Feminist files: A loaded uterus

  • Food for thought: An interesting discussion happened last week about the phrase “War on Women.” Even in the movement we’re not all comfortable with the war-themed rhetoric. But how do we “rally the troops” without a call to arms?
  • Waiting list: In Utah you have to wait 72 hours before having an abortion, the longest waiting period in America. One columnist wonders why we don’t have such waiting periods for lots of other things, too.
  • There goes the neighborhood: I’m not sure which is worse, Utah or Arizona. But the recent move to defund Planned Parenthood in Arizona (on the heels of that crazy new abortion law) is putting it in the lead.
  • Our sisters, ourselves: It’s come to my attention that framing the — I don’t know what else to call it — War on Women as about vagina/uterus politics is a bit hetero-sexist. Or at least, hetero-normative. With a side of gender politics. Or something like that. I’m not sure where to go with this. I do not seek to exclude transgender, queer or cisgender people with my language. I don’t think that someone has to have a uterus or a vagina to be a woman. Just as there are people born biologically male who identify somewhere else in the gender continuum, there are many people who are born biologically female who later have hysterectomies or mastectomies — cutting out those parts which our society uses to physically label femalehood — who are very much women. I admit, I’m not well-versed in cisgender and transgender. What I do know for myself is that the so-called War on Women feels very real and very personal to me, someone who identifies as a woman and has biologically female body parts. In fact, for me, the fight does feel like it’s about my vagina and about my uterus. Because those are the body parts that the mostly male conservatives want to control. (They don’t seem to care about boobs in quite the same way.) It’s not fair that the fight is framed this way. It’s not fair that this is a fight at all! What I hope is that people who read The Siren do not feel that I am trying to be gender-normative for the sake of being exclusionary. Ideally, this would not even need to be a discussion, because ideally, we would not be in a political season that is profoundly focused on gender, sex, reproduction, and all things “female.” I believe gender is a social construct. But that belief is not going to keep transvaginal ultrasounds off the law books. At least not today.
  • Every sperm is sacred: Just in case you missed it, the sperm personhood bill lampooned on The Daily Show with the tragi-comedy moment when one man realizes that it’s bad if “the government is telling a man what he can and cannot do with his body.” But it’s not about the government telling a woman what she can do with hers…

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