- Alyssa Milano called for women to join her in a sex strike to protest against controversial abortion laws.
- Many social media users criticized the strike, arguing that it suggests sex is only enjoyed by men and is used by women as a weapon or a form of currency.
- In fact, Milano’s call unintentionally pulled in support from conservatives and pro-life advocates who have since co-opted the movement.
Actress Alyssa Milano sparked outrage with a tweet sent Friday, calling for a sex strike in response to restrictive abortion laws.
“Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy,” Milano wrote. “JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.”
Her tweet came days after Georgia became the fourth state in the U.S. this year to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“We need to understand how dire the situation is across the country,” Milano told the Associated Press on Saturday. “It’s reminding people that we have control over our own bodies and how we use them.”
Milano noted that women have historically withheld sex to protest or advocate for political reform. According to the AP, “She cited how Iroquois women refused to have sex in the 1600s as a way to stop unregulated warfare. Most recently, she noted that Liberian women used a sex strike in 2003 to demand an end to a long-running civil war.”
Many people took issue with the strike, arguing that it assumes that sex is only enjoyed by men and that women’s bodies are a commodity.
Living under patriarchy has already robbed me of safety, autonomy, opportunities, and trust in our institutions. Now I’m supposed to give up sex, too, and play into the fiction that it’s just a bargaining chip/transaction for women? Love you, but nope.— Kristi Coulter (@KristiCCoulter) May 11, 2019
Please stop feeding the narrative that women are providers and men are consumers of sex. Bribing men for equal rights with access to our bodies is not how feminism works.— feminist next door (@emrazz) May 11, 2019
Hi the idea of a #sexstrike just perpetuates the idea that sex is something women give and men take, creating a power imbalance where men feel like they have to coerce sex from a woman and women feel like they have to weaponize their sex lives thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. https://t.co/llZRy54zNE— Maria Del Russo (@maria_delrusso) May 11, 2019
My husband is as outraged as I am. Why should we not have sex? This strike may mean well and contain cheap “feel good” reactions but it pushes a sexist narrative that sex is something WE give to men as a form of currency. That is not empowering. At all.— Ms. Deathwish (@Ms_Deathwish) May 11, 2019
The strike did receive some support from fans as well as fellow actress Bette Midler, who joined in with a tweet of her own.
However, Milano’s call unintentionally pulled in support from conservatives and pro-life activists who co-opted the movement.
I’m praying your sex-strike catches on!! Think of all the abortions that will be avoided! Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on defunding Planned Parenthood & overturning Roe v Wade! This is the 1st brilliant idea you’ve had!! Good job!!👍👶— Dian (@Dian5) May 12, 2019
Pro-life here. Wholeheartedly in support of this.— Fae (@Feli21281088) May 12, 2019
Great idea!!! Abstinence is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies!!— Sandra Lowell (@SandraLowell1) May 11, 2019
Lila Rose, president of the anti-abortion organization Live Action, responded to Milano’s strike saying, “I’m totally with you, @Alyssa_Milano, on not having sex. But the issue isn’t ‘reproductive rights.’ The issue is reproductive responsibilities & fidelity.”
I’m totally with you, @Alyssa_Milano, on not having sex. But the issue isn’t “reproductive rights.” The issue is reproductive responsibilities & fidelity. No one should have sex until they’re ready to embrace the privilege & responsibility of lifelong commitment & raising a child— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) May 11, 2019
Milano said the criticism over her tweet doesn’t bother her because it is “getting people to talk about the war on women.”
As far as how long the strike should last, she said people have to determine that for themselves. For her part, says hasn’t decided yet how long she will go without sex.
“I mean I don’t know,” Milano told the AP. “I sent a tweet last night I haven’t really thought much past that this morning.”
By Saturday, Milano tweeted that she would be writing an editorial about the strike.
This is the latest form of protest Milano has called for in response to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signing the controversial “heartbeat” bill.
Last week, Milano and several others in the film industry responded by threatening to pull productions from the state unless the law is overturned. Georgia’s film industry generates billions in revenue and is home to anywhere between 30-40 productions at a time, including massively popular shows like Stranger Things and The Walking Dead.
Florida Cracks Down on “Vaccine Tourism”
- Florida is now requiring that people show proof of either full-time or part-time residency in the state in order to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The state has been hit with “vaccine tourism” as many people, predominantly wealthy individuals, fly to the state from other parts of the U.S. and abroad just to get the shot.
- So far, nearly 41,000 of the 1.3 million doses administered in Florida went to out-of-staters, though it is unclear if all those people were tourists or if this figure includes some part-time residents.
Florida Requires Proof of Residency
Florida is cracking down on “vaccine tourism” and requiring that people show proof of either full-time or part-time residency in the state in order to get a COVID-19 shot.
Previously the state was allowing anyone 65 and older, including non-residents, to get the vaccine. This resulted in people flying to the Sunshine State from across the U.S. and abroad just for the purpose of receiving it.
According to state data, nearly 41,000 of the 1.3 million doses Florida has administered have gone to out-of-staters. It is unclear if all these out-of-staters are tourists or if this figure includes some part-time residents.
Now, people must show a form of identification like a driver’s license or mortgage payment to receive it. Exceptions will be made for healthcare workers.
Vaccine Supply Continues to Be Limited
Wealthy people in particular were quick to schedule travel plans to Florida for this reason. According to the Wall Street Journal, there was an influx of Canadians booking private jets to Florida. Some were looking to book flights there and back on the same day, leaving just enough time for them to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, people in Florida and across the country are waiting in long lines and struggling to book appointments on glitching websites to get their shots. Vaccine supply continues to be incredibly limited and not everyone in high-risk groups have received them.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said this rule is not made to impact snowbirds, people who live in Florida during the winter to escape cold weather up north.
“They go to doctors here or whatever, that’s fine, DeSantis said, according to CNN. “What we don’t want is tourists, foreigners. We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line.”
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (CNN) (Travel + Leisure)
Amanda Gorman Wows the Nation With “The Hill We Climb”
- Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, impressed the nation when she read “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration, making her the youngest inaugural poet in the nation’s history.
- Gorman’s said the Jan. 6 attack on the nation’s Capitol inspired her to focus on a message of hope, community, and healing in her poem.
- Big names like Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Barack Obama, and Lin-Manuel Miranda have all praised her work.
Amanda Gorman Becomes Youngest Inaugural Poet
Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman wowed the nation on Wednesday as she spoke of healing, unity, hope, and what it means to be American while reading her poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
At 22-years-old Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in the nation’s history. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she was the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles in 2014 at the age of 16. She then became the first national youth poet laureate in 2017.
Now, her books are topping Amazon’s Best Sellers list and they are not even scheduled to be released until the fall.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden became a fan of Gorman after watching her give a reading at the Library of Congress. She then suggested that Gorman be a part of the ceremony.
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped That even as we tired, we tried,” Gorman recited during inauguration. “That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.”
Like President Biden, Gorman has struggled with a speech impediment and has been open about her experience overcoming it. She actually used poetry as a tool to correct it. First, she used it as a way of expressing herself without having to speak. Then she used it to bring her poems to life.
“Once I arrived at the point in my life in high school, where I said, ‘you know what? Writing my poems on the page isn’t enough for me,” she told CBS News. “I have to give them breath, and life, I have to perform them as I am.’ That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”
What Inspired “The Hill We Climb”
Gorman said the inaugural committee gave her freedom and flexibility when it came to choosing what to write about. She was well on her way before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Those events then influenced her writing.
“It energized me even more to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope, community and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
That message came across clearly and the insurrection was depicted in part of “The Hill We Climb.”
“It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy and this effort very nearly succeeded,” she said. “But while democracy can be periodically delayed it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future history has its eyes on us.”
Nation Impressed by Gorman
“Wow…Wow, I just, wow you’re awesome,” Cooper said when closing his interview with her. “I am so transfixed.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda also cheered Gorman on. “The Hill We Climb” notably references a line of scripture that appears in a “Hamilton” song. Gorman also said she used to sing the song “Aaron Burr, Sir” to help her say her R sounds and correct her speech impediment.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise!” Oprah Winfrey wrote. “Brava Brava Amanda Gorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I.”
Winfrey also gave Gorman a ring with a caged bird on it—a reference to the famous Angelou poem— which Gorman wore during the inauguration.
Actor Mark Ruffalo joined the onslaught of praise, saying that her words will lead the nation.
Former President Barack Obama echoed that idea as well, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Gorman promised to run for president one day.
See what others are saying: (CBS News) (New York Times) (Los Angeles Times)
SAT Drops Subject Tests and Optional Essay Section
- The College Board will discontinue SAT subject tests effective immediately and will scrap the optional essay section in June.
- The organization cited the coronavirus pandemic as part of the reason for accelerating these changes.
- Regarding subject tests, the College Board said the other half of the decision rested on the fact that Advanced Placement tests are now more accessible to low-income students and students of color, making subject tests unnecessary.
- It also said it plans to launch a digital version of the SAT in the near future, despite failing to implement such a plan last year after a previous announcement.
College Board Ends Subject Tests and Optional Essay
College Board announced Tuesday that it will scrap the SAT’s optional essay section, as well as subject tests.
Officials at the organization cited the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the reason for these changes, saying is has “accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to simplify our work and reduce demands on students.”
The decision was also made in part because Advanced Placement tests, which College Board also administers, are now available to more low-income students and students of color. Thus, College Board has said this makes SAT subject tests unnecessary.
While subject tests will be phased out for international students, they have been discontinued effective immediately in the U.S.
Regarding the optional essay, College Board said high school students are now able to express their writing skills in a variety of ways, a factor which has made the essay section less necessary.
With several exceptions, it will be discontinued in June.
The Board Will Implement an Online SAT Test
In its announcement, College Board also said it plans to launch a revised version of the SAT that’s aimed at making it “more flexible” and “streamlined” for students to take the test online.
In April 2020, College Board announced it would be launching a digital SAT test in the fall if schools didn’t reopen. The College Board then backtracked on its plans for a digital test in June, before many schools even decided they would remain closed.
According to College Board, technological challenges led to the decision to postpone that plan.
For now, no other details about the current plan have been released, though more are expected to be revealed in April.