Archive for MichelleGonzalez

Cissexism in Pro-Choice vs. Anti-Choice Communities

This piece is a work in progress. I started working on it a few weeks ago and have been making subtle changes ever since.  I originally posted it on my personal blog, but would now like to share this piece here as well.  I am really open to hearing what other people have to say, receiving feedback, and having conversations about the points I make in this piece.

Before getting started, I would also like to note that there is great diversity within both anti-choice and pro-choice communities. The points I make below are based on my own personal experiences with feminists of my generation and those in the anti-choice community that I know personally and those I have interacted with online and at abortion clinics in the past. The main thing I want to make clear is that feminism and gender essentialism are not mutually exclusive. (I have a lot of feelings about this that I plan to write about soon.

In my last post, I reblogged commentary on the manipulative rhetoric used by the anti-choice community in their political discourse, “activism,” and media campaigns. I was really glad to see that iamateenagefeminist expanded on this issue, noting that the anti-choice right focuses on women because they believe that all uterus-bearers are women and vice versa. Of course, I am not surprised by this type of erasure and exclusivity. In fact, it is a huge problem even within pro-choice communities. Understanding cisgendered privilege and using gender-neutral language is incredibly important, yet I find that this is still a huge obstacle in even the most progressive circles. I’ve only recently started learning about these issues myself, but feel that the reasons for this lack of knowledge and the way in which it is addressed differs greatly depending on the individuals in question.

Speaking only from personal experiences, I find that [young] cis-gendered feminists that do not understand this privilege have often not been educated on this aspect of their privilege and how their cissexist language and actions erase the lives and identities of many people in the trans* community. For example, I used to refer to abortion as a “woman’s issue,” as this is how it was framed in the feminist literature I read, the media I consumed, and the conversations I had with friends. It wasn’t until I read an article on Feministing a few months ago that I realized how the language I had been using was cissexist and exclusionary. I immediately started incorporating gender-neutral language when discussing reproductive rights, and have been trying to use only gender-neutral language in ever aspect of my life since then. I have also found that many other feminists, those that I interact with in “real life” and those that I follow on Tumblr, have reacted similarly by acknowledging their mistakes, checking their privilege, and rethinking their perspectives. [I think this points to a really significant problem within our communities and indicates that we need to work harder to ensure that people are educated about this part of privilege & oppression.]

Many feminists do not want people to feel restricted or limited because of their gender; however, there are many others in the feminist community that base their identities and perspectives on gender essentialism. This needs to change immediately: there needs to be space for those who are marginalized in these conversations to share their experiences and perspectives. This is definitely a huge issue that the feminist movement is still working on, but I see a clear difference in the way that pro-choice and anti-choice communities understand gender. I would argue that those that are anti-choice are quick to put individuals in boxes because of the sex they were assigned at birth; the anti-choice agenda is completely founded on the gender binary and gender essentialism. Their erasure of trans men and non-binary individuals is also rooted from a position of privilege, but the way in which they understand their positionality and interact with others is completely different. For one, I feel that the pro-choice movement is open to making changes with regards to their politics and the way they frame their arguments. The anti-choice community, on the other hand, has a clearly defined agenda: abortion is murder, therefore it should be illegal. There is no concern for the lives of the living uterus-bearers involved or the science that acknowledges that abortion is a safe medical procedure.

Also, I think the anti-choice focus on women is rooted in deep-seated misogyny; being anti-choice implies being anti-woman, which also equates to not supporting gender equality. If and when abortion is legal, women are given the right to control their own bodies and reproduction. This exists in opposition to the anti-choice agenda, as that community would ideally have us barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. Meanwhile, women’s “equality” is becoming visible in society: women are running for president, hosting television shows, and even marrying other women in a few states! The patriarchy is falling apart before our eyes (LOL I wish) and male privilege seems to some like it is becoming threatened, so the anti-choice community is getting creative to ensure that we women stay in our place. If women gain rights, men may lose some of their power; for some people, this is basically synonymous with the end of the world. Well, what better way to maintain the patriarchy if not by encouraging misogyny and exerting control over the female-sexed body with lies, manipulation, and “moral” justifications?

On another note, I agree with iamateenagefeminist’s argument that the anti-choice community uses cissexist language because they truly believe in the gender binary and do not understand that being a uterus-bearer is not synonymous with being a woman. The rhetoric they use is supported by all major social structures and institutions, whereas feminist understandings of gender and sexuality are often excluded from any and all things mainstream. Consciousness raising groups unfortuntaely don’t happen in middle school social studies classes and sex education programs hardly even talk about safe sex, let alone gender identity. Understanding one’s privilege takes time, education, and information, along with an open-mind and many other things. Many people may not be aware of their own personal privilege and their role in directly/indirectly oppressing others. Some say ignorance is bliss, but I strongly disagree.


The cissexism and heteronormativity in anti-choice communities may not be as explicit as the misogyny, but it surely does exist: the anti-choice right is opposed to both reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights.

I can only imagine how the anti-choice agenda would transform in a different social and political context. If heterosexual and/or cisgendered privileged were being “threatened” to the same extent that male privilege is currently being “threatened,” I would picture the anti-choice community incorporating rhetoric that encourages individuals to become (even more) hateful towards the LGBTQ community.

Lastly, I want to say that I think gender-inclusivity would actually be detrimental for the anti-choice community. Not only would it give validity to the arguments of those in the pro-choice community that focus on uterus-bearers (as opposed to only women) but it would mean that they could no longer rely on stereotypes and generalizations about women to support their arguments. Ultimately, the anti-choice agenda depends on misogyny, gender essentialism, and the gender binary if they want to successfully organize in opposition to reproductive rights.

*Of course, there would still be jokes about manicures and frozen coffee, victim-blaming and slut-shaming, but it would all take on a completely new form that may or may not be as effective in creating a similar political climate.

The Rap Guide to Evolution: A Play about Hip-Hop Music, Social Behavior, and Biology

The Rap Guide to Evolution

Written and performed by Baba Brinkman, featuring DJ Mr Simmonds
Directed by Dodd Loomis
Projections by Wendall K. Harrington

“Astonishing and Brilliant!” – The New York Times

“Brilliantly conceived and effervescently performed!” – The Scotsman

A smash hit at the Edinburgh Fringe and around the world, THE RAP GUIDE is at once provocative and scientifically accurate, hilarious and intelligent. Brinkman performs his clever reworkings of popular rap singles as well as his own originals to illustrate Natural Selection, Sexual Selection, Evolutionary Psychology and much more. As Edinburgh’s Scotsman newspaper said, “you’ll never look at a hip-hop music video in the same way again.”

Soho Playhouse – 15 Vandam St. (between Varick St and 6th Avenue)

Performance Schedule:
Tuesday 8pm | Wednesday 8pm | Thursday 8pm | Friday 8pm
Saturday 7pm & 9:30pm | Sunday 5pm & 7:30pm

$ 39 (Reg. $55)


ONLINE: Visit and use code MARK11

PHONE: Call 212.352.3101 and mention code MARK11

IN PERSON– Print out a copy of this offer and visit Soho Playhouse Box Office- 15 Vandam St (between Varick St and 6thAvenue)


*Offer expires 9/5/11. Offer is subject to availability and may be revoked at any time. Offer includes $0.75 facility fee. Offer not valid 6/26/11. Blackout dates may apply. Normal service charges apply to online and phone orders. No exchanges or refunds. Not valid for prior purchases. Cannot be combined with other offers. Schedule subject to change. All sales are final.

[This post has been brought to you by the marketing team for “The Magdalene.”  It has been modified slightly to suit the format of this blog.]

A Letter From the Women’s Media Center on “Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words” Documentary

On Monday, August 15th at 9pm EST/PST, HBO Documentary Films will premiere a new documentary Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words. Rarely does such a feminist occasion come along and theWomen’s Media Center which Gloria co-founded six years ago is using the film as an opportunity to launch an intergenerational discussion about the future of feminism. Gloria uses the film as a rallying cry and asks people to use “their own voices” to plot the next 40 years of feminism.

We hope that you will send this information out to your members and anyone else who might be interested in the film and the campaign.

Here’s what you can do:

Host a House Party with “Gloria”
Gather friends and join the Women’s Media Center on August 15th at 9PM EST as we watch the premiere of the HBO Documentary, “Gloria: In Her Own Words.” As an activist, Gloria has spent over 40 years creating change, now it’s our turn to step up. Gather some friends and learn about the past and future of the women’s movement. Click here to learn more and sign-up to Host a Party. If you can’t watch the show on Aug 15 here are the other dates: Other showings: August 18 (11am); August 20 (2pm); August 23 (1:15pm and 12:30am) and August 28 (5:15pm). It will also air on HBO 2 on August 17 at 8pm. Click here to learn more to sign-up and host a party.

Participate in a Live Chat:
Join Gloria on August 16 at 4pm EST/1 PST to talk about the film and the future of feminism. Log intoHBO Connect for the chat.

Enter our Video Contest:
Submit a 2-minute video telling us what you want the future of feminism to look like and what you’re going to do to make it happen. The winner of the contest will have a private 10-minute phone conversation with Gloria Steinem and the winning video will be featured on the Women’s Media Center Website. Runner up entries will be posted on the Women’s Media Center YouTube channel. Contest will launch on August 15 at 10pm EST following the documentary. More details coming soon — Stay Tuned!

Join Us On Facebook:
In 140 characters, write on the Women’s Media Center’s wall what you want the future of feminism to look like.

Join Us On Twitter:
Join our tweet-up during the documentary premiere on August 15th to talk about the future of feminism and what Gloria Steinem means to the movement. Use #gloria and #WMC to join the conversation.

Click here for more information.

Thank you so much for sharing this information. We look forward to hearing what you think of the film and your thoughts on the future of feminism.


Julie Burton
Women’s Media Center

“The Magdalene” – A Play on Sexuality, Female Power, and the Bible

THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD: A Thrilling New Musical Inspired by the Gospels of Mary and Thomas

Composed by: James Olm

Book by: J.C. Hanley and James Olm

Creative Consultant: Richard Maltby Jr., the Tony Award®-winning director for Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Tony Award® nominee for Miss Saigon

Directed by: Richard Burk

Theatre at Saint Clement’s – 423 West 46th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue)

Inspired by the Gnostic Gospels of Mary and Thomas, THE MAGDALENE is a stirring love story that includes information intentionally left out when the Bible was compiled in AD 325.  Told through a powerful and passionate score, it is a story of the real human beings involved in what is commonly called the greatest story of all time.  Mary Magdalene, incorrectly dismissed for almost 2000 years as a “penitent prostitute,” may well have been not only a disciple of Jesus, but placed in a position above the other Apostles.  Why was a powerful female figure downgraded as the church was created? Why was sexuality expunged from the most important Biblical figures?  And what was the real personal connection between Mary and Jesus? These themes, well known to anyone who read The DaVinci Code, have inspired a thrilling new musical that, like Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell, takes a modern look at the world’s greatest story of faith and love.


Tuesday 7pm, Wednesday 2pm & 7pm, Thursday 8pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 3pm – $32 (Reg. $55)

Friday 8pm and Saturday 8pm – $39 (Reg. $65)


$32 (Reg. $55) – Through SEPTEMBER 4

Performance Schedule:

Tuesday 7pm | Wednesday 2pm & 7pm |Thursday 8pm | Friday 8pm | Saturday 2pm & 8pm| Sunday 3pm


ONLINE: Visit and use code MARK611; you can also look here for  more information regarding the special offer

PHONE: Call 212.352.3101 and mention code MARK611

IN PERSON: Print out a copy of this offer and visit the Theatre at Saint Clement’s Box Office – 423 West 46th St (between 9th and 10thAvenue)

[This post has been brought to you by the marketing team for “The Magdalene.”  It has been modified slightly to suit the format of this blog.]

Miss Representation: Film Screening and Discussion on Women in Politics, the Media, and Power

Join fellow feminists and activists on Monday, August 8th for a film screening and discussion of Miss Representation; the event will be held at 6:45 pm at the Hive at 55 (55 Broad Street, 13th Floor). “Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.  The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.”

Miss Representation premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and is now being screened in many different venues across the country, including at corporations and government institutions.  The event organizers promiseto “leave audiences shaken and armed with a new perspective,” so hopefully this will spark positive changes within the previously-mentioned groups.

This film address important issues such as sexism, the glass ceiling, and different conceptions of what it means to be a powerful woman today.    The film also  incorporates statistics and facts alongside interviews with politicians, activists, and more – including Rachel Maddow, Jean Kilbourne, and Condoleezza Rice.  For a sneak peak, watch the trailer here.

This event is free and open to the public, so make sure to invite all of your friends! RSVP today!

“Teeth” by Cristina Dominguez

I watch her
piano fingers
reach up
to touch
ivory keys

Curves of pearls
inside a clam
pried open
on spiraled sand

She takes
her flesh covered
bone hooks
claws at enamel
digging pink beds, red

a beautiful animal
go mad

In a looking glass
turning crimson copper
ripping permanence
rinsing and drowning it
in the sink

Why I am a Feminist Today: July 25th, 2011

TW: Rape culture

Today, I am a feminist because:

I am constantly reminded about the fact that I live in a rape culture.  On a personal best college essays level, this happens whenever I get dressed in the morning, walk down the street alone, and experience any type of gender-based harassment.  This also happens whenever I read the news or look at my Tumblr dashboard: stories about six men being freed from prison after gang-raping two twelve-year old girls, reports of anti-rape protestors being escorted out of a sports stadium by police while the rapists played basketball, and the fact that the FBI has not changed it’s definition of rape in eighty years, just to name a few.

I am tired of body policing.  What someone wears, how much they weigh, and what they look like should not be justification for criticism.  An individual’s identity is based on so much more than their physical appearance.  Every body is a “beach body.”

I am continually astonished by the way in which the media and government’s scapegoating.  Just this week,  and Islam has, once again, been [falsely] represented as the reason for all terrorism.  Of course, there are countless other examples that illustrate this same point: shifting the focus away from the true sources of inequality and oppression, such as capitalism, enables those who benefit from these systems to maintain their privilege.

NewFest, NYC’s LGBT Film Festival, starts this weekend!

Newfest, NYC LGBT Film Festival, will be hosting events all around New York City from July 21st to July 28th.

NewFest is dedicated to bringing together filmmakers and audiences in the building of a community that passionately supports giving greater visibility and voice to a wide range of expressions and representations of the LGBT experience.  We are committed to nurturing emerging LGBT and allied filmmakers. We support those artists who are willing to take risks in telling the stories that fully reflect the diversity and complexity of our lives. And we’re committed to bringing our audience stories that transform our vision of who we are and who we can be.

Through the New York LGBT film festival, presented annually since 1988, and year-round programming, NewFest celebrates fine domestic and international film as part of our mission to break through closet doors and glass ceilings everywhere.

For more information on the films that will be shown, check out this great, comprehensive film guide and the corresponding film schedule.  If you are looking for film recommendations, you should read Autostraddle’s “Guide to Movies You’ll Want to See.”

Ticket Prices

  • $14 for Non-Members
  • $12 for Members
  • $8 for Students and Seniors (Only available at Box Office; Valid ID is required)
  • $50 for Opening Night film (WE WERE HERE on July 21) and Closing Night film (GUN HILL ROAD on July 28) at The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. Price includes After Party.
  • $25 for Centerpiece films (WISH ME AWAY on July 22 and WEEKEND on July 24).
  • Tickets are non-refundable with no refunds or exchanges.

Click here for more information on purchasing tickets, whether online, in-person at a box office, or at the event(s) you choose to attend.

Planned Parenthood’s New Interactive Comic Strip for Teens, by Teens: Making Sex Education Accessible, Relatable, and Entertaining

***July 12, 2011***
(212) 274-7294 /


Uses Storytelling as a Form of Sex Education

New York, NY – Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) is launching a new online comic strip aimed at providing young people with information that can make a difference in their lives. Called “CHOICES”, the strip was written by former teen peer educators, and follows a few teenagers through their daily lives as they face tough choices about sex, health care, and life decisions.

“Teaching teens how to make good, healthy decisions is a constant struggle,” said Haydee Morales, Vice President of Education and Training at PPNYC. “This comic strip, written for teens by teens, should help reach young people in a way that facts and statistics can’t.”

“CHOICES” takes a format long popular with teens, the comic book, and presents it online in a way that offers real-time opportunities for direct, personal engagement with the story and the issues it raises. This online comic strip takes the art of storytelling and makes it available digitally to a wide audience. Storytelling has been shown to be the best way to make issues “real” and personally relevant for a teen audience.

The comic strip, which is posted on PPNYC’s website, will have 6 Episodes, with a new Episode going up each month. Readers can also interact digitally with the strip – commenting on the unfolding story, voting to express opinions about choices the characters should or should not make, and taking quizzes about sexual health.

PPNYC will publicize the online comic strip in new media popular with teens, like Facebook and YouTube, and in venues where they hang out. We’ll have electronic avatars that link to “CHOICES” and eye-catching wallet cards and buttons that will be distributed by PPNYC’s peer educators, theTeen Advocates to 5,000-plus teens throughout New York City. Whether through viral communication, real-time encounters, or word of mouth, we expect “Choices” to generate a buzz.


Since 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) has been an advocate for and provider of reproductive health services and education for New Yorkers. Serving nearly 50,000 clients annually, PPNYC’s health care centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island offer reproductive health services, including gynecological care, contraception, pregnancy testing, abortion, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and HIV testing and counseling. Through a threefold mission of clinical services, education, and advocacy, PPNYC is bringing better health and more fulfilling lives to each new generation of New Yorkers. As a voice for reproductive freedom, PPNYC supports legislation and policies to ensure that all New Yorkers—and, in fact, people around the world—will have access to the full range of reproductive health care services and information.

“Summer, Sex, and Spirits” – Party to Benefit Planned Parenthood!


Seventh Annual “Summer, Sex and Spirits” Benefit at Hudson Terrace Features Burlesque Performances, Open Bar, Entertainment by Mistress B, Silent Auction and more

New York, NY – She helped create some of New York City’s most infamous club nights over the past decade and a half, and now the legendary DJ Justine D, along with her longtime friend DJ Ayres, have joined forces with Planned Parenthood of New York City – spinning music at the organization’s seventh annual “Summer, Sex & Spirits” Fundraiser.

Additionally, noted burlesque artist Calamity Chang , of Room 69 and Nurse Betty will be performing throughout the night, along with her friends Darlinda just Darlinda and Ginger Brown.

Located at the hotspot Hudson Terrace, the event will feature a full night of open bar, a silent auction, naughty balloon art by the critically acclaimed Mistress B, a VIP champagne reception, and views of the sunset from the venue’s garden terrace.

All proceeds go to benefit PPNYC’s healthcare services, education programs, and legislative work.

WHO: Justine D and DJ Ayres
Burlesque performers Calamity Chang, Darlinda just Dalinda and Ginger Brown
Mistress B
Planned Parenthood of New York City

WHAT: Seventh Annual “Summer, Sex & Spirits” Benefit
VIP champagne reception
Open Bar all night
Silent Auction
Music by DJ Justine D and DJ Ayres
Burlesque performances
Naughty balloon art by critically acclaimed Mistress B
and more TBA

WHEN: Monday, July 25, 2011
7:00pm—VIP Champagne Preview Reception

WHERE: Hudson Terrace
621 West 46th Street
Between 11th & 12th Avenues
New York, NY 10036

COST: Tickets are $40 in advance/$50 day of event
VIP Tickets $75

To buy tickets visit

For press inquiries contact Erica Sackin at or (212) 274-7294
For event information contact Stephanie Demmons at or (212) 274-7224


Since 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) has been an advocate for and provider of reproductive health services and education for New Yorkers.  Serving nearly 50,000 clients annually, PPNYC’s health care centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island offer reproductive health services, including gynecological care, contraception, pregnancy testing, abortion, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and HIV testing and counseling.  Through a threefold mission of clinical services, education, and advocacy, PPNYC brings better health and more fulfilling lives to each new generation of New Yorkers.   As a voice for reproductive freedom, PPNYC supports legislation and policies to ensure that all New Yorkers—and, in fact, people around the world—will have access to the full range of reproductive health care services and information.

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