The men making decisions about women’s healthcare.
I’ve been sitting on, and debating about, this post for the last month.
Every day, it seems to get worse. Another law forcing women to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound before they can get an abortion. Or forcing women to show an employer a prescription for birth control to prove it’s not for “reproductive purposes”. Another fat, old white man politician comparing women to cows and pigs.
There are more than a few possible angles when it comes to the current “war on women”. From patriarchy rearing its malformed head due to the rise in numbers of educated women as compared to men on over to the extreme religious right spotting their chance to grab hold of the political establishment.
It might be a final backlash of a failing system as it takes its dying breaths before something new – and much, much better – takes it place.
Power and money are most certainly at the heart of it, and conservative, religious, ‘family values’ white males – you know, the ones who most often get caught canoodling with a female prostitute in Florida or bent over a teenage boy in a hotel room – want not only to keep their position of wealth and prestige, but strengthen it.
Testosterone flying all over the place.
Except, I don’t actually believe that most men agree with what is happening right now. I think that most of the ones who are paying attention are just about as appalled as I am. This is particularly true if they are a person of color, but I’ll go ahead and say most white guys I know are also pissed. Given, I don’t hang out with a lot of conservative, religious, ‘family values’ guys, but sometimes, I think this persona only exists in our government and on Fox News in order to distract us from everything else that they are sneakily doing.
Don’t get me wrong – whatever reason or reasons they are deciding to literally make women second class citizens and have governmental reach over our bodies while they spew ridiculousness about “less government” (which at the moment, means they say Obamacare is forcing us to buy health insurance and that isn’t the government’s right. But apparently it is their right to invade my body if I choose to terminate a pregnancy for WHATEVER reason, including rape, incest, or that carrying a baby to term is a threat to my life. Or invade my health history if god forbid, I want some control over my own destiny) is not okay at all and I’m here to stand up for myself and all women – and the sane men who are along with us.
But on the other hand, it is a bunch of clutter, isn’t it? Every day, more and more clutter to distract us. More negativity to raise our blood pressure and divide us. More of the creation of a particular lens – that there are so many extreme Christians, there are so many redneck men, there are so many right-wing nuts. Maybe they are just the loudest? Maybe they are just the ones the news wants us to see?
Sometimes I wonder if Rush Limbaugh really has that many people listening to him or if they just tell us he does.
What to do?
I saw the movie Miss Representation last night (I highly recommend trying to catch a screening of it near you), and was succinctly reminded of the power of media. That so many of our beliefs about different groups – and in this case, women – are based on what we see on TV, in the movies, in magazines.
That women have been reduced to over-sexualized and/or bitchy creatures with impossibly perfect bodies that don’t really want anything out of life other than to find their Prince Charming (so go buy all these products to become Ms. Perfection).
That shit’s ridiculous to live up to. And yet most women, knowingly or unknowingly, try and live up to it everyday.
Same goes for this media spin on women. It does impact they way we see each other, what we believe others are thinking, what wars we need to fight. But what if we took our attention away from the screaming pundits? Would they continue to have power?
Can the media affect the way we see the world if we aren’t watching?
I know it’s not that simple. I know we have to know what is going on in order to make change, vote for the lesser of the two evils, to connect to others who are disenfranchised. But it may be time to make a concerted effort to minimize what we take in, and maximize the good we put out.
I recognize that I have thrown myself head-first into the fray about women’s (read: human and civil) rights over the last several weeks. That I have indeed made my blood pressure rise (which is probably okay since I usually have low blood pressure). That I’ve fed into the system that disgusts me. And maybe that’s why it took me so long to write this.
Now I’m taking my energy back.