Manicured Nails, My Right to Abortion and a Damn Good Iced Coffee

Girlhood. It’s a terrain as complex as it is universal marked by its commodification, demonization and idolization. In its essence lies a social and biological experience more fraught than any other. Recently, my reflections explored the politics of girlhood — essays laden with dense jargon, lamenting the systems that uphold its persistent scrutiny and sexualization. And while not dismissing the relevance of this discourse, in the midst of it, I found myself losing sight of its fundamentals.

Our Bodies, Their Laws: Campus and Local Organizations Gather for Reproductive Rights Event

On Saturday, representatives from reproductive health and justice organizations across Cornell’s campus and beyond gathered on the Arts Quad for the kickoff of Our Bodies, Their Laws — an event series aiming to foster engagement and education on reproductive rights. The organizations tabling at the event included the Cornell chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, the department of Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, End Abortion Stigma, Advocacy Center, Gender Justice Advocacy Coalition, Cornell Health and the Women’s Resource Center. The event also featured a tent where attendees could vent frustrations regarding the current state of reproductive rights. The tables distributed snacks, informational pamphlets and free condoms to attendees. Following the decision of Dobbs v. Jackson in June 2022, which overturned the federal right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade, several faculty and staff members began to plan the event series, with a focus on engaging the Cornell community in conversation regarding reproductive rights. 

“We just want people to be able to have a more complete, contextualized conversation than is often possible given the way that abortion is talked about,” said Prof. Jess Marie Newman, feminist, gender and sexuality studies, one of the event’s primary organizers.