Sunday, November 8, 2020

Long road toward feminism

I think I've always considered myself  a feminist even though I may not have dug deep into what that meant. It came up a few years ago when I took a class about gender norms and had the opportunity to think about what makes a feminist. The movement may have started with women's desire to vote and have their voices heard - and we still struggle with being heard and taken seriously. We still have a long road ahead of us so we need to keep marching.

I think one of the most important issues of today is about choice. Women deserve to have the right to choose what happens with their own bodies. Planned Parenthood, which the name implies, provides access to health care and contraceptives. When I was in college we were given good positive information about choices. I remember there was often a large bowl of single wrapped condoms that women could grab with out causing a stir. That bowl didn't promote sex or promiscuity; that was already happening! It offered the chance to be safe.  I remember friends in college feeling ecstatic they could go to PP and get health care far from their family doctor who may or may not have judgments on decisions 18-20 year old makes. The religious right made that bowl of condoms go away.

I also had sex education class in high school which helped to dispel anxieties and teach accurate information. It was gross to sit through it, yes, but we understood you couldn't get pregnant just by touching. Looking back at this I was raised at a time when sex wasn't controlled by church and government. It was a smart practice that has fallen away because of religious groups and these groups have worked hard to make sure we don't have good, inexpensive access to basic health care which many women buy into even though it works against them. I wish they could understand how it keeps all women down and beholden to men -white men specifically - who've worked hard to keep us from thinking for ourselves.  

I'm not an advocate for abortion, no one is, but we cannot live in a world where back alleys and scam doctors are a women's only choice.  There will always be accidental pregnancies, health problems, cases of rape or incest and even women who have had enough. Should we help young women understand the ins and outs of their bodies in a more open approach? Absolutely! Abortion shouldn't be used as contraception but also then don't make it so hard for women to get contraception.

This post was inspired by an ad I read about voting your faith. I clicked on it because it was an ad at at the top of a teacher website which annoyed the hell out of me.  When I clicked I got this checklist for why one should vote for Christian values.  I say if you are voting for your values you must think beyond abortion-it's a string they are pulling you along by-and stand up and actually ask yourself deep down how would Jesus want people to be treated? People who might not be like you still deserve to live free of cages, free of humiliation, free of bullying, free to live their own lives.  That's what a feminist is to me: one who understands the only way the world can truly be in balance is if women are completely equal to men. 

Here it is, 2020, and we just elected our very first woman to the second highest office in the land. It's exciting and I'm celebrating, yet there is the feeling of what took us so long? Really asking, "what the hell took us so long?" We need more women in politics and, as Brene Brown would say, they need to have strong backs, soft fronts, and a wild heart.  

**I've been editing this post for a few weeks now, coming back to it, rethinking what I want to say and I'm ecstatic to be able to add that last paragraph about VP-Elect Kamala Harris!  It gives me great joy. I think of my daughter, and all the daughters and the young men, who will see a woman as a leader, equal, in a partnership with the president. It gives me hope that in the not too distant future we will look upon a woman as president, capable of leading, with her heart. And there will be much rejoicing throughout the land...

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