"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Men Doing Feminist Work: Poetry Edition!

I think this is a first for Feminist Allies (which is kind of embarrassing, really): Poetry. Andrew Rihn, a reader of FA, let me in on his chapbook Outside the Clinic. I don't know much about poetry, but I know what I like: A man writing about reproductive rights in wonderful language. My favorite is "PETA weighs in", but I also really like "Midwestern Sex Talk" and "The Life Counselor". This is a man doing some great feminist work.

From the author's note:
As a male, I’ll never have an abortion. One of the privileges of
my sex is that I will never enter an abortion clinic as a patient.
However, according to Dr. Leroy Carhart, a friend and
associate of Dr. Tiller’s, “men have had unlimited availability to
‘abortion’ since the beginning of time. Men can walk away from
unwanted pregnancies with virtually no response from

While our current political discourse typically rests on binaries
(good and evil; them and us), poetry often resists such
discourse. Its lines are less clean cut, less distinct. It
encourages us to see people as complicated human beings, not
simple rhetorical subjects.

And a review:
“The American debate about abortion and contraception is too often
conducted with anger and violence. Outside the Clinic is a powerful
look at these issues and those who stand on either side. It reveals
everyday truths that are often drowned out by the politicization of
abortion. It looks beyond the commotion and into the heart.”
—Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Buy the chapbook here.
Read it online here.
Check out Andrew's blog: Midwestern Sex Talk