Our Choices, Our Lives
Unapologetic Writings on Abortion
Our Choices, Our Lives: Unapologetic Writings on Abortion is a first of its kind. Based on five years of research by feminist Krista Jacob, this anthology is a collection of essays, poems, and prose that takes on one of the most controversial issues of our time: a woman’s right to choose abortion. Revealing, with honesty and courage, the diversity of individuals behind the political hype, this powerful collection of writings takes the issue of reproductive freedom to a deeper, richer level.
Comprised of abortion testimonies, insights from abortion clinic workers, and political essays, this important anthology reveals the liberating and sometimes poignant reality of the abortion experience. From the women who survived the days of illegal abortion to the women who have come of age during the backlash against abortion rights, the writers in Our Choices, Our Lives: Unapologetic Writings on Abortion demand that people on all sides rethink this varied, complex and personal issue.
Six months before I became pregnant, I marched the streets of Washington, D.C. Every January 22nd, the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, thousands of ‘pro-lifers’ from all over the country pour into the streets to protest. The year I turned eighteen, I was one of them. How could I have known that in less than a year I would become one of “those women” against whom we were marching?
FCC: Federal Censorship Commission
By now, there are as many outraged or bored perspectives on the Timberlake-Jackson Super Bowl incident as there are nipple shields in the whole of New York and Los Angeles. Short of speaking as Janet’s breast itself (“What is everyone looking at? My pretty silver hat?”), the gender, race, celebrity politics are clear, if debatable: the vilification of Jackson as temptress Jezebel to Justin’s good Southern boy led astray; the implications for sexual assault; the shortening cycle of our insatiable desire to build up celebrities and tear them down; and the cool pose of “so what?”
“We’re not advocates and we don’t march” Jenn tells me. Dana clarifies, “Well, we can’t say we don’t. We didn’t. We do now.” A 26-year-old college English instructor and 28-year-old aspiring chef, Jenn Smits and Dana Wegener would be more likely to be called professionals than activists. They never expected to join an emerging political movement. Yet, when they signed up as one of the first same sex couples to have their marriages solemnized in the highly publicized recent ceremonies performed by the mayor of New Paltz, NY, they found themselves sudden spokespeople for the growing national equal rights movement for same-sex couples.
Lauren K. Alleyne
Adela C. Licona
The Personal Quests of Saira Shah
As the U.S. occupation of Iraq continues along its violent course along side the similarly tenuous nation building efforts in Afghanistan, Americans need only look to the very recent past for how the Bush administration has justified war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite the possibility that public opinion may not have been able to resist the administration’s plans, in each case public opinion had to be employed (to varying degrees) on the side of invasion. Two documentaries on Afghanistan, Beneath the Veil and Unholy War, by Saira Shah, the Afghani-British journalist and winner of the Courage Under Fire Award have presented highly validated accounts of Afghanistan under Taliban rule and during the early days of the U.S. bombing campaign. Both documentaries, which present gorgeous views of the Afghan landscape and intimate and often painful portraits of Afghanistan’s people, had been in frequent rotation on CNN as part of its “CNN Presents” line-up after September 11. Shah’s films not only reveal much about how to win the “hearts and minds” of the American people in going to war but also more complicated issues of building an international feminist movement that is not coincident with western interests.
Muddled in the Middle
In recent years, feminists have worked to be more inclusive—to recognize that the needs and life situations of all women are not the same. While these efforts have been successful in many ways, there is one area where, at least in my experience, multiple voices have not seemed welcome: the abortion debate.
A Letter To the Old Fart Who Thought A Grab Would Cure My Feminism
Lauren K. Alleyne
I am here, sitting at home, and trying to make sense of the last two hours. What a day. It’s amazing, the way life goes, you can be sitting with old friends, arguing politics and religion over wine, you go to bed, you wake up next morning from a good night’s sleep and then 3-4 hours later, your world is a different place. Sounds like it should be an earthquake, a war, some disaster (natural or Bush made) – who knows that a hand in the wrong place, a single moment in time can change you forever. A grab.
Letter to us via Reetika Vazirani
Turn, Turn, Turn: Thoughts on the Sexual (Counter)Revolution
Lise Shapiro Sanders and Patricia Miller
How do sex and sexuality figure in contemporary feminism? If we take the lessons and struggles of the Sexual Revolution to heart, women now have the freedom to practice sexual independence like never before. But if feminism today is all about choices, why does it lately seem that motherhood is more of a mandate than a choice? Patricia Miller and Lise Sanders work it out…
Conversation With A Stripper In New Orleans
Lauren K. Alleyne
Say “NO” to Dowry
Lucky Begum (18), of a village in Nilphamari, committed suicide due to the abject poverty of her father. Ill-fated, Lucky remained unmarried due to her father’s inability to pay dowry for her marriage. Whenever any marriage proposal came, prospective grooms demanded dowry, which Lucky’s 50-year-old poor father failed to meet. Being tremendously frustrated, Lucky committed suicide by taking poison. In fact, we cannot imagine reading a newspaper without any news on dowry, torture or death of women because of dowry or for any other causes even for a single day! Many types of incidents such as suicide of women/brides, summary divorce, burning wives with fire or acid by their husbands or in-laws are very common in our country.
White Privilege Means Never Having to Walk Across the Bridge
Here’s the thing about being white that most middle class white people don’t appreciate: We don’t have to know. We don’t have to know what it’s like on the other side of the tracks or the river, we don’t have to know what it is like to live in a neighborhood nowhere near a grocery, we don’t have to explore every single area of the city in order to find a place to live where people will just leave us in peace. We pretty much don’t have to know about anything we don’t want to know about. And really, why should we want to know? The life of those without our privileges does not always paint a pleasing picture. Hearing about the minute day in and day out tiresomeness of economic disadvantage, racial disadvantage, ignorance, and outright hostility is simply not glamorous.
An Eye For the Ladies
Breaking out of the Bubble: Life Outside of the Slope
We had decided to spend seven months traveling from the United States to my home country, New Zealand. Liberating ourselves from our jobs and homes auspiciously (for some) on July Fourth, my girlfriend and I began with a road trip through the southwest. The first days were nauseatingly fabulous; we camped and hiked, sang along to country radio, and generally honeymooned our way through the friendly mountainsides of Colorado.
You, Too, Can Be A Sexy Mommy
After having two children in 15 months my body had went through a serious double whammy. Prior to having children I was a sharp dressing vivacious twenty-something woman in her prime. Somewhere between changing diapers and fixing bottles and searching for Barney books I lost myself.
Teen Oral Sex: It’s Sensationalized!
As a teen in the early-80s, I was very naïve about oral sex. I thought oral sex meant talking about sex with one’s partner in a very sexy way. A friend and I, trying to practice the mechanics, would move our mouths in silent mock-talk as we suggestively switched our hips from left to right and flirted with our best bedroom eyes. We wondered aloud how anyone could engage in oral sex without breaking into hysterical laughter. In our naïveté, oral sex was not only hilarious, it was just plain stupid.
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
It is New Year’s Eve and I am 35 year’s old for another couple of hours. I had to go get my driver’s license today. I was nervous to get it done and basically avoided it until the last day. Because of what I look like, I have extra anxiety when venturing out into the public for any reason. But particularly when I have to interact directly with someone and trust that they will treat me with enough respect to accomplish whatever my goal is. I am not a “pretty girl” anymore by normal standards.
Boomerang: Some Thoughts from the Baby Boomer Generation
How Do You Want Your Abortion?
Margaret R. Johnston and Claire Keyes
In the future, we may be asking how we want to experience abortion.
The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women
Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels
Free Press, 2004
Reviewed by Krista Jacob
Bearing Life: Women’s Writings on Childlessness
Rochelle Ratner, Ed.
The Feminist Press, 2000
Reviewed by Rhonda Chittenden
The Chinese Garden
The Feminist Press, 2000
Reviewed by Alia Levine.
Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It
Andrea J. Buchanan
Seal Press, 2003
Reviewed by Krista Jacob