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friday collection on saturday: sci-fi, saudi arabia, and reproductive rights

October 1, 2011

This week, I loved this piece at AMC’s filmcritic.com on why Ripley from Alien is the best female sci-fi character ever. We are entering my favorite time of year – horror movie season – and I am looking for suggestions of what to watch. What are your favorites?

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia granted women future voting rights, but women there continue to be arrested for driving.

The Ms. “Rape is Rape” campaign to have the word “forcible” removed from the FBI’s definition of rape is working.

Something interesting happened in Germantown, MD, over the last month. Anti-choice groups there were targeting the daughter of the owner of a clinic by going to her middle school and protesting. They were also calling the owner, Todd Staves, at home and asking him to close the clinic. In response, pro-choice groups organized a campaign of emails and phone calls to those people letting them know that Mr. Staves would not be closing the clinic and could they please stop harassing his family. Staves told Rachel Maddow the tactic was incredibly successful. Numerous protestors emailed or called him, apologized, and said they wouldn’t do it anymore. Based on that success, the pro-choice activists who organized the campaign formed a group called Voice of Choice to “use email, telephone and social media in peaceful, person-to-person counter-protests, against groups that target abortion facilities, providers and patients, as well as their families and communities:”

“Voice of Choice” was established as a calm, measured response to anti-abortion activists who engage in misguided, raging protest tactics that are often ill-informed and only serve to victimize women, pro-choice professionals, law-abiding businesses and unaligned bystanders. … We don’t question anyone’s right to express opinions and ideals; we challenge their bullying tactics and their contempt.

I have high hopes for this kind of activism. As I have said before, I think the biggest thing we have to do to bridge the gap between anti- and pro-choice groups is create empathy: we have to make sure that both sides see each other as real people with real concerns. Abortion doctors and their staffs are not baby-hating murderers. They are people with deep respect and love for pregnant women and children. They are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters just like everyone else.

But in the meantime, anti-choice legislation is being passed at the state level at an astonishing rate. We are entering a time when women will have genuinely different rights to make their own medical decisions depending on the state they live in. I don’t know about you, but I find that disturbing. At the national level, the House is gearing up for a fishing expedition into the records of Planned Parenthood. Sign the petition to stop them here.

The blog itself had a great week. A link from Crooks and Liars to my piece on the misguided personhood movement brought massive page views. A retweet and some link love from thefwordUK for my “fact checking Facebook” brought a lot of attention as well. My piece on abortion in Ohio got quoted in an Alternet/Salon’s “Worst States to Be Female.” For the record, they think I’m in Ohio, but the piece ends with me saying I’m glad I live in California. I’m not reporting from on the ground, but I did do my research, and I am passionate about what’s happening there, so I was tickled pink to be quoted on it. My review of “Charlie’s Angels” got reprinted in Care2Causes and linked by 50ft Feminist. I also published a new theater piece about using cross-sex casting to change cultural understandings of gender as part of an End of Gender blog carnival, sponsored by the Good Men Project. These are all really interesting sites – check ’em out!

The university at which I am teaching in the spring was unable to get the rights to Our Town, so I am looking for ideas of American plays to direct that have large casts and good parts for women. Got any?

Tell me interesting things that you did this week! I miss having time to read about things unrelated to feminism; what should I check out?

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