Why Scandal’s abortion story was so remarkable


Spoilers ahead for the mid-season finale of Scandal.

Our popular culture is light years behind reality when it comes to depicting women’s reproductive choices. Even though 1 in 3 women will have an abortion before the age of 45, the subject is rarely portrayed on TV. In the rare times there is an abortion story, it’s usually fraught and sometimes tragic (although in real life 95% of women don’t regret their abortions), or a convenient miscarriage happens so viewers never have to cope with a woman making the decision to terminate a pregnancy. (more…)

Weekend reading


Dr. Willie Parker on why he provides abortions.

Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for his fabulous book Between the World and Me and dedicated the award to his friend who was killed by police.

“Female viagra” only has 227 prescriptions so far. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t work.

Since People magazine only seems to be aware of white men, Elle offers 30 sexy men who aren’t white.

Why men think they’re doing more chores than they actually are.

RH Reality Check put together a timeline of the lead-up to the Supreme Court case that could define abortion access for generations.

Boston is offering free negotiation classes to every woman who works in the city.

A list of the 47 Democrats who shamefully voted to close the door on Syrian refugees.

The people who brought you “period underwear” now have a line for men who menstruate.

Muslims responded to Donald Trump’s bigotry by showing their #MuslimID.

Women dancers redefine Oakland’s street dancing scene.


Don’t mock safe spaces if you don’t know what it’s like to feel unsafe

yale protest group

It’s hard to know what it’s like to feel unsafe in your own skin if you haven’t experienced it yourself. If you’re not a woman, you might not relate to the knot in your stomach when you hear footsteps behind you on a dark night. You may never have gone through a complex list of calculations to figure out how to get home without fear of being attacked. You might not have taken up the slightly comforting but probably ridiculous stance of weaving your keys through your fingers, as though you will be able to expertly deploy this improvised weapon in the face of danger. (Comedian John Mulaney captured this disconnect well in a hilarious standup bit). (more…)

Weekend reading


What a creepy Bloomingdale’s ad tells us about America’s understanding of rape.

Report: 1,000 police have lost their badges for sexual misconduct. Reality: The problem’s much bigger than that.

How workers’ comp policies leave women to fend for themselves.

8 comebacks to daily microaggressions women face.

Detroit businesswomen team up to get rape kits tested.

Comedian Paul F. Tompkins takes on opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

How Asian-American women became the target of anti-abortion activism.

Why the Mizzou football team may be just the beginning.

It’s nurture, not nature, that puts the toll of emotional labor on women


We’ve been told throughout our lives that there are things that women or men are just naturally better at. Giving these restrictions an air of biological determination makes it easier for people to dismiss complaints that these expectations are limiting or unfair. But despite a long history of claiming men and women’s brains are just different, there’s not much science to back it up(more…)

Weekend reading


100 women directors Hollywood should be hiring.

The pope and Netflix like maternity leave for the wrong reasons.

The Daily Show takes on the myth of the “Ferguson effect.”

Black juror: prosecutors treated me “like I was a criminal.”

TV tentatively starts talking about abortion.

Sex-segregated public restrooms are an outdated relic of Victorian paternalism.

Why immigrant detainees in California just launched a hunger strike.

Issa Rae has a new PSA about the gender pay gap.

We are more than our reproductive choices


As women, we are constantly defined by our reproductive choices in a way that men rarely if ever are. We face what Jia Tolentino calls “dread-laced, prematurely exhausted timing questions that arise when you are born into a body that many people see as pre-ordained into service to other people.” It’s well known that women who decide not to become parents face a special kind of stigma. But when women do follow what is presumed to be their natural path, they are still badgered about everything from when and how they conceive to what they eat when they’re pregnant to when to what kind of schools they send their kids to.  These life decisions can overshadow the many other things that women do in their lives, and that may hold a more vaunted position in the formation of their own identities. (more…)

Weekend reading


Female scientists asked how they would cope without men or makeup in space.

A new paper rebuts the notion of a “Ferguson effect.”

Gender inequality is not possible without abortion.

A new report looks at who runs for office in the US. 2 out of 3 candidates are white men.

New women-run site The Establishment talks to comedian W. Kamau Bell about comedy in the age of social media.

5 reasons why being poor can actually be incredibly expensive.

In honor of the great talk by Ta-Nehisi Coates I was lucky enough to attend last week, 2 throwback recommendations to his pieces on the case for reparations and the black family in the age of mass incarceration.

Could ;-) help men escape accountability for threatening women?


Emoticons have become an inescapable part of our communication. I resisted using them for a long time (I am that person who still spells out full words when writing a text), but it is too tempting to lean on emoticons and emoji to clarify tone in a medium where it can be easily misinterpreted. The ubiquity of emoticons now means that courts are being asked to interpret them in the context of cases, and Amanda Hess has a fascinating piece at Slate about how that is playing out. Unsurprisingly, a number of the examples Hess cites involve men trying to excuse their threatening and violent behavior toward women by citing emoticons: (more…)

Weekend reading


12 feminist indies every film lover must see.

Arson attacks on churches and women’s health clinics are domestic terrorism.

Why sex that’s consensual can still be bad, and why we’re not talking about it.

Men love smart women until they actually have to talk to them.

Stop cheering for the old “hands off my daughter” schtick.

If dads heard the inane crap spouted at working moms.

This is what happens when writers’ rooms aren’t diverse.