Women shouldn’t have to tell abortion stories to remind lawmakers they are human | Arwa Mahdawi

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#YouKnowMe: powerful but also deeply depressing

It’s been another terrible week for reproductive rights in America: Alabama banned abortion and Missouri passed a bill banning abortion after eight weeks. Emboldened by Trump, the right has escalated its war on abortion, and chances are Roe v Wade will eventually be overthrown.

However, it is not just anti-abortion activists who are organizing. Women’s rights groups are registering record donations and unprecedented levels of energy, as activists fight to protect a woman’s right to control her own body. The new regressive laws have also sparked a viral social media campaign, with thousands of women sharing their abortion experiences with the hashtag #YouKnowMe.

The #YouKnowMe campaign was launched by actor and talk show host Busy Philipps, with the aim of shaking off the shame that still surrounds abortion. “1 in 4 women have had an abortion”, Philipps tweeted Wednesday. “A lot of people think they don’t know someone who does, but #youknowme. So let’s do this: If you’re 1 in 4 too, let’s share it and start ending the shame. Use #youknowme and share your truth.

A large number of women (and trans men) have joined us, including a number of celebrities. Cynthia Nixon, for example, tweeted: “Almost 60 years ago, my mother had a clandestine abortion. It was too painful for her to talk about, but she made sure I knew it had happened. In 2010 my wife had a legal abortion after we found out her pregnancy was not viable. We cannot and will not return.

Hashtag activism has traditionally drawn plenty of sneers, but as #MeToo has demonstrated, online discussion can catalyze change in the real world. The #YouKnowMe stories people share make politics deeply personal. They paint a powerful picture of the different reasons why people have abortions – some are traumatic, some are mundane, but none are more valid than another.

#YouKnowMe is also taking over the narrative around abortion. Anti-abortion activists have embedded shame and blame into the language we use to talk about the issue, describing themselves as “pro-life”. The true stories women are sharing with #YouKnowMe are a reminder that there is nothing pro-life about people who would restrict a woman’s right to choose; they are simply pro-control.

While #YouKnowMe is powerful, it’s also deeply depressing. Women should not have to publicly defend their humanity. They shouldn’t have to justify wanting bodily autonomy.

They shouldn’t have to air their personal stories to remind lawmakers that they’re not just baby craft; they are human beings.

“Break Girls”

Women were at the forefront of the mass protests that recently ended Omar al-Bashir’s decades-long rule of Sudan, accounting for 70% of protesters by some estimates. CNN has a chilling story about how the Bashir regime tried to use rape to silence these women. “Break the girls, because if you break the girls, you break the men,” they told the soldiers. The women did not break up.

More and more male managers are afraid to interact with women

#MeToo has scared men into interacting with women at work, according to new research from LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey. Sixty percent of male managers said they were not comfortable mentoring, socializing and meeting one-on-one with women, up 14% from a year ago. Almost half of male managers said they were not comfortable socializing with female colleagues outside of the office, and more than a third actively took steps to avoid such interactions.

33 women now lead Fortune 500 companies

That’s up from 32 in 2017 and 24 in 2018. While that number is a record, it’s pretty dismal that only 6.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

There is a double standard around alcohol and women. Photography: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Alcohol and dehumanization

New research published in the journal Sex Roles found that women who drink alcohol are seen as “less human” and more sexually available. It’s a disturbing reminder of the double standards around alcohol consumption and how alcohol is used to blame women for sexual assaults and exculpate men.

Lesbian Batwoman to the Rescue

It’s been a pretty depressing week, so I think we could all do with some Sapphic superhero news. CW has unveiled the first trailer for its new Batwoman series, starring Ruby Rose. An openly LGBT actor playing an openly gay superhero is a television first and a small sign of progress.

Dogs are a woman’s best friend

According to a new study, dogs are more likely to obey women than men. It’s apparently because women are more empathetic. I have no idea of ​​the scientific validity of this research, but I think we can all agree that dogs are very good boys.

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