Does the history of sterilization have links to modern consent forms? How has forced sterilization intersected, if at all, with the fight for women's right to be voluntarily sterilized? Rebecca M. Kluchin, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of history at California State University, Sacramento, and author of the book Fit to be Tied: Sterilization and Reproductive Rights in America, 1950-1980, was kind enough to answer some questions via email about the history of forced sterilization, the stigma of voluntary sterilization for childfree people, and how the struggles for and against sterilization have differed.
I noticed the book immediately: a colorful, unmistakably travel-esque picture topped with a billboard that evoked both Broadway and freeway diners, staring out from a new display in my much-loved young adult section. But the best part? The display was for LGBTQ fiction.
I hate to overload you with Beyoncé news, but just after I critiqued the Daily Mail op-ed accusing her of looking too white, news broke that Beyoncé donned blackface and pseudo African garb for French glossy L'Officiel. Why did Bey make this enormous misstep? According to reports, she participated in the African-themed photo shoot to pay tribute to Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.
We're trying out a new feature on Sex and the Fat Girl, in which you get to ask me questions about sexuality, body image, etc. and I answer them here, in future posts. So please, let your inhibitions down, get curious, and start asking! Here's the link to the page where you can submit your questions: Ask a Fat Girl. Or, you can use the form below. I think this will be exciting, and I can't wait to get this conversation going.
As you've probably heard by now, the House voted last week to cut federal funding for Title X, which would in turn U.S. bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding. If you're reading Bitch, you probably agree with us that this is a bunch of completely outrageous bullshit. If you haven't already signed the online petition to let the House and Senate know that you stand with Planned Parenthood, do so right now. OK, did you do it? Great! Now let's do more!
Planned Parenthood is also organizing rallies at health centers around the country. A couple of us went to one here in Portland yesterday and it was awesome. Tons of energized people, and some really great rally signs and chants. Check the PP website to find out where they're happening in your area! And in the meantime, let's come up with some signs to make and take with us to these rallies, shall we?
It's taken me more than a decade to come around to Lucinda Williams. When I was in middle school, my dad came suddenly into my room and put a CD in my stereo with no explanation. I set down my alg/trig homework and watched him carefully. He finally said, just before the music started, "Listen to this song, Kate. I've never heard anything so...gripping." And then he sat with his eyes closed until the song was over. And that was the first time I heard Lucinda Williams. I'm not even sure now what the song was, but that's the thing about Williams' music: many of her songs could be the most gripping song my dad (or anyone) has ever heard. I did not agree at the time, but remembered her name in association with her affect on my father. Now, on the event of her 10th studio album being released, I finally get it.
This is the last week to catch the Portland International Film Festival, which the Northwest Film Center has been running since February 10th, screening several films a day in venues around Portland. One of the films on our radar here at Bitch was Pink Saris, a British documentary about a gang of women in Uttar Pradesh, India who wear hot pink saris to demonstrate their revolt against tradition and patriarchy. See the trailer and read what we thought after the jump...
If we're going to talk about voluntary sterilization—or even the simple act of opting to have few or no children—we've got to get everyone on the same historical page. While I tend to take for granted that people understand the history of forced sterilization in the U.S., as well as countries such as China that mandate single-child families as part of population control, it may not be a given that everyone understands the connections between modern eugenics, race/class/ability privilege, reproductive justice, and the struggle for voluntary sterilization. Much as I know loads of folks use it as a jumping off point, skimming the Wikipedia entries for compulsory sterilization and eugenics in the United States only gets you so far.
Somehow I feel like Fox's new sitcom Traffic Light pulled one over on me. This is likely my own fault, because the warning signs were there. Three dude main characters in various stages of romantic entanglements? Check. Jokes made at the expense of the women in their lives? Check. Cohabitation without any mention of domestic responsibilities whatsoever? Check. Yet I still had high hopes that this show was going to be (at least kind of) funny and refreshing and (maybe?) offer a more nuanced portrayal of masculinity and relationships than your typical run-of-the-mill network comedy. Maybe because I recognized some of the actors from The Office? I don't know. Well the joke's on me, because two episodes in I'm not finding much to love about this sexist snoozefest.