Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Can't Take Any More Misogyny

I am trying to raise two girls here and it hasn’t been getting any easier lately. I am trying to raise young women who make their own choices and take responsibility for them, young women who can accomplish anything they set their minds to, happy, healthy, well-adjusted young women. So all of the ugly misogyny in the news lately is freaking me out.

While I am trying to tell my daughters that they can do anything they can dream, a presidential candidate is arguing publicly that they should not be allowed access to birth control. Birth control. We are not talking about late term abortion, or teenage sex, or anything that used to be controversial. They are being told that their future should be limited by their fertility and what kills me about this is that he just won primaries in three states. 20-ish years ago, when I was in high school, we never thought of contraception as anything that was in danger. It was just understood that a woman had the right to decide whether or not to conceive and that it was good for families not have more children than they could afford. These were evangelical Christians who understood that contraception was a net social benefit. I never imagined we would be having this argument.

On top of the normal fat-shaming and slut-shaming that happens every day in our society, what else has been going in misogyny lately? Well, I’ve read about people being unhappy that women breast feed in church, as if choosing to feed your child means you should be shut out of society. On the other hand, if women bottle feed, they are attacked from the other side for being selfish and not putting their baby’s health first.

A commentator on Fox News recently said that women should expect to be raped if they join the military. She criticized feminists who complain about “too much rape”. I would like to ask her what exactly would the right amount of rape be? Ladies, if you bravely decide to service your country and risk your life, expect that rape is just part of the package. What happened to support the troops?

We have all read about the Susan G. Komen foundation being pressured into dropping, and then restoring, funding to Planned Parenthood. I don’t need to cover it here. But Planned Parenthood continued to be a target because they make it possible for women to have sex, and that is bad.

Abortion rights are being systematically attacked all over the country. In these attacks women are continually portrayed as slutty, selfish, and stupid creatures who couldn’t possibly make a good decision without an authority figure helping her.

The Grammys decided that beating your girlfriend into the hospital doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a featured performer. At my house, we turned off the volume while Chris Brown performed and discussed domestic violence. Yes, it was a teachable moment, but what we saw was that one person’s safety is less important than another person’s fame.

Today women were excluded from congressional testimony on the new federally-mandated contraception coverage. Apparently the subject at hand was religious rights, not reproductive ones.

I can’t take much more of this. My daughters’ bodies are not political footballs; they are their lives. I am more sick than I can express of the politicization of the health care of half of the population.

All of this, and more, is poison to the futures of young women. For every lesson their father and I teach them that they have as much value as any man, there are counter-lessons like these. They are being told that they need to be sexy, but not too sexy; independent, but not too independent; that they bring their problems on themselves; and that most of all, they are not to be trusted. These are not the family values I am trying to teach.


  1. My Advice: Turn off that media.

    Oddly as a gay man I've had to do the same because I personally can't be a football, its just too difficult.

    Its likely we'll be voting on legalizing gay marriage in Washington, and I'm dreading the whole process on that referendum.

    1. Nick, I know what you mean. Sometimes I have to back away from all the media because I don't want to spend all my time angry. I also don't want to put my head in the sand and ignore everything that is going on while people try to strip away our choices.

      I don't blame you for avoiding the media blitz that will surround that referendum - it will probably get ugly. So far, our LGBT anti-discimination referendum up here hasn't provoked very much outrage, but I'm braced for it.

    2. I just remind myself of two things:
      "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" - MLK Jr

      Progress of any kind isn't a straight line pointing up and to the right, its a squiggly line that curves back upon itself and looks as if it is a knotted mess, but ultimately it makes a squiggle up and to the right.

  2. Re: I am more sick than I can express of the politicization of the health care of half of the population.

    Politicization of Healthcare inevitable when HHS dictates uniform beneifits plans for health insurance. Consider the Preventative Health Panels decision on upping the age on mammograms in the middle of the Obamacare debates. You put the power of algorithimic, check box, Medicine into the hands of government panels you're going to get political decisions rather than clinical (much less your decision) when it comes to care. Decisions influenced by disease lobbies, pharmaceuticals, and the rest of the Medical Industrial complex.

    1. Bill, I don't accept your premise at all. It is not the "Medical Industrial complex" that is trying to limit women's options, it is mostly politicians and religious zelots, most of whom are not medically qualified. This is a reaction to socialized medicine, not socialized medicine iself.

  3. It's not about medicine or health, or even medical costs. I've heard over and over again folks saying the contraceptives actually save insurance companies money, because pregnancy and childbirth are more expensive. This really is about misogyny and women's rights. And I'm pretty ticked off too.