Okay. I’m about to get a little political on you. Understand that this is a personal opinion and I understand that yours might differ, but there have been a few things that have been grating on me for the last little while.
I am a woman. I have been lucky to grow up in Canada as a woman. I have been lucky to have the women in my family grow up in North America as a woman. We have been given benefits and allowances that many women around the world are not. For that, I am thankful.
In the past little while we have seen a relatively large influx of off-side, cruel, and uneducated remarks regarding women and the rights that should be afforded to them.
Let’s briefly recap:
1. January 24, 2011 – Constable Michael Sanguinetti of the Toronto Police suggested that the way a woman dresses is related to whether or not she is raped. Apparently, we need to avoid dressing like sluts to avoid being victimized by sexual predators. Thanks for the tip.
2. In 2012, the debate in the United States over whether or not women’s birth control should be covered by drug plans goes into full-swing. Comments are made by various power-players in United States politics, including that this debate is “not about women”. One of my favourites is when a Republican representative actually said the following:
“I know in your mind, you can think of the times America was attacked,” he said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “One is Dec. 7, that’s Pearl Harbor Day. The other is Sept. 11, and that’s the day the terrorists attacked. I want you to remember Aug. 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”
August 1, 2012 is the day that Obama enacted a birth control mandate that required private insurers to cover birth control without a co-pay. Apparently, without our knowledge, this is going to result in the death of thousands of people.
3. Todd Akin. What more do you have to say than that. If you don’t know, this is the man that, when asked about abortion rights for women especially in regards to a pregnancy resulting from being raped, he responded in the most sensitive and educated way possible: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Besides being completely biologically ridiculous, that statement is offensive and harmful to all women, victims or not. If we had ways to “shut that whole thing down” I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
This week the Republican National Convention was held in which Mitt Romney delicately stated, “It really is sad, isn’t it, with all the issues that America faces, for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level.” The low level he’s talking about, by the way, is his accusations that Obama and his party were trying to exploit the issues of rape and abortion for their own benefit.
… of course they are. So am I.
I could go on about this, finding example after example (if you haven’t heard Rush Limbaugh’s comments about insurance companies covering birth control yet, go find them, they’re a treat). I know that two of these three examples are American but the fact of the matter is they are not that far away from us. They share a very large and very friendly border, in fact. Their politics do not have little impact on ours.
I do not classify myself as a feminist in the stereotypical, bra-burning, raging against men way. I do feel honoured to be a woman, lucky to be a woman, and proud to be a woman. I see myself as an equal to men and that I should be treated as such. I do not assume I will not be treated as equal because I happen to have a vagina but I will fight for my equality if I find that I am not.
What it comes down to is that if I get pregnant, I should have the right to choose what happens to that child. I have a right to keep it, to give it up for adoption and, yes, to abort it. This is my body and my uterus. You do not have the right to make a law that says what I can and cannot do with it. You are now invading my very personal world. I want you to get out.
If you are a man, you will have your Viagra covered by your insurance companies. This is a drug specifically designed for the sexual act. Yet we are arguing over whether birth control should be covered, having people liken it to tragic historical events that women now have the right to have their birth control paid for. Birth control pills and other methods are prescribed for various reasons from acne to mood swings to excessive bleeding. Yes, they are prescribed to prevent pregnancy as well but this is not their only use.
I’m not sure at what point women started becoming pawns in a political game. I’m sure this attitude has always been there but lately it has come out full force. At what point did we stop ourselves, think about what we were about to say and check our opinions? At what point did it become okay for women to be the centre of attack?
If I wear a skirt, I am not asking to be raped. I am not asking for your hands to find their way up it. I am not asking to be your victim.
If I take birth control, I am not asking to have sex with everyone I meet. I am not asking to be a slut. I am not asking to play god.
If I get pregnant, I am not asking for an abortion. I am not asking for adoption. I am not asking to keep it.
If these things happen, I’m asking for a choice.
And that is what should be afforded to me, not as a woman, but as a human being.