feminist backlashing

Suffragettes on way to Boston (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

A record number of anti-abortion bills emerged this legislative season at the state level with South Dakota, predictably, leading the vindictive pack with a bill that essentially made it legal to murder doctors who performed abortion or women seeking them under the guise of a “self-defense” law.

And while I am still waiting for the inevitable day when right leaning legislatures seek to impose a dress code and assign us seats at the back of all public transit, the Florida State Legislature takes top prize for the sheer number of assaults on female reproductive autonomy with a record 18 bills struggling to meander the process and land on the new GOP governor’s desk.

While some could claim that this is not about women’s rights at all but protecting human life, the proof against this tired clichéd defense is a bit too overwhelming because it’s not just our plumbing that concerns the GOP. Reducing women to 1950’s standards at every level appears to be the goal.

Wisconsin’s union busting tactics are aimed point-blank at female dominated professions, and the dismantling of higher education largely affects young women who are now the majority of students and are graduating in greater numbers than their male peers.

While the feministing 20 and 30 somethings were angsting over non-issues like whether to change their name or not when they married or how to ensure that men carried their share of the household and child-rearing chores, those who prefer women barefoot and pregnant have been making steady progress in their hamstringing of Roe V.Wade and limiting women’s access to birth control, emergency contraception and even basic reproductive health care.

We fiddled and Rome caught fire. The question is – will it burn down around us or can we roll back the lash the right is using to back slap us?

Let’s make a few things clear. This is not about the right to life or babies.

The people so intent on forcing women to carry children to term have no interest in those children once they are born. They are the same people who flushed Headstart down the toilet and are defunding state health care plans for children at every opportunity. They are crippling public education through budget cuts and unrealistic measuring standards. The goal is – and always has been – about using children as a means to cripple women and tie them to home and hearth, ensuring their dependence and subservience.

What is going on is no less an attempt to prevent equality than forcing women to bind their feet, be circumcised or swaddle themselves when out in public.

Whenever God or sanctity or family values are invoked, the end result is never good for women.

American men hate women just as much as their counterparts in the Third World and just as much as Muslim fundamentalists and just as much as those who tried to smother the early suffragettes by jailing and force feeding them did.

Every man who professes a “right to life” is proclaiming his belief that women are chattel to be possessed, ordered about and controlled.

And women take it.

Do we hate ourselves as much as we are hated?

We dress like whores and desperately maintain weights that damage our health while flocking to every beauty product and medical intervention that promise to freeze-frame us in a manner acceptable to men and societal standards set by men.

We work at the expense of our sanity, health and children because men expect us to pull half their load and all of ours too. Women have known since the get-go that “having it all” is a myth but it’s one that men still whole-heartedly support and push down our throats – with our help.

I have daughters. There are wonderful – witty and smart – but their lives will never be as easy as the boys they grew up with because it is still an XY world and with males now the making up more than half the population, how can things get better?

Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail wrote an idiotic diatribe for International Women’s Day that stated the misguided opinion of too many women in the industrialized world. She wrote that we (women) have won the fight for inequality so shut up about it already.

It’s that attitude that has allowed the legal assault on women to ratchet up this year. Complacency and a preoccupation with crap that is distraction more than substance.

Men have been the dominant race since the beginning of time. They have no reason to share power and have done so only when forced and only reluctantly.

Wake the fuck up, Ladies.

With the Jillian Michaels post behind me and things settling back to a boring ho-hum around here, I thought I’d share a link to a board forum where my piece on Michaels was shared.

Well, not shared so much as lifted in its entirety via cut and paste though I appreciated the link back to my blog. That was nice of whoever scraped me*.

The poster actually liked my article until the last line, which inspired her to physical violence which she admits probably made my point, but it was the first few commenters who pegged me for a Carol Brady**.

What they seized on was a throw away line I just put in to see if anyone would notice and they did, but they didn’t find it funny.

I should just give up on the humor thing.

Any time you stretch the lower half of your body to accommodate a small person and then squeeze it out of an opening that normally only just manages to accommodate a … tampon … for example, it’s going to change things.

Some of the women seemed to think that I was referencing vaginal intercourse and the fact that things can get a little loosey goosey in the old vagina after a natural birth. Natural birth being a relative term that in reality means pretty much anything in terms of the circumstances under which babies emerge from the womb.

Okay, so they caught me on that one. I was in fact referring to what it reads like I am referring to in a way too cute to be tolerated from a feminist anyway.

However, I did not mean to imply that I thought women should forgo child-bearing to keep their “love-holes” tight. There is a lot of muscle in the pelvic floor. Loose or tight is more a matter of a woman’s fitness level than the number of children she’s born. Kegels, ladies. And yoga. But not for your partner, for you. A weak pelvic floor means that all manner of internal organs are going to start sagging and dropping out your opening when the aging process – aided by gravity – kicks it into high gear.

Here’s my favorite comment and a fave of others too judging from how many of them cut/pasted it into their own replies (or it was their reply),

I don’t think I agree with a single thing this blogger is writing especially that pregnancy is a negative for a woman’s body.  Um, ever heard of aging?  Your body is going to change over time, period.  Aging serves no purpose but pregnancy brings a life into this world.

As for being “less tight” – are we really as women going to allow a man’s pleasure to determine whether we have a baby?  Is that feminism?  Men should just DEAL.  It’s not as if their stamina and ability to get it up doesn’t change over time…what’s their excuse?

To address the aging, I won’t. I don’t think the OP had any idea of how old I really am. This forum is at The Knot, which is a bridal site, but is in their Nest forum, young marrieds mostly. I imagine there are middle-aged brides there but the board read young to me.

Age is a given. Sag is a given. No one escapes.

Pregnancy is a choice. Um, in the West, it is primarily a choice. Hmmm, among the privileged it is a choice. Probably.

It’s a choice with a roulette element because going in, one has no idea how the hormones and gestating are going to affect one physically or emotionally. Some people simply don’t want to go there – male as well as female. It will change you. No shame, nor should there be, in declining, and points should be given for being honest about your doubts and reasons.

Here’s one that gave me a giggle or two:

XXXXX said it far better than I could.  I really disliked this article.  Perhaps that’s because I haven’t yet had and really want kids, and have just now gotten comfortable with my body, so I’d like to keep that.  But I think it is also the exaggeration of the difficulties of pregnancy and raising infants: yes, sleeplessness impedes workouts, but that impossible phase passes in a couple of months.  Law school sometimes impeded workouts, too, but I didn’t drop out just because finals would make me skip the gym.

And re: the “tightness” issue, I imagine we were all tightest in our teens and early twenties.  I’ll speak only for myself in saying that I don’t think that’s exactly the best sex ever.  Experience counts a lot more than a few millimeters in diameter.

Soo boo to this article!  Not slamming the op in that.  I love to read things I can disagree with.  🙂

I remember being childlessly naive. She brings it all back. Sigh.

We all think that we will have the easy pregnancy. Gain ten pounds and jog right up to the hospital door. Our baby will not be discolored, have a misshapen head or monkey hair. And she’ll sleep through the night in no time at all.

Sure. Taking care of a newborn is not equivalent in any way to going to law school. If you fall asleep over a textbook, you won’t suffocate it, and sleeplessness during finals is finite – a kid will be keeping you up nights for the rest of your life.

Life has its own ideas, just as babies do. When Dee was two weeks old her father was already losing his mind due to his yet to be diagnosed terminal illness. Needless to say, my fantasies about getting back into shape were just that. Good intentions sometimes play out and just as often, they come to nothing.

Like the non-hating on me – the “op” in her last sentence. Unexpected sweetness of spirit on the Internet should be applauded loudly whenever it is chanced upon.

Loved this one too:

As far as tightness, that doesn’t just go to a man’s pleasure.

Sing it, Sista!

I am an inconsistent warrior in the feminist trenches at best. That I will admit to, but I don’t think taking the Jillian haters to task or pointing out that the female gender is more divided than the male makes me  Phyllis Schlafly.

Let me leave you with a classic episode of Maude – a make believe woman who was more feminist than I am.

*That comes off as ungrateful, I know, but cut/pasting excerpts is okay while plastering someone else’s post on your space isn’t kosher. Even on message boards, it’s a dicey practice.

**Let’s face it, even with the pants suits and the shag hair cut, she was so not a bra-burner.