2012 year-in-review for Feminist Conscience

Thanks to WordPress, I have some nifty blogging stats for 2012!

Thanks to all of my subscribers and visitors for following and reading Feminist Conscience.

I hope 2013 brings you nothing but success. And good feminist blogging, of course. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

No One Wins a (Tug-of) War on Women: From Uteri to Personhood, Why Feminists Must Reframe the Debate

Yesterday, Fem2pt0 published a piece that I co-authored with my colleagues at Feminist Friends!

Click here to read the article, “No One Wins a (Tug-of) War on Women: From Uteri to Personhood, Why Feminists Must Reframe the Debate.”

We worked collaboratively on the piece for months through many edits and interviews with Maternity Care Coalition, a reproductive health organization in Philadelphia, and Steph Herold, founder of IamDrTiller.com. The response has been positive and we at Feminist Friends couldn’t be more excited.

Let us know what you think on Twitter (@FeministFriends) and be sure to follow us!

Writer’s guide to Reproductive Justice

I had the amazing experience yesterday of attending NYC Reproductive Justice Coalition’s first Reproductive Justice Media conference in Manhattan. Listening and learning from the organizing, research and writing of reproductive justice activists and writers like Pamela Merritt, Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, Jamia Wilson and Belle Taylor McGee, was a rare opportunity for me to delve more deeply into a movement that is gradually reshaping my own thinking of women’s health. It’s also incredibly inspiring and enriching to be in a room full of badass, smart women who are making things happen. Being able to meet them outside of Twitter was even better.

NYC Reproductive Justice Coalition, an outgrowth of SisterSong NYC, organized the conference in collaboration with Women’s eNews in order to reframe the discussion of what reproductive justice means, how to create messages and communicate them to the media and public. In this spirit, the coalition created a Tumblr stylesheet for writers, activists and media folks to use when discussing reproductive justice. One entry, “Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights (difference),” states:

Reproductive justice is the theory, practice, and movement to ensure that people are supported in their decisions to create families—or not—in the most optimal situations possible.

Reproductive rights concentrate on fighting to keep abortion a safe, legal, and accessible reproductive choice with some discussions on birth control and and family creation. It also centers the sexual and reproductive capabilities of cisgender women to the exclusion/erasure of trans people and non-binary/genderqueer people because it defines the ability to give birth as a hallmark of “womanhood.”

Use it and share it! NYC Reproductive Justice Coalition is also live tweeting the entire conference (@NYC4RJ) (#RJmedia2012).

TGIF.

Love love love these feminist theory flashcards! Too bad they weren’t around when I took feminist theory. If you haven’t seen Feminist Ryan Gosling tumblr by now, you’re missing out.

“Lez Get Real” editor, “A Gay Girl in Damascus” blogger are hoaxes

As if a white, heterosexual male assuming the fictional identity of a lesbian in Syria was not appalling enough, the editor of the online lesbian news site “Lez Get Real” is also a married American man.

Today’s news that “Paula Brooks,” editor of “Lez Get Real” since 2008, is really 58 year-old Bill Graber, a retired construction worker from Ohio, comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that Tom MacMaster is the author of the blog, “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” which chronicled the life of Syrian-American blogger Amina Arraf. MacMaster, 40, created and assumed the fictional identity of Amina Arraf who wrote about the Syrian government’s crackdown during the Arab Spring uprisings through his character. The blog became an Internet sensation last week when readers discovered that Amina Arraf was kidnapped by government security agents. Journalists started digging and asking questions and learned that no one had met Amina and that her photo was a London woman’s.

MacMaster came clean and issued an apology to readers in which he explained why he created Amina Arraf:

“I’m also an argumentative sort and a bit of a nerd. I was involved with numerous online science-fiction/alternate-history discussion lists and, as a part of that process, I saw lots of incredibly ignorant and stupid positions repeated on the Middle East. I noticed that when I, a person with a distinctly Anglo name, made comments on the Middle East, the facts I might present were ignored and I found myself accused of hating America, Jews, etc. I wondered idly whether the same ideas presented by someone with a distinctly Arab and female identity would have the same reaction.”

Aside from lying and betraying their readers’ trust, MacMaster and Graber deliberately chose to assume a lesbian female identity because they thought others would perceive them with more credibility and authenticity than their white, Western, heteronormative maleness would allow them. (It was reported that Graber, who is also in favor of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, started “Lez Get Real” after seeing the mistreatment of friends who were a lesbian couple.)

This bit of information is the most interesting part of the story. Of course, the Internet freely allows lots of people to be someone they’re not. But deliberately choosing a lesbian/woman of color identity deserves more thought. It’s not surprising that the voices and experiences of marginalized, oppressed women are often viewed by others in dominant positions of power as being more authentic and real than their own privileged social identities. This thinking “others” women and makes invisible the social and political relationships that mutually construct our identities. In a sexist culture that assigns emotions to femininity and rationality to masculinity, is it any wonder why men such as MacMaster and Graber think that assuming a particular feminine identity would lend them more clout on issues that they are passionate about? MacMaster and Graber’s good intentions will never be enough. Instead, they were speaking for others in the most damaging way possible.