Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Don't Be Fooled By Fake Clinics During the Month of April

The FMF's “Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Clinics” Day of Action is TOMORROW! But between spring break and spring fever, it's alright if you don't have an action planned - you can take action any time during the month of April!

With $250 million being funneled back into failed abstinence-only programs, we're sure to see MILLIONS of OUR TAX DOLLARS going to fuel fake clinics' false information and deceptive advertising.

It is crucial that you help get the word out about fake clinics near your campus. You can teach students the truth about the quacks at Crisis Pregnancy Centers by:

- Getting the word out with educational “Don’t Be Fooled” Facts, candy and condoms
- Having students sign our petition to stop deceptive advertising and funding for fake clinics
- Screening our investigative videos
- Proposing a "Truth in Advertising" disclaimer on campus if your campus health center refers to CPCs, or campus newspaper accepts ads from CPCs

Check out our “Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Clinics” Action Series for more ideas. Don’t let the quacks of fake clinics fool students on your campus!

Photo courtesy of

Stand up for Beauty? How about SAFE COSMETICS!?

The following post was written by Stacy Malkan,Co-Founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of the award-winning book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.

Did you know that beauty needs to be defended? Yes beauty is under attack, apparently from the likes of us.

This is according to the new Cover Girl “Dare to be Beautiful” ad campaign, a rather patronizing marketing blitz that features a $50,000 cash prize for best video and a host of celebrities, led by Drew Barrymore (see my Love Letter to Drew), who have signed up to “defend beauty’s honor.”

“Some people have tried to make beauty an ugly word. They say it’s cold, false, intimidating. We say: stand up to that! Stand up for beauty that makes you LAUGH, that makes you THINK, that makes you get out there and create some beauty of your own!” states the Cover Girl “Declaration Cloud.” (via Virginia’s awesome beauty-schooled blog.)

How about: stand up for beauty that ISN’T TOXIC to our bodies and our souls; for beauty that is HONEST about what people really look like, and contains SAFE INGREDIENTS that won’t damage our health and our children.

Yes Drew looks great in that lipstick, but tests conducted by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found Girl lipsticks to be contaminated with lead, a substance that is highly toxic to the brain, builds up in the body over time, and can pass through the placenta to a developing child.

Drew’s (probably airbrushed) eyes do look fabulous in those eye shadows (and without them), so it’s unfortunate that many Cover Girl make-ups have high toxicity scores on Skin Deep because they contain multiple carcinogens, allergens and hormone disrupting chemicals.

The fact is, Cover Girl by Procter & Gamble can do a lot better to support the beauty they claim to defend.

So for all of you true beauty lovers out there – those who believe that beauty is about health, and heart and true power for women – please use your votes, your voices and your dollars to support companies that are making products that are healthy and free of toxic chemicals. Please visit for tips on finding safer products.

And to Drew and friends: We’d love to see you use your considerable clout and celebrity to insist that Cover Girl and other cosmetics companies remove toxic chemicals from their products – and then you are really going to ROCK it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

American University rape apologist reminds us why feminism is needed

Monday's edition of American University's The Eagle featured an article titled "Dealing with AU's anti-sex brigade", which does a great job at offending victims of date rape. Here's a snippet of the article:

"Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI [an unaffilated fraternity] party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.

“Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex — especially anonymous sex — can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!"

Understandably, this has sparked mass amounts of controversy throughout the AU community. I'm hesitant to give this article any more attention that it has already received, but I think it is important to remind people why there is a need for feminism. As Jezelbel outlines, the writer's opinion is not an original one. There will always be people like this and it is our job to help people block out their voices.

Former FMF intern, Maggie, has written her opinion on The Eagle's blog.

Unfortunately, the writer's 15 minutes are not up. The attention he is receiving is exactly what he wants, but on the other hand silence is not the solution. This is not the first time his misogynist beliefs have found there way into the pages of the paper.

Here are some letters to the editor written by members of the AU community. Also, take a look at the comments on the original article. *Note that they all occured in the 3 hours after the article was posted, before the comments were disabled.*

Baltimore's CPC Ordinance vs. Anti-Choicers, Round 2

Last Fall, amid heated debate, the City of Baltimore passed the first ever ordinance requiring crisis pregnancy centers to post signs disclosing that they do not provide referrals or information about abortion or contraception. Though the existence of these centers still makes some of us uneasy, at least we could rest assured knowing that women entering the facility would know that they were not getting comprehensive, accurate, medical advice.

Well, we knew it was too good to be true.

Freed up from their recent attempt to hijack health care reform, the leadership of the Catholic Church is at it again. Yesterday, the Archdiocese of Baltimore filed a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming that the ordinance violates church members' rights to freedom of speech and religion.

A spokesman for the anti-abortion Center for Pregnancy Concerns expressed disappointment that the government was not supporting their "sacrificial efforts" and that "[their] stand for life draws opposition."

Let's be quite clear, here: it's not the stance that of these Centers that is the issue in this particular case. It's the fact that they pose as a clinic. They act as though they are qualified to dole out medical advice to vulnerable women. All the signs do is ensure that women that do go to a crisis pregnancy center do so knowing the types of services that will be available to them at that facility; nothing more and nothing less. I sincerely hope that this lawsuit will find in favor of the city.

Truth be told, it's about ending the deception. If these Centers are proud of their services, they should be proud to call them what they are, rather than misleading women as to what they are not.

Want to get involved with ending the CPC masquerade in your community? Check out our Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yet Another Misguided Attempt to Discredit Feminism

When I have recently shared with male acquaintances and co-workers that I intern for a women's advocacy group, I've noticed many of them respond by saying they were hoping to start a revolution: a men's advocacy group. I'm guessing they haven't been listening to/reading the news or watching ANY television (there was even a concerned men's group featured on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," hello?). So they wouldn't exactly be pioneers.

Either way, I respond by saying I understand their concern (or is it mass fear and discomfort?) that women are fighting to truly have equal rights in all aspects of life. It's a major change, and will take time to get used to. So I decided to give one of these male-focused articles a read, to see if they brought up any valid points about why feminism is problematic from their perspective. I stumbled onto an article from Men's News Daily: "You've Come A Long Way Baby-And There's No Turning Back," by Paul Elam.

This piece was a response to a report by CNN's Lou Dobbs attempting to understand a study conducted in the University of Pennsylvania which supported that women's state of happiness has been declining since the start of the women's liberation movement. Mr. Dobbs was extremely confused by this concept, and Mr. Elam, Editor-in-Chief of Men's News Daily, is hoping to clear it up for him...while also slapping feminists across the face. And they say men aren't good at multi-tasking...

Anyway, Mr. Elam hopes to prove that the whole problem with women "whining" to have equal rights, with the workplace as his focal point, is that men's lives are actually filled with misery. So what women have worked so hard for is the thing making them miserable.

As he puts it, "Men, for the most part, live life working at jobs they hate, measuring success by keeping their heads down in the workplace, trying to make some alpha jerk like Lou Dobbs happy, and staying out of trouble. Then they go home and live by pretty much the same rules with their wives or girlfriends."
~Am I supposed to feel bad for these men? Oh, they feel emasculated by their bosses because their belief is that Alpha is the only way to be. What are we, a herd of lions? Furthermore, the fact that men see relationships as torturous and women as tyrants? No one is forcing them to be in relationships, let alone to get married. This relates to statistics that have shown divorce rates have risen since the beginning of the women's lib movement. Wonder why? Women began to admit they were dissatisfied with their partners or the marriage. I'm not advocating divorce, simply pointing out the possibility of it being more of a blessing than a dysfunctional relationship. No one should see their romantic relationship as one in which they are downtrodden.

Mr. Elam continues, "The independence, freedom and personal power of a man’s world that feminists promised came with every paycheck is actually a cruel illusion, behind which is a lifestyle more servile than powerful; more stress than self actualization, and more a monotonous daily grind with pit stops at a mailbox full of bills than a breezy walk through the halls of privilege."
~Quite the generalization to assume that women never sit at the kitchen table surrounded by torn envelopes, rubbing their temples and trying to figure out how to pay the month's expenses.

"It‘s difficult, I am sure, for Mr. Dobbs to see this, as he lives the exceedingly uncommon life. But I tell you what, Lou, try dragging your fat ass away from that cushy position you are in and drive a cab or a semi for 12 hours a day to make your rent and see how quickly it cures that itch on your head. Or get yourself a union card and spend every day in a coal mine, breathing black death and feeling the walls tremble around you as you work."
~It made sense that Mr. Elam wants Mr. Dobbs to see that his cushioned lifestyle would make it very difficult to imagine why there are so many over-worked and unhappy men (and now women?) out there. I suppose this means all blue-collar workers despise their jobs. But I beg to differ, because I have run into quite a few cab drivers who have been nothing but friendly and talkative, even understanding when I found myself in a financial pickle.

"When women finally enter the rest of the man’s domain, they will finally see the fruition of the feminist dream. It will be written in the blisters on their hands; in their backs aching and skin burning from digging in the heat of the sun. And their pain will echo and reverberate in the male dominated halls of dispassion."
~As eloquently as Mr. Elam put it, this isn't the whole point of "the feminist dream." We are not in this fight solely for the purpose of being allowed to do the same physical labor as men. And on the subject of physical labor, let's have a look at the home, where men are still not helping out with the housework and childcare as much as they should.

I realize the focus of this article was to make Mr. Dobbs see why feminism has only led to unhappy women. However, he failed to bring up any truly valid points about the goals feminists still fight for. Once we do get those jobs, be they blue-collar or white-collar positions with equal pay, the fight still won't be over.

After all, unlike that of a man, a woman's career path tends to be greatly swayed by family life. Mr. Elam forgot to point out that it's women who get pregnant. Before and after giving birth, a majority of women stay at home or at least severely cut back work hours at work for many months. Following this, women may return to work and find themselves having to adjust to a whole new environment, considering the speed at which technological advances occur. Many companies still do not provide adequate resources for the time women are away from work, nor do they help them re-adjust when they return. And what do you think happens, Mr. Elam, when women return to work and find their male equals have been given a raise or a promotion while the women were on leave?

Those are just a few points I wish non-feminists would consider before they go questioning, "What's left to fight for? Women have equal rights!!" Obviously, women have different needs from men, so reaching workplace equality is more complex and still a long way away. And no, we are NOT turning back.

Photo credit: austerblitz at deviantArt

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Year's NYFLC!

For those of you who missed it, last weekend was the
Thanks so much to all 422 attendees
from 101 schools
who came all the way from 30 states + DC and Canada!

The NYFLC was my first conference and it was a great experience. Being among hundreds of people who are passionate about the same issues as you is really empowering. Also, to learn about issues that affect people around the world from people who are really involved in those issues is a unique experience.

I highly recommend attending next years conference to any feminist because it is a great opportunity for students from around the country to learn about the issues affecting women and what they can do about them. They also got a chance to take action at our Congressional Lobby Day on Capital Hill on Monday. Overall, it was an awesome event that covered a breadth of issues from reproductive rights to women in the economy to women in positions of power just to name a few.

I don't know if I can pick out a favorite part of the conference, but one thing I really appreciated was that the schedule allowed for options in the sessions that you could attend. Because there are so many issue areas that affect women, there are always going to be people who have different interests and passions. This format gave people with varying interests the opportunity to pick and choose what they wanted to learn about.

Awesome Campus Organizers (from left): Jacqueline, Tania, Allie, Danielle, Patrice, Emily, and Val

Major kudos to FMF's campus organizers and the rest of the FMF staff for putting together such a great event. They complied an impressive cast of speakers from so many different issue areas, including Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and Donna Edwards (MD)!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In other news, SC still hates women

If you're tired of hearing me complain about South Carolina, join the club. I would welcome the chance to shower the Palmetto State with praise as a champion for women's rights and opportunity. Alas, SC has other plans. Even the good news seems to come with a price. For example, The SC House recently voted against a provision in the proposed state budget that would have ended health insurance abortion coverage for victims of rape or incest. You might think that such a ban would be a no-brainer but, with a margin of defeat by only three votes, it makes you wonder if SC legislators have a brain at all? Take these two little nuggets of oppression and ignorance from the SC General Assembly in just the past week:

Eliminating the state's entire HIV/AIDS budget: An estimated 14,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina, ranked eighth in the nation in new AIDS cases. The proposed budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year would eliminate all money for the state's HIV/AIDS prevention and drug assistance programs. As The State paper reports, "The cut would mean the 2,055 people enrolled in the Drug Assistance Program would no longer get help in paying for their medication and could face dire health consequences." What dire health consequences you might ask? Death for starters.

24-Hour Waiting Periods and Referrals to Fake Clinics: This one is a double whammy. After much debate and many failed attempts, the SC Senate finally passed a bill that will require women seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours after receiving an ultrasound. Many states across the country have successfully passed similar legislation that adds an undue burden and expense to women seeking an abortion and speaks to the misguided notion that women take choice lightly and flippantly decide to terminate a pregnancy.

What's particularly egregious is the support of so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPC). The waiting period begins after the patient receives information about the procedure or receives an ultrasound. If the patient elects to receive an ultrasound she is referred to a so-called crisis pregnancy resource center for an ultrasound.

This news is equally laughable and terrifying. These fake clinics are not staffed by medically trained professionals and employ delay tactics and intimidation to deceive women from receiving comprehensive medical care. A Congressional investigation of CPCs revealed that 87% provided false or misleading information about the health effects of abortion and grossly misrepresent the medical risk of abortion by telling women that having an abortion could increase the risk of breast cancer, result in sterility and lead to suicide and "post-abortion syndrome."

By passing legislation that not only supports these fake clinics but will now refer women to receive these "services," SC legislators are implicitly endorsing the deceitful tactics and lies of fake clinics and have turned their backs on the women of SC and scientifically proven strategies to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

Want a reason not to flee the state? The House must still vote on the 24-hour waiting period bill and the elimination of all HIV/AIDS funds is only in the proposed budget and still requires a vote, as well. Translation? There is still time to speak out against these measures. Call your representatives, write a letter to your local paper and organize your neighbors against these horrendous policies in Columbia. Speak out against the disproportionate affect that these policies will have on low-income residents and those who are underinsured or uninsured. You must stay, stand up and fight back! And if they still won't listen to us? Perhaps we'll just run for office ourselves.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As Feminists, Do We Care For All Feeling Living Beings?

As you probably already know, vegetarianism and veganism go hand-in-hand with feminism. As feminists, we fight for many rights and ideas, so don't forget to include animals and other living creatures on that list. If you are new to the concept, a good source is Carol Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory.

In this country, where meat-eating is extremely common and constantly encouraged, vegetarianism and veganism, also referred to as cruelty-free eating, is not nearly as common as it is in places like India, where it is part of the people's religion, and therefore dictates their diet.

People are vegetarians or vegans for a variety of reasons. Generally speaking, in the United States, about 90% of farm animals are birthed, raised, used and slaughtered for food. Only a small percentage of them are used for the purpose of clothing, entertainment and so on, not that the latter reasons are any more...well, fair.

Here are some reasons people choose to stop eating meat and other animal by-products, such as dairy and eggs. They're accompanied by relevant statistics. Please keep in mind, these statistics were gathered several years back, so the numbers may have changed slightly, but the concept is there.

~The ethical argument (perhaps the most prevalent reason people switch from an omnivorous diet to a vegetarian one): Massive animal farms across this country mistreat animals in ways most people cannot imagine. From birth until death, the sole reason these animals exist is to satisfy human urge for the taste of animal meat and animal by-products. Any studies that show otherwise tend to be conducted by the dairy industry.

For instance: you need 3 glasses of low-fat milk per day to remain healthy, and meat is the most effective source of protein: neither of these ideas are true, but we are taught to think this from a very early age. Yet people eat cruelty-free all around the world, even in this country, and they live long and fulfilling lives.

~The hunger argument:
Number of people in America: 243 million (at the time this data was collected)
Number of people worldwide who will die of starvation this year: 60 million
Number of people who could be fed with grain and soybeans now being eaten by US livestock: 1.3 billion
The idea here is that we are feeding 80% of corn grown in the US and 95% of our oats to our livestock. If Americans would reduce their meat intake by just 10%, those 60 million people who starve each year could be fed. A bit of a doozy, isn't it?

There are a variety of other arguments, such as the environmental argument, the natural resources argument (gallons of water needed to produce a pound of wheat= 25...gallons of water needed to produce a pound of meat= 2,500), the cholesterol argument (heart disease, anyone?), the antibiotic argument (pesticides do more harm than good) and the cancer argument (women who eat meat more than 4 times/week vs. fewer than 1 time/week are at 4 times more risk of breast cancer).

Then there is, of course, the survival argument. By that, I mean people believe that we could not be at our healthiest without meat as part of our diet. They argue that the reason our brains developed to such advanced thought processes was because meat became a part of our diet. But people have eaten cruelty-free for decades at a time, even from birth, and there have been no signs of lesser brain development among them. Moreover, as far as physical fitness goes, talk to Dave Scott, the 6-time winner of the Ironman Triathlon. He's a vegetarian. Go figure.

Obviously, no matter how much data is thrown at us, we can't be expected to become vegetarians overnight. It's a gradual transition, perhaps in the same way we transitioned from buggies to automobiles. And just think: if you wouldn't eat your pet dog or cat, why would you eat a cow or a pig? Is there much difference?

If you would like to learn more, here are some useful websites: (a grassroots organization focusing on dieting education) (this group fights specifically for farmed animals' rights, taking the ethical standpoint) (a website that gives you eating tips, since vegetarian food is not all bland, as many might claim)

As a final thought, a quote from Peter Cheeke, PhD, from his 2004 textbook, Contemporary Issues in Animal Agriculture: "Do we, as humans, having an ability to reason and to communicate abstract ideas verbally and in writing, and to form ethical and moral judgements using the accumulated knowledge of the ages, have the right to take the lives of other sentient organisms, particularly when we are not forced to do so by hunger or dietary need, but rather do so for the somewhat frivolous reason that we like the taste of meat? In essence, do we know better?"

Photo credit: mooshee85, Flickr

Happy Back Up Your Birth Control Day!

Today is Back Up Your Birth Control Day and while all you college students are heading to tropical locales to do some hard-earned partying, don't forget your EC!

EC, or Emergency Contraception (also known as the "Morning-After Pill") is a safe and effective drug that can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 89% when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

It is now available over-the-counter (you don't need a prescription, but it is truly "behind-the-counter" because you must ask a pharmacist for it), if you are age 17 or older. New research shows that EC may be effective up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. Stock up BEFORE you need it; no one wants a south of the border pregnancy scare!

While EC is totally safe and effective for women of ALL ages, the FDA refuses to make it available over-the-counter for anyone who is age 16 or under. Their refusal is not based on science and it is putting young women's lives and health at risk.

Young women, age 16 and under, face the most obstacles when it comes to obtaining EC from a doctor. They have concerns about confidentiality and cost that prohibit their access. Making EC available OTC for this population is necessary.

Sign the Center for Reproductive Rights' petition to urge the FDA to act on the submitted request to approve the drug for OTC use among young women.

Have fun, be safe and remember to back up your birth control with EC! Find an EC provider near you here.

SC Activists March for Responsible Reproductive Health Policies

Tell Them, a grassroots e-advocacy network in South Carolina, held their first ever Virtual March to advocate for reponsible reproductive health policies by the SC legislature. Tell Them organized over 3,500 marchers and sent over 2,500 emails to decision makers across the state. Below is a guest post by Emma Davidson, of TellThem!

Why am I passionate about responsible reproductive health policies? In my mind, there is no more pressing issue for South Carolina than reproductive health.

South Carolina statistics read like a laundry list of reproductive health problems. We currently have the 3rd highest rates of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea in the country, and 9th highest rates of AIDS cases. In fact the Centers for Disease Control has called South Carolina one of the Top 10 HIV “hot spots” in the country.

The teenagers of South Carolina are even more prone to reckless behavior. Over 60% of high school seniors in our state have had sex- and 15-24 year olds account for nearly half of the new STI cases statewide. 3 out of every 10 young women will become pregnant before they turn 20, and the births to these women cost South Carolina taxpayers over $150 million each year.

These are just a few of the reasons why I work so passionately towards bringing positive change to our state through responsible reproductive health policies. I firmly believe that in order to solve these problems, the people of South Carolina must call on their elected officials to increase access to clinics and doctors, require comprehensive sex education in public schools, and ensure confidential relationships between patients and their doctors.

However, one of the bright spots surrounding this issue are the numbers of people who are passionate and work so tirelessly to create better lives for the women and young people of this state. In less than 1 week, we were able to gather nearly 500 people together to stand up for reproductive health- and we’ve only just begun. Keep it up- join Tell Them’s Virtual March. And if you already have, get your collegues, friends and families to join up. We need every voice we can get, and together we’ll accomplish great things.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Real Men Eat Chips

There are so many advertisements for products out there that reinforce ideas of masculinity. We have seen recent examples from this year's Superbowl. Some more examples of these ads can be found on the website, Sociological Images. The post I found cited examples from products like Klondike Bar, Alpo, Oberto beef jerky, and Ketel One.

The main focus was on a website for McCoy Crisps where you go to a virtual bar, play darts, participate in drinking games, and learn manly tips like how not to iron. The site is quite humorous because it seems like the company is trying so hard to specifically target "manly men". Is there really something so innately masculine about chips, or ice cream bars and dog food? People do not realize that when they fall for these marketing ploys they are falling into the trap of masculinity. These ads just prove that the idea of masculinity is fabricated and perpetuated by the media. A lot of these concepts are so ridiculous that if they were not consistently pushed on us by TV, newspaper, etc., we would realize how primitive they truly are.

Friday, March 19, 2010

April 1 is "Don't Be Fooled By Fake Clinics" National Day of Action! What are you doing?

This April Fools’ Day, join FMF and campuses across the nation as we expose something that’s no joke…FAKE CLINICS!

Thursday, April 1st, is the Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics’ “Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Clinics” Day of Action.

Teach students on your campus the truth about the quacks at Crisis Pregnancy Centers by:

- Getting the word out with educational “Don’t Be Fooled” Facts and candy
- Having students sign our petition to stop deceptive advertising and funding for fake clinics
- Screening our investigative videos
- Proposing a "Truth in Advertising" disclaimer on campus if your campus health center refers to CPCs, or campus newspaper accepts ads from CPCs

Check out our “Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Clinics” Action Series for more ideas. Don’t let the quacks of fake clinics fool students on your campus!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Last Day to Register Online for the NYFLC!

By now you've probably heard a little something about a conference we're hosting this weekend in Washington, DC. Over 400 student activists have already signed up from over 30 states and 122 schools.

Are you on the guest list?

Today is the last day to register online for the Feminist Majority Foundation's 6th Annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference, March 20-22, in Washington, DC. Register online today or call the Campus Team at 703-522-2214 to register your group!

On site registration will be accepted at the University of the District of Columbia. We can't wait to see you all in DC! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Don’t Be Fooled by Fake Clinics Action Series: Proposing Truth in Advertising Policies on Campus

It is very important to establish "Truth in Advertising" policies on campus. The first questions are, does your health center refer students to CPCs and does your local CPC advertise on campus including in the newspaper? Propose that your Campus Health Center stop referring to CPCs. If they continue to do so,request placement of a disclaimer explaining that CPCs are limited-service facilities that do not offer services or referrals to abortions or birth control.

Do the same for advertisements on campus. If they advertise in the newspaper, talk to the editor get them to offer a disclaimer in the ads saying that CPCs do not offer services or referrals to abortion or birth control. Check out our "Establishing Truth in Advertising" Policies in our new CPC kit.

You should also talk to you Student Senate. Find a Pro-Choice member of the Student Government and ask to get a "Truth in Advertising" Resolution passed on campus! Check out the truth in advertising component in our CPC materials!

Photo courtesy of

Don't Be Fooled By Fake Clinics Action Series: Burma Shave Signs

Need a clever and creative way to raise the visibility factor of your "Don't Be Fooled By Fake Clinics" Day of Action April 1? Well, we have a simple and fun solution for you! Create Burma Shave signs!

What in the world are Burma Shave signs, you ask? Well, back in the 50's the Burma shaving cream company launched an ad campaign that consisted of sequential roadside signs, each with a short slogan.

By the end of the sequence, the driver just NEEDED to buy shaving cream! Put this technique to use on campus and you'll have students banging down the door of your next meeting begging to join your campaign!

It's simple:

Get some poster boards, markers and tape.
Pick out a main walkway of campus where the signs will be highly visible and people will read the signs one after another.
Get the proper approval to post signs on campus.

Now for the slogans...We've come up with a few starter ideas for you, following what we like to call the "You wouldn' why..." pattern:

Sign 1: You wouldn't want your professor telling you the world is flat.

Sign 2: You wouldn't want your dentist telling you that toothpaste causes cavities.

Sign 3: You wouldn't want a firefighter telling you that a smoke detector won't save your life.

Sign 4: So WHY are FAKE CLINICS [or the name of your local fake clinic] telling women that abortion causes breast cancer, infertility and mental illness?

Sign 5: And WHY are FAKE CLINICS [or the name of your local fake clinic] telling women that condoms won't protect against STIs and HIV?

Sign 6: Don't let FAKE CLINICS [or the name of your local fake clinic] fool you! Join the [name of your club]'s Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics! Come to our meeting on [day] at [time] at [place] or email [contact] to find out how you can help!

These are just some examples of the types of "You Wouldn't..." sayings you could use. Feel free to customize these slogans to make them more relevant and in-tune with your particular campus, student body, and the local fake clinics. Need help with this idea? Contact your FMF Campus Organizer.

Don't Be Fooled By Fake Clinics Action Series: Educate Your Campus with "Don't Be Fooled" Facts

Fact: No one can resist free candy. So, this April Fools' Day, use this fact to your advantage and join our "Don't Be Fooled By Fake Clinics" Day of Action by passing out "Don't Be Fooled" Facts, tied to pieces of candy.

On slips of paper, write examples of the kinds of falsehoods that CPCs perpetuate, and then write the FACT to counter those false claims. Staple these to little pieces of candy. You can buy it in bulk and save money.

Here's an example of what your tag would look like:

CPCs say that abortion causes breast cancer. But don't be fooled!

FACT: Scientists disagree. Organizations such as the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and the American Cancer Society ALL say that no such link exists.

Don't be fooled by the [name of nearby fake clinic] at [location]. Instead, get comprehensive reproductive health care at [name of local comprehensive women's health clinic] at [location].

Or, here's another example.

CPCs say that abortion leads to mental illness. But don't be fooled!

FACT: An eleven-year longitudinal study of 13,000 women found that women who give birth have the same rate of need for psychological treatment as women who have abortions.

Don't be fooled by the [name of nearby fake clinic] at [location]. Instead, get comprehensive reproductive health care at [name of local comprehensive women's health clinic] at [location].

These little snapshots of fake clinic scare tactics will make students on your campus as angry as they make you, so ask them to join your campaign!

In addition to using chocolate to get the word out, you can also make handy (and informative!) table tents to place on all of the dining hall tables. The table tents should identify the CPCs near your campus and warn students about what types of so-called "services" they might receive there.

Grab some candy, paper and a stapler and get the word out!

PS - To identify your local fake clinic, visit and punch in your zip code. (PLEASE NOTE: This is an anti-choice website with false and misleading information).

Don't Be Fooled By Fake Clinics Action Series: Hold a Film Screening

This April Fools' Day, make sure that women on your campus don't get fooled by fake clinics and put together a simple, yet informational event: a film screening and teach-in.

We have two videos on our website that would teach people who aren't already familiar with CPCs a lot about their deceptive practices. The first is called, "Our Reality: A Look at Crisis Pregnancy Centers" and the second is called, "Crisis Pregnancy Centers: A special Report" Both were produced by FMF in conjunction with Stuart Productions and featured on RH Reality Check.

1. Contact your Student Affairs or Student Activities office and see what the procedures are for screening a film for the public.

2. Reserve a space! Maybe it will be in a classroom, the women's resource center, or an auditorium. See what you need to do to hold the event in this space. Make sure there is a projector that you can hook up to your computer.

3. Make flyers and publicize the event. Make an eye-catching flyer announcing when and where the film screening will be. Post them on campus and hand them out when you are tabling. Make announcements in classrooms and ask professors if they will give their students extra credit for attending the screening.

4. Buy some yummy snacks! Popcorn, chips, licorice, ice cream, pizza. Go wild, budget permitting.

5. Screen the films and then hold a discussion about it. How do people feel about about what they have just seen? What are the inital thoughts? Make sure that you have brushed up on your facts so that you can field any questions. Do people want to take some action on the issue?

6. Formulate a plan. Whats next? Have the people at the screening get involved with the campaign to expose fake clinics. What actions do they want to do after seeing those films? Don't know where to start, check out the rest of our action series!

Our Reality: A Look at Crisis Pregnancy Centers from RH Reality Check on Vimeo.

Don't be Fooled by Fake Clinics Action Series: Photo Campaign

The National Day of Action to Expose Fake Clinics is quickly approaching! On April 1st, "Don't be Fooled by CPCs." What do YOU have planned?

An idea we have for you is to have a photo campaign!

Rally students together! Meet people who want to be involved when you are petitioning for CPCs. Come up with a prompt question that you want to ask everyone. Here are a few suggestions:

1. What do you expect from a women's health clinic?
2.What do you think about CPCs?
3.What services would you like to receive if you were faced with an unintended pregnancy?

Get people to write their answers on a piece of paper and have them tape it to a speech bubble that you've pre-made.

Take their picture!

These photos can be put into a slideshow, or a facebook or flickr album and share it with all of your supporters. Or you can print them out and create a photo collage or feminist quilt that can be displayed on campus or when you are tabling. Or you can also send them to your elected officials urging them to do something about the deceptive advertising practices of CPCs!

Check out the photo blog we at the West Coast office made!

What do you expect from your women's health clinic?

Create a Free Slideshow

Please share your submissions with us! Email them to

What more great action ideas? Check out our "Don't be Fooled by CPCs" action series on this blog!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Depraved (Yet Not New) Source of Entertainment

The entertainment industry goes to great lengths for our attention and our money. And we all love music, the Great Unifier. But I took a step back and realized that references to rape in our popular culture happen far more often than anyone would like. As a sequel to my previous blog post (I just couldn't hold back), here are more subtle and not-so-subtle, yet casual, references to rape.

There is, of course, the music industry and its contributions to casual pop references to rape. A blogger for the Washington City Paper compiled a list of the top five date rape anthems. At #5, she placed Jamie Foxx's "Blame It On The Alcohol." Yes, the song was played non-stop on the radio for quite some time, but it saddens me that Jamie Foxx would encourage his listeners to take advantage of drunk women. As if an attractive man like him, or any man for that matter, should "do" a drunk girl without a second thought.

This reminded me of a comedic movie released just last year, Observe and Report.

A usually hilarious actor, Seth Rogan, stars in this as a mall security officer who is supposed to be protecting actress Anna Farris' character from a streaker. Case in point: the two go on a date, she gets horribly drunk, stumbles around, throws up, and Rogan's character still proceeds to have sex with her. Some may claim it was consensual; after all, in the brief pause when Rogan asks himself "Is she unconscious?" Farris' character drunkenly complains for him to keep going.

Glad we cleared that up. Total consent on the nearly-passed-out girl's part! But seriously? Rape is a source of comedy now? I wonder how many people paid 10 bucks to see that and felt they had gotten their money's worth...

But back to Date Rape Anthems of our time. A song blogger Amanda Hess chose for her list is by once-popular ska band Sublime's "Date Rape," which documented a girl who wen through the experience, and her struggle and legal battle to punish the rapist. The song would seem not to fit here, but the end of it advocated prison rape, another horrible yet common phenomenon in our society. "Well, I can't take pity on men of his kind...Even though he now takes it in the behind.” Oh, Sublime, you almost had me.

A final moment in date rape song history, and I do mean history, confused me at first. "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Yes, from back in 1944, and it has stuck around until today, a popular Christmas time song, sung by a woman who plans on going home, and a man insisting that she stay. Will Ferrell's character sang it in the adorable movie "Elf," and I doubt countless generations considered the lyrics. I had a look, and realize now that this song is one of the first of its kind to perpetuate the idea that, if a woman says "no" once, just keep plugging away. She'll give in eventually. *nausea*

Have a look:

The neighbors might thinkBaby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink
No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how
Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell
I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
Mind if I move a little closer
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
What’s the sense in hurting my pride
I really can’t stay—Baby don’t hold out
Ahh, but it’s cold outside

I'll be looking out my window the next time it snows at night, and I'll wonder "How many women are being convinced, right now, that trying to get home in the snow is a horrible idea and wouldn't they rather have a few more drinks and 'cuddle by the fire'?" Or the heating vent, in most cases...

Unless the snow storm is anything like the blizzard the DC area saw this winter, I want to go back to the days of this picture, when the song first came out, and tell this lovely woman, "His ego is the delicate one, not you! Close up that mink coat and get on home, miss!"

Photo credit: cemetarian at Flickr

Video Game Violence Apparently Needed A Boost...So They Added Rape

I guess video games didn't contain enough violence. So the fantasy world includes doses of degradation of females for those moments when men want to take a break from shooting drug dealers and blowing things up.

I have always thought of Japanese people as well-mannered, cultured and intellectual. And of course, their technological advances are known world-wide as far beyond all the rest. But when I read about one of their contributions to the video gaming world, I was shocked and disappointed.

Shown on the left are a few of the characters the video gamer can choose from in "RapeLay," in which the gamer plays a rapist whose ultimate goal, after stalking and raping a variety of females in many scenarios, is to make a mother and her daughters (shown below) into his sex slaves.

The game that was taken off the developer's site soon after it was introduced in 2006. It never made it to America's stores, but got international attention after it was discovered on last year. I'm wondering what kind of appeal there is here: cartoon females with such sorrow-filled facial expressions. Even the developer couldn't find it in him/herself to make these characters smile.

Next, I considered Grand Theft Auto, a very popular game in the US. I have never been an avid video game player. But an article in Jezebel quoted a blogger who gave me a new perspective:

"Samhita Mukhopadhyay of the blog Feministing, spoke out against the misogynistic imbalance in Grand Theft Auto IV based on a now retracted montage posted on IGN showing Nico killing different women after having sex with them. 'If you could kill male prostitutes in the game, then it would be different, but you can only kill female prostitutes. It's clearly a fantasy. [the video game world] is not the real world, and you have the right to fantasize about what you want to fantasize about. I'm more interested in what informs that fantasy. It's not coming out of nowhere.'"

The Jezebel article discusses that women also play Grand Theft Auto, a game that gives the gamer a world of "moral ambiguity," so the gamer can choose to or choose not to take part in a variety of violent crimes. And killing prostitutes is another choice. The author, a gamer herself, explains, "My fantasies don't involve causing harm to other women, so it isn't something I do in the game."

Aside from prostitute rape, female characters in these games are never the focus. It tends to be murder, theft, and every other form of crime and violence. Yet the women are constantly sprinkled throughout, almost like hyper-sexualized props, to be used for sex at the gamer's discretion. The Escapist's Michael Thomsem sums it up in his article, "Vaginaphobia: Fear of Women in Gaming:" "When sex does appear in games, it is almost always connected to phallocentric displays of male prowess." So any feminist gamers can pretty much forget about a strong, positive female character.

Photo credits: Huffington Post,

Okay to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity in VA universities?

Late last week, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter to the state’s public colleges and universities advising them to repeal clauses in their non-discrimination clauses relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. According to Cuccinelli, only the Virginia General Assembly can extend legal protections to LGBT students and faculty.

Attorney General Cuccinelli’s actions have spurred large amounts of on- and off-line campus activism across the state. Students from many universities created the Facebook group WE DON'T WANT DISCRIMINATION IN OUR STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES! which now has over 6,000 members. UVA’s Queer and Allied Activism sponsored a social media campaign, calling on Virginian college students to flood social media sites with messages urging AG Cuccinelli to keep LGBT students covered by anti-discrimination clauses. Other universities have planned rallies and are working with Equality Virginia to fight the shift in policy.

AG Cuccinelli’s position is untenable for Virginia’s colleges and universities. Without offering protection from discrimination for all students and faculty, Virginia schools will fail to attract top professors and students. Refusing to protect LGBT members of campus communities is inexcusable—and will cause permanent damage to Virginia’s reputation for providing excellent public higher education.

It is cases like these that highlight the importance of passing the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) through the US Congress. By passing national non-discrimination language protecting LGBT employees, it would be impossible for states like Virginia to try to eliminate protections for employees of their public universities.

Click here for ways you can help pass ENDA!

Attention NYC Feminists: CUNY Forum on Monday

Passing this message along on behalf of Jerin Alam, a Hunter College alumna and fierce feminist activist. Come hear Jerin and other activists discuss improving the sexual assault policy at your school next weekend at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference! Contact Jerin with any questions: jerin.alam AT gmail DOT com.

Help Create CUNY-wide sexual-assault policy for half-a-million people Date: Monday, March 15, 2010 Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm Location: The College of Staten Island, Center for the Arts – Recital Hall Street: 2800 Victory Boulevard City/Town: Staten Island, NY
Did you know that City University of NY (CUNY) does not have a university-wide sexual assault policy for it's half-a-million students? YOU CAN HELP CHANGE THAT BY COMING TO THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC FORUM OR CONTACTING US ABOUT HOW ELSE TO HELP.

CUNY Central is ready to present a proposed policy to the Board of Trustees for approval in April. However, a large group of us, including elected officials* feel that the policy lacks two vital components - –

1. clearer language about mandatory education and
2. anonymous reporting. **

CUNY Board of Trustees public hearing on Monday, May 15, 4:30pm-6pm. If you wish to speak during the Staten Island borough hearing, please call the Office of the Secretary of the Board at (212) 794-5450 by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2010. However, you can just attend without having to call ahead.


The City University of New York

Annual Staten Island
Borough Hearing
The College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314
Center for the Arts – Recital Hall
The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York welcomes testimony and statements from concerned individuals about University issues.


Since 2008, I have been 1 of 5 students on a CUNY-wide taskforce of 12 to create this policy, which includes CUNY’s General Counsel staff, the Council of Presidents, Student Development personnel, faculty and staff researchers, and Public Safety.

Clear language about mandatory education is the most important component of the policy; without it, the implementation will be just as ineffective as the CUNY-wide sexual-harassment policy, which is one of the strongest on paper. Currently, the harassment education involves a 10-minute online quiz a student takes once during freshman orientation (during their entire college education). The student can just go back and change the answers if she/he marks an incorrect response. At a recent CUNY college orientation about sexual harassment, the education involved a true/false quiz, and the faculty member giving the orientation used inappropriate, victim-blaming language. Obviously, the lack of concrete language in the CUNY-wide harassment policy resulted in colleges not enforcing the mandatory education component.

I appreciate the legal concerns involved with making provision for anonymous reporting, but the best sexual-assault policies, in different types of institutions across the country, offer anonymous reporting to alleged victims. For instance, the military has been successfully using anonymous reporting to mitigate the potential fear and shame attendant upon reporting sexual assaults. As you may already know, most college campuses have historically under-reported incidents of sexual assault. Recent estimates suggest that 90% of sexual assault go unreported to law enforcement officials, a situation that further ostracizes victims.

*elected officials such as Congresswoman Maloney, NYS State Senator Liz Krueger, and Assemblymember and chair to the Higher Ed Committee Deborah Glickstein, and organizations like NOW, Feminist Majority, etc.

**These are the two key issues we have been adamant about from the beginning. In fact, I was one of two students who started this whole process in 2008 by approaching CUNY Central, and my interest began in wanting to have mandatory prevention education on campus.

We are happy to meet with ANYONE appropriate to discuss why these issues are so important and to answer any questions/concerns.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED: National Young Feminist Leadership Conference!

Hi everyone,

Quick conference update - your campus team is hard at work putting together what promises to be a fabulous 6th Annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference! We've got a great lineup of some wonderful speakers announced that we wanted to share with you all:
  • Eleanor Smeal, President, Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor, Ms. magazine
  • Jehmu Greene, President, Women's Media Center
  • Jane Campbell, former Mayor of Cleveland and Chief of Staff, Office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Andrea Camp, Executive Director, US Congress Joint Economic Committee
  • Latifa Lyles, Deputy Director, US Department of Labor Women's Bureau
  • June Zeitlin, Director, CEDAW Education Project
  • Heidi Williamson, National Policy Coordinator, SisterSong Women of Color Health Collective
  • Shelby Knox, feminist organizer
  • And much, much more! Check out our schedule online for more info!
Will we see you there? There's still a little over a week left to register - check out our conference website and register today so you don't miss out! Questions? Call 703-522-2214 and ask for a Campus Organizer! See you in a few weeks!

Friday, March 5, 2010

What is S-E-X?

Just think back to when you first learned what sex was. Maybe it was in school, maybe it was from your friends, or maybe it was from an awkward talk with your parents, or maybe it was not at all. There are multiple sources of information about what sex is but is one of them right?

The Kinsey Institute has come out with another shocking study. Along with the University of Indiana, they interviewed 282 women and 204 men from ages 18 to 96 about what they considered to be "sex". The results were not as consistent as you would expect:

81% thought anal sex was sex
71% thought oral sex as sex
95% thought penile-vaginal intercourse was sex
89% thought p-v intercourse was sex if the male ejaculates

One odd statistic was that only 77% of men over the age of 65 considered p-v intercourse "sex".
So what do they consider sex??

I found these numbers interesting because it proves there is no solid definition of "sex". I've always been taught (mostly by my peers) that penis in vagina or anus is sex and everything leading up to it is foreplay. A common analogy used is running the bases. There are variations of the equivalents of the bases but for me: first base was making out, second was above the waist touching, third was below the waist touching, and home was penis in vagina SEX. Each time you "hooked up" with someone, you could go through the bases but as long as there was no genital coitus, you were still pure.

Looking back, there are problems with this analogy. First of all, it is extremely heteronormative. In a male-male sexual interaction, there are no breasts involved so second base is out, there is no vagina so there is no genital coitus but two men can have anal sex which was beyond home base (at least in my teenaged mind). With two females in this analogy, they get stuck at third when there is no penis. So does that mean they can't have sex?

Besides first base, there is some nudity involved. Some people believe that whenever you're naked with someone that is considered sex. In younger generations, this belief is not as wide spread. We're living in a hook-up culture where nudity does not mean intimacy and foreplay does not always come before sex. Oral sex is not about intimacy but rather a step below sex. For a lot of people, especially those claiming abstinance, oral sex and anal sex are not considered SEX. (Note the word sex in the title??) As long as there has been no penis in the vagina, your virginity is intact.

So for some people sex is intimacy, for many penile-vaginal intercourse, for others only if there is a chance at getting prengnant, and for some any genital coitus. The problem is not so much what sex is, but how to educate people about it. If there is no consensus over what it means, there can often be miscommunication. When talking about STIs, people need to know that whenever genitals are touched there is a risk of contamination. This includes, but is not limited to, penile-vaginal intercourse, giving and receiving oral sex, and anal sex. Being a "virgin" does not protect you and neither does abstaining from "sex". So don't be stupid, if you're intimate with someone or not, if you are touching their gentials USE PROTECTION!!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Join Us For A Very Special International Women's Day Webinar!

Did you know that 1 woman dies every minute of everyday due to complications with pregnancy and childbirth? Did you know that 99% of maternal deaths take place in the developing world? Did you know that maternal mortality is the leading cause of death for girls between the ages of 15-19 in poorer countries?

Reading these statistics places a hugely different perspective on the issue of maternal mortality and morbidity around the world. When we hear these numbers, we generally imagine rural women from central Africa or from south Asia. Rarely do we picture that these women are also young teens forced into adulthood faster than they can recite lyrics from a famous poem or learn parts of the human anatomy.

These young women find themselves trapped in the shadows of a, often times, broken society struggling to survive in the midst of a suffering economy, lack basic living necessities, a healthcare system in disarray, limited to no access to an education, and a continuation of traditional and cultural practices that greatly impact the health and well-being of mostly women and girls.

In previous posts from this year's January and February eZine issues, Val and I discussed the urgency for the U.S. to do its part in the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity in the developing world, and holding itself and other donor countries accountable for fulfilling the promises made at the Cairo Conference of 1994 and the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goal #5 (MDGs).

That is why in commemorating March 8, International Women's Day, the FMF team is calling for young feminists across the country to join in on a very special FREE webinar to learn about this crisis affecting half the world's population and how YOU can help save the lives of millions of young women and girls across the globe.

At 7:00pm EST, you will have the opportunity to listen and dialogue with Feminist Majority Foundation President, Eleanor Smeal, our Global Programs Coordinator, Anushay Hossain, and me, your friendly National Campus Organizer. Please don't miss out on a wonderful discussion!

We have limited reserved spaces and we encourage you to RSVP as soon as possible! Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity!

For more information, go to our website at or contact your campus organizer at 1-866-444-3652 or

Also, if you think you would benefit greatly from conversations like this one, then you'll want to take part in our upcoming National Young Feminist Leadership Conference on March 20 -21, hosted by the University of the District of Columbia in Washington D.C. Come and network with hundreds of young feminists across the country and notable speakers that range from heads of progressive women's organizations to members of Congress.

Get informed, get energized, GET ACTIVE!!!

Happy Women's History Month and International Women's Day!!!

This article was featured in our March 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

Case in point: CPC resolution at U of Maryland

Anton Medvedev (far left, pun intended), a student government legislator at the University of Maryland College Park and former FMF intern, recently passed an SGA resolution requiring any crisis pregnancy centers advertising on campus to state they don't provide birth control or abortion.

This is a great example of how you can create a campus more hospitable to choice and women's rights. We encourage everyone fighting CPCs to keep up the great work - efforts like this are critical for sustaining a vocal pro-choice majority.

If you're concerned like we are about anti-abortion group targeting college campuses, work with your student senators to pass a bill like Anton's in the student government. The passage of this resolution also highlights the importance of having feminists in student government!

Below is the resolution, for your reading pleasure. If you're interested in introducing a similar bill on your campus or want to contact Anton, email us at


A Resolution Regarding Crisis Pregnancy Centers Advertising on Campus

F 09-11-28B

1. Whereas the SGA advocates for the safety and well being of the student body; and,

2. WHEREAS, most CPCs in the United States are not medical clinics. They are primarily staffed by volunteers who have no medical training; and,

3. WHEREAS, females on our campus and in our community deserve neutral, comprehensive and accurate medical information about abortion and birth control; and,

4. WHEREAS, the University Health Center does not refer campus community members to “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” (CPCs) and only refers to legitimate clinics; and,

5. WHEREAS, the Diamondback newspaper displays advertisements for CPCs in print and online.

6. WHEREAS, these advertisements direct women to sources that may provide false information about birth control and abortion.

7. WHEREAS, CPCs, use deceptive names and locate near legitimate women’s health centers, in an attempt to intimidate and coerce females out of considering abortion as an option; and,

8. WHEREAS, Congressional Investigators found the vast majority of CPCs provide false or misleading information about the health effects of abortion and often grossly misrepresent and distort the medical risks of abortion, telling women that having an abortion could increase the risk of breast cancer, result in sterility, and lead to suicide and “post-abortion stress disorder” – a condition that is not recognized by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association; and,

9. WHEREAS, Baltimore City requires CPCs to post signs disclosing that they do not offer referrals for or information about abortion and contraception; and,

10. WHEREAS, Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake considers this move a "step towards making sure that women have the information they need to make the right decision for their health and their future;" and,

11. WHEREAS, Montgomery County is currently considering a “truth in advertising” bill that would required CPCs to disclose their non-clinic and/or non-referral status;

12. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SGA strongly recommends all current and future CPC advertisements distributed by the Diamondback and other sources to the campus community come with a disclosure warning about CPC’s non-clinic and/or non-referral status.

Sponsor: Anton Medvedev, Outlying Commuter
Committee: Public Affairs

Vote: In Favor _____ Opposed _____ Abstentions _____

Therefore, the bill: PASSES FAILS

Speaker: ___________________________
Kelley Chubb

President: ___________________________
Steven Glickman

This article was featured in our March 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.

The Radical Act of "Writing Women into History"

Women's History Month presents an opportunity to us all to change a historical narrative that places women at the margins of society, and by doing so, change the world.

As the great feminist historian Gerda Lerner once wrote, "What we do about history matters. The often repeated saying that those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them has a lot of truth in it. But what are 'the lessons of history'? The very attempt at definition furnishes ground for new conflicts. History is not a recipe book; past events are never replicated in the present in quite the same way. Historical events are infinitely variable and their interpretations are a constantly shifting process. There are no certainties to be found in the past." History cannot provide us with all the answers, but it can shape our understanding of both our past and present.

Women's History Month was created thanks to the activism and lobbying of the National Women's History Project (NWHP) and feminists around the country. In 1980, the year NWHP was formed, women made up just 3% of the content in history textbooks, and many children (and adults) assumed the absence of women in history meant that women just didn't do anything. Howard Zinn, the recently deceased historian and activist, wrote in A People's History of the United States that, "It is possible, reading standard histories, to forget half the population of the country. The explorers were men, the landholders and merchants men, the political leaders men, the military figures men. The very invisibility of women, the overlooking of women, is a sign of their submerged status."

Every year Women's History Month has an official theme, and the theme this year is "Writing Women Back into History," which could not be more appropriate. Women's History Month is not about fun facts or random lists of female trailblazers (though I enjoy learning about things like that). It is about changing the way Americans view their society and reshaping our historical narrative. As a kid I remember learning about Betsy Ross, Clara Barton, and Molly Pitcher, held up almost as exceptions to the rule, the women who actually did something. If we want to truly recognize the contributions of women, we need to totally subvert the way we study history. We need to consider not just the history of the rulers and military heroes, but that of the mothers, wives, laborers, slaves, rebels, and ordinary people whose lives were average but real. There is so much to learn from social history. That is not to say we should stop seeking out the stories of extraordinary women (my life has been made so much richer by learning about women like Ella Baker, Emma Goldman, Dolores Huerta, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Fannie Lou Hamer), but that to truly be radical feminist historians, we need to discover the stories of the forgotten and pushed aside.

Women's history is the people's history--learn it, share it, and use as a tool to change the world.

This article was featured in our March 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine.