Day Eleven: February 23

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  • Readings for next week on the schedule.
  • Papers will be returned on Monday. 
  • We will be discussing the Group Resources project on Monday, March 2

What is choice? Who gets to choose? What choices?

In her article, "The Color of Choice," Loretta Ross argues for a shift in language and purpose, from reproductive rights to reproductive justice, and a shift in demands from choice to the "protection of women's human rights to achieve the physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic and social well-being of women and girls" (1). She also argues that we need "to make change on the individual, community, institutional, and societal levels to end all forms of oppression" (13-14).

  • What might this look like? 
  • How does this shift from an emphasis on choice to reproductive justice shift our attention and the questions we ask, the critical conversations we have, and the agendas we produce? 
  • What would working for rrproductive justice look like on these different levels?

Let's think about these questions in relation to the following youtube clip. How does Rep. Moore discuss these issues that Ross raises?

  • Now, check out these two tag clouds that I made concerning the defunding of Planned Parenthood. One of these is made out of the words from Rep. Pence's speech. The other is made out of the words from Rep. Moore's speech. Can you tell which one is which? How do these tag clouds represent their different visions/agendas?

Screen shot 2011-02-23 at 1.56.37 PM.png
Screen shot 2011-02-23 at 1.57.54 PM.png

Want to do your own tag cloud with words? Check it out here

In "On Language: Choice," Woods writes:
The result has been a rapid depoliticizing of the term and an often misguided application of feminist ideology to consumer imperatives, invoked not only for the right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy but also for the right to buy all manner of products marketed to women, from cigarettes to antidepressants to frozen diet pizzas (146)
She describes this commericalizing/commodifying of choice as "the cult of choice consumerism" (147). Here's one example I found last year in a bathroom in a Chicago-area church: 


 In her further explanation of the term, Woods adds that this cult of choice consumerism
wills us to believe that women can get everything we want out of life, as long as we make the right choices along hte way--from the cereal we eat n the morning to the moisturizer we use at night, and the universe of daily decisions, mundane and profound, that confront us in between (147)
Do you see any connections between this above passage and this commercial?



I want to put Wood's "cult of choice consumerism" into conversation with Andrea Smith and her discussion of the limits of mainstream feminism's focus on choice. Smith writes:
the pro-choice position argues that women should have freedom to make choices rather than possess inherent rights to their bodies regardless of their class standing...[they] do not question the capitalist system--they focus solely on the decision of whether or not a woman should have an abortion without addressing the economic, political, and social conditions that put women in this position in the first place (134)

1 Comment

Pence's tag cloud is so hypothetical. Taxpayer, pay, dollars, millions, support, believe, wrong morally. It's such a strong contrast between this abstract, ideological standpoint (Pence is an older white man, after all), and Moore's tag cloud, which is so concrete. Children, families, sandwich, poor, people, babies. Her argument is so grounded in experience, and a knowledge of what it's actually like for thousands of women all over the country.

And I am not impressed that "health" is such a tiny tag in Pence's speech. To me, that just solidifies my opinion that Pence is about as far removed from the men and women in America needing PPFA's services as he could possibly be.

It's interesting that these sides in the same debate seem to draw from such different sources of argument.

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