Happy 169th Birthday

Declaration of Sentiments

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

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Was There Ever Such A Dreadful Revolt?

One hundred sixty-nine years ago today, after a lengthy planning period totaling ten days, a group mostly consisting of Quakers (including the visiting Lucretia Mott and a number of Seneca County locals) held a convention to discuss the state of women’s political and social rights in the United States. They were largely inspired by a local non-Quaker Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was an important part of the organizing team and the lead-off speaker.

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…And a Suffragist To Be Named Later

Pierce R Butler, a regular reader of this blog and the author of many thoughtful comments around FtB, recently asked an important question about Margaret Sanger, one which I answered in the comments of Killing Black Agency. But it also got me thinking about a project in which I’ve been interested for some time: writing about individual feminists’ philosophies and ethics.

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Killing Black Agency

Error Correction: It turns out that Writey McScriberson is living in Illinois. When I wrote this post, I was under the misimpression that WM was located in the UK. My bad. I have not changed the text below, but any commentary speculating on differences between the UK and the US were obviously motivated by my own misimpressions, not the actual life, experience, or writing of WM.


Shiv’s blog is such a great source of things that need discussion, it is entirely unsurprising that another of her recent posts has inspired me to write.

As I try to do when blatantly ripping off ideas from Shiv, I will be writing about something she mentions but does not explore in depth and let her main points speak for themselves, as they do so reliably and so well.

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Texas, Dear Bountiful Spheres of Meaty Goodness and Tentacles of Semolina, What Have You Done?

So, I was reading Shiv’s blog post about the NHS and abortion coverage for residents of Northern Ireland when I ran across a Guardian article while trying to get my facts straight before commenting.

While you already have the important bits from the title of this post, permit me to quote directly from the article:

…the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 – or about 27%.

But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”.

From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies.

No other state saw a comparable increase.

You have that right: the USA is the only urbanized country in the word where the national maternal death rate is increasing to any statistically significant degree. Moreover, in almost all urbanized countries, the maternal death rate actually fell a statistically significant degree. But Texas, dear, sweet, Texas: you are a state with resources exceeding many of those measured nations, and your maternal death rate shot up so fast that experts were left with no explanation other than a previously undetected war, natural disaster, or economic upheaval.

Molly Ivins would tell you herself to flush your health policies into the Gulf of Mexico (after extensive detoxifying treatment, of course), but she’s not here, so I have to do it.

Texas: Your health policies suck. Your legislative actions and inactions suck. Your religious rationalizations for medical malpractice suck. And, well, I’m having a hard time coming up with any reason not to say that as a state your entire corporate entity sucks.

Fuckit.

Texas, you suck.

Safety vs Comfort: A conflation that furthers oppression

Shiv has a new post up that should be read by anyone unfamiliar with the dynamics of nominally-feminist trans dismissal. I’m happy to let the points that Shiv makes stand on their own: they are well made and well supported.

However, there are a couple of points not made that I think are timely, and though they further support Shiv’s thesis they do not suffer from being made separately.

In this post, I’ll take on a tendency on the part of all of us to confuse safety and comfort, and to confuse feelings of safety with actual safety. Although this comes up repeatedly in trans inclusion “debates” the error is not limited to anti-trans theocrats or trans-exclusive feminists or even the combination of the two.*1 In Shiv’s post “Who needs enemies…” we encounter the writing of a feminist who seems on the edge of making this error overtly more than once.

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Newsweek Shocked – Shocked! To Find Racism Happening In Dress Codes

I nearly laughed myself silly over this recent piece at Newsweek.com:

Two black female students attending a charter school in Massachusetts were recently kicked off their sports teams and prohibited from attending a prom because they wore their hair in braids. The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, about 9 miles from Boston, enforces a strict dress code preventing students from wearing their hair in any unnatural way, which includes braids.

Twin students Maya and Deanna Cook, African-American sophomores, told local news outlets they were first told to take their braids out two weeks ago by school officials. The girls’ adoptive mother, Colleen Cook, told Boston’s 25 News that she received a call from the school informing her that students weren’t allowed to wear “anything artificial or unnatural in their hair.”

“We told them there’s nothing wrong with their hair the way it is. Their hair is beautiful, there’s no correcting that needs to be done,” Colleen Cook said, adding that the hair policy seems to target only students of color, who wear their hair in braids or extensions reflecting their African-American culture.

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Some Rapes Are Tuesday

I hope you read the recent post on Republican efforts to preserve the ability to commit rape after someone who previously consented to sexual activity revokes that consent, even when the activity includes things not covered by the original consent, such as violent force.

Some people will wonder how and why someone like Amy Guy, who by all accounts I’ve read sounds a very strong and capable person, could possibly offer any form of sexual consent to someone like Jonathan Wayne Guy, who had a history of acting abusively towards Amy Guy. For many, that history will understandably justify the fear of something horrific that might lead Amy Guy to minimize her risk by consenting, and, hopefully, by consenting help shape exactly what happens next. The hope is that, despite having sex only out of fear, exercising some agency can help make what happens next less traumatic than it might otherwise be.

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No means “don’t stop” … if you’re a Republican Senator in NC

This story, of course, deals with highly upsetting content, continue as you will.

In 1979 the NC state supreme court handed down a ruling that made it non-criminal to continue to act as if one had someone else’s sexual consent after that consent had been withdrawn. Worse? It did not matter if the rapist acted violently: if an encounter began with sexual consent, criminal law in NC would treat rape as consensual sex until whenever a rapist decided to stop raping. Prosecution would have to wait for the rapist to begin a separate, uniquely distinguishable act of sexual contact against a person without consent.

It was, in short, the Blue Balls theory of automatism. She was asking for it, writ in legalese alongside the ever popular, He’s a good guy, he just couldn’t help it.

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