Roll Call: I'm Gonna Do It All

It really is that simple, isn't it? It sure should be.

Karine Polwart's song and video beg the wonderful question: what all ARE you women and girls going to do someday? What do you strongly want to do, for sure, but more to the point, what do you KNOW, in your guts and your heart, that you are simply GOING to do?

March for Women's History

A woman is running for president. She advocates for fair labor practices, social welfare programs and women's rights. She also appears a bundle of contradictions -- she is anti-abortion (as are most at the time), but pro-free love; a eugenicist, but also a civil rights supporter and socialist; a suffragist and a spiritualist. She has worked as a stockbroker, a lobbyist, a businesswoman and a newspaper publisher. She is both admired and despised by many. Nominated as her running mate is an African-American man.

No one really thinks she will win. However, everyone who nominates and supports her, including she herself, feels that it is important a message be sent to the U.S. government that it is time for a woman in government and in the White House.

During her run, personal -- rather than political -- attacks are made on her from all sides, in all the ways women who threaten the status quo, women who dare, are typically attacked: she is painted as a witch, a bitch, a prostitute, a woman of "loose morals." Her politics and platform are not critiqued: she is a woman, and so it is her person which is maligned and demonized. She is purposefully scandalized by people -- primarily men, or women acting as protectors of men -- with power to prevent her and any other woman from having any chance at all.

Sound kind of familiar? But it isn't 2007. It's 1872.

Full-Spectrum Choice

I was just mentioning today that while it is, absolutely, positively vital to talk about backalley abortions, to talk about what abortion was like before Roe vs. Wade (and what it still is like in areas where abortion is illegal or inaccessible), it's equally important to talk about what choice as a whole was like and still IS like, even with the help of Roe and other supports. I think many often forget or simply don't know the combined impact Roe vs. Wade,Title X and other feminist initiatives had when it came to reproductive choice no matter the choice a woman made. More accurately, no matter what a woman did or what was done TO her when she became pregnant before she had any sort of choice.

AGA Link Love

With the end of the year coming, it seemed as fine a time as any to thank others who have recognized all of you and applaud some of your achievements here at the AGA.

• Austrailia's Wo! Magazine included the AGA in their recent piece on feminist blog community.

• Em's entry Boy Things, Girl Things was listed in the most recent Carnival of Feminists.

PSA: Over the counter Plan B practicals

The morning after pill is now legal in the U.S. for over-the counter use, without a prescription, for those over 18.
But what does that really mean to you?

Following is an in-depth question and answer page about the decision and how it will be applied for all women, about Plan B, and about pharmacist refusals and how to manage them. Please circulate this information and/or link it as widely as possible.

The FDA press release from the day of the decision stated...

AGA Roll Call: A Day in the Life

What's a day in the life of a young feminist like, from start to finish? Not a special day, not a day your autobiographer will write about, just a plain old, average day.

Take notes on a day in your life, or reflect on a day at day's end. You can make a checklist that goes hour to hour, you can be more creative and spin a line or two of prose for each hour that passes. You can tell us all the things your body does, and/or all the places your head and heart go. You can pick a day that started like any other, but brought you to an unexpected place: a morning that begins, for instance, with walking the dog, checking email and packing a lunch can culminate with the loss of a friend, or with something happening in your neighborhood that makes the morning's seemingly dull activities take on new meaning.

AGA Roll Call: Violence & Feminism

"We always knew when we took on the issue of violence against women that somehow our opposition would come after us. " - Patricia Ireland

"[We need to] talk about the root causes of terrorism, about the need to diminish this daily climate of patriarchal violence surrounding us in its state-sanctioned normalcy; the need to recognize people's despair over ever being heard short of committing such dramatic, murderous acts; the need to address a desperation that becomes chronic after generations of suffering; the need to arouse that most subversive of emotions -- empathy -- for "the other"; the need to eliminate hideous economic and political injustices, to reject all tribal/ethnic hatreds and fears, to repudiate religious fundamentalisms of every kind. Especially talk about the need to understand that we must expose the mystique of violence, separate it from how we conceive of excitement, eroticism, and "manhood"; the need to comprehend that violence differs in degree but is related in kind, that it thrives along a spectrum, as do its effects -- from the battered child and raped woman who live in fear to an entire populace living in fear." Robin Morgan, from The Demon Lover

AGA Roll Call: Female Fractures

One thing I've personally come to terms with, the older I've gotten, is that for myself, and for a lot of women I've talked to in my life and work, the wounds which come from other women can often cut more deeply than those from men do.

As women, betrayals from our mothers often seem to hit us harder than betrayals from our fathers. A female friend who hurts us often seems to have the capacity to hurt us more deeply than our male friends can/could. For those of us who are bisexual, queer or lesbian, we might experience that the first time a girl or woman breaks our hearts the depth of that hurt is unexpectedly more painful than we have experienced with men.

We could theorize until the end of time as to why that is (and plenty of women have, inside and out of feminist contexts), but WHEN it is, it can be really tough to deal with.

AGA Roll Call: Womanchild

I was one of those girls who went to bed one night a Girl, and seemed to wake up the very next day with a giant set of breasts. My body developed early: I was the first girl in elementary school to have breasts, the first to try and figure out, alone, why I both wanted to hide them and have them seen. I was the first to be forced into a brassiere (and was really pissed about it), the first to have to fend off the strap being snapped behind me all the time.

What came with that was an unexpected bipolarity of being treated like a girl -- including the benefit and enjoyment of some level of androgyny, being allowed to play football afterschool with the boys, picking fights, having "buddies," not being groped -- and then being treated like a woman, but only in the respect of appearance and sexuality, as well as sexual objectivism. I didn't inherit any new rights with my changing body: of course, it was a woman's body, so there weren't any real rights to inherit.

AGA Roll Call: A Room of Our Own

"Women, then, have not had a dog's chance of writing poetry. That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one's own."~ Virginia Woolf

When we went through the applications to choose each of you, the biggest common thread you shared (and which we were looking for most) was that you all both wanted women's community for yourselves, and expressed a dedication to nurturing women's community for other young women.

Write about why you want and need women's community. Here are some ideas to play with:

• When you don't have it, what is the experience of that missing piece? How do you think it effects women individually and as a class to be without their own spaces?

AGA Roll Call: For Strong Women

    A strong woman is a woman who is straining.
    A strong woman is a woman standing
    on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
    while trying to sing Boris Godunov.
    A strong woman is a woman at work
    cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
    and while she shovels, she talks about
    how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
    the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
    develops the stomach muscles, and
    she goes on shoveling with tears
    in her nose.

    A strong woman is a woman in whose head
    a voice is repeating, I told you so,
    ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
    ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
    why aren't you feminine, why aren't
    you soft, why aren't you quiet, why
    aren't you dead?

    A strong woman is a woman determined
    to do something others are determined
    not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
    of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
    a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
    to butt her way through a steel wall.
    Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
    to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.

AGA Roll Call: Ms.President


"I would be really disappointed if Hillary Clinton were the first woman president," said Medea Benjamin, a self-described feminist and founder of Code Pink, a women-initiated antiwar group based in Venice, Calif.

Among issues of concern to some women are Clinton's support of the war in Iraq, her rhetorical emphasis on preventing pregnancy rather than abortion rights and her reluctance to back universal health care.

Molly Ivins, the Texan who routinely blasts President Bush, declared that she would not back Clinton for president in a January column published by The Free Press, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism in Ohio. "Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation," she wrote. "Enough clever straddling. Enough not offending anyone."

Welcome to the All Girl Army!

There is likely little need to say this, because if it isn't already self-evident, it will be very shortly.

But I'm going to say it anyway.

These young women you'll read here? They are an absolute inspiration. They are amazing, revolutionary, insightful, motivated, intelligent, driven, compassionate, brave. They are astonishing women, all of them. There hasn't been a day that passed since I started cultivating this project and hearing from them that something they have said hasn't brought me to the best kind of tears. They are not just everything we want our daughters to be: they are everything we want to be ourselves, no matter our age.

AGA Roll Call: Dear Me

I had the absolute delight, during this year's Seattle International Film Festival, of seeing an amazing film, writer/director Lynn Shelton's "We Go Way Back."

In the film, the lead character Kate, a woman in her twenties, is confronted with her 13-year-old self via letters she had written back then to her older self, one for every upcoming birthday.

On the website for the film, Shelton says: "I once heard a writer refer to the 20’s as a woman’s “geisha years”. Feeling a little lost, she seeks direction from those around her and expends enormous amounts of energy fulfilling the needs of everyone but herself—particularly men. I certainly went through this phase in my own life and what breaks my heart about it is that it was not a lack self-direction and self-respect but rather a loss. At thirteen, I possessed a clarity of vision and a degree of self-confidence that I marvel at today. Somehow, the experience of adolescence stole it all away and it took me years—decades, really—to get it back again.

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