This week, Ann Friedman reported for The Atlantic on Women in America, a new White House report that aggregated statistics on women and girls from across federal agencies. In spite of the progress that women have made over the past few decades, Friedman wondered how the administration could possibly address all the problems they still face:
Does it matter that more women are getting educated if they still aren’t making money on par with their male colleagues in the workforce? Does it matter that women are delaying childbirth if they still overwhelmingly end up as primary caregivers? Does it matter if women live longer if, over the course of their lives, they suffer from more mental and physical health problems?
Musician Amy Klein, of Titan Andronicus, reflected on her upcoming 26th birthday, noting that getting older is a different experience for men and women. For women, Klein notes, the mid-20s may already be “too old”:
Looking at the culture in which we grow up, it is no surprise to me that women feel they are already too old to begin a new hobby, a new desire, a new career, or a new goal when they have barely begun to live. The hyper-acceleration of a woman’s sense of time is a product of the following forces: 1) The principle that woman’s value lies primarily in her beauty and body, also known as the commodification of young women, 2) The fact that older women largely become invisible as producers of and participants in all that is “smart,” “funny” or “cool,” 3) The idea that a woman must settle down and have children before her biological clock “stops ticking,” and 4) The notion that a woman’s true fulfillment in life can only be attained through marriage and raising children, 5) The impulse that tells us that all of our life goals should give way to the ultimate truth of principle number four.
At Womanist Musings, a guest contributor discussed the necessity of gay-only spaces, addressing questions like, “Why are there gay bars and no straight bars?”:
The world is a straight space. 99.999999% of the world is a straight space – not only a straight space, but an aggressively straight space, that fiercely resists being anything but straightness […]
Maybe we wouldn’t need our safe spaces, if the world wasn’t so aggressively, overwhelming straight. Maybe if the world wasn’t so hostile to us, maybe if the world were happier with us being in straight space, rather than grudgingly tolerant at best. Maybe we wouldn’t need “gay-friendly” establishments, if gay-hostile wasn’t the damn norm.
Miriam Zoila Pérez took an in-depth look at the anti-abortion billboards that equate abortion with black genocide. In her piece for Colorlines, Pérez noted that black women have historically supported and rallied for access to birth control and discusses the reasons why, in spite of this, black women are more likely than other women to get an abortion. She spoke with author Dorothy Roberts, who responds to the infamous billboard in Lower Manhattan that reads, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is the womb.”:
“Black women’s wombs are not the main enemy of black children,” says Roberts, who says they promote “toxic stereotypes” about black mothers’ irresponsibility. “Racism and sexism and poverty are the main enemy of black children. [The billboard] doesn’t highlight the issues behind why women are having so many abortions, it just blames them for doing it.”
Finally: another great piece (dare we say, manifesto?) from Molly Lambert on This Recording. This time, Lambert covered everything from Taylor Swift to slut-shaming to what it means to be genuinely radically:
So many liberal dudes consider themselves political revolutionaries but then ignore or devalue gender politics as less important than other causes. Or they talk a good game about gender politics but then do the complete opposite in their personal lives. There was a great Mad Men episode touching on this. You think subcultures are going to have better more equal power dynamics, but then they usually reproduce the same fucked up power dynamics of mainstream institutions. It happened in the civil rights movement. It happened with hippies. It happens in indie and punk. It happens in everything when men are the only ones in recognized leadership positions.