Nightmares from the VIDA Count & Contraception

I woke up (just moments ago) with the proverbial pounding three am heart. I had a nightmare about trying to convince unresponsive authorities about young girls being attacked. The specifics of my nightmare don’t matter (is there anything more boring than hearing someone recount their dreams point by point? It happened in my house, but different—ya know what I mean?)

As I trembled myself calm, the clinging details of the dream troubled me so much I had to take Gaviscom for my nausea as I tried to analyze it my terror. Trying to be logical, I analyzed the day, which I’d spent:

1)   Writing about the VIDA Count: where they (VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts) examined leading and literary magazines and newspapers for the gender breakdown of writers, reviewers, and books reviewed . . .

2)   Incorporating recent Republican positions about contraception into my essay about gender inequality in the media and . . .

3)   Thinking about a conversation with someone whose daughter had been exposed to a sexual predator, which engendered revelations about my own childhood experiences with the problem.

How does this all come together? Bear with me for a few paragraphs.

Recently, the noisiest of Republicans seem eager to drive women back to the days before availablecontraception, control of their bodies, or encouragement of pursuing higher education. As written in the New York Times, The Senate vote on “Republican effort to let employers and health insurance companies deny coverage for contraceptives and other items they object to on religious or moral grounds,” was 51-48.”

Which means that almost half of the Americans representing us in the United States Senate, were willing to give away women’s right to have birth control included in their insurance based on ‘moral grounds.’

Again, according to the New York Times, “the Virginia Senate adopted a revised bill on Tuesday that still requires doctors to perform an ultrasound on women before they have an abortion, but also says that women cannot be forced to have an invasive vaginal ultrasound.”

It took a national uproar to stop Virginia from requiring women to undergo the humiliation of having a large probe put inside their vagina.

And in the 2011 VIDA count everything seems sadly status quo compared to last year’s dismal gender breakdown. Examples include:

The New York Review of Books reviewed 17 works by women, 75 by men.
The Atlantic printed 64 articles by women, 184 by men.
The New York Times Book Review reviewed 273 women authors, 520 men.

(All was not news of inequality: Granta was close to parity, with articles by 34 women and 30 men.)

It was sadly interesting to me that the moment I posted the VIDA Count on my Facebook page, a male friend wrote: “The charts are useless without knowing the submissions

Continues on Beyond The Margins

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