Do you think women have come a long way in the past 40 or 50 years?
Some days, I think so. I look around and see more women in responsible positions, and we don’t give it a second thought. I read about fathers who share parenting and household duties with their wives as if it’s perfectly normal – because it is – and I’m encouraged. And then I pick up the newspaper or skim my favorite online venues for national coverage, and I’m aghast.
Have we come a long way, really? Is it three steps forward, and two back?
We know we have progress yet to make when it comes to women and earnings parity. But what rattles my cage at present are the continuing currents I view as anti-women, though they masquerade as pro-religious freedom. And yes, I said masquerade.
Below you will find a reference to some of the statistics addressing the erosion of reproductive rights, just in the past several years.
Men… Can You Imagine Walking in a Woman’s Shoes?
I wish I could climb inside the brains of those who persist in foisting their beliefs on others – particularly women – and understand better where they’re coming from. Then, perhaps, I might effectively argue in a way that is more persuasive; their beliefs shouldn’t trample mine – or yours. Especially when it comes to health and long-term quality of life.
More to the point, I’d love to be able to snap my fingers and conjure the following feat of magic: all male consciousness would reside inside a woman’s body for several months.
Gentlemen, walk in our shoes and experience the world as we do – as it speaks to us, engages with us, dismisses us, denies us – and yes, at times, is wonderfully welcoming.
Prohibition on Semen Destruction?
I will mention a few articles I’ve come across of late. They deal with reproductive rights and sexuality, and specifically contraception, abortion, and sexual assault.
If it isn’t already evident, I believe that what takes place between consenting adults is no one’s business but their own. That includes access to contraception (as a matter of health, not to mention common sense).
I am not a fan of abortion but believe that safe, legal abortion is a necessary last resort option that is a personal matter between woman and physician, and if she has one, her god. Wouldn’t most agree that affordable contraception is one way to avoid abortion, even as we march head-on into the land of semen destruction prohibitions?
Sexual Double Standards Persist
As for the continuing double standards with regard to women and sex, I wonder how many generations it will take before these ease further. The American psyche seems to be stuck in a time warp, or more precisely, turning its back on rational thought.
As for sexual assault – on woman, man, or child – how can this sort of violence ever be justified? How can we teach our sons and daughters fundamental respect for the bodies and minds of others? Why are campus assaults still being mishandled? Just how easy is it for us to blame alcohol, especially in incidents of college rape?
When do we insist on affording our women full ownership of their own bodies?
Hobby Lobby Fall-Out
The Hobby Lobby decision? Many have written on it far more eloquently than I.
Just as I cannot know what it is to live in a man’s head, in a man’s body, in the many different experiences of what it is to be a man, I realize that no man, except perhaps a transgender man, can know what it is to feel so many choices narrowed, so little power at critical times, and be witness to the erosion of what other civilized countries consider fundamental issues of privacy and health.
Do our young women even realize that their adulthood is being compromised? Or should I say “personhood,” which we seem to be endowing on corporations but on our female citizens, not so much?
Personhood for People, Please
And yet we continue to offer (and cover the cost of) sexual “aids” to men, without so much as batting an eye.
Are you a 55-year-old male who needs a little something to get it up and keep it up so you can enjoy your 33-year old girlfriend? No worries. Good chances you’re covered. But she may not be.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Listen. I’m a mature woman in a monogamous relationship, but what if I weren’t? That’s what suits me, but I won’t presume to say what suits anyone else. I am also a mother who considers parenting to be a privilege, but what if I didn’t? My parenting beliefs go hand in hand with recognition that it is hard work for at least 18 years, it costs a small fortune, and I couldn’t have handled it at age 20 – particularly if I was in it alone.
It Takes Two to Tango
If we expect our young men to have sex, what about the health and futures of the young women they’re having it with? How can we smirk, congratulate, and chuckle about our boys getting a little action, and still disregard the burdens we place on our girls for the consequences?
Hypocrisy? Absurdity? Any words of your own?
Articles of interest:
- Hobby Lobby Hypocrisy: Vassectomies, Viagra Still Covered
- State Trends in Health and Reproductive Rights, 2013
- 5 Sexual Health Services Insurance Will Cover for Men
- Huffington Post: Hobby Lobby 2.0
- New York Times: Reporting Rape and Wishing She Hadn’t
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