One of the most disturbing things I’ve had to watch in the past few years has been this ‘War on Women’. When you say that out loud, it sounds ridiculous, but the matter is anything but ridiculous.
I remember being told of the women who fought and suffered so that I could have the rights I do now… The right to vote, to have an abortion, even the right to accuse my spouse of rape (though that definitely isn’t the case with my relationship). It’s amazing to think that until the mid 1980s, a wife COULDN’T accuse her husband of rape.
Now, in the last few years, I’ve watched as representatives try to take those same rights away, and the truly terrifying thing is that the fight to keep them is so small. Perhaps that’s because these representatives haven’t been listening, because they twist their words and make it seem like what they’re doing is good, is helpful, ‘isn’t that big of a change’, but what people are missing is that little changes add up, and make way for bigger changes.
We’re regressing as a country, going backwards. Does nobody else see this? We’re losing our democracy to a tyranny of corporations and religion.
Let’s look at a rundown of how these individuals, who are supposed to be representing us, are putting holes in every aspect of how a woman handles the intimate matter of pregnancy:
Stage 1: Prevention
Contraception is a useful and necessary tool in modern society. That’s right, I said tool. Preventing unwanted pregnancies is beneficial in all parts of the world.
However, I’m sure we all remember Rush Limbaugh equating the use of contraception to whoring, and sadly I’m sure he’s not the only one who sees it this way. These men and women can bury their heads in the sand (or up their asses) all they want, but in today’s world, premarital sex is increasingly common, and all their ‘abstinence only’ sex ed talks don’t seem to be making much of a dent in that behavior. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink, that sort of thing. That doesn’t mean all of those women are whores, that doesn’t mean they’re sleeping with everything that moves, and I don’t see them blaming the men who sleep with those women. They never do. We’re a victim blaming culture. A man seduces a woman, but it’s the woman’s fault for being seduced. A man rapes a woman, but it’s her fault for dressing that way. We never fault the men for their urges.
The goal was to prevent women’s health care from providing cheap, affordable, and sometimes free birth control and other contraceptive measures. Who do you think that’s going to affect? Do you think these Senators and Reps, with their money and their pensions and their suits, that their wives and daughters are going to Women’s Health Care for their problems? No, they have health insurance, REAL health insurance, and can afford their contraception. The people this would effect are the poor, the ones who can’t afford the contraception, nor the extra mouth to feed, or the medical bills. These are also the people who would end up, if they haven’t already, on the ever growing list on government assistance. Without that contraception, their family grows, and they end up requiring more money from the government. We bitch whine and moan about how much goes into helping this people while we’re also trying to make them need it more. It makes no sense.
I know the primary argument is “Well if they showed some self control, don’t have sex if you can’t handle the consequences,” but the people making that argument probably have no room to talk. With government spending as high as it is, and our debt growing in leaps and bounds while they dump more money into the rich and wait to see if it gets to the poor, they have NO room to talk about ‘self control’. Do you see many political candidates with 5-6 kids or more? No. Do you know why? Either their wife is too old to have more children, or is on contraception, or he’s having an affair with some younger woman who is also on contraception. Forgive me if I don’t assume they simply live faithfully to their wives without getting it on, I’ve lost my faith in richer humanity.
All of this aside, they’re ignoring the bigger picture. They would rather be ‘righteous’ than do what is most beneficial to the state of our country. While they feel like they did the right thing, their reliance on others to do the same will cause growing populations until we reach a number we can not financially support, and then what? What’s their plan if and when that happens? They don’t have one. We’ll all end up looking up at them, waiting for them to do something, and they won’t have a clue. I don’t want to wind up at that point.
Stage 2: Rape, “Forcible” Rape, Anti-Marital Rape
It isn’t just contraception, though. There’s also the matter of ‘the act’. It doesn’t matter how it starts, if a woman WAS compliant at the beginning; if, at ANY point, she says ‘no’, ‘stop’, ‘i’ve changed my mind, I don’t want this’, it becomes rape. The men at the top of our political ladder don’t see it that way. They blame the women (again, not the men who had the desire to force themselves onto an uncooperative woman, but the women for being there to be uncooperative).
It’s not just the men though. So many people in our society blame the victim. I agree that a lot of women dress in unacceptable clothing, and I don’t think those women truly understand that their clothing and attitude sends messages,
that doesn’t make it acceptable for a man to rape a woman (or another man. Yes it happens, it’s still unacceptable, obviously). Did you know the most common article of clothing worn by women when they’ve been raped is sweatpants? Do you think sweatpants are provocative and sexy? No, me either. So why else could she deserve being raped? Maybe she said or did something to suggest to him that she was willing to have sex in a dark alley where no one else can see or hear her? Still not a good enough reason, because then that man has to have ‘assumed’ she was okay with it. Sex is an intimate (duh) and very personal thing, regardless of how SOME people may handle it. A man should still have to ask permission, and ‘assuming’ isn’t ‘asking’. So then what? Because she didn’t fight back? A rapist isn’t normally going to go after a fighter. His goal is to take away your hope, and belief that you can be helped, because it would be exhausting to try and deal with a struggling individual when most have a hard enough time with the act itself. Even then, men are commonly stronger, and bigger, and more capable of fighting than the women they choose to victimize. They aren’t going to choose some butch, kick-boxing champion, femme fatale to abuse; they’re going to choose someone who appears fragile, breakable, and that’s just the truth.
Do you have an image now of the situation? Now granted, there are, quite possibly, some women who were too loose and, regretting it after the face, cry rape to try and redeem themselves, but it seems to me that the goal is to punish all the victims of legitimate rape before a few liars. That woman I described above now has to suffer scrutiny and punishment from her own government because of a few liars. Does that seem right to you?
No, no it doesn’t. And if it does, than you a misogynistic bigot and shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions regarding the rights of women in this country anyway.
But then, they tried to alter the definition of rape. Now they want to call it “Forcible Rape”. Again, targeting women who didn’t appear to fight, or who gave up fighting. These are laws being made by men who were never raped and… quite frankly, a part of me thinks they should be, or at least they should be shown the terrorizing event that is rape. To have your spirit broken by a strange man and then to have another tell you that it’s your fault and you don’t deserve any sympathy.
I’m about to be rude, because this makes me very angry.
Look, assholes, the ONLY thing that defines rape is consent, whether it’s present or not. The absence of a no is NOT a yes, and a yes can be WITHDRAWN at any time. Everything else is irrelevant.
Then there’s anti-marital rape. Some of those same men believe that a woman cries rape against her husband to get out of messy divorces. AGAIN, always with the blaming of the women! Yes divorces are messy, and MAYBE a woman had that motivation for doing so, but it shouldn’t be enough to suddenly doubt every other woman of being a victim. The worst thing to do to a victim is to doubt them, because their attacker probably told them that nobody would believe them, and you would be furthering the helplessness they feel, and aiding in the trauma caused by the rapist.
You are aiding. The rapist.
Even worse, Representative Todd Akin actually spread the (bullshit) lie that women who are raped won’t get pregnant because their body senses it and shuts down. And people will believe it. Which will make them think that if the woman did get pregnant, she must not have ACTUALLY been raped.
So what does all of this mean?
Stage 3: Abortion
We’ve come to this utterly messy and violent topic, and I’m not talking about the act itself, but rather the commotion discussing it causes. Pro Life. Pro choice. Anti Abortion. Pro Abortion. Is it a baby? Does it have rights?
I don’t care to argue all of that issue. Suffice to say I’m Pro-Choice, and I hate the changes that have been made to how this is done.
Firstly, let’s just get this out of the way. Some politicians, men and women alike, have been spreading the rumor that money that goes to women’s health care providers such as Planned Parenthood goes towards providing abortions for ‘irresponsible’ poor women.
This is a lie, by the way. Nothing about that is true. The Women’s Health Care is only available to non-pregnant women in the interest of preventing unwanted pregnancy. The moment a woman becomes pregnant, and would thus NEED an abortion, her benefits cease. What do you know, your politicians either lied to you or were too stupid to realize this, either way you have a problem.
Now down to business. This requirement that women must receive sonograms and view them before making their decision; look, it isn’t done for the benefit of the child. The people who thought up this rule weren’t thinking of how it would help that child. They wanted the would-be mother to feel BAD. They wanted to inflict shame and pain and guilt onto one of their citizens. For whatever reason, that woman is not ready to HAVE that child, and without even knowing the reasons, they want her to feel like SHIT. What lovely government we have.
So what about those reasons? What reasons could there be?
No father. Single Parenthood is hard… Not quite as hard as it used to be, but still hard… The world is only slightly more acceptation of the sight of a woman and child alone at a restaurant, but only slightly. My own mother was a single mother, and she remembers the dirty looks and the particularly bad service and behavior. My mother was 21 when I was born, my father was negligent and unfit, and she decided it was better to raise me alone then stay with a barely existent father. And I thank her for that choice. I’m successful, I’m in college, I have good grades, I found a loving and supportive boyfriend, and made lots of friends. I have hope for a future, and even though times were hard when I was young, I still grew up happy and with a chance at a life. I wasn’t planned, and it was hard work… She could barely make the money to feed us both, and even then there were times we didn’t eat anything but mac n cheese and balogna sandwiches… We couldn’t get onto food stamps because she ‘made too much money’. We still got by, and did alright.
But not all single parents can do as well as she did. In many ways we were very lucky. We had a supportive and forgiving family. But what happens of that single mother is shunned by her own family? What if her own family is full of addicts and alcoholics? What if there’s no one there to help her? Nobody who doesn’t understand that feeling, who hasn’t known what that’s like, has any right to tell her what she should or shouldn’t do.
What about adoption?
Right, because our adoption and foster care system is so amazing, right? We just hear all sorts of happy stories come out of that institution, like the girl whose own parents chained her to a chair for the first 13 years of her life and never spoke to her and when she was placed in foster care her first family beat her. That one brings me smiles every time.
Foster care and adoption have a lot of problems, people who simply want to foster some kids for the extra money, who don’t care about whether the kids are healthy or not. Some of them may even by pedophiles, whose actions would warp and twist their child into a potential pedophile too. A prospective mother might look at that system and feel that it’s better if this child isn’t brought into that kind of world, that it’s better to wait until a baby is wanted and can be supported than to have it where it may never be wanted at all.
What about health problems?
What if that baby is going to have a lot of defects, defects that would mean a very limited quality of life? What if the mother’s life would be in jeopardy? Even a woman whose abortion would be for their own health has to look at the sonogram of the baby they may WANT to have but CAN’T. They did NOTHING wrong, and yet our government still seeks to hurt them by making them jump through all of these hurdles.
What happens if the baby IS born, to a mother who didn’t want it? What kind of life could you have being resented by your own mother? I don’t think we have to reach too far to imagine that kind of life. Abuse. Hatred. An unhappy home. Maybe they fall in with a bad crowd, maybe they get involved with drugs and alcohol and sex because at least SOMETHING makes them feel good. Next thing you know, the cycle begins again when some guy makes them feel loved and knocks them up and runs. Or worse, we end up with mothers who are too irresponsible to raise their child, who sedate their child and lock them in a car trunk to go partying and aren’t convicted when their child DIES.
But apparently, this is the life that these people want for these children. They have no interest in providing for the child or the mother when they’re born, so long as they’re born. It’s not for the best interest of the child. It for old religious doctrines, or for political campaigns, or for a hatred of free women, but it’s not about the child.
After all of this, it isn’t hard to see why it’s called the “War on Women”. The men who made these decisions won’t really suffer for them. Only the women they’re targeting will.
Sometimes I think a little anarchy would do this country some good. The true dream that the Declaration of Independence was written to achieve has been lost, and maybe after this whole messed up system has been torn down for a while we can try to find it again.