Wow, the response to Todd Akin just really keeps on coming. And why? Because the voices are strong, loud, lasting, and legitimate. Because the time to vote is coming soon. Because it matters. Because now people are super-duper paying attention, and they should be. It’s hard not to at this point.
I’ve come to feel physically overwhelmed by the White, Male, Stereotypical Politician talking about my body. Involuntary, somatic reactions are taking over my body in waves. I feel like I’m being discussed without my permission, in public, for others to hear. It’s like a cat-call from across the street: unwanted, public, offensive, harassing, and an attempt to make me feel less-than. An object for your discussion. My sex life, my reproductive choice, my family planning, my way of dressing, my audible or inaudible “no,” my vagina’s and uterus’ and ovaries’ actions during sex, my relationship, my body. Like a cat-call, they believe that the political arena and the lay public have enough space between them that it’s a safe bet, that their microphoned voice will be louder across the space than those of whom they speak. But they didn’t initially see or hear the critical mass forming. A critical mass of vaginas and penises and believers that our bodies are our own. A critical mass who is writing, and speaking, and creating art emphasizing that our bodies are none of anyone else’s business.
I don’t even really see abortion as central to this conversation anymore. Akin’s comments, as well as the subsequent digging into Ryan’s past and current beliefs that he’s bringing to the GOP (including referring to rape as a ‘method of conception’) have offended people to the point of the response almost glazing over the the original topic itself. Women are fired up, are speaking up, and are powerful in their doing so. (There are men saying some pretty fantastic things as well.) Many comments are showing that the issue of the abortion isn’t the real issue. That women’s bodies are the issue, and public opinion about them is unwanted, unwarranted, and needs to stop. Our bodies are legitimately our own. Not yours. Ours.
Here are my favorite voices as of late:
“The point, to me, has always just been the humbling reminder: You don’t know anything about other people’s lives. The point is to show that we can’t categorize abortions into these different types, because every single woman’s reason for getting an abortion is absolutely unique. Like millions of little snowflakes. Some that you’ll identify with; some that you may find totally uncompelling. Women you love get abortions and women you hate get abortions. (Put that on a T-shirt!) But the point, as Irin notes, is that you don’t get to pick and choose. Simply because you can’t! Because there are just too many reasons to judge. So many profoundly specific reasons. Reasons that just might break your heart if you actually heard each one.”
“There’s a danger that seeking to understand more about the circumstances of women’s abortion choices reiterates the same power dynamic we’re fighting against: that a broader public is entitled to know why a woman is getting an abortion, find out all about her life, and make up their minds about her decision. And I’m not convinced that even if they do understand the real and complex reasons behind a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy, anti-choicers will see how heartless and fantasy-based their belief system is. But those of us who support women’s autonomy, in all circumstances, can’t let our commitment to non-judgment interfere with getting a fuller picture on the lives of women who have sought abortions. As anyone who has been to an abortion speakout knows, there’s a lot to learn.”
Say it, y’all.
And the best of the videos:
Sing it, y’all.