Sunday: Waking up to being a Woman in America

969496_410133505769909_48754038_nGood morning, newsjunkies! Here are some reads to nibble on with your morning brew…

The 10 most dangerous places to be a woman in America:

Lately, the preferred strategy for reproductive rights opponents in the United States seems to be: If you can’t beat Roe v. Wade, then simply regulate around it.

Click on over to read Salon’s roundup of the top ten offenders. Not that the list will shock the readership here at Sky Dancing, but it’s a handy little summation of the bullshit that’s gone down just this year.


North Dakota

The spring of 2013 was a busy time for lawmakers in Bismarck. The GOP-controlled Legislature passed four draconian measures with strong majorities, giving North Dakota the dubious distinction of having the most restrictive abortion laws in a country rich with restrictive abortion laws.

Shorter Salon: 2013, What Fresh Hell is This?

Can you guess the other pro-dumb states that share blue Darwin Award ribbons with North Dakota?

And, no “pro-dumb” is not a freudian typo or autocorrect. The male empty suits running this horror show are clearly just pro-dumb at this point.

Case-in-point, from the “four draconian measures” link in the North Dakota snippet above:

The state’s turn to the extreme side of extreme has alienated reproductive rights advocates, women’s health activists, medical professionals and — wait for it — a coalition of Republicans who believe their colleagues have gone too far.

As reported by the Huffington Post:

“It’s to say, hey, this isn’t okay. We have stepped over the line,” said state Rep. Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo) in a phone interview with The Huffington Post… “North Dakota hasn’t even passed a primary seatbelt law, but we have the most invasive attack on womens health anywhere,” she said. “I got a letter yesterday from a pharmacist who said, ‘We don’t want to be in jail because we prescribed something!’ We’re spending an inordinate amount of time on social or personal issues, however you want to put it, but we haven’t done anything on property tax relief, higher education funding, fixing the roads. There are all kinds of other things we need to be doing besides this.”

Hawken said that as a strong fiscal conservative, she is worried that the state will spend millions of dollars that could be put to better use defending these laws in court. “They could fund my childcare bill with what we’re going to spend on lawsuits,” she said. “Can’t we let Arkansas be the poster child for this? Why does it have to be us?”

Hawken, a self-proclaimed pro-life Republican, says her colleagues have also rejected measures to increase prenatal care for minors and childcare for single moms, leaving her to question the motives behind the recent legislative push:

“It seems like we want to get [babies] here,” she said, “but we don’t care if they’re healthy once they get here. That’s just bad policy,” she said.

See. Pro-dumb.

Actually, pro-dumb is really an incarnation of No Profit Left Behind…which brings me to my next read, a radfem piece entitled, “Oppression is always tied to resource extraction” (emphasis in bold, mine):

Abortion restrictions in the US, from the very beginning, were intended to ensure the dominance of white settlers and the dominance of the medical industry.  Since the very beginning of patriarchy, the reproductive capacity of women has been regarded by the men in power as a resource, and controlling women is not just a hobby, or a religious directive – it’s a way to control and facilitate the extraction of resources from female bodies.

Any time you see pro-DUMB legislation, remember this. There is a profit motive involved.

It’s not just bad policy. It’s *bad policy by design*.

It is why the”personal responsibility” of “personhood” only ever applies to women, minorities, labor, etc. and never to corporations. Corporations do not want to pay for our roads, higher education, or childcare.

And, on that dour note… Time for a musical interlude:

PLEASE MANSPLAIN TO ME AGAIN, I’d love that ’til the very end.


Some more fun… Nobel Laureates Doodle Their Discoveries, via PBS:

What do you get when you ask 56 Nobel Laureate scientists to cartoon their greatest discoveries?

Photographer Volker Steger fearlessly tackled the challenge during an annual meeting with Nobel Laureates in the Bavarian town of Lindau. And what resulted was gritty, unpolished and playful — a far cry from the research itself.

See Elizabeth Blackburn’s mess of squiggly lines for example, with the words “Big long chromosomes!” scrawled above them. Blackburn won the 2009 Nobel in medicine for her discovery of the molecular nature of telomeres. The drawing by 2007 Nobel Laureate Sir Martin J Evans features the cartoon head of a mouse — and nothing else. You can view a virtual book of the drawings here and here.

And, here’s a youtube:

Need some more laughs? Then check this out: Feminists Are Savagely Trolling This ‘Masculism’ Hashtag on Twitter.

The stupid, it never-ever ends.

I’ll end with the following, and it’s a really excellent read (on girls gaming and boys whining), so please click over… The Last of Us: Has evil feminism ruined the zombie apocalypse?

Your turn, Sky Dancers. Leave us some links, rants, and raves in the comments if you get a chance. And, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

51 Comments on “Sunday: Waking up to being a Woman in America”

    • Sorry, this roundup was on the briefer side…I was starting to feel my allergies act up. They’ve been really bad this spring and summer.

      • NW Luna says:

        A fine roundup of news & issues, especially when tormented by allergies. Yeah, seasonal allergies aren’t fatal but they are surprisingly miserable to endure. As I remember — fortunately mine got much milder after a few decades, one of the nice things about getting older 😉

        Hope yours ease off soon, and healing thoughts to JJ too.

        • Why thank you!
          Good to hear that your allergies eased with time. I think mine is made worse by living in a notoriously polluted city. In fact, my allergies started when I just turned 5 and moved here.

          Thanks for adding links here! Yay!

          • NW Luna says:

            And here’s an allergy link on environment & health:

            Diesel exhaust particulate (DEP) has the ability to bind proteins and may serve as a potential carrier of allergens, penetrating deep into respiratory tract.

            Needless to say, exposure to nasty airborne particulates is not even roughly equal across socioeconomic classes.

          • No, it is not. Have you seen the asthma and allergy rates for children of the South Bronx? It’s horrific.

    • Oh gosh, and I totally meant to include a note that I was filling in for JJ who’s under the weather, so to speak, and resting up I hope. Get well soon JJ!

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    Great post Mona. I echo your well wishes to JJ. Take it easy, JJ, & above all else take care of yourself.

    Resource extraction? HELL YES! The more people, the cheaper the labor for the corporations. Modern day slavery or serfdom in the making. It’s been the way of the world from the beginning, with only a few times and places where it wasn’t true – like the 50s in America, following WWII. Personally I think there are only a few elected “true-believers” in so-called pro-life/anti-abortion camp. These corporate lackeys just claim to be pro-life to incite the masses, who believe, to vote for them. These voters are being played so that corporations’ agenda is enacted. We the people are expendable – who don’t need health care, clean air/water, roofs over our heads, shoes on our feet, education or healthy food. Maybe not quite The Handmaid’s Tale or Soylent Green, but pretty damn close.

    Profit, rape, pillage plunder – that’s their motto. And it’s not just oil, gas, water supplies but the labor force as well.


    • Ayup. Rant ON whenever you like, cuz I sure do like 🙂

      It’s quite scary, really, how simplistic the insidiousness of it all is–power converging on power and keeping the 99% pit against each other.

    • NW Luna says:

      Settlement brings prevalence of farmworker abuse to light

      Although the exact scope of sexual violence and harassment against agricultural workers is impossible to pinpoint, an investigation by The Center for Investigative Reporting and the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism reveals persistent peril for women working in U.S. fields and food processing plants.

      These workers’ experiences go largely unheard and underreported. The combination of financial desperation and tenuous immigration status — an estimated 50 to 75 percent of U.S. farmworkers immigrated illegally — make agricultural workers vulnerable to workplace violence and less inclined to report the crimes. ….

      “Sexual violence doesn’t happen unless there’s an imbalance of power,” said William Tamayo, a regional attorney for the EEOC. “And in the agricultural industry, the imbalance of power between perpetrator, company and the worker is probably the greatest.”

      The article mentions PBS Frontline and Univision, but doesn’t say if a documentary is in the works. This issue needs more outrage and action.

      • Hmm, that would be great if Frontline had something in the works. The invisibility here just perpetuates itself.

        Our food supply…tainted in every which way.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I have a friend who works for the farmworkers in Apopka, FL. I hadn’t heard anything about sexual abuse, but I guess it doesn’t surprise me that it is/has been happening. Here’s a link to info about farmworker abuse in Florida: .

        • Thanks for the links on farmworker abuse, NW Luna and Connie..would be a great topic for a frontpage post. I can try to take a stab at it with some introductory material, but maybe one of you might like to write something on it at some point? I can’t help but think of Sima, too. This is right up her alley.

          • NW Luna says:

            Oh, is that a nudge, Mona? 😉

            Let me see what else Connie & I can find (gently elbows ecocat and grins). I’m not a fast writer any longer, though. Well, I write out most of the content in a flood, but spend 90% of my total time on the edit process.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    If you have ever thought Americans were over-the-top about sports, please read this:

    Brazilian soccer ref beheaded by fans after fatally stabbing player

    Soccer fanaticism in Brazil reached dangerously high levels when a mob attacked and murdered a referee following a dispute with a player. Referee Otavio Jordao da Silva, 20, entered into a physical argument with footballer Josenir dos Santos Abreu during a game and fatally stabbed the player with a knife he had been carrying throughout the match. Spectators descended upon Jordao da Silva and proceeded to tie up, beat, stone and quarter the referee, ultimately putting his head on a stake and placing it in the middle of the soccer field. One suspect has been arrested in connection with the slaying, but a search continues for additional suspects.

  3. Britain begins prosecuting FGM:

    The NSPCC revealed it had so far received 41 calls to its newly launched helpline seeking advice on the issue. “We have been very surprised by the number of calls. We thought that at the start we would get maybe one or two referrals from it,” said the head of the helpline, John Cameron. […] Local authorities recently issued letters to school headteachers, warning them of the risk to their pupils during the summer holiday period, known grimly among teachers as the “cutting season”.

    • NW Luna says:

      Glad to read this! I think that prosecution after the fact is too little and too late, but I do hope it will prevent future cases of mutilation.

  4. NW Luna says:

    I’m unclear about the “dominance of the medical industry” and its effect on abortion. Certainly the majority of medical providers will assist their patients seeking abortion, by either performing or prescribing for the procedure, or referring to other clinicians who have the expertise.

    “The majority of PCPs (primary care providers) support health insurance coverage of contraception and abortion, as well as tax dollar subsidization of contraception and abortion services for low-income women.”

    Two-thirds to 93% of OB/GYNs would help.

    Some physicians in Catholic hospitals have even “intentionally violated protocol because they felt patient safety was compromised” due to hospital restrictions.

    I read the linked essay and my interpretation is “medical industry” is a reference to politicians and misogynist policy influence on available healthcare.

    • I did a post on that, once, on Roe’s 38th anniversary I think. It’s historical… Let me find the link. But the gist of it is that abortion (“termination after quickening”) was perfectly legal in this country until the AMA (American Medical Association) started to feel threatened by midwives and other abortion practitioners without formal medical degrees. That’s when suddenly it became a legislative issue…

      • Here you go:

        Since it’s mine, I’m going to bypass the blockquoting 😉

        Thirty-eight years ago today the Supremes handed down Roe v. Wade.

        It’s instructive to go further back and note that from the outset, the history of criminalizing abortion in the US has been rooted in a culture not of life but rather of No Profit Left Behind (via the link above): “Abortion itself only became a serious criminal offense in the period between 1860 and 1880. And the criminalization of abortion did not result from moral outrage. The roots of the new law came from the newly established physicians’ trade organization, the American Medical Association. Doctors decided that abortion practitioners were unwanted competition and went about eliminating that competition. The Catholic Church, which had long accepted terminating pregnancies before quickening, joined the doctors in condemning the practice.”

        • NW Luna says:

          Thanks! I knew that no laws were made against abortion after “quickening” until some time after the U.S. was established. Even the Catholic church had that policy in the beginning. Ehrenreich & English’s Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers , if anyone hasn’t read it when it first came out, is a great book on the historical and political implications of women clinicians. Yep, (male) physicians figured out that midwives (read women’s healthcare providers) were competition and they acted to squelch the competition. The medicalization of childbirth was another issue.

          Policy changes were similar in the U.K.:

          The first references to abortion in English law appeared in the 13th Century. The law followed Church teaching that abortion was acceptable until ‘quickening’, which, it was believed, was when the soul entered the fetus. The legal situation remained like this for centuries.
          1803: The Ellenborough Act – abortion after ‘quickening’ (i.e. when movement is felt at 16-20 weeks) carried the death penalty. Previously the punishment had been less severe.

          For at least the last couple of decades, the AMA membership has included only about 1/3 of U.S. physicians. AMA policy no longer represents the average physician. But they are still a well-funded and extremely powerful lobby.

          • ecocatwoman says:

            And I read several years ago that once upon a time the Catholic Church “ruled” that quickening occurred much earlier for males than females. Of course, this was LONG BEFORE sonograms existed & could tell relatively well if the fetus was male or female. Is there any question here that male privilege began with organized patriarchal religion?

          • All the religions share patriarchy as the Big Religion.

  5. Some MRA insanity/inanity coverage breaking through the mainstream. Byline: “Angry, radical men’s groups believe males are being victimized by out-of-control judges and politicians. They’re wrong and they’re dangerous and they need to be stopped.”

    • NW Luna says:

      Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) …. claims the law is biased, noting in a fact sheet titled “Seven Key Facts About Domestic Violence” that “female initiation of partner violence is the leading reason for the woman becoming a victim of subsequent violence.”

      Ah, the old “she ran into my fist” excuse. Scum.

    • RalphB says:

      The comments to that article were so stupendously dumb and one sided as to demonstrate the truth of the article in a big way. As a male, I feel I constantly owe the world an apology.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Yet another study concludes (mental) health care for all is a good idea:

    Mental Health Services Save Taxpayers Money

    Government-subsidized therapy and medication for patients with mental illness saves taxpayers money in the long run, according to a study recently published online in Psychiatric Services.

    Researchers from North Carolina State University, the Research Triangle Institute, and the University of South Florida identified 4,056 people who were hospitalized with mental illness in 2004 or 2005 and followed them from 2005 to 2012. Researchers tracked who received government-subsidized mental health services such as therapy, who received government-subsidized medication, and who received no services or medication. They then compared incarceration rates among the groups. ….

    When researchers compared the cost of government-subsidized services with the cost of incarceration, they found that providing mental health care services saved an average of $10 a day. ….

    “This study shows that providing mental health care is not only in the best interest of people with mental illness, but in the best interests of society,” she said.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Mona JJ or Ann: Can you see if you can start a blog post and write? For some reason, I cannot get a new post to work