I’ve had the privilege to become involved with the Social Network Show: a groundbreaking radio show and online forum about best practices in social networking, including safety for girls and women. This is truly an amazing show—I have already learned so much in the few weeks I have been listening to it. The show’s guests are knowledgeable and fun to listen to, and I guarantee you will gain valuable wisdom about interacting safely online: how cyberbullies operate, what protections do and don’t currently exist in social networks, and what we need to do to move forward. This, my friends, is the new frontier—and the Social Network Show is on the cutting edge of it.
When you go to the Planned Parenthood website and explore their materials on pregnancy, you are presented with three choices: abortion, adoption, or parenthood. This way of presenting information makes perfect sense, as these are the three choices that a newly-pregnant woman faces. And yet adoption is not a word that comes up often in our national conversation. We’ve gotten ourselves so polarized around two of a woman’s choices when she becomes pregnant that we don’t usually mention the third. Sure, it’s understood that if we aren’t going to allow a woman to choose abortion and she really can’t or doesn’t want to be a mom, she could put the kid up for adoption. But how does that work? Who chooses it, and why?
I hate the term “tramp stamp”—you know, the term used to describe the tattoo a (usually young) woman gets in the curve of flesh at the base of the spine. This term has become so commonplace, so accepted, that I recently heard a female radio announcer list among the “don’ts” for going to meet a band backstage, “Don’t show them your tramp stamp!”
Where are we, the Chuck E. Cheese of sex? Show your stamp to demonstrate who you belong to, which is everyone? Ugh. Here are my reasons for wanting to abolish this ridiculous term:
President Obama’s esteem for women is evident in both his personal and professional life: this is a man who is willing to wear a feminist shirt and then live the logo. A man who values women so much that he has crafted the Affordable Care Act, which benefits millions of women by removing unfair obstructions to their care. In addition, he’s shown that he’s willing to appoint highly qualified women to the positions of power they deserve. This is a man who doesn’t believe that gravitas only emanates from men.
Here is something I love about today: lots of women are sitting on the steps of the capitol building in Richmond, Virginia and breastfeeding their babies. I love this for so many reasons: because it is Richmond, and the capital building (the site of recent protests against Virginia’s restrictive laws about women’s reproductive health and choices), because it is a public display of breasts feeding children instead of breasts selling things, and because it promotes breastfeeding—and just as importantly, support for breastfeeding. While breastfeeding is wonderful for both mother and child, it isn’t always easy, especially at first. It can hurt when you’re learning to latch your baby on, and it can be exhausting, so you have to take really good care of yourself. Women who can’t breastfeed or who choose not to because of lack of support, pain, and time constraints are often shamed while other women who are breastfeeding are shamed for doing so in public. So I believe we need all the public displays of affection between baby and breast that we can get.