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Good news, everyone: VOX is making a ZINE! That being said, a ZINE is no simple feat, so we are looking to you, feminists!

The theme of this zine will be, quite generally, Reproductive Justice & Freedom!

This collection of awesome will be a celebration of SEX, Sexualities, Women’s Rights, and anything else you dream up.  Have you been searching for a way to vent your frustrations with recent attacks on said rights? Here’s your chance!! Do you want to express your opinion or share an experience with how our legal and social norms limit these rights? We want YOU!

That means:

  • Art work
  • Poetry
  • Stories
  • Information
  • Anything your heart desires!

About:

  • Contraception
  • Education
  • Periods
  • Sexualities
  • Stigma
  • Social Norms and how/why they suck
  • Pregnancy
  • Abortion
  • Exams
  • Health care
  • Sexual Experiences

In addition, we are looking specifically for short anecdotes surrounding sex education, Planned Parenthood, sexual relations and the like.

Tell us: What went wrong? What went right? How did being educated impact this experience – OR – how did this experience demonstrate the importance of sexual education?  Have a notable experience with PP?  We want to hear about it!!

The deadline has yet to be set, but we welcome submissions immediately and will keep everyone updated.

Email your submission as an attachment to: uncfsu@gmail.com and be sure to include your name and any other relevant personal information so that we can give proper credit.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with an questions OR if you would like to be added to the VOX listserv! 

Follow us on Twitter @VOXforPP or join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/2200126824/

Peace and Solidarity,

VOX!!

These days, all sides of the political spectrum attempt to claim mothers as a demographic they represent.  When it comes to Democrats and Republicans, it seems the mothers they speak of have “mom haircuts”, are white, “middle-class”, Christian, married, and around 40 years old.  But what about the hip, new moms?  What about working-class, single moms who educate themselves and raise a family?  What about black, feminist women?  Or young moms, who may still be in high school or college?

Screech.  Hold the phone.  Now it’s gettin’ sticky.  Most articles/pictures/sociological studies about young mamas end up shaming the women, how the public school systems/government has failed them, whether or not they should have the choice to terminate the pregnancy.  But what about celebrating these mamas? On this Mother’s Day I ask that viewers watch the above video, and think of one of the kickass young mamas in my life: Cathey Stanley.

Cathey is 23 years old, and just finished her first year of a Master’s program in teaching.  She aspires to teach secondary-level english, she is a gifted poet and writer, and she did her undergraduate degree in English at Carolina too.  She is one of the first FSU members I remember meeting, with her ponytail and her grace, she was a staple of meetings for me when I was an undergraduate myself.  About two and a half years ago, Cathey gave birth to a beautiful young boy, Jaiden.  Jaiden is a fun toddler, who likes monkeys and trains, babbles in the English and Spanish that Cathey taught him to speak, and is a proud little Tarheel.  Cathey is now a single mom, she is a student-teacher, ie she is in the classrooms almost full-time at Carrboro High School, but still has her graduate classes and exams, and an activist.  She is in the Coordinating Committee for FIST, a local socialist youth organization, where she fights for equal access for quality education.   She is working on her official candidacy for joining Worker’s World Party.  There have definitely been difficult times for Cathey, including not always having a reliable source of childcare, raising a multiracial child as a white woman, having to explain again and again why/how she is a pro-choice mama, and working on battling depression and taking time for self-care.  But she remains an inspiration to our feminist community, and is a great mom to J, on top of everything.  J is another leftist regular at meetings, rallies, and protests.

Here are some links to check out

Feminist Mother’s Day Gift Guide from Viva la Feminista, a blog about motherhood and feminism written by a Latina woman.

Feminist Mothering Advice from the megablog Feministing

Strong Families Initiative

Great work on the action last night!  Feminist Students United has appeared twice in local media today.

The Daily Tar Heel (UNC-CH’s student newspaper) has published an article praising Flynt for his defense of free speech.  They ignore the effects of his speech, ignore the police officer who threatened an FSU member with arrest, and claim that FSU staged a “muted protest.”  The Daily Tar Heel: a protest doesn’t have to be involve posters and shouts to be loud.

Hustler’s Larry Flynt defends First Amendment in UNC speech
The Daily Tar Heel, February 19, 2010

News 14 Carolina’s video report still focuses on whether Flynt’s speech and the speech of those present should be free or not, instead of pornography’s harmful effects.  They also claim that an FSU member was “reading to the audience,” instead of reading a pre-written question.  Look for a footage of the anit-programs we created and a brief sentence with in the video.

Prominent pornographer key note for free speech event
News 14 Carolina, February 19, 2010

_______________________

UPDATE:

Below are recent letters to the editor that have appeared in The Daily Tar Heel.

Flynt event lacked broader discussion about society
The Daily Tar Heel, February 22, 2010

Flynt event didn’t embrace the marketplace of ideas
The Daily Tar Heel, February 23, 2010

Not possible to separate Flynt from his pornography
The Daily Tar Heel, February 24, 2010

_______________________

And what follows is a post in the comments section of another letter to the editor, where our FSU member writes out the question he would have asked had the police not silenced him.

“First, I wanna ask the audience how do we feel having the UNC First Amendment Law Review bring Larry Flynt to our school and our community. I say this because once we move beyond an abstract conversation about freedom of speech and instead examine the content of the “speech” Larry Flynt creates and defends, then we can really start to discuss whether we want this person here. It’s important to note that an article about this event appeared on the pornography website Adult Video News, which shows us that the porn industry is using the law school to legitimize Flynt’s products.

*at this point I was interrupted by the moderators and silenced by the campus police officer. what follows is the rest of my question, had i been allowed to ask it*

But let’s take a look at some of the products Flynt has created… Barley Legal Cumming of Age, Big Black Meat In Little Blonde Treats, Ass To Mouth Guzzlers, Daddy Please Stop Fucking My Friends, Face Down Ass Up Asian Style, Young Latin Girls 14. Not to mention, he has advocated in Hustler for an end to the age of consent, calling for acceptance of adult-child sex and legalization of incest. So now that we have gotten to the content, I’d like to ask you, Mr. Flynt, how do you feel creating racist and sexist “speech” that teaches men domination over women in our sexual relationships and depicts women as sexual objects?”

Tonight at UNC-Chapel Hill, members of Feminist Students United handed out programs challenging the audience of pornographer Larry Flynt’s keynote address for the First Amendment Law Review to think deeply about pornography’s harmful effects on women, people of color, and low income people in particular, its harmful effects on everyone in general, and its contribution to our society’s rape culture.

Before Flynt’s address, several men passed out these programs to audience members lined up outside the Great Hall of UNC-CH’s student union. The program, a joint creation by members of FSU, asked the question: “Does Larry Flynt Have the Right to Speak?” and answered: “Absolutely.”

However, the program went on to ask the audience members to consider the violently sexist and racist content of Flynt’s porn industry. “Instead of having an abstract dialogue about ‘Freedom of Speech,'” the program says, “we must examine the content of his work, and its effects. Let’s start talking about how to move our sexual imaginations toward respect, toward empathy, toward connections based on equality, not domination.”

Though Feminist Students United acknowledge Larry Flynt’s legal right to speak, we feel it is important to ask deeper questions about exactly what he and his company are saying. Pornography represents the widespread acceptance of men’s domination over women in sexuality. Mainstream pornography uses society’s most racist and sexist stereotypes in its depictions of sexuality. How can a society truly be free and egalitarian when a man like Larry Flynt, who has created such works as “Barely Legal Cumming of Age” and “Big Phat Ghetto Azz All Greased Up,” is regarded as a hero of free speech and invited to speak at a public university? What does it mean that many young boys learn about sexuality through films like “Gag Factor?” What does it mean that many women who appear in such videos as “ATM [ass to mouth] Guzzlers” are completely dehumanized and subjected to humiliation and violence in order to make a living?

The event itself, though posed as an open exchange of ideas wherein two moderators asked Larry Flynt several questions about his work around free speech, was instead yet another legitimation of pornography in mainstream society. The questions the moderators asked Flynt were simple and uncontroversial: “Do you feel mainstream media has gone soft?” “What do you think about Obama?” “Do you feel today’s politicians are hypocritical?”

His answers, though dismissive of conservatives, organized religion, and the recent rise of the populist “Tea Party,” revealed no acknowledgement of the effects pornography has on our society. Despite the desperate conditions capitalism places many women into, he insisted that his films have never exploited anybody; despite the epidemic of men’s violence against women that occurs in our culture, he insisted that no person has ever been harmed by his films. Of course, porn does not cause men to attack their partners, but can it really be said that erotic films depicting violent sex acts have no connection to sexist violence?

Finally, despite the introduction of tonight’s talk as a marketplace of ideas where conversation about free speech can take place in a manner befitting “high level academic discourse,” a member of FSU who asked a lengthy question during the audience Q&A session was told by the moderators to stand down.  He was interrupted by the moderators while he read his question.  When he continued to read his question, a police officer covered the microphone with his hand and threatened him with arrest unless he immediately asked Flynt the question.  Can an event where civil but opposing viewpoints are shouted down, and where one voice (the voice of the rich, white, pornographer) is the loudest, truly represent an egalitarian marketplace of ideas?

Pornography harms our friends, family, and loved ones. Feminist Students United condemns this distorted view of sexuality, and advocates the creation of an equal, compassionate, and respectful sexuality in its place.

Check out this post for updates on news coverage of FSU’s direct action at the Larry Flynt event.

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

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