Films and television shows tend to present a skewed portrayal of abortion—when fictional movies and TV shows include a plotline about abortion, the tale typically paints the procedure as riskier than it is in real life.
That’s the conclusion of the first-ever academic “census” of abortion in pop culture from two reproductive health policy researchers who watched every fictional plotline involving abortion they could find in American TV shows and films.
Welcome to Ms. Opinionated, our weekly advice column dealing with questions of life, love, feminism, and pop culture. This week, a reader writes in with one of feminism's most enduring conundrums: How can men help the feminist movement?
Dear Ms. Opinionated,
I'm a guy, and I've developed quite an interest in feminism over the last few months. While I know that there is a systematic laziness to portray women as individuals, I find it's a difficult subject to talk about with people. When I mention things like the Bechdel Test and how most movies fail it I have a tendancy to tiptoe around the issue, because it feels like bringing it up is somehow rude. It even sounds shameful/embarassing for me to say "I'm a feminist", so I say "I've been learning about feminism" as if to separate myself from it. What advice do you have for men who want to help the feminist movement?
In August, a doctor in Toronto received an unexpected email.
It was from a stranger in Maryland, telling the doctor that one of the transgender patients whose care he was overseeing “regularly attacks women on social media who have a lesbian feminist polititical [sic] opinion. That is, he harasses us and establishes fake Twitter accounts to harass us… Query whether this is the kind of experience one must have to ‘live as a woman.’ - you bully other women?”
The clinic supervisor quickly wrote back, “Please be aware that our centre finds this email in violation of ethical practice, our anti-oppression principles, and offensive to trans* persons.”
That email came from Cathy Brennan, an attorney, radical feminist, and lesbian activist who is well known for her beliefs that transgender women should be considered men. In the name of feminism, Brennan has advocated against a UN policy that aims to protect transgender people from discrimination.
Get ready for Maps & Legends! The new issue of Bitch is on its way to subscribers and B-Hive members, and right now you can read some select articles online!
You've already read our interview with living legend Janet Mock and tracked the developing pop-culture landscape of New Zealand. Now you can dig deeper into the new issue with three more articles. In "Black to the Future," Alley Pezanoski-Browne traces how female pop musicians today are carrying on the legacy of past legends of Afrofuturism with a feminist twist. In "What Happened to Home Economics?" Christen McCurdy traces the evolution of home economics—from its 19th-century origins, its proto-feminist plans, to its current manifestations (or lack thereof). Finally, in "Hot Under the Bonnet,"Audrey deCoursey examines mass market "Amish romance" and what they say about its large base of "English" (and Evangelical) women readers.
That's just a sampling of what's inside the new issue. If you've got fear of missing out, subscribe before February 28th, you'll get 20 percent off and we'll include a FREE limited-edition Maps & Legends cover print with your order!
• In November 2012, Florida resident Michael Dunn fatally shot 10 rounds into the car of 17-year-old Jordan Davis and his friends after the teens refused to turn their music down in a parking lot. Dunn's murder trial resulted in a partial verdict over the weekend: the jury deadlocked on whether his killing of Davis was in self-defense, but Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder. [Al Jazeera]
• Ellen Page came out as gay on Friday, giving a moving speech about how she was tired of "lying by omission" and feels a responsibility to push back against movie industry standards about how we should act. [Autostraddle]
What did I miss? Add what you're reading to the comments.
For our mixtape this week, I put together a playlist to facilitate one-person dance parties. I know I'm celebrating Valentine's Day by dancing around my room with the music turned up loud. Pants optional.