5 Exceptional Articles Feminists Should Read Over The Long Holiday Weekend

Labor Day weekend is upon us, which means many working folks will be enjoying a day off on Monday, leaving a full day to fill with pleasurable activities. Time off can sometimes mean time to think, and current events have certainly given us a lot to mull over this past week. With everything from the Pope talking about abortion to the commencement of the U.S. Open, there's a lot going on in the world. So between digging in to some barbecue and enjoying the end of a very busy summer, let's take a look some informative and thoughtful feminist articles to read over the long weekend.

After all, time off from work does not mean time off from issues and ideas that are important to us, and a lot happened this past week that is directly related to feminist issues. Take a read through these pieces while your feet are in the sand at the beach, or for the more controversial subjects, maybe even have a couple of the ice-cold beers you were saving for your cook-out before reading through.

Here's a look at some feminist articles from around the web to inform you and make you think as we head in to Labor Day Weekend.

"It's Pope Francis Who Should Apologize On Abortion"


Pope Francis announced Tuesday that all Catholic priests may forgive women who have had abortions during the "Year Of Mercy," which commences in December. Under the condition that the women asking forgiveness for having had an abortion (which the Catholic church considers a sin) show contrition, they will be able to receive forgiveness from a priest.

While some heralded this decision from the Pope as "revolutionary," writer Erin Matson explained in an essay for RH Reality Check this week that "It's Pope Francis Who Should Apologize On Abortion," and not Catholic women who have had abortions. Noting that the women who hope to be forgiven are still being stigmatized by very virtue of the fact that the church considers their abortion to be a sin and asks for them to feel contrite, Matson draws the conclusion that this news from the Vatican is a mere reiteration of sexist ideology. Matson states that the Pope should be the one asking forgiveness for the church's "terrible rules against reproductive health care."

"Why Am I Really Wearing This Dress?: On Clothing And The Pressure To Be Feminine"

In an essay for Black Girl Dangerous, writer Kendra Dawsey discusses the complicated relationship women can have with clothing, and dresses in particular. Noting that there are certain social expectations that come with wearing dresses ("cross your legs, don’t sit on the floor, don’t ride a bike"), Dawsey discusses the ways she has been treated differently when wearing a dress versus times she wears pants.

She goes on to point out that, as a black woman, she has noticed extra societal pressure to look "extra nice" in a society that often stigmatizes and derides black women's femininity. Dawsey recalls that even at a very young age, she "absorbed very early that black women are usually considered ugly, specifically because of a perceived lack of femininity." This is a great read to get all of us thinking about what femininity means for us as individuals, and how we may need to reexamine our conceptions of feminine beauty to be more inclusive.

"Andy Roddick Just Wants To Support All Women"

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The sports world turned its attention to tennis this week as the U.S. Open continues. Serena Williams has been crushing it on the court while now-retired fellow American tennis pro Andy Roddick talked to The Observer about the blatant sexism Williams has faced during her career. Speaking specifically about unfair treatment towards Williams during matches, Roddick stated that "I was a dick a lot of the time, and I didn’t get a quarter of the criticism that she ever got."

Roddick also expressed his excitement for Williams as she pursues victory at the U.S. Open, which would make her the first player in 27 years to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year: "She has the support of an entire country. To see her at this moment, and on the precipice of doing something great, and that will be remembered forever, it’s just so cool."

"McConnell Admits Republicans Don't Have The Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood"

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Republicans in the Senate are still pushing to pull government funding from Planned Parenthood, and intend to vote a second time on the matter after Labor Day weekend. However, as Laura Barron-Lopez wrote for The Huffington Post on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (a Republican from Kentucky) has admitted that he is not hopeful that the vote will result in a favorable outcome for Republicans.

McConnell told a local Kentucky news station that "we just don’t have the votes to get the outcome we like." He added, "The Senate Democrats have a big enough number to prevent us from doing things." This is a story to keep an eye on going into next week when McConnell says the Republicans will be forced to negotiate on Planned Parenthood funding.

"Women In The Trades"


This article is the perfect read for Labor Day. Writer Susan Kelleher with photographs from Bettina Hansen have curated an amazing collection of images and stories for The Seattle Times of women who work Seattle's Puget Sound in "traditionally male jobs." The piece profiles women who work in jobs such as construction and welding, accompanied by stunning black and white photos.

Some of the women highlighted in the piece began working in these male-dominated careers in the 1930s, only a short while after women gained suffrage. The women in Kelleher's piece discuss how much they love their work, and some of the stereotypes they've had to overcome in their field.

Images: vonderauvisuals/Flickr; Pixabay