Cockfight

Choice and reproductive justice* are no longer marginalized as “women’s issues” anymore. That’s the intent behind Bro-Choice, a newly launched Choice USA initiative that has received a lot of attention in its first week of inception.

artist: Rivane Neuenschwander
artist: Rivane Neuenschwander

Andrew Jenkins, field associate at Choice USA, bravely unveiled the basics of Bro-Choice in, Bro-Choice: Moving Men From Passive Allies to Vocal Stakeholders in Ending Oppression.  Counter-arguments from  pro-lifers,  feminists , and even tumblr  quickly ensued.

The basics of being a Bro-Choicer are:

LIVING BRO-CHOICE means having the courage to speak out against injustice, even at the risk of being alienated. It means creating broader, more equitable definitions of masculinity. Living Bro-Choice means being a vocal advocate for reproductive justice, and an authentic ally to women. Living Bro-Choice means being a part of the solution.

– Challenge negative stereotypes and representations of men and masculinity

– Call out sexism and rape culture when I see it

– Always ask for consent before sexual activity, and always respect the answer

– Challenge myself and interrogate my own personal privileges

– Be an outspoken champion for reproductive justice

This all sounds logical—common sense even. Encouraging the use of a reproductive justice framework, challenging those who do not identify as women to participate in all things that relate to reproduction (code word for: sex, morality, culture, economics, etc.), and finding new strategies to resist oppression of one’s autonomy all sound like goals that even sit-on-the-couch “my body, my choice” fans can get behind. Right?

It’s too soon to know if these “actively-engaged men” will be the change agents needed to tip the scales of justice. As most initiatives go, it will be the implementation and the long-term vision that ultimately will define its success.

I want to believe. But to quote Six Finger Satellite’s infamous line from Cockfight, “that’s how I break the rules/when I bring a cunt to the cockfight” there is much to suspect in a patriarchal culture that yet again is doing nothing more than elevating men’s voices. There is also no discussion of racial justice – a core component of reproductive justice – which is a serious weakness. I’ll eye roll past the burning bra comment (really?) to find some promise in having “serious dialogue about the indisputable connection between traditional representations of masculinity and reproductive oppression.”

If they follow some golden rules of being a good ally, think more strategically about authentically incorporating an intersectional approach, and understand 10 reasons why using choice is seriously problematic, this might be a potential bromance.

-Ginger Hintz, blog editor 

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Reproductive Justice exists when all people have the economic, social and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies, and sexuality for ourselves, our families and our communities. Achieving this goal requires changes at all levels and ending all forms of oppression…including forces that deprive us of self-determination and control over our bodies, and limit our reproductive choices.  A New Vision for Advancing Our Movement for Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, and Reproductive Justice. Oakland: Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice (now Forward Together), 2005

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