Tag Archives: ethics

GOP: The Party of Patriarchy

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It’s said that an elephant never forgets, unless of course that “elephant” happens to be the GOP (on a side note, being the mascot for the GOP is an insult to elephants); in which case forgetfulness seems to be a prerequisite for becoming a Republican. I say this because what other reason, aside from a severe case of the brain farts, could the Republican controlled House of Representatives have possibly had for passing the 20-week Abortion Ban? Do they not remember the protests, the outcry, the backlash, and the fact that in last year’s election they failed to take the Senate and the Whitehouse, and they lost eight seats in the house? Have they already forgotten that their failures in the last election were in no small part caused by their archaic and misogynistic attitude toward women? Obviously so….I mean, they cannot possibly be so daft as to not learn from their failures and try to not repeat them…Oh wait, of course they can be. Who am I kidding? This is the GOP about which I am speaking, the party plagued by racists, sexists, classists, homophobes, climate-change deniers, anti-choicers, fear-mongerers, misogynisits, and all around dipshits. This is the party that endorsed ass-nuggets like Tod Akin and Twit Romney. Honestly, what is it going to take for them to get through their thick and ignorant skulls that they have got to stop attacking the rights of women? Perhaps if we just put it bluntly….

Dear Conservatives,
I do not recall inviting you into my uterus, so get the fuck out! Here’s a novel yet extraordinarily logical idea, if you don’t have a uterus then you don’t get a say. Period. You don’t see women running around trying to pass bills that will dictate when and how you can get an erection or jack yourselves off on the grounds that every time you ejaculate you’re killing potential fetuses, so where the fuck do you get off trying to control the bodies of women? How would you like your dicks policed?…Exactly!…Now take your patriarchal, misogynistic, fucknuttery and cram it up your piss-holes.

And So The War Rages On…

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Two weeks ago we celebrated (at least you did if you see women as fully equal and autonomous human beings with full ownership of their own respective bodies) the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. I had hoped to have had this posted sooner, alas time was in short supply but here it is…

On January 22, 1973 the US Supreme Court ruled, 7-2, that one’s right to privacy under the the due process clause of the 14th Amendment protected a woman’s right to own her own body and to make decisions for herself concerning abortion. It was a momentous and profoundly important ruling in which women, who had for so long been denied the right of full autonomy under US law, were finally able to freely choose our own paths. It was supposed to mean the beginning of a new era, one in which women could finally be valued as fully human and protected as the citizens that we are, and not be merely relegated to the domestic sphere as prized heifers to bear and raise a brood of children to carry on a man’s last name. It was supposed to end the fight over our bodies and break the yoke of patriarchy and misogyny because finally we women were free to decide…

Sadly, it has not been as it was supposed to be. No. Here we are, forty years later and the fight to break the yoke and claim our autonomy still rages on as wanna-be-kings-of-the-world try at every turn to strip women of our hard won rights. In a number of states all across this nation measures are being taken to grant personhood to fetuses and thereby once again make the rights of the woman secondary. For example, the state legislature in North Dakota has introduced resolution 4009 to add an amendment to the state’s constitution that would grant the same rights to a potential person as is already guaranteed to a fully developed, already born, actual person. If passed, this amendment, known as the  “Human Life Amendment,” will effectively ban abortion, IVF, and most forms of birth control. And in Tennessee the legislature will introduce a resolution to the 2014 ballot that will, if passed, eliminate provisions in that state’s constitution that protect a woman’s right to privacy.

It is unfathomable to me how anyone who clearly views women, who happen to make up more than half of the nation’s population, as secondary to not only men but to a clump of cells that may or may not become a viable fetus that may or may not become a person can be allowed to make laws that will have such a profound and detrimental impact on the lives of said women. I honestly cannot, no matter how hard I try, wrap my mind around that fact that right now, in this day and age when humanity is capable of such fantastic feats as curing diseases that once decimated populations and as exploring the far reaches of space, women are still fighting against the misogyny and the patriarchy that has held us back for thousands of years. For crying-out-fucking-loud it’s the 21st-goddamned-century, people! Enough is enough! This is not the stone age and we no longer live in caves. Put down your damned clubs and come join us in the land of the civilized, where the already born take precedence over the yet to be. Let us concern ourselves more with caring for the children and adults who already exist by ensuring that they have access to essential elements they need to both live and thrive; such as food, shelter, health care, and quality education. Let us concern ourselves more with waging wars on poverty, disease, and illiteracy and end this ridiculous War on Women; it is senseless and it is cruel.

To these misogynists, these pricks who would strip us of our rights and relegate us to the domestic sphere forever chained by the bounds of chattelry, I say, STOP! You do not own me, seriously I am not a piece of property for you to do with as you please. You do not get to decide what happens within my body, to it, on it, or with it because it is mine. You do not get to tell me when, where, how, or if I become a mother, that is my choice because it is my life and it is my body, not yours. I reject the idea that the primary purpose of my, or that any of my fellow women, existence is to bear children. I am more than the sum total of my reproductive organs; I have a mind of my own and I have goals that I long to accomplish. I refuse to bend to the will of men who believe that I am not worthy of the same ownership over my body as they enjoy of theirs. I adamantly and vehemently deny anyone the power to dictate the course my life will take. And until they, the would-be-kings-of-the-world, understand and accept that we women are not their property, that we are not prize heifers to be branded and bred, and until they respect the fact that we are people, actual living and breathing people, who possess the inalienable right to choose what happens to our own bodies, then the war rages on…

To see where your state stands on Women’s Rights, click here.

I Need Feminism Because….

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Perhaps you have all seen the pictures floating around, “I need feminism because (fill in blank),” in which men and women alike hold up hand-written signs explaining why feminism is important to them. Or maybe you’ve seen the Facebook page, “Who Needs Feminism?” If not, check it out. This is great campaign designed to inspire open dialog about the need for and importance of feminism. I just discovered it myself a few days ago and I love it. Mostly because it pleases me to see how many people, both male and female,  understand that there is a real and urgent need for feminism; but also because it got me thinking about why I need it.

Honestly, I never really considered myself a feminist until I moved out on my own and had to start making my own way in the world. I was raised, for the most part, by my Dad. In my home, household duties were not relegated to only the women, my Dad did much of it (mostly because my mother was inebriated most of the time, but I digress). He did laundry, and dishes, and ran the vacuum cleaner. He helped with homework, tucked in we girls at night, and played nursemaid when we were ill. He played dolls with us and taught us to throw a football and a baseball. Most importantly, he never raised us to believe that there was anything we could not do. No matter what aspiration for a future career floated into my childish mind, and I had some really off-the-wall ones believe me, my Dad never once said to me, “Girls can’t do that.”

I didn’t grow up believing that being a girl had limits. I could throw a ball as well as most of the boys I knew, and I could out run most of them well into high school (it was my freakishly long legs). I was always at the top of my class; reading, writing, history, science, I excelled or did very well in nearly everything. On the rare occasions someone told me I couldn’t do something, my Dad was there to remind me that the only people who cannot do things are those who never try.

It wasn’t until I began to grow up that I noticed that the world was backward and twisted, and that there were certain things I couldn’t do; not because I lacked the capabilities or the intelligence to do them, but because society had drawn little lines in the sand around things that it did not want women to do. My first lesson in this came in high-school when my then boyfriend thought it would be fun to tell everyone he’d had sex with me. I was barely fourteen, I hadn’t even had my first real kiss yet and now, suddenly, I had supposedly had sex. Luckily I had a strong circle of friends and a Dad who was not above threatening the little prick, so the rumor never had a chance to spread, thus sparing me from the extreme slut-shaming with which so many other girls are forced to contend. That is not to say that I didn’t have to deny his story or defend myself against comments his own friends made, but my reputation was not irrevocably ruined by his lies. I was lucky, but this was my first lesson in the reality of the double-standard with which girls are forced to live; in which a guy is lauded as a stud and a girl is condemned as a slut where sex, real or imagined, is involved.

As I grew into adulthood and became aware of the world around me, as I went to college and learned more about women’s history, I learned newer lessons; lessons that were in many ways harder to bear than my earlier lesson. I became aware of the millions of  women all over the world who are still traded into marriage, most often as young girls, against their will. I learned that adultery is still punishable by maiming or death in many areas of the world and that women are far more likely to be the victims of such cruelty than men. I learned that girls and women all over the world are less likely to be educated, more likely to live in poverty, and more likely to suffer from disease for lack of health care. I learned that women and girls are more likely to be physically, sexually, and emotionally abused, raped, or murdered. I learned that for millions of women all over the world chattelry is the reality in which they live; being a woman in this world is as good being born a goat or cow.

I need feminism because women are not equal, not by a long shot and not even here in my own country. I need feminism because the world I thought I knew as a girl, the world that my Dad tried to build for me where everything and anything was possible, is not real. At the same time, though, I need feminism because I know that that world, the world of my girlhood, the world my Dad so deeply wanted for me, is possible.

When I was in sixth grade I participated in and won 7th place in a state-wide essay contest entitled, “An Influential Woman in My Life.” In the response letter, Governor Anne Richards told me that young ladies like me have the power to change the world. I still believe that. I will never stop believing that. And so, I need feminism…

Redefining Rape and Reinforcing Rape Culture

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Our culture is fucked up. Profoundly and irrevocably so. For reasons I cannot fathom (perhaps my mind isn’t closed enough or my heart not small enough) our culture has an unnerving and a disturbing habit of blaming and shaming victims of violent crimes, particularly of rape. As a woman and a mother this is unsettling to me on so many levels.

We live in culture that teaches our daughters to not get raped rather than our sons to not rape. We live in a culture that teaches women to fear being alone at night, to not wear certain styles of clothing for fear of attracting a rapist, to not drink at a party or flirt with a man because it might invite him to rape us. Never mind the facts. Never mind that nearly half of rape victims are children. Never mind that the majority of rapists are acquainted with the victim. Never mind that majority of rapes occur in or near the victims own home. Fuck all truth and logic because clearly the victim was begging for it….The mind reels.

We live in a culture that, instead of jumping to the defense of rape victims, shames them and degrades them and leaves them feeling abandoned and  doubly violated. The victim is asked all sorts of irrelevant questions: Why were you there? Why were you alone? What were you wearing? Were you drinking? Do you give him any indication that you wanted to have sex? All that these questions succeed in doing is placing the blame on the victim by implying that if the victim hadn’t been there or worn that or gone out unchaperoned or had a few drinks, then nothing untoward would have happened to her. Isn’t it enough that the victim has been violated, most likely by someone who is brandishing some kind of weapon? Hasn’t the victim suffered enough at the hands of the ass-wipe, scumbag, piss-poor excuse for a human being who violated their body? Must we really pile onto their pain with thinly veiled accusations that somehow, on some level, the victim asked for it?

Essentially, we live in a culture that is sending a message to our daughters, and by extension our sons, that by sheer virtue of being born a woman we must accept that someday someone might rape us and that we, as women, must bear the sole responsibility of preventing rape and to do all we can to not provoke it. Because, as this brilliant picture says, we must presume that all men are mindless sex-machines hardwired to bang anything that moves regardless of its willingness to engage.

Instead of treating rape victims like sluts, instead of teaching women to hide themselves under yards of fabric or to never leave the house, instead of presuming that men are incapable of controlling themselves, why not educate people from a young age to respect their bodies and the bodies of others? Why not teach children, in more advanced and detailed language as they age, about the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching? Why not teach, “DO NOT RAPE,” rather than, “DON’T GET RAPED?” Really, this is what we should be doing.

Instead there are people, many of them lawmakers, most of whom are males in the GOP, who want to redefine rape; supposedly in effort of preventing abortion, although I am inclined to think that it is more the result of a sick and twisted need to own and control the bodies of women. Regardless of their reasons for such callousness,  the use of such hurtful terms as “legitimate rape” and the utterance of such heartless statements as telling victims that they should either “relax and enjoy it” or “make the best of a bad situation,” is demented beyond measure.

To insist that there are two types of rape, “legitimate and “illegitimate” (read, “might have deserved it” and “definitely deserved it”), is to feed into the myth that some women ask to be raped. By claiming that, in the event of a so-called legitimate rape, a woman’s body will prevent pregnancy (never mind that this is categorically untrue) suggests that pregnancy is proof that the victim, on some level, actually enjoyed herself. The words and deeds of these “men” will ultimately only serve to perpetuate the lies about rape, to undermine the pain of the victim, and to reinforce our rape culture.

No one, neither male nor female, should stand for this blatant, cruel, and hateful disregard for the bodies and lives of rape victims. The true mark of a civilized society is how it treats the marginalized and abused; therefore, until  our society puts an end to our rape culture and stands against the lies that serve only to revictimize the victims, then we cannot reasonably consider ourselves to be civilized.

Through the Gates of Hell and Back Again

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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.

An open letter to Anti-Choicers

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Dear Anti-choicers (aka pro-lifers),

Stop. Stop it right now. Yeah, you with your holier-than-thou, pseudo-moralistic, self-righteous stare. Knock it off. Stop trying to dictate the actions, choices,  and lifestyles of consenting adults. You there, who decries the alleged evils of big government, stop supporting people who want to control the lives of consenting individuals. You’re speaking from both sides of your mouth and you sound like a hypocritical dipshit. Oh yeah, I said it. Until you have to deal with ass-nuggets, like yourselves, treating your body like public property, you haven’t a clue what “big government” really is or what it really means to have your rights infringed upon.

Too harsh? Too bad. Quite frankly, I have had enough of you and your lies. You claim to want to “save” the unborn. Great. But what about the already born? Where are you for them? Where are you to save the already living, breathing children, huh? Where are you for the nearly 21,000 children, worldwide, who die from poverty each day? Where are you for the 72 million children, all around the world, who do not have access to education? Where were you for the nearly 2 million children who have, in the past decade, died as a result of war; or the millions more who are living in war-torn nations, in fear of death or injury? There is far more to “saving a life” than merely preventing abortion. And until you’re willing to tackle the horrors of this world that rob the already living of their lives, that inhibits them from having a good life, then you’re not pro-life and you need to stop pretending to be.

In truth the majority of you are anti-choice. You have no desire to preserve life, you merely want to control the bodies of women. I tell you now, stop it! You anti-choicers need to get over yourselves and stop trying to dictate the personal lives of other consenting adults. I demand that you get out of my private life, especially my uterus; it’s mine and your personal beliefs are not welcome in it. It is my life and my choice, in the end it is I who will have to live with the consequences of my actions not you, so go away and leave our bodies alone.

To the anti-choicers out there who are men, I have this to say: It is so easy for you, you who has never and will never be faced with the full responsibility of pregnancy, to act as if you have the right answers. You do not, nor will you ever, know what it is truly like to carry a developing life inside of you and to have to face all of the fear, uncertainty, and (for those of us who choose to become mothers) hope that comes with it. You are free to impregnate and leave, but it is the woman who must, by sheer force of biology, carry the full burden of pregnancy with her. I have been asked by some amongst you why it is that being a man keeps you from having a right to decide? Well let me ask you this, why does being a woman force me to not have a choice as to whether or not I become and/or remain pregnant if I do not want to? Does being a born a woman forever preclude any personal autonomy or right to choose my own destiny?

To all of you anti-choicers I say that unless you have to bear the burden, unless you have to endure the pain, you can take your opinion and cram it. Your personal opinion has no place in my private life, or anyone else’s. You are not my father or my mother, you are not my sister or my brother, you are not my friend, nor are you my husband; therefore what you think I should do with my personal life, with my body, is of no consequence to me and I don’t want you telling me, or the women I know and love, what we can and cannot do with our lives and our bodies.

Sincerely,
Karen~ wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and -always- woman.

Confession of an Unaborted Fetus

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What annoys me most about the anti-choice (or as they like to call themselves, “pro-life”) camp, is that in their fight to “save” embryos and fetuses, which they believe are people, from abortion, they assume that the resulting person will embrace life and be grateful for it. This assumption itself also assumes, wrongly so, that every parent will love and nurture their child and that every child will be born into a family that can and will provide for them. Anti-choicers live in a fantasy world of their own imagining; a world in which they ignore the hard truths of the real world, a world filled with poverty, neglect, and abuse.

Truth be told, I would love to live in the world that anti-choicers pretend exists; a world in which every embryo would become a baby who would be welcomed and loved and taken care of. But I do not, instead I live in this world; a world in which millions of children are born into homes that are trapped in poverty or into homes where one or both parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol. In this world, every year millions of children suffer from neglect and/or abuse, be it sexual, emotional, or physical. In this world, every day thousands of children die of diseases from lack of healthcare, from starvation or malnutrition, or from war.

I wonder if anti-choicers have ever once stopped in their self-righteous crusade to consider whether or not these children would have preferred abortion to birth. In all of the rhetoric about the sanctity of life, have they ever once contemplated the quality of the life that unaborted embryos and fetuses might one day live? I don’t think they ever really have. I wonder that if they knew that there were people in this world right now, who, if given a choice, would have preferred abortion to a life of pain and suffering, if they would put as much effort into making the world a better place as they do into filling it with more people?

Surely, at this moment, many of you are thinking that it is highly unlikely, if not wholly impossible, for anyone to think that abortion would have been the better choice for them, and their mothers. But I assure you, there are.  I personally know a few people who feel this way. And I admit that I am among them; something I have voiced to very few people. It is not that I do not love my life, because I do. I have much, especially now, for which to be grateful: a loving and supportive husband, a wonderful and darling child, friends who make me laugh and who are always there for me when I need them, a chance to pursue my dreams of being an Historian, and a roof over my head and food on my table. But I endured *a lot* of pain and suffering to get to where I am today; mostly at the hands of a mother who was not fit to be one. Had she aborted  me I would never have had to watch her self-destruct and drag our family down with her. It took years for me to come to terms with the past; and there are times at which I still struggle to not feel angry and sad because of what my mother put us all through. The repercussions of her terrible choices, of her self-loathing and self-centeredness, have affected not only my life but the lives of my own family as well. For this I cannot even bear to have her in my life because even the mere sight of her makes me want to scream at her, to list every ill that has befallen me and those whom I now love as a result of her actions.

I love my life, especially now that I have a family of my own and am becoming the person I had hoped I could be. But a lot of how I have lived my life up to now, the determination to make something of myself and to never let anything break me, comes in part from a need to prove that I am not nor will I ever be her. I’ve gotten better at living for me and for those whom I love, rather than to spite my pain and its source; but that desire to spite it all is still there, deep down, and I doubt it will ever go away completely. Although, I hope it will because I’d rather live life for love and happiness than to spite the pain and self-doubt my mother caused me to feel.

Do not confuse my stating that I think abortion would have saved me from suffering with an adolescent’s temper-tantrum exclamation of,  “I wish I’d never been born,” or with a depressant’s suicidal tendencies. It is not a wish, it is an expression of understanding that life is about more than quantity, more than mere existence; it is about living a good and happy life. And yes, life is not without it’s hardships, but there is a profound difference between difficulty and suffering. Moreover, believing that abortion would have saved me from suffering is not a confession that I want to die because I don’t want to die. I am here now and I have established relationships with people whom I would never want to make suffer the pain of me ending my own life nor would I want to stop living a life that has, because of the choices I have made throughout it, become better and even mostly happy.  Suicide would end a life already established and would hurt the people whom I have come to know and love; whereas having been aborted would have prevented that life from having ever existed at all. I would not know this life. The people in it would never have known or loved me, nor would I have known or loved them. I would simply have never existed. Period. But, since I am here, I will live life to its fullest and I will love, and learn, and be the best human being I can possibly be.

This confession is not to be misconstrued that I think life is a curse because I do not. Life can be, and for many people *is,* wonderful. However, for many of those of us who walk this earth right now, life is pain; often more pain than wonder. We are starving to death. We are living in nations ravaged by war. We are watching one or both parents fall deeper and deeper into addiction (and more often than not depression and attempts at suicide). We are being or have been sexually abused, physically beaten, or emotionally battered. We have been diagnosed with diseases that will prevent us from ever becoming adults. For many of us life is a constant effort to find the aspects of it that make it worth living. Some of us eventually find those aspects and cling to them like a life preserver; holding on to them with every ounce of our being, often worried that they will slip away and plunge us back into the abyss of pain that we fought so hard to not drown in.

I would like for anti-choicers to consider this when they insist that every life is a gift. I would like for anti-choicers to recognize that life, for many of the embryos and fetuses they hope to “save,” will be filled with unimaginable suffering and pain, and that, if they truly wish to “save” life, they start improving its quality while they concern themselves with its quantity.

If there is a sanctity to life, as so many people claim, shouldn’t it be about ensuring that everyone can live the best one possible? I think so.