Sunday News Round-Up, 9/13/09
Aimee at Feministe has a post on considerations for privileged white women who want to work for reproductive justice.
The Today Show had a segment they called “The Perils of Midwifery,” but it apparently wasn’t about occupational hazards for midwives of varying types – it was about home birth. I’ve yet to see it. I know Reality Rounds, Science and Sensibility, and Midwife Connection have responses critical of the piece. Midwife Connection (ACNM) points out that the online segment on the NBC site has been retitled “Perils of Home Births,” although it remains “midwifery” on other sites, like Hulu.
Sociological Images has a round-up of some pointlessly gendered products. I know that I for one, when using clear tape, start to feel inappropriately masculine and start plotting to leave the male spouse for a woman, so it’s good that somebody pinked it up for safe use. WTF?
Viva la Feminista has a post up about school attendance vs. sickness, and the conflict between encouraging kids to stay home with a fever (in response to swine flu, but something that should be common practice in all years and seasons) vs. selective high schools in Chicago that allegedly respond rigidly to missed days. I have always, always, since my own grade school days, thought that rewards for perfect attendance are crap. They incentivize something with no inherent value that may be harmful to both self and others. Sure, people need to show up to work and school, but there are clear and valuable reasons why days off are needed for illness, and failing to recognize them through rewarding people for showing up sick (or penalizing them for getting sick) harms the entire community.
The CDC has specifically advised employers and businesses that “Regardless of the size of the business or the function or services that you provide, all employers should plan now to allow and encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs.” The agency has also advised higher ed institutions to “revise, as needed, policies, such as student absenteeism policies and sick leave policies for faculty and staff, that make it difficult for students, faculty, and staff to stay home when they are ill or to care for an ill family member. Do not require a doctor’s note to confirm illness or recovery. Doctor’s offices may be very busy and may not be able to provide such documentation in a timely way.”
These are good policies for all times, not just for “swine flu.” Our approach to the ill in this country, and punitive approach to taking the days off needed to keep the individual and whole workplace healthy, is shameful.
SisterSong has a new issue of Collective Voices posted [PDF], and it’s focused on environmental and reproductive justice, and the intersection between the two. it covers the range from chemicals in beauty products specifically to environmental racism in general, and is well worth a look. Somewhat relatedly, there is a piece on mountaintop removal up at The Nation. And the New York Times has a piece on water pollution, its effects on real people, and the failure to do anything about it.
RHRealityCheck has a critique of that women’s issue of the NYTimes Magazine.
Cara has a decent rant at The Curvature, Pretending That Individual Choices Will Help Correct Structural Problems. In part:
I’m sick of pretending that health problems can be fixed by all of us just being responsible and taking better care of ourselves when many of us just plain can’t take better care of ourselves because we live in a country where health care access — not to mention healthy food, shelter, even water — is treated like a commodity that none of us have a right to, unless we’re good, and moral, and middle class enough to be able to pay a high premium for it.
It’s centered around some tips provided to individual women to “improve their chances of having a healthy baby” that make some implications that, well, just read Cara’s post.
Renee at Womanist Musings has links to lots of interesting stuff, as well as lots of good posts of her own.
MomTFH has some alarming notes from a friend of hers who is on his ob/gyn rotation, such as “The physicians told him they cut episiotomies for every vaginal delivery. They told him ‘She’ll tear anyway.'” Oh, hell no.
Relatedly, there’s a new blog called My OB said WHAT?!?. It’s intended to “capture the crazy but true comments said to birthing women by doctors, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, and childbirth educators when they are having their babies!” Yes, it’s anecdotal, not a scientific data collection instrument. No, there’s no way for readers to verify that any of these stories actually happened. But I kind of can’t help looking at it and getting riled up from time to time, such as when I see comments like “’It’s SO weird that you’re in labor! I haven’t had a mom go into spontaneous labor in over a year!’ -OB.” Argh.
And don’t forget Our Bodies Our Blog!