Women’s Health: ‘Reproductive Coercion’ Is Something Ob-Gyns Should Ask About, Says American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists

Women’s Health: ‘Reproductive Coercion’ Is Something Ob-Gyns Should Ask About, Says American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists

Women & Politics: The Politics of Style: Can Women Wear Stilettos and Be Taken Seriously Too?

Women & Politics: The Politics of Style: Can Women Wear Stilettos and Be Taken Seriously Too?

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator


Women & Politics: The Politics of Style: Can Women Wear Stilettos and Be Taken Seriously Too?


Danielle Moodie-Mills

Writer, Polinista, and Equality Advocate

Remember the movie Working Girl with Melanie Griffith? She played the secretary who received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fill her bosses “stilettos” and become the power player at the office. Griffith’s character transformed from the big haired, long-nailed, tight-clothing-wearing secretary to CEO before our eyes with the right haircut and the quintessential power suit. Eighties movies like Working GirlBaby Boom and Mr. Mom paid homage to the struggle working women had with remaining feminine while being taken seriously and the difficulty of maintaining this delicate balance.

Unfortunately, the working woman vs. style theme didn’t stay in the ’80s with shoulder pads and perms — it’s made its way into 21st Century culture as well.

In Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon’s character changes her entire look to fit into her serious surroundings at Harvard Law School. She dons glasses, pulls her hair into a ponytail and wears muted colors. In the Devil Wear’s Prada, it was the reverse — Anne Hathaway’s character wasn’t taken seriously until she started taking her fashion (and herself) seriously as well. Her character said, “what difference does it make what I look like?” These days, a lot.

Movies aren’t the only place you will find the battle between smarts and style. When Hillary Rodham Clinton ran for President in 2008, there were countless articles about her pantsuits and hairstyle. Her pantsuits were no accident, of course; she wanted to move from the image of Hillary the FLOTUS to Hillary the President. Then you had Sarah Palin, whose six-figure makeover captured headlines as well as her flirtatious winks. With the help of a stylist she was transformed from small town governor to potential Vice President (although it would take more than a flat iron and some pumps to make that leap) and played up her feminine wiles in contrast to McCain’s uptight stodginess. And regardless of the outcome for President in 2008, the “Hockey Mom” technique worked and resonated with millions of women.

The notion that serious women can’t be stylish is a fallacy. So, why has society continued to perpetuate the lie? For decades, Western society has turned up its noses at countries that force women into ensembles that cover them from head to toe — but the same can also be said about the aforementioned power suit. Both were designed to suppress femininity and deny women their full expression of self.

Thankfully, there are two women we have to thank for Washington’s recent style evolution: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. These two women have single-handedly reversed the assumption that women can’t be taken seriously if they are chic. While both women have teamed up on the Joining Forcesinitiative which supports military families (an extremely serious endeavor), neither of them feel the need to suppress their style in order to convey their message.

Through the trials of our foremothers, who had to bear the reality of the Mad Men era and scrimp and scrape their way to the top, I can’t help but wonder — if we’re still having the “great suit and hair debate” in the 21st Century, have we really “come a long way, baby”?

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-moodiemills/michelle-obama-style_b_2536656.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women


Women’s Health: ‘Reproductive Coercion’ Is Something Ob-Gyns Should Ask About, Says American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists

Female doctor consulting female patient. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.

By Genevra Pittman
NEW YORK | Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:59pm EST

(Reuters Health) – Doctors should ask teen girls and women whether their partners are trying to force them to get pregnant or otherwise “reproductively coercing” them, according to a group of ob-gyns.

That could include pressuring women to have sex – possibly without a condom or other birth control, forcing them to continue (or end) a pregnancy or intentionally exposing them to sexually transmitted infections, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

“What we’re talking about is specific to women and girls’ ability to contracept, to control their reproductive health,” said Jay Silverman, who studies violence against women at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

“What we’ve found is that many male partners are more actively involved than we would have thought in really blocking women and girls’ ability to do that, as a form of control that’s part of a larger picture of violence against women and girls,” added Silverman, who wasn’t part of the ACOG committee.

One study of the National Domestic Violence Hotline found a fourth of callers had experienced reproductive coercion.

“All the different forms of violence and coercion of women and girls from male partners are based in the entitlement to control their lives, physically and otherwise,” Silverman said. “They also feel entitled to decide whether she’s going to get pregnant or not.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports close to three in 10 U.S. women have experienced rape, stalking or physical violence by a partner. Other studies suggest as many as half of women will experience psychological aggression from an intimate partner at some point in their lives.


Earlier this month, the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force called on doctors to screen women of childbearing age for domestic violence and refer those who need it to intervention services.

“I think this is a very common problem – it’s extremely underreported,” said Dr. Eduardo Lara-Torre, a member of the ACOG committee from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, of reproductive coercion.

In cases of reproductive coercion or “contraceptive sabotage,” the ob-gyn group said doctors can help women obtain safe and concealable birth control, such as emergency contraceptive pills packaged in plain envelopes or intrauterine devices with trimmed strings.

Doctors can also give women safety cards, hotline numbers and referrals to domestic violence services, according to the committee opinion published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

“For this particular scenario, (doctors need to) be able to offer them a safe space to discuss it, number one… as well as offer them alternatives and strategies so they don’t get sabotaged,” Lara-Torre told Reuters Health

In addition, he said, doctors should “offer them help and assistance, including shelters, for whatever else they might need.”

Silverman agreed that doctors and other clinic staff should ask women and girls about reproductive coercion, especially when they come to the office for contraception.

“It is incredibly important that these are issues that are asked about, because if we don’t understand the context in which a woman is attempting to contracept, then we are not often giving her the tools to be effective to do that,” he told Reuters Health.

“It may be that she needs a long-acting control method that her partner has no control over and may not be able to detect.”

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/reproductive-coercion-ob-gyns-contraceptive-sabotage_n_2544413.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

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