Photo: A still from Young Lakota, a documentary about women's activism in South Dakota.
“Every other race of women in this country has access to emergency contraceptives as an over-the-counter, except for native women,” says Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center who is fighting to change that reality. Most press coverage celebrating recent changes to federal law around Plan B have left at least one group behind: Native Americans. That's why Native American activists are still pushing the slow-moving bureaucracy at the Indian Health Service to make Plan B available over-the-counter for women of all ages. And while progress is being made, challenges to accessing emergency contraception remain in Native communities, where high rates of sexual assault make the need particularly dire.
In collaboration with the radio journalists at Making Contact, I put together an audio story about Native women pushing for emergency contraception access. The story will be featured in our podcast coming out later this week, but you can listen to it now or read the transcript below.
• Why are there still so few women in science? One of the first two women to ever receive a physics degree from Yale investigates why there's a persistent gender gap in who gets advanced science degrees. [New York Times]
• Actress Lupita Nyong'o discusses how she dealt with the violence of her role as a slave in the new film 12 Years a Slave. [Colorlines]
Imagine a woman who is actively in labor. Now, imagine her handcuffed. Attached to those handcuffs is a chain that links her wrists to a chain wrapped around her belly. That belly chain is the same weight as a bicycle chain. Attached to her belly chain is yet another chain that attaches to shackles around her feet.
Imagine going to the hospital like that. Now imagine not knowing when those chains will be removed and if they will come off in time to push the baby out.
The Dis/orient/ed Comedy tour has been selling out venues up and down the West Coast and lands in Portland this weekend! There's a lot to be excited about at Dis/orient/Ed: the show features national-touring and local Asian-American female comedians, while also providing space on the roster for other great comics from diverse backgrounds. In the world of mainstream comedy, shows like Dis/orient/ed are a necessary gust of fresh air.
I chatted with co-producer Jenny Yang about how Dis/orient/ed got started and what's so crucial about diversity in comedy.
Lovers: They love most things. From left is Emily Kingan, Kerby Ferris, and Carolyn Berk. Photo via CMJ.
Never was a band so perfectly named as Lovers. As we talked over coffee last week about their new album, A Friend in the World, and upcoming national tour, a fan from England who happened to overhear the coffeeshop conversation stopped by the table to warmly great the artists. That's typical for the Portland electro-pop trio, who compare their performances as community celebrations akin to weddings and say they're far too sincere and loving to be a "cool" band.
Wadjda is the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. But while director Haifaa al-Mansour's grueling effort to make the film is certainly impressive, Wadjda doesn't rest on the accomplishment of being an international first—the film is excellent by any standard. It would be a great film even if it were the fourth film shot in Saudi Arabia or the hundredth.
What's refreshing about the film is it does not try to tell a moral story. Instead, it follows a young girl named Wadjda through her daily life, resulting in an intimate look at the kind of life that's rarely seen.