Irin Carmon: “Body Politics”

The major central claims that Irin Carmon made in her talk were that a woman’s status in society is directly related to the reproductive rights of women and she explained three of the key reasons for positive things happening regarding women’s rights and representation in the legal system since the previous elections. The first of the three reasons that she gave was that Republicans got too honest with their opinions on women’s rights, specifically rape, reproduction, and their opinions about the lower class (which is composed of more women than men). The second reason was that the Democratic Party stopped apologizing for being the “woman-friendly” party and stood up for women’s rights. Her third reason was that women and male allies made their voices heard using media, protests, and by voting.

One of Irin Carmon’s most provocative points was that media and technology (particularly social networking) have been useful in spreading the word about women’s rights and feminist ideas, especially to women who would not have had access previously. I thought this was particularly provocative given the class discussions during the second unit, when we focused a lot on the ways in which women are objectified in media, and in light of our media projects, in which we are using media to think critically about media representations. My only concern is that not everyone has access equal access to media and media production. I worry that even though social media creates more opportunity, certain voices are still left out or unable to speak. I do not know that there will ever be a means of representation and communication that is inclusive of everyone. However, I do agree that media and technology have in many ways allowed for many previously excluded voices to be heard.

Discussion Question(s): What are the limits of media with regards to spreading the word about women’s rights and feminist ideas? More specifically who has access and control over producing these kinds of media and who can and cannot consume it?

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