Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The War Against Women

I'm thinking about John Scalzi's "Going Meta for a Moment" blog post, explaining the reasons why he wrote his brilliant "Being Poor" essay.  In "Going Meta," he explained that he was so pissed off by the asshattish response to Hurricane Katrina that he was unable to work--and this is how I feel this evening, having apparently reached critical mass of reading one after another right-wing attack on reproductive autonomy, and now this story about the bombing of a Texas State Senator's office. 

I have lost patience with having respect for other people's positions.  Are you against abortions?  Fine, don't have one.  Better yet, work to increase access to contraception and comprehensive sex education.  Or, at the very least, learn how conception and contraception actually works before proposing legislation requiring non-consensual, invasive vaginal procedures (which, by the way, anyone can construe as anything other than rape--well, they're wrong).  It is impossible to deny that there is a systematic attack on women's autonomy in this country at the moment. Again, if people were actually so darned concerned about the welfare of children in this country, they would be doing things like increasing--or at the very least, not decreasing--funding for education.  Improving Medicaid.  Things which actually impact children's lives--rather than threaten and shame women for being autonomous adults.

No one is seriously questioning men's rights too--well, anything, other than control over women's bodies and lives. No one is questioning Viagra access, or funding, or insurance coverage, or access to vasectomies, or working on holding men more accountable for paternity.  Like I said, no one is even bothering to learn how menstruation and contraceptive medication actually works.  And any woman who questions this is overreacting at best and a slut, harpy, and premenstrual bitch at worst.

I've lost my patience for being open-minded--and the primary reason is because I feel threatened.  It's not just a question of moral debate--rather, it's a question of the real possibilities of invasive procedures, public shaming, and condescending lectures from men who are opposed to female autonomy.  Even more, the continuing violent rhetoric of the right constitutes a real threat to me.  I went to the church in Knoxville where people died as a result of a shooter who was determined to take out liberals.  The Planned Parenthood I used to go to in Cincinnati has been the recipient of numerous attempted attacks.  It's not just a couple of nutjobs on AM radio--the rhetoric of the right encourages violence against people like me--female, feminist, liberal, and intellectual. 

Certainly, I plan on being at the March Against the War on Women on April 28.  But right now, I'm feeling quite cynical about its potential.  I went to DC in 2004 for the March for Women's Lives, and while it was an enjoyable experience of solidarity, I can't honestly say that it did anything lasting.  I'm beginning to suspect that political protests only serve as pressure valves to keep people from actually accomplishing anything.  We'll go spend the day yelling and waving signs and feeling like we're not alone, and the Monday there will be another bill proposed somewhere that requires a husband's permission before a woman can buy condoms. 

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