You'll have to forgive the puns. "Cliteracy," for one: a knowledge of women's bodies and female sexuality. "Phallusy," for another: patriarchal misinformation. At Baang + Burne's booth at Scope NYC (one of the many fairs in New York for Armory Week), artist Sophia Wallace rewrites the language of women's bodies, of female pleasure, of (you guessed it) the clit.
Her immersive installation, Cliteracy, features a wall of "Natural Laws" that dominates the space and its viewers, suspended neon text, and a series of posters that read like dictionary definitions, eye sight tests, or political slogans. Wallace's medium here is all text, whether it illuminates, acts as reference, or forces viewers to squint.
I still haven't read Sara Marcus's book on Riot Grrl, Girls to the Front, but I did bring two friends down to a reading in NYC last night that featured Marcus, poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths, and Rob Sheffield.
Marcus gave the most rock'n'roll reading I've ever heard for what's essentially a history book, though a vibrant, living history book built on having lived through that moment and spent years considering, rolling around in what it might mean. She straddled the mic, propped a foot on a monitor, and sang Kathleen Hanna's lyrics in a voice built for punk bands.
Since we're already piling up the posts about both mothers and
pregnancy, now seems like a good time to issue a call to action on an
issue that doesn't usually come up when we talk about reproductive
rights: home birth.
The 2007 documentary The Business of Being Born
was, for many women (and men) an eye-opening look at the increasing
medicalization of birth in America and a compelling illustration of the
way midwife-assisted home birth can be a powerful alternative to the
standard hosptial delivery. The film—which was produced by home-birth
advocate Ricki Lake—along with books like Jennifer Block's powerful and
well-researched Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern
Maternity Care, brought the subject of home birth out of the fringes
and into the mainstream. Soon enough, home birth was a hot topic in the
pages of the New York Times, Ricki Lake and BoBB director Abby Epstein's book Your Best Birth was published, celebrities like Cindy
Crawford, Demi Moore, and Lisa Bonet were testifying to their own
home-birth experiences, and birthing tubs were flying off the
Internet's virtual shelves.
Hey there all you Brooklyn hipsters! Did you know that the Brooklyn Bridge is not only useful when one wishes to imply quirkiness (I'm talking to you, Gossip Girl), its completion was also overseen by the first ever woman field engineer?
Emily Warren Roebling was born in New York state in 1843, and became the chief engineer on the Brooklyn Bridge by default when her husband, Washington Roebling (the first chief engineer on the project) became ill. Hey, sometimes it takes a man contracting an exotic and fatal illness (Caisson disease, in this case) in order for a talented woman to get an opportunity to do her thing (sorry dudes, but it's true).
Whenever you're feeling down about the grim economy, stop and consider for a moment that your ovaries are tiny goldmines. Over 5,000 American babies each year are born from eggs "donated" to in vitro fertilization clinics or couples -- but in reality, those eggs are rarely donated. Instead, as you've probably gleaned from the backpage ads of alt-weeklies, some families are willing to pay big money for egg donors. The average payment for a US egg donor, according to researcher Harvard researcher Deborah Spar, is $5,000.
But strangely, until now, it has been illegal to pay women who give eggs for research rather than reproduction. This month New York state okayed cutting checks to women who undergo (often difficult) weeks of hormone treatment to donate eggs for stem cell research.
The state expects a backlash and it's getting some from bioethics and religious groups. But the legal change raises the question of whether it's okay to pay women for their eggs at all - and if so, why have different rules for research eggs and babymaking eggs?