Friday News Roundup

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The Feministing Five: Rachel Maddow. Feministing.

Arizona Ruling May Drastically Decrease Access to Abortion in the State. RH Reality Check.

What Happened When I Yelled Back at the “Christians” calling my Wife a Murderer. The Good Men Project.

13 Celebs Who Said ‘No Way’ to Playboy. The Frisky.

Feminist Promotes a Luscious Lifestyle…delicious!

Feminist Conversations is a weekly series here at Feminists For Choice. We spotlight feminists from across the interwebs to find out what feminism means to them. Today we’re talking with Yolanda Shoshana (“Shoshi”). Yolanda is a multi-platform media personality: courtesan coach™, lifestyle guru, wedding officiant, columnist, televison/radio host and speaker known as the “Luscious Lifestyle Diva.” Her talents and expertise span in a wide range of specialties in the lifestyle category where she started a company for women which she calls a “lifestyle philosophy” that brings back the virtues of the courtesans while swirling sensuality, sexuality, spirituality, and the art of seduction. Check her out at

1.  When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced that

I started to call myself a feminist after a few events got me to think about what a feminist is as I define it. I was invited to a few Jewish feminists groups who were doing a study on feminists in their 20s and 30s which was food for thought. Then I was asked to write a paper about Jewish feminists and conflicts with women of color. Since I am both (of color and Jewish), it was where I asked myself questions about what being a feminist is to me.

Through reading and conversations, it was then that I started to embrace the word. Before the events and paper, I did not want to be labeled a feminist due to not wanting to be put in a particular box.

2.  What does feminism mean to you?
For me feminism is about a woman being able to live the life she desires, without apologizing for it. It means that a woman can choose to be a CEO and a mother, choose to never marry, a woman who does not have children by choice, a stay at home mom, and the list goes on. It means that a woman fully co-creates her life on purpose.

3.  How do you see your work connecting to the feminist movement.

My work is all about helping women be bigger, bolder, and better as they leave a good enough life behind. I assist women as they go for their IT. When a woman goes for what she wants, not only is she empowered, but she is unstoppable.

4.  When you’re not busy promoting the luscious lifestyle, what are some of
your favorite ways to take care of yourself?

I love to meditate and write. I also have a thing for watching really bad movies on Netflix on demand; it’s my favorite guilty pleasure. Last but not least I do intenSati to keep me focused and on top of my game.

The Myth of Mom

Police: Pa. Mom Killed Her Babies, Kept Bones in Closet

(Oct. 26) — A Pennsylvania woman secretly gave birth to at least four babies, killed the newborns to hide an extramarital affair and hid their remains in a closet, authorities say.
(Mara Gay, AOL News, Oct 26)

This isn’t the kind of news anyone, including me, wants to see on a pro-choice website. This isn’t the kind of news anyone wants to see anywhere. It’s bad enough that opponents of choice have claimed the rhetorical high ground by dubbing themselves “Pro-Life.” (Which on its face and drained of its ideological juice is about as controversial as being “Pro-Peace” or “Pro-Love.”)

And let’s not forget that slogan: “Abortion is murder.” Pretty darn effective at stifling debate. It’s black and white, little room for wiggling. And even if there were, arguments about fetal viability and the rights of the mother are bound to sound a bit hollow when stacked against the ponderous moral weight of “murder.” It’s one of those commandments, and all …

The risk of mentioning a case like this is that the anti-choice camp will draw a moral equivalent between these particular crimes committed by this particular woman and the termination of any pregnancy by any “unnatural” means. (I’d like to believe that most anti-choicers wouldn’t blame a woman for her own miscarriage, but with recent arrests and legislation they’re not making it easy.)

But the risk is worth taking if it means chipping the tiniest chink in the fantastical ideal of motherhood that permeates our culture. It’d be hard to argue that this woman was “born” to be a mother. Or that her actions were “natural.” Of course, the same could be said of Medea, the figure depicted above. But could anyone truly argue that these women were neither nor both?

Respecting women—and a woman’s right to choose—means accepting that women are neither good or evil or any other simple all-inclusive classification. We are united by gender. But we each are our own individual with our own life and eccentricities. The more we remember this, the better off we’ll all be.

Gloria Feldt Tells Women to Embrace Their Power

Have you ever wondered why women still earn 78 cents for every $1 a man makes? Do you wonder why women still only make up 18% of the corporate boardrooms, even though we make 85% of consumer spending decisions in the United States? Or do you want to know why women only make up 17% of elected positions in the US, even though we’re twice as likely to vote as men?

Gloria Feldt has some surprising answers in her new book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. In No Excuses, Feldt argues that no one is holding women back but themselves. Just think about that statement for a minute. No one is stopping women from claiming positions of leadership. We can vote. We can run for office. We can start our own companies. No one is telling us, “no.” But even though there are 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, women are still hesitant to embrace their power.

No Excuses provides some interesting research to back up Gloria Feldt’s claims, and there are inspiring interviews with women from across the country who share their stories of embracing their power. In fact, Gloria offers women tools for taking practical steps in their lives to embrace that power. She calls them the “power tools,” and she has been going even more in depth each week on her 9 Ways Blog.

I love the power tools in No Excuses. Instead of pointing the finger at this or that problem, Gloria provides practical solutions. One of my favorite tools is “Use What You’ve Got.” We all have strengths that we can employ to equalize our lives. Take me for example. I love to write, I am comfortable talking to people, I can research and assimilate information into a coherent argument, I tell a good joke, and I love to cook. All of these are skills that can be employed to make a difference. (I included cooking on the list because people have a harder time telling me “no” when I’m offering them a cupcake.) [Read more...]

Body Hate and Television: Marie Claire Blogger Gets Nasty About Overweight Actors

Marie Claire is a traditional women’s magazine, so I know we shouldn’t expect much in the way of quality journalism, but a recent post by blogger Maura Kelly incited the proverbial shit-storm on Marie Claire’s Facebook page and blog.

Hundreds of commenters were appalled at the language and insensitivity that Kelly calls “writing style.” Her post was about one of the most serious issues in the country: obesity.

The post, entitled “Should fatties get a room? (Even on TV),” was posted to Kelly’s blog, A Year of Living Flirtatiously. This blog details Kelly’s year long search for love. The blog is filled with the standard relationship advice and “how to please your man” pieces, in the vein of Cosmopolitan.

This particular post, though, was written in response to an editor’s question about whether or not people would be “uncomfortable” seeing overweight people “making out on television.” Whoever this editor is, she must not live in America, considering that over 60% of us are either obese or overweight.

What’s more shocking is Kelly’s blatant fat-shaming. She says that she is “grossed out” by seeing obese people kissing on screen, and even continued to say that it is “aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

Grow up, chick. Every person on earth has been (at one point or another) complete dissatisfied with their bodies. Including YOU. Kelly’s bio includes that she is a recovering anorexic, which fully explains why she wrote the post. [Read more...]

Anti-Choice Extremists Circulate “Wanted” Posters in North Carolina

Late last week, anti-abortion extremists distributed “Wanted” posters for three abortion providers in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. As Rachel Maddow noted on her show, the information on the posters is “very specific,” and includes pictures, office addresses, and the home address of one doctor.

[Read more...]

Tonight: Watch Rachel Maddow Narrate “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” On MSNBC

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Tonight, MSNBC will air an hour long documentary about last year’s slaying of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

As I’m sure you remember, Scott Roeder walked into Dr. Tiller’s house of worship and shot him in cold blood, claiming that it was to protect the lives of unborn children. The documentary will feature never before seen footage of Roeder and people close to him, including his ex-wife Lindsey, who will detail his spiral from anti-abortion advocate to murderer.

“The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” will also include interviews with nurses in Tiller’s clinic, and most importantly, the singling out of Operation Rescue as an inciting force in Tiller’s murder. If you read Feminists For Choice often, you’ve probably seen the blogs about Operation Rescue leadership – Randall Terry, Cheryl Sullenger (who has unique ties to Scott Roeder and the murder of Dr. Tiller), and others. I urge you to read up on these posts before you watch this documentary.

Check out this trailer of the documentary from The Maddow Blog. After the show has aired, please come back and leave your thoughts and comments on this thread. We’d love to have a good discussion about the documentary and the case.

Most importantly, though, we’d love to have a discussion about the rampant harm that Operation Rescue is causing. This quote, from Shelly Sella, one of Dr. Tiller’s fellow doctors, sums up exactly why we need to have discussion about these groups and their hate-filled rhetoric:

“The anti-abortionists who don’t carry guns definitely incite the ones who do,”


Telemedicine for Abortion Pills

Abortion opponents are pushing the Iowa Board of Medicine to look into the legitimacy of using telemedicine to administer abortion pills. Telemedicine allows patients and doctors to meet through video-conferencing and allows doctors to press a computer button to release the pills at clinics miles away from the doctor’s location. The patient takes the medication while the doctor supervises. In rural areas where abortions are not easily accessible, telemedicine is helping women access health care more easily.

The Des Moines Register reported Saturday why the opponents were upset. They argue that video-conferencing violates the state law requiring a doctor perform all abortions. In Iowa, many individuals use Telemedicine to attain medications. However, telemedicine has only been debated in regards to the abortion pill. So, the problem is not with telemedicine, because it is acceptable in all other situations besides administering the abortion pill. The problem is the opponent’s discomfort with abortions. Any practice that makes abortions accessible will anger anti-abortion activists until abortions are recognized with the same equality as other medical practices.

The Board is reviewing the issue and releasing an update on a telemedicine study in December.

Where Are All the Progressive Women Candidates?

I just got back from doing a neighborhood canvas with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. We were knocking on doors for one of PPAA’s endorsed candidates, David Schapira. Schapira is running against a woman named Wendy Rogers. Rogers is rabidly anti-choice. She thinks abortion should be illegal in all instances, even in cases where the woman’s life is at stake. And she even opposes pay equity for women. I just have to ask myself: WTF?!?

I have been phone banking, blogging, and now door knocking for pro-choice candidates this election season, and all of those candidates have been men. Yes, there are pro-choice women running. But the vast majority of pro-choice candidates that have been in endorsed by PPAA are men.

Where are all the progressive women, and why aren’t they running for office?

Think of all the Tea Party women that are running for office, and think of the profile that they fit. For the most part, these women all look the same, and they’re willing to advocate policies that go against their own best interests. It kills my soul to campaign for a man. It really does. But I’m not going to let wingnuts in their traveling skirt suits get voted into office if it means they’re vehemently anti-choice. [Read more...]

Defining Feminism: The Political versus The Personal

Palin v Steinem

Since Sarah Palin claimed the label feminist there has been quite an uproar about who can and cannot claim the term and what the term actually means. For feminism to be inclusive and therefore true to its basic goal of fighting for the rights of the underprivileged, it has to have a flexible and malleable definition. It is for this reason that Palin was able to claim the term, and still stand by her opposition to abortion and comprehensive sex education amongst other seemingly un-feminist stances.

This blog, however, makes a brazen statement about feminism in its title alone. It claims that to be feminist is to be pro-choice.  In the dualistic sense this means that if one is pro-life that one cannot be a feminist.  How can feminism be malleable and have a narrow definition?

The conundrum of feminism is that it has a personal and political definition and they are two separate entities.  When a politican claims to be a feminist they are claiming support for a specific set political ideologies.  The personal use of the word has much broader definitions and is used in a social context.
[Read more...]