Through the Gates of Hell and Back Again


I grew up in the 1980s and came of age in the 1990’s, in the midst of third-wave of feminism. The generations of women who had come before me had fought, with such bravery and determination, enduring prison and abuse, to win me the right to vote and to have access to family planning service, including access to safe and legal abortions should I need it. I took these things for granted. I mistakenly believed that society, at least the majority thereof, had progressed to such a point on human, civil, and women’s rights (all one in the same in my opinion) that no one would ever dare to drag us back through the gates of hell  and lock us behind them once more.

To my fore-mothers and fathers, who struggled and fought and suffered so that I could have a full say in my own life, I am sorry for my complacency. But I am awake now. I have heard the battle cry of the misogynists, from every corner of this nation, as they fight to rob me of my hard won autonomy.  I was foolish to believe that rights, once won, could not be so easily over-turned. As a student of history, I should know better. I am sorry. It will not happen again.

I admit, that over the course of the past two years, the ferocity and determination at which the GOP and the anti-choicers have come at women’s rights has left me a bit fatigued. It seems as if every time I turn around some half-wit, wanna-be-king of the world is saying something horrible. If it’s not Todd Akin saying that there are two kinds of rape (the “legitimate” kind and “you asked for it” kind) and only one of them can get you pregnant, or VP candidate Raul Ryan claiming that rape is just a “form of conception,” or Tom Smith insisting that getting pregnant from rape is akin to getting pregnant out of wedlock; then it’s the average anti-choicer calling abortion murder (and by extension women who have them and doctors who perform them, murderers) and telling women, as one person said to me just two days ago, “[choice] has nothing to do with what you do with your body. Its what you do to another body simply residing in yours.” To make matters even worse, as if the stupid and sexist things these people say aren’t bad enough, over the course of the past two years, the GOP has introduced 916 anti-choice bills all across the country and the official GOP platform for 2012 states that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including rape and incest.

The level of dipshittery being displayed is so mindbogglingly stupid, so sole-witheringly terrifying, it’s utterly and deeply depressing and tiresome. And I’m tired. I’m tired of arguing with people who refuse to see reason. I’m tired of arguing with people who honestly believe that they have a right to tell women when and how they can and should become mothers. I’m tired of trying to explain to these people that while they’re entitled to their personal opinions within the confines of their personal lives, they do not have the right to force anyone else to live by their personal paradigms. I’m tired of the hateful and cruel and evil (yes, evil) words and actions being hurled at women.

I’m tired. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m frustrated. But I will not give in. I will not back down, there’s too much at stake. I will stand. I will crawl. I will drag myself across the fires of hell if I must and will not rest until the gates of hell have been broken down. Until the rights my forebearers fought so hard to secure are clad in titanium and set in stone, I will continue to fight back for as long as it takes. The point at which you feel you can fight no longer is the point at which you must fight harder. This is more than fight for rights, it’s a fight for survival.

21 responses »

  1. Great piece, Susan. But I would urge you to keep one thing in mind – the anti-choicers actually believe that any kind of abortion is murder. So they really don’t care how a particular zygote came into being: If sperm and egg combined, and cells divided, they truly believe it is a person. I believe they are crazy, but I also believe we always have to keep this crazy belief of theirs in mind as we try to push back against them.

  2. Hi, Karen. Thanks so much for articulating my feelings exactly. I was in the first wave of feminism and have been fighting this fight for a long time. Especially over the last few years I have become appalled at the complacency of younger generations who don’t seem to care (and worse, are not even aware) that the rights we fought so hard for are being stripped away. I am outraged that some of the defenders of the misogynists are women who smile through the insults hurled at us daily by politicians who want to put us in our places forevermore. This morning Chris Christie said there was no need to “cater to women,” because from his and the GOP’s point of view, we are nothing, anyway.

    I just told someone that I’m tired of the fight, too. Never did I think, in the marches and bra-burnings of the 60s and 70s, that in this day and age, I’d be watching what is playing out on the national stage right now. But, your post has inspired me. Like you, I’m never going to give up. Time to dust off that “We Are Women, Hear Us Roar” picket sign. And roar I will, until the day I die.

    • You’re welcome, Karen. But, in truth, it is I who should be thanking you for what you’ve done for me and my generation. I am who I am, in no small part, because of the women who came before me.
      So, thank you. A million times, thank you.

  3. Hell, even the Catholic Church allowed an abortion in the case of that 10 year old Brazilian child raped by her family member.

      • You know what? If I were in that situation, I’d say, “Go right ahead – excommunicate me. I don’t want to be part of any organization that values a clump of cells more than an already born, living, breathing child who was abused. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”

  4. This was amazing! Thank you so much for so clearly articulating what I feel. I too am tired, sad, discouraged and so very angry. We will keep going. Thanks again!

  5. Count me in on your side, Karen! And keep on writing. We women need places like this blog where we can gather together. There’s strength in numbers.

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