On the (Rest of the) Net.

Post of the week: Catherine Deveny on body love. [MamaMia]

On sexual harassment and “nightclub feminist success”. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Atheists are just as bad as rapists… and feminists. [Jezebel]

Lingerie football. What do you think? Personally, I’m not a huge fan of playing sports in underwear, but I don’t have much of a problem with it. [MamaMia]

“The Problem with My Week with Marilyn.” [Jezebel]

All long-term monogamous relationships are a transaction, says Ms. Elouise, so what’s the big problem with “paying your wife for sex”? [Feminaust]

Facebook, girl-hate and “I’m a better feminist than you” tête-à-têtes. [Howling Clementine]

XOJane on the message Breaking Dawn sends to virgins.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope extends to indie films, too. [The Atlantic]

iPhone 4S’ Siri is pro-life, apparently. [Gizmodo]

When hemlines rise, so does bitchiness. [Jezebel]

Stella Young on the disability pension myth. [MamaMia]

Former Wordsmith Laner Sarah Ayoub-Christie tries to reconcile her modern marriage with her traditional Lebanese upbringing. [MamaMia]

“Teaching Good Sex” in school. What a novel idea! [New York Times]

Men in porn:

“The straight male performer must be attractive enough to serve as a prop, but not so attractive that he becomes the object of desire. As [porn publicist, Adella] Curry puts it, ‘No one wants to alienate the male audience’.” [Good]

Image via MamaMia.

TV: Gossip Girl—Life Begins at Love?

So Blair’s pregnant and she doesn’t know who the father is. Oi vey, as her Jewish stepfather Cyrus would say.

Naturally, even though she’s only 20, is still in college as her mother points out, and doesn’t know if her fiancé Louis or past love Chuck impregnated her, she’s keeping the baby. Of course!

Dan tells her  “has options” and Blair replies that she’s considered them all but, ultimately, the foetus was conceived out of love. I’m sure a lot of foetuses were conceived out of love, but that doesn’t mean it’s in the best interest of both the embryo and the parents to keep it.

Interestingly, while searching for some online articles on Gossip Girl being pro-life (there aren’t any that I could find), I came across a web entry for the actress who plays Eleanor Waldorf-Rose, Margaret Colin, who is a noted pro-life activist and has even been involved in (I won’t say propaganda) a pro-life made-for-TV movie. I wonder if her stance, which is well-publicised, had anything to do with the character of Blair deciding to carry the pregnancy to term…?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Gossip Girl Season 4 Final.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Breaking Dawn: Sex is Bad, Okay? And You Will Be Punished for Having It With a Life-Sucking Vampire Feotus. Sorry, Life-Sucking Vampire BABY!

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Is Jersey Shore Anti-Abortion?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

Image via MegaVideo.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Julia Gillard is anti-marriage, period:

“After reading all of Gillard’s statements on this issue and after speaking to those who have talked to her about it, I am convinced she doesn’t believe in marriage at all, for anyone.” [ABC Unleashed]

The “Born This Way” versus choice debate continues:

“But I think the most serious problem with this argument is that it reinforces the idea that we need an excuse to be queer. As a result, using this line subtly supports the idea that being queer requires excusing in some way. Don’t use it. Don’t allow straight people to generate an understanding of queer sexuality that sounds like: ‘Well, of course Bob wouldn’t wish to be queer, but he was born this way. I guess we better give him equal rights—poor Bob, he just can’t help it. We shouldn’t punish him for something he didn’t choose!’

“Meanwhile the real reason that you shouldn’t punish Bob for queerness is because there’s nothing wrong with it!” [Social Justice League]

If you’re unfamiliar with the personhood debate, or just unclear on what it all means, this article by Jill Filipovic is a must-read. [Guardian]

Here’s another great article on Personhood and what it means for abortion laws:

“… As the Personhood message penetrates, then society will understand why women need to be punished just as surely as they understand why there can be no exceptions for rape/incest [bolded text mine].” [Salon]

Why Kyle Sandilands is a dickhead. [The Punch]

“Rethinking the Strong Female Character.” [Canonball]

Kelly Osbourne repents for her past “tranny” wrongs. [HuffPo]

And Warren Beatty and Annette Benning’s transgender son thinks Chaz Bono is a misogynist. [Super-Mattachine]

“27 & Unmarried? In China, You’re One of the ‘Leftover Women’.” Gah, only three years left for me! [Jezebel, Ms. Magazine]

What White Ribbon Day means for men. [MamaMia]

The double standards of talking about what goes on down there. [Owning Pink]

Knowing all the evils facing women in our society, would you want to bring a baby girl into the world? [Jezebel]

My, what lovely lady lumps Kristen Wiig has. All the better to be named GQ’s “Bro of the Year” with, my dear. [Jezebel]

“Eve as Literary Hero”. [Imagine Today]

Ms. Piggy as feminist and Kermit as douchefrog. [Jezebel]

Meshel Laurie on the Matthew Newton saga. [MamaMia]

On being single. [Girls Are Made from Pepsi]

Gah! “Pro-Life Feminism is the Future”. [Washington Post]

Images via Jezebel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider Costume Resource.

Movies: I Don’t Know Why They Keep Making Chick Flicks Like This*.

Even though I’m still young and don’t have a potential baby daddy on the horizon, I’ve been contemplating children lately. How many I want, whether they’ll be biological or adopted, and how I’m going to handle (a) tiny human(s) demanding my attention 24/7. I just don’t know how parents do it!

In this day and age, with the rise of the stay-at-home dad, it’s not always the mothers’ responsibility to look after the home, the family and her workplace.

I Don’t Know How She Does It would have you think otherwise, though. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Kate Reddy is a high-flying investment banker who has a nanny during the day, but tries to spend as much time as she can with “the cutest guy she knows”, her husband, played by Greg Kinnear, and her two kids. I got the feeling that she never slept (the constant list making in bed at all hours of the night probably lent itself to this), was a walking zombie, spent minimal time with her husband and kids, spent her weekends hosting kids’ birthday parties and never had a spare moment for herself. If this is what motherhood and family life is like, I’m withdrawing my application.

But it’s not just the “out of touch”-ness of IDKHSDI, as Dana Stevens called it in her Slate review (my friend, Tess, who I went to see the movie with, drew ire with Kate’s “chronic over-apologising” and “persecution complex”, and I have to say I agree), nor the unrealistic and polar opposite portrayal of stay-at-home mums (Busy Phillips’ character, Wendy, attends the gym from 8am to 2pm every school day. My mum was a stay-at-home one and I can tell you THAT JUST DOES NOT HAPPEN! I’m insulted on behalf of housewives everywhere.) that infuriated me. It was the blatant pro-life message the film pushed.

Kate’s junior co-worker, Momo, played brilliantly by Olivia Munn, was all about work, with some occasional no-strings-attached sex to balance it out. Momo is socially awkward, hates children, and thinks Kate’s family compromises her ability to do her job.

So when Momo finds out she’s pregnant and tells Kate she’s going to “take care of it”, Kate launches into a “creepy pro-life proselytisation”. In the next scene, Momo is keeping the baby. If that’s not a unabashed punishment for a young, attractive woman enjoying sex without commitment, I don’t know what is.

As Irin Carmon puts it, “… Why, if having a choice was so awesome, the young woman in the movie couldn’t have made another one. You know, the one she convincingly would have wanted to make.”

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Elsewhere: [Slate] I Don’t Know How She Does It Reviewed: Sarah Jessica Parker Rides the Rapids of Upper-Middle-Class Parenthood.

[Jezebel] My Group Therapy Session with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Image via BoxOffice.com.

Event: Melbourne Writers’ Festival—Never, Ever, Again: Why Australian Abortion Law Needs Reform by Caroline de Costa Book Launch.

Last year’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival was pretty lackluster, and I didn’t attend any events.

This year, however, is jammed packed with hard-hitting seminars, news-related talks and all-day workshops. There are more events I’m interested in than there is money in my pocket.

But to kick things off was a free, no-bookings-necessary book launch at ACMI’s The Cube on Friday afternoon for Caroline de Costa’s second edition of Never, Ever, Again: Why Australian Abortion Law Needs Reform (review to come in the next few weeks).

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d heard of de Costa before, and just saw the word “abortion” and knew I had to attend!

However, when the author began speaking about the abortion drug RU486, I remembered reading her work a few weeks ago on MamaMia, and featuring said article in “On the (Rest of the) Net”. It is an article I recommend checking out wholeheartedly.

In this article, De Costa asserts that we need to increase sex education and access to contraceptives in order to bring Australia’s high abortion rate down.

In de Costa’s address at the event, she said no woman enjoys having an abortion and that there’s “no such thing” as “pro-abortion”, an assertion that I don’t 100% agree with, but I do think it is a damaging label pro-lifers sometimes paint pro-choicers with.

Ultimately, de Costa says we “should be concerned about the health and safety of every pregnant woman” as opposed to the biologically dependent mass of “unwanted tissue” in her body.

The other speakers at the event—the MC whose name I didn’t catch, long-time pro-choicer Dr. Jo Wainer, former Minister for Women’s Affairs from 2007 to 2010, Maxine Morand, and Dr. Chris Bayly from the Royal Women’s Hospital—reiterated de Costa’s sentiments in her book, that the “hidden business that is women’s business” of abortion needs to be destigmatised and legalised in order to increase access to safe pregnancy terminations.

Finally, the revised edition of the book includes an extra chapter on the Queensland trial of Tegan Leach and Sergie Brennan, who were charged with procuring an illegal abortion in 2009 when they purchased the drug RU486.

Dr. Wainer noted that when Leach was on the stand being questioned as to why she felt the need to abort her baby, it was the “21st century equivalent of putting women in the stocks”. Or burning at the stake for her “crimes”, if you will.

It’s something that, as the book’s title suggests, should happen never, ever, again.

That’s why abortion law in Australia needs to be reformed.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] On the (Rest of the) Net 19th August 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] RU486, Sex Education & Contraception. That’s All We Need.

[MamaMia] The Couple Facing Jail Because They Tried to “Procure an Abortion”. Hello, Queensland? It’s 2010.

[Televisual] The Changing Economics of the TV Abortion.

Image via Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

TV: Private Practice—Pro-Choice?

I’ve recently finished watching the latest series of Private Practice, the final of which aired here just over a month ago. The season dealt with the brutal rape of Dr. Charlotte King, about which you can read here and here, as well as the abortion debate that is raging across the world, but particularly in the U.S., with the rise of the über-conservative Tea Party, and 2012 presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann.

The second last episode of the season was said “abortion episode”. A woman named Patty came to see Dr. Addison Montgomery with pain, cramping and nausea after getting an abortion a month or two prior. When Addison does an ultrasound, she regrettably informs her patient that she’s still pregnant: the abortion didn’t take.

Patty’s foetus is now at 19 weeks, which would make the pregnancy in its second trimester, at which time an abortion is dubbed a “partial-birth abortion” by pro-lifers, as Dr. Naomi Bennett points out. Addison chides her for using political terminology, and that an abortion at 19 weeks is still perfectly legal, reiterating Patty’s right to choose, especially since she already made her decision the first time around several weeks ago.

Television and the media have a responsibility to present both sides of the story on such a contentious issue, even if they don’t live up to this most of the time. That’s why, when a show like Private Practice represents the abortion debate in such a refreshingly honest manner, it can be seen as revolutionary. (And it’s not the first time, either.) Not as revolutionary as Maude’s title character choosing to abort her unwanted pregnancy back in 1972, before the groundbreaking Roe VS. Wade decision, as this article points out, but still.

Naomi is a character I’ve never been a big fan of. She overreacts to everything (granted, overreaction may be warranted when your 16-year-old daughter gets pregnant and your best friend starts dating your ex-husband) and has a self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitude to most things, and her interference with Patty is no exception.

She uses her granddaughter Olivia to potentially guilt Patty into going ahead with her pregnancy, completely ignoring that Patty is single, after her deadbeat boyfriend took off when she told him she was pregnant, works two jobs, is poor, and is on her feet eight hours a day.

I had a real problem with this. Doctors should not push their personal beliefs on patients. If I were to fall pregnant tomorrow, I would be hitting up my nearest abortion clinic in a second, expecting to be given the care I’ve chosen, not to be lectured or threatened. As Addison says:

“… Even after you make the most difficult and personal decision that there is, it’s still not safe. Because you have some fanatic who claims to value life who can walk into an abortion clinic and blow it up.”

She continues:

“Why can’t Patty get what she needs, a safe and legal abortion without judgement?  Why does she have to go through this?  Why do I have to go through this?  I hate what I am about to do but I support Patty’s right to choose.  It is not enough to just have an opinion because in a nation of over 300 million people there are only 1700 abortion providers.  And I am one of them.”

The statistics are grim.

But, while trying to express the “pro-life” argument as well, Private Practice manages to remain pro-choice, which is no mean feat in the wake of reproductive rights being ripped from women across the world, and another PP, Planned Parenthood, being defunded en masse.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Elsewhere: [New York Magazine] Emily Nussbaum on the Rape Episode of Private Practice.

[E! Online] The Morning After: Let’s Talk About Private Practice.

[Feminist in the City] Private Practice Tackles Abortion.

[Televisual] The Changing Economics of the TV Abortion.

[Fuck Yeah Choice] Just Keep Swimming: Abortion on Private Practice’s “God Bless the Child”.

[Dakota Women] And the Abortion Portrayal Award Goes to… Private Practice?

Images via Kate Walsh Fan.

TV: Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

Last night’s Grey’s final saw the seeming collapse of Derek and Meredith’s marriage over Meredith tampering with the Alzheimer’s clinical trial just as baby Zola came into their lives, pending the finalisation of the adoption papers.

Derek chided Meredith for swapping the active drug with the placebo for Richard’s wife, Adele, asking her how she couldn’t differentiate between right and wrong. Meredith replied that to her, things aren’t just right and wrong; there are shades of grey (hello, her last name’s Grey!), and that she’d do it all over again if it meant that Adele got better.

Derek should know this. Back in season five, when Derek introduces Meredith to his mother, she exclaimed that Meredith was good for him: he’s black and white and she’s grey.

But it didn’t stop him walking out on his wife for failing to see her reasoning, much like Owen failed to see Cristina’s reasoning, and kicked her out after she scheduled an abortion without his input.

Yes, that’s right: Cristina’s pregnant, much to her dismay.

She doesn’t want a baby. Never has, and never will. But Owen can’t understand this, and pushes her to see his side.

Now, this is where it starts to get messy. I’m not ashamed to say I’m staunchly pro-choice, so much so that I take the line of reasoning that if in doubt, abort. Especially if the woman in question is young, a victim of rape or incest, or can’t afford to have a baby. To me, life begins when the foetus is out of the womb and has taken its first breath. But I agree with Owen in that Cristina should have allowed him to have a say in the matter of abortion. But I also think that if Owen married Cristina knowing she didn’t want children but thinking he could persuade her anyway, he’s an idiot.

Cristina echoes this notion somewhat when she informs her husband she’s pregnant. Owen is overjoyed; Cristina has a migraine.

She tells him flat out that she doesn’t want a baby, and he responds with, “Well, you have one.”

“Are you getting all lifey on me?!” she remarks in disbelief, while he proceeds to ask her how far along she is, and if the foetus has feet and hands. How dare he tell her when life begins, she reasons.

While the storyline is clearly personal, not medical, it seems that Owen leans towards pro-life, though that could just be because the foetus in question contains his DNA. I don’t think doctors should push their personal opinions onto a pregnant woman who is coming to terms with the “unwanted tissue” inside her. I would go as far to say that I don’t think doctors with pro-life beliefs should be practicing medicine.

Still, Cristina is absolutely right when she says she’s not “compromising” on a baby: “You don’t have half a baby!… You don’t ‘give a little’ on a baby.”

While it’s perhaps easier for the father to bow out on raising their biological child, mothers usually don’t have that (ad)option. Cristina just plain and simply doesn’t. Want. A. Baby. But if she has it, she knows she’ll love it. (That’s the risk women run when they give their children up for adoption.) Owen shouldn’t have put her in the position to do something she doesn’t want to do (“It’s not like pizza or Thai.”), thinking she will “come around” later.

While Derek and Meredith deal with the fall out of Meredith’s “wrong” decision, how will Owen deal with Cristina’s decision? Was it “right” or “wrong”? And how will Grey’s Anatomy continue to discuss the “when does life begin?” question?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Grey’s Anatomy‘s “Superfreak” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] On the (Rest of the) Net: May 13th 2011.

Elsewhere: [The Feel of Free] Cristina Yang + You Can’t Compromise on a Baby.

[Marinagraphy] Resisting Motherhood in Grey’s Anatomy.

Images via VideoBB.