Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Melissa Madera

Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Melissa Madera
Alex Patriquin

Love when reproductive justice work meets digital media? You’ll be a fan of this week’s #WCW, Melissa Madera.

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The 36-year-old dominicana started The Abortion Diary, a podcast where people share their real-life abortion stories in their own words, in 2013. The project has taken Madera across the country, allowing her to listen to the tales of 153 women and men of various ages, races and ethnicities.

That’s not all. This former full-service doula has recently embarked on a new journey as a fellow at Denison University, where she teaches courses on Latina feminism and reproductive justice. Smitten yet?

Ahead, find out how Madera kicks the patriarchy’s nalgas through story-telling and story-sharing.

Why was it important for you to start a podcast focused on abortion story-telling?

I created The Abortion Diary based on my own need at the time. I really wanted to connect with other people who had had abortions, listen to their stories and hear it in their own voice. People really feel connected to other people’s voices, even if they don’t know them. Even if you’re thousands of miles away, hearing their voices makes it feel intimate, like you might know them.

Two years later, I can say the podcast is my labor of love. The Abortion Diary is completely self-funded, but I feel like this is what I am meant to do. As long as people want to share their stories, I will be here to listen.  

Some of the stories are told in Spanish. Why did you feel that was necessary, especially because The Abortion Diary has a general audience?

I think it’s important for people to speak in their language, in the language that’s most comfortable to them, when they’re sharing stories like this. Because I can only speak English and Spanish, the narratives have unfortunately been limited to those two tongues; however, even this, I think, is necessary. When interviewees are sharing their accounts in Spanish, Latina listeners gain a sense of community and understanding. They know they are listening to someone who comes from a similar background, and that can create a connection between people who need it.

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