¿Quién Es Esa Niña? Who’s That Girl?

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I promised an introduction, and I’m a woman of my word.

In no particular order, I’m :

  • a lawyer
  • a wife of a man
  • a mother of two boy-children
  • Latina
  • a feminist
  • a birth activist
  • a reproductive justice advocate
  • blogging about the law, parenting, and whatever strikes my fancy at Courtroom Mama
  • tweeting @CourtroomMama

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a strange vortex of groups that aren’t pulling together the best we can, and aren’t being as sincerely inclusive as maybe we should be. Let’s just say I definitely feel the pinch as a woman of color. My calling, as it were, it to try and bridge those communicational gaps to improve the lot of pregnant women and mothers. I had already decided on the law as a tool for social justice before I found that calling, and I feel strongly that there is a place for lawyers in building this movement.

More questions, just ask! Although, in the interest of not getting dooced or stalked or whatever, I have to remain pseudonymous (which means I can’t answer “are you so-and-so” or “didn’t I meet you at such-and-such”? sorry!). And even though this site is properly “disclaimered,” I have to say it again: I love the law, I love writing about and contemplating the law, but my ethical obligations prevent me from giving legal advice. These are just my musings on something I love.

Nice to be here, and big thanks to Jill for asking me to contribute.

A note about my last post. As I feared, it seems that a few people have gotten a little distracted by the issue of FGC, which was the thing that led me to ask my “tough questions” and not my central thesis. Let me be clear, I don’t think that the practices of FGC and maternal request cesarean are similar, nor do I think that genital cutting is okay or anything just because I don’t feel like my privilege entitles me to rush in on my white horse and tell people that what they’re doing is barbaric/ignorant/etc. (a perennial, perhaps deserved, critique of Western feminism). Like I said in the post, the conversations are reminiscent of one another in that they’re conversations that we have about—or “around”—certain people without really listening to what they have to say, and have both inspired me to wonder whether I’m really thinking about the women or just letting my own revulsion get in the way of a meaningful conversation about a procedure I can’t comprehend.  

Without pretending to get into the complexities of Western outrage over practices that are outside of our cultural understanding—because 1) that’s a dissertation, and 2) the book I linked to does a much better job than I ever could—I can definitely say that I’ve seen a lot of judgment and derision of people whom we believe chose elective cesarean. People can let fly pretty easily with allegations of vanity, poor parenting, and ignorance. If we totally drop our baskets when women’s stories don’t conform to our pre-scripted narrative, are we really honoring and respecting the people we are fighting for? Are they real individuals, or just stand-ins for what we already think? I think that the only hope for any lasting change on issues we care about is to be mindful that we’re not speaking on behalf of anyone who didn’t ask for it. Even if we’re completely and utterly right, we won’t prove it by putting words in other people’s mouths and making people in the “victim” group who disagree feel silenced.

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