5 Myths About Abortion Debunked

By: Cassandra Hedrick

There is a lot of information about abortion circulated these days. But how much of it is true? Because of the wide variety of sources available is can be hard to tell. So, let’s look at 5 myths about abortion and talk about why they are wrong.

Abortion increase the risk of breast cancer

This is a straight up lie made up by anti-choice activists. It is unsure exactly where it started, but since it began circulating, scientists have been studying it. No scientific study has shown any link in breast cancer and abortions. Even the World Health Organization put out a statement saying this.

Prohibiting abortion will lead to fewer abortions.

The logic behind this makes sense. If it’s illegal, less people will do it. However, this simply isn’t true. 19 million illegal abortions are performed every year. The truth is, women who have unwanted pregnancies will do what they have to. This means making abortions illegal will just make them unsafe. Just like alcohol prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking, abortion prohibition will not stop people from getting abortions.

Women who have abortions can suffer from “post-abortion syndrome”

This is the idea that women who have abortions will develop depression or bi-polar disorder because of it. It is supposedly a post traumatic disorder. However, there has been no scientific evidence found. In fact, most women have reported feeling relieved after getting an abortion. Read more here.

Abortions are unsafe

Like any medical procedure, there can be risks to getting an abortion. Complications can happen and, if the doctor is not following all of the protocols, things can go wrong. But, like any medical procedure, abortions have very low risks and are generally safe. There is more risk giving birth to a child than having an abortion

Abortions can cause infertility

Like the link to breast cancer, this is a rumor completely made up by anti-choice activists. Safe, legal abortions will not lead to infertility. Women return to their normal fertility and menstruation shortly after an abortion and there are no long term affects.

There are a lot of “facts” circulating about abortion, so it can take some digging to find the truth. Just make sure you look for the facts to back up any claims you read. If you want more information about abortions, the procedure, or risks you can visit plannedparenthood.org or call their main center.

Treat Yourself: The Importance of Self-Care for Women

By: Jillian James

 Self-Care. It’s a very simple concept, and yet many women need to be reminded to take a step back and care for themselves. During the day we may find ourselves constantly investing energy into our jobs, schoolwork, partners, friends, pets, and a variety of other places. We may not remember to take time in our day to focus on our own health and our own needs. Self-care is incredibly important for our emotional and physical well-being.

Taking the time to care for ourselves can help us feel more confident and can give us more energy and a more positive outlook on life. We can’t properly take care of others or fulfill our jobs and responsibilities without first taking care of ourselves.

READ YOUR INTERNAL SIGNALS

When you are very busy throughout the day, you sometimes can get out of tune with your body and its rhythms. If you have a very hectic schedule take a few minutes to stop, slow down, and listen to what your body is saying. Are you hungry? Eat a granola bar or almonds, and try to never skip a meal or go long stretches of time without eating or drinking. Are you tired? Consider what things can be put off until tomorrow so that you can get a full night’s worth of sleep.

CONSIDER MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we must fulfill our most basic physiological needs before we can fulfill our needs for love, security and friendship. Being healthy and feeling safe are key to our state of health. If these needs are not met then we will feel anxious and unsettled, which can lead to problems forming friendships and creating relationships.

BLOCK OUT NEGATIVITY

 

In a world where we are constantly exposed to information on a 24/7 news cycle, sometimes you need to unplug in order to maintain your mental health. If the negative news gets overwhelming, turn of the TV and focus on a positive, healthy activity. Or better yet, research ways that you can take action and get involved in groups that promote ideals that you believe in. Block negative people from social media and don’t expose yourself to websites that give you anxiety or feelings of dread.

 

 

TREAT YOURSELF

Taking a day to take care of yourself and relax can revive and reenergize you. Take a bubble bath, get a pedicure, have a casual day with friends or stay in bed and watch your favorite show. Our brains and bodies need time to recharge in order to stay healthy and to function at their best. There is nothing wrong with taking time to care for you.

If you feel like you aren’t taking enough time for yourself, then challenge yourself to set aside time this week and focus on yourself. Your mind and body will thank you for it!

Slutty and Proud

 By: Cassandra Hedrick

A major issue that women face today is the double standard when it comes to being sexually active. Men get praised for sleeping with lots of women, but women are called sluts for doing the same thing. Now, women are taking back that word. Instead of being ashamed of their sexual activity, women are expressing pride and being bold in sharing that pride too. One way they are doing it is by hosting “Slut Walks,” an event started by Amber Rose, a celebrity and proud slut.

Throughout my high school career, “being a slut” was one of the worst things a girl could be called, whereas men were congratulated even celebrated for it. I, being a proud slut, was judged and shamed for my sexual behavior. For example, when I slept with my high school boyfriend, everyone called me a slut for it, while my boyfriend was able to brag about it. After we broke up, one guy who liked me ended up rejecting me because I had “slept around.” This judgement followed me to college when two different guys who had already slept with me called me a slut. But I didn’t let it get me down because I am proud of my sexuality.

Amber Rose has the same outlook on life. She created Slut Walks to bring awareness to the double standard we see in sexual activity, as well as rape culture (blaming women’s behavior for why they get raped). This is an annual event that has performances, contests, protests, and even cancer and HIV screenings. You can learn about the events at amberroseslutwalk.com and even set up your own slut walk.

These kinds of events are important to lifting awareness to the gender inequalities women face because if their sex lives. I urge straight men to stand up and push back against these double standards too.  There is nothing wrong with having safe and consensual sex, no matter what your gender. And remember, if straight girls don’t have sex, straight guys won’t either.

The Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

By: Nicole Mclaren

            Your gender can indicate and in a way predict how much you will make in our lifetime. Truth be told that is not the only physical feature that can have an impact on your income, your race, nationality, sexuality, are some of the other things that could also do that. These things along with opportunities, social-economic status and community can play a large role in determining how much money you are able to make during your life.

Looking at women across different ethnicities, we each make less than our male counterpart. Asian and white men make the most with Asian and white women falling behind them. While Latino, Native Americans and African-American women make the least but are closer to closing the gender pay gap with males with the same ethnic background. This pay gap between males and females stays pretty much the same as education levels increase, which shows us that it is not the sole variable. The largest gap between the genders when looking at occupation is “Financial Managers” and “Software Developers”. Even controlling for other factors like education, job field, and race there is still a gap between men and women.

Many people dispute the fact that the gender pay gap is real and that it should be written off by other variables. To those people, I want to say that this utterly false. It is our duty to address not only the gender pay gap but to use these facts to address the other factors that influence income inequality. We must think about these intersecting variables and how they can have real implications on people’s lives.

Unless we do something to address these issues the gender pay gap is not going to close and women will continue to make less than men for another 50 years. That is a huge chunk of our lives that we are contributing to the economy as workers and not being fairly compensated. If you feel like you and your fellow women deserve to be paid equally I encourage you to get involved with local women’s organizations. You can start here by becoming involved with American Association of University Women (AAUW), they provide important education about women’s rights and also are politically active. I used their data to write this. Just click on the link for opportunities to get locally, politically involved or provide financial support.

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50796/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20897&killorg=True

Why Gender Pronouns Matter

By: Nicole McLaren

             I was introduced to the term ‘preferred gender pronouns (PGPS)’ my second year of college at a club meeting. At the time I felt like I was the only person in the room who did not have a clear idea of what this is but my experience since then taught me that many people do not fully understand the importance of respecting other people’s PGPS.   As a cisgender person (someone who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth), I had not put myself in the shoes of my peer who does not identify with a gender (agender) or with those who do not identify with their sex at birth (transgender), until someone had asked me how I identify.

I think it is important that we give people the opportunity to choose for themselves how they want to be identified and we can do this by just asking the person and sharing your own PGPS. You can do this upon introduction or with friends because it is important for individuals to feel comfortable having this discussion with new acquaintances and old friends.

For those who already knew what PGPS are and how they work, it is important to remember that not everyone has experience with using PGPS and there will be times when further explanation might be necessary. In these moments we must remember that we are trying to call people in, not contribute to the culture of shunning people and calling them out. With that being said, it is important to have open discussion about the importance of these things and to feel safe enough to correct people when they misgender a fellow member of the community.

Respecting someone’s PGPS is important for everyone in our communities. We are not only respecting other people’s identities we are also challenging the idea that gender roles and identities are binary. By doing this we can contribute to creating safer communities. So start the conversation with a friend or incorporate PGPS into introductions at a club meeting or into a personal introduction. It is our job to keep the conversation going.

Everything You Should Know About Roe v. Wade in 2017

By: Jillian James

OVERVIEW

Roe v. Wade was a Supreme Court Case that changed the face of women’s health in America. The case stated that a woman had the constitutional right to privacy under the 14th amendment if she decided to have an abortion, and that she had the right to have an abortion without interference from politicians.

HISTORY

Roe v. Wade was a case that challenged a Texas statute that stated that it was illegal for a woman to receive an abortion (unless the woman’s life was at stake). A woman named Norma McCorvey, who used the name “Jane Roe” to protect her identity, filed the case. McCorvey was a woman who lived in poverty and had a ninth grade education. After she found herself pregnant with her third child, she decided to fight for the right to have a safe, legal abortion.  She won her case, which was argued by lawyer Sarah Weddington, who was only 26 at the time.  The ruling make restricting access to abortion by making it illegal unconstitutional. McCorvey recently died this month. She had famously conflicting views about abortion, being the face of the abortion rights movement and then the anti-abortion movement later in life, but the legacy of the court case that defined her continues to live on.

ROE V. WADE- Before and After

Before Roe v. Wade, up to one-sixth of all childbirth related deaths were caused by illegal abortions. Now it is one of the safest medical procedures in the U.S. and has a safety record of over 99%.  Abortion is legal in all fifty states and women have access to medically safe abortions performed by trained doctors.

CALL TO ACTION

Tell your friends and family members about the importance of Roe v. Wade and its impact on women’s health. Share your voice let others know that you stand with the Roe v. Wade decision and that every woman should have the right to choose.

For more about abortion and abortion services, contact your local Planned Parenthood location to get information from professionals or visit Planned Parenthood on the web at plannedparenthood.org

SOURCES:

https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/issues/abortion/roe-v-wade

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/3013/9611/5870/Abortion_Roe_History.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/02/18/jane-roe-made-abortion-legal-then-a-minister-made-her-repent/?utm_term=.86a0b7541a26

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/legacy-of-roe-v-wade-endures-after-death-of-woman-who-sued/2017/02/18/6ea7d444-f615-11e6-9fb1-2d8f3fc9c0ed_story.html?utm_term=.5c405c91e416

The Do’s and Don’ts of Consent

By: Jillian James

 

Do- Always remember that your ‘yes’ can turn into a ‘no’

At anytime, you can change your mind. Just because you consented previously does not mean that you must follow through if something starts to feel wrong. Also, just because you consented to a person once doesn’t mean that you must consent to them again.

 

Don’t- Blame yourself if you are the victim of a sexual assault.

If you are assaulted, never put the blame on yourself. What happened was not your fault. Seek immediate help by calling the National Rape Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE, which can direct you to a local Rape Crisis Center in your area. Rape Crisis Center services are usually free or at a low cost and they can provide counseling, therapy, support groups, case management, legal advocacy and/or medical advocacy.

Do- Keep an eye out for your friends at parties and social events.

Unfortunately we must practice caution when going out to parties and other social events. When alcohol is involved people are more likely to take risks or have unlikely behavior. If a friend is going home with someone, make sure that they are willing and able to give consent.

 

Don’t (EVER)- Slut-shame or say “They were asking for it.”

Lets make one thing clear: no one ever asks for sexual assault. Even if they are wearing a short skirt or a revealing top. What a person is wearing or how much skin they are revealing should never be an indication of whether or not they deserved to be assaulted.

 

Do- Communicate.

If something doesn’t feel right or you change your mind, it is your right to communicate that to your partner. Say “no” and use clear verbal language. Its your right to speak up if things are going further than you would like or you begin to feel uneasy.

 

Do- Have open discussions with your partner and friends about consent

It’s very important to spread the message of consent and communicate exactly what it means: an exact and clear “yes” response to sexual activity. Have discussions with your partner and friends about what consent means and why it’s so important in order to have healthy, happy relationships.

Boys Can Wear Makeup Too

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Usually, when we talk about gender stereotypes, we focus on how they affect women. However, men and boys can be negatively affected by these stereotypes as well. There are a few guidelines to keeping your man card that are unnecessary and unhealthy. For instance, men are judged more harshly for showing emotion or being affectionate towards another guy. While this has gotten better in recent years, with the rise of “metrosexuals” (which isn’t a sexuality, but a style by the way) and stay at home dads, we still see men who prefer to play more feminine roles creating controversy. James Charles, the new cover boy, is a prime example of this.

For the first time ever, Cover Girl has hired a boy as their new spokesperson. James was just a 17-year-old boy who got a massive social media following on twitter and Instagram. This is because he shamelessly loves makeup and is good at it. While him and his family are ecstatic about this opportunity, Cover Girl has received back lash from some more conservative groups. This is mostly from those who do not want boys and men leaving their established roles. The Benham Brothers says this “pushes the godless agenda of the government” and is just a new way to tell kids they can be whatever gender they want (which isn’t necessarily wrong).

But it’s not just makeup that these people don’t want men to be a part of, it’s anything seen as feminine. Men who want to be stay at home dads are seen as lazy and “not real men” (whatever that means). Men are also put down for being emotional in anyway, which causes them to push their feelings down, which is emotionally unhealthy. These kinds of gender stereotypes are taught to us from a very young age. This is shown in gendered toys; boys get a toy lawn mower and girls get a toy kitchen.

Boys should be able to do “girl” things, just like girls should able to do “boy” things. It is not fair to boys to keep them in a box of masculinity. Men can play valuable roles being stay at home dads, nurses, teachers, and even makeup spokespeople and shouldn’t be told they can’t just because of their gender.

 

 

Fighting Sexism

By: Nicole McLaren

A young girl raises her hand to share her view on the topic at hand in the classroom, while she is sharing a male classmate cuts her off, not allowing her to finish. While this may seem like an individual scenario there are many instances in classrooms, work places and in personal situations where women face this subtle form of sexism. Many people downplay the harmfulness of this kind of sexism and focus on the overt Trump video scandal escalated acts of sexism (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wM248Wo54U). Both are sexism and both need to be called out when they occur.

Most women face subtle sexism throughout their lives whether that is at work, school or home. These more covert acts of sexism, like someone interrupting you while you are speaking, being asked to take notes in a meeting, or your friend thinking they know how you feel more than you do, are harmful to women and society. By allowing these seemingly harmless acts to take place we are contributing to the dominance of patriarchy in our society. It is our duty as women to stand up for ourselves and other women when we see these things taking place. It may feel uncomfortable to call someone out for interrupting you or a fellow woman but in order to create change we need to make people feel uncomfortable with the patriarchal norms that are so ingrained in our social interactions.

Our every day interactions say a lot about our society and there is a connection with women being empowered economically, socially and politically and the level of misogyny in a culture. From my perspective there is still a high level of misogynistic behavior in our society and I see it as my obligation to push back against these norms so that we can have a more equal society when it comes to gender relations.

Periods and the “Tampon Tax”- Why tampons and pads are not “luxury items”

By: Jillian James

 

 

Women all across the country are currently paying the price for having a period- literally. The vast majority of states tax tampons and pads as “nonessential products” and tax them under the general sales tax or a gross receipt tax. There has been a call in recent years to remove the tax on tampons and pads and start classifying them as “necessities”  or non-luxury products.

 

Simply put, people are being taxed for items that they must buy to in order to maintain something that they have no control over. The tampon tax is archaic. Pads, tampons, and other items are necessary for women to buy, and taxing them like they are not is biased. It is time for society to start recognizing women’s health and remove the period stigma.

 

The tax should be removed because it unfairly targets women. In an article published in March 2016, NPR stated that in the state of Wisconsin sales tax is not applied for erectile dysfunction products like Viagra, and yet it is applied to tampons and pads. Historically women have been taught to be ashamed of their period. Now that society is becoming more open and topic is less taboo, the tampon tax is finally being brought up in Legislatures all across the country.

 

In the Colorado Legislature there is currently a bill with bipartisan support that would eliminate the state sales tax on feminine hygiene products. “Having a period is not a choice, and these products are a necessity. We shouldn’t tax a woman for being a woman, “said Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver).

There have been “free-bleeding” movements and protests in recent years where women don’t wear pads or tampons to illustrate how necessary they are for women’s health. They sit in public places in order to illustrate just how distracting and detrimental it would be if women didn’t wear hygiene products. Whether at work or school, a woman cannot walk around with a period stain on her clothes. Given the choice, the vast majority of women would choose to not have their period, and we shouldn’t be taxed for something that is a natural bodily function.

 

Contact your local representative and tell them that you want the tampon tax removed. Research free bleeding movements and have discussions with your friends or partner about periods and women’s heath. States should not profit on women’s periods. Its time to accept the fact that all women menstruate and to make tampons and pads as affordable and accessible as possible