Devastating Losses For Women's Reproductive Freedom

Devastating Losses For Women’s Reproductive Freedom

The last couple of weeks has been rough for women’s rights.

On Thursday June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Massachusetts law stating that protestors outside of abortion clinics had to respect a 35 feet buffer zone between them and the facility.
The decision was unanimous, which was a surprise, and it was assumed that votes were swapped for the upcoming Hobby Lobby ruling.

Following this decision, Dr. Dell-Bovi, owner of a clinic in Brookline said, “It doesn’t seem to me that the first Amendment rights include being able to force someone into a conversation with you that they don’t want to have.”

On Monday, June 30th, the Hobby Lobby ruling came through with a 5-4 decision allowing private companies that provide health insurance to deny contraception coverage on religious grounds.
Essentially, preventative measures for contraception will be restricted under workplace health insurance. Women will also feel more intimidated and shamed when having to get abortions that could have been prevented in the first place. Corporations are gaining more choices than women.

As if the rulings needed more verification the decisions are intended to control women, the Wisconsin Gazette pointed out on Saturday, June 28th, “Hobby Lobby does not object to covering male employees’ costs for vasectomies.” What have we gleaned from the decisions of these past few weeks? Women are supposed to repress their sexuality or else they will face consequences; men, on the other hand, do not.

Companies are allowed to inflict bigotry upon their employees in a shroud of religious freedom. Women are not safe from heckling, public shaming, or fear while seeking medical attention regarding their reproductive systems.

God bless America.

 

Bufferzone story:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/26/supreme-court-throws-out-massachusetts-abortion-clinic-buffer-zone-law/VTTYHYD8oiVJJNreAPyKAN/story.html

Hobby lobby

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/30/us-usa-court-contraceptives-idUSKBN0F51IZ20140630

Wisconsin Gazette

http://www.wisconsingazette.com/trending-news/supreme-court-rules-monday-on-hobby-lobby-suit-claiming-a-religious-right-to-deny-contraceptive-coverage-for-women-workers.html

 

Micaela Gardner

Sluts and Curves

Sluts and Curves

 

 

A key issue that has become increasingly covered by the media in recent months is school dress codes for girls. Although there have been issues regarding social control over what girls wear since always, it is important to note that this is a problem, which has become reported on much more, and thus talked about. Such attention has highlighted some very troubling implications about societal beliefs on females and sexuality.

One of the most telling stories as of late was about a girl getting kicked out of prom for her dress making the father chaperones think “impure thoughts.” On May 14th, a story published at the local Washington D.C. CBS blog told of how a 17-year-old girl was immediately stopped at prom to measure her dress. Understandably, at 5’9 finding a dress that would hit longer on her than, say, a 5’4 girl would be more difficult. However, after doing the “fingertip length” test, the female teacher who initially spotted her cleared the teenage girl and told her to be “careful” and to “make sure [the dress] stays pulled down.”

The girl, who blogged under the name Clare on the site HannahEttinger.com, went on to tell about how the fathers on the balcony above were ogling her while she was dancing, and talking among themselves. She was called off the dance floor by the same female teacher and was told that even though her dress passed the test, the fathers were complaining her dancing was “too provocative” and they were concerned the young men at prom were going to have “impure thoughts.” Even side-stepping the issues of slut-shaming, making it the female’s responsibility to control males’ thoughts and the underaged objectification, there is another issue that this incredibly inappropriate incident brings up–body shaming.

In high school, students are mandated to take a health class, which includes, among general nutrition, drug prevention attempts and sex ed, a unit on eating disorders and body dysmorphia. This girl was punished for having a developed body and being tall. If she were, say, 5’2 with a petite, boyish frame, then this would not have happened to her. Instead, because she has a healthy, womanly body, she is being punished for men being attracted to her body.

How is someone, especially a young person, supposed to feel about her body when authority figures and her school is telling her that even though she is breaking no rules, her body is the subject of thorough discussion, and, worse, punishment? We complain all the time about how the media is influencing girls to have insecurities about their bodies and eating disorders, but when the opportunity arises to combat this shame, we fail miserably.

Not only does this send a message to girls that their bodies are commodities on display for others to talk about and critique, it is telling the boys that it is perfectly natural and okay behavior to monitor and control the female form.

Micaela Gardner

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Misogyny

Allow me to first preface this article by openly admitting that I have a soft spot for sitcoms, even the mediocre ones. There is something oddly comforting about a story that is (sometimes) funny, and oscillates safely with resolved story lines and perhaps not fairy tale endings, but contentment. The best stories are the ones that can be funny, heartfelt, painful, dramatic, and shocking–but the “comforting” sitcoms I tend to gravitate to aren’t the best stories, they’re televised junk food.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*
How I Met Your Mother is a show, not about the mother that the protagonist, Ted, beds and weds, but rather his journey getting there. It’s a fairly cheap (yet forgivable) plot device that allows narration to speed things along to get the most out of the paltry 22 minutes of television. The female characters in the show important to the story and/or are the main characters include Lily Aldrin: college and close friend of Ted, Robin, the on-again-off-again girlfriend and friend: Robin Scherbotsky and The Mother (whose name you learn, rather unnecessarily in the last few minutes of the series’ finale): Tracy McGrady.

Since the start, one of the largest problems I’ve had with the show is the treatment and depiction of the female characters. Lily is an artist who teaches kindergarten, but aspires to do more with her painting. When she does try to pursue her dream of becoming an artist by breaking up with her fiancé and moving to San Francisco, it turns out to be a completely terrible experience that shows her that she belongs home, with her fiancé, changing her dream to fit around the man in her life. Robin is a career woman, a news anchor, who at the beginning of the show is on, an unwatched channel at weird hours.

Throughout the show, she blossoms in her career and becomes more prominent and gets more opportunities, including getting a job in Tokyo. This job is depicted as ridiculous—there is a chimpanzee on the show as her fellow anchor, for example. She returns to the U.S. within the same episode to attend Ted’s wedding. Later on, when she is dating a man named Kevin, who was formerly her anger management counselor, they break up because she neither can have children nor wants them. She gets married and divorced, in part because she travels too much and her husband dislikes having to accompany her everywhere. In the end, she has become an accomplished career woman, but is romantically alone, until the last few minutes of the show in which Ted arrives at her door with the same romantic overture that he used in the pilot. Since he is a widower with children, it is implied that they get together and she ends up having to take care of his teenagers despite never wanting children. Essentially, all of her impressive accomplishments are outshined by getting back together with her ex-boyfriend.

Lastly, there is The Mother. Everything we learn about her is mentioned in passing. She is finally introduced as an active character in the last season of the show. She is an intelligent, interesting and funny woman who would have added a lot to the show had she been introduced earlier. With the use of flash forwards, we find out how her relationship with the protagonist develops though we know nothing of her career or much of her history. Then we find out the ultimate twist: she bears his children, they grow up to preteens (their ages are never stated) and then she dies of cancer. Her role on the show is to propel the storyline, add a twist on the story, and bear the protagonist’s children. That is all.

To punctuate this blatant sexism, Robin’s ex-husband ends up impregnating a woman whom he refers to only as “Number 31” (because he vowed to have sex with a new woman every day for a month, and she was the last), who ends up getting pregnant. We don’t see nor know anything about the mother of his child, including her name, except that she was the womb for his child. After he has this baby, his views on women change, though remain just as misogynistic. Instead of the usual, objectifying women, he lectures two girls at the bar he frequents that they should put on more clothing and that they shouldn’t be drinking that early in the day, even though he is at the bar drinking.

Individually, these story lines might be acceptable, but cumulatively, it sends a very negative message about women. The first is that if a woman has children, she owes them everything, whereas the father does not. Moreover, if she doesn’t want to have children, there is something wrong with her, and somehow, she will end up mothering if she wants to or not, because that’s what women do. The concept also exists that there is something wrong with a woman if she wants to pursue her dreams (creative or occupational), even if it means foregoing, other opportunities.

She is punished for this; especially, in her love life. Lastly, this show ends up being about all the male characters. Ultimately, everything the women in this show do either propels the males’ storylines forward or position the women standing behind their men. Everything I feared about this show, all of the subtle sexism that already existed and the problems I had, multiplied in the finale.

In conclusion—thank you, How I Met Your Mother, for reinforcing antiquated ideas about male/female relationships, and further bolstering legitimate fears women face every day.

Take a bow.