Archive | Full Frontal Feminism

Looking Away

I just read this and it reminded me of an incident that happened so long ago, I’d almost forgotten it.

My boyfriend and I were standing in a long line outside the Grendel’s Lair music club, waiting to get in. The line stretched halfway down the block, and somewhere in the first third or so was a couple having a fight.

But not really. The man was having a fight with the woman, screaming at her while she stood silent, and I watched all the people in line avert their eyes – including my soon-to-be husband.

Then he started hitting her. I waited what seemed like an eternity (but was probably only a minute or so) for someone to do something. I remember a couple of the hippie dudes in line were muttering: “Hey man, that’s not cool.”

I couldn’t stand it. I took a running jump and leaped onto the man’s back and started screaming at him. “You do not get to hit her! What’s wrong with you? Stop it!” I was pulling at his arms, trying to get him to stop hitting her.

It was like breaking a spell. Several of the men quickly surrounded the guy, and pulled him off. Several of the spectators asked the woman if she was all right.

My boyfriend didn’t say anything. I remember thinking that maybe what finally spurred the men to get involved was that they were embarrassed that a young girl (I was only 18 or so) had more courage than they did.

Maybe they knew from experience that the victim might defend her boyfriend, or even attack them, but I didn’t even care about that.

I knew that by standing by while a woman was beaten, everyone in that line who watched was giving tacit consent. And that’s the part that wasn’t “cool.”

Get Your Goddamned Nose Out Of Our Private Parts

Honest to God, I’m losing all patience with the Fetus Fetishists. That they see the world in black and white shows how out of touch they are with realities like this:

Editor’s note: State Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, made the following remarks Friday on the House floor shortly before passage of HB 1143. The bill, which is now headed to the governor’s desk, would require all women seeking an abortion to submit to an ultrasound. In nearly all cases, medical personnel would be required to orally describe to the woman the ultrasound image before her abortion is performed.

Members, I like to paraphrase Pedro and say that there is no crying in lawmaking. But I’ll try to make it brief today. This amendment is so shortsighted as to be blind. You imagine that this only affects those wishing to terminate the pregnancy for no other reason than because it is their legally protected right to choose what to do with their body. But members, this affects every pregnant woman, including those that are losing their baby because of other reasons.

Last January my wife and I went to the doctor and we had our first ultrasound. At first we thought, ‘This is fantastic.’ It was just us and the (ultrasound) technician. At first everything looked fine. And all of a sudden, there were three doctors in the room. They tell us, ‘The measurements say this fetus has a genetic abnormality.’ We go to the next doctor; we get a second opinion, a third opinion. We’re told, this fetus is going to die. We don’t know if it’s two weeks left. The heart will stop beating in eight more weeks, 10 more weeks. It could be there for six months. We are asked, do you terminate the pregnancy now, or do you refuse, and naturally miscarry at some point in time?

We’ve seen three ultrasounds already at this point. And you act like this ultrasound machine is in another room, that you walk out into and go, oh, there it is. Actually, that ultrasound machine is right next to that bed, where my wife is laying, looking at this fetus. And she’s starting to cry. And she asks that that ultrasound machine be turned in the other direction because she can’t see it anymore. But this bill right here is saying “no, we’re going to demand one more time when you go in to finally terminate that fetus — because God and nature told you ‘not this time,’ that you be forced to see that screen, or you be told what’s on that screen, and that you demand it be turned away, but you’re still going to have to listen to the description of what’s still there. Members, this is something we’re about to do to women in this state.

But we’re not alone. Statistics show that about 25 percent of pregnancies are terminated naturally by God and nature. With today’s medical care, women don’t have to wait for the mother to keep a dying fetus inside their womb until it finally terminates on its own, or it finally miscarries by nature. So my wife and my sister are not alone. There are thousands and thousands of women that will be in the same position.

There are thousands and thousands of women who will be in that same position after this bill passes.

We knew the facts — we knew the heart chamber was slowly filling with fluid; we knew the facts — we didn’t need to be told that the fetus was slowly dying inside my wife’s womb. So don’t stand there and talk about facts.

Members, we constantly hear that this chamber is all about small government. The only thing this body has proven in the last six years is how this Legislature defines small government — six years ago this Legislature wanted government so small that it could fit down a tube into an individual woman’s throat named Terri Schiavo; this decade we have shown time and again that you want government so small that it can fit under someone’s bedroom door; and members, this year you are showing that you want government so small that it could fit between a woman’s leg and into her uterus. It’s not the small government that anyone wants.

I know that I have changed no one’s vote today because this body is controlled more by ideology than empathy. But I tell my story today because I want you to go home tonight and when you are by yourself and you have closed your eyes to sleep that your mind is filled with the personal pain you have brought to my wife, my sister and the thousands and thousands of women who want nothing more than to have the baby that is growing inside of them, but that unfortunately, God, nature and fate have chosen that it will not happen at that time. When you close your eyes every night, I want you to see their faces and their pain and the trauma you have personally brought them.

As Digby points out, these people really don’t give a shit. And frankly, I question their religious fervor. I’m guessing it has more to do with money and political power, more often than not.

Some people blame Obama for glossing over the steady erosion of abortion access and rights. Sure, I blame him – but mostly I blame the Democratic party for rolling over for so many years. Remember, a pitcher does not make the game; there’s a team in the field, too.

Our team sucks.

Jesus, Save Me From Your Followers

You know, for most women, deciding to have an abortion is already a heart-rending decision. Nothing like a little official coercion in the picture to make it even worse!

The Oklahoma Senate passed five abortion bills Monday night, which opponents have said will severely limit a woman’s ability to get an abortion and would entail some of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country.

One of the bills would force a woman to get an ultrasound at least one hour prior to an abortion and be shown the image and given a detailed explanation of it, even if she wishes otherwise. A vaginal probe would be used if it would provide a clearer image of the fetus, which no other state requires; three others do require ultrasounds, but none force the woman to listen to an explanation of it.

State Sen. Anthony Sykes (R-Moore), the bill’s sponsor, said the measure was designed to provide women with additional information before having an abortion.

Other pieces of legislation also require clinics that perform abortions to post signs stating it’s “against the law for anyone … to force you to have an abortion,” forbid state exchange program insurance from covering abortions and prevent wrongful life and wrongful birth lawsuits.

One last bill would require the woman to first answer a lengthy questionnaire and provide information such as her age, marital status, race, education and reason for seeking an abortion. The doctor would then report this information – without the patient’s name attached, however – which would be compiled and put on a state web site and accessible only by certain government personnel.

The bill’s sponsor has said this would provide valuable information on who seeks abortions and why, in addition to helping create programs aimed at preventing abortions. Opponents of the bill, however, argue that this represents an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

Jordan Goldberg, state advocacy council for the Center of Reproductive Rights (CRR), says she does not consider it “appropriate to use medical appointments and doctor-patient relationship to do fact-finding research gathering project at the expense of patient privacy.”

A letter to Gov. Brad Henry (D-Oklahoma) issued by the CRR arguing unconstitutionality of the bill stated, “nothing in the Constitution or the case law allows states to require women to justify their constitutionally protected decision to terminate a pregnancy.”

Of course, we can’t even have a national registry of who owns firearms, because that would be an infringement of gun owners’ constitutional rights. But this is different: It’s only womenfolk, and they probably don’t own guns.

And as you know, he who owns the guns makes the rules.

Quote of the Day

My working-class neighborhood is filled with women who got married to weak, cheating men with substance abuse problems, mostly because of unplanned pregnancies. And these women are working really hard – they go to school, they try to better themselves – but they feel like the responsibility is theirs alone, because that’s the way it’s always been.

As I’ve mentioned before, I never hear about women having abortions anymore. We seem to have pressured and shamed a lot of them out of it, and as a result, the world of women’s options gets even smaller, at least in the working class world.

And that’s why this quote really pissed me off:

NOW’s obsession over abortion is, in effect, betraying a long tradition of American women’s advocacy on behalf of the wellbeing of families and the poor.

I mean, really. Those selfish women who want abortion coverage have abandoned their traditional role as saintly volunteer doormats. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what Theda Skocpol is saying here, right?

And I can’t figure out why. I mean, I even agree with the idea that we need to pass this shitty healthcare bill and fix it later, but there’s just something about this statement that makes me want to smash something in Theda’s face, and in Matt Yglesias’s face for agreeing with her.

Theda Skocpol is an academic, and although she’s certainly had to deal with sexism, she perhaps hasn’t felt the urgency of paying the rent the way the women in my part of the city do. Matt Yglesias went to the Dalton School, and then to Harvard. Whether he understands it or not, he’s had a privileged life.

Not like the women in my neighborhood. One woman tells me she got pregnant in high school by her then-boyfriend, a meth addict. (Lots of meth and crack in my part of the city.) He ended up going to prison for five years, he’s coming out now and she’s falling apart. Because she’s made a new life for herself and her kid. She has a decent job, a nice apartment and a stable environment to raise her daughter. She looks at me, eyes brimming: “He thinks he’s coming out to live with me and my daughter, and I don’t want him in my life. But if I don’t let him move in with me, and he starts doing drugs again, I feel like it’s my fault!”

No, honey, it’s not. Women have been propping up losers for a long time and it doesn’t work, I tell her. But I wonder if she’s listening.

Because too many women have been trained to be saintly doormats, and here we are, listening to the privileged explain why that’s such a useful tool for the liberal political establishment!

Yes, instead of having a serious discussion about how we have to balance the passage of this healthcare bill with the very real need of women to have access to abortion when their financial or emotional stability is on the line, we get a snippy lecture from the academics.

And then they wonder why we’re losing people to the Tea Party.

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