The Chicago Reader's Jessica Hopper reported yesterday that on the revived Lilith Fair's Facebook page, fans are encouraged to choose a women's charity in their hometown to receive $1 for every ticket sold to the Lilith concert in that city. Cool right? But the truth about what organizations are in the running for this grant is not so cool. According to Hopper:
"Minneapolis and Indianapolis fans are given the option of supporting Metro Women's Center and Indianapolis Life Center, respectively—institutions whose approach to women's reproductive health services (especially birth control and abortion) is guided by an explicitly anti-choice agenda. Several other cities, including Atlanta and Seattle, have potential beneficiaries that offer so-called abortion alternatives and faith-driven pregnancy counseling."
These anti-abortion religious groups are by no means the only organizations fans can vote for. But it's pretty disturbing that they are casually mixed in there among other potential beneficiaries who are much more in keeping with the fest's seemingly feminist ethos. When Hopper contacted Lilith co-founder Terry McBride about the selection process for Lilith Fair's charities, here's what he told her:
"McBride insists that the Lilith organization hasn't changed its principles and that it didn't 'purposefully' select the anti-choice groups featured on the Facebook voting site. He says the organizers haven't even read the mission statements that appear there. 'What is posted are the results of the most cursory search, and it's really up to each community to help us decide,' he says. 'We aren't the experts, and so it needs to be up to people working in those communities.'"
Be that as it may, it seems to me like the folks at Lilith should really decide what side of this issue they're on before they let people vote. Doesn't inclusion on their voting ballot at all come off as a form of tacit endorsement? It does to me, but maybe I'm just being a cranky feminist.
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.