Quote of the Week: “The “new feminism” may include uncritical support for women who oppose teen pregnancy programs and for women who force rape victims to pay for their own rape kits. But I just don’t see where support for women who persist in fabricating their own records is a feminist principle.” — Dahlia Lithwick
Quote of the Week, Part 2: “In this strange new pro-woman tableau, feminism — a word that is being used all over the country with regard to Palin’s potential power — means voting for someone who would limit reproductive control, access to healthcare and funding for places like Covenant House Alaska, an organization that helps unwed teen mothers. It means cheering someone who allowed women to be charged for their rape kits while she was mayor of Wasilla, who supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution, who has inquired locally about the possibility of using her position to ban children’s books from the public library, who does not support the teaching of sex education […] Stop the election; I want to get off.” — Rebecca Traister
Plus: More on those rape kits …
Website of the Week: Women Against Sarah Palin
Take On Dr. Phil’s Take on Home Births: We’ve heard from several readers that Dr. Phil is soliciting home-birth horror stories on his website for an upcoming show. Perhaps hearing from some satisfied home birthers will lead to a more balanced program. Also see this related call for pregnant women considering a home birth.
It’s Fall, So Viewers Must be Gawking at Fat People: The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley recently covered the growing number of weight-loss television programs — “binge viewing for a nation obsessed with weight” — and the cultural implications. A sampling: “Bulging Brides” on WE; “The Biggest Loser” on NBC; and “Honey We’re Killing the Kids,” among others …
Plus: Writing at AfterEllen.com, Reese DoWitt questions the saneness of MTV’s “Model Makers,” a proposed reality TV series in which 15 wannabe-models have to slim down to win the show’s $100,000 grand prize.
And Richard Perez-Pena, also of NYT, notes that “The Biggest Loser” is a big win for Rodale and its biggest magazine, Prevention, which have collaborated with the series for the past three years.
Taking Cheerleading Seriously: “A growing body of evidence indicates cheerleading has become one of the riskiest athletic activities for women, leaving a long trail of sprained wrists, twisted ankles, damaged knees, strained backs — and sometimes much worse,” writes Rob Stein in the Washington Post.
Despite a sharp increase in the number and types of cheerleading squads and the complexity of their routines, cheerleading is not officially considered a sport at most high schools and universities. As a result, it’s not subject to the safety regulations that apply to gymnastics, for example.
“When people think about cheerleading, they think about the girls with the pompoms jumping up and down,” said Frederick O. Mueller, a leading sports injury expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They don’t think about someone being thrown 25 feet in the air and performing flips with twists and other risky stunts we see today.”
Equally shocking are the cheerleading proponents quoted who seem in denial about the risks. It’s a sport, folks, not an after-school club, and should be regulated like any other official athletic activity.
Facing Deportation and Fleeing Domestic Abuse: Women’s eNews reports on the mass arrest this summer of undocumented workers in Rhode Island that left a number of abused women fearing their deportations will put them back within reach of abusers they fled. A longstanding case pending in San Francisco could set a new precedent, reports Amy Littlefield.
What About the Children?: Writing at Huffington Post, Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, discusses the effect of immigration raids on children. A report by the National Council of La Raza and the Urban Institute, “Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children,” notes that there are about five million children in the United States with at least one undocumented parent.
Ensuring the Human Right to Survive Pregnancy in Southeast Asia: A meeting of world leaders later this month to discuss progress on the Millennium Development Goals “presents a decisive opportunity to ensure that the limited progress on maternal mortality is at the center of the dialogue,” writes Ramona Vijeyarasa at RH Reality Check. “2005 maternal mortality ratio estimates released by WHO were as high as 540 maternal deaths per 100,000 lives births for Cambodia, 420 for Indonesia and 230 for the Philippines as compared to 14 for the Republic of Korea or 11 for the United States.”
Study: Delivery Method Affects Brain Response to Newborn’s Cries: “When my own daughter was born by Caesarean section delivery, I was surprised how uninvolved I was in the process. My body was numb, and my view of the surgery was blocked by a sheet. When I finally heard a baby cry, it took a minute for me to realize that the sound belonged to my own baby,” writes Tara Parker-Pope at Well.
“That’s why I was particularly interested to read of new research showing that the method of delivery seems to influence how a mother’s brain responds to the cries of her own baby. The brains of women who have natural childbirth appear to be more responsive to the cries of their own babies, compared to the brains of women who have C-section births.”
The very small study (12 women), which was published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, draws strong responses at the Well blog.
When an Apple is Harder to Find than French Fries: “You can’t choose healthy foods if you don’t have access to them. And that’s the dilemma faced by millions of residents in the ‘Food Deserts’ of America,” writes Mari Gallagher, a researcher and author of the 2006 study “Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago,” as well as similar studies in Detroit, rural Michigan, Louisville, Harlem and Richmond.
Food deserts are geographic areas lacking in grocery stores and awash in fast-food restaurants. Read more here.