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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 is an award-winning feminist writer who primarily writes about feminism, racism, pop-culture, mental health, and politics. Witt received her BA in Journalism from Temple University and interned for Philadelphia CityPaper’s arts and entertainment section and the Philadelphia Daily News covering local news, court stories, and crime. Following her graduation, she became increasingly committed to writing about gender, race, and queer identity by using Black and brown feminist theory to analyze current news and politics. Witt freelanced for national and local publications, which led to her working with Wear Your Voice Magazine eventually becoming their EIC and rebranding the site to focus primarily on using the analytical framework of Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality. 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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