The reproductive justice movement is often considered to be a woman-dominated effort, but the Choice USA Chapter at Scripps College is trying to change this outlook through their Bro Choice Initiative Campaign, which aims to involve more male-identified individuals in the fight for reproductive justice.
Scripps’s Choice USA chapter is part of the national Choice USA organization, which advocates for reproductive justice across the country. The Scripps chapter is responsible for the “cliteracy” mural on Walker Wall at Pomona College. They also have held counter-protests at a family planning clinic in Montclair, where they help women seeking abortions safely walk past aggressive protesters.
The members of the Bro Choice Initiative Campaign are inviting male-identified individuals of all ages and walks of life who are pro-choice to participate in the campaign.
Elizabeth McElvein SC ‘14, vice president of Choice USA at Scripps, believes that the Bro Choice Initiative Campaign will help the community realize that reproductive justice involves people of all genders, races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
“This is not just for wealthy, white, liberal women, it’s an intersectional issue. We’re seeking to engage male-identified individuals and we’re reaching out to them through this campaign,” McElvein said in an interview with TSL.
According to McElvein, the male-identified individuals will be asked “Why is reproductive justice more than a women’s issue?” and “How can I be a reproductive justice ally?” Their written responses will be made into an art installation, which will then be put on display. The location of the piece has yet to be determined, but will be in a central location so that it is available for all 5C students to view.
Shayda Amanat SC ’14 became involved in Choice USA through a group project effort in her Gender Justice and Social Movement class at Scripps. She hopes that the Bro Choice Initiative Campaign will show the 5C community that reproductive and sexual justice is a topic that all genders can engage with.
“We want to show everyone that reproductive justice is not just a women’s issue,” Amanat said.
Amanat said that while many people, especially college students, have thoughts about the issue, it is often difficult for individuals to find an outlet to voice their opinions.
“I think that a lot of people are aware of reproductive justice as an issue but haven’t been able to be involved yet,” she said. “By reaching out to male-identified individuals, we can give the issue more of a voice. I think that people want to be involved but need to be provided a channel, like Bro Choice.”
Another goal of the campaign is to question traditional gender norms and increase reproductive justice dialogue at the 5Cs. McElvein said that the involvement of male-identified individuals is essential to the reproductive justice movement.
“It is critical to engage men in the reproductive justice movement because we cannot eliminate reproductive oppression without addressing the ways that men are impacted by traditional gender expectations,” McElvein wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “When we say men, ‘pro-choice men, trans-men, young men, men of color,’ we recognize that men experience gender privilege and oppression very differently based on their race, class, sexuality, and location.”
The Scripps chapter hopes that male-identified individuals will be willing to defy traditional masculinities and speak up about this important issue.
“We seek to respond to the way men and masculinity are constructed and policed, not to generalize or essentialize men’s experiences and identities,” McElvein wrote.
Amanat foresees that the Bro Choice Initiative Campaign will continue with future generations at the Claremont Colleges. She hopes that the campaign will provoke more regular dialogue about reproductive and sexual justice among college students. The Scripps chapter of Choice USA has reached out to clubs and organizations such as the Young Democrats at Claremont McKenna College and Pomona’s Building Leaders On Campus for support.