I Brake for Goth Girls

It’s a much better bumper sticker slogan than “Reading is Sexy”. Seriously, what is up with all these men who say they like intelligent women? I get that there’s a historical precedent for finding ambition or success unattractive in women, but this statement is not the solution; it continues to center men’s sexual preferences as justification for or against ambitious or bookish– “intelligent”– women, and it greatly restricts what we see as intelligence in women. While I’m at it, I am tired of reading being a personality trait or a way to look down on other people; if you read a lot and brag about it to people, you were probably well-resourced as a kid. Congrats, you’re privileged.

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Just Don't Have Kids

It is my hope that this click-baity title will resonate with a sense of poetic justice. Last year I had an interesting conversation with a friend. He had never been introduced to the idea of genetic counseling, and after a conversation broadly introducing the idea of genetic counseling I made the claim that it is a form of eugenics. In the very base of the language, “screening”, where a screen is synonymous to a sieve, implies that something is being selected out, and what lives are terminated reflect implicitly assumed white supremecist, capitalist, and ableist ideals. In some of these cases, tests indicate that a fetus will be stillborn, that the birth will seriously endanger the person who is pregnant, or in a stickier situation that the fetus will have a terminal illness that kills them as a newborn. I include these examples to acknowledge that reasons to pursue an abortion are highly individual and nuanced; I do not claim to fully understand nor do I shame any individual who makes such a decison. That said, at a social level there is a disturbing phenomenon of screening for and aborting fetuses flagged as having non-terminal disabilities such as down’s syndrome, and there is a lack of recognition that individuals participating in this phenomenon are responsible. On the contrary, these abortions are largely justified and even framed as a heroic deed on two grounds: reducing burden on parents, and reducing suffering of the child.

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