Looking for reasons to agree, rather than disagree, with the media.
Holding counter-cultural beliefs as we do about sex, women, marriage, and family means we’re accustomed to being on the defensive. We’re accustomed to reading articles and hearing stories in the media that contradict, even mock or seek to destroy what we know to be true about women’s desires for committed, marital sex, and marital childbearing. We’re used to assuming our perspective will not be taken seriously.
But what if we approached the media looking for points of agreement? And what if we took the time to write journalists, thanking them for sharing the facts and truth in their work? In short, what if we paid more attention to the times we agree with the media, than the times we disagree?
I think we’d find two things:
1) There are many journalists, articles, and stories that share or come close to sharing our understanding of sex, women, marriage, and family.
2) That we’d feel a greater sense of hope and even progress in our efforts, because we’ll see not all is lost!
This week’s What’s Speaking To Us highlights some ways mainstream media has reported or shared our perspective recently. Of course, we’re under no illusions that the culture and subsequent media reporting is more with us than against us! But we might will find ourselves happier warriors, and perhaps gaining more influence in media and the culture, if we focus on the positive where it exists.
As always, please write us with your thoughts, questions, or observations.
WaPo columnist makes the case for sex that is mutually giving
Elizabeth Bruenig, a young columnist at the Washington Post, penned a column provoked by the #MeToo movement which offers yet another call for restraints on current sexual mores.
Consent is an oft-cited restraint that some are proposing concerning how to curb sexual harassment, but Bruenig doesn’t think it’s enough. She writes:
“If we believe that consent itself is the only qualification for an exchange to be good and free, the most powerful people will always have the upper hand: After all, they’re the ones most able to elicit consent, however grudging, from those beneath them.”
Her proposed solution is a refreshing articulation of the meaning of sex in a truly loving relationship. She writes:
“It might be time to stop thinking about our relationships with other people as a series of contracts, exchanging what we have for what we want, trying to minimize our losses and maximize our gains. Instead we might think of our relatedness as inherent and obligatory, requiring us all to put our own good second, not prior, to the good of others. And we should expect the same of others, especially those with a great deal of power. It would be a radical shift. But I can’t imagine anything less will do.”
New York Times publishes a woman’s bad experience with birth control
One more than a few occasions, The New York Times editorial board has published “the sky is falling” articles claiming that women in the 21st century will lose access to contraception. Lately though, it seems that they’re being a bit more honest about the downsides of contraception.
Last month, they published a fact that we’ve known for quite awhile: birth control usage increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer.
And just this week, they published one woman’s compelling account of how birth control impacted her happiness and mental health. She writes:
“I accepted my depression, and besides celebrating when my prescription became free under the Affordable Care Act, for many years I never gave any special thought to taking the pill. Until I did.
A week after going off Yaz in my early 20s, I was a different person. I felt happiness. Not euphoria, but that baseline, pastel contentment I had always assumed was mythological. I rode a joyful wave of ambition and energy for a month. And then I got my period.”
Her painful periods caused by endometriosis pushed her to go back to birth control. And of course, she ends with an assertion for her right to birth control, just “better birth control,” she says.
Yet there is reason to hope that a young woman reading this perspective in The New York Times might see herself in this column and finally understand what the medical community isn’t telling her–that birth control could really be the source of her moodiness and depression. And this hope for those women to learn the truth should lead us, as women who speak for ourselves, to keep talking about fertility awareness methods which can find root causes of painful periods and often heal them properly, instead of masking symptoms.
Washington Post tells story of former abortion clinic becoming free women’s clinic
Pro-lifers know that abortion clinics are closing down fairly regularly these days, thanks to more women choosing to carry their babies to term, fewer abortionists, and effective state-level laws. At the same time, an encouraging sign of the the pro-life movement’s commitment to the complete health of women is the rise of women’s healthcare clinics.
The Washington Post had a nice article on one medical clinic in Manassas, Virginia, which opened in a former abortion clinic.
The Post reports:
“Amethyst Health Center for Women, formerly Manassas’s and Prince William County’s only abortion clinic, closed its doors last year when the owner retired at age 76. She sold the clinic, and said she believed at the time that the buyer was investing in medical offices. It turned out to be the BVM Foundation — short for Blessed Virgin Mary — a Catholic organization that first directed the calls from women seeking abortions to an antiabortion crisis pregnancy center, then handed off the clinic to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington.”
The clinic serves as a general health clinic for those without insurance, and the stories of how it’s helping are inspiring and worth reading!
NYTimes: Pro-abortion advocate finds compassion at pregnancy resource center
Writing for The New York Times, pro-abortion law professor Michelle Oberman details her experience visiting a pregnancy resource center in Oklahoma. She went to Oklahoma because, as she notes: “[it is] a state that has enacted so many restrictive abortion laws that it routinely tops the Americans United for Life’s annual legislative report card.”
She was nervous, she explains, as she worried her pro-abortion leanings would subject her to cruelty. While she misrepresents the pro-life movement in places in the piece, which is titled “The Women the Abortion War Leaves Out” she does give it fair due in noting the compassion and care for woman and child that exists in such pregnancy resource centers.
“Their commitment to supporting women helped me understand the high costs of choosing to carry out an unplanned pregnancy,” she writes. Her column continues:
“A majority of the clients need food and clothes, yet a founder of Birth Choice, Barbara Chishko, noted they don’t come to the center for resources. They come, she said, because they want to “feel worthy, cared for and trusted.” She added, “Even if they think they want an abortion, they come to be heard.”
“People judge our clients,” said Ray Ann Merchant, another founder. “Especially those on welfare. ‘Why do these women keep having babies?’ they ask. The common denominator is the desire to be loved.” She added, “We all crave intimacy.”
And she concludes with this assertion: “The women of Birth Choice taught me how little “choice” is involved in the abortion decisions made by some of the poorest Americans.”
Yes! Brava! Thank you, Michelle Oberman and NYTimes!
WSFT is trying to create a world that is intellectually honest about women’s freedom, about the good of keeping sex, marriage, and children together, and about how our sexualized culture has immiserated women and their families. Because our goals are so lofty and countercultural, we read the news with a careful eye for signs of hope, and to find the places where our voices are needed. Our weekly update—What’s Speaking To Us—will give you a view into what we’re reading, what we’re thinking, and how we’re speaking for ourselves in the media or in our communities.
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Women, empowered with facts, can change the culture!