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Alyssa Milano's Call for a Sex Strike is Peak White Feminism

How does it help people who need safe access to abortion to further limit our sexual autonomy?

There is a constant, unrelenting war against women, LGBTQ+ folks and Black, indigenous and people of color, the poor and working class in the United States. Part of the efforts to directly harm us and push back against our struggle for autonomy and basic rights takes form as the anti-choice movement, one which is based in misogyny and white supremacy.

Joining Ohio, Mississippi, Iowa, Kentucky and North Dakota, Georgia became the sixth to pass an inhumane law banning abortion at six weeks which essentially outlaws almost all abortions since most people don’t actually know that they are pregnant at the six-week mark. While these bans aren’t enacted yet (they face legal hurdles), they pose a threat to anyone who needs access to essential reproductive healthcare.

Since this poses a very real threat—and could eventually lead to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade—activists and advocates are looking to bolster the legal and grassroots efforts to ensure continued access to reproductive rights and healthcare (which are already lagging in multiple states because of anti-choice activists and politicians). Amongst some of the ideas brought to the table is Alyssa Milano’s reductive and superficial “Sex Strike.”

I’ve written about why sex strikes don’t work and why they’re insulting to women and LGBTQ+ folks, but I expanded on why the idea for a sex strike as a response to restrictions on abortion are so fucking terrible and lack any critical thinking or analysis:

We already know that the reproductive rights movement has had issues with inclusivity by centering the needs of just (white) cisgender and heterosexual women, Milano’s idea is rooted in multiple harmful notions, including that this fight is something which only affects cis/het women. A successful fight for reproductive rights must include queer and trans folks, BIPOC and poor/working class people. Further restricting our autonomy when it comes to how we engage with sex is peak white feminism.

How does it help people who need safe access to abortion to further limit our sexual autonomy? Why do rich, white women like Milano even think their underdeveloped, tunnel vision solutions are the ones that are currently needed against the onslaught of continued misogynistic, classist, and racist laws and policies? We don’t need women like Milano to propose ridiculously insulting “solutions” — what we need is their investment in the current grassroots efforts to make access to reproductive healthcare safe. We need her to use her privilege in ways that are actually productive—we do not her infantile reactions.

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LARA WITT  MANAGING DIRECTOR Lara Witt (she/they) is an award-winning feminist writer, editor, and digital media strategist. Witt received their BA in Journalism from Temple University and began her career in journalism at the Philadelphia CityPaper and the Philadelphia Daily News. After freelance consulting for digital publications and writing for national and local publications, Witt joined Wear Your Voice Magazine eventually becoming their EIC and re-shaped the site to focus primarily on LGBTQIA+ Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). As publisher and managing director, Witt’s goal is to provide platforms for marginalized voices and to reshape the landscape of media altogether. Witt has spoken at universities and colleges across the nation and at local Philadelphia events, such as the March to End Rape Culture (2017). She also helped curate a yearly series of events called The Electric Lady Series in Philadelphia, highlighting women of color and their contributions to culture.  Video Player is loading. Witt’s goal is to provide platforms for marginalized voices with a focus on having other Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) writers tell their own stories and explore their own narratives. Witt has spoken at local Philadelphia events, such as the March to End Rape Culture (2017) and curated a yearly series of events called The Electric Lady Series. These events highlight women of color in Philadelphia by exploring gender, rape culture, entrepreneurship, art, self-care, sex, and culture.

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