Unsafe abortion kills nearly 50,000 women a year, making it one of the major preventable causes of maternal mortality, yet many countries, including the United States and Spain, are trying to impose tighter legal restrictions on abortion, according to Ipas, a global NGO that works to advance women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
There are an estimated 22 million unsafe abortions around the world every year, mainly in developing countries, and over the past 20 years unsafe abortions have killed more than 1 million women and girls globally and injured 100 million, Ipas president and CEO Elizabeth Maguire said.
At present, “47,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions - the equivalent of 200 jumbo jet planes crashing with no survivors every year,” Maguire said. “It’s intolerable that these deaths and injuries continue to occur in the 21st century.”
Ten Women I Have Been Warned Against Becoming:
1. The Girl Who Takes Up Too Much Space, always, her shoulders too wide in stairwells, her hips too big in doorways, her voice too loud in classes. This woman does not understand the art of crumbling, of curling herself tight like the spiral of a fern, soft, delicate, unwilling to reach out the ivy of her fingers to grasp onto what should rightfully be hers. This is a beast, an elephant, a moving mountain and she is capable of flattening you, she is capable of ruining you, she is capable of making you feel as small and insignificant in her life as she is supposed to be. You are this woman’s footnote to history, you are her side note in song lyrics, you are constantly interrupted by her with a witty joke you wish you thought of. I asked what the problem was with being a steamroller instead of a sunflower and I was laughed down.
2. The Beautiful One, the long hair or the slim waist or the pretty eyes or the lips like bowstrings. This woman looks good in everything because she’s confident in whatever you put her in. She’ll cut her hair short on you no matter how you like it, she’ll wear high heels and step on your opinions, she’ll look hot as hell no matter what size she is. See, the reason you can’t trust her is because women like this don’t need your permission, they’ll do as they please and get away with it. They’ll say no to you, over and over. Teach your daughters that beautiful means dangerous, teach them to distrust women who love themselves. Equate beautiful with vapid, equate pretty with stupid, take their power from them. Say they’re vain for their makeup, refuse to see them without it. These women are snakes, they are serpents. I said maybe the problem lies with you being unable to control yourself and was told to get off my pedestal.
3. A Bitch. Women are supposed to be ladies in the street but will tear skin under sheets. I’m told: Never raise your voice. Speak gently. Submit. Hold your opinion against your lips and when you admit to it, make sure it comes out as a butterfly wing suggestion. Don’t disagree. Don’t undermine someone else’s authority, regardless of whether or not they deserve your respect. Someone touches you, just move away from them. Don’t hit. Don’t talk back. Be like the ruins of Rome, only beautiful if you can’t hear your quiet death.
4. The Needy One. I have heard how others spit when they talk about how she gave you everything and you shoved it back down her throat until she choked on it, until she came back crawling and asked you what she did, until her palms and knees were scraped for want of just a little affection - never be this woman, I’m told, because she’s a joke and the joke is that she dared to have more emotion than you did. The truth is, I’m told, the one who cares less in a partnership is the one who wins. I didn’t know this was a competition.
5. The Cock Tease, certified stripper, how dare that girl look like that and not want me to sleep with her. Lust is always personified as a lady in red with a dress slit up her thigh. Lust is sinful because it’s power, it’s not asking for attention - it’s demanding it. I’m told she is the worst kind of woman, that looking good is supposed to be some kind of shame on her kin. I’m told not to leave the house in such a short skirt, not with a shirt so low, not with a lace back, not with high heels, not dressed like that. My lipstick can’t be too red, my hair can’t be too mussed, I can’t just “turn someone on like that and then leave them wanting.” I mentioned that instant gratification actually ruins our psyche and was told that being led on was “exhausting.” I said that there was a difference between purposefully tricking someone into liking you and just being attractive or friendly. I was told there’s also a difference between coffee and tea but both result in caffeine. I said, “I’ve been turned on in class by the girls I talk to but I didn’t expect anything from them,” and they said, “It’s different, you’re not a man,” but couldn’t explain where that difference was.
6. A Slut, obviously ruined by another person’s touch. It doesn’t matter how many people she’s actually been with, it’s all about the rumors she carries with her. Easy. Harlot. You’ll still try to get with her, you’ll still take her into your bed and kiss her and say things you don’t mean - but you’ll defame her name when you talk to your buddies. My father used to say “A slut is fine for the night, but the virgin is who you take home and marry.” Maybe he didn’t know he was teaching his daughter to hate her sexuality. Maybe he didn’t know that every time she’d be kissed, her whole system would shake until she felt ready to combust, shame and self-hatred shivering against her spine. Maybe he didn’t know she’d disconnect emotions and sex because he always told her, “Boys are different, they won’t care about you.” Nobody said to her that it was okay to experiment. See, the funny thing is, I’m a dancer so I know exactly where my center of gravity is. I know how hard I’ll fall in each direction. Yet out of fear of getting hurt, I won’t let a single person inside of my bed.
7. The Soulmate. Never love romance more than you love being cynical. Never show weakness, never like pink, never think maybe you might find someone nice and settle down with them. Someone will find you, I was told, And if you’re lucky, he’ll put up with you when you start getting old. Never be the woman who believes in happily ever after, never be dumb enough to think maybe someone could love you after all of your mistakes. It has nothing to do with whether or not a family is important to you and you’re in a good place where a relationship would make your life better - you’re not a princess. You don’t get married, you settle.
8. The Girl With Strength, who can outrun everyone and who is stronger than her boyfriend. “See the thing about boys,” says my daddy, “Is that you have to let them win.” I sat at home and read stories about Artemis and wanted to become the huntress, too. I wanted to howl at the moon, I wanted to slay the beasts that bested me, I wanted to rule my kingdom with bloody fists. But girls are never athletes, never supposed to be “built,” regardless of the fact civilizations were constructed on our spines and we made homes in war by the steel of our ribs. Never be strong. We are supposed to wilt.
9. The Lady CEO: because if you choose work over family, are you really a girl? How dare you fight your way to the top through every pair of eyes that bore through your blouse, through every meeting where you were hushed by the sound of someone else talking, through every time someone called you “sweetie,” how dare you yearn for something. Is your husband the stay-at-home one? I can’t imagine how that is going. He’s not a real man, after all. I don’t give it long before the divorce. How dare you decide you’re happy being single. Don’t you know you’re supposed to bear children. Where is your honor? Where is your wisdom? Who cares if you are the leader, the best suited for your position, the quickest-thinking, the one who makes the hardest clients come back again. Don’t you see? Across history, women have been terrible at success. They always lose their man in the end. (When I said, “I would rather be a famous author than a mediocre mother,” I was told, “No, don’t worry, you’ll be a fine mommy.”)
10. THE GIRL I AM: FIRECRACKER AND DON’T YOU FUCKING FORGET IT I’LL RIP YOU TO SHREDS AND I WON’T FUCKING REGRET IT I’M NOT YOUR PRETTY GIRL I’M NOT YOUR ANYTHING I’M PERFECT, MOTHERFUCKER, AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP WHAT I’M DOING. I DON’T WANT TO BE “LADYLIKE” THAT LITERALLY MEANS NOTHING I’M NOT GOING TO STOP STANDING UP AND DEMANDING WHAT’S COMING TO ME. I’M GONNA BE SOMEBODY. I’M GONNA MAKE THEM REMEMBER ME. I REFUSE TO BE OVERSHADOWED IN HISTORY. I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CREATE BUT YOU MADE ME A DRAGON YOU PUT ME IN THE FIRE AND WHEN I STOPPED BURNING I LEARNED HOW TO GLOW DON’T THINK YOU CAN STOP ME YOU CAN’T TAME A TORNADO.❞
Of course, the irony of Veet’s campaign is that the very existence of its product undermines the idea that there is anything naturally “womanly” about a hairless body. Most men and women have some body hair. (If this is news to you, I hope you are someday blessed with the chance to see the range of bodies that exist outside the fantasy world of porn.) The cultural norm that leads many women to remove that hair, while men typically do not, is pretty much arbitrary — and one that necessitates some artificial intervention by razor, cream, laser, or, say, Veet’s wax strips. ❞
"That submission about street harassment reminded me of a situation earlier today. I was at work and I approached a customer (male), as I am suppose to do because I work in sale and customer service, and before I can even say “how can I help you today?” he smiles at me and says “Hello, beautiful”. Later, when I was on my lunch in the food court, he was sitting a few tables away, saw me and proceeded to creepily stare at me until his children joined him.
This is not an isolated incident. Regularly when I approach male customers to greet them I am greeted with “Hey, beautiful”, “Hello, pumpkin”, “Hey, how you doin’” - all with creepy gazes down my body like I’m there for their viewing pleasure. And I can’t do anything but ignore it because I’m at work and it’s part of the job. I can’t do anything unless they try to touch me, unless their words get really nasty, and then all that will happen is that they will move me to a different part of the store until the customer leaves.
I have been asked out, men have demanded my phone number or tried to give me theirs, and all because I’m doing my job. It’s my job to be nice to these people. It’s my job to be pleasant and enjoyable to be around. It’s my job to give these people attention and make them feel attended to. That’s part of excellent sales. It’s an experience you don’t get at lower-end stores, so it’s a selling advantage.
It just shows you the entitlement that these men have, because they think my time and attention is actually for them and not because of my job, or if they do realize my limitations because of my job they are taking advantage of that to put me in an uncomfortable position.” - submission by badassqueergoddess
I HATE THAT. I literally hate that. I worked as a waitress all throughout high school and a retail sales associate as I worked my way through college, and having to deal with ridiculousness like that is an every day occurrence in those types of service jobs that are primarily dominated by women (and therefore underpaid.) It is SO infuriating, especially because you’re right, you can’t do anything but ignore it unless you can risk losing your job. (And let’s face it, people working these types of jobs can rarely risk not having income.) Which is why I think it’s so important to talk about it. To write about it. To share it.
Thank you for your submission! (And I’m sorry you had to deal with that creepy asshole today.) <3
"I live in New York, and in this city you quite regularly encounter things and people that makes the feminist in you go completely mad, frustrated, desperate. (just such as the everyday comments of “oooh you look good”, “come here sweetie” , “why won’t you look at me with those beautiful eyes of yours?”) but tonight must have been the crème de la crop of everyday sexism. Me and my best friend were walking down 40th street when all of a sudden we hear someone behind us talking, I hear words like “sex” and “hot” but think that the guy must be speaking to somebody else, but the words follow us for several more moments and I look over and meet his stare and I now hear what he’s saying: “you wanna come to my apartment? We can have sex, the three of us? Huh you wanna do that?” We both start to walk faster but he keeps on following us (and do note that we’re in the middle of a crowded street), and he keeps on talking, about all the horrible things he would do to us and before we finally get away from him (by crossing to the wrong side of the street from where we were heading), he says: “Come to my apartment and you can suck my d*ck” ,
A huge part of me wanted to turn around and kickbox him and scream and yell all the feminists rants in the world that I could think of, but I didn’t dare to, and I realized that it was no point of doing so, because I was already the victim.
Sorry, just had to share this because I am boiling over with anger.” - submitted by theunwillingminimalist
First, thank you so much for submitting! (Submissions of everyday micro-aggressions/harassment/objectification are always welcome!)
Secondly, what a fucking douche-bag. I, too, like so many other women, have experienced how scary and infuriating cat-calling and street harassment can be. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that bullshit tonight.
If any of you fellow feminists out there have an OKCupid account, it’s likely you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say navigating online dating sites as a feminist looking for a potential feminist friend/date/significant other is not an easy task.
You’re likely to get ridiculously sexualized messages such as:
(If I was feeling particularly patient, I would’ve written a well-supported paragraph in response about how that’s a blatant stereotype of feminists; however, I wasn’t, and this guy just seemed like a pervy asshole anyway.)
Or you’ll get random insulting ones such as:
(Hmm, more like, go fuck yourself ya creep.)
Or you’ll get know-it-all straight, white guys googling Hillary quotes to impress you like:
(Just, sit down.)
So in an effort to deal with, laugh at, and reclaim the various micro-aggressions and ridiculousness we encounter navigating today’s online dating world, I encourage other online-dating-feminists to submit the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences they’ve had with the feminist blogosphere.
"We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t." -Audre Lorde
Every time I hear “Hate the sin, love the sinner” I want to scream.
My existence is not a sin. I’m not a sinner for existing. You do not “love” me if you feel this way.