Tag Archives: Mother Jones

165 pounds and up? Don’t rely on Plan B.

In case you missed it during the eat-a-thon, football-a-thon, couch-sitting-a-thon that was Thanksgiving, last week I wrote about Mother Jones’ investigation of the efficacy of Plan B (aka emergency contraception aka The Morning After Pill) for women over 165 pounds. The European equivalent (chemically identical, branded differently) has recently added a warning that the pill loses potency for women over 165 pounds and is ineffective for women over 176 pounds.

I found this revelation to be extremely disturbing. Frankly, both the scientific details (i.e. why 176 pounds? Is this BMI related? Can I just take two pills instead?) and legal intricacies (i.e. What kind of testing does the FDA require? What is a legally acceptable fail rate? When are you required to disclose this information?) of this announcement are over my head.

From an ethical perspective, however, it seems clear to me that when 25% of women (and 50% of black women, FYI) take a pill that advertises itself as emergency contraception, they deserve to know that it is not designed to work for them. All contraception has a fail rate, duh, but this is bigger than that. Some people are trying to make this an issue about promiscuity, or the politics of obesity, but they’re missing a point. The drug is already out there, the women already take it, they are already over 165 pounds. None of those facts change, so the only question on the table is whether there should be a big sticker on the box that says, “Over 165 pounds? Please consult your doctor before taking Plan B.” As a sexually active woman over 176 pounds, I would really appreciate that.

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Sunday Scraps 104

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1. MUSIC: The sign-language interpreter steals the show at this Wu-Tang performance (Gawker). 

2. DATING: If you’re familiar with the sniveling “Nice Guys” who are very upset that their “niceness” doesn’t make girls want to sleep with them, you might enjoy this bit of satire from Insert Literary Reference.

3. HEALTH: Why is a colonoscopy 26x more expensive in the U.S. than in Canada? It’s complicated, says Mother Jones. 

4. BRO: What exactly is a bro? Venn diagrams to the rescue! And who is at the middle of it all? Lochte, of course.

5. VOWS: I thought nothing would top the wolf wedding announcement, but I was wrong.

6. BOOKS: Publisher’s Weekly explains some big name books in pie-chart form.

Related Post: Sunday 102 – Founding father pin-ups, rich kids of Instagram, authors annotating their first editions.

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Dear Rob Portman, Why Is Using Your Imagination So Hard?

portmanSo, as I’m sure you know, Senator Rob Portman (Republican of Ohio) has reversed his position on marriage equality thanks to the coming out of his son:

“It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that’s of a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.”

On one hand, I welcome you, Senator Portman, to the fold. The fastest way for us to get to marriage equality is for people to change their minds (the alternative is for people to die, which will happen anyway, but it will take longer) and if this is why you switched sides, fine, we’ll take it.

On the other hand, your statement displays a profound and disturbing lack of empathy. You weren’t able to imagine the inequality until your own son was the subject of discrimination? Do you realize how narrow-minded and hypocritical that makes you seem? Even the phrasing of the statement has this weird moral passing-of-the-buck. The subject is “It,” referencing your son’s coming out, and “it” allowed you to see it from a new perspective. Nothing should “allow” or compel you to see from multiple perspectives; that’s basically your job! You serve as a government representative for a state of eleven million people! The whole idea of representative government is that we pick people to, oh, I don’t know, represent us and speak on our behalf. In order to do that job, your #1 skill has to be empathy and the willingness to try on different perspectives!

Mr. Portman, why did you never speak to the parents of the other gay children? Or gay individuals themselves? And if you did, why is the plight of your son the one that tips the scales? Columbus, OH, full of your constituents, is one of the 20 gayest cities in the country, full of thousands upon thousands of gay people. Their friends and family have the same hopes and dreams for them as you do for your son! How can you be so callous of other people’s rights? How can you ignore inequality until it impacts your family? Don’t you see the hypocrisy?

But alas, you’re not alone. Last week Mother Jones took a look at the voting records of members of Congress to see if having a daughter impacted their votes on women’s issues. They used the NOW (National Organization for Women) score as a proxy for “voting well on women’s issues,” and found that, as you might suspect, members of Congress from both parties who have at least one daughter have higher NOW scores. Why does it taking having a female child to get you to think critically about the rights of women? Why is it so hard to get outside your own privileged little skull and walk in someone else’s shoes? 

This is not just an exclusively Republican failure, either. We have a habit in this country of electing people very much unlike ourselves. Congress members are three times more likely to send their kids to private school. About 40% of them are millionaires. They’re overwhelmingly white and male. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, since one does not have to be of a certain group to work on behalf of that group, but this system only works of those that we elect are diligent about understanding the needs of their constituents, not just the needs of their peers. And they’re not.

That’s why I find Portman’s change of heart so… disheartening. It shouldn’t take a gay kid to lead you to the conclusion that our government should treat people the same. It shouldn’t take having a daughter to know that autonomy over your body is the foundation of economic and social equality. Waiting until these realities slap you in the face in the form of your own offspring, that’s just some lazy, lazy representing. Glad you’re with us now, but you should be ashamed it took you so long.

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Sunday Scraps 98

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1. CHINA: Excellent long-form piece for the NYT Magazine about the marriage market in China. A huge gender imbalance has created a strange and stressful dynamic at every economic strata of society.

2. LENA: In this Playboy interview, Lena Dunham explains, among other things, why she’s pleased she doesn’t look like a supermodel.

3. JOURNALISM: Super fascinating look at the work of Bob Woodward. In researching his own Belushi biography, journalist Tanner Colby unravels the shoddy work of one of the most famous journalists of all time.

4. WRITERS: The relationship between writer (George Saunders) and editor (Andy Ward) is pulled apart in insane detail in this Slate interview. Jesus, these people are smaaaart.

5. BULLY: In the XX Factor‘s ongoing series about bullying, a current rabbi confronts her past as a member of a menacing tween gang.

6. GENDERMother Jones measures the voting records of members of Congress on women’s issues. Unsurprisingly, there’s a correlation with having daughters and a pro-woman voting record. Sigh.

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Sunday Scraps 84

1. GENDER: Watch this Time interview with Casey Legler, a woman who works as a male model, and try not to drool.

2. BOOKS: A new anthology, My Ideal Bookshelf, creates colorful portraits of authors’ and celebrities’ book collections, includes David Sedaris and James Franco.

3. SUFFRAGE: Great collection from Sociological Images of vintage anti-suffrage ads.

4. WRITING: Chicago author Megan Stielstra on the stresses of new motherhood and the surprising support from a stranger.

5. ASTRONAUTS: Super sweet letters from astronaut Jerry Linenger to his 1-year-old son while he spent three months at a space station.

6. CHILDHOOD: What does a child’s bedroom look like? Depends on where they live, and damn, the range is pretty intense. Mother Jones has some examples. 

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Sunday Scraps 82

1. SPORTS: New York Times Magazine has a killer front page story on Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder, how NBA can revitalize a city, and a city can dig in and support a team.

2. LADIES: Mother Jones has compiled a quick list of some kick-ass stats about women this election cycle. You’ve probably seen them, but it’s pretty powerful to line them up like this.

3. MARRIAGE EQUALITY: NFL-er of my dreams, Minnesota kicker Chris Kluwe, writes for Slate about what an amazing day it was on Tuesday. Progressive athletes = the coolest.

4. MADDOW: Have you seen Rachel Maddow’s summary of Tuesday’s results. Girlface kills it so hard.

5. BIGOTRY: Dominic Holden for The Stranger undertakes an interesting experiment, calling all of the biggest donors who contributed to the fight against marriage equality in Washington.

6. NYC: Great story in NYMag about the process of creating what will soon be the iconic image of post-Sandy NYC.

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Sunday Scraps 78

1. FRISK: A 17-year-old in New York City secretly recorded two cops harassing him for his race and appearance and threatening to beat him, all part of the legal policy known as “Stop and Frisk” (The Atlantic).

2. WEIGHT: Roxane Gay writes for the Wall Street Journal on how, despite the recent rash of plus-sized women on  screen, their weight is still the punch line to a joke instead of just one feature of many.

3. KISS: You know that famous VJ Day kiss photo? Turns out that the story isn’t quite what we thought it was, and a whole lot less romantic (Mother Jones).

4. INTERWEBZ: Reddit’s #1 creeper (creator of such subreddits as “jailbait” and “creeshots”) was recently outed by Gawker. Given the guy has made his name posting other people’s photos and claiming “if they didn’t want us to see it, they wouldn’t have put it on Facebook,” it seems ironic that he’s so pissed about being exposed. Dude, if you didn’t want people to know you’re a creeper, don’t be a creeper.

5. GIRLS: This week’s International Day of the Girl had the likes of Melinda Gates, Christiane Amanpour and Oprah offering advice to their 15-year-old selves.

6. INIGO: Homeland standout Mandy Patinkin was interviewed by NPR about the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride. He said, “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed…”

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