Category Archives: Feminism

Control of Pregnancy Means Control of Women

How involved should government be in women’s pregnancies? A case from Wisconsin speaks powerfully about the dangers of personhood policy.

Early in 2014, 29-year-old Wisconsin woman Tamara Loertscher left her job, leaving her without the health insurance she needed to treat a thyroid condition. During her unemployment Loertscher sometimes self-medicated with marijuana and methamphetamine, a stimulant, for depression and pain.

Months later, in July, Loertscher suspected she had become pregnant by her long term boyfriend. She discontinued all substance use.

Then she went to the Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on August 1. She was seeking care for her depression and thyroid condition, to confirm herpregnancy, and to ask questions about the health of a fetus she intended to carry to term. She disclosed her medical history, including previous substance use, so health providers might offer the best information about her health and the fitness of her pregnancy. A urine test confirmedpregnancy as well as drug use.

Tamara Loertscher’s visit to the Wisconsin clinic then took a dark turn.

Continue reading Control of Pregnancy Means Control of Women

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Why The Government Shouldn’t Regulate Photoshopping

 

A recent post by the show Julie Mastrine responded to a post by Miss Representation’s account on Facebook. Miss Representation is a documentary about the portrayal of women in media. It’s a valuable film with many insights, but it falls into the error that much of liberal feminism does, which is to call on government regulation as a solution. Their Facebook post was a link to Change.org, petitioning the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “to develop a regulatory framework for ads that materially change the faces and bodies of the people in them, in order to reduce the damage this type of advertising does to our children.”

I responded with a few comments, and many other libertarian feminists did as well.

laurie rice photoshopping

laurie rice photoshopping 2

Julie Mastrine did a longer write up on her own blog, with screenshots of my comments and others.

 

Julie Mastrine

Women’s representation in media matters. Study after study   has linked narrow beauty standards with low self-esteem, eating disorders, and general body-hatred among women. Women are tired of seeing themselves portrayed in a narrow way — light-skinned, thin, blonde, blue-eyed, big boobs, etc. But is government legislation the solution to create more representative media images? Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.34.44 PM

That’s the question raised by a newChange.org petition, which asks people to sign in support of The Truth in Advertising Act, or H.R.4341. The act is not very detailed, but in short, it would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a regulatory framework to reduce the use of altered photos in advertising and “to submit to Congress a report on the use, in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products, of images that have been altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted.”

This legislation…

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Contraception and Free-Market Feminism

For a while, Youtube aired a commercial for Plan B, and it inspired me whenever I saw it. “No one is going to get in my way,” one actress says decisively—“No one,” “No one,” “No one,” comes the chorus of women, each one more emphatic. At first, it might seem overly righteous for a subtext which basically suggests, “the condom broke.” But the commercial is actually the market’s bold stance against a long history of regulation surrounding contraception.

The women in the commercial are voices ringing out above one of the world’s loudest shouting matches, speaking to issues of sexuality, women’s reproductive freedom, healthcare, personal responsibility, and capitalism. Both the right and the left are harmful to women’s reproductive freedom, but most harmful is government power, itself. Liberal feminists still haven’t figured out the problem or its solution, free-market capitalism.

Continue reading Contraception and Free-Market Feminism

Privacy concerns for women getting abortions in Louisiana

Privacy concerns for women merely getting abortion *medication* (the pills typically given for early-stage abortions) — while abortion is supposedly still legal. If you’re a woman trying to have a procedure so couched in shame and social stigma, it’s even more intimidating to know that your name will be recorded.

“Louisiana state Rep. Katrina Jackson’s bill, in addition to keeping a state database of people who have had medication abortions, would require physicians who perform the procedure to obtain hospital admitting privileges.”

This is how pro-life politicians and activists bypass the difficulty of making abortion illegal; by simply regulating clinics into non-functionality.
Also, Jackson proposed changing the language for the first trimester from “six to 14 weeks” to “up to 14 weeks,” honing the scope of government force ever closer to a woman’s sexual act itself.

http://www.salon.com/2014/03/10/louisiana_lawmakers_want_to_keep_a_state_database_of_people_who_have_abortions/?utm_source=nar.al&utm_medium=urlshortener&utm_campaign=FB

Sexism against female entrepreneurs

A recent article at Feministing.com highlights a study showing that female entrepreneurs pitching an idea are less successful with investors than men pitching the same idea.

Maya Dusenbery says:

“You’d think folks in the venture capitalist and entrepreneurial communities–who presumably have far more faith in the invisible hand’s ability to identify and invest in the best ideas than an anti-capitalist like me does–would be seriously concerned by research like this that suggests gender bias is throwing such a major wrench in their visions of a perfect capitalist meritocracy. I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions they’re working on to address this.”

As an advocate of free-market capitalism, here are the solutions I suggest:

1. Advocate for libertarian feminism, combining the sound principles of free market philosophy with a mission to culturally construct a fully human femininity, and to correct for distortions of sexual identity against merit. (Similarly, advocate for libertarian social justice generally, correcting for distortions of all sexual identities and racial identities)

2. Create market corrections such as private “affirmative action.” If it becomes clear that value is being left on the table by not investing in female entrepreneurs, that becomes an opportunity for certain investors to make a profit by focusing exclusively on female entrepreneurs.

3. Make investors and venture capitalists aware of their potential biases with articles such as this one in Feministing. Thank you, Maya! — Truly, you and articles like these are part of the solution. Investors might correct for a certain amount of discrimination just by being more conscientious. CEOs might also integrate correction for this problem into their business’ mission statement, employee training, and other forums. It could be as simple as a reminder: “Be aware of sex discrimination. Don’t miss out on a great idea!”

4. Private civic institutions, “watch dog” groups, or any kind of voluntary groups for women entrepreneurs to join together and exchange information about which investors are promising and which ones show discriminatory behavior toward women. Develop lists of criteria; let journalists name good guys and bad guys. Much like the LGBT community identifies businesses which are friendly to their community as customers and employees.
(One of my favorites is Capitalist Chicks.)

Finally, this isn’t a solution, but an attempt to turn the question on its head: consider that if there is a cultural distortion about masculinity and authority, how much worse off female entrepreneurs would be in an economy controlled by political power, where authority is the “coin of the realm” instead of the dollar.

For more commentary on this issue, see my article Feminism and the Future.

Feminism and the Future

Imagine a rich, new media landscape—one that extols complex heroines whose lives expand a young woman’s sense of the many ways that it is possible to be; one that de-emphasizes sexuality and appearance as the measures of a woman’s worth. Imagine energized women smartly banding together to solve social problems—using micro-financing to enable other women to launch businesses, for example—instead of leaning dependently on a paternalistic government. Before we look deeper into what our future could be, let’s consider feminism’s trek to date.

In the last 150 years, the United States has accepted a basic ideal of equality between males and females. Best understood, this ideal holds that men and women are first and foremost individuals who live by reason. As such, both men and women have the same requirements for freedom and the same potential for achievement. The belief in these core ideas is what Joan Kennedy Taylor, a feminist and Objectivist intellectual, called “the individualist feminist impulse.”

Continue reading Feminism and the Future