppy’s gone but hopefully you’ll remember to not lose your head over a little tail.

Those femi-nazi mothers must be telling their daughters that story, which of course is bringing in the collapse of all civilization partriarchy.

But I need add no more, let Cerberus take it away!

Bitches Be Responsible for Everything Bad

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Just words

Buried in a recent post, among Digby’s otherwise perfect literary expression is that right wing catch phrase — “abortion in demand”.

Possibly on the part of Digby this was an oversight, I’m imagining that the teevee automatically flipped to Fox News and there was our poor writer — paralyzed by the STUPID and the words just seeped in.  Then suddenly, without us knowing it, the re-framing begins.

That and other words such as entitlement — once meant any benefit guaranteed to a citizen based on certain criteria.   Now, its an insult, sneered by politicians, rolling off their tongues with all the shame and hatred buried in our culture that we deny exists.  Entitlement, as if old age, disability or poverty were some kind of cheat on the American “system”.  The system that the elite have tried to re-frame and re-adjust for the last thirty years.

Then there’s “Pro-Choice” which, coined in the 80’s to defend a woman’s right to choose, but turned on its head by anti-choice zealots into “Pro-Life”.  The fact of choice no longer plays into the frame.  The intellectually lazy media covering protests against choice, thoughtlessly, maybe happily (who knows, no one ever asked them) allow the protester’s language in.  They used it in reference to any reporting on a challenge of a women’s right to choose.  Possibly the media feels more comfortable considering a zygote more important than a woman’s choice? After all, is it too much to expect that a woman anchor, who can thank her ability to have that job, at least notice that her defense to be treated human stands with the history of the struggle? Is it too much to expect that woman to take pause, think and rephrase that title?

Which gets us back to our first gripe, “abortion on demand”.  What visions does this phrase bring? Does it conjure the image of the woman struggling with an unwanted pregnancy, considering the consequences of such? Or does it conjure up a vision of a bunch of women hippies banging on the front of a clinic door, demanding that they be let in and given abortions after a long hard weekend of frolics at an Occupy site?

Or how about the Femi-Nazi theme; mad women forcing their poor husbands or boyfriends with their Rugars to take them to the embryo extermination camp post haste?  Wherein we assume, these wild, hippies and Femi-Nazis will make other demands, like child support payments, equal pay for equal work and freedom from sexual assault?  Will they demand entitlements too, like public healthcare, nutrition subsidies for children, daycare assistance, paid maternity leave, access to male dominated work?

Messaging, words, propaganda, rhetoric, lies, innuendos; we know them all.  But we need not justify them by using them in our speech, lest we succumb to and accept the largest artillery the right has thrown so far.

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This Is My Body…

http://lisalongo.me/2012/06/08/this-is-my-body/

From Lisa Longo’s blog.  Couldn’t have said it better, click on the link after the paragraphs below to go to her site and read the whole article.

“This is my body. It is not a platform for GOP political pandering. There are no jobs hiding in my uterus, so why is the GOP intent on spending so much time there?

Considering that conservatives are constantly going on and on and on about how our President is trying to take away their rights, it is very ironic that in the last few months the only legislation the GOP wants to champion has to do with taking away a woman’s right to reproductive health services.

Little by little, over the last decade, the GOP has been trying to overturn Roe v. Wade on a state-by-state basis. Cutting funding here, over-regulating there, turning a blind eye to domestic terrorists who bombed clinics and, ultimately, calling the man who murdered a doctor a ‘hero.'”

Lisa Longo : This is My Body

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