Reminder to Certain Feminists: Teenagers have rights to choice and bodily autonomy too
via Historiann, who discusses Mary Elizabeth Williams’ Twitter battle with Katha Pollitt and Amanda Marcotte over her Salon article about her daughter getting the wrong vaccineat her annual checkup. Williams knew she would get flak for the article, but she “wrote it anyway, because I felt strongly about two key issues of the story. If you’re going in for any procedure, drug or vaccination, take a moment to double-check that the person administering it is giving you what you’re there for. Also, I believe my daughters should have final say in whether or not they receive the HPV vaccine. And flak, indeed, I got.”
Certain feminists in the twiterverse disagreed, though: “Amanda Marcotte took some mighty big umbrage on Twitter,” calling Williams’ piece an “‘overreaction’ and then proceeded to engage in something that looks remarkably like overreacting.
“A single tear shed over this causes everyone else to wonder if you don’t have real problems,” she wrote. “I’m honestly not invested in freaking out on an innocent mistake that resulted in no real problems… I mean, I have real shit to deal with in my life… If that’s the most awful thing you’ve learned at 11, you live in a big time bubble…. I’m sure her mother’s reaction to it had nothing to do with the little girl thinking this was the worst thing ever.”
Author Katha Pollitt also jumped into the fray, calling the story “ridiculous.” Not the review I’d wish for, but all right. But I’d like to correct her assessment that “I just felt this woman was hyperfreakout helicopter parent, infecting her kids with anxiety.”
Unlike Historiann, I’m a twitterstorian who tweets regularly (see my feed to the right) although I must confess I find it impossible to keep up with all the people I follow and use an automatic aggregating program to compile all these posts into the Knitting Clio daily (paper.li does this automatically — I don’t stay up late at night putting the daily together!) I went to Twitter to look at the exchange between Williams and her critics (and fans). I especially liked Angus Johnston’s comment: “I think it’s utterly reasonable for a parent to want to choose when and how she discusses the HPV vaccine with her daughter.”
I made the following comment at Historiann’s blog; “Wow, this woman dares to treat her adolescent daughter as a developing adult (i.e. follows the recommendation of experts in adolescent medicine). Kudos to her. Interesting that feminists like Marcotte and Pollitt are all for choice and bodily autonomy, unless the body in question belongs to a teenager.”
Now looking forward to my own Twitter battle!