October 21, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at Salon, the Center for American Progress and more.
BREASTFEEDING: "'You Sat in the Splash Zone': The Messy Truth About Breast-Feeding," Kathleen Founds, Salon: Founds, who considers herself a "breast-feeding advocat[e]," shares "the messy truth" about breastfeeding that she tells her "pregnant friends, in the hope that realistic expectations will empower them to persist through breast-feeding's challenges in order to secure its very real rewards." Breastfeeding, Founds explains, "involves a learning curve," is "messy," potentially "irritating" and "may make you envy your baby." Further, Founds writes that "[d]iscretion is overrated" when it comes to breastfeeding and that "bodily shame regarding breasts seems silly once their actual purpose sinks in" (Founds, Salon, 10/19).
ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Cecile Richards Shares an Important Abortion Story: 'It Wasn't a Difficult Decision,'" Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards shared "her personal abortion story in an essay published in Elle on [Thursday], writing that women who feel comfortable enough to share their experiences with the medical procedure can help decrease some of the stigma surrounding it," Culp-Ressler writes. Culp-Ressler notes that Richards said her abortion "'wasn't a difficult decision,'" which differs from the typical discussion about abortion being "'the most difficult decision a woman has to make' -- a dynamic that implicitly forces women to prove why exactly they deserved to have an abortion." Culp-Ressler writes, "The way [Richards] speaks about her own experiences may help get us closer to creating a society for all women that's free of those demands" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/17).
WORKPLACE POLICIES: "New Report Shows How the 'Pregnancy Penalty' Drives Economic Inequality," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "[T]he 'bias and inflexibility towards women in the workplace that starts when they become pregnant and snowballs into lasting economic disadvantages' is driving gender inequality and overall economic inequality" in New York City, according to a report from A Better Balance, Dusenbery writes. Specifically, the report critiques the "pregnancy penalty," which results from "both 'blatant discrimination' against pregnant workers ... and lack of workplace policies -- like paid family leave and flexible schedules -- to make it easier to juggle both a job and children at the same time -- particularly for poor families," Dusenbery writes. She notes that the penalty drives "overall economic inequality" by keeping "families on the treadmill of poverty" and adds that A Better Balance has called on New York lawmakers to address the issue through legislation (Dusenbery, Feministing, 10/20).
BREAST CANCER: "Breast Cancer: Survivors' Wisdom for the Newly Diagnosed," Marisa Zeppieri-Caruana, Huffington Post blogs: In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Zeppieri-Caruana spoke with women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to share "their stories and pearls of wisdom for anyone who has recently received a breast cancer diagnosis." She notes that "[a]ll of the women shared one common goal for the future -- to be a solid foundation and source of support and knowledge for those newly diagnosed." Zeppieri-Caruana includes advice from the women on topics such as "work[ing] and taking care of themselves and family while undergoing treatment," support systems, "thoughts regarding cancer and hair loss," and their "top three pieces of advice for someone newly diagnosed" (Zeppieri-Caruana, Huffington Post blogs, 10/17).
What others are saying about breast cancer:
~ "Why are Black Women Dying of Breast Cancer, Even Though More White Women are Diagnosed?" Tiffany Denee Jones, Huffington Post blogs.
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "Where's the '16, Parenting, and OK' Reality Show?," Gloria Malone, Echoing Ida/RH Reality Check: Malone writes that she "firmly believe[s] the negative ways in which the media ... portrays teenage pregnancy and parenting influenced how the adults in [her] life treated" her after she "became pregnant at 15" and also "affected [her] self-image and already low self-esteem." Specifically, she notes that the adults she told about her pregnancy "believed [her] life was over," treated her "differently and even stopped helping [her] look into colleges because they believed" she would drop out of high school. She writes, "The way the media represents teenage pregnancy and parenting has real-life consequences and effects on teen families, including depression and poverty because of lack of support from society." However, she writes that if the media "mov[es] away from these stereotypes, and featur[es] more positive story lines and outcomes," it could be easier for "teens to create thriving families" (Malone, Echoing Ida/RH Reality Check, 10/20).
SUPREME COURT: "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wants To See 9 Women on the Supreme Court," Katie McDonough, Salon: McDonough discusses a recent interview conducted by NPR's Nina Totenberg with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, during which Ginsburg reflected her experience as a female justice and called for more women on the bench. Ginsburg said the high court would have enough female justices "[w]hen there are nine," adding, "For most of the country's history, there were nine and they were all men. Nobody thought that was strange." Ginsburg also reflected on how she felt "lonely" after Sandra Day O'Connor retired. Ginsburg said, "No one wants to be a one-at-a-time curiosity, and that's what I was. I was the only one. It wasn't the way the court should be at this time in our history" (McDonough, Salon, 10/20).