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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Being Human

It has been an interesting week on the Facebook-front. While it is generally my practice to minimize any and all social media nonsense, and to relegate it to "entertainment" status, I am realizing it really DOES accurately reflect the opinions and beliefs of actual people. Being old and therefore dismissive of social media no longer renders it irrelevant. Scary. This week's hot topic (at least within my FB circle) has been women's rights. It has been a bumpy, scary tour through the various opinions this week, and a very enlightening one. While I prefer to dwell in the realm of fiction, to NOT be angry and to cruise through my life secure in the knowledge that better folks than I are in charge and making sure that all the right things are happening, this is a luxury I don't feel entitled to any longer.

I think I have always been a feminist. Truth be told, it isn't something I ever thought much about. I have always agreed that women should get equal pay and have equal rights on all fronts, but I know that men and women are different from each other and always thought those differences were kind of cool. Equal, but different. Seems like a pretty reasonable assessment, eh?

I read a book called "The Handmaid's Tale"  in college. It was published in 1985. If you want to look it up, its Wiki page is here:  The Handmaid's Tale  Just briefly, here is a line of the description:

"Set in the near future, in a totalitarian Christian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency." 

Back in 1985, to say the themes in this book seemed unlikely is an understatement. I thought there were some really cool, far out ideas within the story (the idea that we would have bank cards instead of checks or cash seemed especially far out and futuristic) but I felt pretty secure in knowing the war for women's rights had been won. A done deal. I no longer feel so sure.

There are people who are not just angry, but actually up in arms about women having rights to their reproductive health. There are organizations that have actually singled out women's health issues as something that should be excluded from insurance coverage. At first, I thought it had to be some kind of a joke. I mean, employers and agencies who provide health insurance for people just provide what is needed, correct? Nobody, I mean nobody would ever tolerate one gender being singled out and picked on for one specific health care need, right? That would just be ridiculous! But it's happening. It's happening under the guise of "women want us to pay for their abortions". Newsflash, angry people: No federal funds are used to pay for abortions. Period. A ruling back in 1976 decided that, and it still stands. The exception is in the case of rape. My opinion here? If you want this to go away, make rape go away. Very simple. Even a caveman could understand it. Well, in theory. But there are people who are angry about women having abortions in the case of rape and would like nothing better than to take that right away. Why? Are there people who are so hell bent on saving fetal life that the life of the woman, the VICTIM, becomes irrelevant?

The part I am having even more trouble with (I mean besides the complete disregard for a living, breathing cognizant human being that's been relegated to nothing more than incubator status) is that those same people screaming "save that baby" won't give a rat's behind if that child goes hungry every night because it's living on welfare. Then it's just another dirt molecule to put down and dehumanize. But hey, it's alive, right? We can all sleep at night knowing we did the "right" thing.

Okay, I don't want to be angry. I am a Christian and don't like the idea of abortion on many levels. I am also a woman, a rape victim, and someone who has more than two brain cells to rub together. It's more than an abortion issue though, it's birth control. Somehow that's up for debate too. Condoms aren't, Viagra isn't; but birth control for women is suddenly a big deal. From my point of view, don't even bother with the Viagra if I don't get my birth control. Just sayin'. It's funny how rarely it's the men left alone to raise the children, isn't it? I've spent half my life as a single parent, as did my mother. Yeah, great judgement men. Can you please make all my decisions for me? And yet when it's time for the government to discuss women's issues, it's a panel of men that's assembled.

Don't get me wrong, I love men. There are some really fabulous guys out there; wonderful Dads, devoted and respectful husbands and all around great folks. I had a grandfather in this category. Even guys I disagree with fiercely are still basically decent human beings at their core. But this isn't a guy thing. A guy can't relate here, and can't understand how incredibly disrespectful it is to make consideration for the woman last in decisions about her own body. It's dehumanizing. Some women disagree with me, and it makes me sad. It makes me sad because if we won't stand up for our own humanity here, we will loose it. This isn't about politics or political leaning (on some level there is a connection, but it's not really the point) this is about being human, and the right to remain so. If you don't want to be loud and obnoxious, don't want to protest or be outspoken, that's okay. Just don't be complacent. Think about it.

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