Feminist Conversations is a weekly column at Feminists For Choice. We spotlight pro-choice activists from across the interwebs to find out what feminism means to them. Today we’re talking to Sobdee X, the founder of ProChoiceThankYous.com. Born and raised in Bronx, New York, Sobdee, is a recent graduate of Tufts University and an active volunteer with Planned Parenthood New York City.
1. When did you start the Pro-Choice Thank You Notes website, and what was your inspiration?
I started ProChoiceThankYous.com after reading a New York Times Article titled, “The New Abortion Providers.” The article profiled several abortion providers that are actively working to encourage medical schools to offer abortion training and large hospitals to provide abortions. Right now, small private clinics provide a majority of abortion services—making them an easy target for anti-choice protestors.
I was reading the article and just felt so overwhelmed and so thankful for their efforts. I realized, without these doctors, none of my activism matters. It doesn’t matter whether it’s legal or accessible or affordable if there are no doctors willing to literally risk their lives to help women that need it. I cried after reading it and I just keep thinking to myself, How can I support these doctors’ efforts?
And then one day it came to me, I’ll just write them a nice note like I do to my grandmother after she sends me a birthday gift or an employer after an interview. And then I decided to turn it into a movement, to encourage pro-choice women and men to show their gratitude and support of abortion providers, activists and supporters, to combat the endless negativity anti-choice activists spew.
And ProChoiceThankYous.com was born.
2. What has the response been like so far?
The response has been absolutely astounding. Right after starting the blog, I created a corresponding twitter (twitter.com/iloveabortion) and tumblr (iloveabortion.tumblr.com), and I immediately gained a number of followers. This is thanks in no small part to some more-established pro-choice groups out there on the internet that have embraced my blog and been so helpful in publicizing my work and helping my site grow.
I receive at least one thank you note per week, addressed to me, from supporters and readers thanking me for my site and for spreading positivity instead of more negativity. At first, I had to ask my friends to submit just so that I had content, but I have been receiving a steady stream of unsolicited thank you notes and it’s very exciting, watching this little thing I created get bigger and more successful. My site has gotten several thousand hits since its founding ten weeks ago thanks to the powers of the internet and I’m very optimistic for the future.
3. What are your goals for the site?
I call my site a movement because that’s I want it to be. I want to encourage everyone I know to get involved in what I call “low-impact activism.” I tell my friends, when encouraging them to submit: If you can’t find the time to phonebank, if you can’t make it to Albany to march, if you can’t give up your Saturday to escort, just write a letter. Write a note. Write a really simple, short sincere thank you to someone that supports this issue and encourage them to continue because without their efforts, without their support, we would be nowhere.
So, I really just want my site to get to a point where I’m getting submissions on a regular basis, just as evidence that there are people out there that care as much I do and that understand how vital access to reproductive services is to this country and are doing something about it.
I want my site to exist as a living monument to the brave, amazing, selfless, wonderful people—congresspersons, doctors, parents, friends, husbands, nurses—that help make abortion a reality in this world.
4. What does it me to you to be pro-choice?
It’s about having control over your own life, and your own body and your own future.
That’s all abortion is about. It’s not about babies or murder or Satan or being innately evil or being slutty. It’s about having control over your body and your life. My pro-choice is about abortion. It’s also about adoption. It’s about sex education. It’s about contraception. It’s about abstinence if that’s what you want to do. It’s about marriage and families. It’s about valuing women and young girls for something besides their uteruses. It’s about our future as a country.
It’s about freeing women from their biology and allowing them to be selfish. Because we should have the right to pick ourselves if we choose.
5. When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced your decision?
I’m not sure. I’ve always known I wasn’t like “other girls.” I wasn’t like the girls that lost their virginities when they were 12. I wasn’t like the girls that wore bikinis. I wasn’t like the girls that laughed at unfunny jokes and wore the same Tiffany & Co. necklaces. (No offense to them, because some of those girls are my best friends) I was the girl that wanted to say what I wanted, that wanted to do what I wanted – and that didn’t include grinding in the basements of frat parties.
I want to live my life the way I choose. I want to be loud, I want to be obnoxious, I want to be hypocritical, I want to be smart, I want to be thin, I want to be tattooed, I want large breasts, I want to wear suits on weekdays and mini-skirts on weekends. I want to get drunk and I want to fall in love and I want to hire a housekeeper and a nanny and a cook because I don’t do any of those things.
My fellow feminists were the only women (and a few men) that really understood what it was like for me to feel like I was made out of contradictions. They were the only ones that made me realize it was okay—or even that it was better—to be me.
I don’t remember when I became feminist. I don’t know when I found the word but I fully embrace it now and it’s pretty the only label for me that’ll stick.
6. What does feminism mean to you?
I am pro-choice in everything. I call myself a “choice feminist” because I believe that women (and men) should be allowed to do whatever they want to do. To me, feminism isn’t about conforming to anyone’s ideal of what a woman is or should be or should do. It’s about the freedom of being yourself— the freedom of being a woman and not “being” a “woman”.
Feminism to me, means you don’t have to try to act your sex. You can just live.
Be sure to check out ProchoiceThankYous and leave a thank you note for an abortion provider, clinic escort, or pro-choice activist how has made a difference in your life!