With the economy in shambles and holiday shopping turning
into a balancing act, let RH Reality Check help you figure out how to stimulate
the economy and bestow presents on your friends and family – all while
contributing to reproductive health-friendly and women-friendly causes.
One organization that deserves all of our support
right now is Planned Parenthood.
Why, besides the obvious reason that they provide low-cost health care to
women? Because this month has brought insidious efforts to cut their funding
and undeserved derision about the gift certificates for health
services being offered in one state. How shocking that women might want to gift
each other with a little bit of care in a country that doesn’t consider it a
right (sarcasm intended). Showing support to PPFA is a great way to do good and feel good this holiday season.
If a plain old donation
isn’t spicy enough, consider making one in ironic honor of your favorite
anti-choicer. Planned Parenthood’s Connecticut store
also offers a variety of condom-storage key chains if you want something
tangible for your money.
The publishing industry is in dire straits. If you’re a
bookworm, now is a crucial time to buy those women-friendly books instead of
borrowing them. If the below recently-released titles don’t float your
boat, a nice hardcover copy of a classic like Our Bodies, Ourselves
is a perfect gift.
and Life, by Jennifer Baumgardner. An honest portrayal of a variety
of women’s experiences with abortion with accompanying photographs.
Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape,
edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. A collection of essays exploring the issue of consent and
imagining what life would be like if women could focus on saying "yes"
instead of "no."
Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Bodies in America, by
Jeanne Falvin. An exploration of how the state has been intruding more and
more deeply into women’s reproduction.
Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel. A definitive
collection spanning the life of Bechdel’s beloved comic strip.
a Jungle Out There: A Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable
Environments by our own Amanda Marcotte – an essential for the modern gal contending with the
everyday trials of a still-patriarchal world.
Kids Books and
Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter’s author offersa small
book for children, a collection of wizard fairy tales (with some fairly
empowered heroines in them!). Sales of the book are going towards Rowling’s children’s charity.
for children and young adult books that won’t send young women icky
messages? Check out the
Bloomer awards, which honor kids’ books with feminist heroines and
- Want a
quicker read? Send your favorite friend a subscription to one or more fun,
feminist magazines. There are the famed trio of Bitch, Bust, and Ms. and they all need all the
subscribers you can get. But don’t forget other indy pubs like Hip Mama, East Village Inky, Make/Shift, or Venus Zine. Just not Cosmopolitan.
months, 3 weeks, 2 days – Two women’s harrowing journey to procure an
abortion in totalitarian Romania is frighteningly relevant.
- The Business of Being Born- Ricki
Lake’s documentary questioning
the medicalization of the birth process in America.
of Us – A documentary exploring women and HIV in the South Bronx and
Mia! – A cheesy ABBA schlock-fest, true – but the fact that it was
directed, written, and produced by women
means a surprisingly refreshing gender outlook.
- For a
big splurge, buy a DVD set of a TV series with three-dimensional, interesting
female characters and a smart exploration of gender roles: my faves are
small-town teen soap Friday
Night Lights, therapy drama In
Treatment and 60s ad-world saga Mad Men.
feminist-friendly tunes, pick up Erykah
Badu, Nellie McKay or Dar Williams’ latest CDs, support Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls
in her fight
with her record label over her belly appearing in a music video (yep,
you heard right) – or buy an album from a funky all-female rock group like
the Vivian Girls.
Donate to a Cause
Nonprofits need support more than ever this year.
- SisterSong - Women
of color uniting for reproductive justice.
- The Birth Attendants – Doulas in
Washington who provide free services for incarcerated, pregnant women.
House works to
end domestic violence by providing a place of healing and a voice of
hope for abused women and their children. Lydia’s House is Missouri’s
largest provider of confidentially-located, furnished apartments for
abused women and children for up to 24 months, and is one of the largest
programs of its type in the United States.
- The National Network of Abortion
Funds provides funds for women seeking abortions who cannot afford
- Backline – A hotline for women considering how to
respond to pregnancy.
- One by One – prevents and treats
obstetrical fistula in women in developing nations.
- Katrina Women’s
Response Fund – Helping women of color affected by Hurricane Katrina.
- National Advocates for
Pregnant Women – Advocates for health and civil rights of vulnerable
pregnant and parenting women.
that empower young women like: Bella
Abzug Leadership Initiative, Girls
Initiative Network, Teen Voices, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, The Young Women’s Project
The Material World
If you or your loved ones’ wardrobes are getting thin or
you’re dying for some adornment and indulgence, try some of these ideas:
Rosie the Riveter package at The Union Shop comes with a Rosie
T-shirt, coasters, and a book explaining the history of the symbol of
empowered womanhood. All union-made.
is what a feminist looks like" T-shirts
at the Feminist Majority
- Fair trade
scarves and accessories at the
global exchange store benefit the craftswomen who
spa basket of lotions and other indulgent body products made and packaged
by women at a Chicago nonprofit for women "who are working toward
self-sufficiency and economic independence."
for particularly intimate gifts, patronize your local feminist sex shop. This thread on
feministing has a nice compilation.