FDL Book Salon Welcomes Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me

Welcome Rebecca Solnit (TomDispatch) (MotherJones) and Host Pamela Merritt “SharkFu” (AngryBlackBitch) (Twitter)

Men Explain Things To Me

When I received the invitation to host the book salon for Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, I was sitting at a coffee shop listening to a white man I’d only just met explain the racial divide in St. Louis, Missouri. Full disclosure: I’m black and a native St. Louisan. As the man went on and on about some article on race that I just had to read and blah, blah, followed by another blah, I scrolled through my email and saw the book salon invite. And I laughed…hard…until my eyes watered. When the man asked what was so funny and I explained about the salon, he frowned and replied…wait for it…that not all men mansplain.

Blink.

Yeah, um…exactly.

Shall we?

(more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sarah Erdreich, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement

Welcome Sarah Erdreich (FeministsForChoice) (SarahErdreich.com) and Host Pamela Merritt/Sharkfu (Twitter) (AngryBlackBitch.com)

Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement

Let’s talk about Generation Roe by Sarah Erdreich…

I’m always excited to host an FDL Book Salon because I get to read thought-provoking books and then chat about them with people who think! I’ll confess that hosting the Book Salon for Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is extra exciting. I am Generation Roe. I was born exactly one month after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and have never known a world without the rights protected under it. I’ve also never known a world where access to abortion hasn’t been under attack. As a reproductive justice activist who works for an abortion provider in Missouri, I was eager to read a book that keeps it real while taking a reader’s hand and pulling them down to the grassroots where political battles over abortion impact people’s lives every day.

Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is a crisp, well-written, thorough exploration of abortion through the reality of women’s lives. Erdreich dives into everything from “abortion-recovery counseling” and “crisis pregnancy centers,” to the infamous race baiting anti-choice “black children are an endangered species” billboards. Generation Roe tells the stories of people who work in the field of reproductive health despite threats of violence and Erdreich explores how the stigma placed on abortion fuels those threats. In Generation Roe, Sarah Erdreich also outlines the legislative battlefields across the country and delves into mistakes and missteps pro-choice activists have made along the way.

As a Missourian, I’ve watched my state assembly pass legislation granting employers the right to refuse birth control coverage based on that employer’s moral objection. I’ve fought bills that would allow health care workers to refuse to inform survivors of rape about emergency contraception and others that would prevent local government from applying any regulations to “crisis pregnancy providers.” I even watched as Missouri Right to Life placed an anti-choice billboard in a predominately Black ward of St. Louis city, an advertisement declaring that the most dangerous place for a Black baby is within a Black woman’s womb. Through it all there is the reality on the ground. A reality that has Black women four times more likely to die in childbirth, an infant mortality rate in Missouri that rivals some of the most economically challenged nations in the world, and a sexually transmitted infection rate for St. Louis city that is one of the highest in the country.

It’s fitting that this FDL Book Salon for Generation Roe is taking place during Women’s History Month because so much of the culture war over abortion is rooted in the fight for reproductive justice and equality. Every day activists fight to maintain and expand women’s right to have children, to not have children, and to raise the children they chose to have in environments free of violence and oppression. It often feels like a never-ending series of defeats, but Erdreich points to the common ground that exists and how we can use it for social change. Generation Roe is not a book that chronicles a slow painful loss. Erdreich encourages us to face reality to speak honestly and without shame about abortion. In doing so, she makes Generation Roe a call to action that demands we uphold the human right to abortion and fight like hell to protect it.

I’m down with that.

Are you? (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sarah Erdreich, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement

Welcome Sarah Erdreich (FeministsForChoice) (SarahErdreich.com) and Host Pamela Merritt/Sharkfu (Twitter) (AngryBlackBitch.com)

Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement

Let’s talk about Generation Roe by Sarah Erdreich…

I’m always excited to host an FDL Book Salon because I get to read thought-provoking books and then chat about them with people who think! I’ll confess that hosting the Book Salon for Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is extra exciting. I am Generation Roe. I was born exactly one month after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and have never known a world without the rights protected under it. I’ve also never known a world where access to abortion hasn’t been under attack. As a reproductive justice activist who works for an abortion provider in Missouri, I was eager to read a book that keeps it real while taking a reader’s hand and pulling them down to the grassroots where political battles over abortion impact people’s lives every day.

Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is a crisp, well-written, thorough exploration of abortion through the reality of women’s lives. Erdreich dives into everything from “abortion-recovery counseling” and “crisis pregnancy centers,” to the infamous race baiting anti-choice “black children are an endangered species” billboards. Generation Roe tells the stories of people who work in the field of reproductive health despite threats of violence and Erdreich explores how the stigma placed on abortion fuels those threats. In Generation Roe, Sarah Erdreich also outlines the legislative battlefields across the country and delves into mistakes and missteps pro-choice activists have made along the way. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Nancy L. Cohen, Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America

Welcome Nancy L. Cohen (NancyLCohen.com) and Host Pamela Merritt (AngryBlackBitch.com)

Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America

Nancy Cohen’s Delirium grabbed my attention from the opening paragraph of the book’s introduction.

“The 2012 Presidential election was supposed to be about the economy. Suddenly, last winter, it turned into a referendum on sex.”

I recall shouting out “preach, sister!” and then gleefully diving in.

As a reproductive justice activist in Missouri, I had a lot of “preach, sister!” moments while reading Delirium. I’ve seen the damage wrought from the relentless assault on reproductive rights…the unplanned pregnancies resulting from a lack of comprehensive sex education and access to contraception, the emotional and economic toll taken as women navigate a seemingly endless series of hurdles to access reproductive health care, and the devaluing of pregnant women resulting from legislative attempts to cast them solely as reproductive vessels who forfeit their rights once pregnancy has been confirmed. I’ve also seen the transformative power of activism, particularly in my home state of Missouri where the masses hold far more nuanced views on the politics of sex than those elected to represent us. For every challenge to access to birth control or abortion care, there is a fired up response that gives me hope for the future.

I learned a lot from reading Delirium. I was born one month after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, so I’m considered Generation Roe because I’ve never lived in a world without that constitutionally protected right to privacy. Delirium provides a fascinating, and at times, painful look at the policy and political party shifts, maneuvers, and wrong turns that took America from the sexual revolution of the 1960’s to the sexual counterrevolution we are embroiled in today. I consider myself a history buff and even I found myself surprised, shocked, and enlightened by the detailed analysis Cohen provides in Delirium.

Confession: I’m guilty of sometimes dismissing the preaching of sexual fundamentalists as bizarre, attention seeking, or a symptom of some undiagnosed disorder. Nancy Cohen’s Delirium challenged me to take seriously what I’ve become too comfortable mocking and then ignoring. Cohen’s examination pushed me to think about the origin of the current climate of sexual politics, and I realize there’s serious value in that. Its one thing to note the outrageous statements of someone like Phyllis Schlafly, but the greater value comes from understanding where she came from and the political purpose she and her organization plays.

As American enters the final weeks of the 2012 election season, I’m as worn out as most activists. I’m anxious about the future because I know that there are real world implications to the outcome of Election Day. I’m frustrated with the way the media treats the Midwest and how often states like Missouri are dismissed as lost causes. The view is different on the ground, but we struggle to get that story out because the counterrevolutionaries have possession of the microphone and the attention of the mainstream press. Sometimes the best way to determine the path forward is to look back as the journey we’ve taken thus far. As we move closer to November 6th, Delirium has me wondering what’s going on behind closed doors right now that we’ll be dealing with in the months and years to come. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Nancy L. Cohen, Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America

Welcome Nancy L. Cohen (NancyLCohen.com) and Host Pamela Merritt (AngryBlackBitch.com)

Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America

Nancy Cohen’s Delirium grabbed my attention from the opening paragraph of the book’s introduction.

“The 2012 Presidential election was supposed to be about the economy. Suddenly, last winter, it turned into a referendum on sex.”

I recall shouting out “preach, sister!” and then gleefully diving in.

As a reproductive justice activist in Missouri, I had a lot of “preach, sister!” moments while reading Delirium. I’ve seen the damage wrought from the relentless assault on reproductive rights…the unplanned pregnancies resulting from a lack of comprehensive sex education and access to contraception, the emotional and economic toll taken as women navigate a seemingly endless series of hurdles to access reproductive health care, and the devaluing of pregnant women resulting from legislative attempts to cast them solely as reproductive vessels who forfeit their rights once pregnancy has been confirmed. I’ve also seen the transformative power of activism, particularly in my home state of Missouri where the masses hold far more nuanced views on the politics of sex than those elected to represent us. For every challenge to access to birth control or abortion care, there is a fired up response that gives me hope for the future. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Amanda Marcotte, Get Opinionated

[Welcome author Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon.net), and Host SharkFu (angryblackbitch.com).]

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread.  – bev]

Get Opinionated: A Progressive’s Guide to Finding Your Voice (and Taking a Little Action)

When I was invited to host a FDL Book Salon for Amanda Marcotte’s new book Get Opinionated! I was thrilled!

I’ve known Amanda for years, but never had a chance to chat with her about her writing. The added bonus is that Get Opinionated! is about a subject near and dear to my heart – individual activism and finding your progressive voice.

Fantabulous! (more…)

There must be a line… a wall to hit… or the struggle for reproductive justice is merely a suggestion

AngelaI am a woman of color who has a pre-existing condition… more than one, if you count my high blood pressure.

I have been an adult without health care insurance and I have too many friends to count who do not have health insurance coverage right now.

Should I lose my job I would lose my coverage… and, because of my pre-existing condition, I would not be able to buy coverage on the open market.

That’s not speculation… I’ve looked into it and my black ass wasn’t able to get a nibble at multiple ponds.

So, I’m saying this from a place of vulnerability and I want all y’all who read this to know that.

There must be a line… a wall to hit… or the struggle for reproductive justice is merely a suggestion.

It’s just a request.

A thing that gets mentioned politely whenever health care is being discussed.

“Oh, would you mind not throwing women under the bus while you get your reform on?”

“Could you, pretty please, not mandate that women purchase health care insurance that fails to cover the full spectrum of reproductive health care services?”

“Would you be so kind as to not leave military women uncovered… again… to not leave women uniquely worse off after health care reform than we were before you started?”

There must be a line… and it galls me to even write that because I hate negotiating from a place of “let’s fight like mad for the status quo, y’all!”

But there must be a line… a wall… a place that is acceptable and then the place right in front of it that is unacceptable.

The Senate has crossed that line. (more…)

There must be a line…a wall to hit…or the struggle for reproductive justice is merely a suggestion.

I am a woman of color who has a pre-existing condition…more than one, if you count my high blood pressure.

I have been an adult without health care insurance and I have too many friends to count who do not have health insurance coverage right now.

Should I lose my job I would lose my coverage…and, because of my pre-existing condition, I would not be able to buy coverage on the open market.

That’s not speculation…I’ve looked into it and my black ass wasn’t able to get a nibble at multiple ponds.

So, I’m saying this from a place of vulnerability and I want all y’all who read this to know that.

There must be a line…a wall to hit…or the struggle for reproductive justice is merely a suggestion.

It’s just a request.

A thing that gets mentioned politely whenever health care is being discussed.

"Oh, would you mind not throwing women under the bus while you get your reform on?"

"Could you, pretty please, not mandate that women purchase health care insurance that fails to cover the full spectrum of reproductive health care services?"

"Would you be so kind as to not leave military women uncovered…again…to not leave women uniquely worse off after health care reform than we were before you started?"

There must be a line…and it galls me to even write that because I hate negotiating from a place of “let’s fight like mad for the status quo, y’all!”

But there must be a line…a wall…a place that is acceptable and then the place right in front of it that is unacceptable.

The Senate has crossed that line.

This health care reform bill, negotiated on the backs of women and soon to be presented for a vote with political boots placed firmly on the throat of reproductive justice, is unacceptable.

I’m saying that knowing full well what’s at stake…because women’s health is not worth less than the health of others.

And I’m saying that knowing that there but for my current benefit package go I…because I’ve had to use my insurance to pay for fibroid surgery that would have bankrupted me otherwise or that I would have not been able to have for financial reasons despite the dire consequences.

I oppose the Senate health care reform bill on the grounds that, in its current form, it violates the rights of women.

I oppose the Senate health care reform bill on the grounds that, in its current form, it singles out a legal medical procedure for unprecedented restrictions thus inviting the United States government into every doctor’s office so they can tell women and their health care providers what the Senate thinks is best for them…right for them…healthy for them…or not approved for coverage like it used to be and currently is even though it is legal in this country.

I oppose the Senate health care reform bill because,at the very least, it should not leave women worse off that we were before reform began…because women helped elect these fools to the Senate and, to vary a quote from my beloved Grandmere, “we brought your asses into office and we can vote your asses out.”

I am disgusted…disappointed…not surprised but not defeated either.

So, don’t tell me that we …women…should take one for the team.

Don’t tell me that we…women…should casually allow government to roll back the clock on legal rights people risked their lives to gain because women’s lives were, and should this legislation pass in its current form will once again, be at stake.

Don’t tell me to make a compromise that, in the same situation, you would not make and, funny enough, were not asked to make because it’s never The Man being told his vasectomy won’t be covered or his Viagra won’t be covered or his prostate surgery won’t be covered.

Is it.

No, it’s women…time after motherfucking time…who are told that our reproductive health care must be uniquely regulated, despite legality, by The Man…and that we, despite our needs and that same curiously overlooked legality, must take one for the team…again.

Fuck that.

Fuck it!

‘Cause a team without women is fucked from jump anyway.

There must be a line…

…a wall to hit…

…or all that is the movement for reproductive justice is just a silly social circle of idealistic little children tossing out suggestions to the amusement of their paternalistic rulers.

Take a step back.

And then another.

And then another followed by one more until all of the sudden the only people benefiting from health care reform are the affluent straight white men of power who were already sitting pretty when this reform shit began.

Or the affluent women who can fly elsewhere to access the reproductive health care they opposed for form but would use at the drop of a dime…make that a lot of dimes…should they find themselves in need of the services they would deny the rest of us.

Yeah, fuck that.

I didn’t just work my ass off for an entire year…longer if you count the election…to make "change" that leaves women worse off.

Hold the line, people.

Defend the wall, y’all.

This is about our rights, enforced by law, until it isn’t.

And it’ll be a cold day in Hades when I give them up without a fight…