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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Everyone has a stake in so-called “women’s issues”

    The reproductive rights debate has always focused on women and it relies primarily on women’s voices to further any discussion. But a new campaign is asking another group to speak up: the bros.

    Bro-Choice, an initiative by the national organization Choice USA, challenges what most people think the typical reproductive rights activist looks like. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t have to be a woman.

    A reproductive rights activist can be anyone, Bro-Choice argues, and in recruiting young men to join the reproductive rights movement, Bro-Choice hopes to “ultimately disrupt the dominant narrative that reproductive justice is a ‘women’s issue.’”

    In plain language — bro-speak, if you will — that means changing the idea that only people with lady parts have to care about what happens to their bodies and them.

    The term “bro choice” was first made famous by comedian Sarah Silverman in a public service announcement released just after the 2012 election cycle. In it, Silverman lays out a few guidelines for the policy-making bros (“Rule No. 3: If you don’t understand how our lady parts work, you don’t get to make any laws about them”) and pushes bros to stand up for the ladies.

    Silverman nails the whole point in a single quote: “I’m not saying I’m looking for a hero. I’m not saying I’m looking to be saved. But does the fight have to be yours for you to take it on?”

    Choice USA’s Bro-Choice and other similar initiatives are about acknowledging the rights of women and creating an additional — not superior — perspective in debate.

    The thing about “women’s issues” — reproductive rights, sexism, rape culture, etc. — is that conversations about these issues frequently fail to draw in the people who most need to participate. Luckily, attitudes are beginning to change everywhere.

    Bro-Choice urges men in college to challenge messages in the media and change campus culture. Similarly, the Men’s Project, a student-initiated program out of the Women’s Resource Center at the UA, strives to “provide a safe space to engage all UofA students, but especially Wildcat Men, in a dialogue about college male culture,” according to its Facebook page.

    Other male pro-choice endeavors are taking place across the nation on other campuses, including at Loyola University Chicago, Amherst College and the University of Connecticut.

    These efforts recognize the indisputable link between what we normally think of as “women’s issues” and traditional definitions of masculinity.

    The bro-choice pledge created by Choice USA asks men to promise to challenge negative stereotypes of men and masculinity, and to “challenge myself and interrogate my own personal privileges.”

    Being bro choice, or being a man who has choices and the freedom to make them, isn’t about the specific choices that only men get to make. Instead, it’s about realizing that men’s choices affect women.

    As the pledge says, “living Bro-Choice means being a part of the solution.” There’s no such thing as a “women’s issue,” and pretending otherwise excludes an essential point of view. For dialogue to be most effective, everyone has to take part. Everyone has to consider themselves a stakeholder.

    — Kristina Bui is the editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @kbui1.

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