Women's News from the Web

The misogyny Steve King embodies is very much in the DNA of the Republican party

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 02:00

The Republican party is very much Steve King’s party – don’t let any Republican try and pretend otherwise

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I’m angry, sore, and bloated. Is this the menopause? The more I read, the less I know

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 21:59

If women do begin ‘delaying’ menopause, it will be to avoid the tedious, draining, open-ended confusion of the years between 38 and 60

I enjoyed last week’s news about a surgical breakthrough that could potentially delay menopause, mainly as it was good to hear the whole confusing, eternally awkward thing discussed for once. The Great Reckoning is no doubt heading towards me soon, now that I’m 45 – and I have been taking tips from some curious sources.

“I see Meg Mathews is twaddling on about her dry fanjo again,” one of my best friends said, WhatsApping me screengrabs of a blog about the menopause written by Noel Gallagher’s ex-missus in which she details the arid folds of her nether district. Actually, not so arid now; she’s been moisturising it, like you would your face. Stand easy, Britain: she’s back in the game.

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Inside the 'fake clinics' where women are persuaded to carry pregnancies to term

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 20:00

‘Crisis pregnancy centers’ give counseling, pregnancy tests – and outnumber abortion providers three to one in Georgia

In her office at the Crossroads Pregnancy Center in Milledgeville, Georgia, Pam Alford hung a picture of a grave-filled cemetery in memory of the thousands of the abortions taking place every day in America. Or so says the caption.

Other indications of the center staff’s attitude to abortion fill public areas of the building. Someone has stenciled “life is beautiful” in a hallway. Figurines of Jesus and the cross line the lunch area walls.

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One Man Asks: Are We Finally Ready to Put Shooters’ Gender at Center of Gun Debate?

Women's eNews - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 15:58

The killing sprees in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio on August 3rd and 4th brought the number of mass shootings in the first 215 days of the year to 251. In the United States of Ammunition, that’s more than one per day. What’s going on? To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the masculinity, people.”

It’s infuriating to me that because of who did the shooting (white men) that much of the media, politicians, and pundits rarely cite the most significant common denominator of virtually every mass murder in the US—the shooter’s gender! Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old Texan charged with the El Paso murders, is an avowed white supremacist. The slain Dayton killer, Connor Betts, had previously compiled a “rape list” of females he wanted to sexually assault. Both are poster boys of toxic masculinity.

Any hope we’ll end the madness must begin by acknowledging that it’s almost always men doing the shootings. Until we make gender central to our efforts to prevent mass shootings, we are on a fool’s errand. I have been repeating this message for twenty years, since Columbine, and even before there was Tree of Life, Thousand Oaks, Parkland, Sutherland Springs, and Las Vegas, there was Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Aurora. All male shooters; usually white supremacists.

Let’s also acknowledge what’s not being examined—how we socialize boys and how little attention we give disaffected men. Think about the loner, the male outcast in high school. (Connor Betts’s ex-girlfriend told MSNBC that the Dayton killer had “no support system.”) Because we know how alienated nearly all perpetrators are, not making gender central to the national conversation reveals a blindness of the highest order. Ignoring this fact just escalates the danger.

Don’t get me wrong. Increase gun regulations—the tougher, the better. Step up pressure to shutter the NRA. Support the Giffords Law Center, Guns Down America, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the Brady Campaign. But we need a nationwide uprising. Demand Congress authorize the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study how we socialize males, beginning in preschool. Imagine, if from the age of three, we followed males, not just to identify troubled boys, but also to better develop curricula to cultivate their emotional intelligence and enhance their sense of connection. A pilot program could be rolled out next spring through Head Start.

What role could the authentic media play? How about a Frontlines investigation on manhood and violence? Or, a John Oliver Last Week Tonight special. Newspapers in the cities where shootings have occurred could collaborate to produce a multipart nation-wide series on “Men, Masculinity, and Mass Shootings.” The networks and cable news could do specials, too. Since the #MeToo movement began the media’s been pretty successful connecting the dots between toxic masculinity and sexual assault. Why the blind spot around mass shooters?

For years, I’ve been part of a global movement of anti-sexist men working in seven hundred NGOs in seventy countries committed to transforming masculinity. From preventing violence against women and girls to advocating for women’s reproductive health and rights; from campaigns championing involved fatherhood to raising healthy boys, the magazine I edit, Voice Male, has been chronicling these efforts for years.

So ask yourself: Why does virtually no one think about gender when considering mass shootings or, for that matter, when contemplating how to best protect people of color, LGBTQIA folks, Muslims and Jews when they are attacked? Because we assume the perpetrators will be men, and usually white men. If women had been the shooters in El Paso or Dayton, that’s all we’d be talking about, right? (Ditto if the shooters were persons of color.)

It is the masculinity, people. Addressing mass shootings without making gender central to the debate is like expecting a three-legged stool to stand on two legs. Challenging weak or no-gun laws and pointing out secondary mental health challenges are not enough. We must keep the focus on masculinity.

If you agree, do more than lobby your elected representatives. Blast social media. Wake up your faith communities and your schools. Demand media coverage, too. To honor the memories of the murdered, and to comfort the wounded and their families, it’s the very least we can do.

Rob Okun is editor of Voice Male magazine and a member of the board of North American MenEngage. He was named one the 21 Leaders for the 21st century by Women’s eNews in 2018. A new edition of his anthology, VOICE MALE: The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men’s Movement, was published in 2018. He can be reached at rob@voicemalemagazine.org

Union boss Dave Prentis accuses Labour of meddling with female shortlists

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:49

Unison boss Dave Prentis urges Jeremy Corbyn to protect safe seats meant for female MPs

The boss of the UK’s largest trade union has accused the Labour leadership of “trading” seats intended for female candidates in order to allow “favourite sons” to take up the safest Labour seats set to be vacated at the next election.

In an extraordinary broadside at senior party figures, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis urged Jeremy Corbyn to intervene, alleging that the party was covertly using all-women shortlists (AWS) as “bargaining chips” and was stitching up selections in favour of chosen men.

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Locked-out asylum seeker allowed to return to Home Office lodgings

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:24

Contractor smashes in door just hours after evicting Gambian woman from Hounslow property

A Home Office contractor has smashed a door to asylum seeker accommodation to allow an asylum seeker with an active case back into her room after locking her out just hours before.

The Home Office U-turn came after the Guardian highlighted that the locks to the asylum seeker’s room had been changed.

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Bosses force female workers making jeans for Levis and Wrangler into sex

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 08/15/2019 - 06:20

Women at factories in Lesotho owned by Taiwanese firm say jobs and promotions in jeopardy if they refuse advances, claims report

Women producing jeans for American brands including Levi Strauss, Wrangler and Lee have been forced to have sex with their managers to keep their jobs or gain promotion, an investigation into sexual harassment and coercion at garment factories in Lesotho has found.

Brands have responded to the “extensive” allegations by the the US-based Worker Rights Consortium by signing enforceable agreements with labour and women’s rights groups to eliminate gender-based violence for more than 10,000 workers at five factories owned by the Taiwanese company Nien Hsing, one of the southern African country’s largest employers.

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How ‘bridezilla’ became this summer’s biggest sexist slur

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 23:30

They tell bridesmaids to lose weight, force fiances into second jobs – and one reportedly asked a friend to have an abortion. Bridezilla stories are tabloid catnip, but what do they tell us?

It is wedding season, and as surely as an Ed Sheeran-soundtracked first dance follows a street-food-truck meal, stories of brides behaving badly are keeping the internet stoked. There is a whole group on the forum Reddit devoted to tales of so-called bridezillas. Newspapers devour them like a slice of naked wedding cake. Last month, a screengrabbed picture of a text conversation between a bride trying to force her cousin to be a bridesmaid before telling her she was “too fat anyways” was posted. Another post related how a woman had tried to force her fiance to get a second job to fund their wedding. There was also the story of a woman who posted the picture of her engagement ring – which once belonged to her partner’s grandmother – complaining it wasn’t what she had wanted, and the woman who complained her bridesmaids didn’t want to pay for their dresses. Earlier this year was the story of the bride-to-be who asked her pregnant bridesmaid to consider having an abortion so as not to complicate the dress fittings, and the bride who forced her friends to take a polygraph test. She wanted to find out which one of them had leaked details of her planned dress code, in which colours were allocated according to weight. Whether or not these tales – usually anonymous – are true, in WhatsApp groups over the country, women are prefacing any request of their bridesmaids with “not to be a bridezilla or anything, but …”

“I won’t stand for it,” says Mark Niemierko, a wedding planner, of outlandish demands. Only recently, he says, he took a bride-to-be to one side and asked her to stop being so rude to his suppliers. When he talks to other people in the industry, they do share stories of overly-demanding brides, though he adds it has become such a well-worn – and feared – stereotype that the bridezilla has started to die out. It came about, he thinks, with the advent of celebrity weddings. He blames David and Victoria Beckham, and their 1999 wedding – with its golden thrones, outfit changes, balloon release and fireworks – for starting the modern trend for wanting the biggest and flashiest do, along with all the stressful organisation and cost that entails. The worst behaviour he has seen from couples “comes from being somewhat insecure and more so, keeping up with the Joneses”.

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NSW abortion law backers unlikely to support calls for sex selection ban

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 19:57

Supporters of bill to decriminalise abortion confident it can pass despite opponents’ campaign

Supporters of a historic bill to decriminalise abortion in New South Wales remain confident it will make it through parliament unscathed despite the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, caving in to calls for bans on so-called “sex selection” terminations.

The bill’s passage through the lower house last week prompted a backlash from rightwing MPs, religious leaders and conservative figures in the media who have mounted a concerted campaign to derail the legislation ahead of the upper house vote.

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When “Common Ground Meets Common Sense”

Women's eNews - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 12:50

Finding common ground requires a willingness to do so. Once identified, common ground must be tempered with common sense.

That inherent violence and degradation is ingrained in the sex trade is not up for debate. The statistics are in, the research is sound, and testimonies to that effect of those surviving it or who have survived abound. The overwhelming majority of those bought and sold in the sex trade come from marginalized communities, due to race or gender non-conforming identities and are exploited due to that marginalized status.

I look at this through the lens of an exited survivor leader, a citizen of this great nation and the larger global community, and for the last fifteen years, I have worked for one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Illinois. Daily, striving to offer victims, including minors’ services, while holding sex buyers and other exploiters accountable. 

With fifteen years out of “the life,” free from the pain of separation from loved ones, which prostitution causes, I am terrified that a number of states and jurisdictions in the US are considering full decriminalization of the sex trade. This would mean laws that fully decriminalize sex buying, pimping, brothel owning and every other commercial sex establishment. These are indeed perilous times. Now more than ever must we find common ground and use common sense.

For the most part there is already consensus, to decriminalize the prostituted person or, as a small percentage self-identify, a “sex worker.” Prostitution, however, is neither sex nor work, but a place where people are deeply abused, or even die.  It’s common sense to provide exit services for them as well.

How can one in good conscience let exploiters and sexual predators off the hook by not holding accountable those who prey on and exploit the marginalized for the profit of others?

Countless acts of violence have been recorded in the petri dish that is the system of legalized brothels in Nevada. Over the last forty-eight years, we have witnessed what may be the longest failed research experiment in the country, fostering crimes against humanity.

Adults and children alike, primarily women and girls, but also men and boys and LGBTQ, must not be sacrificed to prolong an already failed business model.

I have faith that common sense will prevail and jurisdictions such as New York and our nation’s capital, the District of Columbia, will not pimp their own citizens.

Common sense dictates that we must no longer sacrifice Black and Brown women and girls for the profitable pleasures of the master. If we do not use common sense, we will lose all sense of civility.

Perceived consent is tainted by unknowns remaining unknown and simply not caring about the individual being purchased. My goodness, even when we buy goods at the market, we expect the condition of what the transaction results in to be good.

How can an individual be in good condition, emotionally, psychologically and physically when repeatedly raped and often met with violence, abandoning by force and economic necessity, their most prized possession, themselves?

Sex buyers, pimps and brothel owners hide their crimes behind legal tender, at the door, the foot of the bed, or behind the dumpster in the alley.

I am a survivor of prostitution. I survived vaginal rape, sodomy, beatings and kidnapping at the hands of sex buyers. I am one of the hundreds of survivors who recently signed an [Open Letter] to Presidential candidates asking them to think twice before they endorsed prostitution as “work” or called for full decriminalization of pimping. I lived to share our pain, lived to fight another day, lived to represent the missing and murdered and those who can’t publicly come forth, fearing retribution from pimps they have fled or shame from societal judgment.

I believe that well-meaning people – including Presidential candidates – are being sold a bill of goods by a small, privileged group with their own interests who, for the most part, have resources and therefore a megaphone to illegitimately speak for the vast majority of people, adults and children, who have been (and are) bought and sold in this inherently violent and exploitative industry.

Common ground means we support law enforcement’s growing consensus to stop arresting and criminalizing those bought and sold in prostitution.  Common ground must extend to offer comprehensive services and exit strategies should they wish. Common sense means you penalize those who harm. That is known as Equality Model. Equality for those left behind. It’s common sense.

Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher is a Survivor Leader and Advocate in the Office of Public Policy at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County, IL. She is a 2014 recipient of the Pathbreaker award and in 2016 she was honored by President Obama with a Presidential lifetime volunteer achievement award.

She fights every 'troll, psycho and perv' she can find – and uses the law to do it

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 08/12/2019 - 19:00

After grappling with a ‘psycho ex’ of her own, lawyer Carrie Goldberg takes a stand for victims of online harassment, deepfakes and revenge porn

In 2012, Carrie Goldberg, a lawyer, met a man she calls her “psycho ex”. The man swept her off her feet and treated her like royalty, which is why it took a while for her to notice how he had began to slowly violate her privacy: he took photos of her without her consent, demanded to know her whereabouts constantly, and grew furious when she would not respond to his calls. She broke up with him.

He then tried getting into her apartment, sent her hundreds of threatening messages, and sent emails attaching photos of her in compromising positions – cc’ing judges and lawyers she knew. The police responded to her concerns with a pattern she would encounter repeatedly throughout her career: they shrugged and told her there was nothing they could do.

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How to Help Those Affected by the ICE Raids in Mississippi

Women's eNews - Mon, 08/12/2019 - 13:34

The interview with eleven-year-old Magdalena Gomez Gregorio, who tearfully begged for her father’s release last Wednesday after the largest single-state immigration raid in U.S. history, is just the latest of the reports continuing to unfold surrounding the ICE raids of seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi. These atrocious ICE raids have had devastating consequences for immigrants and their families across the country.

The workers at these agricultural processing plants were working at their jobs one minute, and in the next minute, their entire lives were upended. Raids like these result in significant trauma for the workers and the family members who are directly impacted. They also ostensibly send a message to these companies and those in power that they can treat workers – especially the most vulnerable among us – in any way they choose.

Furthermore, these raids demonstrate that our Latinx and immigrant communities are under increasing attack. Our community is still reeling from the massacre in El Paso but, yet again, we are scapegoated, made the subject of hate speech and hate crimes, imprisoned in camps, deprived of necessities like food and water, and denied dignified treatment.

In every way possible these workers and community members are being told: You are not wanted here, you are not safe here, your children have no security here.

The raids in Mississippi illustrate what we at Justice for Migrant Women know to be true; that targeting and mistreating immigrants, many of whom are Latinx, is not just happening at the borders. Last year, over one-hundred children in Ohio started their summer break reeling from immigration raids. This year, children in Alabama and Mississippi are starting their school year begging for their parents to be returned to them.

The next few days will prove critical to help families who have been ripped apart by United States governmental agencies. We have an opportunity, right now, to show who we really are and that starts with love. Action must be taken by each of us to support groups on the ground. To support these children. To speak out for our communities.

A donation page has been created to support the children and families impacted by the immigration raids in Mississippi. By donating, you’re supporting the critical work of the ACLU of Mississippi, El Pueblo Mississippi, MacArthur Justice Center, Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, and the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, as each of these groups organize humanitarian support for impacted families and rebuild the lives of the children whose lives are forever changed.

Mónica Ramírez, is an advocate, organizer, and attorney fighting to eliminate gender-based violence and secure gender equity, and is the founder of the nonprofit, Justice for Migrant Women.

About Justice for Migrant Women: Justice for Migrant Women uses education, public awareness and advocacy in order to ensure that all migrant women are guaranteed human and civil rights, including the freedom of mobility, the ability to live and work with dignity, and the right to be free of threats of violence against them and their families, whether they are migrating across borders, around regions or within states. Find more about their work on Instagram and Twitter at @mujerxsrising and @monicaramirezdc.

Northern Irish doctors’ group to fight abortion pill prosecutions

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 08/11/2019 - 07:17

Pro-choice organisation opposes medics being forced to report women to the police

A new pro-choice doctors’ organisation has been established in Northern Ireland to defend physician-patient confidentiality over the use of banned abortion pills.

Doctors for Choice Northern Ireland said they were opposed to healthcare professionals in the region being forced to report women and girls to the police if they procured abortion pills.

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The story of The Dress: how a £40 Zara frock stole the summer

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 08/11/2019 - 04:00

This year’s unexpected viral fashion hit is suitable for all weathers and sizes, as comfortable as a nightie and currently unavoidable. But why are its fans so happy to be seen in the same outfit as someone else?

The dress is very good friends with leather jackets, red lipstick, Birkenstocks, Veja trainers, totes and cross-body shoulder bags. It does not have time for the performance of modern femininity – an embarrassment of Lycra, neon and scratchy lace. It can be worn when the weather is intolerably warm and your day stretches ahead of you – work, drinks, dinner – and it won’t chafe or itch. The dress is on your side.

You will have met the dress by now, even if you don’t remember it. Perhaps it was on a train platform, or at a summer barbecue. This £39.99 Zara polka-dot midi dress has become this year’s unexpected fashion success, worn by women across the country and feverishly discussed online.

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Menopausal women in the UK facing severe HRT shortage

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 08/11/2019 - 01:40

Half of common treatments out of stock, but suppliers not honest about reason, GPs say

A national shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could affect hundreds of thousands of menopausal women in the UK.

Around half of the most commonly prescribed HRT products, which replace hormones including oestrogen that naturally decline during menopause, are out of stock.

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Edinburgh fringe gets to the heart of modern dating

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 08/10/2019 - 22:00

The Bumble app is staging a comedy night which aims to give women confidence to make the first move

The popular dating app Bumble regularly brings people together for sex, or love, or professional networking – or for all three. But now the social media platform that gives heterosexual women priority in making contact with men is to bring together a much bigger group of people. The app will stage a comedy night devoted to navigating the perils of romance at the Edinburgh fringe festival this month.

Bumble, which is free and has more than 60 million users worldwide, has joined forces with the fringe venue Gilded Balloon to host How to Make The First Move (The Good, The Bad and The Funny) on 19 August.

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For women like me, postponing the menopause would be a blessing | Sonia Sodha

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 08/10/2019 - 19:02

Scientific advances that prolong fertility can only be a benefit to many would-be mothers

Let us imagine for a moment that we lived in a world where male fertility dropped off a cliff by the time men hit their mid 40s, leaving a group of men who wanted to have children but couldn’t. When would science have produced a fix?

I am going to hazard a guess that it would have been quite some time ago. But it has taken until 2019 for a fledgling treatment to delay the menopause by up to 20 years to be offered to women, even though the idea has been around for almost two decades.

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Boris Johnson has a problem with women… and it’s not the one you think | Barbara Ellen

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 08/10/2019 - 19:00
Unfortunately for him they can see through the bluster to the fragile ego of a toddler

Boris Johnson has a woman problem. No, not the rascally lady-killer stuff he probably loves people talking about. This problem is that female voters don’t like him. A YouGov poll shows that, while men give him a net favourability of -17, with women he scores lower with -25. Even Tory female Leavers aren’t as keen on Johnson as the Conservative Leave men.

This isn’t about women disapproving of Johnson’s personal life. A 2018 Survation poll revealed that people didn’t care that Johnson was getting divorced, but they would still be less likely to vote for the Conservatives if he were leader, debunking the myth that only prudes and killjoys object to him. Similarly, the new poll doesn’t mean that women are having a fit of the vapours over Johnson’s personal life, however revealing it is for a grown man to drunkenly shout and swear at his much younger partner.

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Four Days in El Paso: Of Rock Stars, Rhetoric and Words

Women's eNews - Sat, 08/10/2019 - 07:28

There was a lot of rhetoric being bantered about these last few days in El Paso, following the killing of twenty-two people of color by a white male shooter last Sunday. Which political leaders garnered the largest crowds when visiting this hurting city; who did the surviving victims really want to meet with, or actually avoid; and was the US President truly treated like a ‘rock star’ by those who were still recovering from their injuries. The jury is still out on all of these.

As a journalist, it sometimes seemed insurmountable, standing alongside the makeshift memorial overflowing with teddy bears, flowers, photos and the names of those who perished carved into simple white crosses honoring each of them. I was there to provide the truth for all to bear witness, and to even help fuel change, but I often felt helpless, beset by baseless and false rhetoric claimed by those with alternate public and political agendas. Could words ever be enough? I often wondered to myself. For the first time, I felt language may be far too limited.

Yet I was saved…saved by the one true rock star who was undeniably present, perhaps not physically, but in every honest and heartfelt word expressed at that makeshift memorial. But this savior would not have cared, or even dared, to publicly claim that title or assume that role. For she already owned it, silently, allowing her life and her work to speak for itself.

Yes, Morrison was on my mind. Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who died on Monday at the age of 88, was very much alive. “This is the time when artists go to work. Not when everything is alright. Not when it looks sunny. It’s when it’s hard.” Toni Morrison once said.

But one not be a professional writer, or artist of any kind, to use the power of words, or to understand its promise for others. Wordsmiths of every age, education, and ethnicity were there in El Paso expressing their sadness, hope and even rage, on signs adorning the makeshift memorial overflowing with personal tributes. So in tribute to their courage I am providing you, our readers, with an open window to some of their most powerfully written words, and messages to live by. And, since all writers stand on the shoulders of others, it is Toni Morrison’s corresponding messages of truth and hope that you will find included alongside them. For truly, as she said during her Nobel Prize address in 1993: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” 

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” 
– Toni Morrison, Beloved “If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.” 
Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon “In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” 
Toni Morrison “The function of freedom is to free someone else.” 
Toni Morrison “You are your best thing” 
Toni Morrison, Beloved “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” 
–  Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon “Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.” 
Toni Morrison, Beloved

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” 

Rest In Power

Strange how some anti-abortion activists are happy to separate kids from parents | Arwa Mahdawi

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 08/10/2019 - 03:00

Tate Reeves, Mississippi’s lieutenant governor, congratulated Trump on the Ice raids – which is odd since Reeves positioned himself as a protector of children

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