This week, a couple of friends and I went to see geobiologist Hope Jahren speak about her memoir, Lab Girl, which deals with the experience of being, well, a girl in the lab.
Spoiler: It’s just like being a girl in the world, which means you have to deal with all the same shit you normally do, but while wearing a lab coat and juggling petri dishes. I will not attempt to explain the nuance of the experience, because Jahren — having lived it — writes it far better. Go read her book.
What I loved most of her talk wasn’t, believe it or not, any discussion of sexism. It was Jahren’s description of her friendship with her lab partner, Bill. The talk’s moderator, The Stranger’s Sydney Brownstone, asked Jahren if she had ever discussed systemic sexism in science with Bill. Probably, Jahren responded after a bewildered pause. But merely by course of talking about everything, as you do with someone you spend all of your time with. “Like a twin,” she explained.
We tend to talk a lot about male allies in feminism, as if it is some great, complex feat to be an ally — some lengthy list of qualifications to uphold, boxes to check. The best male feminist allies I have are simply friends who wanted to talk and listen about life. They learn about being a woman in the world that way, and I about being a man, but very rarely due to any explicit discussion of gendered experience.
At the end of all of your shots of reproductive rights news for this week — don’t get too tipsy, please — you will be rewarded by one of my favorite scenes of male-female friendship, from a film I watched one recent evening with a dear guy friend while we ate fast food and drank wine on the couch. It was perfect.
SHOT: On Thursday, anti-choice activists carried out an email cyber attack on the National Network of Abortion Funds during the organization’s annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser. From Rewire: “One email [to the organization’s donors] included an image of a fetus and an infant with a thought bubble that included the words ‘I hope I grow up big enough to go bowling someday.’”
SHOT: Why won’t we stop talking about Indiana’s bonkers new abortion law, which — among other things — criminalizes aborting a fetus with fatal abnormalities: The ACLU has weighed in to deem it “Draconian” and unlike any piece of reproductive legislation in the United States. This was a law passed in 2016, people.
SHOT: Do you remember the “fetal burial” bill recently introduced in the Ohio Congress? A refresher: It would dictate that abortion clinics dispose of fetal remains “humanely,” and it’s a product of the anti-choice mega-organization Americans United for Life (AUL). AUL-designed language around the disposal of fetal remains can now be found in similar bills currently up for debate in five additional state legislatures.
SHOT: A fast-tracked piece of anti-abortion legislation in Pennsylvania — one extreme enough to warrant an immediate press conference by Cecile Richards — was put on hold after Gov. Tom Wolf (D) promised to veto it.
SHOT: A highly effective pregnancy prevention program in Colorado that provides IUDs to teens in low-income areas was unexpectedly funded this week by the Republican-controlled state Senate. At the same time, a Colorado state Senate committee shot down a proposed bill that would increase access to a wide range of copay-free birth control for women in the state. Let’s call it a wash!
CHASER: There’s no friend like the one with whom you can share some fries in complete silence.
Why do we do this news roundup every week? Even if each subsequent development in access to sexual education, contraception, and abortion is hair-tearing-ly frustrating, it’s really important that women know that they’re happening.
But why should all environmentalists (and humans, honestly) care about reproductive rights? Watch our video to find out more: