A weekly news round up on the state of Body Politics & Body Justice
- While a young woman in Belfast is on trial for attempting to procure the drugs to self-induce an abortion, medical doctors and midwives in Northern Ireland are “operating in a ‘“climate of fear’ and facing the real danger of imprisonment for assisting and even offering advice to women seeking an abortion”. And yes, it’s 2016. And we still have a long way to go.
- Monday marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. Human Rights advocate Martin Luther King III wrote an op-ed aired on MSNBC on Monday asking that we stop sanitizing the work Martin Luther King Jr. “Dr. King has left a legacy that says that when we say that black lives matter, we are indeed saying all lives matter.” He continued, “[a] legacy with calls that go beyond volunteerism or nostalgia for powerful speeches. Let’s reclaim his legacy with a firm commitment to respect and protect human rights for everyone.” Liz Dwyer breaks down the #reclaimmlk’ actions to“kick sanitized king ideology to the curb.” Actions that ranged from sharing Dr. King’s less known quotes on capitalism and white accountability, to demonstrations organized by #BlackLivesMatter. MTV invited its viewers to engage in conversation about race by broadcasting in black and white for the first 12 hours of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The broadcast day included participation from 14 activist rights organizations, and testimonials from popular Black figures in entertainment.
- An alarming 36% of women in Canadian prisons are indigenous. “For the first time in the history of Canada as a nation state, more than a quarter of inmates in prisons are Indigenous people. In 2011, the total ‘Aboriginal population‘ (inclusive of Inuit, Metis, & First Nations people) represented only 4.3% of the total Canadian population. This means that less than 5% of the Canadian population makes up of over 25% of their prison population. For Indigenous women, the numbers are even higher, accounting for more than 36% of women in prison. The most recent statistics suggest that Indigenous women only account for 4% of the total Canadian female population. The number of Aboriginal women who were locked behind bars in federal institutions grew a staggering 97% between 2002 and 2012, one study concluded, at a much faster rate than Aboriginal male offenders.
- Buzzfeed introduced many of us to 20 year old Pakistani- American artist Ayqa Khan, “a self-taught digital illustrator and photographer who has recently started to conceptualize and create bodies of work centered around themes and narratives of the first-generation South Asian community.” Her work includes an illustration series that centers on brown bodied people with visible body hair. She told Buzzfeed “It is important for me to normalize body hair because it is something that shouldn’t be a huge deal considering body hair is natural and the removal of it is a social construct.”
- Polly Toynbee breaks down why feminism needs to embrace trans people for the Guardian. We at Adios Barbie couldn’t agree more! The struggle for gender equality needs to reflect the spectrum that is gender–whether someone is transgender, cisgender, seeks to live in the binary or is genderqueer, gender fluid, non-binary or agender. Feminism is very much about social, economic and legal access to body and gender autonomy. It’s the goal of feminism, to support and advocate for the equal rights for all bodies.
- Tyler Ford is a writer for Rookie Magazine, a style icon and a non-binary human. In my favorite online series, Style Like U’s: ”What’s Underneath”, they talk about the stages of transitioning before identifying as agender and asexual. Mic tells us about Perfect Sidekick, an LGBT Gym helping transgender clients to shape their bodies to match their identities, pre and post-operative. Natalie Huerta founded the gym over 5 years ago and “group classes begin with participants sharing their names and preferred pronouns. Instead of gender-segregated change rooms, there’s one big locker room open to folks of all gender identities. The gym’s staff is required to attend regular sensitivity training. In other words, it provides the opposite kinds of experiences Huerta had had at mainstream gyms.”
- For Harriet reminds us that sometimes you just need to sit back and listen to queer Black revolutionaries chatting about sameness, differences, the American dream, and facing the truth. Following is a quote from Audre Lorde in a 1984 conversation between Audre Lorde and James Baldwin published by Essence magazine. “When we admit and deal with difference; when we deal with the deep bitterness; when we deal with the horror of even our different nightmares; when we turn them and look at them, it’s like looking at death: hard but possible. If you look at it directly without embracing it, then there is much less that you can ever be made to fear.”