#Talkaboutit is the international version of a project that originated under the name #prataomdet in Sweden in 2010. Its founder, Johanna Koljonen, discussed “sexual grey areas” with a friend on Twitter under the hashtag #prataomdet; eventually, hundreds and then thousands of people joined the conversation to discuss their feelings and behaviors concerning these grey areas as well as abuse, force, and doing things that one does not feel comfortable doing.
Pro-choice advocates will be live-blogging during the program to show their support for the young woman sharing their stories.
Follow the conversation live on Twitter with the hashtags #16andloved, #WMCwatchin, and #provoice.
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Feminist Conversations is a weekly column at Feminists for Choice, where we talk to feminists from across the interwebs to find out what feminism means to them. Today we’re talking to Steph Herold, who caused quite a stir earlier this week when CNN caught up with her to ask her about the #ihadanabortion tag that she created on Twitter. Steph is a reproductive justice activist who has worked in direct service abortion care and reproductive health advocacy. She founded the website IAmDrTiller.com to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Tiller and honor the stories of abortion providers. She also founded the blog AbortionGang.org as a space for young people in the reproductive justice movement. She tweets from the handle @IAmDrTiller and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
1. How did you get involved with the New York Abortion Access Fund?
When I was in college, I worked for the abortion access fund in Philadelphia, the Women’s Medical Fund. That was my introduction to the pro-choice movement, and I fell in love. After graduating, I continued volunteering for the fund so I could remain a part of the community working to make sure that women have access to save abortions. When I moved to New York a few months ago, I wanted to find a way to continue this reproductive justice work. After attending a few NYAAF events, I applied to be on the board, and luckily for me, they accepted me!
2. What inspired you to start the IAmDrTiller website?
Instead of trying to summarize that in a few words, I actually wrote an article about this for On the Issues Magazine. I wanted to create a space to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Tiller and share the experiences of abortion providers.
3. What was the motivation behind the #ihadanabortion hashtag on Twitter?
It is not, as some have suggested, politics. I could have done this a week ago or last year with the same motivations. Unfortunately, abortion carries a stigma no matter who is in power. Last week, I read this blog post where the writer compares the modern pro-choice movement to the gay rights movement in the 1970s. What strengthened the gay rights movement then, according to her, was people coming out, and the general public realizing that homosexuality is more common and prevalent (and normal!) than they ever imagined. The author of the post posed an interesting question: why don’t we do that for abortion rights? That really struck a chord with me. The anti-choice movement has tried to make abortion the sin of a few bad women. In reality, abortion is a regular part of women’s lives. [Read more...]
I’m not really sure what to make of Angie Jackson, a 27-year-old mother who’s live-Tweeting her medical abortion.
In an interview with blogger Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky, Angie discusses her reasons for sharing her abortion in such a public way:
“[W] what I was trying to say to people who find themselves in this position is that I was relieved to find out that I had this non-surgical option [the abortion pill] and that I was early enough [in my pregnancy] to get it. I was so relieved to see how simple it’s been. The actual process has been like a menstrual period. It’s not foreign or scary.”
De-mystifying both medical and surgical abortion is an admirable goal; a lot of women who seek abortion care don’t really know what to expect, and this lack of knowledge can cause unnecessary worry and stress. And just as it’s every woman’s right to choose what is best for her and her family, it’s also every woman’s – heck, every person’s – right to share their reasons in as public a manner as they want. It would be nice to think that Twittering an abortion is one more step in the long-overdue normalization of a very common medical procedure, but is anyone well served by reducing a complicated subject to 140 characters?
I have to thank Twitter for educating me about an issue that continues to have an increasing importance in all societies. Although I was hesitant to start a Twitter account in the first place I now admit it has really broadened my horizons!
One area that I have had my awareness raised by Twitter is in the area of language. One term that I have learned is “cis sexist” or “cis gay.” I fully admit I was not familiar with this term before seeing it on Twitter, but after seeing in in several Tweets I did a few Google searches on the term.
Although there is actually very little on the web about cis sexism, my understanding is that “cis” refers to a person who is comfortable identifying with the gender they were born with. “Cis sexist” or “cis gay” is being used, most commonly on Twitter, to describe cis individuals who do not respect or acknowledge the struggle of transgender individuals, or those who muddle gay rights issues and transgender issues together inappropriately.
Last week I was “drop kicked” by one of my followers on Twitter and publicly accused of being “cis sexist.” Ouch! [Read more...]
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