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Featured Video: Intimate Wars by Merle Hoffman

OTI Newsletter


October 22, 2012

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Malala was the name on our minds over the past two weeks. The Taliban's shooting of this 15-year-old who spoke out about Pakistani girls' rights to an education drew outraged responses from the Pakistani people and the rest of the world.
"Without education, what is the meaning of Pakistan?" had become Malala's motto, and it makes a a fitting title for the thoughtful commentary that social worker and activist Robina Niaz wrote about this remarkable young woman and her cause. "Malala will, I believe, speak out when she recovers." writes Niaz. We're grateful to learn that, as of this mailing, all reports indicate that Malala is, indeed, recovering in a UK hospital where she was flown for treatment.
"No, Joe Walsh: Women Do Not Have Nine Lives." On the Issues Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman was quick to respond to the latest bizarre claim to come from a Republican. This time, it was Illinois congressman Joe Walsh, who informed the press that not only is he against abortion without exception — but that abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman's life.
We understand if you're speechless. Hoffman, however, had plenty to say. Read her riposte in full here.

From our current issue: Speaking of appalling conservative reactions to women's basic rights — you might want to take another look at Amanda Marcotte's "No Dancing: The Right Aims to Take Down Sexual Liberation." And in considering how to productively counter just such right-wing aims, we recommend Susan Yanow's "Silos No More: Shaping Alliances for Reproductive Justice."

The Committee for the Shulamith Firestone Memorial Apartment petitioned Firestone’s landlord to reserve her now vacant East Village apartment for a feminist activist who would pay below the market rate. Unfortunately, what was envisioned as a feminist activist residency, to be awarded to a candidate selected by the committee, is not in line with what Firestone's former landlord had in mind.

On the Issues was at 335 E. Tenth Street when the group presented the petition to Tower Brokerage. Read our coverage here.


A very different Wuthering Heights is what filmmaker Andrea Arnold has brought to U.S. theaters this fall. The writer-director, known for the single, dominant perspectives of the female characters in her previous films, has adapted the Emily Brontë novel to show us Heathcliff's point of view. Or is that Catherine's? As On the Issues' new associate editor, Alyssa Pelish, notes in her review, "Brontë’s Catherine avows that she is Heathcliff. ...Arnold uses her directorial skills to show us what this might feel like."

Read the entire review here.
What else happened? We also took note of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's impressive smackdown of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for his alleged misogyny and hypocrisy. We snickered at the "Binders full of women" Tumblr, while beginning to give serious thought to the not-so-funny implications of such a phrase (stay tuned). And we were glad to learn of efforts by the Hoshyar Foundation to build a school for girls in Pakistan, in recognition of Malala.
On The Issues: A Magazine of Critical, Independent Thinking 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.OnTheIssuesMagazine.com

October 4, 2012

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It's the day after the first presidential debate, and women across the country are scratching their heads wondering: What happened to them? Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman penned a featured piece on Huffington Post asking this very question:
After debating every major "right-to-life" leader in this country -- including Jerry Falwell -- I didn't need to watch the debate tonight to know that no matter who the pundits say won, it is women who are losing.
In the meager segment set aside to discuss health care in tonight's debate, both candidates brought out their shop-worn stump speeches on the merits and weaknesses of Obamacare.
At one point Governor Romney said the government shouldn't be "telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they should have."

What an opening for Obama to come out strongly in favor of reproductive freedom and a woman's right to choose. This was Obama's opportunity to emphasize, with strength, that he supports Roe v. Wade -- which I consider to be the Medical Equal Rights Amendment for women.
But he didn't. Like I said, it's the same old story.


Carole Simpson at 1992 debate
The Latest and Greatest at OTI: A Round-Up
Did we mention we have a new Senior Editor? Barbara Fischkin has been bringing some fantastic, fresh content to the magazine. Check out what we've had brewing over the last couple of weeks:

"I had no tapes to go by," Simpson said during a live panel presentation Thursday evening. "I don't have any way to see how this is going to look." So she "studied morning, noon and night. I made up my own questions, in case something happened." It was the pinnacle of her career, so she just kept saying to herself: "Carol you gotta do it. You just gotta do it."

It was a memorial service - and a call to action.
Shulamith Firestone, the brilliant, troubled feminist author, artist and activist who died in late August, was remembered at a sad but energized Manhattan memorial service Sunday night at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery.
"The only box Shulie ever fit in was a simple pine box," Firestone's sister Laya Firestone Seghi told a tearful, multi-generational gathering, speaking about her sister's funeral on August 31. More than a hundred mourners- including many feminist leaders -- attended.
ReBirth of an Activist, by Pamela Leigh:
Although I was relatively engaged with feminist issues in the late 1960s and early 1970s, these matters later took a back seat to career and marriage and for too many years languished. These feminist passions were reignited one night this past March after viewing the nightly news.
I don't count myself a pessimist, but I am apprehensive. I am most concerned about Black women and other women of color. They remain the invisibles in the debates about the economy and work, the role of government, health, education -- all of the important, essential conversations we must have if we are to survive. High visibility discussions such as Anne Marie Slaughter's Atlantic piece, "Why Women Can't Have it All," are useful for the privileged among us -- but do little for women of any color living in poverty or working three jobs to support children.

Don't forget to check out the incredible pieces for our new issue on the issues that will remain after the election is over! And join in on the conversation in comments, Facebook and Twitter!
Thanks for reading!
On The Issues: A Magazine of Critical, Independent Thinking 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.OnTheIssuesMagazine.com

September 12, 2012

"The Day After" refers, of course, to a real-time event: the presidential election. The dizzying buzz and swirl of the campaign and the selection of the White House occupant make distraction all too easy. But feminists and progressives know that they need to keep their eyes on core issues no matter what -- before, during and after the election cycle. These enduring values are catalysts for future activism and the subjects of our new Fall issue, The Day After.
On wide-ranging issues -- the economy to the environment, reproductive freedom to voting freedom, sexuality to media representation -- our writers, artists and thinkers in The Day After remind us to extend our vision beyond the ballot box to where we need to place our energies, build our muscles and put our feet on the ground every day of the year.

Safety and security are prime issues for women. Juhu Thukral talks about the need for passionate leadership at the top in protecting women and sexual minorities from violence in Victims of Gender Violence Find Solutions Slipping Away, while Jamie Hagan explains important efforts by women around the world to make sure that all populations are included in peacebuilding in Global "Security" Equals Human Security and Gender Rights.
Amanda Marcotte looks around the culture wars today and finds that they add up to one thing: a reactionary freak-out on sexual freedom in No Dancing: The Right Aims to Take Down Sexual Liberation. And Color of Change commentator Dani McClain looks at the black community and gay marriage, wondering if it isn't time to come out and support single people, especially women, in Can Black Women Lead the Way in Redefining Marriage?
How women's issues fare in the world is intricately tied to the media, writes Jennifer L. Pozner in My Feminist Media Road Trip: Time to Take The Wheel, as she looks at stalled progress for women in media representation and suggests future activism. Media inequity also joins other cultural and social factors causing lopsided political leadership, writes Diane Vacca in Getting Closer to the Levers of Power, while Mary E. Plouffe urges a four-step plan of continuous, active engagement to keep feminists moving forward in Standing Our Ground: Beyond Maslow's Basic Needs.
One of two men may change the future of the country, but we are the best candidates to shape the outcomes of our own lives. Read the new issue now.
You can also engage in the conversation through our comments section at the bottom of every article, and on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag, #TheDayAfter.

Hot Topics Pick: Shulamith Firestone and Me
Third wave feminist icon Jennifer Baumgardner shares a touching story on her experience knowing the recently passed radical second wave theorist. She writes:
Losing Shulamith Firestone chills me. Are her ideas sufficiently embodied in the DNA of the feminist movement? Will her contributions live on? I think so, and yet I wonder. The bold thinkers of the second wave, those rare birds, are scarce. Is it only by reading their books and radical feminist history that we make sure that they don't become extinct? Or is it also important that we continue to uphold, as she did, a unique vision of the world?

OTI News: We Have A New Senior Editor!
After four incredible years with author and friend Cindy Cooper, The Day After is her last issue as she hands over the reigns -- we're excited to announce our new Senior Editor, author and journalist Barbara Fischkin. More to come!
As always, thanks for your readership and support.
On The Issues: A Magazine of Critical, Independent Thinking 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.OnTheIssuesMagazine.com

August 16, 2012

Merle Hoffman, OTI publisher and president of Choices Women's Medical Center, here at East Hampton Authors' Night with Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.
Summer is ending in a whirl here at On the Issues Magazine. While women broke records on playing fields at the London Olympics, we ran daily coverage of the Games while our 'Level the Playing Field' issue continued to gain plaudits and spark lively dialogue. And as the 2012 election approaches, we don't expect things to slow down soon.
History Being Made, from London to Lecture Rooms
Whether or not you're a sports fan, you're likely aware that this year's summer Olympics in London were historic for women. (At left: British weighlifter Zoe Smith, one of the competitors.) How historic?As journalist Meg Heery wrote at our Sports Cafe:
"To answer the question of whether the 2012 Olympics marked a breakthrough for women in sport, all you have to do is look at the stats. For the first time, every sport had a women's competition. As of Saturday afternoon, women had won 56 of the U.S.'s 100 medals. Of those, 29 are gold. The youngest U.S. team member, a female swimmer named Katie Ledecky, won gold and broke an American record. And that's just the Americans. Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, at last, permitted women athletes on their teams. . . .Women were responsible for 15 of 31 world records broken. I could go on."
Heery did, in daily reporting at the Cafe that looked at the Olympics through a feminist lens. While women racked up medals, she exulted "This is What Winning Looks Like," with special mention of Ireland's "Katie Taylor, The Best Amateur Boxer in the World." Heery also took in other milestones, including those competitors from the Arab world ("Pioneers? Yes. Is it Enough? No.") and even what happens sometimes when women compete as fiercely as men: Women's Soccer: "You cheated!" Really? Click over for much more.
We are changing the conversation.
Perhaps it was the Olympics buzz that drew the attention of the smart blog POPSSPOT (Power and Oppression in Sport) to our Spring issue, Level the Playing Field. "This tremendous collection stands out for its combination of quality, quantity, accessibility (its online), and readability," the editors write. "It notably bridges common gaps between academia and new media that prevent great work from being read by a mass audience."
You could even call that last sentence an On the Issues Magazine mission statement of sorts. And that bridge is strong: Items lately popular on social media have included Susan Bandy's "Curious Tension: Feminism and the Sporting Woman," Veronica Arreola's "Beyond Olympics: Why I Pledge to Attend Women's Sports" in the Cafe, and Merle Hoffman's "The Anti-Abortion 'Wailing Wall' Gets it Wrong, Very Wrong" on Hot Topics.
Speaking of hot topics, there's one more event left in Merle Hoffman's summer Intimate Wars book tour. In Southhampton on Sunday, August 19, Hoffman will be appearing at a fundraiser for the Feminist Press (tickets $50), along with other Feminist Press authors Blanche Wiesen Cook, Isabel Sepulveda and Florence Howe.
And if you didn't catch our publisher last month at the Mid-Manhattan Library, you can catch it via C-SPAN's Book TV; Stream it at the link or set your TiVo for its last air date, 4 a.m. on August 20.
We're also hard at work on our Fall issue, The Day After the Election: Standing Our Ground. Launching September 10 will be new writing from Jennifer Pozner, Juhu Makral, Susan Yanow and many others; art curated by Linda Stein, with an Art Perspective featuring the iconic Kate Millett (right), and poetry curated by Sarah Browning of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival. This diverse set of voices should spark conversations long after Election Day and perhaps generate new activism to address the challenges before us. Thanks for already being part of it.
Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

July 20, 2012

New Zealand artist Kate Walker contributed this perfect combination of acerbic and beautiful to our Marie Hardin's commentary on women sportswriting.
"The Movement, the Block, The Action" of Summer 2012
While much of the East Coast broils, On the Issues Magazine is busy discovering what's cool.
As promised in the last newsletter, pro-choice pioneer Bill Baird reported back from the National Right to Life Convention for our Hot Topics column in "Why They Hate Birth Control and Love Mitt Romney."
Meanwhile, the London Olympic Games begin on July 25. Check out the newest from our Sports Cafe as you watch....
Basketball: "The boom. The dribble. The swish. The rush. The speed. The movement. The block. The action," exulted high-schooler Rebecca Ratero, explaining "Why Basketball Matters to Me."
Marathon: The 1984 Olympic Games were a world-changer for Meg Ryan Heery. "Benoit’s run mesmerized me. She just kept going. And going. No sprinting-down-the-track flash; just simple, tenacious, superheroism. Still...it didn’t click that I could run like this, too," Heery writes in "Finding Legs and Body: Running the Marathon." She adds that as a young woman, she had concerns beyond excellence: "I started running – at night, because I didn’t want the neighborhood boys to see me, even though many who had harassed me were grown and long gone."
Football (soccer): The Games actually start with soccer, with competitions on the first day. In women's soccer, Sports Illustrated highlights possible crucial matches between the U.S., France and Japan: While keeping score, check out Mauricio Espinoza's poetic and practical A Soccer Dad Faces Parenting, Coaching and Dreams. “Jordan leaped to grab that ball as if nothing else in the world mattered, the way good goalkeepers do, oblivious to the sea of enemy legs that crowded the penalty box like hungry sharks with menacing cleats for teeth. My brave eight-year-old shark-slayer got to the ball first....”
That last is just a sample of the brain food in our full Spring issue, "Level the Playing Field." As the London Games launch (schedule here), keep the bookmarks open and comment on the progress of the star athletes. Share links to the pieces that move you, and to the astounding artists who've contributed images that you won't forget.
Those artists come to us via art editor Linda Stein, whose memory-piece honoring Billie Jean King we featured in our first summer newsletter. Her "wearable sculptures" (at left) could easily protect young women on the hockey or fencing teams.
Stein's Art Perspective features "Unravelling" by Karen Shaw, who "uses images and materials from pop-culture to address the sexism prevalent in the sports arena," Stein explains. " Working in two and three dimensions, she invokes her "power” as an artist to feminize the macho wardrobe of the male athlete. The finished product is a mixture of masculine and feminine fashion that transcends typical gender boundaries." Click over for the entire slide show, including Shaw's puckish and compelling sculptures.
Next month, we promise to feature more of the stellar artists in this issue, including Elyse Taylor, Robin Hextrum, and Loren Ellis. We'll also have more news about the Fall issue, now that a crew of stellar writers has agreed to give us their take on The Day After.
If you follow the Olympics, please let us know which of our Spring articles you found the best context for the Games, and which ones we might still need to write. Thanks as ever for your interest!
Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

July 9, 2012

With politics and East Coast temperatures both flaring to previously unheard-of levels, On the Issues Magazine is ramping up. We're finding new ways to deepen the conversation on subjects crucial to progressive women, and keep our voices in the dialogue,
In the News and Going Deeper
When the Supreme Court ruled last week on health reform, we were prepared, having just run Janet Mason's sharp and heartfelt summary of the landscape of health-reform, especially for older women, in our new Hot Topics section. On June 28, the day of the ruling, our networks and social-media voices were clear on what we believe: that the ruling is a good first step, but only a partial one in the struggle for women's health and autonomy. Hot Topics has also checked in on women's activism during the Egyptian elections, and is brewing still more — including a report from abortion pioneer Bill Baird about this year's National Right to Life Convention.
Olympic Achievements Abide
The approach of the London Summer Olympics is already raising some of the questions we've explored in depth in our Spring Issue, "Level the Playing Field." Lindsay Parks Pieper, in "Rules Put Extreme Pressure on Transsexual Players," offered some essential context for recent controversial rulings on gender from the International Olympic Committee, while recent media buzz about "Is there a Future for Women's Soccer?" led many to Tim Grainey's flagship essay "The Rise and Fall and Possible Rise of Women's Pro Soccer." Grainey, the author of Beyond Bend It Like Beckham: The Global Phenomenon of Women's Soccer, goes deeper than this week's discussions while adding important facts, including about the new Women's Professional Soccer League: "The WPSL Elite league will allow players to keep pace with other countries that have launched top-tier loops in the past few years, including Australia, England, Ireland and the Netherlands."
That Spring issue also keeps garnering lots of blog love and many social-media shares. Particularly popular lately: Laura Pappano's "Athletes and Magazine Spreads: Does Sexy Mean Selling Out?"; "Becoming Glory: Kicking Goals to Transcend the Night," Christine Stark's transcendent memoir of transcending sexual abuse through soccer; Risa Isard's musing "Opening Historic Trails" on hiking, Title IX and discrimination, and the bracing manifesto from British scholar (and martial artist!) Alex Channon, "Why Sex Discrimination is Bad for Society." Which pieces are you sharing on Twitter, mentioning to others, emailing around? Let us know!
Meanwhile, at our always-simmering Cafe we observed the June 23rd anniversary of Title IX, by talking to Women's Sports Foundation, the National Women's Law Center and others about how to smash the barriers that are still left. We've also recently featured Joel Vig's hilarious and stimulating team-naming proposition and a thoughtful reflection from Carolyn Gage on Olympic giant Babe Didrikson, "Me, Babe and Prying Open the Lesbian Closets of Women Athletes." As we write, more are coming — especially as the Olympics kicks off.
The Mid-Manhattan Library. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Just a Reminder: On Wednesday, July 11, publisher Merle Hoffman will be reading from her memoir Intimate Wars at the Mid-Manhattan Library, at 6 p.m. Come to learn more about what NYPL calls "a memoir of a former classical pianist, a self-made millionaire, a feminist who found her life's work providing abortions, and a fearless crusader for women's right to choose."
The Day After The Election: Standing Our Ground
That's the title of our upcoming Fall issue, which we're brewing (including recruiting writers) right now. The issue's theme includes but is not limited to Fall 2012. Contact managingeditor@ontheissues.com if you'd like to hear more, and perhaps have some writers (maybe you?) in mind.
Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

June 16, 2012

As spring turns into summer, a *lot* is happening here at On The Issues!
Merle Hoffman in Guardian UK: 'This is about every woman, it affects all of us'
Did you see this recent profile of our founder and publisher, by Guardian staff writer Carlene Thomas Bailey? On the Issues is mentioned as Bailey describes Hoffman's historic leadership over 40 years, as well as Hoffman's memoir Intimate Wars.
If you haven't had a chance to see Hoffman read from and discuss Intimate Wars, here are two possibilities in the New York metropolitan area:
Meanwhile, things have certainly been moving here at On the Issues. The times, they are a-changing yet again.
Image: Linda Stein
In Step with Sporting Women, in the Olympics and Beyond
On June 23, Title IX's 40th anniversary will mark a milestone in women's access to competitive sports, just as hundreds of female athletes arrive in London for the Summer Olympic Games. During the games in July, we'll be highlighting stories from our spring issue Level the Playing Field: Girls, Women and Sports, including Jane Schonburger's sharp take on how the Olympics still disrespects female athletes and Marie Hardin's call for more women sportswriters.
Throughout, we'll keep providing new sports-related content on our fabulous Cafe.
If you stop by the Cafe right now, you'll find treats from Peggy Miller Franck's delightful history tour with 1920s pioneer Eleanora Sears; Avery Faucette on parity for intersex, trans and disabled athletes; Gwen Deely's memoir on competitive swimming, and much more.
Introducing Our Newest Feature: OTI on Hot Topics in the News
Looking for our signature blend of reporting and feminist analysis on the events of the day? Check out our new Hot Topics section, which offers hot-off-the-virtual-presses takes on events we're tracking — from the Vatican's attempted crackdown on American nuns to progress in the struggle for reproductive health for military women. Check back often for updates.
In the next few weeks, also be prepared for more changes, and for some previews of our Fall pre/post-election issue. Let us know what you would like to see there, or elsewhere in On the Issues. Thanks as always for your interest, and you for all you do every day.
Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

May 3, 2012

Female athletes face challenges that go beyond the physical demands of their sport: double standards, cultural policing of their bodies, and more. But what about female athletes not in the public eye? As it turns out, women in extreme sports -- the sports that very few people dare to try -- are subject to the same discriminatory forces. In Women On High: The Price of Passion at the Roof of the World, Jennifer Jordan writes about women who are high altitude climbers, conquering the very limits of nature while battling sexism.
Jordan writes,
I set out to determine whether, in fact, women high altitude climbers have two obstacles in approaching their Himalayan targets: the mountain at their feet and the men behind their backs.
Sadly, infuriatingly, the answer I found is a resounding yes, which may answer why women represent only about five percent of high altitude climbers. As one of the world’s most famous and talented rock climbers, Lynn Hill, said when I asked why she didn’t climb the Big Mountains (as the Himalayas are often called), “I don’t need to deal with the bullshit of base camp.”
Fair enough (and spot on), but it still begs the question; what about the women who do? And what do they suffer, both physically and mentally, to be competent players in the high altitude game?
The answer is – plenty. This odd, beguiling, terrible, wonderful, unspeakably gorgeous world is also among the deadliest arena on Earth.


Don't want to scale a mountain? For some, reading a great book can be just as exciting! Check out this reading list from the Feminist Press.These books show that sports are about much more than athletic competitions -- law, society, self-image and cultural mores all come into play.
Happy reading!


We want to hear what you think about the ideas in the magazine. Please contribute your thoughts to our comments section at the end of every story and Café piece, or write a letter to the editor.
And we hope you'll share this rich repository of material with your friends and colleagues -- find us on Facebook and Twitter! We're using the hashtag #levelthefield for this issue, so add it to your tweets to jump in the conversation.

Upcoming Events
The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein, May 17 -June 23, 2012, Flomenhaft Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, Suite 200, New York City. Opening reception May 17, 6-8pm, will include a Pilobolus dancer wearing one of Stein's sculptures. Stein is also Art Editor of On the Issues Magazine. During the five-week exhibit, a series of free programs and events will explode the concepts of masculinity and femininity. See complete schedule: http://conta.cc/IJBt6t
Open House, Choices Women's Medical Center, May 23, 4-7 pm, at Choices' new facility, 147-32, Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, Queens. RSVP by May 16 to News@ChoicesMedical.com

We want to hear what you think about the ideas in the magazine. Please contribute your thoughts to our comments section at the end of every story and Café piece, or write a letter to the editor.

And we hope you'll share this rich repository of material with your friends and colleagues -- find us on Facebook and Twitter! We're using the hashtag #levelthefield for this issue, so add it to your tweets to jump in the conversation.

Thanks for reading!

Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

April 19, 2012

On The Issues Magazine is taking feminism outside! We've just launched our Spring 2012 edition – Level the Playing Field: Girls, Women and Sports. In light of two major upcoming events this summer – the 40th anniversary of Title IX coming up on June 23, and the Summer Olympics, which will begin on July 27th – this issue explores the many complex ways in which woman athletes are perceived and treated, the ways they relate to one another, the history of the laws that allow them to follow their dreams, and more.

Risa Isard kicks things off with Opening Historic Trails: Accidental Heroes Stomp Sports Inequity, a history of Title IX's beginnings. Inspired by the challenges of her own workouts running uphill in the hot sun, Isard's research led her to discover people who quietly started the movement for educational equality. Rachel Toor writes about the subsequent importance of Title IX in Nine Titles Thinking About Title IX, a lyrical and creative analysis of the many purposes Title IX serves in the lives of women. Marie Hardin takes a close look at the effect of Title IX on sports journalists in Winning the Sports Beat: Female Writers Need Wide Angle Lens, and identifies a problematic revolving door pattern that keeps women at 1/10 of the sports journalism work force.

Looking at women in sports from the outside in illuminates the many different ways their bodies are codified by mainstream culture -- and the debates they cause. Laura Pappano, in Athletes and Magazine Spreads: Does Sexy Mean Selling Out? writes about the contradicting messages female athletes receive when it comes to their sex appeal. Lindsay Parks Pieper takes gender a step further with Rules Put Extreme Pressure On Transsexual Players, which discusses how athletic institutions seek to confine gender to the most basic binary of male and female.

Several other writers take a look at objections to Title IX, which policy analyst Martha Burk says are rooted in patriarchal privilege and padded with falsehoods in Who Owns Sports? Dissecting the Politics of Title IX. And Alex Channon takes a look at sex segregation, positing that integrating sports would be a transformative challenge to society's gender hierarchy in Why Sex Segregation Is Bad for Society.

Finally, many of our writers are also athletes. Christine Stark writes about how her love of soccer gave her the strength to survive sexual abuse in Becoming Glory: Kicking Goals to Transcend the Night, A Memoir. Zerlina Maxwell portrays her childhood plan to become the next Dominique Dawes, a gymnastics gold medal winner, and how it has grown up into an appreciation for women competitors in My Olympic Dream and Watching New Gymnastic Generations.

We want to hear what you think about the ideas in the magazine. Please contribute your thoughts to our comments section at the end of every story and Café piece, or write a letter to the editor.

And we hope you'll share this rich repository of material with your friends and colleagues -- find us on Facebook and Twitter! We're using the hashtag #levelthefield for this issue, so add it to your tweets to jump in the conversation.

Thanks for reading!

Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

March 8, 2012

It's International Women's Day! Here at On The Issues Magazine, we're celebrating the incredible women around the world who fight for reproductive justice. But just as the fight will continue after today ends, so should the celebration of our warriors. So, in that spirit, here's a brand new piece from the Cafe about a global issue impacting the lives of women, every day:
 
In August 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unprecedented visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC) to meet with victims of war rape. She pledged $17 million in aid, reflecting a new level of U.S. commitment and concern for girls and women targeted by the enemy for sexual assaults. 

Yet, despite being a longtime proponent of access to safe abortion, she did not disclose a dirty little secret – that USAID policy, which falls under her jurisdiction, prohibits all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments and humanitarian aid providers from receiving U.S. funds if they provide abortion counseling or services. The restrictions, placed in all foreign assistance contracts, contain no exceptions for rape or to save the life of a woman. This is due to USAID's unnecessarily broad and rigid application of the "Helms Amendment" to the Foreign Assistance Act, which, since 1973, has prohibited the use of U.S. funds for the performance of abortion "as a method of family planning" or to "motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions." 

War rape -- typically gang rape -- has been employed in the Congo, Rwanda, Colombia, Sri Lanka, the former Yugoslavia, Burma, the Sudan, Sierra Leone and elsewhere as a highly effective military strategy to destroy the families, communities and culture of the enemy without bullets. It has been classified by international courts as a war crime, an act of genocide, a crime against humanity and a form of torture. The U.S. itself acknowledges it as torture and administers aid to victims both from USAID's Victims of Torture Fund, as well as contributing to a similar UN fund. Forcing a girl or women to continue a resulting pregnancy has also been recognized as torture.
 
Click here to continue reading  Help Global Victims of War Rape: End Anti-Abortion Restrictions by Sarah Morison.


This month is full of exciting feminist events! We'll be at these two, and hope to see you there as well:
 
Saturday, March 17, New York, NY: URGENT! 40 Years of Radical Feminist Action. A conference at The New School, hosted by Soapbox and the n+1 Research collected and co-sponsored by The New School's Gender Studies Program. Our very own Merle Hoffman will be moderating a panel on "Reproductive Justice -- the Roots and Flowering of this Paradigm."

Monday, March 19, New York, NY: Join Merle Hoffman for a book reading event and a book signing of Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Boardroom at 7pm at Revolution Books, 146 W 26th Street, in Manhattan.


Spring is in the air, and so is a brand new edition of On The Issues Magazine -- Girls, Women, and Sports! If you'd like to contribute, please contact managingeditor@ontheissuesmagazine.com.
 
We want to hear what you think about the ideas in the magazine. Please contribute your thoughts to our comments section at the end of every story and Café piece, or write a letter to the editor. 
 
And we hope you'll share this rich repository of material with your friends and colleagues -- find us on  Facebook  and  Twitter! We're using the hashtag #abortion this issue, so add it to your tweets to jump in the conversation. 
 
Thanks for reading!

Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

February 23, 2012

What's next for women's reproductive autonomy? According to a study featured in this edition of On The Issues Magazine, it depends on the economy. From the Editors: 

 

A new study puts another face on women's reproductive decision-making during an economic downturn. It indicates that low-income women increasingly are being forced to "choose" abortions out of economic need.

 

Conducted by independent researcher Robin H. Pugh Yi, Ph.D., president of  Akeso Consulting in Vienna, Virginia, the study is called Abortionomics: When Choice Is a Necessity, The Impact of Recession on Abortion. The analysis was commissioned by Merle Hoffman, founder and president of  Choices Women's Medical Center, after hearing anecdotal information from abortion patients that today's economic hardships were a large factor in women's decisions to have abortions. The findings were presented by Hoffman and Pugh Yi at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Jan. 17, 2011.


On one hand, it seems obvious: When the economy dips, it's harder for people to raise a family. But this living reality, borne out in the report's data, remains outside today's heated political debates about abortion and birth control. As a result, too many politicians seem oblivious to the consequences of unwanted pregnancies and, when carried to term, the resulting births that impose difficult, if not impossible, financial burdens on already strapped mothers and families.

Click here to continue reading what our editors have to say about Abortionomics, and click here to read the full report. 



Our Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman has been making headlines with the release of her memoir and the move of Choices Women's Medical Center To Jamaica, Queens. If you haven't seen it yet, check out her most recent coverage in New York Magazine:

"I don’t have a problem saying the word ­abortion,” says Merle Hoffman, the ­reproductive-rights activist who describes herself as the woman who brought abortion from the back alley to the boardroom. “I think it’s important to own it—one out of three woman before the age of 45!”

Hoffman is sitting in her office at Choices Women’s Medical Center, a Long Island City abortion clinic she opened at the age of 25, two years before Roe v.Wade. Choices celebrated its 40th anniversary last year in imperial fashion, by announcing it was expanding and moving its major operations to an 18,000-square-foot facility in Jamaica, where 78 percent of her patients come from. “Jamaica is like a third-world country in New York,” Hoffman says bluntly. “It has a 35 percent higher teenage pregnancy rate. You have a very disenfranchised population.”

Click here to continue reading. 


 
The Latest From the Café
 

Once a Jane, always a Jane:  Judith Arcana writes about women doing what needs to be done in the past, present, and future tense.

And comedian Sara Benincasa writes about how her abortion politics were forever changed by a broken condom, Planned Parenthood, and "the woman who stayed at her job an hour later than necessary to talk a scared young woman through an incredibly safe medical experience. "

Also:



We want to hear what you think about the ideas in the magazine. Please contribute your thoughts to our comments section at the end of every story and Café piece, or write a letter to the editor. 

And we hope you'll share this rich repository of material with your friends and colleagues -- find us on  Facebook  and  Twitter! We're using the hashtag #abortion this issue, so add it to your tweets to jump in the conversation. 

Thanks for reading!

P.S. On The Issues Magazine is celebrating the impending warm weather by gearing up for our Spring issue: Girls, Women, and Sports. If you'd like to contribute a piece on this topic, please contact  managingeditor@ontheissuesmagazine.com.


Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com


February 9, 2012

In the wake of the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, reproductive activists have watched the abortion debate make national headlines surrounding the controversy caused by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's defunding for Planned Parenthood. And despite the systematic attacks on women's reproductive healthcare access, the inspiring responses from activists -- online and in the streets -- points to a hopeful future. In this newsletter from On The Issues Magazine, we're featuring pieces to and from young activists in support of the next generation of reproductive justice warriors. 


In "Letter to a Young Activist: Do Not Drop The Banner," Babara Santee sounds the alarm for the next generation of reproductive rights activists:
 
First of all, understand that the anti-choice movement has been with us nearly 40 years, is not going away, and probably never will. Young people must prepare themselves for a lifelong engagement in this crucial war to protect women's reproductive autonomy. If we don't consider ourselves soldiers in a war, we are living in a dream world because the anti-abortion extremists do consider themselves to be warriors. If side A is prepared at any cost to take away side B's freedom, and side B is saying, "It can never happen," it will happen. Trust me. It is not hyperbole to say that abortion hangs by a thin thread.
 
I encourage you to incorporate some aspect of reproductive freedom into your career plans, not as a peripheral issue of occasional interest, but as a central piece of your life's work. Your energy, intelligence and skills are desperately needed.
 


In How Anti-Abortion Protesters Got Me: Letter From a Young Activist, Sarah Flint Erdreich writes: 
 
I was 13 years old during the anti-choice "Summer of Mercy" in 1991 when anti-choice activists laid siege to Dr. George Tiller's clinic in Wichita, Kansas. That was the beginning of my abortion education – my first awareness that there were people in this country who opposed abortion so strongly that they would leave their homes and spend days harassing and yelling at other people.
 
Prior to that, I didn't realize that anyone could oppose a woman's right to choose. A lot of this naiveté was due to growing up with liberal parents in Ann Arbor, Michigan, an equally liberal college town. I vividly remember my mother's "Pro-Child, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice" button; in my mind, those six words pretty much summed up the entire debate.
 
No doubt, part of my fascination with the summer siege arose from a deep, almost instinctive interest in anything that hinted at controversy...



We want to hear what you think about the ideas in the magazine. Please contribute your thoughts to our comments section at the end of every story and Café piece, or write a letter to the editor. 
 
And we hope you'll share this rich repository of material with your friends and colleagues -- find us on  Facebook  and  Twitter! We're using the hashtag #abortion this issue, so add it to your tweets to jump in the conversation. 
 
Thanks for reading! 
Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

January 23, 2012

On The Issues Magazine is proud to sponsor Trust Women Week: January 20-27

Yesterday marked the 39th anniversary of the historic Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision. Despite the decades since this accomplishment, today it's no secret that the United States is still in the midst of a War on Women: in 2011, 36 states enacted a record 135 provisions limiting access to reproductive health care, including 92 measures restricting abortion, according to  the Guttmacher Institute. But as our reproductive rights are slipping away from us, activists are mobilizing. 



From January 20-27, women and allies from around the country are coming together to fight back -- online.  The Trust Women WEEK/Silver Ribbon Campaign and  MoveOn has kicked off 2012 with the  "National Online March For Trust Women Week, Building Solidarity And Momentum For Reproductive Health, Rights And Justice."

 

An online march is essentially a super-petition that concentrates attention from a wide variety of groups on a common theme in a short time period. It's a powerful organizing tool because it allows activists to "reach and harness the voice of large numbers of people powerfully and quickly and link them with each other across geographic boundaries,"says Ellen Shaffer, a lead organizer for the Trust Women campaign. Through a site set up by MoveOn, individuals will click in agreement on one of six messages. Individuals will see their locations show up as dots on a map of the U.S. that will be updated in real time. The messages and signatures will go to members of Congress, governors and selected state legislators. 

 
People who join the online march will be able to select from six campaign messages: 
I trust women and I vote. 
Reproductive rights are human rights.
Keep abortion safe and legal, and make it accessible and affordable.
Stand up and be counted for reproductive justice.
We are the 99%. Fix the economy, and stop the attacks on women's health.
Contraception Is Prevention.


Our Winter 2012 edition of On The Issues Magazine -- ABORTION -- is our largest issue ever. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates, and please share your thoughts in the comments sections! 

 

Thanks for reading!

Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com

 

January 17, 2012

Introducing Our Very First Blog Series
 

To celebrate the release of Merle Hoffman's new book, Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Boardroom, we've invited an impressive list of bloggers to speak out about their own first-person stories and experiences with abortion and reproductive justice activism. Starting today, The Cafe and Fem2pt0 will be hosting this special two-day online series of numerous stories to be housed on both spaces, and updated frequently. 

With Roe v. Wade's anniversary approaching, there's perhaps nothing more important than sharing our stories about how deeply reproductive freedom impacts our lives. We hope that you are as excited as we are to continue this very compelling conversation! Take a look at  Merle's contribution to this series and don't forget to check back throughout today and tomorrow to read new pieces as they go up. 

p>We want to hear from you, too. Do you have an intimate war story to share? Tweet @OnTheIssues with the hashtag #IntimateWars, comment on our Facebook page or post a piece on your own blog and send it to us!
 

On The Issues Magazine Writers Talk Abortion With Joy of Resistance Radio Tomorrow 

 

Tomorrow, January 18, 9-10pm: Don't miss On The Issues Magazine writers talking about abortion during a special edition of the Joy of Resistance radio show to mark the 39th Anniversary of Roe v Wade, "It's 39 Years After Roe v Wade: Do You Know Where Your Rights Are?" featuring feminist thinkers/writers, historic recordings, dramatic readings and more. WBAI can be heard at 99.5 FM and streams live at  www.wbai.org.


P.S. While you're at it, check out our Winter 2012 edition:  ABORTION. It's our largest publication ever, covering the abortion debate with a critical eye and paying special attention to the truths of the issues at stake. 



She fought for reproductive justice on the streets, within clinics, in the news --
with brave words, in an uncompromising voice,
with a giant wire hanger raised high in the air --  
and this January,
she reveals the truths from the front lines of the battle for abortion rights:

Barnes & Noble Upper East Side Presents
a reading and book signing in honor of the release of
Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman
Who Brought Abortion from  the Back Alley to the Boardroom
a memoir by Merle Hoffman, award-winning journalist, activist,
and women's health care pioneer

Thursday, January 12, 2012
7pm-9pm
Barnes and Noble
86th and Lexington

introduced by Bill Baird, Father of the Abortion Movement and holder of three US Supreme Court cases, including Baird V Eisenstadt, which legalized birth control nationally for unmarried people

and with Jennifer Baumgardner,
award-winning filmmaker, writer, and creator of the I Had an Abortion project

For more information, visit:
"There is a reason that women have been having abortions, legal or not, for all of history.  
The act of choosing whether or not to have a child is often an act of love, 
and always an act of survival." -- Merle Hoffman, Intimate Wars


Happy New Year From On The Issues!
 

Regardless of the holidays that you are celebrating, protesting, or ignoring altogether, the new year is coming and we're so grateful for your readership and support. Thanks for making another year of critical, independent feminist thinking possible.

P.S. We're going to dive into 2012 with an in-depth issue on abortion --  and we can't wait to hear your thoughts on it! 



Need some last minute gift ideas for the activists in your life? 

 

The Feminist Press surveyed its staff and searched through its resources and libraries to collect their top-five activist books for your holiday reading pleasure. From poster art to tips for girls, gays and activist communities, their short-list is filled with ideas and fervor for progressive and feminist activism.

 



What's Your War Story? Win a Signed Copy of Merle Hoffman's Book! 

And there's only 3 days left to enter to win! 
 

"I made my way up the steps [of St. Patrick's Cathedral] with the six-foot hanger I had commissioned for the occasion. It was a symbol of potential terror and aggression against all women, but it was also the symbol of our future..."

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman told one of her many war stories on  RH Reality Check with an excerpt from her upcoming memoir -- now it's time for you to tell yours, and win a signed copy of the book! Merle wants to know about a time when you acted on your politics -- what personal actions have you taken in the battle for social justice? Did you have an abortion, or did you go with a friend to have one? Have you been involved in rallies or movements for social change? Or did you just stand up to someone for their hateful language or actions? Share what "intimate war" has meant to you and you could win a free, signed copy of the book!  The deadline is Monday at noon. *Hot tip: We have five books to go around, so your chances of winning are great!  

Share your experience by  posting on Merle's Facebook wall or  tweet to @merlehoffman with the hashtag #myintimatewar and you'll be automatically entered to win.



Don't forget to keep up with us on  Twitter and  Facebook for daily feminist news and analysis, and stop by  The Café for engaging conversation On The Issues that matter!

Thanks for reading!



From www.worldaidscampaign.org

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.


People around the world will spend today spreading awareness, honoring those whose lives have been lost, and celebrating victories in the battle against the spread of AIDS.

 

But for people living with HIV and AIDS, activists, and their loved ones, this isn't just a conversation that happens once a year. In honor of the activists who have devoted their lives to this cause,  On The Issues Magazine is taking a look at the activist work of HIV-positive women with a new Cafe piece by Alison Yager of the HIV Law Project:

"Since the 1990s, HIV Law Project has invested agency time and resources in training HIV-positive women in basic advocacy skills. We made this commitment early on because we understood that while outspoken AIDS activists at that time were a potent and effective force, too few women’s voices were among them. Women living with HIV, who often come from marginalized, low-income communities, turned up in large numbers when we offered the opportunity to give voice to their frustrations, and to learn collectively how to channel those frustrations into action.

In 2006 HIV Law Project went one step further. We decided to build on our work of cultivating women activists by inviting a group of alumnae of our training program to develop a new advocacy campaign. We believed that giving women the opportunity to grow an advocacy campaign would be the most authentic way to build skills and develop life-long leaders. "

This image is part of an exclusive slideshow on the OTI homepage, depicting Feminists at Occupy Oakland on November 2, 2011
Photos by Judith Mirkinson
Deepening the conversation with more insights fresh from The Café
 
On The Frontline of Intimate Wars
 

The internet is buzzing about the upcoming release of Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room by Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merl Hoffman.

 

Check out Ten Questions for Merle Hoffman on Abortion Gang, and this podcast on RH Reality Check with Merle and Amanda Marcotte. 



The upcoming winter edition of On The Issues Magazine will be a major, comprehensive issue on abortion. Stay tuned for updates! 
 

Also don't forget to keep up with us on  Twitter and  Facebook for daily feminist news and analysis, and stop by  The Café for engaging conversation On The Issues that matter!

 

Thanks for reading!




Lydia Cacho and Triveni Acharya

This month, the conversation about activism isn't just happening online. Take a look at these exciting events featuring  On The Issues staff and friends!

 

Tuesday, October 18, 6pm
Socials for Change and On The Issues Magazine Present 
 Engaged Activism: A Conversation on Global Sex Trafficking
 
We will be joined by Civil Courage Prize Winners Triveni Acharya, President of Rescue Foundation in Mumbai, India and Lydia Cacho, Founder and Director of the nonprofit Women's Assistance Center in Cancun, Mexico and author of Slaves of Power: A Journey to the Heart of World Sex Trafficking of Women. 
 
Along with Crystal DeBoise, Co-Director of Sex Workers Project and Merle Hoffman, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of On The ISsues Magazine and author of the upcoming book Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room published by Feminist Press.
 
Refreshments begin at 6:00pm The program begins at 6:30pm at the Laura Parsons Pratt Conference Center in the landmark FPWA Building, 281 Park Avenue South at 22nd Street, New York, New York.  RSVP here.

Saturday, October 22, 2pm-4pm
Have Art: Will Travel! Inc. For Gender Justice with On The Issues Magazine and more present
Salander/Blomkvist: Challenging Stereotypes
Linda Stein, Art Editor of On The Issues, Moderates a panel with Jimmie Briggs, Michael Kimmel, and Shelby Knox
 
This intergenerational panel will highlight the two main characters from Stieg Larsson's The Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) and the subsequent Swedish movies based on these books. 
 
The panel will take place at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center For Feminist Art in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York. It's free with museum admission on a 1st come 1st serve basis, with limited seating. RSVP to HAWT@HaveArtWillTravel.org.

 

Don't miss Words of Choice on Sunday, October 16, 3pm, a dynamic pro-theatre performance created by On The Issues Magazine Managing Editor Cindy Cooper, at Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road, Morris Township, NJ (Morristown, NJ 07960). Click here for more information. 

 
 

Thanks for reading! We hope to see you at these fantastic events. 

 


The current edition of On The Issues Magazine features voices from a diverse group of progressive thinkers as we explore the infinitely complex topic of Women, War, and Peace. Yesterday was World Peace Day - a fitting conclusion to September days spent pondering the consequences of war, the role of women and feminists, and the elusive nature of peace. And  as Jean Stevens writes, a peaceful future depends upon feminist work:

 

“As a feminist thinker, advocate and activist, I’ve long felt organizing against war and militarism was a no-brainer. But as a journalist and the national media coordinator for the women’s peace group Code Pink for several years before returning to school, I found myself having separate conversations with my feminist and peace activist friends, marveling at how they seemed mutually exclusive. The peace activists read The Nation. The feminists read Bust. Peace activists gush over Noam Chomsky; feminists over bell hooks. They hold different rallies and belong to different listservs. I wondered if young feminists recognize, or reject, this dichotomy. Do feminists fight for peace? Is peace a feminist issue? I found exploring these questions in this story surprising, and more importantly, promising for the future of social change.”

 
Check out our entire issue and let's remind ourselves of the importance of talking about peace every day. 
 


From The Cafe: Questioning the Battle of Don't Ask, Don't Tell
 

This week was also the official repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell - a hotly contested issue. Here’s a unique perspective from the Cafe:


“Considering how unpopular the current wars are, I question why the right to serve openly in the military is at the forefront of LGBT activism. Why are gays and lesbians eager to join an institution that has traditionally upheld the rigid gender roles against which the LGBT movement has been rebelling? Why seek membership in an institution that takes advantage of the poor to fight battles that serve the goals of the elite? And what of the civilians whose rights are infringed and cast aside by a U.S. invasion? – are we trading their civil rights for our own?”


 
More from the Cafe:
 
 

Join the discussion  - leave comments! We’d also love the chance to showcase your original thoughts in the Cafe.  
 
Next issue teaser! We're in the process of putting together our Fall 2011 issue, which takes a look at  ACTIVISM -- its history, its health, its direction, and its future. Be on the lookout! 
 
Join our  Facebook page and  Twitter for daily feminist news and analysis. Thanks for reading!



"A Feminist Looks at Masculine Rage and the Haditha Massacre" 
by Kathleen Barry

What happened to the Haditha Massacre trial? Though Sergeant Frank Wuterich was scheduled to be in military court this summer for a massacre that killed 24 in Haditha, Iraq, in November of 2005, his trial has been postponed indefinitely. The media has barely covered this postponement of the largest criminal prosecution in the Iraq war. 

 
In this edition of On The Issues, Kathleen Barry addresses the larger message of the massacre, the lack of justice for its victims, and what it teaches us about war and masculinity:
 
The question of whether anyone will be convicted for the massacre drives deeper than the question of justice for Iraqis under U.S. occupation. It strikes at the very core of the masculinity of war.
 
How do we feminists speak of what soldiers do every day, regularly, as a matter of fact in combat, where the masculinity of war is most alive? Or, like almost everyone else, do we speak of it at all? Americans have yet to come to terms with the unspeakable that happens in combat. When a massacre is exposed, such as Haditha, it is treated as the exception.
 
Haditha is one of the subjects I looked at in my latest book,  Unmaking War, Remaking Women, published in 2011. While I was writing the book and bringing my feminism to look at what men actually do in combat and what they do to women who are in combat zones with them, something very familiar came into my field of vision, something I've called "blinding macho." (While machismo is grammatically correct, it also has a Latin American ring to it, which is why I choose to use the word "macho.") It is the same uncontrollable rage of male violence against women that women around the world experience in their private lives, homes, bedrooms and walking down the street...
 
 

Frances Jetter Linocuts the Horrors of War

Frances Jetter creates linocuts with political subject matter, focusing on disarmament, labor rights, human rights, and weapons - which she finds especially intriguing and horrific. The artist believes that no armor can make people safe, and the fragility and mortality of human beings is at the center or her work.
 
Jetter’s recent artist’s book, " Cry Uncle," is a graphic response to the inhumanity displayed at Abu Ghraib and other torture sites. It was exhibited in solo shows at New York University Medical Center’s Gallery, Parsons School of Design, and will be shown at the City College of New York.
 
 

 
The Latest in the Cafe 
 

In these times of war, it's important to remember the mythological figure of Cassandra, who represents the female anti-war voice that is trans-culturally ignored and ridiculed.

 

From "Understanding the Myth: Why Cassandra Must Not Be Silenced" by Laura A. Shamas:

 

Cassandra's journey as an anti-war visionary who is ignored and belittled relates to the psychology of anti-war feminists today. When one sees, with certitude, a dark vision for the future, and then is ignored, or worse -- dismissed or "cursed" as irrelevant, "anti-patriotic," and powerless -- what is the effect on the psyche? Patterns revealed in the Cassandra model suggest that after the shock of disbelief wears away, a numbing ambivalence sets in -- a prelude to madness. Jungian analyst Laurie Layton Schapira writes of this tripartite psychological sequence -- disbelief, ambivalence, madness -- in her 1988 book  The Cassandra Complex: Living With Disbelief. Schapira concludes with observations about society's damnation of the Cassandra woman who "threaten[s] the conservative order. Thus she speaks treason…we shall continue to attack her for bearing bad tidings. We must be aware, however, that in many cases she bears true witness and neither she, nor we, can any longer afford to disbelieve. The Cassandra woman who escaped the curse of the patriarchal Apollo speaks for a new age. " 

 
 

More from the Cafe: 



 
 

Join the discussion - leave comments! And join our  Facebook page and  Twitter for daily feminist news and analysis. 

Thanks for reading!

 
Next "Wave" Peace Activists Pour Feminism into the Mix
by Jean Stevens
 
Rachel Gehringer-Wiar liked the sound of Nebraskans for Peace.

Before arriving on campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln nearly two years ago, she’d seen its bumper stickers, she’d heard about its rallies. Peace work made sense to her, she said, as she believed in fighting for equality and human rights. The United States’ wars abroad had upset her as a high school student, although, she admits, she didn’t know much context of the wars then.

So as a freshman, Gehringer-Wiar joined the campus chapter, compelled not only by the anti-war demonstrations and campus educational efforts around peace, but the group’s concurrent focus on national and state-centered social justice projects.

Gehringer-Wiar and other of today’s younger peace activists seem more likely to perceive feminism as a lens, a political analysis in which to view and critique the world and their own activist work.

"I began to see how all of these issues were intertwined, from health care access to our two wars right now, civilians deaths and our foreign policy," said Gehringer-Wiar, who served as president of the chapter and considers herself feminist.

But her feminist understanding forms a foundation to her peace work, rather than a focal point, Gehringer-Wiar said. Some of today’s young self-identified feminists, she said, might beeline to more explicitly feminist groups, such as those working on reproductive justice. "It’s easier to say, ‘I identify as feminist,’ and ‘oh, Planned Parenthood, sure, that’s feminist,’" Gehringer-Wiar said. "That’s awesome, they need people to work for them. But people need to step back and say, these issues are interrelated."

 



Afghanistan Kabul women's jail

Featured OTI Photo Essay: Women and Girls in Conflict Zones
 

For our summer issue on Women, War and Peace, On The Issues has launched a special photo essay of the work of writer and photographer Ann Jones, which features incredibly moving pictures of women and girls in conflict zones, capturing their war and post-war experiences in areas of Africa and Asia.

This is one OTI feature you don't want to miss. Check it out here.

 
 



The Latest From The Café
 
It's time to really Support Our Troops. This month, a bill was introduced to the House that would end the military's ban on coverage of abortion for rape survivors. Marjorie Signer reminds us just how important the MARCH for Military Women Act is:

Women in the military are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as women in civilian life, according to a pending ACLU lawsuit. Yet, though rape is a problem of deep concern to the U.S. military, its health plan doesn't cover abortions for rape victims who become pregnant. It's a callous, unjust policy – especially at a time when rape in the military is at crisis levels. Abortion restrictions are a moral issue; they deny women the ability to act according to the dictates of their conscience.

 
 

Don't forget to contribute in comments! And join our Facebook page and Twitter for daily feminist news and analysis.

Thanks for reading!

 
 

Women. War. Peace. Each of these words has such a powerful meaning. But what do they mean to each other?

For our summer issue, "Women, War & Peace," On The Issues starts a new conversation on an age-old issue: the intersection of feminism and war. The complexities of war in the world we live in today – and our endless struggle for peace – is an issue that tests our values, and challenges our humanity. But tackling issues of war and peace from a feminist lens may be the very thing that could answer many of the questions that we’ve been asking ourselves around this contentious topic. And we’ve got some incredible pieces that bring them to the table.

As the 10-year anniversary of U.S. invasion of Afghanistan approaches this October, we look back at Laura Bush’s words a decade ago when her husband George W. announced the war on terror – she contended that U.S. occupation was also "a fight for the rights and dignity of women." But according to Debra Sweet, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This pioneering peace activist talks about the devastating impacts that the war has had on Afghan women, and all through the insistence of “liberation,” in her compelling piece, “The Cruel Lie: Bombing to Liberate Women.”

In “Peace is a Human Right: Give Us Women Who Get It,” UN representative of the International Peace Bureau Cora Weiss asks a really good question: Why are we trying to make war “safe” for women? Why aren’t we dismantling the actual culture of war that causes mass rape and violence against women? Weiss calls on women to organize around the issue of peace as a human right, and with real and practical solutions to do it.

As waves of people, most of them men, celebrated wildly in the streets of D.C. over the killing of Osama bin Laden, an important question arises: Do public attitudes towards the war on terror differ by gender? Lori Adelman of Feministing joined OTI to do digging on polling research around this question in her piece, “Fighting to Gratify a Sex Instinct? War Attitudes Vary By Gender” – and the findings are fascinating.  

“All Wars Are Intimate Wars.” This is what Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman reminds us in a sneak peek of her upcoming memoir about the ongoing war that is intimate to all women: the war on reproductive rights. Legislative attacks against abortion, clinic harassment and violence, and the killing of abortion providers is one war that we are justified to fight – Hoffman’s intimate war in her lifelong struggle to protect reproductive freedom serves as a model for all of us to follow.

 

Lastly, OTI is excited  to announce we've created a new feature with our friends from Feminist Press called "Books of Note," that offers compelling book publications that would be of interest to our readers. Don't miss it!

 

Also don't forget to keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook for daily feminist news and analysis, and stop by The Café for engaging conversation On The Issues that matter!

 

Thanks for reading!

 


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e·col·o·gy
–noun

1.the branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment.

Over the course of history, women have had their share of living in a variety of hostile environments. But when do we talk about how the environment specifically, ecology affects women’s lives? With disasters like the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the increasing amounts of toxins and chemicals being exposed in our communities, our bodies are not just being threatened by legislators and political leaders – but by the very air we breathe. 
 

The Spring 2011 edition of On The Issues Magazine – “The Ecology of Women” examines how environmental health affects women’s lives, particularly the toxins and chemicals that enter our bodies from the air, water, food and consumer products. Every day, we ingest these pollutants that cause conditions like cancer, early puberty, infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects.
 
“The Ecology of Women” seeks to insert the effects of environmental toxins into conversations around women’s health, and spark collective awareness and action within the feminist and environmental justice movements. In short, women and the environment are not mutually exclusive – so let’s talk about them as such.
Three Mile Island.
After the nuclear plant explosions in Japan this past week, we can learn a lot from, “Nuclear Revival? Lessons for Women from the Three Mile Island Accident,” in which Karen Charman highlights her original research from the Three Mile Island nuclear power accident in Pennsylvania to explain potential harms from radioactivity and its effect on women. Over three decades later, the aftermath of the disastrous incident continues to have a significant impact on this Pennsylvania community.

We can wear all the pink ribbons we want, but what is that going to change about the actual causes of breast cancer? Eleanor J. Bader asks this question in, “Snipping Pink Sentimentality: Persisting on the Whys of Breast Cancer,” in which she profiles Breast Cancer Action, a San Francisco-based group aiming to bring awareness around the effect of environmental toxins on breast cancer. It's time we change the way we look at activism against the disease without a pink lens. 
 

A powerful new community of change-makers in the environmental justice movement: Moms. Margie Kelly highlights the significance that a phone call between two sisters about toxic chemicals in baby bottles ending up having on an entire consumer market, changing how we think about the products that our children have contact with. Kelly’s account of the movement against BPA baby bottles and the aftereffect of a movement of mothers inspires in, “Message in BPA Baby Bottles: Don’t Mess with Moms.”

Last but not least, On The Issues is offering a special tribute in our spring issue to groundbreaking feminist health activist Barbara Seaman, a leader of the feminist movement in bringing women's health issues to the forefront. Various authors and advocates offer their thoughts and reflections in our feature on the late writer, including
Executive Director of Our Bodies, Ourselves Judy Norsigian, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jennifer Baumgardner, Leora Tanenbaum and many more.
 

Friends of OTI: Upcoming Events

 
The Fluidity of Gender: Exhibition by Linda Stein
Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery
Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky
Now through April 7, 2011


Ain’t I A Woman: Race in the Feminist Movement
Galapagos Art Space
16 Main St. Brooklyn, NY
April 11th, 6:00 PM

Register for Feminist Summer Camp 2011
with Soapbox Inc.
First session starts June 5th!
 
Challenging the Masculinity of War: Women Soldiers and Remaking Men
with Kathleen Barry and Helen Benedict
John Jay College
Multipurpose Room 2200, North Hall
445 West 59th Street, NYC
April 7th, 2:00 pm


Keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook, and make sure to check into The Café. Thanks for reading!
On The Issues: A Magazine of Critical, Independent Thinking 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.OnTheIssuesMagazine.com

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As many of you may know, massive anti-choice efforts are currently aiming to strip away our reproductive rights. The latest of these, a bill just introduced in South Dakota, goes beyond heights of immorality in this war against women:

It would
literally legalize the murder of abortion providers.


House bill 1171 would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" when the murder is intended to prevent harm to a fetus. This would be mean that it would be open season in South Dakota for doctors who perform abortions -- and their killers would get away with it. The bill's language could potentially even go as far to include the murder of pregnant women.

The bill is co-sponsored by 22 other state representatives, and has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote. Next up, it comes to a floor vote in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

There are no words for the heinousness of this proposed legislation. And this is just one of a slew of other dangerous bills we’re up against:
  • HR3, or “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” would codify the Hyde Amendment into law, restricting abortion access to millions of low-income women
  • HR358, or “The Protect Life Act,” would allow doctors to refuse abortion care to a pregnant woman whose life was in jeopardy – allowing women to die in the name of “protecting life”
  • The FY11 Continuing Resolution is seeking to eliminate Title X funding, which would effectively defund Planned Parenthood, the largest reproductive health and family planning provider in the nation
A Call to Action: Rally for Women’s Health on February 26th

It’s about time we hit the streets and fight back. Pro-choice organizations, leaders and activists are joining forces to rally for women’s health while congressmembers are in New York this month, and we need you to be there to stand with us. 
 
Saturday, February 26th
Foley Square, Across from the Court House in Lower Manhattan
New York City
1-3pm

RSVP to the Facebook event here and let's fight back against some of the most monstrous attacks on our reproductive freedom we've seen.

Can't make the rally? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates and other ways to take action.
 


 From the Café: Disappearing the Word “Rape”
By Stephanie Gilmore

The Super Bowl is over, and although the Pittsburgh Steelers lost a record-setting seventh victory, star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still grabbing a lot of media space with little chance of disappearing.

While sportswriters debated his performance in the big game, that he got there at all was deemed to be "the road to redemption," according to several sportswriters. Just before the season began, Roethlisberger was accused of raping a 20-year-old woman, an accusation that landed him on the sidelines for the first four (originally six) games of the season. Once branded a sexual predator, suspended, and dissed in public, Roethlisberger is now revered as a football hero who may soon become a Hall of Famer.

Sportswriter Charean Williams noted that although off-the-field escapades nearly derailed Roethlisberger's season "winning cures a lot of things. A lot of sins are forgiven."

Even when that sin is rape.

Mostly when you read about Roethlisberger, you read that he "had sex with" a woman who accused him. What is in real danger of disappearing is not the quarterback, but any discussion of the reality of rape.

Continue reading, “Disappearing the Word “Rape” and contribute to the discussion.
Choices Women's Medical Center 29-28 41st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 391-0023 | www.ChoicesMedical.com
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