In lieu of the recent uproar resulting from Susan G. Komen’s ruling to halt all Planned Parenthood funding, and then its subsequent reversal, and these awesome pins I found at the Fairfax Flea Market (also the documentary I just watched on Gloria Steinem), I feel like we’re long overdue for a little dose of bra burning feminist fun. (I just spent an entire paycheck on new bras, so I’ll be doing a metaphorical burning).
I know abortion is not exactly “fun” to talk about, at least not in the conventional sense of the word, but I also suspect that an abortion is not a fun thing to endure. Although I’ve (surprisingly) never had one, and I’ve never felt that I’d be in danger if I needed to, I am part of a very lucky minority who has the education, medical insurance, and emotional support system (plus therapist) in place to help me deal with whatever bumps (baby or otherwise) I may run into along way. But given the fact that only 39% of American high school students are even taught how to use a condom correctly in health class, and probably something like 99% of American high school students are going to have sex, I am bewildered by the government’s refusal to make abortion, or simply even sex education and contraception, legal and affordable for everyone everywhere.
(Okay, deep breaths…)
I don’t mean to sound militant or preachy or polarizing (though I know I do), but I can’t stress enough how creepy I find it that a bunch of doughy right-wing conservatives (and the women who birth their tiny crusaders) devote so much time to worrying about what I put in my vagina and what I choose not to push out of it. It’s true that I am staunchly pro-choice, and rather intolerant of anyone who isn’t. But this isn’t about furthering my own PRO-CHOICE agenda (at least not entirely). It’s about recognizing that people struggled to earn the reproductive freedoms and sexual liberties that we pretty much take for granted today. These things didn’t just happen on their own overnight, and threats like the one we just witnessed with the Komen Foundation can become real dangers if we don’t take seriously our responsibility to protect Planned Parenthood and the other organizations that put themselves at risk everyday to provide quality affordable health services to women.
So just because we were raised with good role models who gave us self-confidence and put us on the birth control pill “to make our skin better,” and because we could afford to make drunk mistakes with lacrosse captains and to buy the morning-after pill, we can’t just tune out of the conversation. Because what about those people who didn’t and don’t have those luxuries? It is these same resources and privileges that make us feel exempt from the problem that give us the influence to make a significant difference.
So I’m admitting my guilt. With adulthood I’ve grown complacent and maybe a bit apathetic. But I miss (aspects of) the girl who used to march down the street telling anyone who whistled or stared, “Please stop objectifying me!” Sure, she was a little angry, but at least she was optimistic about changing the world. I’m not suggesting that we need to scream at strangers and grow out our armpit hair (though a little stubble can be sexy), but at the very least let’s use our social media platforms for good, and to raise awareness about the things that affect our own lives. Abortion is not a poor people problem, it’s an I was raped or the condom broke or I’m not ready to be a mother or I got drunk and fucked up solution. And whether it has or hasn’t happened to you, we’re lucky to have it as an option.