Has Chris Brown Really Changed?

On Sunday, Chris Brown performed at a tribute to Michael Jackson during the 2010 BET Awards. Chris Brown broke down in tears during the song, and many are speculating that the performance was simply a publicity move to jump start Chris Brown’s faltering career. You can see a video clip of Chris Brown’s performance, as well as some of the media commentary on it, over at Newsy.

Feminists For Choice reader Kat e-mailed me earlier this week to express her opinion about Chris Brown’s tears. In Kat’s opinion, once a beater, always a beater. I tend to agree.

For those who don’t know the back story, Chris Brown fell from grace when he savagely beat up his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, in the Fall of 2008. Rihanna was beaten to the point that her face was unrecognizable, but she took Brown back after he apologized. Rihanna ultimately decided to leave Chris Brown, and she has spoken up about domestic violence during an interview with Diane Sawyer, as well as in an interview with Glamour. Chris Brown has given his own contrite media interviews on Good Morning America and Larry King Live.

The whole Chris Brown/Rihanna situation makes me wonder if domestic abusers can honestly ever change. [Read more...]

Judith Butler Protests Homonationalism

Feminist theory icon, Judith Butler caused a scene a Berlin Pride in Germany last week by refusing to accept their “Courage” award and calling the organizers out for being associated with Homonationalist movements/sympathizers. You can watch the speech here (she’s speaking in German, so you’ve got to read the subtitles). When a friend posted this link on facebook I had to read it for two reasons, the same reasons I share it with you… [Read more...]

Medical Student Advocates for Full Reproductive Health Care Access

Feminist Conversations is a weekly series, where we spotlight feminist activists from across the country. This week we are spotlighting Natasha Bhuyan, a medical student at the University of Arizona. Natasha recently received a 2010 leadership award from the American Medical Association. The award was given, in part, for Bhuyan’s efforts to expand the Medical Students at Planned Parenthood program to three Planned Parenthood locations in Phoenix, Arizona, giving students the opportunity to learn about the full spectrum of reproductive health care. Natasha is a member of the U of A chapter of Medical Students for Choice. Natasha took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Feminists For Choice about what drives her activism.

When did you decide that you wanted to become a doctor? And what influenced your decision?
It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment I knew I wanted to be a physician. Entering medicine for me was a culmination of my life experiences, values and the people I met. I volunteered at hospice when I was younger, and I still remember wheeling one patient to the patio weekly and chatting about musical instruments and home decor. On his good days, he could recite quotes from ancient religious scriptures and European cinema. On his bad days, blood would pour from his gums, preventing him from eating. He didn’t want to talk about his health, so I didn’t ask. One day, we engaged in a conversation about where we would donate a millions dollars. He chose the American Red Cross since he couldn’t donate blood. “Why not?” I asked. “Because I have AIDS,” he replied. He opened up to me about the disease, and I listened carefully. Growing up in the 90s, I was inundated with information about AIDS and the global pandemic. I heard all the facts and watched documentaries. However, to sit and talk to someone who lived with AIDS was a different reality that pages and television cannot convey. [Read more...]

Would You Vajazzle Your Vagina?

Brazilian waxes have been kicked up a notch. One of the latest trends for sprucing up the nether regions is called “vajazzling.” Ladies put little jewels on their naughty bits after they get waxed. It’s so hawt, even celebs like Jennifer Love Hewitt are getting their vaginas vajazzled.

Here’s a cute explanation of vajazzling from Lizzy the Lezzy.

Me personally – I’m not opposed to the Brazilian wax (even though it hurts like a mofo), but I worry about little bits of glitter getting stuck up in my vagina and giving me an infection. Apparently, that’s not the biggest health risk associated with vajazzling. The true health risk is that the adhesive used to glue the crystals on your cooter can trap bacteria, which is the true risk for infection.

What’s your take? Would you vajazzle your vagina?

Friday News Roundup

Steinem criticizes Palin for using feminist brand. Los Angeles Times.

What It’s Like to Suffer a Miscarriage. Alternet.

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe. PBS.

How Christian Moralizing Drives Kids to Dangerous Sex. Alternet.

Texas GOP says homosexuals should not have custody of children. Spread the word. HRC.

Why Must a Pap Smear Be So Awkward?

Pap smear. The very phrase can make a vagina break out in a cold sweat. It’s not that a pap smear is the worst thing that could happen to a vagina, but it’s certainly not the most pleasant, either.

First of all, there’s the paper gown with the gap in front. It’s hard to call that couture. But then insult is added to injury when the paper sheet comes out so that you can cover yourself from the waste down. Hey – if someone is going to be all up in my vagina, I want to see what they’re doing.

Second, I hate scooting to the end of the table. “Just a little closer. You’re not quite there yet.” It always feels like I’m ready to fall off of the table, but the doctor is always telling me, “just a bit more.” There has to be a less awkward way of doing the pap smear, one that doesn’t require me to confront my fear of falling.

Then there’s the stirrups. My doctor politely covers the stirrups with oven mitts so that patients don’t have to touch cold metal. But there’s still something a little off-putting where oven mitts and my vagina are concerned. I’m not a cake coming out of an oven. Do we have to use the stirrups?

Last, but not least, is the dreaded speculum – those metal pliers that look like duck lips. They spread your labia apart so that the doctor can get a real good luck up inside your vagina. But is a speculum really necessary? [Read more...]

Gloria Steinem with Katie Couric & Stephen Colbert

Gloria Steinem is on a whirlwind media blitz this week. Here she is talking to Stephen Colbert. Gloria Steinem has some pretty compelling reasons why men need to be more involved with their families: better health, longer life, and better sex. Do you really need a better incentive?

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Gloria Steinem
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

Katie Couric asked Gloria Steinem to respond to Sarah Palin’s use of the term feminist. Steinem clearly calls out Sarah Palin and others by try to coop the feminist label by saying that you have to promote women’s rights if you want to be a feminist.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

For more Gloria Steinem awesomeness, check out this post over at The Abortion Gang.

Should Birth Control Be Available Over the Counter?

The birth control pill recently celebrated its 50th birthday. A recent article in the New York Times marked that anniversary by deliberating the possibility of birth control being made available over the counter.

The pill remains part of the solution, but its usefulness has been limited because it’s available only by prescription. As every woman who has run out of pills on a Sunday or forgotten to take them along on vacation knows, refills are not always easy to come by.

What’s more, the difficulties involved in obtaining a pill prescription, especially for women without access to a doctor, can cause gaps in contraceptive use. And the birth control methods that are available without prescription — condoms, spermicide and the sponge — have higher failure rates than the pill.

[Read more...]

It’s About Losing Constraints: Why I’m a Feminist Activist

Feminist Conversations is a new feature at Feminists For Choice. We’re interviewing feminist activists to find out what they’re up to in their neck of the woods. Today the spotlight is on Malinda Briggs, a pro-choice advocate from Tucson, Arizona. Malinda graduated from the U of A with a BA in English and writing, and from the University of Montana with an MFA in Creative Writing. She worked in advertising and direct mail for over thirty years. Music has played an important part in Malinda’s life: her minor was in voice, and I she has sung in various choirs, and “in the day,” she used to play guitar and sing. Malinda has been a role model for me, personally, as I have gotten more involved with my local Planned Parenthood chapter. It was a pleasure to meet up with her to talk about what feminist activism means to her.

When did I first call myself a feminist, and what influenced that decision?
When I was a girl I watched the Dick van Dyke Show, The Desi and Lucy Show, the Lone Ranger and later, Bonanza. In the family comedy shows the wives had to rummage through their husband’s pants pockets to take extra cash. After they spent the money (always on a hat or dress) they had to sneak the purchase into the house and pretend that it wasn’t new. I didn’t really know why, but even at the young age I hated that idea. In the westerns I watched the woman didn’t do much but scream during emergencies, and of course, once the main character fell in love with her she was killed in a run-away buckboard accident or died of some disease. Well, that didn’t seem like fun either.

Then, when I was in high school (about 1963), I read a magazine article by Betty Friedan and did a report on it. That was an “aha” moment for me. After I read the Friedan article I became sensitized to the roles and status of women around me. Women who divorced were stigmatized and dependent on alimony. I was interested in architecture but it was steered toward teaching. Strangely, I under-rated the rewards of teaching because I didn’t want to do what women were “supposed to do”. When I was in high school I knew women who worked and women who were strictly homemakers and mothers. At that stage in my life, working seemed far more interesting to me and I wanted the freedom that having my own income would provide. [Read more...]

TGIF Round Up

There’s so been much happening on the interwebs this week!  Here are some links to help keep you busy while you clock watch on a Friday.

Debunking Professional Feminism – Abortion Gang
Abortion & Regrets: The Remorse Cuts Both Ways – Politics Daily
A Doctor Tells Why She Performs Abortions – Health Affairs
Why Some Women Candidates Just Aren’t Feminists – Calbuzz