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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 39,363

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

How to keep smoking as Feminine as possible (Looks like part of an old magazine article)

A gynecologist sums up 2014

(I don't remember reading this blogger before, but I remeber her ' open letter')

Another year of blogging has passed, 87 posts to be exact bringing my archive to 376 since inception.

It’s really interesting looking back to see what resonated with people and what didn’t. I am (like most years) amazed at what I’ve learned along the way as I read an average of 3 articles for each post. I wouldn’t have read many of the articles if I wasn’t planning on writing about the subject and I probably wouldn’t have pulled many of the references or dissenting articles to cross check so each post helps me grow as a physician. In addition, many people leave amazing info in comments and wonderful links so the learning continues often months (and sometimes years) after the post was written. Yeah for knowledge!

My most popular post was about the emergency room visit at St. Thomas’s hospital in London with my son Victor. I was surprised it went viral, but later on heard that there has been so much slagging on the NHS that many in the U.K. were desperate for a positive story. On August 14th the post was viewed over 130,000 times and as of today it has been viewed over 397,000 times. The comments truly amaze me and if you want to read some NHS love check them out (last count there were 799). In the U.S. 13.4% of people have no health insurance, and so something as simple as going to the emergency department for a small foreign body in the eye could cost $1000 easily and many people could end up collections or worse, they could go without care. To me the post was very important because in the United States many politicians try and scare us with horror stories about the NHS when in reality it’s one of the best systems in the world.

Another post that resonated with regular readers as well as the general public was my open letter to George Will about his douchey (BTW henceforth douchey should be defined as someone or something that is harmful to reproductive health, because douches are harmful to reproductive health) column on the fake epidemic of campus rape. I neverGW thought I would share with anyone that I had been raped in medical school, but, it just seemed wrong to sit back and not speak out. In the end it wasn’t just read by the 1,500 or so people who follow my blog… over 90,000 people read about it on my site and as Talking Points Memo picked it up as well as the Tampa Bay Times and many other bloggers I ended up sharing that experience with a lot of people. At the time I was really just too pissed to care what anyone thought about it (and anyway, no one should get to have an opinion on it but me), however, in the end the reaction from people was incredibly positive and many thanked me for giving a voice to something that they just couldn’t speak about. I even received e-mails from patients, former patients, and random people thanking me for “sticking it to Mr. Will.” So in the end I guess I have to thank old GW for helping me speak out and in turn helping others.

Speaking of mansplaining (something old George Will loooves to do and anyone who wants to have the two of us on a show, well, just tell me when and where), I wrote about #shirtgate or #shirtstorm or whatever you want to call it – basically, the lead scientist for European Space Agency’s Rosetta Project wore a shirt with semi nude pin-up girls while speaking to the public and the viscous reaction to the few women who pointed that might not exactly be welcoming to women in STEM. I received more vile comments and personal attacks on my blog and on twitter writing about that topic that I have ever received writing about abortion or birth control or rape. Really. I blocked more twitter trolls and IP addresses over #shirtgate than any other topic. It boggles the mind and proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the reaction to every article written about feminism simply demonstrates why we still need it. I will really try to write more about this in 2015


Things Can Only Get Better: How Feminists Rocked 2014

As the year wraps up and our social media news feeds become filled with lists ranging from the year's highlights to the coming year's resolutions, my favorites are ones that catalogue just how hard 2014 rocked for feminists.

"It's clear 2014 was a historic one for feminism," says Mic.com's Elizabeth Plank. "Women stood up for their rights, challenged stereotypes, fought for recognition and took control of the dialogue."

And we also took control of the word feminist. In 2014, we saw more and more high-profile women not only defend feminism, but define what it means: The simple belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Young women, from Taylor Swift to Lena Dunham, openly embraced the label often thrown at women as an insult.

But there can be no discussion of feminism's big year without a major hat tip to Beyonce. The living legend sent the message to her audience that feminism is cool by performing in front of a giant, glowing "Feminist" sign at the MTV Awards. There was no turning back. Feminism was turning up everywhere from this year from hit TV shows like Scandal to news programs like Krystal Ball's Krystal Clear on MSNBC.


Rebel Girls: Our “False Rape” Hysteria is Bullsh*t

("freshly purchased fedoras". Heh.)
As soon as the Rolling Stone piece on a University of Virginia gang rape began to unravel, I knew what was coming. The air smelled vaguely of freshly-purchased fedoras. The Internet felt defensive. And so it began. Suddenly, we were all stuck in a conversation on the falsely accused instead of the eternally silenced, a conversation about perpetrators and their struggles instead of rape victims and their trauma, a conversation about whether or not rape is something that even happens instead of a conversation about how to finally make it stop.

I am derailing that conversation, and I come bearing every ounce of truth I could muster about “false rape accusations” and the pitiful rape culture the myth of them exemplifies.

So, what’s a “false rape accusation,” anyway?

Honestly, the definition of a “false rape” will vary depending on who is talking about it. Anti-feminist folks often use the term, and the statistics available around it, to discuss scenarios in which a typically female person lies or otherwise fabricates a sexual assault or rape in order to target someone unfairly or seek attention, although – SURPRISE! – that’s not specifically what the term means in the eyes of the law, and that’s not what a “false rape” is when you see numbers about them on the books.

Let’s start with the basics: a “false” rape and an “unfounded” rape, in the language of the law, are the same thing. And for a whole lot of reasons, the data on how prevalent unfounded rapes are is skewed and altogether unreliable.

A lot of our crime statistics come from FBI reports, which would typically be great places to look for information about crime. But when it comes to sexual violence, that isn’t so. The FBI definition of rape, which was updated in 2012 after extensive advocacy by the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine, excluded pretty much everyone who had been raped from fitting into their statistical boxes for over four decades:


Interview: Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, Who Brought Women Abortions By Sea

If you read Emily Bazelon's remarkable feature "The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion" in the New York Times Magazine, you'll remember Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, the physician and activist who became internationally famous after sailing an "abortion ship" to countries where abortion remains illegal, providing (because the ship fell under the jurisdiction of its home country, the Netherlands) the miscarriage-inducing drugs mifepristone and misoprostol to women who were within the first trimester of their pregnancies, and thus circumventing the superficial regulations that contribute to 47,000 women dying of unsafe abortion each year.

A new documentary called VESSEL (to be released January 9 at IFC in NYC and January 13 on demand; watch the trailer here) chronicles Gomperts' work through the first years of her Women on Waves campaign as well as its evolution into Women on Web, an organization that provides abortion drugs to women by mail. Gomperts and I spoke on the phone last week.

Your work has spanned a lot more than the Women on Waves ship, but that's what people mostly know you for, right?

Yes. It was a very high-profile, media-intense campaign. It's the signature.

Does it feel strange to have that be your calling card, so to speak?

Of course, our work was and is much bigger than the ship. But all the work I've ever done, that my organization has ever done, has been in response to a need—and if this need can be addressed and represented by a symbol, I'm fine with it.

Symbols and images are very powerful ways to get a message through. The ship is about mythology as well: women taking power over the male domain of the sea. It's about defying laws without breaking them, and how that makes people so upset. The ship and the sea give a physical translation of the world we're working in.

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