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Women won’t be fooled by GOP attempts to hide anti-woman policies

In the understatement of the century, the New York Times reports that “Republicans acknowledge that their communication on women’s issues has been inadequate.” Their solution involves training candidates to try putting a sheen on their unappealing policies:

It was not on the public schedule for the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting at the stately Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. But inside a conference room, a group of conservative women held a boot camp to strengthen an unlikely set of skills: how to talk about abortion.

They have conducted a half-dozen of these sessions around the country this year, from Richmond, Va., to Madison, Wis. Coaches point video cameras at the participants and ask them to talk about why they believe abortion is wrong. 

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Weekend reading

A performance artist satirizes the use of scantily clad women as accessories.

John Oliver and some muppets explain the US’s broken prison system.

More discrimination in the name of religion: the Department of Education grants a religious exemption for a university to deny on campus housing to a transgender student.

A chart that shows the rapid rise in incarceration and racial disparity in the criminal justice system.

Fill up your Netflix queue with 50 essential feminist films.

“I’m terrified of dying like Eric Garner.”

A luxury apartment building in New York is creating a separate “poor door” for low income residents.

The Detroit Water Project lets you help poor residents who have had their water shut off by directly paying their bills.

A nurse-midwife who refuses to dispense birth control sues a family planning clinic for not hiring her.

A new documentary series honors “Queer Black Visionaries.”

The education of street harassers

You have to wonder at the thought process (if there is one) behind catcalling. What does a guy expect is going to happen? The few times in the past that I’ve confronted people who’ve sexually harassed me, the main reaction was utter surprise that someone was responding to them at all, particularly in an angry manner. They cowered and offered apologies, but I never dug in to the question of why.  (more…)

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Weekend reading

Rep. John Lewis recalls the time he was arrested for using a “white” restroom.

Getting in arguments about voter fraud? Here are 7 papers, 4 government inquires, 2 news investigations, and 1 court ruling showing it’s largely a myth.

An anti-choice activist admits that harassing women outside abortion clinics doesn’t change their minds.

Oregon’s One Key Question initiative ensures that patients and doctors are talking proactively about reproductive health care needs.

There is currently no quantitative data on police-perpetrated sexual assault.

How the term “classic rapist” shows that people don’t understand rape.

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Birth control is related to sex, and we should talk about that

“Respectability politics” is a concept that plagues many social justice movements. Members of marginalized groups feel the need to prove that they are worthy of certain rights they want to be granted in order to win victory in mainstream society. It’s an understandable impulse, but it often ends up hurting a cause as well as the people fighting for it. Irin Carmon takes this on in the context of birth control access and makes a strong case against the overemphasis on medically necessary contraception:  (more…)

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Weekend reading

A pro-choice activist has some fun at her local Hobby Lobby.

Dahlia Lithwick on how the Supreme Court “chose not to see women this term, or at least not real women, with real challenges, and opted instead to offer extra protections to the delicate women of their imaginary worlds.”

Jezebel skewers a ludicrous Esquire piece on the newly-found desirability of 42-year-old women.

Birth control saves a lot of money.

Sad, but not surprising: the NSA has been retaining a lot of irrelevant information about innocent people and spying on Muslim-Americans.

Kelly Williams Brown expands on the right’s caricature of young women as “Beyonce voters.”

 

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Lucy Flores’ refreshing honesty about abortion

It says something about our culture’s handling of “controversial” issues that at honest take on people’s common lived experience ends up feeling so refreshing. That’s one reason why the film Obvious Child has received such a rapturous response from many viewers, especially women (it’s also because it’s hilarious and Jenny Slate is wonderful- check it out).  (more…)

Weekend reading

Kyle Buchanan at Vulture looks at the trend of casting women as mothers in age-inappropriate ways, and what it would look like if Hollywood did the same thing with men.

All of the NSA revelations to date in one chart.

10 ways men can combat sexist entitlement.

The Hobby Lobby ruling offers yet another reason why we shouldn’t have an employer-based health insurance system.

A map of which countries subsidize birth control pills or offer them for free.

Despite protestations that the Hobby Lobby ruling was narrow, the Supreme Court has ordered lower courts to rehear cases on denying coverage for any type of contraception.

 

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July 4th recommendation: Freedom Summer

You might not have time today between barbecues and fireworks, but I recommend that you find some soon to check out the important and moving new film Freedom Summer (you can watch it for free here)If we’re going to celebrate our country, the most inspiring stories I can look to are those of people who struggle to make this country live up to its promise. The bravery and dedication of the Freedom Summer organizers helping to register voters in Mississippi in 1964 is awe-inspiring.

It’s especially important to revisit this history as we face a full-on attack on voting rights today. We’re still a long way from the US as portrayed in rousing Independence Day rhetoric, but today is a great day to honor those who are taking us closer step by step.