Inspirations… (Jan. 19, 2017)

womens-march-sperry-wow-webThe Women’s March on Washington is what is inspiring me right now. It started out as just an idea following on the surprising election results and has now grown, grassroots-style, into the largest protest and demonstration to take place in response to the inauguration. The march is for everyone, regardless of gender identity, who believes that women’s rights are human rights. The primary march will be held in Washington, DC, but there will be supporting marches in cities, large and small, around the world. Where I live, there are at least three supporting events within easy driving distance.

I was impressed with the Women’s March Global Mission for Equality, and I hope this signals the beginning of a powerful and effective worldwide movement. I only wish that education of girls and women was a plank in the mission statement, because I personally believe that education is the key to empowering women.

For those of us who enjoy self-education, I offer my favorite feminist reads to help you resist in the coming years:

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
  • The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper
  • The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall
  • The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant
  • Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
  • Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
  • When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
  • The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Ammonite by Nicola Griffith

Corporations have rights, women not so much…

So, this is going around Twitter today:

I have seen a lot of comments about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, such as women can pay for their own birth control or not all birth control methods were excluded, just a few. They are all missing the fundamental point, which is that this decision, and a whole slew of other legislation targeting abortion rights and access to birth control, does not acknowledge that women are fundamentally people.

Women are seen first and foremost as potential baby-making devices. This one biological fact trumps everything else, including other health issues that a woman may have that don’t have anything to do with making babies or women’s ability to make their own decisions about their own health care, without interference from their (male) employers, (male) legislators, or the (male) majority of the Supreme Court.

For example, one of the devices that Hobby Lobby objects to on religious grounds is the IUD. Well, detractors say, women can use the pill instead, or a condom. However, the IUD’s only purpose is not birth control. It has other uses in women’s health beyond birth control, and the pill and condoms cannot substitute in those cases. The IUD is also very expensive, and it requires a medical procedure to put in place. This should be covered under health insurance, like all other medical procedures.

Why should employers or Supreme Court judges, who clearly do not have a medical degree and don’t know beans about women’s health, be dictating what kinds of medical devices women can and can’t have access to? Why do they think they know better than a woman and her doctor? Because babies, that’s why.

Why are women so upset about this decision, even women who don’t work for Hobby Lobby, or who don’t need these medical devices? Because once again it’s been affirmed that beyond making babies, women have no other function. A woman’s rights or medical needs mean nothing in comparison.

Until women are viewed as full people, with agency over every aspect of their lives, bodies, and health, women will not have achieved equality. Unfortunately, it’s all too clear that in this country, despite all our gains, women are still viewed as nothing more than life support systems for wombs.