Roe v. Wade is More Than a Decision: Life has Recovered its Rights

January 22, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. All month, we’ll be running posts examining various aspects of this landmark ruling. If you’d like to contribute, let us know!

Abortion has existed for centuries, but the right to choose abortion, and therefore enter motherhood voluntarily, has existed for less than a century. In the United States, this right is protected by Roe v. Wade. But followers of certain religious faiths argue that abortion is murder. Nobody is pro-abortion, certainly not feminists who fight for the right to choose and the dignity of women as human beings. To make a choice, we must be able to act knowingly. Freedom is a blessing which builds when reflection and awareness are used as guides. To make the best possible choice, we need to know as much as possible.

Is teaching creationism, negationism, and climate skepticism, and not teaching biology the best way to prepare youth to grow up in this world, enter the workforce, and start a family? Is any effort to make people believe from an early age that they will never be autonomous to make decisions, but at the same time that they are the only rightful people in the world, the proper way to establish a partnership between God and humanity?

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Rio +20: Women + Environment = Empowerment

On June 20-22nd, hundreds of organizations will gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while the Heads of State and Government will meet as part of the United Nations Conference on sustainable Development, Rio +20, to review progress on issues about environment and development. Activists around the world come to attend the discussions, share and exchange ideas, make contacts and promote changes – many focusing on women’s rights and gender equality.

The destruction of the natural resources of the Planet and the exploitation of women are two models of domination with common origins and characteristics. Indeed, the links between anti-science and anti-choice have the same detractors : the Christian fundamentalists who play an important role in anti science thoughts such creationism and climatological skepticism.

Women’s initiatives for a sustainable environment are a source of inspiration for actions in favor of environment and sustainable development. There is a feminist trend of thought which deals with such matters named ecofeminism or social ecofeminism according to  the different points of view. [Read more...]

Book Review: Naked Fashion

My daily wardrobe doesn’t reflect it, but I love fashion. I was one of the thousands that waited semi-patiently for hours to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum last summer, and I subscribe to Vogue primarily to drool over pictures of exquisitely crafted garments. So it was with great interest that I opened Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution – but also no small amount of trepidation. Would I come away feeling guilty about buying the occasional tank top from Old Navy? Would I be depressed by the inhumane working conditions that so many garment factory workers experience every day? Would I be overwhelmed by all the myriad ways that the mainstream fashion industry could make its practices more humane and environmentally responsible, yet fails to?

Well … yes, to varying degrees. But this collection of essays and interviews is also incredibly empowering, presenting a clear-eyed look at both what is wrong with current business practices and what individuals and designers can do to effect positive change. The contributors, including actress Emma Watson and designer Vivienne Westwood, don’t just offer their insights on fashion, but also on the related industries of graphic design, modeling, and advertising to give readers a fascinating look at what really goes into the clothes we buy.
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The Evolution of Menstrual Products

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the phrase, “on the rag?” I know I have. Many of us conjure up images of women in the “olden days” using clumps of rags to absorb their menstrual blood. But is this version of women’s history accurate?  After doing a little Google digging, come to find out . . . it is.

Menstrual Pads
Menstrual pads have been around as long as women have been having periods, although their form has changed drastically over the centuries. We can’t accurately say what women were using in ancient history, since men wrote the history records and they didn’t really give a damn about what women were doing, let alone what women were using during their lady time.

Historically, pads have been made from silk, cotton, wool, animal skins, and even wood pulp. Pads eventually evolved from just being loosely placed on pantaloons to being secured with belts or string. Disposable pads were introduced around the 1920′s, replacing the reusable cloth pads in the name of convenience. But adhesive tape wasn’t added to the bottom of the menstrual pad until the mid-1980′s. Today we have wings, ultra-thins, and many other styles of disposable pads available on the market. [Read more...]