George Packer's The Unwinding explores the social and economic upheavals that have transformed the U.S. over the past 30 years. In a nuanced work of literary journalism, colorful characters from across the class divide tell their own stories of a social contract in tatters.
Read an exclusive excerpt of Lionel Shriver's latest, Big Brother. Shriver is no stranger to controversial topics, from school massacres to the American health care system. Big Brother is a comedic take on obesity and its effect on an Iowa family.
On an icy night in 1984, a commuter plane crashed in the wilderness. Six passengers died, but four survived: the pilot, a politician, a policeman and a prisoner. Carol Shaben's Into the Abyss describes their fight to make it through that frigid night alive.
On an icy night in 1984, a commuter plane crashed in the wilderness. Six passengers died, but four survived: the pilot, a politician, a policeman and a prisoner. Carol Shaben's Into The Abyss describes their fight to make it through that frigid night alive.
Jackson is famous for his philosophical take on basketball and for the many stars he led to championship triumphs. He taught his players yoga and gave them assigned reading — but also pushed them to intensely practice fundamental skills. His new book looks back on a legendary coaching career.
“I think my dad felt that there was just no place in the world for me, that I was just such an unpopular [kid], such a nerdy mess, that if he could mold me into a different kind of person maybe I would stand a chance.”
More than two decades after making his Public Radio debut, David Sedaris remains the preeminent humorist of his day, as popular with gay audiences as he is with straight ones. His books Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked, to name a few, are perennial best sellers of the genre. With his new collection, Let’s Discuss Diabetes with Owls, the literary funny man turns his rapier wit on a host of subjects including aging, straight men, taxidermy, and, as always, his own family. Sedaris possesses a keen ability to satirize broadly, but he’s at his best when he’s zeroed in on the quieter moments of life. The foibles of his own character, for instance, or when discussing the sometimes-motley fans he enjoys teasing on a nearly nightly basis. The busy author took a break from his hectic tour schedule to chat with Lambda while on a recent visit to San Francisco. We spoke at length about the enduring power of camp, the importance of keeping up appearances and the difficulties of life on the road.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. I know it’s been a bit of a headache to arrange this.
We were supposed to do it a while ago. I think that day my flight was cancelled. I was going from St. Louis to Des Moines, Iowa. I never learned to drive, so they put me in the back of a car for six hours. I got to the theater and the power was out, so I read with a flashlight and no microphone. The next day my flight got cancelled again, and I had to hire a private jet to get to Louisville, Kentucky. It cost $10,000.
That’s no joke.
Yeah, and the theater doesn’t pay for it. There’s just been a lot of days like that. I’m not complaining, though. Far be it for me to complain.
I first found out that this interview was going to happen while I was in the bathroom, and I wanted to know what was the best news you ever received while on the toilet?
I don’t think I’ve ever received any news on the toilet. I don’t have a cell phone. Hugh, my boyfriend, has been mad at me because he says that this trip I’ve been writing in people’s books the kinds of things you’d find on a bathroom wall. I learned this Romanian curse and it’s one of the things I’ve been writing in people’s books. It translates to “I shit in your mother’s mouth.” It’s a good curse, isn’t it? I explained to someone the other day, “Look, I’m not actually going to do this. I’m just writing it down so you can remember it.”
I have a friend who the only bit of Spanish he knows is essentially that.
Well, my Spanish version is “me cago en la fiche de tu madre,” which is “I shit in your mother’s pussy.” Somebody taught me that. But, again, I tell people, “Look, I’m not really going to do this.” The week before last I wrote, “I shit in your mother’s mouth,” in this guy’s book, and the guy said, “My mother’s dead.” I said, “Well, I’m gonna dig her up. I’m gonna dig your mother up, and I’m going to open her casket, and I’m going to kneel over her face and I’m going to shit in your dead mother’s mouth. How would you like that?”
You really want to make sure they keep coming back, don’t you?
Well, I said it in the nicest possible way. I think I’m pretty good at scoping people out. Every now and then I make a mistake and realize it too late. Like this kid wanted me to write something filthy and insulting in his mother’s book. He was 19 years old, right? So I thought for a moment then I wrote to his mother—let’s say the guy’s name was Jason and his mother’s name was Susan. I wrote, “Dear Susan, Jason left teeth marks in my dick.” And then his face, it was like “what did you just do?”
Hugh gets really mad at me for stuff like that, but I mean, look, he asked me. I put some thought into it. I mean, don’t ask me if that’s not what you want, or if what you want is some watered down version of it.
There’s been a lot of talk about how as gay rights become more and more prevalent there’s a loss of the subversive or the camp side, but it strikes me that something like that—and someone like you who writes for a popular audience and who offends people in a good-hearted way—that’s how camp lives on forever.
I was at lunch a couple of weeks ago with my friend Ted. He’s my oldest friend. I’ve known him since junior high school. The waiter brought the dessert menu, and I said, “Do you wanna split a dessert?” So anyway, Ted and I split this coconut cream pie. I looked around the room and there were two other men also sharing a piece of pie. And I thought, Straight men don’t do that. So I started polling straight men while signing books. This one guy said, “You know a plate of Buffalo wings is one thing, but dessert, that’s just crossing a line.” I talked to this other guy, and he said, “You know it’s so funny you should ask. I just had dinner with a buddy and we shared a dessert, and we made a point of telling the waitress that we weren’t gay.” I’ve gotten in the habit of eating dinner while I’m signing books. So now, last night I had steak. I was sitting at my signing table and when an obviously straight man would come up I’d say, “Can you cut me a piece of steak while I sign your book? Now, I need you to fork it into my mouth.” I worry that it’s too aggressive, but I just think it’s funny to make straight men feed me. If it gave me an erection, then I would feel bad about it, but it doesn’t. It just makes me laugh.
As an essayist, do you have a line you won’t cross?
So there’s a new story I wrote and it’s about my three sisters coming to visit for Christmas. And, believe me, my sisters said some things over Christmas that were horrible. They’re really funny and shocking, but I wouldn’t write them. Even if they died, I wouldn’t put those things in a story because it’s private. I’m pretty good about that. I just don’t want anybody’s feelings to be hurt. On the other hand, you know how sometimes there’s the one person in the family who keeps all the self-esteem for himself? That’s my dad. My dad doesn’t have any doubts about the kind of parent he was. He’s proud of it. You’ve never met anybody with more self-esteem. You can’t hurt someone like that.
We first encounter your father in this collection as someone to be feared, but by the end you’ve reached a kind of equilibrium. Do you think gay men, in particular, are reaching a new understanding with their fathers?
I’m 56, and for most my lifetime it was understood that even a horrible straight person was better than a gay person. Not too many people believe that anymore. That can allow for a kind of forgiveness or a deeper understanding. Part of it can just be getting older. This 18 year-old kid, a relative of Hugh’s, came to visit us in England last summer. And he was such a nerd, this kid. You just wanted to correct him on every possible level. I found myself getting so frustrated with him and I thought, Oh, that’s what my dad must’ve felt in regards to me. I think my dad felt that there was just no place in the world for me, that I was just such an unpopular [kid], such a nerdy mess, that if he could mold me into a different kind of person maybe I would stand a chance. I can see that now. When I was having those feelings toward that young man that was visiting, I thought, Well, maybe that’s what my dad was feeling all those years. He was trying in the only way he knew how to mold me into his idea of a likeable person. I much prefer that view of my dad. And I wrote him about it after this relative of Hugh’s left. I wrote him about it and I said I think I understand now. When I watch my brother with his daughter it’s just beautiful. She’s not afraid of him. I hung out with my brother and my niece a couple of months ago and that was the first thing that struck me. We were terrified of our father.
I wanted to talk a little bit about the story “A Guy Walks Into a Bar Car.” At its heart it’s a story about respecting yourself before you can love someone else. It’s a universally important sentiment, but it seems especially resonant for gay people. Do you ever tailor your writing for a particular demographic?
I don’t feel I tailor to the crowd. If I write about Hugh, for instance, I write in the sense of trying to make a life with someone in a way everyone can relate to it. I’m not hiding anything. Sex just isn’t my subject. I remember I was in Paris and Edmund White did a reading at this place called the Village Voice Bookshop. The audience was maybe 10% gay people, and when he read you could see people were like, “He just talked about sucking somebody’s dick; I didn’t sign up for this.” I don’t think it’s fair that they freaked out. When a straight couple kisses in a movie you don’t see us go, “ewww.” So, on the one hand, it only seems fair. But I just don’t write that way. In that story, [“A Guy Walks Into a Bar Car”] I felt like anybody could relate. It’s just a story about an opportunity that you didn’t take, and for the rest of your life when things get bad you think, “If only I would’ve picked that person up.” When you’re brooding over an alcoholic straight guy, that’s when you’ve hit bottom.
Do these people from your past ever resurface?
There’s a story in the book about being on the swim team, and there was this kid on the team who my dad would not shut up about. I was so jealous of the kid. Well, the story was in the New Yorker, so the fact checker tracked him down. He has a business selling sex toys in North Carolina.
I bet you didn’t anticipate that.
I did not.
It’s funny that you should bring up childhood friends because in the book you seem almost proud of the fact that you don’t have any friends now.
I lived in Chicago from 1984 to 1990 and I think that was a time in my life when I had the greatest friends. Then I moved to New York and I met Hugh and I kind of stopped trying. Most of my friends now are friends that I had from Raleigh. I met my best friend my first day of college in 1975. These people I’m in constant contact with. I met a couple of friends when I moved to Paris, but I’m more of a cat friend than a dog friend. I have my schedule and my deadlines, and those come first, and it’s understood that those come first. I’ll talk to you, but not during my office hours. I’m not an available friend.
I assume you met Ira Glass in Chicago.
I met Ira at a reading in Chicago, but it wasn’t until I moved to New York that I got involved with NPR. He called me one day and asked if I wanted to be on the radio.
A lot of people on radio insure their voices, since you have a very distinct voice that makes up a large portion of your career, do you insure yours?
Nobody has ever asked that before. No, uh-uh. I met a guy the other day when I was signing books. I remarked on his voice. He’d had a horrible accident or cancer or something. I said, “Can they do that to me too? Can I recreate that accident?” I mean, I don’t want the cancer, but can I get that treatment on my throat? It just sounded fantastic. If I were to call room service right now and order something they’d say, “We’ll have that right up to you, ma’am.” I guarantee it. I don’t think I sound like a woman. I was on tour last year and this guy in the audience said, “You know I’ve been listening to you and then all of a sudden it hit me: This guy sounds like a Muppet!” That’s closer to it. I sound like a Muppet. I don’t mind the softness of my voice; it just has that Kermit quality to it. That’s what I want to say to people: “Don’t you know the difference between a Muppet and a woman?”
While preparing for this interview, I was happy to discover that you’re a bit of a clotheshorse. What’s your favorite recent acquisition and why?
I heart Union Made on Sanchez Street, here in San Francisco. Have you ever been?
No. I’m still pretty new to the city.
Best men’s clothing store in the United States. And I travel around, so I can say that with authority. They stock these Japanese brands that I’ve only seen in Tokyo. I went there on Friday, and with no trouble at all I spent $1,100. In general, I love looking at clothes even if they’re not for me. When I was in Reno the other night, my most commonly asked question was, “Why did you wear that t-shirt?” I couldn’t believe people had paid 50 bucks for a ticket and they would dress like they’d been mowing their lawn and then all of a sudden they were transported into the theater. I mean, if they didn’t have a “Shirts Required” rule, who knows what people might’ve been wearing? I met this woman and she was wearing [this] t-shirt—it was her good Count Chocula t-shirt. I said, “I don’t mean to be giving you a hard time, but I’m just curious: Will you wear anything to the grocery store?” And she said, “Yeah, I figure who’s gonna notice?”
Have you ever thought about instituting a dress policy for your readings?
[Laughs] We’ll, I’m curious to see tonight. Usually San Francisco audiences are the best dressed. One of the show business rules that I figured out years ago: You should always be better dressed than the audience. I was on stage a couple of weeks ago and I saw a five-year-old in the audience. And I thought, Well, I have to say the word cunt tonight, and I’m still going to say it. If you come on stage with a tie on, people will say, what an interesting word choice. You have a t-shirt on and you say the word cunt, and people say, “Ugh, filthy, this guy is filthy.”
In the new book you write about going to a big box retailer to buy condoms to hand out at your readings. Do you plan on distributing any goodies tonight?
Yeah, I bought some taffy at the Ferry Terminal. This guy from Salt Lake City gave me these cards a couple of days ago. They’re vintage, about the size of business cards, and they have flowers on them, and they say: “You’re too cute to smoke. A message from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” Mormons. Those are really special, so I’ll give those to special people.
You’ve been called America’s pre-eminent humorist. Who’s out there that you think, This person’s got talent?
Lena Dunham. I love her essays in the New Yorker. I think they’re really well crafted, and I think they’re funny. She throws in these really surprising, profound details that turn something that could’ve been ordinary into something else. I think she’s really talented.
Have you had a chance to meet her?
Yeah, I’m going to do a reading with her at Carnegie Hall in New York. I just wrote her because with an on-stage reading there’s nothing much for the audience to look at. I proposed to Lena that for Carnegie Hall, what I would like to do is hire two women to breastfeed on stage during the reading. It’s exactly the right amount of activity. When you see a woman breastfeeding you want to stare, but you feel like you can’t. This way you could stare all you want. Probably after five minutes you’d think, Okay, there’s nothing really going on. I think I’ve seen it all. I’d like a black woman and a white woman, or maybe Hispanic. I’d like them to be different races, and I’d like them to be on either side of the podium breastfeeding.
Yeah, I don’t want them in chairs. I want them standing. With spotlights.
André Aciman’s new novel, Harvard Square (W. W. Norton & Company), a story of two young men trying to come to terms with their outsider status in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been receiving a lot of buzz about its timeliness in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. But it’s the timelessness of the book’s themes—assimilation, finding one’s place in the world, deciding who you want joining you there—that will make it a novel worthy of discussion and admiration for many years to come.
Ignoring that the main characters are in their mid-twenties and early thirties, Harvard Square starts off as a typical coming-of-age tale. The unnamed narrator, a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt, is a lonely outsider desperately trying to stay enrolled in graduate school at Harvard University in the summer of 1977 when he meets a Tunisian taxi driver named Kalashnikov—”Kalaj” for short—in a local coffee shop. The latter is everything the former is not: a charismatic, controversial, womanizing taxi driver in possession of very strongly held opinions regarding just about everything and a machine gun for a mouth.
From the first moment they meet, the narrator experiences a near-constant internal tug-of-war regarding whether Kalaj is his friend or foe; his double or his opposite; his hero or a repository of all his pity and scorn. This back-and-forth consumes the majority of the novel’s pages, and while the give and take can sometimes be maddening for the reader, it’s an accurate representation of a loner in a near-abandoned town, left with too much time to himself and his own pessimistic thoughts. It’s when the narrator’s friends and colleagues return to Harvard in the fall and the barriers between his two separate lives begin to crumble that he really has to decide what he’s willing to do to finally feel like a part of the world he’s chosen for himself.
It’s to Aciman’s credit that despite the swirling, thorny topics of belonging and otherness, it’s the unlikely relationship between two young men that really shines through. He writes about their courtship in such a way that, even as they are boasting about their respective heterosexual conquests, there’s an unspoken sexual tension between them that ripples off the page like heat shimmering off of concrete under the August sun. And let there be no mistake about that: these two men are courting each other, experiencing the same feelings of exhilaration, self-consciousness, doubt, and warmth that they receive from their attempts at seducing members of the opposite sex.
Harvard Square has been called a near-perfect encapsulation of the immigrant experience in America. And yet, the narrator’s desire to fit in with the Harvard WASPs that surround him on a daily basis—and his simultaneous longing to tell them all to screw themselves—is one that anyone who’s felt like a minority within his or her own home should be able to heartbreakingly relate. And this may be Aciman’s greatest accomplishment with his latest novel: the crafting of a thoroughly inclusive love letter to those who have ever felt excluded.
By André Aciman
W.W. Norton & Company
Hardcover, 9780393088601, 292 pp.
Admired for her tomboyish spunk and dudeless story arc, Merida stands out from princesses before her in ways that can be considered revolutionary for women in animated film. For this reason, many—including the film’s writer and co-director, Brenda Chapman—feel that Merida’s redesign is a wildly out-of-character step backward from the progress that her on-screen persona seemed to promise.
After Disney’s website debuted Merida 2.0, a petition with Change.org quickly formed in opposition to her new image appearing on Disney merchandise. Since then, Disney has pulled the image of new Merida from its website and replaced her with the original Pixar design. This quiet response from Disney was reported by some (including us) as a small victory for protesting fans, but after speaking with Carolyn Danckaert, who launched the Change.org campaign, we learned that the fight is far from over.
Danckaert is the co-founder of an online resource center for girl empowerment called A Mighty Girl (AMG). The expansive website features “the world’s largest collection of books, toys, movies, music and clothing for parents, teachers and others dedicated to raising smart, confident and courageous girls.” When Brave premiered last year, Danckaert says, A Mighty Girl was excited to include Merida in their list of smart and independent young trailblazers. She was a perfect fit for one of their many subcategories, The Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess, which features an extensive collection of alternatives to the damsel-in-distress trope.
When AMG discovered what Disney had in store for its beloved independent princess, AMG posted it to Facebook. Within hours, the post received over 800 comments, an overwhelming majority of which were negative. AMG thus decided to challenge Disney’s less-than-empowering makeover of princess Merida with an online petition.
The petition quickly gained more than 200,000 signatures. Danckaert suggests that this is because the core audience for both Disney and AMG are basically the same: young children and mothers of young children, particularly daughters. When Brave came out, Danckaert says, both mothers and daughters embraced Merida as an impressive new role model that girls could actually relate to. So when Disney transformed her into sexy Merida, she was pushed back into an unnecessarily glamorized, generic mold that has usurped other Disney princesses’ on-screen independence. A similar change happened for Mulan, who resists hyper-femininity in her movie but wears the very outfit that causes her distress for the sake of Disney’s glammed-up merchandise.
Indeed, AMG’s campaign was never just about the image on the Disney website but instead was concerned with sexy Merida’s induction into the Disney princess collection—and thus into new Brave products. Though Disney took down her new image on its website, it continues to use sexy new Merida in its merchandising.
In the AMG blog, Danckaert explains that Disney’s new Merida—which many children don’t even recognize as their bow-slinging heroine—is a disservice to the young viewers who found a role model in a different kind of princess. Danckaert writes,
[B]y making [Merida] skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, [Disney is] sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value—to be recognized as true princesses—they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.
Merida’s redesign betrays the integrity of her unique character, and AMG wants Brave merchandise to reflect the on-screen Merida that parents and children fell in love with. It’s that merchandise image of Merida that children will play and imagine with, and they deserve the real character, not an unconvincing imitation. As Brenda Chapman insisted in her AMG interview, “Make the toys who the character is.”
AMG’s petition is pushing things in the right direction. As of last Saturday, Target pulled its Disney princess collection webpage, which featured Merida’s redesign, from its online store. But this isn’t enough—AMG wants a statement from Disney confirming the discontinuation of sexy Merida from its merchandise line. Until then, the fight isn’t over.
Three bills that could encroach on bodily autonomy and reproductive rights in Maine are less likely to become law, after the state’s Legislative Judiciary Committee voted to recommend that the bills not be passed. The bills would make it harder for teens to access safe abortion care, would make it so patients could not opt out of certain “informed consent” materials, and would redefine what constitutes a viable fetus in the state’s legal code. The committee saw the bills as unnecessary governmental interference in personal decisions and settled law.
LD 1339 is a parental consent bill, while LD 760 is a bill that would change what information is required to be given to a patient prior to an abortion and would mandate that the patient receive the materials regardless of her situation or her doctor’s feelings about whether the materials are necessary or accurate; they were rejected for recommendation with 8-5 votes.
Of the bills being reviewed, LD 1139 was one could have most directly revamped legal statutes. Although bill sponsor Rep. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough) said her bill, which would allow someone to sue for wrongful death of a fetus, was not meant to challenge abortion rights, the bill’s attempt to redefine a 12-week-gestation fetus as “viable” was seen as an affront both to reproductive rights supporters and those who support medical and scientific accuracy. Volk amended her bill to change the “viability” definition to 24 weeks, to make it more in line with similar legislation in other states, but the move still did not get it support from the committee members, who recommended it “ought not to pass” by a tighter one-vote majority (7-6).
Despite the recommendations by the judiciary committee, the bills will still be up for debate and approval in a full floor vote. Both the state senate and house have Democratic majorities.
The post Maine Judiciary Committee Votes Against Three Anti-Choice Bills appeared first on RH Reality Check.
UPDATE, Monday, 8:45 p.m.: NBC Chicago has more details on the incident outside the Merillville clinic. A police officer reportedly shot a truck driver outside the facility. “Officials said they don’t believe there is any connection to the Planned Parenthood,” the news organization reports.
Police are reporting that a shooting occurred Monday at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Merillville, Indiana. The incident could be the second targeted attack of a Planned Parenthood in the state in less than six weeks.
According to NBC Chicago, “a woman [at the clinic] who answered the phone confirmed there was a shooting but declined to say if it was inside or outside the facility.” The news affiliate reports that the building was surrounded by police after “an incident involving the driver of a tractor trailer.”
A Bloomington, Indiana, Planned Parenthood was attacked last month by a man wielding an ax. He caused structural damage to the building and vandalized it with red paint. The man, who said he attacked the clinic because of his “religious beliefs,” was arrested and no one was harmed, as the clinic was closed at the time.
Both the Bloomington and Merillville clinics provide abortion care. Planned Parenthood has been at the center of the anti-choice legislative agenda over the last few years. In 2011, then Gov. Mitch Daniels attempted to defund the organization in the state, before being blocked by the courts. This year, the Indiana legislature passed SB 371 specifically to force one clinic in the area to stop offering abortions. That bill was signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Pence last month.
Image: Chicago Tribune
The post Shooting Outside Indiana Planned Parenthood (UPDATED) appeared first on RH Reality Check.
I met Barbara Brenner in a book. In a collection of scholarly essays called Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic, she wrote the final substantive chapter, which was about women creating a breast cancer movement. I had just begun my own investigation of breast cancer culture, industry and advocacy. I re-read Barbara’s words many times. Today, as I gaze beyond the post-it notes, tabs and highlights that cover the book, I see how insightful and prophetic her words were:
Social change—both in the movement itself and in the scope and nature of the breast cancer epidemic—will come slowly. When that change does come, the result will be that all women with breast cancer will have clear choices for treatments that cure their disease without causing another one, and all people will live in a world where they are protected from the known causes of breast cancer. The road from here to there remains unmapped, but the breast cancer movement may yet pave the way.
When I published Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health, 10 years after I first read Barbara’s words, women still didn’t have clear and safe choices for treatment, nor were they protected from the known causes of the disease. Breast cancer had become more commercialized than ever. Mainstream advocacy was even more committed to pink ribbon community building, fundraising and the myth of early detection as the fundamental savior for women. The medical establishment further invaded the nonprofit sector and patient advocacy efforts. Pink ribbon visibility supplanted real consciousness-raising. And the feel-good element of the breast cancer movement used its corporately funded megaphone to create a breast cancer brand with a pink ribbon logo.
Barbara was pissed off about this state of affairs. But she never gave up on the idea that things could be different. With Breast Cancer Action at her side, she pushed people to act, to demand, to expect more than what we’re getting in the so-called war on breast cancer. Her tenacity, insight and pursuit of reason resonated with me, so much so that at the end of Pink Ribbon Blues I also wrote about the potential of a new road making a difference:
Taking a road less pink requires fundamental changes in the way we organize around breast cancer and in the questions we are willing to ask of ourselves, our families, our elected officials, our corporations, our medical system, our scientists, our media, and those who represent us in advocacy.
I wrote this knowing that some people were already out there, unrelenting in their pursuit of change. I wrote it knowing there were people like Barbara Brenner who refused to be silenced.
Barbara Brenner was anything but silent. She embodied the spirit of Audre Lorde, who believed that, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less important whether or not I am afraid.” Barbara Brenner was powerful, at times obstreperous. She never seemed to be afraid to call things as she saw them, and it didn’t seem to matter who got upset about it. Barbara Brenner reminded us that sometimes it takes ruffling a few feathers to dislodge complacency.
As I sit and think about Barbara Brenner and everything I learned from her, I feel a heavy weight around my heart. Who will push us to stretch our minds and abilities until we pave a new road in breast cancer? Who will keep us on the edge of our seats until people really are valued more than profits? Who will provoke us until we understand that the social, political, and economic structures that brought us to where we are in the breast cancer epidemic will surely keep us here unless and until we demand change? Most of all, who will remind us that if we are comfortable with the pink ribbon state of affairs, then we are part of the problem.
It’s up to us now.
In gratitude to Barbara Brenner.
Barbara Brenner was 41 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, a diagnosis that led the lawyer and activist to join the board of Breast Cancer Action, a grassroots advocacy organization in San Francisco started by women with breast cancer. A year later, she became BC Action’s first full-time executive director. Barbara retired in 2010 after being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis and death, commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”) Barbara spent the past two years coping with the illness and writing for social change. Barbara Brenner died from complications of ALS on May 10, 2013 at the age of 61 at her home in San Francisco.
Photo taken from barbarabrenner.net.
I had a whole long blog post about putting things on hold and how I’m still thinking about questions - especially after Bonnie’s comment on that – but the post was so long and rambly and wanky even *I* didn’t want to read it. So I deleted it, and now I’m going to go open a beer, pour myself a glass of Shut the Fuck Up, and play a little Sims 3. You’re welcome.
Published in partnership with Scarleteen
I was with this guy down at the beach late in the night and we started to hook up. It got a bit heated and asked me if I wanted to try something new. I said yes (I consented). He started to eat me out following with me giving him oral.
I’m scared that if I tell any of my friends I’ll get judged. Girls are like that these days :( It’s not like I regret it or anything. To be honest, I enjoyed it. I’m just afraid because there is so many labels being thrown around.
Heather Corinna replies:
Unfortunately, for most of our global history, people have rarely been free from the judgment of others about their sexual lives. Mind you, we can say the same for pretty near every part of human life and behavior: Some people are judgy or sanctimonious about some things sometimes, and some of those people, some of those times, choose not to keep it to themselves.
So, this isn’t anything new. I’m a big sexuality history geek, and as far as I know, this has been an issue for pretty much forever. Same goes for the various disparaging words or labels people can and do put on other people’s sexualities or sexual lives. Sadly, we have a long, rich tradition of that kind of crummy behavior.
Of course, what gets judged, by whom, and how is all over the place. Whether we’re talking hundreds of years ago or today, one person might judge us for making a given sexual choice, while someone else might have strong, negative opinions they cannot seem to keep to themselves if we had made a different one. As I explained in this answer here, there’s simply no sexual choice or set of sexual choices anyone can make where they are going to have everyone’s approval or be magically free of other people’s judgment. No matter what you do or don’t do, someone’s not going to like it or put some kind of judgment on it.
The best we can do is to take the time to really figure out what we want and what is best for us at a given time, make sure any sexual partners we have feel the same way about what we do together, and then share things about our sexual lives with people who are safe for us—with people we know, even if they might not agree with all our choices, will accept and respect them, and accept and respect us as people making our own, unique choices.
A lot of people still walk around saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Of course, you and I know that’s not true; words most certainly can hurt us. Since our sexual lives and sexualities tend to be very vulnerable, sensitive, and personal places, certain words or judgments put on them or us can really hurt and feel just awful. I certainly understand feeling scared and nervous about that. I’d also say we’re currently experiencing a whole lot of that in our world right now.
I’d say if you have the clear sense that someone might disparage you like that, or get all super-judgmental about your sexual choices, or if you know or strongly suspect someone will have nothing positive to offer you when you share these kinds of things, don’t tell that person. This is the kind of thing we usually will only want to talk about with people we trust. I think it’s safe to say that if you don’t know if your friends will or won’t call you crummy names, that’s a sure sign you don’t have that kind of trust with them yet. If they already do that, then you would certainly have good reason not to trust them in this regard.
By all means, if you want to take that chance, and it feels pretty safe, do so, but know you might have to call out trash-talk or stand up for yourself—it’s not like that’s a bad thing to do. It can be a great thing to do that benefits everyone involved. But we also have to take care of ourselves, and we’re just not always going to feel up to taking those kinds of social risks or entering into those kinds of arguments when it’s so personal for us. If you don’t, it’s not like you’re less-than-fantastic because you just aren’t up to dealing with call-outs around a given thing at a given time. Whatever works for you, and whatever you feel able to handle—or like you even just want to—is all good here.
Your sexual life gets to be as private as you want it to be. You don’t have to tell anyone about it.
But you probably just want to. We usually will want to talk about our sexual lives—the highs and the lows, the stuff we’re finding out and the stuff we wind up having worries or questions about—with someone. I always advise for people of any age that we make sure we have at least one person we can trust to talk to about our sexual lives when we need to, both for the stuff that’s so awesome we’re sure we’ll explode if we don’t share it, and for the things we’re worried about or need help thinking or feeling our way through. A sexual life lived in total isolation, or when we only talk to sexual partners about it, doesn’t tend to be or feel so awesome.
But beyond filling those needs, no one has to tell anyone about any part of their sexual lives or experiences if they don’t want to or don’t feel emotionally safe doing so.
If you don’t have any friends now whom you feel pretty sure you can talk to about things like this without them calling you names or crapping all over you in some way, then it’s probably better for you that you don’t tell them and find a safer person or group of people to talk with about these things.
This really isn’t about “how girls are,” for the record. What it’s probably more about, if you’ve heard these particular girls doing sexual trash-talk, is how these specific people, who just happen to also be girls, are. Expanding or changing your social circle some so you have some friends who you know will respect and accept your sexual choices and be excited about them when you are, rather than judging you for them, may be something it’s come time to do for you. Just like there are people who probably aren’t or might not be sound for you to talk to about your sexual life, there are people who are, of any and every gender. You need to find those people. They’re out there; you just might have to look beyond your current circle of friends to find them.
Your friends don’t all have to be girls, by the way. We can have great friendships with people of all genders. Many of us do. Of course, guys can be crummy about sex in this way, too. Talking to guy-friends versus girl-friends doesn’t mean you’re magically immune from sexual judgment. But sometimes we can find, in general, or at particular times in our lives, or about particular areas of our lives, that we’re more comfortable with one gender than another. If you’re feeling like your girl-friends aren’t the right folks to talk to just yet about this, it might be that a guy-friend is someone you feel more comfortable sharing this with. As well, if you’re going to try and expand your social circle, just opening it up more to people of other genders might make finding new folks to develop new friendships with a lot easier.
I hope you know that even if no one else you know right now would think your experience was awesome and OK, it’s really you who decides what sexual experiences are right for you, good for you. And it’s you who decides what you do or don’t enjoy sexually.
If someone else put a word on this experience you didn’t like or that wasn’t true about your experience, that doesn’t change your feelings or your experience. Someone else’s words don’t determine your reality, your sense of self, or your experiences of your own sexual life. And what someone else thinks about your sexual life isn’t even a fraction as important as what you think of it is.
Since it sounds like as of right now, you might not have a friend to talk to about this, I want to finish up by taking a few minutes to be a not-judgy friends for you in regard to this.
Yippee! You had a sexual experience you enjoyed and feel good about. How cool is that? That’s how it should be, and I’m glad you got to do something that was fun for you that you also are glad you took part in.
(If you want, we can play pretend that you tell me every detail, and I think it’s all awesome for you until you manage to overshare something that makes me all squicky—but in the goofy way, not the judgmental way—and then it becomes our favorite in-joke. That was always one of my favorite parts of sharing with friends like this when I was younger. Hell, it still is.)
I do just want to make sure that you know the activities you engaged in do pose potential sexually transmitted infection (STI) risks. So if you didn’t do them protected—using latex barriers, especially a condom when giving him oral—I’d strongly consider doing that moving forward or in doing this again. Especially if “this guy” means a new or newer partner who you haven’t been exclusive with for a long time, and who may or may not have only been sexual with you in the last six months or so since he was last tested, if he has been tested (and vice-versa). Hopefully, if you didn’t have a talk that involved a discussion about safer sex before you both chose to have these kinds of sex, you can be sure to do that the next time before anything gets heated, or gets started at all.
Not doing that protected, just like doing what you did period, doesn’t mean you’re a [insert whatever disparaging term you're afraid of being called here].
What it does mean is you could be taking big risks with your health. As your surrogate friend, I just want for you to be able to enjoy yourself sexually as you want to—and I think it’s great when you do—but to be able to do that and stay in good health.
I’m going to leave you with some links related to all of that, as well as a couple I think you might just find handy right about now.
- Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To
- Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
- A Calm View from the Eye of the Storm: Hysteria, Youth and Sexuality
- Risky Business: Learning to Consider Risk and Make Sound Sexual Choices
- An Immodest Proposal
(I included that last one because it speaks to some of the social politics you’re worried about here, so I think you might appreciate it right about now.)
The post Get Real! It Was Fun, and I Want to Tell My Friends, But… appeared first on RH Reality Check.
Legal Wrap is a round-up of key legal and reproductive justice news
As if the other details of the horrific kidnapping and rape case in Cleveland were not bad enough, Lindsay Beyerstein reports that Ariel Castro, who was already arraigned on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, could face murder charges related to terminating his victim’s pregnancies. Ohio is one of 38 states with so-called fetal homicide laws, and Beyerstein’s fantastic piece puts the Castro case in context of some other high-profile prosecutions related to terminating pregnancies.
In another example of anti-abortion activists looking to exploit tragedy at the expense of women’s lives, Imani Gandy takes on Star Parker and others in the conservative movement who are exploiting the Dr. Kermit Gonsell prosecution to promote their own debunked “Black genocide” narrative of abortion. Gosnell will spend the remainder of his life in prison thanks to an agreement with prosecutors that he drop all appeals after a jury convicted him on three first-degree murder charges.
In Arkansas, a federal district judge temporarily blocked the state’s 12-week abortion ban from taking effect in July, while a lawsuit challenging the merits of the law proceeds, ruling there was a substantial likelihood the law was unconstitutional. The ruling came shortly after the same judge tossed aside arguments by attorneys for Arkansas that the lawsuit be dismissed because the plaintiffs don’t have sufficient standing to challenge the law because they have not yet been injured by it.
Reproductive rights advocates in North Dakota filed suit to challenge a law that threatens to close the state’s only remaining abortion clinic.
Sheila Bapat reports on a first-of-its-kind mediation program that seeks to resolve disputes between domestic workers and their employers.
With a ruling on the issue of same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) looming, apparently some states have decided to ratchet up anti-LGBTQ discrimination just in case. In Florida, the family of an 18-year-old says their daughter was charged with a felony and expelled from her high school because she was involved in a consensual, same-sex relationship with another student. Meanwhile, in Texas Judge John Roach, inserted a so-called morality clause in a Texas woman’s divorce papers that effectively forbids the woman from living with her same-sex partner or else she risks losing custody of her children.
Finally, in Washington state the Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a counter-suit against Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on behalf of a florist sued by the state after she refused to provide flowers for a wedding ceremony of a same-sex couple. The counter-suit argues that the state’s lawsuit is an attempt to force the florist to act contrary to her deeply held religious beliefs and in violation of the Washington state constitution, which has in it a specific clause protecting the rights of conscience and religion.
Image: Healthnewsnet / flickr
The post Legal Wrap: Anti-Choice Groups Jump on Gosnell, Castro Tragedies appeared first on RH Reality Check.
Because student debt affects a large swath of Americans who struggle to build wealth over the course of their careers, it is primarily discussed as a class and an economic stimulus issue. But student debt is also an issue of particular importance for women. According to earnings statistics, women get far less bang for their buck out of higher education. Recent proposals to reduce student debt could benefit women over the course of their lives—but they may not go far enough.
Women make up the majority of higher education students, yet they earn far less than men with the same degrees. For the past several years women have outnumbered men in undergraduate and master’s programs, and as of 2010 women outnumber men in PhD programs as well. With respect to the two most expensive degrees, law and medicine, in 2009-10 women comprised 45 percent of law school classes, and as of 2011 they made up 48 percent of medical school graduates. This NPR piece from 2010 discusses how even though women are earning more engineering, math, and science PhDs than they were in previous years, women still experience wage disparities in these fields after graduation. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) found in a study last year that the student loan repayment burden is higher for women than for men for a variety of reasons, including the gender pay gap, which begins right after college graduation.
And gender-wage disparities hold true across multiple sectors. Last month the National Women’s Law Center pointed out that on average “women who work full time, year round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts—a pay gap that translates to $11,084 in lost wages annually.” The disparity is even greater for women of color. A study released last month from the National Partnership for Women and Families revealed that of the 50 largest urban cities, not a single one had eliminated the wage gap; neither had any state. There are a variety of causes for the wage gap: leaving the workforce to care for children or parents is still something more women take on, and even after controlling for life choices women on average earn 91 cents to the dollar. Discrimination is believed to account for this chunk of the wage gap.
Women also tend to gravitate toward professions that pay less in general. For example, women dominate the non-profit sector, where the earning potential is far lower than the private sector. Non-profit salaries for management level positions, which women with higher degrees may aspire to, pay far lower than in the private sector.
“The existing gender pay gap is making it hard for women, especially women of color, to pay back their student loans,” Working Families Party (WFP) organizer Nelini Stamp told RH Reality Check. WFP is working to reform student loan practices. “The proposals we see to reduce interest rates are a move in the right direction, but instead of just debt relief programs we need to focus on affordability of higher education so we are not sending new generations into debt.”
To help address this issue, some lawmakers are working to reduce federal student loan interest rates, which are set to skyrocket July 1. A proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) goes the furthest by seeking to reduce federal student loan interest rates to 0.75 percent, on par with the interest rate banks pay on some of their Federal Reserve loans. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) advocates a more conservative measure of capping student loan interest rates so that they do not skyrocket during a period of high interest rates.
Elena Peifer is a third-year student at the University of Michigan School Law. She opted not to attend Columbia University School of Law because she would have wound up with $222,000 in debt upon graduation. Even after a strong financial aid package from the University of Michigan Law School, she will still be left with a $45,000 student loan bill upon graduation.
“Forty-five thousand dollars still seems like an exorbitant amount of money, because as a public interest lawyer, I will be making less than that out of law school,” Peifer told RH Reality Check. Peifer chose the more financially sound option, Michigan Law, because she is committed to practicing public interest law with non-profits that pay far less than big law firms do. In general, women who earn law degrees are more likely to pursue lower-paying public interest careers.
Women’s tendency to earn less overall means they will spend a larger percentage of their incomes paying off student debt and may accrue less wealth over time, as a piece in U.S. News and World Report pointed out earlier this month. Though student debt reform is not a solution to the wage gap, it can help improve women’s economic status by enabling them to save more. It can also serve as economic stimulus, as women would have more income to spend.
There are some debt relief programs for students who choose careers in public interest—Peifer is benefiting from at least one—but these options are not widespread.
Jessica Galeria graduates this week with an MBA from the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business, and she will have about $50,000 in debt. She attended business school at night while working for a large non-profit, where she serves as associate director of strategic development and fundraising.
“One of the surprises for me is that there aren’t debt relief programs that were viable for me. I definitely looked into it,” she said. “So in general, I’m laudatory of the federal government efforts to reduce burden of student debt.”
Rarely a week goes by without a news story or blog post related to single-sex public K-12 education. Coverage often focuses on the ways in which girls and/or boys benefit from these settings and the research that allegedly supports these claims. All this numbs the mind of someone who remembers the passage of Title IX and the hopes associated with it.
I grew up in the 1950s and ‘60s. Girls took home economics, whether we wanted to or not. Boys took shop classes under the same assumptions. I didn’t question these assumptions, but I did wish I could participate in track and field; my only school-sponsored “sports” options were cheerleading and girls basketball. Cheerleading wasn’t much of a sport and girls basketball was full of rules about not running across center line and how many bounces were allowed when dribbling the ball. My father helped me set up a backyard long jump and a pole vault pit with an old mattress and a stick between two poles. It was fun, but it wasn’t “real.”
The passage of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving federal financial assistance. Some exceptions were allowed for existing single-sex schools, for contact sports and for instruction in specific areas such as human sexuality. Feminists celebrated. No longer could schools schedule classes in advanced English and physics at the same time and steer girls to one and boys to the other. No longer would it be legal to provide unequal school-sponsored sports opportunities. Best of all, gendered stereotypes limiting options for both sexes would diminish significantly as girls and boys were educated as equals in the same schools and classrooms. Or so we hoped.
Today the idea of restricting access to course offerings on the basis of sex is as old fashioned as separate job listings for men and women. Girls and boys increasingly see each other as equally capable of achieving in a wide range of fields. But continued advocacy for single-sex public education is ample proof of the strength of outmoded gender myths.
Rather than exploring the far more common similarities among girls and boys, many educators, parents and policy makers have succumbed to pseudo-scientific theories of large sex differences in cognitive and emotional skills and learning styles. These theories have been debunked repeatedly. Nonetheless, many remain convinced that sex segregation is the best approach when it comes to the education of our children.
In fact, so many believe this to be the case, that in 2006 the George W. Bush Administration’s Department of Education issued a new Title IX regulation which allows more single-sex options in public schools. This regulation is confusing, but does require justifying single-sex instruction by showing that it addresses specific educational needs, objectives and opportunities not otherwise met in coeducational classes, and without limiting opportunities available to any student. So far, however, the largely anecdotal evidence cited for single-sex success has faded under more careful scrutiny. To date there is no convincing evidence that single-sex public K-12 schooling is superior to coeducation.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently addressed the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference in San Francisco. Reiterating his belief in the importance of research in formulating educational policy, he noted, “We need you, the researchers, to answer the question “which approach works better—this one or that one–and then we need to move forward informed by your answer.”
If current research on the shortcomings of single sex education is not convincing enough for Secretary Duncan and other education policy makers, if they still support public funding for single-sex approaches, then perhaps it is time for increased evaluation of these offerings.
Working with educational researchers around the country, The Feminist Majority Foundation has proposed suggested guidelines for schools considering or already implementing single-sex approaches in public K-12 schools. These have been submitted to the Department of Education for comment and adoption. The guidelines recommend careful planning and process evaluation as key aspects of single-sex programs. Such steps are critical to solid evaluations of outcomes. And only careful outcome evaluation can document whether single-sex approaches have succeeded in decreasing sex discriminatory education and attaining other stated education achievement goals better than comparably well-funded, -staffed and -planned coeducational approaches.
Particularly in tight economic times, scarce public resources must be focused on effective, legally sound, equitable education–education equally available to all. If careful research and evaluation show some single-sex approaches meet these criteria, such programs should be promoted and replicated in appropriate settings. Any single-sex approaches that do not meet these criteria should be halted immediately. With limited public funds and clear legal requirements to address, there is no more time for programs based on what people think they know. We need educational approaches grounded in what careful research shows is effective.
Crossposted from Girl w/Pen on TheSocietyPages.org
On Saturday, the Speaker of the Lower House of Afghan Parliament delayed a vote on the Elimination of Violence against Women law after two hours of vociferous debate between conservative religious and more liberal members of Parliament. The Speaker did not specify when the measure would be placed on the floor for a vote again.
A number of conservative members of Parliament (MPs) raised their voices against the measure, deeming it un-Islamic. Although the EVAW law was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, women’s rights activist Fawzia Kofi, who also heads the women’s committee of the Lower House, decided to introduce the EVAW in Parliament. Kofi was concerned that without the EVAW being approved by Parliament, the decree might be reversed by a newly elected President in 2014. Karzai is term limited and cannot run again in 2014. Some Afghan women’s rights leaders opposed introducing the EFAW in Parliament for fear of having it defeated or repealed by conservative members.
According to the TOLO News “The parliamentarians who opposed the law call 6 of its articles to be against Islamic values.” These articles include criminalizing child marriage and forced marriage, banning the traditional “BAAD” practice of exchanging girls and girls and women to settle disputes between families, making domestic violence punishable up to three years in prison, protecting rape victims from prosecution for adultery or fornication, limiting the number of wives a man can have to two, and established shelters for battered women.
One of the conservative MPS suggested that the article to eliminate prosecution of raped women for adultery would lead to more extramarital sex, with women claiming they had been raped just to escape punishment. Others claimed that a husband has the right to discipline his wife.
“There’s a real risk this has opened a Pandora’s box, that this may have galvanized opposition to this decree by people who in principle oppose greater rights for women,” stated Heather Barr, a researcher for Human Rights Watch.
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/18/2013; TOLO News 5/18/2013
When M.C. was only 16 months old and in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, state officials made a decision that would forever change the child’s life. Those officials determined M.C. would be biologically female.
M.C. was born with an intersex condition where reproductive or sexual anatomy does not fit typical definitions of male or female. Doctors referred to M.C. as a “true hermaphrodite,” and while the child was in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, doctors, in cooperation with social services employees, decided to surgically remove M.C.’s male genitalia. Now, at 8 years old, M.C. has shown signs of developing a male gender and clearly identifies himself as a boy.
Filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Advocates for Informed Choice (AIC), and pro bono counsel for the private law firms of Janet, Jenner & Suggs and Steptoe & Johnson LLP on behalf of M.C.’s adoptive parents Mark and Pam Crawford, a first-of-its-kind lawsuit charges that the decision to medically assign M.C. a biological sex amounted to medical malpractice and a violation of M.C.’s constitutional rights. According to the lawsuit, filed in both state and federal court, the state of South Carolina violated M.C.’s constitutional rights when doctors surgically removed his phallus while he was in foster care, potentially sterilizing him and greatly reducing, if not eliminating, his sexual function. The lawsuit describes how the defendants violated M.C.’s substantive and procedural due process rights, outlined in the 14th Amendment, by subjecting M.C. to the unnecessary surgery “without notice or a hearing to determine whether the procedure was in M.C.’s best interest.”
The lawsuit also charges that the doctors committed medical malpractice by failing to obtain adequate informed consent before proceeding. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants told M.C.’s guardians to allow the sex assignment surgery but failed to provide information regarding the surgery’s significant medical risks. Most important, the Crawfords contend, state officials and doctors did not disclose that the procedure was medically unnecessary.
According to Anne Tamar-Mattis, executive director of Advocates for Informed Choice, which specializes in advocating for the rights of intersex children, about 1 in 2,000 children is born with an intersex condition. Although children with these conditions typically develop as a boy or girl as they grow, since the 1950s doctors have performed this type of sex assignment surgery on infants, even when the child’s ultimate gender remains unknown. “It used to be something that was kept very quiet,” Tamar-Mattis told RH Reality Check. “Surgeons would do the surgery and tell the parents never to tell the kids. But that’s changing. Intersex is becoming more public over the last 20 years, and this case is about ensuring the safety of all children who do not have a voice.”
Although long-term outcomes of today’s genital surgeries in children have not been well-studied, Tamar-Mattis says many doctors and advocates recommend that children with intersex conditions be assigned a gender at birth but postpone any unnecessary surgery until they are old enough to self-identify with a gender and make their own decisions about their bodies.
The lawsuit places surgeries like the one M.C. endured alongside others instances in which reproductive and bodily decisions were made without patient consent. Indeed, M.C.’s case joins a long line of SPLC cases brought on behalf of individuals harmed by medical recklessness, including a 1973 case on behalf of young African-American women who were sterilized against their will. M.C.’s adoptive parents hope the lawsuit will bring an end this practice altogether. “By performing this needless surgery, the state and the doctors told M.C. that he was not acceptable or loveable the way he was born,” Pam Crawford said in a statement. “They disfigured him because they could not accept him for who he was—not because he needed any surgery. M.C. is a charming, enchanting and resilient kid. We will not stop until we get justice for our son.”
The lawsuit, M.C. v. Medical University of South Carolina, was filed in the County of Richland Court of Common Pleas. M.C. v. Aaronson was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.
Image: Close-up of hands in surgery
The post Historic Lawsuit Claims Doctors Performed Unnecessary Surgery on Intersex Child appeared first on RH Reality Check.
Welcome back to another week in the wonderful world of Mad Men. One of the strangest episodes on record, "The Crash" was all about altered states, false identities, and hidden talents (we see you tap dancing, Ken Cosgrove!). Load up a "vitamin shot" and join us, won't you?
This picture is worth a thousand words about how nuts this episode was.