Gloria Steinem wants you to go out and vote.
She’s been speaking with and galvanizing people all over the country to get us to RISE UP.
She wants you to speak up and take action to protect women’s reproductive rights and fight for social justice for all of us.
We had a meet and greet, we played Bingo (you read that right), and we got prizes — some autographed copies of Steinem’s books and plenty of sex toys. I was one of the last winners, so I only got vibrator sleeves. I had my eyes on something much more naughty, but I’ll have to buy that myself.
Why is Steinem touring the country to galvanize people?
Here’s an example [trigger warning]:
Some of these men actually get to help decide what happens to rape victims. These men shouldn’t get to decide anything.
But there is hope.
Women are fighting back. Society is fighting back, sure. We have Planned Parenthood. We have DrawTheLine.org (go ahead and sign their bill!). The Center for Reproductive Rights. A is For. Lots of other excellent groups. Celebrities, intellectuals, certain politicians, and many others are on our side.
But not enough people are outraged, or this crap wouldn’t even be part of the conversation.
Women would be universally treated as human beings with agency instead of as fetus-carrying vessels undeserving of respect or basic human rights. Because choosing whether or not to be a mother is a basic human right. Having power over your own body is having power over your life, over your very being, and taking this away is nothing less than barbaric and untenable.
Lori wrote about part of the problem in Feministing:
My question is, why are we still surprised by stuff like this? When a Wisconsin lawmaker says that “some girls rape easy” or a Kansas state rep compares getting pregnant from rape to getting a flat tire, these aren’t silly gaffes or outrageous moments in an otherwise pro-woman political party: they are moments of insight providing a glimpse behind the curtain into the mind of an anti-woman policymaker aka a Republican. I mean seriously, have you checked out their party platform lately?
In a politically charged landscape like ours, and with mere weeks to go before the presidential election, the stakes could not be higher for women.
Every day, the severity, violence and criminality of what rape is—its very definition—is distorted in a way that makes it more difficult for survivors to come forward and for anti-violence advocates to do their work, while making the world easier for victim-blaming and for rapists themselves.
So go ahead and be outraged. It’s necessary.
This isn’t a joke, it’s not meaningless, and it’s not going to go away if we just ignore it. This will affect all of us, regardless of gender, sex, class, race, sexual orientation, age, or ability, because even if you are not a woman of reproductive age, you know someone who is, and her life and her rights affect yours. We live in a web of life. We are all connected. And when the rights of some are threatened, the rights of all of us are threatened.
We cannot stand for this ridiculous injustice.
And, whatever you do, don’t vote Republican this time and, if you’re in FL, vote NO on 6!
Check out some videos of women fighting back:
This 10-minute presentation by Eli Pariser – Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles” – tackles how the trend toward greater personalization in the web could jeopardize the civic uses of new media.
Pariser directly addresses Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who are in the audience, asking them to offer the public more transparency and more control regarding how the search for information is being filtered. The author argues that not only should algorithms decide what to show us based on relevance, but that they should also provide material to us that is important, uncomfortable, challenging, and presents other points of view.
What I would like to know more about are the issues of importance and unease (the material deemed “uncomfortable”).
Who decides what is important? Apart from the obvious – e.g., news on Occupy Wall Street trump those on celebrities and fashion – the issue of power remains. Who are the watchdogs? Who has the power? Probably, in this case, those who create the algorithms. And are these parties fit to determine what is important? For example, in Argentina, where I’m from, the news on TV covers mostly local crimes, local politics, sports, and fashion. You virtually never hear about what’s going on abroad, which I find astounding – and harmful because it’s harshly limiting. And while I believe the people at Google, at least (since I browse Google News), are significantly more competent and reasonable in that respect, I am still uncomfortable knowing that they have this power instead of, say, Noam Chomsky, Eve Ensler, or Naomi Klein (am I biased? Nooooooo!).
But how could we work through this? What is the solution? How do we arrive at it?
Regarding news that is “uncomfortable,” what does this category mean, exactly? News about rape and incest? News regarding fetishes and the disturbing show Toddlers & Tiaras? News about Ukrainian authorities barbarically killing stray dogs in preparation for the Euro 2012 soccer championships next summer?
Life is plenty uncomfortable and jarring, so isn’t it logical that we should be exposed to news covering prickly topics? Ugly things are taking place, whether you want to stick your head in the sand or perk up your ears and somehow participate. Don’t you want to be part of progress, of action, of life on this earth? Staying updated on what’s going on around us is arguably necessary: it can help us keep an inclusive and well-rounded perspective in general, which is conducive to a more open, tolerant, and even compassionate mind — especially if our news consumption includes information coming from all sides. (Hear that, Google News/Yahoo News/etc.?)
What are your thoughts on Pariser’s video?