Leave women, then, to find their sphere. And do not tell us before we are born even, that our province is to cook dinners, darn stockings, and sew on buttons. We are told woman has all the rights she wants; and even women, I am ashamed to say, tell us so. They mistake the politeness of men for rights—seats while men stand in this hall to-night, and their adulations; but these are mere courtesies. We want rights. The flour-merchant, the house-builder, and the postman charge us no less on account of our sex; but when we endeavor to earn money to pay all these, then, indeed, we find the difference.
The last speaker alluded to this movement as being that of a few disappointed women. From the first years to which my memory stretches, I have been a disappointed woman. When, with my brothers, I reached forth after the sources of knowledge, I was reproved with “It isn’t fit for you; it doesn’t belong to women.” […] I was disappointed when I came to seek a profession worthy an immortal being—every employment was closed to me, except those of the teacher, the seamstress, and the housekeeper. In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman.
When a world’s convention of any kind is called—when the Rev. Drs. Chambers, Hewett, Marsh, and I don’t know how many more, backed up by a part of those who were in that convention, are ready to ignore the existence of woman, it should show us something of the amount of labor we have to do, to teach the world even to know that we are a part of it…
Lucy Stone, 1848
The fact that this is so relevant to us still today is really disheartening.
Also, fair warning: I’m going to be blogging a lot of quotes as I do research. Sorry.
It is suggested that woman’s cause should be advocated by women only. […] I am the son of a woman, and the brother of a woman. I know that this is their cause, but I feel that it is mine also. Their happiness is my happiness, their misery my misery.
I don’t want to be a feminist anymore. Like a five-year-old, I want to close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears, stomp my feet on the floor and scream “No! No, you cannot make me, I won’t, leave me alone!” I am, simply put, too tired. So very, very tired.
I am tired of fighting with my friends. I am tired of arguing that someone groping and slapping my butt isn’t “what I have to expect”, just because I’m at a bar, and the one attacking my butt has a drink in the other hand. I am tired of hearing “boys will be boys” and “when you’re dressed like that …” and “that’s just what guys do”. I am tired of trying to drown those sentiments in loud, repetitive no’s, screamed over and over again, till my throat is sore and my voice weak – just to hear them repeated, as soon as exhaustion threatens to silence me.
I am tired of being afraid. I am tired of seeing someone writing something offensive, sexist, racist, ageist, ableist, somewhere online. I am tired of seeing those writings getting likes and lol’s, and SO TRUE’s. I am tired of being consumed by confusion and anger, typing, typing, typing and typing a seemingly endless response, including research, links and statistics, and then hesitate clicking “submit”. I am tired of knowing that I hesitate because I am afraid of the flood of responses that will come. I am tired of knowing that I will be bombarded with lighten up’s, stop whining’s and get a sense of humor’s for so long, that I will start to wonder if I am indeed wound up too tight, a nagger and humorless. I am tired of the fact that I’m afraid of being called a cunt, even though I don’t find genitalia insulting or demeaning.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT.
I feel this so hard.
broke down and started crying today
this is probably part of the reason.
Oh God Yes.
(In other words, I feel this way far too often.)
Let me tell you some things.
I used to investigate child abuse and neglect. I can tell you how to stop the vast majority of abortion in the world.
First, make knowledge and access to contraception widely available. Start teaching kids before they hit puberty. Teach them about domestic violence and coercion, and teach them not to coerce and rape. Create a strong, loving community where women and girls feel safe and supported in times of need. Because guess what? They aren’t. You know what happens to babies born under such circumstances? They get hurt, unnecessarily. They get sick, unnecessarily. They get removed from parents who love them but who are unprepared for the burden of a child. Resources? Honey, we try. There aren’t enough resources anywhere. There are waiting lists, and promises, and maybes. If the government itself can’t hook people up, what makes you think an impoverished single mom can handle it?
Abolish poverty. Do you have any idea how much childcare costs? Daycare can cost as much or more than monthly rent. They may be inadequately staffed. Getting a private nanny is a nice idea, but they don’t come cheap either. Relatives? Do they own a car? Does the bus run at the right times? Do they have jobs of their own they need to work just to keep the lights on? Are they going to stick around until you get off you convenience store shift at 4 AM? Do they have criminal histories that will make them unsuitable as caregivers when CPS pokes around? You gonna pay for that? Who’s going to pay for that?
End rape. I know your type errs on the side of blaming the woman, but I’ve seen little girls who’ve barely gotten their periods pregnant because somebody thought raping preteens was an awesome idea. You want to put a child through that? Or someone with a mental or physical inability for whom pregnancy would be frightening, painful or even life-threatening? I’ve seen nonverbal kids who had their feet sliced up by caregivers for no fucking reason at all, you think sexual abuse doesn’t happen either?
You say there’s lots of couples who want to adopt. Kiddo, what they want to adopt are healthy white babies, preferably untainted by the wombs and genetics of women with alcohol or drug dependencies. I’ve seen the kids they don’t want, who almost no one wants. You people focus only on the happy pink babies, the gigglers, the ones who grow and grow with no trouble. Those are not the kids who linger in foster care. Those are certainly not the older kids and teenagers who age out of foster care and then are thrown out in the streets, usually with an array of medical and mental health issues. Are they too old to count?
And yeah, I’ve seen the babies, little hand-sized things barely clinging to life. There’s no glory, no wonder there. There is no wonder in a pregnant woman with five dollars to her name, so deep in depression you wonder if she’ll be alive in a week. Therapy costs money. Medicine costs money. Food, clothes, electricity cost money. Government assistance is a pittance; poverty drives women and girls into situations where they are forced to rely on people who abuse them to survive. (I’ve been up in more hospitals than I can count.)
In each and every dark pit of desperation, I have never seen a pro-lifer. I ain’t never seen them babysitting, scrubbing floors, bringing over goods, handing mom $50 bucks a month or driving her to the pediatrician. I ain’t never seen them sitting up for hours with an autistic child who screams and rages so his mother can get some sleep while she rests up from working 14-hour days. I don’t see them fixing leaks in rundown houses or playing with a kid while the police prepare to interview her about her sexual abuse. They’re not paying for the funerals of babies and children who died after birth, when they truly do become independent organisms. And the crazy thing is they think they’ve already done their job, because the child was born!
Aphids give birth, girl. It’s no miracle. You want to speak for the weak? Get off your high horse and get your hands dirty helping the poor, the isolated, the ill and mentally ill women and mothers and their children who already breathe the dirty air. You are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, for children. You don’t have a flea’s comprehension of injustice. You are not doing shit for life until you get in there and fight that darkness. Until you understand that abortion is salvation in a world like ours. Does that sound too hard? Do you really think suffering post-birth is more permissible, less worthy of outrage?
“Pro-life” is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.
Over the past 25 years, Muslim majorities have elected five women as heads of state in the Muslim world (Tansu Ciller in Turkey, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Hasina Wajed and Khaleda Zia in Bangladesh, and Megawati Sukarnoputri in Indonesia). Notwithstanding our verbiage of female empowerment and liberation, we have yet to elect a single woman as president in the US. The Quran is the only sacred text that devotes an entire chapter to the rights of women. In fact, women in Europe could not inherit property independent of their husbands up until the 18th century. Islam over 1,400 years ago gave women the rights of inheritance, work, and hold public office. But the misperception of a Muslim woman that is veiled and oppressed guides our thinking.
Earlier today, I was talking to one of my (white, cis, male, straight) friends, and we got to talking about abortion. He said he was generally pro-choice, but that it “became tricky” when the guy wants to keep the baby when the pregnant person wants to have an abortion.
I quietly threw a fit, regained my composure, and then started explaining that no matter how much a person wants a child, they have no right to force another person to remain pregnant, people have a right to their own bodies, etc, etc. He eventually recanted, and tried to explain where he was coming from. He said things like, “Yeah, well, I haven’t thought too hard about this,” and “I’m not really into politics at all.”
“I’m not really into politics at all.”
And while I’m sure he meant this to provide some sort of reasoning for his viewpoints, (many of which he admitted (after some back-and-forth) were problematic), I realized that I was actually becoming more frustrated. Because he has the privilege to decide to not care about politics.
He doesn’t have to worry about many of the things that people like me worry about. No one’s trying to take away his right to govern his own reproduction, for example. The things that make it harder for people like me to exist in this country are very often directly tied to politics and government, and so it behooves me to be cognizant of these issues.
I can’t afford to not care about the government putting limitations on abortion rights.
I can’t afford to not be enraged about police brutality.
I can’t afford to not care about the growing economic disparities between the rich and poor and disproportionately large economic burdens being placed on the poor and people of color.
I can’t afford to not be disgusted by the poor education in POC/poor areas of the country.
I have to care about politics, because these are not theoretical discussions for me.
Although it is possible to discuss the male divinities under the same [Life, Death, Regeneration] headings, to do so ignores a key observation: gods are usually described not in terms of their relation to the reproductive and seasonal cycles but in terms of the various sociopolitical roles that they fulfill. That is, whereas female deities are often depicted as the earth itself or as embodying one or another stage of a woman’s reproductive cycle, male deities tend to be depicted in terms of the offices they hold or the roles they play.
Myth and Knowing by Scott Leonard and Michael McClure
Ah, it’s good to know that some things never change.