Sunday, March 12, 2006

Attending to Emotion

I fully intended to blog against sexism this past Tuesday, on International Women's Day. However, the situation in South Dakota and the ability of a jury of twelve to acquit video-taped rapists resonated in me more deeply than could be addressed in a blog post. Frankly, I have been the very embodiment of rage for the past couple of weeks, and I've been using most of my energy trying to prevent myself from releasing that rage indiscriminately. So far, so good. This is not to say that I "reasoned" myself out of this rage entirely. I did not -- nor do I wish to -- pretend I'm not enraged that my country is declaring war on its women citizens every day. I don't want to ignore the fact that the rampant misogyny in my government has spread out to other nations and is negatively affecting women all over the world. I won't pretend that the political party that promises to legislate for civil rights hasn't named an anti-choice Senator as its leader, and attempted to "soften its language" regarding women's rights. I can't not see the malevolent glee in the eyes of women-haters in my government and on the streets of our cities at the imminent prospect of enslaving women's bodies through the coercive power of the state. And let's be clear about this, folks, this is what's happening.

There are those who will tell you that such language is hyperbolic, *hysterical* perhaps. Some of you reading this may even believe that "war on women" and "slavery of women" are terms I have chosen in a high state of emotion, and are therefore unfair representations of the facts. So, let's look at just a random sampling of the facts, shall we?

- When the United States has a higher rate of rape than any other country that publishes such statistics, yet only 2% of rapists are convicted of their crime, women's bodies are no longer their own.

- When a videotaped gang-rape of an underaged girl who was both too young and too drunk to legally consent to sex is not a punishable crime, women's bodies are no longer their own.

- When the state can demand that women attempt to carry pregnancies to term when they don't want to do so and/or their doctors have advised against it, women's bodies are no longer their own.

- When a 100% effective vaccine against a cancer that affects about 10,000 women per year in America alone is kept from the public because government officials fear that women will have more sex if there's one less way that we may die from being sexually active, women's bodies are not their own.

- When pharmacists choose to override the moral choices of a woman and her doctor because they themselves do not "believe in" birth control, women's bodies are not their own.

This government has bet that, if forced to choose between self-custody and "patriotism," women will choose patriotism every time. Even when a woman's right to say no to sex is demonstrably NOT SUPPORTED by this government; when she is held responsible for her own rape, when she is then demonized for wanting to end the rape at her rapist's ejaculation, rather than allowing it to go on for almost a year or even 20 years. Even when saying yes to sex means saying yes to a motherhood she can't afford, and won't be financially enabled to afford, because she's a dirty slut who had sex. Even when her government values its pharisee ideology over her very life. They have placed a losing bet in my case. My government has declared war on me, my sisters, my nieces, and my friends, and goddammit, it will not stand. I'll still sign petitions, and write representatives, but I trust them about as much as I'd trust the local child-molester to babysit. I am goddamned tired of asking politely for elected representatives to recognize that women are people. They appear to hear that about as well as the average frat boy hears "no."

I am now dedicated to learning how to fight in myriad ways, and you can bet your bottom dollar that any attempted rapist will be short at least one dangling participle at the end of the exchange. I encourage you to do the same. I have volunteered my home in a blue state as a safe haven for my already enslaved sisters in South Dakota, and soon to be enslaved sisters in other red states. I encourage those of you who can to do the same. We have been told for millenia that emotion is bad, only reason is accepted. We have then been presented with "reason" that is merely the systematized emotion of others. Let the pharisees call their hate "reason," it's time for us to act. I ask you, what's more reasonable than responding to the very real threat of physical violence than learning how to inflict injuries of your own? What's more reasonable than opening up your home and your life to runaway slaves?

3 comments:

Martin said...

Thank you for pointing out just how bad things have become in the US.

Going after 52% of the population should be political suicide... if it's not it shows how bad the media have gotten. In any case it's time to make sure the problem is put clearly to the population, minus religious or states' rights claptrap.

Holly said...

really effective and persuasive comments--but then, with me, I guess you're pretty much preaching to the choir. Anyway, thanks for summing this up and presently it so forcefully.

Holly said...

Make that "presenting it so forcefully."

Duh. This is why we should always proofread our comments before we leave them. I should follow the same advice I give my students: never submit anything until you've proofread it thoroughly.