Fighting Fatphobia and Embracing ‘Unshrinking’: The Ms. Q&A With Kate Manne

We live in a society obsessed with fatness. Or, perhaps more accurately, obsessed with fighting it.  Fatness has been rendered a disease, and we are inundated with “cures,” which particularly haunt women’s bodies—and their wallets.

Questioning the devotion to anti-fatness usually prompts a “well, being fat is unhealthy!” But according to Kate Manne, feminist philosopher and author of the recently released Unshrinking: How to Face Fatphobia, the connection between weight and health is not so clear cut. What is clear, Manne brilliantly reveals, is that fatphobia, not fatness, is the problem.

Dark Alleys, Empty Spaces: How Construction on College Campuses Impacts Young Women

Last semester, I realized how much construction on my college campus impacted my daily routines at Vanderbilt. In the early morning, when the sun had not yet risen, I would fear walking in areas near the construction of Kirkland Hall, one of the areas of our campus under renovation.

Well before women started stepping foot on college campuses, they have been adhering to the rape schedule—the ways women are culturally conditioned to make changes in their daily lives in order to avoid sexual assault. This brings to light what steps colleges and universities should take in order to aid students who are negatively impacted by living in a rape culture.

Keeping Score: E. Jean Carroll Wins Defamation Case; 64K Pregnancies from Rape in Abortion Ban States; U.S. Congress Members Urge SCOTUS to Protect Abortion Pill

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: E. Jean Carroll wins defamation case; over 64,000 pregnancies from rape in abortion ban states; Taylor Swift targeted by deepfake attack; House passes CTC expansion; states implement anti-trans laws; abortion rates have risen since 2020; Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed the first anti-LGBTQ bill of the year into law; more than three in five Americans support Congress passing a law guaranteeing the right to an abortion; and more.

Abortion Bans Increase the Need for Survivor Support

The best thing that we as physicians can do is to believe women, holding their hands and offering our unconditional support as we guide them through the pain and connect them to the healthcare resources that suit their best interests. This includes access to safe, legal abortion, a narrow avenue for recourse that recent and current GOP candidates threaten to narrow further.

But I am one doctor. There is only so much that I can do. I cannot single-handedly change our society.

Compassion, Not Rejection, Will Do Something About the Border

For months now, the words “we must do something about the border” have been thrown about in the United States—as though the border were a leaky roof or broken window that could be quickly repaired and made new again. Listen closely, however, and it becomes apparent that many politicians mean something different altogether. To them, “doing something about the border” means preventing people from accessing border crossings and preventing them from obtaining asylum or other legal means of entry.

The impact on those real people easily gets lost in budget talks and political squabbling. Understanding who is coming to the border can help us make better decisions about what actually needs to be done to create a functioning migration system.

If It Can Happen to Taylor Swift, It Can Happen to Any of Us

A few days ago, TIME’s Person of the Year was the victim of a deepfake pornographic attack.

Swift likely experienced the same nauseating feeling that many other women did when she saw her face plastered on nude bodies and virtually defiled by the public. And Swift’s lawyers will struggle to find satisfactory legal recourse. Taylor Swift was the victim of our lawless internet, where platforms can entirely evade a duty of care to their users. So were countless women before her.

Fourteen States Deny Abortions to Over 65,000 Rape Victims Since Dobbs

Abortion bans are having a devastating effect on rape survivors who become pregnant. In the 18 months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, there were more than 500,000 reported and unreported rapes in the 14 states that have outlawed abortion throughout pregnancy, resulting in 65,000 rape-related pregnancies.

Of all the states, Texas had the highest number of rape-related pregnancies: 26,313—which was 45 percent of the total rape-related pregnancies in the 14 states evaluated.

What I’m Reading on Gaza and Israel

I wanted to share what I’ve been reading and listening to about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war that has cost the lives of more than 25,000 Palestinians and some 1,400 Israelis, displaced the overwhelming majority of people in Gaza, and badly divided countries, communities and even families around the world.

On this particular issue, I am doing a lot more reading and listening than writing and sharing.