Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Coming out of retirement--Lysistrada and personal responsibility

So, I had to go underground for a while because anything I blog could and would be used against me in a court of law.  However, as of April 2016, that is no longer an issue, since I am no longer espoused to Builder (hereafter known as Mr. X) in the eyes of G-d or the courts.  And there was much rejoicing (Yaay!).  Much has changed, of course.  I have gone from homemaker to mathematics student (because STEM fields pay enough to support two kids in the most expensive city in America).  The girls are in school, and hating every minute of it (Le sigh).  And now, I get to be a lot more outspoken!
So, on to our wonderful political scene, or that which has brought me back into blogging.  There has been a lot of discussion of late about the dismantling of the ACA, or Obamacare, by our new administration.  One of the first items on the chopping block was the mandate that insurance companies fund contraceptive devices.  (Remember, as always, contraceptives are not abortifacients.  You can't terminate a pregnancy that never happened.  All comments referencing abortion will therefore be deleted.)  The pushback against this rule always came down to statements about how women should take "personal responsibility."
OK, I'm game.  We'll take a page from Lysistrada, a Greek play about women who stopped having sex with their husbands to protest a war.  From here on in, all women of childbearing age should simply stop having sex with men.  Husbands, fiancés, boyfriends, one night stands are all off limits.  And, should your man protest, just bat your eyes coyly and say, "Oh, honey, I'd love to, but I'm exercising personal responsibility."  My guess, it would take about a month before contraceptives are funded 100%.
See, when we talk about "personal responsibility" in the context of contraception, we are talking about women having sex.  We frame the conversation as though every woman who dares take the Pill or get fitted for an IUD is one of those slutty slutty mcslutty whores who just want to sleep around scot free.  Not like the pure virgins or matrons who have earned our respect.
Except--those sperm cells don't differentiate between the squeaky clean pure married ladies we hold up as exemplars of womanhood and everyone else.  A woman's ovaries don't stop working just because she had those 2.8 kids the statisticians discuss.  Any woman who has any intercourse with any man--ring on her finger or not--can find herself having more children than she can support.  And suddenly, we sneer in our contempt, "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."
So, we take steps to avoid it, while still participating in sex acts that enhance relationships for 99% of us (about 1% of the population identifies as asexual).   We exercise our "personal responsibility" by using contraceptives.  The end result is fewer pregnancies, fewer families in poverty, and--surprise! fewer abortions.
Women are already trapped in a horrible place when it comes to sex.  We are expected to provide it on demand to our spouses (spousal rape may be illegal, but good luck having a prosecutor actually take you seriously), but when we get pregnant as a result, we have to bear an enormous strain on our bodies.  We lose jobs.  We could lose healthcare.  We have the added burden of another mouth to feed--and expected to do it as valuable legal protections for women, access to healthcare, and our social safety net are rapidly dwindling.  The only low-cost provider of pre-natal services in some areas is Planned Parenthood--which may lose access to Medicaid reimbursement for care under our current administration.  So, when we try to utilize the insurance we pay into (and all taxpayers pay into Medicaid in some form or other) to prevent a(nother) pregnancy, we are shut down with "It's not my job to pay for your birth control!  Why don't you keep your legs closed?"
Fine.  Challenge accepted.  We stop putting out until the conversation changes.  Then maybe our society won't be so quick to yell about "personal responsibility."

1 comment:

  1. So happy that you are back. So happy that you are blogging. Keep it up.
    And yes, forget about not having sex, make every Jewish family pay full tuition for every child they have. How's that for personal responsibility?


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