Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Have a Uterus and My Rights are Just Fine

Public Domain
I didn't march on Washington.

I know that's surprising considering I possess both a vagina and a fully functioning uterus. But I just couldn't bring myself to join my sistren with their pink pussy hats and expletive-riddled signage.

I mean, I kinda get it. I'm no fan of the Cheez Doodle with a bad combover currently masquerading as president of the United States. But the official Women's March on Washington website claims that this is a "women's rights" demonstration, not a protest against The Donald, at least not beyond his previous, admittedly vile, locker room banter.

I know that many will consider me a traitor to my sisters and a disgrace to my gender. They may call me brainwashed, a misogynist (It wouldn't be the first time), or worse... a Republican (although I'm not). But I couldn't, in good conscience, don a pink pussy beanie, grab a pithy ovary emblazoned sign, and march through the streets of the nation's capitol, because I don't think I am treated like a second class citizen.

Shocking right? That the media brainwashing hasn't penetrated my cranium? After all, we've been hearing about the republican "War on Women" for years now. And that inaccurate statistic about women making 77 cents to every dollar a man earns, well that's universal gospel, in spite of all of the refuting evidence.

But I am not a victim.

I have the right to vote, hold a job, inherit property. I have the right to bodily integrity and higher education and to show my hair in public. I can marry or not marry, divorce if I want, heck, I'm even likely to get custody of my kids. I can defend myself and my property. I can even drive a car... down public streets... in broad daylight.

It's sad to me that hundreds of thousands of women, who woke up in comfortable beds on Saturday morning, ate decent breakfasts, dressed in whatever clothes they chose, boarded public transportation without being escorted by a male, or actually drove their own vehicles to a legal protest, somehow believe that they are oppressed because they are women.

This is America, not the Democratic Republic of Congo where women cannot even sign legal documents. This isn't Pakistan, where women are gang-raped to pay for men's crimes, honor killings are widespread, and there are no laws against domestic violence. This isn't Somalia, where 95% of girls face barbaric genital mutilation, usually between the ages of four and eleven. This isn't Afghanistan, where girls are discouraged, sometimes violently, from seeking an education and where rape victims are often forced to marry their attackers. This isn't Chad where children as young as eleven are forced into arranged marriages.

This is America. Women have had the right to vote for almost a hundred years. We've sent women into Space, seen them appointed to the Supreme Court, run for Congress, anchor the evening news, break Olympic records, and lead billion dollar companies. Women even earn more undergraduate and graduate degrees than men. What rights are we missing?

As mothers, we tell our daughters that they can be anything, achieve anything, become anything they want, and because we live in America, that's basically true. So why are mothers dragging their daughters to huge political protests, railing and whining about a system they claim holds them down simply because they are women? Those are some pretty mixed up messages. I assure you, ladies, the government is not responsible for your successes or your failures in life. You are. Stop blaming the government. Stop accusing "the man" of holding you down. You are better than that. You are stronger than that. Take control of your own destiny.

We don't live in a Third World country. Sure not everyone gets free birth control or cheap abortions on demand, but are those really basic human rights?

If you think so, you probably need some perspective. Take a trip. Not a mini vacation to Washington D.C., either... take a jaunt to Chad or Afghanistan. Ask those women what they think fundamental women's rights are.

In comparison to those women, we're all just whining and throwing little spoiled temper tantrums in our silly pink hats.

And we should probably be ashamed.

8 comments:

Tim Cunningham said...

Great article, Alice.

m said...

Well done. Thank you.

Hazel said...

Alice, what a poignantly written account of the opportunities that have rendered such good fortune in your life or maybe you have just never made a mistake; either way it appears that thus far the women's movement has maintained its promises during your lifetime. That is why I marched yesterday, and I don't even have a uterus leave alone a functioning one, to ensure that those rights are not abolished from my daughter's future. (She even asked me why there were signs with hangers on them! Can you believe that she does not know how illegal abortions were conducted prior to Roe v. Wade?)

In all reality, the fact that you wrote this blog and shared your personal qualities gives witness to all the good that the women's movement has done since its inception in 1792. Because the women before us marched, as a self-proclaimed free thinking, unique soccer mom (I took the liberty of paraphrasing) you are able to provide for your family by writing a blog instead of feverishly cleaning the house before your spouse arrives home from work to avoid being beaten or raped because you are married and now his property (assuming that you are married to a man). Because my grandmother marched in the suffragist movement, you were able to vote (not Republican per your words) or at least have a choice in the matter. You have stopped at four kids so either you are no longer having sex, which would be a shame for anyone, or you've elected to prevent future pregnancies at least for a while. From where I sit, it seems like you have benefited from quite a few marches.

Where would we (women) be without those who marched prior to yesterday? We'd be in similar situations as the women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia which you so eloquently pointed out have minimal rights. I marched for them.

Over 200 years of fighting "the man" and woman continue to feel that their rights are threatened, not just in the good ol' USA but globally. I have never considered myself a victim nor will I in the future. I have never acquiesced to demands that I disagree with or endanger my well being. Fortunately, those experiences have been minimal or void in my life thanks to laws that protect me. And those laws need to remain intact for my daughter. That is why I marched.

Good luck to you, Alice. The rest of us will take action to ensure that there are laws so you can continue writing your blog and sort the laundry.

Jennifer said...

I'm not a victim, but I marched for all those women who were and are victims of assault, misogyny, low wages, disrespect, bigotry, sexual objectification, etc. I marched for ALL oppressed PEOPLE, worldwide. I marched to honor the women who marched before us so WE could have the right to vote, the right to birth control, and to a safe abortion. I marched because I want to keep moving forward, not backwards! And women worldwide, along with the men who support them, did the same thing!! This is not just a few spoiled, privileged women throwing a temper tantrum. I marched because I do not accept the values (or lack thereof) of the incoming administration. And a college-educated, married, middle class white woman thinks I should be ashamed of myself for standing up and speaking out? I think she needs to take a look in the mirror. I am not ashamed. After experiencing what I did in Washington yesterday, I am more proud than ever to be a woman, and to be an American.

Ann said...

With all due respect Alice, and I do respect you and your always well written words, your perspective does shout of privilege. We did march for those who do not have that privilege and are about to lose more,more,more of what might keep them healthier, better paid, less marginalized, given equal rights no matter their heritage, color, or status. We marched because we want to empower or protect women from the predator status that has risen to the top of our political chain insinuating that it is now acceptable to grab women and do what privilege might appear to condone. New standards have been implied and we march because we want everyone to know that this is not the new norm and we will do our best to protect and empower each other. You may be fortunate enough or well educated enough to not need any of this, but our many sisters do. And on a personal note, are you aware that the ACA created the law that gave working mothers the ability, comfort, and protection to be able to pump milk for their babies in a clean, private place with electricity? I have come in contact with women this has benefitted repeatedly and it has mattered a great deal. That protection will also likely disappear along with many larger, more disastrous ones. We who marched are glad you don't need us, but please realize that many others do.

donofalltrades said...

I'd guess many of them paraded for the very people in those other countries that you spoke about who could never march in the streets of their country without fear of being attacked. It was a worldwide showing of force, and even though I don't disagree with you, I understand those who felt the need to march.

Women don't have it as bad as many women make it seem, but it is still a rich, white man's world, and we're all kidding ourselves, if we think otherwise.

Amber h said...

You don't have to be a victim personally to stand with victims. I sure you believe that your privledge is in check because know your blessings. What it actually means is that you believe that all women have the blessings you do.

In addition, you seem to believe that your blessings and privilege are set in stone and unquestionable, let alone something you could lose. Maybe if you actually stood with women who are victims, women who live under oppressive regimes - maybe you would have a better sense of how fragile rights are and what you must do to preserve them.

Amber h said...

https://medium.com/@dinachka82/about-your-poem-1f26a7585a6f#.pki0t2n9k I think this is an on point response as well, I hope you'll read

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