There are few issues more divisive than abortion. Vitriolic rhetoric denouncing Planned Parenthood is part of a larger agenda: eliminating legal access to abortion. The historic 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision declared: “We recognize the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwanted government intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” Since then there has been a sustained campaign, including threats and attacks on doctors and nurses, the defunding and closing of clinics, to reverse Roe v. Wade. In some states, restrictive legislation has effectively criminalized abortion. What will happen if legal abortions are banned? Women will turn to quacks and the days of back alley abortions, botched procedures and clothes hangars will be back.
Dominant paradigms, dominant stories, the big picture through which our lives move. How much of it is constructed for us? Most of it. What are the prevailing paradigms and cultural narratives really made of? Words. Language. To coin a phrase, define the terms, frame the issue, to write the story that sticks in the public mind and is constantly repeated, is the business of branding. Powerful institutions work day and night suppressing and spinning stories to legitimize their existence. Their machinations create “official stories” and “public secrets.” Things that everybody knows but nobody says in public. Although our personal stories are assembled and disassembled at the rate of speedy electronic devices, our collective stories move at the rate of tectonic plates. Competing narratives about fracking in Colorado and tar sands in Alberta play out in daily information wars, while substantive structural changes remain nearly indiscernible.
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Media Representations of Women
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Sexual violence occurs from New York to New Delhi and from Denver to Durban. It wasn't that long ago when even mentioning the subject was taboo. The stigma and shame...
Shakti: Feminine Power for Change
When you hear the word Shakti you may think of the great fusion band of a few years back. But it has another meaning and dimension. In Sanskrit it means...
Talk Radio: Letting Boys Be Boys
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Violence and Militarism
In this powerful and persuasive presentation, Barbara Ehrenreich connects the deep strains of violence and militarism that are embedded in our culture. Domestic violence has its counterpart in international affairs....
Women & Resistance
During the worst years of the dirty war in Argentina, thousands of people were disappeared by the junta. In response, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo was formed. Their weekly...
Vandana Shiva talks about the central role of women in resistance struggles in India and throughout the Third World. She says, "On the other side of India in Orissa there...