A Few Female Titles to Distract You from Quarantine

If you are looking for some more female friendly shows or books to catch up on, here are a few more recommendations. Enjoy!

www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/tvbanners/17803657/p17...1.) Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. This Netflix series is fantastic! It is based on the real life of Madam C.J. Walker (played by Octavia Spencer) who is known as the first female self-made millionaire in the United States. She is powerful, driven and a complex character. The series was fascinating and a joy to watch. Below is a photo of the real Madam C.J. Walker in her car with friends. Madam C. J. Walker - HISTORY

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel - Kindle edition by McQuiston ...

2.) Red, White and Royal Blue. This New York Times Bestseller book, written by Casey McQuiston, is a page turner. I just finished it for my feminist book club and it has it all: Humor, politics, a woman president of the U.S and a sexy romance between the First Son and the Prince of England at the center of the book. It was a great distraction from quarantine.

3.) Crip Camp: This documentary takes you on a journey from a camp for teenagers with disabilities all the way to a revolution. It highlights the amazing accomplishments of the disability rights activists during and after the civil rights movement. The film was

How Judy Heumann Found Her Voice As a Disability Rights Activist ...released under the banner of Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions. It features Judith Huemann, a powerful activist and polio survivor, who fought tirelessly to lead the campaign for basic rights and for the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was shocked by some of the things people with disabilities had to endure before the ADA. This movement truly has not had near enough light shed on it that it needs. This film makes the Disability Revolution more visible and highlights one of the amazing women behind it. 

4.) Suffragette: 2020 marks our 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States! Although this movie takes place in Britain, it is still a great way to celebrate this victory for womankind. The movie is a thrilling look into the world of what it was like for

Amazon.com: Suffragette: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter ...women fighting for the vote in the early 1900s in Britain. Starring Meryl Streep as the infamous Emmeline Pankhurst, this film was a good refresher for me to remember what our foremothers had to endure in order for future generations like mine to be able to vote. Women in the United States, just like in Britain, had to endure years and years (it took 72 years to get the vote in the U.S) of humiliation and violence (like being force fed) but these incredible women made it a right for us to vote today. Thank you to our British and American women who fought for us!

 

 

 

Anti-choice and Republican Officials are Trying to Take Advantage of the COVID-19 Crisis to Restrict Abortion Access

As many of you probably have already heard, people who are against a woman’s right to chose whether or not she carries a pregnancy to term are trying to restrict abortion access during to COVID-19 outbreak. State officials in Texas, Ohio, Kentucky and Oklahoma are trying to claim abortion is not an “essential service.” As NPR reported on March 27th, 2020,

“State officials in Kentucky and Oklahoma are among a growing number of Republican officials who say abortion is a nonessential procedure that should be put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Nonessential service.” Are you kidding me? According to NPR, hundreds of patients in Texas, and elsewhere seeking abortions have been turned away. This is disturbing. Abortion is absolutely an essential procedure. Whether or not to bring a pregnancy to term is not a decision to take lightly and preventing a woman from accessing this basic right over her own body is appalling.

How is the decision to prevent abortion access even legal? Let’s not forget that the supreme court case of Roe v Wade is the law of the land. It says the Constitution protects a woman’s right whether or not to have an abortion. It states that a woman has a right to do so without excessive government restriction.  THIS IS THE LAW of United States of America. Anti-choice politicians as usual are trying to bend the law to their own personal will. But it is particularly infuriating and wrong now because they are trying to use a crisis, this pandemic, to their personal advantage.

Politicians cannot quietly and stealthily chip away at women’s rights. COVID-19 should not be an excuse to deny women the basic right to make decisions over their own bodies, especially such a profoundly life altering medical situation. Abortion absolutely is an essential service.

As TIME reports,

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical groups also urged hospitals and clinics not to cancel or delay abortion procedures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care,” they said in a joint statement. “It is also a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible. The consequences of being unable to obtain an abortion profoundly impact a person’s life, health, and well-being.”

Women have the human right to control their own body. The overwhelming majority of Americans agree: A study from 2019 found that 77% of Americans (over three-quarters of Americans) believe abortion should be legal and accessible. This is a basic right and it has been for thousands of years. I cannot believe we are still having to fight this fight!

What can we do?

  1. Make your voice heard. Talk to your friends about whats going on. Google Hangout or Zoom and bring it up with your friends and family. Bring it up over a phone call with your friends.
  2. Research more about the problem.
  3. Post info about it on social media.
  4. Contact your representatives.
  5. Click HERE if you would like to add your name and send a letter to contact Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and tell him he needs provide guidance to states declaring that abortion IS indeed an essential service. The form is through Naral Pro-Choice America. It only took me a minute and a half to add my name. 

Lynsey Bourke (below) works to make abortion accessible in West Africa and she is someone I knew from when I lived in Montana. She is a regional operations director for DKT International, the world’s largest providers of family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and safe abortion services. She lives in West Africa, registering medical abortion pills in a many French-speaking countries. She cares about this issue, not just for women in West Africa, but for women in the United States as well.

Here is what she has to say:

In Need of Something to Watch While you are Social Distancing?

We are living in an unsure time. Many of us are at home trying our best to work from our laptops on our couches and in our free time, trying to get our minds off the impending crisis of Coronavirus. So, we are left with home bound options to get our minds off the virus.

If you are in need of something to watch while you are social distancing, here are three that I have found captivating and interesting. All are available right now on Netflix.

Image result for mission blue1.) Mission Blue: The first film on my list is a very pertinent one concerning the planet. While my other two on this list are light hearted and fun, this one is a bit heavy… but so important! We are living in a home-bound time where we might as well be aware of, not only the Coronavirus crisis, but the ocean crisis. This film is about the oceans and how one woman, Sylvia Earle, has spent her life learning about and seeking to protect the ocean blue. This documentary is beautifully filmed and very moving. It is fascinating to learn about Sylvia Earle’s life as a scientist during a time when women weren’t expected (or encouraged) to be such. And yet, her impact on the field of Marine Biology and her positive impact on ocean conservation efforts has made waves (pun intended.) Sylvia Earle leaves us with the question, “How can we use the ocean and not use it up?” Check out this film! Click here to see a trailer.

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2.) Always Be My Maybe: The second film on my list is light hearted and fun and incredibly refreshing. Directed by Nahnatchka Khan and written by comedian Ali Wong and two others, this film explores the friendships of two people who lost touch but cross paths again later in life. Ali Wong’s character is a smart empowered woman who is driven and successful in her career as a chef and uncompromising in who she is. (Refreshing!) And she has her set of multidimensional flaws as well. (Also refreshing!) This film touches on friendship, love, culture, empowered women and is all around refreshing and funny. The actors are fantastic. Check out the trailer here.

3.) Taylor Tomlinson Quarter Life Crisis: Third on my list is a comedy special by comedian Taylor Tomlinson. Her humor may not be suitable for everyone, but you never know!

Image result for taylor tomlinson quarter life crisis

If you have more titles you’d like to add to this list involving women that are available for streaming during this time of social distancing, feel free to send them in the comments!

The Change We Need

[Author’s note: Since free time is short for me as a full time history teacher these days, with a stack of papers to grade and endless lessons to plan, this is a piece I wrote very quickly with minimal corrections, so there may be spelling errors etc.. But I nonetheless wanted to get my thoughts out, candidly, so here they are.] 

With people’s fears about the potential for another war on the horizon due to American actions in Iran recently, I have been thinking again of the importance of elevating the matriarchy. What do I mean by this? 

As a history teacher, it becomes very clear to me just how much of a pattern there has been about the type of person who has been in power and who has been making the decisions that lead to war and devastation. Over centuries, there has been one common thread throughout our connected, global human history. The people in power starting wars has been the same. It has been men in power. Although there is nothing wrong with men in power, men do tend to air on the side of violent action at times. By mere observation (and countless data) the people that commit violence, mass shootings, domestic violence and start wars have been men. I want you to know right off that bat, this is not a “venting session” against the male persuasion, this is just fact about the demographic of people who have been in power over the majority of our written history, and who statistically speaking, commit certain crimes and warfare. So what if we changed it? What if we changed the demographic of people in power? What if we avoided the pattern that Einstein so famously pointed out: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” What if, instead of repeating the trend of only men being in power making the global decisions over and over, what if we elevated the matriarchy? What if we balanced the scales more? We need more women in power. 

Research has shown that women tend to vote more on the side of social well being and gear their lives towards taking care of one another. We have also seen that women are more likely to believe the climate crisis is an important focus and to actually make steps towards alleviating the climate crisis. We need more women in power and steering us clear away from devastation and war. Have you heard the radical phrase “Smash the Patriarchy?” Well that is all fine except I don’t think that would necessarily solve things either: Because then the pendulum would just swing back and forth. I think the real change will happen when we truly elevate the matriarchy: Put women in their rightful place which is right alongside men making history and men being in power. With that type of balance, women alongside men in power, I would be surprised if we didn’t get closer towards creating a better world. 

I went on a date with a guy who I was very attracted to because of how feminist he was. Without knowing my background at all, as we were talking about world events he said candidly “I’m all about the matriarchy. And I’m not saying that to be popular or something, I’m saying that because I really am. I mean, I’m in a profession that is dominated by women (the teaching profession) and I see amazing women leaders everyday.” He then mentioned he believes women will have more power and sway in the world very soon and then he added something I’ve been talking about for years which is this: He stated, “and then once women become in power, that is when the climate crisis will truly hit and you all will get blamed for it, even though it wasn’t your fault!” And we laughed about how messed up that is but very likely could become the case. It’s like a previous president puts a nation into debt or into a recession, and the residual effects carry onto the next president who gets blamed for it. Regardless, having more women in power could be just the thing we need to change this world. It would be a long overdue switcheroo. And it might just be the recipe we need for change.

New Anti-Choice/Forced Birther Bills Being Passed

In the wake of the anti-choice news coming from the south, particularly Alabama, and even other states across the country, it has been tough for me to express just how horrible this outlawing and criminalization of abortion will be for women and men and the hypocrisy of the people who are anti-choice/forced birthers. So, instead of words, I wanted to share some visuals, news clips and words from other individuals:

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Documentary: Knock Down the House

This Netflix documentary is SO good. Seeing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other women running for the house is truly amazing and inspiring. Check out this film!! It’s on Netflix.

in 2018, never before seen in U.S history, a record number of women took their place among the men in Washington: 90 women were elected to the House of Representatives. Though we still have a ways to go for parity in politics (women still only represent about 25% of representatives in the House and Senate) the 116th congress will go down in history as a historic time. As if that were not enough, these women politicians are fighting for ALL people’s rights: Ocasio-Cortez does not just represent women, she represents the working class and progressives, female and male, and takes on the establishment to create a more equitable world for everyone. This film gives us a glimpse of what that fight for representation in government looks like.

“For one of us to make it through, 100 of us have to try.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

After seeing this film, I thought to myself, “She could be president someday.”

Game of Thrones: A Game Played on Women’s Backs

Game of Thrones is a fascinating show that has engulfed the minds of millions of Americans. According to CNN, the recent premier of season 8 captivated 17.4 million people. But what is even more fascinating is how everyone seems to just gloss over the disgusting way women are treated in the storyline. Yes, the idea of Game of Thrones is that it is a cruel and dark world. But it just astounds me how millions of people consume these images of naked women being pushed around, raped and degraded without question. (Or maybe they do question it?) Image result for game of thrones treatment of womenPeople do not seem to bat an eyelash at the way the characters refer to women as whores, twats and cunts at every other word. Apparently, there are empowering aspects of this show where the women take control of their own lives, but I have yet to see this. I have numerous female and male feminist friends who love this show, and perhaps I’m missing something, but after only getting midway into season 2 I’ve stopped. I can’t stomach seeing women be treated so grotesquely. Maybe we can acknowledge the awful treatment of women and still watch the show? The thing is, I haven’t even gotten to season 5 where one of the characters is gratuitously and brutally raped. Millions and millions of people watch this show. What does this say about the society we live in where we are ok with watching women be treated this way? If there are empowering scenes of women, cool. But it seems these scenes are few and far between. From what I can tell, it rarely passes the Bechdel Test. I wish I could watch this series but I can’t stomach seeing women being used up in brothels and battered around sexually. Numerous articles have been written about this topic from TIME magazine to Esquire.  Does it get any better as the seasons progress?

As writer for BookRiot, Olivia Páez points out, “As one of the biggest shows on television, one has to wonder what message it sends to its audience when the majority of its female characters are subjected to some form of abuse for the sake of shock factor.” Who benefits from this shock factor? Are we, the viewers, growing ambivalent about seeing women battered around and used like objects? It honestly really disgusts me if so.

And then there’s another side to this argument. Perhaps, according to the Telegraph, we should applaud seeing this horrific violence towards women? In an article titled, “Game of Thrones: Where Sexual Violence and Misogyny are good news for Women” writer Rhiannon Evans states, “We’re talking about that rare breed: a TV programme that portrays women as well-rounded. A programme that says wars aren’t all about men –both sexes can be players and pawns.” The article goes on to discuss the rape scene in season 5. Game of Thrones author George RR Martin said that excluding sexual violence from a story about war was “fundamentally dishonest”. He went on to say, “Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It’s not a strong testament to the human race, but I don’t think we should pretend it doesn’t exist.” Ok that, I understand: This horrific part of humanity (masculinity, b/c, let’s face it, not a lot of women are raping) still exists and perhaps Game of Thrones is trying to draw attention to it to make people more aware. Certainly it would be wrong to pretend it doesn’t exist. Writer Rhiannon Evan goes on to say, “There is much to be said for this argument. Yes, the women in Game of Thrones ‘suffer wrongs’. But whether it be lost daughters, forced marriages or physical injury in battle, why should they be ignored?”

I still can’t stomach watching the violence against women…

And I honestly can’t help but think the major reason behind the violence against women is more about shock factor and viewership than about awareness about the realities of war. And there are going to be those people out there who get off on watching violence against women, because, as we unfortunately know, violence against women is a common aspect of porn. (Some estimates say that up to 88% of porn shows violence against women. But that is a different, albeit related, issue.)

Ok so the argument is that we cannot ignore this uncomfortable reality that violence against women is a product of war. One thing we ALSO cannot ignore is the fact that war and rape have been man’s creation. Not woman’s; man’s. We cannot ignore this uncomfortable reality either. For centuries, male rulers and citizens have started wars and perpetrated rape. Full stop. Women have not been the creators of these major wars, nor have they been the majority of people perpetrating rape and other types of violence. If indeed we cannot ignore the horrifying reality that rape and violence against women occurs in war, we ALSO cannot ignore the uncomfortable reality of who is behind the wars and who has started them in the first place. So what do you we do about all this? Not all men do this; not all people are ok with this; not all people have to just accept this.

In the meantime, I wish I could watch Game of Thrones… but I’ll pass.