17 February 2010

Where would I be without the Battalion?

So I joined this Doctor Who forum recently, and every time I talk about sexism or women on it, the room gets quiet. Or changes the subject. Why would an SF forum NOT want to talk about sexism? That is a good question. Here is what I wrote recently:
The OP:
Much has been written about the huge volumes of romance { mostly here lol } in the show since its return under RTD, and now seems likely to continue under the mighty Moff.

One simple question, when the classic show was on air, what was the percentage of regular female viewers compared to male ??

the answer is surprisingly low { well maybe not that surprising really } it was a sci fi show after all, and girls just dont get sci fi { i'm gonna get slaughtered for that lol }

RTD booted in the door and made the show accessible to every viewer be they male, female or something else. and that can only be viewed as a good thing, huge viewing figures gives the show a fighting chance of survival in these uncertain times of ever changing tv scheduals, lets be honest the show has been given a new lease of life, and added a new dimension to a show we clearly care a great deal about.

How many ladies do we really have on this board who wouldn't be here if the romantic element of Nu Who hadn't been introduced ?? and how many have gone on to become serious hardcore fans of the longest running sci fi show in the UK.

Romance in Who, its a good thing in my book.
And my response:
Originally Posted by Stealth Womble
the answer is surprisingly low { well maybe not that surprising really } it was a sci fi show after all, and girls just dont get sci fi { i'm gonna get slaughtered for that lol }

That's because it's a rather stupid thing to say. Sci fi is also historically dominated by a white audience. Is that because POC don't get sci fi? Maybe women aren't attracted to sci fi in large numbers for the same reason that women are not a large (visible) portion of gamers: when the culture is clearly not aimed at you, and in fact has a tendency to show an ugly amount of misogyny, it's unsurprising that women either opt out or opt in and stay out of the fan culture. For example, I was on this Doctor Who forum board and some dude suggested that ladies don't get sci fi! 'Cause it doesn't have enough kissing or something. Everyone knows women are obsessed with romance and marriage, amiright?

With nonsense like that being posted almost without apology (granted, this forum doesn't appear to be nearly as bad as other sci fi or *shudder* gaming forums), is it any wonder women don't feel welcome? Is it any wonder they think sci fi is for men?
All the women are there are also quick to point out that they're not like MOST women, women who care about their hair and shopping and shoes. Those silly, shallow women who don't like sci fi. And I want to call them out on it, but it's like I'm invisible there when I say things like that. Maybe I'm not made for forums. Much better to blog. It's more me-centered. And I like me-centered.

Speaking of naval gazing, what would I do without the Battalion? Seriously, I'd be reduced to ranting about things in the NYT or something. What a disaster. The Battalion just got around to writing about Abby Johnson. Oh, Abby Johnson. If you don't know who Abby Johnson is, she's a woman who worked for a Planned Parenthood in Bryan, TX (where I live). She claimed to have seen an abortion so bad it converted her from pro-choice to anti-choice, quitting her job as a director at the Bryan PP in November. She worked at Planned Parenthood for EIGHT YEARS. She and her family were regularly harassed and threatened. Despite this, she was apparently unclear about how she felt about abortion, having never seen a picture of a fetus. Or something. She claims that seeing a fetus move away from the probe during an ultrasound-guided abortion made her realize that fetuses feel pain. Which, by the way, isn't true. Movement is a reflex that fetuses have, not the experience of pain, and certainly not a concerted effort to avoid feeling pain by a conscious being. Which, of course, a woman working for PP for eight years would know.

And if that wasn't unbelievable enough, Abby also claims that Planned Parenthood was pressuring their clinic to perform more abortions to line their pockets. A standard smear from the right that makes no goddamn sense. It goes against their purpose (pregnancy prevention) and something like 80-90% of PP's services are preventative. If they wanted to just perform abortions all over the place, they'd stop offering preventative services, since PP is one of the only places (particularly in smaller towns, like Bryan) that poor women can access reliable and cheap birth control methods. If all the PPs in the country started offering only abortions, then unplanned pregnancies would skyrocket! They'd be raking in the cash, right?

There was also the issue of whether the abortion even happened. From the Texas Monthly article about Johnson:
Johnson’s account is so plausible and rich in detail that even Planned Parenthood seems not to have investigated whether this event ever took place. At my request, the staff at the Bryan clinic examined patient records from September 26, the day Johnson claims to have had her conversion experience, and spoke with the physician who performed abortions on that date. According to Planned Parenthood, there is no record of an ultrasound-guided abortion performed on September 26. The physician on duty told the organization that he did not use an ultrasound that day, nor did Johnson assist on any abortion procedure. “Planned Parenthood can assure you that no abortion patients underwent an ultrasound-guided abortion on September 26,” said a spokesperson. It’s difficult to imagine that Johnson simply got the date wrong; September 12 was the only other day that month that the clinic performed surgical abortions.

Could clinic staff and the physician be mistaken? The Texas Department of State Health Services requires abortion providers to fill out a form documenting basic information about each procedure performed at a clinic. This document is known as the Induced Abortion Report Form. The Bryan clinic reported performing fifteen surgical abortions on September 26. Johnson has consistently said that the patient in question was thirteen weeks pregnant, which is plausible, since thirteen weeks is right at the cusp of when physicians will consider using an ultrasound to assist with the procedure. Yet none of the patients listed on the report for that day were thirteen weeks pregnant; in fact, none were beyond ten weeks.
Basically, it's fairly clear that Abby Johnson is full of shit. Most likely, she was a disgruntled employee (she had a poor performance review before her "conversion") who thought (correctly) that if she made herself a right-wing angel, she could at least make up for losing her job with speaking fees from right-wing organizations. And she lives in Bryan, for chrissake. Even if she spoke for free, everyone she knows would think she was a moral hero.

So, anyway, the Battalion article. The author of this article clearly thinks that Abby Johnson is a sainted person, someone who would never lie. You know why? Because she's broke now!
Her newfound conviction took a toll on her finances, she said.

"It was scary to leave that second income," Johnson said. "We certainly didn't leave for financial gain."

Shawn Carney, outgoing executive director of the Coalition for Life, said Johnson is only a volunteer for the Coalition and has not received any money from the organization.

"If she's doing this for money, it's a very bad financial decision," Carney said. "She had a change of heart on abortion, and so many people refuse to accept that. That's the only thing that explains this situation."
Seriously? We're supposed to believe that PP falsified state mandated paperwork to disprove her? And we're supposed to believe this because she, a middle class white woman with a husband (who is still employed), quit her job? People quit their jobs. Like, all the time. It's not proof of wrong doing on Planned Parenthood's part. But according to the author of this article, it's good enough. As a bonus, it makes PP look so desperate for money and good publicity that it would lie to the state, while Abby Johnson is an upstanding, honest woman just trying to stand up to the man, even if it makes her broke. It's a ridiculous framing of the whole story, but I didn't expect much better from the Battalion.


Anonymous said...

she is signed up with Ambassador Speakers bureau for 3-5K plus expenses a pop. If she is doing one a week (it seems like she is doing that or more) she is bringing in 15 - 20K a year, far more than her PP job. She is bragging about moving into a bigger house with new furniture - Abby, it's all about the money.

Anonymous said...

whoops - make that 15-20K a MONTH, not year.