identity

for fear we will take too much

(today’s post title brought to you by the awesome Sojourner Truth)
There are so many discussions taking place right now that will ultimately impact the way women can exist in the world:

In Virginia, the Senate voted to ratify the Equal Rights Act (that’s right, the Virginia Senate is just now, in 2012, getting around to agreeing that women and men are equal – but not without some debate as to whether or not that’s an important thing to acknowledge).

Also in Virginia, there is a bill making its way through the legislature that would mandate a transvaginal ultrasound prior to abortion. If passed, this law would make it absolutely unavoidable for any woman seeking an abortion to have a probe inserted into her vaginal canal.

There’s the whole birth control mandate argument, with supporters of the mandate applauding the president for ensuring access to preventive health care, and opponents arguing that forcing the Catholic church to provide prescription birth control coverage is tantamount to Hitler targeting Jews during the Holocaust. (For realsies, that’s happening.)

Don’t forget Liz Trotta, who thinks women in the military shouldn’t be so whiny about being raped too much. Oh and stop wasting all those taxpayer dollars on bureaucratic bullshit like crisis response units and advocacy and good God if you don’t want to get raped stop having a vagina, ladies. (Bonus: Watch Samantha Bee’s satirical response, same link.)

Too, there’s Santorum, with his whole “Bitches be crazy, no front lines for them” thing (except, as my lovely and inimitable Donna pointed out, “we don’t war in lines”).

And of course the votes in the NJ State legislature on marriage equality, and Christie’s determination to veto (this will impact more than just women, of course).

I’m sure there’s more. Lots more. I just can’t bear to talk about it.

Listen, here’s the thing: people talk in hypotheticals a lot. “If gay marriage gets legalized,” and “If we don’t overturn Roe v. Wade,” and “If this,” “If that.” And a lot of this hypothetical talking comes from people who are men, or who are not gay, or who are not really ever going to have to worry about access to birth control or what will they do if they get raped or what happens if their Humvee gets blown up or or or. But these people who do all this talking are so dead set on hearing themselves talk that they forget: there are real people, actual living, breathing, blood-in-the-veins people who will be impacted in some very significant way by the words coming out of their mouths.

I am a woman. I am queer. I have been pregnant and I have been not pregnant. I have found myself in circumstances that make me feel safe, equal, privileged, loved, and valued. I have also found myself in circumstances that make me feel the opposite of those things. I am an intelligent, forward-thinking human capable of making decisions that are right for me at any given moment. And if, at some point in the future those decisions are not right for me, I am capable of learning from them and moving forward. I have fingers, toes, a heart, lungs, kidneys and a scar on my ankle.

I am tired of other people talking about me as if I am a hypothetical.

6 thoughts on “for fear we will take too much”

  1. Me too. :\ (Even though I fit much fewer of those categories.)

    Not to add fuel to the fire, but if you haven’t seen it: here’s the kind of people that are keeping these f’ed-up ships afloat on the seas of cash. Every now and then, things reach a point where you can’t imagine people being any more uninformed and numbskulled than they are; and then they surpass your wildest expectations, and it’s that much harder to snap them out of it.

    I’m really terrified that an epidemic of botched abortions and/or abandoned children is going to be the level that’s reached before these people pull their heads out of their behinds.

  2. Oh, I saw it, Joseph.
    I’m not terrified of that sort of epidemic. And if it happens, I think the same people who are suggesting we just stick an aspirin up there are going to be so far removed from it because here’s the reality of the situation: If you are white and you have money, or if you are very good friends with someone who is white and has money, you can get whatever you need. You will never lack access to the things that matter. So while the unwashed masses might have these problems, the American elite never will. They’ll still have access to really good doctors who do secret abortions that no one talks about.

    1. On the other hand, there was a great article in National Geographic a few months ago called “Machisma”, about how Brazilian women, starting in the 70s, rose up as a united whole and cut their childbirth rate from one of the highest in the world (something goofy like 6.5 per woman) to one of the lowest, at least in the Americas (2.4, I think). And it was within one generation, more or less, and it was done without any fanfare. They’d have their second kid by C-section, then slip the doctor a hundred to add a tubal ligation in there; they traded black market contraceptives; they discussed these issues openly amongst themselves behind closed doors, in a country that is still oppressively Catholic and patriarchal, by and large. (Although, progress: they have a lady President now.) Now, the idea of having more than two, maybe three, kids is ludicrous to most young Brazilian women. With contraception and divorce only just coming to be accepted there, it’s a phenomenal expression of “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

      That kind of thing gives me hope.

  3. I don’t even know where to start or what to say other than I had such an emotional response to your post [and to Joseph’s and your comments], I wanted to be here.

    My 83 year old mother, one of the most forward thinking people I know, would add the horrifying: “And they vote” these people who think, and say, and commit such horrors against other groups of people. Things don’t change much. My other life is as cultural historian. It’s a bleak outlook.

  4. I know it’s bleak, Margo, which is why I mostly try not to talk about it too much. Wait, no, that’s a lie. I talk about it a lot, both in real life and online. But I try mostly to keep my head above water with this stuff. This week, though, it just feels like drowning. Everyone else wants to make a decision for me.

    1. If you can’t talk about it to those who are your 3-D friends, who read you, listen to you, are your cyber-friends, then not only is everyone else making decisions for you, but they have silenced you. Can’t happen, but you know that. It must get exhausting not being allowed to be.

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